We would all like to be a little bit greener, but figuring out where to start can be daunting. In her book It’s Easy Being Green, author and founder of GreenMatters.com, Crissy Trask, provides tons of great ideas. In addition to simple green tips, you’ll find info on eco-friendly products, decoding eco-labels, and green living myths. Here are just a few of our favorite tips for making your life and your home greener:
- Fix slow drains. Pour half a cup of baking soda down the drain and follow it with half a cup of white vinegar. Let it sit for twenty minutes to a half hour, then pour boiling water down the drain (about two quarts).
- Turn your soap-bar scraps into usable shavings. Using a cheese grater, grate several scraps into shavings and put them in a decorative bowl next to the sink. Just take a pinch from the bowl with a dry hand, add water and work into a lather.
- Buy a shower curtain that will far outlast cheap plastic ones; a shower curtain made of hemp will naturally resist mildew and is machine washable.
- Save old, tattered towels and T-shirts for cleaning. Cut them into squares and they become useful rags that can replace store-bought rags and paper towels.
- Make your own household cleaners. This is a safer alternative to relying on harsh, toxic commercial products. Effective cleaning products can be made with borax, washing soda, distilled white vinegar, baking soda, salt, club soda, cooking oil and lemons. On their own or combined together, you can make scouring powder, furniture polish, an all-purpose cleaner and more!
- Arrange furniture to take advantage of natural light from windows. Place desks and reading chairs next to windows to cut down on the need and use of supplemental, artificial light during the day.
- Reuse glass jars for food storage. Plastic food tubs, such as those used for yogurt, can also be reused. For larger portions of leftovers, use soup and mixing bowls, then fit the top with a saucer or plate in place of plastic wrap.
- Turn off the oven ten to fifteen minutes before cooking time runs out; food will continue to cook without using the extra electricity.
- Buy several cloth napkins and use them instead of paper at home and on the go. Cloth napkins can be used several times before washing. Give each family member a unique napkin ring to store their napkin between meals.
- Fill a bowl with cold water and wash fruit and vegetables this way, instead of letting water from a faucet run over them.
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