Stay Green While You Spring Clean

baking-soda-768950_1920With the advent of Spring each year, we all feel that undeniable urge to get outdoors to feel the sun on our face and the grass between our toes. Of course, many of us also feel the need to clean the inside and outside of our homes to shake off the dust following a long and (sometimes) cold Winter. To help you stay green while you clean, Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful has compiled the following list of tips and trends for an eco-friendly Spring Cleaning.

1)      Tackle those Closets and Drawers: A great way to begin any Spring Cleaning session is by de-cluttering your closets and drawers. Box up any clothes you haven’t worn in a while and drop them off to a local shelter or thrift store in the ultimate form of recycling. Someone is going to love the clothes you no longer need. A number of options for donating your gently used clothing can be found on the Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful Website. You can also take part in the upcoming Spring Cleaning Yard Sale at Rhodes Jordan Park Community Recreation Center on Saturday, April 9 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Indoor and outdoor vendor spots are still available, but hurry – vendors must pre-register by April 1!

If you’d like to expand your de-cluttering project to the attic, basement and garage, keep Gwinnett Habitat for Humanity in mind. This wonderful nonprofit organization that is dedicated to building “homes, communities and hope” for Gwinnett families in need accepts gently used household items, furniture, home accessories, building materials, and appliances at its ReStore.

 

2)      Shop for Supplies: Consider replacing any toxic cleaning products – which can be harmful to you, your family and the environment – with non-toxic, biodegradable substitutes. To learn more about toxic cleaning products and other household hazardous waste, be sure to mark your calendar for the upcoming Spring Cleaning and HHW Management Workshop on April 14 from 1-2:30 p.m. at the Gwinnett Library – Five Forks Branch at 2780 Five Forks Trickum Road in Lawrenceville. While there, you will learn some strategies for handling and storing these types of household chemicals, as well as ideas on safe and environmentally friendly disposal methods. To register for this FREE workshop hosted by Gwinnett County’s Department of Water Resources, send an e-mail to dwrswreg@gwinnettcounty.com with your NAME, ADDRESS, AND TELEPHONE NUMBER, or call 678.376.7193 and press 5.

 

3)      Become a Baking Soda Believer: Of course, there’s no need to spend a fortune on new cleaning supplies – when you may have some key eco-friendly ingredients already sitting in your pantry. Baking soda – also known as sodium bicarbonate – tops that list. Already well-known for its deodorizing properties – particularly in the refrigerator – baking soda can also be used as a gentle cleanser for tubs, tiles, sinks and shower curtains. It can also be used to clean the oven, get dirt and grime off laminate floors, give liquid laundry detergent a boost, clean carpets, deodorize garbage disposals and more.  For more tips, be sure to read 51 Fantastic Uses for Baking Soda by Melissa Breyer of Care2. White vinegar is another great natural cleaning alternative.

 

4)      Bring the Outdoors Inside: Plants serve as oxygen boosters and natural filtration systems to clean the air you breathe in your home every day. Danielle Blundell of This Old House Magazine recommends English Ivy, Peace Lily, Lady Palm, Boston Fern, Snake Plant, Golden Pothos, Wax Begonia, Red-Edged Dracaena and Spider Plant as Clean-Air Plants for Your Home. Another excellent way to bring the outdoors inside is by opening those windows and letting the fresh air flow through.

 

5)      Start a Compost Pile to Enhance Your Spring Garden: By starting a compost pile right away, you could have nutrient rich compost to add to your flower beds within as little as three weeks. If you place a nice balance of carbon to nitrogen, break everything down into pieces that are no larger than an inch, let it set for a couple days, then rotate daily for a week and every other day for the next 12 days – you could have garden-ready compost in a little over 20 days. The addition of black soldier fly larvae could speed that timeline up to three weeks. Otherwise, a traditional slow to no-turn compost pile could take anywhere from 3 months to a year to produce compost. Learn how to start a compost pile HERE!

 

6)      Extend that Spring Clean Spirit into your Community: It’s important that we all take ownership of the community that surrounds our homes and neighborhoods.  Just as you might pick up a piece of trash on the floor in your kitchen, you should feel equally comfortable picking up a piece of litter on the trail of the park where you walk. The ME (My Environment) Campaign encourages Gwinnett County residents to feel a sense of responsibility where our community is concerned and motivates them to take action. There are many ways you can become more involved in the Spring Cleaning of our community, including the Great American Cleanup – Gwinnett Challenge, which runs through May 31, 2016 and gives participants a chance to win CASH PRIZES! Register your project today.

 

Happy Spring, Gwinnett!

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