Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Saving Sustainable Showers

           There’s nothing like the beating of beads of water down your back at the end of a hard day of work. Washing the city grime out of your hair after a sticky commute home is the sigh of relief many understand. If you’re anything like me, you could spend hours thinking, singing, whistling and humming your way through gallons of water.
            However, when you consider that an average family of four uses 1,182 litres of water every day, it can make you wonder how much of that water usage could have been prevented.
            It could be as simple as installing an eco friendly product such as the X Stream Water Saving Shower Head. This shower head uses less water and provides you with a more satisfying shower. Regardless of the pressure used, the shower head transitions smoothly from different levels of pressure, using a gravity- based free flowing drop. This is where the internal spring expands and contracts automatically, based on the velocity and pressure of the water.
            If the comfort of an evenly pressured shower isn’t enough incentive to chase after this great find, it’s important to note that the X Stream Water Saving Shower Head can save the average family up to $700 per year. So what we have is a product encouraging us towards sustainable living, using less water in a more therapeutic way- as well as reducing costs. Next time you pop in the shower for some alone time, consider installing the X Stream Water Saving Shower Head and the savings that are to be made.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Squeaky Eco Clean

Now, we all know there is nothing more filthy than snaking a drain and discovering the grime and muck gathered over the months previous. However, it is moments like this that remind you of the various items which find their way down the drain (or don’t, as the case may be!).

I was considering this recently when thinking through the large array of cleaning products I own, and to tell you the truth I was pretty ashamed to think of all of those chemicals finding their way down my kitchen sink.

But it’s also scary to consider what the affect of those chemicals is having on my housemates and I. We clean our kitchen and bathroom with these products, our plates and cups, as well as our toothbrushes, all come in contact with these chemicals.

In looking into chemical free, eco friendly products, I found a range at Todae’s online store. I really couldn’t go past the Abode Natural Surface Spray. A home cleaner made from natural and non- genetically modified ingredients, it’s designed to cut through grease and grime without using those nasty aforementioned chemicals. 

And, it comes in lavender! So now I can clean with an eco friendly product which makes my house smell like the great outdoors- what could be better?

Sunday, 14 August 2011

To seek out Environmentally Friendly Presents

I love buying presents. Finding that perfect gift for someone you care for, something you know they will use and appreciate, something perhaps they’ve mentioned they’ve wanted is such a satisfying endeavor.

However, I will readily admit to having bought friends and family useless gifts in the past, without much thought or concern for the products themselves and by consequence the people they are being given to. Whether it was on a whim, in a rush, the night before Christmas, or simple thoughtlessness, there it is.
I would love for things to be different. Wouldn’t it be great to not only buy loved ones gifts they can use, but that also refrain from leaving a dent in the environment?
I have found an eco store where they stock a range of quality products at reasonable prices. For Aunty Nat, we have beautiful Bamboo Bath Towels in colours Aquarmarine and Pearl; for cousin Toby, a set of Lyra Ferby Short Colour Pencils is just what he needs to add to his art supplies.
What I’ve discovered, when giving these kinds of gifts to people you care for, is that they appreciate it so much more because of the thought you have put into looking for a gift which not only suits them, their interests and needs, but that is also conscious of being eco-friendly in nature. Think about the next gift you give, and the impact it will make on the recipient and our world.

The benefits to environmentally friendly carpooling

Whether it’s the school pick up/ drop off, or the commute to work or university, carpooling has always been a cost effective and eco friendly way of transport. But the logistics in coordinating children at a variety of locations, or University timetables and work schedules can often put off the idea of carpooling for many drivers.

There are definitely incentives that have been offered to those who make the effort. In recent years Wollongong University has started to offer free parking to cars with three or more passengers. And this is indeed the case for many businesses.

There are internal and external factors, which make carpooling strategies successful for business employees and employers alike. 

The internal factors within a company may include the reimbursement of parking charges for carpoolers, support from senior management (where it is a company strategy in question), priority parking for carpoolers, effective promotion of the scheme and efficient management of the scheme in question, by a coordinator.

The external factors are the consequences of what is likely to occur without a carpooling system in place. These may include a lack of parking available, an increase in petrol price as well as the presence of High Occupancy Vehicle lanes.

All this being said, it is one thing for a business of any size to organize such a scheme. However, for the busy Mum or Dad who just wants to save a bit of time and money, as well as making steps towards sustainability, it might be as simple as jotting down a few phone numbers and drawing up a roster. A few minutes of organizing now can make a great deal of difference to environmental sustainability, cost and time efficiency!

Environmentally friendly herbs and spices

Do you, like many city-dwellers, live in an apartment with a  backyard full of cement stifling your green thumb? Recently a friend in this situation performed the wondrous deed of putting together a small herb garden, using Matchstick Garden. She said the idea came when she wanted something to compliment her spontaneously cooked meals. Often on those nights she doesn’t feel like popping out to the shops for the simple acquisition of a bit of parsley or basil.
The result? Beautiful garnishes to her Spaghetti Bolognese, rosemary to sprinkle on her roasted vegies and a bit of basil for this and that.

My friend would be the first to admit she hasn’t been the most conscientious when it’s come to planting vegetation in the past. However, she says the addition to her tiny Newtown flat has been worthwhile, with housemates soaking up all the joys the abundance of flavours brings. And how eco-friendly is this endeavor! Along with the elimination of petrol used to purchase any herbs used, you will also be doing without the plastic which bought herbs are placed in.

Once you’ve planted and nourished your herb garden I’m sure there will be no going back. I’m going to do it, many city-dwelling herbers are already ‘herbing’ along. 
So why not try is for yourself and grow your own herbs at home?

Unravelling eco fashion in Australia

The fashion world has long carried an association with ill-considered trade, environmental and labour abuse, and a lack of basic humanitarian responsibility. But Australia's growing awareness of ethical consumerism is supporting a dynamic burst in eco friendly designers who think green and create green.

During May's Australian RosemountFashion Week, event director Lucia Labbate said,

“The Australian fashion industry is well placed to make the most of the trend towards more ethical fashion. It boasts a diverse and vibrant scene of well-known brands that still have considerable manufacturing capacity here in Australia.”

With technological advances, eco-designers are transcending established fashion moulds that use non-sustainable materials and production processes.

Eight tips to support eco-friendly fashion and your wardrobe

  1. Harvest local.
  2. Support Fair Trade.
  3. Look for garments made of sustainable and organic fabrics (mainly cotton), environmentally friendly dyes, and recycled materials.
  4. Source labels that consider the environment, the health and working conditions of employees, and of their customers.
  5. Ask whether your designers donate to the Australian Conservation Foundation or other green organisations.
  6. Find ecostores that employ printers and manufactures who share the commitment to reducing the impact of fashion production on the environment.
  7. Take part in clothing exchanges.
  8. 'Renovate' used pieces.
  9. Buy vintage.

Make your wardrobe space environmentally friendly; use hangers made of recycled materials, natural insect repellents, and wash green. What remains is the challenge for Australian eco friendly designers to produce sustainable garments that replace cheaply made fashion. The next step towards this end is supporting eco designers who create with style and care. For fine Polli Jewellery, designed and made from recycled stainless steel in Sydney.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

What we can learn from trees - artificial photosynthesis

We can learn a lot from trees. They produce food and fuel out of almost nothing, from just sunlight, water and carbon dioxide and scientists believe it is time for us to harness this almost magical process.

This month, the inaugural Towards Global Artificial Photosynthesis conference will be held at Lord Howe Island. It will include world experts in artificial photosynthesis, lawyers, ethicists, photovoltaic specialists, quantum physicists and school students, who will gather to discuss the latest research on artificial photosynthesis and plan for the future.

Among those attending the conference will be Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Daniel Nocera, who earlier this year announced a prototype ‘artificial leaf’ device that is about the size of a playing card. The robust silicone device is coated in a catalyst that splits water into oxygen and hydrogen. The catalyst is made of cheap, widely available materials - nickel and cobalt, which is great news for future development. Using only the sun and bucket of water, the device could supply a house in a developing country with enough electricity for one day. The next step for Nocera is to find a way to store the hydrogen and oxygen and recombine it in a fuel cell for use at night. This kind of technology could essentially make any house its own power station.

Let’s hope the conference will bring about more extraordinary developments. Though an extremely complicated process, artificial photosynthesis could have a huge impact on the human race; it could provide a clean source of fuel, thereby reducing the need for fossil fuels and it could provide carbohydrates for basic food which could ultimately end hunger.