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When it comes to the bathroom, waste is not something we want to think about, but it is something that needs to be addressed. Because the waste we’re talking about is filling up landfills and going down the drain. Between disposable products, long showers, and multiple flushes, the bathroom is one room where a few small changes can impact the environment in a big way. Here, we list five different areas in the bathroom that are the perfect places to start on the road to making your bathroom greener.

THE SINK
If you’re planning on getting a whole new sink, think about saving room in the landfills by going with recycled or salvaged sinks. You can buy sinks made from recycled glass, bronze, aluminum, or even have one made from old tires. If you’re a traditionalist when it comes to material, you can also head over to a salvage store to find reclaimed porcelain. If you want something truly unique, try using another salvaged item as a sink, for example old troughs, buckets, even wooden barrels. As long as the object is bowl shaped and you can drill a hole in it for a drain, it can work as a sink.

If your bathroom project doesn’t include a whole new sink, focus on conserving water with just one change. So much water is wasted when we leave the faucet on while soaping up our hands or brushing our teeth in between rinses. You can prevent perfectly good water from going down the drain by investing in a motion sensor faucet. You’ll still be able to wet and rewet your toothbrush without having to keep turning on the faucet and you won’t have to worry about getting suds on the handles or more germs on your hands after washing them by having to turn the faucet off.

SHOWER
Showers are notorious for wasting water. According to the EPA, standard shower heads pump out 2.5 gallons per minute. While taking shorter showers will cut back on the water that is used, you can also install water efficient shower heads, which could save the average family about 2,900 gallons of water per year. This also means saving on your water bill. You can get water efficient shower heads for as low as $8 and you can find them online or at home repair centers like Home Depot and Lowes.

TOILET
We can’t talk about water conservation without talking about the toilet. A bathroom staple, the toilet uses about 27% of the water that is consumed in the home, according to Duke University’s Center for Sustainability and Commerce. The EPA also reports that toilets manufactured before 1992 can use up to 3.5 gallons of water with each flush. Use a low-flow toilet to reduce gallons per flush by more than half. In fact, low-flow toilets use about 1.6 gallons. Dual-flush systems use a reduced flush of around one gallon per flush for liquid waste and about 1.6 gallons per flush for solid waste.

STORAGE
With all of the different activities (showering, hairstyling, makeup application, etc.) that go on in the bathroom, storage is a must. Natural Wood Decor’s Teak Spa Shelf holds towels, knick knacks, and shower products without taking up much space. Meanwhile, their Teak Storage and Shelving Unit provides ample room for makeup, hair styling equipment, and other beauty items, or books to read while doing other bathroom activities. The hinged top provides a spot to store more private items and the flat top surface makes a perfect manicure station. The best part of these storage units is that they are handcrafted from teak wood that has been sustainably harvested, which lasts for years. Purchasing one of these durable units also helps support local Thai artisans along with their farms and communities.

 

Teak Spa Shelf

Teak Spa Shelf

PRODUCTS
When it comes to making your bathroom more eco-friendly changing what we put into those storage areas is just as important. We’re talking about the products you use in your bathroom.

Toilet Paper: While the tissue in toilet paper is made to break down in septic tanks, the cardboard roll and the tissue that is thrown away still takes up space in landfills. On top of that, the production of toilet paper requires the destruction of trees. According to the EPA, one tree makes about 100 pounds of toilet paper. The average American alone uses an estimated 50 pounds of tissue per year alone. That’s one tree for every two Americans per year. The EPA has also estimated that if each US resident replaced one single-ply roll of toilet paper with a recycled roll, Americans alone could save about 470,000 trees. And that’s just switching out one traditional single roll. Imagine how many trees you could save switching out those soft, double- or triple-ply rolls for a single-ply recycled roll. Along with recycled rolls, you can also buy rolls without the cardboard center.

Towels: While those new, one-time-use towels for the home allow guests to have a nice, clean towel every time they wash and keep germs at bay, they are only allowing convenience to trump the environment. Stick to re-useable, washable towels. In fact, you can go one step further by purchasing organic cotton or bamboo towels. The manufacturing of these products uses far less chemicals and other harmful substances that can greatly impact the environment.

Feminine Products: We’ll preface the next few sentences by saying this: men, you can stop reading here. It is a known fact that feminine products cause waste. In fact, the book “Flow: The Cultural History of Menstruation” states that in her lifetime, the average woman throws out 250 to 300 pounds of pads, plugs, and applicators. Along with taking up landfill space, many of those products are made from harmful chemicals including rayon, viscose, and wood fluff pulp – a tree derived material. Choose organic cotton pads and tampons, which are free of the aforementioned materials. Meaning, you’ll save trees and keep harmful chemicals from being absorbed into your body. Not only that, but certified organic cotton is grown without the use of pesticides nor are they whitened with chlorine. The products cost more money, but the benefits for you and the environment are worth it. If you don’t want to pay the extra price for organic tampons, you can help reduce feminine product waste by trying tampons without applicators, which cuts back on waste.

While spring is associated with birds chirping, trees blooming, and flower bulbs opening, fall is known for chilly weather, the beginning of hibernation, and leaves falling off the trees. Needless to say, when it comes to gardening, the fall season often gets a bad rap. But cooler weather doesn’t mean its time to hang up your shovel and trade your gardening boots in for snow boots just yet.

Many gardening pros consider fall a great time to plant seeds since the devastating heat waves from summer are long gone, but the soil is still warm, which promotes root growth before the ground freezes. The cooler weather is also easier on the gardener, who won’t have to take time out of planting to chug a cold glass of water or wipe the sweat from their brow. And you know what else is easier on the gardener? The good deals you’ll get at gardening stores since its pretty much the off season. So with that, here are a few flowers that you can enjoy planting now to be ready for next spring.

TO PLANT IN PREPARATION FOR SPRING

Pansies
Popular during the cool season, pansies can be planted in the fall and are known to continue growing and blooming well into the winter and spring. When planted in September, they have the ability to last into April or May.

Pansies

Perennials
Plant perennials early in the fall when the cool weather puts lets stress on the top of the flowers. Perennials are flowers that live more than two years. Make sure to plant larger size perennials at this time since smaller ones may not survive freeze-thaw cycles. Examples of perennials to plant this fall are Salvia, Geranium, and Peruvian Lily.

Salvia

Larkspur
With an optimal germination temperature between 55 and 60 degrees, Larkspur is a great flower to plant in the fall. The flower double blooms on durable stems and is an ideal flower for drying. Plant it now for flowering in June, July, or August.

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Tulips
Good soil conditions for planting tulips are when the ground is at least 60 degrees, but you want to make sure you don’t plant the seeds too early. Fall is a good time to plant them before the ground freezes, where they can get accustomed to their surroundings during the winter before coming up in the spring.

Tulips

TO PLANT FOR INSTANT FALL BEAUTY
When you don’t want to wait for flowers to bloom next spring, purchase these fall-blooming flowers to get a pretty fall garden instantly.

Toad Lily
The orchid-like flowers that bloom from the toad lily are both beautiful and intriguing. The speckled design blossoms from this Asian native in the fall and attract ready-to-migrate butterflies and hummingbirds in search of energy to store.

Toad Lilly

Russian Sage
The lavender and blue flowers from the Russian Sage add the perfect pop of color among fall reds and oranges. The plant is drought tolerant and actually has a rough time in hot, humid summers.

Russian Sage

Colchicum, AKA Naked Lady
It’s like this flower comes out of hiding in the fall, when its flowers bloom well after its leaves have receded. Native to the United Kingdom, Colchicum can be poisonous if ingested.

Colchicum

Aster
The Latin word for “star,” Asters thrive in cooler weather. Its flower heads are star shaped and come in blue, white, or pink colors that attract butterflies.

Aster

 

Happy gardening!

There are so many great organizing tips on Pinterest! I find the lists of 50+ tips overwhelming so here’s just a few of my favorite simple but smart tips.

Kitchen Wrap and Bag Organization Made Easy

Magazine holders work great in the kitchen as well for vertical storage of boxes of plastic wrap, foil, plastic bags and more.

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The Awesome Folding System

See your clothes more easily by arranging folded piles of clothes horizontally.

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Hanging Scarves

Use shower curtain rings on a hanger for wrinkle free scarf storage.

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Bobby Pins Corralled

Brilliant idea! No more searching the bottom of your drawer or purse for bobby pins, just use an empty Tic Tac case for keeping them in one place.

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Eager for more? Check out our organization board on Pinterest for more ideas.

Follow Verde Lifestyles’s board Organization on Pinterest.

Planning a last hooray for the summer with family and friends? Check out our tips below for outdoor entertaining.

1. Instead of debating between paper and plastic plates, use your everyday ware or if you’re still hesitant to bring breakables outside try these compostable plates made from fallen leaves.

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2. Plan a simple menu. Choosing dishes that serve well at room temperature, such as noodle or bean dishes, we will help simplify.

3. Have outdoor lights ready to go before guests arrive. Whether its soy candles (soy burns slower and cooler), tekkie torches, or these cool solar mosaic table top lanterns your options are endless.

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4. Save yourself trips to the kitchen by having a mini staging area near by. Stock it with extra water, linens and anything else you might need.

5. If you have room for a centerpiece, keep it simple and low. Could even serve double duty as a serving dish such as the root wood salad bowl below.

 

Extra Large Root Wood Salad Bowl with Servers

Extra Large Root Wood Salad Bowl with Servers

Need more ideas? Check out our Pinterest boards for general entertaining ideas and our board for outdoor living for inspiration.

Outdoor Dining

 

Save $15 when you spend $150 or more on Natural Wood Decor’s root wood products!

Carved from Chinese Fir stumps left by logging operations, Natural Wood Decor’s root wood collection brings a touch of the outdoors to your table. Finished with a food-sale lacquer, this collection is great for casual dining indoors or out. Learn more about our root wood collection.

Available only through Labor Day. Use coupon code “laborday” at checkout.

Extra Large Root Wood Salad Bowl with Servers

Extra Large Root Wood Salad Bowl with Servers

 

Root Wood Cheese Board

Root Wood Cheese Board

Whether you’re traveling to a nearby city or gallivanting somewhere across the globe, there are tons of opportunities to stay green. Our personal adventures have taken us to beautiful coastal towns, steep mountain trails, some of the best restaurants you can imagine and many other unique experiences. Part of the fun is looking for ways to be eco-conscious while getting in a bit of a workout (to burn off calories from those delicious meals) and even saving a bit of cash along our journey. Below is our top 3 ways to stay green during your next trip…

 

green hiking cost

1. Transportation Alternatives: For your next wild animal safari, try biking instead of riding in a jeep with a guide. It will add to the adventure and you can test your top speed while being chased down by lions! Okay, that might be a bit of an extreme case, but think of all the other activities you do on vacation that could easily be traveled by walking, hiking, biking or even hopping on a train instead of renting a car or relying on cabs. You’ll save money, minimize your carbon footprint and get more exercise by finding fast alternate routes and picking up public transportation when you need a break.

 

 

local farmers market

 

2. Pack Light: When we traveled to Europe a few years ago, we bought a small selection of quick-dry clothes from shirts down to undies. When you’re out of town for a week or more and have to carry around most of your stuff for a good portion of the time, light packing and easy-to-clean clothes can be life savers. It will help you get places faster and cut down on both energy usage and cleaning supplies you would normally use more often.

 

 

quick dry easy clean green shirt

 

3. Visit The Local Farmer’s Market: Fresh local produce can often be better than the stuff they’re serving at the best-rated food joint in town and it’s probably a lot cheaper too! This is also a great place to pick up best-kept secrets from the locals. Bring some cash and chat up the farmers and other passers by to discover cool places to visit or local eateries that aren’t as touristy.

The last time you moved to a new house or condo, you probably had a small get together with friends to show them the new digs, right? Having moved around several times in the past 5 years ourselves, we’ve had the good fortune of benefiting from many house-warming get togethers as well as friendly neighbors bringing over food, drinks or other small tokens of friendship. Most of those gifts are consumable, but occasionally we’ll get a special item that gets used and reused regularly. If you’re looking for the perfect memorable gift to give to a friend or neighbor who has recently moved in, check out some of our recommendations below.

 

wood wine rack

 

 

Wine Rack ($31.00): One of the things we’ve experienced in our multiple moves is that pretty much everyone who comes over offers wine as their gift. While this is always a welcome sight, most new homeowners haven’t invested in a wine cellar or rack to store various bottles. This wood wine rack is a great gift to bring to a house warming party and is a unique piece that the new residents will enjoy for years to come.

 

recycled glass picture frame

 

Recycled Glass Picture Frame ($39.99): Nothing says unforgettable like a picture of you and your friends in this beautiful rainbow picture frame made from reused bangle bracelets. Frames like this one require no assembly or hanging, which your friends will appreciate after they’ve spent so much time unpacking and customizing the rest of their new place.

 

 

A New Pet ($59.95): We know what you’re thinking, who wouldn’t love a puppy as a house warming gift right? While we’re not suggesting you be that bold, you can definitely make an impression while adding a little more life as well as some greens as your gift. Check out this unique Aqua Farm!

 

natural bamboo rug

 

Bamboo Rug ($29.40): What better way to welcome your friend or neighbor to their new home than by giving them a welcome mat to use at the front entrance? This natural bamboo rug works great as a doormat, for storing shoes, or even in the kitchen for style and comfort while prepping dinner.

Thanks for stopping by! If you have any other suggestions for eco-friendly gifts you’ve given, please leave us a comment.

Rugs are great for defining a space and adding texture to a room. I like using bamboo rugs in particular because they are so easy to clean and maintain and come in a variety of colors. You’re sure to find a fit for any room no matter the style of your home. Below are 3 beautiful spaces that showcase bamboo rugs.

What a gorgeous indoor patio! The bamboo rug compliments the other earth tones in the room and the texture of the rug adds contrast to the smooth leather chairs. Overall I love the way the room marries two elegant forms: a canopy of leaves and an ornate crystal chandelier.

What a view in this modern LA bedroom. With such a large space, this dark bamboo rug makes the room seem less cavernous and creates two distinct areas in the room, the sleeping and the seating area.

Wishing that was my beer at this lush outdoor living space in Washington! The orange and black in the seating area looks great against the green lawn while the natural bamboo rug subtly brightens the space.

Have an idea for using a bamboo rug in your home? Check out the bamboo rugs at Natural Rug Co.

Gallery walls are a great way to display family photos, art collections and prints – you name it! Here are 5 tips to help you create the ultimate gallery wall.

1. Keep to a general color scheme. This is key to creating a cohesive look.

2. Start with the biggest pieces first and then work around them if you are mixing sizes.

3. To help you visualize how your wall will look, lay out the frames on the floor before hanging.

4. Mix antique, contemporary and personal pieces.

5. Have your focal point be eye level or about 5’6″ from the floor.

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For more decorating tips, check out our board on Pinterest.

Follow Verde Lifestyles’s board Decorating on Pinterest.

NRC Pinterest Contest

 

Win a 2×3 Walnut Brown Bamboo Rug from Natural Rug Co! To enter, repin this pin – http://bit.ly/bamboorug – and send an email to danielle@naturalrugco.com with the link of you repin. Enter by July 22 and the winner (chosen randomly) will be announced on July 23.