Friday, July 30, 2010

5 reasons not to drink bottled water

In 2009 there was sold 73 million litres of bottled water in Singapore alone, which gives roughly150 mio plastic water bottles to dispose.

And why even buy bottled water in Singapore? With the tap water being as clean as water can be, there is no good excuse to buy the bottled version.

Here are 5 reasons why NOT to buy bottled water:

1) Bottled water isn't a good value
Branded bottled water is sold from vending machines at the same price as soft drinks. Branded bottled water is essentially filtered tap water, bottled close to their distribution point. Most municipal water costs less than 1 cent per 10 liters.

2) No healthier than tap water
While public safety groups correctly point out that many municipal water systems are aging and there remain hundreds of chemical contaminants for which no standards have been established, there's very little empirical evidence that suggests bottled water is any cleaner or better for you than its tap equivalent.

3) Bottled water means garbage
The plastic used to bottle beverages is of high quality and in demand by recyclers, However, over 80 percent of plastic bottles are simply thrown away.

That assumes empty bottles actually make it to a garbage can. Plastic waste is now at such a volume that vast eddies of current-bound plastic trash now spin endlessly in the world's major oceans. This represents a great risk to marine life, killing birds and fish which mistake our garbage for food.

Thanks to its slow decay rate, the vast majority of all plastics ever produced still exist — somewhere.

4) Bottled water means less attention to public systems
Many people drink bottled water because they don't like the taste of their local tap water, or because they question its safety.

This is like running around with a slow leak in your tire, topping it off every few days rather than taking it to be patched. Only the very affluent can afford to switch their water consumption to bottled sources. Once distanced from public systems, these consumers have little incentive to support bond issues and other methods of upgrading municipal water treatment.

5) The corporatization of water
Water is being called the "Blue Gold" of the 21st century. Thanks to increasing urbanization and population, shifting climates and industrial pollution, fresh water is becoming humanity's most precious resource.

Multinational corporations are stepping in to purchase groundwater and distribution rights wherever they can, and the bottled water industry is an important component in their drive to commoditize what many feel is a basic human right: the access to safe and affordable water.

What can you do?
There's a simple alternative to bottled water: buy a stainless steel thermos, and use it. Don't like the way your local tap water tastes? Inexpensive carbon filters will turn most tap water sparkling fresh at a fraction of bottled water's cost.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Green Cleaners' clients are helping to save Indonesian Rainforests!

As part of Green Cleaners commitment to help support environmental projects in Asia - USD$1 from every Green Home Cleaning Appointment will go towards

Their Indonesian project protects habitat for the endangered Orangutan in Sumatra by preventing illegal logging and clearing. The projects employs staff to patrol National Park boundaries and supports local communities in developing a livelihood that benefits from conservation.

Buy1GIVE1 - Transaction Based Giving

We thank you for your continued support!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Swiss-based multinational company found guilty of exporting toxic waste

A Dutch court has found multinational Trafigura guilty of illegally exporting toxic waste from Amsterdam and concealing the nature of the cargo.

Trafigura is one of the largest independent companies trading commodities today. They are involved in the sourcing and trading of crude oil, petroleum products, renewable energies, metals, metal ores and concentrates for industrial consumers
In 2006, Trafigura transported waste alleged to have been involved in the injury of thousands of people in Ivory Coast. Trafigura denied any wrongdoing.It expressed disappointment in the ruling and is considering an appeal. The firm was fined 1m euros (£836,894) for its ship, the Probo Koala, transiting Amsterdam with its cargo. The ship then went on to unload its cargo in Ivory Coast.

Trafigura employee Naeem Ahmed, who was involved in the ship's operation in Amsterdam, was fined 25,000 euros and the captain of the Probo Koala, 46-year-old Sergiy Chertov, was sentenced to a five-year suspended jail term.
This is the first time Trafigura has faced criminal charges since the toxic waste scandal unfolded in Ivory Coast's commercial capital, Abidjan, in 2006.
Trafigura initially tried to clean up low-grade oil by tipping caustic soda into the hold of the Probo Koala. The company tried to unload the waste in Amsterdam for treatment, declaring it as "harmless slops".

When the treatment company came back with a higher price for cleaning the waste, the cargo was shipped to Africa where it ended up in Abidjan to be handled at a much lower rate. Presiding Judge Frans Bauduin said: "Trafigura - which by that time knew of the exact composition [of the waste] - should never have agreed to its processing at such a price."

Monday, July 26, 2010

Is your wooden furniture illegal??

Around 1/3 of all wooden furniture are made from wood illegally logged around the world. Illegal logging is a major culprit for the increasing destruction of precious tropical forests and takes away a valuable source of income from local communities.

Indonesia is now the world’s third-biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, mostly thanks to deforestation and degradation. The deforestation has huge impact on the local communities.For generations villagers have extracted and sold honey and nilam plant oil – used as cooking oil and to make cosmetics. But most have had to find a secondary source of income as resources run thin.

In addition to depleting resources for forest-dependent communities, deforestation is contributing to an increase in small-scale natural disasters. Flooding has become more common in the last five years, and the water level is rising leaving many houses damaged beyond repair. Furthermore, animals forced out of their natural habitat by deforestation are wreaking havoc in the village. Thousands of pigs are destroying the crops in the local villages.

In Europe The European Parliament has voted overwhelmingly in support of a new law to ban illegal timber imports to the EU. The Parliament voted 644-25 to prohibit the sale and import of illegally harvested timber and products made from it. The law is aimed at the large trade in natural forest timber from the developing world’s forest-rich countries. The ban is set to come into effect in two years. It must still be endorsed by the EU member governments but this is seen as a formality. Under the new rules, European importers of timber and wood products will have to prove the legality of their goods and provide tracking records back to origin.

There is only one way to stop the illegal logging, and that is to check next time you buy wooden furniture. If the legality of the wood cannot be accounted for then DON'T BUY!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Does bathroom cleaner cause cancer??

Scientists claim the risk of breast cancer is doubled by the overuse of air fresheners and cleaning products that combat mould and mildew. Astonishing research claims that the perfect housewives with spotless bathrooms could be twice as likely to get breast cancer.

The amazing findings - which may even be linked to a bizarre combination of the two - emerged in a huge US study.

Breast cancer researchers for the American Silent Spring Institute quizzed more than 1,500 women about what kind of cleaning products they used - and how often.

Many were housewives waging a constant battle against bathroom mould and the build-up of mildew on windows - while at the same time trying to keep homes smelling fresh.
The institute's Julia Brody said: "Women who reported the highest combined cleaning product use had a doubled risk of breast cancer compared to those with the lowest reported use. "Use of air fresheners and products for mould and mildew control were associated with increased risk."

Insect repellents also boosted the chance of getting the disease - although there appeared to be little linking it to pesticides. The institute urged further urgent research.

If this is indeed right many of us women are at high risk because of external influences from our household. A way to minimise the risk is to use non-toxic cleaning products. Have a look here for our range of Green Home Cleaning Kits online.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Pentagon turns green to cut fuel bill

THE US military has been told to go green to cut costs after the Pentagon's annual fuel bill hit $US20 billion. The biggest energy-saving campaign by the Pentagon is forcing the armed services to look at alternative ways of powering aircrafts, ships and armoured vehicles. Algae, vegetable oil and even animal fat are coming to the rescue.

First in the line of the accountants' fire is the Air Force. Fighter aircraft use up 3,000 to 5,000 gallons of fuel on an average mission - at the current price of $2.18 a gallon. The Air Force's transport service, which ferries troops and cargo around the world, is the largest fuel-guzzling organisation on the planet.

The US Navy is planning to have a green carrier strike force by 2016, with every aircraft on board and all the escort ships being powered by a 50-50 mix of petrol and biofuel. The carriers are nuclear-powered "so that's already alternative", Admiral Philip Cullom, the head of the Navy's Task Force Energy, said.

In April the US Navy showed off a Green Hornet, a FA18 that has completed more than a dozen flights with half of the fuel tank containing an oil extracted from camelina, a member of the mustard family.

"When I spoke to the pilots they said they didn't know whether they had petroleum or biofuel ... it flew just the same," Admiral Cullom said. He plans to use the equivalent of eight million barrels of biofuel by 2020.

Jeff Braun, the director of the US Air Force alternative fuels certification office, said that on August 26 a C17 transport aircraft would attempt to fly on tallow (animal fat) fuel. "What's left over from the meat process is what we call yellow grease and you extract the oil from it," he said.

Alan Shaffer, the Pentagon's principal deputy director of defence research and engineering, said that an alternative oil source with potential was algae.
"The beauty with algae is that you can grow it anywhere and to grow it it needs to absorb carbon dioxide, so it's not only a very effective fuel, in theory it's also a carbon sink. That's a pretty good deal," he said. Mr Shaffer believes that with investment - the big airlines are interested - algae could take off.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Endangered species in traditional Chinese Medicine

While China uses Western medicines, it also still relies on the traditional medicines from complex recipes of plant and animal parts that date back some 3,000 years. Though the use of some animals, including tigers and rhinoceroses, is already illegal in China, demand remains strong and an underground market fed by smuggling continues to flourish.

As late as this week it was made public that customs officers in Guangdong, China, have seized more than 7.8 tonnes of frozen pangolins and 1,800 kg of pangolin scales from a fishing vessel after it was stopped for inspection at Zhuhai's Gaolan Island. Two of the four species are classified as Endangered by IUCN. (For the full article please go to: )

Traditional doctors in China have been substituting tiger and rhino parts for a long time because they have become so rare. One example: Bones of the sailong, a north China rat used in Tibetan medicine, are certified in China as a substitute for "Tiger Bone Wine," a famous tonic. It is said that any professional in the field of oriental herbal medicine would recognize that for every substance supplied by endangered species there are many effective substitutes.

Please promise me that next you buy your traditional Chinese medicine that you will check that it doesn't contain any ingredients from endangered species and help make a difference!!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Increase the temperature = Decrease your utility bill

When you're in a tropical climate having the aircondition on indoors is almost a must for your comfort. However, cooling down your home with airconditioning is very likely to be a significant part of your utility bill. Not only is it very expensive to cool down your home but it also puts a strain on the worlds natural resources.

There are a few easy tips to decrease your home cooling expenditure and the most important one is to increase the temperature. It will save you up to 5% on your home cooling costs for each degree that you are able to raise your thermostat. So if you would normally put your airconditioning on at 18 degrees celcius imagine the change in you cost if you change the temperature to 23 degrees. Yes a 25% decrease in the cost of coolig down your home. Now imagine what you can do with all that money saved...

Here are another few easy tips to reduce your home cooling expenditure:- A dusty filter reduces air flow. Examine your unit's air filters once a month and clean or replace filters when necessary. Keeping your filters clean can cut energy consumption 5 to 15%.
- Minimise the area being cooled or heated by shutting doors to unused rooms
- If the machine has adjustable louvres, adjust them towards the ceiling when cooling, and towards the floor when heating (as cool air falls, hot air rises)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Keep sharks in the ocean and out of the soup!!

Sharks are in serious trouble. Many of the world's shark populations are in collapse. Some shark species have declined by more than 90 percent in the last two decades. International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) scientists warn that one-third of open ocean sharks are threatened with extinction. Yet sharks continue to be fished faster than they can reproduce.

Every year tens of millions of sharks die a slow death because of finning. Finning is the inhumane practice of hacking off the shark's fins and throwing its still living body back into the sea. The sharks either starve to death, are eaten alive by other fish, or drown (if they are not in constant movement their gills cannot extract oxygen from the water). Shark fins are being "harvested" in ever greater numbers to feed the growing demand for shark fin soup, an Asian "delicacy".

Not only is this practice very cruel, but losing these top predators has devastating impacts on underwater ecosystems and local economies. Conservation hinges on effective shark finning bans, strict international fisheries management, reduction of consumer demand, increased shark research and protection of vital habitat.

So what can we as concerned global citizens do to prevent this slaughtering of sharks??

A cause has been started on facebook with the aim of stopping the sale of shark fin soup in Singapore. The aim is to persuade hotels and restaurants to stop selling shark fin soup by campaigning, boycotting and educating people about the dangers that finning poses, not only for sharks, but for the oceans and our own health.

The most efficient way to stop the restaurants selling shark fin soup is to just SAY NO!!!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Fight Climate Change with Diet Change

Global warming is one of the world's greatest challenges at the moment and according to scientists one of the most effective ways to fight global warming is to become vegetarian.

A UN report found that the meat industry produces more greenhouse gases than all the SUVs, cars, trucks, planes, and ships in the world combined.Greenhouse gases cause global warming, which studies show will increasingly lead to catastrophic disasters-like droughts, floods, hurricanes, rising sea levels, and disease outbreaks - unless we drastically reduce the amounts emitted into the atmosphere.

The official handbook for the Live Earth concerts says that "refusing meat"
is the "single most effective thing you can do to reduce your carbon footprint. Studies have shown that if every American replaced one meal of chicken per week with vegetarian foods, the carbon dioxide savings would be the same as taking more than a half-million cars off the roads. According to The University of Chicago that becoming a vegetarian is 50% more effective than switching to a hybrid car in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Did you know that eating half a kilo of meat emits just as much greenhouse gas as driving an SUV for 65 kilometers??

We Can Help Stop Global Warming Today

The most effective way to fight the global warming crisis is to stop eating meat, eggs, and dairy products. However for a meat lover like myself becoming a vegetarian might be a big task. So for now I will incorporate 2 meat free days pr week in my lifestyle. And well, if we all do that it will have a huge impact on our environment and the future of our Mother Earth.

Anyone want to join me on my quest to save the planet??