Improving Your Home with Eco Friendly Products

Since climate change is a real concern these days, it is a great idea to keep your home clean using environmentally friendly products. Below are some environmentally friendly products you can use in replacement of your existing not so eco friendly products.

1. Using biodegradable products. Nowadays it’s quite easy to determine if a product is biodegradable or not as most of the time it is indicated on the label. Make sure to read the label carefully before purchasing any item. Harsh cleaning materials such as bleach are not only harmful to hands but also to the environment.

One alternative to replace this product is to use lemon juice or white vinegar to wipe out those stains and remove odour. A salt and water or a cream of tartar and hot water combination are also useful as cleansers and very environmentally friendly.

Another common biodegradable product that can be used everyday is the recycled paper bag. Instead of using plastics as storage containers, you may opt for cartons or recycled paper bags to store your items. Besides being eco friendly, you can even decorate them or personally customize them in accordance to your homes decor.

2. Using natural disinfectants. In recent years, viruses, germs and bacteria that cause illness and disease seem to be spreading faster than ever. One way to protect yourself from some of them is by keeping your home clean using disinfectants. It is wise to use alternative natural disinfectants which can be quite inexpensive and may even be available in your home already. Eucalyptus oil, vinegar, borax, grapefruit seed extract, hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and lemon juice are all alternative natural disinfectants. It is important to note that it is still advisable to use commercial disinfectants to clean common bacteria-induced areas such as toilets and doorknobs, but again there are several products on the market which are more environmentally friendly than others – just read the label.

3. Avoid using cleaning products that contain phosphate. Phosphate is a common ingredient in detergents which come in powder, gel or tablet form. Phosphate is known to promote algae growth in lakes and oceans which kills fish and other underwater creatures due to suffocation. The good news is that there are phosphate-free detergents available on the market which are safe for the environment. You may also opt for phosphate free liquid detergents rather than using powder detergents for cleaning your clothes – the same is true for your dishwasher detergents.

These are just few tips to help you start using environment friendly and safe products in your home. If you cannot avoid having toxic or poisonous products in your home, be sure to label them properly and keep them well out of the reach of children to avoid unnecessary accidents.

Again, it is useful to read the labels of all the products you buy for your home to determine if the product is environmentally friendly or not. With the use of environmentally friendly products I’m sure you will not only achieve the same cleaning effect as with toxic products but you may also save some money!

Jamie Dann is with B.J. Roth Realty Ltd. in Barrie, ON.

Canadian Gross Domestic Product, Third Quarter and September 2010

Date: November 30, 2010

Canadian Gross Domestic Product, Third Quarter and September 2010

Source: Statistics Canada

Link to Release:

Summary: Canada’s Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) increased 0.3 per cent in the third quarter for an annualized growth rate of 1.0 per cent. On a monthly basis, GDP declined in September – the second decline in three months. Manufacturing and retail sales were among the positive contributors to the third quarter figure, while exports and housing investment (both down 1.3 per cent) proved to be the largest drags on growth.

Analysis: The third quarter GDP release contained good and bad news. The bad news was a lower than expected overall growth rate which was predominantly driven by trade-related factors – a decline in exports and increased imports. The trade component of GDP has been hampered continued economic problems south of the border and the high value of the Canadian dollar vis-à-vis the US dollar. On the positive side, the third quarter result benefitted from continued growth in consumer spending and the largest growth in business investment since 2005. Thus, while net exports continue to be a drag on economic growth, business investment, which was another is improving. Continued consumer spending and resurgence in business investment should result in improved economic growth rates moving forward.

Source: Toronto Real Estate Board

Home sales rise in November for fourth straight month

TORONTO — Canadian home sales grew in November for the fourth straight month but continued a trend of unfavourable comparisons to the same month last year, when sales reached record levels.

Seasonally adjusted home resales were up 4.8 per cent compared to October, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association’s monthly report.

Home resales on CREA’s Multiple Listing Service have also rebounded by 19.5 per cent from July, when the market hit a trough following the introduction of new mortgage rules, higher interest rates and a new tax in two provinces.

However, actual home sales were down 9.3 per cent compared to record activity last November, consumer confidence improved from the recession and buyers rushed into the market to secure a new home while mortgage rates were near record lows.

“A comparison of November sales activity to sales for the same month in previous years suggests that activity is currently running at more normal levels,” CREA said in its release, adding that the persistence of large year-over-year declines has been masking the steady improvement in sales since July.

Robert Kavcic, an economist at BMO Capital Markets said falling long-term mortgage rates and improved consumer confidence have helped stabilize the market after a downturn in the spring and early summer.

“After a dramatic ride that saw a recession, a piping hot rebound and a subsequent mini correction, the Canadian housing market seems to have landed softly on stable ground. The market now appears well balanced, with neither buyers nor sellers holding a meaningful edge.”

The national average price for homes sold in November 2010 was $344,268, up two per cent from November 2009.

Prices also increased from October, when the average home cost $343,747, up less than a percentage point compared to one year ago. Still November prices were down from May when prices peaked at $346,881.

Gregory Klump, CREA’s chief economist projects that the housing market will remain in balanced territory in the coming months.

“With sales activity having returned to better health and a firm floor under prices, sellers who previously shied away from putting their home on the market are expected to list their home in response to improved housing demand in recent months,” he said.

“Following the chilling lows at the onset of the recent recession and the dizzying heights during the subsequent recovery, the national housing market appears to be returning to some semblance of normalcy.”

Seasonally adjusted activity was up from October levels in two-thirds of all local markets, including eight of the ten most active markets.

The number of new listings on the MLS edged down 0.7 per cent and are now down nearly 15 per cent from the peak reached this April.

The decline in new listings is consistent with cooling activity in the housing market since the middle of the year, and has created balanced market conditions in about 60 per cent of Canadian markets.

About two-thirds of the remaining markets remain in sellers’ territory.

It would take an average of 5.8 months to sell all of the current houses on the MLS in November — down from 6.1 months in October.