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!!

Order online today at:

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.