Friday, 13 August 2010

The Stages of Green

The prospect of cleaning green can be as intimidating as it is inviting. But with just a few simple steps, you can easily change the way you clean — and the way you think about cleaning.

Look at cleaning green as a series of stages, from beginner to advanced. Each stage contains actions and strategies that further your commit­ment to thoughtful housekeeping. They are small but powerful changes that will make a difference in the health of your family, your home, and the world around you.

Stage one involves small shifts in your cleaning repertoire. You might replace your conventional dishwasher detergent with a green alternative, for example, or install a clothesline instead of always using an energy-consuming tumble dryer. In stage two, you should be able to clean entire rooms — even the bathroom — with nontoxic products and with less waste. And in stage three, the scope of your activities will expand to in­clude places like the garage and the garden.

Although the stages are progressive, you're not required to complete each stage or check off each strategy before moving on to the next. For example, making the shift to non-toxic cleansers doesn't have to mean making your own cleaning solutions from scratch — there are plenty of environmentally friendly store-bought products out there. Instead, look at the steps to cleaning green as possibilities to explore at your own pace, without fear of being judged or evaluated. Green cleaning is about being kind to yourself as well as to the environment.

Evaluate your cleaning cabinet.
Discard the most hazardous products in your home.
Stock your cleaning cabinet with safe, non-toxic products.
Set cleaning goals.
Stop wasteful cleaning habits.
Become a more active recycler.

Deepen your commitment.
Adopt new cleaning habits that reduce environmental impact.
Set up a recycling area.
Enhance indoor air quality with house-plants.
Add prevention to your tool kit — reduce the amount of cleaning that needs to be done.
Buy environmentally sound products in bulk.
Replace store-bought cleaning solutions with homemade ones.
Settle into a thoughtful, but comfortable clean­ing routine.
Bring an environmental mind-set to every clean­ing task, even the big ones.

Beyond Simple Housekeeping
Tackle challenging areas such as the garage.
Monitor local air and water quality, and work in your community to make it safer.
Bring green-cleaning ideas to your workplace and support recycling and other waste-reduc­tion practices there.
Organize community events such as clothing swaps and large-item recycling days.
Encourage others to join you in your green cleaning practice.


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