Have you been looking for ways to be more environmentally friendly? The new year is a great time to reassess and reevaluate areas of our lives that often get overlooked. Attached to this blog is a “Green Home Quiz” that you can do to roughly, emphasis on roughly, estimate how environmentally friendly your home is! There is also an attached “Hazardous Home Waste Bingo!” to explore just how many hazardous waste items might be lurking in your home! Don’t despair if you find items that surprise you, many towns have hazardous waste disposal plans set up because of how unavoidable some of these products are. Here is a link to the Mass.gov website with helpful tools on how to properly dispose of waste in your home if you are living in Massachusetts.
It’s so easy to get stuck in the routines of our daily lives without taking stock of the impact our routines may have on the larger scale, such as how our day-to-day decisions add up over time. One area of our lives where we tend to get stuck in habits is how we clean our homes! It is so satisfying to find the perfect cleaner and watch dirt and dust disappear, but do you really know what your cleaner is made of? What makes it so effective? If you’re looking for alternative cleaning solutions, check out these cool home-made products from David Suzuki and Kathy Vanderlinden in their ECO-FUN book!
For these projects, you will need: Empty spray bottles (reused are the best), small jar, measuring cup, measuring spoons, paper, coloring supplies, white craft glue
Fill a spray bottle half way with white vinegar and half way with water. This will make a 1:1 water:vinegar solution! Perfect, you're done!
Once you're done filling the spray bottle, make a label so that friends and family know what is in the bottle. You can even list the ingredients! When using this solution, be sure to wipe down surfaces with newspaper not paper towels or cloths. Using newspaper will ensure that your glass and mirrors dry streak free!
For some eco-friendly furniture polish, you will need: 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 2 teaspoons of white vinegar OR lemon juice, and 2 cups of warm water.
Mix all ingredients in an empty spray bottle. Before each use, heat the mixture and shake well! Once the solution is heated and mixed up, it is the perfect polish for any varnished wood. After applying the polish to your furniture or floors or whatever, rub the surface completely dry with a soft cloth for best results.
Have silver in your home that has seen better days but don't want to bring harsh chemicals into your home? Don't despair! For this polish all you need is: 2 tablespoons or baking soda, 2 tablespoons of salt and 1 piece of aluminum foil.
Mix all ingredients in a small jar and add 2 teaspoons to 1 quart of water to soak your silver in! The amount of water you use will vary with the amount of silver you are polishing. Keep an eye on the piece of aluminum foil because once it turns black, it means it is time to replace the foil. You should be able to see your silver changing from tarnished to polished the longer it soaks!
Not sure you're ready to completely kick the old cleaning habits? No problem! Change happens one step at a time. Try making some alternative cleaning solutions and using them in between your bigger cleans as a way to slowly introduce the idea of using different methods of cleaning. You can also conduct an experiment between your old cleaners and your new and improved eco-cleaners! See what happens if you clean something half with store bought products and half with home-made products! Chances are, the results will be pretty similar.
As mentioned before, below are two fun activities you can print out to see how green your home is and where you might have some hazardous waste lurking! These activities are meant to be fun and inspire alternative ways of thinking about how we use and reuse products in our homes!
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