Eco-Friendly Packaging

 

Business are looking for ways to reduce their impact on the environment and there are many ways to do this, one big change a business can make is to how they package and ship their products.

Typically, Styrofoam peanuts, bubble wrap and cardboard boxes, and crumpled up paper is used to ship materials. Yes, these are used to protect your products from any damage during shipping but the problem with Styrofoam is it has a long lifespan and generally take up to 20 years to break down, plastic bubble wrap and inflated bags will also take years to breakdown and when they do they are hazardous to our environment.

Even though cardboard and paper packing materials is considered to be a eco-friendlier packing product they don’t necessarily do a great job of protecting your products. Because of this companies are looking for better ways to package and ship products that are safer for the environment, some new products that have been manufactured to aid in eco-friendly shipping are:

  • Peanuts made from cornstarch which will dissolve in water
  • Biodegradable plastic wrap
  • 100% biodegradable bubble wrap – Bio-bubble
  • Biodegradable mailing bags
  • Biodegradable shipping envelops – these will begin to dissolve 2 or 3 months after being exposed to sunlight

Although there is still some concerns if biodegradable plastics are safe for the environment they are still the better choice as they do contain less chemicals that can harm or environment, this is because plastic, even though combined with starches, will still contain polymers or polylactic acid making it a concern about the amount of chemicals these will produce when breaking down. But, if you are going to use plastic shipping materials, biodegradable products are still the best choice.

Most shipping companies do offer a choice of biodegradable shipping supplies as well as the traditional ones. So, next time you are shipping a product consider using the biodegradable packing materials and not only will your materials arrive safely and undamaged but you will be choosing to protect the environment at the same time.

Everyday household products that can be used for Natural Cleaning

Wouldn’t it be nice to clean your home without using any chemicals? You can make natural, homemade, chemical-free cleaners to clean you home from everyday products you already have in your home.  These homemade cleaners are not only eco-friendly, they are also versatile and affordable.

  • Some of the products you can use and what they do are:
  • Baking Soda – baking soda cuts grease, deodorizes, whitens and lifts dirt.
  • Lemon Juice – whitens and disinfects
  • Salt – fights mold and mildew
  • Olive Oil – lifts dirt
  • White Vinegar – cuts grease, deodorizes, and disinfects
  • Washing soda – cuts grease, softens water and whitens
  • Essential oils – cuts grease, deodorizes, and disinfects
  • Liquid castile soap – cuts grease and whitens.
  • Soap Granules – cuts grease and lifts dirt

A recipe for an all-purpose spray cleaner which works well on tubs, tiles, counters, microwaves, floors, etc. is:

  • 1 gallon hot water
  • ½ cup liquid castile soap
  • 10 drops essential oils.

Combine all the ingredients and pour into a spray bottle and start cleaning

Another all-purpose recipe is:

Mix together: ½ cup vinegar and ¼ cup baking soda (or 2 teaspoons borax) into a ½ gallon (2 liters) water.

This cleaner is great for removal of water deposits stains on showers, bathroom chrome fixtures, windows, bathroom mirrors and much more.

Don’t be afraid to use these products to clean your house, they really work and will keep your house free of chemicals and protect the environment.

Organic Cotton

Organic Cotton is cotton that is grown without the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, or any other chemicals. Growing Organic cotton has a low impact on the environment. It is usually grown in sup-tropical counties such as USA, China, and Turkey.

Organic cotton is grown from natural, untreated, GMO free seeds, they are planted in soil that is healthy due to crop rotation, which create a natural balance soil and reduces weeds therefore not needing to use chemicals to get rid of the weeds, as well the crop rotation produces moisture in the soil which means less water in need when growing.  

When harvesting, natural defoliation is used which by using freezing temperatures or the use of water.

In production of cotton, natural, non-toxic, safe measures are used and if dying the cotton natural dyes with low metal and sulfur are used.

Organic cotton is better for the environment as it does not use any synthetic chemicals or pose any risk to the soil or water, also because soil rotation is used, organic cotton requires less water to grow.

Overall, Organic Cotton reduces the environmental footprint, it creates a safe workplace for farmers as they are not exposed to toxins, which in turn also means we are investing in cleaner air.

Organic cotton is used to make a wide variety of products such as clothing and footwear. linens, children’s toys, diapers, and clothing, personal are products, such as make up remover pads and q-tips, and even note cards and stationary.

Many retailers are carrying organic cotton products so be sure to look for the organic label. To find stores in you area or online retailers go to our Directory and search for organic products and retailers.

Fair Trade

Fair trade is where fair prices are paid to the countries who produce the product.  It contributes to sustainable development by offering better trading conditions which then provides workers with better working conditions and treatment.  The Fair Trade mark means that the products are produced on a small scale farm, usually no bigger than 1.4 acres, These farms meet the Fair Trade Standards. 

Fair trade helps with poverty as it offers fair wages for workers, climate changes and the economical development of poor countries, as well as it protects children from being forced to work. 

There are well over 1.65 million farmers and workers throughout 74 countries who participate in Fair Trade.

From coffee to flowers, there are approximately 7,000 Certified Fair Trade Products in Canada. When you are shopping don’t forget to look for the Fair Trade mark on the products. 

Participating in Fair Trade is about supporting the development of farming and worker communities and helping them thrive and protect the environment.

 

Wind Turbines

A wind turbine is defined as a device that has a large 2 or 3 blade wheel that when the wind blows it rotates and generates electricity. 

How do they work? 

Instead of using electricity to make wind like a fan does, wind turbines use the wind to make electricity. The wind turns the blades, which then spins a shaft which is connected to a generator that is connected to a power lines, the generator turns the wind into electricity.

Sizes

Wind turbines come in larger, several megawatt units which are more cost effective and are usually found on wind farms. They are grouped together to produce bulk power to the electrical grid.

Smaller wind turbines, usually 100 kilowatts are used to provide power to houses, for pumping water or running telecommunication dishes.  They can also be used in connection with diesel generators or batteries. The smaller turbines are referred to as hybrid wind systems and are typically found in areas known as off-grid locations which are areas where connections to the utility grid are not available.

Bamboo

Bamboo is one of the fastest growing plants in the world and is a member of the grass family. It doesn’t require pesticides, uses little water, and pulls carbon dioxide out of the air faster and better than other plants.

It can be used for building materials, a food source and is a versatile raw product. Bamboo is a plentiful, renewable, natural product, it is soft, comfortable, hygienic, can protect from UV and is natural and chemical free.

Bamboo is softer than other fabrics, yes, even cotton. Bamboo feels similar to silk or cashmere. It looks like expensive fabrics but has less shrinkage and will not pill. It is a more comfortable fabric as it is thermal regulating, anti-fungal, anti static and odor free, it will keep you warmer/cooler and dryer at night. Bamboo requires no chemical treatment as it has natural anti-microbial as well it is also grown without using chemicals or fertilizers. 

Bamboo can be used in many ways such as:

  • Building Materials – flooring, furniture and homes are being build with bamboo
  • Clothing and fabrics – using the bamboo fibers to produce clothing and fabrics
  • Cooking and cooking utensils – can be used to make cutting boards and spoons, which are easier on your cookware and knives.
  • Making Health and Beauty Products – bamboo charcoal can be heated and made into a medicinal vinegar which can then be used to treat skin conditions and eczema, as well bamboo is known to have anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties.

There are many more uses of bamboo and more to come as there is more focus on organic, eco-friendly products.

Bamboo is 100% biodegradable!

Organic Baby Products

As parents we want to create a safe, natural environment for our kids.

Organic baby care means you are giving and using as much organic products, material and treatment as you can on your baby.

Organic Raw Materials used in the manufacturing of baby products must be grown organically, with out the use of herbicides, chemical pesticides or fertilizers, artificial hormones, or growth boosters. When processed the same applies, they should be no chemicals or synthetic agents used such as bleaching, coloring, deodorizing etc..

There are many types of Organic / eco-friendly baby products such as:

  • Organic baby foods – Must be made by organically grown or raised products, no hormones  preservatives, chemical fertilizers or pesticides can be used. 
  • Organic baby bedding – is made from organic material such as cotton, organic wool, organic rubber which are processed organically.
  • Organic baby clothes – Your baby’s skin is almost always in contact with clothes, therefore the should be organic. These should be made with no artificial chemicals bleaches, colors or flavors, they should be made with organic cotton, wool, organic flux or organic rubber. Clothes can include: blankets, towels, etc.
  • Organic baby cosmetics – use only products made with organic natural oils such as olive or almond oils as well as organic essential oils. Try to use as little products as possible on your baby as no matter what they are made from they can still cause allergenic asthma and severe coughs in babies. 
  • Eco-friendly toys – These are lead-free, organic fabric, sustainable wood and bamboo products that also do not use any toxic finishes. You can also consider if it is made from materials that can be recycled when done and if the packaging is eco-friendly.

Hemp

Hemp, although related to Marijuana, has microscopic amounts of THC, (the chemical that gets you high) therefore eating hemp foods wont get you high or show up in a drug test. 

The Hemp seed is full of Omega 3; which are the fatty acids in hemp that reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, lower blood pressure, and may even ward off Alzheimer’s disease and Omega 6 which stimulates skin and hair growth, maintains bone health, regulates metabolism, and help the brain function.

Hemp seeds also contain essential amino acids which can improve mental function, muscle control and help with your bodies maintenance of cells, tissue, organs and muscle.

Hemp seeds are approximately 25% protein and also provide vitamin E, phosphorous, potassium, magnesium, sulfur, calcium, iron and zinc.

Hemp seeds are an excellent source of nutrition and are nutty in flavor and can be used in foods such as salads, yogurts, cereals, breads, and deserts, and can also be make in to butter and milk.

Hemp Fabric

Hemp Fabric is made out of the species cannabis sativa which is a herbaceous plant.  Cannabis sativa is a high yield crop that will produce a much greater amount of fibre per acre than cotton.

Hemp requires no pesticides or herbicides to grow as it keeps weeds from having room to grow, It is a renewable resource and can be cultivated in as little as 100 days.

Hemp is a strong fibre, it is 8 times stronger than cotton fibre, it is also hypoallergenic and non-irritating to the skin. Hemp looks good and feels as soft as flannel, it’s materials will soften with washing and age. Since hemp fabric is breathable it is known to keep you cooler in hot weather and since it resists mildew and absorbs moisture and will protect you from the sun with its UV resistant qualities it is a great choice for the hot, humid climates. 

 

 

 

Reusable Drinking Cups vs Plastic Water Bottles

There are many benefits of Reusable Drinking cups over disposable cups and plastic bottles.  Some of these benefits are:

  • They reduce waste
  • They reduce energy, resources and transportation
  • The are durable, less chance of spillage or leakage
  • They are cheaper in the long term
  • Some coffee shop my offer discounts for using your own reusable mug
  • Tap water is more cost efficient than bottled water
  • BPA free and lead-free reusable bottles are better for your health

There are many disadvantages to bottled water, those being:

  • One plastic water bottle can take 100’s of years to decompose therefore filling up landfills
  • they are expensive compared to reusable cups and drinking water from the tap
  • it is not cleaner or healthier than tap water. about 40% comes from municipal water systems
  • bottled water contains a harmful substance called polyethylene terephthalate (PET) which is harmful to our health
  • Most plastic bottles contain BPA which is linked to hormonal imbalances and brain and reproductive dysfunction in adults
  • Plastic water bottles should not be reused as they can not be properly cleaned and leach chemicals by reusing

Some options for buying reusable water bottles are:

  • Plastic water bottles – yes, you can buy plastic reusable bottles that are not bad for our environment, a couple of environmentally friendly products are:
    • BPA Free plastic bottles – These are great options because they are not harmful to you or the environment, they are lightweight but strong, they come in many different designs and colors.
    • Biodegradable plastic water bottles – made from biodegradable plastic, they are lightweight and easy to carry, you can get them in many different designs and colors.
  • Stainless Steel bottles – are considered the most cost effective green water bottle, it will last forever. They show no health risks to you and no risk to the environment.

 

 

Solar Panels

Solar Panels are designed to absorb the suns rays as a source of energy which generates heating or electricity. They are typically installed on the roof of the house or building but can be sand-alone as well.

A solar panel works by allowing particles of light (photons) to knock electrons free of atoms which generates a flow of electricity. They consist of many smaller units which are called photovoltaic cells, (photovoltaic means to convert sunlight to electricity). when many cells are linked together it makes up a solar panel.

In Simpler words – Solar panels installed on rooftops absorb the suns rays (photons), The silicon and conductors then convert the suns light into direct current electricity which then flows into the inverter. The inverter then converts DC to AC electrical power which is used in your home. Any excess electricity that is not used can be fed back into the grid

Photovoltaic (PV) modules are solar cells that generate and supply solar electricity for commercial and residential purposes. Each module will typically range from 100 to 365 watts. An individual module will only produce a limited amount of power therefore most installations will contain multiple modules. A PV system will generally include a panel or an array of solar modules, a solar inverter, and in some cases a battery and/or solar tracker and interconnection wiring. A photovoltaic cell is made of two slices of semi-conducting material, generally silicon.

There are many advantages of installing solar panels, they are:

  • Solar panels require little maintenance as they do not require any type of mechanical parts that can fail
  • Solar panels are also a silent producer of energy
  • Solar power can be used to generate electricity
  • A big benefit of solar energy is that it does not produce any pollutants and is one of the cleanest source of energy which reduces your carbon footprint
  • Saves you money on Electric bills
  • Increases the value of your home
  • You could receive tax credits and rebates
  • The life span of a good solar panel can be 20 plus years which makes installing solar panels a good, long term investment.

Solar panels are a great option for anyone who is looking to live a more sustainable, eco-friendly, greener lifestyle.