Coffee Filter: 8 Practical and Alternative Uses

It was over 100 years ago, in the summer of 1908, that a German housewife named Melitta Bentz created the first paper coffee filter.  She wanted to remove the bitter taste she associated with boiling loose grounds and find an alternative to the popular method of using linen to brew coffee.  She thought that if she could pour boiling water over the grounds, but filter them out, the bitterness would be reduced.

The story tells of her ingenuity as she punctured holes in the bottom of a brass pot, lined it with blotting paper taken from the school books of her two sons, and thus created, in principle, the first coffee filter.  The Imperial Patent Office in Berlin issued a patent to protect the invention as a utility model, and after some fine-tuning, in 1912 her now famous family started producing paper filters, and later, filter bags. 

Now, more than a century later, the idea born from the vision of Melitta Bentz has morphed into a product still in use today.  The company, Melitta, is now run by her grandchildren and markets coffee, filters, and machines branded with her name.

8 Great Alternative Uses for Coffee Filters:

  • Strain wine from a bottle containing a broken cork—Put a filter over a carafe or decanter and pour the wine through the filter.  The filter will trap any pieces of cork that were floating in the bottle.
  • Use as splatter guard—when heating up food in microwave.
  • Chip-free fine china—Use coffee filters placed between the plates and cups when you stack your good china dishes to protect them from chips and scratches.
  • Prevent soil from draining from flowerpots—For planting or repotting, put a coffee filter at the bottom over the drainage hole, then, add the soil.  This will prevent the soil from spilling from the bottom of the pot, but permits proper water drainage.
  • Steep Loose Leaf Tea—in a bind, make your own tea bag!
  • Snack Cups—dole out snacks, keeping portions in control
  • Keep your kids clean when eating ice pops—Simply slide the wooden stick of a child’s favorite ice pop through a coffee filter and you’ll have happy and sticky-free kids!
  • Clean windows and glass—Use coffee filters as an emergency substitute for paper towels.  They leave no lint or residue and can fit on your hand like a mitt.


Eco-friendly Habits to Teach Your Children

Good and bad habits can be picked up at any age but Gabriella Anaya from RaiseVegan.com offers this fantastic list of eco-friendly habits we can teach our kids: 

Always use a reusable tote at the store
It’s easy to forget to bring a reusable bag, but when I do my rule is that I must do without a bag or buy another reusable bag (because you can never have too many) Set a good example by always keeping a spare bag in your purse, a few in the car, and by the front door so you don’t forget them.

(Disposable) Straws suck-bring your own
Plastic straws are one of the worst things for our oceans and can take many years (about 200) to decompose. Encourage using reusable straws (stainless steel or bamboo work great) whether you’re having smoothies at home or eating out. One of the most important eco-friendly habits to teach your kids.

Reusable water bottles over “recyclable” ones
With brands like HydroFlask and Swell making steel-based water bottles look cool, it won’t be hard to encourage your little one to proudly showcase their reusable bottle. Also, always carrying a water bottle will encourage both you and your child to stay hydrated.

Plant plants
You don’t need to have a green thumb to do minor gardening and to share the benefits of it with your child. You can start simple with planting herbs or carrots to show the process of growing your own food. Try checking out local events to see if you can find a kid-friendly gardening workshop within your community.

Walk, bike, or use public transit when possible
Depending on where you live, you might be able to walk or bike where you need to go almost all year long. If not, public transit is a great option to show your children a simple way to reduce their carbon footprint. Try taking the bus together to go to the store and familiarize them with the route.

Shop locally
Support independently owned small businesses-they are usually cheaper and better ethically compared to a large business. Shopping locally may mean going to the farmers market or buying handmade jewelry from your friend’s new business.

Repurpose before tossing out
If you can give a new life for an item instead of throwing it out, do it. Reuse mason jars as containers for nuts, oats, or rice. Turn cardboard boxes into a fun family project. Turn an old stuffed animal into a chew toy for your dog. The possibilities are endless.

Support ethical brands
Buying cruelty-free and ethically sourced products is a great habit to teach. Have a conversation on what makes a product ethical, where you can find them, why you should shop cruelty-free.

If it’s broken, try to fix it
We live in a society where many objects are made quickly with bad quality and at a low price point. Instead of spending money on a replacement, if it’s fixable, try to fix it. Teach your children (once they are old enough) basic skills in fixing items such as sewing a button, fixing a loose screw, or using a hammer.

Have no shame in second-hand items
A second-hand item can be just as good as one which is brand new. Eliminate the stigma around lightly used items being less desirable and embrace reducing and reusing items that may have previously gone unused in somebody’s garage.

RaiseVegan is the world’s first digital and print magazine dedicated solely to vegan parents.  It is a valuable resource for vegan recipes, parenting tips, videos and more!  For more info, visit:  www.raisevegan.com


Entry®, a Chloride-free Liquid Ice Melt, Available at Ace Hardware Stores

Winter is still here for a few more weeks (official first day of spring is March 20) and until temps are consistently spring-like we should still be prepared for snow and ice.  Ace Hardware Corporation, the world’s largest hardware retail cooperative with more than 5,000 stores around the world, offers Entry ice melt, a chloride-free, biodegradable deicing and anti-icing fluid, at select stores. Because Entry is chloride free, it is safer for pets, plants, water and aquatic species, concrete and metal fixtures, and it does not cause tracking in buildings that can permanently damage carpeting and floors. Entry melts snow and ice in as little as 30 seconds.

Entry is manufactured by Branch Creek, maker of cleaner, safer growing and surface maintenance solutions for residential, commercial, agricultural, golf course and municipal use.

“We’ve increasingly found that our customers are interested in organic, environmentally-friendly and pet-friendly products,” said Maya Schultz, Merchant for Product Innovation at Ace. “The Entry product has a very unique value proposition: It is not harmful to Fido’s paws, nor will it track into homes and leave a trail of salt residue. Greener, safer products are a very strong category for Ace.”

“I’ve talked to some of our corporate customers, such as apartment complexes and retail stores, about Entry,” said Matthew Meyer, owner of four Ace Hardware stores in northern Michigan. “Their big concern with chloride-based granular ice melts is the cleaning that’s required because of tracking. I've told them that Entry doesn't track on carpets and floors, and that really excites them knowing they won’t have to clean up the leftover salt particles and residue.” 

Traditional granular deicers and ant-icers contain chlorides such as calcium, sodium or magnesium chloride. Such products are hygroscopic, meaning they draw moisture from the atmosphere. They are harmful to pets if swallowed, and some chloride-based products can seriously burn the paws of animals. In addition, chlorides will dehydrate turf and ornamentals. If leached into waterways, they reduce the available oxygen levels, leading to the death of fish and aquatic plants. Chlorides are corrosive to concrete and metals and will reduce the functional life of structures such as railings and doors.

As a liquid, Entry is easy to apply quickly and evenly. Most users will achieve a lower application cost per 1,000 sq. ft. with liquids than with granular deicers. And, because the liquid achieves a melt three times more quickly than granular products, Entry creates a longer-lasting and safer walking surface.


Gut-Health: Biggest Food Trend for 2019

Gut-health, less sugar, more natural sweeteners, and paleo friendly foods are a few of the biggest food trends for 2019 according to Food Business News. It might seem difficult to find all of these in one place but you’re in luck because you can find all of these trends in one convenient bar… Rowdy Prebiotic Foods!

Rowdy Bar is leading the charge into the prebiotic marketplace with the first al-natural energy bar featuring the gut-health superfood Yacon Root. Rowdy Bars are the prebiotic powerhouse full of Yucon Root, the alternative sweetener needed to create low-glycemic, high flavor bars for energy on the trail, the stage, or in the office. Each Rowdy Bar is crafted with 10 or fewer whole food ingredients and no artificial flavors.

These delicious bars are the perfect afternoon pick me up during busy season at work, launching your New Years diet or the perfect pick me up snack while on the go. Rowdy Bars are available in decadent Chocolate Coconut Cashew, Peanutty Dark Chocolate the new Sunflower Butter N’ Berries! Opt for smart, on-the-go nutrition to keep your day moving smoothly and your energy intact.

Rowdy Bar Benefits:
• Loaded with beneficial prebiotics from the Yacon Root
• Crafted with 10 or fewer whole food ingredients per bar
• Low Glycemic
• No artificial flavors
• Paleo-friendly
• Non-GMO
• Gluten-, Soy-, and Dairy-Free

Get energized in 2019 with Rowdy Prebiotic Foods. To learn more, visit www.rowdyprebiotics.com, or pick some up online and at independent grocery stores, gyms, and health centers nationwide.



Care2 Shares 8 Non-Toxic Shampoos that Won’t Destroy Your Hair

Highly chemical-laden hair and body products are pervasive at your local drugstore, grocery or beauty salon. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a stylist who uses natural products.  Care2’s Paula Jones recently compiled and shared with her readers this valuable list of beauty must-haves.   

Most conventional hair care products contain many if not all of these harmful chemicals:

  • sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS)
  • fragrance (synthetic perfumes)
  • cocamidopropyl betaine
  • triclosan
  • polysorbates
  • polyethylene glycol (PEG)
  • phenoxyethanol
  • dimethicone
  • behentrimonium chloride

These ingredients are not only harmful for you but also the environment. Everything gets washed down the drain, enters the public water system and may eventually return to the environment in some form.
Fortunately, the market is changing. People like you are seeking alternatives to these dangerous products, and companies are listening.


It’s hard to find tons of perfect products, but most companies are getting pretty dang close. Here’s a list of non-toxic shampoos at varying price points.

1. Acure, $6.50 for a 12-ounce bottle

Acure provides various forms of shampoo and conditioner for all hair types at an affordable price. It’s vegan and free of: sulfates, parabens, phthalates, mineral oil, DEA, formaldehyde, petrolatum and paraffin. The products contain extracts of various fruits and flowers as well as CoQ10 and argan oil.

2. Ethnique, $16 for a 3.88-ounce bar

If you have crazy frizzy hair and most natural shampoos only make it worse, then you’ll love this shampoo bar. It’s made of Samoan coconut oil and coconut butter. And it’s pH balanced. It’s free of plastic and palm oil. It’s also vegan and sustainable. It comes in a compostable outer wrapper made of cornstarch and bamboo.

3. Tree to Tub, $17 for an 8.5-ounce bottle

This dermatologist recommended brand is free from sulfates, SLS, parabens, silicone, DEA/MEA, gluten and artificial fragrance. It’s naturally antibacterial and antifungal, cruelty-free, vegan, fair trade and sustainable. And it contains botanicals like argan, aloe vera, chamomile and olive leaves. All scents come from essential oils, but unscented is available too.

4. Aubrey Organics, $12 for an 11-ounce bottle

This gentle shampoo is unscented and protein-infused for people with sensitive scalps. It protects your hair while managing your frizz and is safe for color-treated hair. It’s free of gluten, sulfates and phthalates while being cruelty-free and vegan. It contains extracts from green and black tea, coconut oil, vitamin E and C, lemon and chia seed among many others.

5. EO Pure Performance, $20 for a 32-ounce bottle

EO is an all-around quality brand boasting USDA certification. The products are non-GMO, cruelty-free and gluten-free. This shampoo’s blend of protein complex of quinoa and keratin protect and strengthen your hair. While vitamin E and vitamin B antioxidants help to retain moisture. Scented with essential oils like lavender, you’ll be relaxed and well cared for with this product.

6. Avalon Organics, $12 for a 14-ounce bottle

Avalon Organics has been on the market awhile providing quality products free for GMOs, parabens, harsh preservatives, synthetic colors or fragrances, phthalates or sulfates. Their products aren’t tested on animals and are NSF/ANSI certified, meaning they contains natural and organic ingredients.

7. Intelligent Ingredients, $79 for a 32-ounce bottle

This plant-powered shampoo provides a non-toxic and refreshing shampoo that removes build-up in your hair. It contains certified organic emollients from pracaxi which is rich in oleic, linoleic and behenic to condition your hair. It contains antioxidants from black cumin, cranberry, red grape, red raspberry and pumpkin. To top it off, it’s scented with essential oils from peppermint, spearmint, chamomile, vanilla and others.

8. 100% Pure, $33 for a 13-ounce bottle

100% Pure boasts an impressive, non-toxic ingredient list. It contains the likes of aloe vera, kelp, rose hydrosol, neem, honeysuckle, peppermint, thyme, oregano, burdock root and more. It’s completely vegan and free of all harmful chemicals, and it’s gentle for all hair types and color treated hair. No artificial fragrances are used.

Care2 is a network of millions of people around the globe, dedicated to building a better world. They use cutting-edge technology and team of experienced campaigners to fuel the progressive movement by uniting our members with nonprofits and mission-based brands working on the causes they care about.


8 Spring Home Maintenance Projects That Will Save You Money

Abby Hayes, freelance blogger and journalist who writes about personal finance for USNews, shares a list of 8 springtime projects that can help save you money…

1. Clean the refrigerator and air conditioner coils. Your fridge and air conditioner work in nearly the same way – by exchanging heat through a system of coils. When those coils are dirty and dusty, they can’t exchange heat as efficiently, so the system has to run harder and longer to have the same cooling effect.  Luckily, cleaning these coils is simple. Just take a vacuum hose to the coils on the back of your fridge. For an outside air conditioner unit, you’ll need to disassemble the casing (making sure the power to the unit is off first), and clean using canned air and/or a stiff brush and spray bottle.

2. Schedule routine heating, ventilation and air conditioning maintenance. Yes, it costs money to get an HVAC professional to look over your system. But routine maintenance costs much less than major fixes down the road. So call and schedule your HVAC maintenance now. To save even more, check websites such as Groupon or Angie’s List for deals with local HVAC companies.

3. Inspect and repair your roof. Spring is the time to get out on the roof to check for ice, hail or water damage from winter. Repairing minor damage can be a quick do-it-yourself fix, and staying on top of your roof’s condition can save you money by avoiding water damage later on.

4. Clean gutters. This can be a Saturday-long spring chore for many, but it’s important, especially if you live in an area with April showers.
Water doesn’t properly pass through clogged gutters. And that means more water gets near the foundation of your home. This may not cause immediate problems, but over time, too much water near the foundation can cause damage and weakening, which are expensive problems to fix later.

5. Clean the dryer vent. Just like your refrigerator doesn’t work properly with dusty coils, your dryer is less efficient with a lint-filled vent. Even if you clean the lint trap before every load of laundry, you’ll still get some lint in the vent hose, which builds up over time.
To clean the vent, just remove the vent hose from the back of the dryer and vacuum it well. Then, remove the vent cover on the outside of your home, and vacuum it from that side, too.

6. Check the washing machine hoses. Over time, washing machine hoses can crack, which can cause leaks. Sometimes, these inconspicuous leaks go on for weeks or months unnoticed, usually because the washer is pushed back into a corner. This can cause mold problems, water damage and more.

So, while you’ve got the dryer pulled out to clean the vent, pull out the washer, too. Check that the hoses are still flexible, and they show no signs of cracking. If they do look worn or cracked, just replace them. It’s an easy fix!

7. Re-caulk windows and doors. You might have caulked your doors and windows before the winter chill set in. Unfortunately, even the best caulk can harden, crack and shrink when it’s cold outside.

So, check your windows and doors, and replace as needed. Keeping the hot air out during the summer is just as important as keeping it in during the winter.

8. Plant trees in strategic locations. As you think about landscaping this spring, consider planting a new tree or two. Mother Nature will certainly thank you, and your heating and cooling bills might, too.

If your house gets hit with a lot of sun during the day – which causes the inside to heat up – plant a fast-growing deciduous tree or two on the west, east or northwest side of your home for cooling shade.

And if you noticed wind whistling through the cracks of your home over the winter, an evergreen windbreak on the windiest side of your home might do the trick and block the wind.

Before you plant, make sure you understand how large a tree will grow when it reaches maturity, so you avoid potential costly issues from a tree planted too close to your home.