Emily Kent, Grade 11
Ms. Lockett, Teacher / Notre Dame Academy
"Be Green, Save Green"
Green. Nowadays, it means more than a color pigment resembling that of grass. In the past, it came to be known as a name for money; in the present, it's come to be known as an environmentally friendly lifestyle. But how do the two connect? The answer is simple: through the elimination of chemical cleaners in our households.
Money, especially in the current economy, disappears into little chores in life, particularly in maintaining the house. Between generic surface cleaners, detergents, waxes, polishes, and any other cleaning product, each room of a house can have its own individual set of chemicals to clean it up. If the average canister of Scrubbing Bubbles™ costs $5.99, the amount of money spent on that single product alone in one year could potentially be in a $50 to $60 range; that's on one product alone! Spending so much on what seems to be a luxury item is somewhat disturbing. Only more so, though, when the effect those cleaning products have on the environment - specifically water systems - is considered.
Water is one of the few completely limited resources on Earth. Luckily, it is all recycled. All water on the Earth now has always been on the Earth, making sewage treatment plants a necessity for human survival. While it's nice to think that these plants are enough, the reality is anything but, thanks partially in part to household cleansers. A large percentage of the chemical cleansers used in our homes exit as residue down the drains and into the sewage system. People in the houses think that once they flush everything down the toilet, or pour it down the drain, it is lost into the maze of pipes below our world and magically disappears. They think wrong.
All of the chemicals that we carelessly use to clean our homes have a negative effect on our water, so far as to cause 20% of all of the toxic pollution in water systems. These chemicals, which cost us our hard earned money, benefit us for only a short while (because eventually, everything becomes dirty again), but then cause a lasting harm through polluting our limited water sources. By using natural cleansers and lesser concentrations of these chemicals, not only can we save a respectable amount of money, but we would also be reducing the amount of toxic chemicals exposed to our water supply. Greatly limiting the amount of toxins makes water treatment processes easier and cheaper, and safer, considering less counter-active chemicals have to be added to the waste water to eliminate what chemicals can be removed. Also, in using alternative cleaners, we would stop the potential damage to both humans and the environment before either is exposed to unsafe toxins.
Some alternative cleansers to chemicals can be found directly in nature, and are easily accessible. Lemon juice, salt, vinegar, baking soda, club soda, and aluminum foil are some quick, cheap fixes that can be found at any grocery store that work as alternative cleaning products to harsh and poisonous chemicals. Not only will the house be "greener", but also, worries about direct poisoning will be greatly reduced. Natural products do not have the same harmful effects on children (and adults) that hazardous chemicals do if ingested. Removing heavy chemical cleansers, again, will only benefit people overall with lower costs, less risk, and a more environmentally friendly composition.
Protecting water systems and your money doesn't have to be a chore. Chemical cleaning products add to the frustrations of life where natural substances can clean just as efficiently with a greater benefit, both economically and environmentally. The best thing then is to go green, save green, and save the world; nothing could be better or safer.
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