Eco Balls
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Stuff that serve a few functions and can be reused with little fuss is cool, even if it’s just ordinary household things. Something that’s a bit greener, more efficient or less wasteful.

The Humble Glass Jar

Over the past year or so, we have been cutting down on our waste by trying to recycle, re-use, and buy whole foods. An interesting and unexpected side effect is the amount of glass jars we use for things. Great as:

  • Storage containers for all kinds of whole foods.
  • Drinking glasses. If it was up to me I would rid of most cups and glasses from the house, excepting some wine glasses.
  • Storing fruit or veg juices in the fridge. Being able to seal them tightly with the lid is important.
  • Made from glass, none of the risks associated with plastic coming in contact with. Glass jars just look better than plastic ones too.
  • Storing all sorts of things, and you can see what’s in them, which is mostly a good thing.
  • They’re free, or at least included in the price of stuff you already buy. They are better for the environment than many alternatives as they can be recycled. Every glass jar used is offsetting something else potentially unrecyclable and unnecessary that neither needs to be bought nor made.

Bike Tubes

Since I cycle a lot, being able to patch up bike tubes is important. They cost upwards of €6 each to replace. My bike obliges me with flat tires more often than I would like too, although it is quite well behaved at the moment.

A small box of patches can be bought for a few euro and can patch up a tube many times. The saving is almost exponential.

A small tip – after patching up a bike tube, use a bit of baby powder (non-oil based) on the area where the patch has been placed on the tube. It will neutralise any residue and stop the tube from rubbing against the inside of the tire – at the patch site and in general.

Putting baby powder on things shows you really care about them.

Washing Machine ‘Eco Balls’

These things are great as an alternative to using traditional detergent. The ingredients aren’t 100% green, but they do result in a lot less detergent being used per cycle.

They don’t leave clothes with that distinctive detergent smell (can be a good or bad thing) but they last for ages and definitely get clothes clean.

Eco Balls

Baking Soda (Bicarbonate of Soda)

This can be used for lots of things.

  • Take a small spoon of it with water to help constipation, bloated stomach, heartburn, or alkalize the body.
  • It can be used to get coconut oil out of clothes. There’s not much else out there that can do it either. Scrub in, wipe off, repeat. Then wash.
  • It can be used every so often on hair, and massaged into the scalp to help relieve dandruff.
  • Clear sinks using baking soda and cheap malt vinegar. Put three or four tea spoons of baking soda down the plug hole and follow it with about quarter a cup of vinegar and watch the magic fizzle away. Rinse the whole lot down with some hot water.
  • A paste of bicarbonate and water and use like a cream cleaner.
  • Use it inside smelly shoes or sports gear. Put in some bicarbonate and leave overnight. Then tip it out, should now be smelling better.
  • Mixed with vinegar it can be used to remove rust.

The above listing is only the tip of the iceberg for this cool little powder-stuff.

The cumulative effects of using this instead of conventional products is more often than not easier on the environment and your wallet.

Baking Soda

Baking Soda

We are going to have a go at making some home-made soap and washing detergent. We use eco-friendly ones at the moment, but if we can make home-made ones just as good, that’s the way to go.

Cooking

I’m all about efficiency of time and energy when it comes to cooking. Despite being quite energy efficient, microwave ovens are out for cooking at home, neither of us remains convinced of their safety for cooking food.

We just bought a pressure cooker and recently cooked up a big stew – enough food for both of us for about five meals. Lots of veggies, stock, tinned tomatoes, and some Quorn chicken pieces. It’s really efficient:

  • It all cooks in the one go, one 6L pot, 20 minutes. Less time than a conventional pot of similar size
  • One hob rather than a number on the go at once
  • Uses a fraction of the amount of water when cooking, and wastes almost none
  • One pot, so less washing up

Cooking with a pressure cooker comes into its own for this sort of batch-cooking, which is in itself much more efficient than preparing more regular smaller meals.

That in turn leads to more free time.

The sacrifice? Some of the veggies will be a little overdone. And remember…

If It’s Brown Flush It Down, If It’s Yellow Let It Mellow

So much water is wasted when we flush everytime we go for a pee.

Mr Hanky

Flush the number twos.

Ok, that seems like the perfect way to end a post.

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