Sunday, December 30, 2012

Interior Design Predictions for the New Year

Community concern for the environment has increased dramatically over the past few years to the point where sustainable living has become a part of the rhetoric of everyday life. Going green has eased its way into the fabric of society in virtually every country in the world and indeed in businesses the world over. It's a natural progression that sustainable living has become a major trend within home design too, and why wouldn't it be considering it's healthier not only for the environment but also for our bodies and our wallets.

Sustainability design trends continue to evolve and with the new year just around the corner we can look forward to discovering fresh trends that will make a positive impact on our lives and the planet. Here are just a few of the many sustainable design trends that are predicted for 2013.

Great greenery

Forget imitation trees and flowers. In 2013 indoor gardens will be integrated into the interior design of the home with entire walls dedicated to vertical gardens. The odd pot plant here and there will be from days gone by and instead large expanses of greenery will clear the air of toxins with ease at the same time as offering a spectacular view right within your home. This is the perfect way to decorate your home and will be a trend that we see being embraced by many households with plenty of enthusiasm.

Creative carpets

The use of chemicals in the production of carpet is but one of the many issues that consumers face when considering green floor covering options. Not only do these chemicals cause potential hazards to the environment, many people are concerned as to the risks of these chemicals being released within the home. Despite all this, carpet in the home can be quite inviting and create a lovely warm aesthetic and hence why we'll see more eco-friendly options more and more in 2013. Manufacturer's know if they're to survive they must meet the consumer demand for floor coverings that deliver green gains and that match with interior design preferences. Organic carpets and even carpets constructed of recycled materials are coming to the fore along with a variety of alternative carpet materials that are considered more sustainable.

LED lighting

Although LED lights are not a new trend it's easy to see why they can be predicted to be one of 2013's sustainable design trends. LEDs have typically been incorporated into commercial settings but as demand has grown LEDs have become more affordable for the domestic market too. Cost is still a barrier when it comes to some LED light designs such as LEDs being used in under-counter lighting, however, we see 2013 as a year where manufacturer's will step up a level in terms of meeting consumer demand in this area. No matter what, consumers will focus on cutting their energy usage costs and LEDs are the perfect way to accomplish that.

The need for the world to embrace a more sustainable approach to modern living is growing ever strong and therefore there is little surprise that new trends continue to evolve. The influence of this green approach is being seen more and more in home design and this can only be seen as positive for the planet and all its inhabitants. Remember, it's consumers that are effecting the changes and trends we're seeing so keep pushing for, searching for and insisting on sustainable design options and we'll all be able to look forward to a brighter future.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Resolve to Go Green in 2013!

It’s that time of year when we look back at the past year and come up with a plan to make the New Year even better. Resolutions have been a part of our hopes and dreams each new year. But how many of us come up with our resolutions for all the right reasons? Resolutions are usually full of more hope than reason. Yet the more doable, attainable and inspirational the resolution, the more achievable it is. This way we accomplish something instead of nothing and are better off for it.

This new year let’s focus on resolutions that are not only possible but more importantly, green so as to inspire others.

1. Go Meat Free on a Monday every Monday.

Like so many who are not a Vegetarian, Vegan or a Raw Foodie it is understandable that after a lifetime of eating meat, it is difficult to stop. However, if it is a change that you wish to make for the long term, the process of giving up eating animals should be a slow but sure change.

Perhaps giving up meat is not a need or a want for you today, perhaps it will never be, fair enough. But if you want to do something that you believe will change the world, something life changing, and profound consider going meat free every Monday. We can each make a difference, and big or small – a difference is a difference.

2. Go Dairy Free.

Likewise, giving up all forms of dairy would not only be making a green change but also making a significant change to your health. The health benefits of a dairy-free diet are tried, true, proven and never-ending. This is another green resolution that will not only change your life, but that of countless, uncomfortable, suffering mother cows out there.

3. Be Conflict Free.

Well this one can apply to everyday living. But for 2013 we can simply commit to being more conscious about what we purchase, specifically when it comes to cell phones, tablets, laptops and other things similar.

There is actually a lot of sadness and violence involved in procuring some of the raw materials needed to manufacture these devices. More so to keep up with the demand we create. A new phone, tablet, and laptop is launched every week. And every week innocent women and children suffer directly because of it.

If we can simply commit to not upgrading our phones and other electronic devices in 2013 we can certainly bring some decrease however small to the violence affecting millions in the Congo today. We can do this just by focusing on what we really want and what we really need. A simple, green resolution that no doubt impacts so many lives, in such a positive way. Think about it.

4. Learn a Language.

If we change who we are in a positive way, we change the world around us in a positive way too. That is a fact few would attempt to deny.

Travelling brings a wealth of knowledge through experiences that can be gained in no other way. It changes you, and makes you more appreciative of where you came from, where other’s come from, and that the difference is what makes the world a better place.

Similarly learning another language allows you to connect with people on a more meaningful level. It allows you to do the things you otherwise could not, understand the things you once didn’t and be a more positive, accepting and confident human being. We change ourselves – we change the world.

Regardless of how many languages you already know, learning one more is a resolution we can all easily make, and one we should.

5. Read.

“It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.” ~Oscar Wilde. Needless to say, reading anything changes you. To me each book is an opportunity to explore a different world and have my point of view changed. In fact, I regard knowledge as having more value than education per say. An educated mind is educated on a specific topic or two, while a knowledgeable mind is aware and usually tends to be more compassionate towards different opinions. A knowledgeable mind can entertain a new idea without having to accept it.

What’s important here is making a change in 2013 that will be green and better for you and thus those around you. Reading, and reading more of any and everything you can, will make 2013 even better than it is already going to be.

6. Re-use.

Without becoming a hoarder, it is good practice to find new re-uses for everything before we commit to throwing it out. Reducing and Recycling are already at the top of our minds on a daily basis, but it is evident that many of us are quick to throw things out, which in fact can be re-used in more ways than one.

Being creative, inspired and motivated to re-use things at least once before we throw them out can make a significant difference in the amount of waste and pollution we are responsible for. If we can commit to making a conscious effort to re-use in 2013 we can change the way next year will end. Eventually it all comes more naturally to us. Just as throwing the plastic bottle in the plastic recycling is a thoughtless act now. Soon we will be able to think of new and improved re-uses for everything we are about to throw out. Or at least that is the hope for the future.

7. Be a Green Monster.

If we make a resolution to me more eco-friendly and green in 2013, this would create a bigger, better green impact. From shopping to entertainment to vacationing, we can all opt for an eco friendlier, greener option. At least considering an eco option, is resolution enough, one that can and may inspire others to follow suit, and thus make it even more worthwhile.

8. Animal Compassion.

You can be a meat-eater and still be compassionate to other animals. Of course ideally you don’t eat meat products and are compassionate to all living things, but we will stick with the basics in an effort to move our way upward and onward.

Many of us own cats, dogs and other small animals whom we love as members of our family. Yet, when it comes to other animals, the regard for life and compassion towards them diminishes. Perhaps this is because of our upbringing, religious beliefs, or just lack of knowledge. For many it is difficult to view cows and pigs with the same level of respect. But why is that?

We were brought up in a way which has conditioned the majority to think a certain way towards certain things. In challenging the way we think we challenge the way we live, and the way we allow others to live.

Respect for every and any given life form brings with it an inner peace which is difficult to describe, or deny.

Compassion begins with awareness, and sometimes that is all that is ever needed as it paves the way to understanding and peace, every time.

9. Grow a Green Thumb.

Some have it, some don’t. But whether you plant a flower, a herb, or a tree, that one act of green-ness can change the future. Another small yet ever so significant resolution we can so easily commit to. If we each planted one tree in 2013 the world would indeed be greener and a better place to live in.

10. Conserve Water.

I think even as a child we were lectured on conserving water. But it is not until we are forced to live without water, do we realize how much water we use and how much we want water. More importantly how much of it we don’t actually need.

Even water is becoming a scarce resource as we use and abuse the natural elements of our earth.

Being aware of the millions of people who are forced to go without clean water on a daily basis, helps us to value what many of us have taken for granted for years. Let’s make an effort to be conscious and aware of how much water we need, want and use in 2013 and we can make an impact so profound that it will be beneficial to us for years and centuries to come.

Friday, December 14, 2012

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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Giving the gift of Green!

For those of you who are still stuck wondering what to get your loved ones for Christmas, we have some eco friendly ideas that might make this year a bit more special!


While a candle can be the perfect holiday gift, the last thing you want is to breathe in or burn harmful, synthetic chemicals. Soy wax has become a popular substitute to crude oil-derived waxes for environmentally-conscious candle companies. They are easy to find online, and for our readers who are based here in Singapore, every Tangs store carries new eco friendly candles that double as skin moisturizer!

Wooden Toys

Wooden toys such as building blocks are making a comeback. They are a thoughtful present that sparks the creativity in every child! Note that wooden toys are also educational, and are very affordable.

Luggage and Bags

Looking to invest in some luggage for a loved one? Consider buying a bag made from recycled materials. First World Trash, an American-based company that makes all their products in Queens, NY, salvages materials like seatbelts and vinyl to make one-of-a-kind bags. Kitchen Supplies

With the demand for greener kitchens rapidly increasing, it has become easier a task to find eco friendly kitchenware. Although there are a number of eco-friendly materials to use in the kitchen, bamboo is quickly becoming a favorite for many green chefs. Bamboo can grow quickly without any fertilizers, and it releases 35% more oxygen into the air than similar trees. In addition, bamboo absorbs less liquid than other kinds of kitchen materials, so it may even be one of the more sanitary options.

Home Made Goods

Baking your own pies, cookies and cakes is a wonderful way to fill your homes (and family's tummies) with Christmas cheer! It also reduces the waste that would have come from used wrapping paper, ribbons and boxes that would have gotten thrown away.

Eco Friendly Cards

Majority of bookstores and shops now carry various holiday cards that are made from recycled paper. Whether you are sending them to family and friends across the seas, or using them to top off beautifully wrapped gifts, why not opt to send them your greetings the green way?

There are many other ways by which we can keep the holidays Earth friendly. If you're willing to make small efforts, this Christmas could be the start of a cleaner, greener world.

Monday, December 10, 2012

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Friday, December 7, 2012

Corporations Step into the Green!

H&M, the world's second largest fashion retailer will begin collecting used clothing in all of its markets next year to reduce the environmental impact of its products. Wanting to do good for the environment, H&M is offering their costumers a chance to discard their worn out and defective garments to aid in the reduction of the carbon footprint we leave behind.

Together with Spain's Zara, the Swedish brand was one of the first to copy the latest catwalk trends and then sell them for a fraction of the price.

However, the company has come under fire for fuelling an unsustainable, throwaway fashion culture and has sought to improve its image this year by marketing itself as a major buyer of organic cotton.

The new recycling initiative will be rolled out across the chain's 48 markets in February next year, in 1,500 of its 2,700 stores, including all outlets in the UK, US and Japan.

Customers will be given a voucher for each bag of used clothing handed in.

A pilot project in Switzerland last year had been successful, increasing customer awareness of the company's work on sustainability.

As these steps are taken, H&M aims to reduce the environmental imact of garments throughout the lifecycle and create a closed loop for textile fibres. We salute H&M for their efforts as we all begin to make changes for a greener world!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Enjoying A Green Christmas

Christmas time is a great time to enjoy beautiful colors and enjoy friends and family around your home. This year, why not add eco-friendly practices to many of your family rituals, décor and entertaining? Eco-friendly and natural décor will bring into your home an organic holiday touch, while preserving the festive nature of the season. Before you toss your live Christmas tree away, or you buy one more strand of holiday lights to adorn your home, here are 10 ways to enjoy an eco-friendly Christmas.

1.) Should I have a live Christmas tree: There is mixed information as to whether buying live Christmas trees are harmful to the environment. The majority of Christmas trees that are purchased at retail and home improvement stores are grown in tree farms. Therefore, they are not being cut down from nature’s surplus of trees.

2.) Decorate your home with natural décor: Add fruit, nuts, and pine cones to your holiday centerpiece or fireplace mantle to bring in rich color and an organic touch to your decorations. Simple ornaments strung with dried citrus, apples, pine cones and cinnamon sticks will look great on your Christmas tree.

3.) Recycle your live Christmas tree: When you’re done enjoying your tree for the holidays, take it to a recycling yard where they can be recycled for wood chips, and mulch for landscaping. This gives you peace of mind when enjoying throughout the holiday season. Many neighborhood waste collection agencies will have a plant clippings pickup for your home. Check with them to see if they recycle Christmas trees.

4.) Nontraditional foliage: Try decorating urns and planters with branches, berries, fruit, and straw to add a nontraditional twist on evergreen tree decorating. Large urns placed outside your front entryway of your home, or in a foyer or back porch can create natural grand entrances to your home.

5.) Eco-friendly Christmas cards: Giving away cards this year? Many greeting card manufacturers will print on recycled paper now at your request. Instead of mailing a physical card, why not send e-cards? Many people enjoy giving and receive electronic cards. E-cards are an inexpensive way to still send holiday greetings!

6.) DIY Christmas: Be creative this year and pull out your glue gun and knick knacks to make wreaths, garland and ornaments. Use old neck ties, shirts, yarn and seashells to adorn crafty projects this holiday season. Don’t have ideas? Ask your kids, they always have great ideas from school.

7.) Leave out the holiday green: Looking for a minimalist approach to Christmas? Try bringing in décor that uses holiday symbols without the real version. Christmas trees made from recycled cardboard, and snowflakes cut out from last year’s holiday greeting cards will bring the festive nature to your home, and keep the clean simple lines you are looking for.

8.) Conserve energy and resources: When the temperatures dip down lower this holiday season, use eco-friendly practices to lower your energy consumption. Lower the heat a few degrees at night, and when not in your home to lower energy bill. Use LED lights for decorating your home and keep lights on for a shorter period of time. Use newspaper and kids old doodle scrap pieces of paper wrapping gifts, and save money.

9.) Re-purpose your old décor: Do you have sleigh bells from last year that adorned a wreath that you don’t use anymore? Use them this year as an ornament to a garland or wreath on your home. Repurposing holiday décor items for this year will give your home a new look, and save you money!

10.) Give the gift of life: Trying to think of what to bring to a Christmas party, or what to give as a gift? Seeds and small trees to be planted in the ground are wonderful gifts that will grow for years to come. Many home improvement stores and home décor catalogs sell plant kits that are prepackaged for holiday gift giving!

Enjoy your holiday this season with eco-friendly ways to bring Christmas décor touches to your home. From decorating to giving gifts, the holiday shouldn’t mean giving up your Earth conscious lifestyle. Use these 10 tips for a wonderful Christmas holiday and see if you start new traditions for the years to come!

For more tips, check out!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Greening Your Kitchen

With all of the talk about global warming, carbon footprints and the often dire predictions associated with them, creating a greener, more eco-friendly home has finally become a more mainstream conversation. It can be difficult to visualize how small, individual changes can have much impact on such a problem of, quite literally, global proportions. But it’s those changes that really matter and many can happen right in your own kitchen.

In general, the process of growing food, getting it to the consumer, preparing it, eating it and disposing of what’s left can have an enormous impact on global warming. Who knew that we had the power to change something that has such a huge effect on the world we live in? With that in mind, here are some simple steps you can take to make that change happen today.

1. Save those scraps.
Instead of throwing away those left over vegetables, set them aside and freeze them for later. These scraps can be used to make a delicious vegetable stock for your favorite recipes.

2. Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.
Reduce the number of disposable products you use. For example, replace paper napkins with cloth napkins at your table. Reuse products whenever possible. Aluminum foil can often be safely reused. (Never reuse foil that has been used for raw meat). Recycle paper, plastic and glass as much as possible. See how much you can reduce the amount of garbage you put out at the curb each week. You’d be surprised how easy it really is!

3. Drink Locally.
We’ve suspected this all along. The water in those plastic bottles really is no better than the water from your tap. Yet, we spend billions of dollars on bottled water and then those empty bottles are at best recycled and at worst thrown into the landfills, and those bottles will each take over 1,000 years to biodegrade.

4. Eliminate the Plastic.
Using plastic wrap to store and preserve food may be convenient but it’s a not an eco-friendly choice. Instead of reaching for the plastic wrap, start buying reusable containers to store food. Another tip: Use glass containers and your refrigerator will use less energy to keep the contents at a safe temperature.

5. Clean Green. Read those labels on your favorite cleaners. Avoid those that with harsh chemicals, bleach and phosphates. Instead, switch to more eco-friendly choices. Look for natural cleaning agents like baking soda, hydrogen peroxide and citrus oils. A good rule of thumb to use? If your home smells like a chemical plant after you’ve cleaned, chances are you’ve used products that are not only harmful to the environment but also harmful to your family’s health. Remember, real clean does not leave any traces of smell!

6. Keep the Fridge Stocked.
Your refrigerator will use less energy to keep its contents cool when it is near capacity.

7. Change the Bulbs
One of the easiest ways to green your home is to switch from incandescent to compact fluorescent bulbs. The compact fluorescent bulbs will use about 75% less energy and last up to 10 times longer.

8. Look for the Energy Star
When you are in the market for a new appliance, look for a label that indicates its energy efficiency, proving that the product has been tested and approved – this ensures that you will pay less for a more effective electric appliance!

9. Precycle
Buy food in bulk whenever possible and opt for products with less packaging. Whenever possible, avoid single-serving prepackaged foods and instead create your own “single serving” and refrigerate or freeze them. Not only will you create less waste, you can prepare more healthful meals with less sodium and saturated fat. Another bonus: You have more control over food miles and where your food comes from.

10. Choose Local over Organic
Organic food choices are more available than ever and that’s a good thing. But if you have the choice between buying products from local farmers vs. organic products that were most likely trucked hundreds or thousands of miles, go local. In the long run, keeping our local farmers in business will keep us in tune with our communities and the source of our food. Bonus: That money will go to your local farmer who will, in turn, spend that money within your community. It’s a win-win!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Making a Comeback

Hi Friends! Today we are dishing out clever ideas to help common household items make a comeback instead of getting cast aside as rubbish. One of the best ways to avoid sending things to a landfill is to reuse them! Save the earth and be kind to your wallet. It's the best combination!

Carpet remnants: old carpets can easily be cut up into smaller reusable pieces. You can use a small mat for the garage or basement, line the bottom of pot and pan storage (it keeps the noise to a minumum) or even take a piece to line you doghouse!

Glass jars: these can be used to store leftover food, sauces, candies, cookies or transformed into a puggy bank! You can also get creative, decorate them and give them away as presents.

Corks: attach a cork to boat keys - if they end up in the water they will float! They also make great fish hook holders, as well as razor sharpeners (slide a dull blade through and get a few more uses our of the razor)!

Newspapers: old newspapers have a lot of uses around the house - you can line the bottom of your pet's cage with them, mix them under garden mulch to reduce the onset of weeds and even use them as wrapping paper! If you want to have a bit more fun, old newspapers also make for great paper mache crafts.

Shredded Paper: don't throw away all that shredded office paper! It can serve as packing material for storing or moving your breakable items and makes good kindling for a fire.

Tin Boxes: these make cute emergency kits to hold band aids, ontments, sewing kits and can even hold your change for the bus!

Toothbrushes: old toothrbrushes make good scrubbers - for those hard to reach corners in the bathroom tile, those stubborn clothing stains and the grime around your kitchen sink!

Styrofoam egg cartons: egg cartons make great storage options for odds and ends such as office supplies (thumbtacks, pins, paper clips) and even accessories like rings and cuff links!

Empty (and cleaned) pill bottles: these are another storage option - placing loose items such as beads, staple wire and string help keep the clutter at bay!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A Green Holiday

Hi Friends! Holiday cheer is in the air and soon we will be ushering in yet another new year. In lieu of all the getaway planning here are 5 beautiful, eco friendly holiday hotspots you will surely want to check out, and then check into!

Everyone has a dream of the perfect eco-friendly vacation. Whether you’re one for relaxing on the beach or prefer to adventure throughout a foreign city, ecotourism is a friendly way to travel and the options are truly are endless.

El Coco Loco – El Manzano Uno, Nicaragua

Offering surf and yoga packages, El Coco Loco is a community driven resort that aims to build awareness surrounding poverty in Nicaragua. They’re driven to be leaders in environmental sustainability and with a volunteer program that benefits local communities, they’re enhancing employment in Nicaragua with every tourist they meet!

Jean-Michel Cousteau Island Resort – Fiji

Five star luxury and award winning Jean-Michel Cousteau Fiji Resort is a taste of paradise. Named the World’s top eco-friendly resort, it combines the indulgences and relaxation of travel, with an education program dedicated to sustaining the Fijian ecosystem.

Kw’to:kw’e:hala Eco-Retreat – British Columbia, Canada

Nestled in the giant cedar forest of Hope, B.C. off the Coquihala River, this eco philosophy resort is the quintessential rustic retreat. Equipped with a self-sufficient organic garden and comprehensive (environmentally harmless) waste system, Kw’o:kw’e:hala is the perfect destination for a wilderness enthusiast!

Kalmar, Sweden

With a population of approximately 35,000 people, Kalmar has become one of Sweden’s most sustainable cities. On the coast of the Baltic Sea, Kalmar has adapted with green living and sustainable lifestyle by eliminating the need for fossil fuels, hoping to run completely on renewable energy by 2030.

Villa Pape -- Trigor, Croatia

For years Croatia has been a hotspot travel destination. In the heart of the Mediterranean, Villa Pape is shaping ecotourism with some of the best organizations in Europe. From a commitment to decreasing waste, utilizing energy effectively, and promoting local business, this resort is eco-friendly and fit for the whole family to enjoy.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Improving Your Indoor Air Quality

We tend to think of air pollution as something outside -- smog, ozone, or haze hanging in the air, especially in summer. But the truth is, the air inside homes, offices, and other buildings can be more polluted than the air outside. The air inside your home may be polluted by lead (in house dust), formaldehyde, fire-retardants, radon, even volatile chemicals from fragrances used in conventional cleaners. Some pollutants are tracked into the home. Some arrive via a new mattress or furniture, carpet cleaners, or a coat of paint on the walls.

In that mix, you'll also find microscopic dust mites -- a major allergen --plus mold and heaps of pet dander, even if you don't have pets! It's become what we call a community allergen. Pet owners carry it around on their clothes and shed it throughout the day.

Children, people with asthma, and the elderly may be especially sensitive to indoor pollutants, but other effects on health may appear years later, after repeated exposure.

Indoor allergens and irritants have become much more important in recent decades because we're spending more time indoors. And because modern homes are airtight, these irritants can't easily escape.

5 Simple Steps to Improve Indoor Air Quality

1. Keep your floors fresh.
• Suck it up. Chemicals and allergens can accumulate in household dust for decades. By using a vacuum with a HEPA filter you can reduce concentrations of lead in your home. You can also get rid of other toxins, like brominated fire-retardant chemicals (PBDEs) as well as allergens like pollen, pet dander, and dust mites. Using a vacuum cleaner that has strong suction, rotating brushes, and a HEPA filter ensures that dust and dirt won’t get blown back out in the exhaust. In high traffic areas, vacuum the same spot several times. Don't forget walls, carpet edges, and upholstered furniture, where dust accumulates. For best results, vacuum two or more times each week and wash out your filter regularly.
• Mop it up. Mopping picks up the dust that vacuuming leaves behind. You can skip the soaps and cleaners and just use plain water to capture any lingering dust or allergens. New microfiber mops (and dust cloths) reportedly capture more dust and dirt than traditional fibers and don’t require any cleaning solutions whatsoever.
• Keep it out. Put a large floor mat at every door.People track in all sorts of chemicals via the dirt on their shoes. A door mat reduces the amount of dirt, pesticides, and other pollutants from getting into your home. If the mat is big enough, even those who don't wipe their shoes will leave most pollutants on the mat -- not the floors in your home.

If you live in a home built before 1978, there's a good chance that lead paint still exists on your walls. But even in a newer home, you may face lead exposure -- from lead dust tracked in from outside. Lead dust can raise the risk of exposure for young children -- a serious problem that can damage the brain, central nervous system, and kidneys. Pesticides are also linked with brain damage in young children. Kids are vulnerable to higher exposures because they tend to get dust on their fingers and then put their fingers in their mouths.
To best protect your family, ask people to remove their shoes when entering your home. Keep house shoes, slippers, and socks near the door.

2. Keep a healthy level of humidity. Dust mites and mold love moisture. Keeping humidity around 30%-50% helps keep them and other allergens under control. A dehumidifier (and air conditioner during summer months) helps reduce moisture in indoor air and effectively controls allergens, Lang says. An air conditioner also reduces indoor pollen count -- another plus for allergy-sufferers.

More tips for dehumidifying your home:
• Use an exhaust fan or crack open a window when cooking, running the dishwasher, or bathing.
• Don't overwater houseplants.
• Vent the clothes dryer to the outside.
• Fix leaky plumbing to prevent moisture-loving mold.
• Empty drip pans in your window air conditioner and dehumidifier.

3. Make your home a no-smoking zone

Cigarette smoke contains more than 4,000 chemicals. Research shows that secondhand smoke increases a child's risk of developing ear and respiratory infections, asthma, cancer, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). For the smoker, this addiction causes cancer, breathing problems, heart attacks, and stroke.

If you want to stop smoking, support groups, nicotine-replacement therapy, and other medications can help. Find a method that works for you, get some support (friends, family, fellow quitters, counseling), and think positive. Focus on your reasons for quitting -- not on your cravings.

4. Test for radon. Whether you have a new or old home, you could have a radon problem. This colorless, odorless gas significantly raises the risk of lung cancer. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S. today. If you smoke and your home has high radon levels, your risk of lung cancer is especially high.

Radon is a radioactive gas. It comes from the natural decay of uranium found in nearly all soils. It typically moves up through the ground and into your home through cracks and holes in the foundation. Drafty homes, airtight homes, homes with or without a basement -- any home can potentially have a radon problem.

Granite countertops have also been linked to radon. While experts agree that most granite countertops emit some radon, the question is whether they do so at levels that can cause cancer. Testing is easy, inexpensive, and takes only a few minutes. If you discover a radon problem, there are simple ways to reduce levels of the gas that are not too costly. Even high radon levels can be reduced to acceptable levels. The Environmental Protection Agency offers a "Consumer’s Guide to Radon Reduction."

5. Smell good naturally.

You may associate that lemony or piney scent with a clean kitchen or clean clothes.But synthetic fragrances in laundry products and air fresheners emit dozens of different chemicals into the air. You won’t find their names on the product labels. Conventional laundry detergents, fabric softeners, dryer sheets, and air fresheners in solid, spray, and oil form may all emit such gasses. In one study, a plug-in air freshener was found to emit 20 different volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including seven regulated as toxic or hazardous under U.S. federal laws. But these chemicals were not included on the label -- only the word "fragrance" is required to be listed. But the actual composition of the fragrance is considered a "trade secret."

Most fragrances are derived from petroleum products, and generally haven’t been tested to see if they have any significant adverse health effects in humans when they are inhaled. (Tests usually focus on whether a fragrance causes skin irritation.) Some that have been tested raise concern. Phthalates are a group of chemicals often used in fragrances and also used to soften plastics. Studies show that phthalates disrupt hormones in animals.What can you do?

• Look for fragrance-free or naturally-scented laundry products.
• Switch to mild cleaners that don't include artificial fragrances.
• Stop using aerosol sprays -- deodorants, hair sprays, carpet cleaners, furniture polish, and air fresheners.
• Let in fresh air. Open windows so toxic chemicals don't build up in your home. What if you or your child has pollen allergies? Then keep rooms ventilated with a filtered air- conditioning system.
• Use sliced lemons and baking soda to get a clean scent in the kitchen.
• Bring nature indoors. Any room is prettier with a fern, spider plant, or aloe vera. It’s also healthier. NASA research shows that indoor plants like these act as living air purifiers -- the foliage and roots work in tandem to absorb chemical pollutants released by synthetic materials. If you have kids or pets, make sure the plants aren’t poisonous if ingested.

Improving your indoor air quality is one of the first steps to ensuring your family's health is put in first place. What better way to show you care than to grab a kit of Green Cleaner's Products today?

Monday, November 26, 2012

Eco Myth #1

Eco Myth #1: "Green products always cost more..." = WRONG!!

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Saturday, November 24, 2012

GC Products - Shop Online

Green Cleaners' new range of eco-friendly cleaning products now available to purchase online! Get yours today!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Get social with Green Cleaners and Win!

Hi Everyone!

To our most valued clients and friends, you do not want to miss what we have in store for you: pre-Christmas green spring cleaning packages, promotional discounts on our home cleaning services and very exciting news about Green Cleaners’ products coming very soon!

We welcome you to ‘like’ our new Facebook page, where you can stay up to date with all of our offers, news and updates! Starting with this one – simply ‘like’ us on Facebook now and you’ll stand a chance to win a FREE bottle of a Green Cleaners’ product of your choice!*

We're eager to showcase very exciting things that we have brewing behind production lines - please continue to support us and stay connected on Facebook, plus you’ll also find links to Green Cleaners on Twitter, Blogger and Pinterest too!

*Visit our Facebook page and ‘like’ before 30/11/12. 50 winners selected at random. Winners will be notified via Facebook. Free product can be redeemed when purchasing one or more products. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Nose Knows!

Everyone takes pride in their home - it is where we lay our hat, where we welcome friends and where we find sanctuary from the razzle dazzle of our bustling lives.

Be honest though - do you ever wonder about those mystery scents (everybody has them!) coming from under the sink and the shoe cupboard? Luckily we don’t have to be stuck between the musty dog smell or the ancient potpourri of Grandma's house.

After a quick study, we dug up a few tips to help your home smell pretty nice. After all, a fresh smelling house makes it a nicer place to be. It isn't simply about making your house smell better, it’s also about the air you’re breathing. Cleaning the air indoors is just as important as living a healthy life that’s more in sync with nature. So here are some tips to make your home smell fresh and delicious while conserving money, using natural products, and having some fun along the way!

1.Fresh air: this may sound simple, but open a window! Unless you live in sub-zero temperatures, even in winter the windows should be opened for a few minutes each day. Especially in winter, the indoor air can be more polluted than the air outside due to the outgassing of different plastics, paints and surfaces in our homes. So let the air circulate and refresh the oxygen.

2.House plants: our favourite weapon against unclean air. In addition to purifying the air, they make any room feel more alive and cheerful. You can never have enough plants! Keeping plants of all different sizes and types while sticking to the low maintenance varieties are an absolute must for any living space.

3.Odour absorbing miracles: baking soda and vinegar. Most readers will probably have some idea about the powers of these two wonder products. Unpleasant odours in your fridge, closet or bathroom are typically caused by strong acids. Baking soda neutralises odours by balancing the pH levels of the air, and using it can even be pretty! There are plenty of creative DIY baking soda container ideas, so spread them around the house. You can put them in closets, the fridge and freezer, under the sink, shoe cupboards and bathrooms. Just be sure to remember to replace the baking soda every month or so to keep the air fresh. Dislike the smell of vinegar? If you plan to leave the house for a few hours, pour vinegar in a shallow bowl. While you're away the smell of vinegar evaporates, taking much of the unpleasant scent with it by the time you return.

4.Quick fixes: if you’ve got company coming over soon, candles can work wonders. Make sure they’re made from sustainable beeswax or soy wax, which can not only zap away odour particles but also improve the air quality. Lighting these candles in a bowl of cinnamon sticks or coffee beans not only looks beautiful, but the heat from the candle can warm the cinnamon or coffee and give the room a nice aroma. But be sure to avoid paraffin candles because they often do more damage to the environment and add even more nasty chemicals to the air, especially the scented ones!

Another quick fix to have on hand is a spray bottle filled with essential oils to give your house a quick burst of clean scent. As a general rule, the measurement would be 35 drops of your favourite essential oil (we would suggest eucalyptus or sweet basil) for every 500 mL of water. Combine these in a spray bottle and spritz as needed. Essential oils have natural anti-bacterial qualities so they can purify the air and last a long time in the bottle for any quick fix moment.

5.Finally, potpourri: like fashion and hairstyles, the classic potpourri recipes have also been updated and modernised. Life is fast paced and busy, and we don't always have the money to spend on dried flower petals or the time to dry our own. But there are always things in the cupboard and by using some fresh ingredients now and again like leftover herbs, you can make a spontaneous air freshener recipe and breathe happy.

Check out this method: Bring a pot of water to a boil and add the ingredients. Reduce to a simmer and let the aroma fill your house. Simply replenish the water as it evaporates for a heavenly scent around your house. Recipes for summer days are adding fresh basil or rosemary, sliced lemon pieces and bay leaves for a refreshing and rejuvenating smell. Alternatively, fresh mint and ginger with quartered mandarins and limes is another stellar combination. If you have a little more time up your sleeve in winter, slice an apple and orange, and combine in a pot with vanilla extract, cinnamon sticks, whole cloves and some water. Feel free to experiment with what you have in your garden and fridge.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Green Parenting

Hi, Friends! We are extremely excited to let you in on what's behind the Green Cleaners curtain - here's a sneak peak! Oh, and check out our top tips on Green Parenting; the best way to reduce our carbon footprint is to start at home, with our little ones.

Top Tips from eco-experts on Green Parenting and how easy it can be:

1. The main carbon and environmental impact of cotton clothing is in its production. Taking hand-me-downs from friends and family or getting clothes from charity shops extends the life of a garment and diminishes its carbon impact.

2. The same goes for baby furniture. If you use second-hand buggies, cribs, highchairs etc, you are extending the life of that object and meaning a new one doesn’t have to be created.

3. Babies are incapable of staying clean for longer than five minutes. This means lots of washing is unavoidable. Keep the washing machine set to 40 degrees C and if possible always air dry clothes as the tumble dryer uses enormous amounts of energy and adds a big chunk on to baby’s carbon footprint.

4. Breast milk is best for so many health reasons, but it’s also a really green source of food for your baby. The milk you produce will be environmentally friendly because it doesn’t need to be processed, packaged and shipped to the shops, unlike formula milk.

5. Once baby is ready to be weaned you can try to keep their diet as low carbon as possible. Choosing foods that don’t need a lot of extra resource when they are been grown means less energy is wasted so less carbon is produced.

6. Try to feed baby seasonal fruit and vegetables. It’s less likely to have been grown in a greenhouse which requires a lot of energy to keep warm and have huge carbon footprint.

7. If you have the time and the green fingers, growing food at home is fun and rewarding.

8. One of the best things a parent can do is create eco conscious offspring. Talk to your kids from a young age about the importance of a low carbon lifestyle and explaining your reasoning. They will grow up to follow your example and pass the message on to their own babies.

9. Keep lavander oil available in your household. This oil has varied uses ranging from treating cuts, grazes, spots, skin irritation, burns, headaches and even kills bacteria! It is your best source for natural remedies around the home.

10. Use eco friendly products to clean your home - chemicals leave traces of odour that are harmful to your children. Remember - clean does not have a scent! Choose products that do the job while keeping your loved ones safe and healthy.

Friday, November 16, 2012

What A Wonderful World

Happy Weekend, everyone! Some light browsing for you on this warm Friday evening. Have a look at the beauty that surrounds us, and allow for it to motivate you to take part in preserving our Earth. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Going Green Takes Flight!

Green Cleaners firmly believes in fully supporting companies and establishments who choose to put in efforts towards eco awareness. That having been said, we would like to share a brilliant step taken by Virgin Atlantic!

One of the world's leading airlines Virgin Atlantic is now using 100% recycled materials in its amenity packs.

Following six months of work on design and development, Virgin Atlantic has launched their kits, made entirely from eco-friendly materials, for passengers in Upper Class and Premium Economy seats.

The recycled Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) material created from a workable yarn is produced from smashed, melted, polymerized and spun recycled plastic bottles.

Using this method, Virgin Atlantic believes around 4 million bottles each year could be recycled to use in the kits. As the fabric produced uses recycled materials instead of new ones, it produces a carbon footprint 90% lower than nylon.

Upper Class passengers are encouraged to take their kit with them after the flight as it can be used as a stylish tablet or e-reader case. Premium Economy kits can also be used as a travel wallet.

Any kits left behind are collected for re-use. The contents of open packs are recycled by MNH Sustainable Cabin Services.

Last year, MNH and Virgin Atlantic prevented almost 700 tonnes of cabin waste going to landfill sites by recycling various items such as amenity kits, pillows and headsets.

Recycling materials is just one way in which Virgin Atlantic's Change is in the Air sustainability programme is making a real difference. Although the main priority of Virgin Atlantic is fuel and carbon efficiency, it also concentrates on other eco-friendly practices, such using sustainable materials in its products.

Head of Product and Service for Virgin Atlantic, Paul Sands, says, "Our passengers love receiving their amenity kits and it's the little extra touches that make all the difference. At the same time, we are passionate as an airline about making sure everything we do is reviewed through a sustainability lens. These kits not only look great but also have better sustainability profile."

The new kits are dark grey and have a black cherry lining. They contain various items such as socks, eyeshades, earplugs, toothbrush and toothpaste.

For more information, you may visit!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

United, We Stand.

Here at Green Cleaners, we take pride in the quality of service we provide to our clients. We also do our best to offer you more than just a cleaning service - going beyond the realm of the daily grind, we hope to be able to keep you in the loop with regards to what is going on with our world and what we can do together to preserve Mother Nature.

Below you will find an excerpt from ABC's article, "Seven Continents, Seven Ways to Save the World", where ABC news assembled seven leading experts on the environment -- from scientists to businessmen -- to bring you Earth's most pressing problems. Being believers in a world capable of change, we will follow it up with some promising solutions.

Pressing Planetary Problems

Water: Too much water (from melting glaciers and ice packs) may flood the coasts. Too little water in drought-stricken Australia and Africa is caused by the changes in weather and habitat.

Forests: Up to 20 percent of our greenhouse gas problem can be attributed to loss of forests and trees, often called "the lungs of the planet" by environmentalists. Trees take in the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, and give off oxygen. But in countries with vast forest acreage, like Brazil, the forests are disappearing as people harvest the timber, plant crops and look for pasture land for animals.

Extinction: As habitats are destroyed, thousands of species may become extinct, from polar bears to vast numbers of fish species.

Power: As more and more people come onto the energy grid in emerging nations, and first world countries continue to gulp power at an alarming rate, power plants are a major source of dangerous greenhouse gases. These pressures all threaten the Earth and affect thousands of animal species, including our own.

Promising Solutions

Choose efficient vehicles: According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, a car that gets 20 miles to the gallon emits 50 tons of carbon dioxide over its lifetime. A car that gets double that mileage emits half as much -- and will save you roughly $3,000 in gas.

Drive smarter: Don't add extra weight, don't speed, don't drive aggressively and don't overuse your air conditioner, all of which decrease fuel economy.

Unplug phone chargers, televisions, VCRs and other electronics -- don't just turn them off. According to the Department of Energy, nearly 75 percent of all electricity used to power electronics in the average home is consumed by products that are switched off.

The Three Rs: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. It seems like something from a kid's sing-a-long, but sometimes we lose sight of just how much we buy. Try buying less, and reusing and fixing things when you can instead of buying new. And for a lot of people, recycling is as easy as rolling the trash bin to the curb. Just remember to do it at work, too.

Window shop. If you have the urge to spend, try window shopping or browsing first. This helps ensure you are only buying things you really need, or really want, and you're not just impulse buying. Remember, every item in a store, no matter how small, has a footprint — so if we are conscious consumers, we can reduce our own footprint and the overall footprint of our nation.

Take a direct flight. If you need to travel by airplane, try taking a direct flight when at all possible. Your impact is reduced when you take one flight, as opposed to hopping on a couple or more passenger jets to reach your final destination. You might also feel a little less harried when you arrive, because changing planes can be a real hassle.

Go native. Use native plant species to landscape around your home or business. The plants will probably grow better in a familiar environment, and the plants may also get shipped a shorter distance to get to your local nursery. Also, use organic soil when planting — it's made using more eco-friendly methods, and uses less resources. And remember, green plants are a good way to offset carbon. So plant something, anything — it helps.

These solutions seem simple enough to accomplish, and easy for us to maintain within our lifestyle - let's do our part and encourage everyone else to hop onto the eco conscious bandwagon.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Greening It Up for Diwali

The festival of lights -- Deepavali, or Diwali -- celebrates the victory of good over evil. The lighting of diyas on a dark, moonless night signifies the end of all things negative. This festival, if celebrated in the traditional sense, has little to do with fireworks. So instead of polluting the environment with them, go ahead and celebrate a 'Green Diwali'.
Here are 10 creative ways for you to make it an eco-friendly affair this year.

Cut down on electricity usage.
Do not use electric lights to illuminate your home. Instead, opt for diyas (earthen lamps) and candles. This will not only reduce the amount of electricity being consumed, the flickering diyas will look prettier too. If you must use electric illumination, opt for LED lights. They use at least 80 per cent less energy than the regular ones and also come in various hues!

Opt out of using Firecrackers and find an alternative activity.
Although there are a number of environment-friendly crackers that have begun to flood the market and are definitely less polluting than others, this Diwali give the fireworks a complete miss. Instead, why not get all the children of the community to go for a nature walk the evening before and collect dry leaves, grass, twigs - then celebrate this festival of lights by lighting a bonfire on the terrace or in an open space and serve homemade sweets and sherbet.Fill up balloons with glitter or small pieces of coloured paper and spend the evening bursting them, either with your family at home or with a lot of friends. You could even have the kids blowing up brown paper bags and bursting them by jumping on them. The cheerful sound will be enough to usher in Diwali.

Go for what’s natural!
In earlier times, rangolis were made to feed the birds. This Diwali, go back to doing that. Instead of using artificial colours, make your rangoli with spices and other food items as follows: • For white, use rice powder • Yellow: Pulses or turmeric • Brown: Cloves or cinnamon • Green: Cardamom (chhoti elaichi) or fennel (saunf) • Red: Dried chilly or even kumkum, if you wish • You can even make a rangoli out of fresh flowers -- their fragrance is sure to create the perfect festive ambience. • You can decorate the doorway with garlands of marigold and jasmine and set up vases of roses and lilies. They will enhance the beauty of your house way better than the paper streamers and artificial lights would have.

Do DIY decorations!
If you must paint your home during Diwali, then use eco-friendly paint. Besides, here are a few ideas to decorate your home without having to paint it at all.
• Twist colourful saris and dupattas to create streamers. Or paint old newspapers and hang them up as wall decorations. • Use brocade saris or gold embroidered dupattas as drapes and curtains instead of going on a shopping spree. • Use your child's leftover craft materials like tissues, sandwich or rice paper to make paper lanterns (kandeel). You could use match sticks to form the spokes. • Save on electricity and stop using the doorbell for a few days. Instead, hang a bell at the door entrance and let all visitors ring that instead. It will definitely add to the puja feeling. • Bandanwars or traditional door hangings are the first thing that welcomes every guest. Make these with leftover papers or bright coloured cloth and then add glitter or paper flowers to them. • Don't throw away any fused incandescent bulbs. Instead, turn them into small flower vases by placing an orchid in the centre as a decorative accessory. You can also paint them different colours and hang them from the ceiling. • Use organic incense sticks and fresh flowers to create that heady fragrance that one associates with a puja. Do away with the synthetic room fresheners.

Choose homemade sweets.
Although innumerable options are available commercially, many of them come with artificial colours and way too much sugar. So this Diwali make your own sweets instead, using only natural products like milk, chickpea flour (besan), coconut, jaggery, dry fruits, sugar etc and keep them both nutritious and unadulterated. Some of the choicest Diwali sweets you can try making at home would be: • Laddoos made of besan and rava (semolina) • Barfi made of coconut and milk • Kheer made of milk, rice and jiggery • Shakkarpare made of flour, ghee and sugar • Gajar ka halwa made of carrots and milk

Organize Activities
Instead of buying expensive crockery for all your parties this festive season, go traditional and stay eco-friendly. Use banana leaves and small earthen glasses to serve the guests. Organise community competitions both for adults and for the children. Some options: • Rangoli competition • Flower arrangement competition • Sweet-making competition • Paper lantern competition for kids • Organise music programmes, puppet shows, talent shows and other cultural events • Throw a dance party. All you need is a music player and you will have all the sound you need without crackers. It will also be less expensive.

Personalize Presents
If you are shopping for gifts, don't buy any wrapping paper; save on it and stop trees from being cut. Instead, wrap your gifts with painted newspaper / make your own gift bags with newspaper / use pieces of cloth lying about in the house, which you can embroider or handpaint, or even jute. As for the gifts, instead of buying them, this year make them at home. Some options: • Bake cookies or cakes • Make homemade sweets • Make candles of different shapes and colours • Paint a picture • Create an artwork by using pieces of bright coloured cloth on a canvas • A potted paper plant or a bouquet of paper flowers • Try your hand at pottery and make a small decorative vase

Make your own cards this year.
Cut out pictures and stick them on craft paper to make your very own customised rangoli drawing on the card. Use kumkum and haldi to create Goddess Lakshmi's footprints on your card. You can even use ribbons, bindis, old clips and pieces of cloth to design your card with bright colours

Give back to your community
Instead of spending hours bursting crackers or drinking and partying, spend some time with underprivileged children. Donate old clothes, stationary etc, play games with them or make sweets at home and celebrate Diwali with them. Share your smile and spread cheer during this Festival of Lights. You can also visit an old-age home and spend time with the elders sharing stories, listening to songs from old movies and eating good food.

Lend a helping hand
When you go shopping, lend a helping hand to the elderly. Arrange for an afternoon of mehendi sessions for all the ladies in your neighbourhood. Spend an evening filled with card games and lots of sweet and salted snacks with everyone who lives nearby. With these simple tips, I wish everyone a very Happy Diwali! I wish all of you a lot of happiness, health, prosperity and safety. This year, let's try and make the festival more meaningful and delightful. Let us promise that in our pursuit of happiness, we will not harm the environment and ourselves.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Hollywood Goes Green

Hi, everyone! Here are five of the most eco-conscious Hollywood stars to inspire you on your path to going green.

Gisele Bundchen: The eco-friendly supermodel is no stranger to spreading her love for the earth! She shares green tips on her official website, founded the Clean Water Project, launched an eco-friendly skincare line, and even lives in a 22,000-square-foot green home to boot.
If that's not enough, Bundchen also has her own cartoon on AOL called Gisele and the Green Team aimed at helping kids become environmentally responsible. Gotta love a gorgeous gal with such a big heart!

Hayden Panettiere: America's favorite former cheerleader is not only a teen queen, she's a green queen too!
Well known for her fight to save marine life (who can forget her arrest warrant in Japan after protesting whale and dolphin hunting), she's been given the prestigious Genesis Award by the Humane Society for her environmental and animal activism. The real-life hero is also not afraid to get snapped by paparazzi showing off her recycling skills, frequently carrying reusable grocery bags.

Olivia Wilde: Olivia Wilde proves that being vegan helps one shine from inside out. The animal lover and activist is an avid supporter of green living, having said she aims to leave the planet "a little better than she found it".
She also launched a website, Wilde Things, that serves as a forum for her thoughts on the environment, her favorite charities, a vegan lifestyle, and much more.

Natalie Portman: From designing a vegan footwear line to her involvement with Global Green USA, the talented Natalie Portman is clearly oh-so-devoted to the environment. The stunning vegetarian is even eco-friendly when it comes to her jewels, using certified conflict-free diamonds and recycled platinum in both her engagement ring and wedding bands from hot hubby Benjamin Millepied.

Alicia Silverstone: The adorable actress is a devout vegan, environmentalist, and animal-rights activist-which means she swears off all fur, leather, and pretty much any food from an animal source. Even her rescued four-legged friends are vegans! With such a passion for the environment, it's no surprise this celeb cutie lives in a solar-paneled home and is creator of The Kind Life, a guide to living your healthiest, happiest life to the fullest, while taking care of mama Earth at the same time!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Hilarious Mop Babygro - Clean While You Crawl!

Since it's almost the weekend, we wanted to share this humourous article with everyone to get you through the last few working hours. It's a funny idea that somehow seems to be thriving, and for all they claim it to be efficient, we are merely trying to put a smile on your face with the help of a silly idea and a cute little baby.

An enterprising designer has come up with a unique way to get children involved with the housework: by turning crawling babies into cleaning machines.

The entrepreneur has combined the traditional 'onesie' babygro with specially designed mop heads fixed to the arms and legs which enable babies to polish the floor as they learn to crawl. The $40 (£25) Baby Mop is the brainchild of U.S. website and was inspired by a spoof Japanese advert of a similar invention.

In their blurb for the novelty product the writers on the website joke that the outfit will 'teach your baby a strong work ethic early on in their life while burning off energy, aiding in allowing them to sleep better too.'

Mike Parker from said: 'We have sold about 100 in just one month since adding it to our site. So far all the feedback from customers has been very positive, however we get some negative emails surrounding the idea of the actual product.'

The idea was formed to make the actual product from a Japanese commercial on the web.

'I believe the idea was submitted as part of a contest on ridiculous inventions in Japan but was never actually sold anywhere,' says Parker.'But this is the real deal, it's a legit product and is proving very, very popular.'

Shoppers visiting the site have reacted with good humour, saying they love the product - with one jokingly suggesting wetting the mop to make the baby more efficient.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

10 Tips to Save Energy (and Money) in Your Home

Hopping on the eco firendly bandwagon is not as complicated, time consuming and expensive as you think! Browse through this list of simple solutions designed to save energy and reduce carbon emissions for the planet, and at the same time save you money.

A whopping 46% of home energy use is energy loss. Here are simple ways of reversing this, mostly by changes of habit.

1. Each degree you turn down the heat saves 3% of heating costs, while each degree you raise the temperature of your air conditioner saves 3-4% of cooling costs. By changing the temperature by 2 degrees all year, you can save about 2,000 pounds of C02 a year.

2. Cook with a slow cooker or a toaster oven (or even a solar oven) to reduce electrical use from kitchen appliances. For a meal that requires one hour to cook in an electric oven, and which uses 2.7 pounds of C02, a crockpot uses 0.9 pounds of C02 for seven hours, a toaster oven takes 1.3 pounds of C02 for 50 minutes, and a microwave only 0.5 pounds of C02 for 15 minutes of cooking. A solar cooker requires NO C02!

3. Switch to a laptop instead of using a desktop computer and cut three-quarters off your electrical use. Turn off the laptop at the end of the day.

4. Switch to cold water washing and save 80 percent on energy used for laundry and save an estimated $60 a year. Hang dry your clothes instead of using the dryer and save 700 pounds of C02 a year.

5. Plug anything that can be powered by a remote control or that has a power cube transformer (little black box) into a power strip, and turn it off, and/or unplug, when not in use. (Power cubes are 60-80 percent inefficient.)

6. Turn off the lights when you aren’t using them and reduce your direct lighting energy use by 45 percent. Stop using heat-producing halogen lamps (they can also be fire hazards). Install occupancy or motion sensors on outdoor lights.

7. Switch to compact fluorescent from regular incandescent bulbs and use 60 percent less energy per bulb and save 300 pounds of C02 a year.

8. Wrap your water heater in an insulation blanket and save 1,000 pounds of C02 a year. Insulate your hot water pipes.

9. Use public transportation whenever possible, carpool, shop locally, and ideally switch to a hybrid or energy-efficient car (if you haven’t already).

10. Keep your tires inflated to improve gas mileage by 3 percent. Every gallon you save also saves 20 pounds of C02 emissions.

Thanks to and The Home Energy Diet for many of the carbon savings figures.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Efforts in Asia to Go Green Makes Waves!

Iskandar Malaysia – opposite Singapore located across the strait of Johor, houses the beginnings of a new project that will shape the future. With a surface area the size of Luxembourg, the site is being developed into what architects hope will be a mega city built along eco-friendly lines, using green energy to put to an end the pollution afflicting many Asian cities today.

With an expected population of 3 million by the year 2025, this booming city aims to provide energy from renewable sources, providing public transport and diverting waste to be made purposeful once more. The Malaysian government aspires to showcase this to be copied on a bigger scale across the region.

The world's urban population overtook the number of rural-dwellers for the first time in 2007, and future population growth in south-east Asia – at least 9bn people are expected to inhabit this planet by 2050, up from 7bn at present – is expected to be mainly in cities in the developing world. By far the greatest growth will be in slums, by current estimates.

Iskandar Malaysia offers an alternative. The plans are for a city that not only incorporates the latest in environmentally friendly technology, but that is designed for social integration. Green spaces and areas where people can mingle and relax will improve people's mental wellbeing and encourage social cohesion, it is hoped. Skyscrapers will be mixed with low-rise buildings and more homely, intimate neighbourhoods.

Najib Razak, prime minister of Malaysia, said in a speech: "Iskandar Malaysia [is] a smart city template – protecting the environment, promoting equitable development and addressing urban development challenges [through] the creation of smart, liveable urban communities that will yield an improved quality of life for thousands of citizens, with safer, cleaner, healthier, more affordable and more vibrant neighbourhoods, serviced by more efficient and accessible transportation systems – great destinations for businesses."

Ellis Rubinstein, president of the New York Academy of Sciences, which is working on the "edu-city" university campus area, said it could be "a model to countries needing to accommodate the social and economic needs of fast-rising populations and environmental challenges".

However, the project's developers will have to overcome significant obstacles. New eco-cities have been planned in the past, from China to the US, most of which have floundered. China's Dongtan was heralded the world's first planned eco-city, but plans have been mired in difficulty for years; a UK project for "eco-towns" was widely ridiculed and has been all but abandoned.

So far, the Malaysian government has managed to attract support from Pinewood Studios, which will build new facilities in Iskandar, and Legoland which will build its first Asian theme park in the city. Several UK universities – including Newcastle and Southampton – are also planning to open up remote campuses. More than $30bn has been promised for the city, of which more than a third will come from outside Malaysia.  

Saturday, November 3, 2012

A Clean and Green Singapore

Clean and Green Singapore 2013 kicks off today at the Gardens by the Bay, boasting of live music performances, exhibitions and workshops to promote green practices.

Organized by the NEA, Central Singapore Community Development Council, PUB and National Parks, this event also brings together residents from the five districts of Singapore (Central, South West, North West, North East and South East) to showcase their ground-up programmes and community projects from agencies and key non-governmental organisations.

The public is encouraged to participate in the numerous activities ranging from environmental fashion shows to recycling craft workshops. There will also be a hack-a-thon, which will have programmers and developers brainstorm ideas to build and launch applications to help the community to adopt eco friendly practices.

Through various programmes with partners such as the Public Hygiene Council, Keep Singapore Beautiful Movement and Singapore Kindness Movement, the event offers opportunities for individuals to volunteer and make a difference.

Some 600 volunteers from schools, grassroots organisations and non-governmental organisations are contributing to the preparation and running of the event.

What are you waiting for? Head down to the beautiful Gardens by the Bay and take part as history unfolds for a better future.