Monday, 09 September 2019 08:03

It's easy being green

So, you might have guessed I am a greenie, a tree hugger, an environmental warrior. I am passionate about our environment, and do what I can to make a difference. Years ago I read several books about being “eco-friendly” and “going green” I made notes and started slowly. One book stands out and I summarised it for my own use. I thought you might find it interesting and possibly useful. Who knows? It could even inspire you!

It’s easy being green by MARK MANN (A summary)

Green principles

Grasp these basic principles and you are well on your way to being green.

  1. Live with less: most environmental problems are ultimately due to our voracious demand for new things. Instead, learn to reduce, reuse, recycle – in that order. Reduce – living with less – is the best solution. Where you can’t do without, reuse things by repairing, adapting, swapping, borrowing, buying second-hand etc. and if you can’t reuse, recycle!
  2. Reduce energy, water, chemicals, waste
  3. Find green alternatives: something is green if its natural, reusable, renewable, locally produced, energy/water efficient and non-polluting

Being green means…

  1. Saving money: Buying less, reusing more, buying second-hand, sharing and saving energy will save you money
  2. Being healthier: consuming fewer chemicals
  3. Doing what you can: even if you only do ONE green thing, it’s better than doing nothing
  4. Being happy with less: stepping off the consumer treadmill makes life simpler, cheaper and less stressful

Being green: Key steps

  1. Energy: insulate your home. Fit energy saving bulbs. Turn appliances off at the wall. Install solar panels.
  2. Chemicals: Use natural cleaners. Switch to organic gardening
  3. Water: Fit water saving showerheads. Shower instead of bathing. Take shorter showers. Fix leaking taps. Use grey water for gardens
  4. Waste: Compost. Recycle. Reduce packaging to reduce waste
  5. Food: Buy local. Buy sustainable.
  6. Transport: Drive less. Drive a smaller car.
  7. Shopping: Buy less. Avoid packaging. Buy 2nd hand. Buy local.

Green living

Waste: We have become a throwaway society. STOP

  1. Reduce: the best way to avoid waste is to buy less stuff in the first place
  2. Reuse: Reuse plastic bags, plastic containers, old clothes (as cleaning rags) etc.
  3. Recycle: Think before you dump – can it be recycled? Can someone else use it? Can I donate it?
  4. Compost: at least ½ of kitchen waste can be composted: all scraps (excluding proteins), paper, cardboard
  5. Reduce packaging
  6. Reusable water bottles/ coffee cups
  7. Rechargeable batteries
  8. Stop use bin liners

Food: Think about the food you consume.

  1. Buy locally grown and seasonal food where possible
  2. East sustainable fish
  3. Don’t waste food: Buy and cook only what you need, turn leftovers into meals. Store correctly to prolong freshness


  1. Don’t buy it: think before you buy – do you really need it? Can you borrow, rent or share?
  2. Avoid disposable
  3. Buy local
  4. Buy recycled products
  5. Buy 2nd hand
  6. Try to avoid supermarkets and malls
  7. Reduce packaging

Natural living basics:


Basics: Bicarb, washing soda crystals, pure soap, borax, white vinegar, lemon, salt, aloe vera

Extra: Eucalyptus oil, tea tree oil, lavender oil, olive oil, linseed oil, peppermint oil, coconut oil


  1. Surfaces: wipe with cotton cloths. Clean with vinegar or eucalyptus oil in warm water
  2. Baths/sinks: wipe with washing soda
  3. Windows: Spray vinegar/water> dry off with newspaper
  4. Mould: rub with lemon
  5. Toilets: squirt with vinegar. Leave for 60 mins and then scrub
  6. Kettles: add vinegar to water and boil once a month
  7. Pots, pans, ovens: to lift grease and burnt food, soak overnight with bicarb and water
  8. Smells: bicarb
  9. Drains: pour bicarb, then vinegar, then boiling water
  10. Carpet spills: cover with bicarb, leave to dry then vacuum
  11. Wooden furniture: polish with olive oil or linseed oil
  12. Rinse aid: use vinegar in washing machine

Pest control:

  1. Ants: wash surfaces with vinegar. Sprinkle chilli powder or salt as a barrier
  2. Cockroaches: spray cupboards with vanilla essence/water or scatter bay leaves
  3. Mosquitos: citronella candles. Plant sweet basil
  4. Moths: Lavender or bay leaves, rosemary or cedar wood
  5. Spiders: ignore
  6. Weevils/silverfish: bay leaves

Whether you go out and buy the book, or just read the summary again I hope it motivates you to do your bit. And if you already do, do more!

Contact Us

Telephone: +27 (0)82 926 3531