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    Inspire Your Child on Earth Day with these Green Living Tips

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    earth day kids

    Many people who care about the environment today only learned to care as adults.

    As more young parents learn the importance of being responsible with the environment, early initiation for children is becoming the norm — and what better time to start than Earth Day.

    If you’re interested in raising an environmentally-conscious child, here are some simple, kid-friendly ways that will help your child get a great start – and just in time for Earth Day!

     

    1. Walk or Bike

    Wherever possible, encourage your child to walk or ride a bicycle.

    If your child needs to run an errand, go to school or go to a friend’s house, you should tell him how wonderful it is for the environment to not drive (or be driven).

     

    2. Make the Most of Everything

    Paper used to be a scarce and expensive commodity a long time ago. Now, high quality paper is practically free. Children can be very careless with paper for this reason. They can often toss a nearly blank sheet of paper into the trash or recycling after only writing a couple of lines on it.

    As cheap and abundant as paper is, it still requires a staggering amount of wood pulp and water to produce. You could encourage your children to completely use both sides of each sheet of paper before throwing it away.

     

    3. Reuse or Buy Used

    While going to the bookstore for great new books for your children is a wonderful way to live, book production does place a heavy burden on the environment. Instead of tossing money at the bookstore for new books all the time, it could be nicer to take your children to the library.

    You could help your children borrow the school textbooks they need from the library or buy used, too. Reusing things is one of the best ways to go green.

     

    4. Recycle, Recycle, Recycle!

    People who don’t learn about the importance of recycling at a young age often resent having to dispose of batteries and devices safely. Recycling these takes time – one needs to take them to a store that has recycling bins for electronic waste.

    If you teach your children the right recycling habits for electronics early on, they will really learn to be responsible.

     

    5. Make Smart Purchases

    While teaching your children the value of recycling is a very good idea, teaching them to avoid having to recycle is even better. Help them see that staying away from
    unnecessary packagingbottled water, packaged food and so on – is the right idea.

     

    6. Help Others Reduce Consumption

    Children do love getting new toys and clothes. While you may not be able to get them to cut down on these purchases, you could encourage them to donate their old stuff. You could help your child look up a charity that he likes to donate his old clothes to.

     

    7. Get Your Hands Dirty!

    Every child should learn to raise a garden and tend to it. The more in touch with the earth a person is, the more environmentally responsible he is likely to be.

    Show your child how to make compost and raise a garden with nothing more than organic fertilizer and pesticides.

     

     

    Final Thought

    You don’t need to get your child to change everything. That would only cause resentment. Simply show your child a few ways to go green. He’ll catch on overtime.

    5 Tips to Better Wash Fruits and Veggies: Advice and Precautions

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    5-tips-better-wash-veggies-fruities-advice-precautions

    Pushing you diet towards a “greener” direction is never a bad idea. Fruits and vegetables are, to current knowledge, the only sources of dietary fiber, which is one of the macronutrients that human needs.

    However, in modern days, to consume plant produce without any cautions is too risky.

    If we all had our own organic gardens where we can keep watch on the production, that would be the dream. But that is simply not likely.

    Store bought veggies and fruits are safe to a certain extent. However, the possibility of bacteria and remaining pesticides are still there, enough for us to be concerned.

    Even if they are pre-washed and packaged under ideal conditions, they can still be contaminated unless you’re careful.

    So here is a few things that we should all keep in mind when it comes to handling vegetables and fruits prior to consumption.

     

    General advice

    Wash them!

    Of course, it’s just common sense to wash before eating or storing them away.

    Apart from the usual “rinse under running water” advice, there are several additional points that we should adopt into our kitchen sink routines.

    washing_poteto
    Rub under running water help clean surface better (pic source: pixabay.com)

     

    • Keep rubbing: sometimes, just putting them under running water does not do the trick. Instead, also gently rubbing your produce gives extra cleansing effects (NO NEED FOR A PRODUCE WASH).
    • Extra force on firm produce: with melons, cucumbers and others similar veggies and fruities, scrubbing them with a clean vegetable brush will definitely help.
    • Dryness is key: it is not recommended to keep produce damp as bacteria and contaminants can cling onto the surface more easily. ALWAYS dry vegetables and fruits with a clean cloth or paper towel.

     

    Further precautions

    It’s totally a good habit to clean your produce.

    Yet, there are still many saying that even though they washed them, they’d still get sick. So they turned to produce washes or they just slightly rinsed and cooked everything, which sure is safer; still, how exactly are we supposed to cook all fruits?

    It’s not a matter of whether we wash them or not. Rather, it’s the matter of how THOROUGHLY they are washed and which precautions are taken.

    It may occupy more time to do so. Nonetheless, the question is: how safe do you want to be?

    After all, the point of washing vegetables and fruits is to make sure that they are harmless to consume. Therefore, a little bit of extra insurance is not at all a stretch.

     

    1. Mind your water supply

    If our water is not clean, then almost nothing in our house is safe to consume.

    This should be the first and foremost concern, especially with the outburst of E.coli in the UK and in the US recently.

    E.coli growing
    E.coli growing (pic source: flickr.com)

    E.coli can be found in our water if it is not monitored closely by us or by our water companies. By the time someone in our families gets infected, it’s too late.

    Instead, we should take the initiatives. Test our water regularly, install a water filtration system (mostly for the kitchen sink), etc. Don’t rely on chance when our own health is on the line.

     

    2. Mind the fresh produce and leafy greens

    Although packaged foods are with lower food safety risks, I personally still prefer fresh produce. I’ll get to pick and choose and decide which way I want to prepare my food or healthy snacks.

    Unfortunately, for those who choose fresh fruits and vegs over packaged ones like me, the risks are higher and we have to clean them ourselves.

    But worry not, I’m still alive and well after quite a while of dealing with fresh buys. So, as long as you pay attention to these few things, you are good to go.

    • Don’t pick the ones that are damaged or bruised, or simply not looking fresh.
    • If your collection at hands are slim then remember to cut off those parts.
    • The outermost leaves of leafy greens like cabbage or lettuce are, for most of the time, dirty and not worth the effort. Just take them off and throw them away.
    • Leafy greens like celery or napa cabbage, because of their structures, are harder to be cleaned if we not attentive. Take them apart and wash carefully.

    *note: with the types of leafy greens that are commonly eaten raw, we should be extra thorough at washing them. Compared to other types that are usually cooked, ingredients of a salad or coleslaw are more likely to be health threatening.

     

    3. Mind the labels

    Vegetables and fruits marked “pre-washed” or “ready to eat” have already been dealt with under optimal conditions and are safe for consumption.

    There are no needs to wash them again. If we do so, we only increase the chance of contamination by exposing it to environmental contact.

    Keep them in our fridges and only cut them out when we need to prepare or eat them.

     

    4. Mind the kitchen implements

    After making sure that our produce are cleaned and ready to serve, there’s still a long way for them before they can settle in our belly.

    Normally, we have to prepare them first. Peeling, slicing and putting/setting them into a bowl or or onto a plate are all typical steps. There’s just too much contact.

    The more contact there is, the more chances for bacteria to latch on.

    In addition to washing the veggies and fruities, we should also ensure that our utensils, cutleries and tablewares are all properly cleaned.

    *note: if you plan to peel fruits with the same knife that you use to cut them, wash the fruits first. If you don’t, bacteria from the skin may travel to the knife, and you know what’s next.

     

    5. Mind the hands

    This is overall a good advice in various aspects as our hands come into contact with numerous impurities throughout the day.

    To wash our hands whenever we’ve got the chance is not a bad habit to have. It’s particularly beneficial to do so around our produce, or just food in general.

    In the preparation process, besides the kitchen implements, our hands are still the main tools. Thus, it is almost useless washing everything if we don’t wash our hands first.

    Mind_the_hands
    Wash hands with soap and warm water for more than 20 seconds (pic source: health.mil)

     

    In Conclusion …

    So, ALWAYS wash your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds, and with warm water if you are going the extra miles, to properly rid all bacteria and possible harmful agents.

    5 Health Hazards that Could Be Hiding In Your Home

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    health hazard

    A home is meant to be a place of safety and comfort, but it is all too unfortunate that there are a number of serious health hazards residing in many houses.

    With a close look at these five potential hazards, however, home owners can keep themselves and their family as safe as possible, dramatically reducing the chance of health problems resulting from unhealthy or environmentally damaging situations.

     

    1. Carbon Monoxide

    There are small amounts of carbon monoxide in every single breath that a human takes, but levels that are slightly higher than usual can lead to serious injuries and death with over 500 deaths chalked up to carbon monoxide every single year. This is mostly due to products that use natural gases but do not seal properly.

    Get a carbon monoxide detector that sounds an alarm when carbon monoxide levels are at dangerous levels. Because carbon monoxide is odorless, you can get carbon monoxide poisoning without even knowing.  A detector can keep you and your family safe from carbon monoxide poisoning.

     

    2. Dust Mites

    Dust mites can thrive in almost any condition and are linked to a wide array of serious medical side effects ranging from rashes to asthma.

    Dust mites are most often found in old and unused clothing, bedding, and fabric toys. Each of these items should be cleaned regularly with extremely hot water and a powerful anti-bacterial detergent or soap.

     

    3. Mold

    Depending on one’s environment, mold particles can begin to thrive in almost any location in as little as a few hours. This includes the ducts of one’s climate control system throughout their house.

    By checking these ducts or having a professional do so, home owners can ensure that they inhale a minimum amount of mold.

    Ductless air conditioning is another popular option that can reduce the amount of maintenance required over the years by removing a number of locations in which mold can thrive.

     

    4. Pesticides

    No one wants to live in a home with unwelcome critters, but it is all too often that the pesticides used to get rid of these creatures are more dangerous than the animals themselves.

    It has always been known that certain pesticides are extremely toxic, and that is why every family should explore non-toxic options. They should also follow all rules and suggestions laid out by the pest removal specialist after getting their home treated.

     

    5. Lead

    While there are tight restrictions about placing lead in many home products, countless goods still contain trace amounts of this material. From dishware to toys, lead has been attributed to a number of serious health conditions such as brain damage and high blood pressure.

    These side effects can be avoided by checking all labels and manufacturer information for any type of lead ingredients.

     

    This article has been updated for consistency.

    How to Make Your Own Natural Cleaning Products

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    homemade cleaning supplies

    If you’re making the push towards a more natural lifestyle, you may be interested to know that you can actually make your own chemical-free all natural household cleaners at home.

    Commercial cleansers are often laden with chemical additives that can be detrimental to your family’s health. Non-toxic natural cleaning solutions are easy to make, store, and they clean just as well as commercial cleansers.

    The best part is, you only need a few ingredients for each recipe.

     

    All Purpose Cleaner

    spray bottle

    This recipe is an ideal replacement for your basic all-purpose cleaner, like Lysol. It can be used on sinks, countertops, toilets, and in the shower. This is also a good solution for wiping down the oven and other kitchen appliances.

    Mix together 1 part white vinegar with one part water in a spray bottle.

    Just spray the solution and clean as you normally would. Keep in mind that the vinegar only smells until it is dry. However, if this is irksome to you, you can add a few drops of essential oil to mask the vinegar.

     

    Bath, Tile, Tub and Sink Scrub

    clean bathroom

    You can keep your bathroom from smelling like a school gym without harming your health or the environment. Many commercial janitorial cleaning companies and popular over-the-counter cleaners use fragrance-laden chemicals to disinfect and cover up offensive odors commonly found in bathrooms and fitness centers.

    You can get tiles, sinks and tubs just as clean with this natural option. This scrub can be used in place of Soft Scrub or other bathroom scrubs.

    1. In a shallow bowl, mix together a squirt of biodegradable dish soap (Seventh Generation works well) with two teaspoons of lemon juice.
    2. Add baking soda slowly until it creates a paste.

    Use this paste on showers, toilets, and sinks. Apply it using a scrubby brush or a sponge. You can also let this solution sit overnight to get out the really tough stains.

     

    Glass Cleaner

    Cleaning windows is one of the most rewarding ways to use green cleaning methods. Use this as a substitute for Windex for a natural streak-free shine.

    1. Mix  ¼ c. rubbing alcohol, ¼ c. white vinegar, 1 tbsp. cornstarch, and 2 c. of warm water in a spray bottle.
    2. Shake everything up until the cornstarch is dissolved.
    3. To make sure your glass stays extra shiny, use a newspaper instead of a paper towel or cloth to wipe it down with. The newspaper doesn’t leave any lint and leaves a perfectly clear shine.

    It is a good idea to shake the bottle each time you use it as the cornstarch can sometimes settle to the bottom of the bottle and clog the spray mechanism.

     

    Carpet Cleaner

    For brand new stains on the carpet, use club soda instead of an expensive spot cleaner. It works well on new stains, but doesn’t do much if it has already set in.

    1. For set-in stains, mix together ¼ c. of liquid dish soap with 1/3 c. of water.
    2. Shake this in a spray bottle until it becomes foamy.
    3. Spray the foam onto the stain and rinse with white vinegar.

    To deodorize a smelly carpet, lightly sprinkle baking soda on the carpet 30 minutes  before vacuuming. Baking soda is a natural deodorizer.

     

    Fabulous Floor Cleaner

    wood floor

    Keeping floors clean is easy with green ingredients. After sweeping up debris, simply add ½ cup of vinegar to a gallon of warm water and mop the way you normally would. No chemicals, no perfumes, just a clean, shiny floor for only pennies.

    If you have wood floors, damp mopping isn’t such a good idea. You can use the same solution, however, and simply spray it onto a cleaning cloth, rubber band the cloth to your dry mop and wipe up all those dust bunnies, dander mites and grime for a wood floor that lasts beautifully for generations, without harming the environment.

     

    Inoffensive Oven Cleaning

    Commercial oven cleaning products are one of the worst culprits for toxic fumes in the home and the task is rarely pleasant, but these steps can make oven cleaning as inoffensive as possible while still getting the job done.

    Of course, prevention is worth its weight in gold when it comes to oven cleaning. Lining the bottom of your oven with aluminum foil can reduce the need for serious cleaning, simply replace the foil when it collects drips and spills. Also, some ovens offer a self-cleaning setting which bakes the oven at extremely high temperatures, turning spills into ash that is far easier to wipe up.

    If your oven needs some serious cleaning and you don’t have a self-cleaning oven, you can still use high heat to make the cleaning job easier. Set the oven at its highest temperature for 15-20 minutes, making sure to turn the overhead fan on. Then allow the oven to cool to a comfortable temperature and wipe out as much as you can wipe damp sponge.

    Next, for those stubborn, caked on messes, create a paste with baking soda and water and smear it on, leaving it to sit overnight. The next morning, those baked on spills will wipe away easily without any toxic fumes.

     

    Final Thought

    With only a few ingredients you can switch out commercial cleaning products from your home and use safe, natural alternatives. Not to mention, save money – nearly all of these natural cleaning supplies can be purchased in bulk at a fraction of the cost of commercial and residential cleaning products.

    Cleaning your home with these natural ingredients will protect your health and the environment, while keeping your home looking and smelling its best.

    Easy Ways to Go Green for Earth Day and Beyond

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    Celebrated on April 22, Earth Day is a global reminder to be conscious of the impact each and every one of us has on the planet.

    Though this is something we should be keeping in mind each and every day, Earth Day reminds us to examine the choices we make and how they all impact the environment. 

    Whether you’ve been making sustainable, zero-waste and Eco-friendly choices for years or are just getting started in your journey to go green, there are many ways we can all be more sustainably-minded.

    Many of these choices are easy to make and allow you to keep living your daily life, just in a more Eco-friendly way. Read on to see some of the easy ways you can start going green, for Earth Day and beyond!

     

    Reduce Intake of Single-Use Items

    Many people’s days are fueled by their to-go coffee from the nearest coffee shop in the morning, afternoon pick-me-ups with a soda from the vending machine, and take-out from nearby restaurants for dinner. As innocent as these may seem, they have a much more sinister impact on the environment than we may realize.

    Around 8 million metric tons of plastic end up in the ocean each year, many of those tons being plastic cups, straws, bags, and cutlery.

    While this may seem like a scary statistic, there are small adjustments you can make to your daily life that will significantly help the environment, with small impacts on the way you live.

    These changes are as easy as making your coffee at home, or investing in a reusable coffee cup and straw to bring to cafes, in the morning; picking up a reusable water bottle or choosing recyclable metal or glass containers for soft drinks; and simply asking for no single-use cutlery when you get take-out and reusing those containers.

    These simple choices allow you to keep doing what you want to do, while reducing the amount of single-use items you consume that will eventually end up in a landfill, or worse, the ocean. 

     

    Be Smart and Savvy at Home

    Just like you can make smarter choices while out and about, you can make those same well-informed, environmentally-friendly choices in your own home to start making a difference. These adjustments are easy, and once you know about them you’ll wonder why you didn’t start sooner.

    One easy way to be more sustainable from home is by putting pots and pans on the correct-sized burners. You may not have even known this was an area of energy waste you were contributing to, but home energy waste is a huge contributor to air pollution, greenhouse gases, and other detrimental effects on our environment.

    You can help make your impact smaller by putting small pots and pans on small burners, and large ones on bigger burners. This small change will help lower your impact as a whole, without causing a major lifestyle shift!

    Another simple way to live an eco-friendly lifestyle to make a green home is through air-drying your laundry, if feasible. Washers and dryers use a lot of energy, so bring your footprint down even more through opting for the traditional way to dry your clothes, as well as using eco-friendly cleaners.

    Making this shift will help you waste less energy, and allow you to enjoy the fresh smell of sun-dried clothes.

     

    Going Green for Earth Day

    There are many small shifts we can all make that help ensure our planet will be around to enjoy for the generations to come.

    Through making small steps like these, we can all lower the impact we have on the environment and see that a green lifestyle isn’t hard to achieve at all—it just takes small steps, and a bit of practice.

    For even more ways to go green on Earth Day and beyond, check out this visual from Wikibuy.  

    Earth Day Freebies

    Image courtesy: Wikibuy

    5 of the Best Brain Foods You Should Be Eating

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    blueberries

    Everyone is aware of the importance of a healthy diet to encourage high levels of energy, maintain good health generally and make sure that the rigours of each day can be endured.

    The importance of maintaining a diet that is rich in fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, fish and – for some people – lean meat, and low on highly processed, fatty, salty and sugary foods, is common knowledge.

    However, there is a certain group of foods that is not only good for the body generally but can provide outstanding benefits for the brain, thus aiding concentration and the functioning of the memory.

    Why not think about including some (or all) of them in your diet to give you an added boost?

    None of the foods listed below require much effort or preparation and all can be very easily added to daily meals with minimal fuss.

    There is even the odd sweet treat in there too; something to satisfy even the fussiest of palates!

     

    Oily fish

    person slicing salmon on white cutting board

    Fish such as salmon, mackerel, herrings and sardines are rich in a nutrient called Omega 3, which is essential for the development and maintenance of brain tissue.

    Nutritionists recommend two portions of oily fish a week as part of a balanced diet. Tinned or fresh is equally acceptable and both have good nutritional value, however it’s important to ensure that the fish is caught using sustainable practices.

    A lunch or dinner dish of mashed sardines in tomato sauce on toast is an excellent source of brain food and will keep energy levels high too!

     

    Blueberries

    blueberries

    High in antioxidants and a rich source of vitamin C, blueberries have been shown in many studies to guard against short term memory loss. Eating them can help aid co-ordination and balance amongst other things.

    Power packed with nutrition, sprinkled onto cereals or made into fruit smoothies, they’re a deliciously sweet treat that is actually good for you!

     

    Pumpkin seeds

    pumpkin seeds

    Another rich source of Omega 3 oils and Zinc, pumpkin seeds are perfect for any vegetarians out there who feel they might miss out because they can’t eat oily fish. They help maintain the part of the brain that keeps sensory function intact.

    Pumpkin seeds (also known as “pepitas”) are delicious eaten as a snack in their own right, mixed into leafy green salads or onto your morning bowl of porridge for a nice crunchy texture.

     

     

    Avocado

    avocado

    Often avoided because it is felt they have a high fat and cholesterol content, avocados facilitate blood flow to the brain, which is essential for keeping the mind alert and focused to concentrate on the stresses of the day.

    Avocados can also help to reduce overall blood pressure in the body.

     

    Chocolate

    dark chocolate

    For most people this is probably the nicest of all brain foods, although it must be said, it is really only good-quality dark and milk chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa solids that counts!

    Eating a couple of small squares of premium dark chocolate every day will help provide lots of memory-improving anti-oxidants, while eating the same amount of milk chocolate will improve motor functions and reaction times.

    This article has been updated for freshness and consistency.

    Going Green at Easter: How To Celebrate Sustainably

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    easter

    The highlights of Easter celebrations with kids are coloured eggs, Easter baskets, and of course, chocolate.

    The trouble is, a lot of these products are produced in environmentally unfriendly ways, and many of them are meant to be disposable, rather than reusable.

    Here we share a few sustainable Easter ideas which will help you reuse your decorations year after year, and make even the brightest Easter baskets easily affordable.

     

    Easter Basket

    easter basket

    First off, the Easter basket.

    Instead of buying a plastic basket at your local store, think of ways to improvise. If you want something green but fancy, there’s a wide selection of wooden and wicker baskets you could find at your local florist or gift shop.

    If you want to try and find something around your house as a substitute, think about using an old flower basket instead. After all, it’s what’s in the basket that your kids will be most impressed with.

    When it comes to lining your basket with something fun, don’t bother picking up the bags of shredded plastic at your local store – instead, try running a few pieces of construction paper or fabric through a paper shredder.

    If you plan a week or two ahead, you can actually use real grass to fill your basket.

    Just line the basket with a layer of plastic, put a few inches of soil in, and sprinkle some wheatgrass seeds on top. Keep them moist, and when they start to sprout, put them in the sun.

    By Easter morning you should have a nice organic basket with fresh and real grass!

    If you invest in making a good, reusable basket for each child in your family, it can become a tradition to use it year after year with no added cost.

     

    Coloring Eggs

    easter egg colouring

    After you’ve got your basket set up, it’s time to start colouring some eggs to fill it up.

    Instead of using store bought dye packages or straight up food colouring, try going the natural route this year and dye the eggs with some regular vegetables you might have left over from dinner.

    Click here for our instructions on how to dye your eggs naturally with ingredients from around the house, like oranges, lemons and coffee.

     

    Chocolate and Candy

    easter candy and chocolate

    There is an abundance of chocolate and candy on the shelves at Easter. But what type of treats should you be selecting for your kids?

    Consider thinking outside the box and have the Easter Bunny bring snack foods that your children enjoy but that aren’t necessarily “sweet.”

    If chocolate is a must-have, try buying organic or fair trade chocolate.

    Organic chocolate is made the same as most other chocolate, except with cocoa beans that haven’t been sprayed with pesticides.

    Fair trade chocolate means the cocoa and sugar farmers who helped grow the ingredients used in the process are guaranteed fair pay for what they’ve done, and ensures a better quality of life for the people who worked towards making the delicious treat.

     

    Have fun!

    Hopefully all of these green Easter ideas help make this year a special one. If you have some green Easter tips of your own, be sure to leave them in the comments for everyone else to try out as well.

    Simple & Healthful Eco-Friendly Spring Cleaning Tips

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    spring cleaning

    As the warm weather rolls back around, many people find themselves inspired to clean up their living space.

    Spring cleaning is a time to get rid of most of the dirt, grime, and trash that typically results from being inside so much during the winter.

    If you are preparing to freshen up your home, keep in mind that you can do so in an environmentally-friendly manner.

    The following tips outline several ways to go green during the spring cleaning process.

     

    Recycle old clothing

    old sweater

    Spring cleaning is about freeing yourself from all of your unused goods and getting a fresh start.

    So why not challenge yourself to give away one item of clothing for each new one you buy?

    Once you properly sort through your clothes, you’ll be surprised by how many of them you haven’t worn for the last year.

    While it may be easier to simply throw out old garments that you no longer want or that your children have outgrown, keep in mind that doing so will simply add trash to the landfill.

    And there’s always a good home that can be found for quality clothes that still hold together well – even if they’re last year’s fashion.

    Instead, take the time to organize the clothing and donate it to a local charity. Try dropping them off at a charity shop or a clothes bank, where people who need them will benefit.

    If there are items that are not in good condition, take a pair of scissors and convert the clothing into rags that you can use in the kitchen or the garage.

     

    Recycle your papers

    Whether it’s leftover Christmas cards and wrapping paper or the extensive cardboard packing from unused storage boxes, every Spring clean results in a lot of paper-based waste to dispose of.

    Make sure that when you’re disposing of all your paper materials that you do so in an eco-friendly way in your blue bin or at a recycling site.

     

    Avoid paper towels

    cleaning cloth

    Cleaning is often a very unpleasant task. Many people, therefore, use paper towels that they can throw away when they are finished using them.

    This creates a lot of unnecessary trash, so a better option is to find an alternative method of cleaning.

    For example, you can reuse newspaper by balling it up and scrubbing the windows with it.

    Your old clothing rags are great for dusting, and if all else fails, you can always use a sponge.

    However, remember that sponges get very dirty, very quickly, so sanitize them often by putting them in the dishwasher.

     

    Compost your disposables

    compost in hands

    Although most of the stuff you’ll be throwing away during the spring clean won’t be suitable for recycling in a green way, it’s still vital to dispose of your ‘green’ waste such as old food and dead flowers in a responsible way.

    By lumping your disposables in with general waste, you’re denying them the chance to decompose naturally – and missing out on great fertiliser for a garden or plant pots.

    Composting doesn’t have to be for those with 5 acre gardens: all it needs is a small dark bag outside to place your food waste.

    In a matter of months you’ll have amazing compost that’s miles better than the stuff you’d get in a store.

     

    Recycle your bigger items

    There always comes a time when bigger household items, such as sofas, freezers, TVs or cupboards must be replaced, and their removal requires slightly more specialized treatment.

    Don’t just assume everything goes in the garbage. We recommend using the Recycling Center Search at Earth 911 to find out how best to dispose of larger items in your area.

     

    Use natural air filters

    Buy a few peace lilies or spider plants, and strategically place them in areas where you would like to have cleaner air.

    Generally, this would be a room where you and your family tend to congregate, like the playroom, living room or kitchen.

    If taken care of properly, the plants will work to clean your air without the use of toxic chemicals.

    For rooms that don’t have plants in them, try to open your windows as often as possible, and keep a fan going to help circulate the air.

     

    Create your own cleaning solution

    homemade cleaning solution

    It is easy to fall victim to the myth that brand name chemicals are the best way to get rid of the toughest dirt and grime.

    However, that just isn’t true.

    You can use ordinary kitchen materials to create a number of different cleaning aids.

    For example, a half a cup of lemon juice, mixed with two teaspoons of olive oil, will help you dust and shine your wood furniture.

    If you are working in the bathroom, combine two tablespoons of borax with two cups of hot water. Add in half a teaspoon of tea tree oil and half a teaspoon of dish soap. Pour the solution in a spray bottle and apply it to your toilet or bathtub. It makes a great disinfectant.

    To clean your windows, add a quart of water to a spray bottle. Mix in two ounces of vinegar, and you’ll be amazed at how streak-free your glass appears!

    Finally, if you notice a pest issue while cleaning, call a pest control company before picking up a can of bug spray. Many exterminators are now implementing green methods to help homeowners battle pesky bugs.

     

    Remember…

    If you are preparing for spring cleaning, remember that using store-bought chemicals and filling up your trash can with old clothes and paper towels isn’t necessary.

    Approach the process with an eco-friendly mindset, and you’ll be surprised at how “green” the process really is!

     

    This article has been updated for freshness and consistency.

    How to Color Easter Eggs with Natural Ingredients

    4
    easter egg colouring

    With Easter approaching, everyone wants to share in some fun family activities.

    One of the best family activities to take part in during Easter is coloring eggs.

    This year, try something a bit more eco-friendly and swap out the artificial dyes for natural ingredients.

    You’ll avoid having to buy a boxed kit at the store, while teaching your kids the importance of reducing consumption.

    Keep reading to learn about the best natural ingredients to use to color your Easter eggs.

     

    Natural Ingredients to Color Easter Eggs

    coloured easter eggs

    Here’s the list of household materials you can use to make your kids’ favourite colour eggs.

    Purple: grape juice, red zinger tea, or violet blossoms and lemon juice

    Yellow: boiled orange peels, boiled lemon peels, or chamomile tea

    Blue: blueberries, grape juice, boiled red cabbage leaves

    Green: boiled spinach leaves

    Orange: boiled yellow onion skins, paprika, or chili powder

    Pink: cranberries, raspberries, or beets

    Brown: coffee or black tea

    Red: pomegranate juice or boiled red onion skins

     

    How to color your natural Easter eggs

    colouring easter eggs

    In case you need a reminder on the best way to color your eggs, check out the step-by-step instructions below:

    easter egg colouring

    How to Color Easter Eggs with Natural Ingredients

    Prep Time: 5 minutes
    Active Time: 5 minutes
    Total Time: 10 minutes
    Difficulty: Easy
    Estimated Cost: $5

    Coloring Easter eggs with natural ingredients couldn't be easier! Learn about the best household ingredients you can use to color your Easter eggs.

    Materials

    • Eggs
    • Natural color dyes (see above)
    • Vinegar
    • Pot for boiling water
    • Cooking oil (optional)

    Instructions

    1.  Place your eggs in a single layer in a pan
    2. Add water until the eggs are covered
    3. Add 1 teaspoon of vinegar
    4. Add the natural dye ingredient of your choice from the list above
    5. Bring the water to a boil
    6. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
    7. If the color looks good, take the eggs out. If you want them with more color, temporarily remove them from the pan, and strain the dye liquid through a coffee filter
    8. Cover the eggs with the filtered dye and put them in the fridge overnight

    Notes

    Eggs colored using natural ingredients won't be glossy like they are with artificial dyes, so if you want to add some shine rub a bit of cooking oil onto the colored eggs when they are dry

    Did you make this project?

    Please leave a comment or share a photo and tag @greenerideal to let us know how it turned out!

    As you can see, it’s super easy to color Easter eggs with natural ingredients, and you probably already have most of them around the house.

    But most importantly, it’s a great way to teach your kids about the importance of going green and living sustainably, even on holiday weekends.

    Creamy Mango Smoothie Recipe

    0
    vanilla mango smoothie

    The Health Benefits of Drinking a Mango Smoothie

    Mango

    Mangos have a high concentration of carotenoids, antioxidant nutrients and various phytochemicals. Mangos also contain many enzymes to help aid and improve digestion.

    Fun fact: mangos were actually often used in tropical countries as a meat tenderiser since its powerful proteolytic enzymes help break down proteins.

    Mangos are also high in iron! Great for the young woman out there going through pregnancy or menstruation!

     

    Vanilla Essence

    Natural vanilla extract contains numerous antioxidants, including vanillic acid and vanillin. These antioxidants protect your body from damage from harmful components, such as free radicals and toxins.

    Vanilla essence also protects us from inflammation and may lower cholesterol. It contains many minerals and vitamins for general wellbeing.

     

    Maple Syrup

    Pure maple syrup contains many nutrients including zinc, potassium, manganese, thiamine, calcium, iron, magnesium, and riboflavin. It contains less fructose than honey, dates or agave.

     

    Kefir Yoghurt

    Kefir is a cultured, fermented milk drink that contains a broad range of beneficial bacteria and yeasts, which work together to support the growth of important beneficial bacteria in the intestinal tract.

    It is a much more potent source of probiotics than other fermented dairy products such as yoghurt, and is full of natural vitamins and minerals.

    Kefir is easily digested and is well tolerated by people with lactose intolerance as it contains lactase, the enzyme that breaks down lactose.

    You can also use regular yoghurt or other plant-based yoghurts in the smoothies.

    Creamy Mango Smoothie
    Yield: 1 Smoothie

    Creamy Mango Smoothie

    Prep Time: 1 minute
    Total Time: 1 minute

    This creamy mango smoothie is very smooth and moreish with a hint of vanilla! Delicious and a nutritious snack that kids also love!

    Ingredients

    • 2 cups frozen mango (or 1 big fresh mango)
    • 1 cup almond milk
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
    • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
    • ¾ cup kefir coconut yoghurt (or other yoghurt)

    Instructions

    1. Blend all ingredients together and whiz until smooth and a nice yellow colour. We usually blend for 15 seconds to ensure everything has been broken down.

    Notes

    If you have any leftovers, you can pour that into icy pole moulds and keep frozen for a nice hot day!

    Recommended Products

    Nutrition Information

    Yield

    2

    Serving Size

    1

    Amount Per Serving Calories 282Total Fat 3gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 2gCholesterol 6mgSodium 234mgCarbohydrates 56gFiber 3gSugar 53gProtein 10g

    Did you make this recipe?

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

    creamy vanilla mango smoothie recipe

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