In The Home
- Where can I find eco-friendly household cleaners?
Eco-friendly bathroom, kitchen and laundry cleaning products are available on a number of websites, including ecostore.ie. Most supermarkets also stock a range of natural cleaning products that have a lower environmental impact.
- Are there any natural products I can use for cleaning instead of those containing chemicals?
Yes, there are three natural, safe, inexpensive cleaning products that most households will have in ready supply - vinegar, lemon, and baking soda.
Vinegar: If you fill a spray bottle with half vinegar and half water, you will have a multi-purpose, natural cleaner at your disposal. It works as a great disinfectant, and can be used on most surfaces (except marble). It can be used for cleaning floors, counter-tops, hobs, fridges, and is great for removing residue on bathroom sinks as well as tile grouting. It can also be used in place of fabric softener for people with sensitive skin types
Lemon: Again, this is a multi-purpose cleaner and is particularly effective in removing difficult stains, including wine spills, and for shining copper and brass items. It can also be mixed with baking soda to make a more abrasive cleaner.
Baking soda: Baking soda is an effective natural abrasive, especially useful for removing cooking stains from the hob and oven. It also works well as a deodoriser.
- What is rainwater harvesting?
This is a simple and effective way to conserve water in any building. Rainwater is collected and stored in an underground tank for use in the building, and mains water is only used when there is insufficient water in the rainwater tank. For more information on water systems for your home, see Rainwater Harvesting Ireland.
- Is it illegal to burn waste in my yard?
Yes. Any burning without a permit is strictly prohibited. Backyard burning causes pollution in the environment and is a threat to human health. There are two laws in place to control the burning of waste in Ireland: The Air Pollution Act 1987, and The Waste Management Act 1996.
- I want to install a renewable energy system but it’s very expensive. Are there any grants available?
Yes, under the SEAI Warmer Homes Scheme, applications for government grants can be made by those wishing to install a renewable energy heating systems. For more information on the grants available, see the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland. A great website to help you get started on creating an energy efficient home is Green Home.
- What’s the advantage of eco-friendly paints?
While conventional paints contain solvents that can contribute to health problems, eco paints are non toxic and are made from natural ingredients. Brushes can be washed with warm soapy water instead of white spirits, and most eco paints are also biodegradable, although they can be expensive. Check the Selfbuild.ie website for more information.
- What other types of eco-friendly building materials are available?
If you are building or renovating a house, there are many natural materials you can use. For example, sheep’s wool can be used as natural insulation instead of synthetic materials. Natural lime putties, lime plaster, clay plaster, stone and timber are also available. For further information on natural building materials, check The Traditional Lime Company website. Sustainable Ireland also provides a list of companies that design and build green buildings.
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