Sunday Sustainability: Natural Cleaning Tips

It’s encouraging to see that many home product companies are finally hopping on the environmental bandwagon and making home cleaning products that are more friendly to the environment and less toxic. Perhaps this is because a larger majority of consumers have started to become very wary of the amount of chemicals in the products they are using. However, it really should be no secret that you can make your own cleaning products that are just as effective for far less money using some very basic ingredients.
All you really need to get you started is baking soda, white vinegar, and possibly some natural castile soap like Dr. Bronner’s, reusable cloths and spray bottles and you’ll have a major cleaning arsenal with numerous possibilities right at your fingertips.
Here you can download a handy little printable sheet of a few major natural cleaning recipesNatural Cleaning Tips

In addition to the printout here’s a few other tips to consider:

*To kill mold and mildew naturally try vinegar, grapefruit seed extract or tea tree oil.
*Sprinkle baking soda to freshen carpets.
*Simmer a few drops of essential oils in water on the stove for a natural air freshener.
*Use lemon and orange rinds to get rid of a stinky garbage disposal smell.
*Get rid of rust by using salt and lime juice(let it sit 1-2 hours) and a little elbow grease.
*Repel moths natural with a sachet of dried lavender or rosemary or cedar wood blocks.
*Use natural sponges and towels instead of synthetics and paper towels.
*To eliminate a large majority of dirt and dust in the home be sure to take those shoes off a the door!
*Remember baking soda and vinegar can be used in numerous ways to clean just about anything.

You can find a variety of wonderful renewable or earth friendly resources to help you clean such as these bamboo towels:

Bamboo Dish Cloths/Wash Cloths , $14.00 by SweetMemoriesQuilts on Etsy


Cleveland Cuyahoga Valley Countryside Winter Farmer’s Markets

I talk so much about sustainability, and eating fresh locally sourced foods. That can be a bit tough here in Ohio, in the middle of one of our typically frozen winters.

However, the Cuyahoga Valley Countryside Conservancy does still operate a few winter farmer’s markets giving you the opportunity to purchase locally sourced food.

Upcoming dates are: February 20, March 20 & April 17
9a.m. to noon at Happy Days Lodge, 500 W. Streetsboro Road, Peninsula

The Greening of Cleveland. Looking Forward to a Sustainable Future.

Not too long ago I posted an article about Cleveland ranking #16 in a study of 50 cities for sustainability. Recently I came across an article on The Positively Cleveland Blog which compiled a great list of ways business, non-profits and other organizations throughout the city are trying to be greener and more sustainable. The post included not only information about the RTA Healthline’s hybrid vehicles, and the Cleveland Metropark Zoos extensive recycling efforts, but also fun facts about companies such as the Great Lakes Brewing Co. Fatty Wagon shuttle bus that runs on the restaurant’s grease. Definitely check out the post to discover many of the other ways Cleveland is going greener.

If you want to make your own small impact (or big impact if you create a habit) check out SustainLane’s local Action Challenge. You pick a sustainable activity from their list of ideas, take a photo of yourself completing the challenge activity and then upload it for the chance to win prizes. Are you photo shy? You can at least check it out

Sunday Sustainability: Have you Heard of the No Impact Experiment?

Do you think you could live for a week and make no impact on the environment?

Colin Beavan thinks you can, and has even created an experiment to help you change your life (at least for a week)

Visit his blog No Impact Man to find out how you can try to live and make no impact on our environment.

Monday Modern Nature: The White Mole, making vintage new again!

For today’s Monday Modern Nature, I want to showcase how vintage doesn’t have to mean old, musty or even shabby chic. Vintage goods can be ever so earthy, naturally styled yet still modern and fresh. The White Mole carries lots of really cool retro/modern goods. Today I’m going to showcase a few that have a touch of natural style as well!

Even more exciting, is that the White Mole has agreed to offer all Art Addict readers 10% of their purchase for ALL of 2010! All you need to do is enter the code “artaddict2010” in the notes to seller at checkout. Thanks for the fabulous deal!

Vintage Ceramic Bottles, Made in Portugal $48.00

Ceramic Owl Lantern, $9.00 (seems like a steal at that price!)

Don’t forget, buying vintage is a great way to live a more sustainable life, as the products you are buying aren’t wasting any new resources.

Sunday Sustainability: Earth Friendly Play

Take a moment to think about the last few toys you have bought your child (or neice, nephew, friend’s child etc..) What were those toys made of? Were they plastic? Did they require batteries? Did they come in tons of packaging? Could they break easily and would the child get bored with them after awhile.

We all know children frequently want whatever the latest toy craze is, and that stores are filled to the brim with enticing items, but what they really are filled to the brim with is future landfill material.

Many toys on the market today are not built to last the test of time, yet alone even last the child’s attention span.

Today’s tip:
*Look for well-made toys that will last through the years. Especially look for heirloom toys that may be passed from generation to generation.
*Encourage children to take care of their toys. Children have a lot of empathy for the condition of the earth, and when you present to them that they can help it by not wasting you are teaching them a lesson in responsibility.
*If children do get bored with or outgrow toys and you no longer wish to keep them, donate them to a school, charity or resell store instead of tossing them into the trash.

Here’s a few great toys that are much more environmentally friendly than plastic.

Natural Dinosaurs (set of 3), $30 by Happy Squash Toys

Pumpkin House Playset, $95.00 by Muddy Feet

Senet, and Ancient Egyptian Boardgame, $60 by Ancient Game Cupboard

Brown Corduroy Jacket for Blythe Doll, $15 by Pinkyjane

Plant a Billion Trees

Today I’m posting a little public service announcement.

Sunday Sustainability Tip: Mind your B’s

This week I want to remind you to mind your B’s…..your bottles and bags that is!

One quick easy way to reduce waste is to stop using so many bags and plastic bottles. Invest one time in a couple of great bags to throw in your trunk for whenever you go shopping, a BPA-free water bottle, and a couple of sturdy coffee mugs.

Go Green Travel has a great article on choosing a healthy water bottle.
You can find awesome sources of reusable mugs and bags as well that have plenty of style too.

Recycled Classic Tote from The Craft Pantry, $20

Mug by Gina DeSantis, $24

Resolutions You Can Actually Keep

Does anyone actually keep all their New Year resolutions? I would be most duly impressed to find someone who successfully does, unless that person resolves to do something like eat a piece of chocolate cake each day.

Here’s a few simple resolutions you can make this year that are relatively simple and can do some wonderful things to help the earth:

1. Recycle your ink cartridges. This sounds so simple yet not even 5% of ink cartridges are recycled. Some places will even give you money or discounts for turning in cartridges to be recycled.
2. Add vinegar and baking soda to your cleaning regimen. These two substances cost very little, are not nearly as damaging as some of the harsh chemicals in other cleaners and are surprisingly incredibly effective.
3. Go through your closets and other belongings and pull out anything you haven’t worn or used in a few months and put it in a box. Mark the box with the date. If you haven’t needed anything in the box in two months, donate it to charity.
4. Eat less processed food. No, it’s not a diet. Just make a point to try to buy more fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grain breads, and naturally raised meats. You find out you feel a lot healthier without the excess chemicals in your diet.
5. Bring your own bags when you go shopping. If you forget them frequently just always have a couple thrown in the trunk of your car.
6. Volunteer for at least one day. Just ONE day at least. You can do it! Pick any organization you think would be worthwhile from helping the homeless, to a building project, or spending time with kids. Imagine what would happen if everyone in the country volunteered to help out for just one day. Hey, depending on the organization you could even get a free day at Disney.

If you make any resolution this year, just resolve to do something positive and to actually do it! You don’t have to resolve to do something too difficult or too major, any little bit can help.
Happy New Year!
Happy Year of the Tiger!

Sunday Sustainability Tip: Clean Your Indoor Air Naturally

You may be tempted to purchase one of those expensive indoor air cleaners to improve what you breathe. This may be especially true when you feel trapped inside during winter months. A better solution however is to add houseplants to your decor throughout the house. They clean the air, help with humidity levels, and in general all around make you feel better. With a little sunlight and water there are many plants that can still thrive indoors with minimal work.

I’ve found bamboo shoots particularly easy to grow, but also consider spider plants, small rubber plants, ivy and snake plants.

Do keep in mind if you have pets or children check safety warnings as not all plants are safe for them.