-able to be used without being completely used up or destroyed
-involving methods that do not completely use up or destroy natural resources
-able to last or continue for a long time
Eco-friendly literally means earth-friendly or not harmful to the environment. This term most commonly refers to products that contribute to green living or practices that help conserve resources like water and energy. Eco-friendly products also prevent contributions to air, water and land pollution.
Consider your day for a moment. You have breakfast, go to work, lunch, come home, maybe you have kids, dinner, how about your weekends? How can you change one small part of your day, and make it a better place to live? How can you make it a better place for your kids or grandkids? Think about where we live, where we’re going, how we affect our environment. How can we create less trash? How can we save resources? Plastic is used everyday and almost everywhere. But we can’t deny the problems of plastic accumulating in our waterways, landfills and oceans. In the Northern Hemisphere, ocean currents are deflected to the right, in a clockwise motion. In the Southern Hemisphere, ocean currents are pushed to the left, in a counterclockwise motion. Beneath surface currents the Coriolis effect results in what is called an Ekman spiral creating a gyre. Every year, millions of tons of plastic enter the ocean ending up in one of 5 major gyres. Once trapped in a gyre, the plastic will break down into microplastics, which may be ingested by sea life. Thousands of tons of plastic debris now occupy an area three times the size of France in the Pacific Ocean between California and Hawaii, known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. And it’s growing larger every day. How does it end up there? Litter including plastic bags, beverage containers, food wrappers, food containers and more end up going down storm drains into our waterways. From there it travels out into our oceans. What can I do? What can we do?
- Don’t litter.Throwing trash on the ground means it’s final destination is probably a body of water.
- Repair don’t replace. Before you throw it out, can you fix it? Can it be repurposed?
- Reusable instead of disposable. Bring your own shopping bags, water bottles, coffee cups, flatware, etc. Instead of using plastic items one time and throwing them out, use items that are reusable.
- Instead of using plastic straws, plastic sandwich bags, trash bags, coffee filters, K-cups, plastic toothbrushes, paper towels, consider buying things made out of environmentally friendly or biodegradable materials such as bamboo, recycled materials, hemp, glass, etc. Whenever you do throw it away, it won’t cause the pollution that plastic does.
- Buy in bulk. Instead of buying individual servings or containers of food, buy in bulk and store in small portions in your own containers.
- Use energy efficient light bulbs, they are a little more expensive up front, but they last longer and use less energy.
- Don’t throw it out! Can you donate it? Can you repurpose it? When you clean out your closet or garage, donate what you don’t need anymore. To a neighbor, a young family, thrift store or sell it.
- Go paperless! Pay your bills online.
- Use less water, turn off the faucet when brushing your teeth, only run full loads of laundry.
- Walk or bike whenever possible. I know it gets unbearably hot in the summer. Until then, consider walking or riding a bike if possible.
- Buy from thrift stores & garage sales. It’s good for the community, our landfills and our wallets!
- Turn off electronics when not in use. Unplug and turn it off.
- Buy clothes made from sustainable materials like bamboo or silk that will last a long time vs. cheaply and irresponsibly made “fast fashion” that you only wear a few times.
- Eat a meat-free diet one or two days a week. A plant-based diet uses less natural resources than producing meat or other animal proteins. It also cuts down on greenhouse gases.
- Buy one less new thing a month. The more stuff we accumulate, the more stuff ends up in landfills, in rivers, and cluttering our homes.
- Buy a plant for your home. Plants can remove toxins from the air, increase humidity, improve and health, and more. Make it modern by repurposing old mugs, jars or other containers you might’ve just thrown away.
Use all natural cleaners instead of products full of harmful chemicals. Not only are they bad for you to breathe, but the chemicals get washed into our waterways. It’s easy to make & you probably have everything in your kitchen already.
Common ingredients used to make cleaners:
Baking soda works as a deodorizer and gentle scrub; it polishes shiny surfaces like stainless steel without scratching.
Distilled white vinegar is also a deodorizer, disinfectant and a mild acid that breaks up dirt, grease, mineral deposits, mold, and soap scum.
Essential oils; some, including eucalyptus, lavender, and tea tree, are natural disinfectants and antifungals. Pure essential oils can irritate eyes and skin upon contact, so handle carefully.
Lemon is a deodorizer, stain remover, and grease cutter.
Olive oil is a natural oil that helps to nourish and polish wood.
Plant-based liquid soap made with oils such as olive, palm, and coconut, rather than petroleum derivatives or animal fat.
- 1/2 teaspoon plant-based liquid soap
- 3 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
- 2 cups water
Pour all ingredients into a spray bottle and shake. Spray onto window and wipe clean with newspaper or a 100 percent cotton cloth.
- 1/2 cup baking soda
- Plant-based liquid soap
- 1/2 of a lemon
Pour baking soda into a bowl. Add just enough liquid soap to make a creamy paste. Spread mixture on the flat side of lemon and scrub. The lemon acts as a sponge and leaves a natural citrus scent. Use a damp rag or sponge to wipe away any residue. You'll find the paste will stay moist for a few hours.
To clean stubborn pots and pans, pour kosher salt into pan and scrub with ½ lemon. The salt acts as an abrasive.
Mold + Mildew Spray
- 2 cups distilled white vinegar
Pour vinegar into a spray bottle and spray on infected area. The smell will dissipate in a few hours (open a window to speed up the process). For areas with persistent mold problems, use tea tree oil instead of vinegar, combining 2 drops of tea tree oil with 1 cup of water in a spray bottle. A natural antiseptic and fungicide, tea tree oil costs more than vinegar but will kill most types of mold and help prevent new growth.
Always be careful to label containers of homemade cleaners intended for storage and keep them well out of the reach of children.