We all know that driving less, buying fuel-efficient cars, and keeping our tires inflated can all lead to less petroleum consumption, but did you know that you can help to reduce this country's dependence on oil through your day-to-day consumer habits? Following are 10 easy things you can do to reduce your dependence on petroleum.
1. Replace your personal care products containing petrolatum, methyl paraben, propylparaben and butylparaben, with those containing natural oils, beeswax, and no artificial preservatives.
2. Buy clothing made from natural fabrics like wool, cotton or bamboo rather than synthetics like nylon, polyester and acrylic.
3. Instead of buying plastic toys, opt for those made of wood and cloth.
4. Rather than throwing away old magazines or papers, shred them and use them as substitutes for foam packing peanuts or plastic bubble wrap.
5. Avoid foods that contain artificial food coloring (Yellow No. 2, Red No. 5, or Blue Lake No. 40,etc.), which are made from coal tar and petrochemicals.
6. Use natural cleaning products (including dishwashing liquid, laundry detergent and floor cleaner) by brands such as Seventh Generation (available at major grocery stores and Target) instead of brands containing detergents and other petroleum distillates.
7. Replace your plastic garbage bags with biodegradable cornstarch-based bags, like those made by BioBag Garden. They are available at Whole Foods, or you can order them online from stores like Gaiam.
8. Ditch your toothpaste containing sodium lauryl sulfate and propylene glycol, for natural brands without these petroleum-based chemicals.
9. Your garden will be happier if you use natural fertilizers like Plant-tone, rather than chemical brands.
10. Store your food in glass containers, like those made by Anchor, rather than plastic storage containers.
Besides keeping us dependent on foreign oil, products that we eat or put on our bodies have many harmful known effects.
There are many more ways that you can reduce the amount of petroleum you use. Here is a partial list of consumer items made from petroleum found on Ranken-energy.com (it contains 144 items, and they state that are over 6000). Use this as a guideline for brainstorming additional ways that you can cut down on your petroleum habit.
Resources: * Aveda has a full line of body and products, including hair coloring made from plant-based dyes. You can find Aveda salons across the country * Gaiam offers earth-friendly clothing, household products, home decorating, and more. * The Container Store has some glass food storage containers * The Guide to Less Toxic Products offers suggestions for replacing your chemical-based household products with safer ones. * Wooden Toys has a huge selection of, obviously, wooden toys.