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Category Archives: #GoGreen

 

Oopsie, another bag full with used tea bags...

Oopsie, another bag full with used tea bags…

I drink at least 2 litres of tea a day. I use 3 teabags to brew 1 litre. That’s a minimum of 6 teabags per day.

So that 200 teabag bulk offer is probably what I go through per month.

Accordingly I have a lot of used teabags to do… well, what with? Read on for some useful tips.

 

What to do with used tea bags

 

Used tea bags belong in the garden.

A used tea bag is still full of nutrition. It is nitrogen rich and can be used like a fertiliser. Tear open the bag and sprinkle the tea into your pot plants or around your garden.

Line plant pots with old teabags, especially around the drainage holes, before filling them with soil. The tea bags retain water and nutrition.

Tea is a must-have for your compost, as it counter balances all the carbon-rich materials.

The caffeine in the tea is just as much a stimulant for your garden inhabitants as for you and has a great effect on earthworms: They will work and breed faster.

 

Used tea bags make great sponges.

Apparently adding used tea bags to your dishwashing water helps to break down grease and food stains.

You can use the tea bag itself to preclean dirty pans and trays. Be careful not to break the tea bag, as it works wonderfully to wipe up that grease, and simply throw it in the bin, instead of having to rinse your kitchen sponge with a lot of water. In addition, the tannins in the leaves will prevent the oxidising process, preventing rust.

Similarly, freshly brewed hot tea bags can be used to preclean windows. The tea’s tannic acid will leave the glass sparkling clean.

Scrub your dark leather shoes with a damp used teabag. Tanning leather involves tannin, the tea can add a new shine.

 

Used tea bags capture bad odour.

Place dried old teabags in the bottom of your kitchen bin to absorb liquids and odours.

Wash away odours from your hands: Rinse your hands with water and a brewed tea bag to remove odours of onions, garlic, fish and other foods.

If you’re a smoker or have an ashtray out for guests, put a wet tea bag or the leaves from a wet tea bag into the ashtray. When you or your guests ash in the tray, the wet leaves will hold the ash and absorb some of the smell from the smoke.

The antibacterial contents of tea bags will help neutralize the odour in your litter box as well. Just sprinkle the dried out contents of a brewed tea bag into the kitty / rattie litter.

 

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While it’s always best not to waste water in the first place and make sure you close the tap and plug the sink whenever possible, the next good practice to save water is to collect what you can.

 

That means out come the buckets!

The bliss of rain! Quick, capture as much water as possible!

The bliss of rain! Quick, capture as much water as possible!

 

Collect water in the sink

Recycle a large ice cream tub by using it to catch water in your sink.

This grey water can be used to flush toilets or if it’s dishwater you can water your plants with it.

 

Collect water in the shower

Quite an acrobatic feat, place a bucket right beneath the shower head to capture most water while balancing around it.

Better even: Stand in a large plastic basin while showering and catch as much water as possible.

The bucket can be emptied out into the toilet canister to reuse as grey water.

 

Collect rain water

The fresh smell of rain! The soothing sound of drops on the corrugated iron roof!

Ideally you collect all rain water that hits your roof in a water tank.

Until you get there, whip out all the buckets, watering cans, canisters, you name it, and collect as much rain water as possible. It can be used as non-potable water to flush the toilet, wash your clothes and water the plants.

 

 

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Plug the sink instead of running the water to rinse your razor and save up to 300 gallons a month.

Plug the sink instead of running the water to rinse your razor and save up to 300 gallons a month.

 

Here’s a way to realise how much water is wasted down the drain: Put a plug on it.

Close the plug in all your sinks – bathroom, kitchen, pantry – just for one day and see how the water builds up.

All of what you capture is grey water and can be used for flushing the toilet or watering the plants.

 

Remember to put in the plug more often:

 

Save water when washing your hands

Not much water is being used washing your hands, yet you could save around 3 litres per wash if you put in the plug instead of using running water. When doing an activity that requires frequent rinsing, such as working in the garden or painting, leave the plug in and wash your hands / equipment in the water collected in the sink.

 

Save water when brushing your teeth

Get a feel for how much water you’re using by closing the plug when brushing your teeth. Close the tap whenever you don’t need running water. Rinse your toothbrush in the water you collected. If you don’t feel like scooping out the water to reuse it, you can clean the sink with it.

 

Save water when shaving

Put the plug in the sink when you shave and rinse your razor in the water collected. Even better: Fill a cup with hot water and shake your razor clean in it. Not using running water when shaving can save up to 1200 litres a month.

 

Save water when you shower

If your shower is in the bath tub, close the plug. All the water collected can be used as grey water. If you flush your toilet with your shower water, it’ll smell nicely of your shower gel, so it can have unexpected benefits. Scooping the water out is a mission though, ideally you’d upgrade your plumbing system to automatically collect grey water.

 

Save water when cooking

When washing fruits, vegetables or salad, make sure the plug is closed. You can do your dishes in the water collected. Scrub potatoes, carrots and other sturdy veggies in a bucket. Use this nutrition rich water for your plants.

 

Save water when doing the dishes

Close the plug of your kitchen sink. Your dishes get prewashed by themselves if you simply collect the water in the sink and let them soak. You can use the water to clean your dishes and then you can still use it as grey water. The only problem is scooping it back out, so make it easier by placing a bucket in your sink and doing the dishes in there. Whatever you do, not one drop should leave the kitchen sink when it can be reused.

 

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Reduce the flow by lowering the water pressure.

You can easily save water by reducing the water pressure.

You can easily save water by reducing the water pressure.

High water pressure in the system is actually not desirable:

Typically, lower pressure systems have lower operating costs, as they use less energy to produce and pump water, spend less repairing pipe breaks, and lose less water through leaks large and small.

The reason why we have high water pressure is convenience – so the kettle fills up quicker, and fire safety – if there is a fire you want a lot of water and quickly.

But with the current drought crisis in Cape Town, the City of Cape Town has urged residents to adjust the water-isolating valves (stopcocks) on their properties to reduce the flow rate and save water.

Reducing the water flow means you’ll need to wait longer for water to refill, giving you time to realise how much water we waste and become more mindful with water.

In addition you can always learn to stop the flow altogether and close the tap more frequently.

 

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Plastic Bags: The Ocean's Deadliest Predator.

Plastic Bags: The Ocean’s Deadliest Predator.

 

I cannot remember ever buying a plastic bag.

 

But we started early with the whole environmentally friendly idea in Germany.
I was a teenager when we had the green revolution and I always used proper bags or at least reusable shopping bags.

 

Then I moved to the UK where they still gave away free plastic bags in the supermarkets.
We used them as our bin bags and still accumulated so many that I regularly brought a whole bunch of them back to the supermarket for recycling.

 

Then I moved to South Africa. Here plastic bags are flying around on the streets and get caught in barbwire on every other house where they form a grotesque flag waving our own waste at us.
The cashiers don’t even offer me a plastic bag anymore, they know by now that “we really shouldn’t use them, they’re so bad for the environment.”
Although plastic bags cost something, be it ‘only’ 50 cents, I see people buying them for one item, walk out, take the item out of the bag and throw the bag on the street.

 

It’s so easy to never buy a plastic bag ever again and save a fair share of money:

Simply use a reusable shopping bag. Any bag can do really, practical are a backpack or shoulder bag.

At least reuse the plastic bags you already have. It’s surprising how long they last. Always keep one folded up in your pocket, you never know when you might need it.

 

Even without buying plastic bags ever, I still get them given at so many places that I never run out of bin bags.
Everything is packaged in plastic too, so I never run out of dog poop bags either.
I do a weekly MOOP Swoop and pick up so many clean and intact plastic bags that my dog poop bag pile never gets depleted.

 

It can take 100 years for a plastic bag to break down, but it never disappears: It only disintegrates into toxic chemicals such as bisphenol A (BPA) and PS oligomer.

 

Please! Don’t buy plastic bags!

 

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Close the Tap! Save Water! Every Drop counts!

Close the Tap! Save Water! Every Drop counts!

 

Reducing your water consumption often means changing your habits.

One particularly bad habit is to leave the water running without making use of it.

 

Learn to close the tap more frequently!

 

Save water when brushing your teeth

When brushing your teeth, you only really need water for rinsing.

Instead of running the tap, pour a bit of water into a cup to gargle with and clean your toothbrush in.

 

Save water when washing your hands

For washing your hands you don’t need running water when lathering soap.

Switch off the tap and only turn it back on to rinse off the soap.

 

Save water when shaving

Don’t rinse your razor under running water.

Shake it clean in a bowl of hot water.

 

Save water when taking a shower

Back in the day taking a shower instead of a bath was considered saving water. Nowadays this is not good enough.

Even a short shower can take up less water by switching off the tap altogether for shampooing your hair or lathering the soap.

Apparently you don’t need to do either anyway, so you can save even more water! 😉

 

Save water when doing the dishes

Don’t use running water for doing the dishes.

Cups, glasses and bowls can be washed with the water they hold and then this water can be used for the rest of the dishes.

 

Save water when cooking

Polish rather than rinse your veggies and fruits, or wash them in a bowl of water.

Only ever fill the kettle with as much water as you’ll use.

When boiling food, use just enough water to cover it or even better: steam it.

 

Remember that on average about 8 – 12 litres flow out of your tap per minute. So every second counts!

 

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Top Ways to Save Water indoors

Top Ways to Save Water indoors

 

For years we’ve been warned about the scarcity of drinking water, and yet we continue wasting it down the drain.

In Cape Town we’re living with a water shortage and it puzzles me most how we could ever be so wasteful to literally clean up our shit with perfectly healthy drinking water.

Unfortunately it seems that us humans first have to experience a crisis in order to change our habits.

 

So it comes that the City of Cape Town activated water rationing to forcibly lower water usage, as we’re still not saving enough, even with level 5 water restrictions in place.

They started a whole campaign urging us to make water saving a way of life: www.capetown.gov.za/thinkwater.

Because let’s face it: This is not going to be the last drought crisis.

So be the change and be mindful with water: There are steps everyone can implement to save water.

 

Let’s all learn from this and share our #WaterSaving tips in order to create a universal Drought Crisis 101 manual.

Email me your ideas and I’ll try and test them and blog about it: TrulyJuly@web.de 🙂

 

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