Monday, September 23, 2013

Greening Up the Furry Life

Hi, everyone! Today we are focusing on the life we share with our furry little companions. You may not realize how much waste pet products can create, but with a few simple tricks and tips, you can lead your pets towards greener pastures!

Feed your dog veggie food! There are many options out there that are not only organic but healthier as well. Most pets enjoy fruit and vegetables and though you might not be too keen to grow your own garden, it's fair to consider homemade treats such as baked pumpkin slices or sweet potato balls.

Use all natural and ECO friendly shampoos and grooming products. Ensure the safety of your pets as well as your loved ones by knowing what goes into the products you use on your furry friends. You can never be too cautious, especially since dogs and cats are known to lick, well, themselves!

Use all natural kitty litters like wheat litter products. You might be surprised what other natural ingredients can contribute to products for your pets. Take the time to research and find that perfect blend of healthy and organic - after all, you and your pet deserve the best!

Recycle your pets’ products… old beds, crates, brushes, bowls and toys make great donations to animal shelters. Not only will you be able to share what you have with others, you also reduce waste that could have instead ended up in a landfill. Remember, every step we take counts!

Adopt, don’t shop for animals. Shelters and rescues have just about any pet you can think of available for adoption. Once you find the perfect companion, be sure to schedule them to be spayed or neutered - imagine the overabundance of abandoned animals that already exist and think of how you are helping them by preventing further abandonment. Be responsible!

Pick up after your dog! Use an old newspaper or a leaf if you can. Or if neither of those are available, a second choice would be a compostable poop bag. It is so important that you don’t use extra plastic bags for this! You might think it’s a good thing, because you’re reusing (which is important to do, but it’s better if you just use reusable bags in the first place), but when you put the poop inside the plastic bag, you are preventing it from breaking down in the landfill (just like the bag). It’ll just sit inside the bag in the landfill forever, defeating the purpose of this whole blog!

Do you have any tips on how to lead a greener, cleaner life? We want to hear from you!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Growing Up Green

Afraid that you might be clueless when it comes to teaching your children about going green? Fret no more! Alicia Silverstone (previously featured on our blog as one of the greenest celebrities in Tinsel Town)shares her 9 easy tips to guide your little ones towards the greener path!

Children are like sponges and absorb everything around them. This means that it is never too early to teach them about eco friendly living.

1. Get your child/children into the helpful habit of switching off the lights whenever they leave the room.

2. Gently remind the little ones to turn off the tap while they brush their teeth.

3. Spend time with your children playing outside and away from electronic devices that use/waste energy.

4. Buy eco-friendly toys and products for your children.

5. Buy in bulk. Instead of buying snack packs buy in bulk and then divide into individual servings using reusable containers.

6. Recycle toys and electronics. Show your children how to properly recycle batteries and electronics so that they don't end up in landfills.

7. Teach your children how to cook and where food comes from.

8. Carpool to school.

9. Let the kids sort the recycling.

9. Donate gently used toys and clothing to others who can use them instead of throwing them away.

Do you have any ideas and tips on how to raise awareness in our children? Green Cleaners would love to hear from you!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Celebrate Singapore's 48th Birthday with a FREE green home clean!!

Celebrate Singapore's 48th Birthday with a FREE green home clean!! Hurry! Visit our website and complete an online quotation form with referral code 'SG 48' today!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A Battle Worth Fighting!

Those lucky enough to have visited the World Heritage Listed Great Barrier Reef will agree that it is extremely breathtaking. The clear water, colourful coral, and all the wildlife all take credit for why this wondrous place has been listed as one of the seven natural wonders of the world, and is touted as a national icon.

The reef also supports the livelihood of many people living along its coastline. Tourism, fishing and research organisations all rely on the reef and in turn provide around $7 billion annually for Australia's economy and around 70,000 jobs. Queensland needs a healthy reef to maintain the lifestyle it provides, now and in the future.

What many people don’t realise is that despite all of the aforementioned, the Great Barrier Reef is under threat from massive new industrial developments along its coastline. Large scale mining operations, new rail lines and ports are planned, driven by a huge demand for coal, gas and other mineral resources, especially in India and China. There are at least 67 developments on the drawing board in or near the Great Barrier Reef, including five mega ports – one of which would become the largest coal export terminal in the world only 50kms from the tourism mecca — the Whitsunday Islands.

If these developments are approved, millions of tonnes of seafloor will be dredged and then dumped in the Great Barrier Reef waters and the number of freight ships criss-crossing the reef each year will nearly double to over 7000, putting the reef and the industries which rely on it at risk.

At a time when the reef needs stronger protection, the Queensland Government is fast tracking these developments and giving special treatment to industry. They’ve cut environmental protection, removed assessment officers and ignored the concerns of the community. If we’re not careful, Queensland will emerge from the “mining boom” with one of its best tourism icons ruined and the loss of a coastal lifestyle loved by many.

The Australian Marine Conservation Society has recently joined forces with WWF-Australia to fight for the reef and stop this massive threat of industrialisation.

But we can’t do it without you.

We are fighting so that our children and their children can enjoy the Reef’s natural beauty.

We are fighting for our fishers and tourism operators who need a healthy Reef for their livelihood.

And we are fighting so the Reef remains one of the great natural wonders of the world.

It needs you now more than ever.

Please visit for more information about how YOU can help Save the Reef. Sign the petition and get involved today!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Ode to Our Oceans

In celebration of World Oceans Day last June 8, Green Cleaners has some interesting facts about the creatures that dwell in our seas. Read on and be amazed at what we are all working to save as people from Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom played a part in making a difference! There were Ocean Clean Up Operations set up with thousands of volunteers, and even booths set up to educate both children and adults about the wonders of the ocean.

Fun Facts:

When a dolphin is sick or injured, its cries of distress summon immediate aid from other dolphins, who try to support it to the surface so that it can breathe.

Dolphins sleep with one half of the brain at a time, and one eye open.

Blue Whales weigh as much as 30 elephants and are as long as three Greyhound buses.

Lobsters can live up to 50 years.

Left to their own devices, pearls grow naturally only once in every 20 000 oysters.

A scallop has 35 blue eyes.

It can take a deep-sea clam up to 100 years to reach 8 millimetres in length. The clam is among the slowest growing, yet longest living species on the planet.

The largest eggs in the world are laid by a shark.

If a lobster loses a claw or an eye, it is usually able to grow another, although the new one is usually smaller.

Dolphins sleep at night just below the surface of the water. They frequently rise to the surface for air.

Shrimp can only swim backwards.

Using its web-like skin between its arms, an octopus can carry up to a dozen crabs back to its den.

Electric Eels can reach up to 2 metres in length and larger specimens can generate 500 volts of electricity.

A blue whale's tongue is so large that fifty people could stand on it.

Dolphins jump out of the water to conserve energy. It's easier to move through the air than through the water.

A starfish can turn its stomach inside out.

A baby grey whale drinks enough milk to fill more than 2000 bottles a day.

The heart of a blue whale is the size of a small car.

Giant cuttlefish have green blood.

Fish can’t close their eyes. They have no eyelids.

Fish never stop growing. The older they get the bigger they grow.

Lobsters have blue blood.

Fish have a balloon inside their body to help them float.

Crabs have eyes on sticks. They can move their eyes in any direction.

Sea urchins have their mouth underneath their body.

A sea horse moves its back fin so fast that it looks like a little spinning pinwheel.

Seahorses are the only animals in the entire animal kingdom in which the male has babies. The female seahorse deposits the eggs into the male's small pouch, these eggs are then fertilized by the male.

Sea sponges have no head, mouth, eyes, feelers, bones, heart, lungs or brain - yet they are alive.

Sea sponges can be as tiny as a pea or a big as a cow.

No matter how many pieces you cut a sea sponge into each piece will go on living and growing.

The biggest starfish is the sunflower star, it has more than 26 arms.

A starfish can grow a whole new body from just one arm.

Pearls are made from sand.

Sharks never run out of teeth. If one is lost, another spins forward from the rows and rows of backup teeth.

Shrimps hearts are in their heads.

An Electric eel is known to produce electricity sufficient enough to light up 10 electric bulbs.

Seahorses have a single mate for life. Every morning, they come together, dance, change their color, twirl around with linked tails and then separate for the rest of the day.

While mating, seahorses utter musical sounds.

Our oceans are filled with the most wonderful, amazing creatures. Let's fight to keep them all alive for generations to come.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Green Carpet Cleaning is here!

Unlike other cleaning processes that leave dirt-laden water behind or just clean the surface of your carpet or rug, Green Cleaners now offers the system used by the most demanding professional carpet cleaners around the world - Air Cell Extraction, which cleans all the way down to the base of your carpet and extracts all the soil in just one pass. Air Cell Extraction technology uses thousands of tiny Air Cells which are 90% air and only 10% moisture, which prevents over wetting. Air Cell dramatically lowers moisture which eliminates problems associated with wet cleaning machines.

Reduced risks, Eco-friendly, Faster drying times...

• Reduce risk of accidental damage

• No danger of shrinkage, browning or mildew

• Reduce risk of bacteria and bad smells

• Dry time is only 1 - 2 hours

• US Green Seal certified chemical

• Deep cleaning and outstanding results

• Certified zero animal / alcohol bi-products in chemicals

Safer for people, pets and the environment.

To request a quotation for your office or home carpet or rug, please kindly email your enquiry to

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Great (Green) Escapes

Travel has the power to open our minds and deepen our appreciation of the world we live in. As we explore, it’s up to us to travel responsibly and tread lightly on the earth. You can make greener choices on your travels, and even have a positive impact that will last well beyond your week of bliss. Here are five ideas for your next green getaway:


Combine your love of travel with philanthropy by taking part in the ever-growing “voluntourism” movement. Imagine contributing—in a very tangible way—to the community, wildlife and environment you visit. The opportunities are endless. Protect sea turtles in Costa Rica, study climate change in Antarctica, survey coral reefs on a tropical island, or join a Me to We trip and help an impoverished community. We promise you’ll gain new perspective and make the world a better place.

Go camping

The great outdoors beckon. If you’re yearning for both solitude and scenic splendour, pitch a tent! Explore natural landscapes, close to home or on the other side of the country. Bonus: outdoor activities like kayaking, hiking and swimming are all delightfully carbon neutral. Find a National Park, and for tips on camping responsibly, a bit of research goes a long way.


Short for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms, WWOOFing is your ticket to an unforgettable farming experience. The program was founded in England in 1971. Volunteers work on an organic farm in exchange for room, board and farming advice. WWOOFers have given thousands of hours of assistance to organic growers, and WWOOF hosts have given their time and experience to WWOOFers in over 50 countries.

Adventure travel

Have an appetite for adventure? Check out ways to learn skills such as mountaineering, climbing or backpacking. Many companies offer small-group tours to destinations around the globe. We love G Adventures and Natural Habitat Adventures. For more options, use the directories of The International Ecotourism Society and Sustainable Travel International. (While you’re there, read the organization’s tips to evaluate responsible tour companies.)

Have a staycation

Explore your own backyard. Not only is it less stressful than going abroad, but you’ll support your local economy, enjoy places and activities you’re usually too busy to appreciate, and save money on transportation. Ideas for local thrills: give your taste buds a trip (visit farmers’ markets, try an organic or vegetarian restaurant, or embark on a culinary adventure; visit a National Park, beach or lake; or start that garden project you’ve been meaning to get to. Being one with nature need not be too far from your own home.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Tired of cleaning your apartment, but don’t have your own live-in help due to cost or space constraints?

Green Cleaners are here to provide you with a solution to your weekly chores, as well as making a positive change for your home and the environment.

We understand that every home is different and every client is an individual. With an ever growing number of single working professionals and couples in Singapore, with little time to keep on top of the basic cleaning of their living space, and little enthusiasm to spend precious free time cleaning, we are pleased to announce the launch of our new weekly green cleaning service – GC Essentials.

With professionally trained staff, meticulous approach and care for your home, GC Essentials is specifically designed to cover all the essential weekly cleaning tasks (as detailed in our 16 point checklist) required for maintaining a healthy home whilst allowing you to free-up valuable spare time.

Choosing a GC Essentials service also offers peace of mind - you’re having a positive impact on the environment and adhering to MOM policy and regulations by not utilizing ‘freelance’ domestic helpers. Enquire today and you'll never need to pick up a mop, vacuum or duster ever again, and go green in the process!

Get a quote today!

*GC Essentials Terms & Conditions: 1. GC Essentials Service is only available for homes less than or equal to 1200 sqft. 2. GC Essentials Service is only available on a weekly frequency. 3. GC Essential Service clients are required to have a good working vacuum cleaner onsite. 4. GC Essential Service clients are required to purchase a Full Green Cleaning Master Kit on commencement of services. 5. Where the apartment is more than 1km from an MRT station, travel charges may apply. Advised upon quotation. **Homes that are more than 1200 sqft and/or for other service frequency options, please complete our standard service quotation form.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Green Apps for a Greener Lifestyle!

Climate change has been a long running problem, worrying world leaders and the population alike about where the planet is heading. This has been one big reason why the going green phenomenon took off in the first place. Preserving our natural resources, ensuring a bright future for our children and reducing pollution are three big players in the reasoning.

In fact, we all do a little bit more than we ever did but it’s about taking this to another level with some effort and thought. If we clean up our act then our water, air and energy becomes cleaner and this helps everything that lives on this planet. Take a look at these five simple apps that can kick you off.

Light Bulb Finder – One big energy saver that people are trying to implement across the board is energy saving bulbs. This free app for Android and iPhone means that you can make the switch from conventional bulbs to energy saving equivalents easily. From light quality to fit to style you can shop knowing that you are purchasing exactly what you need.

Energy Saver – Do your bit for the environment and save money at the same time, what could be better? This app helps to “profile – analyze – save” on your water, gas and electricity expenses. With features that are easy to use and customise, there is plenty to sink your teeth into before the benefits start to roll in through your shrewd consumption and elimination of waste.

Green Genie – Already named as the number one green app in some quarters and with USA Today saying “a good place to start: The Green Genie app” it’s obvious why it gets so much love. It comes from the idea that each change you make adds up for both you and the environment over time. Currently a free offering, this is a comprehensive guide to better living. Sustainable living. With features like essential reading, a glossary and strategies it really needs to be part of your green push.

Good Guide – Ever wondered the performance of your food and household product in terms of social, environmental and health? Whether you have or not, it’s time to make your purchases more accountable. This free, quick and easy app gets information and ratings as you do your shopping. Not only this but customised recommendations come as standard!

Find Recycling – One buzzword for saving the planet is recycling. You can get a lot of money for your unwanted possessions. Whether you want to sell your old htc desire or your old entertainment collection you can. But, if you’re just looking for a place to recycle glass bottle, batteries or TVs then this app is there to help you do just that.

Whether you are looking to save money, help the planet or both then these apps can be a great way to start. There are plenty more to scroll through but you can begin encouragement with these five. We need to make the world a greener place again and that is up to us all as a race. Do your bit!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

It's Greenery Day!

Hi Everyone! Today marks an important day in Japan - though originally celebrated as the Emperor's Birthday, this special holiday has evolved into a day that celebrates communing with nature and showing appreciation for the world around us. Who says we can't celebrate that worldwide, anyway?

Green Cleaners went to Japan and was pleasantly surprised with the discipline that everyone shared in making sure the streets, the air and even indoor spaces were kept clean. We even found some stores, like Lush (yes, the lovely smelling soap store) who promoted going green all over their shop!

Here's some interesting trivia about Japan - did you know that most families make a joint effort to actually reuse, reduce and recycle? Not just use it as a mantra, they actually take the time to sort our their rubbish as well as take into consideration using and purchasing only what they need.

Japan has developed as a country with such discipline that although eating and drinking is allowed on all public transportation, you will rarely find any sort of wrappings, trash or bottles lying around. The bins are few and far apart, but somehow Japan still maintains a tidy environment. Talk about impressive!

If only for today, we hope Japan as well as the Japanese inspire you to live life a little greener. The fate of the world, as it is, is in your hands. Happy Greenery Day!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

New MOM rules - Don't risk a $30K fine by using illegal helpers!

From 1 January 2013, the Ministry of Manpower has introduced new rules and guidance regarding Foreign Domestic Workers (FDW's). With a priority on ensuring FDW's are given a weekly rest day to allow for a proper emotional and physical break from work.

The guidelines also cover detailed information on illegal maids moonlighting by doing additional jobs such as cleaning homes and penalties that will be enforced on employers and maids who infringe these regulations, such as:

- FDWs who moonlight on their rest days are committing an offence and can be fined up to $20,000 and/or jailed up to 2 years. They may also be barred from employment in Singapore.

- Employers will be committing an offence if they use the services of FDWs who have not been approved to work for them. These employers can be fined up to $30,000 or jailed up to 1 year or both.

- You should not allow your FDW to moonlight or facilitate your FDW’s illegal employment. Employers who are caught doing so can be fined up to $10,000 or jailed up to 1 year, or both.

Know the rules and don't risk a fine - Hire a trusted, professional, legal and quality service provider, like Green Cleaners!

Get a quote today!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Eco-Friendly Laundry for the Eco Conscious You!

Hi, everyone! Here are some simple tips that will reduce the impact all those loads have on the environment. Take note and challenge yourself to try at least one from the list!

Control the Temperature.

About 90 percent of the energy associated with doing laundry involves just heating up the water. The solution: Turn that dial to cold! You'll be surprised how much of a difference this makes to the environment.

Wash Full Loads.

Even the most energy-efficient loads use 40 gallons of water. Reducing the number of loads you do each week will save water and money. If you find yourself doing eight or more loads of laundry each week, skipping just one will save over 10 percent on your laundry costs.

Upgrade To Energy Efficient Washers and Dryers.

This is not permission to go out and replace your current machine that’s running just fine. (But nice try!) If you’re in the market for a new washer or dryer, buying an energy efficient model can save both water and energy, and lower your bills.

Switch to Natural Detergents and Stain Removers.

Natural products tend to be free of chlorine bleach, synthetic fragrance, dyes, and optical brighteners. What's in them? They’re usually plant (not petroleum) based, contain biodegradable surfactants, and are often specifically formulated to perform well in cold water. Be sure to read the fine print when shopping; remember that knowledge is power.

Choose Non-Chlorine Bleach.

Use in the home isn’t quite as detrimental for the environment as industrial use (like bleaching paper), but chlorine bleach can irritate skin and eyes. Most non-chlorine bleach is hydrogen peroxide. You can buy branded versions, or just stick to the 3 percent version sold in drug stores. And doing so will really add up. In fact, if every U.S. household replaced just one 64–ounce bottle of chlorine bleach with non-chlorine bleach, we could prevent 11.6 million pounds of chlorine from entering our environment.

Rethink Dryer Sheets.

The chemicals–including synthetic fragrances—found in conventional dryer sheets and fabric softeners are similar to what is found in conventional detergents. They’re largely questionable for human health and the environment. Plus, don’t even think about recycling those dryer sheets. Either skip them entirely or choose eco-friendly ones.

Hang Clothes to Dry.

Keeping your clothes out of a dryer extends their life, reduces energy use, and cuts costs. Whether indoors or outside, line drying can be done year round. Just don’t put dark colours in bright sunlight or they’ll fade. Bonus: For those who live in countries that have seasons, indoor rack drying during the winter doubles as a humidifier.

Make Your Own Laundry Products.

The only real way to know what’s going into your laundry is to whip up your own solutions. Use safe-for-the-environment ingredients that are already in your pantry like vinegar, lemon juice, hydrogen peroxide, and baking soda. Many of these DIY formulas have been used for generations and get the job done.

We hope this somehow continues to inspire you to green your lifestyle!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Surprising Changes Brought About by Global Warming.

Global Warming Song and Dance

You've probably heard about the global warming song and dance: rising temperatures, melting ice caps and rising sea levels in the near future. But Earth's changing climate is already wreaking havoc in some very weird ways. So gird yourself for such strange effects as savage wildfires, 25-mile long icebergs, disappearing lakes, freak allergies, and the threat of long-gone diseases re-emerging.

Forest Fire Frenzy

While it's melting glaciers and creating more intense hurricanes, global warming also seems to be heating up forest fires in the United States. In western states over the past few decades, more wildfires have blazed across the countryside, burning more area for longer periods of time. Scientists have correlated the rampant blazes with warmer temperatures and earlier snowmelt. When spring arrives early and triggers an earlier snowmelt, forest areas become drier and stay so for longer, increasing the chance that they might ignite.

Ruined Ruins

All over the globe, temples, ancient settlements and other artifacts stand as monuments to civilizations past, which until now have withstood the tests of time. But the immediate effects of global warming may finally do them in. Rising seas and more extreme weather have the potential to damage irreplaceable sites. Floods attributed to global warming have already damaged a 600-year-old site, Sukhothai, which was once the capital of a Thai kingdom.

Rebounding Mountains

Though the average hiker wouldn't notice, the Alps and other mountain ranges have experienced a gradual growth spurt over the past century or so thanks to the melting of the glaciers atop them. For thousands of years, the weight of these glaciers has pushed against the Earth's surface, causing it to depress. As the glaciers melt, this weight is lifting, and the surface slowly is springing back. Because global warming speeds up the melting of these glaciers, the mountains are rebounding faster.

Speedier Satellites

A primary cause of a warmer planet's carbon dioxide emissions is having effects that reach into space with a bizarre twist. Air in the atmosphere's outermost layer is very thin, but air molecules still create drag that slows down satellites, requiring engineers to periodically boost them back into their proper orbits. But the amount of carbon dioxide up there is increasing. And while carbon dioxide molecules in the lower atmosphere release energy as heat when they collide, thereby warming the air, the sparser molecules in the upper atmosphere collide less frequently and tend to radiate their energy away, cooling the air around them. With more carbon dioxide up there, more cooling occurs, causing the air to settle. So the atmosphere is less dense and creates less drag.

Survival of the Fittest

As global warming brings an earlier start to spring, the early bird might not just get the worm. It might also get its genes passed on to the next generation. Because plants bloom earlier in the year, animals that wait until their usual time to migrate might miss out on all the food. Those who can reset their internal clocks and set out earlier stand a better chance at having offspring that survive and thus pass on their genetic information, thereby ultimately changing the genetic profile of their entire population.

The Big Thaw

Not only is the planet's rising temperature melting massive glaciers, but it also seems to be thawing out the layer of permanently frozen soil below the ground's surface. This thawing causes the ground to shrink and occurs unevenly, so it could lead to sinkholes and damage to structures such as railroad tracks, highways and houses. The destabilizing effects of melting permafrost at high altitudes, for example on mountains, could even cause rockslides and mudslides. Recent discoveries reveal the possibility of long-dormant diseases like smallpox could re-emerge as the ancient dead, their corpses thawing along with the tundra, get discovered by modern man.

Pulling the Plug

A whopping 125 lakes in the Arctic have disappeared in the past few decades, backing up the idea that global warming is working fiendishly fast nearest Earth's poles. Research into the whereabouts of the missing water points to the probability that permafrost underneath the lakes thawed out. When this normally permanently-frozen ground thaws, the water in the lakes can seep through the soil, draining the lake, one researcher likened it to pulling the plug out of the bathtub. When the lakes disappear, the ecosystems they support also lose their home.

Arctic in Bloom

While melting ice in the Arctic might cause problems for plants and animals at lower latitudes, it's creating a downright sunny situation for Arctic biota. Arctic plants usually remain trapped in ice for most of the year. Nowadays, when the ice melts earlier in the spring, the plants seem to be eager to start growing. Research has found higher levels a certain type of the pigment chlorophyll (telltale sign of photosynthesis) in modern soils than in ancient soils, showing a biological boom in the Arctic in recent decades.

Heading for the Hills

Starting in the early 1900s, we've all had to look to slightly higher ground to spot our favorite chipmunks, mice and squirrels. Researchers have found that many of these animals have moved to greater elevations, possibly due to changes in their habitat caused by global warming. Similar changes to habitats are also threatening Arctic species like polar bears, as the sea ice they dwell on gradually melts away.

Aggravated Allergies

Have those sneeze attacks and itchy eyes that plague you every spring worsened in recent years? If so, global warming may be partly to blame. Over the past few decades, more and more Americans have started suffering from seasonal allergies and asthma. Though lifestyle changes and pollution ultimately leave people more vulnerable to the airborne allergens they breathe in, research has shown that the higher carbon dioxide levels and warmer temperatures associated with global warming are also playing a role by prodding plants to bloom earlier and produce more pollen. With more allergens produced earlier, allergy season can last longer. Get those tissues ready.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Singapore – the Greenest City on Earth!

Here are the top 11 reasons why Singapore has quickly become known as one of the world’s Greenest Countries.

1. Little red dot, big green city.
The development of Singapore as a Garden City was a vision put forward by former Prime Minister (and now Minister Mentor) Lee Kuan Yew way back in 1968, just after Singapore’s independence, to integrate the environment with urban development and soften the effects of a concrete jungle. Now, there are trees along every road and parks in every estate. The government ensures that the greenery is well looked after, keeping the city healthy.

2. Minimal Wastage.
Singapore literally does not waste a single drop of water if it can be helped. Through the marvels of modern desalination technologies and more than a little desperation (Singapore imports less than half the population's water from Malaysia with agreements set to expire in 2061), this little patch of land recycles and conserves almost all rainfall and water reserves (including non-potable waste water) to produce NeWater, a high-purity H2O that can be used for industrial development and even drinking. Gross but true.

3. Plug in, Drive out.
Until the brainy science types can figure out safe hydrogen energy or cold fusion, electric power is still the most viable and cleanest green energy source to drive cars and assorted motor vehicles. Ever heard of Greenlots? They're an island-wide network of power stations for electric vehicles to plug in and recharge which run off the national power infrastructure. Not to be outdone, there are now solar Greenlots being tested which draw their power from the sun -- not a bad idea for a tropical sunny island!

4. Hopping on the hybrid wagon.
It's not just the passenger vehicles that are going electric, a whole bevy of vehicles are jumping on the eco-friendly bandwagon. Cab operator Prime Taxis has put on the roads 30 cabs that run on petrol and electric power, while hybrid buses which use a combination of diesel and battery power and consume use up to 30 percent less fuel are on trial now as well. On the industrial front, Singapore-based ST Kinetics has launched the world's first commercially ready Hybrid Hydraulic Drive (HHD) enhanced port prime mover (PPM) which captures and re-uses the energy normally lost from braking, using a hybrid system that can be easily adapted to other commercial machines such as tractors, heavy trucks and excavators.

5. Paid to go green.
From cars to weddings, Singaporeans are subsidized to do the right thing. Mitsubishi is bringing in up to 50 i-MiEV electric cars for use in the $20 million three-year study to test the infrastructure needed to keep them running here. The Japanese car maker will sell the cars for between S$80,000 and S$90,000, lower than the S$160,000 estimated retail price, if you're willing to take part in the study. And if you're getting hitched, the National Park Board (NParks) will give you a nice 20 percent discount for venues at the HortPark in Alexandra Road. The catch -- couples have to show NParks that they have taken at least eight environmentally-friendly measures for their wedding. These include using recycled paper for their wedding stationary, holding the ceremony at non air-conditioned venues and using a hybrid car for their bridal car.

6. The longest green campaign. Ever.
The Clean and Green Singapore (CGS) campaign has been kicking around for close to two decades now and it's one of the longest in the island's history. It was formerly known as "Clean and Green Week" before it went full steam into a year-long campaign and morphed into simply Clean and Green Singapore in 2007, with regular events, activities and community projects all over the country all the time. Now that's what we call a sustainable effort.

7. Children are the future.
Not to be outdone by CGS, Green Singapore 2050 (GS2050) is a community platform for youngsters to express their concerns about environmental issues, and think of solutions to them. Why 2050? It's because these youths will be the ones to inherit and run the country in 2050, and hopefully solve the world's problems. GS2050 runs environmental surveys, forums for discussions and projects aimed at solving real issues.

8. Gardens by the Bay
Stretching over 54 hectares, the Gardens provide the public with shade, shelter and a steady source of rain water as well as a cluster of green conservatories.

9. Stay cool, look good.
The Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School, besides its mission to be the "biomedical hub of Asia," is one of the great examples of green design and environmentally conscious construction while still architecturally beautiful. The use of sustainable design elements such as the eight-story glass atrium that provides vertical circulation to the whole building and ceramic tiles which contain titanium dioxide (a material which keeps maintenance down and withstands tropical mold) earned the building Green Mark certification. But it's not a singular building that's eco-conscious -- the massive Resorts World Sentosa also won an award from the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) for integrating sustainable building concepts into the master design of its development.

10. Glam Eco Ambassadors.
Green Kampong is a eco-community started by supermodel and MTV VJ turned eco-activist Nadya Hutagalung and a group of like-minded earth angels, including former magazine publisher Holman Chin, capital investor Desmond Koh and Green Drinks Singapore founder Olivia Choong. Now that's a good-looking bunch of people that's saving the world in style.

11. We all want to save the world
Ultimately, we all want to be green. From bringing your own shopping bags and eco movements and groups that are popping up everywhere, Singaporeans are genuinely aware of the need to be earth-friendly and save its resources. A recent survey by the National Environment Agency (NEA) showed an overwhelming number (87.2 percent) of Singaporeans who are willing to adopt a clean and green lifestyle. A Kelly Services study revealed that over 90 per cent of people working in Singapore said they are more likely to work for an organization that is ethically and socially responsible, while nine out of 10 teens in another survey are concerned about protecting the environment, with 96 percent agreeing that it's their responsibility to take care of Mother Earth.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Cooking Oil Fuels Flights!

The same oil that fried up your lunch may also be powering your next flight to Europe.
Dutch airline KLM has begun powering some commercial flights on an eco-friendly fuel mix that includes 25% cooking oil and 75% jet fuel. The specially fuelled Boeing 777 flights will be tested on 25 roundtrip transatlantic flights between New York’s JFK and Amsterdam’s Schiphol every Thursday over the next six months.

The leftover waste oil comes from restaurants in Louisiana, where it’s used to fry up cracklins, catfish and other Cajun treats before being refined to fuel the flights. Though some say the fuel smells like fast food, the cooking oil is safe for powering jumbo jets and provides exactly the same flying experience. Even better, it reduces carbon emissions by up to 80%.

KLM has been offering biofuel-powered flights for years, with its first demonstration flight fuelled by a mix of 50% biofuel made from camelina (an oily member of the mustard family) in November 2009.

In the near term, it’s more likely cooking oil will by frying up your French fries and falafels rather than fuelling your flight. That’s because biofuels made from recycled cooking oil are expensive – about $10 per gallon, or roughly three times the price of regular jet fuel – largely due to the costs of refining and preparing the oil for use on jumbo jets.

Most recycled cooking oil today is used to power diesel trucks or mixed with home heating fuel, a simpler conversion process. One innovative company, Grease Lightning, based in New York City, has been purchasing used cooking oil from local restaurants to convert into biodiesel fuel since 2011. And several Boston hotels, including the Saunders Hotel, Lenox Hotel, and Ramada Inn Boston, are using recycled vegetable oil to fuel their laundry trucks and hotel shuttle buses.

Although the sustainability of these alternative biofuels makes it an environmentally friendly option for progressive airlines, widespread adoption of recycled cooking oil requires that usage spreads, making the fuel more affordable for budget-strapped airlines. The air travel community is hoping for financial support from the governments where major airlines are based in the form of subsidies, research grants and tax benefits.

“A lot still has to happen before biofuel will be available on a large scale and for it to be economically competitive in relation to fossil-fuel kerosene,” KLM said in a statement. “We cannot achieve this alone. We absolutely need the commitment and support of all the relevant parties: business, government and society.”

Resourcefulness and creativity of mankind is astonishing; who knows what we will come up with next?

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Earth Hour Around the World!

This year Earth Hour, the world’s largest movement for the planet, will take place on Saturday, March 23 at 8:30 p.m. in time zones throughout the world. Organised by the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF), Earth Hour started in Sydney, Australia in 2007 aiming to highlight humanity’s impact on the natural environment. It has since blossomed into an international event. As in previous years, Earth Hour 2013 will see lights being switched off all over the world whether in households or at national monuments, but since its inception, Earth Hour has become much more than just switching off the lights for 60 minutes. Earth Hour now encompasses over 7,000 cities and towns in 152 different countries involving hundreds of millions of participants across seven continents.

As international recognition and observance of Earth Hour’s ‘One hour to save the planet’ campaigns has grown, so the number of on-the-ground activities which Earth Hour and the WWF are involved in has mushroomed across seven continents.


In Uganda work on establishing the first Earth Hour Forest has started. As part of a fight to counter the 6,000 hectares (about 15,000 acres) of deforestation that occurs in Uganda every month, WWF Uganda has identified almost 2,700 hectares (6700 acres) of deforested land and has set about replanting it with half a million trees indigenous to Uganda as part of the Earth Hour 2013 campaign.

Latin America

In Argentina, local Earth Hour organisers mobilised thousands of volunteers in support of a Senate Bill to make Banco Burwood (or Burdwood), a vast area lying to the south of the Falkland Islands – Islas Malvinas — the biggest Marine Protected Area in the country.

North America

During Earth Hour 2012 in the USA, around 35,000 Girls Scouts participated in the Save Energy Project, installing 132,141 energy efficient light bulbs across the United States. This resulted in a saving of 75,392,654 pounds (almost 34,000 tons) of CO2 emissions, the equivalent of planting about 2950 hectares (7,286 acres) of trees per year, given the estimated lifetime of the energy efficient bulbs.


In Indonesia, the ‘Ini Aksiku! Mana Aksimu?’ campaign has used social media platform Twitter to mobilise 30 Indonesian cities, and not just for Earth Hour itself. ‘Ini Aksiku! Mana Aksimu?’ translates as 'This is my action! What is yours?' and has raised awareness of human factors affecting the environment. Thousands are now involved, each taking their own actions in a multitude of different ways to reduce their environment impact.


At the Earth Hour 2013 launch, CEO Andy Ridley highlighted action being taken in Russia as a result of Earth Hour campaigning.

“Last December, the Russian parliament passed a long-awaited law to protect the country’s seas from oil pollution, after the voices of 120,000 Russians were presented to the government during our I Will If You Will campaign for Earth Hour 2012,” he said.

Protected ancient forests in Russia

For 2013, preserving Russian forests are again to the fore. WWF’s Earth Hour in Russia aims to sign up 100,000 Russians to petition for changes in current forest legislation. If the campaign succeeds, a ban on industrial logging would come into force in an area of Russia equal to twice the size of France. The effect would be to bring protected status to 18% of all Russian forests.

Those campaigns and results are but a few examples of what can be achieved both small scale and large scale across the globe. As Ridley said,
“These outcomes both evidence the power of our collective action and the potential for future outcomes for the environment, generated by hundreds of millions of people coming together as part of the Earth Hour movement. People from all walks of life, from all nations around the world, are the lifeblood of the Earth Hour interconnected global community. They have proven time and time again that if you believe in something strongly enough, you can achieve amazing things. These stories aren’t unique, this is happening all over the world.”

As Earth Hour has demonstrated since 2006, a simple leitmotif of flicking a switch for 60 minutes can have enormous repercussions. From small beginnings, Earth Hour has raised awareness that small actions do matter and can, collectively, make an impact. The real test for Earth Hour and the WWF is to capitalise on that 60 minutes of awareness so that it becomes second nature, not just for 60 minutes each March, but every second of every day throughout the year.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Save with Green Cleaners' Earth Hour challenge!

On 23 March, households and businesses will take part in turning off their non-essential lights for one hour to raise awareness about the need to take action on climate change.

Green Cleaners is celebrating Earth Hour 2013, by taking part in Earth Hour's new I WILL IF YOU WILL challenges - WE will be offering the promotions below if YOU commit to recycling!

Accept our challenge? Visit Earth Hour's YouTube channel, Sign in and commit to recycling at:

Once we have 20 commitments, our offers will be available! While you're there, why not create your own IWIYW - email us the link and we'll support the best challenges on our social media platforms!

* Offer available once 20 commitments have been made. Kindly complete an online quotation form with the words 'Earth Hour 60' in the referral box. Offer ends 23/03/13. Subject to availability – please check for available dates early!

** Offer available once 20 commitments have been made. Kindly email your order to with the subject heading 'Earth Hour 60'. Offer ends 23/03/13. Delivery charges may apply.

Monday, February 18, 2013

How Climate Change REALLY Affects Us.

The planet keeps getting hotter. Especially in America, where 2012 was the warmest year ever recorded, by far. Every few years, the U.S. federal government engages hundreds of experts to assess the impacts of climate change, now and in the future.

From agriculture to infrastructure to how humans consume energy, the National Climate Assessment Development Advisory Committee spotlights how a warming world may bring widespread disruption.

Farmers will see declines in some crops, while others will reap increased yields. Won't more atmospheric carbon mean longer growing seasons? Not quite. Over the next several decades, the yield of virtually every crop in California's fertile Central Valley, from corn to wheat to rice and cotton, will drop by up to 30 percent, researchers expect.

Lackluster pollination, driven by declines in bees due partly to the changing climate, is one reason. Government scientists also expect the warmer climate to shorten the length of the frosting season necessary for many crops to grow in the spring. Aside from yields, climate change will also affect food processing, storage, and transportation—industries that require an increasing amount of expensive water and energy as global demand rises—leading to higher food prices.

More energy demand, higher prices, more climate change.

The worldwide trend is stunning. Since 1970, global demand for heating has decreased, while demand for cooling has shot up. Higher temperatures over the next decade, mixed with a growing global population, will continue to increase energy demand, accelerating the loop of emissions that cause climate change that cause more emissions. Rain, meanwhile, is projected to drop up to 40 percent in some places. Less water, a key ingredient in power production, will constrain energy generation systems. What's more, government analysts anticipate that a higher projected chance of flooding in certain areas will risk inundating power generators and disrupting transmission routes. Aging transportation infrastructures won't mix well with extreme weather. Large storms and extreme weather have already shown their might. The impact on transportation infrastructure won't be pretty, on par with superstorm Sandy's destruction in 2012. But scientists expect similar scenarios to increase in regions that will become more vulnerable to changing weather.

Several states, including Vermont, Tennessee, Iowa, and Missouri, have already experienced severe weather that damaged roads, bridges, and railroad tracks. Some engineers worry that heavy demands on aging infrastructure can create unreliable routes for the transport of vital commodities like food, fuel, and water.

Droughts will become more common virtually everywhere.

The world has a finite amount of water, and new demands, especially from a growing population, will stretch that supply. Watersheds in the southwestern U.S., including the Rockies and the Rio Grande, will encounter supply problems as the runoff that replenishes them declines. Perhaps worse, longer droughts in formerly fertile regions will mean less certainty for farmers and water-dependent industries.

Cases of allergies and asthma will continue to rise.

Prepare yourself for dirtier air. Climate change is expected to increase atmospheric ozone—widely known to lead to decreased lung function—up to ten parts per billion. Cases of asthma are expected to jump by up to 10 percent in urban areas such as New York City. Longer pollen seasons will lead to more air-based allergies, scientists say, and with increasing carbon dioxide, the pollen count could nearly double from 2000 levels.

Cities could become more dangerous than suburban areas.

Cities have become more attractive since 2000, owing mainly to the proximity of major conveniences. But there's a big downside. Natural disasters wrought by climate change—such as increased hurricanes and more severe storms—mean that any disruption could impact millions of people's lives. Only some cities have devised plans to deal with these events. Shutting down New York City's subway system and issuing advance evacuation orders to some parts of New York and New Jersey in advance of superstorm Sandy is thought to have saved thousands of homes and lives.

Keeping yourself informed is the best way to stay ahead. Knowledge is power and it isn't too late. For more updates on our Environment, visit

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

British Association Charity Summer Ball!

Hi everyone! Early notice from our friends at the British Association that tickets are now available for their Charity Summer Ball. The Ball is being held on 01 June 2013 at the prestigious St Regis Hotel. Green Cleaners is proud to be supporting the event and we look forward to seeing you all there! Please contact the BA for more details and tickets:

Saturday, February 9, 2013

A Green Chinese New Year

Clean and green Singapore is going even greener this Chinese New Year, recycling S$2 bills for red packets of money alongside the printing of new ones.

Giving out the little "hongbao" packets with crisp new notes during the Chinese New Year is a longstanding tradition. Adults typically give them to children, older relatives and unmarried siblings to wish them good luck for the coming year.

As well as printing millions of brand new S$2 notes as it has done in the past, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), the wealthy Southeast Asian city-state's central bank, said it will issue older notes that look as good as new and encourage the public to use them.

"The accumulation of excess S$2 polymer notes and their destruction before the end of their lifespan is a waste of precious resources and is not environmentally friendly," the MAS said.

Singapore only needs around 50 million S$2 notes in circulation. Printing the excess notes just for the Chinese New Year consumes 10 metric tons of ink and uses enough electricity to power an entire apartment block for six months!

Most of the notes find their way back into the banks soon after the New Year festivities anyway, as people put them in their savings.

Find ways to stay green this Chinese New Year, whether it's ironing out notes for red packets, recycling after party waste or shopping locally for your family meals.

What we give, we get back! Xin Nian Kuai Le!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Get Creatively Green!

Whether you need slogans for going green for school, work, or a volunteer project, you've come to the right place. Promote going green with one of these 36 slogans — they are the very best we've found.

How to Use Go Green Slogans

Green slogans catch the viewer's eye and attention when placed in prominent areas and help to promote your message. Some ways to use catch phrases for going green include:

•Reusable canvas shopping bags
•Bumper stickers
•Coffee cups
•Recycling bins

Slogans With "Green" in Them

Sometimes you just want to emphasize the "green"-ness of your message. Green is excellent shorthand for environmental awareness and instantly brings to mind images of cleanliness and nature.

•Go Green
•It pays to be green
•Join the green side
•Go green or go home
•Don’t be mean Go green
•It’s not easy being green
•Give green a chance
•Live Green, Love Green, Think Green
•Smells like green spirit
•When the going gets tough, the tough go green
•Think green
•Clean and Green
•Don't Be Mean, Be Green
•Get into the Green Scene
•Green Is the New Black

Slogans With "Earth" or "Planet" in Them

And then sometimes you want to focus on the planet as a whole, to get people thinking about the big picture. Making people aware of the positive impact they can have on the earth as a whole is one successful way to inspire them to do something or help your cause.

•Vote Earth
•Good Planets are Hard to Find
•There is no Planet B
•Earth Day Every Day
•Your planet needs you
•Save paper, save trees, save the planet

Green Slogans that Challenge People

To really grab people's attention, slogans that challenge people to think about the environment do the trick. Many of these slogans contain wordplay that makes you do a double take and stop and think, e.g., the "elders" in "Respect your Elders" meaning both those older than you and a variety of tree.

•Make Conservation a Habit
•Burn Calories Not Oil
•Reduce, reuse, recycle!
•Global Warming is not Cool!
•What would nature do?
•Can You Hear the Eco?
•Buy Local
•I brake for litter
•Respect your Elders (and Oaks, Pines and Hickorys too)
•Think… before you print
•Will Work for Trees
•Where Do You Think the Environment Is?
•Act Like You Live Here

Humorous Green Slogans

Funny catch phrases for going green work best when used in the appropriate context.

•Save water, drink beer — Good for a bar or pub
•Join the Green Side — Good for Star Wars fans or anything that's proudly geeky

Use any of the slogans for going green listed here, or use them as inspiration to make up one of your own. Good luck with your efforts, and let us know how these slogans worked for you, or any good ones you've come up with after reading these. And don't forget: have fun going green!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

From Workout to Watts!

If you're the type of person who thinks working out is just a waste of energy, then a new gym developed in the UK might help change your mind.

This new fitness center, situated in a city park in Hull, northeast England, not only provides a facility for local residents to get fit but also generates electricity every time the equipment is used.

"So far, the community has generated 40,000 watt hours (40 kilowatts)," says Georgie Delaney, creative director at The Great Outdoor Gym Company.

"The goal is that a gym like this should serve a community of about 5,000 people and really people could easily make a kilowatt hour per day. So, if you times that by the amount of gyms that we could possibly install, that actually becomes quite a significant amount of energy," Delaney said.

The company has already installed more than 350 gyms in public places around the UK -- paid for by local councils and free of charge to use for local residents -- but this is their first to convert human energy into electricity.

The gym currently powers its own lighting, but the hope is that one day they will be feeding surplus energy into the national grid and reducing electricity bills.

"We truly believe that in the western world we consume too much energy both in terms of food and electricity. What we're trying to do with the green energy gyms is give councils and communities a tool, with a facility like this, so people can actually offset their consumption of both food and electricity," Delaney says.

The concept clearly impressed city officials in Hull. "The aim of the council is to get more and more people active instead of sitting in their lounges watching television," says councilor Terry Geraghty. "We want to get people off their [sofas] and get a bit active ... more and more people are getting obese, also diabetes, heart disease, not just in Hull, but in the country," he added.

The idea is also attracting interest from local authorities around the world, some of them in developing countries, says the company. The prototype in Hull cost around $100,000 to install, but there are also plans to develop a cheaper $32,000 model which would charge mobile phones and a larger gym (around $130,000) where power could be fed back to the grid.

Li ng Ge, a research scientist at the UK's Imperial College London, is impressed with the scheme but its price may be an issue for poorer nations. "The conversion from the gym to the national grid could be quite costly in developing countries," Ling says. Instead of installing electricity-generating gyms in countries in Africa, for example, it might be cheaper to use alternatives such as solar heating, solar power cells or hydroelectric power stations, she says. "But still, it's a really beautiful concept and it uses existing technology in a novel way," Ling said.

"I think it's an excellent way to educate people about the concept of sustainability and changing people's behavior without putting the 's' word in your face."

Story courtesy of CNN's "Environment" coverage.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Mini Stewards: Teaching the Tots to Go Green

Kids want to go green, too. They hear adults talking about caring for the planet, and they want to do their part. This is where parents, teachers and youth leaders can step in and get kids started on an earth-friendly path. As adults, we need to make the point that eco-friendly living needs to become the norm. There are many activities that will help instill this idea early while allowing your children to be directly involved in shrinking your household's carbon footprint.

Step 1: Empower them. Kids need to know that their efforts matter. This is where you do the research. You might be surprised to find small steps that lead to big changes. For instance, if every household replaced just one incandescent light with an Energy Star-approved bulb, the energy saved would provide light to three million homes for one year. Share these types of easily illustrated facts with your kids to help them draw connections between their activities and the big picture.

Step 2: Buy toys that last. Be aware that toys don't come from toy stores; they are made of resources taken from the earth, and these resources are finite. Next time you take your child shopping for a friend's gift, rate the toys on whether they are built to last or destined to quickly end up in the trash heap.

Step 3: Choose eco-friendly art supplies. Most crayons contain petroleum, which is nonrenewable, and most markers have chemicals in them like ethanol and toluene that are bad for kids to inhale. Buy beeswax crayons and water-based markers, paint and glue. Use recycled paper or scrap paper --- from junk mail to discarded wrapping paper --- for crafts.

Step 4: Reduce trash. Use towels and dishrags instead of paper towels. Reuse plastic bags, rather than buying new ones. Pack waste-free lunches --- invest in reusable lunchboxes and beverage containers, make fresh food instead of relying on prepackaged snacks, and pack all items in reusable baggies or containers.

Step 5: Take time to reflect. Once a week talk with your children about their experiences in reducing their carbon footprint. Find out what they learned and if they are ready to add another task to this effort. Identify areas for further research, and ask them to enter their reflections in a journal --- made of recycled paper, of course.

Friday, January 25, 2013

FIfty Shades of Green

With a gallon of gas costing as much as your morning latte, the idea of “going green” is turning heads as our decisions as consumers and citizens pile up around us. Where “going green”—a reference to the prominent color in nature—once meant an all-or-nothing proposition for which most or all choices were environmentally conscious, the modern definition is more fluid. Minimally a green lifestyle is one in which a person takes active steps to ensure that his or her choices minimize negative impacts on the natural world. The good news is it’s never too late to paint one’s life a deeper shade of green. What can seem daunting is selecting the perfect hue. The key is to shift one’s choices in a way that suits current obligations and preferences while having fun along the way.

Varying Shades of Green Living

Adopting a green lifestyle means doing what you can, knowing that no one is perfect and we don’t have to try to be. Where it’s convenient or possible or fun or inspirational, do give it a bit of extra thought. This means thinking about how your choices impact the environment or about how you can better align your lifestyle with a more earth-friendly way of doing things. For example, a large family who drives an SUV can minimize daily waste by using reusable lunch bags. Recycling and replacing incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescents and driving a hybrid car are all to be considered light green lifestyle choices.

Darker green choices might include producing as much food as you can in a backyard garden and supporting local organic agriculture, minimizing use of a car by cycling or using mass transportation and cutting back on electricity use and adopting household alternative energy sources like solar panels and geothermal heating and cooling.

Going Green for the Kids

For many people, parenthood can foster a deeper desire to preserve resources for the kids. It’s easy to try to save the planet when you’re young and without children or a job. Form habits like turning off the tap while brushing your teeth, taking shallow baths instead of showers and recycling.

It isn’t difficult to develop awareness with your young ones; for many, ensuring that the choices they make contribute to a brighter future for their children is enough inspiration to spur them on. When we lead by example, we soon reap the benefits of seeing our children turn off lights upon leaving a room, or picking up rubbish and placing them in the correct bin.

Going Green Mistakes Are Okay

There is no need to try to be perfect when it comes to going green. There are no mistakes. You do the best you can when you can, and when you can’t, you let it go and try to do better the next time. Start out small to avoid burnout, and also to bring consciousness to your everyday actions. Think about the impact of your behavior on the planet and you will find there are plenty of opportunities to cut waste each day.

Develop small habits such as purchasing reusable water bottles for everyone to bring to school and work each day, instead of buying plastic bottles or using plastic cups for the drinking fountain. Take the time to be organized; get your reusable shopping bags and put them in your car, plan your trips to the market and stick to the list of things you need if you can. If you slip into old routines at times, don’t be too hard on yourself – as long as you’re trying to make some changes, it’s alright.

Successfully Living Green

Finding support for your new lifestyle is vital for success, but remember to take it easy – the last thing you want is to end up sounding too preachy and scaring people away! Live by example and have fun with it. If you happen to have any eco friendly clothes or bags, flaunt them! When people take notice, proudly show off how much you know and share ideas on how they might be able to make a change for the green as well.

Ultimately, finding support, having fun, planning and pacing are the best way to bolster new habits. Make green fun. Ask yourself, ‘How green can I be?’ You don't have to sell your car and buy bicycles for the whole family tomorrow. But if you have kids, you may ask them which is more fun—riding in the car or going on a bike ride. It’s only us adults, with half-hour commutes, who find cars more fun. Stay focused on your goals and inspire others to make changes. In this way you’re sure to make an impact.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Learn from Nature: Business in a Down Economy

The natural world knows how to conserve in lean times. Why shouldn’t we practice the same?

Namib Desert beetle leverages the power of attraction.

If you think your budgets are tight, take a look at Namib desert beetle that must find water in one of the driest environments on earth, how the tardigrade can survive for years without water, or how cicadas manage to survive without direct access to critical nutrients for most of their lives.

Nature has the tightest budgets of all and still finds a way to manage and even thrive. Here is a sample of nature’s genius that can teach us a thing or two about dealing with scarce resources.

The Namibian Beetle lives in one of the driest deserts in the world. The Namib lives on the southwest coast of Africa. It collects all of the water it needs from ocean fog due to the unique surface of its back. Microscopic bumps with hydrophilic (water-attracting) tips and hydrophobic (water-repelling) sides cover its hardened forewings, which it aims at oncoming fog each morning. Water droplets materialize out of thin air on its back, then slide down channels into its awaiting mouth.

Relating it to business: Develop a tailored strategy to create an affinity with the resources you need to attract. For example, if you’re experiencing a lack in creative talent, take a look at your work environment and organizational policies and see whether it is conducive to creative thinking, experimentation and collaboration.

The whole is greater than the sum of the parts in the forest.

In wetter and mixed-species interior Douglas-fir forests, Douglas-fir and paper birch (Betula papyrifera) trees can be linked together by species-rich mycorrhizal networks. This fungal network serves as a pathway for the transfer below ground of carbon from deciduous trees to regenerating Douglas-fir seedlings nearby.

This is not a one-sided relationship, though. Douglas-fir support their birch neighbors in the spring and fall by sending back some of this carbon when the birch is without leaves. This back-and-forth (mutualism) flux of resources according to need may be one process that maintains forest diversity and stability.

Relating it to business: Manage stocks and flows through a linked professional network. Acknowledge the importance of collaborators to growing and thriving with you and build resilience as a community through cooperative resource management.

Symbiosis works for the Cicada so it doesn’t have to.

Cicadas have a symbiotic relationship with two species of specialized bacteria that live inside their cells and produce essential nutrients that the insect finds difficult to access in its regular diet while living underground. (The Cicada spends most of its life -- from two to 17 years -- underground before emerging en masse at regular intervals). While underground, cicadas feed solely on the sap of plant roots, the most nutrient-poor and unbalanced part of plants.

Relating it to business: Partner with a complementary product or service for your business instead of expanding beyond your core competency or acquiring such businesses. Acquisition is costly and often disrupts business coherence. Partnership, on the other hand, allows for intense cooperation without the costly overhead.

Tardigrades are at the ready.

The water bear, an arthropod also known as a tardigrade, lumbers across moist surfaces of mosses and lichens. But when those dry up, the water bear goes into a suspended state that could last anywhere from a few months to a century. The key is the sugar trehalose. As water becomes scarce, trehalose inside the water bear loses water. Instead of forming sharp-edged crystals that can damage DNA, membranes, and cells, the sugar transforms into a glassy state. This sugar-glass surrounds the water bear’s molecules, protecting them from high temperatures and also preventing chemical reactions and denaturation. All it takes to revive the water bear is water.

Relating it to business: Don’t lose track of the good ideas and relationships that you still haven't been able to put into action. Develop a system for recording these ideas. Keep them ready to spring to life when the right opportunity presents itself. Good ideas and relationships are an asset that can be cashed in when the moment is right.

Paper wasps avoid expensive materials.

The geometry of a honeycomb -- seen in such structures as wasp nests -- allows minimizing the amount and quality of the material used to reach minimal weight with maximum functionality. A honeycomb-shaped structure provides minimal density and relatively high out-of-plane compression properties and out-of-plane shear properties.The geometry does the work, not the quality of the material.

Relating it to business: The idea is to take low value or off-the-shelf assets and rearrange them is such a way that the emergent outcome is of higher value. Look for critical connections between your assets that are currently viewed as being of low value both internally and externally: Novel arrangements and coupling of undervalued products, services and even people can result in the discovery of new functions and services.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Health 101!

Hi Everyone! As you already know, we are trying our best to find everything eco friendly - from greening your workout, decluttering your home and taking small steps to make a difference, we have tackled them all! Today will be no different. Tell us what you think of these yummy vegan recipes - we're not saying you should cut all carnivorous cravings cold turkey, but why not attempt to have a non meat day say, once a week?

Black Bean and Cheese Enchiladas with Ranchero Sauce

Don’t miss out on this Mexican chili sauce dish. The sauce has a kick, but if you want fire, add extra ancho chilis. This meal is filling, flavourful, and a great protein substitute for a meatless diet.


• 2 dried ancho chilis, stemmed and seeded
• 2 cups water
• 2 teaspoons olive oil
• 1 cup chopped yellow onion
• 5 garlic cloves, sliced
• 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
• 2 cups organic vegetable broth
• 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
• 2 tablespoons no-salt-added tomato paste
• 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
• 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
• 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
• 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
• 2 cups (8 ounces) preshredded reduced-fat 4-cheese Mexican-blend cheese, divided
• 3 thinly sliced green onions, divided
• Cooking spray
• 12 (6-inch) corn tortillas
• 6 tablespoons light sour cream


1. Preheat oven to 400°.

2. Combine chiles and 2 cups water in a saucepan; bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat; let stand 5 minutes. Drain chiles in a colander over a bowl, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid.

3. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Add onion; saute 1 minute. Reduce heat to medium; add garlic and salt. Cook 5 minutes or until golden, stirring occasionally. Add broth and next 3 ingredients (through cumin); cook 8 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally.

4. Pour onion mixture into a blender; add chilis and reserved liquid. Remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in lid. Blend until smooth; stir in lime juice and red pepper.

5. Combine the beans, 1 cup cheese, and half the green onions in a bowl. Spread 1/2 cup sauce in the bottom of a 13 x 9-inch glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray. Warm tortillas according to package directions. Spoon 3 tablespoons bean mixture down center of each tortilla; roll up. Place, seam-side down, in prepared dish. Pour remaining sauce over filled tortillas. Top with the remaining cheese. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Sprinkle with remaining green onions; serve with sour cream.

Orzo Salad with Spicy Buttermilk Dressing

This dish is fresh, creamy, and packed with fresh veggies. When the reviews rave this dish is “delicious,” “excellent,” and “a big hit,” why wouldn’t you put it on this week’s menu plan?


• 1 cup uncooked orzo
• 1 cup frozen whole-kernel corn, thawed and drained
• 12 cherry tomatoes, quartered
• 3 green onions, sliced
• 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
• 1/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
• 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, divided
• 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
• 2 tablespoons light sour cream
• 2 tablespoons canola mayonnaise
• 1 teaspoon chili powder
• 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
• 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
• 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
• 2 garlic cloves, crushed
• 1 peeled avocado, cut into 8 wedges
• 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

1. Cook orzo according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain and rinse; drain well. Place orzo, corn, and next 3 ingredients (through beans) in a large bowl; toss.

2. Combine buttermilk, 2 tablespoons cilantro, and next 8 ingredients (through garlic) in a small bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Drizzle over orzo mixture; toss. Top with avocado; garnish with remaining cilantro and parsley.

Curried Couscous with Broccoli and Feta

This dish collaborates Mediterranean and Indian flavors with a zesty curry, ginger flavor. Mix up your dinner menu this week with this tasty international dish.


• 1 3/4 cups water
• 1 cup uncooked couscous
• 1 1/2 cups small broccoli florets
• 1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
• 1/3 cup shredded carrot
• 1/4 cup raisins
• 1/4 cup dry-roasted cashews, chopped
• 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
• 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 tablespoon sugar
• 1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
• 1 teaspoon bottled minced fresh ginger
• 3/4 teaspoon salt
• 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
• 3/4 cup (3 ounces) crumbled feta cheese


1. Bring 1 3/4 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan; gradually stir in couscous. Remove from heat; cover and let stand 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

2. While couscous stands, steam broccoli florets, covered, for 3 minutes or until tender.

3. Combine couscous, broccoli, onion, and next 10 ingredients (onion through chickpeas), tossing gently. Sprinkle with cheese.

Gemelli Salad with Green Beans, Pistachios, and Lemon-Thyme Vinaigrette

This recipe marries crisp green beans, heat from garlic and shallots, crunchiness of pistachios and the zest from lemons! Need we say more?


• 8 ounces uncooked gemelli (short twisted tube pasta)
• 1 cup (1 1/2-inch) cut haricots verts (about 4 ounces)
• 1/2 cup chopped shelled pistachios
• 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, divided
• 2 tablespoons grated lemon rind, divided
• 1 tablespoon minced shallots
• 2 tablespoons Champagne or white wine vinegar
• 3 garlic cloves, crushed
• 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
• 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 1 ounce shaved fresh Parmesan cheese (about 1/3 cup)


1. Cook the pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Add haricots verts during the final 2 minutes of cooking. Drain and rinse pasta mixture under cold water; drain well.

2. Place the pasta mixture, pistachios, 1 tablespoon thyme, and 1 tablespoon lemon rind in a large bowl; toss gently to combine.

3. Combine remaining 1 tablespoon thyme, remaining 1 tablespoon lemon rind, shallots, Champagne or white wine vinegar, and garlic in a small bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Gradually add olive oil, stirring constantly with a whisk. Add salt and black pepper; stir with a whisk. Drizzle over pasta mixture, and toss gently to coat. Top each serving with Parmesan cheese.

Grilled Portobello, Bell Pepper, and Goat Cheese Sandwiches

Pungent goat cheese adds a creamy quality to this delicious and filling sandwich. Balsamic, garlic, and oil acts to transcend the main star of the sandwich – the portobello mushroom – to the next level.


• 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1 garlic clove, minced
• 1 red bell pepper, cut in half and seeded
• 1 yellow bell pepper, cut in half and seeded
• 4 (4-inch) portobello mushroom caps
• Cooking spray
• 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 4 (2-ounce) Kaiser rolls
• 1/2 cup (4 ounces) soft goat cheese


1. Prepare grill to medium-high heat.

2. Combine balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and garlic in a large bowl. Add bell peppers and portobello mushrooms; toss gently to coat. Remove vegetables from vinegar mixture, and discard vinegar mixture.

3. Place bell peppers and mushrooms on a grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 4 minutes on each side. Remove vegetables from grill; cool slightly. Cut bell peppers into thin strips. Combine bell peppers, basil, salt, and black pepper in a small bowl.

4. Cut rolls in half horizontally; spread cheese evenly over cut sides of rolls. Arrange 1 mushroom cap on bottom half of each roll; top each serving with about 1/3 cup bell pepper mixture and top half of roll.

5. Place sandwiches on grill rack coated with cooking spray. Place a cast-iron or other heavy skillet on top of sandwiches; press gently to flatten. Grill 3 minutes on each side or until bread is toasted (leave cast-iron skillet on sandwiches while they cook).

We hope you enjoy these recipes - let us know what your favorites are!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Eco Fabulous Beauty Products

From green-eyed monsters to green thumbs, the color green has been popping up in recent years to describe different ways of life - and, thanks to the change in the beauty industry, the color green can look good on everyone. Green cosmetics, that is. Here are some of the best eco-friendly beauty brands that will not only make you look and feel beautiful, but help the environment as well.


When it comes to eco-friendly beauty brands, Aveda is a leader on the board. The company is well known for their nature-inspired products, which include hair care, skincare, makeup and even perfume. Aveda strives to connect beauty, environment and overall well-being into one existence while giving back to the world of beauty and the world as a whole. 90% of their essential oils and 89% of their raw organic ingredients are organic certified, assuring you that you are indeed getting an eco-friendly beauty product. The eco-friendly effort doesn’t stop with the product—it also goes into the product packaging. You’ll love the fact that Aveda’s beauty products are 100% post consumer recycled (and 100% of manufacturing energy comes from certified wind power.) Aveda is the first of its class in several green pioneering efforts and can be considered a poster child for a superb eco-friendly brand.

Burt’s Bees

Burt's Bees is committed to natural materials - from their 99% natural formulas (about half of their line is 100% natural), their Post Consumer Recycled (PCR) packaging, and their commitment to preserving animal and human rights with free-trade and fair working conditions. Burt's Bees' biggest goal is to be "the greenest personal care company on earth," which they're hoping to achieve by 2020 with a variety of initiatives - including becoming a carbon-free company that operates on 100% renewable energy. They want no waste in landfills, and they want their manufacturing facilities to be LEED certified. Burt’s Bees puts great effort in assuring that their packages are designed specifically to hold just enough product before it expires to avoid consumers throwing out half-used product.


If you’re familiar with Dubai, you know they have some amazing attractions—so it only makes sense that they are also responsible for an equally astonishing green cosmetics brand. Shiffa Dubai Skincare is a beauty brand focused on providing holistic skincare products (both organic and natural,) in the form of luxury cosmetics for face, body and hair. All awesome eco brands have a similar philosophy, which is to give back while being environmentally conscious. Along with this mentality, Shiffa also seeks to heal based on the principals of dermatology. The brand uses a variety of unique and beneficial natural ingredients: African shea butter, Lebanese orange blossoms and Egyptian jasmine.

Live Native

Live Native claims to produce some of the purest and most nutritious range of skincare products on the market today, and this just might be the case. With a strict promise to never include artificial coloring, preservatives, synthetic fragrances and many other less than natural ingredients in their products, all of Live Native’s ingredients are harvested without heat to assure that consumers are getting the beneficial nutrients that all natural occurring organisms carry.

Elemental Herbology

Elemental Herbology is an excellent example of an eco-friendly cosmetic brand that combines science with nature. High-performing bioactive ingredients meet plant oils that provide an abundance of vitamins, proteins and mineral extracts. This combination helps revitalize damaged skin and protect against harmful environmental aggressors and signs of aging.


Everything that they make - from their masks to their lip glosses, use only biodegradable ingredients. This means no mineral oils or silicones, recyclable packaging, and eco-friendly manufacturing practices such as using a steam generator to heat their facility, rather than electrical heating.


Tarte’s line features wholesome, natural ingredients. Take their wildly popular cheek stain, for instance, which is a water-based formula with "Skinvigorating" ingredients like a T5 Super Fruit Complex (goji, acai, maracuja, acerola, and pomegranate) and mineral-derived pigments. No parabens, sulfates, phthalates, or petrochemicals.

Jane Iredale

Most of the lip colors from Jane Iredale are vegan and gluten-free. Their mineral makeup collection, in general, is designed to be as healthy as possible for your skin.

Yes to Carrots

This is a fantastic skincare line that's packed with organic fruits and veggies with no parabens, petroleum, SLS, and phthalates. They have four different lines: carrots to "nourish", cucumbers to "soothe," tomatoes to "clear," and blueberries for "age refresh."

Juice Beauty

Juice Beauty is committed to using certified organic ingredients, as well as applying their Eco Values to every aspect of production - including manufacturing with solar energy, packaging with recycled paper and soy ink, and supporting USDA certified organic farmers. Plus their products are as effective as they are healthy.

Earth Day doesn’t have to be just one day a year—especially not when you wear your skin 24/7. Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder but nature is all around us. Take advantage with eco-friendly cosmetics that are just as amazing as they are healthy—for both you and the world you live in.

Our skin can absorb over 60% of what we put on it - that goes for moisturizers, foundations, even lipstick.

What is your skin absorbing?