Note from the Recycling Bin

— By greening-up your clean-up, you’ll be saving money, time, packaging, and indoor air quality. Using gentle household cleaners is also being kind to your septic system, which is likely working overtime this time of year. Simple and inexpensive ingredients like vinegar, baking soda and olive oil can be used in many different ways for effective cleaning. Make your own non-toxic cleaning products and avoid products marked ‘Danger’ and ‘Poison’ and reduce your use of products marked ‘Caution.’

— For an all-purpose cleaner, combine 2 cups vinegar, 2 cups water, and 1/2 cup baking soda (and 20 to 30 drops essential, optional). This is for hard surfaces like counter tops, refrigerator, kitchen floors, windows and mirrors. To remove smells like fish and onions off of utensils and cutting boards, wipe down the items with vinegar before washing. Furniture polish can be made from 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar and 20-30 drops lemon essential. Shake well before using, dip clean dry cloth into polish and rub wood in direction of grain. Now for that toilet bowl cleaner: sprinkle the toilet bowl with baking soda, drizzle with vinegar, let soak for at least 30 minutes, then scrub. To open a drain, pour 1/2 cup baking soda down drain, and follow with 1/2 cup vinegar, cover and let sit for 30 minutes, then flush with boiling water. There are many more cleaning uses for these simple and non-toxic ingredients.

— According to the EPA, the air we breathe inside our homes and offices can be 5 times more polluted than the air outside. Enclosed spaces can allow pollutants to accumulate and concentrate in the very spaces where we spend almost 90 percent of our time. Make the switch from toxic to gentle and breathe easier.

Information provided by ReGroup, a nonprofit educational group, formed in 1989 to develop public awareness of waste reduction, reuse and recycling benefits on Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula. ReGroup meets every third Monday of the month at 6:30 p.m. at Hope Community Resources Community Center on Princeton Avenue off Kalifornsky Beach Road. Find ReGroup at regroupalaska.org or contact at regroupkenaipeninsula@gmail.com.

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