LOWERING YOUR HOUSEHOLD IMPACT: The Basics
NOTE TO ANYONE VIEWING THIS PRESENTATION: When our son was born, my husband and I wanted to do more to lower our household impact on the environment. We were ready to move beyond recycling, but how to begin? I found lots of information --an overwhelming amount, in fact. So I decided to develop a simple, clear, and usable compilation of the basics for lowering your household impact, and to share that information with as many people as possible. The following presentation is a result of that research. Resources include online sources, books, and tips from the experiences of lots of people. I cite sources where possible and practical. And continue to add things as I learn. More than anything, I encourage you to share this information with family, friends, neighbors, schools-- anyone who will listen to you! I believe that if each of us begins making small, everyday changes at home, we can collectively lower our unhealthy impact on the earth, improve our own health, and even save money. If you haven’t already made a commitment to sustainable living, today is the day to start! Thank you for lowering your household impact! Sincerely, Debra and family This entire presentation is available to download at www.sustainableclaremont.org or www.cics422.ning.com.
LOWERING YOUR HOUSEHOLD IMPACT 1. The four basics: a. Buy less/buy differently b. Conserve more c. Compost d. Avoid harmful products 2. The EcoMom Challenge • Resources: a. Appendix 1: Recyclables/Non-recyclables b. Appendix 2: Local Resources c. Appendix 3: Online Resources d. Appendix 4: Books for all Ages e. Appendix 5: Ingredients to Avoid f. Appendix 6: More Cleaning Recipes g. Appendix 7: Cuida el Planeta
FOUR BASICS FOR LOWERING YOUR HOUSEHOLD IMPACT • Basic #1:Buy less and buy differently. ðBefore you buy, ask yourself: “Do I need this? Am I supporting a green company with this purchase? Is this the low-impact choice?” ðWe used to call them “hand-me-downs…” Create a network with other families for sharing clothing, shoes, and other durable items. ðInstead of buying, share. Use your local library. Share books and toys with friends. ðShop at and donate to thrift stores.
FOUR BASICS FOR LOWERING YOUR HOUSEHOLD IMPACT •Basic #2:Conserve more. ðWater ðElectricity ðNatural Gas ðOil ðPaper DO IT TODAY: Simple steps you can take at home right now DO IT THIS MONTH: Make one or more of these changes each month DO IT THIS YEAR: Steps requiring some longer-term planning and investment
CONSERVE WATER “Water is a scarce resource – less than 1% of the earth’s water is potable.” • Find and fix leaks. ðTurn off all water-using devices for an hour, and see if your water meter moves. If so, check everything you can see, like toilets and faucets.Make repairs. • Think about your water use. ðConsider ways water is used, including by landscaping, and through appliances, fixtures, showers and faucets.
CONSERVING WATER DO THIS TODAY • Repair leaks and promptly report those in the public domain. • Adjust sprinklers to eliminate pavement runoff. • Water only during pre-dawn hours to reduce evaporation. • Run dishwashers and washing machines only with full loads. • Wear clothing until it is dirty. • Take shorter showers; turn off the water while brushing your teeth, sudsing up and shaving. • Consider whether hand-washing dishes would conserve water in your household. • Capture and store rainwater for home and garden use. • Support only water-wise companies.
CONSERVING WATER DO IT THIS MONTH • Install low-flow shower heads and sink aerators. • Install a new, low-flow toilet to save up to 10 gallons per day. • Adjust irrigation controllers to account for actual plant needs. • Begin replacing water-intensive grass and plants with drought-resistant varieties. • Begin replacing some lawn with mulch and gravel, or with food gardens. • Plan a drip system or use ollas (unglazed clay pots burried underground) for outside gardens.
CONSERVING WATER DO IT THIS YEAR • Check into a graywater system, which re-uses water from showers and washing machines for landscaping. At the very least, capture tub and shower water while it is warming up before it runs down the drain. Use this for watering plants. • Begin installing new, water-efficient Energy Star appliances.
CONSERVE ELECTRICITY “Electricity generation affects the environment in several ways, including the emission of carbon dioxide—a whopping 40% of our national carbon emissions come from power generation. But it also takes about 39% of our potable water supply in the US to cool power plants.” • Think about your use of electricity. ðConsider where you use electricity, including lighting, computers, TVs, air conditioning, heating, and appliances.
CONSERVING ELECTRICITY DO IT TODAY • Replace light bulbs with energy-efficient versions, such as compact fluorescents (CFLs). • Turn off lights, TVs and other electronics when you leave the room. • Shut down computers, printers and other equipment at night. • Consider purchasing “smart power strips” which monitor power consumption and shut off the power when electronics are not in use. • Turn the thermostat up to 78° in the summer and down to 65° in winter. • Make sure air conditioner and heater air filters are clean—replace them at least once each year. • Seasonally close blinds, drapes, etc. to cool house. • Hang clothes outside to dry.
CONSERVING ELECTRICITY DO IT THIS MONTH • Weather strip and add insulation to your house. • Install an Energy-Star programmable thermostat. DO IT THIS YEAR • Install a whole-house fan. • Begin installing new, energy-efficient Energy Star appliances. • Investigate alternative energy sources for your home, such as solar or wind power.
CONSERVE NATURAL GAS “Natural gas is cleaner-burning than oil and coal, but it still has an environmental impact: it currently accounts for 20% of our carbon dioxide emissions. Some areas of the country use natural gas primarily for heating homes, others for creating electricity.” • Think about natural gas use. ð Consider how natural gas is used in your home, which may include for heating, producing hot water, for cooking, and for drying clothes.
CONSERVING NATURAL GAS DO THIS TODAY • Turn the thermostat down to 65° in winter. • Make sure heater air filters are clean—replace them at least once each year. • Hang clothes outside to dry. • Turn down the temperature on your hot water heater to its lowest setting. • Use blinds and window shades to conserve heat in winter. • Shut off the heat and lower the temperature on your hot water heater when you go away. • Wear weather-appropriate clothing.
CONSERVING NATURAL GAS DO IT THIS MONTH • Weather strip and add insulation to your house. • Install an Energy-Star programmable thermostat. DO IT THIS YEAR • Consider installing dual-paned windows and glass doors. • Install a solar, tankless, or high-efficiency hot water heater. • Begin installing new, energy-efficient Energy Star appliances.
CONSERVE OIL “Oil use in the US contributes 40% of our carbon emissions, but also impacts the environment through drilling, processing and storage, as well as spills. Our demand for oil seems ever-increasing, while supplies are dropping—we import about 2/3 of our oil supplies, while debate continues over opening our natural spaces to more drilling, processing, and storage.” • Consider your oil consumption. ðThink about oil used for transportation and for making petroleum-based products like plastic.
CONSERVING OIL DO THIS TODAY • Drive less: walk, bike or take public transportation. • Plan your errands so that you use your car more efficiently. • Carpool. • Buy locally to lower the impact of transportation of goods. • Choose non-petroleum based products when purchasing cleaners, paints, and even clothing. • Choose products with less packaging. • Pack your lunch with reusable containers instead of plastic baggies. • Take reusable bags to do your shopping. • Drink filtered water and change to reusable water bottles instead of buying bottled water. • Use glass jars, stainless steel containers and wax paper bags to store food instead of petroleum-based plastics.
CONSERVING OIL DO IT THIS MONTH • Purchase carbon offsets to fund carbon-reducing projects, like planting trees. • Begin to grow your own organic food to reduce the impact of transportation. DO IT THIS YEAR • Trade your automobile for a more fuel-efficient car.
CONSERVE PAPER “Americans use an average of 700 pounds of paper products per person each year. The U.S. alone produces about 87 million metric tons of paper and paperboard, representing nearly one-third of the world's total production. Conserving paper does more than save trees; it also reduces the consumption of fossil fuels and other resources that go into the production and transportation of those products.” • Think about paper use. ðConsider the paper products you use in your everyday life.
CONSERVING PAPER DO IT TODAY • Save to disk instead of print out. • Print two-sided documents whenever possible. • Subscribe to your publications online. • Reuse one-sided documents as scratch paper. • Use cloth napkins, wash rags, and kitchen towels. • Avoid paper plates and cups; use your china instead! • Choose products with less packaging. • Take your own coffee cup. • Recycle cardboard boxes. • Use alternatives to wrapping paper, such as children’s artwork, cloth, Sunday comics, etc.
FOUR BASICS FOR LOWERING YOUR HOUSEHOLD IMPACT • Basic #3:Compost. ðRather than send waste to landfills, make it into useful and environmentally beneficial compost.
WHAT TO PUT IN: •Farm animal manure •Cardboard rolls •Clean paper •Coffee grounds and filters •Cotton rags •Dryer & vacuum cleaner lint •Eggshells •Fireplace ashes •Fruits and vegetables •Grass clippings •Hair and fur •Hay and straw •Houseplants •Leaves •Nut shells •Sawdust •Shredded newspaper •Tea bags •Wood chips •Wool rags •Yard trimmings COMPOSTING Using Kitchen and Yard Waste to Make Soil Amendment, Mulch, and Potting Mix “Yard trimmings and food residuals together constitute 24% to 40% of the U.S. municipal solid waste stream. Composting offers the obvious benefits of resource efficiency and creating a useful product from organic waste that would otherwise have been landfilled.”
THREE BASIC INGREDIENTS • Browns—Includes materials such as dead leaves, branches, twigs • Greens—Includes materials such as grass clippings, vegetable waste, fruit scraps, and coffee grounds • Water Having the right amount of greens, browns, and water is important for compost development. Ideally, your compost pile should have an equal amount of browns to greens and alternate layers of organic materials of different-sized particles. The brown materials provide more carbon for your compost and the green materials provide greater nitrogen, while the water provides moisture to help break down the organic matter. WHAT TO LEAVE OUT •Black walnut tree leaves or and twigs •Coal or charcoal ash •Dairy products (e.g., butter, egg yolks, milk, sour cream, yogurt) •Diseased or insect-ridden plants •Fats, grease, lard, or oils •Meat or fish bones and scraps •Pet wastes (e.g., dog or cat feces, soiled cat litter) •Yard trimmings treated with chemical pesticides
BACKYARD COMPOSTING: No Hassle, Slower Results 1. Select a dry, shady spot near a water source for your compost pile or bin. 2. Add your brown and green materials as you collect them, making sure large pieces are chopped or shredded. 3. Moisten dry materials as they are added. 4. Once your compost pile is established, mix grass clippings and green waste into the pile and bury fruit and vegetable waste under 10 inches of compost material. 5. Optional: Cover top of compost with a tarp to keep it moist. 6. When the material at the bottom is dark and rich in color, your compost is ready to use. This usually occurs in two months to two years. BACKYARD COMPOSTING: More Maintenance, Quicker Results 1. Select a dry, shady spot near a water source for your compost pile or bin. 2. Before you add your brown and green materials, make sure larger pieces are chopped or shredded. 3. Cover your composting area with a 6-inch layer of brown materials. 4. Add a 3-inch layer of green materials and a little soil or finished compost. 5. Lightly mix the two layers above. 6. Top with a 3-inch layer of brown materials, adding water until moist. 7. Turn your compost pile every week or two with a pitchfork to distribute air and moisture. Move the dry materials from the edges into the middle of the pile. Continue this practice until the pile does not re-heat much after turning. Your compost will be ready in one to four months.
INDOOR COMPOSTING If you do not have space for an outdoor compost pile, you can compost material indoors using a special type of bin, which you can buy or make yourself. Your compost should be ready in 2 to 5 weeks. Building your own indoor composting bin 1. Drill 1/2-inch diameter holes in the bottom and sides of a plastic garbage can. 2. Place a brick in the bottom of a larger garbage can, surround the brick with a layer of wood chips or soil, and place the smaller can inside on top of the brick. 3. Wrap insulation around the outer can to keep the compost warm and cover the cans with a lid. Source: www.epa.gov/osw/conserve/rrr/composting/index.htm VERMICULTURE Vermiculture is an alternative way to compost indoors (or out) using worms. The best guide for this is Mary Appelhof’s Worms Eat My Garbage.
FOUR BASICS FOR LOWERING YOUR HOUSEHOLD IMPACT • Basic #4:Avoid harmful products. ðBecome a label reader. ðBuy “green” products. ðMake your own household cleaners.
AVOIDING HARMFUL PRODUCTS “Many commercially available household cleaners contain ingredients that are harmful to the environment, as well as to human health.” BECOME A LABEL READER ð Learn what is harmful and begin checking labels. ð Discontinue buying products containing harmful chemicals.
INGREDIENTS TO AVOID Alcohol Ammonia Bleach Butyl Cellosolve (glycol family) Cresol (related to phenols) Ethanol (an alcohol) Formaldehyde Glycols Hodrochloric acid Hydrofluoric acid Lye (sodium hydroxide) Naphthalene PDCBS (paradichlorobenzenes) Perchloroethylene Petroleum Distillates (hyrdocarbons) Phenol (carbolic acid) Phosphoric acid Propellants (commonly propane, butane, CFCs) Sulfuric acid TEC (trichloroethylene) Source: Clean House, Clean Planet, by Karen Logan. Go to slides 39-40 for a list of household products that contain these ingredients and their health and environmental effects.
OPTION 1: BUY GREEN CLEANING PRODUCTS There are green household cleaners on the market. Manufacturers say they have “eliminated to the least toxic level” harmful ingredients, mostly by using ingredients that are plant-based rather than petroleum- based. Not perfect, but better… Consumer Reports rates them: http://www.greenerchoices.org/pcategories.cfm?pcat=homegarden Greening the Cleaning Greenworks by Chlorox Seventh Generation Earth Friendly Products
OPTION 2: MAKE YOUR OWN HOUSEHOLD CLEANERS Making your own household cleaners with a few basic, non-toxic ingredients is better for your health, better for the environment, and less expensive than buying cleaners from the store. BASIC INGREDIENT LIST: • Baking soda (bicarbonate of soda). Used as a mild abrasive and odor absorber. Costco carries a 12 lb. bag of Arm & Hammer. • White vinegar. Deodorizes, cleans, repels grease and grime, helps prevent mold and mildew, and dissolves soap film and mineral deposits. The Heinz brand of white distilled vinegar is recommended because it is made from grains rather than from petroleum. • Lemon juice. A powerful, natural acidic cleaner for mineral build-up, tarnish, and grease. • Liquid soap (castile soap). Used to remove dirt. You can find the large Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap (peppermint) at Trader Joe’s for a reasonable price. • Borax. Deodorizes and boosts cleaning, and can help control mold. Target and Walmart carry the 4 lb., Twenty Mule Team box. YOU WILL ALSO NEED THE FOLLOWING: • Funnel, measuring cup and spoons • Several clean, empty spray-bottles, a squirt bottle, and a shaker container • Some good rags and sponges • A bucket
BASIC RECIPES See slide 44 for a few tips on mixing ingredients. All-Purpose Cleaner for floor/kitchen/bath Ingredients: liquid soap, white distilled vinegar, borax, water Recipe: Mix 2 tbsp. of vinegar with 1 tsp. borax. Add 1 quart hot water. Shake until borax is dissolved. Add ¼ cup of liquid soap last. Spray and wipe. Note: Do not add vinegar directly to soap as they will neutralize each other. Lemon Juice Alternative All-Purpose Cleaner for floor/kitchen/bath Ingredients: liquid soap, lemon juice, borax, water Recipe: Mix together a tbsp. of borax, 2 tbsp. of liquid soap, 1 tbsp. lemon juice and 1 quart hot water. Shake. Spray and wipe. Tub and Tile Cleaner (soft-scrub alternative) Ingredients: liquid soap, white distilled vinegar, baking soda, water Recipe: Mix 1²/3 cups baking soda with ½ cup of liquid soap in a bowl. Dilute with ½ cup water. Add 2 tbsp. vinegar last. Stir until lumps are gone. Pour into container. Shake well. Squirt and scrub. Rinse.
BASIC RECIPES (continued) Glass/Mirror Cleaner Ingredients: water, white distilled vinegar or lemon juice Recipe: Fill spray bottle with water and ½ cup of vinegar or 2 tbsp. lemon juice. Spray and wipe. Note: Use lint-free cloth or newspaper. Carpet Freshener and Cleaner Ingredients: baking soda; liquid soap and water Sprinkle baking soda on carpet then vacuum it up. To treat spots, mix ¼ cup of liquid soap and ½ cup of warm water. Beat them together and then rub the foam on the spot. Rinse with clean water and blot dry. Bleach Alternative Ingredients: white distilled vinegar How to use: Start with a pre-soak cycle. Add one or more cups of vinegar and let laundry soak. Vinegar brightens your whites and bleaches only very mildly. It is an excellent deodorizer.
BASIC RECIPES (continued) Bleach Alternative (for whites) Ingredients: sunlight Laundry Boost Ingredients: Borax How to use: Follow instructions on package. Sources: Clean House, Clean Planet, by Karen Logan, and www.lowimpactliving.com.
TAKE THE EcoMom CHALLENGE 10 First Steps for A Sustainable Future • Change a light. If every household in America replaced just 5 light bulbs with energy efficient CFL’s, it would be equivalent to taking approximately 8 million cars off the road. • Drive More Efficiently. Car pool, don’t idle during drop off/pick up, drive a hybrid, drive less. If we each drove just 10 miles fewer per week, it would save 20 billion pounds of carbon dioxide. • Walk to market/your kids to school once a month. Slow down and enjoy walking in your community while you conserve fuel. • Shop local, fair trade and organic. Most food travels an average of 1,200 miles before it reaches your table so, by walking to and buying from your local farmer’s market, you’ll reduce fossil fuel waste. • Use non-toxic products. The average home contains over 150 toxic chemicals that have been connected to increased incidence of asthma, allergies, cancers and even behavioral disorders. • Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Rot (compost). Cutting down on garbage by just 10% can save 1,200 pounds of carbon dioxide. • Turn off and unplug electronic devices. You’ll save on energy and carbon dioxide emissions. Join the EcoMom One Night Off campaign and unplug completely one night per week. • Re-think your laundry plan. Doing less, using cold water, and line-drying when possible can save over 500 pounds of carbon dioxide and over $600 per year. • Plant a Fruit Tree. In addition to providing food and shade, a single tree can absorb one ton of carbon dioxide over the course of its lifetime. • Purchase carbon offsets, renewable energy credits or green tags. Support renewable energy development. Source: EcoMom Alliance.org
Glass Bottles/Jars Juice bottles Beer bottles Wine bottles Liquor bottles Baby food jars Condiment jars Jam jars Jelly jars Assorted food jars Salad dressing bottles Aluminum & Metal Cans Aluminum soda cans Aluminum beer cans Fruit cans Vegetable cans Pet food cans Juice cans Soup cans Sauce cans Assorted food cans Metal Hangers Plastic Bottles, Jugs & Jars #1 & #2 Plastic soda bottles Plastic milk jugs Plastic laundry jugs Shampoo bottles Lotion bottles Food bottles Condiment bottles Motor oil containers APPENDIX 1: ACCEPTABLE RECYCLABLES (PUT IN YOUR RECYCLING CONTAINER) Newspapers, Magazines, & Mixed Paper Junk mail Telephone books Catalogs Computer paper Envelopes Wrapping paper Brochures Crayon drawings Office paper Copy paper Cardboard, Chipboard Cereal boxes Tissue boxes Food boxes Milk cartons Juice boxes Soda/beer cartons Egg cartons (paper fiber) Paper bags Cardboard boxes Gift boxes
Plastics #3 thru #7 Plastic grocery bags Plastic margarine tubs Garden hoses Plastic lawn furniture Plastic pools & toys Stereos & TVs Bicycles Computer monitors Cell phones Auto parts Metal lawn furniture Metal lawn furniture Used aluminum foil UNACCEPTABLE FOR RECYCLING (DO NOT PUT IN YOUR RECYCLING CONTAINER) Used diapers Used tissue products Soiled pizza boxes Wax paper Used paper plates Styrofoam cups Styrofoam plates Styrofoam packaging Egg cartons (styrofoam) Clothing Furniture, carpet & other products containing fabric Light bulbs Mirrors Windows Safety glass Drinking glasses Ceramic dishes/cups Source: City of Claremont
APPENDIX 2: LOCAL RESOURCES Places to Shop and Donate! Local Thrift Stores: The Economy Shop, 325 W. First St, Claremont, CA (909) 626-7334 Goodwill Industries, 210 E. Foothill Blvd., Pomona, CA (909) 596-3700 Goodwill Industries, 1240 W. 7th St., Upland, CA (909) 982-9017 Great Deal Thrift, 5407 Holt, Pomona, CA Lutheran High Thrift Shop, 2125 Bonita Ave., La Verne, CA (909) 596-3636 Quality Thrift, 4433 Holt, Pomona, CA Three Way Thrift, 10174 Central, Montclair, CA Uptowne Thrift, 628 E. Arrow Hwy., Pomona, CA Furniture/Clothing/Miscellaneous American Cancer Society, 1236 W. Foothill Blvd., Upland, CA (909) 981-7466 Assistance League, 655 N. Palomares St., Pomona, CA (909) 629-6142 The David and Margaret Home, 1350 Third St., La Verne, CA (909) 596-5921 Pilgrim Place, 660 Avery Road, Claremont, CA (909) 621-9581 Furniture Sale on the first Thursday of each month from 8:00 to 11:00 am. Clothing/miscellaneous on sale the first Thursday of each month from 8:00 to 10:00 am. Backwoods Vintage, 206 W. Bonita Ave., CA (909) 626-9870 (clothing) California Workplace, 755 N. Central Ave, Upland, CA (909) 931-4600 (new, used and refurbished office furniture) Deja-Vu Fashions, 907 W. Foothill Blvd., Claremont, CA (909) 625-7277 (clothing) Kids Galore, 172 D St., Upland, CA (909) 946-6220 Kids Exchange Resale, 130 S. Mountain Ave., Upland, CA (909) 946-8611 Replay Vintage, 516 W. First St., Claremont, CA (909) 626-7372 (clothing) Freecycle (Claremont yahoo group) http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ClaremontFreecycle/
Education www.climatecrisis.net www.cooltheearth.org www.dawnpub.com Recycling www.recyclebank.com Watch/Support/Action www.campaignearth.org www.carbonfund.org www.sierraclub.org www.stopglobalwarming.org www.nwei.org www.womenandenvironment.org www.worldwatch.org Search www.ecoearth.info www.ecologue.com APPENDIX 3: ONLINE RESOURCES Faith-based www.cics422.ning.org www.coejl.org www.greenfaith.org www.interfaithpower.org www.muslimgreenteam.org www.renewalproject.org Social/Economic/Political www.chelseagreen.org www.greenforall.org www.organicconsumers.org www.postcarboncities.net www.pollutionissues.com www.ted.com Garden www.claremontfoodnotlawns.com www.rsabg.org Sustainable Living www.campaignearth.org www.chelseagreen.org www.coejl.org www.ecomomalliance.org www.green.yahoo.com www.lowimpact.org www.lowimpactliving.com www.motherearthnews.com www.natural-healthy-home-cleaning-tips.com www.urbanhomestead.org Health & Safety/Government www.claremontonline.net www.householdproducts.nlm.nih.gov www.scorecard.org Note: I make no claims about the appropriateness or reliability of the content on these websites. These are sites that I have come across in my research that were either helpful to me in one way or another, or seemed interesting. I have categorized them according to the search I was conducting at that time. There are many more out there! Enjoy! Products/Buying guides www.ecover.com www.greenerchoices.org (Consumer Reports) www.greenfeet.com www01.smgov.net www.thecleanteam.com www.thegreenoffice.com
Teens The Teen Guide to Global Action, Barbara A. Lewis An Inconvenient Truth, Adapted for a New Generation, Al Gore Our Planet: Change is Possible, MySpace and Jeca Tandte Adults/Parents/Grandparents/etc. Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder,Richard Louv. Imperfectly Natural: How to be a Green Parent in Today’s Busy World, Janey Lee Grace The Chelsea GREEN Guides, various authors Cradle to Cradle, William McDonnough Clean House, Clean Planet, Karen Logan APPENDIX 3: BOOK LIST FOR ALL AGES Fiction and Non-fiction Reading List Preschool-Kindergarten Old Turtle,A Story by Douglas Wood Just a Dream, Chris Van Allsburg The Whole Green World, Tony Johnston In One Tidepool, Anthony D. Fredericks Wangari’s Trees of Peace, Jeanette Winter Earthways, Carole Petrash Primary Elementary The Stinking Story of Garbage, Katie Daynes The Waterfall’s Gift, Joanne Ryder Make It!, Jane Bull Recycling, Rhonda Lucas Donald Polluted Air, Angela Royston Upper Elementary Earth Matters, edited by David de Rothchild Green Power, David Jefferis Planet Patrol: Kids Action Guide to Earth Care, Marybeth Lorbjeck Hoot, Carl Hiaasen Down-to-Earth Guide to Global Warming, Laurie David and Cambria Gordon Gaia Girls, Enter the Earth and Way of Water, Lee Welles
APPENDIX 4: INGREDIENTS TO AVOID Alcohol- Found in all-purpose cleaners, disinfectants, glass cleaners, metal polishes and more. Ethanol is dangerous if ingested. Isopropanol and isopropyl alcohol are made from petroleum. They act as cental nervous system depressants. Ingestion or inhalation can cause headaches, dizziness, depression, nausea, vomiting, and even coma. Methanol is dangerous if ingested and is found in windshield-washing fluids, inks, paint removers, cements, and varnishes. Ammonia- Found in glass cleaners, all-purpose cleaners, disinfectants, floor cleaners, furniture polishes and metal polishers. Often used as a drain cleaner, kitchen cleanser, oven cleaner and toilet bowl cleaner. It can irritate eyes, nose and lungs. It is dangerous when mixed with bleach. Bleach (chlorine bleach or sodium hypochlorite)- Found in cleansers, disinfectants, laundry bleaches, toilet bowl cleaners, tub and tile cleaners and more. It can be irritating to skin. Dangerous when mixed with acids or with ammonia. Butyl cellosolve- Found in heavy-duty all-purpose cleaners and degreasers, window cleaners, and more. It is easily absorbed into the skin and can do damage to blood, livery, central nervous system and can cause kidney failure. Cresol- Found in disinfectants, herbicides and detergents, even Sharpie Markers. It can be a source of allergic reactions and skin rashes. Exposure can cause depression, irritability, hyperactivity, and may damage liver, kidney, and lungs. Formaldehyde- Found in disinfectants, furniture polishes, detergents and water softeners. A common air pollutant emitted from particleboard, pressboard, plywood, paneling, permanent pressed sheets, mattresses, foam, plastics and insulation. It is a suspected human carcinogen. It irritates the nose and eyes, causing nausea, headache or fatigue. Glycols- Found in paints, dyes, degreasers, dry-cleaning chemicals, and floor cleaners. They range from non-toxic to extremely toxic. They irritate skin, eyes, nose and throat, and exposure can cause fatigue, anusea, and tremors. They can damage kidney, liver, and central nervous system, and some are harmful to the reproductive system.
INGREDIENTS TO AVOID (continued) Hydrochloric and Phosphoric acids- Found in toilet bowl cleaners, metal polishes, tub and tile cleaners, and lime removers. They can dissolve and destroy tissues, and irritate eyes, nose, and throat. Spills and splashes can cause burns and permanent scarring and even blindness. Hydrofluoric acid- Found in rust removers and aluminum cleaners. It will penetrate skin and tissue all the way to the bone. Lye (sodium hydroxide)- Found in tub and tile cleaners, toilet bowl cleaners, oven cleaners, and drain cleaners. It is poisonous and corrosive. When mixed with acids, it releases harmful vapors. Naphthalene- Found in air fresheners, carpet cleaners, mothballs, and toilet bowl cleaners. It is a suspected carcinogen and is toxic to small children and infants. It can cause headaches, nausea, vomiting, confusion, excessive sweating, and urinary irritation. PDCBs (paradichlorobenzenes)- Found in toilet fresheners, mothballs, room deodorants, and insecticides. They are toxic to inhale or ingest and are irritating to the eyes and nose. Perchlorethylene- Found in dry-cleaning fluid and spot removers. It is a proven animal carcinogen and suspected human carcinogen. It causes light-headedness, dizziness, loss of appetite, nausea, tremors, as well as damage to liver and central nervous system. Phenol (carbolic acid)- Found in air fresheners, disinfectants, and furniture polishes, though many companies use less toxic phenol derivatives. A suspected carcinogen, it can cause your skin to swell, burn, peel or break out. Even a 2% solution can cause gangrene, burning and numbness. Propellants (Commonly propane, butane and occasionally CFCs)- Found in aerosol products, including air fresheners, furniture polishes, and insecticides. They are breathed into the lungs and absorbed into the bloodstream. They are irritating to the lungs and can even cause death if inhaled. Sulfuric acid- Found in toilet bowl cleaners and metal polishes. It can produce severe skin burns or blindness if splashed into the eyes. TEC (trichloroethylene)- Found in spot removers and metal polishes. It is a carcinogen and a narcotic. It causes dizziness, sleepiness and memory loss. It is irritating to the eyes and nose. Source: Clean House, Clean Planet, by Karen Logan.
APPENDIX 5: READY FOR MORE RECIPES? EXTENDED SHOPPING LIST: • Club soda. Great glass cleaner. • Essential Oils. They are made from natural things and can add fresh scents to your recipes. Thought to add antibacterial, antifungal and insect-repellent qualities. Stay with organic essential oils, such as peppermint, lemon, lime and lavender. • Hydrogen Peroxide. Used as a spot remover. • Olive oil. Use an extra-light, inexpensive variety for furniture polish recipes. • Salt. Used to cut grease and clean. It is antibacterial. • Tea tree oil. Its antibacterial power can add to cleaning power. • Toothpaste • Mineral oil • Shaker container with flip-top lid Sources: Clean House, Clean Planet, by Karen Logan, and www.lowimpactliving.com
MORE RECIPES AND TIPS Air Cleaners English ivy in the kitchen can offset benzene gas from your stove. A spider plant or corn plant in an office helps absorb formaldehyde outgassing. Chinese evergreens, golden pothos, Gerbera daisies, bamboo palms, dieffenbachias, peace lilies, azaleas, and chrysanthemums are also effective. Note: Experts recommend one plant for every 100 square feet. Antiseptic Soap Spray Ingredients: liquid soap, water*, tea tree oil Recipe: Fill 16 oz. squirt or spray bottle with water, then add 3 tbsp. of liquid soap. Add 20-30 drops of tea tree oil. Shake. How to use: Spray on floors, laundry, toys, doorknobs, bathtubs, toilet seats, etc. Can be used when cleaning up toilet bowl overflows, vomit, etc. Works well as an alternative to antibacterial soaps for hands. *Karen Logan recommends distilled water for this recipe. Furniture Polish Ingredients: mineral soap, white vinegar Recipe: Mix one cup of mineral oil and 1 cup of white vinegar. Rub on with a clean cloth. Silver Polish Ingredients: toothpaste Just put some toothpaste on an old toothbrush or wet cloth and polish. Rinse well with warm water, then dry with a soft cloth.
MORE RECIPES (continued) Drain Cleaner Ingredients: baking soda, vinegar How to use: Pour ½ cup baking soda into the drain. Add I cup or more white vinegar. Cover drain until mixture stops fizzing. Pour boiling water into drain. Repeat if necessary. Fabric softener Ingredients: white distilled vinegar How to use: Add 1-2 cups of vinegar to rinse cycle. It helps remove detergent residue. Alternate Glass cleaner Ingredients: club soda How to use:Spray onto mirrors and windows. Kitchen cleanser (Alternative to Comet) Ingredients: baking soda, an essential oil for fragrance What else you’ll need: flip-top shaker Recipe: Fill shaker half full with baking soda. Add 15-20 drops essential lemon or lime oil. Put lid on and shake. How to use: Sprinkle on counters, sink, tub. Wipe with damp sponge. Rinse well. Toilet Bowl Cleaner Ingredients: liquid soap, baking soda, white vinegar, tea tree oil, water Recipe: Mix ½ cup liquid soap and 2 cups baking soda. Smash lumps. Dilute with ¼ cups water and add 2 tbsp. vinegar. Add 50 drops tea tree oil. Mix. Pour into bottle. How to use: Squirt inside toilet, on and under rim. Use toilet brush. Rinse with vinegar. Source: Clean House, Clean Planet, by Karen Logan, and www.lowimpactliving.com.
APPENDIX 6: NOTES ABOUT INDREDIENTS 1. Liquid soap and baking soda are both alkaline. Most dirt and oils are acidic. The alkaline in the soap and baking soda neutralizes acidic dirt. 2. Vinegar is a mild acid and baking soda is mildly alkaline. Added together, they neutralize each other and create (harmless) carbon dioxide gas and water. This reaction helps clean. Do not, however, add vinegar to a baking-soda cleanser and then close the lid. The gas will build up inside. 3. Adding vinegar directly to liquid soap alone will neutralize the soap. Follow the order of mixing in the recipe. 4. Liquid soap refers to vegetable oil-based castile soap, not liquid dishwashing detergent. 5. Use only white (distilled) vinegar, not apple-cider vinegars. 6. Be sure to label all cleaners so you know what they are. 7. Do not reuse commercial containers. There may be chemical residues in the containers. 8. Never mix commercial products with homemade products. 9. Don’t substitute ammonia. 10. Tea tree oil and essential oils are natural, but powerful chemicals. Do not get on skin. Spilled oils can dissolved plastics. Store in a cool, dark place. Source: Clean House, Clean Planet, by Karen Logan.
APPENDIX 7: CUIDA EL PLANETA Prepara tus propios productos de limpieza para tu hogar Muchos de los productos de limpieza que usamos en nuestras casas están hechos con materiales tóxicos y derivados del petróleo. Afortunadamente, es muy fácil usar simples ingredientes para preparar nuestros propios agentes de limpieza que serán efectivos y a la vez saludables. Vinagre blanco, bicarbonato de sodio, jugo de limón, bórax y agua es todo lo que usted necesita para empezar y no va a creer lo que puede hacer con la pasta de dientes. Con estos productos usted ahorrará dinero, protegerá el ambiente y la salud de su familia. Limpiador Multipropósito para pisos, cocinas y baños: Mezclar una cucharada de bórax, una cucharada de jabón líquido, una cucharada de jugo de limón y un cuarto de galón de agua tibia. Batir hasta que todo se mezcle bien sacudiendo el envase o usando una cuchara de madera. Limpiador de vidrios (ventanas y otros): Llene una botella para rociar (spray) con agua y dos cucharadas de jugo de limón o la mitad de una taza de vinagre blanco. Rocíe los vidrios y seque como lo haría usando un limpiador comercial. Limpiador de tinas o bañeras: Haga una pasta con bicarbonato de sodio y agua. Limpie (talle) la tina (bañera) con esta pasta. Retire los residuos usando el Limpiador multipropósito descrito anteriormente. Pulidor de Muebles: Mezcle una taza de aceite mineral y una taza de vinagre blanco. Use una toalla suave para pulir la superficie.
Refrescador y Limpiador de Alfombras: Riegue, esparciendo bien, bicarbonato de sodio en su alfombra. Déjelo por unos minutos y luego aspire (vaccum) como lo hace regularmente. Si tiene manchas que quitar, mezcle un cuarto de taza de jabón líquido y media taza de agua. Aplique la mezcla jabonosa en las manchas usando un cepillo pequeño y luego enjuague y seque con aire tibio usando un secador de pelo. Pulidor de Plata: Ponga pasta de dientes en un viejo cepillo de dientes o toallita húmeda para pulir sus utensilios y objetos de plata. Cuando termine de pulir, enjuague con agua tibia y seque cuidadosamente con una toalla seca y suave. ¿Como limpiar el desague del fregadero de su cocina sin usar quimicos corrosivos? 1- Ponga dos cucharadas de bicarbonato de sodio en el desagüe de su fregadero o bañera. 2- Ponga una cucharada de vinagre en el bicarbonato de sodio (se volverá espumoso). 3- Espere unos cinco minutos para verter agua hirviendo. Con esto se eliminará el residuo del bicarbonato, vinagre y restos de comida y grasa pegados en la tubería. Fuente de información: www.lowimpactliving.com/blog/2008/03/03/how-to-make-green-home-cleaners