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Spring Gillard
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A Little Carpet with my Corn Meal

In the early 1990s, while living in Winnipeg, I began to experience early stirrings of environmentalism. I bought a book called The Canadian Green Consumer Guide, How Can you Help? Responsible shopping that won’t cost the earth (McClelland & Stewart, 1989). The guide, prepared by the Pollution Probe Foundation with a preface by Margaret Atwood, was based on the book by John Elkington and Julia Hailes. It provided useful information on everything from eco-friendly toiletries and gardening products to how to travel more lightly on the planet. It is jam-packed full of practical tips and resources.

While some of the environmental organizations in the book may have become extinct, much of the content is still very relevant. For example, I turn to it when when I’m looking for alternatives to harsh chemical cleaners. I’ve successfully used their recipes to clean my oven, wash my windows, and to open clogged drains. This week, I thought I’d give their carpet cleaner a try. Carpet cleaners are full of toxic ingredients. They suggest sprinkling a mixture of two parts cornmeal to one part Borax onto the carpet. After about an hour, you vacuum it up and voila, greasy soil and odours no more.

I followed the instructions, but can’t say I noticed any difference. Perhaps there’s been a little too much time between cleanings. Oh well, it was one way to use up the GMO-laden bag of corn meal.

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