Day 2 – Earth Week Challenge

Today we will share natural home cleaning products, talk about carbon footprint, indoor air quality, powering the home, ground/air transportation, investments, junk mail and more...


Hi Love,

Thank you for being here. I have to say how inspired and amazing I am by the community and sharing that is taking place in this challenge. What amazing humans you all are. Please use the wealth of knowledge that has been posted on Day One as a resource - so many recipes and just a wellspring of amazing ideas (and beings). Look through the comments. Find all of the amazing things. Not to mention the incredible ideas/brands being posted in our instagram community - even if you don't have instagram, you have to check it out: #earthweekchallenge2019

Day two's topic is all about the home and natural home cleaning products, how to lesson your carbon footprint, indoor air quality, powering the home, transportation, carbon offsetting, investments, junk mail and more. 

This video is also a little longer so you might listen to it while you make your morning tea or breakfast. Perhaps get your ear buds while you go through your morning routine 🙂

You will hear me talk about how Angie is going to post a FB live on Friday but we actually switched it to Monday so if you are interested to watch it! You can do that now 🙂 

I want to hear from you in the comments below!!! 

What is your takeaway from day two?

What have you been implementing or what are you excited to try? What on your favourite resources or products that you'd like to share? What are your favourite home cleaning recipes, blogs, books, brands and channels on this particular topic? I'd love to use this page a place that we can all come back to for a wealth of resources on home maintenance and carbon offsetting!

Post your comments, reflections and resources in the comments below! 

Reminder: For a chance to win one of our awesome prizes, post once a day on instagram or Facebook (using the hashtag #earthweekchallenge2019 so that we can all see what each other is sharing online!) 

If you post on instagram all 5 days, you could win a sweet prize pack from @rasa_ayurveda or @sweetfloweringyogaandwellness, as well as an awesome zero waste prize pack from @cntrycupboard in Fenelon Falls, a prize from Green Street Peterborough and a FREE RETREAT from @sarovarayoga and a free month of unlimited yoga from @livingyogalove (Peterborough Living Yoga!) 

Remember to use the hashtag #earthweekchallenge2019 

About the Author Ally

Ally Boothroyd is a yoga educator and meditation teacher with a passion for yoga nidra and the healing power of conscious rest. She is the founder of Sarovara Yoga, a yoga space and women's retreat centre in Ontario, Canada. A sanctuary on the water where she fosters local community and supports health, personal growth, emotional resiliency, authenticity, awareness, and awakening. Ally also leads Retreats and Yoga Teacher Trainings in Nosara, Costa Rica

  • Laura says:

    Thank you Allie, another great vlog! I’m trying to incorporate more plants into my home for air quality and making the space more organic.

  • Jessica Hamblin says:

    Ally, you briefly showed your ?reusable garbage bag for your garbage can. Can you explain this a little more?

    • Ally says:

      Hey Jessica! Yes, ok so this is a reusable garbage liner that I bought online. We don’t have a ton of garbage, just when we open a bottle of something, produce stickers, the occasional bag of chips, that sort of thing…. so everything that goes in our garbage bin is “dry” waste…. everything else that is “waste” in our house is composted or recycled. So the reusable bin is great because we don’t have to use plastic bags as liners for our little garbage bin (we technically don’t need a liner at all but it’s nice to have) 🙂

  • Angelina says:

    Hello everyone! Wow, all these comments are so inspiring! So wonderful to read all the different ways we’re doing the best we can with what we’ve got. I also really appreciate the honesty about what’s doable and what’s not for you all. It’s not about perfection, and it’s motivating and encouraging to read how it all works for each of you. WTG!

    I have a family of 9 (plus one if you count my MIL currently staying with us) so I’m sure you can imagine how challenging it is for us to keep our footprint down. We live in Costa Rica with limited access to recycling options, so we have to be very mindful at the point of purchase, especially since we live by the ocean. We keep the windows and doors open rather than run the a/c, we line dry everything in the morning sun, and use all natural homemade cleaners. My hubby has asthma and I have sinus allergies so we really try to keep the chemicals and fragrances to a minimum as much as possible.

    What I wish we could find an alternative for is our dish soap. In Costa Rica what is mostly used is a tub of hard paste that turns to soapy suds when you rub the sponge on it. There are eco liquid soaps but they are so crazy expensive that we couldn’t possibly fit it into our budget. ($6+ a bottle) We don’t have a dishwasher, so that’s ten peoples worth of dishes all day long (work at home and homeschool) so we’d be using a bottle way too fast to make it doable. I can’t easily order ingredients from Amazon because there are strict custom laws. My best bet is bringing them down when we visit Canada but again, how practical is that considering how quickly we’d run out.

    Anyway, that’s that. Thanks again for all your contributions, I’m gaining so much from reading them all! <3

    • Ally says:

      Wow!!! Family of 9, I can imagine how challenging that would be to keep the footprint down for sure. I know exactly what you are talking about with the soap!! We actually stay in Playa Guiones 5 weeks a year (I lead a yoga retreat there) so our first day in CR I head to the store and get that darn soap lol…

  • Sarah says:

    so much good info here —
    I don’t drive (I live in Huntsville, about 10min drive into town) and my partner and I just make it work. We drive in together and make our schedules work to fit. I am learning to drive (BIG anxiety for me, but I could just say I am being sustainable?? 😆) but when I do get my license, I don’t think we will get another car.
    We also have simple lives and don’t have kids. So it works for us. If our life gets more complicated we might need another car but until then we are content on making it work!

    I use a simple all purpose cleaner that I buy in bulk from our local store, Sustain (Heads up PTBO – Sustain is coming to your town!!). I use vinegar, water and essential oils. I am looking for a really good toilet bowl cleaner recipe so I’ll keep my eyes peeled in the comments!

    • Ally says:

      Angie is doing a FB live this week teaching us to make her bathroom cleaner!!! That will be a great resource for all of us! 🙂

  • Hi Everyone!

    My goodness this challenge has been so amazing so far 😀 So inspiring already and we are only 2 days in!

    I am loving today’s and yesterday’s themes. I wanted to share some of the things that I do around my home for myself and my kiddo. And I want to precede all of this by stating flat out that I like to keep things REALLY SIMPLE. I am a single mom and small business owner. When I feel like things are becoming a big effort, then they start to seem outside of my reach. For me, like many of you I’m sure, its essential that I can whip up DIY recipes quickly, and switch out “conventional” products with natural alternatives easily.

    – I have about a zillion house plants 😐
    – I love using my essential oil diffusers and smudging with sage and palo santo.
    – I have gotten into the habit of opening my doors and windows about once a week through the winter to let some fresh air in.

    { FLOORS }
    – when I mop, I use castile soap and Bandits Blend*
    – I sweep and spot mop with a great little thing I got from Norwex. The dry/wet attachments are easily removed, washed and reused.

    – I use liquid castile soap and a bit of Bandits Blend in the toilet bowl and then clean the rest with my all purpose cleaner (see below) and some rags that I can wash up.
    – Since I make my own dish and hand soap with liquid castile soap and water, I will often use that to scrub away any hard water from the sink and counter area in the kitchen or bathroom.
    – After that I wipe the bathroom counters and mirrors squeaky clean with Norwex cloths…they make things seriously so shiny.
    – Like Ally, I am also really curious to know what people are using for dishwasher tablets.

    – I have seen lots of other people posting about their homemade lemon or orange peel cleaner. This is exactly what I do too!
    – I use this on the toilet and around the kitchen mostly.

    { LAUNDRY }
    – For my laundry soap I make a powder of 2:1 parts washing soda and grated hard castile soap bar **
    – dryer balls with a little bit of essential oil.
    – I also like to hang as many items to dry as possible. Clotheslines are queen in the summer but I also hang things on racks in the winter months.

    – equal parts baking soda and coconut oil.
    – I mostly use this to clean away labels off of jars and bottles so I can reuse them.
    – you can also use this in place of magic erase style cleaning products.
    – let the paste sit on mark (like dreaded crayon on the wall) for 15 mins or so and then clean off with a scrubby or cloth and soap.

    { QUESTION }
    Has anyone been told by an elder about the times before garbage bags? Apparently, the common practice was to line your garbage bins with newspaper. Once there was a little pile of waste in the bin, you would pull it out, wrap it up in a little bundle with the paper and toss it into your large bin to be picked up. I am curious what you all think of this. I really want to try it as it is one way to eliminate the bag!

    * You can purchase Bandits Blend (theives oil) from Alypsis Inc in Peterborough
    ** It is a good idea to be sure your castile soap choice does not contain Palm Oil.


  • I love using my clothes line which is another reason I’m super excited that the warmer weather is arriving. In the winter I have drying racks that I put in front of the wood stove. When I fluff my clothes to get rid of the wrinkles I love using my favourite essential oils with my dryer balls. The best part is I get to choose what my laundry scent is and there’s no nasty fumes that make my head ache from scented dryer sheets!

  • Candice Milroy says:

    Hi. I am not really “in tune” with the daily theme. I am listening and watching but I am adding my two cents based on what I am experiencing each day. Yesterday it was picking up litter with my two girls. They are 10 and 12 and it is my eldest who pushes our family to do better every day. I am a teacher and my daughter with two of her friends started the eco club (green team) at their school. So tonight I met with 20 plus kids after school who are passionate and eager to make a difference. We finalized our plans for our big school wide earth week event. It involves learning stations for the primary students, eco games for the juniors, meeting and connecting with our local horticulture society to rake and tidy and pick up at our local museum and cenotaph park. The oldest students are writing letters to our local businesses to push them to do more and better when it comes to single use plastics and more. They are passionate and awesome! Some are
    Planning to attend the May 3rd March against climate change in cities across Canada and the world in Lindsay as they have been so inspired by young Greta!

    Every little bit helps, if you have kids they need to be involved and let them take the lead. They will amaze you and challenge you to do better. There is no excuse good enough to a child when it comes to their future and the health of the earth.

    Take care, Candice

    • Ally says:

      Candice this is so inspiring and such an important message. These little ones care so much about the planet and it MOVES me. Deeply. Like I am almost crying just thinking about it now. Thank you for everything that you are doing with the kids. It’s so important to have people like you in our school systems. Ox

  • Laura says:

    I’ve been using soap nuts for my laundry for a while now, although I don’t always use them with my kids clothes as they don’t always get out the tough stains (if anyone has a natural stain remover spray they could suggest, that would be awesome).
    Also wondering if anyone has experience with diy soap berry cleaning recipes and if it works better than a vinegar/water all purpose cleaner?

    • Ally says:

      Ohhhh I might ask Julia if she could share about stain removers as I think that she might have some good ones at her store! 🙂

  • Jodie Mulder says:

    For cleaners I use oranges and vinegar
    For heavy duty I buy a herb mixture from Stonehouse holistics and add vinegar
    Sit both for a few weeks strain and I’m set and happy

    We’re huge composers here
    We keep them in big ice cream containers and take the containers once ever few weeks to the Dummer dump they have two huge digesters for people to bring their scraps to

    We live in lakefield so we have a composter but not quite big enough to handle the compost from my family of 5

    I’m a vegetarian
    I eat locally produced
    I buy as locally made products as I can

    I support local to keep our local villages

    I bike as much as I can but harder when my job requires driving between towns daily
    But I encourage people to stay active
    Get outside and to be positive

    • Ally says:

      Love this Jodie!!! On day four we’re going to explore food a little bit more so I’d love if you could share some of your favourite vegetarian recipes or cook books or blogs that day 🙂

  • Sacha says:

    Great video today Ally!💞
    For air quality I have plants, use a diffuser, and burn sage and more recently palo santo. I also pulled up all the carpets in the bedrooms.
    I have a couple Himalayan salt lamps.
    My next step is to find a non-latex shower curtain. Something natural with no off-gassing.
    I make a EO spray that is half water, half witch hazel with either lavender or thieves EO. My favourite way to use this is to spray the sheets and pillows with it. It feels so spa-like! Great for couches too.
    I have a reusable dryer sheet that I picked up years ago at the health food store. I sprinkle it with lemon or lime EO and toss in the dryer.
    I can’t wait to try the all purpose cleaner recipe you posted!

  • Jessica Hamblin says:

    Ally, first I would like to say that you are a beautiful soul and I am extremely happy you have put this together!
    I just made a dish soap that I so far really like, it doesn’t get bubbly but I am learning that it bubbles from the chemicals.
    Dish Soap;
    1/2c thieves cleaner
    1/2c Castile soap
    1/2c baking soap dissolved in hot water
    Add all to your dish soap bottle and fill the rest with distilled water.

    I will be getting more plants from my home!

    It has been inspiring reading about the limited amount of garbage and recycling everyone is creating and I have realized I can for sure do better. I have been composting for year now and that helped lower the amount the garbage going to the curb.

    • Ally says:

      Jess! You are the sweetest. Thank you for the recipe. I’m such a crazy plant lady (as you all probably noticed in my videos lol) and it’s so cool to see what everyone’s doing and become more inspired. I think when you know there’s a whole community of people doing their part it makes you feel like less of a black sheep in the world and more like a trail blazer right?! 🙂

  • Chris Cordy says:

    As well as good old google I use the sustainable economist for information on investments I can make in the green economy and socially responsible endeavours:

  • Ally says:

    Here is one of Jay’s cleaner recipes (I love the smell and it actually works way better than my vinegar method lol)

    All Purpose Cleaner – Sweet Lavender Lime

    2 oz Isopropyl Alcohol or vodka
    2 oz Vinegar
    Lime essential Oil 8 drops
    Lavender essential Oil 5 drops
    Sweet Orange Essential Oil 5 drops
    8 oz Water

    • Lyndele Gauci says:

      Stealing this lol

    • Steph says:

      So I’ve noticed that a lot of DIY recipes say “distilled water” or “filtered water” or “pure water”. What is that about? Necessary? Need to be purchased? Curious.

      • Ally says:

        Hey Steph, here’s a good article that will explain all of this: (know that you can also just boil water and that should do the trick to get molds and bacteria out! That’s what I do, I do have some minerals from the lake but not enough for it to bother anything I’m making)

      • Jay Poole says:

        Distilled or pure water has had the miniral elements removed by some process. The reason that most cleaner recipies call for this is they remove any local water inconsistancies ie: hard or soft water. Which can cause mineral staining or streaks. We are normally using tap water for all our recipies we would probably get a better final product on glass if we went this route but it is another step that can sometimes be more difficult then simply putting tap water in.

    • Angie says:

      Definitely going to try this one,
      Thanks Jay

  • Lisa says:

    Yes! to being grateful for living in a place that has electricity and indoor plumbing! So fortunate! I started using bar hand soap instead of liguid. I no longer buy a big pack of dollar store sponges for dishes and instead use a little wood and bristle brush. I stopped using “baggies” and will never buy them again. I’m going to buy a few cloth pouches but mostly just use glass jars for things. I use bees wax cloth instead of plastic wrap. No system is perfect but I’m really happy with the changes I’m making and am always on the lookout for more!

    • Ally says:

      These are awesome changes. Isn’t it amazing how things can add up over time?! These little tiny choices in a direction make a gigantic impact over the course of our lives… I just love that. 🙂

  • Incredible video today Ally!

    I can relate to a lot of your thoughts & feelings. The nature centre I help operate has solar panels that pump green energy into the grid for Bull Frog we are also Bull Frog Powered.

    I have a hard time because we live with people who don’t put the environment as their forefront and I don’t think they ever will. I can try to post little notes around the house & be reminding them about things but it almost feels like I’m annoying them. So I just try what I can on my own. But it doesn’t help being surrounded by others using a lot of waste and not thinking about electricity, or reusing things.

    Watching this video has reminded me that I can keep planning for when I am no longer living with other people who don’t share the same values. It’s also nice hearing that others are feeling the same thing and I’m not as big of a weirdo as the people directly around me can make me feel 😛

    Living in the county we drive to a lot of places. I want us to start planning our trips a lot more in advance and not be wasting gas making any extra trips.

    I also want to stop using so much plastic but I’m finding it so hard! Country Cupboard is constantly motivating and inspiring me.

    Thanks again Ally!

    • Ally says:

      Living with people can be a huge challenge. My husband and I actually butt heads a fair bit on certain issues, but for the most part he cares about the environment and supports me, but it’s because he loves me (he’s very much a Yolo mentality I think haha… not sustainable for his health or the planet) we sometimes have to compromise on things when I come on too strong!!!! (which I tend to do at times! Lol)

  • Jennifer says:

    Thank you for all the wonderful information! Could you post a few educational resources that you used to learn about making changes in your day to day life? There are so many blogs and books out there but I am never sure which ones are free of a bias to a company or product. Thanks for sharing Ally!

  • Angel says:

    I make 2 cleaners that I use for the house. I save all my citrus peels (oranges, lemons and tangerine) and I jam them into a mason jar and cover them with white vinegar. Let them sit in there for a couple of weeks. Then I strain out the peels (and compost them). I mix the remaining infused vinegar 50/50 with plain water and its good to go. I love using it in the kitchen because it smells so much nicer than plain vinegar, plus the citrus oils cut through grease nicely. For the other one I use pure water, a few drops of tea tree oil, grapefruit and lavender EO, and a little castille soap or veg. Glycerin.

    • Ally says:

      I used to do that citrus peel method too!!! I haven’t done that in a few years. I almost forgot about it, it works great!

      That second one sounds great too. I will have to try grapefruit in my next cleaner as I LOVE the smell so much 🙂

    • Coleen says:

      I like your recipe using citrus fruit peel and vinegar. Will have to give it a try. Excellent way to use the whole fruit.

  • Carly Reid says:

    Also — wondering if anyone has any great PODCAST recommendations for sustainability? I know Ally, you mentioned a book but I’d love to hear about some awesome podcasts as that’s more my speed these days much as I love reading books, I just don’t have the time.

    • Ally says:

      I haven’t listened to all of these yet Carly but I’ve heard great things (let me know which ones you like please!)

      The Minimalist Podcast

      Sustainable Jungle

      Direct Current

      The Adaptors

      Think Sustainability

      Sustainability Defined

      Does anyone have any other ones to share? 🙂

  • Carly Reid says:

    Air purifying plants are my favourite — a lot of them don’t need a lot of light either which is great for people like me because my house doesn’t offer any direct light. Spider plant, pothos, snake plant, ivy, ferns, bamboo…there are so many great plants!

    Cleaning I’m pretty basic…I too am a vinegar with some essential oils kind of gal as well. I’m trying my best to do more with this and look for recipes for everything like laundry as well so excited for those recipes in the comments.

    As for powering the home, I’m the first person to remind people to turn off the lights, to light a candle, to just sit in the dark and BE. It’s a lovely thing.

    This post comes at a strange time for me as I am being gifted my grandmothers car today. I have walked everywhere for almost 33 years and I don’t plan on that changing just because I am getting a car. I just got my license a little over a year ago as it was never a priority and also because I enjoyed not having a car for environmental impacts and I will continue to walk to places that I’m able to.

    Thanks for doing this Ally. This is so great! There are of course a bunch of resources online but it’s nice for it to live in one spot and for people to be able to come here and share.

    • Ally says:

      Awe I’m so glad that you are here! There are soooo many resources online. It can almost be too much lol… I’m happy to create a place where we can come together and share resources and inspire one another (for the babies!) 🙂

    • Lyndele Gauci says:

      Carly,I got my first car at age 36. It was my father’s, and after he died i started driving it out of necessity. I went almost 15 years off having a license and no car! I walked everywhere! 7km a day was nothing for me 4 years ago. I think I did my part pretty well 😄

  • rebecca hardy says:

    I have a mixuture of lemon juice, vinegar, and Dawn soap (if someone has a good replacement for the dawn, please do let me know), as my everything cleaner…if that doesn’t do the job I may do the wonderful volcano experiment (baking soda and vinegar). There was this clay like substance a health store in the area used to carry, I wish I could remember what it was called. A small amount did everything!
    In terms of air quality, I like to open windows and talk to my mini jungle…I’ve got so many plants, and some that are to be good for air have great sentimental value for me as they’ve been passed through generations. I also have a few for sleep aide (snake plant is a good one).
    I have loved reading these posts, taking tips, and realizing where I could improve 🙂 thank you!

  • Lyndele Gauci says:

    I remembered something else! 🤣 For indoor air quality: definitely be sure to change the furnace filter regularly. I have lots of spider plants among others indoors, as well as I use Palo Santo aaaaand sage in an almost daily basis. One thing to consider to reduce or eliminate indoor pollutants, is considering your home renos. Off gassing from latex and plastics are huge! That rubber backed bath mat? The paint you use? The underlay of carpets and glues in flooring??? All things to consider too!

    • Ally says:

      YES! Totally, all of that off-gassing stuff actually makes me very nervous… As you know I study the brain a lot and this stuff really really damages the brain in terrible, terrible ways 🙁

  • Lyndele Gauci says:

    Oh! Also touching on the moming subject: I did cloth diapers for a short time. Unfortunately, once my child was having access with his father and going to daycare, it became too much to continue and I had to just relax about that. We are on our potty training journey now so using far less diapers! Ally, there is the option to wake Audrey in the night before she wets the bed, and train her to wake so she relieves herself on the potty! We also use disposable diaper wipes: again, I just have to because any way to lessen some of the work as a single, running a business mum, I will. I don’t need the extra stress!
    I recently switched to compostable garbage bags, and try to compost without a composter! Not always successful there. But i’m looking forward to Ahimsaeco coming to Green up ptbo because i’m buying their urban composter!!!

    • Ally says:

      Oooh that’s super cool that you are getting an urban composter! One of the perks of living in the country is it’s really mellow to take our compost out every day no matter what!! I have to say I’m a huge fan of that 🙂

  • Lyndele Gauci says:

    Good morning!
    I mentioned on my IG yesterday, that conserving water is HUGE in my home, and has been for years. So that’s one area I feel very strongly about. We follow the “if it’s yellow let it mellow” principle lol. We use tp and I’m not even interested in the Family Cloth method lol We bathe every 2-3 days, and often my 2.5 yo showers with me. I run a business and use natural cleaners for my house cleaning clients: SNC makes a great scrub that literally cuts thru tub and sink grime, like buttah! I love using Norwex cloths and I have a mop that is detachable aaaaand washable. One wooden handle too that fits several attachment heads (swopt). I’ve tried the laundry detergent from SNC but found it far too expensive: same with their dish soap, but I will use that every other purchase. SNC is local, handmade and environmentally sound. I love Sherrie’s products! So I buy laundry detergent. But ive heard soap berries are the way to go, so i’m going to try that next! I use felt dryer balls now, but for years I didn’t use anything! It’s really not necessary IMO My hydro bill is very low-i live in a rental unit, but conserving electricity is also important to me, for decades now I feel. I spend maybe $85/mth on hydro+water and about the same for my gas heat.

  • Kelly Solotarow says:

    Thank you Ally for the wonderful tips and things you do to help the environment!!
    In my home we use our water to clean. My son actually loves to clean the windows and using water it’s completely safe for him to help us. He cleans up his spills on the floor with water also. From cleaning the sinks, floors, toilets, we have replaced about 90% of our cleaners in the home.
    For laundry, my water machine makes 3 types of water you can use for laundry. 1 to remove all the grease, dirt and oils, one for fabric softener and 1 for bleach. It completely illuminates the chemicals going into the environment that can have a lasting impact.
    We have some solar panels with battery power to run the lights and things in our home to reduce our carbon foot print.
    Whenever possible we car pool with others to help reduce emissions. We avoid going to the store for just a few items, my husband has stopped going into town for his coffee.
    I find we only put recycling out once a month and the box isn’t full and we use less than a bag of garbage every 2 weeks.
    They do sell reusable underwear that may help to go over the cloth diapers or you maybe able to just use them instead of pull-ups at night. They have plastic like coating on the outside so you could use them at night.
    Looking forward to tomorrow ❤️ Thank you so much for everything you do!!

    • Ally says:

      Hey Kelly!!! Wow this water sounds so magical. I’m super impressed that it can wash clothes! I’m also happy to report that we haven’t had a wet pull up in like 3 weeks so I’m thinking we’re almost at the end of that night time routine 🙂

      That’s so great about your recycling too. I was actually kinda shocked when I learned about how recycling (although so much better than throwing things in the landfill) is not the most environmentally friendly option and opting for package free/reusable makes such a bigger impact! We are having a lot more recycling these days then we did a couple of years ago but it’s going back down again which is good! I’m happy about it!

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