Loads of new clothes?!
Over 80,000 tonnes of old clothes will be thrown away this Christmas. So, if you do get a new wardrobe, make sure you donate your old clothes to a local charity shop
A Prayer to Keep Christmas Simple
Dear Lord, don’t let us miss You this Christmas season. Help us to simplify our activities and traditions so we can focus our celebration on Your birth. Thank You for being the Prince of Peace, and I ask You for that supernatural peace to reign in our hearts. Thank You for the simple but life-changing message of Your love for us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Eco-Christmas …. W is for wrapping
This constitutes one of the biggest Christmas wastes. Glittery pretty Christmas wrapping costs a lot and is not able to be recycled – so try a different approach! Brown paper and even newspaper can be dressed up in beautiful attire with string, hand-prints from the kids (or pets ….), handmade paper flowers …. The list is endless! So much fun as well!
Eco-Christmas …. F is for food shopping
There are horrifying statistics on food waste – especially over the Christmas Season! Be sensitive to this aspect when planning your Christmas menu.
Eco-Christmas …. B is for batteries
New gifts at Christmas often mean that households go through a lot of batteries. Batteries contain toxic chemicals, do not biodegrade and are difficult to recycle. As an alternative, where possible use rechargeable batteries.
This festive Season – ban the balloon/s! Balloons cause major environmental problems from injuring critters & animals and generally causing havoc! If you cannot avoid these pesky decorations – ensure that it spends its final days in an eco-brick!
Remove furniture scratches by rubbing a walnut (without the shell!) over the scratch and watch the scratch disappear before your eyes! Neat trick, huh?
Don’t toss empty glass jars – there are SO many uses for them around the home. Clean it, dry it and find a way to use it in your home. Here some ideas …. go rustic and use them for drinking glasses, place them in your study to hold pens, use them in the kitchen for your herbs and spices, decorate them and fill with sweets to give as gifts.
Take the sting and itch out of mosquito bites by applying toothpaste
Bend the prongs of an old table fork at right angles to form a mini pot plant fork for indoor gardening.
Seal tubes of glue or wood putty by screwing a cuphook or screw eye into the opening. This not only seals the tube as effectively as the old stopper, but makes it possible to hand it up in a handy place
Mix leftover food like green beans, mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes with batter. Roll into small balls and fry in oil until light brown. Great in-between snack!
First aid for plants
If you break a plant in the garden, bind it up with mud and hessian and it should heal.
Don’t curry favour
To keep cutworms and other pests out of your vegetable garden sprinkle the soil with curry powder. It’s harmless to the environment but will keep the bugs away.
Scratches on glassware can be rubbed out with toothpaste and a cloth.
Using mince? … Add one cup of oats to every kilogram of mince. This stretches your rand and adds a great taste to the meat. Yum!
The next time a product comes with a tiny package of Silica gel – keep it! The tiny packages are incredible at drawing moisture out of tight spaces. So, instead of tossing it out, try dropping it into one of your clothes drawers or storing it with your silver jewellery. The tiny packet will act like a tiny dehumidifier, keeping any excess moisture out.
To get rid of unsightly oil stains on driveway or pathways, sprinkle dry cement on the offending mark. Leave for about 24 hours and sweep
Cuttings on the move
Spring has almost sprung! – and gardening will becoming a favourite past-time! Keep plant cuttings fresh when transporting them by inserting them into a slit potato.
Don’t pour old cooking oil down the drain. Rather dribble it over firewood – it’s a great fire starter for the braai.
Old toilet rolls can be put to good use for many different tasks. Use the to keep errant cords in check, pantyhose safe and they’re great used as a seed planter.
Do you collect “Tops & Tags”? …..
Did you know that those little bread tags [made of High Impact Polystyrene (HIPS)] and bottle caps [made from High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) from milk & juice bottles) have good recycling values and are recycled by a number of organisations to purchase wheelchairs?
It takes :
- 450 kg Tops for 1 standard adult wheelchair
- 50 kg Tags for 1 standard adult wheel chair
For more information – visit The Sweetheart Foundation at sweetheartsfoundation.org or drop them a mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Keep razor blades sharp and fresh and extend their working life by running them across a denim jacket or pair of jeans. We don’t really understand WHY it works, all we know is that it DOES!
Charity shops provide a way to recycle any unwanted items, find second-hand stuff and, importantly, supports the charitable cause of your choice
How aware are you?
Be aware of what comes into your house and what is leaving it. Is your honey badger-friendly; is the fish you’re eating endangered or of good breeding stock; do sandwiches have to be wrapped in cling wrap; don’t use poisons & pesticides because they can’t be undone.
Pull the plug
Even when electronics and appliances are turned off, they still consume energy if plugged in the electrical outlet. Conserve energy by teaching older children to unplug their game systems, computers, chargers, or audio equipment. Little ones can participate too by becoming the family “plug police” and inform grownups of any unused household equipment that is plugged into an electrical outlet.
Keeping kids occupied during the holidays (especially in winter) is not easy, but finding creative ways to reuse household items and waste (like loo rolls) is great!. There are a gazillion ideas on the internet! Make it a fun challenge for the entire family. You’ll be reducing waste and having a fun time with the kid’s new ideas. Teaching kids to practice the 5Rs (Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Repair and Recycle) is an important way to help the environment.
Plan your meals …
Save on food bills by carefully planning your weekly meals. Check your fridge, pantry and cupboard before making your shopping list. Planning is one of the most effective ways you can save on your food bills. That way you won’t shop for things you already have and you will have all the ingredients for your weekly meals.
Did you know?
Only 10% of the energy used by an incandescent bulb produces light; the rest is given off as heat. Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) are up to 4 times as efficient as incandescent bulbs … and L.E.D. bulbs are even better! – and they last longer!
Warm up to cooler water
Using hot water for both washing and rinsing uses three and a half times more energy than washing in warm water and rinsing in cold.
We’ve said it before – but we’re saying it again! BYOB!! (Bring Your Own Bag!) Such an easy thing to do, but it has such a huge impact! Take a minute to grab your green bag before going into the supermarket!
Observe a total techno-fast! – For one day, afternoon or even just one hour a week, don’t buy anything, don’t use machines, don’t switch on anything electric, don’t cook, don’t answer your phone and, in general, don’t use any resources – pretty difficult! (… good time to go for a walk and just enjoy nature!)
March is Water Month
Save water in your garden! Plant indigenous, drought-resistant plants! They require minimal watering. Also, only water your garden very early in the morning or after sunset to reduce unnecessary evaporation.
Are you leaking?
Find your water meter and monitor it when all water taps are switched off to check that you do not have water leaks. Check for water leaks: dripping taps, toilets, irrigation systems, etc and signs of damp such as unexpectedly lush green patches outside and signs of damp in walls.
May is National Bird Week:
We love our cats but normally cats love birds … to eat! So, keep our birds safe by using collar bells to warn birds of a cat’s approach. While this is not always effective, it is one step that can be useful when birds are alerted by a ringing or tinkling bell. Similarly, putting brightly coloured or patterned collars on cats can help catch birds’ attention so they notice the predator in time.
Bi-carbonate of Soda is a mild abrasive that provides economical and ecological alternatives to many cleaning chores, from removing scuff marks on floors to rinsing hairspray and shampoo build up from hair and brushes
Phosphate fast …
Avoid cleaners containing phosphates. When they get into rivers and lakes, they cause algae blooms, robbing the water of oxygen, blocking sunlight, and ultimately killing aquatic life – so NOT good!
DIY Brass Cleaner
Cut a lemon in half, sprinkle it with salt and rub the lemon on the metal. Buff with a cloth.
DIY Silver Polish
Put a sheet of aluminium foil into a plastic or glass bowl. Sprinkle the foil with salt and Bi-carb and fill the bowl with warm water. Soak your silver in the bowl and tarnish migrates to the foil. Dry and buff.
Inventory and Cull!
With winter hovering just around the corner, now would be a good time to go through your wardrobe and categorise the contents into: 1. Items you use and love; 2. Items you want to keep this but don’t know why; 3. Items that don’t fit your life or style or shape anymore; 4. Items that aren’t in good condition. Donate, repair, or recycle categories 2 through 4.
Respect Your Belongings
When we buy lots of cheap products, we value them less. Be thoughtful about the things you bring into your life.
Educate Others on Where “Stuff” Comes From
“The Story of Stuff” Project (https://storyofstuff.org/) has lots of great videos and resource guides that explain why rampant consumerism is hurting people and the planet, and what we can do about it.
Step off the Shopping Treadmill
Retail therapy is a powerful drug that more than often leaves us unsatisfied. Only buy what’s necessary. Resist those impulse buys! The way we shop also has deep environmental and social justice implications.
Say No to Pesticides
Avoid chemicals. Chemical fertilizers and pesticides can harm the very organisms that protect and enrich your vibrant garden: toads, wasps, birds and more.. Planting with indigenous plants also reduces the need for chemicals as these plants are better suited to the local environment.
Going Green in 2018
Consider making 2018 the year to really pump up your current shade of GREEN to its fullest! Make a list of all the ways you will be caring for our Planet (God’s Creation) this year
Cut A Loop
Box bands, and other plastic loops in your rubbish can end up entangling land and sea animals to the point where they are slowly strangled to death. Make sure all looped refuse is cut before disposal (and recycled where possible) otherwise you are essentially throwing a noose into the environment
Slow Down! …:. Allow the Spirit of the Christmas to envelop you in the warmth and joy it has to offer.
All wrapped up!
Use recycled wrapping paper – or better yet, forgo it altogether. Try making your own wrapping paper and trimmings from newspapers, paper bags, art projects, clothes, dish towels, etc. And if you do buy new wrapping paper, go for the kind without glossy metallic coating, which makes it harder to recycle.
Bust Your Need for Balloons
Balloons are festive and pretty, but this comes at a cost. Released balloons end up in the environment where they kill animals when they are mistaken for food and eaten. Animals are also strangled in balloon debris and die slow and unnecessary deaths. Even biodegradable balloons take months, even years to degrade by which time the damage has already been done.
Deck the halls ….
But don’t overdo the decorations! Cluttered decorations are neither inspiring, nor beautiful and are less harmful to the environment. Keep it simple and clean to enjoy it more. Less is still more!
Ye old shower curtain ….
Stash an old shower curtain in the boot of your car for when you have to cart around potentially messy paints or picnic gear
Did you know ….
“TetraPaks” can now be recycled in your Ronnie Bag! Just turn out the corners and flatten it (for transport efficiency) and put into your green “Ronnie Bag”. Please leave the lid on so the last drops remain in the packaging.
Clear up your skin
Drop an eggshell into a small container of apple cider vinegar and let it soak for a couple of days. Dab the mixture on minor skin irritations or on itchy skin
Getting past it? ….
If milk is about to go off or you’re going away, put milk into ice cube trays in the freezer. Great for emergency tea and coffee!
Serve children’s breakfast cereals in a mug – they can eat cereals with spoon and then drink milk- saves milk being thrown away at breakfast time
Reuse by taking items such as cardboard toilet roll cores, boxes, jars, margarine tubs and scrap paper to local schools for their projects.
Fortify your pet
Dry eggshells in the oven at 180 degrees for 30 minutes. Then put them in a plastic zipper bag, seal it, and crush the shells with a rolling pin until they are a fine powder. Put this into your dog’s food as a great calcium supplement to help its bones and teeth.
Crush eggshells and scatter them around your vegetables and flowers to fend off hungry herbivores, such as slugs, snails, and cutworms without using toxic pesticides.
If you have some stale bread – use it! Roughly chop and bake or pan-fry into croutons (try adding garlic too) or blitz it up for instant breadcrumbs. Both croutons and breadcrumbs can also be frozen if you want to save them for another time.
The stalks of herbs like parsley and coriander are delicious so stick them in that risotto or curry! Herbs can also be frozen, either in sealed bags or chopped up and packed into ice cube trays, and in most cases you won’t need to defrost them before use.
The skins of potatoes and carrots are bursting full of nutrition and can add a nice texture too. While it’s necessary for some dishes, not everything requires vegetables to be peeled so maybe think twice before peeling that carrot!
Be friendly with your freezer
When you get home with your shopping, transfer as much as you can straight into the freezer. If you have large packets of chicken pieces or fish, divide them up using freezer bags and freeze individual portions for convenience.
Getting your portions right
Plan your meal portions carefully so that they’re correct and precious food isn’t tossed into the bin.
Being crafty with your food is the clever way to save money – and it really boils down to thinking before you throw. With a bit of preparation, your leftovers can create some delicious meals, and they don’t have to be second best.
A flattened an empty paper-towel roll makes an ideal sheathe for a knife kept in a drawer.
Small glass food jars make perfect see-through storage vessels for nails, screws, nuts, and bolts.
Old shower curtain
Stash an old shower curtain in the boot of your car for when you have to cart around potentially messy paints or picnic gear.
A 2lt plastic milk bottle is ideal to use as a scoop for kitty litter, birdseed, and 101 other uses. Just cut off top with a utility knife just above the handle.
Plastic mesh produce bag can be turned it into a no-scratch scrubber for a gunky pot
Keep it real!
Don’t use more product than the directions indicate. Pouring in extra laundry detergent or fabric softener won’t get your clothes any cleaner or cuddlier. Instead, follow the markings as directed on the label.
Grab a microfiber cloth, which can take the place of 60 rolls of paper towels before it needs replacing.
THEN: “Combine your separate errands — bank, grocery, drugstore, cleaner’s, etc. — into one trip and form carpools with others to get to and from.”
NOW: True today — whether it’s to cut fuel costs or to shrink your carbon footprint.
DIY Drain Cleaner
Pour a half-cup of Bi-carb down the sink and add at least a cup of vinegar. Cover the drain and wait a few minutes, then rinse with a mixture of boiling water and salt.
Heard about Car Free Day?
Car Free Day is a free international event celebrated every September 22 in which people are encouraged to get around without driving alone in cars and instead ride a train, bus, bicycle, carpool or walk. For those that have the ability to work from home, telework also counts. In other words – DRIVE AS LITTLE AS POSSIBLE !
1st September was International Vulture Day.
Give a thought to these spectacular and iconic birds & give thanks to God for their beauty (yes, beauty!) and the important part that these majestic birds play in our eco-systems.
A cool “did you know” fact …
A chameleon uses its REALLY long tongue shot out at ultra-high speed to catch insects! But it’s tongue isn’t sticky, it has soft tissue on the tongue which acts like a sucker when it wraps around the insect. How cool is that!
We all seem to have an odd sock laying around so make it work for you in the chilly weather! Fill the sock with rice, add fragrance to the rice if you like, tie, and heat in the microwave until warm and use as a heating pad.
Love me tender……
Add a ripe banana peel to a roasting pan to keep boneless, skinless cuts of meat from toughening up and drying out during cooking.
Celebrate “Meatless Monday”
Go vegetarian once a week – one less meat-based meal a week helps the planet and your diet. A huge amount of water and habitat is wasted in raising beef – not to mention the tons of methane (a greenhouse gas) that is produced by the cattle!
It’s a myth that as a car ages, its fuel efficiency declines. A car that is properly maintained – no matter what the age – will retain its fuel efficiency for many years.
Did you know that sticking to the speed limit (urban & rural) can save a whopping 10% on your fuel usage?
Don’t get so heated!
Avoid pre-heating the oven. Unless you need a precise baking temperature, start heating your food right when you turn on the oven
Your friend the Freezer
Freeze fresh produce and left-overs if you don’t have the chance to eat them before they go off. You can also do this with left-over take-aways if you know you will not feel like eating it the next day. You will save food and money
Switch to a digital organizer for tracking your to do’s and grocery lists. If you really have to use paper, reuse scrap paper for small note-books.
Treat your greens & your plants
Wash veggies in a bowl, rather than under a running tap. Then pour the water on your houseplants afterwards rather than see it gurgle down the plughole.
Dry cleaning a “no-no”!
Conventional dry cleaners are the largest users of the industrial solvent Perchloroethylene which is toxic to humans and produces huge amounts of carbon dioxide in the process. Because of this, when buying cloths, avoid those that need dry cleaning or dry clean as seldom as possible. If you do take clothes to conventional cleaners, be sure to air them outside before wearing them or putting them in the cupboard.
Cut back on fast food meals, they pollute more than your arteries!
Fertilize your garden
Eggshells are rich in calcium and other minerals that help your garden thrive. Crush eggshells into tiny pieces and use them as compost.
Skip rinsing dishes before using your dishwasher and save a huge amount of water each load. Plus, you’re saving time and the energy used to heat the additional water.
Did you know that It takes half a barrel of crude oil to produce the rubber in just one lorry tyre & worldwide every year 3 billion tyres, yes 3 billion! are discarded. So it makes sense to look after your tyres! Only inflate cold tyres and keep them inflated to their specified BAR. This preserves the life of the tyre and can improve your fuel consumption by 5%.
Share, don’t just like. If you see an interesting social media post about women’s rights or climate change, share it so folks in your network see it too.
Shop less and buy only what you mean to keep, pass on or recycle
Local is lekka
Move towards an indigenous, drought-resistant garden. Indigenous trees are hardier than their imported counterparts and use much less water. They can also survive long periods of drought. (Indigenous planting also serves our biodiversity far better! …. and they’re prettier!!!)
Help your home smell Bicarbalicious
Bicarb not only removes those strange smells coming from your fridge, it’s also a great odour-eliminator for your carpet. Just sprinkle on a little bicarb to soak up some of those odours and then vacuum it up. Especially great when Fido has had an accident! Just smell the “fresh” – Aaahhhh!!!!
Say no to the bottle!
One of the best ways to save water is to stop drinking bottled water! It uses 3 times more water to produce bottled water – making the plastic bottles, transporting them etc. In Johannesburg we are fortunate enough to have good quality water from the tap. So make your pledge today: never drink bottled water again!
Going Green in 2016
Consider making 2016 the year to really pump up your current shade of GREEN to its fullest! Make a list of all the ways you will be caring for our Planet (God’s Creation) this year.
Throwing away your morning cuppa that’s gone cold is just a waste of precious water! Reheat cold coffee in the microwave or add crushed ice and a sprinkling of cinnamon for a refreshing summer drink later in the day. Sprinkle coffee grounds around areas of ant infestation to deter them.
Be Water Wise!
Hugely important!! – Always use a plugged-sink or bowl instead of a running tap
Be the solution – Reduce pollution!
The very lifestyles that we lead today results in pollution – whether we like it or not. The level of the pollution is up to us!
Stopping pollution grows more important with each passing day. The air we breathe is laden with hazardous contaminants, and our oceans and waterways have been poisoned with chemicals. Left unabated, pollution could leave us with a planet Earth sapped of its beauty, vitality, and diversity. Although industry, municipalities and indeed government are allocating a lot of research funds to develop new technologies that will eliminate or at least reduce the pollution being generated today, unless our lifestyles change, pollution will continue to affect us all.
Even if technologies are developed and implemented to combat pollution, it will create new types of pollution itself. Also anyone who has studied human behaviour knows that there is really no end to human desires. If a technology to control the pollution in satisfying one desire is discovered and successfully implemented, then we will have another desire that generates much more pollution. The idea that some future technology is going to eliminate pollution, change mankind, empower generations, bring the world together and save the environment is just more of the hyped promise of the technology revolution.
However, all the doom and gloom said – there are simple measures that each of us can take to reduce the amount of pollution affecting our lives and the Planet.
- Become less reliant on your car.
It’s not just turning on your ignition and driving to the supermarket that pollutes the air. It’s all the energy that goes into creating cars and the roads we drive them on. The manufacturing of car parts, the production of fuel, the creation of roads, and the emissions from burning fuel all play a part in polluting the air. If you travel a lot in cars, driving less is a major step you can take to help stop air pollution.
Maybe you can’t give up your car entirely, but try to find creative ways to use it less. For example
- Instead of driving to the shop every day to pick up a few things, drive there once a week and stock up on everything you need.
- Carpool to school or work instead of driving by yourself every day.
- If possible, use public transport
- When you do drive, spend as little time idling as possible. Make sure your car is in tip top condition, tyres properly inflated; drive cautiously so as to get the best fuel consumption.
- Don’t overlook the power of walking. While you might not be able to walk everywhere you want to go, you’d be surprised how many places you can get.
Buy local! – Local is lekka!
Manufacturing, packaging, and shipping processes all create waste that pollutes the air. If most of your food and other goods come from faraway places, you can help stop air pollution by buying things locally instead. Check the labels of the products you buy to see where they were made, and try to buy items that were produced as close to your home as possible. Take your own environmentally friendly shopping bags with you to the supermarket and avoid buying plastic packets.
- Reduce your waste
Plastic and cardboard packaging that comes with food, cleaning supplies, clothes, and other store-bought items creates a lot of waste – both when the packaging is manufactured, and after you throw it away. Making as many of your own products from scratch as possible can really cut back on the pollutants used in packaging. Here are a few easy ways to cut back on waste:
- Buy food in bulk.
- Buy or grow fresh produce instead of getting it canned or frozen.
- Make food from scratch as often as possible, instead of buying microwavable meals or single serving snacks.
- Instead of throwing away your food scraps, compost them.
- Practice the 4Rs – Reduce, Repair, Re-use & Recycle!
- Don’t litter!!!!!!!!!! – probably the worst form of pollution that South Africans practice!
- Don’t pour ANY oil down the drain – oil causes untold problems with water purification!
- Reduce your electricity consumption.
Our electricity is most commonly produced by burning coal – a major air pollutant. Reducing your use of electricity is a really important way to do your part to stop air pollution. Simple changes will make a big difference in your electricity bill, too. Here are ways you can reduce your consumption – (and by the way, you’ll be saving water as well!):
- Turn off lights and unplug appliances when you aren’t using them.
- Replace outdated appliances with energy-efficient models.
- Insulate your house so you use less air and heat.
- Wash your clothes with warm or cool water instead of using hot water.
- Take short, warm showers instead of long hot ones.
- Replace your light bulbs with energy efficient compact fluorescent bulbs.
Plant shady trees.
You can work to offset the effects of air pollution by preserving and planting trees. Trees convert carbon dioxide into oxygen, cleaning up air pollution every day.
If you want to plant tree in your yard or neighbourhood, choose a hardwood indigenous tree that will grow tall and produce a lot of shade. Do some homework – make sure that the tree you want to plant is suitable for the space intended. A huge Acacia is probably not the best tree for a small complex garden!
These are just a few ideas – there are many more that everyone can become involved it – try it! – You’ll like it!!