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Getting The Green Light On Living: Simple Ways To Improve Your Health And The Earth

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By Mia Bolaris-Forget

There’s lots of debate these days about the viability and reality of global warming, natural “disasters” and the need to live greener and healthier lives for our lives and our environment.

And, many of us agree. In fact from organic foods to natural health and beauty products many of us are taking a giant leap of faith into a brighter, healthier and greener future.

But, in many instances, we are creatures of habit and chemicals are merely a part of our up-bringing and lifestyle. And, most of them can be conveniently found in the often-cluttered cabinets of our homes and bathrooms.

Still, as members of a huge community that built itself and continues to pride itself on being uniquely “green”, we may want to take extra initiative to help keep it that way.

Experts suggest garnering a “greener thumb” by “blacklisting” many environmentally unsafe products from our homes.

· Med Alert: Most of us have half used bottles of some prescribes medication or other, some we KNOW need to be discarded. Experts suggest refraining from throwing them in the garbage, especially since they put children and animals at risk of reaching them. And they advise against flushing medications down the toilet or pouring liquid meds down your drain since they can make their way (back) into our ecosystem and perhaps into our drinking water.

Instead consider asking your local pharmacy about taking back expired or unused pharmaceuticals since they may just be part of a program that help ensure they are properly disposed of.

· Beauty Basics: The same products that help you stay beautiful looking can prove to be ugly for our environment. So, rather than tossing old nail polish, nail polish remover, hairspray, aerosols and/or hair dye, remember that they each contain toxic chemicals that are also flammable and potentially dangerous. Instead keep handy the number of your local waste management service provider and call to find out about drop offs or hazardous waste days.

Experts also suggest making sure that, since many of these products are considered toxic waste, ensuring that they are completely empty to prevent a potential explosion, discard of the lid in your garbage can and place the empty container in your recycling bin.

For really environmentally conscious households, try avoiding hazardous materials all together and consider replacing standard stables with environmentally friendly alternatives found at most markets and at holistic and health food stores.

· Pins and Needles: If you should have needles or syringes in your home, take extra caution NOT to dispose of them in your standard family garbage can or recycling bin. Instead be sure to seal them properly and tightly in a secure container that also clearly notes what the contents are. The, take the container to the hazardous waste and let them dispose of it properly.

· Cutting Down On Clutter: Avoid washroom and household clutter by buying in bulk suggest experts. Buying larger sizes reduces the need for additional packaging and makes less waste. You can even store the bottle filling up a smaller one as you go. And, it likely will also save you money.

· Make Something Old, Something New: Find new uses for “old” things say experts. For instance rather than throwing an old toothbrush away, use it to scrub hard-to-reach areas that you clean or use an old sock or t-shirt to dust or mop with. You may also want to revisit the old-fashioned notion of a reusable razor, especially since literally billions make their way into our landfills each year. How about giving an old hairbrush to your kiddies to use for combing their “babies” hair of use for playing dress-up, use small empty hand cream bottles to store vitamins, ant-acids, aspirin, etc; turn an old shower curtain into a quick table cover for kids to draw on, paint one, or as a lining in your car when you’re transporting plants, or other potentially messy items. They key here is using your creativity to come up with practical alternatives for outdated items

· Remember To Recycle: Keep in mind that most household items, especially those in the kitchen and bathroom CAN be recycled. For those items that leave you guessing, contact your community recycling center and make an inquiry. Common recyclable items include:

o Containers of shampoo and conditioner or dish soap
o Toilet paper and hand towel rolls as well as tissue boxes
o Spray and pump bottles (just be sure to rinse them out)
o Empty toothpaste tubes

· Purchasing Power: Make an environmental statement by making smart shopping decisions. Look for products that are not only made from natural ingredients but are also packed from recycled materials. And, make sure to look for household cleaning products that are non-toxic and environmentally safe.

Long Island Safety Articles > Getting The Green Light On Living: Simple Ways To Improve Your Health And The Earth

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