Household cleaners are not usually your first concern when thinking about pollutants, since essentially you’re buying and using the cleaners to improve and keep your home clean and pest free. Many cleaners are effective in ridding our homes from dust, allergens and infectious agents but what are their side effects? A lot of chemicals in cleaners are harmful not only to ourselves but to our environment. The chemicals in our cleaners vary in the type of health hazard they can pose. Some chemicals can contribute to chemical burns, eye, skin, or respiratory irritation and if ingested they can burn your throat and esophagus, while others have a more long term effect like chronic illness or cancer.
Having harsh chemicals like nitrogen, phosphorus and ammonia in our waters is dangerous in large quantities. When we clean our sinks, bathtubs, and toilets we are unknowingly contaminating all the living organisms that swim or drink the untreated waters. Majority of the chemicals are treated and removed from the water in waste treatment facilities before they are reintroduced to the rivers, streams, lakes and other waterways but those 3 chemicals, they are not removed by the waste treatment process.You should never combine any bleach products with any cleaner containing ammonia because they can produce very toxic sometimes deadly gases.
Are there any alternative ways?
Of course! Buying greener, non-toxic, biodegradable, and made from renewable materials cleaners! Find cleaners that do not contain any petroleum-based chemicals, this is a non-renewable material. If you’re still in doubt in buying any household cleaner products use vinegar and baking soda, they can be used to clean almost anything! Just mix a little water with either the vinegar or baking soda and voilà, you have an all-purpose cleaner!
You can check out Earth911 for tips and mixing formulas.
Here are other sites that have great formulas and tips for having an Eco-friendly spring cleaning this year.
Vinegartips- “White distilled vinegar is a popular household cleanser, effective for killing most mold, bacteria, and germs, due to its level of acidity. Cleaning with white distilled vinegar is a smart way to avoid using harsh chemicals. You’ll also be glad to know that it is environmentally friendly and very economical.”
Recyclebank- Has tips from a professional green-home expert to refresh your home after a long winter.
GoodGuide- Rate products and companies on their health, environmental and social performance.
Don’t forget to check out Dolphin Blue’s wide selection of cleaning products.
Sustainable living has become a hot trend nowadays with a lot of people worldwide changing their lifestyles in order to improve themselves, their community and their environment. You’ve probably heard about sustainable living at some point in your life but never really bothered into searching or figuring out what it actually is. Well in case you didn’t know, sustainable living is having a lifestyle that uses as few of our earth’s resources as possible, causing the least amount of environmental damage for the future generations to come.
Living a greener lifestyle doesn’t mean you have to drastically change your life or spend a lot of money but by changing small things around your house you will help reduce your carbon footprint. Here are some ways on having a more sustainable life.
Get rid of the paper towels and use washable cloths, not only will you save money but washable cloths are a more efficient way of cleaning and better for the environment. Remember; let’s keep unnecessary waste out of our landfills!
Replace your old light bulbs with energy efficient LED or CFLs. While the CFLs light bulb can take a few seconds to a minute to fully kick start they use 75% less energy than incandescent bulbs. LED light bulbs save you energy and money; they can last up to 10 years!
Visit your local farmers market and buy locally! Believe it not we are wasting and burning fossil fuels transporting food from a farm to a grocery store. Buying locally is not only healthier but you are supporting your local farmers and community.
Why take the car when you can walk or ride a bicycle? Reduce your own carbon footprint by taking a stroll or riding your bike to your destination instead of driving your car. Now you can find bike rentals throughout many cities! Also many cities are building more bike and walking trails for everyone to enjoy!
Conserve your resources! Save electricity by turning off the lights whenever you leave a room and turn off the TV if you’re not paying attention to it! Also unplug all items not in use, even if you aren’t using them they’re still taking up energy! Make sure your faucet isn’t leaking and save water when you’re washing the dishes or brushing your teeth!
Don’t forget the three most important Rs: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle! You can also search up more ways on reducing your carbon footprint online!
Being organized isn’t easy. It takes time and energy to maintain an organized environment. Taking some time out of your schedule to organize all your paperwork and items can improve your productivity. Keeping your line of sight organized will help you stay focused on your daily/weekly tasks. Here are some tips on staying organized wherever your workplace may be.
- Make a daily/weekly list
Invest your time wisely. Set aside 20 minutes before you start your day and 20 minutes after you have completed your day for organization. Make a list of things and schedules you plan to do that day before you start working and check them off by the end of the day. Make sure to keep your days/weeks planned and organized by having a handy calendar, whether it’s an app or a wall calendar, use it. It might seem like a burden when you start but once you get yourself into the habit you’ll realize you’re saving yourself time and unnecessary stress. Schedule when you check your email, constantly checking your email distracts you and your flow of work. If you are able to, check your email 3 times a day, when you arrive, lunchtime and before you leave.
- Make your office space work for you
Keeping your workspace clean and tidy will keep you on track with your daily tasks. When you have a messy desk, it will distract you. You should keep the most important items and information and recycle or throw away everything else. Keep a handy shredder in your office to dispose of used up paper. Use a binder with dividers to keep reports, presentations and important papers organized. Don’t forget to return any item you have used to where you got it from. If you’re still not sure on how to effectively start organizing your desk area, ask for help. Look around and see how your coworkers maintain an organized environment.
To help reduce a carbon footprint when buying paper and office supplies it’s really important to look out for the Post Consumer Recyclable percentage. Most companies are as low as 10% but claim to be PCR. If ever in doubt just ask – most companies who focus on PCR will know what percentage is in their paper products. One brand we love is House of Doolittle. They have a PCR of 100% and is 100% American Made. Not only are you helping to keep jobs in our country but you’ll also be preventing unnecessary trees being cut down and reducing recyclable material ending up in our landfills.
- Repurpose what you have
Before throwing anything away, look around and see if you can use it for something else. A coat rack can be used to hold your jewelry, a match box can become your travel sized sewing kit and you can place plastic bags inside a tissue box to make it a plastic bag holder. Donate any item you have no use for, it might not be useful to you but it can be useful for someone else.
Free Apps available for both Apple and Android.
Here are some apps that we couldn’t live without. They are easy to use and have the ability to sync up to your computer.
Remember the milk
Check out Dolphin Blue’s Office Supplies for our Recyclable Binders, File Cabinets, Filing & Storage and our Recycled Desk Organizers! Also check out our Daily Planners/Calendars, they’re made from 100% Post-Consumer Recycled fiber and are printed with soy ink!
Ralph Waldo Emerson was an American writer who lived during the 1800′s. He led a movement called Transcendentalism, a philosophy he wrote about in his published essay titled “Nature”. He wrote that the foundation of his philosophy is based on a deep appreciation of nature and he believed that we can only truly understand reality by studying our environment and spending time outside. Emerson thought that spending time alone in nature was the best way to come to truly understand and appreciate the beauty that the Earth brings.
What are a few things that come to mind when thinking of the “college experience?” Eating pizza six days a week? Writing papers the night they’re due? Those may be the more popularized experiences, but a college at its most basic is designed it to help its students learn and grow. Some universities take this more literally than others.
Take Green Mountain College for example, #6 on Sierra Club’s 2013 list of Cool Schools. Its students were one of the first to help their college achieve climate neutrality, a truly impressive feat considering that climate neutrality means a carbon footprint of zero. This requires balancing any carbon output with an equivalent offset. It might seem simple at first, but what would this take? This would mean planting trees, reusing or recycling all trash, eating homemade produce, burning fossil fuels, and using wind or solar energy. For Green Mountain College, they found 1.2 million kilowatt-hours in an unlikely source: cows. Dickinson College, #2 on Sierra Club’s list, collects grease from local restaurants to turn it into biodiesel. These colleges are taking advantage of the opportunity to craft and mold these creative young minds to tackle energy issues with their challenging and stringent sustainability courses.
However, not every sustainable solution is completely unique to each school, there are several practices that many universities share. For instance, many schools have campus-wide composting to reduce waste, enforce keeping paper and water waste low, and maintain cafeterias that serve student grown produce and utilize trayless dining. Also, many schools only build LEED Certified buildings, a certification that distinguishes a high performance green building. LEED takes many variables into account (sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, etc.) and provides a status level of Silver, Gold, or Platinum. Dickinson College only builds to LEED Gold standards.
Not only are these colleges making a positive impact on the environment, they are teaching responsible and accountable living as well as fostering a strong sense of community and teamwork. These are healthy, functional habits that a student can take and use for the rest of his or her life. What are some of the ways you could practices what they preach? Take a look at our products to get a few ideas on how to take the first baby steps.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was an inspirational writer and politician who lived during the 1800′s and is considered by many to be the German Shakespeare. He not only wrote poetry and novels, he also penned treatises on botany, color, and anatomy. His famous quote reminds us to believe in ourselves, to be bold, and to create our own opportunities.
Creating eco-friendly meals for your family doesn’t have to involve expensive organic produce and pricey fair-trade ingredients. Just by buying local fruits and vegetables, reducing your family’s consumption of meat, and choosing sustainable seafood can help to reduce pollution, carbon emissions, and the strain on our Earth’s natural resources. Dolphin Blue has gathered some great vegetarian recipes to help you green your eating habits. You’ll probably find that what is good for the planet is also delicious!
Responsible eating can start before your meal preparation begins and last after dinner has been enjoyed. Keep reading for some more ideas on how to keep your cooking and kitchen eco-friendly. And don’t forget to try out Dolphin Blue’s environmentally friendly Preserve Kitchenware and Tableware.
- Research sustainable seafood to ensure the ecological health of the oceans. Read labels or speak to your grocer to see which species are caught and farmed responsibly to make sure you’re buying responsibly
- Cut more and cook less. The more you are able to cut your food into smaller pieces, the less time it will take to cook and therefore the less energy you will use
- Put a lid on it. When boiling or simmering, put a lid on your pot and turn of your burner. This will enable your food to cook while also saving energy
- Try to use all edible parts of your food. Leave the skins on your produce (after your scrub it clean) and eat all parts of your fruits and vegetables if you’re able to
- Grow your own food! Learn more about sustainable practices by growing your own food and teaching your family how to grow their own food. The distance from your garden to your table is very eco-friendly!
Keep checking the Dolphin Blue blog every week for more eco-friendly tips for your home and garden.
Lao Tzu, or Laozi, is generally considered the founder of philosophical Taoism. Taoism emphasizes living in harmony with everything that exists. His quote reminds us that sometimes less is more and the things that we need are already within our reach.
Find eco-friendly inspiration every Friday on the Dolphin Blue blog!