Natural Cleaning Tips For Healthy Living - September 2014

Create and maintain a clean environment of your very own.

Eco-Cleaning Tips for the Office Office Cleaning Tips Refrigerator Cleaning

Office Refrigerator Rules: How to Keep Office Refrigerators Clean

The Essential Rules for Office Refrigerator Cleaning

Inside the office refrigerator

Anyone who has worked in an office setting knows the woes of the often-stinky office fridge. Forgotten lunches passed over for spontaneously ordered take-out, food long past its expiration date and the worst: unidentifiable objects. The fact is it’s not so tough to keep the icebox clean with the right system in place. Here’s how to get—and keep—your office refrigerator in top shape the natural way.

  1. Put someone in charge. Whether you select one person or a team, make sure you have a portion of your staff dedicated to this often ignored and dreaded task. Unclean refrigerators breed bacteria and release mold spores into the air, putting employees at risk. Once your ‘clean team’ is determined, schedule a date for cleaning, ideally Fridays, to prevent food from sitting in the fridge over the weekend. And create a list of rules, like the following, to keep everyone in the office on track:
    1. All food containers will be tossed on Fridays at 4 p.m. if not removed prior.
    2. Expiration dates will be checked on bottles and expired items will be tossed on Fridays at 4 p.m.
    3. If food spills, please clean it up immediately with a clean rag and warm, soapy water.
    4. Please do not use chemical products inside the fridge.
  2. The big clean out. Once you establish your rules, give the office fridge a good baseline cleaning. Remove all items, checking expiration dates and pitching those that are expired as you go. Once empty, use a clean towel and warm soapy water to wipe down the interior walls, shelves and flat surfaces. Use another towel to dry. Use vinegar to break up tough, greasy stains and toothpaste with an old toothbrush for the most stubborn ones. And don’t forget the freezer; make sure to clean that out weekly as well.
  3. Plan ahead. Prepare for future odors by placing a new, opened box of baking soda inside the fridge; be sure to change it out every six months for optimum freshness. If fridge smells have already reached super funky levels, place a few charcoal briquettes on a plate inside the fridge for a few days. Catch spills when they happen by lining all drawers with fresh paper towels.
  4. Protect the environment. For food safety, the temperature inside the refrigerator should always be below 40°F. Monitor yours with a thermometer placed in the center of the top shelf. Check it frequently and if you notice it’s too warm, have your appliance serviced.

Talk to us: What’s the state of your office fridge? Let us know if these tips work for your organization.

 

image courtesy of flickr/BY CC 2.0

composting Fall Home Decor Fall Leaves Mulch Outdoor Projects

Green Uses for Dead Autumn Leaves

What to do with fall leaves

If you live in a home with even a couple of deciduous trees on the property, you know fall means one thing: raking, raking and more raking! The more trees you have, the more dead leaves you’re left to deal with. Instead of bagging yours in lawn bags and waiting for the sanitation department to drag them away, consider some of these great uses for your normally discarded leaves.

  1. Compost. Dead leaves are a great addition to your composter, when left to break down over time they develop into rich humus and eventually turn into compost. Use the resulting nutrient-dense compound to fertilize your containers, trees and flowerbeds. There’s no better example of the environment providing exactly what the environment needs—it’s full-circle environmentalism at its best! Be sure to use dry leaves or mix in some sawdust or straw to absorb moisture and avoid rot. Speed up the process by shredding leaves with a lawnmower before composting.
  2. Free mulch. The plants and shrubs around your yard can use an extra layer of protection, especially when dealing with winters that include polar vortices! Fortify your plant life by surrounding it with a four to six inch layer around each plant base. Before spreading large leaves, shred with your mower or crunch by hand.
  3. Mow and go. Instead of spending hours raking leaves and dealing with the piles, consider taking your mover to your leaf-covered lawn instead. You’ll shred the leaves so they won’t choke out your lawn over the winter, while enjoying the convenience of leaving the leaves in place. Just as they would in your composter, the leaves will turn to humus and fertilize your lawn or beds over time as they break down. This method also provides over-winter protection for lots of wildlife, such as snails and butterflies.
  4. Home décor. While there are many ways to reuse leaves right in the yard they come from, leaves have aesthetic uses, too. Colorful leaves make beautiful fall rose bouquets. Take a large, colorful leaf, like a maple, and fold it in half from top to bottom. Then roll from left to right. Continue with additional leaves in the same fashion, wrapping them around the center leaf. Continue folding and wrapping until you have the desired size, then secure your fall rose by wrapping floral wire around the stems. Framed, pressed leaves also make beautiful wall décor. Press leaves between two sheets of wax paper and iron for 10 seconds. Allow to cool, then cut around leaf edges and frame.

Talk to us: Are your leaves piling up outside yet? If so, we’d love to hear how you plan to make the most of them this year! Share your creative uses in the comments below!

 

image courtesy of flickr/BY CC 2.0

#BtheChange B Corporation Doing well by doing good Employees Social Entrepreneurs

Why are #BCorps attracting the best talent?

B Corps are better for workers

At GreenHouse Eco-Cleaning, we know that a business is more than a building, a service, or a product. A business is made up of people, and treating those people right is a crucial part of doing business the right way. We’re proud to join our fellow B Corps in working to create a better life for those who contribute the most to our success: our employees.

To celebrate the release of B Corp Best for Workers List, they asked #BCorp employees to share why they’re proud to #BtheChange.  Checkout the video below.  

Want to do more? Visit bthechange.com and join the movement of people using business as a force for good.

 

 

 

B Corporation Etsy Etsy Shop Etsy.com Social Companies

Change Maker: Etsy

Why Etsy is a Change Maker

The Change:  You are probably somewhat familiar with Etsy, the online community where people gather to buy and sell handmade or vintage items (and now, thanks to new guidelines, unique factory-manufactured items are also available).  But, Etsy is more than just an e-commerce site, it is a company with a social purpose.  “Etsy’s mission is to empower people to change the way the global economy works,” states the company on its B Corporation profile.  “They see a world in which very-very small businesses have much-much more sway in shaping the economy, local living economies are thriving everywhere, and people value authorship and provenance as much as price and convenience. Etsy is bringing heart to commerce and making the world more fair, more sustainable, and more fun.”

The Story:  Launched in 2005, the Brooklyn-based Etsy has grown steadily and is now a global community made up of nearly 500 employees and 30 million buyers and sellers.  In 2013, their sellers grossed more than $1.35 billion in sales.   In a 2013 interview, company CEO Chad Dickerson described the website as “a platform that provides meaning to people, and an opportunity to validate their art, their craft.  All commerce is about human interaction.  At the end of every transaction, you get something real from a real person. There is an existential satisfaction to that.”

The Commitment: Etsy is committed to creating an economy that’s fair, sustainable and powered by people.  Toward that goal, the company incorporates these core values:

  • We are a mindful, transparent, and humane business.
  • We plan and build for the long term.
  • We value craftsmanship in all we make.
  • We believe fun should be part of everything we do
  • We keep it real, always.

Strategies You Should Steal:

Connect Offline and Online
Even if you have an entirely online business, you need to connect with customers and partners in an offline world as well. Etsy has created numerous opportunities to connect with their customers offline including Etsy Labs, a once-a-month craft night held at various Etsy locations, as well as onsite workshops and social events.  Are you a company that thrives offline?  Don’t forget to connect online—social media connections not only help grow your business but impact change.  Even if you are not a part of the dialogue, the conversation about your brand and your mission is still going to happen online—don’t miss out.

Help Your Customers Succeed
The more successful your customers are, the more successful your business will be—and the more opportunity everyone will have to make everlasting change in our world.  Help your customers succeed by providing tips and advice for their life or business or share ways in which they can effectively use your products and services.   Etsy does this through their online blog which often features Etsy shops and gives practical business insight such as this post on how to market your shop via Instagram. 

The Details:
Brooklyn, New York
www.etsy.com
Facebook, Twitter

Talk to us:  Do you have an earth-friendly, socially-conscious business you would like us to profile?  Send us a note via Twitter or Facebook!

Clothing Swap Clothing Swap Party clothing swap party ideas clothing swap rules How to host a clothing swap

Host a Sophisticated Clothes Swap

How to host a clothes swap

Take your green to the fashion scene by hosting a clothing swap with style. Gather friends and family to trade treasures, reduce your collective carbon footprint and save a little money, too. Here’s how to set your own swap on the road to success:

  1. Timing is everything. Entice your guest list to join in by planning your clothing swap at the end of a season. It’s the perfect time to clean out closets and drawers, plus your green-minded pals will appreciate having a plan for their gently used items. Create a guest list that encourages participation from fashionistas of all shapes and sizes and invite them virtually, via email or online invitation.
  2. Rule your swap. Successful clothing swaps are not free-for-alls, they’re carefully planned out with guidelines that ensure attendees leave looking forward to the next one. Let guests know how many items to bring, what condition items must be in and what, if any, pre-work is required. For instance, you might ask each guest to bring 10-20 items. They should be clean, free of debris, in near perfect condition and sorted by type of clothing before coming to the event. Keep it interesting by allowing guests to bring accessories as well.
  3. Run it well. Display items by type in a large area to avoid overcrowding and prevent shoppers from becoming overwhelmed. Just like the rules of a group gift exchange such as White Elephant or Yankee Swap, draw numbers to determine the order of shopping. Make sure to provide guests with a couple changing areas, equipped with a few full-length mirrors for the best possible shopping experience.
  4. Give together. Once you’ve shopped, pack up remaining items and take them to a charity of the group’s choice; possibly a women’s shelter or local Goodwill. Sharing with others allows items to continue to be useful for those in need.
  5. Broaden your horizons. Not interested in hosting a women’s clothing swap? Consider hosting for children’s clothing or toys. When you think about the short window children use their belongings, it makes a lot of sense. Their items almost always remain in good shape, ready to be reused and recycled in the home of another little one.

Talk to us: Have you gotten your swap on? If you’ve successfully swapped items of any kind with a group of family or friends, we’d love to hear your tricks of the trade in the comments below!

 

image courtesy of flickr/BY CC 2.0

Benefits of honey honeybees New York Eco Events NYC Honey Week Uses for honey

Get Ready for NYC Honey Week

Bees in a Hive

It only seems fitting that the “City That Never Sleeps” is host to a festival that honors the busiest of insects:  the honeybee.  Honey Week, which will be held September 8-14, is a weeklong, citywide festival that is part educational, part entertainment and a whole lot of delicious.  The brainchild of Brooklyn Grange, a rooftop farm in NYC, this event brings together a wide range of honey and bee related vendors (think urban beekeepers, chefs and artists) to educate us on the contributions honeybees make not only to our health, but to our planet.

Here are 5 things we love to do at NYC Honey Week 2014:

Visit A Beehive
Tours of Local Apiaries
Tuesday, September 9-Sunday, September 14
10:00am
Various locations in Manhattan, Brooklyn & Queens
Cost:  FREE w/ RSVP (space is limited)
If you have ever wanted to get a behind-the-scenes look at the backyard (or rooftop or community garden) of a beekeeper, now is your chance.  Visit live beehives and learn more about the world of honeybees.  Some of the tours are more interactive than others, so contact individual tour hosts for more information.  Click here for more details on the tours that will be available.

Enjoy A Cocktail
Queen Bee Cocktail Classic
Monday, September 8
8:00pm-10:00pm
NY Distilling Co
Cost:  $48
What do you get when you mix local honey with regionally produced spirits? Something delicious.  This event allows you to sample entries (and enjoy honey-influenced nibbles) from NYC’s best craft cocktail mavens as they compete for the tastiest honey-infused drinks.

Build A Costume
Busy Bee Costume-Building & Farm Visit
Wednesday, September 10
12:00pm-5:00pm
BLDG 92 in Brooklyn Navy Yard
63 Flushing Ave, Brooklyn
Cost: FREE w/ RSVP
Even if you are not the crafty type, you will want to bring your kids to this unique event where City Growers lead a bee costume-building session to outfit kids for Honey Fest’s Be-A-Bee Parade.  When you are done costume building, head to the roof for a family-friendly farm tour and if you are there between 3-5pm, you can enjoy sweet honey treats from Myrtle Eats Fresh Community Chef Roisin Ford.

Cook Something Delicious
Hey Honey! with Rebekah Peppler
September 11
7:00pm-9:00pm
Haven’s Kitchen
109 W. 17th St.
Cost:  $125
Rebekah Peppler, author of Honey, will lead you through a honey tasting to discover the diversity of flavors, textures and smells of this magical ingredient as well as teach you how to cook with honey in a variety of ways.  Bonus:  Class participants can take home a copy of Honey to put the cooking skills to good use.

Celebrate
Honey Fest
Saturday, September 13
11:00am-6:00pm
Rockaway Beach 97
97th & Ocean, Rockaway Beach
Cost:  FREE
The culminating event of the week, this free, daylong festival features art, food, music, film, kids’ arts and crafts and a bee-product marketplace—it is the perfect way to celebrate the beauty of honey and the honeybee with your entire family.  “Gather ye buds and enjoy the sunshine before autumn arrives by spending the day at the beach sampling the very best of NYC’s liquid gold.”

Talk to us:  What is your favorite dish or cocktail made with honey?

 

image courtesy of flickr/BY CC 2.0