Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

Big Changes for Mother Earth

Earth Day always seems to inspire us to double our efforts in protecting our planet. One reader, Sun from Austin, was extra motivated — no simple light bulb changes for this woman! She explains: “We’ve been creeping towards more greenness for years, decided to jump off and do it big time in 2007. I traded in my car for a scooter, and we’re turning our standard city lot in the middle of Austin into an organic farm. I quit my jobs as a personal chef and substitute teacher to grow organic produce to hopefully sell to local businesses. Gardens this year, chickens (for eggs) next year. I also use ‘trash’ to create artwork, things that would otherwise end up in the landfill.” What extra steps did you take this year to do more than your part? Be they big or small, the steps you take to protect Mother Earth are important. Leave a comment so we can all be inspired to take more action!

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37 comments

Comments

Zarya says …

What an inspiring story! On a much less ambitious scale, I have just launched my own blog, http://thebiggreenapple.blogspot.com/ , which I hope will contain thoughts, observations, tips, and helpful ways to make Manhattan life a bit greener. I'll be checking back here regularly for ideas! All it takes is for each individual to make one small gesture and we will all get there...

Richard Teaford says …

My efforts are less life-changing but I do admire someone who can make those changes and wish you well. I walk every morning and afternoon in a park a block from our house. I manage to collect cans, bottles and other recyclable items in every walk. Each week our plastic recycle bin is filled to overflowing. Aside from making our park look better, I do add to our city's recycling program. I carry plastic grocery bags with me to carry the recyclables and then take the bags to my Whole Food store to be recycled and used again.

Don Mathews says …

That was a wonderful story. I have come late to the game. In my house we started to recycle because the city offered it. I did some research and a lot of reading and have be come commited to the cause. We have stopped drinking bottled water to cut down on what is recycled and for better health. In my business (www.daddysfood.com)I am even moving to organic products.

Tina N says …

I use cloth grocery bags, and bring them with me to every store I shop at, not just grocery stores. An idea I'm going to do soon, which I saw on a craft blog: gather up my remaining plastic bags, cut them into strips, and knit them into a tote, which is the ultimate recycling craft! I also recently bought a bottle-cutter at a yard sale, so now I can recycle our used glass bottles into drinking glasses and vases. Last year, we had our gas range disconnected, and we use an induction cooktop, which doesn't generate waste heat...this is expecially helpful during the summer, when you really don't want any excess heat in your home. Also, having a pilot light burning all the time wastes gas, and we didn't use the gas range enough to justify that waste. I am a firm believer in yard sales, thrift stores, and secondhand/antique stores...it's a zero-resource, zero-pollution option that also helps keep usable things out of landfill. I'm a big advocate, too, of showing people what great things you can make with castoffs...I've converted a fair number of people into thrift-store addicts!

betty kennedy says …

I recycle newspapers regularly - when I'm ready to take them to the recycle bin, I put them in a whole foods paper bag - that way the bags are recycled also.

Janet T says …

My green suggestion - certify your yard as wildlife habitat! All you need are food, water, shelter, and a place to raise young. Ask nurseries and native plant societies about good plant choices, and find out what wildlife species you might attract in your area. Even a balcony with a birdbath, feeder, house, and nectar plants can be a habitat. Go to National Wildlife Federation ( www.nwf.org ) for details. It's inexpensive, and you can even order a really nice sign to go on your fence or railing. We view ours as a badge of honor. As more habitat is lost, each and every yard can become a little oasis for some creature.

Bryan Au says …

Wow I liked how Paige really walked the walk and talked the Green Talk way to go that is AWESOME! I also made a radical change in my life as well, everyone says how they don't have any time to cook, and everyone wants to support and use organic produce. Well I decided to dedicate my life to promoting raw organic food and lifestyle and so I wrote my now best selling raw organic recipe book titled RAW IN TEN MINUTES. All the recipes are amazing, under 10 minutes, does not need any cooking so is ready to serve, eat and enjoy! Many of the recipes are even 5 or 2 minutes to make. I also highly suggest and recommend that people buy their organic ingredients at Whole Foods Markets in my book and many Whole Foods Markets sell my book and their customers love it! I wish ALL the Whole Foods Markets would sell it, the San Mateo Whole Foods Market says they sell out my book fast and get positive reviews from customers, the New York Whole Foods has the same results...All my recipes are raw all natural and organic so it is the MOST ECO! I also recently designed Eco Bamboo Organic Clothing that I hope Whole Foods Lifestyles Stores will want to carry, I will soon have my own nationwide Infomercial and RAW Organic TV Show Series so I hope all the Whole Foods Markets can carry my book and clothing so I can feature them on my National TV Shows and Informercials to enourage more people to become eco and aware!

Diana says …

Dry your laundry on a clothes line instead of in the dryer. Drying time is very short if sunny out. Your clothes smell fresh. The short time you will be in the sun is good for you, and also helps to bleach white laundry on the line. Try it, it is great, do it whenever you can, and save energy!!!

Jennifer says …

Minimize waste! (1) I use a reusable coffee mug at work or at the coffee shop, instead of styrafoam or paper cups. (2) I bought some reusable plastic silverware sets and have them at work, carry them in my purse, laptop bag and in my car. They are lightweight, don't take up much space and they are actually kind of stylish. I use these instead of plastic disposable silverware. Earth friendly offerings can be found at your local outdoor store, and they are actually biodegradable once they are worn out, so the waste you create is negligible! There are also some very cute snap-together 3-peice sets sold by Pampered Chef. These come in fun colors! There's so much more I do, and you can too, but that's all I have for now!

Duane says …

I'm still doing the little things to continue the "Greenification" of me and my family. This year, I'm replacing any and all powered outdoor items with solar powered versions. Donated money to several different tree planting and "green friendly" charities. Switched to all natural non chemical cleaners. One of my best green ideas has to do with the flow of catalogs. If possible, I opt out of them being delivered. If that's not possible,I shred them and use that instead of those toxic Styrofoam Peanuts for packing materials.

Linda says …

What is a green product to use that actually works to clean the bathtub shower scum off of the shower glass doors. I have purchased green and non green products. Thanks so much for your advice

Donna says …

I keep small flashlights in every room, with the most innovative location being on top of the hall thermostat. Now when I enter a dark room to grab something or drop something off, I use the flashlight instead of the light switch. And adjusting the thermostat at night only requires a quick flash with the flashlight. Every room has emergency flashlights now, and I know that the batteries are charged because they are used periodically.

Nicole says …

I'm so happy to hear that their are other people out there who are taking steps in helping, and suppoting Mother Earth. Not only on Earth Day, but all year round. Being born on earth day, makes my b-day even better. This year for my b-day , I planted two trees, which made me very happy. I have also changed every light bulb in my house to the energy savers. Recycle everything that I can possible. When something that has to be pluged in is not being used, it is always unpluged until need be. taking my own grocery bag with me when I go shopping to help save trees, or reduce the consumption of plastic. Basically, where ever there can be a change I try to do my best to change it. Lets all keep up the good work, and smile!

Abendigo Reebs says …

Great to see this blog! Well, I'm with a company called SustainLane (http://www.sustainlane.com) and we have a green product and business reviews site. Basically, anyone can find and share their favorite and not so favorite green stuff with their friends, family, and the world. We've currently got a ton of reviews on green stuff from Whole Foods, which I think is a great company, as I worked for Whole Foods for a while at Roosevelt Square in Seattle, and know how well it takes care of its employees. Anyway, you guys should check out SustainLane, where we can all help each other go a little bit greener each and everyday! Best, Abendigo, SustainLane

Kathy Stinehelfer says …

I've read your green and clean tips but I didn't see anything for blood stains. I have tried cold water but it hasn't removed the stain. Would the lemon juice work along with sunshine?

Michelle LaCombe says …

Wow! OK, I'm so lame...but I'm trying! I have tons of cloth bags and I use them...sometimes. We have a front-loading washer. I'm considering an 'umbrella' style clothesline. (Our HOA doesn't allow conventional clotheslines, of course.) We have 'squiggly' bulbs, and we don't use all the sockets; our 8 light chandelier has only 4; the bathroom 4 - light has only 2, etc. I use natural light whenever possible. I need to recycle - checking the local info. We buy lots of stuff at the resale shop & the farmers' market, especially organic & local. We use clean energy from Green Mountain. I'm teaching my kids to protect Mother Earth. I remind them that the fish in the sea have less clean water if we leave the faucet running. My daughter and I helped pick trash up on local beaches on Earth Day. Whenever we pass a new subdivision under construction, my 7 yr old daughter says "I hate construction. They're hurting Mother Earth!" :) Hope I'm doing all right... PS for Kathy - did you see the post on the other list? Hydrogen peroxide works great (that's what color safe bleach is!). I soak the spot in a shallow layer of hydrogen peroxide. Don't use hot water & don't stick the cloth in the dryer until the bloodstain is gone - else it will NOT come out! You can also put hydrogen peroxide in your washer instead of color-safe bleach. Just be sure to fill the washer with water first.

Sharon in Texas says …

I now read the newspapers online. I was just trying to save money and see more newpapers but free is good and no waste is better. I recently started making flower pots and covers for cuttings out of clear plastic bottled water jugs. It's kind of hard and uses a lot of products to get the labels off. I've read oil or alcohol will remove the labels. I used an orange oil based cleanser. Just cut the top off with a penknife and poke several holes in the bottom.

Kathleen Richter says …

I'm trying to start a lightbulb-donation program to homeless shelters, non-profit organizations, and food-stamp distribution centers. While its easy for us members of the middle class to invest in sustainable energy, for people below the poverty line, it sometimes makes the difference between whether or not they'll be able to pay the rent or provide food for their families that month. This world is everyone's home. Let's make keeping it green easy for everyone.

Kim Degelsmith says …

I've made my resolution this year to help make at least my world a little greener. The biggest help is my fiance bought a Prius and we carpool more often. But some of the little things I've done is bring a plate, bowl and flatware to work. The paper and plastic products they supply are handy, but I'd rather have something I can reuse. And now that it's summer I've started turning off my office light in the afternoon. It's as bright without the lights on and since everyone thinks I've left for the day I can actually get some work done!! -Kim D.

Wanda Garrity says …

This summer I am home with my 5 yr. old son, two nieces and nephew. Instead of purchasing paper products I went to a resale store and bought clothe napkins, plastic plates and cups. Less waste in our land fill and more money for summer activities.

Janice Gjertsen-Caillet says …

Sometimes making a life transition can be hard. Kodos for all of you who made the leap. If anyone needs assistance in making the leap, working through transition issues, creating a new business, etc. there is help. Just call us at 1.866.865.0720 and we can put you in touch with the right coach with the right expertise to assist you in getting to where you want to be. Yikes, looking back at this it sounds like an ad. NOT my intention. I know how hard it can be to move from something you know to something you do not. Over 7 years ago, I left my senior level job at AOL in NYC to start <a href="http://www.coachingcircles.com" rel="nofollow">www.coachingcircles.c om</a>. It was a difficult move financially and 3 months after I started the company I found out I was pregnant. I kept with it and I am very happy about it. It certainly would have been a much more bumpy ride if I didn't hire a coach. Reaching out for help to someone who has training and experience in assisting others in life changes can make the bumpy road ahead a heck of a lot smoother. I wish you all the best in your endeavors to make this world a better place. ~ Janice Gjertsen-Caillet CEO &amp; Chief Catalyst CoachingCircles.com

june says …

i find this blog post slightly ironic does the reader from Austin make artwork with all the cardboard boxes, plastic wrap and paper used to package all the food she purchases at Whole Foods? think about how much is wasted in the packaging used in a single store. when you talk about going green, the first place you need to start is with yourself- Whole Foods.

Amy Shiffner says …

Got a helpful summer garden reuse tip from my nieghbor. I put my watering can under the tube that drains water condensation from my central air unit. On a hot day I can get up to 2 pails full. Its great during a drought. I go outside and pick up the full container and start watering. no waiting.

Dianne Bronkhorst says …

The step I took this year toward protecting the planet was to become a Healthy Home Consultant for MyGreenCottage, building custom homes that are energy efficient, economical &amp; eco-friendly. For the first time in my career history, I truly believe that I'm finally able to give back not only to the community, but the environment, as well. Working for a green builder made me realize that it’s not just about me or my family, but something bigger than all of us. I’m not only helping people build their dream home. I’m helping them build a home that will be healthier for them to live in that will, also, help keep CO2 out of the environment. That’s something that affects us all &amp; it’s what makes me feel proud to be a part of the MyGreenCottage family.

Rose Bates says …

after 40 years in clinical lab work, we find that to remove blood stains, if fresh, use saline [it will float the cells out without breaking them and causing a stain]. if the cells have brockenand a stain is in use hydogen peroxide and the stain will fizz and then wash out.

Ben says …

I just started using reusable tote bags for my groceries and other shopping trips. You can get some great reusable bags at www.Rejavanate.com. Not only do they eliminate the waste caused by plastic and paper bags but they are made from recycled burlap coffee bags, keeping tons of burlap waste out of our landfills AND the manufacturing process provides employment for individuals with developmental disabilities !!!! It’s a Win, Win, Win !!!

sherry says …

I live in Elkhart, IN and am trying to find a place to buy cloth grocery bags! If you know of any web sites that sell them I would be interested.

Slaton, Whole Foods Market Team Member says …

Hello Sherry, A good place to start might be Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/search-handle-url/index=blended&amp;field-keywords=cloth%20grocery%20bags&amp;results-process=default&amp;dispatch=search/ref=pd_sl_aw_tops-1_blended_35012019_2&amp;results-process=default Or, if you're searching for something really unique and hand crafted, you might take a look at: http://lemolobags.wordpress.com/ I came across this blog recently and personally think the bags are quite amazing. Hope this helps!

julie says …

Never buy envelopes again. Save junk mail envelopes to use to send your own mail in. Just blot out the bar code at the bottom so it goes where you want it to not where the code sends it. Works great!!!

julie says …

Don't buy lunchbags. Instead recycle plastic grocery bags or gift bags. Why spend and pollute with special bags for lunches and then throw out numerous other bags. My kids like it - apparently others are doing it too!!

julie says …

Don't buy expensive juiceboxes for your children's lunches. Instead visit the track of your local high school where the trash cans are filled with empty water bottles. Run them through the dishwasher and fill with your child's favorite beverage for lunch. They hold more juice, are free, and your child can toss it afterwards. A great way to recycle and cut down on water bottle waste!!

sherry says …

This is for Tina--what craft blog has the pattern to knit bags from plastic grocery bags? I am very interested in that. Thanks

barbara says …

I was going through our closets and pulled out the clothes that are not used anymore for a garage sale, instead I cut them up and started sewing. I recycled them into four heavy duty shopping bags. I can not throw something away without thinking if it can be re-used someway. I buy with recycle in mind or at least as little packageing as possible and no plastic at all, if possible.

Kristi says …

Why not create a worm farm? They can be as big or as small as you can handle, and worms will eat a good many things including hair trimmings, newspaper (NOT the slick coated kind of course), fruit and vegie peels (except onions and citrus--they hate those!) Worm farms are simple to make and super easy to maintain. The bi-product is great for your flower and vegie gardens and fruit trees and shrubs. If you have no garden use for the castings and run-off, it's just as good for your lawn! As we live out in the country, we have plenty of room, and I use an old bathtub hidden behind our garden shed, but you can make them small enough for an apartment balcony, and they are easily camoflauged. I can not stress the importance of composting yard trimmings and grass clippings (what won't fit into your worm bed!), as it makes fantastic mulch and once put down, will attract worms to your garden beds, making the soil super rich and much easier to work with. Recycle your newspapers in arts and crafts projects. I make paper mache plates, bowls and boxes to hold holiday sweets: you can then customize them by using non-toxic paint and then painting it with school glue which is safe (check the labels first!) and dries to a nice glossy finish! I get rave reviews every year because my plates, bowls and boxes are totally unique, and as they're fairly sturdy, people hang on to them for use again. If you're no good with painting, use scraps of holiday/themed wrapping paper for your designs and paint with the glue, which saves yet more paper from going in the trash. Washing your windows with a rag and water and vinegar, then polishing with crumpled up newspaper will make your windows absolutely sparkle like diamonds. It's what I do and no one else I know has windows like ours! did you know that regardless of what window trimmings you have inside the house, (black out drapes,insulated drapes, blinds of any kind) if the sun hits the glass the room will heat up regardless? You can combat this, and cut down the energy you use in a/c by rigging up shade cloth to keep the sun from directly hitting the glass. Shade cloth is easy to work with, and doesn't block your view entirely. It's also lightweight, and can be moved or rolled up easily with the pull of a string. If you're handy with a needle you can bind the edges in a tidy fashion with discarded plastic bale twine. While we still have to use the a/c it does help quite a lot. I use cloth shopping bags most of the time, but there are times when I come home with those horrible plastic ones (why did they stop making paper bags?!?!?!). I try to use them again in any way, like using them instead of garbage bags, to line my bathroom, bedroom and office garbage bins. I also know a woman who will take the ones that have holes (no good for anything as they are weak and weapy!) and she combines them with discarded bread bags and crochets or knits them into floor mats. They are reasonably sturdy and will take a fair bit of abuse before they finally wear out. They're also good to take with me when I walk my dogs, as I can collect any droppings my dogs leave, as well as picking up litter I come across. Also, in response to Julie, August 2, it's great that you're reusing water bottles that others have discarded. How about having the kids bring them home again for a few more uses before chucking them out? They should be right to go through the dishwasher several times, unless they have been damaged.

Kristi says …

Oh, another thing I do to recycle newspaper is something fun to do with the kids. If you have something that the kids can have a 'count down' to, such as Christmas or a birthday or other event, you can make a Count Down Chain. Take newspaper and cut it into strips. To make 'chain links' whatever size you want cut longer for bigger links, shorter for smaller, etc. Cut enough strips to make a chain link for each day of the count down. You can leave it in newsprint, but kids like color, so they can finger paint them with non-toxic poster paint, or use glue and glitter, or stickers, or anything they like to look at. We usually just make the links different colors and the last link, the Big Day link, is the one we really make fancy. Form the links into a chain by threading them through each other and glueing or taping. The kids generally hang the chain somewhere in their bedroom, and each night at bedtime, the break a link and then count how many links are left. It's the same principal as marking the days off a calender. For some reason it seems to make bedtime a tad easier and quicker, as they are keen to shorten the chain! It's really fun to do with your kids to spend time with them, let their creativity soar, and keep them away from the tv. It's a good activity when the weather is nasty and they can't play outside.

NEWORLEANS says …

Travelers remember that hotels recycle the plastic magnetic room keys! Turn them into the desk agents upon checking out, or some hotels have drop off boxes for used keys!

Invisible Gardener says …

Hi Everyone! Here is what I am doi g to help our planet. I started a radio shows thats Called "Don't Panic It's Organic!". It is a world wide show , with callers getting help on anything from healthy home issues like natural termite controls, all the way to natural lawn. One of the most heard show is called Dances with Ants and yes you guessed it, its about natural ant control. Please stop by and listen. Shows are run 24/7 when not live. Live shows are listed as to dates, usually sat mornings 12-1pm. Happy Growing Organically of course Andy Lopez Invisible Gardener