Eco-Friendly Laundry Strategies

If you’re frustrated by the cost of electricity or if you’ve chosen to live off of the grid, cleaning and drying laundry can start to be an important and time consuming issue. Let’s face it there’s nothing eco-friendly about dirty clothes. It’s always good to be prepared for a power shortage as well.

Have you considered doing some of your laundry by hand in a large wash tub and then using a hand wringer to get a lot of the water out. Then when you line dry it, it will be dry a lot quicker.

If you’ve been frustrated in your attempts at hand washing, it’s probably because you can’t get enough of the water out so that items will dry in a reasonable about of time. Seriously, you’re going to be shocked at how much more water a laundry wringer will get out than your hands. If you’ve got weak hands are arthritis, then you’ll be doubly surprised.

The laundry wringers attached to both round and square tubs, just like they did a hundred years ago. Single layer items like towels work the best. But you can certainly get a lot of water out of your heavy-duty jeans as well. It’s just that items with several layers or pockets don’t wring quite so well.

Even if you don’t want to do all your laundry by hand, you can certainly save energy by doing half of your laundry by hand. You’ll also be ready for a major power outage if you develop these skills ahead of time. Get your hand washing, laundry wringing, line drying system down pat on a good day and you’ll be set for a summer hurricane power outage. I know that our municipal water system works even when the electricity doesn’t. So if I have a tub and wringer I can at least kill time doing laundry. And yes clean clothes make everyone feel better in hot humid weather. Which always seems to come with hurricanes. At least where we live.

Starting a Green Garden for Barbecue Fun

Every grill master knows that vegetables are important part of the menu. They don’t take a lot of time to cook, but they add much-needed variety to meat and poultry. Vegetables are a great way to incorporate health while offering crunchy texture and delicious flavor. But most people have never used their own freshly grown garden produce for backyard grilling. If you’ve never tried it before, you’re really missing out on an authentic type of taste. Buying vegetables at your local grocery store is one thing, but growing them yourself in a green garden is something you need to experience to be believed.

In order to start a truly green garden, you need to pick out a nice plot of land. Hopefully you have a large backyard that gives you a bit of variety for a growing. If you’re new to gardening, then start off simple with a few basic crops. You don’t want to spread yourself too thin by trying to create a huge backyard garden right off the bat. There have been many people who have taken on too much in the beginning, and it has the potential to result in disaster. You can start off with a simple garden bed and basic seeds that will grow vegetables perfect for grilling.

One of the best ways to make sure that your garden is green is to make your own compost heap. It’s a messy process, but it can also be fun when you give yourself a product you can actually use. Making compost basically involves separating your organic waste and putting it into a pile in your backyard. It will break down over time and become a great fertilizer you can use for your green garden. It helps the environment because all of that organic waste is going back into the soil, rather than a landfill. And if you produce more compost that you can use, there are lots of places that would be more than happy to accept the excess from you.

Hopefully you have selected a plot of land that gets proper lighting during the day. If not, you can construct reflection mirrors that will help your crops to get enough light. Watering should be done by hand so that you don’t accidentally overdo it at first. For first timers, you’ll notice that some of this can be trial and error. Your first batch of crops might not turn out perfectly, but you’ll definitely see where you need to make adjustments. It won’t be long before you figure out the perfect blend of lighting and water to get the juiciest vegetables possible.

green veggies

When you have your vegetables in hand, it’s time to do some backyard cooking for the entire family. Make sure that you wash your vegetables well, and inspect them for any pests. You need to be careful when grilling your vegetables because they cook quite quickly. You can prevent them from becoming overdone by brushing them with all of oil first. A touch of salt-and-pepper will help to bring out natural flavors as well. It can be hard to cook vegetables using a charcoal grill but the newest choices for gas barbecues allow you to control the temperature is better. Just remember to put your vegetables on towards the end of the cooking process so they don’t get overdone. And voilà, it won’t be long before you’re eating fresh vegetables that you wrote yourself using your green garden!

Ten Pointers on Living Green in 2012

Maintaining an eco-friendly lifestyle does not have to be expensive or difficult. Greener living can sometimes be achieved making a small change like washing your clothes and bed linen with eco-friendly detergent at 15 degrees, or recycling your waste can have a huge impact on the environment. The following ten tips can help you start living a greener life in 2012 by making simple changes. 

Save Energy

You can easily save energy in the home by setting the thermostat just a few degrees higher in the summer and slightly lower during cooler months. This small change can have a significant impact on your cooling costs as well. 

Conserve Water

Take shorter showers to reduce the amount of water you use. To conserve water, turn the shower off when lathering soap or shampoo and turn it on again when you are ready to rinse. 

Eat Local

Consuming locally-grown foods cuts down on gas use and pollution because foods do not have to be transported long distances in gas-powered vehicles. 

Skip Bottled Water

Plastic bottles take hundreds of years to disintegrate in landfills and are made using fossil fuels. Instead of using disposable plastic bottles, refill a reusable aluminum bottle with tap water. 

Buy Secondhand

Buying gently used secondhand products like clothes or appliances can reduce the amount of garbage in landfills while saving you money. Check out garage sales for furniture and consignment shops or thrift stores for clothes. 

Drive Less

Automobiles pollute the air, atmosphere and water and most run on nonrenewable energy. Instead of driving, walk or ride a bicycle. Take public transportation on longer trips. 

Borrow, Don’t Buy

You can also reduce consumption by borrowing books from your local library instead of buying them or by sharing tools or other appliances with neighbors and friends. 

Clean Greener

Commercial cleaning supplies often contain harsh chemicals. Make your own solutions using simple ingredients like soap, baking soda, lemon and vinegar. Making your own supplies also cuts down on packaging that usually ends up in the trash. 

Bring Your Own Bag

Skip paper or plastic and bring your own bag to the grocery store. Some retailers will even give a discount to patrons that supply their own reusable bags. 

Recycle

Recycling helps keep materials out of landfills. Set up clearly-labeled bins in your kitchen to making sorting materials easy. You can also live a greener life by reusing or repurposing objects. 

I hope these ten green tips have given you some inspiration on how to make your life much greener this year. Good luck!



Car Washing Methods That Are Easy on the Environment

As our environment takes a turn for the worse, we are once again reminded to take better care of what Mother Earth has given us.

What many fail to realize is that helping the plight of our environment can be done in a number of simple ways that help conserve energy and be more eco-friendly. Car washing, for instance, is something that we do regularly without much thought for our surroundings; but you may be surprised to know that this simple chore is actually one of the biggest energy wasters you can do at home.

As an automotive writer, I tend to spend more of my time keeping people up-to-date on proper maintenance, as well as where to find a commercial truck sale online, such as these MHC trucks. But, its good to spend some time educating on how we can reduce the impact of our vehicles on the environment.

Bathing your car every week demands a lot of water, which only goes down the drain, as opposed to washing dishes or doing laundry where water is recycled as it goes through the septic systems. If you want to do your share to help our one and only planet, simply follow these tips the next time you give your car a bath.

1. Stay Away from Toxic Chemicals – the best way to make sure that you leave no residues that can hurt the environment is to make use of non-threatening chemicals. While there are a number of products that promise to give your car a brilliant shine and finish, always read the label to make sure that it is free from kerosene, silicon, petroleum distillates, and other carcinogens that are bad for the environment. Instead of spending money on these types of car wash solutions, simply make one on your own, or opt for safer carwash products sold in stores.

2. Wash in the Lawn – this may seem odd and even funny, but washing your car on the lawn instead of in the parking lot can help prevent water from going down the drains.

3. Watch the Hose – it is common practice to use the hose when washing your car as it is much easier and convenient, but if you want to help Mother Nature, use a bucket instead to minimize water consumption. If you are intent on using a hose, make sure to install an adjustable nozzle to help you control the amount of water that comes out of it.

4. Go for Microfiber Towels – never resort to using paper towels that were produced by cutting down trees. Opt for microfiber towels that are super absorbent and can be washed and used repetitively.

5. Bathe your car early in the morning – choosing the best time to give your vehicle a wash can also help with your conservation efforts. Avoid a wash during an especially hot day, as this causes water to evaporate easily. Doing this early in the morning instead, while the weather is cooler, can help tone down your water bill.

6. Use the Right Products – thankfully, there are a number of environmentally friendly car wash solutions that are free of toxic chemicals and are biodegradable.

7. Take Advantage of the Rain – by here we mean collect rain water and use that to give your car a soak.

It does not take much to help the environment. All it requires is that you make a conscious effort to conserve natural resources by saving on water and overall energy use.

How Can You Go Green?

Going “Green” is all the rage these days, but just what does this mean?  I mean it’s fine to have a nice buzz word like this and all those lofty goals of saving the planet and such, but how does that fit into my daily life?  In this particular post I am going to offer up some ideas on how you can “go green” and help to save the planet.

One of the best ways to “go green” and something that you can do right now is to differentiate the type of trash that you throw out.  As humans we generate trash…that’s just the way it is.  As much as we may try not to, there it is.  So, given the fact that we do generate trash, let’s try to make the best of it, okay? 



One thing that you can do is to separate those trash items that are biodegradable and easily perishable from those that are not.  Let’s illustrate this by means of an example that is easy to understand.  If you have a piece of paper and a plastic bottle you have two pieces of trash.  As the saying goes, not all trash is created equal.  The paper is made from wood…a tree if you will.  A tree is an organic living organism and is a natural part of our planet.  The plastic bottle on the other hand is a man-made product made up of polymers and who knows what else.  What scientists have determined is that plastic items will last for years and years while wood based products will go back to dirt and dust quite readily.  As such, these two items need to be dealt with differently in terms of refuge.  Separate them so that the sanitation folks can handle and deal with them separately. 

What about another form of plastic…plastic cutlery.  After only one simple use it goes right into the landfill somewhere and it will take years and years to break this plastic down into its natural components.  I can understand you not wanting or being able to carry cutlery around with you, but you can always carry around a multi tools leatherman device.  They come equipped with all sorts of tools like knives and pliers and scissors and will fold up so you can easily stick it in your pocket.  Then, the next time you need to eat that picnic meal, you will have an implement that is reusable.

This is just one simple example but we think you get the idea.  There are ways to go green all around us.  We just have to keep our eyes open and be open to the opportunities that are presented to us.

Fiskars best wood chopping axe

Depending on which view you take, the world will be inhabitable in a few decades due to global warming, or in a few years when the oil runs out, or just after Christmas this year because the Mayans said so. It hardly seems worth doing any present shopping. I’ll be alright though because I’ve just bought myself an axe; as long as the roof stays on the house, I can toast my toes by my log fire no matter what happens.

Oh, and I’m planting plenty of potatoes this year in case the supermarkets close.

I had to do plenty of research before I chose my wood chopping axe. It’s no good waiting till just before the internet melts; these things take time. And I need to build up a huge store of logs.

In the end I got a Fiskars wood chopping axe, swayed by all the excellent reviews on said internet. In spite of the fact that we will all be returning to the stone age, I wanted something to remind me what civilisation used to be like, and this axe does just that. The ultra-modern design means that it’s perfect for the job. A speedy chop will split most logs first strike. Speed is more important than strength in these matters, fortunately for me. The handle is made from an extremely tough man made composite plastic – something I am sure we will all miss after armageddon.

The axe head is moulded onto the handle and it is coated in non-stick teflon, so I can fry an egg on it for breakfast when I’m in the woods doing my manly stuff. Gosh I’m almost looking forward to the simple life.

I also bought a splendid sharpening stone to give the blade a razor sharp edge. I don’t suppose I’ll be doing too much shaving in the woods but you never know. A dull blade on an axe is quite useless so I shall be learning how to do it properly from all those youtube videos. Wish me luck!

Green tips for your garden

Eggshell

I’ve got a small problem with my neighbours cat using my garden as his favorite litter box. While researching environmentally friendly ways of dealing with this unpleasant issue, I found a few great eco-friendly tips, for how to use household waste to care for my garden.

Coffee Grounds and Orange Peel

Never again do I want to find cat poop on the bottom of my Burberry rain boots – oh the horror! So I have set my mind to discouraging the little fur ball from coming into my garden. Happily I found out there are two things cats really hate, that I have in abundance – citrus and coffee. Every morning after I have juiced the oranges, and served up the last of the coffee, I take the leftovers out and sprinkle them on the cat’s favorite toileting spot in my garden. I’ve only been doing this for a week, bit so far it seems to be working.

Salt

Be gone pesky slugs. I know some of you might think it is cruel as slugs die when they come into contact with salt. But I’ve worked hard on that vegetable patch, and the fruits of my labor are not their for the slugs to eat. They have the rest of the garden to enjoy, salt-free, but they are forbidden on the veggies.

Eggshells

I’ve got plenty of these as I love to bake. They need to be rinsed, baked gently and then ground to form a fine powder. That might seem like a lot of effort, but what you are left with is a calcium-rich dust that will be absorbed into the soil. Many veggies, like cabbage, carrots and cauliflower,  need calcium rich soil to thrive, so this is the perfect chemical-free nourishment for your kitchen garden.

So now that’s the outdoor plants taken care of, I’ve started to research how to care for my indoor plants in an equally green way. More news soon.

Green Living Made Easy