​Beware of free sewage sludge.  It is not eco-friendly; rather, it is laced with toxic elements poured down the drain, including heavy metals that leach into garden crops; it can also contain weed or poison ivy seeds. 

In  modern  homes, 25% of electricity is used by appliances and electronics in the off mode. The biggest culprits are instant-on electronics with remotes, Wi-Fi signals, and Bluetooth devices. Devices and remotes constantly  signal  each other, as do electronic key fobs in close proximity. Battery life can be shortened by signalling remotes. For remotes, push the button once and wait for the TV to respond.

Textile manufacture and garment production are resource intensive and toxin-generating processes. Worldwide, they are a major source of industrial pollution. All synthetic fabrics are petroleum-based. When washed, they release microparticles into the waste water. With cheap manufacturing costs, clothes are worn briefly in a “Buy- Wear-Discard” cycle. The increase in low-quality fast-fashion causes the proportion of re-wearable post-consumer garments to shrink; the non-rewearable portion is exponentially rising. Good quality garments cost more, but often are of natural fibers that breath, and are cool in the summer or warm in the winter.  With proper care, they can be maintained in good condition for a long time. Note, Tencel is derived from flax. Rayon is a mix of flax and synthetic fibers, and requires use of chemicals. 
   Clothing and accessories have long been “Re-used” through donation, hand-me-down, or purchases at thrifts or re-sellers.  Consider wearing the natural fabric BoHo look or unique vintage clothes.  In the EU, unwearable donated clothing and fabrics are broken down and “thread-cycled,” inclusive of down-cycling into other products, such as insulation, carpet; and closed-loop into recycled fabric.  Thread-cycling is starting to catch on out West [1,2].  GoodWilll has a nascent thread-cycling program here in RVA.

These chemical mixtures kill bacteria on contact. However, the infections spread by hand contact are caused by viruses that are unaffected by sanitizers. These products kill the “easy” bacteria, and help create more resistant ones. Normal skin bacteria, “good germs,” have built-in antimicrobial activity that kills harmful “bad germs,” such as Staph. Furthermore, sanitizer ingestion is a common reason for calls to Poison Control Centers.
    Over-sanitized environments interfere with critical immune system development in babies and children, ages at which the immune system should be learning to recognize and fight foreign invaders. So the immune system turns inward instead of outward. This is referred to as the “cleanliness " or "hygiene hypothesis," and is thought to be a major contributor to increased asthma, allergy and autoimmune disease rates. Natural exposure to bacteria allows the immune system to develop normally. [4]
    The FDA recently banned 19 chemicals found in antibacterial soaps, saying they are useless, and might cause harm. Germs hate soap, and soap with water is a superior cleanser. $178 billion is wasted each year on sanitizers. Don’t waste your own money.

Expensive furniture uses maximal wood resources and irreplaceable hardwoods from old growth forests that are quickly disappearing. Cheap furniture uses cheaper wood, but is manufactured for a “Buy- Use-Discard” cycle. Choose used or hand-me-down furniture, or even antiques for a little  personality. Donate unwanted furniture instead of discarding it with the trash.

Eco-friendly building materials are available for construction and remodeling. Example, kitchen remodeling , which requires significant resources. Although pricey, new cabinets can be built of re-claimed wood; eco-friendly flooring is available. An attractive eco-friendly type of  counter material is available, and composed of recycled materials-- porcelain (tiles, bathroom fixtures), glass, mirror, vitrified ash (from waste combustion), and a corn-oil based resin. Porcelain is a huge generator of bulky waste, and disposal is problematic.

The ultimate Reduce/ Re-use action an individual or family can take is to buy a pre-existing home rather than a new-build that has high use of virgin resources and embedded plastic. This also applies to purchasing pre-owned vehicles.



       Recurrent Drought, Southern California 

The goal of green organizing is to minimize one's personal environmental impact and carbon footprint in daily life, and likewise to reduce plastic, chemical, petrochemical and toxin use.  To do so reduces trace chemicals in the home and decreases toxic manufacturing waste. We are exposed to 1000s of chemicals yearly.  The concept “Use once, throw away” has spread worldwide. Unfortunately, many of our next-gens have never known anything other.  Going green can proceed gradually as one becomes more knowledgeable, and does not require a bunch of immediate changes.  The information below is not meant to be comprehensive, but several links are available.

Green cleaning products are biodegradable. Labels focus on ingredients rather than the brand name. Some larger manufacturers “greenwash” their products by making environmental claims, but can include toxic ingredients. (Google any chemical you can’t pronounce on your cell). Green products are now seen in many grocery chains and big box stores such as Target or WalMart. Green cleaners are slightly more expensive, but don’t need frequent purchase. 1/3 vinegar + 2/3 water is a powerful cleaner that cuts through grime, such as baseboards or pollution deposits. Test item to be cleaned carefully before using. Some plastics can be damaged.

Never dispose of leftover prescription or over-the-counter drugs in the commode, even though that was recommended in the past. Those drugs end up in the James River and Chesapeake Bay watersheds, with downstream effects on aquatic animals. Mix drugs with coffee grounds or kitty litter, and dispose with the regular household trash. Some police stations now have drop-off sites.

Water is a precious resource, and as a society, we have been profligate in its use. Water shortages, pollution, and contamination are serious worldwide problems. Some areas lack potable water. In others, persons are restricted to 1 gallon per day for all use.  Here, costs are rising for water and wastewater disposal. The largest personal impact on water use is achieved at the faucet level. Use lower water pressure, and turn off between uses. Leaky faucets lose gallons of water and usually only require a gasket to repair. Dual flush valves for the commode, with quick (1/2) and full flush positions can save significant water. 

 Jungle Care

Gardens are the largest pollution source in suburbia, with direct effects on the property, and runoff from pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizer. The former are present in the food chain, and ultimately  become ineffective. [1] Use judiciously, if at all.  Consider letting part of your yard go natural. If no toxins are present, you might even get some pollinators.