Saturday, January 31, 2009

Singapore Govt. pledges S$1b on green sustainable projects

S$1 billion has been earmarked for greening Singapore's infrastructure over the next five years. Experts said the real challenge lies not in new developments, but in retrofitting existing buildings. Lee Siew Eang, head, Energy Sustainability Unit, School of Design and Environment, National University of Singapore, said: "That forms approximately about 80 per cent of our existing building stocks and these lots of buildings will be operating for a long time to come, perhaps for the next 20, 30 years... we really should look into making sure that they are more energy efficient, more sustainable."

One area to target is air conditioning systems, which consume about 60 per cent of energy in most buildings. For buildings that are inefficient, this number can go up to 80 per cent.A government subsidy for landlords to become more energy efficient will certainly help to reduce the nation's carbon footprint.

Other initiatives to consider include more solar-powered public lighting, or motion sensor lights that remain off when no one is around. But one problem that Singapore faces in the implementation of clean or renewable energy projects is the lack of local expertise. Many of these projects currently rely on foreign consultants. But the government hopes to change that by subsidising professional conversion courses, so that a mechanical engineer retrenched in the manufacturing sector, for example, can undergo training, and then play a part in greening Singapore.

The Building and Construction Authority plans to train at least 8,000 specialists in areas like sustainable building design and energy management, over the next five years.

Friday, January 30, 2009

2009 Academy Awards Go Green with Dry Cleaning Swag Bag

A splash of green will adorn the red carpet at this year's Academy Awards with the announcement that a reusable dry cleaning garment bag from Chicago-based Dry Greening™ will debut as the official "swag bag" for the 10th Annual Billboard Magazine/Children Uniting Nations Oscar After-Party at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles on Feb. 22.

The reusable Dry Greening bag can be used as both a dry cleaning garment bag and a tote bag.
It marks the first time ever that a dry cleaning accessory will be featured in the gifting lounge at one of the premier after parties for the Academy Awards.

Launched in December 2008, by Chicagoan Ann Foley, Dry Greening™ offers a reusable dry cleaning bag that is both a tote for dirty clothing being brought to the cleaners and a hanging garment bag for clean clothes being picked up from the cleaners. Dry Greening's™ water-repellant non-woven design is made from 100 percent recycled content.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

After the hurricane, New Orleans is going green....

The city known more for French Quarter trash than recycling or renewable energy is going green. In rebuilding since Hurricane Katrina, homes are being fitted with solar panels, organic farming is catching on and the city's got a new fleet of hybrid buses.

On the flanks of those buses, a catch phrase — Cleaner, Smarter — could be the anthem for the movement by institutions and individuals to slowly turn the city's environmentally-unfriendly image around.

Maybe the filthy water that flooded 80 percent of the city after the catastrophe in August 2005 made residents rethink the way to rebuild. Or maybe it's the tax credits or energy price spikes. Whatever the reason, the hurricane created a testing ground for ideas and initiatives.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

UN welcomes green initiatives in current climate

The United Nations says the global financial crisis may have a silver lining: prompting more governments to boost their spending on environment-friendly initiatives such as renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Angela Cropper, the deputy executive director of the U.N. Environment Program, said on Thursday she welcomed the recent announcements by several Asian countries, including South Korea and Japan, of a green component to their multibillion dollar stimulus packages.
"It is giving a clear signal and statement that business as usual is not the way of the future," Cropper told a daylong seminar in Bangkok aimed at finding innovative ways to help countries adapt to climate change. The seminar was sponsored by the U.N. and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency.

Cropper lauded the effort of governments "to create the climate in which business and industry can tap into these new investments."

The initiatives come on the heels of President Barack Obama's promise to invest $150 billion over the next decade to create green jobs, particularly in the automotive industry, and to improve the electricity grid so people can drive plug-in hybrid vehicles.

Earlier this month, South Korea said it will invest 50 trillion won ($38.1 billion) over the next four years on environmental projects in a "Green New Deal" to spur slumping economic growth and create nearly a million jobs.

"We have turned the climate crisis into a business opportunity," South Korea's Climate Change Ambassador Rae-Kwon Chung said on the sidelines of the conference. "We can no longer look at climate as just a pain, a burden. We have to turn it around and look at it as a new economic opportunity."

Japan also recently announced that it aims to expand the "green business" market and create up to a million new jobs, with measures including zero-interest rate loans for environmentally friendly companies, the U.N. environmental agency said in a statement.

James Gifford, the executive Director of Principles for Responsible Investment, a U.N.-affiliated investor initiative comprising 450 institutional investors, said stimulus packages will offer companies cash that they are struggling to raise in today's battered financial markets.
"I think the stimulus packages around the world are going to deliver a huge amount of capital into renewable and climate change," said Gifford.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Jackie Chan launches green initiative in Sentosa

Sentosa is cutting down on the emission of carbon dioxide by encouraging tourists to go green with the newly introduced two-wheel motor personal transporter called Segway. International superstar Jackie Chan was in town to launch the Segway Go Green Initiative, encouraging everyone to do their part for the environment.

"Do you know how much water we waste when each of us visits the washroom twice a day? When I go to the washroom, I will ask who is going after me; we'll flush the toilet bowl when the last person is done. I am doing this for the environment," Chan said.

Chan also planted a tree in gesture of improving the environmental condition of the island.
Sentosa currently has 30 two-wheel mobile devices to cater to tourists' needs. The management plans to increase the number of devices to 50 by the end of this year. At the current phase, tourists can only use the devices around designated areas; the long term plan is to enable tourists to get around the island with the device as one of the island's transportation means.

Construction for integrated resort, Resorts World at Sentosa, is expected to be completed next year. Traffic on the island is expected to be busier; the management is thus working to decrease the emission of carbon dioxide on the island by exploring various means with the two-wheel device as one of which.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Press Release - January '09

Eco friendly approach to the cleaning industry in Singapore

Looking to get the highest standards of cleaning to protect health, without harming the environment? Learn from Green Cleaners. This eco friendly Singapore maid company, founded by an expat, is changing toxic cleaning into something healthier. The company only uses non-toxic, environmentally friendly cleaning products, appealing both to ecologically aware consumers and people with allergies.

Indeed, open your cupboard at home and take a look at the ingredients of your household cleaners and they make for unpleasant reading, with their toxic symbols and health warnings. Now, there’s a healthier option with Green Cleaners’ maid services. By taking the initiative to use non-toxic products, they can reduce human health risks in your home from reduced exposure to harmful chemicals. And, it’s not just better for you and your family, there’s a positive effect on Singapore’s environment too. The products they use are carefully selected with qualities that include reusability, energy efficiency, eco-responsible packaging, recycled content and biodegradability.

The concept has been introduced to Singapore by British expat, Colin Boyce. After being involved in a number of green businesses throughout Australia, Asia and the Middle East over the past few years, Colin moved to Singapore 12 months ago. “After arriving in Singapore, I did as many expats do, and hired a weekly maid. My apartment was cleaned well, but soon after, I started to experience chest problems. When I did some research on the net, I was horrified to learn the side effects household cleaners can have. It inspired me to offer a healthier option in Singapore.” It seems like many of their customers are eager to change for their loved ones. Colin explains, “We have many enquiries from parents with new born babies, worried about the effects of toxic products on their child’s health. We have enquiries from pet owners, worried about their dogs & cats. And with our new green home cleaning kit range, we can even help families with ‘live in’ maids to bin toxic cleaners for good. It gives me great satisfaction to know we’re improving our customer’s lifestyle and helping Singapore’s environment too.”

Of course education and awareness of climate issues is important; and with a number of green government initiatives recently launched, it appears Green Cleaners are helping change the planet one simple step at a time. They actively encourage their clients to adapt to a more ‘greener’ lifestyle and help create a more sustainable future for Singapore. They send a monthly E-newsletter of tips and advice for the household, including energy efficiency, saving water and waste management and are soon to start monthly lifestyle classes on the three R’s – Reduce, Reuse & Recycle.

The decisions and actions we take today, have a lasting effect on the lives of our future generations. Why not make the change today and ensure a healthy future for our planet and its occupants.

For a free quote and more information visit
+65 6304 3088

Green Cleaners Pte Ltd is the leading eco-friendly maid service in Singapore. We only use carefully selected products that are environmentally friendly and non-polluting of the environment or your indoor air. Our staff are friendly, reliable and all critically trained on our green cleaning program, consisting of procedures that maximize cleaning results while protecting home occupants.

Green Cleaners is the better choice for your health, your family's health and the health of our planet.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

This CNY - Make Gift Boxes from Greeting Cards

After CNY.... if you have an old greeting cards laying around, tutorial site wikiHow runs down the steps for turning a card into an attractive gift box with a message inside. Don't have any greeting cards? Use a cereal box or sheets of paper instead!!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Happy Chinese New Year!!

It' s Chinese New Year this long weekend and for those of you in Singapore, looking to visit some eco-friendly attractions, taste some organic food or stay in green accomodation, we have some suggestions:

* Garden tours at the National Library
* Bukit Timah Nature Reserve
* Singapore Botanic Gardens
* Bollywood Veggies
* Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
* Pulau Ubin
* Hostel One 66
* Green roof at NTU’s School of Art, Media and Design

If you have any to add to the list or reviews of the above, please do let us know :)

Happy Chinese New Year!!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Carry a plastic bag in Delhi - get jailed!!

The global battle against plastic took a draconian turn when officials in New Delhi announced last week a penalty for carrying a polythene shopping bag. Officials in India’s capital have decided that the only way to stem the rising tide of rubbish is to completely outlaw the plastic shopping bag. According to the official note, the “use, storage and sale” of plastic bags of any kind or thickness will be banned.

The new guideline means that customers, shopkeepers, hoteliers and hospital staff face a 100,000 rupee fine ($306) and possible jail time for using non-biodegradable bags. New Delhi has been steadily filling up with plastic bags in recent years as the economy has boomed and western-style shopping malls have sprung up in the city. Environmentalists say more than 10 million are used in the capital every day.

To begin with, the ban will be lightly enforced, giving people time to switch to cotton, recycled paper and compostable bags. Civil servants said that punitive measures were needed after a law prohibiting all but the thinnest plastic bags — with sides no thicker than 0.04mm — was ignored.

Officials said that it would be up to the court to decide on how harsh a sentence an offender might face....

Monday, January 19, 2009

Greenest Inauguration Ever?

The Presidential Inauguration Committee is hoping that the estimated 2 million people who come to see Barack Obama sworn in as the 44th president of the United States on Tuesday will do like good hikers everywhere do: leave Washington, D.C., as clean as they found it.

Thousands of people have volunteered to lend a hand in what is being touted as the "greenest inauguration in history," and for many of them that will mean picking up trash, recyclables and even horse manure along the Mall in Washington after Obama takes the oath of office.

But critics say the committee's attempt to be environmentally friendly is nothing more than political posturing and basic good behaviour. Furthermore, they say, if Hollywood stars and bigwigs really cared about the environment, they'd choose not to come to Washington at all. Rather than generate tons of emissions in their private jets and gas-guzzling SUVs, they'd have a better chance of saving the Earth if they just stayed home.

The Institute for Liberty, a conservative think tank, estimated recently that the millions of people coming to the inauguration will generate a half-billion pounds of carbon dioxide — 260 million pounds from the 600 private jets that will come to Washington, and another 260 million pounds from personal vehicles. It says the pollution amounts to more than 575 million pounds of CO2, which would take the average U.S. household 57,598 years to produce. The institute did not say how it derived its figures, which are debatable. But the bottom line is undeniable: the more people who fly or drive to Washington for the inauguration, the more fuel that is consumed and the more emissions that are dispersed.

The Presidential Inaugural Committee plans to have 100 of its 18,000 volunteers sweeping the parade area to collect trash and recyclables. Metallic heat sheets that are being made available for parade participants who suffer the effects of the cold weather will be donated afterward to the homeless. And volunteers will follow parade horses -- picking up what they leave behind so it can be sold to a local farm.

The National Parks Service and the Trust for the National Mall are also providing recycling cans up and down the mall -- along with about 5,000 portable toilets -- for the millions who attend.

For the big day tomorrow and the future – Good Luck President Obama!! :)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Electric Scooter given Green light for Singapore

THE Land Transport Authority (LTA) has given initial approval for a new electric scooter to be brought to Singapore by five-month-old local company Zeco Scooters.

The scooter costs nearly twice as much as regular machines available here, but promises fuel savings of up to $1,300 a year because its 50cc-equivalent engine runs on electricity. The bikes can be charged from any electrical outlet, and a full charge will take between three and eight hours, depending on the model. The maximum distance such a bike can cover after charging ranges from 45km to 90km.

Though the LTA has given initial approval, the scooter still needs the go-ahead from other government agencies before it can hit the streets. Nevertheless, Zeco's managing director Jan Croeni, a German, has already ordered his first shipment of about 20 E-Max bikes from their German manufacturer. The scooters - which will retail for between $6,999 and $7,399 each - are due here in March.

Zeco hopes business will be brisk after the official launch of the machine at its Outram Road showroom tomorrow. Mr Croeni said he chose to roll out the scooters in Singapore because of its "self-contained" nature. "There is not much urban sprawl, it has limited range, so it's ideal to promote this vehicle," he said.

"The scooter is cost-efficient, totally new and has zero emissions," he added.
But although electric scooters have already proven popular in China and Taiwan, experts are doubtful that they will take off here, at least for now. For one thing, finding a place to charge the scooter may be difficult. Zeco plans to build "plug-and-charge" stations across the island, if the scooter takes off.

But until it does, the company hopes users can charge their machines at public outlets. In return, Zeco plans to return power to the grid by eventually building solar panels to generate electricity.
Zeco will also have to overcome Singaporeans' slowness to embrace green technology.

Dr Michael Li, transport economist from Nanyang Technological University's business school, feels that only a "small percentage" of professionals - one of Zeco's target markets - would be green-minded enough to buy a scooter.

"This would be an additional cost and extra hassle, considering the number of rainy days in Singapore. The market is not mature enough," said Dr Li. The scooter's relatively low maximum speed of 60kmh could also cause safety issues, particularly when navigating Singapore's high-speed roads and when overtaking vehicles.

"It will be a fairly small niche market here until Singapore's roads are made safer for low-speed vehicles, perhaps by lowering speeds on certain roads or through better reinforcement of speed limits," said urban transport policy expert Paul Barter.

So would you be a potential customer for an electric scooter?

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Singapore condos and private apartments urged to install recycling receptacles

The National Environment Agency (NEA) has urged condominiums and private apartments to provide receptacles for recycling in their estates. Mandatory provision of such receptacles came into effect on November 1 2008 and the new ruling was announced earlier last year.

NEA advises condominiums and private apartments to comply with the recent ruling as many residents living in there have asked for recycling receptacles to be provided in their estates. Presently only 38% of households in condominiums and private apartments have receptacles for recycling in their estates.

NEA sent out letters in October 2008 to the management councils of all condominiums to notify them of the new requirement and to encourage them to start preparation work to provide their residents with receptacles for recycling.

The agency also sent Notices this month to 400 condominium estates with more than 50 units each and they have been given six months to comply with the requirement. NEA would be sending Notices to the other condominiums in phases over the next few months.

Prior to the decision to mandate provision of recycling receptacles, NEA had consulted stakeholders such as management councils, managing agents, waste collectors, and relevant associations. The feedbacks were generally positive, and the main concern was to be given enough time to comply with the requirement. Hence, the NEA has given early notice of the new requirement since Fepuary 2008 and is implementing the requirement in phases.

Another feedback that NEA received is to give some flexibility to the management council in the implementation. Hence, NEA would let the Management Council decide on the type of recycling receptacle suitable for their estate, such as size and type of recycling bins, providing recycling bags instead of bins, or providing separate chute for recyclables.

Commenting on the new ruling, Mr Lee Yuen Hee, CEO of NEA said, 'Apart from businesses, households are an important part of NEA's efforts to increase the national recycling rate from the current 54% to 60% by 2012.'

For more information about NEA, visit

Friday, January 16, 2009

Eco-Pregnancy Makes for Healthy Babies

Many women discover the green lifestyle when they are expecting, or become moms. Wanting to do the best you can for your child includes considerations that you make before your baby is even born – after all, that’s why you’ve given up wine, right? Everyone knows that eating right and getting enough rest will help both mother and baby be healthy, but the green movement has opened our eyes to the effects that the world around us can have as well.

Back in 2005, a frightening study by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) found chemicals in the blood of the umbilical cords from 10 newborn babies. These chemicals were linked to cancer, birth defects, and hormone disruptions, and included lead, mercury and PCBs. Since then, moms-to-be have demanded more information about reducing the impact of the chemical soup that we all live in.

Cleaning products are a key source of toxic chemicals in the home. Whatever you spray on your counters or floors makes its way into your system and thus into your baby. Check out our selection of eco-friendly cleaning supplies, use plants to clean the air, and open windows whenever possible.

Now all that’s left is to actually have the baby! :)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

How big (or small) is the size of your ecological footprint?

The Ecological Footprint Quiz estimates the area of land and ocean required to support your consumption of food, goods, services, housing, and energy and assimilate your wastes. Your ecological footprint is expressed in "global hectares" (gha) or "global acres" (ga), which are standardized units that take into account the differences in biological productivity of various ecosystems impacted by your consumption activities.

Your footprint is broken down into four consumption categories: carbon (home energy use and transportation), food, housing, and goods and services. Your footprint is also broken down into four ecosystem types or biomes: cropland, pastureland, forestland, and marine fisheries.

Take the quiz and don't be shy - let us know your results!!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Robot Maids?!

The key to change is that it can be fun too :)

With fun in mind, this video clip made me laugh. Maybe in the future, we'll be putting are feet up and letting robots vacuum the carpet....

A Japanese robot research centre have created a robot that can do household chores. Japanese scientists have created a robot that mops up, does the laundry and even cleans the kitchen. The 'Assistant Robot' is the brain child of Tokyo University's Information and Robot Technology (IRT) Research Initiative system research centre and a slew of japanese companies including Toyota Corp, Sega, Panasonic and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

The robot can "see" three dimensional objects and locate them as well as recognising when a job has not been completed properly and move to complete it. Laundry is said to be one of its favourite chores. It can find a dirty shirt, throw it into a washing machine and push the buttons to wash and rinse and spin dry clothes. But those who think this might be the answer to their cleaning woes can't rejoice just yet. The research centre says it will be another decade or two before the robot can be mass-produced.

First Step

Hi there,

Thanks for becoming a friend of Green Cleaners Singapore. We’re determined to improve the health of our friends and the health of our planet. We understand that education and awareness is key to this, so we sincerely hope our blog can be used as a helpful reference point for you to become more environmentally friendly.

On the blog we'll be posting interesting links to what's going on in the world of 'Green', particularly focusing on Singapore stories, initiatives and news. How Asia is becoming more environmentally friendly and cleaning & household best practices for you to adopt.

Our new blog aims to provide helpful advice and links to saving the planet one simple step at a time.