Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Go Green this Holiday - and every day

Hari Raya, and every holiday, is such a wonderful time.  It is also a very busy time.  Everyone is out shopping, cleaning up their houses, clearing out old junk, and inviting lots of family and friends over to celebrate.

Caring for the environment is something we must try to do every day, even during the holiday season. Here are a few tips to help make your Raya holiday a bit greener:

- Cleaning the house
We all want a clean house for the holidays, but house cleaning often uses a lot of chemicals that can be harmful to ourselves and the environment.  Try to clean your house without using harmful chemicals.  Two very useful ingredients to keep on-hand are baking soda and natural vinegar.  These two simple, non-toxic items can help you clean wonders in your house.

Click here for  a List of alternative cleaners for the home that you might find useful.
Click here to read a quick article on the  hazards of household cleaners   

- Avoid disposable plates, cups and cutlery
While it may be convenient to use disposable plates, cups and cutlery (forks, spoons etc), many of
these are made with plastic or styrofoam.  We use these items for a few minutes only, but the plasti

and styrofoam remain for hundreds to thousands of years.  This adds to the huge problem of rubbish.  Malaysians produce so much rubbish, that we could fill the Petronas Twin Towers with trash every 9 days.

As much as possible, use reusable plates and cups.  If everyone in the family chips in to help with the washing, it won't be too much extra work. Tell the family that this is one of their small contributions to help protect the Planet.

Click hear to read more about the  environment hazards of styrofoam
Click here to read more about the health hazards of styrofoam

- Don't Trash It, Recycle  It!
Over the holidays you will probably be cooking a lot.  You'll be going through many tins and containers of food.  Set up a recycling corner in your kitchen or pantry, to  keep recyclable items such as aluminium cans, steel tins, plastic bottles, paper and used cooking oil separate from ordinary trash.

Once you've accumulated a bit of recyclables, you can send them to a recycling centre, such as the Community Recycling Centres organised by TrEES.  When you recycle at one of the centres, not only are you helping the environment, you are also helping the less fortunate, as the funds raised at these centres goes to the participating welfare organisation!  A single effort that does double the good!

Find one of TrEES Community Recycling Centre  nearest to you.
Read what you can recycle at TrEES centres, so you keep the correct items separate.

- Eat low on the food chain
Many of us don't think about it, but what you eat has a big impact on the environment.  It is also something that we can control quite easily.  Well, maybe not that easily, but it is definitely easier than installing solar panels or buying a hybrid car, and it can have an even more significant impact.

Animals raised for meat use very large amounts of land -- land to graze and land used to raise crops that feed livestock, and yet produces much less protein and calories relative to the amount of land used. 
This is especially true for beef.

It may not be easy to eat less meat when visiting the Hari Raya open house, just thinking about all that rendang and serunding makes your mouth water.  But in between open houses, when you are having that meal at home, try to eat more fruits and veggies, and cut back on meat products.  It will also help you keep off those extra kgs we all put during Hari Raya!  If you are cooking for your own open house, try to use tofu or tempeh (or chicken if you really can't give up meat) instead of beef, to reduce your impact.  Serve lots of fruits and veggies as well.

Eating 'low on the food chain' doesn't mean you have to become a strict vegetarian, it just means you try to reduce your meat consumption when possible, and be aware that the food you eat has an impact on the environment.  According to the Environmental Defense Fund, “if every American skipped one meal of chicken per week and substituted vegetarian foods instead, the carbon dioxide savings would be the same as taking more than half a million cars off of U.S. roads.”

So eat low on the food chain!

Read more on why eating low on the food chain helps the environment:


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