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How to Plant the Eco-Friendly Summer Flower Garden of Your Dreams [Infographic]

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Eco-friendly summer gardening

Eco-friendly summer gardening is one of the most enjoyable and rewarding types of gardening, but sometimes it’s hard to know where to start. 

By picking the right summer flowers to brighten up your backyard, you’ll be able to empower yourself to have the most vibrant summer garden possible. First, it’s important to consider the climate that your plants will be growing in. Do they need more or less shade? Will they be in direct or indirect sunlight?

Strategizing the placement of plants in your garden will be worth the while when planting summer flowers. Below are five of the best Eco-conscious full sun perennial flowers that will withstand the strong summer heat.

 

1) Black-Eyed Susan

Similar to the daisy, this flower can sustain itself well in high temperatures. It comes in a few varieties, such as the Cherry Brandy, and can bloom throughout the summer in beautiful yellow tones.

 

2) Million Bells

Resembling small petunias in a rainbow of colors, these plants are a fun addition to any garden that needs a pop of color. This flower is usually potted to avoid being overwatered, and add to your sustainable Eco-friendly garden. 

 

3) Texas Bluebell

With shades in purple, blue, pink, white, and pale green, the Texas Bluebell is a staple for all flower garden lovers. Known as the Prairie Gentian, this flower is a beautiful addition to your garden.

 

4) Coneflower

Because these flowers bloom for up to six months, they are perfect for any gardener who is interested in spending a lot of time in their garden. These fun, bright flowers come in Green Envy, Double Scoop Cranberry, Yellow My Darling, and a few other varieties. They have long-lasting personalities!

 

5) Russian Sage

This plant is particularly desirable in wooded areas with forest animals as it is said to be deer and rabbit resistant. It blooms in the middle of summer and is a beautiful touch to gardens.

Check out the infographic below if you want to learn more about which flowers to add to your garden to allow it to flourish and grow in the most Eco-friendly way possible.

summer-flowers-guide-infographic

5 Features of Eco-Friendly Vacuum Cleaners

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Eco-friendly vacuum cleaner

Many people are surprised to learn that vacuum cleaners have a significant impact on the environment.

For example, millions of vacuum bags, filters, lithium-ion batteries, and old vacuums end up in landfill each year. Inefficient vacuum motors also cause the emission of large amounts of carbon.

While there’s no such thing as a “zero carbon” vacuum cleaner, there are many features you can look for to reduce the environmental impact of your next vac. Here are five of the most important features.

 

1. Low Power Motor to Minimise Energy Usage

Eco-friendly vacuum cleaner

There was a time when powerful motors were a key selling point of vacuum cleaners. Aside from being noisy and using large amounts of energy, these motors were largely marketing gimmicks.

It’s true that cleaning performance is partly related to raw motor strength. But features like the type of floorhead, brush bar power, sealed body to maximise airflow, and a cyclonic design, have a bigger impact.

This was proven when the EU limited vacuums to a maximum 900W motor power, without causing a noticeable difference to vacuum performance.

For this reason, it’s important to look for vacuums with low power usage.

There are many high-quality vacuums with a motor power of 700W-900W, but there are also some excellent options with 450W motors. Shark, Numatic, and various other brands produce vacuums in this power range.

Tip: You could even consider using a manual carpet sweeper instead of a vacuum. These rely on manual power rather than electronics, which means they don’t emit any carbon when in use.

 

2. Lifetime Filters That Don’t Need to be Replaced

A high-quality vacuum filter is essential for maintaining the air quality in your home. Vacuums with inefficient filters pump tiny particles of dust, pet dander, and mould back into the air, which can trigger allergies and unpleasant smells.

Unfortunately, most filters end up in landfill when they are replaced. To avoid this issue, look for vacuum cleaners that are advertised with a lifetime filter. These can be washed to maintain their effectiveness, without needing to be replaced.

If possible, buy a vacuum with a HEPA filter. These filters are more effective than basic foam filters at removing allergens and pollutants from the air when vacuuming.

 

3. Corded Rather Than Cordless

corded vacuum cleaner

Cordless vacuums with lithium-ion batteries have become increasingly popular in recent years. But a major drawback to these models is the societal and environmental concerns associated with lithium mining.

While lithium-ion batteries themselves may be beneficial to the environment, the mining process uses large quantities of water. This can deprive local people of water, particularly as most lithium mining takes place in dry environments. Processing lithium is also associated with water contamination.

In addition, some of the other raw materials required for these batteries (such as nickel) is linked with deforestation and pollution. Many lithium batteries also end up being thrown into landfill rather than being properly recycled.

As corded vacuums are nearly always more powerful and provide better cleaning performance, it’s best to avoid cordless models when looking for an Eco-friendly vacuum.

 

4. Bagless or Reusable Bags

There are advantages to both bagless and bagged vacuums.

Bagged models often provide better filtration, as the bag acts as an extra filter, and have a self-sealing design that’s great for allergy-prone individuals. On the other hand, bagless vacuums tend to have more consistent suction and save money on replacement bags.

When it comes to environmental impact, bagless vacuums are often the best choice as they reduce unnecessary waste. Spotless Vacuum provides a regularly updated list of the best bagless models if you’re not sure which to choose. If you need a bagged vacuum for allergies, then buy from a brand that also sells reusable bags. 

Note: Some brands, such as Miele, claim that a bag helps a vacuum’s motor to last longer. This may offset some of the environmental benefits of a bagless vacuum.

 

5. Durable and Long-Lasting Design

Durable, eco-friendly vacuum cleaners

While the features in this article are all important when buying an Eco-friendly vacuum cleaner, the process of manufacturing and shipping a vacuum still has a negative impact on the environment.

To minimise this environmental cost, only buy a high-quality vacuum that’s designed to last a long time. Vacuum brands with a reputation for durable and long-lasting vacuums include Miele, Sebo, Dyson, and Numatic.

It’s also a good idea to check where the vacuum cleaner was manufactured.

Nearly all vacuums come from China, although Numatic (UK) and Sebo (Germany) are two exceptions. Dyson was included in this list until 2002, although they now manufacture their vacuums in Malaysia and the Philippines.

You could also consider buying a second-hand vacuum cleaner. Check the vacuum’s specification before you buy, however, as many older models have big motors that use up a lot of energy.

 

Summary

Consider the environmental impact of a vacuum before you buy. Look for a model with a low motor power, lifetime filters, and a corded design. If you don’t have allergies, then a bag-less vacuum reduces waste, although you can often buy reusable bags for bagged models.

For light cleaning, consider a manual carpet sweeper. These don’t generate suction, which makes them less effective than a vacuum, but they are much more Eco-friendly. Many people are also surprised by how much dirt a manual sweeper can still pick up.

Vegan Asian Broccoli Salad with Cilantro Dressing Recipe

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The simple taste of rice noodles becomes the perfect blank canvas for a variety of flavors.

When combined with a flavorful sauce, the noodles take on a life of their own and become the perfect topping for almost any vegetable.

Serve on its own or on a bed of greens, chopped peppers, or beansprouts for added crunchiness.

vegan asian broccoli salad from the side

Vegan Asian Broccoli Salad with Cilantro Dressing sm
Yield: 4 servings

Vegan Asian Broccoli Salad with Cilantro Dressing

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 cup cilantro
  • 1/4 lime juice
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp peanut oil
  • 3 tsp sugar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 cup broccoli florets, blanched
  • 1/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups rice noodles, cooked and cooled
  • 1/2 cup dry roasted peanuts

Instructions

  1. Blend all the ingredients for the dressing together until smooth.
  2. Toss the broccoli, red onion and rice noodles together in a large bowl. Either toss with the dressing or place in smaller serving bowls and drizzle the dressing on top.
  3. Garnish with a few slices of red onion, slices of lime, and dry roasted peanuts.

Notes

Originally published July 2013

Nutrition Information

Yield

4

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 316Total Fat 17gSaturated Fat 3gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 12gCholesterol 0mgSodium 164mgCarbohydrates 33gFiber 5gSugar 6gProtein 11g

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

5 Creative Eco-Friendly Updates Your Home Needs This Summer

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Eco-friendly home updates

Going green this summer is a great way of exercising creativity and preserving the environment.

Remember, living green provides parents with the opportunity of handing down responsibilities to the coming generation. Children will be more aware earlier in their lives. This ensures the future of the planet is in safe hands.

Here are five creative green updates for your home this summer.

 

1. Unplug Appliances

Eco-friendly home updates

Most people are unaware that chargers, laptops and other electronic devices use power even when switched off. As long as the appliance is still plugged in, current is constantly flowing.

To reduce excess consumption of electricity this summer, ensure that all appliances are unplugged when not in use. Apart from saving money, you’ll also be prolonging the life of your appliances by preventing power surge risks.

Saving energy at home extends beyond unplugging devices. You can make a few more simple changes this summer to cut on power consumption.

Here are some of the changes you can make for a more Eco-friendly home this summer and beyond:

  • Turn off the lights when you leave a room. Better yet, invest in LED bulbs throughout your home.
  • Let more natural light into the house
  • Take shorter hot showers to cut on both energy and water consumption
  • Turn off the air conditioner when you’re not at home
  • Lower your thermostat a few degrees. It could slash almost 10% from your power budget.
  • Keep the refrigerator at an ideal temperature of between 2-3 degrees Celsius

 

2. Preserve Water

conserve water in summer

Dehydration occurs frequently during the hot season. A glass of water is the solution for keeping the body adequately hydrated. However, avoid wasting water. Make sure that there are no taps which are left on after use.

Fix all leakages as well. Any leftover water should not be poured away. It should be put to other use like watering of plants for instance.

Water is a valuable resource, moreso now with changes in weather patterns. Fresh water reserves have been dwindling, with the droughts becoming more biting in some parts of the country.

Check out these water saving tips from Budget Dumpster to slash the dollars from your utility bill.

 

3. Check the Air Conditioner

run air conditioner efficientlyrun air conditioner efficientlyrun air conditioner efficientlyrun air conditioner efficientlyrun air conditioner efficientlyrun air conditioner efficiently

An AC that is working properly saves energy. Contact a professional to help you determine whether or not your system is working effectively. Look for visible signs and awkward sounds coming from the A/C Systems before the technician arrives.

In addition, you should try to use your air conditioner as little as possible. Use fans, open windows, or hang out in the basement when possible.

 

4. Get Indoor Plants

growing plants in a greenhouse

Living plants are the best when it comes to purifying the air. A couple of vases spread around the house will reduce indoor air pollution substantially. Another benefit is that you’ll be able to add life to your home by using several species and colors of plants.

Ensure that the plants receive sufficient water and sunlight daily. Plants are the perfect way to spruce up your home with some greenery and improve the air quality.

 

5. Line Dry Laundry

Line Dry Laundry - Eco-friendly home updates

Hanging laundry to dry will reduce your power bills drastically. Give the drier a rest this summer and line dry laundry as an alternative. Wash the clothes using the machines and then take them outside.

The hot summer weather will make sure that they’re perfectly dry in a matter of hours. Create some space in the backyard for this purpose.

Implement these tips even after the summer season to enjoy a happier life that is helping protect the environment.


Editor’s Note: This post has been updated for freshness and consistency.

10 Eco Friendly Shopping Tips

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Eco-friendly shopping tips

With so much happening to the environment, it’s in your best interest to minimize your own negative impact on the planet.

When it comes to the way you shop, there are many ways you can help the environment and minimize your carbon footprint. Today we look at the most effective Eco-friendly shopping tips.

 

1. Buy Local Products

Eco-friendly shopping tips - shop at local farmers markets

Whenever it’s possible, buy products from local merchants.

When you buy local, you are buying products that were not shipped in from some remote part of the world.

When shipping products, companies emit a lot of potentially damaging gases into the air and waste natural resources.

If you buy products that were made or harvested locally, you can eliminate this issue.

 

2. Buy Food in Season

Another way to do your part is to buy food when it is in season.

If you’re spending money to buy products that are out of season and grown in other parts of the world, you are encouraging products to be shipped over long distances.

For example, instead of buying strawberries in the winter, buy something else and wait until strawberries are in season to buy them.

 

3. Buy Used Products

Eco-friendly shopping tips

When it comes to buying products, do your best to buy used instead of new.

There are many things that you can buy or rent through sites like Craigslist or Fat Lama that are practically as good as new.

When you buy used, you not only save yourself some money, but you are cutting down on the number of new products that are sold.

 

4. Use Reusable Shopping Bags

In many cases, you can use reusable shopping bags when you go to the store. This is not just an Eco-friendly tip, but actually also saves you money in the long run.

Buy some heavy-duty shopping bags that you can take with you again and again to the market. This way, you won’t have to use paper or plastic shopping bags over and over again.

 

5. Recycled Packaging

plastic free packaging

Many products sold today have recycled packaging. Whenever possible, try to buy products that are in recycled packaging.

When you don’t, you’re encouraging wasteful packaging procedures by manufacturers.

 

6. Use Containers for Storage

When you do have to buy a product in a big container, consider reusing that container for storage purposes. For instance, you can use boxes for storage, or when moving.

When you can reuse some of the containers that you buy, it will reduce the impact of the extra packaging.

 

7. Avoid Pre-Washed Items

fresh from the farm produce

Many people like the convenience of pre-washed items like lettuce or salad mixes.

While these items can be fairly convenient, they also cost a little bit more and can hurt the environment.

Instead of buying produce that is packaged in plastic, just buy regular produce and wash it at home.

 

8. Avoid Impulse Buys

To shop in an Eco-friendly way, avoid impulse buys. Many people buy things that they don’t need and then they end up in a landfill somewhere. Go through your closets and identify anything you haven’t used in a while. Or, things that no longer spark joy.

Now, get rid of them by selling, exchanging for something you want, or giving them up for recycling. You can also donate to a local charity or thrift-shop.

 

9. Shop Less Frequently

shop less frequently

Reducing the number of trips you take to the grocery store is one of the most effective Eco-friendly shopping tips. If you can cut down the number of times that you go to the store, you can save fuel and make a big difference for the environment.

Many people end up driving to the store for a carton of milk. Buy more at a time and you’ll spend less on gas. The only way to do that is to make a list before you go shopping.

Also, don’t shop when you’re hungry. You tend to buy more things, especially food to compensate mentally for the hunger. Write a shopping list, stick to the list.

 

10. Cloth Diapers

If you have kids, consider buying cloth diapers instead of plastic diapers. Plastic diapers are very expensive and they also take a long time to biodegrade.

In some places they end up in rivers and are carried all the way to the ocean, further polluting the waterways, and oceans.

You can save money by using cloth diapers regularly.


Editor’s Note: This post has been updated for freshness and consistency.

Are Your Neighbors Hungrier Than You Realize? [Infographic]

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food waste in canada

Three billion people globally can’t afford to eat a healthy diet. Of these people, 690 million are hungry on a day-to-day basis. 

What images did those statistics evoke for you? Did you immediately think of those horrifying pictures of starving people in Africa we see in Unicef adverts? 

The truth is that hunger may well hit closer to home. Food security is a growing issue, even in first-world nations. In countries like Canada, fast food is cheaper than fresh, healthy produce. It’s also relatively filling and convenient for parents who might have to work two or three jobs. 

The surreal part is that every year billions of dollar’s worth of food go to waste in Canada and other developed countries. Whether as a result of spoilage, aesthetics, or the manufacturing process, food wastage is a significant issue.

 

How big of an issue? 

See for yourself in the infographic below. 

Before you scroll to the statistics, however, let’s discuss a little more about the environmental impact of spoilage. 

The impact goes beyond the humanitarian crisis as well. What few people realize is that the food being thrown away also contributes to higher CO2 emission levels as it decomposes. The packaging used for the food is also problematic environmentally.

 

Is there any hope for the future? 

It’s not, however, all doom and gloom. With growing awareness of these issues, governments globally are working on ways to incentivize zero-waste projects. There are several programs afoot that aim to increase food security and decrease the environmental impact of rotten food. 

At the ground level, consumers are also becoming more aware of the benefits of zero-waste projects. Over the last few years, we’ve seen an increasing drive by society to improve their environmental impact. 

This has led to developments such as: 

  • The switch to biodegradable packaging 
  • Organic farming methods
  • The move to more sustainable manufacturing processes in the food industry
  • Community bartering systems to exchange excess produce
  • The consumption of every edible part of an animal or plant

In short, there’s hope for the future. The co-operation between consumers, governments, and businesses can turn this situation around.

Food Waste Statistics

US Renewable Energy Consumption Reaches Record High

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Renewable energy consumption in the US

The rise of Eco-consumerism fueled sustainable markets. Now, companies must adopt renewable energy sources to remain competitive in their fields. Brand image and customer loyalty improvements partially drove clean energy sales over the past year.

Technological advancements also decreased the price of renewable energy, increasing its buyer appeal. Various companies use clean power sources to shrink their carbon footprint and lower their utility costs.

Government funding helped the industry improve its efficiency and expand accessibility.

 

Government Push

US Renewable Energy Consumption

President Biden signed the U.S. onto the Paris Agreement during his first day in office. The signature represents our commitment to climate change prevention through carbon emission reductions. When using renewable energy devices, we can meet electricity demands while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The Agreement’s goal is to limit the global temperature increase to 2 degrees or below, compared to pre-industrial levels.

It requires a mass alteration in global energy sourcing, eliminating our fossil fuel power reliance. The government, plus commercial and residential sectors, are doing their part by investing in clean energy systems.

Additionally, President Biden initiated the Build Back Better plan by allocating $2 trillion to the renewable energy industry. The funding promotes green industrial growth and clean power employment.

Renewable power companies may access this budget, generating technological advancements and production.

 

Tax Credit Extensions

Another driving factor of renewable energy’s increase is tax credit extensions. Increasing the affordability of clean energy systems promotes higher consumption rates. The government utilizes a portion of the Build Back Better funding to expand tax incentive rewards for customers.

Congress extended the wind production tax credit (PTC) past its original expiration date, pushing it through 2021. They additionally lengthened the offshore wind development incentive, helping consumers access a 30% credit through 2025. The extension increased wind turbine sales and installations, improving renewable power production and consumption.

In 2010, officials passed the investment tax credit (ITC), increasing the solar industry’s growth by 42% since its establishment. As the incentive neared its expiration date, environmentalists predicted a decline in clean energy purchases. Fortunately, the government extended the ITC through 2024.

In 2022, the solar credit will decrease to 22% and then to 10% in the following years. Geothermal energy also received a tax incentive extension, increasing recent sales and clean energy consumption. Congress extended the credit through 2022, decreasing savings from 30% to 26%.

 

Wind Power

Investing in wind power generates various consumer benefits, contributing to an increase in system sales. Technological advancements help citizens fuel their houses and cars with wind-generated electricity. The cost of the renewable energy source is also decreasing.

Researchers predict up to a 35% price reduction in wind power by 2035. As costs drop, system owners’ utility savings will increase. Installing renewable energy systems on a property also increases its value, providing a high return on investment.

 

Solar Energy

 

solar energy - US renewables

Solar system sales increased significantly over the past year. The increase was due partially to the tax incentive, as well as systematic advancements. Recent photovoltaic panel changes increased their efficiency, optimizing electricity outputs.

The price of solar energy also decreased, boosting its cost competitiveness against fossil fuels. Business energy costs can drop by 75% after installing photovoltaic solar systems. Low utility prices drive solar sales and the industry’s expansion.

 

Hydroelectric Energy

Environmental scientists and engineers recently developed hydro-power technology that increases its sustainability.

Altering the industry and appealing to Eco-conscious consumers improved national consumption and sourcing. Last year, the U.S. obtained 7.3% of its energy from hydroelectricity, accessing 291 billion kilowatt-hours.

New marine and hydrokinetic (MHK) devices generate energy from the ocean. The technology can produce over 538 terawatt-hours of electricity annually. As efficiency and output levels increase, our hydro-power consumption will increase even further.

 

Waste-to-Energy

The waste-to-energy (WTE) sector is relatively new and instills sustainability into production practices.

WTE converts municipal solid waste (MSW) into green electricity, extracting hydrogen for fuel cells. When used in transportation, the source eliminates greenhouse gas emissions, only generating water as an output.

New York City is considering converting their public buses from natural gas to WTE. They could access enough power for the city’s fleet using one-fourth of their MSW.

 

Biofuels

bio fuels

Various companies view renewable energy sources as beneficial. But a lack of compatible technology limits some businesses from transitioning away from greenhouse gas-emitting fuel sources.

Environmental researchers discovered a method of reducing waste from conventional machines using biofuels. Of the 90% of electricity generated in the U.S. from thermoelectric power plants, biofuels is a prominent contributor.

Unlike solar power generation, professionals can develop biofuel using previously established sources. Earth’s abundance of vegetation with the ability to quickly reproduce supports clean energy production.

Farmers’ reliance on the biofuel industry increased its national rollout. Biofuels generate 32% of the industrial sector’s renewable energy supply. As technology advances and farmers develop additional production measures, the industry will expand.

 

The Future of Renewable Energy

President Biden plans to bring about a carbon-neutral nation in the coming decades. But meeting that ambitious goal requires the elimination of fossil fuel-reliant practices and ongoing advancements in renewable energy production.

Shifting towards clean power will significantly shrink America’s carbon footprint, aiding in climate change prevention throughout the world.

Improve Indoor Air Quality with These Simple Tips

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improve indoor air quality

When it comes to protecting your family’s health, we all want to take it seriously. However, the Environmental Protection Agency has news that may surprise you –the air quality in your house can be more contaminated than the air outside, even in big cities where there is more industrialization!

Studies show that most Americans spend nearly 90% of their lives indoors. While you’re there, do you want to be breathing in air that’s just as dirty as the air outside? Of course not! It’s your home, it’s your air quality, it’s your lungs.

But don’t fret as there are steps that you can take to improve the air quality within your home.

 

Knowing Your Invisible Enemies

Improve indoor air quality

The first step to improving the air quality in your home is to determine what pollutants are causing potential serious damage to your health. The Environmental Protection Agency says these indoor pollutants can be classified into three categories:

  1. Combustion Pollutants: Common combustion pollutants include carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide. These colourless and odourless gases originate from burning objects that are incorrectly vented or not vented at all. The type and amount of pollutants created depends on the installation, maintenance, and ventilation of the appliance, as well as the type of fuel it utilizes.
  2. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC): These organic chemicals disseminate as gases that came from particular solid or liquid materials which most likely are the household products you often use.
  3. Triggers to Asthma and Other Allergies: You may not know it, but your home may be host to a culture of dust mites on your blankets, pillows, or stuffed toys, mold on shower curtains, and cat or dog hair all over floors or upholstery which can trigger nasty allergy or complications due to asthma.

 

Limit Your Exposure

Now that you know your invisible enemies, it is time that you drastically cut down your exposure to it.

  • Let fresh air come inside and ventilate your home by opening your windows as often as possible.
  • Change or clean air filters regularly – especially the ones from your air purifier, furnace or heater, vacuum, and air conditioner.
  • Humidity levels are important in controlling the growth of mold and mildew. Set up your home’s humidity level to an ideal 45%. A humidity level below 30% is too dry while over 50% can make your home too moist making it an open breeding ground for molds. You may want to use a humidifier or a room vaporizer to increase the humidity in your home. To decrease it, open your windows, use your fan, dehumidifier, or air conditioner.
  • Go natural with DIY air fresheners and avoid synthetic ones that emit damaging chemicals or hormone disruptors.
  • Use a HEPA air purifier that doesn’t generate ozone and eliminates VOCs from furniture, paint, or cleaning materials.
  • Go green by planting green plants in your home, particularly those from a list supplied by your friends at NASA. These can help lessen VOCs and enhance the air quality of your home.
  • Set a regular grooming schedule for your pets.
  • When painting your home, only use the kind that has low or no VOC and always pick non-toxic adhesive, finishes, and varnishes as much as possible.

 

Be Clean, Be Smart.

To improve the air quality in your home, how you clean and what you use to clean really matters.

Use Homemade, Environmentally-Friendly Cleaning Products

homemade cleaning products

Cleaners and detergents that contain harmful chemicals can pose a threat of causing irritation to the skin, eyes, throat and lungs in both people and pets, and can be harmful to the environment, as well.

Think about where cleaning products go when you rinse them away – down the drain. They are processed with other sewage and dumped.

Most cleaners will break down into substances that are no longer harmful, although many detergents that claim to have the “best” cleaning power contain a chemical that could infect the water supply and harm the animal habitat where the sewage is dumped.

By using your own homemade cleaning products, you can keep these chemicals from contaminating the air in your home as well as the environment around you.

They are incredibly simple to make yourself, plus, they’re cheaper to make than they are to buy pre-made! And you’re saving yourself from using an unnecessary plastic bottle, too.

A simple solution of white vinegar and water shaken and sprayed onto a messy surface will do the trick for getting it clean. Check out these recipes for simple homemade cleaning solutions.

For more recipes, check out our post, How to Make Your Own Natural Household Cleaners.

 

Reduce Dust and Pollutants

Reduce Dust and Pollutants

A high-performance vacuum with powerful suction, HEPA filters, and rotating brushes can be a very good investment as it catches tiny particles that regular vacuums often miss. Do this once a week and make sure to regularly wash or change your vacuum filter. If you don’t have time for regular vacuuming, consider an automatic vacuum that does the job for you.

Use a damp cloth to wipe the tops of window frames, doors, and sills, and wash your curtains often. You may buy a reusable microfiber dust mop to reach nooks and crannies that vacuum could not.

Use quality mattress, pillow, and box spring covers that are dust-mite-proof.

And to prevent against the growth of mold, of which spores can be toxic, use environmentally-friendly materials when cleaning your shower and regrout your tiles if needed.

 

Stop Using Aerosols

aerosol spray can

The use of aerosols has long been believed to harm the environment, as well, and it does. Most fragranced products are derived from petroleum products which are non-renewable, polluting resources.

Products such as air freshener, deodorant spray, furniture polish, hair spray and carpet cleaner all contain artificial fragrances that often contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are considered toxic or hazardous.

And all the product label has to state is that the product contains “fragrances,” so you’ll never know when there is actually a deadly chemical hidden in there.

Releasing them into the air causes an irreversible negative effect on the environment.

So what can you do? Stop using aerosol products. Opt, again, for homemade products to replace them using all-natural ingredients, or choose fragrance-free products.

 

Let the Outdoors In

let the outdoors in

Open a window in your house! Letting in some fresh air will not only combat the potentially deadly pollutants that have been emitted into the air in your home unknowingly, but it can be a natural way to cool your home during warmer months, too.

Depending on where you live (cities and highly populated areas tend to have poorer air quality than the suburbs and open country spaces), the air quality outside may actually be better than that inside your home. The fresh air can help clear out the polluted air that you’re breathing indoors.

And if it tends to heat up quickly in your home, instead of turning on the air conditioning immediately when it warms up outside, try opening the windows for a natural breeze to flow throughout your home to cool it off. You’ll save tons of energy this way and it’s really an effective cooling technique (assuming you get a good air flow).

 

Decorate With Plants

plants pots

Just as plants outside filter the air that we breathe, indoor plants can help improve indoor air quality within your home, as well.

Decorate using strategically placed air-filtering house plants throughout your home. They have capabilities of filtering out any pollutants that may be in the air in your home and return to you clean, breathable air.

Find out what plants are best in our post, 3 Plants Can Make You Breathe Easier Indoors.

House plants are also said to have an effect on mood and the general feeling of overall well-being. The bottom line: plants are good for you and good for the environment on all levels, so adding them to your home will only help improve your life and the air that you breathe!

 

Control Asbestos in Your Home

asbestos roof sheeting
via Wikipedia

Asbestos is a tiny particle that floats through the air, too small to be seen by the human eye or even by a standard microscope, that is toxic to humans. The Environmental Protection Agency has stated that a lifetime of exposure to small amounts of inhaled asbestos can pose a serious and potentially deadly health threat.

It’s found in so many household products, though, such as flooring, insulation, piping and old paint products, that a small amount of inhaled asbestos poses no real health concerns.

However, any larger amounts of asbestos inhalation have been proven to lead to cases of lung cancer and other lung diseases, so it’s a good idea to keep asbestos levels in your home controlled or eliminate them entirely.

Since asbestos is such a small mineral fiber, it goes airborne effortlessly, and although it is a naturally occurring mineral in the earth, it tends to sit on top of the soil when it hits the ground so it’s shifted around easily.

This means that it’s easy for asbestos to contaminate the air, water and soil that surround us. So do your family and your neighbors a favor and reduce the amount of asbestos in your home as best you can.

 

Final thought

For your home to be a safe haven for your family and to ensure their health, you must improve indoor air quality! Hopefully these tips will put you on the track to a greener, healthier home.


Editor’s Note: This post has been updated for freshness and consistency.

How to Grow an Avocado Tree from Seed [Infographic]

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grow avocado tree

Whether you’re spreading it on toast, mashing it for some guacamole, or even using it to make some healthy pancakes, avocados are a staple in many of our favourite snacks.

And that’s why having ripe avocado ready to go in the kitchen is a must-have.

You won’t have to worry about adding it to your shopping list if you grow it yourself – and that’s just what we recommend doing with these simple instructions.

Check out the infographic below to learn how you can grow an avocado tree from a seed (pit) in your own home.

How_to_Grow_an_Avocado_Tree_From_Seed

Have you tried this method for growing an avocado? Tweet us @greenerideal and let us know!


Editor’s Note: This post has been updated for freshness and consistency.

Scrambled Eggs with Chicory and Chive Blossoms

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Scrambled eggs with chicory and chive blossoms

The simplicity of this meal makes it the perfect lunch or dinner. Bright greens, organic eggs and chive blossoms, come together to create a riot of color on a simple piece of toasted bread.

One of my favorites ingredients is chicory or frisee. It’s a little bitter, but it turns any salad into an explosion of flavor.

And it loves, loves, loves to be combined with eggs.

So, when I was gifted with a huge bundle of chive flower blossoms, it just made sense to combine all of the ingredients together. And until those chive blossoms are used up, this scrambled eggs recipe is going to be my go-to fast meal. It’s irresistible.

Give it a try for yourself. Top some artisanal bread with the egg mixture, and watch how quickly this meal is devoured.

Scrambled eggs with chicory and chive blossoms
Yield: 4 servings

Scrambled Eggs with Chicory and Chive Blossoms

Prep Time: 1 minute
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 11 minutes

Bright greens, organic eggs and chive blossoms, come together to create a riot of color on a simple piece of toasted bread.

Ingredients

  • 4 slices bread
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 4 large organic eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup frisee, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons grated parmesan
  • 6 chive blossoms
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup frisee, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons grated parmesan
  • 6 chive blossoms

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Brush both sides of bread with olive oil, and place on the center rack. Bake for 3 minutes and flip the bread. Bake for an additional 2 minutes.
  2. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan, over medium heat. Whisk the eggs together with the salt and pepper. Pour the eggs into the pan and stir constantly for about 3 minutes, or until the eggs are loosely set. Stir in the frisee and parmesan and cook for an additional 2-4 minutes, depending on how well done you like your eggs.
  3. Divide egg mixture between the grilled bread and top with chive blossoms.

Nutrition Information

Yield

4

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 228Total Fat 13gSaturated Fat 5gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 7gCholesterol 198mgSodium 590mgCarbohydrates 18gFiber 2gSugar 2gProtein 11g

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