Latest posts in Queen of Green

How to make all-purpose scour

October 19, 2016 | Leave a comment
Photo: How to make all-purpose scour

You'll need five minutes to make a batch of this nontoxic home cleaner which will last up to six months! (Credit: Lindsay Coulter)

This DIY "green" cleaning recipe is one of my one of my top nine. It works to clean tubs, tiles and sinks. And it's so safe, kids can clean, too. (My three-year-old begs to scrub the tub!)

All-purpose scour recipe

Time needed: five minutes
Shelf life: approximately six months

420 ml (1 2/3 cups) baking soda
60 ml (¼ cup) liquid castile soap (scented or unscented)
60 ml (¼ cup) water

Combine all ingredients in a stainless steel bowl. Stir until the mixture is the consistency of whipped cream. Use immediately, or store in a labelled, air-tight container. Rinse well.

Continue reading »

Choose reusable produce bags

October 14, 2016 | 1 comment
Photo: Choose reusable produce bags

Reusable produce bags are also great for bulk dry goods like nuts, seeds and beans. (Credit: Kate Fisher via Flickr)

You tote reusable shopping bags to the store. Now bring a few eco-friendly, fabric produce bags along, too.

These lightweight drawstring bags are often sold in sets of three. They make it easy for the cashier to weigh your items AND for you to carry and organize produce at home. They're washable, reusable, come in a variety of sizes and styles and the stretchy kind can carry a lot of stuff. They're also an excellent way to stop using plastic — even paper — produce bags.

Buy reusable produce bags at your local grocery or zero waste store, or online. DIYers can also sew their own or repurpose T-shirts (no sewing required).

Continue reading »

How to create social capital in your neighbourhood

October 3, 2016 | 1 comment
Photo: How to create social capital in your neighbourhood

Sharing the harvest is a simple way to build social capital in your community. (Credit: Lindsay Coulter)

What kind of insanity must it be to confront that which we have not a hope of besting? And on the other hand what kind of sanity can we possibly claim if we don't? Sister Joan Chittester

Don't look for heroes to fix this mess we're in. Look in the mirror. Then ask:

  1. What are my gifts?
  2. What are my talents?
  3. How can I take a giant leap to encourage friends, family and neighbours to take action?

The Heart of Sustainability: Restoring ecological balance from the inside out, by Andrés R. Edwards, asks these questions and many more, like:

  1. What have you been called to do in your lifetime?
  2. What motivates you?
  3. What are the values that will guide us to the compelling future we long for?
Continue reading »

One thing you can do for fragrance-sensitive people

September 27, 2016 | 26 comments
Photo: One thing you can do for fragrance-sensitive people

It's hard to comprehend how we suffer, because environmental sensitivities are a poorly understood medical condition. (Credit: Dave Moss)

Believe us!

I get scent headaches. They hurt, make me irritable and make it difficult for me to concentrate. Often, I have to flee the area—or person. I'm lucky all I get is a headache. And I'm grateful for a scent-free workplace and home.

Many suffer much worse from toxic chemicals in synthetic fragrances. They can't find a safe place to live (e.g., free from laundry scents), have quit their jobs, and can't ride in a bus or elevator or new car, take a plane, use a new laptop, or enjoy a movie in the theatre.

It's hard to comprehend how we suffer, because environmental sensitivities are a poorly understood medical condition. They're complex and not easily defined. And the causes, symptoms and triggers vary from person to person. Three per cent of the Canadian population suffers.

Did you know that environmental sensitivities are considered a disability in Canada (PDF) as well as the U.S. under the Americans with Disabilities Act? And employers (but unfortunately not neighbours) are asked to show reasonable accommodation.

Continue reading »

Avoid colourful home cleaners

September 21, 2016 | Leave a comment
Photo: Avoid colourful home cleaners

Colourful cleaners don't work any better. (Credit: Michael Porter via Flickr)

Unfortunately, in Canada, there is no legal requirement for manufacturers to disclose all ingredients and hazards in household cleaning products. What's a person to do?

Avoid dyes. (Or, make your own cleaners.)

Manufacturers add dyes to cleaners for two reasons (as far as I can tell):

  1. For looks (marketing and branding at work!)
  2. To see where you've sprayed

And, they're inexpensive. But they are unnecessary to the cleaning function of the product.

Dyes are found in most types of home cleaners. But they are often derived from petrochemicals, and may be contaminated with trace amounts of heavy metals like arsenic, cadmium and lead.

Continue reading »