Queens residents should live a more green lifestyle

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With a house or an apartment in a nice neighborhood with trees and lawns near a school and a park, there are many things we can do to maintain our quality of life and health.

The June/July issue of Healthwise explained that each day we breath about 16,000 quarts of air, containing about 70,000 particles of smoke, pollen, dust, bacteria and other microorganisms. To protect yourself indoors, have a good filter on air conditioners and home furnaces.

Listed were the top 10 tips for creating healthier air inside your home. Store pesticides, paints and other chemicals away from children and outside the home. Make sure the home is well-ventilated when using cleaning agents or painting. Use high-quality chemical and allergen filters in air conditioners and heating systems. When pollen, dust and pollutants are present outdoors, stay indoors and use your air system to filter air in your home. Change your clothes before interacting with children. Do not smoke indoors. Use a solution of equal parts vinegar and water as a cleaning agent.

Burn unscented soy candles, not scented paraffin ones. Use wool carpet, not carpet made of synthetic material. Use natural or zero volatile organic compounds paint inside your home. Paints and finishes can release VOC emissions for years after application. Use furniture and cabinets made from wood, not compound wood materials.

Vacation closer to home to save gas. Gas up after dark to reduce the escape of vapors and do not overfill your tank. Clean dishes after eating, empty garage often, repair screens and calk holes to keep out bugs. Sweep sidewalks and drains. Use reusable water bottles because plastic bottles are made from oil.

Dry cleaning fluids contain harmful materiels like carcinogens, neurotoxins and respiratory irritants. To save energy, wash and rinse clothes in cold water. Buy ENERGY STAR appliances and use less toxic products. Many clothes labeled "dry clean only" can often be washed by hand.

The city Department of Environmental Protection discourages flushing cleansers, beauty products, medicine, pills, auto fluids, paint and lawn products. They should be discarded at waste facilities or at a special collection place. The problem is that Queens' drop location is in College Point on 30th Avenue and 122nd Street. Special collection events are done only once or twice a year.

The March Ridgewood Property Owners & Civic Association newsletter had an interesting story about avoiding clogged drains. Put grease into a non-recyclable plastic container. Coffee grounds should be put into a flower bed or in the garbage.

If you have a food grinder in your sink, run cold water when you use it. Non-fat food can be composted. Periodically, pour a half-cup of baking soda and a half-cup of vinegar down the drain. Cover the drain for a few minutes, then flush it with a kettle of hot water. Pour a kettle of boiling water down the drain every few weeks to melt any fat on the pipe's sides. Install metal or plastic hair stoppers in sinks and clean them periodically. Never flush heavy paper towels down a toilet.

Other green activities are composting grass and non-fat food waste, recycling everything that cannot be reused and buying recycled items. One should read city Sanitation Department charts to understand what can and should not be recycled. Plastic toys and lawn furniture are not recyclable. Plastic bottles or containers with a "1" or "2" inside a triangle should be recycled. Children can be taught what to recycle.

Evaluate the environmental impact of every activity. A reusable cloth bag is better than taking plastic bags from a store to carry products. Some stores now recycle plastic bags. Make green activities a lifestyle.

GOOD AND BAD NEWS OF THE WEEK: Oil is a great energy source and produces plastic and other products. Some countries have trillions of dollars from oil sales to us and Europe.

We must fund alternate energy sources that do not release carbon and ways to produce food. We were warned in 1973, but have done little to find other power sources or conserve energy.

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