In honour of Earth Day, I have some simple suggestions on how to ‘green’ your home and improve your family’s overall health.
Still rocking the Teflon, non-stick pan set from your wedding registry? Stainless steel, cast iron, and the latest in earth-friendly cookware are a better alternative. The ‘King of Non-Stick’, Teflon, is produced with highly toxic chemicals that are a likely human carcinogen. While on the topic, avoid using the self-clean option on your oven because these ovens are lined with non-stick services that emit toxic fumes during the ‘cleaning’ process.
Avoid using chemicals to mask odours. Room deodorizers (or plug-ins) are the worst culprits for spritzing chemicals around a room. Instead, open your windows and let the sunshine and fresh air into your home. Sunlight is a natural killer of bacteria. Fresh air and plants will also remove odour, improve air quality, and save you money!
There’s no need for fabric softeners and dryer sheets. Dryer sheets provide a double whammy of skin irritation and airborne toxins for your family to ingest. Walk around your neighborhood on a beautiful, clear morning and you’ll smell the homes that are using dryer sheets from outside. Think of how high the chemical concentrate from those sheets must be if you can smell it in that context. There are healthier alternatives to keeping your clothes soft.
Start cleaning and laundering with eco-friendly cleaners. Not only will the fish thank you, but your health will improve, too. And your children can safely help you clean using a microfibre cloth or washing dishes with eco-friendly soap because the toxic ingredients are gone.
Being green definitely has its benefits.
Looking for an eco activity to get your family excited about Earth Day? Storm drain marking is a special activity that brought me precious one-on-one time with my young boys, helped educate my children and neighborhood about the environment, left a lasting memory, and involved no cost!
When I heard about an opportunity to mark storm drains, I immediately knew my kids would love to participate. I mean, what child doesn’t like fresh air, reflective vests, glue, and a hammer? Along with the process of marking drains, the kit comes with literature to distribute for residents to read about what ‘not’ to put into storm drains. This was my boys’ favorite part of the process and I loved watching people ask my kids what the pamphlets were for and listening to their answers. From the mouth of a babe—my younger son, Angelo, would simply reply, “I’m helping the fish”.
Storm drain marking is a conservation and education project developed by Fisheries and Oceans Canada. The process is to apply fish stickers beside the storm drain and hammer the decal with a mallet approximately 50 times so the sticker absorbs into the grooves of the cement. This activity needs to be done on a clear day and takes two days to fully dry.
My boys and I marked a long road and tagged fish decals to 35+ storm drains. They still proudly point to the drains they marked knowing they helped improve their community. It was such a fun activity and will always be a favorite memory of quality time spent with my boys.
Tips for making this activity a success: