Eco Friendly Living•
Posted on May 02 2022
ECO FRIENDLY LIVING
“Eco Friendly” has been a hyped word for a long time. So many products and stores have advertisements purporting eco friendly products and ways to make your life less impactful on the earth. I am no expert on this subject matter all I can offer is tips that I have found helpful in switching to habits and systems that friendlier to the planet.
First, this is a lifestyle change and is not a quick fix. It can take years to get to where you want to be with this lifestyle change. It can take 21 days to build a foundational habit and up to 6 months to solidify that habit as the new way of being. Take your time with it. Start simple by just choosing one place or thing in your home you want to transition to a “greener” option. Research the options available for that thing or place in your home. Try different things until you find what works best for you. Once that is solidified then transition to a new area or thing in your home.
Below are a few tips and ideas for “greener” living. Just remember there is no timeline for this, and you don’t have to change anything if you do not want to. It can be quite an expensive lifestyle change depending on which options you choose but know you cannot do it wrong. Find what works for you.
The biggest thing in your kitchen in terms of “greener” living is what you cook with. Many pots and pans are stainless steel or they are coated with non-stick technology. There is also cast-iron skillets. All of these have a way to leech metals into your food and thus into your body. If you so desire, you can switch your pots and pans or at least those you use most often to ceramic, which are eco-friendly and non-toxic.
However, this transition can be quite expensive so instead just remember once a week to detox with tea to flush all the metals out of your body and/or cook with herbs that help with metal detox. Thus, you can keep the cookware you have and still prevent the metal and toxin build up that can occur while using them. Great herbs and teas for detoxing metal are: Cilantro, Parsley, Cardamom, Holy Basil, Green Tea or Matcha Tea, Dandelion Tea, Milk Thistle Tea, or Rooibos Tea.
Besides what you cook with, what you wash dishes with can be transitioned to a “greener” option. For any type of soap whether to wash your hands or dishes investing in unscented castile soap can save you money and time. Also investing in washing soda (not baking soda) can save you additional money and time as it allows you to make things such as your own laundry detergent and your own liquid dish detergent. You can find castile soap and laundry soda in most supermarkets but certainly online. Normally for the laundry soda it is found in the same aisle next to all the laundry boosters.
The recipes for making liquid dish detergent can easily be googled or found on Pinterest. Find the one that works best for you. Try different recipes if need be, a gallon of castile soap and a box of laundry soap will provide months if not longer of use.
Nature’s Nuture https://naturesnurtureblog.com/homemade-dish-soap/ has a very simplistic tutorial on how to make homemade dish soap. This was just one that was the most simplistic and easiest to make. But again, Google it or find recipes on Pinterest.
Baking is another huge area for going green. Don’t worry this is an easier and less expensive transition as it doesn’t require buying new baking products. When using a baking sheet, instead of using tin foil which can leech metal into your food, try using parchment paper. Parchment paper, if it is unbleached can also be tossed into your compost pile (if you have one). If you are baking cupcakes try using compostable cupcake liner baking cups or silicone baking cups both are great transitions from one time use baking cups that have to be thrown away.
Speaking of composting, if your recycling and garbage carrier doesn’t offer composting option, you can invest in composting products however fair warning it can be extremely expensive and you still need somewhere to dump the compost once it is created. For those who live on acreage or area where you can build your own, research what would work best for you. Keep in mind that you should not compost food outside as that does attract rats, mice, and scavenging animals, which is not one thing you want in your yard. Worm compost pin is another option and great for apartments as well. Another great option for small apartments or homes is bokashi composters. Again, do your research and find what might work best for you. If you can’t compost that is perfectly okay.
Most households have some sort of food storage system, whether that be the plastic bags for sandwiches and containers for pasta, beans, cereal, coffee etc… When buying the storage containers just make sure they are ecofriendly. Glass jars are fantastic as they don’t have the capacity to leech metals as stainless steel can, however, if heat isn’t applied or the sides scratched stainless steel is a perfectly viable option for storing food.
In terms of sandwich bags or bags in general there are some great options. For grocery shopping, instead of using the stores plastic bags invest in cotton produce bags. You can find them in Amazon, Etsy, Walmart, Target or just google it to see where they are offered in your area. You can also just bring paper bags with you as an option. Some paper bags are compostable and all of them are recyclable. For sandwiches or treats for lunch paper snack and sandwich bags are a viable option. Again, they are compostable and recyclable. There is also beeswax sandwich bags which you can make yourself https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/home/craft-ideas/g25642328/diy-beeswax-reusuable-wraps/. There is also reusable silicone bags (not my favourite) but still a viable option and reusable snack and sandwich bags which can be put through the wash. Just a caution on those, if you have anything that squishes or is liquid it tends to soak through the bag and can cause a mess. Great that it is washable but not so great that it gets the rest of the things in the bag wet as well.
I think that does it for the kitchen now to move onto cleaning. You guys can check out my blog “DIY House Cleaning Products” here for tips on how to create your own cleaning products: https://www.alchemydragon.com/blogs/the-magick-of-ordinary-items/diy-cleaning-product-recipes.
Laundry would be the next one up on the list. As much as laundry can be a pain some days switching to a greener option is simpler than it sounds. Making your own laundry detergent is a great option. For those on septic please check that whatever you are using is safe for your septic system. Also be aware of what type of machine you have as some DIY recipes can actually cause damage to the machine if not created properly.
Just like dish liquid soap, there are numerous recipes on Pinterest and online for DIY Laundry Detergent. There is instructions for both powder and liquid options. You do need to buy some ingredients such as borax and washing soda, a box of both will create several months worth of detergent. If creating your own doesn’t sound viable research great eco friendly companies that sell detergents. That way you don’t have to worry abut making your own and you know that what you are getting is safe for your skin, your health and the planet. One of my favourites is Soap Berries, which are septic safe. Soap Berries are made to be reused. The same four to five soap nuts can be used for up to seven loads. Most of the Soap Berries bags can last up to 330 loads. They can be found at Walmart, Target, Amazon, Etsy or online at various different stores.
Dryer sheets are extremely useful, especially if you live in an area that has a lot of mice, voles, or outdoor critters as they love to climb into the engine compartments of your car and chew threw the wires. Putting dryer sheets in the hood of your engine compartment prevents this, so the dryer sheets are always great to have on hand. In addition, if you are storing a car in the garage for a while, putting dry sheets in the tail pipe, in the engine and in the car doors can prevent critters from making a home in it. Also, dryer sheets are great as mosquito repellant if you put one in your pocket while hiking or working outside.
As for their use in laundry, they really aren’t needed or necessary. Wool dryer balls are an excellent alternative. Not only do they lessen the drying time, but they also prevent static and can be scented with essential oils of your choice. The fun part is you can make your own https://www.thespruce.com/make-homemade-dryer-balls-2145708 or buy them online just depending on which way you want to do it. My favourite company is Friendsheep as they have some fantastic designs to their dryer balls (and no I don’t get a commission I just love their products): https://www.friendsheepwool.com/.
Speaking of laundry for those that have hard water and tend to get holes in your clothing from the hard water deposits, dingy whites and soap left on clothing. To soften the water you can add laundry borax to the washing load, install a water softener (can be quite a process and expensive to do this) or add a liquid water softener to your loads. This will help with keeping your laundry cleaner and less holes.
We have hit most main areas of the home in terms of transitioning to greener lifestyle. Another way to transition is grow your own food or buy plants that help freshen the air and keep out bugs. This is a major investment as buying the seeds, pots, plant beds or hydro system is expensive, but you can always go to your local plant shop and just buy the plants that you like and repot them at home or keep them in the bought container. Again, you don’t have to do this it is more if that is something that you like then go for it.
One of the hydro systems I like and have used are AeroGarden. They have systems that range from 3 pods to 24 pods depending on how intricate you want to get. Their seed kits come premade (like Herb, Veggie, Salad) or you can buy the “grow anything” seed kit and just use your own seeds and plant what you want. It is a great option for those who live in apartments and don’t have a ton of counter space. Research online different systems and see which one fits your need or what suits you best.
If you want to get really fancy, you can create your own garden box with scrap pieces of wood or buy online pots that suit your need and plant your seeds in them. It doesn’t have to be intricate and can just be simple. Some good herbs for keeping bugs out of your home are Mint, Basil, Lavender (be careful with this as it does affect both male and female hormones), Chives, Rosemary, Lemongrass, Marigolds, Chrysanthemums and Petunias.
If you don’t have plants but during warm weather keep doors open, having an humidifier or essential oil diffuser is a great option. Just plug it in near the open door and add essential oils such as mint, peppermint, citronella and let it run. You can also soak a wet towel in water infused with the essential oils and “wash” the door frame. The only downside on this is you have to constantly reapply as once it dries the smell doesn’t prevent bugs from coming in all that well. You can also dry herbs such as mint, lavender, rosemary, basil in the doorway which one you will have great dried herbs and two in the process prevent bugs from coming in.
The same plants used to keep bugs out are also great for purifying the air in your home. Some additions if you want more options: jasmine, geranium, coffee plant and woodbine are also great for purifying your home.
Hopefully, this provides a foundation or start for your journey into transitioning to a greener lifestyle. As stated before, just take it one section or step at a time. Pick one thing to focus on and just do that for 21 days. Figure out what works, what doesn’t then move on to the next area you want to change. Do not try to do it all at once as that can set you up for frustration and failure as it can be extremely overwhelming.
Just remember, it is all on your own time, your own way and your own method. Choose what works best for you and your lifestyle and budget and work with that.
Let me know on Instagram @alchemydragonherbs or below in the comment section if you have any more questions on transitioning to a more eco friendly lifestyle. Also, please leave your comments on Instagram or below on suggestions for eco friendly living as well.
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