Monday, April 19, 2010

Welcome to Earth Week!

Hi everybody,

I'm so excited! This week is Earth Week and as a former environmental science student, I can't help but feel gleeful. Last year, I wanted to do the whole spread for the week but things came up and I could not do it. To make up for lost time, this year we're celebrating Earth Week here and My Makeup Blog will bring you tips and tricks to stay eco-chic :) (hey, it rhymed!) Also, Mr. Belly is going to contribute an article. I can't wait to see what that cat comes up with.

Since I became an environmental science student, I found myself being more and more mindful with what I discard to the environment. We only have one Earth as a home and if we exhausted all resources, there would be nothing left for the next generation. And there would be no home. Today, I am going to tell you a couple of things I do around my place that cost me next to nothing while maintaining a clean home.

1. The plastic bags

When it comes to bringing bags with me to the grocery store, I am one of the most forgetful person. As a result, my apartment was clogged with plastic bags. Don't get me wrong, I don't throw them away unless they're dirty. Instead, I use them to line my trash cans and get an extra use out of it. However, there are still a lot of them and they take up space.

Then, one day it dawned to me that I can still store them and save space at the same time. Also, I get to reuse another item that I usually throw away: the empty tissue box!

I take an empty tissue box, fold the plastic bags as tiny as possible...

...and stuff them into the tissue box.

We always forget how tiny these bags are when they are folded. A tissue box like above can store 30-40 folded bags. Usually, I fill it up with bags until one is full and store it in my car. That way, whenever I need a bag, I can have as many as I want within arm's reach.

2. Cleaning without fear:

Since I moved to my current apartment last year, I made sure to keep it clean without using a lot of harsh chemicals. Although I don't have respiratory or immune problem, I find commercial cleaners to be strong for the nose. They linger around for a long time and although your house look glimmering, who knows what they put in there (actually, we do. It's in the ingredient list) and what those chemicals do to the environment. A lot of cleaners contain surfactants that has phosphorus or sulfur. While these ingredients may not be harmful to our health, they are nutrients to plants and bacteria. Discharging them the wrong way and you may see algal bloom and fish kill. Living in the Sunshine State, I've seen (and drove by) ponds and bodies of water that had fish kill. It happens when there is a surge of nutrients in the water body that makes algae grow rapidly. Algae uses oxygen from water to grow and as a result, it competes for oxygen with fish. Fish kill happens when the concentration of oxygen in water is low and fish does not have oxygen to breath anymore.

My home-made cleaning solution
I've used this home-made cleaning solution for more than a year to clean everything from the bathroom to the kitchen and it cleans very well. It is a solution of water, baking soda, dish washing detergent, and essential oil. I use eucalyptus oil and it feels like an aromatherapy session when I clean my place. This cleaning solution recipe is available here with many more other recipes.

Come to think of it, you can clean a lot of things with baking soda and dish washing detergent. These items cost you pennies per use and they are not harmful to the environment when you use a sulfate-free detergent.

3. Keep Your Glass Clean

Once upon a time, I used to buy glass cleaner to clean mirrors and windows. Then, I tread cleaning glasses because of the smell. Even the ammonia-free glass cleaner smells horrible. On top of that, the mirrors always end up looking streaky and I had to (a) apply more glass cleaner to remove the streaks, or (b) use more elbow grease to break them. Either way, I expose myself longer to the smell which I abhore.

Then, my friend told me to use plain water and a piece of old newspaper to clean my mirrors. Guess what? It works! The plain ole dihydrogen oxide removes all the stains on the mirrors without leaving any streaks! Hurray! On top of that, it doesn't cost me any extra money and I don't need an extra container to store water. I just use it straight from the tap.

If you have any extra tips about green cleaning, please let me know. I'd love to learn more about this topic.

Also, I got a new haircut from Aveda Institute.

New Hair :)
What's so new about it? Well, it's the same cut I've had with a fancier technique. Also, the bang is a lot shorter. I needed to get my hair washed and cleaned, after such a hard week. Tomorrow, I'm going to my friend's memorial service and this is the first for me. I can't help but think about what I am going to say tomorrow.


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