Everyday is Earth day!

23 04 2013

I saw a lot of people commenting about Earth Day on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and personal blogs. It’s good, but does everyone incorporate sustainability in their daily lives? I really hope that people get more conscious about sustainability and use it in their day to day life. I know it’s hard, but we can do it slowly, step by step…

Reducing the time in the shower, closing the tap when brushing your teeth, recycling as much as you can, driving less and walking more… all these small things are easy to do. I can do it, you can do it! So let’s make Earth day EVERYDAY!

 

Everyday is Earth day!

Everyday is Earth day!

 

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How to choose an eco-friendly product?

11 10 2012

With so many products claiming to be green or environmentally friendly nowadays, it is hard to know what is actually an eco friendly product.Green Questions

You can find lots of different descriptions such as:  green, environmentally friendly, eco-friendly, sustainable, environmentally responsible, etc. products.  All these products will have one main point in common which is that they cause minimal harm to people and the environment.  They also can be chemical free, organic, biodegradable, recyclable or made with recycled products.

Very often the manufacturing and/or consumption of these goods have a minimal impact on the environment.  Although there are no universal certifications or standards to deem a product as eco-friendly, there are some rules in several countries that constitute an organic product.  For instance, for organic cotton, there are some internationally recognised organic farming standards that rule the organic cotton certification.

Most of the time it is common sense or some agreements made between key players from the eco-industry which come up with a logo or a certification of eco-friendly products.

Is the Production Process Eco Friendly?

Eco-friendly products are often linked to fair trade business.  Whether in a factory or on a farm, working conditions should be fair and protect human rights.  The treatment of animals is also an important point to be considered.  In this case it will be mentioned, “no animal testing”.  Some cosmetic brands such as Aesop or The Body Shop are well known for being against animal testing.  A friend of mine works for Aesop and she has confirmed that it is a real statement and not some marketing ploy to improve the brand awareness.

If the product is a crop or manufactured from a crop such as grain, soil pollution must be taken into account.  Pesticides, herbicides and insecticides are very harmful for humans and the environment. For this reason you should search for the organic label, as for organic cotton.

What Are the Negative Effects of the Production / Manufacture and transport?Green toy

Think about what it takes to produce a product. Consider the amount of resources that are being used to put the item on the shelf.  Is the product being produced in a big factory using a lot of electricity? Where is the factory located? Does it require long transport distances to be available on the shelf next to your place?  Sustainable production helps to protect our diminishing natural resources. Think about buying local products. You will be helping the environment and growing the local economy.

Find out what other resources are being used to create the product.  Is the company utilizing recycled materials? Does the company use compostable or biodegradable packaging? How much waste is produced by the company? The most eco-friendly producers have zero waste.

What about the greenhouse gases and carbon emissions produced by the company? Are there harmful chemicals being released from factory smoke stacks into the atmosphere, like in plastic production? Are the production, shipping, packaging and distribution creating much pollution into the atmosphere?  Is the company doing something to reduce their overall footprint?

How Much Waste Does Your Product Create?

The first thing that you generally do when you bring home a product is remove the packaging.  Is it individually packaged, like tuna meals or yogurt cups?  Or is this a product that you generally keep on hand and can buy in bulk?  Is the packaging recyclable?  Can you purchase a refill so you don’t need to buy a new package each time?  Is the product reusable or disposable?  Landfill, these days, is full of disposable waste!

Eco-friendly products usually take all or some of these questions into account and create packaging that would be recyclable, refillable or made with biodegradable materials.

Help in Finding Eco Friendly ProductsEnvironmentally friendly

As you can see from above, it might seem a bit overwhelming to evaluate the entire ecological impact in order to determine how environmentally friendly a product really is. Luckily, there are a number of ecological organisations that have created labels that have certifications to help us figure out the eco-friendly option.

Here is a short list of some these organisations:

Green Seal – examine products for their overall eco friendliness

The American Humane Association (AHA) – find food products that were created with animal welfare in mind (USA)

USDA Organic Certification – locate foods grown without harmful chemicals (USA)

Energy Star – identifies energy efficient appliances

Australian grown / made – helps find products that are Australian

Green Table Australia – recognises Australian restaurants, cafes and catering businesses that are doing what they can to reduce their impact on the environment.

Rainforest Alliance – An international non profit organization dedicated to the conservation of tropical forests.

FSC – is an independent, non-governmental, not for profit organization established to promote the responsible management of the world’s forests.

Some countries have launched their own green labelling system to help customers identify the environmentally friendly option. Here are some examples:

SGLS Singapore Green Labelling Scheme

HKGLS – Hong Kong Green Label Scheme

SuisseGreen (Switzerland)

Environmental Choice (Canada)

GECA  – Good Environmental Choice Australia (Australia)





Saving water and electricity

24 09 2012

Today I decided to write about how we can save water and electricity. These few tips are easy to incorporate to your everyday life and will also have an impact on your water and electricity bills.

Save water

Turn off the tap when brushing you teeth, washing your hair, shaving and soaping your dishes.

Checking for leak in the house is quite easy. Turn off all of the faucets, stop consumption and check to see if the hydrometer still spins. If it does, you are wasting water and money.

Did you know that watering the garden and plants early in the morning or evening prevents the water from evaporating? Not everyone think about that, but this is a great green tip.

I recently read that occasionally cleaning light bulbs in the house can help save energy and improve the lighting in your home up to 20%. Increasing lighting reduces the need for extra lamps and other light sources.

Save electricityDon’t leave the door of your fridge open for a long time trying to decide what to eat. The fridge uses a big chunk of the energy consumed in the home. In most homes around the world the refrigerator is the second largest user of electricity (13.7%), right after the air conditioner (16%).

Do you use your microwave as a clock? Leaving the machine on day and night even without using uses electricity. Leaving home appliances on stand by can consume up to 20% of the power used when they are functioning. Get into the habbit of switching off appliances at the socket or unplug them when the are not in use. When I use to live in Switzerland we had an extension led with a button that you could switch off all the appliances at the same time. Choose the best option for you and try to turn off your home appliances.

When washing your clothes make sure that you gather a reasonable quantity of clothes to wash together instead of a few items at a time. The same you can do when ironing. Personally I never iron my clothes, only if they really need it.

Wash clothes in cold water to save 90% of the energy. Avoid pre-washing to save energy. If your clothes are really dirty, you can soak them in detergent before turning on the washing machine. And why not use eco-friendly laundry products? Personally I never use the “Pre-wash” option and always use eco-friendly laundry liquid.

What are you doing to save water and electricity? Share your tips with us! It can help others to save too! You can also share your tips on our Facebook page!!!





Looking for environmentally friendly clothing? Check this out!

4 09 2012

Greenlight Apparel is a Canadian brand that supplies running and fitness apparel. They supply clothes that you can use for running, walking, yoga and other physical activities. I came across them in an article in the magazine “Runners World”.

Greenlight Apparel has created a business model that aims to do business in an environmentally friendly and ethical way. The famous quote: “Give a person a fish and they will eat for a day, teach them how to fish and they will eat for a lifetime.”  This is how they sum up their business model. They have committed to donating 25% of their profits to organisations like the Women’s Microfinance initiative, which provides individuals around the world access to financial services and education.

Well done Greenlight Apparel!





Plastic can be sustainable too

9 07 2012

A great video to be shared with all your friends!





Rio+20 is taking place now

20 06 2012

Rio+20 is the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development.

June 1992 the first Earth Summit was held in Rio de Janeiro, where countries adopted the Agenda 21 — an action plan created by the UN to rethink economic growth, social equality, fair trade business and sustainable development.

Now, in June 2012, twenty years later, the UN is again bringing together governments and international institutions at the Rio+20. The objectives of this new Summit are to reach an agreement on a range of effective measures to tackle issues of poverty, to promote economic growth in poor and emerging countries and to support and encourage a more sustainable and fair use of world resources.

Official photo with Heads of State and Delegations during opening the Rio+20, on June 20, 2012 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Buda Mendes/Getty Images

This summit is an opportunity to carry out an assessment of what countries have been doing to maintain the commitments they undertook twenty years ago. Although we have come a long way in making progress regarding fair trade in business, social equality and sustainable development, many problems remain. Financial crises and political issues in Europe are giving rise to uncertain economic growth, and we still have a long way to go to achieve clean energy and sustainable development.

In my view it’s very good that governments and institutions discuss about theses important issues, but people like you and me should also think about and do something to help the environment. Simple gestures that we can do everyday are fundamental for the environment, like saving water while having a shower, brushing our teeth, gardening, etc. We can also contribute to saving energy, buying locally produced goods, recycling…there are so many things that we can do in our everyday lives! Let’s do it!





Eco-friendly skin care, we love that!

18 06 2012

We all know that healthy diet is the secret for a beautiful and healthy skin. But did you know that you also have in your kitchen all the ingredients you need to make sustainable skin care that works? I use to call them ‘grandma recipes’. This amazing video teaches how to make a sustainable body scrub witch removes dead skin cells, moisturises and nourish your skin. Fantastic!








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