Since I first learned about recycling in the early eighties I have tried to follow the notion of the three R’s. Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.
I try to recycle as many of the paper, cardboard, glass plastic & metal things in daily life that we use in our home and office. I reuse office paper, cutting used 8’ X 11” pages into note pads, I copy on both sides of the paper in the office, my wife saves as much wrapping paper as she can, and anything we can’t find a use for we send out in a blue bag for the city to recycle. The problem with recycling is that darn near everything we buy has a throw-away component. Cardboard, plastic, tin, glass, wood, whatever you purchase they all have something that covers, holds, explains or fulfills some other function that once in the home is of no value and has to go out to the curb on garbage day.
There are times when I feel like a hoarder, we keep cardboard boxes, plastic ice cream, whip cream and butter tubs, plastic bags, and the plastic clips from bread bags, bubble wrap and whatever else we can find a use for. All of which is stored in every nook and cranny in the house, shed, and garage. One day soon I hope to find a use for these things other than as a means to hold screws, nails, pencils, change, etc. At least we manage to move the pop cans, milk jugs, juice boxes, and wine bottles every couple of months, when the bags begin to build up to the point where we can’t get around them anymore. Of course the money we get back on our deposit goes right back into things we have to recycle.
My next car will be electric, not only because it’s better for the environment, but because I’m tired of getting out of my car in minus thirty Celsius weather to gas up while some guy sits inside a warm store and watches me. We use bins not bags for shopping and carrying our groceries. Our lawn mower is electric not gas, and now with the city of Edmonton pushing for us to stop bagging our grass clippings, I have to sharpen my lawn mower blades every time the grass is cut so the clippings can be left in the grass. It also means that the lawn has to be left longer, and cut more often. Even our weed whacker is electric.
I had to replace all our toilets from the old conventional ones to low flush water savers. If you’ve ever seen me with tools in my hands you’ll understand what a chore that was. Around the house we use everyday products to clean whenever possible, micro fiber clothes and water for windows and mirrors, water and vinegar on the floors and much more. We had a heat audit done on our 1970’s home and we were losing over 40% of our heat. We replaced doors, water heater, furnace, insulated the basement and the attic. Most of which we did ourselves. Remember that tools and I don’t get along? Imagine how much fun that was to do. But now we have a much more efficient home when it comes to heating and cooling. Saves us money and helps the environment.
We all know how important it is to follow the three R’s. We all need to help keep the environment in good shape; we all need to be responsible for what we use and how we use it. I am the first person to get upset when people don’t follow the ideals of recycle, reuse and reduce, but I am also the first to let you know what a pain it can be to do it.
Thanks for listening.
While stationed in Germany during the early eighties, my wife and I acquired a small dog to keep her company when I was away doing all that fun army stuff. She found a black Cockapoo, a half cocker spaniel half poodle mix she named Charlie, who became her best friend and companion during our four year stay in Europe. Marilyn and Charlie were inseparable and she never went anywhere without him. Marilyn is a Winnipeg girl, and for the entire time we were in Europe she suffered from allergies. She always sounded as if she had a cold and it didn’t matter what we did, we could not find the source of the problem, but we always blamed it on outside sources, trees, mold, flowers etc. It was only after we returned to Canada, and Charlie passed on that we realized he had been the source of her allergies.
Twenty-five years later we have had a number of dogs since Charlie, two of them, Jake a golden Lab, and Leroy a black Lab, (I like Labs) we had to give away because of the hair and dander problems. Although I am not allergic, it turns out that not only is Marilyn allergic, but so are both of our children. Not wanting to be dogless we found non-shedding, hypoallergenic dogs.
Marilyn studied the various breeds and found two that we could have around the house. The breeds she settled on were Havanese (they have hair not fur) and Bichon Frise (they don’t shed). For the last seventeen years we have had one or both of those breeds in our house and both Marilyn and the kids have not had problems with their allergies. I say that because while they still suffer from allergy symptoms, they take allergy medication, and we all tend to blame something other than the dogs for any problems. However studies suggest hypoallergenic cats and dogs can cause just as many symptoms as the regular kind, says James Seltzer, MD, a spokesperson for the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. That’s because skin and saliva proteins, not just hair, trigger allergy symptoms. Allergens (particularly saliva proteins) can latch on to the hair, so less shedding in general, rather than the length of the hair, should be considered. The same is true for cats.
To help with allergies and cleanliness there are several breeds that are better than others. For allergy sufferers, it pays to take some time to research and look at every option before getting a pet. There is nothing worse than getting a pet, bringing them home and then having to give them away. The internet has a great deal of information, the SPCA is a great source of information and there are numerous qualified, upstanding breeders out there who are more than willing to help in your decision. Even though they have accidents, chew your stuff, bark and do any number of annoying things, dogs and cats should be a part of every family.
Here are links to some helpful information.
In the world of carpet cleaning here in sunny Edmonton one of the things we see on a daily basis is problems with allergies.
Carpets usually cover a large part of the living space in your home and office. Day to day use allows a great number of things into your carpet, from exhaust fumes to chemicals picked up by pets and shoes, to dust, mold, dirt, and pollen. All of these things can be the cause of some allergies. Two of the main offenders that cause two of the most aggravating allergens are Dust Mites and pet dander.
Dust mites are microscopic arthropods and may be the most common cause of allergies in the home. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, more than 20 million Americans are allergic to Dust Mites. Dust Mites can produce up to 200 times their body weight in waste matter each day, (source Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America) and it is the waste matter that is the actual allergen. These microscopic critters live deep in carpets, bedding, and furniture, and feed off dead skin cells, among other things. Regular vacuuming does not remove more than about 5% of them, (source Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America). One more great reason to have not only carpets but upholstery and mattresses cleaned regularly.
Another main source of allergens in the home is pets. Cute and cuddly though they may be, pets provoke allergies in 15 to 30 percent of people with allergies. Their saliva, urine and other secretions contain proteins that are potential allergens, and their hair traps dust, fleas, and pollen that end up lodged in carpets when the pets shed, and their dead skin or Dander, collects of the surface of your carpet. Pet allergens are a problem because they are sticky and cling to surfaces, and when disturbed they float in the air for a long time.
Mold caused by high humidity, spills that are not cleaned up, and leaks, is another source of allergens. Even having your carpet cleaned and leaving it wet for eight, ten or in some cases twenty four hours can cause mold and mildew. Whenever a source of mold is disturbed the spores are sent floating through the air.
To help reduce the problems for those who suffer from allergies there are a few things you can do. If you are a dog or cat lover, find a breed that doesn’t shed or ones that have hair rather than fur, breeds like Havanese or Bichon Frise. Vacuuming is a good place to start but it must be done the right way. Invest in a good model vacuum with a built in HEPA filter and vacuum all your floors thoroughly one or two times a week. Also ensure that all spills and “accidents” are cleaned up and dried as soon as possible to help prevent mold and mildew from forming. Beyond these actions, you should also have your carpet professionally cleaned every eight to twelve months or more often if your allergies are more pronounced. Try and find carpet cleaners like EKO Carpet and Upholstery Care who use natural hypo-allergenic cleaning solutions and whose process allows the carpets to dry in one or two hours rather than one or two days.
Here are some great links for information on allergies, their cause and effects. Just cut and paste the links into your browsers address bar if they don’t automatically connect you to the site.
http://www.mayoclinic.com (I like this one the best)
Allergy Forecast for Edmonton.
We are a green company. Now what does that mean? Is our equipment colored green? Is our paperwork green? Well yes but not quite by design. Are our uniforms green? No. What we are is a company that understands that being green is the wave of the future. Being a green, environmentally conscious company was more a business decision than anything else. We understand that people just like us do not want harsh chemicals or soaps and oils left in their carpets and furniture. So green seemed like the logical choice. In our case our business decision was aligned with our environmental ideas and feelings.
On our street most of our neighbours have one or maybe two blue bags out for pick up on garbage day. We will usually have three or more. It’s not that we have more stuff or create more garbage; it is because we are diligent in separating and collecting our recyclable products. As a member of the Canadian military I was stationed in Europe for several years back in the eighties, yes I am old, and even then the Europeans were recycling and practicing good environmental habits. We started to recycle and learned a bit about helping the environment and have always maintained those ideas back in Canada.
So when I went into business for myself, that’s the first thing I did was to ensure that it was as green as possible. Not everything we use is natural; some problems need a little extra strength to be used. But we don’t run gas/diesel engines out of our vans for two or three hours at a time while cleaning, we use electricity, and we try to be as gentle on the environment as possible.
So when you hear me say we are a “green Company” you have an idea of just why we call ourselves that, and I will no doubt expand on this idea in later articles.