Friday, April 24, 2009

Vinegar - the almighty green cleaner

Lately, I've been using more natural products to clean my home instead of buying pre-made cleaning products. I've been astounded by the power and versatility of vinegar. A little vinegar in the rinse cycle is a great natural fabric softener. Some vinegar on the cutting board is a natural antibacterial agent. Mix vinegar and water in a spray bottle, and you have your own glass cleaner. Vinegar is also great at removing coffee and tea stains and hardwater spots.

While vinegar doesn't have toxic fumes, you'll probably want to open a window because it does have a strong smell if you use it undiluted.

So far, the only caution I've found is that vinegar can strip the sealant off of marble or granite, so don't use it on natural stone counters. Also be careful with it on vinyl floors with a wax finish. (Remember, spot testing is always your friend when you're trying any new cleaning method.)

The best part of using vinegar - you can buy a gallon bottle of store-brand vinegar for a few bucks. Much cheaper than pre-made cleaning supplies.

Friday, January 16, 2009

No more plastic beverage bottles!!

I gave up buying drinks in plastic bottles as my New Years' resolution. So far, so good - though it's a challenge. I found out that recycling plastic bottles isn't as efficient as I had hoped, so plastic drink bottles are still pretty bad for the environment - even if you recycle.

The big problem is that even though more people are recycling, the uptick in recyclers isn't keeping pace with the uptick in canned and bottled beverages - 216 BILLION drink containers sold in the US in 2006.

Refundable deposits on recyclable beverage containers really help increase the number of containers that get recycled. Right now, only 11 states collect refundable deposits on recyclable beverage containers. If you're interested in a national bottle bill, you can sign the petition here.
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