Easy Ways to Live Greener
- Truly turn off electronics. Plug your devices — the TV and DVD player, or the computer and printer — into a UL-certified power strip; switch the whole group off for the evening to prevent phantom electrical draw.Especially at night or when leaving the house – saves on electrical fires too – a real eco-no-no. I used to make 15% of my renovation business because of TVs going on fire during the day.
- Double up. Configure your office printer or copy machine so it prints on both sides of the page.
- Put it to sleep. If you’ll be away from your computer for more than 20 minutes, change it to “sleep” mode.
Have you got children – turn eco-logic into games and:
- Game off? Yep, get the kids to turn off video games (both the TV and the console) after they’re done playing, and you’ll win back about $100 per year.
- Pitch in. Live in one of the 11 states with bottle bills? Have your kids collect aluminum cans and plastic bottles to redeem for cash to spend on a treat.
- Don’t tap out. Teach children to turn off the water while brushing their teeth. Leaving the tap running during the recommended two minutes of brushing can waste up to five gallons of water a day.
- Book it. Dr. Seuss’s 1971 book, The Lorax, stars a creature who “speaks for the trees” against those who’d cut them down. Talk about the message with your tykes (book and matching plush doll, $5 each, Kohl’s).
Vinegar Cleaning Tasks: 10 Ways to Clean with this Cheap, Readily-Available Ingredient: see original page: http://greenlivingideas.com/2015/10/23/vinegar-cleaning-tasks-10-ways-to-clean/
Vinegar is magic for cleaning both your home and your body! Cleaning with vinegar is cheap, easy, and very safe, and we there are so many cleaning tasks that can be accomplished with this helpful, humble ingredient.
Whether used alone or in combination with our natural cleaning ingredients, vinegar cleaning can happen throughout the home and help reduce your exposure to common household chemicals.
1. Power up your laundry: Use about a 1/2 cup of white vinegar per load of laundry to freshen your musty or sweaty smelling clothes. It also works as a fabric softener, so you can ditch the dryer sheets too! For extra stinky stuff, soak with a mixture of 3 parts water and 1 part vinegar before washing.
2. Ditch the glass cleaner: White vinegar and newspaper are the perfect, natural way to get streak free shine in mirrors and glass. And the newspaper can still be recycled afterwards! Vinegar + water can also be used as an all-purpose cleaner.
3. Keep the toilet clean! The Queen of Green from David Suzuki’s website has a great tip for cleaning the toilet with vinegar too: to deodorize the toilet, pour 125 millilitres of white vinegar into the bowl. Let sit 15 minutes and then flush.
4. Get rid of hard water stains too! Queen of Green also says that you can remove hard-water deposits on the tub and glass shower doors. Simply warm 250 millilitres of white vinegar in a pot. Then, spray warm vinegar onto surface, let sit 15 minutes and wipe clean.
5. Homemade drain cleaner! No joke, this is our most popular post on our site. Making natural drain cleaner with just vinegar and baking soda is going to blow your mind.
6. Use it in your HAIR! Feelgood Style explains: “Keep some apple cider vinegar in your shower. Give your hair a spritz and rinse if your dry scalp is getting out of control or if you feel like you need a little more oomph. Apple cider vinegar cleans up nasty residue and closes your hair cuticles. When your cuticles are closed, your hair lies flat and it looks shiny and delicious.
7. Perk up your carpets and rugs: Reader’s Digest explains that vinegar can be used to make old carpets look better! You can also sprinkle baking soda onto carpets and rugs before vacuuming to remove funky smells and dampness.
8. Clean your body too! Feelgood Style shows us that we can use baking soda to clean our faces too! To make a gentle Face Scrub, mix 3 parts baking soda, 1 part water, and 1 part quick oats and gently massage onto your face. Rinse away with warm water to reveal glowing skin.”
9. Make and all-purpose spray for kitchen and bath: Mix vinegar and water in equal parts, along with essential oils of your choice. Keep in a spray bottle and use for all spills and simple clean up tasks.
10. Make an air-freshener + all-purpose cleaner: Learn how to infuse your cleaning vinegar so you get all the cleaning power of vinegar without the smell.
And here are seven things to not clean with vinegar, including marble, wood, and more.
Check out our guide to homemade cleaning products to get started with natural cleaning in your home today!
The goal is “reduce, reuse, recycle.”
Small changes made by individuals can add up to big changes for the environment. Here are 10 to get you started:
1. Get a High-Efficiency Showerhead A high-efficiency showerhead saves up to 3,000 gallons of water per person per year. You’ll also save $50 in energy costs and 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per person per year. The showerheads are specially designed to conserve resources while still providing like a luxurious-feeling shower. Sink-aerator attachments also save major amounts of water and are very inexpensive.
2. Recycle Water in Your Bathroom Use devices that allow you to reuse sink water for flushing your toilet. Or keep a bucket by the shower or the tub and fill it with the cold water that comes out before the hot water kicks in. Then take the bucket outside and use it to water your plants.
3. Compost Use a compost bin to turn your food and lawn wastes into rich mulch. It’s a great way to reduce your trash production, and next year you’ll have rich compost ready to go for spring planting.
4. Buy Green Power From Your Utility Most utilities charge less than $5 per month extra. Not only will your power come from a renewable source, but you’ll use the power of your spending to show utility executives and government officials that we need more investment in renewable-energy projects.
5. Improve the Efficiency of Your Existing Water Heater Tankless and solar water heaters are great, but simple changes to your existing setup can cut your energy bills and carbon emissions by 25 percent or more. Reduce the temperature of your water heater to 120 degrees, wrap it in a water-heater insulating blanket and insulate the first 3 to 6 feet of hot and cold water pipes. These inexpensive changes should take you less than an hour to complete.
6. Use High-Efficiency Outdoor Lighting A typical 100-watt floodlight, if used for six hours a day, can consume up to $40 of electricity over the course of a year and produce upwards of 400 pounds of carbon dioxide, depending on where you live. For starters, replace those floodlights with compact-fluorescent versions-they’re just as bright and use a quarter of the energy. Next, replace low-wattage halogen landscape bulbs with LED versions. They cut energy use by over 80 percent and can last for 10 years or more. Finally, install motion sensors on any nonessential lights. New versions just screw right into your existing light socket.
7. Replace High-Use Indoor Lights with Compact Fluorescents or LEDs With high-quality light, sizes for almost any fixture and even versions that are dimmable, compact fluorescents have it all. They’re more expensive than normal light bulbs, but between the energy savings and their much longer life spans, they pay for themselves in less than two years. And consider LED bulbs for non-dimmable circuits (especially for holiday lighting). They’re true energy misers and will last for as long as you live in your house.
8. Load Up the Washing Machines Make sure you run the dishwasher and the clothes washers only when they’re full. Clothes washers are huge energy and water users, so make sure you’re doing full loads (or adjusting the water setting) whenever possible. And most of us use far more water (and soap) than we need to when hand-washing dishes, especially when compared with high-efficiency Energy Star dishwashers. So save your time, water and power by putting those dishes directly in the dishwasher after a meal.
9. Drive Smarter Simple changes in our existing driving habits can improve fuel efficiency by up to 25 percent. Drive at or near the speed limit, keep your tires inflated, make sure oil and air filters are clean, and step on the gas and the brakes carefully. Driving like a drag racer may be fun, but it has a substantial environmental cost.
10. Avoid the Daily Waste of Fast Food and Shopping Next week, keep track of how much trash you generate by eating out and making trips to the store, I guarantee you’ll be amazed. All those bags, cups and containers really add up and are stuffing our landfills to capacity. Bring your own plastic or metal boxes to your favorite take-out joint. You’ll save resources and save them money. Use reusable shopping bags whenever you go to the store. Say “no thanks” when the pharmacist or the fast-food clerk tries to put your one or two items in a bag. Use reusable cups for coffee, soda and other beverages. And reuse some of the extras at home — keep extra napkins and reuse plastic cups and cutlery.
Jason Pelletier is a certified auditor with Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design. See: