Category Archives: The Green Maa

Live Sustainably Everyday- Make Everyday an Environment Day

World Environment Day is just around the corner. While different organisations, educational institutions and community groups are undertaking various activities to mark this day, why don’t we take this as an opportunity to reflect upon our own lifestyles and see the impact of our actions to the environment as well as our well-being.

Waste is one of the biggest problems the world is facing at the moment and there has never been a better time to think and rethink about our consumption pattern and disposal
behaviour. According to the World Bank’s report What a Waste: A Global Review of Solid Waste Management ,globally we are producing1.3 billion tonnes of municipal solid waste every year and are expected to increase to approximately 2.2 billion tonnes per year by 2025. Similarly according to a recent report by UNEP and the World Resources Institute (WRI), about one-third of all food produced worldwide, worth around US$1 trillion, gets lost or wasted in food production and consumption systems.

Australians are the second biggest producer of waste and needless to say hundreds of tonnes of waste are dumped into landfill sites every year. In addition, most people these days think that landfill is the ultimate destination for most of the waste we produce, where as it should only be taken as a last resort.

The modern lifestyle and technological advancement is leading to not only increase in volume of waste we produce but also producing different composition of waste which is making the waste issue more big and challenging than ever. Disposal of different types of waste ranging from green waste, hazardous waste, e- waste and other household waste in the landfill is not only taking up bigger chunk of our valuable land which could have alternatively been used for other productive causes, but it is also causing severe and irreversible impacts in the environment, socio-economy and health. Wastes dumped in the landfill accounts for air pollution, water pollution and land quality at the same time methane gas produced during the decomposition of organic waste is one of the potent green house gas which is 23 times stronger than carbon dioxide.

If we really want to make our impact in reducing the waste or managing it, we need to reduce the production of waste at source. One of the successful and practical mantra that we have been hearing and to some extent practicing is 3 R Principle- Reduce Reuse and Re cycle.

Reduce mean avoiding the production of waste at source. Avoid the things that we can do without. Reuse is about using items over and over for a longer period.
Recycling is re-processing the item into a new raw material so that
it can be used in a new product–for example grinding up plastic bottles to make fibre. While recycling is helping us in a great way by keeping our waste from going to landfill; a huge quantity of waste could be reduced and reused before it goes to recycling.

What are the benefits of reducing and reusing waste?

1. Keeps materials out of landfill.
2. Helps to preserve the “embodied energy” that was originally used to manufacture
an item.
3. Reduces the pressure on raw material, energy and water.
4. Creates less air and water pollution than making a new item or recycling one.
5. Reduces overall production of waste.
6. Reuse often creates an affordability of goods that are often of better quality .

So what can we do to reduce waste going to landfill?

Here are 10 different ways that will help to reduce and reuse waste:
1. Change consumption pattern: Ask your self do you need or want that product. Only buy what you need
2. Buy quality products what would last long
3. Burrow thing from neighbours, friends and family
4. Rent it rather than buying if you are using for a short term
5. Covert your food waste into rich fertiliser though composting or wormfarming
6. Donate your unwanted items to charity organisation or give away to your friend and family
7. Buy and sell second-hand at flea markets and garage sales.
8. Maintain your goods, it will last longer
9. Repair the items such as electronics or furniture
10.Upcycle the items you don’t want and expand the life of your preloved goods

These simple actions can easily be incorporated in our everyday life at a no or vey low cost. All we need is a little bit of passion and commitment to change ourselves and create change. Every single action multiplied by thousands will certainly make a difference. So why don’t we start from ourselves and from today. And make every day an environment day.

A very happy environment day 2016 to all of you!

Advertisements

Microfiber for Green Cleaning

Source: Microfiber for Green Cleaning

Natural-Cleaning-Mini-Challenge-Giveaway-win-some-free-microfiber-products

 

 

I write a lot about improving nutrition and health from the inside, but today we switch gears and start making sure we are avoiding toxins from the outside, too!

Everyday we are exposed to hundreds of chemicals in the air, water and our environment, and many more through products we use in our homes and beauty care. Cleaning products tend to be the worst offenders and are some of the most dangerous to have around the house with kids.

Most cleaning products contain harsh solvents, detergents and fragrances as well as harmful chemicals like bleaches, ammonia, sulfates, and parabens. If you’ve ever read the back of a bottle of cleaning spray or bleach, about the damage those chemicals can cause to skin, the respiratory track, eyes, lungs, etc, plus the warning “Can be fatal if swallowed.” Not particularly things you want under your sink with kids around!

As with many things, green cleaning by making your own can save you a lot of money on cleaning products and is much healthier. Microfiber has also helped me save a lot of money and clean naturally over the years.

What Is Microfiber?

Generally speaking, the microfiber used in cleaning cloths is made from a combination of two synthetic polymers–polyester and polyamide (which is nylon). In the highest quality microfiber cloths, these fibers are approximately 1/100 of a human hair in diameter. This makes the fibers barely visible to the naked eye. The fibers are bundled together and spun into thread which is then woven into cloth.

When examined under magnification, an individual microfiber has a split or spoke-like appearance. The area between the spokes creates a larger surface on the fiber itself. When the individual fibers are joined together into thread, and then woven into cloth, the result is a product that has an amazing ability to pick up and trap dirt coupled with superior absorbency and scrubbing power.

In comparison, a traditional fiber, such as a cotton fiber, is larger and smooth. Cloths made from these fibers require a cleaning agent (detergents, soaps and other chemical cleaners) to dissolve the dirt, which is then absorbed into the cloth in order to be removed from the surface. If dirt isn’t easily dissolved, it isn’t easily picked up and can be left behind. While the split fibers of the microfiber cloths are able to pick up and hold dirt, traditional fibers tend to push dirt and moisture around a surface. So essentially, if you want a cleaner surface, choose microfiber!

Why Choose Microfiber?

The use of microfiber in cleaning is growing in popularity. Microfibers are completely changing the way people clean their homes, wash their cars, mop their floors, and even cleanse their bodies. Microfiber enables people to eliminate many of the household cleaners they would typically use. Whether a person has been using commercially produced cleaning products or making their own at home, many are making the switch to a cleaning method which uses only water and a these reusable cloths. In an effort to reduce chemical exposure, eliminate waste, save time and money, and simplify their lives, microfiber is becoming an obvious choice for many.

So what does this mean for you?

It means microfiber can make you into a lean, mean, green cleaning machine! Armed with only water and a microfiber cloth, you are going to have a greater impact than when you employed conventional cleaning methods. We all know why that’s good; cleaning with water is going keep nasty chemicals out of your home and out of our air and water systems.

In time, this reduction in chemical use and waste will translate into an improved quality of life for you, your family, your community and our world. Beyond this, cleaning only with water means no dirt or chemical residue will be left behind on your surfaces, which actually means you’re achieving a “cleaner” clean. Cleaning with microfiber can also save you money as you eliminate, or drastically reduce, the number of cleaning products you buy or make. The cloths I use in my home have been tested for up to 500 washes and carry a 2 year warranty.

Surprisingly, many people have found these cloths last well past both their laundering life expectancy and warranty period. The thought of investing once, reducing the products I use for cleaning from many to few, and reusing my cloths has been quite appealing to my minimalist sensibilities. Just as you simplify and save your product usage, you are going to save in time and effort. Your microfiber cleaning products become a housekeeping ally. Less effort impacts the amount of time spent on household tasks.

Using microfibers to clean has easily reduced my cleaning time by 50%. Normal cleaning surfaces like bathrooms, walls, kitchen counters and floors are much easier to maintain and more thoroughly cleaned when using a microfiber. As an added bonus, special cleaning projects and domestic nemeses have lost their sting. Window washing, polishing the stainless steel appliances and keeping the glass top cooking range clean are tasks I have struggled with in the past, but now no longer dread. Making cleaning truly easy and actually fun is a tall order.

Don’t get me wrong, it is still work, but I’ve found microfiber has removed some of the “labor” from the more laborious job. With three kids, a home business and the joy of homeschooling, I still struggle to find the time to clean. But now, when I do find a chunk of cleaning time, I can get a whole lot more accomplished!

Where to Use Microfiber Cloths

For the record, my thoughts and opinions on microfiber are based mainly on my experience with two different brands of cloths. I started with the jumbo pack of microfiber cloths from Costco and later graduated to Norwex Enviro Cloths. In terms of quality, these cloths are on different ends of the spectrum. While the cloths from Costco were a drastic improvement over the traditional cloths I had been using, the Norwex Enviro cloths have far out performed those I purchased at Costco.

The following thoughts and examples of microfiber usage are based mostly on my experiences with Norwex. As with any category of product, performance varies from company to company and experimentation is required to determine how well different cloths can handle specific tasks.

I’d like to offer a few of my favorite microfiber uses in order to get you thinking about ways in which you might incorporate microfiber into your own home and cleaning routine.

In The Kitchen: This is where I use my microfiber the most. I use it for cleaning counter tops, cabinets, floors, stovetops and stainless steel appliances. The tiny microfibers do an awesome job clearing away dirt and food residues as well as tackling greasy films and messes.

In the Bathroom: You can use a microfiber in the bathroom to easily remove dirt and residues from all surfaces. I especially like it on my shower walls!
On Surfaces with a Shine: Windows, mirrors, chrome fixtures, granite and other shiny surfaces clean and shine easily with a cleaning cloth and specially designed polishing cloth. You’ll be thrilled by how easy it is to get a streak free shine! I’m not sure how readily available microfiber polishing cloths are, but I use the Norwex Window Cloth.

For Dusting: Using microfiber to dust is wonderful! The cloth picks up and traps the dust rather than sending it airborne. Because you’re not using a traditional product when you dust, there is no chemical residue left behind to attract more dust. You will find you have to dust less often!

On Your Floors: Whether you’re the kind of person who cleans floors on their hands and knees or with a mop, microfiber is going to thrill you. The first time I stood up and walked barefooted on my tile floor after washing it with a microfiber cloth, I was amazed. I couldn’t see the difference but I could feel it as I walked over the floor. I had no idea my old product was leaving such a significant residue. If you prefer to use a mop to clean your floors, you will find some companies make specially designed microfiber mop heads which you can dampen and use to wash your floors. The same microfiber principles apply.

On Your Body: In our home we don’t use soap when we bathe. Instead, we use a microfiber body cloth to cleanse our bodies. I wash my face and remove my makeup with a microfiber facial cloth. I love it! I’ve never felt so clean! It can take a little pep talk to convince people to ditch the soap, but once they do, they rarely go back!

For Stain Removal: In the same way microfiber works to pick up dirt from the surfaces in your home, like counter tops and bath tubs, it is also very effective in less obvious areas. Microfiber is wonderful for stain removal. Using only water, I have successfully cleaned upholstery, gotten long standing stains out of carpeting, removed marks and drawings from the walls, countertops and furniture, and removed stains from clothing. I keep a small cloth in my purse for use when I’m out and spill something on myself. We’ve seen microfiber remove blood, wine, green smoothie, waterproof ink, coffee, permanent marker, fingernail polish, grease, rust, vomit, ketchup, and many others.

Bear in mind, when using microfiber cloths the general rule of thumb is to use wet for cleaning and dry for dusting. When using wet, wring out as much water as possible before cleaning. This increases absorbency as well as the fiber’s ability to pick up dirt and residue.

If you are not already using microfibers, you may now be considering adding a few cloths to your home. As you shop for microfiber, bear in mind microfiber cloths are not created equal. Factors such as manufacturing, fiber quality and diameter, in addition to weave and design, can impact the quality of the cloth and thus it’s ability to perform.

Some cloths on the market today take advantage of the natural antibacterial properties of silver to give the cloth the ability to self purify. In these cases you will want to evaluate whether micro or nano silver is being used and whether the silver is added as a coating on the cloth or is embedded in the cloth. All of these factors matter, so do your research. Talk with friends and make sure you’re investing in quality microfiber products that will do a great job and last a long time.

What I Use

Personally, since I discovered Microfiber for cleaning, I don’t use anything else! A product that cleans naturally with only water… I was sold! (Tip: you can also add a couple drops of lemon essential oil for a fresh scent while you clean!)

If you haven’t tried microfiber, the basic idea is that the microscopic fibers in the cloth pick up much more dirt, bacteria and germs than regular cloth. I’ve even seen microfiber alone take off a huge streak of butter on a window (don’t ask….)

My favorite microfiber products that basically clean my entire house are:

The Antibac Envirocloth– a Heavy duty microfiber cloth with silver fibers embedded in it to kill bacteria and germs. It cleans everything from my cabinets to counters to stainless steel appliances. I also use it to clean my bathroom and can literally clean the bathroom from top to bottom with it. I now keep one microfiber cloth in each room for fast cleaning.

The Polishing Cloth– I use this on windows for a natural streak free shine with no chemicals. I use one half wet and one half dry and just wipe down with the damp and dry with the dry side. This also works great for polishing mirrors, appliances and electronics.

The Dusting Mitt Actually picks up dust, even the dust that collects on top of fans (unless perhaps you dust those more often that I do and don’t have dust on top of your fans…). The kids love using this one too and I don’t mind because no chemicals are involved.

The Telescopic Mop– Hands down my favorite because it lets me mop my entire house without chemicals in 10-15 minutes! It uses a heavy duty microfiber pad that can be machine washed and no bucket or chemicals are required! They even make a kids version of all of the above and my kids love to use them!

 

Happy International Composting Awareness Week 2016!

Half of the waste we put in our rubbish bin consists of food or garden waste. These organic waste get dumped into landfill where they decompose in the absence of oxygen producing potent greenhouse gas such as methane. The leachate produced by these organic waste also results in depletion of ground water quality.   By composting our food scraps we are not only diverting the huge amount of waste going to the landfill but also reducing carbon pollution.

Composting is a natural process by which the organic waste get decomposed into nutrition rich compost by the action of bacteria. In order to work effectively, composting requires the right blend of air, moisture and carbon & nitrogen balanced materials. Little bit of extra TLC (Tender. Love and Care) will work wonders.

Alternatively we can also get our food waste converted into the top quality compost by through worm farming. Worms munch on organic waste and produce casting which are high quality compost . Worm farming is the best way to manage organic waste within the small space and with no smell.

Here is a simple and easy step by step guide on worm farming and composting:

Slide1

Slide2

Slide3

Slide4

Slide5

Slide6

Slide7

 

Slide8

Slide9

Slide10

Slide11

Slide12

Slide13

Slide14

Happy composting and do share your experiences 🙂

 

 

My Weekly Small Pleasures #7

Sometimes it is very difficult to manage time to do things that you really like due to family commitments and especially when you are working full time at the same time. That’s what I feel is happening to me right now. I may not be able to update my weekly pleasures on time, but I am still experiencing lovely moments and enjoying every small pleasures that comes by. Here are my small pleasures for the week.

weekly pleasure #7

1. I resumed my work after 6 months of maternity leave. It was a tough call but I survived. Leaving my five and half months old at home (with my In-laws) and getting back to work was definitely not a fun thing to do. But there is also a  pleasure of being connected to people outside home and getting oneself updated with what is happening in the world outside than your world. Most importantly I enjoy my work and love what do. Well. how much I miss my little angel  is a different story altogether.

2. I believe in fate and this has been justified  so many times. I got an opportunity to travel to ISKCON operated Hare Krishna Temple in Hunter Valley  which is three hours drive from Sydney. A day trip was organised by the local community organisations which I  am also a part of . Though the trip was only for senior citizens i.e especially parents, I got opportunity to join as a carer and I absolutely enjoyed visiting the beautiful place and spend some time for religious purpose. Touched my soul!

3. My visit to the Hare Krishna Temple and Gokuala farm got the whole new meaning when I witnessed the beautiful environment surrounding the temple,  green lustre farm and the cows grazing freely in the farm plus many other sustainability living practices being adopted in the farm and the temple. Totally a beautiful experience altogether.

4. Attended a birthday party of my cousin’s two year old daughter. There is no happiness than to see the smiles on those little faces. And   also attended a baby shower of a friend. Babies make life beautiful, don’t they?

what are your weekly small pleasures.. would love to hear!

Also see My Weekly Small Pleasures #6                                                                                                        My Weekly Small Pleasures #5                                                                                                       My Weekly Small Pleasures #4                                                                                                       My Weekly Small Pleasures #3                                                                                                       My Weekly Small Pleasures #2                                                                                                       My Weekly Small Pleasures #1

—————————————————————————————————-

I came across this blog event ( Weekly Small Pleasures – Blog Event) a while ago. I found it quite interesting and have been thinking of sharing my weekly small pleasures too, which I have not been able to start due to one or the other reason. As we enter the brand new week of the brand new year, I think this is the perfect time to begin this journey.

This blog event is simply about remembering and sharing those small things that made you happy during the week; things that made you smile, made you laugh, made you do a happy dance, made your heart silently smile, or they even made you cry for joy.

Weekly Small Pleasures

Know more about this blog event here Weekly Small Pleasures – Blog Event

Go Green Mama: The Best Playdough Recipe

 

Play dough is the perfect rainy day activity, and we love making it in our kitchen. When you make your own playdough with the best playdough recipe ever, you get way more dough for your money than when you go out and buy it. Plus, this homemade playdough is so much softer and easier to mold than the store-bought stuff!

At Kids Activities Blog, we love making playdough and have several different recipes for you to try. This DIY playdough recipe has been around forever. When I was teaching kindergarten, another teacher passed it down to me as a “trade secret” but I didn’t think it was fair not to share (what I think is) the best playdough recipe with you guys. So, here it is!

best playdough recipe

Here’s What You Need To Make The Best Playdough Recipe:

  • 2 Cups of Flour
  • 2 Tbsp of Oil (any oil will do, coconut oil, vegetable oil, even olive oil)
  • 1/2 Cup of Salt
  • 2 Tbsp Cream of Tartar
  • 1 1/2 Cup Boiling Water

best playdough recipe ever

The secret to brilliant colors in your playdough is using gel food coloring – we find ours in the cake decorating sections of craft/hobby stores, or on the baking aisle in the grocery store. Gel food coloring is definitely the best dye for homemade playdough.

How To Make The Best Playdough:

  1. Pour 2 cups of flour into a bowl.
  2. Add 1/2 cup of salt.
  3. Mix in 2 tbsp Cream of Tartar. (You can find this in the spice section of just about any grocery store.)
  4. Add 2 tbsp of oil. For this recipe I used vegetable oil, but you can use any oil, and as long as it’s a kitchen oil, your playdough will be non-toxic and safe for little ones to eat.
  5. Pour in the boiling water. Be VERY careful because this makes the dough HOT!
  6. Mix all the ingredients together until they form the dough. At this point, if you don’t want to add any food dye to your playdough, you’re finished!
  7. After it’s cooled, to make several different colors of playdough, separate the dough into equal parts and roll it up into balls.
  8. Now, punch out the middle of the ball to leave a little bowl for you to pour your gel food dye into.
  9. Drip your gel dye into the bowls. This is a great time to mix dye colors if you want to make another color.
  10. Knead the dough until the dye is thoroughly mixed. This is VERY messy! If you don’t want to stain your hands, use gloves, and make sure to put something down so you don’t stain your counter (like I did).

 

the very best playdough recipe

Note:  We noticed that our dough began to smell a bit sour after a month or two. Our solution: using koolaid coloring (the flavor would mask the smell – but the colors weren’t as brilliant), or adding a few drops of candy extracts/oils. My kids have enjoyed making peppermint or orange or cinnamon scented doughs! Have fun coming up with your own scent/color creations.

Source: The Best Play Dough Recipe