Going "Green" The Easy Way
Everyone is doing it! Going "green" is the in thing. This is a horrible reason to decide to go "green", but whether you are one really concerned with the environment, just concerned with being "in", or you are one looking at saving money, going "green" just might be for you. There are lots of things that can be done to help the environment out. You don't have to become a hard core, take a bath in the sink kind of person to do it either. Simply changing a few bad habits, picking up a few good ones, and saving money can be enough to change the world as we know it.
The three r's have been around awhile, but many of us have continued to ignore them. The first of the three r's is to recycle. This is important because it limits the amount of waste in the landfills. It also doesn't have to be a big chore. Find out how your city does recycling. Many will even pick it up outside your house for a small fee. If your city does this then make sure you get the bins you need. If your city has a drop of point then get instructions for its use.
Whether you are using a bin or dropping it off you should rinse out all plastic jugs and bottles, glass bottles, and cans. Just giving a quick rinse after you have used the product is usually enough. It is also a good idea to break down cardboard and collect paper that your family no longer uses. This can be recycled for other products as well. Place your recyclables in the bins for the recycle "man" or take them to the recycle location in cardboard boxes and paper bags.
Many stores also offer a place to but used plastic bags. This lets you simply take the grocery sacks from last time in with you. Drop them off and they will be recycled to help save the earth!
Reducing the amount of waste that your family produces can help a great deal toward a better future. Often this doesn't mean too many big changes, just a few little ones. Here are some good suggestions for reducing the waste in your home.
- Plan your menu- A lot of food waste happens because we buy too much, make too much, and of course throw away too much. Plan out your menu so you buy what you know your family will eat. Also be careful not to end up with more leftovers then your family will actually eat.
- Compost- While composting could fall into the recycle or reuse categories, it is one that reduces a large amount of food waste. It can also make great soil for your garden and growing a garden can reduce the amount of chemicals in the soil, provide your family with good home grown food, and save you money in the process.
- Buy with less packaging- It isn't always easy to find products with less packaging, but you can often find bulk packages and companies that are more environmentally friendly. Choose your packaging carefully.
- Get rid of the throw aways- We live in a one time use, throw it away mentality. We buy paper towels, paper napkins, paper cups, juice boxes, and single servings all over the place. This can make for a lot of garbage, plus the water and chemicals it takes to make those products. Instead use rags and towels, cloth napkins, real cups (including taking your own travel mug), and buy other drinks in larger bottles to repackage. You can even get reusable juice boxes!
There are a number of other ways that you can reduce your own waste. A good thing to do is to evaluate what you throw away and why. Can you do something different with it or can you eliminate it from your life?
There are lots of ways we can reuse some of the things that we would normally throw away. Choosing a variety of them is always a good idea and can save you money in the long run.
- Plastic bottles or jugs can become bird feeders, can be used for your own products (soap, shampoo, conditioner, bath salts), you can also use them to store some craft materials.
- Material and yarn scraps can be used for a wide range of crafts, both for you and the kids in your life. If you don't have a use for them find a local daycare and see if they want them.
- Clothing and other unwanted items can also be donated to a charity store. This allows others to buy it at a reduced cost and meets charity needs as well.
- Garage sales are another possiblity for unwanted items. They can also bring in a pretty penny.
One of the cheapest and healthiest ways for us to go "green" is to change how we clean our house. Most of us have a whole slew of dangerous chemicals that we use to keep out house clean and bacteria free. These are poisonous, can cause environmental problems, and may even cause us dangers over years of use. Plus you don't have to sacrifice clean to get the job done. Want one more good reason to do it? It will save you tons of money!
To make your household cleaning kit you will want a few empty and clean spray bottles, a reused gallon sized vinegar bottle, and a reused dishsoap bottle, and a small squirt bottle. All depending on your needs.
All purpose cleaner. All purpose cleaner can be made in a few different ways. However, the best way is to take a clean spray bottle and fill 1/2 with water. Fill the rest of the way with distilled white vinegar. If vinegar is a smell that bothers you (and it is most of us) you can add 1/4 cup of lemon juice to the mix before the vinegar. This will give a lemony scent. Or you can add four or five drops of your favorite essential oil. This will make your vinegar smell good after a day or two.
This cleaner will clean up soils, kill bacteria, and can be safely used anywhere in the house, including glass and mirrors (an over abundance of essential oil will cause streaking). If you need a little scrub power before use sprinkle baking soda in the area (such as the tub) and then spray it down with the vinegar mix. Scrub clean.
Mop solution. Dirty floors are never clean. To make an easy to use mop solution you can add on bottle of hydrogen peroxide to the washed empty vinegar bottle (gallon size). Next add your favorite essential oil, 2 Tablespoons of lemon juice, and 1 teaspoon of castille soap (the most expensive part of you "green" cleaning kit). Fill the rest of the bottle slowly with water. Gently shake. You can now add a small amount of this mix to your hot mop water.
This will kill germs, clean the floors, and should smell fresh depending on your choice of essential oil(s) and your castille soap (many come prescented).
Dish soap. Few people realize that the dish soap we buy is actually poisonous. We wash our dishes, rinse them, and hope that we aren't slowly killing ourselves. The best option is to make your own safe dish soap. It is safer for you, your family, and the environment. Take a well washed used dish soap bottle and add two cups of castille soap. To that add 1/2 cup vinegar, 2 Tablespoons of vinegar, and a few drops of essential oil(s) if your castille soap isn't scented. Slowly and gently fill your bottle the rest of the way with water. Gently shake. Castille soap is all natural created from lye (soda ash) and vegetables fats).This soap is also antibacterial!
Super antibacterial spray. There are times when bacteria are a very big concern. Maybe you just cut up a bunch of raw chicken and want to clean everything. The other problem might be mold or mildew which is difficult to get rid of. For these tougher problems you will want a spray made out of hydrogen peroxide and water. Do 1/2 of each and add your favorite essential oil for a good scent. This doesn't have enough strength to clean tough messes, but it does have antibacterial and anti fungal powers to kill germs and stop nasty mold and mildew problems.
Furniture polish. While many of us don't have a lot of beautiful wood in our homes, any that we do have we want to keep clean. You can use your all purpose cleaner to clean up nasty marks and dust. After ward you should polish the wood. One great option is to use 1/2 cup of lemon juice and 1/2 cup of olive oil to polish the surface of the wood. You can put it in a small squirt bottle for easy use. Mix well or shake before using. A little goes a long way.
This can be your general "green" clean the house kit. You need white vinegar, lemon juice, and baking soda. Additionally you will want to buy a bottle of castille soap and lots of hydrogen peroxide. Most of these products are available for two dollars or less a bottle and a little goes a long way!
Going "green" and helping the planet doesn't have to be a hard thing to do. With a little bit of work you can do a lot to help the earth. Additionally you can save money at the same time! Living life to its fullest doesn't have to be as hard as it may at first seem.