The Eco Steam Buddy provides an easy and eco-friendly way to clean, allowing you to clean your home without the need for any polluting or environmentally damaging chemicals. The Eco Steam Buddy is a combined floor cleaner, bathroom sanitiser, fabric steamer, carpet steamer and a stain remover all in one. The fact that it produces dry steam means it can be used where moisture would be harmful. It can be used to clean glass, wood, tiles, carpets and laminated surfaces, and comes with a range of attachments such as brushes, squeegees and micropads, to maximize its adaptability. The Eco Steam Buddy comes with a fitted water filter that lasts over 300 uses, and the generous 2.2 litre tank means you can do the whole house without having to refill it. It has three digital settings, so you can choose how much steam you need for the job, which also enables you to save energy by using a lower setting. It’s a great way of cleaning without ending up flushing chemicals into the eco-system, and because it is in effect a number of products in one, it means you don’t have to purchase lots of different appliances, which saves you money and space! Even better, because you can use the Eco Steam Buddy to steam creases out of clothes, you also save on the ironing… and that has to be a good thing!
The Soil Association’s Organic Fortnight finishes this weekend, but there is still time to scoop up a bargain at the Ethical Superstore. This eco-retailer is holding an Organic Fortnight promotion, offering up to 20% off selected groceries. Many of these are also available in good value multi-buy offers also – and there’s free delivery on all orders over £60. The Soil Association is keen to show that not only is buying organic better for the planet, it doesn’t have to be expensive – with smart shopping, you can still bag a bargain, and the Ethical Superstore’s range starts from under £1! But organic isn’t only about food – cotton production is one of the most chemical intensive processes in the world, so buying organic cotton can make a huge difference. From bedlinen to dresses, underwear, t-shirts and children’s clothes, there’s now a huge range of organic products available – you can even now buy organic cotton mattresses! And don’t forget beauty products – the humble cotton wool pad or baby wipe – as buying organic versions of these will also help reduce the amount of chemicals that are used. And it’s not just specialist eco-retailers like Ethical Superstore who are promoting organic goods – big high street names like Marks and Spencer are getting in on the act. They now sell a range of organic clothing and household goods (including curtains). Plus, you can buy a stylish organic shopper to carry it all home in…
The Eco Goddess Laundry Kit helps you make laundry greener
Doing the laundry might never be glamorous, but it can at least be greener with the Eco-Goddess Laundry Kit. This one-stop shop for eco-friendly washing retails at under £50 from the Ethical Superstore and contains everything you need to make your wash a greener experience. Ecoballs are an environmentally friendly alternative to washing powder - reusable and chemical free, because you can reuse them time and time again, they also work out cheaper than traditional washing powders. Also both planet and wallet-friendly are Ecozone Dryer balls: put these in with your clothes as they tumble dry, and you could reduce drying time by up to 25% – which over a year can have a big impact on both your carbon footprint and your energy bills. Also in the hamper is the Ecozone Magno Ball, an effective non-chemical way to remove limescale from washing machines and dishwashers, thus prolonging their life and potentially saving you money. Finally, a general purpose e-cloth is durable and washable and enables you to clean without using any cleaning agents. This again reduces the need for chemicals, and can cut your grocery bills.
There are other easy ways to make your laundry greener. Most clothes are now designed to wash at cooler temperatures, so switching to 30 degrees – or even 15 – will save energy, and money and could increase the life of your clothes. If you prefer washing powder to Ecoballs, try soapnuts, an eco-friendly, natural alternative to detergent. Only tumble dry when necessary – air drying is better for clothes and works out much cheaper, so it may be worth investing in a rotary drier for your garden. None of this will make washing any more fun, but it will make it a whole lot greener.
Channel 4 have come up with twenty ways in which you can be greener, without being too mean to yourself. Many people think being ‘green’ means making sacrifices, but those plucky lot on the Channel 4 website hope to prove the doubters wrong and convert them to the ‘greener side’. All without having to give up their creature comforts! Top of the list is a real no brainer – take showers instead of baths. You use less water, you save energy and you save time! Surely, everyone should do it. Next up and a little controversial perhaps, is a home-made alternative to a dual flush toilet. Put simply, put a brick or large stone in your cistern, to save water every time you flush. (Or you can buy a water hippo for the cistern.)
In at number four, is something the washing powder companies have been advertising for quite a while – do your washing at 30ºC. Boil washes are so ‘nineties’, modern powders and liquids work well on cooler washes and you can save money and water. This great washing tip is followed nicely by number five ‘air dry your washing’. This will be a challenge as the weather turns cooler, but you can take advantage of the windy days by hanging washing out in the breeze and ultimately cut indoor drying time. Invest in a rotary drier for your garden – ultimately it will save you money on your energy bills as you do less tumble drying. (You can be even greener by not using washing powder at all – try Eco balls or soap nuts for a more eco-friendly alternative). The final tip is to collect and save rain water, which is especially good for watering plants (Most gardening stores will sell special rain collection butts – you can even get specially designed child-safe or space saving ones for smaller gardens). Let’s face it, we do get enough rainwater in this country, so we should put it to good use. For the full list, see the Channel 4 website.
There are many useful sources of information available that help people better understand what it takes to be eco-friendly. It is no secret that raising awareness is key to sustaining interest in environmentally friendly activities. It is hoped that the international communities of tomorrow will be able to adopt advanced technologies that virtually eliminate the carbon footprint of humanity and are able to rely solely on renewable sources of energy. However, it is argued the most critical stage of saving the planet’s environment has already passed, so what people do now is of crucial importance to future generations. Therefore, current environmental awareness tends to focus on how individual’s can reduce their own carbon footprint. Although this only addresses a small proportion of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, it is nonetheless a significant step in the right direction. Thus, it is useful for people to think of the various ways in which they can contribute towards protecting the Earth’s delicate eco-system. Whilst turning off stand-by lights and switching over to energy saving lightbulbs are common practices these days, more can be done to help achieve a greener future. Moreover, many of these steps do not involve spending vast sums of money or completely redeveloping the home.
Cy Tymony’s ‘Sneaky Green Uses for Everyday Things’ is a book that details a comprehensive list of eco-friendly practices. Available at amazon.co.uk for just under £7.00, this book includes projects such as making batteries from household items, building a solar-motor or generator and developing a recycling bin. Especially useful for raising awareness among children, this book makes an excellent eco-friendly read.
In an age caught up in the drive for greener, more environmentally friendly ways to move humanity forward, many people have overlooked the possibility that earlier generations had the right idea. Of course, much of the damage caused to the Earth’s ozone layer, which essentially helps to protect organisms from the harmful effects of exposure to solar rays, arose from industrial practices and technological advances of previous generations. Indeed, whilst it is clear that the current level of carbon emissions is unacceptably high, efforts are at least being made to reverse the negative trend. However, not all such efforts need to be innovative.
In fact, various old school practices can be adopted into modern living to reduce an individual’s impact on the environment, which is given greater force when a large proportion of the population follow suit. First, there is usually little need to buy the majority of cleaning products available on the market that contain harmful chemicals and so-called greenhouse gases.
Cleaning stainless steel sinks and plugs can be achieved to great effect with white vinegar, which is excellent at removing limescale, whilst bicarbonate of soda can remove stubborn stains, paint and even acts as a chemical-free deodorant for shoes and trainers when applied dry. As an added plus, most of these household remedies are far cheaper than the commercial alternatives – so you are saving money as well as being eco-friendly.
Likewise, fresh mint leaves can deter flies, which negates the need for harmful and ultimately ineffective sprays, whilst ants can be apparently kept at bay using chalk boundary markers – they presumably dislike the chalk. (You can maixmise your eco-friendliness by buying organic mint to grow yourself). In conclusion, the presiding point remains some of the best eco-friendly products available are those already found in the home. If you’re not sure how best to use natural products to have a greener home, there are plenty of household guides to help you – from the easy and straightforward to fun, slightly tongue-in-cheek reissues of old home manuals. So it really has never been easier to be greener around the house.
Just when we thought we were doing the best we could by ourselves and the environment by using Eco Balls in our washing machines, a new, more sustainable product comes along and blows the balls out of the water! Soapods Soap Nuts are essentially pods (that’s nut shells to those who are not familiar with nature), which come from the Soap Nut tree. Found in their natural habitat of Nepal and India, the Soap Nut tree produces these pods, which are organic, sustainable, eco friendly and completely natural. When the pods are submersed in water they produce nature’s own version of soap, producing soap suds which are perfect to wash your clothing. Retailing for just under £5, in a bag the right size for around twenty five washes, this Green and Ethical product is as good for your wallet as it is for the environment. Soapods are compostable and biodegradable and because they do not contain chemicals or perfumes, they are allergy free as well. They do not give off an odour, but if you like to have a ‘laundry smell’ you can always add essential oils to the water, as there is no need for a fabric softener with Soapods. The Soapods work well in a 30 or 40 cycle. Using them in hotter water will decrease their life span. They are suitable for cold washes, however, you must soak them in hot water first to release their lather. Because they are a natural product that contain no chemicals, Soapods are also perfect for hand washing.
Ecoballs are the latest product that allow you to wash your way to a greener environment! Ecoballs, retailing in the region of £34.99, are three balls that you place in your washing machine, instead of your regular detergent and fabric softener. Containing compressed pellets, Ecoballs work by ionising oxygen to clean your clothes in an environmentally friendly way.
Ecoballs will work for around a thousand washes and come with an option to refill the pellets (showing further environmental initiative) and also come with an additional stain remover, designed to remove tough, stubborn stains.
Containing no harsh chemicals, Ecoballs, are Hypo-allergenic, making them ideal for babies, or those with sensitive skin conditions such as eczema. Ecoballs are also anti-bacterial and designed to soften your clothes and protect against colour fade.
Ecoballs, will save you money, as each wash works out as costing just 3p (as opposed to 30p on detergent) and you can save money on electric bill as well, as rinse cycles can be adjusted to be shorter, as there are no harsh chemicals to wash out from your clothes!
In January 2005, Ecoballs were voted one of The Independent’s, ‘Ten Best Green Household Products’ and since then they have gone from strength to strength. Ecoballs offers all consumers a greener, more ethical and environmentally friendly way to do their clothes washing! So, what are you waiting for? Pop these balls into your washing machine today and wave goodbye to fabric softeners in wasteful bulky plastic bottles and harsh chemical washing powders!