Green Organizing

Why Be Eco-Friendly?



The goal  of green or eco-friendly organizing is to minimize one's personal  environmental impact and carbon footprint in daily life, and likewise reduce plastic, chemical, petrochemical and toxin use.  And to reduce trace chemicals in the home, and societal toxic manufacturing waste. 


*  We are exposed to multi-1000s of chemicals throughout our lives, far more so than previous generations, and particularly our younger generations.

*  Babies can be born with up to 200 chemicals in their bodies: effects not characterized.

*  Most chemicals considered as "generally accepted as safe," unless proven otherwise. 

*  The concept of “Use  once, throw away” has spread worldwide; the next gens have grown up with it.  

*  Going green can proceed gradually; does not require a bunch of immediate changes.   


*  Eco-friendly cleaning products are biodegradable; labels focus on ingredients, not brand name. 

*  Now easy to find in grocery and big box stores. 

*  Large manufacturers may “greenwash” their products; environmental claims, but contain toxic ingredients. [Can’t pronounce it, avoid].

*  Slightly more expensive, but don’t require frequent purchase. 

*  1/3 vinegar + 2/3 water, a powerful cleaner; cuts through grime or air pollution deposits; not for granite, marble, porous surfaces, wood. 

*  Test item to be cleaned carefully in advance! Some plastics can be damaged.


*  Never flush old prescription/over-the-counter drugs in the commode; that former recommendation is obsolete and quite harmful. 

*  Drugs end up in the James River/Chesapeake Bay watersheds; deleterious downstream effects on aquatic animals. 

*  Mix drugs with coffee grounds or kitty litter; dispose with regular household trash. 

*  Drop-off sites at some pharmacies and police stations. 

*  Empty bottles recyclable; label identifiers need blacking out. 

*  Water is a precious resource; our society has been profligate in it use.

*  Water shortages, pollution, and contamination are serious worldwide  problems.

*  Some areas lack potable water; others have rationing of a gallon per day for all uses.

*  Here, costs for water and  wastewater disposal are rising. 

*  Largest impact on water use achieved at the faucet level. 

*  Lower water pressure and temperature, take shorter showers; for dishwashing,  rinse all items at once; can use 2nd sink, bowl, or pan filled with water to rinse dishes; turn faucet off between rinses. 

*  Leaky faucets lose gallons a day; usually just require a gasket to repair. 

*  Dual flush valves for the commode h ave quick (1/2) and full flush positions; can save significant water in a large family, as can low flush toilets. 

*  Gardens and lawns are by far the largest pollution source in suburbia. 

*  Pesticide, herbicide, and fertilizer runoff have direct effects on property and the watershed.

*  Pesticides heavily present in commercial vegetables, fruit, and in the food chain.

*  Pesticides are neurotoxins; kill insects by paralyzing them. 

*  Exposure, even in utero, linked to increased autism, ADHD rates; associated with neuro-degenerative diseases such as Parkinson's, MS, ALS, and Alzheimer's.

*  Insects develop resistance to pesticides. Use judiciously.  

*  Consider letting part of your yard go natural. You might get pollinators and breeding birds.



*  Chemical mixtures that kill bacteria on contact. 

*  Infections  spread by hand contact caused by viruses; unaffected by  sanitizers. 

*  Products kill “easy” bacteria, but help create more resistant ones.  

*  Normal skin bacteria “good germs,” have built-in antimicrobial activity that naturally kills harmful “bad germs" such as Staph.  

* Sanitizer ingestion common reason for Poison Control Center calls; 120-proof alcohol can cause seizures, coma, or even death in children.

*  FDA banned 19 chemicals in antibacterial soaps; said to be useless, and might cause harm. 

*  Soap and water, most effective sanitizer, and eco-friendly; wash for 20 seconds; bar soap prevents plastic container waste.

*  $178 billion wasted each  year on sanitizers; don’t waste your own money. 

** DO USE THE SANITIZERS provided at hospitals, nursing homes, and institutions. 

*  Wear clean clothes there; WASH when you get home.

*  Avoids bringing community germs inside to develop resistance; inhibits spreading resistant germs into the community.


*  Over-sanitized environments interfere with **critical immune system development** in babies and children; ages at which the immune system learns to recognize and fight foreign invaders. 

*  So the immune system turns inward instead of outward. 

*  Referred to as the “cleanliness " or "hygiene  hypothesis." 

*  Thought a major contributor to increased asthma, allergy, autoimmune disease rates. 

*  Natural exposure to bacteria permit the immune system to develop normally.

*  Textile  manufacture and garment production are resource intensive and  toxin-generating; comprise 25% of worldwide industrial pollution. 

*  Synthetic fabrics are petroleum-based. 

*  Release plastic microparticles into water when washed; these concentrate on deepest ocean floors; ingested at bottom of food chain.


*  Cheap manufactured clothes worn briefly in a “Buy-Wear-Discard” cycle. 

*  Online returns are often landfilled; less labor involved, brand exclusitivity maintained


*  High quality garments cost more; but often of natural fibers that breath; cool in summer, warm in winter.  

*  Can be maintained in good condition for years with proper care. 

(watch out for moths).

*  Include cotton, wool, exotic type wools, linens, silk, flax-derived Tencel, hemp.  

*  Note: Rayon is a flax-based semi-synthetic fiber; large synthetic component.

*  Organic fabric products are easily found online. 

*  Wear natural fabrics; the natural BoHo look or unique vintage clothes instead of new.  

*  Clothing  and accessories have long been “Re-used” through donation,  hand-me-down, or purchases at thrifts or re-sellers.  

*  Unwearable clothing and fabrics can be down-cycled to other products, eg, insulation, carpet; fabrics like denim can be closed-loop recycled. 

*  Known as "thread cycling" or fabric recycling.

*  Central Virginia GoodWill has a thread-cycling program..

*  Expensive furniture uses maximal wood resources; irreplaceable hardwoods from quickly disappearing old growth forests.

*  Cheap furniture uses easily-damaged particle board; manufactured for a “Buy- Use-Discard” cycle. 

*  Choose used, hand-me-downs, or even antiques for a little personality. 

*  Donate unwanted furniture instead of landfilling.  

*  More and more companies manufacture sustainable, eco-friendly furniture.

*  Look for wood with Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification.

*  Bamboo and rattan furniture gaining popularity; rattan not considered sustainable.

*  Eco-friendly building  materials available for construction and remodeling. 

*  Re-claimed wood cabinets; eco-friendly bamboo flooring; attractive counter material using scrap porcelain, glass, mirror, embedded in corn-based resin. .

*  The  ultimate Reduce/ Re-use action is to buy a pre-existing home; high use of virgin resources in new-builds; more embedded plastic than in past. 

*  Also applies to purchasing  pre-owned vehicles.


1)  Mosquito spraying: 

2)  Textile recycling:  

3)  Landfilling of online returns: 

4)  Online clothing resellers
5)  Clothing recyclingling:

6)  Donate from home, Give Back Box:

6)  Hygiene hypotheses: