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Celebrate Earth Day By Going Green

Update Date: Apr 22, 2013 06:34 PM EDT
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In an effort to avoid depleting natural resources and preserve our Earth, more and more people have been adopting a "go green" attitude in recent years. Perhaps not everyone can say they have been contributing to sustainability efforts, but maybe people will be more willing to do so today in honor of Earth Day.

Chemicals can be found in almost everything from household cleaners to skin products and even food and food packaging. Not only are these chemicals bad for the environment, they are far from beneficial to our health.  Opting for natural or organic products could be a wise choice.

When it comes to household cleaning, natural products such as vinegar, lemon juice, baking soda, club soda and kosher salt can all be used to replace harsh chemical cleaners. The Daily Green has a list of how to use these nontoxic cleaners on all different surfaces in your home from the bathroom to the kitchen.  

Skin and hair products also tend to have an ongoing list of chemicals under the ingredient label. While it's difficult to say which ingredients are and are not necessary, the best option is to use products that are free of phthalates, sulfates, sodium chloride and parabens, which have even been linked to causing breast cancer.  These products do tend to be pricier, but plenty of natural beauty regimens are also lying right in your fridge and pantry.

Buying organic foods has become increasingly popular. It is better for your health and it is also a great way to practice sustainability. A study conducted at Stanford University found that eating organic produce and meat reduces a consumer's exposure to antibiotic-resistant bacteria and level of pesticide ingestion. Pesticides used in farming can contaminate soil and run-off water, so avoiding products with pesticides means supporting sustainable agriculture. Another option is to grow your own produce. Whether you live in an urban, suburban or rural area, you can plant your own vegetables in your home or yard.

Lastly, remember to reuse and recycle. Every year Americans throw away enough paper and plastic plates, cups and forks to circle the equator 300 times. Consumers should also be careful when purchasing plastic containers and foods wrapped in plastics, as certain plastics may release the toxic breakdown products. Avoid plastics labeled with the numbers 3, 6 and 7 in a triangle on the bottom of containers or bottles.  Giving up plastic water bottles is also an important step in going green. Try purchasing a reusable aluminum water bottle, it's more affordable and minimizes plastic waste. 

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