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Slowly Going Green: Making green living trendy

Laura Willard is a law school grad who has successfully avoided using her education for eight years and counting. She's a wife and an adoptive mom to two kids. Motherhood is the best job she never knew she wanted so much until she had it...

Green and stylish in the kitchen

Are you hoping to "go green" but have no idea where to start? Or perhaps the idea of "greening up" your life is a little overwhelming, like it was for me. We have solutions! Stick with me each week as I make suggestions for slowly going green, one baby-step at a time. This week, we'll discuss a few ideas that allow you to maintain style in your kitchen while still making small green changes.

Slowly Going Green home decor

For our family, green living is equal parts concern for our health and concern for the environment. However, one thing I've not been willing to do is to throw style and aesthetics to the wind. I care too much about my home -- the décor and color and items I have to look at daily. For me, living in an enjoyable environment is especially important because I work from home. I don't want to spend my days and nights in a pieced-together home, even if it is environmentally conscious.

The good news is that it's not necessary to sacrifice your style when making green decisions. Here are just a few very simple ideas to keep green living looking good in your kitchen.

1Dishware

I've been on a mission to replace our dishware -- or rather, what remains of it. (How is it possible to break that many coffee cups?) What I didn't realize is that not all dishes are created equal. While I thought that my switch to cloth napkins rounded out our green dining -- in addition to organic meats and local farmer's market veggies -- I was missing something big.

During my online search for dinnerware, I learned that some dishes are green -- and some are not. But green doesn't have to mean ugly. The best types of dishes are stoneware, ceramic made in the United States or those that are made of recycled glass.

For example, the Festival Sol dishes are made of recycled glass -- and they're bright, stylish and eco-friendly. See? Green doesn't mean drab! If muted colors are your thing, check out the Serene Sol collection.

Get more eco-friendly kitchenware tips >>

2Bottle top storage

Are you still using water bottles? Stop! I can't judge, though. That was one of my most recent green changes -- giving up water bottles. It was the hardest for me because I'm a drinking-water snob. I could do the blind taste-test with water and tell you the source -- tap or bottled -- and probably even the brand. Yes, water does have a taste. As many times as I tried to give up water bottles, I always went back to them because my alternatives weren't good enough and I wasn't drinking an adequate amount of water.

I finally took the plunge and ordered a doctor's office-style water cooler! Oh yes, I'm committed. However, we still have occasional plastic bottles, thanks to my diet soda habit and the occasional water bottle. If you're recycling correctly, you're not throwing those bottle tops in the recycle bin because many recycling centers don't recycle them.

You can, however, save plastic bottle caps and take them to specific recycling centers. In fact, companies such as Aveda have established cap recycling programs. To stash your caps until you're ready to take them in for recycling, find a trendy (and eco-friendly) container to hold them. Dress up your countertop and provide a "home" for your recyclable bottle caps at the same time. Check out the options at Viva Terra, such as a Root of the Earth bowl, pictured above.

Use those extra caps by creating a bottle cap lampshade >>

3Kids' Dishes

If you have little ones like I do, you need dishes for the kids. (Unless, of course, you have nerves of steel and/or are a risk-taker with your glass dishware!) My top concern for kids' dishes is that they are BPA-free. The good news is that you can find cute, unique and BPA-free dishes for your kids.

You can purchase original plates and bowls from sellers like Smiling Planet. These adorable kids' dishes remind me that going green can actually mean more style. I prefer these to the typical primary-color plastics.

Alternatively, if quantity is more important than design or if you're watching your budget, you'll find BPA-free options at your local big-box stores. Just read the packaging because most manufacturers will label BPA-free items as such.

Tell us:

Do you have any fun tips for keeping your home green and stylish? Share them in the comment section below!

Get More Slowly Going Green tips >>

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