Going “GREEN” on a budget
By: Norman Talon
Flash floods, receding coastlines, record amounts of glacial melting, changing weather patterns, animal and floral extinction. The signs are everywhere that our environment is. The debate is no longer whether man is wholly or partly responsible for this but whether there is still time to slow down or reverse these changes. Without waiting for an answer we can, in our own daily lives, make that changes that, and it need not cost you more. Most people I know would agree that saving the environment is a worthwhile activity. But they would rather not spend more money to do it, and lower their standard of living. But, with a little planning, you can save the environment, and save a little money.
Water, Water, Everywhere?
Ever hear of the saying “Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink?” In a lot of areas this is becoming true. Record rainfall in some areas has not translated into more potable waters as runoff and trash have resulted in water sometimes too toxic to drink, or for fish to live in. Here are something’s you can do to reduce your contribution to water pollution.
- Drive less. Nitrogen from vehicle exhaust is a large contributor to water pollution. Try walking, biking or bundling your errands together to limit trips.
- Buy local foods. Buying food grown by local farmers. This not only keeps them in business but also reduces transportation-related emissions.
- Conserve water. Using less water helps waste treatment plants work more efficiently by reducing the volume they process. You can conserve water by:
- Taking shorter showers, or install a water-saving shower head.
- Use washing machines with full loads.
- Run dishwashers only with full loads.
- Avoid garbage disposals. These use unnecessary water and contribute solid waste that can cause problems for septic tanks and sewage treatment.
- Check toilets for leaks. Add some food coloring in your tank and check 30 minutes later if any appear in the bowl. A leaky toilet can waste up to 45,000 gallons of water in six months.
- Check for other leaks. Faucet and hoses are a common source. Under normal home water pressure a dripping faucet can waste up to 20!
- Don’t run the tap water while brushing or shaving.
- Replace toxic cleaners you use around the house with natural alternatives.
- All purpose cleaners can be replaced with one cup baking soda in one gallon one hot water.
- All purpose disinfectant. Use 1/4 cup borax and 1/4 cup white vinegar in hot water.
- You can use 1/2 vinegar and 1/2 water in a pump as glass cleaner.
- Toilet bowl cleaners can be replaced with borax. Leave the borax to soak in the toilet then scrub.
- Tub and Tile cleaners. Use 1/2 cup of borax in hot water.