Lifestyle interlude 4 – Cleaning and other household products

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Who gives a crap?

Can’t resist plugging this one. http://au.whogivesacrap.org/
I heard about WGAC a year or so agoIMG_3428 and ordered some to see what it was like. 100% recycled dunny paper delivered to your door. 50% of the profits go to water and sanitation projects in third world countries. Not sure if it reduces emissions or not as it’s made in China rather than Australia, but I think overall it is doing more good than harm.

Cleaning

For a long time now I have only used “green” cleaning products, though it’s hard to know exactly how harmful or not they are. We use white vinegar instead of the blue liquid in the dishwasher, and grey-water-friendly detergents. I also employ a cleaner once a fortnight but have changed to a cleaning company that uses no chemicals http://www.earthfriendlycleaning.com.au/ There’s quite a few similar cleaning companies like this around if you search online.

Things I need to change

Two things I need alternatives for are better ways of keeping mosquitoes away, and getting rid of ants when they come inside in summer. These things are a real nuisance – I’ve tried lots of rustic ways of getting rid of ants that are generally messy or fiddly or don’t work. I don’t spray anymore (unless they get really, really, really bad!) but do use a dab of liquid borax. I don’t think this is very good but I’m not sure. So I need help here.

As for mosquitoes, I’d love to find a better product than the chemical ones but the citronella and herbal concoctions just don’t seem to cut it. We have tried to cut down on breeding places around the house, which helps a bit; and have wire screens on the doors and windows. But we live near the river and in the warmer weather there are always mozzies around. Any suggestions that really work?

Household goods

My resolve here is to reduce emissions by only buying the highest star-rated appliances if we need to replace any; only buy natural fibre bedding or furnishings, LED globes, recycled or FSC wood products and, overall, to buy and consume less. I recently bought a non-synthetic doona for my daughter made from wood fibre, from sustainable plantations. I don’t know if this is a better choice or not. It was from Ikea so probably had high “food miles” but the label claimed this fibre used less water and was more environmentally sustainable than cotton. I hope this is true, otherwise I was sucked in by the label.

Green labelling

Actually this brings up a sore point: so many products and labels claim to be “green” or have the words “eco” or “organic” or “earth” on them. But there’s no reliable regulatory or rating system to go by. How do we tell what is really good and what’s a con?

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