Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Green tips for your home: buy food in bulk

Buying Food in Bulk

You can implement many strategies to ensure your home is greener, environmentally friendly and less toxic, both for you and for the earth. This post will talk about the benefits of buying food in bulk.

Consider joining a food co-op, which is a volunteer-based, not-for-profit food provider. Most foods in co-ops are generally organic, are quite well priced and because they are organic, are much better for you and for the planet as they use a lot less energy to be produced and have less of a load on the planet, due to the sustainable farming practices used to grow organic food.

If you buy your food in bulk, you will achieve two objectives:
  • you will get the food cheaper than if you bought it in small lots and
  • you will use less packaging, which decreases your load on the planet. Bulk food buying is much more environmentally friendly as less packaging is involved and less energy is used to produce the food and packaging.
As you can see, there are so many ways to save the planet, which use up less energy, produce less pollution, save you more money and help your physical fitness. It's a win-win situation. So what are you waiting for?

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Green tips for your home: use hard flooring

Use Hardwood Flooring

You can implement many strategies to ensure your home is greener, environmentally friendly and less toxic, both for you and for the earth. This post will talk about having hardwood floors to detoxify your home to ensure it is greener and healthier for you, your family and your pets (if you have any).

There are several choices for hardwood flooring, which are the best not just for the environment, but also to your health, irrespective of whether or not you have allergies, asthma, sinusitis or any other upper or lower respiratory conditions. Hardwood floors do not provide any fibres for the dust, dirt and dust mites to get trapped, which you will breath in every time you walk over the carpet and disturb them.

The advantages of hard flooring are many:
  • Less dust and dust mites - since there are few fibres for the dust mite to live, there should be few of these mites, plus the amount of dust collected will be less
  • Easier to clean - hard flooring is much easier to clean and once it is cleaned, it stays cleaner than carpet. Any spills can be easily mopped up and will not normally cause a stain on most hard flooring types. All that is required is a vacuum and mopping the floor with some mild soapy water
  • Cheaper to clean - hard flooring does not require regular steam cleaning (like carpet requires) to keep clean - it is simply a matter of mopping the floor, which can be done quickly, which means savings on the at least yearly steam clean that carpet needs
  • Better for people with allergies / asthma - people with lower and upper respiratory conditions do so much better and suffer less episodes of illness when they are not exposed to dust and dust mites
  • Modern and stylish - hard flooring looks more modern and stylish compared to some garish or worn away carpet which may have been there for over 20 years. While carpet fashion dates, natural hard flooring does not.
  • Longer lasting - carpet, especially in the high traffic areas, wears away quite quickly, especially the cheaper variety (which tends to be put into most apartments these days). Hard flooring on the other hand, lasts a lot longer, even in the high traffic areas and even if there is a lot of usage of the flooring
Types of hard flooring:
  • Wooden Floorboards - these give a warmth and richness to any room because of their colour and natural material. Wooden flooring can be either long planks or more complicated parquetry. The type to use depends on your budget and taste. It is not recommended to lacquer the floors, as this produces noxious fumes from the toxic chemicals used, but instead to use environmentally friendly, water-based floor varnish, which give more of a matt finish. Floating floorboards can also be purchased which have been varnished with an environmentally friendly product.
  • To clean wooden floorboards - simply vacuum or sweep weekly with periodic buffing. Wash with a mop using 4 parts water to 1 part vinegar.
  • Tiles - there are a variety of tile types that can be used for flooring in all areas of a house or apartment, but obviously some are more compatible to certain areas than others. The most commonly used types of tiles are:
    1. Ceramic/porcelain - these type of tiles are dense and strong, easy to clean, long lasting and does not absorb smell, water or carry allergens. Since ceramic and porcelain tiles are man-made, there is also more flexibility in the tile design.
    2. Mosaic - these type of tiles are basically smaller versions of the other types of tiles and can be made from a wide variety of materials, depending on which area they are to be used in. They are more suited as a feature of a tiled floor, rather than as the whole floor, but can be used on the whole floor. They take more time to be laid as there are so many of them to put together, but the patterns and features that can be created are wonderful.
    3. Terracotta - these type of tiles are a traditional,authentic flooring product that possess a warmth,charm and character. Hand-made terracotta tiles are formed by pressing raw clay into moulds: this produces a durable but low density tile.Compared with denser alternatives terracotta tiles act as an excellent insulator underfoot,almost eliminating the need for assistance from under-floor heating

To clean tiles - simply wash with a damp mop. Natural (non-abrasive) detergents in water can also be used, but not on terracotta.
  • Stone - this type of flooring is more suited to outside areas, but it can be used inside a house too, in a den, rumpus room or family room, as long as some soft, natural-fibre rugs are used to soften the flooring. While stone is a very natural flooring type, it is not suitable for the interior of apartments
  • To clean stone flooring - simply wash with a damp mop. Natural (non-abrasive) detergents in water can also be used.
  • Marble - this is a a heavily relied upon natural stone for flooring, especially in upmarket houses and hotels due to it's reliability and because it is a long-lasting, yet very beautiful flooring type. Marble is a natural stone product, very durable and stain resistant. Marble can stain unless it is is sealed on a regular basis, especially in the high traffic areas, but always choose a natural, environmentally friendly sealant.
    To clean marble flooring - simply wash using a damp mop and periodic buffing. Natural (non-abrasive) detergents in water can also be used.

  • To clean granite flooring - simply wash using a damp mop and periodic buffing. Natural (non-abrasive) detergents in water can also be used.
  • Slate - this type of flooring is a natural stone, which works well in wet areas (bathroom, kitchen), but also equally well in lounge rooms and other areas of the house. It may need some rugs to warm up bedrooms if used there.
    To clean slate flooring - simply use a damp mop with mild soap-water mixture

In regards to the rugs that can used on the hard flooring, this is much more preferable to carpet because rugs (if they are larger in size) can be washed either on the clothes line, where they can be shampooed and hosed down or in the washing machine (if they are smaller in size).

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Green tips for your home: detoxify your home by removing carpets

Remove Your Carpets

You can implement many strategies to ensure your home is greener, environmentally friendly and less toxic, both for you and for the earth. This post will talk about removing your carpets to detoxify your home to ensure it is greener and healthier for you, your family and your pets (if you have any).

No matter how many times you vacuum, steam clean or wash your carpet, it will still be a haven for little dust mites, dust particles, dirt and human tissue (plus animal tissue if you have any pets). Carpet is probably the worse choice for flooring, because it allows all sorts of dirt, dust and bugs to become trapped and live inside the fibres. It is not a very good flooring choice for people who have allergies, asthma, sinusitis or any other upper or lower respiratory conditions.

Carpet, whether wool or synthetic, produces little fibres that break away from the strands every time you walk over them. These little bits of fibre are one of the items that cause irritation to people who have allergies, asthma, sinusitis or any other upper or lower respiratory conditions. Synthetic carpet is probably worse than pure wool (or wool blended) carpet, due to the very nature of the fibres in the carpet, which have been processed and treated with so many chemicals on many levels. A lot of energy goes into making carpet, which is not very sustainable for the earth. This is not very environmentally friendly.

If you have carpet flooring, the best advice would be to rip it all up in every area of your house and reveal the wooden floors underneath, or if you are in an apartment, you will need to get environmentally friendly floating floor boards to take the place of the carpet. The next part describes why hard (non-carpeted) flooring is a better choice for floor coverings than carpet.




As you can see, there are so many ways to save the planet, which use up less energy, produce less pollution, save you more money and help your physical fitness. It's a win-win situation. So what are you waiting for?

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Green tips for your home: detoxify your home with pot plants

Detoxify your home with pot plants

You can implement many strategies to ensure your home is greener, environmentally friendly and less toxic, both for you and for the earth. This post will talk about using pot-plants to detoxify your home to ensure it is greener and healthier for you, your family and your pets (if you have any).

Pot plants are natural air filters, which help to detoxify and improve the air in the rooms that they reside in - they are much more effective (and cheaper) than the air filters that can be purchased in shops. Research shows that plants absorb toxins such as cigarette smoke, pollution from car fumes, carpet, wooden floor lacquer and even the fumes given off by new furniture (from the lacquers, glues and even fabric coverings). Plants just suck up all these toxins and release good-quality oxygen into the air around them. Plants basically take in all the rubbish and release all the excellent oxygen to ensure the air is healthy and breathable.

The most effective benefit of having plants inside your home, especially if you have an apartment, is that the plants are providing more oxygen into the air, by removing some of the pollutants from the air around them. This is positive both for you and for the earth. Less pollution means less greenhouse gases and this is what will help reduce the toxic load on the planet.

The best types of plants that help to humidify and freshen up stuffy environments are:
  • Gerbera daisies (shown in the image above)
  • Ivy
  • Mexican cacti
  • Rubber plants 
  • Spider plants

So if you live close to a main street, in a busy city or just want to improve the quality of air in your apartment or house, why not get yourself a lovely, health-giving plant to help your improve the air you breath. Search Amazon.com for pot plants

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Green tips for your home: use pavers to use less energy

Pavers/tiles

You can implement many strategies to ensure your home is greener, environmentally friendly and less toxic, both for you and for the earth. This post will talk about using paver or tiles to detoxify your outdoor areas to ensure they are greener and healthier for you, your family and your pets (if you have any).

Instead of using concrete in outdoor driveways, pavements and exposed entertainment areas, consider using tiles/pavers instead. Concrete heats up very quickly and gives out heat, which means that if there is a concreted area near your house, it will radiate that heat toward the house, making it hotter and making it necessary to use air conditioning to cool the house.

The paver/tiles on the other hand, are much cooler in temperature, do not radiate heat to surrounding areas, are much more aesthetically pleasing to the eye and can even be placed so that vegetation grows in between the tiles/pavers.

Pavers can be made from a number of different materials - granite, sandstone, brick- and the best material to use for your areas will depend on where they will be used. Tiles can also be made from a number of different materials - ceramic, granite, marble - and the best material to use for your areas will depend on where they will be used and how much wear they will need to bear. Pavers are more likely to be used in external, uncovered areas such as driveways and paths, whereas tiles are more likely to be used in covered walkways, patios and verandahs.

As you can see, there are so many ways to save the planet, which use up less energy, produce less pollution, save you more money and help your physical fitness. It's a win-win situation. So what are you waiting for?  Search Amazon.com for pavers stones

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Green tips for your home: use composting

Composting

You can implement many strategies to ensure your home is greener, environmentally friendly and less toxic, both for you and for the earth. This post will talk about using composting to detoxify your home to ensure it is greener and healthier for you, your family and your pets (if you have any).

Composting is a great way to get rid of natural waste, which is unbelievably beneficial for your garden and helps to reduce the amount of garbage in our dumps. Ensure you separate all your plant-based garbage into a separate container at home, in order to take it to the compost heap in your backyard on a regular basis. 

Composting is an excellent way to keep your plants, trees and shrubs healthy that is free! There can be initial costs in setting up the compost bin, but there are equally simple ways to make your own, at no cost too. All the plant-based waste you put into the compost bin will decompose and provide excellent food for your plants when it is ready to be spread around the garden.



As you can see, there are so many ways to save the planet, which use up less energy, produce less pollution, save you more money and help your physical fitness. It's a win-win situation. So what are you waiting for?  Search Amazon.com for composting bin


Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Green tips for your home: detoxify your shower head

Shower heads

You can implement many strategies to ensure your home is greener, environmentally friendly and less toxic, both for you and for the earth. This post will talk about using a special type of shower head to detoxify your shower to ensure it is greener and healthier for you, your family.

Statistics show that hot water usage in an average home represents about 35% of the total power usage and the long, hot shower people love to enjoy is the largest part of hot water usage in an average home. A water efficient shower head can use up to 30% less water than a normal shower head and the best thing of all, it can be fitted to most showers.

An energy efficient shower head should have the certified WELS 3 star rating from the Australian Government.

It is really simple to install an energy efficient shower head to reduce the amount of water that comes through, which means less use of hot water, less energy usage. This is a really simple, cost-effective way to reduce the amount of water used. Many areas of the world are experiencing drought conditions and if everyone had an energy efficient shower head, it would reduce a great deal of stress on water usage.

Remember, water is a precious resource, without which all life would perish, so use it wisely.

The Australian government has created the Water Efficiency and Labelling and Standards (WELS) Scheme, a web site created by the Australian government aimed at helping consumers choose more efficient products to help them save water.

As you can see, there are so many ways to save the planet, which use up less energy, produce less pollution, save you more money and help your physical fitness. It's a win-win situation. So what are you waiting for?  Search Amazon.com for water efficient shower heads

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

More Green Tips for Reducing Energy and Saving the Planet

Another post with information about how to make sure your home (and your life) is greener - to save money, save energy and save the planet for everyone.


1. Clean without toxic chemicals

Most conventional cleaning products you purchase at the supermarket are full of very toxic chemicals that are not only bad for the environment when they get caught up in our waterways, but they are also extremely toxic to humans.

There are so many natural ways to clean every part of your house without having to resort to using these toxic products. This will allow you to use cleaner and greener cleaning methods that will not harm you, your pets, your children or the earth:

  • Buy natural cleaning products from your local health food store - these are made without any petrochemicals, without harmful preservatives and other artificial additives (which are known irritants, especially for people with allergies, asthma and other respiratory disorders)

    Buy only the natural cleaning product that have a guarantee of being toxic chemical-free, not just biodegradable, as they they are not as good. These products will not only clean all the different areas of your home, but will leave it feeling fresh and clean, without the strong smells of ammonia or bleach or other strong aromas that are added to conventional cleaning products to mask the strong chemicals used.

    The natural cleaning products are better for you because they generally do not have the same abrasive effect on you or your home. Natural products, while they do an excellent job, because they do not use any harmful chemicals, are much gentler on you and the environment.

  • To clean stainless steel pots and pans, use a little bit of bicarbonate of soda (purchased in the cooking section of supermarkets), add a little bit of vinegar and scrub. Use a little more bicarbonate of soda if the pot/pan is really hard to clean.

    The same method is good for cleaning the kitchen sink, if it is made from stainless steel. If it is made from a plastic, then just use the bicarbonate of soda only, as the vinegar may be too abrasive - use a softer cleaning scourer.

    This very simple, but effective method for cleaning, is going to make your stainless steel pots and pans looking like brand new.

  • Bathtubs and bathroom sinks do really well with the bicarbonate of soda and vinegar cleaning method.

    Simply sprinkle some bicarbonate of soda into your bathtub or sink, all around the bottom and sides (make sure it is a little wet so that the bicarbonate sticks to it) and then start scrubbing.

    Once you have scrubbed it from top to bottom and the sides, simply add some vinegar and start scrubbing again.

    Rinse out with water from the taps.

    Make sure you have the doors open when you are cleaning, especially if you have been using toxic cleaners before, to get rid of any chemical odours from the previous cleaning. Also turn the fan on or have the window open too if that is the case.

  • You can deodorise carpet so simply with bicarbonate of soda. Most carpet cleaning products actually have a lot of bicarbonate of soda (it is the main ingredient in these products, but they also add other unnecessary and toxic chemicals too).

    Simply sprinkle a little bit of bicarbonate of soda onto your carpet (do one room at a time as it is easier), enough to cover the floor, but a very light dusting.

    Leave it for about 2-3 hours.

    Then vacuum up all the bicarbonate of soda from the carpet. The effect of this is two-fold: 1) You will deodorise the carpet from any smells that may be there and 2) you also clean the carpet at the same time.

  • To make a nice smelling room deodoriser:

    Simply add 1.5 cups of water and 1.5 cups of vinegar and 8 drops of lavender essential oil (or any other oil that you like) to an empty spray bottle.

    Shake it up to mix the ingredients in really well. Then spray your room when you want to make it smell nice.

    You can try a combination of different essential oils to suit your taste. This is a simple, cheap and non-toxic room spray.

    You can even spray this deodoriser into the carpet, wait a few hours for it to dry, then use the carpet.

2. Rework your toilet

These days, most toilets are fitted with a dual flush capability, so most toilets are now more environmentally friendly and can use less energy (and water). There are though, some things you can do to ensure your toilet saves even more water (and energy):

  • Fix any leaks in your toilet - doing this can literally save hundreds of litres of water a year
  • Choose a new toilet that has a high water conservation rating - this is the new rating for toilets which means that the higher the rating, the more water the toilet flush saves
  • Always buy recycled toilet paper to use in the toilet

3. Walk more

There are many ways you can save your petrol and engage in some extra physical activity, just through simple ways:

  • Use public transport as much as you can - this saves money, petrol and energy
  • Walk to a further bus stop (or train/tram station) that you normally get, this is an excellent way to get some residual exercise in your day and also a good way to save money from shortening your trip
  • Walk to the local shops when you need some simple groceries
  • Try to form a car pool with other people you work with - this will save you all money, reduce the amount of petrol fumes (pollution) and will help the planet - the more people in the car, the more the planet (and your pocket) will thank you
  • Try to ride a bike to work if you can - this is a free form of transport which also gives you a great workout
  • If you can walk to work, then do so - what an excellent way to engage in some physical activity and save money
As you can see, there are so many ways to save the planet, which use up less energy, produce less pollution, save you more money and help your physical fitness. It's a win-win situation. So what are you waiting for?