So, in addition to this being National Indoor Plant Week, it’s also Pollution Prevention Week.
“This week is an opportunity for individuals, businesses, and governments to emphasize and highlight their pollution prevention and sustainability activities and achievements, expand current pollution prevention efforts, and commit to new actions.”
And, what can we, as individuals, do to help prevent pollution? Well –
Conserve energy – turn off lights, computers, and electric appliances when not in use. Use energy efficient light bulbs and appliances.
Limit driving by carpooling, using public transportation, biking and walking. Combine errands for fewer trips.
Keep your automobile well-tuned and maintained. Avoid excessive idling of your automobile.
Use electric or hand-powered lawn care equipment.
Run dishwashers and clothes washers only when full.
Adopt the 3 Rs of solid waste management: reduce, reuse, and recycle.
Use sustainable, reclaimed, or recycled building materials.
Start composting leaves and clippings from your yard and food scraps from your kitchen to reduce waste while improving your soil.
Always bring a bag when you shop. (Mine live in the car that way I don’t forget them.)
Get rid of your lawn: Plant bee-friendly, drought-tolerant, native plants instead. (YES! I HATE GRASS! It’s a water hog and has to be mowed all the damn time from March to November. Arrrggghhh!)
Use water wisely. Do not keep the tap running when not in use. Water flowerbed not the sidewalk or street.
Do not throw chemicals, oils, paints and medicines down the sink drain, or the toilet.
THINK before using commercial fertilizers or pesticides (is it going to soak into the water table, run into a lake or river?)
Do not litter. (Obviously, this one drives me crazy)
Choose environmentally friendly cleaners, insect repellents and fertilizers.
All-Purpose Cleaner: Put 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon dish soap, and 2 tablespoons vinegar into your spray bottle. Give it a stir/shake then fill bottle with warm water and shake it again. Let any bubbles calm down and it’s ready to use.
Tubs, sinks, tile, toilet cleaner: 1 Grapefruit 1/4 cup coarse salt. Halve grapefruit, sprinkle with salt, and you’re ready to go. Add more salt as you scrub. Rinse.
Weed killer where you want to replant: Fill garden sprayer with white vinegar, add 1 tsp liquid dish washing soap. Follow sprayer directions. This will kill above ground weeds but will not harm anything in the soil.
Weed/grass killer where you want it to die and not come back in your lifetime: Dissolve two cups table salt in one gallon of white vinegar. Add 1 teaspoon of liquid dishwashing soap. You can use a sprayer or a watering can with a sprinkler head. It may take a second application but it works.
All-Purpose outdoor insect spray: Mix one chopped garlic clove, one chopped small onion and one tablespoon cayenne powder into one quart water. Allow to steep one hour, then add one tablespoon liquid dishwashing soap. This all-purpose insect spray remains potent for only one week, so use it up.
Cockroaches. Mix 1/4 cup shortening with 1/8 cup sugar. In a separate container mix 1/2 pound powdered boric acid and 1/2 cup flour. Add to shortening mixture. Stir well with enough water to make a soft dough. Form into small balls the size of marbles or put in lids and hide in those out of way places roaches love. This recipe works far better than commercial products. Just make sure you keep this out of the reach of children or pets.
There are all sorts of homemade fertilizer recipes on the internet depending on what you want to fertilize.
The Quick Fix Fertilizer
In an empty 1 gallon milk jug, mix 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon of ammonia (a very strong source of quick nitrogen), 3 teaspoons of tea leaves (like black tea not herbal teas - the tannic acid in this helps the plants to more quickly and easily absorb nutrients), 3 teaspoons blackstrap molasses (this helps feed soil bacteria), 3 Tablespoons of 3% hydrogen peroxide (hydrogen peroxide is a powerful oxidizer, as it combines with the air and water it decomposes, freeing the oxygen elements and thus providing a supplement of oxygen to the plants and aerating the soil), 1/4 cup crushed bone scraps, like fish bones (this adds phosphorus), 1 crushed egg shell, 1/2 a dried chopped up banana peel for potassium. Fill the jug the rest of the way with water. Replace cap, give it a shake, and allow the jug to sit in the sun for about 1 hour to warm, then water your plants with this mixture at full strength.
There are dozens of other ways we can help with pollution, ways that don’t require anything but habit and the desire to help provide a livable world for our grandchildren’s grandchildren.