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.…

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.

Composting

Available resources are made use of in an eco-friendly home.  Recycle food scraps – making compost means we save money and reduce the amount of waste that is normally thrown away.  Composting is an excellent way to live green.

Find a shady area within the garden.  A compost heap is between one and five cubic metres wide – so it’s large enough to generate enough heat to break down the materials.

A layer of material such as twigs is required to begun with.  Grass cuttings and leaves are then added, and soil is thrown on top.  Manure is added when preferred, and more layers are added in this order until the compost heap is approximately 1 metre high.

Vegetable peels, fruit peels, seeds and cores, shells, coffee grounds, tea bags, lawn cuttings, straw, paper and shredded cardboard are used for composting.…

Low Maintenance, Eco-friendly Materials

Examples of low maintenance, eco-friendly materials are:

  • Bamboo countertops
  • Aluminum 
  • Stainless steel
  • Face brick and naturally coloured roof tiles

Imagine a home that requires minimum attention.  Materials that stand up to wear and tear, and which are easily cleaned are the best to look out for.  Along with helping to preserve the environment, making use of such material will leave us with more time and less costs.

And when it comes to eco-awareness, there is no time like the present.  As fresh water supplies are being depleted;  greenhouse gas emissions and pollution are on the rise, what was once a bountiful Earth is now struggling.  These are constructive steps into our future.…

4 unconventional ways to save on your water bill (without cutting down on your water usage)

There is lots of advice out there on how to cut down on your water usage and save money on your water bill. But why deprive yourself of water simply to save a few Rands? We’ve come up with four ways to save money without having to cut down on your water.

Plant indigenous plants in your garden

When a garden is filled with indigenous plants, you will barely need to water or maintain it throughout the year. Indigenous plants can withstand the hot South African summers, while still staying green during winter months. Imagine having to almost never water your garden except in drought months!

Awareness is increasing in South Africa regarding trees and plants that are not native to South Africa.…

9 Eco-friendly ways to keep warm this winter

Unless you’re a swallow, following the sun to avoid a chilly winter just isn’t possible for most of us. But you don’t have to dread the long, cold nights if you follow the simple tips in this article. Not only will your home be cosier, you’ll be saving money and saving the planet.

Most of our methods for combating the icy blasts of winter involve using electricity. And that’s why we expect to see a spike in our yearly electrical bill between June and August. But with the increasing costs of this source of energy, it makes sense to look for more affordable alternatives. You don’t have to deprive yourself of warmth and comfort—just be smarter about the way you use it.…

How to reduce your home’s carbon footprint—and save money

There’s more to green living than simply reducing your impact on the planet. You can actually save money by doing simple things that make a big difference. And where better to make a difference than in your own home?

Reducing your carbon footprint is all about having as little impact on the earth as possible. We all know that climate change is affected by some of the ways we live our daily lives. A large factory may be emitting harmful gasses into the atmosphere. A private person may own an automobile that’s way too large for what he or she needs.

All of these lifestyle choices have an impact on the environment. Reducing your carbon footprint is about making the right decisions in your everyday way of life.…

How to conserve resources for a greener living

The trend towards green living is growing as people are becoming conscious about the environment. Conserving resources is always a good place to start. The first step is to change your own habits in your home, which will not only help save the environment but also costs. You will probably be surprised at how much unnecessary stuff accumulates in your home and ultimately ends up on a landfill.

So, let’s look at ways you can reduce consumption in your home:

Use less paper

Avoid using paper cups and plates: There is no need for paper cups and paper plates if you have a fully stocked kitchen. If you don’t feel like doing dishes, then rather eat out. It’s more costly producing these items and then having them end up on a landfill.…