It’s easier than ever to find products that are healthier and eco-friendly
New energy is afoot as cooler weather approaches! With kids in school and summer adventures over, the do-it-yourselfer’s thoughts turn to fixing up the home. Get the yard winter ready: Seed, compost, mulch, fertilize. Plant a winter garden, plus trees, shrubs, and bulbs for spring. The exterior of the house might need a bath or repainting. Gutters, windows, sidewalk, deck, patio, and door cleaning or painting are in order. The roof may need patching or replacing. There’s that special water feature or new addition you have wanted to add.
Then there’s the interior of the house. Over time, our living spaces have become more tightly built and insulated. They are more energy efficient, but fresh air has trouble getting in and indoor air pollutants build up. Since most people spend 90 percent of their time indoors, it makes sense to avoid toxic products that contribute to poor indoor air quality. So, if you’re planning to paint rooms, stain something, lay tile or carpet, add molding or just clean the place, where do you find the products needed without contributing to poor health?
At last, we have the first local answer in a truly sustainable small business that opened in June 2015 at 1510 Riverside Drive. The Green’s Eco Design & Build (greens.build) is a one-stop place for eco-friendly home improvement products. Owner and architect Sam Long notes they are leaders in Chattanooga with products that promote individual health, environmental health and stewardship, and health of the domestic economy.
“I want to help educate the consumer on the products that focus on indoor air quality in order to make people healthier by avoiding toxics, “ said Assistant Manager Waylon Broach. “When I go home, I feel good about what I’m doing,” he adds.
When buying paint, you want to ask for no VOCs, i.e. Volatile Organic Compounds. That eliminates odor and protects pregnant women, children, and those with special sensitivities. Besides, VOCs + Sunlight = Smog. Mythic Paint, originally designed to paint submarines, is a water-based latex paint with no VOCs. It is made in the USA and the label reads “carcinogen free.” Tints are also VOC-free and it is as durable as other paints at a competitive price.
The Green’s also offers trims, wood finishes, carpet made from recycled materials, recycled tile, caulking and adhesives, and concentrated Safecoat cleaning products. All are regionally sourced and use natural materials with little processing, thereby saving energy. As business grows, they will expand to provide single-family homes with exterior building products as well.
In a David Wilcox song, he advises us to “go to East Asheville Hardware before you go to Lowe’s because they know how deep the frost goes here.” What’s best about The Green’s is that they know about their eco-friendly products, and care about helping you. Customer service is worth a lot.
More tips on being environmentally friendly during fall fix-up time:
- Need a special tool? Rent it.
- Think how to repurpose used materials. An old pool cover turned tarp or a used steel cable a stair railing. repurposedmaterialsinc.com
- Find salvaged items at Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore, North Hixson Salvage Door and Window, Architectural Exchange, or Southeastern Salvage.
- Use reclaimed wood. Try Regency Reclaimed Woods, Push Hard Lumber.
- Buy only sustainably grown lumber.
- Recycle waste.
- Purchase locally to support small businesses.
- For cleaning purposes, stock in vinegar, lemon juice, baking soda, rubbing alcohol, cornstarch, hydrogen peroxide, borax, olive oil, orange peels, and ketchup.
Yes, dip your silver in ketchup for 5-10 minutes, then wipe, rinse and dry to remove tarnish. Natural cleaner recipes are online.
Sandra Kurtz is an environmental community activist and is presently working through the Urban Century Institute. Visit her website at enviroedu.net