Do Just Five Things
Here are five easy ways to go green from my syndicated column Do Just One Thing.
Have a wonderful weekend.
- A flurry of fruit flies in the kitchen can be annoying and they can be hard to get rid of. Instead of reaching for chemical insecticides to spray around the kitchen (because spraying poison where you prepare food is not a good idea), head to your bathroom medicine cabinet instead. Reuse a plastic misting bottle and fill it with rubbing alcohol and mist the air where the fruit flies are flying around. The drying effects of the alcohol will effectively kill them on the spot.
- The Environmental Protection Agency estimates the average American throws away about 70 pounds of textiles every year. While many of us know lightly worn clothes can be easily donated to charities like Goodwill and The Salvation Army, what do you do with old bath towels, worn sheets and blankets? Give them a good wash in the washing machine and donate them to your local animal shelter. Since many pound puppies and cats have to sleep on concrete floors or cold metal cages, any warmth from old bedding, blankets and towels will be put to good use. And while you’re at it, pick up some meat-based baby food at the supermarket: shelters use this food to feed highly malnourished animals in an effort to nurse them back to health.
- USB flash drives have become ubiquitous at the office and at home as a convenient way to carry lots of data on a small device that can work on any computer with a USB port. For many people, flash drives have become a common staple in the at-home junk drawer. Instead of throwing them away, recycle them instead. RecycleUSB (www.recycleusb.com) has partnered with Sugar Labs to collect used flash drives and reprogram them into free portable and interactive learning environments as if they become a full functioning mobile classroom on a small easy-to-carry thumb drive. All you do is send them your old flash drives and they do the rest; children in Peru, Africa and Asia receive the drives that they use on portable computers to learn.
- Thrift stores can be a green way to reuse something old and save money, too. But according to the Consumer Products Safety Commission, there are commonly found items at these stores that should be avoided at all costs from coming into your home. These items include children’s clothing with drawstring, which can cause a choking hazard; outdated hair dryers that do not have adequate protection from electrocution; halogen lamps that can become a fire hazard in the home; and cribs that fail to meet current standards for safety. Use common sense when shopping for thrift store bargains and check cpsc.gov for updated lists on recalled items.
- Instead of reaching for chemical chlorine bleach to kill mold spores in your home, reach for something just as effective but less toxic: hydrogen peroxide. Insert a clean spray nozzle into a bottle of 3% hydrogen peroxide and saturate the moldy surface completely. Allow to sit for around 10-15 minutes and scrub the surface clean and wipe away using a microfiber towel. The natural anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties of hydrogen peroxide are an effective way to kill mold and can work on a variety of surfaces in almost any room of the house. Added tip: add a little baking soda for stubborn mold as an abrasive and then saturate with the hydrogen peroxide spray.