Earth Day Begins at Home

 

There are plenty of ways you can make every day Earth Day. Improve your own small part of the planet by considering these suggestions for spring-cleaning, garden preparation, and home improvements.

  • Purchase non-toxic cleaning products. Use natural fiber sponges and cleaning agents that are biodegradable, phosphate-free, chlorine-free, and unscented.
  • Reduce paper use. Use rags instead of paper towels; cloth napkins instead of paper ones. Buy post-consumer recycled paper and recycle it when you’ve used it.
  • Refurbish responsibly. Use water-based or vegetable-based paints, stains, and varnishes. Don’t wash paint thinners, household cleaners, oil, or pesticides down the drain or pour them on the ground; use them up, give leftovers to friends or a charity, or dispose at your local toxic waste disposal center.
  • Repair instead of replace. Reupholster furniture. Resole your shoes.
  • Replace disposable goods with renewable ones. Buy rechargeable batteries. Use dishes instead of paper plates.
  • Plant for the planet. Strengthen your garden’s resistance to pests by planting resilient plants, by rotating the fruits and vegetables you plant, and by attracting friendly bugs to prey on the pesky ones.

◘ Source: http://www.earthshare.org

Advertisements

Indoor plants as air filters

Indoor plants not only look great, they can also help clear your house of common environmental pollutants.

Using indoor plants to clear the air

There’s nothing quite like the scent of forest air – the real thing, not an air freshener :).

While some of that lovely earthy scent is due to decomposition, the trees and plants of a forest are constantly circulating oxygen and carbon dioxide, unlike in the midst of a concrete jungle when the air we breathe can get somewhat stale or downright poisonous.

Our homes aren’t an oasis from our toxic modern environment either. The inside of our houses can have very poor air quality due to fumes from cigarette smoke, furnishings, paint and other items. Some items can give off these fumes for many years – that smell of fresh paint and new carpets isn’t just potentially harmful just while you can detect it.

The airborne chemical cocktail inside our home often includes:

benzene – used in oils, paints, plastic, rubber
trichloroethylene (TCE) – paints, lacquers, varnishes and adhesives
formaldehyde – foam, clothing, particle board, carpets.

All of the above have been shown to be potent environmental pollutants and likely carcinogens in humans.

New homes can be particularly bad for formaldehyde – it might be at many times the generally considered safe level for quite some time. Office air can also be saturated by a fog of toxins due to the type of furnishings and floor coverings often used on commercial premises.

Keeping indoor plants not only adds a nice green touch to our homes; some indoor plant species have proven to be effective filters for pollutants such as the above and carbon monoxide (an element of car exhaust).

A while back, I came across a couple of very interesting studies by NASA carried out in the late 80’s and early 90’s that included information on the plants NASA found useful as indoor air filters to combat these chemicals.

Beneficial plants include (scientific name followed by common) :

Aloe vera
Aglaonema Modestum – Chinese Evergreen
Chamaedorea Seifritzii – Bamboo Palm
Chlorophytum elatum – Green Spider Plant
Chrysanthemum morifolium – Pot Mum/Florists’ Chrysanthemum
Dracaena Janet Craig – Janet Craig
Dracaena Marginata – Marginata
Dracaena Massangeana – Mass cane/Corn Plant
Dracaena Warneckii – Warneckii
Gerbera Jamesonii – Gerbera Daisy/African daisy
Hedera Helix – English Ivy/Common Ivy
Philodendron Domesticum – Elephant Ear Philodendron
Philodendron Oxycardium – Heart Leaf Philodendron
Philodendron Selloum – Lacy Tree Philodendron
Sansevieria Laurentii – Mother in law’s tongue
Scindapsus aureus – Golden Pothos
Spathiphyllum Mauna Loa – Peace Lily/Mauna Loa

Some of the above are more effective than others at filtering particular chemicals, so if you’d like to learn more about the NASA research, here’s the study:

Interior Landscape Plants For Indoor Air Pollution Abatement (PDF 1.7 megabytes)

Indoor plants don’t just look great – they can help make your house or office a more healthy place to live and work in!

 

• Source: http://www.greenlivingtips.com