Category Archives: Environment

21 Small Indoor Plants for Apartment Living

Houseplants are a tried and true way to bring vibrant color to your home and to bring nature inside. Not to mention, plants are a great way to purify the air in your home.

Big and beautiful philodendrons and majesty palms are perfect for adding the finishing touch to any room and for filling in empty corners and walls. However, huge plants like that aren’t always the best for tiny apartments and less-than-spacious homes. Thankfully, there are plenty of choices for small indoor plants that can help provide the right touch of green without taking up a large chunk of your room!

Small plants, like succulents and air plants, are perfect for adding greenery to your desk or your nightstand. Slightly bigger plants like peace lilies can take up some floor space, but they won’t overwhelm any corner of the room with lush leaves or big roots.

The best part about most small potted plants is that they can fit almost anywhere in your home. You can even get creative! Think about adding some cute plants in unexpected places like near your bathroom window, in a hanging planter or even on your wall with a space-saving vertical wall garden!

21 Small Indoor Plants to Spruce Up Your Space

To help you get started, we rounded up our favorite small indoor plants and included a few tips for styling them in a small space. Take a look and see which ones you can apply to your own space.

1. Air Plant

Air plants are interesting plants since they don’t need soil to survive. These are great if you’re looking for a small plant and don’t want to deal with pots or soil. If you choose to house your air plant in a terrarium, make sure it has an opening so it gets plenty of circulation.

air plant tillandisa small indoor plant

2. Aloe Vera

Did you know that aloe vera plants are a part of the succulent family? Just like their relatives, they enjoy the sun and prefer that their soil is completely dry between waterings. These small potted plants are handy to keep around if you have any minor burns, like a sunburn. Take a look at our list of medicinal plants to see what other plants you should keep around your home.

aloe vera small indoor plants

3. Anthurium

Smaller anthuriums are perfect for adding a bright pop of color to any room in the house without taking up too much space. They can tolerate all types of light, but will grow best with bright, indirect light.

anthurium small indoor plants

4. Asparagus Fern

Contrary to its name, the asparagus fern is actually a part of the lily (liliaceae) family. If possible, give this plant some breathing room on either side so its leaves can fan out. It will add a beautiful splash of green on any shelf or table.

small indoor plants asparagus fern

5. Baby Toes

These cute plants also hail from the succulent family. Their name derives from their small stature and resemblance to an infant’s toes. Baby toes are perfect conversation starters due to their unusual look.

small indoor plants baby toes

6. Cast-Iron Plant

Cast-iron plants are hardy plants that can withstand a range of light and soil conditions. They’re the plant to choose if you’re willing to give up a little floor space in exchange for a nearly indestructible plant.

small indoor plants cast iron plant

7. Chinese Money Plant

These cute plants are known for their beautiful round leaves and how for how difficult they are to obtain. Chinese money plants are also called missionary plants. This is because Norwegian Missionary Agnar Espergen took cuttings home with him in the 1940s and shared them with his loved ones. This is how the plant eventually spread throughout the world. These plants are easy to propagate, so the easiest way to acquire your own is to find a friend or online exchange willing to help y

small indoor plants chinese money plant

8. Echeveria

The echeveria is one of the most common types of succulents. Little plants like these are more commonly found at office and home desks due to their easy care and small size. A common cause of death, however, is overwatering. Make sure to let your plants’ soil dry completely before giving them another drink.

small indoor plants echeveria

9. Jade Plant

Jade plants are most known for their thick, oval-shaped leaves. Jade plants can live for years as long as they are given the proper care. To keep your plant’s leaves nice and shiny, wipe them down every once in a while to combat dust build up. This will keep the leaves glossy and increase its ability to absorb sunlight.

small indoor plants jade plant

10. Kalanchoe

Kalanchoes are a variety of flowering plants that are known for their beautiful blooms. Place them near a window so that they have plenty of energy to flower. The kalanchoe is also from the succulent family, so it prefers to have dry, well-drained soil.

kalanchoe small indoor plants

11. Lithops

Many refer to lithops as “living stones,” since these plants closely resemble pebbles and small stones. Like succulents, these small plants can survive in hot temperatures and little water. Lithops are great for showing off to guests due to their deceiving appearance!

small indoor plants lithops

12. Lucky Bamboo

These small plants can grow in both soil and in water. If you choose to grow your lucky bamboo in water, make sure you replace the water every 7 to 10 days and use filtered water if possible. If you plant it in soil, make sure to water it when the first inch of its soil starts to feel dry.

lucky bamboo small indoor plants

13. Oxalis

This specific oxalis variety is also referred to as “purple shamrocks” or “false shamrocks.” It earned its name because of its resemblance to the Irish shamrock that is more commonly known as the three-leafed clover. In addition to its name, its also known for its photophilic nature. This means that both its flowers and leaves open and close in response to light.

oxalis small indoor plants

14. Peace Lily

Peace lilies are one of the best houseplants you can have in your home due to their variety of sizes, attractive appearance and ability to clean the air. Peace lilies can also thrive under fluorescent light, so they’re perfect for rooms that have little to no natural light. Take a look at our peace lily care guide to learn how to help them thrive.

peace lily small indoor plants

15. Peperomia

Peperomia leaves grow in tight clusters, making them ideal choices for small shelves or desks. Their thick leaves can hold water and allow them to endure periods of time without hydration. They can also survive under fluorescent light, but grow best with bright, indirect sunlight.

small indoor plants peperomia

16. Polka Dot Plant

Polka dot plants are colorful plants that provide an unexpected dash of color to any shelf or tabletop. These small plants are commonly known for their pink color, but they have more recently become available in other colors (like red and white). Although it prefers indirect sunlight, some direct sunlight during the day is okay for your plant if it isn’t very colorful yet. Just remember to bring it back out of the direct sunlight to avoid scorched leaves.

polka dot plants small indoor plants

17. Pothos

Pothos plants are vine plants that can easily dress up a bookcase or a plain wall with their trailing leaves. They are another popular plant that purifies the air. Their classy appearance and air-purifying abilities make them a good choice for a home office or living room. Take a look at our pothos plant care guide to learn more in-depth information about their care guidelines.

pothos small indoor plants

18. Rubber Tree

Rubber trees are indoor plants that can pull any room together with their large leaves and vibrant color. Rubber trees can potentially grow up to ten feet tall. To keep them at a smaller height, prune the branches and leaves regularly. New branches can sprout from these prunings if you tend to them.

rubber tree small indoor plants

19. Snake Plant

Snake plants are easy to care for and are also useful for purifying the air. These plants grow vertically, so they’re ideal for tight corners that are in need of some greenery. Snake plants can grow in a variety of light conditions, but thrive best in indirect sunlight. Since they originate from the desert, they can also withstand long periods of time without water. You should let their soil dry between waterings. Take a look at our snake plant care guide to learn more in-depth information about snake plants.

snake plant small indoor plants

20. Spider Plant

These plants have a lot of long, skinny leaves that poke out from their pots. Spider plants make interesting hanging plants thanks to their dangling leaves. The spider plant’s other nicknames include the “airplane plant” and the “ribbon plant” — thanks to its iconic foliage.

spider plant small indoor plants

21. String of Pearls

The string of pearls plant is an increasingly popular plant with a unique appearance. Its pearl-like foliage hangs over its container and makes an eye-catching piece of decor for all of your guests. This cute plant is yet another member of the succulent family and thus requires lots of light and little water.

string of pearls small indoor plants
Source: 21 small indoor plants for apartment living

Earth Hour Classroom Activities and Resources

Earth Hour Classroom Activities and Resources

Earth Hour Classroom Activities and Resources
 

Our actions on climate change will shape the future for our children. It is important to discuss and educate our students about climate change, and how to look after our planet! As Earth Hour comes around again for another year, it provides a great opportunity to spend some time discussing issues of sustainability and why Earth Hour is so important.

What is Earth Hour?

Earth Hour is a worldwide movement for the planet organised by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)The event is held annually to encourage individuals, communities, households and businesses to turn off their non-essential lights for one hour, from 8:30 to 9:30 pm.

Although Earth Hour is not during school time – it is still a great opportunity to talk about why it is needed and to encourage your students to go home with this important message!

To help you engage your students in worthwhile conversations, we’ve collated some excellent resources and activities for Earth Hour 2018.


Global Warming Video for Kids

Show your students this gorgeous video about climate change:

Talk with your students about the things they can do to help save the planet and then talk about Earth Hour.


Classroom Display Activity for Earth Hour

“We’ve Got the Whole World in Our Hands”

Create a display in your classroom using the heart from the Earth Day template.

  1. Students colour in the heart-shaped Earth and cut it out.
  2. They then trace their hands on coloured paper and stick each hand on either side of the heart.

Such a cute way to make it look like the whole world is in their hands!

Encourage your students to write what their pledge to the Earth will be and stick these on your Earth Hour classroom display.

Printable Earth Hour and Sustainability Posters

Use our printable sustainability education posters to display around your classroom. Although Earth Hour is primarily to focus on using less electricity, it’s a fantastic time to educate and hold discussions with your students about the importance of a variety good sustainability practises.


Earth Hour Classroom Activities

Use these gorgeous templates to consolidate your students’ knowledge of how they can help the environment.

Environmental Awareness Flip Book

This Environmental Awareness Flip Book helps your students understand what is good and bad for the environment.

Students will love creating this gorgeous flip book and sorting images of everyday things into what will make the earth happy and what will make the earth sad.

Environmental Awareness Flip Book

They can then colour the images in their new flip book.

Environmental Awareness Flip Book

My Promise to the Earth Activity

In this cute activity, students make a promise to the earth by coming up with four different pledges of what they are going to do to save their environment.

This a great activity to discuss different habits that they can change that will help save the planet.

My Promise to the Earth Student Template

How to use this resource:

  1. Download the My Promise to the Earth Student Template.
  2. Trim the extra section off the left-hand side of the template where it states ‘cut’.
  3. Fold the template along the horizontal fold line.
  4. Cut along the three small vertical dotted lines to create four different flaps.
  5. Students pick four pictures that are linked to their own personal promises and stick each picture on the front of each flip section.
  6. Students write what they promise to do under each of the flaps.
  7. Students can then decorate and stick in their workbooks.

Pictures to assist students in creating four promises to the earth include

  • turning the lights off
  • recycling
  • growing plants
  • riding bikes
  • not composting
  • picking up litter.

 

Source- earth hour classroom activities and resources

Why should you be doing more gardening?

Blooming marvellous: Why gardening keeps you grounded

Getting led up the garden path isn’t always a bad thing. You’d be amazed at the treasures and pleasures that await.

George admiring the flower he has grown.As a metaphor for life, gardening is the best there is. Think strong roots and firm foundations. It makes sense in any context, whether you relate it to family togetherness or designing a skyscraper. Any gardener will tell you that.

They’ll also say that life (and gardening) is better with barrowloads of patience. Plants grow slowly and no amount of rushing things (with fertiliser) will speed them up. So sit back and enjoy the ride.

Gardening is also good for you. It helps people battling high blood pressure, reduces the risk of osteoporosis, helps moderate mood and alleviate stress and doubles as a workout. Did you know three hours of moderate gardening will burn as many calories as a one-hour gym workout?

But back to gardening itself. Gardeners understand the only certainty is change – it’s why everything looks proportional in a garden for only so long. Plants get woody or diseased. And they die. That’s why in 10 years no garden will resemble the way it is now.

Gardening is an exercise in accepting whatever happens. Going with the flow. Especially when it comes to native plants – our fickle locals can keel over suddenly and inexplicably. Healthy one day, dead the next. And this is why gardeners are such get-on-with-it pragmatists – they rip out the ailing and lifeless, and plant anew. Usually with another little experiment, in the hope it might be hardier.

But enough of metaphors – gardeners have a low-tolerance for fluff. They are ‘practical folk’ whose idea of fun is getting dirty – rugging up and hitting it in any weather, slogging through winter for the rewards of spring and sweating under sunscreen and hat while everyone else is inside with air-conditioning.

Using secateurs to cut the stem off a lemon.This isn’t as unappealing as it may sound. The seasons are so much richer when you see them up close – turning leaves, peaches plumping out, birds gleaning twigs for nests and butterflies appearing like magic on the first warm days of summer.

A flourishing garden is certainly a thing of beauty, although any keen gardener will tell you it isn’t just about the results. It’s about the doing. Gardeners know that every day you miss takes at least two to catch up. Hacking back the overgrown is cathartic but it’s really just damage control – the thing you do before real nurturing can begin.

Beyond the heavy industry of digging, pulling, chopping and raking, gardening is about watching for signs, day in day out. And then one day seeing them – like a tiny green bud on a stalk that, the day before, looked dead.

Gardening comes with some strange belief that all those growing, independent and capable plants somehow need you. They need your diligent watering and well-researched fertilising and pruning.

Who knows where such enthusiasm and dedication originates? Maybe gardening is in the genes, or maybe it comes from childhood remembrance of helping mum or dad on rose-coloured weekends when the distant sound of lawn mowers meant no school today.

You’re either into it or you aren’t.

For gardeners, nothing beats a day in the dirt – potting up cuttings, digging in fertiliser, hunting out weeds. Time either stops or it flies.

As a gardener you become part of a living world that has as many ups and downs as ‘regular’ life, but is infused with an extra richness that defies description. You know the feeling. If you don’t, get out in the garden and find out.

Why gardening is good for your health

  • Three hours of moderate gardening burns as many calories as one hour at the gym.
  • Gardening can reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke by almost 30%.
  • Gardening reduces the risk of obesity.
  • 75% of gardeners rate their health as ‘very good’ or ‘excellent’.
  • People who grow more fruit and vegetables eat more fruit and veg.
  • Gardening is more effective at reducing the stress hormone cortisol than reading.
  • Gardening requires skills that can protect the brain from ageing.
  • Regular gardeners are less likely to suffer from dementia.
  • Gardening improves your memory.

Source: Blooming marvellous: Why gardening keeps you grounded

Plastic Waste Piles Up as China’s Ban Goes Into Effect

What will the U.S. do now with the plastic China won’t take?

 

PHOTOS COURTESY OF RECOLOGY

 BY KATHERINE WEI | FEB 3 2018

If you were at Dolores Park in San Francisco last weekend enjoying a bottle of water, chances are the bottle ended up at Pier 96 not long after you tossed it into a recycling bin. That’s where much of the city’s discarded recycling waste piles up—in giant bales of neatly bound cardboard and plastic scrap, sitting in an empty parking lot just off the pier. The cardboard bales will be shipped off to China in a shipping container for recycling. The plastic water bottles and other scrap will continue to sit there, however, waiting for another country willing to take them.

That’s because China has decided to crack down on the quality of plastic scrap imported from overseas—the yang la-ji, a crass, blanket term government officials have been calling imported scrap. It translates literally to “foreign trash.”

In July 2017, China filed a notice with the World Trade Organization announcing its decision to stop importing 24 types of foreign waste and to dramatically tighten its standards for impurities in scrap bales. In the official notice, China’s Ministry of Environment Protection said, “We found that large amounts of dirty wastes or even hazardous wastes are mixed in the solid waste that can be used as raw materials. This has polluted China’s environment seriously.”

Before the announcement, China allowed 5 percent of impurities in imported bales of plastic. The new, 0.5-percent threshold has proven impossible for U.S. facilities in the short-term, leaving recycling operators scrambling for alternatives.

“We worked hard to make sure our bales contain less than 5 percent of impurities, and sometimes lower than 4,” said Robert Reed, who is part of the team that runs Recology San Francisco near Pier 96.

The ban went into effect in 2018, with a transitional period of five months for its scrap trade partners. WTO members that rely heavily on China’s role in the international waste trade protested in meetings following the announcement; the United States, the E.U., Japan, Australia, and Canada all asked for a longer transitional period of up to five years.

China is already carrying out the ban anyway, which has caused a flurry of panic through the international waste trade. “China practically gave us no time to adjust, no time to transition,” said Adina Adler, a senior official at the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries. It takes at least two months for a scrap shipment to go from the United States to China; the last bales that the U.S. was able to get out of the country without facing rejection at China’s ports were shipped from September to October, making the ban effective three months after the announcement.

The lack of instructions from China also didn’t help. There is scrap piling up in storage facilities on the West Coast, waiting to be redirected to domestic or foreign facilities, or waiting indefinitely for the regulations to relax. This in turn is taking a toll on the facilities’ budgets; some have informed local residents that they are no longer taking in plastic items and that plastic has been going to landfill instead, according to Adler.

In the official notice China filed with the WTO, the banned types of scrap include “plastics waste from living sources, vanadium slag, unsorted waste paper, and waste textile materials.” But no further explanation was given, and there were no clear examples for exporting facilities on what they are allowed to ship and what they aren’t. The government has also announced a plan to completely ban plastic waste imports in 2019.

China became the world’s main solid waste importer in the 1980s, when it needed cheap raw materials to feed its growing economy. But in recent years, the government has pointed to environmental damage caused by the trade and unwonted smuggling of illegal scraps. China hasn’t made clear exactly what it means by environmental damage. However, one of the heaviest polluted regions in China, Guiyu, a small town in the Guangdong Province, is said to take in the most electronic waste in the world. Once primarily reliant on rice-planting before 1995, the coastal village had transformed into a huge e-waste processing hub by 2013 for economic reasons. Rice no longer grew because the water and air became severely polluted from burning plastic.

In 2013, officials launched the Green Fence campaign, which prohibited unsorted shipments of recyclables from overseas. In March 2017, China also launched the National Sword initiative, a project that led to detailed investigations at nine major ports known for the daily incoming cargo of foreign scrap.

“In periods of development in the past, parts of imported solid waste have served (China) to some extent, but as China advances economically and socially, we see problems exposed in importing solid waste for raw materials,” said Guo Jiang, the head of the environment protection ministry’s Department of International Cooperation. “Especially the yang la-ji. Everyone has something negative to say about it.”

The United States in particular has been hit hard by the ban, thanks to a lack of domestic plastic processing facilities nationwide. There hasn’t been a new recycling plant built in the U.S. since 2003. Meanwhile, Americans throw away an average of 35 billion plastic bottles every year. Up to 40 percent of U.S. scrap exports used to go to China. What happens next?

For now, your bottle and its plastic companions are going to Vietnam or Malaysia. Scrap exports from September 2017 through January 2018, compared to the same period of time in 2016, shows a 95 percent increase of scrap paper going to Vietnam, and a 138 percent increase in plastic scrap going to Malaysia. For that same period, there was a 17.8 percent drop in plastic scrap export from the United States to China.

“We are working very hard with the city of San Francisco and our customers to meet China’s new standards, but after November 2017, our plastic bales have been redirected to Southeast Asia,” said Reed, who hopes that the Chinese government will relax its new regulations.

Inside China, the scrap industry is also seeing fissures after the government crackdown. China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection investigated 1,800 recycling facilities last year to see if they followed environmental laws regarding imported scrap, but over half were found to be violating said laws. “These companies either went out of business or lost their import licenses temporarily,” said Adler. This also contributed to the chaos in the global scrap trade, because these licenses not only gave the facilities permission to import foreign scrap, they also determined how much each facility is allowed to import. Once taken away, the losses are huge.

Even more companies were denied licenses this year, said Steve Wong, the owner of the plastic recycling company Fukutomi in Hong Kong. “The number of the first batch of import permits granted in 2018 was released at the end of December. The number is down by nearly 95 percent in comparison to last year,” said Wong.

There is still no official plan on how to deal with the excess scrap piling up in places like San Francisco’s Pier 96, but recyclers are trying to identify domestic options rather than going overseas. “There are resources in the U.S. and Canada that people are starting to scout out now,” said Adler.

Wong agrees. “The amount Southeast Asian countries are taking is small compared to what the U.S. is used to exporting. I’m planning to open a facility in the U.S. to help combat the problem.”

 

Source: Plastic Waste Piles Up as China’s Ban Goes Into Effect

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!

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:

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Happy composting and do share your experiences 🙂

 

 

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