Green Corner: Cleaning Products
As UCN is developing its Green Cleaning Policy as part of the Green Sanctuary program, it is a great idea to examine your own home’s policies. When you clean your home, are you putting not-so-clean things into your space and the environment? Common cleaners contain chemicals that can leave toxic residues on surfaces, pollute your indoor air, and pollute water ways as they wash down your drain. There are many non-toxic alternatives that you can buy or make yourself. In our household, we frequently reference Clean & Green, a small book by Annie Berthold-Bond. It is filled with recipes for cleaning everything from the chrome on your car to your kitchen counters. Some recipes work better than others, but it is always worth trying one before you buy an expensive and/or toxic alternative.
This is also one area where going “green” will save you money! With a few simple ingredients from the grocery store (baking soda, borax, vinegar, and washing soda), you can clean almost anything. We still buy laundry soap, but we use much less because we add ¼ - ½ cup of washing soda to each load. This helps increase the effectiveness of laundry soap and offset the cost of using an environmentally safer laundry soap. To clean windows, vinegar is an old standby. To clean slow drains, a ½ cup of baking soda followed by vinegar will bubble its way to making your drain open up. A great all purpose disinfecting spray cleaner is 1 teaspoon borax, 2 tablespoons vinegar, and 2 cups of hot water put into a spray bottle. We call this “eco-fantastic”. If you have are looking for an alternative to something specific, contact me (Jenny Elsner-Miller) at email@example.com and I will send you a recipe from the book. Happy cleaning!
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Do it all by taking your gently used clothing and household goods to Family Sharing, located at 1002 Overland Court, Grafton (262-377-0634). Your donations raise money to stock the food pantry for those in need. While there, shop the Family Sharing Resale Store and search out some recycled bargains!
Unitarian Church North seeks to heal and preserve the natural environment for our and future generations of all living things by increasing the sustainability and minimizing the negative ecological impact of UCN, our members, and our communities.
The Green Committee meets every fourth Wednesday of the month (unless otherwise noted in the email announcements) at 7:00 p.m. in the James Reeb room. ALL are welcome to join us!
As a relatively new committee, the Green Committee grew out of a Barn Banter held in the spring of 2007. Coordinated by then Minister Elena Rigg, this meeting drew thirty-six people and demonstrated the desire for involvment in environmental issues both within our congregation and beyond. The Barn Banter brainstorming session generated many ideas and much enthusiasm. This general meeting was followed-up with summer meetings where a vision and mission were created. On September 10, 2007 the UCN Board approved the Green Committee as a standing committee.
Since that time, the Green Committee has been busy! Below are a few things that the committee has either completed or working on at present.
- Vegetable garden
- Built a compost bin, held workshop on how to build one
- Installed mug rack in the fellowship hall and encourage the use of non-disposable cups during coffee time
- Worked with Sunday Service Committee on reducing the numbers of Orders of Service printed each Sunday
- Established an ongoing monthly column in the Northliner, called “Green Corner,” covering a wide variety of “green” topics
- Posted signs to encourage wise water use in all bathrooms and in the kitchen
- Encourage the use of real dishes at church fellowship functions
- Coordinated an interactive carbon footprint workshop
- Hosted a local food talk by local Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farmers
- Coordinated a silent auction of a CSA share with the proceeds going to the UCN general operating budget
- Conducted a walk-through energy audit of the church
- Coordinated three Walk, Bike, Carpool to Church Day events
- Offered multiple Northwest Earth Institute courses, including Voluntary Simplicity and Choices for Sustainable Living
- Offered "An Amazing Journey!: The Universe & Me" adult education course
- Coordinated recycling efforts at UCN
- Increased UCN's green library
- Hosted two community electronic recycling events keepin 20+ tons of electronics out of landfills
- Hosted Sid Syam’s presentation on Spirituality and Nature Future
- Hosted an area-wide Mindfulness retreat
- Promoted the replacement of UCN boilers to cost-saving and energy efficient models
- Hosted an eight-week "Green Living" discussion and action program
- Established a seed-gathering and sharing program with Hawley Enviromental School
- Establised a Friday Flyer feature entitles "Toward a Sustainable Future" to provide facts and food for thought
Currently the Green Committee is focused on obtaining the Unitarian Universalist Association’s “Green Sanctuary” designation. This process will integrate “green” thinking into all aspects of the church community. This is a very ambitious and exciting project for our congregation. Stay tuned….there will be much more to come!
Learn more about the UUA Green Sanctuary Program on the UUA's website. And don’t hesitate to contact anyone on the Green Committee for more information.
Previous Green Committee Articles:
Where Recycling Goes - Feb. 2013
Kill-a-Watt or More! - March 2013
2013 Earth Day Activities - April 2013
Green Sanctuary FOOD Project - May & June 2013
2013 Electronics Recycling Event - Summer 2013
3rd Annual Electronic Recycling Event - October 2013
Equal Exchange Fair Trade Products for Sale - Nov.-Dec. 2013