Wednesday, September 1, 2010

10 Tips for a Cleaner Greener Home for Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day

by Janis Brett Elspas

As my regular readers know, I am a huge fan of eco-friendly living.  Among the topics I've written about in the past are things as varied as making children's art projects using recycled materials like empty food packages and old tennis balls to make fun robots and other crafts and testing and writing posts about cleaning products that are more earth-friendly such as this one that tells how I got a horrendous stain out of our white carpet.  I also have done book reviews where I really learned a lot about living more greenly (if that is such a word) including the posts I did on a book by actor turned environmentalist Ed Begley and another by heiress, fashionista, and author Anna Getty.  I've even gotten my kids into the act, as you can see, with the original green logo my tween daughter designed for my blog to signify the eco-friendly posts throughout MommyBlogExpert

Here's the top 10 things I've learned by researching and writing the dozens of eco friendly posts on this blog:

1. All of Us Can Do Our Small Part - But, Slow & Steady is Key
I don't see any reason why every man, woman, and child can't do at least a few tiny things to make the earth a better place to live.  Ed Begley, for example, advises us not to go green all at once, but to ease into it gradually.  After all, if small changes are made little by little, in the way we consumers live at home, school, and work those alterations in our behaviors have a better chance of sticking with us. 

2. No One is Too Young (or Too Old) to Learn About Improving The Earth
Why not check your library for some books on the protecting environment for your toddler? There is also a lot of children's programming on TV and cable that can make it fun to learn about ecology such as Nickelodeon's Fresh Beat Band which did a recent show on the subject that was reviewed on this blog. If you have older kids, you might even consider taking them to a children's or kid's science museum to do some hands-on play while they learn about things like composting, water management, or why air quality is so important.  And, let's not leave high school kids and us adults out: we should all try to learn something new about living greener every once in awhile by reading as much as we can to get more educated by related ideas on the Internet, in magazines, and even on Television.

3. Always Read Labels on Products You Will Be Using to Clean Your Home
You would be absolutely shocked if you knew what is in some of the top selling major brands of household cleaners.  For example, if a surface cleaner is labeled that it might cause an allergic reaction, why would you use it on the rug your kids crawl or sit on, or worse on a counter, table, high chair or other area that comes in regular contact with food your family eats? 

4. Being Greener Can Be Really Fun - So Get the Kids Excited About It, Too
There's lots of ways to get youngsters involved. Add recycling to the kids' chore lists and have them take responsibility for putting newspaper and glass bottles/metal cans in the proper recycling bins.  You might even have them decorate the recycling bins! Another idea is to sign your family up to volunteer to clean a beach, National Park, or other public area that's there for us all to enjoy.

5.  Don't Expose Animals to Dangerous Chemicals Around The House
Remember kids aren't the only helpless ones that toxic exposure can affect.  Be just as careful with the air, surfaces, and food/water your pets might come into contact with. Don't overlook wild creatures, too. For example, did you know that rat poison can kill an endangered owl if they eat a rodent that ate lethal poison?

6. Use Containers Made With Recycled or Renewable Materials
Whether for food storage/cooking/service or household items not related to eating, try to buy products when possible that come with packaging made from materials such as recycled paper.  Avoid buying any products (food items, toys, or even cosmetics) that may have been packed in styrofoam -- for example -- that doesn't decompose.

7.  Dispose of Pollutants and Dangerous Chemical Substances Carefully
It really does matter if you pour your used automotive liquids unsafely because it could get into the soil or water supply which is unhealthful to all living things.

8. Help Your Neighbors to Live Greener Too
If you are able-bodied, offer to help the elderly or disabled people on an ongoing basis (even those who might have a temporary illness) who live on your block by hauling their recycling bins to the curb or taking their heavy refuse to designated land fills or other locations for safe disposal.

9.  Save Household Items for Your Kids to Use at Home and School for Crafts
As I mentioned at the top of this post, you can make some really cute art projects with containers and other things around the house that you might  normally just toss in the trash.  Teachers will appreciate when you bring these needed supplies into school too.

10.  Be a Role Model for the Younger Generation
Show your kids and their friends by example, doing your part to make the earth a cleaner and greener place for us all.  They respect you and they will follow as you do.

In summary, living green begins at home and involves constant learning.  It starts with our children. I'm sure all of us have the will and desire to leave this world in better condition than when we arrived.  So, as the saying popularized by Nike goes "Just Do It."

FTC Disclosure:  I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and Mrs. Meyer’s blogging program, making me eligible to get a $30 gift card. For more information on how you can participate too, click here.  See complete FTC Disclosure information that appears at the bottom of MommyBlogExpert's main page and at the bottom of every individual post on this blog, including this one.

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