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

Get your GROUPON on today!

Need cleaning products for the inevitable pre/post Christmas party and dinner clean up?! Check out GROUPON today and grab yourself a bargain!

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!