Sustainable Habits

A large part of sustainable living is in the things we do everyday.   By developing sustainable habits, we can all do our little bit to help the environment.

Here are some simple things we can do  to live more sustainably and help the environment.

1.  Buying Local Products

Buying locally produced goods reduces the amount of toxic fuels required to transport those goods over long distances.

2.  Washing Your Car

When washing your car do it on the lawn, or a grassy area.  Avoid letting the sudsy water drain out onto the street and into the drains.  Doing this causes storm water pollution.   Sudsy water won’t hurt your lawn.

Other environmental considerations for car washing are:
  • Use of water and energy resources —  Car washes are users of these resources. It will be a great help for the environment to use water reclamation systems to significantly reduce water usage.
  • Contamination of surface waters — Contamination of surface waters arises from the rinseate discharging to storm drains, which in turn most commonly drain to rivers and lakes.   Chief pollutants in such wash-water include phosphates; oil and grease; and lead.  Water and contaminants that enter storm water drains does not undergo treatment, and is released directly into rivers, lakes and streams.)
  • Contamination of soil and groundwater — Soil contamination is sometimes related to such surface runoff, but more importantly is associated with soil contamination from underground fuel tanks or auto servicing operations which commonly are ancillary uses of car wash sites — but not an issue for car washing itself.

Try Waterless Car Wash

A waterless car wash or dry wash is a technique used to wash a vehicle without the use of water. This technique uses a product that contains a mix of ingredients, including wetting agents, lubricants, surfactants and protectants. The surfactants enable the wetting agents to surround dirt particles, leading to emulsification (the dirt is dispersed into the liquid).   In some products, a protectant, such as carnauba wax or a form of silicone polymer is left on the surface, which provides glaze. The product may also contain a polishing ingredient, such as kaolin clay, a super fine abrasive that buffs out small surface scratches.

After the product is sprayed on, it is wiped off with a clean, dry microfiber towel.   After the wipe-down, some polishing agent and some glazing or waxing agent may remain on the surface.   A second towel is used to polish the car by buffing the agents that remain behind.

3.  Watering your Garden in the Evening or Morning

If you live in a warm climate, water your garden when its cooler – usually evenings or early mornings.   Doing this reduces evaporation, therefore, you don’t need to use as much water to water your plants.

4.  Using Mulch in your Garden

Mulch can save up to 70% of water evaporated by the sun.   This can be extremely beneficial if you live in a warm climate.

Mulch is used for various purposes:

  • to adjust temperature by helping soil retain more heat in cold season, and b y keeping soil cool and even out temperature swings during the hot and variable summer conditions
  • to control weeds by blocking the sunlight
  • to retain water by slowing evaporation
  • to add organic matter and nutrients to the soil through the gradual breakdown of the mulch material
  • to repel insects
  • to incrementally improve growing conditions by reflecting sunlight upwards to the plants, and by providing a clean, dry surface for ground-lying fruit such as squash and melons.
  • for erosion control—protects soil from rain and preserves moisture
  • for sediment control—slows runoff velocity

Picture above shows shredded wood used as mulch. This type of mulch is often dyed to improve its appearance in the landscape.

5.  Reducing Waste

When shopping, buy products that have less packaging and use recycled materials.   Avoid products that contain chemicals that harm the environment.   Use a “green bag” when shopping – don’t use plastic bags. Plastic bags don’t bio-degrade, they photodegrade (break up into smaller, toxic parts) and are deadly to wildlife (many animals choke or suffocate on plastic bags).

6.  Fertilizing Wisely

Avoid fertilizing the garden when you expect rain.  If it rains soon after you fertilize the garden, the fertilizer will probably end up in the street or your local creek, instead of the garden where you most need it.

Try to limit your use of pesticides and herbicides – these are not good for the environment.

7.  Cleaning up after your Pets

Cleaning up after your cat or dog prevents the waste from washing into creeks and rivers (which contaminates the water).   Flush the waste down the toilet, or even better, put it on your compost heap.

8.  Cleaning Paved Areas

Cleaning the paved areas around your house keeps soil and leaves from running into the storm water system.   Use a broom to clean, not a hose.   Using a hose wastes good water.

9.  Clearing out Gutters and Drains

Gutters and drains can attract a lot of leaves and grass. Clear these out regularly so that the grass and leaves don’t get washed away into the storm water system.

10.  Recycling

Instead of throwing out glass jars/bottles, re-use them if you can. If your local barangay provides a recycling bin, use it!   Separate plastics, glass, paper etc from your other rubbish and put it into the recycling bin.

More tips…click here.

Improved from…..  Sustainable Habits


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