If you need to update your home but want to minimize the impact of your renovation project on the environment, there are a number of sustainable products you can use. Here are three of the most versatile and affordable ones on the market.
This type of flooring is made from all-natural, biodegradable, and renewable materials such as linseed oil, wood flour, and pine resin. It’s also a durable and inexpensive choice. Well-maintained linoleum floors can last up to 40 years and they don’t fade over time. Plus, this floor covering can be recycled if you eventually decide to replace it.
This strong and versatile material can be used to build, style, and insulate your home. In addition to being a renewable resource, bamboo is resistant to dents and scratches if properly sealed. This makes it a suitable choice for floors and countertops. You can also take advantage of its unique texture to create an accent wall.
3. Natural paint
Eco-friendly paints can be made from a number of possible ingredients such as clay, linseed oil, and milk casein. However, be careful not to confuse biodegradable options with those that don’t contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Although VOC-free paints don’t emit toxic fumes, they’re often made with petrochemical solvents that are harmful to the environment.
In addition, you can also use cork, terracotta, reclaimed wood, and recycled steel to update your home. With so many green options available, you don’t have to compromise on style to be eco-friendly.
Kids’ Corner: Why is the sky blue?
The sky is blue because of the way sunlight interacts with the atmosphere. Light is actually made up of all the colors of the rainbow. Once combined, these colors are transformed into white light, which travels in a straight line through the atmosphere until it hits an obstacle.
There are billions of tiny molecules floating around in the atmosphere. When white light hits them, it splits into different colors. However, instead of appearing orange, green, or purple, the sky looks blue. This is because the oxygen molecules in the sky only absorb and diffuse blue light, making the sky appear blue to the human eye.
3 reasons to choose local shops over e-commerce giants
Massive online retailers like Amazon have become a top choice for many shoppers because of their low prices and speedy deliveries. However, there are important advantages to supporting local businesses when you shop online. Here are three reasons to champion the merchants in your area when you want to buy something on the internet.
1. Shorter delivery routes
When you buy products from an international e-commerce company, your package may need to travel thousands of miles to reach you. This emits significantly more greenhouse gases than if you select items from stores that are closer to home.
2. Better use of resources
Small, local businesses typically make it a high priority to use renewable energy sources and eco-friendly materials when designing their products. In many cases, this means the item will be made better and last longer.
3. Personalized services
Even if you shop from their online store, you can still speak with the local merchants you buy from over the phone or via a live chat platform. This gives you access to personalized advice and recommendations about your purchase that you likely won’t get from an e-commerce giant. Additionally, you’ll have the option to visit their store and see the products in person before you make a selection.
Next time you want to buy something online, be sure to reflect on these points before you check out your order.
Kids’ Corner: How to make an herbarium
Do you like to collect beautiful flowers and unique-looking leaves? If so, a herbarium is a perfect way to preserve these finds and learn more about them. Here’s how to create a scrapbook for your plant specimens.
• Collect a variety of flowers and leaves on your walk. Avoid doing this on a rainy day, otherwise, the wet plants might rot while they dry.
• Place your finds between two pieces of newspaper, paper towel, or blotting paper to absorb any moisture and help them dry out.
• Stack a few large, heavy books on top of the plants. Leave them like this to flatten for at least a week.
• Arrange the dried flowers and leaves on the pages of a notebook or in a binder. Use clear glue or transparent tape to stick them in place.
• Write the name of each plant next to it. You can also include interesting details like its smell and where you found it.
Feel free to add more plants over time. If you want ideas about how to design your herbarium, there are plenty of tutorials online.
Choices (and prices) abound with vacuums
If you’re thinking about replacing your old, broken-down vacuum cleaner, get ready for a dizzying array of options at a huge variety of price points.
Budget or high-end models, bagless, cordless, robotic, allergy-friendly — today’s vacuum cleaners aren’t like your grandmother’s heavy old upright model.
Cordless vacuums offer a lightweight, versatile alternative to the bulky corded appliances of the past, and the newer models can handle all types of flooring and other cleaning projects with the same power as a corded vacuum. The lighter weight and maneuverability are great for homes with lots of stairs. But buyers should be aware — these vacuums often have lower debris collection capacity than their corded counterparts, and without regular charging, a low battery could interrupt your housecleaning.
A high-end model like a Dyson V15 is priced around $700, while a more affordable cordless vacuum like the Moosoo M X6 still offers great cleaning power for a much more affordable $90.
Bagless vacuums substitute the traditional vacuum bag with a clear chamber where debris collects. When the chamber is full, simply dump it in the trash. They’re a lower waste and less expensive to operate than vacuums that require bags, but for allergy sufferers, the increased exposure to allergens — especially when emptying the chamber — might make this a non-starter. A higher-end model like the Sharp APEX costs around $390, while the Bissell Cleanview will run you about $80.
Robot vacuums, unlike humans, never forget to vacuum the carpet and can usually be relied upon to find hidden crumbs behind the sofa and those pesky clumps of pet hair. Some of the latest models can even mop and empty themselves. But the dust collection bins have limited capacity and the robots aren’t ideal for multi-level homes with lots of steps. If you’ve got deep pockets and want a robot that empties itself, try the iRobot Roomba s9+, which retails for about $950. The iLife A9, however, still does a good job on the low-pile carpet for a more affordable $220.
If you have asthma or allergies, you may want to purchase a vacuum with a HEPA filter to keep the air around the vacuum free of flying dust, dirt, pet hair, dander and other indoor air pollutants that might go airborne while you’re sweeping. The Miele Complete C3 canister vacuum offers HEPA filtration and a sealed air system to avoid kicking up extra dust particles and runs about $1,100. The Hoover WindTunnel 3 High-Performance Pet upright vacuum also offers HEPA filtration, as well as extra features to get pet hair off the floor — all for about $200.
5 uses for technology in a seniors’ residence
Many seniors living in retirement residences benefit from technology. Here are five ways that older adults can use modern devices in their everyday lives.
1. To stay in touch. No matter the distance, seniors can continue to stay connected with their families and attend important events such as birthdays and anniversaries thanks to video conferencing technologies.
2. To facilitate planning. Residents can easily register for activities, view the dining room menu, or reserve a table for lunch via a dedicated website or application.
3. To improve safety. Technology can be used to detect falls, send residents medication reminders and allow seniors with reduced mobility to attend virtual medical consultations.
4. To enhance cognitive abilities. Reading, watching movies, and listening to music can help residents maintain their cognitive abilities. In addition, sudoku-type games and crossword puzzles are excellent for exercising the brain.
5. To maintain autonomy. Smart devices, including voice assistants like Amazon Alexa, can help simplify certain daily tasks, provide remote assistance and remind residents of appointments and special events.
If you’re planning to move to a retirement residence, you should first find out about internet access at the facility. In addition, many residences offer introductory computer courses, so you don’t have to worry if you aren’t very tech-savvy.
Online shopping: support local initiatives
For good reason, e-commerce has become a significant part of our daily lives. After all, it can be very convenient to make purchases with a few clicks on your computer, tablet or smartphone, and have the products you need to be delivered right to your door. However, it’s important to maintain a commitment to supporting local businesses, even if you shop on the internet. Here are a few tips to help you find the online stores of merchants in your area.
An increasing number of websites are being launched as search engines designed to help you find merchants in your area who offer the products you want. Some of these directories even allow you to refine your search based on whether you’re looking for food, gifts, or other goods.
Once you’ve identified a local business that sells what you need, you’ll be redirected to their online sales platform to make a purchase or browse their selection.
Many businesses have a presence on social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. Additionally, your municipality and other local organizations may share posts about these retailers on their own social media pages. You can also use the messaging feature on these platforms to get information and recommendations.
While it might take a bit more effort to find online retailers in your area, supporting these businesses is a great way to boost the local economy.