With Earth Day just behind us, are you being eco friendly? I don't want to go back to the dark ages, or give up modern appliances but I'm sure I could do more. We try our bit and live a very simple life, heating with sustainable wood only, growing our own vegetables, recycling and using rain water where possible.
One of the things that constantly takes me by surprise is that once I find out where things come from, how they are made and what the cost is in terms of the planet or people, I start making much more informed decisions. For example, we live next to a beef farmer and have seen first hand how the veal industry operates. We have since become vegetarians as we don't want any part in the process. It's a decision we made based on knowledge we have gleaned and this can be applied to almost everything. Educating ourselves is a very important first step all of us can make.
The way I think we could all become greener is just to take it step by step. Trying to do too many things all at once can seem overwhelming and just too much change all at once. Here's a list of a few things that you could start with in and around your home.
1. Buy Eco or organic if you can afford it. Sadly many of these products are still very expensive. I have recently started to purchase Eco washing liquid, doing away with the softener and the price works out about the same and my clothes are lovely and soft.
2. Recycle your household waste. We only have 1 rubbish bag once a month. Everything else is recycled.
3. Buy groceries in bulk- This not only will save you on petrol going to the shops several times but buying in bulk can save on packaging as well. Also take reusable bags to the supermarket.
4. Use recycled content copy paper for your home and office. If paper has only been printed on one side, use the other side to make scribbling pads.
5. Unplug electronics when they are not in use, you'll be amazed that this actually will save you on your ectricity
bills. Those little standby buttons use quite a bit.
6. Use a dry erase board instead of paper, this works great for messages and make for great homework helpers.
7. Use energy conserving light bulbs. Mostly we are obliged to use these now anyway. I can no longer find the old style bulbs in the shops.
8. Build a backyard habitat, this can be as simple as putting up some birdhouses, bird feeders or even a decorative
pond can become a habitat.
9. Donate or recycle cell phones or sell them on eBay. This will keep them from leaking possibly dangerous chemicals from their batteries and plastic is hard on the environment.
10. Reduce your junk mail by adding a note on your mail box to say you don't want it.
11. Compost all of your kitchen waste (except anything cooked as it attracts rodents).
12. Grow a few vegetables. Planting a courgette plant in amongst the flowers is easy and won't spoil the look of your garden. You don't have to have a huge patch to produce food. You can even plant things in containers, like potatoes.
13. Shower instead of bathing and use a small shower head. If you do bath, share it with your loved one ;-)
14. Make your own cleaners with vinegar, soda, lemon juice etc. They all clean brilliantly well.
Basic All Purpose Cleaner Formula
This makes about 2 cups of formula, and it works really well cleaning dirt and grime.
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda or washing soda
- 2 teaspoons borax
- 1/2 teaspoon liquid soap or detergent
- 2 cups hot water
Combine all the ingredients and the water into a spray bottle. Shake well. The washing soda or baking soda makes this formula a great grease cutter.
15. Collect rain water from the roof. We have 4 x 300L butts, this gives us more than enough water for our large garden.
I think these are all relatively easy things to do and may get you on the way to being a little more eco friendly without feeling you have to change your entire lives.
If you do some other things or have other ideas, please share them. I'm always eager to learn more and try new things.
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