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10 Easy Ways To Green Your Home In Hong Kong

ExpertsPost Category - ExpertsExperts

We may live in one of the most polluted cities in the world but it’s easier and more essential than you realise to find healthier alternatives. Going green can be overwhelming, seem impossible and appear to require a massive time and money investment to start with. Not so!

Here, our two latest experts at Sassy Mama – the Green Queen and Sarah Sanesi from Baby Bloom  – dish out 10 easy, wallet-friendly suggestions for greening your home now.

1. Get a House Plant – Any green plant will do. Plants absorb a great deal of toxic air particles in your home. They are nature’s air filters and don’t cost much. They are especially useful in a city home where air-conditioning is used frequently as air-conditioners tend to recycle polluted city air. Turn the upkeep of your houseplants into a fun activity to share with your little ones!

2. Give Stuff Away – This is an easy one and it’s free. Clean out your home, reclaim your living space and give old books, clothes, shoes, toys and any other knickknacks to people who need it more than you do. Get your children involved by having them pick out some things they no longer use and make them feel good about donating! Wherever you live there are charities, churches and NGOs that will happily accept donations. And the next time you buy something, think twice before getting it, ask yourself if you really need it.

3. Buy Baking Soda & White Vinegar – at your local grocery store. Instead of polluting your home with harsh, chemical-laden household cleaning products, try the easy homemade recipe below for All Purpose Cleaner. When mixed in varying concoctions, these two super cleaners can remove dirt and grime from just about anything.

All Purpose Cleaner: Mix ½ cup of white distilled vinegar with ¼ cup baking soda and 2 litres /½ gallon of (filtered) water. Store in an airtight spray bottle container or glass bottle. Keeps indefinitely.

4. Put a Timer in Your Shower – we all underestimate how much water we use in the shower and we all take water for granted. Note to everyone: water is a scarce resource and we are running out! We understand that a long, hot shower is a luxurious treat and a part of life. So indulge once a week. The rest of the time, use a run-of-the mill timer and limit yourself to 3-5 minutes, max!

5. Ditch Your Rugs & Carpets – they accumulate so many toxins, as well as dirt, dust, bugs and many more ear-nose-and-throat-polluting contaminants: they are a leading cause of allergies and indoor air pollution. Remember, don’t add to the landfill: take them to recycling facilities or give them to charity.

6. Change Your Light Bulbs – replace your regular light bulbs with energy saving ones. Regular light bulbs = energy consumption = rising gasoline costs and electric bills = greenhouse-gas emissions = global warming. Not convinced? Change a few and notice the difference in your electricity bill and treat yourself to a nice dinner with what you saved!

7. Open Your Windows – yes, even in polluted Hong Kong! It’s very likely that your indoor air quality is worse than the outdoor air quality so increase ventilation by opening a few windows every day for 5 to 10 minutes, preferably on opposite sides of the house.

8. Take Your Shoes Off – that’s right, taking your shoes off as soon as you enter the house and leaving them by the door prevents a host of dirt, dust, bacteria, germs and other toxic microbes from infesting your home and the floors on which your children crawl and play!

9. Clean Your Air-Con Filters – regular upkeep of your air-conditioning filters (use a suction vacuum to remove dust/dirt particles and then wash filters with soapy warm waters and let dry before re-inserting) will not only mean cleaner air at home, it will also help lower your electricity bills and cut down on maintenance costs.

10. Go Fragrance-Free – ditch the air fresheners, disinfectant sprays and wax-/paraffin-based candles! If you need lovely scents, choose high-grade aromatherapy-based products instead.

Green Queen is a blog dedicated to all things green, organic, eco-friendly and sustainable! You will find facts, figures, tips, ideas, reviews, ratings, editorials, news updates and much more! Make sure to check out Green Queen’s Green Guide to Hong Kong, a full listing of green businesses, services, restaurants and products!

Sarah Sanesi is a holistic health practitioner, a certified baby planner and a greenproofer. She founded Baby Bloom, which offers a wide range of services for expecting couples and young families, including greenproofing that provides education, support and resources in order to protect families from unsafe exposure to potentially toxic substances in their home, on their body and in their environment.

A few more Sassy Mama tips on small changes that make a big difference:

You may love dotting those luxury scented candles available from the best stores in Hong Kong around your home, but while they smell amazing  many of them contain petroleum based chemicals which are released as the candle burns. We love the Neom brand of soy based candles available at Lane Crawford, but if you are staying local Yummy Mummy is a huge fan of HK Honey,  whose beeswax and honey-scented candles come from Mr Yip at the Wing Wo Bee Farm in Shatin and are then handmade in Tai Po. With no petroleum-based chemicals,  they release a clean-burning white smoke.

Clothing detergents
This will be among the easiest green switch to make as Hong Kong supermarkets have a good selection of green washing detergents including Ecover, Eco Store and Sonnet. All have excellent cleaning capabilities and all are non-irritating for young children’s delicate skin.

Cookware and Food Storage
Teflon coated pans contain ammonium perfluorooctanoate or C-8, so the safest cookware to use is All Clad stainless steel pans or those gorgeous copper pans available at Pan Handler in Princes Building. And when it comes to storing your food, it’s glass all the way.

Plastics and Papers
Instead of plastic wrap use unbleached wax paper as plasticisers used in plastic wrap release chemicals that disrupt hormones and are linked to some cancers. Seventh Generation make excellent recycled paper products that can be found in ThreeSixty, The Landmark or Park n Shop.

Choose paints that are low in volatile organic compounds (VOCs) as these chemicals cause indoor pollution 24/7 by off gassing emitting low levels of toxic vapours into the air from the walls, floors or furniture for years after their application. You can get Ecozmo Natural Paint from Natural Living, G/F 28 Jervois Street, Sheung Wan, Tel: 2847-3378.

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