Thoughts, Musings and News
Eco-friendly. It's a term we hear often now. The discussion about our responsibility for being stewards of the planet is growing and for good reason. Plastic waste is washing up on desolate shorelines, swirling in patches in the ocean as big as islands. Determining our part to reducing harm to the oceans, the soil and air is not a topic to be ignored. So, how do we live better in alignment with our environment? Using thoughtful, eco friendly products can be a good start, but does it really make a difference? Let's explore that...
A quick look online today and you'll find thousands of eco-friendly products available. Well, at least they are 'advertised’ as eco. Some consumers swear by these products, while others avoid them based on skepticism.
I believe that in a perfect world, every product would be eco-friendly. We would all benefit! The environment would fare much better but, unfortunately, I don't feel that will ever happen. I have hope but also know it's a big job to switch the gears of manufacturing.
The good news is there are products available today that are actually good for the environment in some way. I want to talk with you about three heavily used products and why they make a huge difference.
1. Cloth Diapers
Whether you have kids or not, you know that disposable diapers are convenient. But, that convenience comes at a price, and not just in the parents budget. Not only are disposable diapers really expensive, they also pose a major problem to the environment. Statistics say by the time a kid is potty trained, it's possible the parents have gone through more than one TON of disposable diapers. ONE TON! That's KRA-ZEE!! That puts disposable diapers among the top three items currently cluttering up our landfills, in line behind plastic water bottles and plastic bags.
Disposable diapers are non-biodegradable, which means they remain there for at least 500 years. It's not unheard of for the waste from the diapers to seep into groundwater. That is a situation that's not good for anyone. Cloth diapers require more effort on the parents part and that is only a decisions a parent can make. Are you a parent using cloth diapers? Please comment below - about the good, bad and the ugly.
2. Cleaning Products
This is a category I talk about easily. At Tangie, the goal is plastic-free packaging - even ‘no packaging’. But ingredients matter too. Cleaning products is one of those products that we use in almost every area of our live, whether it’s washing your hands to scrubbing the shower or washing windows. Many traditional cleaning products contain harmful chemicals that can be detrimental to your health even causing harm to aquatic life. Using ‘green cleaners’ will avoid those toxic chemicals. They do the job as good, if not better than traditional cleaners plus they do the job in a much healthier fashion. You decide each time you buy. Read the labels, use EWG.org to research brands and ingredients, LeapingBunny.org for compassionate products; or better yet, make your own cleaning products.
More and more consumers are choosing to make their own. Why? Mostly because the more we learn about there being zero no government regulations requiring the ingredients of a cleaning products, the more skeptical we get. Making your own cleaning products gives you confidence by knowing exactly what goes into them. You probably have many of the ingredients used in effective, natural household cleaning. Those ingredients are such as vinegar, lemon juice and olive oil. Not only are these types of ingredients readily available in almost all food stores, they are also very affordable while doing a wonderful job of cleaning all sorts of things. I did an article about vinegar and what it "may" be made from...legally. Be sure to take a look at it. The picture I posted here is a direct link to the article that will open in another window so you can read it later.
3. Energy-Saving Light Bulbs
For a long time I was unaware that when a fluorescent light bulb breaks, it releases mercury vapor into the air. Mercury is a very toxic substance! LED bulbs, which use very little energy and operate efficiently extreme temperatures, and are much safer for households with young children.
Energy-saving (LED) light bulbs have been available for many years but are just now gaining more popularity. Two reasons are causing more widespread usage: Cost and Safety. Since they are initially more expensive than their fluorescent counterpart it takes people awhile to catch on to the long term benefits. However, each bulb lasts up to ten years. When you take that into consideration, it adds up to huge savings in time, money and resources. According to Energy Saver is the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) consumer resource on saving energy and using renewable energy technologies at home traditional incandescents, energy-efficient lightbulbs such as light emitting diodes (LEDs) have the following advantages:
Next time you are surfing the web, do a little research of your own. Find eco replacements for the items you use most in your life. You will undoubtedly come across other eco-friendly products and may be quite surprised in the advancements made in just the last few years. Whether or not you decide to incorporate them into your daily routine is totally up to you.
The best part, if you decide to use just one truly eco-friendly product, you will be helping the environment in a small way. It may not seem like much, but the more people that share your opinion, the better off the planet will be. #earthdayeveryday
Looking to make eco improvements in your life? Consider taking advantage of some of these easy, everyday tips. As you continue on your journey down the road to sustainable living, these tips will be come habits. The following 8 easy tip to sustainable living are all excellent examples of what it's like to live the lifestyle.
1. Make your own cleaning solution out of lemon juice, vinegar and warm water. It cleans almost anything and is completely safe. Don’t care for the smell of vinegar? Add a few drops of your favorite essential oils to the mix.
2. Food for thought. Plan your weekly meals based on what you already have at home. Dig in your cupboards and pull out the “forgotten” cans and bags of goodies. Using what you have cuts down on food waste and saves money on a weekly basis. Have a garden or a few gardening pots? Try your hand at growing one or two easy things. Fresh food tastes amazing! Start with easy-to-grow plants like a plum tomatoes, basil, lettuces….or any herbs you enjoy. Have kids at home? Grow radishes and carrots. They are fun to watch, abundant and grow quickly. If you have a garden space in your yard, take full advantage of it. If you are like me and don't prefer to garden bent over, look into aeroponic growing. I highly use a Tower Garden and have the opportunity to grow 28 different plants all within a self-contained watering system. Remember, it’s not necessary to eat meat every day of the week.
3. Use rainwater to water plants. During the rainy months, I set a small trash outside my back porch door to collect rainwater and use it when it fills. I add the rainwater to our Tower Garden, feed the indoor plants and occasionally use it too fill up the bird baths. They love fresh water too!
4. Watch your water usage and drop a brick. There are a number of ways to reduce water use in the home, like shorter showers, low-flow faucets and showerheads, but there's another place where a small action can make a big difference. According to the EPA, more water is used by Americans each day to flush toilets than any other activity (at home), so drastically reducing the amount of clean municipal water that gets flushed away each day will really add up! Place a brick in your toilet tank to reduce the amount of water necessary to flush.
5. Purchase a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter. HEPA stands for high-efficiency particulate air. A HEPA filter is a type of mechanical air filter; it works by forcing air through a fine mesh that traps harmful particles such as pollen, pet dander, dust mites, and tobacco smoke.
6. Dry clothes outside, on a clothesline. Sunshine is chemical free and cost nothing!
7. Use cloth grocery bags and reusable travel mugs. By now, youve heard about how single-use plastic waste is piling up on our planet and causing harm to our soil, waterways and oceans. We can live with less single-use plastic waste, it just takes a little pre planning on your part.
8. Say no to synthetic fragrances. Yes, they make your products smell delightful, but if you could see how synthetic fragrances were made, you'd be less likely to be impressed. One fragrance in one personal care product—say, your bodywash—can consist of as many as 200 chemicals combined to come up with that particular scent. The real problem with fragrance is the lack of knowing which chemicals make up that particular scent. On the ingredient list, you'll read only the word “fragrance.” Replace “fragrance” in your life with quality essential oils.
These 8 easy tips to sustainable living are just the tip of the melting ice caps. There are many more good options that I will share with you in future posts. You don't have to jump in head-first, making all these changes at once to make a difference. Many people practice this way of life on a small scale with huge success.
If this is something you're interested in trying, there's really no better time to jump in. You can apply this concept to virtually any part of your life, quite easily. Chances are your days will be more enjoyable and stress-free. What could be better than that?
Share with me ways you brought more sustainable habits into your life. I love hearing from you. We are on this beautiful planet together, let’s do our part - together!
Five Options To Fossil Fuels
How do sustainable energy sources compare to each other? There is a variety of fossil fuel alternatives available today, with many more being developed as you read this article. Are they reliable enough to sustain us and grow with us? Here are five forms of sustainable energy and advantages of using each one.
Hydropower is water power generated by the movement of water, whether falling or flowing down a river. In ancient mills, flowing water was used to power various machines ranging from cranes to saws.
Early in the 20th century, the term hydropower started referring to generating electricity using water. Hydropower is a renewable source of power and is very reliable. Opponents to hydropower feel that the building dams and reservoirs can have negative impacts on the environment. Careful consideration must be given before these systems are actually built, causing harm to our habitat.
Geothermal energy is not something I’ve ever seen up close or in person. How about you? I learned that it is generated by tapping into the thermal energy or heat at the Earth’s core. This energy is extracted by drilling deep into the soil, then pumping in a heat transfer fluid such as water or steam.
The energy that is created is then transferred out of the ground and up to the surface where it is converted into usable power. The most effective systems are water-based systems, but they also have the potential to contaminate nearby water tables. Our water supply is very precious so great care must be taken to not damage this essential part of life.
Biofuel is made from biomass, which is biological material from living or once living organisms. This includes traditional “fossil fuels” like gasoline. There are more readily available biological materials that can be used to generate power. Wood is the largest source of biomass energy.
Other sustainable options include corn, hemp and a wide variety of different species of trees. These sources can be grown and then harvested, making them a sustainable source of fuel. There are some setbacks to biofuels. Some biomass sources have the capacity to release toxic fumes when burned, contributing to air pollution.
A very popular and well known source of alternative energy is solar power. Solar panels convert sunlight into usable direct current electricity and are currently installed in over 100 countries. It is generated by photovoltaic (PV) solar panels. Solar panels have made huge advancements in the last several years. They can now be found in a wide variety of places, from backpacks to rooftops.
The most efficient commercially available solar panels on the market today have efficiency ratings as high as 22.5%, whereas the majority of panels range from 15% to 17% efficiency rating. With more efficient models already in production, solar power may become the world’s primary energy source in the very near future.
As of the end of 2014, the United States wind power capacity was at 65,879 megawatts. In 2013, the 168 million megawatts of energy that wind turbines produced resulted in the elimination of 95.6 million metric tons of carbon dioxide.
With a rapid growth in the renewable energy projects over the past few years, the total installed capacity of the wind power plants across the world has witnessed a manifold increase. Advancements in wind turbines designs have also led a surge in the installed capacity of wind power. The top wind producing countries are China, USA, Germany, India and Spain.
Wind energy is one of the fastest growing sources of electricity in the entire world and it’s not hard to see why. Wind energy projects do not pollute or contaminate the surrounding area on which they are built. Not only that, a single turbine produces enough energy to power 500 households. Further, wind power installations occupy less space compared other modes of power generation, improving operational efficiencies. Best part is that turbines and wind farms can be built on agricultural lands, without causing any interruption to local habitat.
Expansion in sustainable energy technology is making energy source alternatives increasingly more viable and cost effective. With more positive outcomes and less impact on the environment, alternative sustainable energy option is our best chance for long-term, environmentally friendly energy supply.
Do you use an alternative to fossil fuels in your life? If so, please share with me what it is and how you like it. Many years ago, we had a solar hot water heater installed in our home. It paid for itself for the start. It was several thousand dollars to buy the system. The loan we had to take to pay for it made me nervous at first, but the money we saved each month was more than our monthly loan payment. Now we own the system and proudly have the solar panel on the roof services each year.
I hope you found this article valuable. Feel free to share it with someone who may find alternative energy interesting.