Eco-Friendly

Have an Eco-friendly Holiday: Saving the Earth by Making Less into More

Looking forward to the gifts, food and decorations that holidays give us can be fun.Yet it’s easy to forget that festive occasions like Christmas also add to the pollution, waste and energy consumption the planet already has to bear. Fortunately, there are simple ways to change holiday habits to keep the enjoyment alive without adding to environmentally harmful excess.

The Tree:

Christmas trees are an important symbol of this special day. In the past, trees were often harvested from forests and then cast into dumps after the holidays. Now, if you’re set on a cut tree, a tree farm is your best bet. “For every tree harvested at a tree farm, another 10 are planted to ensure a crop every year,” reminds Homemakers’ magazine. Further, if you put them out for recycling, the trees are chipped and used again. A live, potted tree is also a good option. If you take care of the tree, it can also add to the oxygen circulation in your house year round. Decorating it with homemade ornaments or edible ones like popcorn is also an environmental choice. Try to avoid stringing the tree and the house with lights or replace with LED bulbs.

The Gifts:

Buy less. Many presents bought at holiday time are purchased on the spur of the moment, last minute or without considering long term use. Think beyond the instant of its opening to what will become of the gift in a few weeks or months. If you’re buying battery powered presents, include a recharger and reusable batteries with them. Avoid over packaged items. Buy secondhand: “Try flea markets, antique jewellery and vintage shops for gifts.” Better yet, make your own presents. Homemade jam or chutneys, art, baking, seasoned nuts or dried fruits, or even just a hand designed card with a poem in it create meaningful memories. Or you could give a certificate for childcare, a movie, or a donation in the person’s name to an environmental group or charity. Reuse wrapping and ribbons. Pop the presents in a bag. Don’t forget to recycle all the paper products at the end, instead of adding to the “million extra tons of garbage” that Christmas has been known to produce!

The Food:

Order your organic, free range turkey early. Budget if you can to select only organic vegetables for the feast. Plan your grocery list carefully so that you can save gas by making only one trip to the store. If you can use public transit or walk, do. Carry the food home in canvas bags. Cook only what you and your family can eat, either on the day or as leftovers. Try not to overuse the stove. Compost any food wastes in a backyard or countertop composter. And give thanks for the feast, knowing you’ve done your best to have a truly green holiday!…

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Eco-Friendly | Green Living | Home | Home Appliances

Latest Eco-Friendly Home And Appliances Ideas

It is not only a matter of trend to move into an eco-friendly house, and it is not a secret that such home can save money for the owners. Unconventional energies are now available for more and more people, and you don’t have to spend a fortune today to live in such comfort.

Most common unconventional energies today are able to save up to 50-80% costs, but it is not only about that. A well designed house where angles are calculated to consider heating and air is a major improvement for health as well.

Best materials to use

Materials used to build such a home don’t pollute the environment significantly in any stage of building: design, mounting, or transport. Such materials are not toxic and they have to leave as less debris on the site as possible. A house with a wooden structure ensures a reduced heating cost. Other efficient building materials are straws, mud bricks or even vegetal insulators.

What appliances to get for your green home?

While researching for home appliances for your green home, check for the energy rating and green certification. Appliances like microwave ovens, refrigerator, dishwashers with low energy usage rating, save you money in terms of running costs and also reduce your carbon footprint. Even if they cost a little more it is worth spending on them since the ROI is definitely worth it.

Are there any dangers?

Eco-friendly houses building is relatively new, therefore the demand for such houses is bigger than the offer. If an eco-friendly house is not built right, it might bring more problems than benefits. A wooden framed house which is not well finished is vulnerable to mold, humidity and insects. Moreover, the insulation of such house has to be made of a material that lets the wood breathe and reduce thermal transmission at the same time. It is why you need to make sure the house is built by experienced builders with eco-friendly projects and structures.

The concept of green-house appeared from the need and will of people to protect the environment and to replace traditional concrete buildings with something new. Even if the materials from which these houses can be built are still limited, they are resistant on the long term and they sometimes look like architectural wonders.

Usually, green houses are built to be well exposed to the sun during the winter and shadowed during the summer. The concept of ‘natural’ building means a construction that uses natural elements for maximum effects. A green building is made with care about minimizing the impact on the environment. Besides the actual building projects, other aspects such as efficient illumination and flexibility of the interior space are considered.

What about the costs?

The costs of maintaining such a house are only diminished if the building is also passive, meaning it does not generate pollution. Considering the percentage of energy that you obtain from natural resources, it is possible to save 30-40% on costs yearly. Surprisingly, this is not the main reason for which people choose to move in such houses.

People looking to make this change are usually more interested about their health. The decision to have a baby is one of the most common reasons for which families want to move in a house where it is easy to benefit of natural light and fresh air. Moving in such a house is a decision on the long term; therefore make sure you are choosing the builder with care. As we are talking about relatively new building concepts, most of traditional building companies are not able to build such houses just yet.

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Eco-Friendly

Traditional Food Harvest Preservation Methods

 

Keeping garden harvests stored for the winter season can be as simple as freezer storage or as traditional as old-fashioned canning for homesteaders living off the land. No matter the method, the choices are designed to keep the food supply preserved for winter consumption.

While many of the methods require power, several traditional techniques are designed for storing food without electricity. Canning, cool storage, and drying are among the methods most appealing to homesteaders or eco-minded individuals seeking alternative lifestyles.

Freezing and Drying for Vegetable Storage

The most convenient method of harvest storage for most fruits and vegetables is freezing. Sliced, seasoned or sweetened, then stored in special containers, the vegetables can be kept for extended periods. While the preservation period varies due to fruit type and temperature levels, this method provides quick access and flavor quality in comparison to traditional canning recipes.

 

Drying fruits and vegetables alters the flavor and texture of most, but as a means of storage provides one of the longest-lasting methods for preservation. Many consumers love the flavor of dried fruits, perfect for trail mixes, dips, and soups. Basic additives are sometimes necessary for quality production, while techniques range from sun-dried or natural methods to home drying appliances with quick results.

Methods of Canning Vegetables

Traditional canning allowed farmers’ wives and gardeners to fill jars with boiling water and vegetables or pickled recipes, sealed off in airtight jars that could be stored for months. The method often involved heat, steam, and a hot stove to seal jars of produce, but the results filled the family cellar or pantry with fruits and vegetables for the winter season.

Modern-day canners follow much the same process; but many modern recipes offer improved flavors and freshness for the vegetables sealed inside. Other canning method avoid boiling water to encourage crisp or less-watery produce that resembles fresh garden stock.

Root Cellars for Cool Storage

For gardeners with a back-to-basics mindset, dry root cellars and dugouts are one of Nature’s best pantries for storage. The cool shelter protects thick-skinned produce from wilting heat; it also protects potatoes, pumpkins, and winter squash from harsh freezes during the winter months.

Traditional farmers stored potatoes and onions in barrels; they stacked pumpkins, carrots, and root vegetables or laid them out on racks. Canned goods could also be stored in deep root cellars to provide additional space for farm families.

Preserving vegetables for winter consumption was a means of survival for rural families. For modern-day gardeners, it can be a means of frugality or enjoyment, making the garden last beyond the few short months of summer and the fall harvest.

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Eco-Friendly

Making Eco-Friendly Changing Mats: VOC-Free Diaper Pads Make Great Baby Shower Gifts

 

Most baby changing mats, or diaper pads, are made of a soft, wipeable surface to ensure a hygienic change. However, most are coated with PVC (polyvinyl Chloride) a plastic that has been linked to asthma and other breathing difficulties. PVC does not biodegrade quickly, and when discarded it leaches greenhouse gasses into the air, as it breaks down.

 

Biodegradable Changing Pads

When choosing a fabric for a changing pad, an organic cotton or fabric means that no pesticides were used in growing the material. When the use of the changing pad is over, it can biodegrade quickly. Organic versions of cotton, bamboo fibre, and flannel can be found online, if a fabric store doesn’t supply unbleached or naturally dyed fibre cloth.

Using Online Resources to Buy Organic Fabric

Buying fabric online may make some people nervous: If it’s not the quality of the fabric, or the texture, not being entirely sure if the colour on seen on the computer monitor matches the actual item are all considerations when buying anything over the Internet. However, if the store has a return policy for items bought online, buying organic fabric online may be worth it.

In many cases yardage costs less online than in a store, as shopkeepers don’t have to pay for storage, inventory and staff. If an online purchase is truly an eyesore, sending it back to the warehouse if the purchase policy allows may still be worth the cost of shipping.

Where to Find Organic Fabric Online

Some sites that sell organic cloth online are:

 

  • Organic Fabric Online (Australia)
  • Atlantis Fabrics (USA)
  • Rawganique (Canada)

An online search using words like “sustainable fibres” or “organic, unbleached” along with the name a destination closer to delivery will also reduce the carbon footprint for making this homemade gift.

Making A Changing Pad

Some changing pads are as decorative as others are simple: Some use quilted fabric for texture, and others sandwich a thin foam rubber between two sheets. Using a plastic based foam padding is not recommended for children; the glues and the materials often release deadly Volatile Organic Compounds, or VOC’s, for short.

Once a style of fabric has been selected, making one doesn’t have to involve long and complicated sewing patterns. The average diaper pad should be a foot longer at the head and the foot to accommodate a child who may be up to two years old, and slow to potty training.

Online patterns for making your own diaper pad can be found on the craft blog, Sew Take a Hike, which includes photographs and a step by step tutorial. Another option is modifying a pattern for placemats by making them a foot longer at each end; eHow has several options that include photographs.

A changing mat as a baby shower gift is especially well received when it includes the colours of the baby’s nursery: A discrete peek or some questions can make this gift an eco friendly delight.

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Eco-Friendly

Keep Toxic Chemicals Out Of Trash: Dangerous Wastes Can Enter Food, Water Chains in Household Garbage

 

Your home’s medicine cabinets hold potential dangers not only to small children in your family, but to the environment and — ultimately — all of us.

That’s because disposing of old medicines, especially by flushing them, can allow a virtual cocktail of pharmaceutical chemicals to enter the sewers, natural water ways and, eventually, our freshwater drinking supplies. It’s definitely not a case where “what you can’t see can’t hurt you.”

Scientists are discovering more and more how many ordinary household products end up contaminating water resources and harming aquatic life and other creatures higher up the food chain. Their findings go way beyond the already-alarming recent revelation of the presence of numerous pharmaceuticals in municipal drinking water supplies in the U.S.

Chemicals linked to detergents, perfumes, antibacterial soaps and medications, for instance, have been found in earthworms, which play a fundamental role at the beginning of the human food chain. And discarded birth-control pills, hormone-replacement medications and livestock hormones have been linked to sexual and developmental abnormalities in fish, frogs and other animals.

So how can you avoid contributing to the problem? These three recommendations can help:

  1. Check with your pharmacy before discarding old prescription medications. Initiatives like the Teleosis Institute’s Green Pharmacy Program now accept certain unused pharmaceuticals for environmentally safe disposal. Some aid organizations also collect medications for use in developing countries or after natural disasters. If old drugs you no longer need can help someone else rather than end up contaminating the environment, why not take the time to find out how?
  2. Keep disposed drugs from leaking into the environment. First, to discourage anyone else from using old medications, crush pills, mix with salt, flour or charcoal, and return to the original container. Then, tightly wrap the container with duct tape and seal in a plastic zip bag before throwing in the trash. Tossing out old medications this way helps reduce the chances of chemicals seeping into landfills and eventually entering natural waterways.
  3. Finally, avoid unnecessary medications whenever you can. While some medicated products are essential, you can easily do without others such as antibacterial soaps. These soaps not only contain triclosan that can harm algae and fish, but they’re increasingly being blamed for encouraging the rise of antibiotic-resistant “superbugs” that are dangerous to animals and people alike. Stick with old-fashioned soap and water for hand-cleaning, and consider — carefully — natural remedies for other conditions. You can find helpful information about such remedies at MayoClinic.com and the University of Maryland Medical Center’s Complementary and Alternative Medicine Index.

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