Green Living

Easy Green Living Habits for the New Year


Sometimes at the beginning of the New Year it’s easy to focus only on the future, to jump immediately to thoughts of what we’d like to do or achieve rather than reflecting on the learning or accomplishments of the previous year.

Each green living column I write is an opportunity for me to learn something new, an opportunity for me and my family to begin a new eco-minded habit. But one of the challenges of adopting new habits is remembering to keep doing them. With that in mind, here are some of the most doable green living ideas I shared in 2018…

Easy Green Living Habits for the New Year

Non-toxic cleaning can be so simple:

  • Floor cleaner: 1 gallon hot water, 2 Tbsp. liquid castile soap, 15 drops orange essential oil, ¼ cup lemon juice or 8 drops lemon oil. 
  • Non-toxic Stainless steel appliances cleaner: Drizzle 1 Tbsp. olive oil onto rag. Rub the surface of your appliance to get rid of smudges. Sprinkle 1 Tbsp. white vinegar on another rag and wipe down the appliance. Let dry. 
  • New clothes detox: Before wearing, wash new clothes with ½ cup vinegar in place of laundry detergent. (Vinegar will help remove manufacturing chemicals – can’t be used on silk, acetate or rayon.) Good for new bedding too. 

Tips for cell phone safety:

The scientific jury is still out on whether or not cell phone radiation is bad for our health. Until there is a definitive answer, here are some tips: 
  • Don’t carry your phone in your pocket and don’t sleep with it under your pillow or beside your head. The more you can keep it away from your body the better. 
  • Limit children’s phone use. Young children’s brains absorb twice the cell phone radiation as an adult’s. 
  • If you do want to have your phone at your bedside, to use for music or an alarm, switch it to airplane mode and have your late-night teenager call your landline if he needs a lift home. 

From bedding to mattress our bedrooms can have a lot of hidden toxins. 

Because we can’t all go out tomorrow and buy new eco-friendly mattresses and bedding, there are a few things we can do to reduce our exposure to the harmful chemicals around us.

  • New bedding has been treated with formaldehyde and other toxic substances. All of these chemicals get absorbed into your body as the bedding rubs against our skin so to reduce your exposure wash new bedding at least twice before using. 
  • If you’re not ready to buy a new mattress, choose a sturdy mattress cover made of tightly-woven fabric and wash it often. 
  • Sturdy pillow covers are a good idea too, especially if your pillows are polyester filled or filled with heavily treated down. 

Time-of-day power rates are coming to New Brunswick. 

To prepare, learn to spread your household power usage throughout the day, to minimize the impact of peak power. Peak power is when power demand in our homes is greatest and to be able to serve all customers during these times NB Power needs to use more expensive (and less green) power. The cost per kilowatt of power will higher during peak times

Peak power is entirely driven by customer’s habits and routines. There are two peaks in a day: from 6:00 to 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. The morning peak is more significant.

How to reduce your peak-time power usage:

  • Run the dishwasher after 8:00 p.m. (or through the day) 
  • If you’re hand washing dishes only fill the sink half way. 
  • Save clothes washes for evenings, weekends or daytime 
  • Shower in the evening whenever possible. 

Living a healthier, more eco-friendly life is all about healthy habits. Because it can take anywhere from 21 to 60 days to form a new habit, today is a good day to begin.


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