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TIP OF THE MONTH, December 2019​, Christmas: Easy tips for reducing your impact on the earth 

1.   BUY LESS !

2.   Source a sustainable TREE, dispose of it responsibly. (If you want an artificial tree, pick one second hand or choose one that lasts a lifetime.​)

3.   Choose DECORATIONS made from recycled wood, fabric and glass.
4.   Opt for soy or beeswax CANDLES.

5.   Lower the impact of holiday lighting, use LEDs. ​​
6.   Consider writing e-CARDS, e-mails or give someone a call.

7.   Reduce MEAT, buy locally and organic.

8.   Avoid disposable TABLEWARE when hosting.

9.   Take reusable BAGS for shopping, avoid plastic packaging.

10. Choose eco-friendly and fair-trade GIFTS.

11. Tips for gift WRAPPING: 
       
- Reuse gift bags, boxes, tissue paper and ribbon kept from last Christmas. 
       - Choose a fabric scarf to wrap your gift in.
       - Use brown paper, tie together with string and decorate with pine tree sprigs.
       - Buy a reusable wrapping bag.
       - Avoid foil or glitter which cannot be recycled (Remove all tape for recycling).





Happy New Year 2020!

A few words about sustainable living!
Just start!

Even small changes can make a difference. If everyone thinks a little bigger than before, a lot is already done. The most important thing is to think about your own lifestyle and consumption and to start.

Only this way, and only together, can we protect natural resources for future generations and achieve the

United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/?menu=1300).

Companies use more resources than individuals, so it is important not only to look at your own actions, but to support companies and organizations that improve their carbon footprint and contribute to environmental protection.

TIP OF THE MONTH, October 2019

Washing Clothes made of synthetic fiber: Avoid microplastics in wastewater
When washing clothes, a lot of plastic ends up in the water. Today many clothes are made of synthetic material, which give off thousands of microfibers while being washed. These microfibers get into rivers and oceans with wastewater and into our bodies through our food. The following tips will help to reduce microplastic discharge from washing clothes.
1. Reduce washing temperature, The lower the temperature, the fewer microfibers are flushed out.
2. Wash only for a short time, The duration of the wash cycle affects how much microplastic ends up in wastewater.
3. Fill the machine up well, select a low spin speed
The more the fibers in the washing machine are rubbed against each other, the more microplastic gets into wastewater. The most friction occurs when only a few garments are moved around in the drum.
4. Avoid fabric softener, Fabric softeners cause more fibers to dissolve out of synthetic textiles. Better use vinegar as a fabric softener.
5. Do not wash shoes or hard objects
6. Use wash bags, Even with these precautions, every synthetic washing cycle produces microplastics. , To prevent this plastic from getting into wastewater, wash bags are very helpful.

If you would like to share a tip for sustainable living in Lake Forest or Lake Bluff please email greenmindslflb@gmail.com

TIP OF THE MONTH, June 2019

Cleaning your washing machine
Bad smells and bad washing results often happen because of lime and dirt deposits as well as germ formation inside the washing machine. There are home remedies and a few simple steps to clean a washing machine and maintain it environmentally friendly and effective. 
Pull out the detergent compartment regularly and clean it. Especially at the bottom of the drawer a lot of germs accumulate, as well as behind it. Clean the drawer from all sides with a VINEGAR or CITRIC ACID solution and a brush, or put the whole tray in the dishwasher at a not too high temperature. An old toothbrush also reaches into the corners of the compartment and in the shaft of the machine.
To thoroughly clean the interior of the washing machine where germs as well as lime residues affect the heating elements and shorten the lifespan of the machine, a simple basic cleaning helps. You do not need expensive special cleaners, simple household VINEGAR is completely sufficient. Regularly add a shot of table vinegar instead of fabric softener, thus your washing machine will automatically be cared for and you can save on intensive cleaning.
Leave the washing machine door and the detergent compartment open after use. This allows the interior to dry and reduces the risk of mold and germ formation.
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TIPS to Reduce garden plastic waste


​Let your empty plastic garden pots and trays be recycled

and refilled with fresh plants and flowers!

Lowes, Home Depot, Walmart, Costco, Menards and Meijers will accept empty garden plastic,

including pots, cell trays and flats, for recycling. 

It is helpful if you sort and stack what you return by plastic type (#2, #5, #6), not by color,

and please shake out loose dirt. 

Some stores also accept plastic plant labels and hanging basket hangers as long as they are contained in a plastic tray or pot.




TIP OF THE MONTH, September 2019

Don’t throw your coffee grounds out!
Use coffee grounds as fertilizer for your plants: Work the coffee grounds into the soil around them. You can scratch it into the top couple inches of soil, or just sprinkle the grounds on top.

Coffee grounds are good for acid-loving plants like hydrangeas, rhododendrons, azaleas, lily of the valley, blueberries, carrots, and radishes (avoid tomatoes). Orchids love a bit of coffee grounds in their water. Leftover diluted coffee works well like this too.
Add coffee grounds and used paper coffee filters to your compost. Use coffee grounds as a pest deterrent. Create a barrier for slugs and snails.

Also, many cats dislike the smell of coffee grounds.

TIPS to Reduce food waste
1. Planning: Check and use what you already have, plan your meals and know what you need to buy. Buy less food but better quality.
2. Shopping: Check the fridge and pantry first, write a list, plan your meals around seasonal food, don’t shop when hungry.
3. Cooking: Try to avoid leftovers, get creative with leftovers and spare ingredients, find easy recipes. Use smaller size plates and dishes,      it’s less temptation to fill them up.
4. Storing: Use freezer, fridge and pantry correctly, look for guides on the internet. Label and freeze leftovers for later use.
5. Disposal: Compost at home, use commercial composting. 

TIP OF THE MONTH, November 2019

USE VINEGAR FOR CLEANING AND DISINFECTING
1. Neutralize odor
Odors in the kitchen or garlic smell on the hands can be neutralized with vinegar. In the kitchen it smells fresh again when a bowl of vinegar is placed overnight. The smell on the hands disappears when washing with lukewarm vinegar water. Mix table vinegar with water in a ratio of 1:1.
2. Disinfect cutting boards, cooking spoons, etc.
Vinegar has a disinfecting effect and is therefore ideal for thoroughly disinfecting kitchen utensils and wooden worktops. Simply rub the wood with vinegar (5%).​
3. Cleaning the refrigerator 
A refrigerator attracts germs, bacteria and mold quickly. Cleaning with diluted table vinegar helps. Simply mix two parts of water with one part of table vinegar and wipe the refrigerator with it. Tip: The vinegar water can also be used to protect bread boxes, fruit containers and other containers from mildew. It is best to wipe it out once a week.​
4. Cleaning the baking oven or microwave
The interior of a baking oven or microwave can be cleaned easily with heated vinegar. Place a container of vinegar in the kitchen appliance and let it warm up to the highest temperature for a few minutes - done. Then you can simply wipe off splashes and food leftovers from the inside walls.​
5. Cleaning kitchen appliances
A solution consisting of table vinegar and water reliably dissolves limescale deposits in a filter coffee machine. Mix vinegar and water in a ratio of 1:2 and heat in the machine. For kitchen appliances with aluminium-containing surfaces and silicone seals, it is better to use a milder solution, as a higher concentration of acetic acid can attack the components.

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Sustainable Living by Claudia