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Posts tagged ‘sustainable living’

Sustainable Tips: Mirror, Mirror On The Wall

Team member Ida Keung posts daily tips on sustainable living. See all of her Treehouse Tips by clicking here.

By decorating your house with many mirrors, you can reflect more natural sunlight in your rooms during the daytime. Having brighter rooms means that you can save energy by not having to turn on your lights as often during the daytime. Mirrors do a particularly great job brightening dark rooms and basements. Whats more, big mirrors tend to make rooms appear larger by creating an illusion of depth. You can also increase your vitamin D intake from all the extra sunlight in your living space!

Beautiful skin while saving energy? Who says no to that?!

Treehouse Tips: Use Hand Soap As Anti-Fog

Team member Ida Keung posts daily tips on sustainable living. See all of her Treehouse Tips by clicking here.

Have you ever gone swimming at a pool or in an ocean and found that your goggles fog up after two minutes? You can either ignore it and swim with foggy goggles (and run into things), or you could rinse them off continuously  with the pool water…which can burn your eyes.

Another option is to buy expensive anti-fog spray from swimwear stores. However, I find that when applied, the lenses are still a bit cloudy from the solution, and sometimes if your goggles are a bit loose and you get a bit of water into the goggles, the mixture burns your eyes significantly worse than the chlorinated pool water itself. Furthermore, after a while, the chemicals eat away at the plastic and you can end up with permanent foggy lenses anyway. Besides, if these anti-fog sprays can be so harmful to the goggles, wouldn’t it be unsafe to have so close to your eyes?

I’ve heard that methods such as smearing toothpaste on or even spitting into your goggles can produce anti-fog relief. Personally, I find that my goggles get really cloudy with the toothpaste option, and the spitting option is….just not so hygienic.

What I found that works best is regular, non-antibacterial, hand soap.

Right before swimming, put a little bit of soap from the soap dispensers onto your fingertips, then gently rub it on the inner surfaces of your goggle lenses, including the sides. There is no need for a thick coat, just as long as the whole area has been covered with the soap, it should be ok. You’re probably wondering, “wouldn’t this be as stingy and cloudy as any other method?” Well fortunately, the last part of this method involves rinsing everything off!

I am a frequent swimmer and I have been using this method for over five years now.

You can save the cost of buying anti-fogs, reduce the spread of chemicals into the environment, and have yourself a fog-free and frutration-free swim!

Treehouse Tips: Reducing Paper Mail And Reusing Envelopes

Team member Ida Keung posts daily tips on sustainable living. See all of her Treehouse Tips by clicking here.

Do you still get your bills in the mail or do you get them the tree-saving way via online billing/statements? If you have not tried e-billing yet, I highly recommend contacting your bank, your cellphone provider, or anybody else that takes part in reducing your bank account balance every month, to change to electronic billing.

One major benefit here is that you can get the most current information  anytime without having to wait for the next bill. This way, you can ensure that your bills are correct, and you can prevent fraudulent use of your credit card. Obviously we get the added benefit of the trees you’re saving from user for making your bills, statements, pamphlets, and envelopes.

Trees help to make our air cleaner by absorbing the carbon dioxide (CO2) from our vehicle exhausts and turning it into oxygen for us to breath.Cutting down trees not only reduces the absorption of this greenhouse gas, the trees also release CO2 into the air in this process, adding to the release of greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, a lot of the trees that are being harvested today are from tropical rainforests. These rainforests are vital for ecosystem processes like reducing soil erosion, preventing drastic climate changes, and maintaining biodiversity. They are a habitat for 90% of the world’s species even though they only consists of 7% of the land’s surface (Albers et al., 1996).

Help fight for the planet in other ways like using old envelopes to organize receipts, notes, or other small paperwork. Sometimes your mail is enclosed with a smaller envelope for signing up for new credit cards or promotional offers. Save some money and re-use these envelopes to send your mail instead of buying new ones!

Additional tip: If you do not frequently look at your fliers or will not be in town for a few weeks, you can print out a sign saying “NO FLIERS PLEASE” and stick it on your front door so that you will not need to accumulate unnecessary paper. This also avoids the image that nobody is home to pick up the fliers, which is an invite for robbers to break in to your house. In inclement weather, using a plastic paper protector will prevent your sign from being destroyed by wind and rain damage.


Treehouse Tips: Wrap Your Gifts With Magazines

Team member Ida Keung posts daily tips on sustainable living. See all of her Treehouse Tips by clicking here.

Are you a monthly subscriber to paper magazines with shiny, glossy, covers and pages? Instead of spending money and killing more trees by buying wrapping paper, why not try to re-use some of this paper before it goes into the recycling bin?  You can be creative and choose pages that are more applicable to the person or the gift! If the pages aren’t big enough, you can glue or tape them together, or even use larger paper from old calendars!

Bonus tip: Calendars are also great for lining cupboards and drawers  to make your spring cleaning a little easier.

Newspapers are also a gift wrapping option, if you aren’t too picky about getting your fingers a little black.

Obviously, you can still decorate these gifts with ribbons and bows like you already do, but even buttons, dried flowers, or other household materials give them a crafty quality and reuse stuff you’re likely to throw out some day.

This can be a unique and eco-friendly alternative to wrapping your gifts. If you’ve this in the past, share your tips in the comments!

Treehouse Tips: Bring Your Own Container For Doggy Bags

Hey everyone…I’m Ida, from the Foodtree team and I’m going to be sharing frequent lifestyle tips here which relate to living a sustainable life. If you have any tips, send them to me at The first tip is here, in case you missed it!

Do you find that when you eat out nowadays, sometimes the portions are just way too big for one person’s consumption?

Or when you decide to try a new restaurant with so many exotic foods that you don’t know what to get so you order everything and end up with a bit of each? If you are like me and don’t like the idea of wasted food, you will probably get the leftovers to go. Your waiter/waitress will then help you pack your leftovers in one or more large square foam boxes or small round foam boxes with a plastic lid in some cases.

No big deal, right? Actually, these boxes are really well insulated so that it takes a long time for your food to get cold in your refrigerator.

They are also non-microwavable as they’ll melt and release toxic compounds into your food if you heat them up. They are not even meant to be put in the fridge, as these toxic compounds are released at high AND low temperatures.

Why not try bringing your own container(s)?

The fact is, these foam boxes are non-recyclable and they take up  a lot of space in the landfill.  Since your unfinished foods are usually still somewhat hot when you get them to go, bringing a glass container with you to carry leftovers will solve a lot of issues…no chemicals will be transferred to the food, landfill space is saved, and you feel better about the huge portion you received!

Treehouse Tips: Reuse Plastic Food Containers

Hey everyone…I’m Ida, from the Foodtree team and I’m going to be sharing frequent lifestyle tips here which relate to living a sustainable life. If you have any tips, send them to me at The first tip is here, in case you missed it!

If you are a frequent buyer of yogurt and margarine, you find yourself accumulating a lot of durable plastic containers. You can either toss them into the recycling bin, or you can wash and reuse them!

These plastic containers are surprisingly durable and made of easily bendable plastic that is comparable to Tupperware. And you know what else? The lids of sour cream, cream cheese, and large yogurt containers can all be used interchangeably! It’s good to keep in mind that containers that were made for holding cold foods such as dairy products would ideally be reused for storing cold foods, and not hot ones.

Also, it is not a good idea to microwave these containers because toxic compounds would likely be released from these containers into your food at high temperatures.

One way of reusing yogurt containers of all sizes is by turning them into planting pots by  drilling or cutting several holes on the bottom of the container. Use them for planting vegetable seeds indoors before it gets warm enough to plant them outside, or just use them instead of buying planting pots.

Margarine containers are very durable and can come in handy in the garage by using them to hold nail, nuts, and bolts. If you are using multiple margarine containers, it might be a good idea to label them with a permanent marker to help with your organization.

Plastic containers can be recycled, but only so many times before they also end up in the landfill. By reusing them, you can save yourself a couple bucks and contribute to greening the environment!

Sustainable Tips, Daily!

Hey everyone! My name is Ida Keung and I am a sustainability enthusiast at Foodtree who believes in living sustainably and knowing more about the food you put in your mouth.

I will be posting daily tips on how to live a more sustainable lifestyle on this blog, and would love it if you’d send me some of your great ideas to share with our audience. Some of the topics I’ll try to touch on include healthy eating, green housekeeping, organic gardening, and ways of reducing your carbon footprint at home, at work, and on the road.

Today’s Sustainable Tip: Using Vinegar for Cleaning

Would you consume the toxic cleaning detergents that you have in your cleaning cupboard?

If you can’t consume it, then it is likely harmful to fish and other sea creatures in the ocean where your drainage ends up. A great detergent option (safe to consume for you, your kids, and Nemo) is actually vinegar!

Try using one part vinegar and two parts water to shine your windows and remove mould from window frames. You can use a rag, or even stick your hand into an old (but clean) sock, for cleaning main areas, and an old toothbrush can come in handy for getting into the hard-to-reach areas. It doesn’t stop there, though…pure white vinegar is also an excellent detergent for cleaning calcium or lime deposits and soap scum from your faucets, toilets, and bathtubs.

Stop by tomorrow for another sustainable tip!

BONUS TIP: During the flu season, you can place a small cup of vinegar in every room of your house to kill germs in the air and reduce the spread of bacteria or viruses to other members of the family.