Jungle Care

  • Former dye factory, China. China has since tightened its regulations

       Freeway sign, Southern California 

If no toxins are present, you might even get some pollinators.

Thrift shop, New York

Bamboo, from simple to fancy

Gardens and lawns are the greatest pollution sources in suburbia, with direct effects on property, and the James, from pesticide, herbicide, and fertilizer runoff. Pesticides are heavily present in vegetables and fruit. Ultimately insects develop resistance. [1] Use judiciously, if at all.  Consider letting part of your yard go natural. 



The goal of green or eco-friendly organizing is to minimize one's personal environmental impact and carbon footprint in daily life, and likewise reduce plastic, chemical, petrochemical and toxin use.  To do so reduces trace chemicals in the home, and societal toxic manufacturing waste. We are exposed to multi-1000s of chemicals, with uncharacterized effects; babies are born with chemicals in their bodies.  The concept of “Use once, throw away” has spread worldwide, and our next gens have never known anything else.  Going green can proceed gradually as one becomes more knowledgeable. It does not require a bunch of immediate changes.  The information below is not meant to be comprehensive, but several links are provided.

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. (if you can’t pronounce it, avoid it). Green cleaners are now seen in many grocery chains and big box stores such as Target or WalMart. They are slightly more expensive, but don’t require  frequent purchase. 1/3 vinegar + 2/3 water is a powerful cleaner that cuts through grime, such as baseboards or air pollution deposits. Not for granite, marble, porous surfaces or wood. 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 pharmacies and police stations have drop-off sites. Empty bottles can be recycled if label identifiers are blacked out, or label is removed.

Water is a precious resource. As a society, we have been profligate in its use. Water shortages, pollution, and contamination are serious worldwide problems. Many areas lack potable water. In others, persons are restricted to 1 gallon per day for all use.  Here, costs for water and wastewater disposal are rising. The largest personal impact on water use is achieved at the faucet level. Use lower water pressure, shorter showers, and turn off in between rinses. Leaky faucets can lose gallons of water a day 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. 

Beware of free sewage sludge.  It is not eco-friendly; but rather, 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 repeated signalling of 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, it comprises 25% of industrial pollution. Synthetic fabrics are petroleum-based. When washed, they release plastic microparticles into the waste water; these are now concentrating at the deepest ocean floors. With cheap manufacturing costs, clothes are worn briefly in a “Buy- Wear-Discard” cycle. 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 years. Note, Rayon is a mix of flax and synthetic fibers, requiring chemical use. Tencel is the fabric derived from flax.

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-" or "fabric recycling, inclusive of down-cycling into other products, such as insulation, carpet; or closed-loop into recycled fabrics such as denim. Central Virginia GoodWill has a 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, but 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 due to being 120 proof alcohol.
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, so washing with soap with water for 20 seconds is superior. $178 billion is wasted each year on sanitizers. Don’t waste your own money. DO use those provided at hospitals and nursing homes. Wear clean clothes there, and wash the clothes after you return home to avoid contamination and community contamination.

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. Bamboo and rattan furniture, at various price points, are gaining in popularity. 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 with its high use of virgin resources and embedded plastic. This also applies to purchasing pre-owned vehicles.


1)   https://www.ecowatch.com/mosquito-spraying-ineffective-and-toxic-to-wildlife-and-humans-1881792509.html

2)   http://www.circle-economy.com/post-consumer-textile-collection-fibersort/ 
3)   http://earth911.com/recycling-guide/how-to-recycle-clothing-accessorie
4)   https://www.livescience.com/54078-hygiene-hypothesis.html