From Renee on January 24th, 2008 in Green Remodeling
Closets are often left out of the house greening plans, but these small spaces pack a lot of punch. You probably can’t count the number of nights you’ve fallen asleep with your closet door wide open. Just as fumes can seep from unhealthy painting and flooring materials, the same can waft out of your bedroom closet. In addition, much of what we store and everything we store it in can easily be environmentally friendly. Let’s start with those hangars…
Still using hangars made from plastic?
Even wood and bamboo wires can sometimes have wire or varnish that make them difficult to recycle. When restocking your hangar supply, choose something 100% recyclable, like Ditto Hangars, designed to keep these little closet ditties out of landfills.
What about your shelving?
Nowadays, there’s a wide variety of material available, so installing environmentally friendly shelving should be a cinch. If you swear by lumber, avoid old-growth timber or endangered tropical hardwoods, seeking out certified wood, reclaimed wood, or wood composites instead. Or, venture away from lumber with an alternate choice, such as bamboo panels by Teragran. Another possibility is to reuse unwanted materials from around your home; turn that lonely bookshelf in your garage or the thrift store end table that’s come to its functionable end into something new.
How do you protect your woolens?
Moth balls seem to stem from another age, but many people have naphthalene moth balls in the closet to protect expensive woolens from wool moths. These moth balls are highly nerutoxic, recognized carcinogens. Natural moth balls (repellant sachets) make an easy trade, and you can even make them yourself with dried herbs. For instance, read this article on Packing Those Sweaters Away Safely for a simple concoction.
Greening can also be part of your closet cleaning process.
Giving up on unwanted, ill-fitting attire from high school? Recycle by giving them away instead of throwing them out. This averts CO2 emissions from incineration and landfills. As you restock, consider buying clothes that contain recycled and organic materials. Organic fabrics aren’t grown with pesticides and fertilizers. Hemp, bamboo, ramie, linen, silk, wool, alpaca, and cashmere can all be grown organically.
Don’t forget that toxic fumes can come from a variety of sources in the closet: fresh shoe polish, dry-cleaned clothes, and insect repellents are just a few examples. Fortunately, the fixes are easy and the alternatives many. For instance, try drying your shoes outdoors or selecting a dry cleaner that uses liquid carbon dioxide, so you can open that closet door with confidence.