GREEN ORGANIZING

The goal of green organizing is to minimize the environmental impact and personal carbon footprints in everyday life, and to reduce plastic, chemical, petrochemical and toxin use. To do so reduces low-level toxins in the home as well as toxic manufacturing waste. We are exposed to 1000s of chemicals yearly. The concept “Use once, throw away” has spread around the world. Unfortunately, many, and our next-gens have never known anything other.  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 available.

CLEANING PRODUCTS
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. These cleaners are slightly more expensive, but don’t need frequent purchase.

PRESCRIPTION AND OVER THE COUNTER DRUGS
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.

WATER USE
Water is a precious resource, and as a society, we have been profligate in its use. Water shortages, pollution, and contamination are common and you're serious worldwide problems. Some areas lack potable water, and 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. Most modern toilets can be retrofitted. 







GARDENING
Gardens are the largest pollution source in suburbia, with direct effects, and runoff from pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizer. The former are present in the food chain, and eventually 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.








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; sludge can also contain weed or poison ivy seeds. 

GREEN USE OF CLOTHING

Textile manufacture and garment production are resource intensive and toxin-generating processes and worldwide, are a major source of industrial pollution. All synthetic fabrics are petroleum- based. With cheap manufacturing costs, clothes are worn briefly in a “Buy- Wear-Discard” cycle. The increase in low-quality fast fashion means the volume of re-wearable post-consumer garments is shrinking; the non-re-wearable portion is exponentially rising. Good quality garments cost more, but often are natural fibers that breath, are cool in the summer, or warm in the winter.  With proper care, they can be maintained in good condition for a long time.
   Clothing and accessories have long been “Re-used” through donation, hand-me-down, or purchases at thrifts or re-sellers.  Consider wearing vintage clothes.  In the EU, unwearable donated clothing and fabrics are broken down and “thread-cycled,” both down-cycled into other products, such as insulation, carpet; and closed-loop into recycled fabric.  Thread-cycling is starting to catch on out West. [1,2]


HAND SANITIZERS AND ANTI-BACTERIAL SOAPS— STAY AWAY
These chemical mixtures kill bacteria on contact. However, those infections spread via hand contact are caused by viruses, which 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. This is referred to as the “cleanliness hypothesis.” So the immune system turns inward instead of outward. This 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 alone. Don’t waste your own money.

GREEN USE OF FURNITURE
Furniture manufacture uses maximal wood resources, using irreplaceable hardwoods and old growth forests that are quickly disappearing. Choose used or hand-me-down furniture, or antique, for a little personality 

REMODELING
Eco-friendly building materials are available for construction and remodeling. Example, kitchen remodeling requires significant resources. Although pricy, 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.

PURCHASING A HOME
The ultimate Reduce/ Re-use action an individual or family can take is to buy a pre-existing home rather than a new-build which requires high use of virgin resources. This applies to purchasing pre-owned cars also.


FOR MORE INFORMATION

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.reddit.com/r/askscience/comments/ywqpo/what_is_the_state_of_the_art_regarding_the/    


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