Top 10 Tips for eco-friendly living
Drink from cans not plastic
If you can’t break your daily diet soda habit, skip the plastic bottles for aluminum cans. It’s the greenest way to quench your thirst, since aluminum can easily be recycled into brand-new cans. Plastic bottles are hard to recycle and can’t be recycled into new plastic bottles.
Eliminate phantom load
In the average home, even when major appliances like TVs, DVD players and VCRs are turned off, they are using electricity if they’re still plugged in. This is called a phantom load. Instead of plugging and unplugging your appliances, plug them all into a surge protector and just turn off the strip. No more wasted electricity.
Hang laundry to dry
On a warm, sunny day, hang your laundry outside on a clothesline to dry, instead of using the energy-hogging dryer. Your dryer is the second biggest use of energy in your home, so line-drying can be a huge energy- and money-saving idea. To capture the true scent of summer, mow the lawn right before you hang laundry; the sheets take on the smell of freshly cut grass.
Friendlier drain cleaners
To unclog a shower drain, try some home remedies before pouring down the caustic drain cleaner. First, use a toilet plunger to force the clog away. If that doesn’t do the trick, pour a box of baking soda and white vinegar down the drain; the combination of the two causes a fizzing chemical reaction. Follow that mixture with boiling hot water to flush away the clog and use the plunger — again — to blast the clog down the drain.
When whitening whites, skip the harmful chlorine bleach. When bleach goes down the drain and eventually interacts with sewage water, a poisonous combination is created. Why take risks? Use hydrogen peroxide instead of bleach in your washing machine. It’ll whiten whites and be kinder to the Earth.
Avoid plastic pots
While it’s tempting to use lightweight, plastic faux terra cotta pots for your outdoor garden, it’s best to avoid them. Most plastic pots are made from polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, which is made from a nonrenewable resource that is not biodegradable. Instead, go for the real deal, terra cotta. It literally means “baked Earth,” which means it’s fired-up clay. While terra cotta may chip or break, nothing can compete with the organic texture and feel of clay. And terra cotta is good for the Earth, too. If terra cotta should ever break, use the chips as a ground cover on an indoor plant.
Lavender repels moths
Now that spring is here, be sure to securely and naturally store your woollens and winter clothes away. Instead of using smelly mothballs, which are made from naphthalene — a toxic substance that, in large levels, can cause numerous health problems — choose natural lavender. Dried lavender repels moths and keeps your clothes smelling lovely and fragrant.
Use a steam mop
If you have hardwood, ceramic or laminate floors, ditch your old mop and bucket or disposable wet-mop devices and think of the power of steam instead. A steam mop heats up regular tap water and bursts disinfecting steam through the head of the mop. As it loosens dirt, it also kills germs and bacteria — all without harmful chemicals — and leaves a streak-free finish behind. Lots of steam mop brands are available at your local home improvement store.
Lint is for the birds
When cleaning the lint trap from your dryer, don’t throw it away. Instead, place it outside where birds can easily find it, near a bird feeder or bird bath. Break up the dryer lint into small, manageable pieces. They’ll pick up the soft mass and use it to feather their nests.
Sign up for Shopper’s Club cards
When shopping for organic groceries at your supermarket, consider signing up for a shopper’s club card. Most chains offer free discount cards to reward loyal shoppers with special deals and sales on a variety of items. When you see packaged eco-friendly items for sale, such as soy milk, frozen organic peas or recycled paper towels, stock up and save!
Alcohol - not bleach
Germs be gone! When you need to disinfect a kitchen or bathroom countertop of germs and bacteria, don’t reach for toxic chlorine bleach. Instead, grab some cotton balls and douse them in rubbing alcohol and rub away. The alcohol will kill the germs and bacteria on contact and will evaporate quickly.