Sus­tain­abil­ity Tips

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You can now buy ef­fec­tive and af­ford­able "green" clean­ers in any su­per­mar­ket. Th­ese prod­ucts are bet­ter to use be­cause they min­i­mize ex­po­sure to both asthma and al­lergy trig­gers. Also, fra­grances in clean­ers are of­ten syn­thetic that are known to dis­rupt nor­mal hu­man hor­mone func­tion.

If you use a mi­crowave, try to use glass con­tain­ers rather than plas­tic ones. When a plas­tic con­tainer is la­beled "mi­crowave safe" all that means is that the plas­tic melts at a higher tem­per­a­ture than other plas­tics. Mi­crowav­ing plas­tic re­leases the chem­i­cal Bishenol, which is a dan­ger­ous chem­i­cal that is known to dis­rupt hu­man hor­mone func­tion.

It’s also time to look for bet­ter in­su­la­tion. At Lowes, you can buy Johns Manville cer­ti­fied Formalde­hyde

free ™ fiber glass in­su­la­tion. It is nat­u­rally white and helps im­prove in­door air qual­ity and achieve a health­ier and safe en­v­i­ron- ment in your house for both sum­mer and win­ter. Don’t for­get to check your weather strip­ping, too. It’s vi­tal in win­ter, but it can also help keep you cook in sum­mer. Look into ther­mal drapes or shades to re­place old, worn ones— and you can shop Ebay for great prices. Th­ese sim­ple steps can re­duce your heat­ing/cool­ing costs up to 20%!

Con­sider leav­ing your shoes or boots out­doors and

hav­ing a set of slip­pers just in­side. That can save the elec­tri­cal and bag re­place­ment costs of run­ning a vac­uum to clean up the mud you nor­mally track in.

Rather than throw away your old clothes and ap­pli­ances do­nate them to those who are less for­tu­nate—or sell them on­line. Sites like Yer­dle.com, Thredup.com and Ebay let you make a lit­tle cash. You'll have more space and you won’t be pay­ing to heat and cool those un­used items.

Alu­minum pots and pans with "non-stick lin­ing" are ac­tu­ally rather toxic. Look at some of the old ones you have. No­tice the lin­ing is mostly miss­ing? Guess where it went? Yes, in your stom­ach. Plus, alu­minum ox­ide is known to be dan­ger­ous. Your best bet is al­ways cast iron.

The next best bet is to buy enam­eled cast iron, and last is stain­less steel. Not only are they safer, they last much longer and there­fore are ac­tu­ally a much bet­ter value.

Do you have old egg car­tons around? They make per­fect starters for your spring gar­den. Just put one seed into each space where an egg was, add dirt or mulch and wa­ter. Keep them in a sunny spot in­side un­til the last frost has gone and it’s time to plant your gar­den.

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