A green fix when prevention fails

Clogged drains are not just a nuisance; they’re often rather stinky and disgusting. When they happen, most of us reach for chemical cleaners – which are typically pretty corrosive, and can burn skin, eyes and lungs.

So what to do? As with most problems, prevention is much better than cure – so:

  • Ensure a screen is installed in your drain to keep stuff out
  • Don’t pour grease or greasy materials down the drain; they may be liquid when hot, but they cool down quickly once poured out, and then solidify as gunk in pipes. (Small amounts of grease can be added to your compost; large amounts can be taken to recycling facilities.)

But when a cure is needed, first try using a plunger. If that fails, consider trying a sewer snake; they’re available at many hardware stores for less than the cost of a plumber’s service call, and are easy to use (consult YouTube if you need help).

Or try this simple procedure using two simple household ingredients:

  • Pour half a cup of baking soda down the drain; work it in as much as possible
  • Then pour a cup of vinegar, and let it fizz for five to ten minutes to loosen up the clog
  • Then pour some boiling water to flush away the loosened clog

If needed, try this heavier-duty procedure using the same ingredients.

‘Food rich, nutrition poor’

That’s the expression a friend used when the subject of typical Canadian diets came up in a conversation over the holidays: “We are food rich but nutrient poor.”

Sadly, it’s not untrue. Many of us have fallen into lifestyles that are so busy that we’ve grown to rely on highly processed, heavily packaged foods – strong on convenience, but often weak on nutrition. And they typically come with a string of ingredients that we can’t pronounce: preservatives, artificial flavours, sweeteners and more. Bad for us.

Plus – all that processing and packaging means lots of embedded energy (think fryers, freezers and microwaves), and lots of trash. Bad for the planet.

So if New Year’s is a time for resolutions, why not aim to make ourselves food rich AND nutrient rich this year? More basic ingredients, more local food, more flavour, better health!

Need ideas? Think soup (great for using up leftovers too!); check out these 11 foods that are good for you and the planet; and read more on the impacts of our food choices on the planet here.