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Water Conservation: A Job for Everyone

Water Conservation: A Job for Everyone

In most first-world countries, water seems like a plentiful resource. Even in times of drought, it’s still easy to walk into a convenience store and grab a bottle of water – a luxury many countries and people don’t have. And while 71% of the earth is covered in water it is still a sought-after and essential necessity. (Just ask the state of California right now!) By some estimates, the average person uses 50 gallons of water a day. If each of us made a concerted effort to conserve water, it could make a measurable, positive impact on our local and global environments. Are there actually ways to practice water conservation without dramatically altering our lifestyle? As it turns out, yes!

According to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, “Conservation is simply a protection from loss or waste. Therefore, water conservation activities reduce the demand for water, improve the efficiency in use and reduce losses and waste of water.”

Basically, there are two different approaches to conservation: short-term measures and long-term measures, and both can influence each other. Building better facilities and reconfiguring landscape design may require more water in the beginning to actually construct or institute the change, but over time, the long-term gain could be seen for years and years.

While individuals perhaps have lesser control over instituting larger-scale, long-term solutions, there are so many solutions that are available to persons and families looking to make a positive difference. For example:

 

The average person uses 10.9 gallons of faucet water a day.

You can help reduce this amount by incorporating small changes like turning off the faucet while brushing your teeth, shaving and washing dishes.

 

A faucet leaking 30 drops per minute wastes 54 gallons per month.

A simple repair could lead to considerable savings, not only in water itself, but probably your water bill as well!

 

The average dishwasher uses 8 – 12 gallons each time its run, regardless of whether the machine is full or not.

Waiting until you’ve got a full load is a smart idea.

 

In addition to the actual gallons of water you can save, conservation is also about keeping the water supply as clean as possible. Pesticides, paints, gasoline, fertilizers, old medications and household cleaning chemicals can all leach into the water supply, which, as you might imagine, can pose quite a problem.

The good news is, there are ways to still tackle household cleaning without the use of harsh chemicals which can easily make their way into surrounding water and soil supplies.

Vollara launched a “Saving 1 Billion Gallons” mission as a challenge: just how much could be accomplished if we all took measures to conserve gallons and protect the quality of our water? As it turns out, over 286 million gallons have been saved so far…and counting!

One great tool that’s leading the way in water conservation is the LaundryPure.

LaundryPure by Vollara
LaundryPure by Vollara

A simple hook up to your existing washing machine allows the user to forgo detergents, bleaches, softeners and other added chemicals, and instead clean their laundry using only cold water and the bubbling power of oxygenated water. This technology has been around for a while, widely used in professional applications like hospitals and hotels.

The LaundryPure not only helps keep chemicals from leaching back into the water supply, it also keeps soap and softener residue from building up on your laundry and inside your washer, and from irritating your skin. This is great for babies, kids and people with skin sensitivities.

Being mindful of what you and your household are expending, water-wise, and what goes down your home drain, is a great way to do your part to keep Earth’s most precious resource available and clean for generations to come.

To learn more, visit www.saveonebilliongallons.com

 

 

Sources:
[2] http://www.dec.ny.gov/lands/5009.html
[3] Ibid
[4] Ibid
[5] Ibid
[6] Ibid

Demystifying the pH of Drinking Water

Demystifying the pH of Drinking Water

Can understanding the significance of the pH of drinking water help you choose better water for you and your family?  In short, yes.  When you’re choosing between bottled, tap, or filtered, understanding the role that water plays in assisting your body in its quest to maintain proper pH at 7.365 is critical.

The pH level of a substance tells you whether it’s an acid, a base, or neutral.  On the pH scale, which is 0-14, things with a pH of 7 are neutral, higher than 7 are basic, and lower than 7 are acidic.  Water is often considered neutral, with the normal range for surface water systems ranging from 6.5-8.5. At the proper pH of 7.365, your body is not only hydrated, but is better able to flush out toxins and waste products.

Water with a pH lower than 6.5 is acidic and “soft.”  While soft water is great for getting soaps and detergents to lather, it can be a sign that your water contains metals such as iron, manganese, copper, lead, and zinc, all of which can be harmful when ingested in large quantities.  Water with a very low pH often tastes metallic and can leave blue-green stains on sinks and drains.

Water that has a pH higher than 8.5 is basic and “hard.”  Hard water generally doesn’t pose the same health risks that soft water can, but it can taste bitter and make it difficult for soaps and detergents to lather.

When considering pH, it is also helpful to consider water’s alkalinity.  Alkalinity is a measure of the capacity of the water to resist a change in pH that would typically make the water more acidic.  This resistance to change is one of alkaline water’s benefits.

Along with the pH level, it also helps to understand the difference between distilled vs. purified water, because things like minerals found in the water can have an effect on its pH.  Technically, distilled water is a form of purified water, but it’s differentiated by the method used to remove impurities.  Distilled water is heated until it boils and turns into a vapor, and then the vapor is cooled until it again reenters a liquid state. During this process, virtually all impurities are left behind when the water turns to vapor.  This creates very pure water, but because it has no additives, it tastes awful, and can actually pull minerals from your body when you drink it, so it shouldn’t be used as drinking water on a regular basis.  Purified water is water that has gone through any form of purification process, often some form of filtration.  Because the methods of purification are varied, the pureness of the water also varies greatly.

To make sure that you’re drinking the best water for your health, consider a purified water system that provides alkaline water for your home. It removes harmful substances from your drinking water, and is a safe and economical solution.

 

Tips For Staying Focused While Working From Home

Tips For Staying Focused While Working From Home

People who own home-based businesses can face a unique set of challenges when it comes to time management. If you work from home, it’s imperative that you remain organized and on a set schedule — free from distractions — even more than the average traditional office worker. At-home offices can be subject to some very at-home distractions, like family, pets, TV, and a big, comfortable sofa that seems to call your name! Here are some great tips we came up with to help you stay on track and be even more productive in your business!

Dress the part. When you work from home and find yourself with a day that doesn’t require an outing, it can be tempting to stay in your pajamas or keep it super-casual. By taking care to dress the way you would if you had an outside appointment (in say, business-casual attire) you, in fact, feel more businesslike and will be more mentally equipped to tackle your day in a professional tone.

Customize your environment. You’ll work better in an environment that’s comfortable but primed for productivity. Proper seating, an organized and clean workspace, and a bit of privacy are a must. Consider adjusting your lighting as well – some people work well with overhead light; others find it more soothing to rely on natural light. Don’t be afraid to use soothing, instrumental music to drown out background noise, or fix yourself a cup of tea to relax your mood. It’s not working easier – it’s working smarter!

5 minute rule. Take 5 minutes before and after every task, appointment or phone call to assess how things went. Did you achieve the results you wanted? Did you accomplish everything you intended? If not, decide how shutterstock_271529486you can remedy that in the future and avoid making similar mistakes, which can bog down your business and be an overall time-suck.

Know thyself. The good part about working from home is getting to set what hours work best for you. And only you know when you’re most productive: early morning, midday or evening. Whatever time you feel most alert is the best time to take on your biggest or most time-consuming projects. It’s different for everyone, so if you feel the brightest at 7 am or 7 pm, plan your day accordingly. You’ll thank yourself later.

Plan for distractions. Working from home can mean distractions, from a ringing doorbell to a sick child to a spouse stranded with a flat tire. A good way to account for this is to set aside a specific time in your schedule every day as “office hours.” (Teachers wisely use this method.)  It literally becomes a time you designate to be distracted. If no such distractions arise, use the time to get caught up on small projects or answer emails. If a surprise does comes up that needs your attention, you wisely planned on it, and still are able to get in a solid workday.

Reward yourself! When you accomplish 5 things on your To-Do list, or have finished a big project, reward yourself with a short break. Surf the net, walk on a treadmill, turn on the news, or take a cat nap. You earned it! Set an alarm on your phone or use an egg timer to make sure you don’t exceed your allotted time. This will help even further in keeping you on track.

Are you getting enough Vitamin D?

Are you getting enough Vitamin D?

Vitamin D plays a key role for the body year-round, since it aids in the absorption of calcium, helps form and maintain strong bones, and increases bone density while decreasing the risk for fractures. But did you know that in winter months, people often experience deficiencies? They’re less likely to get exposure to direct sunlight due to the weather…and it’s sunlight that helps your body naturally create the much-needed Vitamin D.

So what happens if you aren’t getting enough Vitamin D? Deficiencies have been linked to a host of health issues as well as higher rates of depression. According to Dr. Sonal Pathuk, an endocrinologist at Bay Health Endocrinology in Delaware, Vitamin D receptors are in areas of the brain that help regulate behavior and emotion. “It is not unusual for people with depression to be deficient in Vitamin D, and treating the deficiency may make a huge difference in how they feel,” she says.[1]

So if your levels aren’t where they should be, help your body out! Supplements can help you meet your optimal levels, as can some nutrient-rich foods. Ideally, getting Vitamin D through all three avenues – sunlight, supplements and food – is the best option.

In fact, a study conducted during winter on 44 people without SAD (Seasonal Affected Disorder) found that Vitamin D supplements produced improvements in various measures of mood.[2]

In addition to specially-formulated supplements, Vitamin D may also found naturally in many food sources, including:

  • Tuna
  • Salmon
  • Cheese
  • Egg yolks

The Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) at the Institute of Medicine has set the recommended daily intake of Vitamin D from 400 for young children, to 600 IU for people aged 1 -70 and 800 IU for people 70 and older.[3]

Screen Shot 2015-10-26 at 4.41.13 PM

 

If you’re interested in supplementing your diet with Vitamin D, you can learn more at www.Vollara.com.

 

 

 

Sources:

[1] http://www.webmd.com/depression/news/20120627/vitamin-d-deficiency-linked-to-depression?page=2

[2] http://mcchildrenshospital.com/hl/?/38399/Seasonal-Affective-Disorder

[3] https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional/

6 Things You Probably Aren’t Cleaning (But Totally Should Be)

6 Things You Probably Aren’t Cleaning (But Totally Should Be)

 

Your weekly cleaning schedule probably includes making sure all the majors are covered: floors, countertops, sinks, tubs, surfaces. But dirt, grime and dust don’t discriminate – they can (and will) settle anywhere, even on places you might not think to clean on a regular basis. So despite your best efforts, you may find yourself or family members coming down with more colds, stomach bugs or allergy and asthma flare-ups.

 

Here’s our list of the 6 items you should add to your cleaning rotation!

 

 

Your reusable water bottle

These are great: ditch disposable bottled water and fill your own reusable container. But are you diligent about washing it…or do you just do a cursory swirl of hot water every now and then? Both aluminum and plastic water bottles need a good cleaning to prevent mold and bacteria from forming inside, which could potentially contaminate your water.

You’ll need a bottle brush (which itself can be washed in your dishwasher), hot water and soap. Make sure you get into the curves and crevices of the bottle, and don’t forget to thoroughly scrub the lid components, including the mouthpiece (if there is one). You can also run your bottle and lid through the dishwasher, if instructions on the bottle or from the manufacturer indicate this is safe.

 

 

Your steering wheel

If you think about it for 5 seconds, you know we’re right. And here’s the thing: it’s worse than you think. Research has found that while 80 bacteria lurk on each square inch of toilet, around 700 harmful bugs inhabit the car’s interior.[1]

If your steering wheel is leather, pre-moistened leather wipes can be used for cleaning. For non-leather wheels, a regular antibacterial wipe can be used, or you can use a warm, soapy dish towel (wring out well beforehand) to wipe down the wheel.

 

 

Your reusable grocery bags

It’s becoming more and more popular (and in some cities, necessary) to bring reusable grocery bags with you when you shop. But food like meat, fruit and produce can be packed in less-than-secure packaging and be prone to leak. And that’s not something you want seeping into the fabric of your reusable bags.

Many bags are washable, with cotton varieties readily available. Washing them with hot water (or with your LaundryPure!) will eliminate the bacteria or sticky residue inside the bag.

 

 

Your earbuds

You wear them everywhere, including the gym – but do you ever clean them? The last thing you want to do is put something teeming with bacteria inside your ear.

Start by cleaning the earbud with a clean, dry toothbrush. This will sweep away dust and dirt in the metal parts of the earbud. Then use a premoistened antibacterial wipe to wipe down the bud. If you’d rather not use the antibacterial wipe, mix up a small bowl of warm water with a drop of dish soap. Quickly dip part of a paper towel into the solution, wring out, and use that to clean your earbuds. Of course, whenever possible, avoid sharing your earbuds with others.

 

 

Your hairbrushes & combs

Ladies (and a few gents!), does cleaning your hairbrush amount to a cursory removal of hair every few months…and that’s it? If you’ve noticed your hair feeling greasy of frizzy, it could be because of a build-up on your hairbrush.

After you remove the excess hair trapped within the bristles of the brush, fill a baking dish with warm water and 1 tablespoon each of dish soap and vinegar. Allow to soak at least one hour, or overnight. Rinse with clean water, and use toothbrush to scrub away any still-stuck on hair product or grime. Place the brushes on top of towel and let dry.

 

 

Your keys

They’re with you almost all the time – and to make them work, you have to touch them. It stands to reason, then, that your set of keys could be caked with all kinds of nastiness. So if the last time you cleaned them was never, take heed: it’s a relatively simple process.

Remove the keys from the ring (use an antibacterial wipe for gate/car entry clickers). Fill a bowl with (you guessed it!) warm soapy water. Using an unused toothbrush and a few toothpicks for smaller grooves, scrub the keys. Rinse well under clean water, and dry thoroughly before adding them back to your key ring.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: [1] http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1379830/How-clean-car-Steering-wheels-times-germs-public-toilet-seat.html

Reduce Clutter & Boost Your Productivity: Smart Tips for the New Year

Reduce Clutter & Boost Your Productivity: Smart Tips for the New Year

With 2015 firmly upon us, now is a great time to tackle clutter. Who doesn’t want a fresh, clean start to the new year? For many, getting rid of clutter is a kind of physical act that can help figuratively clear their mind. In fact, Princeton University published the results of a study they conducted called Interactions of Top-Down and Bottom-Up Mechanisms in Human Visual Cortex. The website Unclutterer.com summed up the study’s conclusion this way: “When your environment is cluttered, the chaos restricts your ability to focus. The clutter also limits your brain’s ability to process information. Clutter makes you distracted and unable to process information as well as you do in an uncluttered, organized, and serene environment.”[1]

When you’re organized and can navigate throughout your house and workspace easily, you’re more likely to be more productive and less stressed. Here are some of the best tips we rounded up about how to sort through a mess and come out organized on the other side!

 

At home:

 

Go room by room. First thing: start by picking up everything that’s on the floor. Keep two bags handy – one for trash, and the other for donation. Once your floors are clear, move onto the surfaces: desks, side tables and dressers.

 

Designate a space. Everything should have a place. This may mean you need clear storage boxes or a piece of multi-functional furniture. But in the end you’ll be better organized, and instantly know where to go when you’re looking for something specific.

 

Empty every drawer. You won’t know what you’ve got until you pull everything out for inspection. For the items you decide to keep, make sure they’re clean and folded. If you love an item and wear it often, keep it. If you can’t remember the last time you wore or used something, donate it.

 

Brave your closet. Again, review each item – if you haven’t worn it in six months, consider donating it. Many cities have non-profit programs that provide professional attire to those who are looking for gainful employment. Crisis centers are another place to consider donating both adult and child’s clothing.

 

Grab that label maker. You know you want to use it! Label makers are great if you’re using (upcycling!) old shoe or cardboard boxes for storage. Being able to glance at the outside of a box and know its contents can save you a lot of time in the future.

 

Allow yourself 15 or so minutes a day for maintenance. Set aside a manageable chunk of time that you can spend every day maintaining your newfound sense of order. Just a few minutes set aside every day can keep you from spending a whole day at the end of every month.

 

 

At work:

 

Tackle your desk. With a few empty boxes sitting by, clear out each drawer and the surface of your desk. Wipe out the inside of each drawer with a damp cloth. Recycle (or shred) old files and notes, and consider setting up a simple file folder for each project. Make an inbox for all incoming work, and commit to sort through it daily. That way you can prioritize easier and deal with paper clutter before it starts!

 

Clean off your computer. Outdated files on your desktop, clogged junk email folders, your web browser’s bookmarks…all of these can probably use a thorough examination and purge. Also consider combining (or refining) the items on your desktop so they’re more streamlined and easily accessible.

 

Reduce it down to 1. Got three pairs of scissors in your drawer? 67 ink pens? At least 13 half-full legal pads? Not that having only a single pen is the best idea (in fact, that could be a bad idea!) but having an amount that is practical and requires less space is probably a smart way to go.

 

 

In life:

 

Get off mailing lists. If there’s a magazine you’re getting that you routinely don’t read, or you are bombarded with junk mail offers every day, search the internet for ways to unsubscribe from these lists. You’ll save a few trees and your sanity in the process!

 

Reexamine your habits and routines. Is there a way you’re doing something that is costing you time? If you’re the type to tackle a challenge or problem as it arises, you might often find yourself overwhelmed at the prospect. Planning for contingencies and thinking ahead can save you time and worry. For example, do you find yourself spending 30 minutes ironing an outfit the night before work? Instead, designate one set time a week to get all of your ironing done. This might mean having to organize your laundry schedule, as well. But grouping several small, spread-out tasks into one big one can save you time and a headache in the end!

 

Just say no. Take a close look at your commitments. (It helps to grab a pen & paper and jot them down so you can physically see a list.) What are your biggest time sucks, and are they costing you somewhere else? If you’re over-committed and stretched too thin, you won’t have time for the daily maintenance required to keep your life simplified and clutter-free. It’s okay not to agree to every activity or project someone wants you to do. If you don’t truly love a group or activity you’re involved in, it might be time to disengage.

 

Get rid of the “mights”: If you had every intention of using an item, but a year has gone by and you’ve never touched it, it might be a good idea to get rid of it. It’s tempting to take things that are offered for free, or that are deeply discounted, but most people don’t have enough storage for all the “I might use this one day” items.

 

 

 

 

[1] unclutterer.com/2011/03/29/scientists-find-physical-clutter-negatively-affects-your-ability-to-focus-process-information/

Why Should I Use a Natural Stain Remover for Clothes?

Why Should I Use a Natural Stain Remover for Clothes?

Why Should I Use a Natural Stain Remover for Clothes?
When you have a tough stain on fabric, you can use either a chemical-based commercial stain removing product or a natural stain remover.

When you have a tough stain on fabric, you can use either a chemical-based commercial stain removing product or a natural stain remover.  Chemical-based stain removers are tested for effectiveness on a wide variety of stains and are often able to remove tough stains, but they are not always specifically designed to be gentle on the skin or the environment.

Natural stain removers for clothes are also tested for their abilities to remove stains from fabrics, and can be just as effective as chemical-based stain removers.  If you are prone to skin sensitivities and allergies, as a number of people are, it might make sense to choose a natural stain remover that can be less likely to cause irritation than one that includes many harsh chemicals as active ingredients.  Natural stain removers may also decrease the amount of chemicals that enter the environment.

Consider using a plant-based stain remover that can be combined with a detergent-free laundry system for cleaning laundry without the use of hot water or chemical laundry detergents.  This is an excellent option for people who suffer from allergies and skin irritations caused by traditional chemical-based laundry detergents, and for people who are determined to live a greener lifestyle.

The Vollara family welcomes you to learn more by visiting our website and joining our social communities.

Eco-Friendly Cleaners for Around the Home

Eco-Friendly Cleaners for Around the Home

Using eco-friendly cleaners around your home can be as good for the environment as it is for your home. While the harsh chemicals commonly found in many popular cleaning products may be effective at removing stains and dirt, they have the potential to damage home and cause health problems for you and your family. If you’re trying to make your home healthier, you may want to consider switching to more eco-friendly cleaners.eco-friendly cleaners

Many common household items can be used as environmentally friendly cleaners: baking soda, vinegar, and lemon juice, for example. But if you prefer more convenient methods, commercially produced plant-based cleaners are available with fewer harmful chemicals than traditional cleaners.

There are packaged eco-friendly cleaning products for nearly every type of household cleaning, including the laundry. Plant-based stain removers are designed to be gentle on fabrics while still being tough on stains. Specially formulated with powerful ingredients to penetrate fabrics, plant-based stain removers can break up and remove even the toughest stains, like traditional cleaners, but without the need for harsh chemicals. Look for eco-friendly cleaning products designed to work well in all temperatures, especially if you plan to use when washing in cold water. Products that are safe to use on both colorfast washables and whites are preferable, and as with traditional cleaners, it is always important to follow the directions on the package before use.
By using eco-friendly cleaners, fewer harsh chemicals ultimately end up in the environment, and that’s good for all of us. Many concentrated eco-friendly products can be cost effective as well since you may be able to use less than you would with other cleaners.

Join the Vollara community today.

Jobs after College: Graduate Prospects

Jobs after College: Graduate Prospects

Finding a job after college doesn’t have to be stressful. The best jobs after college maximize your skill-set and offer you unlimited opportunity. Whether it’s your first job after college or a job after college graduation where you are underemployed, getting a job after college is within your reach!

How Supplements for Memory Work

How Supplements for Memory Work

Wondering about supplements to improve memory? Vollara answers how a supplement for memory works and why you should consider supplements for memory and concentration. These brain supplements for memory enhancement are complex, but remembering to take  one should be easy!