PHOTO GALLERY AT BOTTOM
The goal of green or eco-friendly organizing is to minimize one's personal environmental impact and carbon footprint in daily life, and likewise reduce plastic, chemical, petrochemical and toxin use. As well to reduce trace chemicals in the home, and societal toxic manufacturing waste. It starts with decluttering, identifying, and learning to avoid root causes for clutter.
- We are exposed to multi-1000s of chemicals cumulatively throughout our lives, more so than past generations, and ever more in our younger generations.
- Babies can be born with up to 200 chemicals in their bodies: effects synergistic.
- Most chemicals are considered as "generally accepted as safe" when introduced; that is, until proven otherwise.
- The concept of “Use once, throw away” has spread worldwide; the next gens have known no other.
- Going green can proceed gradually; does not require a bunch of immediate changes.
- Eco-friendly cleaning products are biodegradable; labels focus on ingredients, not brand name. A large number are available.
- Slightly more expensive, but don’t require frequent purchase.
- Watch out for large companies "greenwashing ” with false environmental claims, [see link below].
- 1/3 vinegar + 2/3 water, a powerful natural cleaner; cuts through grime or air pollution deposits. Not for porous counters, wood, and some plastics; test item beforehand.
- 1/3 cheapo vodka + 2/3 water in a spray bottle makes great air freshener.
PRESCRIPTION AND OVER THE COUNTER DRUGS
- Never flush old prescription/over-the-counter drugs in the commode; that former recommendation is obsolete and quite harmful.
- Drugs end up in the James River/Chesapeake Bay watersheds; deleterious downstream effects on aquatic animals.
- Mix drugs with coffee grounds or kitty litter; dispose with regular household trash.
- Empty bottles recyclable. Black out label identifiers.
- Water is a precious resource; our society has been profligate in it use.
- Water shortages, pollution, and contamination are impactful worldwide.
- Some regions lack potable water; others have rationing of a gallon per day for all uses.
- Here, costs for water and wastewater disposal are rising.
- Largest impact on water use achieved at the faucet level.
- Lower water pressure and temperature, take shorter showers; for hand dish washing, rinse all items at once; can use 2nd sink, bowl, or pan filled with water to spray-rinse dishes; turn faucet off between rinses.
- Even a small faucet leak loses gallons a day; usually just require a gasket to repair.
- Dual flush valves for the commode have quick (1/2) and full flush positions; significant water and water bill saving for larger households.
- Low flush toilets, eg, Toto, use 1 gallon per flush.
- Gardens and lawns are by far the largest pollution source in suburbia.
- Pesticide, herbicide, and fertilizer runoff have direct effects on property, and drain into the watershed.
- Pesticides heavily present in commercial vegetables, fruit, and in the food chain.
- Pesticides are neurotoxins, killing insects by paralyzing them.
- Exposure, especially in utero, linked to increased autism, ADHD rates.
- Associated with neuro-degenerative diseases such as Parkinson's, MS, ALS, and Alzheimer's.
- Insects develop resistance to pesticides creating superbugs. Use judiciously.
- Consider letting part of your yard go natural. You might get pollinators and breeding birds.
- Water late afternoon, early morning, or evening to let water soak into ground rather than evaporating.
THIS MATERIAL WAS WRITTEN BEFORE COVID-19, BUT IS STILL APPLICABLE.
- Most community bacterial infections are not spread by hand-to-hand contact.
- Sanitizers kill “easy” bacteria, but create resistant ones.
- Normal skin bacteria “good germs” have built-in antimicrobial activity that kills harmful “bad germs," eg, Staph.
- Viruses are spread by aerosols.
- Soap and water most effective sanitizer, and should be used 1st.
- Using bar soap avoids plastic container waste.
- Sanitizer ingestion is a common reason for Poison Control Center calls; 120-proof alcohol can cause seizures, coma, or even death in children.
- FDA banned 19 chemicals in antibacterial soaps; said to be useless, and might cause harm.
- $178 billion was spent each year on sanitizers pre-COVID.
- DO USE THE SANITIZERS provided at hospitals, nursing homes, and institutions. Wear clean clothes to lessen chance of bringing community germs in to develop resistance;
- Remove and clean clothes when you get home; to avoid hospital-acquired bugs in your home or community.
- JUNGLE CARE ADVISES HANDWASHING WITH SOAP. AVOID FIRST LINE USE OF SANITIZERS, IF POSSIBLE.
IMMUNE SYSTEM EFFECTS
- The "cleanliness" or "hygiene" hypothesis
- Over-sanitized environments interfere with critical immune system development in babies and children.
- The early years are when the immune system is learns to distinguish “self” from “non-self,” and to recognize and fight foreign invaders,
- Absent foreign invaders, the immune system turns inward instead of outward.
- Thought a major contributor to increased rates of asthma, allergy, autoimmune disease.
- Natural exposure to bacteria helps "train" the immune system its many cells types to function.
- The system is extremely complex.
- GREEN USE OF CLOTHING
Textile manufacture and garment production are resource intensive and toxin-generating; comprise 25% of worldwide industrial pollution.
- Synthetic fabrics are petroleum-based.
- Release plastic microparticles into water when washed; these concentrate on deepest ocean floors; ingested at bottom of food chain.
- Cheap manufactured clothes worn briefly in a “Buy-Wear-Discard” cycle.
- Online returns are often landfilled; less labor involved, brand exclusitivity maintained
- Natural fiber high quality garments breath; cool in summer, warm in winter.
- Cost more, but can be maintained in good condition for years with proper care.
- Include cotton, wool, exotic type wools, linens, silk, hemp, ramie, bamboo, nettle, coir (from coconut) fabrics. (Google them).
- Note: Rayon is not eco-friendly. It's a flax-based semi-synthetic fiber with large polyester component. Tencel is a flax derived fabric-- and green
- Wear natural fabrics; the natural BoHo look, or unique vintage clothes instead of new trends.
- Organic fabric products are easily found online, not so much in stores.
- Beware of moths; avoid them with pheromone traps for mating adults.
- Clothing and accessories have long been “Re-used” through donation, hand-me-down, or purchases at thrifts or. re-sellers.
- Unwearable synthetic fabrics can be down-cycled to other products, eg, insulation, carpet; fabrics like denim can be closed-loop recycled.
- Known as "thread cycling" or fabric recycling.
- Central Virginia Goodwill has a thread-cycling program.
GREEN USE OF FURNITURE
- Cheap furniture uses easily-damaged particle board that can emit formaldehyde; manufactured for a “Buy-Use-Discard” cycle.
- Choose used wood, hand-me-downs, or even antiques for a little personality.
- Donate unwanted furniture instead of landfilling.
- More and more companies manufacture sustainable, eco-friendly furniture.
- Look for wood with Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification.
- Bamboo and rattan furniture gaining popularity; rattan not considered sustainable.
- Eco-friendly building materials available for construction and remodeling.
- Re-claimed wood cabinets; eco-friendly bamboo flooring; attractive counter material using scrap porcelain, glass, mirror, embedded in corn-based resin. .
PURCHASING A HOME
- The ultimate Reduce/Re-use action is to buy a pre-existing home; high use of virgin resources in new-builds; more embedded plastic than in past.
- With newer construction materials, the "flashover" time, needed for residents to escape a home fire, was reduced to as little as 3- 5 min.
- The "Ultimate Reduce/Re-use" also applies to pre-owned vehicles.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
1) Mosquito spraying: https://tinyurl.com/y57lreqy
2) Textile recycling: https://tinyurl.com/yyeh44p4
3) Landfilling of online returns: https://tinyurl.com/trabe4f
4) Online clothing resellers https://tinyurl.com/rf9935a
5) Clothing recyclingling: https://tinyurl.com/y5twfgv5
6) Hygiene hypotheses: https://tinyurl.com/yykkv2yq
7) Greenwashing: https://tinyurl.com/4486kw4f
8) Flashover points for house fires: https://tinyurl.com/mhbewbn6