Tag Archive | "water"

Easy Ways to Make Your Home Green

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Recycle, recycle, recycle -  It is as easy as taking the aluminum can and dropping it in the recycle bin.  Along with plastic bottles, newspapers, and glass bottles this is a simple and effective method.

Low toxic paintsUse Paint that does not contain VOC – Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) are toxic chemicals found in furniture, tables, wallpaper, paint, and basically anything that is manmade or is sprayed with manmade chemicals.   One easy way is to avoid paints and wallpaper that contain VOC.  If you are not sure about the ingredients then definitely buy well known low toxic paints (like Ieko or Earthborn).

Buy Already UsedCraigslist is gold for great products.  Why spend $2000 on a sofa when you can buy it on craigslist for $300 AND avoid the fate of the landfill.  People are always moving in a rush, take advantage of that by buying great furniture products that don’t end up in the garbage and pollute the environment.

Buy Bamboo – Bamboo is a grass not a tree and so it grows quickly and is versatile. Bamboo can be used in flooring, window blinds, or just about any living room furniture.  The only downside to bamboo is that it uses a lot of water during reforestation, but takes little time to reforest compared to trees.

Stop with the Polystyrene Cups – You know it as Styrofoam from the Dow Chemicals Company but actually Styrofoam as a cup does not exist, it’s actually polystyrene .  You go to parties and they have Styrofoam cups and plates and it is terrible.

Take cloth bags to the grocery store – Those little plastic bags used by grocery stores are flimsy and not recycled by people.  Considering that large cities like San Francisco are charging consumers for plastic bags, start now and use nice cloth bags.  Even a backpack is great for filling up heavier items in it.

Stop with the bottle water -  Really? You NEED bottle water?  You’re incapable of putting a filter on your tab for 40 bucks and rather spend $1.20 per bottle every day?  More than 1.6 Billion bottles are not recycled in the UK each year.  Bottled water takes up space.  Bottled water is a waste.  Bottled water use plastics; which in turn use petroleum.   Instead use a hard plastic bottle, fill it with water, and take it to the gym, work, car.  If you are concerned about tap water not being clean, put a filter on.  Remember, just because it’s from a bottle doesn’t make it clean water either; the Perrier scandal taught a lesson there.

Article by Preeti Pradhan

World Water Day 2009

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This video says that dirty water kills around 4000 children a day and we can halve the number of people living without clean water by 2015.

Have You Got the Bottle to Save Our Planet?

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Our global obsession with the Water we drink is not surprising given that water makes up over 60% of our body’s composition, it is vital to our life and health.

The marketing genius that led to the explosion of the bottled water market is now happily past its peak as we have become a bit more discerning and savvy about this bizarre ritual of buying our water.

We know that bottled water accounts for a huge carbon footprint, landfill problems and marine debris. And that plastic bottles contain BPA, linked to cancers, autism and genetic damage. The photo on the front of your bottled water may show glaciers and mountains but the reality of the source of the water and the actual purity of the water may be deceptive according to the Natural resources Defence Council (ref 1) In fact Pepsi’s Aquafina water, the No1 seller in the US, now must clearly show on their labels that their source is………tap water.

Canada has led the World in the total Ban on BPA from baby bottles/beverages, with Walmart and Toys R Us following suit. The National Childbirth Trust in the UK is demanding that all products containing BPA be clearly labelled. Are we finally reversing our love affair with buying plastic bottles?

Mudpuppy water bottles

There is some good news however as the task of ridding our world of plastic has just been made easier thanks to One Green Bottle (www.onegreenbottle.com), a brilliant new alternative to the endless use of harmful plastic bottles. Developed and marketed by a forward thinking eco-friendly company in East Sussex this stylish range of ‘Mudpuppy’ branded stainless steel bottles provide a real opportunity to change the way we consume water and drinks.

One Green Bottle has developed the BPA Free Mudpuppy range using ‘304’ grade stainless steel, which is recognised by the beverage and food industry for its hygienic benefits and non-toxic properties. Switching to a stainless steel drinks bottle which does not leach chemicals into the water eliminates the risks associated with BPA’s and you will immediately taste the difference. Stainless steel can also be used with just about any beverage, is durable and easy to clean. The payback for buying a Mudpuppy bottle is very short (less than a month), you are assured of being toxin free and can feel satisfied that you are doing your bit in reducing the devastating effect of plastic refuse on this planet.

In the US over 250,000 stainless steel bottles are sold every month. BPA Free drinking bottles by One Green Bottle have now launched in the UK for the first time. A great selection of stylish bottles ideal for use in the school, nursery, office, gym or on a picnic.

Mudpuppy water bottles

Heather Nicholson, director of One Green Bottle, explains the ethos behind the company. She says: “I was looking for a clean, odourless sports bottle for my son to take to school each day and I couldn’t get one in the UK. When I investigated plastics and the alternatives, I became determined to do something positive. Plastic is an overwhelming threat to our environment. As a reformed plastic bottle drinker, I’ve never felt better since I switched to stainless steel. It saves money, time and effort, tastes purer and I know it isn’t manufactured using harmful chemicals.”

Ms Nicholson says: “It’s a simple step to reduce plastic bottle usage and experience the benefits. Bisphenol A readily ‘leaches’ into the fluids contained in plastic bottles, and many parents will naturally want to ensure their kids are using safe drinking vessels. Furthermore, by using our bottles, children will understand the causal relationship between responsibility and the future of the planet. If each generation takes more care of the environment than its predecessors, our children and grandchildren will be the beneficiaries.”

Just One Green Bottle can keep heaps of plastic debris off our planet.

It takes just one green bottle to make a positive difference to your health, the planet and your bank balance. I’ll drink to that.

Heather Nicholson
One Green Bottle Ltd
www.onegreenbottle.com

Water water everywhere… for my blue jeans?

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The other day Jez said to me “Do you know how much water it takes to make a pair of jeans?”…

JeansActually I didn’t, I hadn’t really given it much thought to be honest. I had thought about the pesticides and fertilisers used for growing the cotton and the conditions for workers in maufacturers’ factories but I hadn’t considered the water. The number that Jez told me was absolutely astonishing – was that right? I couldn’t stop thinking about it.

Doing a bit of research online I found that the figures quoted on different websites varied between 2000 and 6000 litres of water for just one pair of jeans. I also read that to stonewash a pair of jeans takes an additional 20 – 750 litres! Just to put this in perspective the UN recommends that people need a minimum of 50 litres of water per day for the most basic needs such as drinking, cooking and sanitation. Millions don’t even have that.

I don’t think I know anyone who hasn’t, at some point, owned at least one pair of jeans. So of course I’m thinking ‘by how many billions are we multiplying this water use to see the REAL figure?’. A gargantuan figure and growing of course.

Cotton PlantWater conservation is an issue for every country in the world and with Climate Change this will only get worse. But for two of the main cotton producing countries, China and India and increasingly more countries in Africa, water shortage is a big problem. On top of this water supplies are poisoned by toxins from the cotton growing itself and, later, other chemical processes such as ‘distressing’ the jeans.

Aside from the obvious effects of drought, lack of water has also lead in some areas to conflict over this precious resource. Do we really need to make the problems worse?

So, what’s the solution?

JeansAs we all know by now, there are pros and cons in all your eco decision-making but first things first; Stop and think. Our Jeans are the staple of our wardrobe, I know, but consider your buying carefully. Jeans are great because they’re tough and long lasting so why rush this decision? Here are some things to consider:

  • Organic cotton still needs a lot of water and so this is one of the times that organic isn’t necessarily the answer – although organic and Fairtrade cotton is definitely better than not!
  • Check out where your cotton is grown and how the water is managed there. Some cotton farmers in Australia are not able to access water for the cotton crops until the needs of the local towns and environment have been met first.
  • Hemp crops require much less water (as well as being higher yield and more pest resistant than cotton) so how about Hemp Jeans? It’s illegal to grow Hemp in the UK and US though so there may be air miles involved.
  • Don’t shy away from pre-loved and recycled jeans. I’m a big fan of vintage and second hand though to some the thought of this is horrifying. But, really, think about the water! Jeeez!

References
Protected Water Fund, Fixing the Planet, The Panelist, Cotton Australia, All Africa, BBC,

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Climate change knock on effects for women

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I’ve just read an item of news on the New Consumer website which is something we may already be aware of but is such an important issue to raise again and again. That is the additional effects that climate change has on women and girls in developing countries like Kenya.

The news item ‘Climate Change Devastating Women’s Lives‘ reiterates the harsh reality that whilst climate change affects all members of such poor communities, there are added, knock-on social issues for the women and girls in these communities. Some of the issues are:

    Kenya

  • Women and girls (some as young as seven) who are tasked with fetching water are now having to walk triple the distance than they previously did to find it.
  • Women are having to turn to prostitution because they are struggling to feed their families.
  • Girls spending more time walking for water are missing out on vital education, women have less time to care for their families.
  • Women and girls, exhausted from walking long distances, are vulnerable to rape and risk of HIV infection.

How could anyone read these facts and ignore the devastation that climate change causes? For the sake of making a few changes to our lifestyles it doesn’t seem much of a sacrifice knowing what these women have to go through every day does it?

The full New Consumer report comes from information via Esther Musili, Kenyan Aid worker, who is speaking alongside Foreign Secretary David Miliband on September 23 at a meeting at the Labour Party Conference. Let’s hope the politicians sit up and listen to her.

Quench Your Thirst and Save the Planet

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E.on is delighted to announce the discovery of a new form of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS).

Burning coal to generate electricity produces Carbon Dioxide (CO2), a green house gas that contributes to climate change. However by capturing the CO2 before it is released into the atmosphere and piping it through natural spring water we at E.on are able to create carbonated drinking water that is bottled and sold in Italian restaurants under the brand name evE.on

eveon

Although a simple solution, the implications are huge. With over a hundred years worth of coal deposits left and with massive growth in energy demand CCS will allow E.on to continue to burn coal for decades to come. evE.on’s Chief Executive Taton Rebfluw says, “climate change had turned coal into a dirty word, but carbonated drinking water could be the silver bullet we have been looking for” a quick sip of evE.on bottled water and he continues “the water tastes great and drinkers have the added bonus of helping combat climate change – the more water they drink, the more CO2 they store, and the more coal can be used to generate electricity, this really is symbiosis at its very best”.

evE.on is available now in restaurants and cafes. Please drink responsibly and refrain from burping or breathing the CO2 back into the atmosphere otherwise you may be responsible for causing climate change.

Find out more or to order online visit www.ev-eon.com

How can a web design company be green & ethical? – Part 2

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Last week, in my post ‘Powered by the Wind‘, I talked about how our web design company, Make Hay, works to be green and ethical by the power and energy we use .

This week I want to talk about waste, or at least how to waste less in an office-based business like ours. In our industry of website design we need very few physical materials or goods to provide our service and therefore have no need to create a lot of waste. However there are still several places to tighten up…

Part 2 – Waste? What Waste?

Water ways
Save water by only pouring as much as you need Like most offices we don’t need to use water for anything more than making drinks and using the bathroom but there are still ways to reduce the waste of water there. The Water Guide website provides some water saving tips for the home which can easily be applied to the office too. This includes simple practices that we use such as filling the kettle with just the right amount of water and having a jug full of cold water rather than running the tap every time you want to fill your glass. We use a ‘Save a Flush’ bag in the loo too which stops the cistern from filling right up and eventually flushing more water away. Many UK water companies will also send you a free water saving loo bag if you ask them to.

Don’t waste, re use
So the point of reducing waste is to cut down the number of new things you buy and to keep as much ‘stuff’ as you can out of the landfill.

Paper
Re-use paper in the office and join the mail preference service to cut down junk mailPaper is the easiest one. In fact, if it wasn’t for junk mail coming through our door we probably wouldn’t need to put any paper in the recycle bin. We’ve joined the Mail Preference Service to cut down the amount of junk mail we receive but some does still slip through. However it always goes out with recycling – never in the landfill.

On the whole we don’t need to print very often as most of our communication is electronic. We work on the principle that if a piece of paper has a blank side it can be used a few times before it has to retire. A couple of things we do is print double-sided and make notebooks for scribbling ideas and messages. This paper is later shredded and put in the compost bin along with the tea bags and coffee grinds (organic and fairtrade of course).

Furniture
Freecycle is a great place to donate as well as receive office furniture which otherwise may have ended up at the dump. So what if the chairs and desks don’t match? It will give your office character!

At the moment I’m keeping a look out on the Nottingham Realcycle for a table for our office. When we get one we’ll have saved from having to buy a new one and stopped an old one from going into the landfill.

IT equipment
Of course, for a web design company like ours, our computers are the most important equipment in the office. They have to work efficiently and reliably and we can’t run the risk of using slow, old machines. Having said that there’s no need to buy a whole brand new computer each time one part isn’t up to scratch. Updating individual components means that the other parts of the computer can go on doing their job for a little longer. If you’re a techy type of person then you could probably re-build another computer from your second hand parts which would be great for home use. We’ve done this in the past. In future we’ll donate to a local community group or charity.

Recycle your computer’s component parts

Whether you’re recycling a whole computer or its component parts take care to make sure you’ve deleted all confidential and sensitive information from the hard disk first. If the computer just doesn’t work then you need to dispose of it safely and within the WEE directive regulations. The Envirowise website has some useful WEEE links where you can find out what it all means and how it may affect your business.

Next installment: Part 3 – ‘Be a Smart Consumer…’

Vicky – Make Hay, ethical web design

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No longer a silent night

Recycle Now has teamed up with the resourceful members of the Really Rubbish Orchestra and Hear Me Now to play some well-known Christmas carols and raise awareness of the opportunities and importance to recycle small electronic and electrical goods.

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