Green Household Products Delivered – ePantry

If you haven’t gathered from recent posts, or lack thereof, we’re a very busy family. We do our best to be green, but we also don’t want to miss out on life.  Some of our friends cope by limiting their children to activities they can all do together, or one of the parents doesn’t work, or works part time, or they focus on kids activities and the parents put their “extra-currriculars” on hold while the children are at home. 

Our family is trying to do it all. That means we have to find shortcuts we can live with. Recently that has meant leaning more heavily on buying prepared foods and when we were camping we actually didn’t even try to go grocery shopping before the trip. Instead we went to the local grocery store while we were camping.

Example of the environmental benefit of shopping at ePantry

Example of a reminder from ePantry

One of the shortcuts I have found is to have household goods delivered.  This idea is not new, but I’ve always been  concerned about the environmental impact of having things like laundry detergent, toilet paper and toothpaste, delivered to the house. Last fall I discovered ePantry.  

ePantry uses its algorithm to figure out what household products it thinks you might need each month, based on the size of your family and your family’s habits. It then suggests what you might need in each shipment. Each month it sends you an email saying what it has scheduled for your shipment and gives you the chance to add or subtract items. I’ve added and removed items through the web browser on my computer, through the browser on my iPhone and through their app. The interfaces some times takes a little getting used to, but they are always very clear about what they are planning to send me and give me several warnings via email. 

Why ePantry instead of some other subscription service? ePantry carries only environmentally responsible products, offsets the carbon used in the transportation of the products, uses recycled packaging, and donates a portion of each order to reforestation efforts. 

I’m not a huge fan of Amazon. As a mega store they are contributing to many of our local businesses going out of business, particularly our local book stores and music stores.  I also feel that they are automating so much of their business that they are not not only hurting small businesses, but removing jobs from the US job force. Overall I’m not prepared to say that I’m boycotting them, but I’d rather send my business elsewhere. 

Other than Amazon, I’m not aware of another subscription service where I can control exactly what I get, I can choose to order products or not each month, and they carry brands that I want to purchase. I find that ePantry offers to send me products more often than I actually need them, but it’s easy enough to delete them from your upcoming order. They have also caused us to say “are we running out of toilet paper?” Before we actually run out. With a busy household, it’s important that someone remembers to check! I appreciate that they carry brands I trust such as Mrs. Meyers, Method, 7th Generation, Tom’s of Maine, as well as many smaller companies I’ve never heard of.  They also have an option where you can search by “B Corporations”.

B Corporations are a form of corporation that is certified to meet standards for for how they treat employees, the environmental impact of the products they sell and how they benefit society. When I can, I prefer to give my business to B Corporations.

ePantry has a referral program. If you sign up and use my referral code, you get $10 off your first order and I get $10 off my next order.  You can use my code by clicking on this link:

Happy Greening, and I hope ePantry makes your life easier and greener too!



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Organic instant soup – Oxymoron or Life Saver?

Today I was thrilled to discover that I can buy ready-made, organic tortilla soup and chicken soup in a tetrapak box, off the shelf of my main stream grocery store.

tortilla soup with cheese and avacadoI am scared of putting chemicals into my body and my kids’ bodies.  I see people all around us with autoimmune problems, immune problems, cancer, neurologic issues, kids on the autism spectrum, etc.  Some of these are in our own family, others are prevalent around us.  I ask myself why and realize that I just don’t know.  What I do know is that the way we eat and the products we use in our homes, businesses and schools have changed in the last 60 years. The way we live our lives has changed in the last 60 years.  

It’s not my place, and it’s not a good use of my time, to try to judge whether these changes are good or bad.  They just are. We each have the opportunity to live our lives to the best of our abilities and make the choices that we think are best for ourselves and our families. I have no desire to live without my smart phone and internet service and I like that my children participate in 3 different organized sports, plus scouts and religious ed. I like that my husband and I are involved with our church, civic organizations and that we both work full time at jobs that are important to us. 

All of this means that I have to accept that neither my husband nor I have time to cook for our family on a regular basis.  This means that we buy pre-packaged, pre-made foods, that we heat in the microwave or on the stove. When I can find these foods with all natural ingredients, in containers I’m not scared of, I’m happy. When I can find organic versions that fit our budget, I’m thrilled.

So tonight, between dropping my daughter at soccer, doing a quick site visit for work and picking up my sons Cambells Organic Chicken Tortilla Soupfrom Tang Soo Do, I’m eating Campbell’s Organic Tortilla soup.  I’ve added cheese that we bought pre-shredded, and some avocado from the box of fruit and vegetables we get delivered from Boston Organics. I’m eating it perched on a stool in the kitchen, alone. 

Would I rather be eating at a table, with my whole family? Maybe, sometimes I would, and sometimes I do.

Tonight I’m accepting that we all make choices.  I’m glad my children are out at organized sports. I’m glad I spent the day meeting with university researchers about climate adaptation issues our city is facing, organizing our new community garden, helping a teacher with her new school garden and teaching Boy Scouts about nutrient pollution in our river.  

We don’t find time to write as much on our blog as we’d like to, and we don’t cook very often.  But it is really thrilling when I can find food that I can heat and eat and not worry (as much) about whether it is making me sick, or not as smart, or driving me to an early grave. 

This weekend is our family’s annual camping trip with friends.  I’m looking forward to enjoying nature, enjoying time with my family and cooking with friends around the campfire.

Happy Greening,


p.s. Did you know that tetrapak cartons (including juice boxes) are recyclable in many single-stream recycling programs?


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Our Green Snow Removal Tool Gets an Upgrade

SJ621 Electric Snow Blower in the snow

Our trusty Toro Electric Snow Blower died during the first blizzard of 2015 that slammed us with 2 feet of snow. I originally thought I could repair it by replacing the broken blade, but unfortunately the motor had also reached the end of it's … [Continue reading]

Breaking Ice Dams with Lady’s Lingerie

stocking filled with CaCl over an ice dam

Do you have ice dams on your house?  While the long term solution to preventing ice dams is proper air-sealing and insulation under your roof, people with ice dams want to know what to do now, not next spring. A good way to deal with them … [Continue reading]


2015-02-09 09.27.15

Our area has had over 60" of snow in the past 17 days.  That may not sound like a lot for some people, but on average we get 44" of snow a year and it has been so cold here that it has not been melting between the storms.  This morning … [Continue reading]

Adapting To Climate Change

Street flooding from intense rainfall, Medford, MA, summer 2014

I spent two days in December meeting with Sustainability Directors from around New England. While we met, pounding rain drenched late arrivals, and rain and snow storms to our north waylaid some of our colleagues. Three to four inches … [Continue reading]

Turn down your water heater to save energy


Many water homes have their water heaters turned up too high. Many health codes used to call for hotter temperatures for home water, to ensure that dishes and clothes got clean enough. However, science has taught us that in most cases, it is the act … [Continue reading]

Gearing Up Green for the Super Bowl

DIY Patriots Cloth Napkins

I am very excited for the New England Patriots to be in Super Bowl XLIX and almost as excited to see that LEDs will be lighting the University of Phoenix Stadium for the big game. As Katherine Tweed notes in her article LEDs Will Shine on Super … [Continue reading]

Climate Change is Causing More Intense Storms

Figure: Observed Change in Very Heavy Precipitation Caption: The map shows percent increases in the amount of precipitation falling in very heavy events (defined as the heaviest 1% of all daily events) from 1958 to 2012 for each region of the continental United States. These trends are larger than natural variations for the Northeast, Midwest, Puerto Rico, Southeast, Great Plains, and Alaska. The trends are not larger than natural variations for the Southwest, Hawai‘i, and the Northwest. The changes shown in this figure are calculated from the beginning and end points of the trends for 1958 to 2012. (Figure source: updated from Karl et al. 20091).

As we were re-scheduling projects and meetings because of the incoming blizzard, a co-worker from another department asked me: Are we seeing more frequent and more intense storms because of climate change? Yes, we are. Even my … [Continue reading]

Not Running Against the Wind Anymore

Wind Turbine at Energy Festival

When Jon and I first started writing Green Lifestyle Changes over 5 years ago, we felt that we had to write it. Very few people were talking about climate change or green living. We had become aware of the issue, and we were very concerned about … [Continue reading]