4 Simple Dietary Changes That Support the Environment

More than three-quarters of Americans claim to be eco-friendly, yet when they consider their lifestyle a quarter of residents realize they do very little or nothing to protect the planet. It’s tough to remember to bring grocery cloth bags to the grocery store, and installing solar panels seems like a lot of work. But what if you knew that some simple dietary changes could have a big impact on the environment? Read on to discover the easy ways your plate could help the planet.

Embrace Meat-Free Monday

The environmental case for adopting a vegetarian or vegan diet is pretty compelling, but this change can be tough for the committed carnivores around the country. A much simpler approach is to experiment with a meat-free diet one day a week.

If everyone in the United States left meat off of their plate once a week, we’d save 100 billion gallons of water, which is enough to serve all the homes in New England for nearly four months. We’d also save 1.5 billion pounds of crops, which could feed the state of New Mexico for a year rather than hungry livestock. It would also reduce our country’s carbon dioxide emissions by 1.2 million tons, which is as much as France produces.

Vegetable rich pastas, soups, risottos, and salads taste so delicious, you probably won’t even miss your steak! Try experimenting with a range of mushrooms if you’re craving the earthiness of meat.

Choose a Non-Salt Water Softener

Water is one of the most commonly used elements in the kitchen, a base for stocks, sauces, soups, and beverages. However, more than 85 percent of American households have hard water, which can clog pipes and leave unsightly residue. Many households install a water softener to solve this problem, but many of these units also take a toll on the planet. To reduce the environmental impact, consider a non-salt water softener instead.

The waste water created by conventional water softeners is rich in chloride, which can harm plants and wildlife. A typical water softener can easily generate 600 gallons of waste water every year, so the impact of this refuse can’t be underestimated. The carbon footprint created transporting heavy bags of salt to the units should also concern sustainably-minded consumers.

Non-salt water softeners treat the water supply without stripping it of beneficial minerals including calcium and magnesium. That makes them a smarter choice for your health, your pipes, and the planet.

Eat Local Produce

Produce-market

A study by Toronto’s Food Share found the average North American meal contains ingredients from five different countries, which adds up to some serious food miles. Research suggests most American food travels almost 1,500 miles before it’s consumed. Compare that with a meal created from meat, fruit, and vegetables bought from the local farmers’ market. Altogether, that locally-sourced dish’s ingredients have traveled just 60 miles to get to your plate.

The importation of food is now the largest component of air freight, which generates more pollutants than any other form of transportation. The carbon footprint gets even larger when you consider the need for extended refrigeration and packaging.

So bypass the supermarket and start visiting your local farmers’ market instead. The produce you’ll find here is much fresher and more delicious. Your market purchases also support the planet and your region’s farmers.

Choose Whole Foods

Health professionals have encouraged us to steer clear of processed foods and choose whole foods for decades, but eco-warriors have a new reason to heed their advice. These foods also take a real toll on the planet. Food production and supply accounts for 19 percent of America’s energy use. The bulk of this energy is used producing and packaging convenient, yet unhealthy, processed foods.

So steer clear of the frozen food and confectionary aisles and spend more time loading up your kart with whole foods like fruits and vegetables, rice, and oats. Cooking from scratch takes a bit more effort than microwaving ready meals, but the planet, and your waistline, will thank you for it.

You are what you eat, but the planet is too. Make these simple dietary changes to show your support for the environment.

 

Ethical Home Furnishing Alternatives: from Mango wood furniture to buying locally

Support producers and craftsman around the world and be more environmentally friendly by discovering how you can make your home furnishings more ethical. You’ll be surprised how much you can enjoy filing your home with beautiful and unique furniture that doesn’t have a negative impact on communities and the environment where they are produced, without the enormous price tag!

Change to mango wood furniture
More and more illegal timber is being imported into the US causing real concern for the world’s forests.  Therefore, to help save the forests, furnish your home with Indonesian mango wood furniture. You may be thinking, “how is this type of wood ethical and sustainable?” Unable to harvest fruits from a mango tree when it no longer is effectively producing fruit, mango farmers cut down the trees and replace them with more trees to maintain the mango forests, fruit and employment in the local area while adding an extra income to the farmers. Whether you’re after a new coffee table for your living room or a book case for your study, Mango wood furniture is a unique alternative for your home.

Vintage furniture
Buying vintage furniture for your home is not only a great way to make your home more ethical, but is also a fantastic way to furnish your home in a unique style that is completely your own.  Explore a variety of different vintage furniture stores near to your home or alternatively if you live in an area with newer builds then venture out to somewhere with older homes. Flea markets and auctions are a great way to find one off pieces of vintage furniture.

Shop locally
If you shop locally for your furniture, you have a much better chance of buying ethically. So before you go to purchase your furniture from a big brand, have a browse around smaller independent shops that are more local to you. If you buy locally, you’re likely to have a much better idea of where the product originates from, and how it was manufactured.  Buying locally will also require less transportation, reducing your carbon footprint, and studies have shown that more of your money is used to make purchases from other local businesses, strengthening the economy of your community.

Upcycling
Upcycling is a fantastic way of converting useless products into new products and is an excellent way to reduce your foot print.  So before you go to throw something out, think “is there a way I can reuse this?” It’s the perfect opportunity to get creative and make something entirely unique for your home. Here’s a few upcycling examples to get you started…

Getting rid of old kitchen cabinets? Give them a lick of paint and add some hooks and you’ve got the perfect innovative coat rack!

Upcycling

Image Credit: Sticks and Stones

 

Use an old tea cup and saucer to create a quirky office lamp.

 tea-cup-lamp

Choose your child’s favorite story book and make some cute bunting to decorate their room.

book-bunting

Image Credit: Bloesem Blog

This article was written by Laura Harrison on behalf of Fountain Partnership, an SEO agency in Norwich.  Laura is a professional writer that enjoys writing about a broad range of topics, in particular home improvements. 

Maintaining Your Organic Bedding

 Animal-Print-BeddingSo, you are amongst those nature loving fashion conscious people, who have adorned their bedroom with eco-friendly organic bedding. No matter it is wool, cotton or bamboo bedding… You have invested a lot of your time researching the best for your bedroom.

Organic bedding is mostly machine washable, but if it is cotton bedding, take extra care that you swab it with cold water or lukewarm water. This will aid you to avoid shrinkages and general fabric wear and tear.

Go green completely… even while washing your organic bed sheets! Use detergents and fabric softeners that are chemical and phosphate free. This will ensure that you do not add toxins to your bed sheets and local water systems.

What to do if your bamboo bedding catches  stains? Try the years old home-made stain remover formula! Soak the stained bamboo bedding for a few hours in a diluted vinegar solution and then keep it exposed to the sun for drying. Sunlight will act as a natural stain fader. You can also test the magic of grapefruit seed extract. Put a little bit of it on the stain directly and see the stains go vanish.

Although, some of the natural bedding like the bamboo bedding are hypoallergenic and mold & mildew resistant, but it is always a good idea to air your bedding  once a month in the fresh breeze and sunlight. This will keep it hygienic and away from allergens, mold, bed bugs and unwanted odors.

Are you planning to store your bedding and not using it for a while? If yes, then this storage advice is a must for you! Store your bedding at a cool and a dry place well wrapped in a paper or a cloth bag for proper airing. Add some cedar chips to the packing to avoid moth damage.

You can always take professional help for your natural bedding maintenance. Sometimes you need an experienced professional cleaner, who can not only clean but can value your precious collection of green bed sheets and comforters. Hunt for one, who uses wet cleaning methods rather the dry cleaning, as wet cleaning is more healthy for your bedding and you.

Hope the above stated tips and tricks will help you get the most out of your green organic bedding purchase.

This post is created by Dana Smith, She is a avid user of bamboo bedding and other organic beddings. She loves to share the tips on how one can increase the live of the bedding.

30 Energy Saving Tips

energy-saving-tipsTip 1: Alternative Fuels
Diesel and petrol aren’t the only options available when it comes to running modern day cars. Hydrogen is an example of an alternative fuel that can be used to run cars that are manufactured nowadays. Therefore, we recommend exploring the different types of fuel when purchasing a new car.

Tip 2: Boiler
You will end up paying more in maintenance costs than the value of your boiler if you have an old one. It is recommended that you fit a new boiler every 15 years. Failures are more likely to occur in older boilers. You may make savings on your energy bill by connecting a new boiler.

Tip 3: Car
You can save fuel by driving your car with the correct tire pressure. Also, plan your trips in advance so you combine as many trips as possible into one car journey.

Tip 4: Doors
Cracks and gaps in doors can cause huge drafts, so you should always make sure they’re sealed. To keep the heat in, you should also keep doors closed.

Tip 5: Energy Monitors
Find out which appliances are using the most energy by using an energy monitor. This will also allow you to estimate the cost of your energy bills.

Tip 6: Food
Our local shops stock food from all over the world. But have you ever considered the air miles it takes to get there and the amount of carbon that is produced? That’s why it is better for the environment to buy food from local suppliers.

Tip 7: Garden
Manure can be used to help your garden plants grow. You can create your own by using a composter to turn your leftover food and vegetable peelings into manure.

Tip 8: Heating Oil
Heating oils that take longer to burn have now been introduced. This produces less CO2 and as a consequence will reduce the amount of heating oil you need.

Tip 9: Insulation
You can save a fortune on your energy bill by having good insulation. If you don’t have the right insulation, you will be paying to re-heat your home over and over again.

Tip 10: Jackets
Likewise you will constantly be paying to re-heat your water if you don’t look after your boiler. Your water bill can be reduced by as much as 75% by using an insulation jacket.

Tip 11: Kettle
You will use more energy if you fill the kettle to the top. Before you fill your kettle, you should think about how much water you actually need.

Tip 12: Light bulbs
More energy is used by standard light bulbs when compared to energy saving light bulbs. However, they use more energy. Switching light bulbs can save you a fortune on your energy bill, yet it is a relatively easy change to make.

Tip 13: Mobile Phones
Many companies offer to recycle old mobile phones and can even offer you a small payment. Therefore, you should bear this in mind when purchasing a new mobile phone.

Tip 14: Oven
Halogen ovens can reduce your cooking time by 50%.This will make you a huge saving on your energy bill.

Tip 15: Pipes
Securing your water pipes will lower your carbon footprint. It will also keep your water warmer for longer.

Tip 16: Quarterly Cleaning
Any appliance with a filter should be cleaned once per quarter. To function properly they will automatically use more energy when they are clogged up.

Tip 17: Renewable Energy
You can sell energy back to your energy supplier if you have solar panels. You can make money from the energy you don’t use.

Tip 18: Shower
An average shower uses 35 liters of water, whereas an average bath will use 100 liters of water. Your energy and water bill will be reduced if you stop having baths and take showers instead.

Tip 19: Timers
You can state a certain time to switch off all your appliances. If you like to fall asleep with the television on then this will be handy for you.

Tip 20: Use Your Hands
You will make huge savings on your energy bill by putting the modern day food appliances away. Cutting, slicing and mixing food by hand will not use any energy.

Tip 21: Windows
A huge draft can be caused by even the smallest gap in a window, so it’s important to seal them. Double glazed windows will also keep your home warmer. Also remember to close your windows properly.

Tip 22: Curtains
Keep the cold out at night by shutting your curtains. It is also important not to drape them over radiators as this will prevent the heat from circulating.

Tip 23: Fridge
Regularly defrosting your fridge will make it more energy efficient. It is also a good idea to leave hot food to cool before putting it in the fridge.

Tip 24: Washing Machine & Dishwasher
Half-load and economy wash settings should be used on your washing machine. The high setting on your dishwasher should only be used for the dirtiest dishes.

Tip 25: Get Cosy
Keep warm by wearing sweaters, socks and slippers at home during the winter. You can stay warm in bed by having an extra blanket.

Tip 26: Plan Meals
By cooking food in bulk and freezing the excess to eat later you can save you a lot of energy. You can also determine what appliances you want to use by planning your meals.

Tip 27: Cooking Heat
After cooking, leave the oven door open. This will allow the warm air to circulate around the kitchen. It may even allow you to turn your thermostat down.

Tip 28: Dishwasher
Don’t rinse dishes before putting them in the dishwasher. Just scrape off any dirt and leftover food into the bin.

Tip 29: Full Fridge
More energy will be used by is partly full in comparison to a full fridge. This is because the fridge is working at full capacity when full.

Tip 30: Right Ring
You the right ring for the size pan you are using. You will waste energy bill placing a small pan on a big ring.

Nationwide Fuels is an energy provider in the UK.

Image Credit: University of Nebraska-Lincoln

5 DIY Options for Household Cleaners

CleaningDo it yourself options are great for many things—it saves money, gives you the satisfaction that yes, you put in that kitchen sink and in some cases gives you eco-friendly alternatives. Household cleaners clean your home, but also bring in toxic chemicals. Check out these five DIY house cleaning options that save you money and chemical use.

Bathtub Cleaner
The bathroom is one of those rooms that you want spotless, yet it always seems dirty. Instead of bleaching, and spraying toxic chemicals in the tub, try this option instead. It does a great job and you will save money while benefiting your health.

Ingredients:
2/3 cup baking soda

½ cup vegetable oil-based liquid soap

2 tablespoons vinegar

In a spray bottle (or similar container) combine the above ingredients together and shake well. You can apply with a sponge or cloth. Make sure to rinse well, the vinegar and baking soda tend to leave a light film if not rinsed thoroughly.

Tile Cleaner
There are a few options here—each work just as well, just depends on your preference. For more great ideas like the ones below check out The Daily Green.

Ingredients: Baking Soda
Lemon Juice
Vinegar
Tea Tree Oil

Baking Soda and Water: Dust surfaces with baking soda, then scrub with a moist sponge or cloth. If you have tougher grime, sprinkle on some kosher salt, and work up some elbow grease.

Lemon Juice or Vinegar: Got stains, mildew or grease streaks? Spray or douse with lemon juice or vinegar. Let sit a few minutes, then scrub with a stiff brush.

Disinfectant: Instead of bleach, make your own disinfectant by mixing 2 cups of water, 3 tablespoons of liquid soap and 20 to 30 drops of tea tree oil. It’s easy!

Kitchen Cleaner
If the bathroom is a room that needs constant attention, the kitchen is the second most time-consuming. Between preparing meals and eating, it can get messy fast. My Own Ideas gives a great option for kitchen cleaners.

Ingredients: 1 part distilled vinegar
1 part warm water
2-3 drops tea tree oil

Funnel the ingredients into a clean, empty squirt bottle and gently swirl the liquid around to mix. Vinegar and tea tree oil are mild disinfectants, so this solution works great a kitchen surface cleaner. Avoid surfaces with finished wood, however, because the vinegar ratio is high enough that it can strip wood stain.

Wood Furniture Polish
According to the EPA chemicals in furniture polish, “may irritate your skin, eyes, and respiratory tract (that is your throat, lungs and wind pipe). If ingested, furniture polish can cause nausea, vomiting, and medical help should be sought.” Avoid all of this with the DIY option below.

Ingredients: 1 Cup olive oil
½ Cup lemon juice

Mix ingredients into a spray bottle, mist into a soft cloth and polish away! The olive oil moisturizes your wood while the lemon juice cleans the furniture. The nice lemon smell lofting in the air afterwards is another great perk.

Window Cleaner
Glass and windows can be a pain to clean. You don’t want to leave a streaky mess, but the cost of window/glass cleaners can add up fast. Check out this DIY option that will leave your windows shiny.

Ingredients: ¼ Cup white vinegar
¼ Cup rubbing alcohol
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
2 Cups warm water

Combine all elements and shake well. Spray away and see the fantastic results. Fabulously Frugal suggests shaking well before EACH use.

Have you concocted a great DIY cleaner? Share your DIY cleaner in the comments below.