Category Archives: Green Living
Note from blog owner: Since I’ll be having a newborn a couple of months from now, I’m featuring here an article from a guest contributor, Derek Lotts, an Advisory Editor of SmoothDecorator.com, on how to make sure that our place becomes an ideal abode for our newborn infants. I still don’t know where to categorize this (I’m temporarily posting this under Green Living and Home Organization) because this is something new here, but I’m sure I’ll be writing personally about my experiences as a first time mom very, very soon. – EOD
A clean home should be a priority, not an option. There are various pests and dangers lurking in the dark corners of your home, so do your best, invest a little time and money and secure a healthy environment and a bright future for your children.
Even though it sounds silly, heavy metals such as mercury, lead, arsenic and aluminum can be found in everyday households and pose a serious threat to the children. These can be found in drinking water, pesticides, some seafood, vaccines, antiperspirants and lead paints. In order to make sure that your children are safe, use cold water for drinking, cooking and making tea, install water filters, avoid eating fish that is high in mercury, avoid using products such as Teflon cookware or Scotchgard and avoid using treated wood for desks and children’s playrooms.
Mold and Fungal Toxins
Photo Credits: 1
Mold can be extremely harmful for the health of your family. There are many people who are allergic to mold, and some people develop it later in life. Additionally, exposure could lead to suppression of the immune system and cancer. Since mold occurs mostly in damp areas where the temperature changes frequently, you should keep the humidity in your home below 60%, keep the filters of the AC clean and make sure that any newspapers, cardboard and books are kept in dry areas.
Dust mites are small scavengers in our beds that can cause so much trouble, especially when it comes to newborns. There are numerous cases with children developing allergies to dust mites, which results in heavy breathing and trouble sleeping. Additionally, house dust mites can possibly trigger development of childhood eczema. In order to protect your newborn, you have to make sure the bed is completely dust mite-free. To do that, you can replace the old one, find new non-toxic mattresses online, wash the bedding on 60 degrees, air the bed daily and keep the baby room completely dust-free.
It’s not only chemicals and toxins can harm your child. The food has its hidden dangers that can pose a threat as well. Firstly, you want to minimize the consumption of sugars, such as refined sugar, molasses, syrups and brown sugar which can contribute to tooth decay. Also, substitutes such as aspartame and sucralose are found in many processed foods and have no nutritional value whatsoever. Make sure to give only natural sugars found in fruits and veggies to your children. Besides fruits and veggies, your child should eat plenty of grains, dairy products and meat and its substitutes.
Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)
Photo Credit: 1
Polyvinyl chloride contains phthalates (industrial compounds known as dialkyl or alkyl aryl esters) which are primarily used to increase the lifespan of fragrances and to soften plastics. However, even though it is useful, it poses a great danger for our health. It can damage the endocrine system because these chemicals mimic hormones, and it’s extremely dangerous for children. PVCs can be found in plastic wrap, bottles, food storage containers which can let the phthalates into the food. So, when buying plastic products for the home, ask if they contain PVC or phthalates. Also, never microwave or eat the food that is in a PVC container, find PVC-free drapes and shades, use natural fibers instead and always check the labels on baby products and protect your newborn.
Like being a mother is not tough enough, the house has to make its own troubles. Be on the lookout for these toxins and allergens, and secure a healthy environment and home for your children of all ages.
Thanks to Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, and other social media platforms that litter our newsfeeds with so many travel photos, more and more people are encouraged to save up and see the world. According to the World Tourism Organization, the number of international tourist arrivals in 2012 surpassed, for the first time, 1 billion, and is forecasted to reach 1.8 billion in 2030. With the dramatic rise in the number of travelers, concerns over the practice of eco-friendly travel have increased as well.
Travel professionals and consumers have both pushed for awareness for sustainable travel in order to minimize the negative impact of travel on host countries and to preserve the natural and cultural resources for generations to come. It looks like those efforts are gaining fruit – a 2010 survey by online travel publisher TravelZoo revealed that more than 90% of U.S. travelers said that they would choose a ‘green,’ environmentally conscious hotel if the price and amenities were comparable to those at a non-sustainable, non-green hotel.
If you’re still new at the rules of environment-friendly travel, check out the following tips for becoming a responsible nomad.
Do you know that the heavier the plane is, the more carbon emissions it will produce during flight? Do your part in reducing this weight by packing light and bringing only what’s necessary. Not only will this help reduce carbon emissions, you will also feel better without the extra baggage weight.
Treat Your Hotel Like It’s Your Home
A lot of travelers enjoy the excesses that a hotel accommodation provide. We tend to leave the TV and lights on even if we’re not using them. We tend to ask for fresh towels even if we don’t really need them. We tend to take really long baths and showers because water usage comes with the room payment. Being considerate of the hotel’s resources, especially in water and electricity, will go a long way in saving energy.
If you’re up for something really adventurous, why not try couchsurfing? Thanks to services like AirBnB, homeowners have opened up their dwellings to budget travellers and give them a safe place to sleep in. Imagine the cash you’ll save by not staying in a hotel room.
Avoid Using Plastic
Everytime you ask for extra plastic bags at the store, remember that a bag can take up to 500 years to biodegrade. Same goes for plastic bottles – just imagine those bottles stocked up in garbage landfills. Learn to get used to carrying around reusable shopping bags and reusable water bottles.
Take Public Transport
Taking public transport is cheaper and gives you the chance to interact with the locals. Imagine the amount of carbon emissions you can save from not renting your own car or any type of private transport. This also gives you the chance to see the place up close and you can ask the locals for details. If you’re staying in a city, take the trains as much as possible to save up on costly cab rides.
Try Not Taking The Plane
This applies more to local travel. If your travel destination can be covered by bus rides, try taking that option instead of hopping on a plane. You’ll get to see more of the countryside if you travel by bus.
Maximize Group Tours
If you’re still new to the place, why not save yourself the hassle of getting lost by joining a group tour? This ensures that you stay within your itinerary and you can learn interesting stuff from tour guides. Do your research online and scout for group tours that advocate responsible travel.
Eat Local Produce
What’s the point of traveling to a new place if you make a beeline for the nearest McDonalds the first chance you get? Part of the traveling experience is sampling the local cuisine. This also goes for liquor, too. Instead of asking for the same old brew that you drink back home, why not try the local brew? Reward your taste buds and be carbon-friendly at the same time.
Follow The Main Trail
Trails are created for valid reasons. Not only are they designed to keep travelers safe, they also keep travelers away from areas that are considered endangered and therefore should be off limits to people. Veering away from the main trail can bring damage to protected areas, put you in danger, and make other travelers follow your footsteps.
Use Biodegradable Toiletry Products
Organic soaps, shampoos, and other beauty and grooming products are more readily available now so you should have no trouble finding them at your destination, if you don’t have some in your bag already. Aside from being gentle on your skin, it’s also good for the local water system. Encourage your fellow travelers to use them, too, while you’re at it.
Bring And Use Rechargeable Batteries
Batteries are one of the must-haves in a traveler’s list. Since you’re bound to use several during your trip, why not buy the rechargeable ones? Garbage heaps around the world are already littered with disposable batteries so don’t add more to it. Mother Nature will thank you immensely for bringing charger and reusable batteries. Make sure to load them up while you’re staying in your hotel room so you will never run out of charge when you’re out and about.
You can do even better than this by using solar-powered gadgets and chargers. Look for backpacks that act as chargers for your batteries and devices.
Buy Local And Handmade Souvenirs
Instead of buying mass-produced souvenirs, you should go for handmade products made by local artisans. Not only is this environment-friendly, you will also contribute to the livelihood of the locals who painstakingly do these pieces by hand.
Making the most out of your dream destination is understandable for a traveler like you but remember that as an inhabitant of this planet, you also have a responsibility to make your travels as environment-friendly as possible. Being conscious of your carbon footprint will make your travels more fulfilling.
MUJI, an international Japanese lifestyle retail store, opened their first branch in Central Visayas on December 20, 2013. It is located at the New Wing of Ayala Center Cebu, Level 2. They offer unbranded yet high quality products and goods that are sold at reasonable prices.
Minimalism and Recycling
All MUJI’s products are manufactured and designed with minimalism and recycling in mind. From their complete line of household supplies, electronics, furniture, to cosmetics, apparels, food, travel and daily essentials, they focus more in creating functional products with simplistic packaging to reduce waste and help conserve the environment.
MUJI Store in Ayala Center Cebu
The overall design of their store is in synced with the company’s philosophy that promotes simplicity, green living, and sustainability.
Muji is simply the shorter version of Mujirushi (no brand) Ryohin (quality goods). The company officially opened its first store in 1983. The Muji store in Ayala Center Cebu is the very first branch they opened here in the Visayas region. At the present, they have 205 retail outlets operating all over the globe. Visit www.muji.net to check out their products online.
N.B.: Have you been thinking how to save electricity and lessen the frequency of buying new bulbs every time they got damaged? Or, perhaps are you planning to cut off on energy cost by buying solar-powered appliances? If you have these thoughts then you may continue reading below. The following guest post is from my fellow writer, Sam Peters. – EOD
Elektrostandard LED light bulb
You may be cutting down on the weekend meals or trying to shop smarter, but you may be unaware of huge savings that can be made through green installations at your home. Apart from the potential savings offered by these installations, they’ll also make your home self-reliant. Here are some of the options you can go for.
1. LED light bulbs
These are low-energy consuming lights that can last for up to 20 years. For brightness, they use 90 percent low watts per hour compared to incandescent lights. They lead to savings in light and bulb purchases as well as in energy. They’re an investment worth looking into, and the cost only averages around $20 per unit. They’re a top choice when it comes to green home installations. Custom LED lightning installations also available to consumers.
2. Energy-saving adapters
Many of you would be fond of using consumer electronics at your home; laptops, smartphones, tablets, video games etc. Did you know they account for a total of 13 percent energy consumed at homes? This was reported by CEA, and the cost of charging and running these devices goes up to $191 per year.
Energy saving adapters (AC/DC) are now being manufactured by companies such as Green Plug. They’re made to give the devices the exact amount of charge they require, and shut themselves down automatically once the required amount of power has been given to the specified device. They’ll lead to money savings if you regularly charge devices and other electronic items.
3. Outdoor Solar motion sensor light
Apart from green installations inside the house, you could save some bucks by tweaking your home from the outside. The outdoor solar motion sensor lights provide you ‘free energy’ to use, They use the sun to charge themselves, and the charge goes on for up to 2 weeks.
They’re also brighter, and stay on during power outages as there’s no electricity involved. Therefore, you save in terms of electricity as well as home security.
4. Programmable thermostats
Thermostats have been around for a while, but advances have been made to make them more energy efficient, leading to savings. The thermostats are now being equipped with advanced sensors and algorithms, and they even allow for cloud computing.
These high tech thermostats can lead to a 30 percent decrease in average annual energy bill. An example of such as thermostat is Nest Learning Thermostat by Nest Labs.
A separate account can be maintained for spending on the listed and other green additions. Researching banks that offers the best interest rate on savings accounts would result in some options.
Apart from savings accounts, there’s also an option to go for current deposit account by comparing cd rates of different banks.
Photo used above is under Creative Commons License. Credit.