multi-talented bay leaves keep pests away

Bay leaves are good at more than flavoring soups and sauces. They also keep pests away. A couple of summers ago, when we returned from a trip to the beach, we were dismayed to find lines of ants marching to and from food in our pantry, including a box of one of my favorite cereals (Peace Maple Pecan). We never had to deal with an ant problem before — and we didn’t want to douse our kitchen in chemicals — so we were open to a friend’s suggestion to use bay leaves as an ant repellent. After scrubbing down our kitchen, we placed dried bay leaves on shelves and under the sink. I don’t know if it’s a coincidence, or if it’s because we now store food like cereal in plastic containers (or if it’s a combination of both), but we haven’t had an ant problem since. I love it when green solutions work! –Michelle V.K.

More green pest solutions? See our info on fighting termites and rose bush mites.

From our partners

green your next move

After reading about RentAGreenBox.com over at Charles & Hudson, I had a serious why-didn’t-I-think-of-that moment. The company claims to be “The First, Zero-Waste Pack and Move Solution in America!” The Recopack, developed by founder Spencer Brown, is a reusable plastic bin available in three sizes and made from 100% hard-to-recycle plastic trash. As the site’s name suggests, you rent the boxes from the company instead of purchasing new cardboard boxes that end up as trash at the end of the move. The Recopaks are delivered to your door and picked up when you’re done with them. While it’s not the cheapest option, if you’re serious about the environment, this definitely seems like the way to go. –Erica P.

From our partners

the cutest tote ever?


I’m a big fan of bringing my own bags to the grocery store. I’ve collected quite a few canvas totes that I keep in the hall closest, and a great nylon one that rolls up into the smallest little ball for stashing in my purse at all times. Well, readers, I might have to make room for one more. This little number packs up as a cute rabbit for storing, and when you need it as a bag, the bunny goes along for the ride! Designed by Eding:Post, the Picnica Tote Bag is available through Greener Grass Design for $55. –Erica P.

From our partners

post off: could you live without a fridge?


There’s a new and somewhat contested trend among the environmentally conscious: unplugging the refrigerator for good to reduce energy consumption. Well, I have some experience with this one: I once lived without a refrigerator for an entire year. My reasons weren’t quite so lofty — I had an illegal cat, and when my fridge went on the fritz, rather than figure out how to have the landlord fix it without discovering my kitty, I simply put it off. And put it off. For an entire year! And now I come to find that these new refrigerator shunners are using the same methods I used as a procrastinating twentysomething — storing soda on the windowsill when it’s cold out, keeping a cooler of ice handy, and not buying more than they can consume in an evening. (I probably ate out a lot, too.) So what do you think — are they onto something? Could you or would you unplug your fridge? –Mary T.

Image via the New York Times.

From our partners

would you pay $6000 for an organic mattress?

While in NY this week for the Gift Show (will report details soon) I stopped by ABC Carpet & Home and found the department manager and her colleague lying down on the job, so to speak. When I joked with her about this, she claimed to be “testing the product.” I wanted to know why these organic mattresses were so special and costly, and here’s what she had to say:

The Omi Mattress is made from all-natural latex from Malaysian rubber trees (a healthy alternative to petroleum-based foam which has highly flammable off gassing). Plus they’re naturally hypoallergenic, anti-bacterial, and dust mite-repellent. They also use organic lambs wool from free-roaming Californian sheep, which acts as a natural flame barrier with no carcinogenic flame retardants which are harmful to the body. The frames are made of Pacific Northwest sustainable wood. These may just be the healthiest mattresses on the planet and mighty comfy too!

So what do you think? Are you sold? — Holly D.

From our partners