As the weather cools down and summer comes to an end, I become increasingly excited for autumn, and all that the second half of the year has to offer, or what I like to call The 3 Fs of Fall, namely: family, football, and food. However, while autumn is a time for fun and festivities (two more Fs) our responsibility to the environment is no less in force. As you prepare for the fall season, here are a few housekeeping tips that will also help you stay eco-friendly.
Get Rid of Junk
As the weather cools down and the majority of your activities take place indoors, you may notice that you’ve accumulated some extra possessions that you have no need for. If you plan on having a lot of people over during this season, your home is also likely to house much more waste. Combine that with the upcoming Christmas season and you’ll find you have more stuff than you know what to do with.
The obvious solution is to just get rid of the junk, but be careful about how you dispose of certain materials. Old batteries, electronics, plastics, or anything containing powerful chemicals like petroleum cannot just be tossed in the garbage can and sent on their merry way to a landfill. Make sure you’re only throwing things in the garbage that can be easily broken down. Otherwise, consult an eco-hauling company to determine the best way to safely dispose of your junk.
Clean with Green
More people also means more mess. You can waste hundreds of dollars on cleaning products trying to keep up with it all, but many of these products can have a negative effect on the environment if released into the air or water. You can just as easily keep your house tidy and clean with baking soda and vinegar.
Distilled vinegar is a key ingredient in many common window cleaning solutions because it’s able to break up grease and dirt without damaging the surface. Simply dilute 1/4 cup of vinegar into a gallon of water for windows and other hard surfaces. If you’re not keen on that iconic vinegary smell pervading your home, add fresh lemon juice to your mixture.
Additionally, you can also use baking soda to tackle a number of different cleaning needs. Make a paste with baking soda and water when you need to scrub out tough mildew stains. If your dishes and pots have a lot of stuck-on food from last night’s football party, let them sit in boiling hot water and baking soda for 5-10 minutes, then rinse. When it comes to smelly or clogged drains, combining baking soda with vinegar in the drain can help clear the blockage and give your drain a fresh scent.
Mind the Air
As the weather cools down, you’ll probably be looking for ways to keep warm. Before you decide to switch on your heater or fireplace, take some time to inspect your vents and filters. Chances are, if you haven’t used your heating system in a while, that your vents have accumulated a fair amount of dust and debris that can prove hazardous during cold and flu season. The same goes for your fireplace.
Also, this buildup can be costly financially. Think of your ducts as arteries in the body. When they are clean and unobstructed, the whole system runs efficiently. However, if there is a blockage of some sort, the heart (your furnace or fuel) now needs to work overtime to produce the same amount of heat. Using more energy results in more dollars lost. In colder climates, this is even more important (Vancouver heating bills are through the roof enough as it is).
Drew Kobb, in addition to studying civil law, loves long distance running and considers himself a health and fitness enthusiast. His interests range all over the medical field, and Drew highlights that range on his blog, Dr. Ouch. He also has a passion for the environment.
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