'Going Green' is on the rise around the world, and while it’s often portrayed as a trend, its implications on the planet and on our everyday life is extremely relevant and worth taking the time to learn about.
We decided to take an ecological foot print quiz documenting our lifestyle habits, and the results show the effects that we personally have on the earth. The results were pretty shocking, so we wanted to share a few eco-conscious habits that are easy to follow and will genuinely help protect our planet while doing so.
Cleaning Products: According to the Environmental Protection Agency in the USA, the air that we breathe inside our homes could be nearly five times as polluted as the air outside. From skin irritation to air quality, there’s a reason that we find ourselves with sensitive hands and gasping for fresh air when we use cleaning products. Household cleaning products contain an unnecessary amount of chemicals in them; they get the job done, but they’re toxic.
Solution: While organic cleaners can be pricey (but can be purchased here in Cairo), there are a few at-home solutions that get the job done just as well, saving you money and keeping the air around you clean from the mess of chemicals. Click this link for a simple list of easy and cheap ways to cut out harsh cleaners and ease yourself into 'going green' with your everyday cleaners.
Lights: You might be surprised to know that lights make up nearly 25% of your electricity bill. Not only does your electricity bill increase when you leave lights on in a room; but so does your energy consumption. For every 40 watt light bulb left on for one hour, 0.04 kWh (kilowatt per hour) of energy is used. If those numbers don’t mean anything to you; take a look at this.
Solution: Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) can be found at most electronic shops in Cairo. They last thousands (yes, thousands) of hours longer and the mercury within the bulbs helps prevent a large amount of energy from being released. Although a typical incandescent light bulb can be powerful and cheap, spending 16LE to 30LE for a CFL saves money in the long run with their long-lasting effect of 75% higher efficiency than your typical bulb.
Trash Compiling: We are all familiar with the donkey carts and piles of trash on Cairo’s streets; but you may be surprised to know that the Zabaleen community in Cairo has turned trash into treasure and makeup, as arguably the world’s most efficient form of waste disposal by recycling. Not only do we waste kilos of food and ridiculous amounts of trash on a daily basis; but we also throw away goods that could be recycled in several different ways.
Solution: Get two different garbage bins and you’re set; separating your garbage between recyclable materials and waste will save the worker’s trouble when they’re separating your trash, and you’ll be making a significant difference to the environment with minimal effort. Take a minute, click the link, and read about the documentary detailing the life of those that take the trash off our hands.
Plastic Bags: Shops in Cairo love to give out an unnecessary amount of plastic bags like they’re Chiclets. While many of us have piles sitting at home, they often go to waste, putting a strain on the environment as they litter every nook and cranny of this city.
Solution: Don’t use them. All it takes is a stylish, sturdy tote bag to accompany you on your shopping trips! Check out shops like Tao and Al Qahira in Zamalek, or Qirtassiyat for a good shopping bag. If you really want to reduce your carbon footprint; choose one made from recyclable materials.
Water: For every minute of your shower, five gallons of water are used, raising your electricity and water bills and increasing water shortages. Heating water happens to be one of the most energy-guzzling processes at home. We love our long hot showers, but after realising how much water was going to waste for a few minutes of pleasure, cutting back on our water consumption seemed necessary.
Solution: Cutting back on hot water usage significantly helps with energy consumption and that pesky water bill. Turning off the faucet when brushing your teeth for example, will go a long way towards cutting unnecessary water usage. Faucet aerators (a type of filter) are also on the market. Not only do they help reduce energy consumption; but they also cut back on water pressure.
The changes above are just a few of the small steps that we can take to help ourselves preserve Planet Earth.