I've been learning a lot about myself, how others view me and my practice during this time. There's nothing like being the 'cleaning lady' to humble the soul. Everyone at the studio is so lovely, but after spending five years of being informed how much my time is worth... I have to deconstruct my 'story' of what this work entails. It has been an interesting journey.
What I have learned is how to clean a yoga studio with environmentally friendly products.... economically! If you own a studio, or teach at one, this is an area where you can significantly impact the exposure of chemicals to your students and the environmental impact your studio is having on our planet.
Each time traditional, toxic-filled chemicals are used to clean the studio floors, bathrooms, windows and surfaces, you are damaging an already fragile, CLOSED, water system. A water cycle that every single living thing, from plants to us humans, depend upon to survive. Each, pristine white, chemically bleached paper towel represents toxic sludge being dumped into rivers from the factories and thousands of precious virgin forest cut to clean your counter. We can all make some small changes that will have such significant impact- just a tiny voice, a small suggestion and we can make a difference, off the mat.
Floor Cleaning Alternatives:
Instead of using expensive cleaners (especially expensive 'eco' brands) why not use vinegar and water? Use one-part vinegar to four parts warm water with a bunch of tea tree oil and your essential oil of choice in a large pail. The tea tree oil will help kill bacteria and germs while the vinegar's acidity melts away dirt and grime WITHOUT leaving a sticky residue.
In the studio I clean, I need two buckets for the entire place. Simply buying a litre of no name vinegar results in huge monetary savings.
Instead of using a wasteful swiffer-duster, use a broom. Especially for those studios where the snow gracefully falls, brooms make way more sense for dirt, slush and salt bits that get tracked inside.
Surface Cleaning Alternatives:
Mirrors, faucets and windows:
Here's where vinegar and water beats brand-cleaners hands down. Forget the environmental and health impact of inhaling the chemical soup mist, I am constantly amazed at how well vinegar actually leaves a streak-less shine. Every single time.
Just get an old spray bottle, one part (or half if you like) vinegar, three parts water and add a few drops of essential oil and tea tree oil (for bacteria).
Instead of buying paper towel that's been bleached with harmful chemicals (that you're just going to dirty anyway!) and has resulted in countless cut trees...
buy paper towel made from post consumer recycled paper.
Sinks, toilets, counters etc:
Using vinegar and water will work here as well. However, if you're concerned about excessive amounts of bacteria, purchase reliable eco-brands such as Seventh Generation, BioVert (for those Canadians) or Ecover. As you'll be saving money from using vinegar for the floors and shiny surfaces, this spray bottle will LAST.
Instead of trying to scrub a sink with paper towel, use a cloth rag that will get clean the dirt much better, dust and is reusable. Of course a toilet bowl scrub is always necessary.
- Instead of offering paper cups for students to fill up their water, encourage them to use their water bottles (via signage).
- Have compost and recycling bins in the studio (especially in Halifax). It's possible to have them tastefully displayed, and trust me, proper small compost bins do not smell.
- Instead of paper at sinks, offer a towel and wash in cold water. Or offer postconsumer recycled paper.
- Use toilet paper made from post consumer recycled paper. You can buy some that isn't scratchy at all. The hospital in Lower Sackville has recycled tp...
- Bring plants into the studio to help breathe in the toxins offgassing from furniture and laminate flooring.
- Put up the awesome 'How to Recycle Your Mat' poster that EcoYogini has created... :)
Hope this gave you some ideas, or motivated you to perhaps make a tiny suggestion at your studio. Yoga is about our connection with each other and our Earth. When we realize how simple and easy these changes can be, we will create a new culture. Of respect and connection.
article copyright of EcoYogini at ecoyogini.blogspot.com