Friday, October 30, 2009

Judy's Cleaning Quandary

Good Morning! Well, after two days of having no school, and a minimum of 5 kids coming and going out of this very wet snow has really turned my house into a pig stye. So, today I will be doing some housecleaning, but I have found myself in a terrible quandary for the last eleven years as far as cleaning supplies go. I think by now you have gotten the idea that everything I do, I try to do in the most earth friendly way.

Eleven years ago we bought this ranch, and its contents, and then just a few years later we bought our cabin with all of its contents. See, both places were summer homes, and had not been used in years, so the sellers were not at all interested in retrieving any of their worldly goods, not that all of it is that worldly. I have talked about the great junk piles and old furniture that was left at both of these places, that we have turned into some really great stuff, like my 100% recycled chicken coop, or some really nice refinished furniture.

But, they also left mountains and mountains of cleaning supplies. Both the Roost and The Royal Ranch had two bathrooms in them at the time, stocked to the brim with cleaning supplies, as well as both kitchens had a set. My problem is, is that these cleaning supplies are very old, and therefore not too good for the environment. For the past decade, I have been using those same supplies and very sparingly at that. So, what to do? The products are already here, they work very well, almost too good, which is how I know they can't be good for Mother Earth (besides the scary warning labels). Part of my issue, is that I don't believe in wasting anything, and I know that the stuff has to get disposed of in some way. So far, my thinking is to use them a little at a time, then do the best I can to recycle any possible part of the containers.

I no longer use any of these products up at our cabin, because I worry about guests sensitivities, which only doubled the amount I still have down here at the Ranch. So, is it better for me to use them sparingly, or get rid of it all, and hope that me disposing of it is not too harsh on the environment that I respect and love? I know that there are places to take hazardous chemicals, but again, do I know how they are going to be disposed of? I am not sure the people who deal with hazmat on a daily basis are going to take my old Lysol toilet bowl cleaner very seriously.

Every time I clean house I am so hoping that I will finally be done with the nasty stuff, but it just keeps on keeping on! Some of the containers are so old and cool, that I will keep them as displays, as a matter of fact, look at the bottles, those are products that haven't been seen in a long time, they even have old fashioned price tags still on them! Let me know your thoughts.

Have a miracle of a day!


Jim and Pat Shepherd said...

Judy, this old earth has a bunch of stuff on it that is not good for the health of the planet. As you point out, your cleaning products are there and work. I am not convinced that recycle centers always take the best approach to earth friendly disposal (just my doubting nature, no facts).

I liken your situation to Halon. Halon and Freon are in the same family and are said to contribute to global warming. Halon has been illegal to manufacture for more than a decade. However, there are tons of it left. The economics do not justify some sort of decomposition destruction of the material. Instead, the government has allowed it to be recycled into fire extinguishers and fire suppression system for race cars. That is a great use of the product. Yes, it can escape into the environment, but there is not much we can do about that.

My thought process is: the product exists, there is no really good way to get rid of it, it is not harmful to you personally; just use it.

We can concentrate on not making harmful products from here on out, but there is generally not much we can do with the past.

One last soapbox thought. Every time we come up with a "friendly" replacement, it seems a year or two later we find out that the replacement is also not that friendly. Take a look at R134 that replaced Freon. Yes better, but still has some issues.

Sorry about the rambling.

Love, Dad

Daisy said...

I agree with your technique: use it up, sparingly. No matter what you do, these chemicals will end up in a landfill somewhere, somehow. By using them in small amounts, you can ensure that only small amounts of bleach, etc., end up in the ground.

Tiffany said...

I was just logging on to blogger to write my own cleaning product post LOL! I have been cleaning sick beds all day, and have just concocted my own homemade "Mama's Not Messing Around" Cleaning Spray(inspired by the fact that we seriously have finally run out of all of that toxic Lysol junk). Who knew I'd actually wish someday that I still had that horrible crap around the house? Anyway, I agree - you should use it up. Here's one way to think of it. If you pour the junk down the drain, or put it in a landfill, etc. it goes to the earth fully reactive. If you use it first, sparingly, some of the reactivity is used up cutting grease, etc. so that the product that goes down the drain is less potent than it would otherwise be. In order for this to actually make a difference though, you really have to cut the junk with something inert. Liquid cleaners you can dilute with water. The powders can be mixed with baking soda and/or borax. Anyway, I'm off to write my own post. Stop by for a chance to get your own "Mama Means Business" Cleaner!