Eco-Friendly Overview: A Few of My Favorite Things

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The movie, The Sound of Music, is one of my most cherished childhood memories. I saw it in the theater when it first came out, having gone on my birthday with the whole family. I watched it repeatedly with my own children and admittedly since they’ve moved on to be adults. The music, the story and the scenery are all memorable. When I was a kid, my best friend and I would sing My Favorite Things, and I’d imagine the items in the song and get a warm ‘n’ fuzzy feeling. I still do when I think of warm woolen mittens and snowflakes on my nose and eyelashes. I write about eco-friendly topics, because it’s my lifestyle. In this era of corporate greed and a fragile environment, I come across things that make me feel hopeful, positive and uplifted. Here are a few of my current favorites!

Green heart

Secondhand and upcycled items

Buying second-hand clothes and reworking them into something unique is the most eco-friendly fashion option. Recycling keeps trash out of landfills. It also prevents new merchandise from being manufactured and transported, highly energy intensive processes. What makes clothing eco-friendly is not a one-item list. Energy, materials and human rights must be taken into consideration from the supply chain to waste management. Upcycling takes recycling a step further by turning an old item into something completely different than its original purpose. I love these whimsical lamps from Dog Tag Designs made of old phones, toys and other found objects.

Alternative paper products

I do not use many paper towels, because they are single-use items to throw away, and like toilet paper, a lot of trees are cut down to make them. When I do buy them a few times a year, I buy Marcal recycled paper products. I was intrigued to find bamboo paper towels that are washable and reusable. They last for 100 washings, says the website, and they seem pretty indestructible. I thought if you clean up messes and wash them, then they are only like kitchen towels, and that defeats the purpose. The beauty of this company, though, is that they plant a tree for every roll purchased! If you are hooked on paper towels and can’t seem to break the habit, try Bambooee towels to ease your mind and get some trees planted!

Green traveling

It is holiday and travel season. New Mexico has amazing ski resorts, culture and art. In warmer weather, we offer rafting, cycling, hiking and a comfortable climate. While you visit here, you can stay in the only green certified hotel in the state – El Rey Inn in Santa Fe. If you travel much, you know that hotels are wasteful. Towels and sheets are washed every day, heating and cooling systems run when they don’t need to (and they are probably outdated!), water use is copious, and foods and plasticware come in disposable packaging. Aside from that, cleaning products are toxic. As in eco-friendly fashion mentioned above, the supply chain is crucial in creating a healthy atmosphere that conserves resources. Check the Green Hotels website for your next trip, or make your destination a green hotel!

Green transportation and infrastructure

The number of electric vehicles on the road is increasing, which means charging stations need to be installed in convenient places. My daughter was looking to buy an EV, but her main concern was being able to charge it. Parking garages, parking lots and places of business need to get on this! Oh! Look! Here’s an idea! Now that everyone has a cell phone, the public pay phone is becoming extinct along with the phone booth. These kiosks are in prime locations, usually on a corner, they are outfitted with electricity already, and they bring in a bit of advertising income. But the phones barely get used anymore. I don’t see a reason why they can’t be upcycled into EV charging stations.

Green housing

Until I find the perfect pre-fab home for myself, the list won’t be complete. Pre-fabs these days are energy efficient with passive solar windows, beefed up insulation and compact floor plans. Being a space planner and wannabe architect, I might have to design my own house next time around. I was trying to avoid building new, but I can’t find a floor plan I like at a reasonable cost. Green Modern Kits has come the closest, but it’s not quite perfect for me. Living Homes is running a close second.

Your favorites?

So those are a few of my favorite things for now.What are your favorite eco-friendly things?

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Nan Fischer

Nan Fischer has been living and building green for over 35 years. Nan’s emphasis on the BuildDirect blog is about how to make your dollar stretch further, while also moving toward a more sustainable lifestyle, as well as upcoming and existing technology to help us live in an ecologically-friendly way. Nan also authors posts on the website of her seed business, sweetly seeds.