An earth-friendly Diwali Dhamaka

Deepavali meaning a ‘series of light’, we say, is the triumph of good over evil and of right over wrong. Traditionally, this festival widely celebrated in India across communities, is a time of family bonding, conversations and thinking beyond oneself.

Lamps are lit, sweets made, shared and savored, gifts exchanged and relationships nurtured.

Earth-friendly Diwali Dhamaka

However over the recent years, this auspicious day has also turned out to be a strain on living standards. Rather than goodness prevailing, there are signs of distress on the things that we value – people, animals and the environment.

Use oil Diyas instead of candles 

Diyas can be re-used multiple times and are made from earth-friendly material.

Make your rangoli with flowers, natural colours or rice flour

Kolams or rangoli was a way of sharing our food and life with insects and birds.…

Green at Heart, Down to your Core Being

What are the benefits of green living?  Maybe we start with recycling, then think about installing a solar water heater.  Maybe we even put in a rainwater tank or photo-voltaic solar panels.

Living green means we are passionate about preserving the planet for future generations.  This is also a healthier way to live, with long-term cost savings.

Within the home, using sustainable materials helps us to conserve our surroundings.  When shopping, we’ll also play our part:

  •  Buy local: This means that less transportation of goods over long distances was required.
  • Honey: Be sure to check for a badger-friendly label.
  • Vegetables: Buy fresh, loose fruit and vegetables (which uses far less packaging)
  • Buy only what is needed, so there is no waste.

Combo Stove, Gas and Electricity

A stove which uses a combination of electricity and gas reduces reliance on the grid.  Even when using a photovoltaic solar energy system, the weather may be overcast for an extended period.

One is able to cook or boil water for tea or coffee even when electricity is unavailable – no hauling out the portable stove or having to wait it out until the lights come back.  This leads to comfort and convenience.

Cost-saving benefits are also enjoyed.  One remains unaffected by electricity price hikes and we do not have to use and pay for electricity.

It’s also easier to control temperatures with gas cooking.  With a simple twist of the dial, lowering or raising the temperature instantly, is entirely possible. …

Green at Heart, Saving the Planet one Plastic Bottle at a Time

Reusing or repurposing products is cost effective, besides being a green idea.  When buying products, one needs to be choosy.  Those products that are made from recycled material and which are recyclable themselves are preferable.

Recycling benefits:

  • Conserves natural resources
  • Reduces greenhouse gas emissions by reducing the waste that goes to landfills and the amount of waste that is incinerated.
  • Saves energy
  • Creates jobs

Plastic doesn’t decompose, which makes it a problem for landfills.  It’s best to check which kinds of plastic are accepted by recycling centres.

Plastic products are given different numbers for recycling purposes:

  • #1 (PET) – bottles
  • #2 (HDPE) – used in opaque packaging containers
  • #3 (PVC) – used in toys and window blinds
  • #4 (LDPE) – used in grocery bags
  • #5 (PP) – used in yoghurt and butter tubs and baby bottles
  • #6 (PS) – used in Styrofoam and CD cases
  • #7 (O) – may be mixed plastics

(Source:  greenexaminingroom.com/which-plastic-numbers-are-safe-zero-maybe-2-4-5)

So when green at heart, consider recycling.…

Using or Making Non-Toxic Household Products

Use the following household items:

  • Lemon:  is useful against most household bacteria and leaves a pleasant fragrance.
  • White Vinegar:  cuts through grease and gets rid of mildew and odours.
  • Cornstarch:  is used to clean windows and carpets.
  • Borax:  cleans, deodorises and disinfects.

Making Cleaning Solutions:

All-purpose cleaner:  Mix a ½ cup of vinegar and 2 teaspoons of borax into 2 litres of water.  Use to clean the shower, bathroom chrome fittings and windows.

Air Freshener:  Having pot plants inside the house reduces odours inside the home.

Bathroom mould:  Mix 1 part hydrogen peroxide (3%) with 2 parts water and spray onto the mould.  Wait at least an hour before using the bathroom after spraying.

Carpet stains:  Mix equal parts of white vinegar and water and spray onto the stains. …

Eco-living Tips

Eco-Sabbath:  Once a week, for an hour or other set time period, don’t use any man-made resources – no buying, using electricity or answering your phone.

Replace your disposables:  When these run out (razors, batteries, etc), replace them with reusable materials.

Buy used goods:  Furniture, such as tables in good condition, costs a fraction of the price of new.

Make your own resources:  Where possible, making your own goods reduces waste.  Make gift bags out of old cereal boxes and cover with old gift-wrap.

Share:  Share books, magazines, newspapers and games between friends and neighbours.

Use less paper (including paper towels):  Store used kitchen swabs in a small container in the kitchen before washing and reusing.

(Source:  globalstewards.org)…

Being Frugal to the Nth Degree

Let’s look at ways in which we save money.

The kitchen and bathroom are the best places to start saving water:

  • Purchase water-efficient appliances when looking to replace existing ones.
  • Don’t be tempted to use dishwashers and washing machines before a full load is created.
  • Plug the sink when washing dishes or vegetables and reuse this water.
  • When waiting for hot water to come out of the tap, collect the cold water that comes out at first, for use in other areas.
  • Install an aerator – when attached to end of the tap, less water will be used, with the same effect.

Save electricity:

  • Avoid using central heating and under-floor heating.  Consider putting in carpets or wooden flooring instead of tiles.