Eco-Friendly Kitchen Remodeling

You want to renovate your dull looking kitchen and upgrade its design to match the current trends, but you are unsure how to achieve this successfully. Luckily, by sticking to a thorough plan and being bold with some creative remodeling ideas, you can create an amazing look. Additionally, opting for eco-friendly materials and décor solutions has become popular among homeowners since it helps both the environment and their budget. In order to help you have the best eco-conscious remodeling project, we have prepared a list of key features you must incorporate into your new design. Let’s take a look and get inspired.

Choose sustainable materials for your cabinets

First things first, feel free to express your care for the environment by opting for cabinetry that is made from sustainable wood sources. For example, make sure you opt for some FSC-approved lumber alternatives that can look and feel better than rosewood or Russian ash which are among the most endangered species today. Additionally, one must also make sure to avoid the use of VOC glues and paint while constructing the kitchen cabinets because these emit toxic fumes that can seriously harm both the nature and your health.

Lighting solutions

The majority of remodelers today know how important it is to invest in smart energy-efficient lighting options in order to reduce their electricity bills. Therefore, it’s high time you switched from your current incandescent bulbs to fluorescent ones and start saving more money while at the same time reducing your carbon footprint. On top of that, these bulbs shine equally as bright as the common ones and last 10 times as long. Finally, if you want to add a touch of drama with some focus lights, we recommend opting for stylish halogen or LED ambient lighting designs.

Kitchen appliances

We all know that the main reason why our electrical bills are so high at the end of the month is because of the devices we use in the kitchen. Luckily, there is an energy-efficient alternative to solve this issue. Energy Star rated appliances represent high-end products that can potentially earn you thousands of dollars yearly in savings. On top of that, they can perform twice as well as the regular ones. Therefore, make sure to switch to Energy Star rated products and help contribute to a more environmentally-responsible society.

Gas vs. electric stoves

Another often asked question by homeowners who want to make their kitchen green is whether to opt for a gas or electric stove. When it comes to electric ones with induction elements, the heat is transferred directly into metal cookware leaving the stove-top feeling cold to the touch. However, their biggest downside is that they spend too much energy. On the other hand, if you want to opt for a more affordable solution, natural gas stoves are the way to go since they can heat up almost instantly and provide a smoother cooking experience. Lastly, if you decide to go with the latter, we recommend investing in a high-quality gas connection and opting for the one that fits your eco-friendly consumption needs the most.

Invest in a water filter

Investing in a quality water filtration system will help you lead a healthier life and won’t be too hard on your wallet. For instance, you can get a regular tap-filter which will instantly purify your drinking water. However, if you want to be certain that the water you and your family drink is absolutely safe, don’t hesitate to go for an activated carbon filter which can remove almost all dangerous bacteria, pesticides and even heavy metals from your tap water.

Green flooring

Last but not least, if you want to add some style to your planet-friendly kitchen, feel free to go for some chic natural flooring alternatives. This season, bamboo is making a big comeback in the interior decor world since it is easy to maintain and very simple to install. Additionally, it creates a traditional feel and brings class to your kitchen design. However, if you want a slightly more practical solution, we advise you to go for linoleum flooring for the kitchen since it offers great protection against moisture, mold and fire.

As you can see, it doesn’t take much effort to turn a dull looking kitchen into a classy eco-friendly one.  All you need to do is make sure to use renewable materials and energy sources. Good luck with your remodeling project.

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Posted by Eco Warrior - May 14, 2018 at 7:41 am

Categories: Eco Home   Tags:

Garbage Cities by Berkeley Build

While admittedly recycling rates are improving, and initiatives are being put in place to encourage adopters to be considerate with their rubbish, the world’s overall waste distribution remains a large problem. Each day we face new challenges with recycling such as the recent decision by China, the largest importer of recyclable materials, to ban foreign waste. Berkeley Build, a luxury construction company, decided to embark on a creative project to encourage more people to recycle and warn people of the consequences of their actions. They created three powerful images of famous cityscapes recreated out of recyclable waste. Scenes depict landmarks such as the Statue of Liberty holding a Starbucks cup and a needle, and the Eiffel Tower constructed out of a combination of drink cans, bottles and plastic forks. The images are designed to portray a dystopian outlook and create a shock factor. It has become the norm to see rubbish on the street, food wrappers, cigarette buds, chewing gum but these images take things a little further and show what could happen if we continue to normalise this behaviour and don’t act upon it. The creative works are extreme, but they certainly make a statement.

The landmarks in the images are constructed from waste, not only to make a cultural statement but to also highlight what materials can be recycled. There is much confusion around what you can put in what bins, and the complications and lack of understanding are partially responsible for people shying away from recycling. The images play on people’s favourite brands and act as a visual to educate people on the what type of waste is recyclable. The several page manuals you get are not appealing enough and can over-complicate things, but Berkeley Build thought a shocking visual was more likely to get noticed and draw attention.

Source: Berkeley Build

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Posted by Eco Warrior - May 14, 2018 at 7:31 am

Categories: Recycling   Tags:

Tower of Trash

Did you know that the waste in our seas is now twice the size of France?

France is 598 miles long from North to South and it would take 9 hours and 12 minutes to drive the distance. Now, double that… and that’s how much waste is currently in our oceans.

Our planet has a population of over 7.5 billion people and as a result, we dump a massive 2.12 billion tonnes of waste per year. This is partly because 99% of the stuff we buy gets binned within 6 months of purchasing – this doesn't include food, human, electronic or medical waste.

Still struggling to comprehend just how obscene this amount of waste really is? If it continues at its current rate, in 10 years time there could be over 80 million tonnes of plastic floating in our seas – and that figure will continue to increase if no real action is taken soon. To put that into perspective, that’s almost 17 times bigger than the Empire State Building in New York City, which is 443 metres tall – big, right?

It is also estimated that up to 267 marine species are affected by plastic pollution within the ocean – and that’s just in the South Pacific Garbage Patch.

Here are a few ways you can help our oceans and reduce your own plastic waste footprint:

  • Stop using plastic straws – They can easily get stuck in the mouths and noses of sea creatures and get mistaken for food
  • Reuse your shopping bags – A simple way to cut plastic usage is to reuse your shopping bags
  • Give up gum – Gum is made of a synthetic rubber aka plastic
  • Purchase products in boxes, not plastic bottles – Cardboard decomposes so it is far better for our environment
  • Eat fresh produce that doesn’t come in plastic cartons and boxes – This will work out better for you as you’ll be eating fresh produce and also saving the planet. A win, win situation!

Take a look at this graphic from Eco2Greetings that shows how much waste will end up in our oceans if no action is taken.

Tower of Trash Eco2

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Posted by Eco Warrior - May 14, 2018 at 7:26 am

Categories: Issues   Tags:

Shifting Trends of Global Energy Usage

The way in which we power our everyday lives has changed rapidly over the past few decades. Projections show that the global primary energy demand will have risen from 17m terajoules in 1850 (the aftermath of the industrial revolution) to 718m terajoules by 2050.

While demand is rising, driven mainly by developing economies, factors such as growing environmental concerns have prompted a shifting trend in how this growing need for energy is met.

One of the ways these changes are being tracked is through a ‘Global Energy Architecture’ which monitors the effectiveness of each country’s contribution to this move away from fossil fuels and other environmentally harmful methods of powering our world.

This concept was devised after the 2012 World Economic Forum (WEF) and since then, WEF and Accenture have compiled data on 127 countries year-on-year. These nations are rated on the following criteria: Economic Growth & Development, Environmental Sustainability and Energy Security & Access.

From these figures we’re able to determine the most and least energy efficient countries around the world.

Issues remain, however, ranging from resource and supply chain implications to roadblocks in the advocation of electrification and decarbonisation. The hope is that, through a collaboration spanning multiple nations, a course of action can be agreed upon to meet these problems head on.

Despite these setbacks, real progress is being made. Coal’s demand is due to peak by 2028, gas by 2035 and oil by 2037. This means that by 2030, we’re likely to see a real drop off in fossil fuel usage and – with advancing technology and affordability in renewables – the world seems set for a greener future.

The following infographic, courtesy of Roof Stores, tracks these shifting trends in energy usage and investigates how things will change in the coming decades on a global scale.

Global Energy Architecture

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Posted by Eco Warrior - May 14, 2018 at 7:16 am

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The Mountain Apple – An Invader’s Impact 100 years on

In about 1917 someone brought a small, fast-growing tree called Bellucia pentamera from South America and planted it in Indonesia’s gorgeous Bogor Botanical Gardens. Called the mountain apple, its fruits were used by some indigenous people in the Amazon to help with parasite infections.

Now, just over a century later, the mountain apple is flourishing across Asia, mostly thanks to its small seeds which are widely transported by birds and bats. And it is a familiar face on Borneo's Gunung Palung National Park, home to some of the last big areas of lowland rainforest in Southeast Asia and an area rich in seven different types of rainforest.

The mountain apple loves deforestation

Intense logging between 2000 and 2002 helped the invader spread, taking out most of the biggest, most valuable trees and leaving huge gaps in the canopy, which in turn heated the forest floor and ruined the essential shade beneath. But one resident really doesn't mind these new conditions. In fact the mountain apple withstands the hot sun, so much so that it actually out-competes native light-loving species.

PhD student Christopher Dillis of the University of California and his team compared the fruiting frequency of Bellucia to native trees. They found that, on average, 56% of Bellucia in Gunung Palung National Park produced fruit every month, against just 4% of native rainforest trees.

Why does Bellucia love logging?

Canopy gaps are not uncommon. So why is Bellucia more attracted to logged areas than natural canopy gaps? Bellucia trees in gaps created by logging produced more fruits than Bellucia growing in natural canopy gaps, and nobody really knows why. It might be that the intense light in logging gaps lets the trees grow particularly big leaves, which mean more photosynthesis and more energy, which gives it a competitive advantage.

We already know that plant diversity is vital for the health of rainforests, and every other kind of forest. Logging in Gunung Palung has decreased but still continues. Large-scale oil palm agriculture doesn't help. Thankfully, unlike some invaders, Bellucia doesn't run rampant through pristine jungle. It needs logging gaps. But it just goes to show how very damaging even the least dodgy invaders can be if left to its own devices.

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Posted by Eco Warrior - May 10, 2018 at 7:02 am

Categories: Conservation   Tags:

The Case For Conservation Friendly Construction

With the population ever growing, this means that the construction of residential and commercial properties is encroaching more and more into wildlife habitats, affecting how animals are able to live. The expansion of urban areas is leading to 1 in 10 UK wildlife species facing extinction, and this something that we have a responsibility to try and change.

An important focus is being placed on solutions to allow us to continue to construct and build infrastructure, whilst also allowing us to peacefully coexist with the surrounding animal species and cause as little harm as possible to their natural habitats; which is leading to the term ‘conservation-friendly construction’.

Development can affect urban wildlife in a number of ways; it can lead to habitat loss and fragmentation, disturbances caused by human activity, air and light pollution and changing animal behaviour.

There have been many technological and new architectural ideas leading the way for future building methods. Examples of these include ‘green buildings’, which are proven to both protect the biodiversity of local wildlife, improve the air and water quality as well as reducing operating costs. It is expected that these style of buildings are set to become much more popular in the coming years.

Not only is construction of houses changing, specific elements within buildings are being developed to further help animals. Very specific innovations, such as changing the glass in windows to a different reflective nature so that birds don’t confuse them with flying into foliage or clear sky, are becoming more advanced. This is a simple addition to any home, and shows that conservation friendly construction doesn’t need to take over the whole house, but there are small touches that can make a difference to the welfare of wildlife.

Take a look into what issues exist and how conservation friendly construction can remedy them in the guide by Roof Stores below.

Conservation

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Posted by Eco Warrior - April 26, 2018 at 7:07 am

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AI In Energy

Artificial intelligence (AI) is a term for replicated or mimicked intelligence in the machines. These machines are programmed to think and act like a human in terms of observing the surroundings and to take actions accordingly and achieve the goals. It has obtained prominence in the recent years owing to the evolving technology.

It's just not limited to the computer games or computer functions. Artificial intelligence is used in varied fields. AI is used in creating virtual personal assistants, robotics, in the self-driving cars etc. They dominate the fields of Business and services, Education, Healthcare, Finance, Law, Manufacturing etc.

The energy sector is no exception in using the aids of Artificial Intelligence.

Here is an Infographic by Fuel Fighter reflecting on the usages and benefits of using the technology and how it can further enhance in coming years with the advancement of technology owing to its features. With proper implementation of AI, the Energy sector can gain significantly.

AI In Energy

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Posted by Eco Warrior - April 26, 2018 at 6:52 am

Categories: Energy   Tags:

What impact would it have on the planet if everybody recycled?

It is fair to say that if the entire world recycled absolutely everything, then the planet would be an entirely different place. But if our worldwide productive recycling strategies halted for a considerable amount of time this would be very damaging.

The most obvious difference we would see if everybody recycled in the world is how much cleaner the planet would be. With our minds set on recycling, nobody would litter plastic bottles, cardboard boxes, glass and more. Our roads, pavements and fields will be clear of recyclable waste and hopefully general waste as well.

Worldwide landfill sites would shrink considerably, which would not only create more room for non-recyclable waste but we would also see a noticeable drop in the release of harmful chemicals and gasses from landfill sites. Some plastics are particularly toxic, such as plastic shopping bags. After years of lying in landfill, harmful microscopic particles get released into the atmosphere, causing potential harm to animals and humans – this would end if all plastics were recycled.

It’s renowned that our oceans are currently littered with plastics which are simply dumped as an easy method of disposal – this is completely wrong. Marine animals are clearly open to harm and us humans that eat fish and other sea creatures are too if that particular animal has come into contact with waste plastic. Clear and clean oceans would be fantastic to see one day but for that to happen we need the world to recycle everything.

Plants and trees would also be positively affected if we all recycled. There would be less of a need for raw materials which would save trees and rainforests from being flattened. Recycling innovators, QCR point out that recycling a single glass bottle saves enough energy to power a 100-Watt light bulb, and that 28 billion glass bottles are sent to landfill every year. Imagine how much energy would be saved in the UK – and the potential worldwide – if all glass bottles were recycled. This is due to the fact that recycling requires a lot less energy than creating products from raw materials like trees. Cutting out processes like this would lower the world’s carbon footprint by an extraordinary amount.

The world is getting better at recycling but we are still decades from perfection. If our progress were to stall, then our oceans and landfill sites would continue to fill with poisonous plastics.

Three increases are happening worldwide which means we cannot afford to relax our attitude towards recycling.

Firstly the world’s population is increasing. High life expectancy levels means there are more people on Earth than ever before. More people results in more waste.

Secondly, the world is getting richer. More people can afford to buy products, which means an increase in packaging to house the products being purchased – most of which will be manufactured from or stored in plastic containers.

Lastly, in an increasingly fast paced world, workers and commuters are opting for the convenience and choosing to buy (packaged) food and drink on the go. Unfortunately, the side effect of the convenience culture is that more plastic is being produced and that this plastic is usually be disposed of in a curb side bin as opposed to being recycled. We currently don’t have enough bins dedicated to recycling in our towns and cities to solve this issue.

The problem of commuters dumping their waste packaging in ordinary bins can also be related to the majority of the world. Without the right processes and recycling education in place, we will continue to bin recyclables wherever is most convenient. Not many people at present will finish their food and carry empty packaging until they find a recycling bin. To solve this problem, our public bins need be more geared towards recycling with separate, well labelled sections.

In order to make serious progress with recycling, the world needs to understand the benefits if everybody did recycle and the damage that could be done if our progress falters.

Worldwide recycling may seem farfetched, but the potential should impact should not be dismissed. Plastic waste in particular is starting to be acknowledged by governments across the globe, with China banning waste plastic imports and the UK aiming to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste by the end of 2042. It is slow progress but at least inroads are being made.

QCR Infographic

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Posted by Eco Warrior - April 22, 2018 at 5:19 pm

Categories: Recycling   Tags:

How wood is a more environmentally-friendly choice

Reducing our carbon footprint seems to be at the top of everyone’s agendas. From The Guardian reporting on how to eat with a low carbon footprint, to fast food chain McDonald’s setting greenhouse gas targets, and phasing out plastic straws from UK restaurants, everyone is making greener choices.

Did you know that the choice of material you use in your home or workplace can have a real impact on its overall carbon footprint? In fact, there is a growing trend in architects and builders choosing timber as their material of choice, due to its positive environmental impact and ease of construction.

Want to know why wood is the environmentally friendly material of choice, for both home and business owners? Retailer, A Wood Idea has provided these insights.

Wood is a renewable material

Wood is known to be one of the most naturally renewable energy sources, which means it will have less of an impact on the environment than other materials. According to the British Woodworking Federation, over 90% of wood we use is from forests in Europe, which are growing by 661,000 hectares each year. This shows that it’s a very readily-available resource, that’s not going to run out anytime soon.

Wooden products last a long time

A wide variety of factors impact how long a wooden product lasts, including the type of wood, the location of the product (interior or exterior environments) and the treatment that has been applied to it. Generally, wood may be lightweight, but it is also a strong and durable product. Hardwood is the most durable, and treated correctly can last longer than a lifetime – some hardwood doors can last over 100 years.

The longer a wood product lasts, the less energy is used on the production of new products, which in turn makes it better for the environment.

Wood’s great at retaining heat

The cellular makeup of wood means that it naturally retains heat more effectively than other materials – in fact, it holds heat seven times more effectively than ceramic tiles. Air chambers within the wood itself absorb heat, holding it for longer. Introducing wood into your premises means it will be naturally warmer. A naturally warmer building will require less energy to heat it, which is kinder to the environment.

Wooden products can be recycled and reused

Protected and maintained wood will last for 100 years, which gives you an opportunity to refinish and adapt a piece several times throughout its lifetime. Wooden furniture is very easily upcycled, painted and re-treated, which transforms it into a completely different piece.

Wood absorbs carbon dioxide

As wood supplies grow, trees absorb carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, which lowers the overall carbon footprint of the material. Known as a ‘carbon sink’, one cubic metre of new wood removes just less than a tonne of CO2 in the atmosphere. Trees only stop absorbing carbon when they reach maturity, which is usually when they are harvested.

Wood is a ‘carbon store’, which means that once it has absorbed the carbon, it is stored there and remains out of the atmosphere.

Waste from the production of wooden materials is limited, and 100% biodegradable

There is very little waste when wooden products are made, whether it’s floorboards, furniture, doors, or something else entirely. Any residual chippings can be burned as an energy source, or used as sawdust during manufacture.

The limited amount of waste produced by the manufacture of wooden products is 100% biodegradable. This means that the material will eventually decompose, disintegrate and break down back into the earth. This means there will be no residual landfill left in the earth’s atmosphere, which is better for the environment.

Wood can have a positive psychological impact on the people in your home or workspace

Wood can provide benefits to both mental, and physical health. By increasing the amount of wooden materials in your home or workplace, you reduce the amount of manmade substances, and potentially harmful chemicals, in the environment. It has also been claimed that the introduction of wood to interiors has a stress-reducing effect, according to a report by Timber and Design Online.

 

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Posted by Eco Warrior - April 22, 2018 at 5:14 pm

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How green is your tampon?

The time it takes for a tampon or pad to degrade in a landfill is centuries longer than the lifespan of the woman who used it. In the UK, every woman uses an average of over 11,000 disposable menstrual products in her reproductive lifetime. Tampons, pads and panty liners generate more than 200,000 tonnes of waste per year*. What’s more, the process of manufacturing these products is usually hugely wasteful. To coincide with this year’s Earth Day on 22 April, organic and natural period-care brand Freda is encouraging femcare brands to consider the environmental impact of their products.

“Across fashion, beauty, food, and even cleaning products, consumers are becoming more and more mindful of sustainability,” says Freda’s founder, Affi Parvizi-Wayne. “But when it comes to femcare, many of are still buying the same products on auto-pilot, without considering their eco credentials.”

Freda believes that the big brands dominating the industry have benefitted from the societal silence and stigma around periods, which has meant they have not been subject to the same scrutiny from consumers as other sectors. Ultimately, this has enabled them to cut corners in terms of their products’ manufacture and ingredients.

Freda, meanwhile, sources the most sustainable products it can find that don’t compromise on hygiene, performance, and comfort: its pads are 100% organic, its pads eco-friendly, wrappers recyclable/biodegradable, and applicators BPA-free. Their suppliers run their business sustainably, source renewable energy and responsibly manage their waste and resources. “We promise to be unreasonably demanding,” says Affi. “We recognise that perfection won’t come easily, but we won’t stop till we get there.”

She stresses that Freda’s natural products provide the same level of efficacy as their big-brand counterparts: “Our products contain no chemicals, without compromise on protection. We always put our customers needs first, while constantly pushing for more sustainable packaging, ingredients, and production.”

Affi admires the work that’s being done to raise awareness of alternative period products. “Menstrual cups and reusable pads are amazing advancements, but they’re not for everyone. We aim to be another sustainable option and to empower women to make their own choice, while being kind to their bodies and to the environment. Our customers choose Freda because we share their values. They know that the choices they make can make a real difference. ”

Freda launched in January 2018 and is aimed at modern, health- and socially-conscious women. Made in eco-certified factories in Scandinavia and Central Europe with over 70 years of expertise, Freda tampons are made from 100% naturally-absorbent, breathable, hypoallergenic organic cotton for enhanced protection and comfort – and are free from the chemicals and synthetic fibres found elsewhere, making them kinder to you and the environment.

Its online subscription service allows you to select your own combination of products and absorbencies based on your period, and its period tracker syncs the delivery of your products to your cycle. Freda is on a mission to break down period taboos, which have contributed in part to the opaque nature of the industry, by discussing the topic openly. The company has been created for women by women – and they give back to women as a portion of every Freda purchase is donated to initiatives worldwide tackling period poverty.

Named after Freyja who, in Norse mythology, is a goddess associated with love, sex, beauty and fertility, Freda believes that transparency and openness is key to creating a generational change in attitudes towards periods, and helps to bust myths, break taboos and normalise conversations.

A Freda subscription costs around £3.50 for 8 including postage and packaging. A Freda box contains 16 and can be purchased at www.myfreda.com

Notes

Period facts:

  • 2 billion women and girls menstruate monthly and 800 million women have their period daily
  • In the UK woman, on average, uses 12,000 tampons in her lifetime and spends over £18,000 on them
  • According to the UN’s International Children’s Fund over 130 million girls worldwide miss school during menstruation as they cannot afford the necessary period products
  • 63 million girls miss school one week a month due to lack of access to pads
  • Period poverty is also affecting girls in the UK. Some are missing school as they cannot afford period care products http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-39266056
  • 1 in 10 schoolgirls in Africa do not go to school during menstruation
  • In India, only 12% of women and girls use period products
  • Big brand manufacturers are not required to give a full disclosure of what is in their tampons which have been found to contain chemicals linked to health conditions

 

About Freda www.myfreda.com

Freda is an eco-friendly period care range that is transparent, ethical and sustainable – and is rebooting femcare for the 21st Century. Aimed at modern, health- and socially-conscious women, its tampons are made of 100% certified organic cotton that are biodegradable, hypoallergenic and free from chemicals and synthetic fibres commonly found in some big brand tampons, whilst their pads contain 100% eco-friendly, biodegradable materials. Freda is on a mission to break down taboos and stigma by normalising conversation around periods. The company has been created for women by women – and they give back to women as a portion of every Freda purchase is donated to initiatives worldwide tackling period poverty. Freda’s online subscription service understands that every cycle is different and allows you to select your own combination of products and absorbencies based on your period. Using artificial intelligence to predict your start date its online period tracker allows you to sync the delivery of your products to ensure they arrive a few days before your cycle. The tracker combines an advanced algorithm and insight from specialist consultant gynaecologists. As you input your personal data, the algorithm gets to know your period cycles over time which makes even irregular periods more predictable and the Freda delivery timelier. Named after Freyja who, in Norse mythology, is a goddess associated with love, sex, beauty and fertility, Freda believes that having honest conversations is key to creating a generational change towards bringing periods to the forefront of awareness which will help to bust myths, break taboos and normalise the conversation.

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Posted by Eco Warrior - April 22, 2018 at 1:00 am

Categories: Eco Friendly   Tags:

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