Sparkle & Smile

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Celebrate Hanukkah by Going Green

December 06, 2010

menorahs photo by Beth Brewer on Wikipedia

Hanukkah is a good time to rededicate yourself, your family, and your community to helping the planet.  Making the eight nights a little more eco-friendly is easy and traditional.  Here are some simple things that you can do to conserve energy, not just at Hanukkah, but year-round:

Replace an outdoor light fixture with one that has a motion-detector. Outdoor lights that are left on all night waste electricity, increase your energy bill, and add to night-time “light pollution.” A fixture with a motion-detector will turn on only when needed.

Make a plan to decrease your car use. Automobiles emit greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to U.S. dependence on foreign oil. Examine your driving habits and see if you can tele-commute, walk, bike, take public transit, or combine errands to reduce the amount you drive.

Make your own Hanukkah gifts! Take a photo and design a frame for it, knit a scarf for the winter, or make a set of beeswax candles. Use recycled materials if you can. You can find lots of great books about homemade gifts in your local library.

Eat less meat and buy organic, locally grown foods. Large-scale meat production uses a huge amount of natural resources, particularly grain, topsoil, and water. Eating organic food is better for your health since it reduces your exposure to pesticides and antibiotics. Buying food grown close to home supports family farms and reduces the amount of energy used to prepare and transport food.

Give your furnace a tune-up. Forty-percent of home energy use is for heat. An inefficient heating system can waste 30-50 percent of the energy it uses. Oil furnaces should be serviced annually and gas furnaces every two years. A heating technician can do the tune-up for $50-100.

Save paper by sending environmentally-friendly Hanukkah e-cards, or, make your own paper cards with recycled paper.

Wash a full load of clothes and use cold water for the rinse. Washing machines use 32-59 gallons of water per cycle, so waiting until you have a full load of clothes will save both water and energy. A warm water wash and a cold rinse will clean nearly all clothes well.

A classic oil-burning menorah uses pure olive oil and cotton wicks. This is better than common paraffin wax candles, which are oil-based.

If you don’t want to mess with oil in your menorah, look for pure beeswax candles.  These burn cleanly, use no petroleum materials, and fulfill the mitzvah.

If you’re crafty or want to get the kids involved, try making a menorah out of everyday items, like potatoes, ornaments, magnets, or pastry tips. This is a clever way to recycle and personalize the holiday at the same time.

Maid Brigade House Cleaning Services sends warm wishes for happiness, love and peace to you and your family on Hanukkah and always!

For more information on healthy green living and green cleaning, please log on to greencleancertified.com or maidbrigade.com.  For more information on "Household Cleaning Products and Breast Cancer", please watch our video at www.greencleancertified.com/greentv.

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