Green Living

Recycling Asbestos

Posted by Colleen Kennedy on June 9th, 2017

If you’ve ever remodeled an older home, then you know the trouble you’re in when finding asbestos insulation, siding or ceiling tiles. Most of us have heard about the dangers of Asbestos, but where did this material come from and why is it so bad? And how can we get rid of it safely? Well, let’s start at the beginning.

WHAT IS IT?images-5 It’s a natural occurring mineral found in the ground on every continent in the world. The asbestos minerals are made up of fine, strong fibers that are resistant to heat, fire and other chemicals. Because of it’s fire-resistant and insulation properties, it has a wide variety of  uses. Asbestos has a long history starting as far back as 2500 B.C. where it was first used as a cloth. But it was during the Industrial Age that it became the “go-to” material for ships, buildings, cars, and our homes. Some of the products made from asbestos include, cement, roofing, flooring (linoleum and carpet),  ceiling tiles, paper for electrical panels, break pads, and the ever popular home insulation. This stuff is everywhere!

asbestos4

Unfortunately, this widely used material comes with a heavy price, Cancer. One such cancer is Mesothelioma, a rare but deadly form of cancer linked to Asbestos exposure effecting your lungs, heart and/or abdominal regions. Those at greatest risk are construction workers, firefighters, mechanics, people working in factories, shipyards, mines and more.

The reason Asbestos is so dangerous is because the strong, tiny fibers that make up Asbestos can be easily released into the air. The fibers as so microscopic that you can’t tell you’re breathing them in. Essentially, you could be exposing yourself to it for years without any symptoms as it grows, and grows in your body.  Fortunately, we’ve moved away from using it and have instead replaced it with more environmentally acceptable substitutes. (*learn more on my website under Eco-Friendly Decorating). However, there’s still a lot of it out there.  So, what do we do with all of this cancer-laden material we’ve just unearthed in our home-sweet-home?

Recycle it! Yes, Asbestos can be recycled! Even though Asbestos resists most chemical reactions, it will react with strong acids and bases. The dissolved asbestos solution can then be melted and used to create glass or ceramic material. Recycling keeps it out of the landfill, where it’s still an active and dangerous material, and it can be reinvented into a useful, non-toxic material. Pretty cool, huh? Check with your local waste management facility to find out how and where you can recycle asbestos. *Removal of Asbestos material should always be handled by licensed and trained professionals.

There’s a lot of information out there on Asbestos and I want to point you to a very informative site brought to my attention by a Bright Ideas follower, Virgil, who was recently diagnosed with Mesothelioma and who has benefited greatly by the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net.

https://mesothelioma.net/recycling-asbestos/

This site has a wealth of information on Asbestos, industrial and occupational hazards, how to protect yourself, cancer treatments and support, how to recycle asbestos and so much more,  free and available to you. Please check it out!

Thank you  ~Colleen

If you have a Bright Idea you’d like to share, please contact me!

 

 

 

A Fresh Start: Natural Spring Cleaning

Posted by Colleen Kennedy on April 11th, 2013

Excerpts from a great article by Beth Swanson posted in Mother Earth Living magazine:

Nature provides simple, effective materials that clean and disinfect naturally, leaving your home clean and safe. Just open up your cupboards—five simple, nontoxic items can handle all of your household cleaning.

0652EB83DC95404ABE9B2EFC3912EC14

Lemons

Lemons are natural disinfectants because of their antibacterial properties. For many, the refreshing citrus smell exemplifies cleanliness.

Kitchen
• Cut a lemon in half and use it to clean wooden chopping boards or to help remove stains from countertops. Let the lemon juice sit for a while, then wipe clean. Avoid marble and granite surfaces because the acid can be corrosive. (Try club soda instead.)

• Dip a cut lemon in coarse salt and scrub copper-bottomed pots and pans. Use the same preparation to help dissolve soap and hard water stains in sinks. Throw the used lemon into your compost pile for eco-friendly waste disposal.

• Odors and bacteria can build up over time in your garbage disposal. Place a whole lemon in your garbage disposal and turn it on for a quick, easy way to clean this hard-to-reach area (chop it into chunks if your disposal has trouble processing large items).

4EE2A50E4DD04F1696757CF1B23A005F

Salt

Good old-fashioned table salt can be used as an abrasive cleaner.

All-Purpose

  1. • Abrasive coarse salt can help remove stains, caked-on food or mildew on stovetops and in bathtubs, or anywhere scratching is not a concern. Mix baking soda with salt to whiten while scrubbing away grime.

• Kitchen
Salt works well on pots and pans with caked-on food. Soak pots and pans with 3 tablespoons of salt in a couple inches of water.

Vinegar

Powerful and economical, distilled white vinegar is one of nature’s most versatile cleaners. Its odor can be overwhelming, but the smell dissipates as it dries. If you find the smell is too pungent, try adding lemon juice to neutralize it.

All-Purpose
In a reusable spray bottle, mix a solution of 1 part water to 1 part vinegar for an effective all-purpose cleaner that disinfects and deodorizes. Use this solution to clean countertops, sinks, appliances and floors, but avoid granite or marble because vinegar’s acid can damage them.

Tea tree oil

Australian tea tree oil is well-known for its medicinal purposes, but the antibacterial and antifungal properties of this ancient remedy can also be useful in the household.

All-Purpose
• In a reusable spray bottle, mix 15 drops of tea tree oil with 1 quart warm water for a multipurpose cleaner. For a more powerful antiseptic spray for areas that need specific attention—such as toilets—use 2 teaspoons of tea tree oil to 2 cups of water. The more potent mixture also works well on mold; just spray on the moldy area and don’t rinse. Although discoloration might not disappear, the mold will be killed.

Unknown-2Baking soda

Baking soda is a staple in many refrigerators because it helps absorb odors, but it can also dissolve dirt and grease in water. Like vinegar, baking soda has a wide variety of uses.

All-Purpose

• Baking soda’s mild coarseness is similar to common abrasive cleaners. When mixed with water, baking soda turns into a scouring paste you can use to remove substances from tubs, sinks, countertops and dishes. Mix 1 part water with 3 parts baking soda to scrub away unwanted stains and messes.

• Use baking soda anywhere you need deodorizing action—especially in the refrigerator or cupboards. You can also control garbage-can odors by sprinkling baking soda in the bottom of the can and into each new garbage bag.

To read the full article visit: http://www.motherearthliving.com/homemade-cleaners/a-fresh-start-natural-spring-cleaning.

Photos By Povy Kendal Atchison

 

Food Waste & What One Supermarket Is Doing About It

Posted by Colleen Kennedy on September 25th, 2012

Walk into any supermarket these days and you’ll see a beautiful array of fresh fruits and vegetables. You can’t miss them. They’re perfectly stacked in neat rows piled high and as far as the eye can see. And it always looks like that! In fact, I often wonder if any one is even buying any of this stuff or if it’s going to waste. I mean, is it really necessary to have this much produce on display? Well, one supermarket decided it wasn’t and here’s what they did about it that not only saved food from going to waste, but also saved the store some cash.

Food Waste, Aisle 5: How Supermarkets Can Stop Squandering Food and Start Lowering Prices | Peter Lehner’s Blog | Switchboard, from NRDC.

Free Gifts To Share!

Posted by Colleen Kennedy on December 23rd, 2011

It’s that time a year again and if you’re like someone I know (i’m not mentioning any names…) you’ve waited ’til last minute to do your holiday shopping. Well, let me make it easy for you. I’ve got FREE gift ideas to share with you and it all starts with the most precious gift you can give…..YOU!

Did you know that you can actually be an eco-friendly gift?

1.  Make coupons that offer your time or services. For example, “This coupon entitles you to a special dinner for 2 lovingly prepared by me.” This coupon works great for friends or relatives that don’t cook. Or, “This coupon entitles you to 2 hours of book keeping services.” If you know what services someone really needs, then taylor made coupons makes them extra special.

2. Know someone with an office? (of course you do!) Check out this adorable business card holder  that was given to me  by a friend who created it special just for me. You can do the same with just a few pieces of cardboard , some glue and colored markers. 

3. Visit a lonely neighbor. Whether they’re down the street or across the hall, go knock on their door and say hello. Yes, even to the cranky guy that never smiles at you when you check your mail. Ever think he’s cranky because he’s lonely? Bring a plate of cookies to sweeten him up!

Your time and attention to someone less fortunate is the most precious gift you can give and …it’s FREE! Nothing feels as good as knowing you’ve made a difference in someone’s life.

Give the gift of time…….The gift of YOU!

Happy Holidays!

Colleen

Healthy Holiday Kitchen Tips

Posted by Colleen Kennedy on November 17th, 2011

 

The holidays are right around the corner and that means…..lots of food! If you’re doing the cooking this year, here are some tips on how to make your holiday food experience a little more healthy.Below are tips  from a great article I read on EWG’s (Environmental Working Group) website. I really enjoyed the article and just want to pass it along their tips to you.

1.  Choose Foods Low In Added Chemicals And Pollutants

Food can contain ingredients we don’t want to eat — from pesticides to hormones to artificial additives to food packaging chemicals. Some simple tips to cut the chemicals:

Buy organic when you can. I make sure fresh fruits and vegetables are on the menu, and I go organic when I can. Organic produce is grown without synthetic pesticides (I prefer my dinner without, thanks!). Organic meat and dairy products also limit your family’s exposure to growth hormones and antibiotics.

It’s OK to choose non-organic from our “Clean 15″ list of less-contaminated conventional fruits and vegetables, too. EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce ranks popular fruits and vegetables based on the amount of pesticide residues found on them.  Check out our Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce (and get the iPhone App).

Cook with fresh foods, rather than packaged and canned, whenever you can. Food containers can leach packaging chemicals into food, including the synthetic estrogen bisphenol A that’s used to make the linings of food cans. Go for fresh food or prepared foods stored in glass containers. Pick recipes that call for fresh, not canned, foods.

When I’m planning a grocery trip, I like to check in with EWG’s Healthy Home Tip: Go organic and eat fresh foods.

2. Use Non Toxic Cookware

Using a great pan makes a huge difference when I cook. I skip the non-stick so I don’t have to breathe toxic fumes that can off-gas from non-stick pans over high heat. Non-stick cookware is in most American kitchens. Is it in yours?

For safer cooking, use cast iron, stainless steel and oven-safe glass. Yes, there are many new products on the market, but most companies won’t tell you exactly what’s in them. Even if they’re advertised as “green” or “not non-stick,” manufacturers do not have to release their safety data to the public.

If you’re ‘stuck’ with non-stick, cook safer with it. You can reduce the possibility of toxic fumes by cooking smart with any non-stick cookware you happen to own: Never heat an empty pan, don’t put it in an oven hotter than 500 degrees F and use an exhaust fan over the stove.

If you’re in the market for a new cast iron pan, purchase it through Amazon and a portion of your purchase total will go to EWG!

3. Store & Reheat Leftovers Safely

Leftovers can extend the joy of a holiday — by giving you a break from the kitchen! But be sure to avoid plastic when storing and (especially) when heating them. Here’s why — and how:

Skip plastic food storage containers if you can. The chemical additives in plastic can migrate into food and liquids. Ceramic or glass food containers (such as Pyrex) are safer. Click here to get a 10-piece Pyrex set on Amazon (and a portion of your purchase will go towards helping EWG!).

  • Don’t microwave food or drinks in plastic containers, even if they claim to be “microwave safe.” Heat can release chemicals into your food and drink. Microwave ovens heat unevenly, creating hot spots where the plastic is more likely to break down.
  • If you do use a plastic container, handle it carefully. Use it for cool liquids only; wash plastics by hand or on the top rack of the dishwasher, farther from the heating element; use a paper towel instead of plastic wrap to cover food in the microwave. Also, avoid single-use plastic as much as possible — reusing it isn’t safe (it can harbor bacteria) and tossing it out fills up landfills (and pollutes the environment).

Read more about heating and storing food safely in our Healthy Home Tip: Pick plastics carefully.

 

So get cooking! And enjoy the Holidays!

Colleen :)