Hi, I'm Joe from KitsToys.co.uk. I'm a new(ish) dad of one, and I created my website to help people in a similar situation to me. To clarify, that is “being totally at a loss as a father” – seriously, it was an entirely new world to me, as I expect it is to most people.
Anyway, one of the things that has defined our journey into parenthood is our desire to soften our impact on the environment. I have always looked for ways to live greener. We recycle, we do beach cleans (and recycle what we find), we reduce waste, reuse what we can. So what about having kids?
Environmental impact of children
This is something that has come to the fore recently with the publication of a study in the summer which made headlines. The authors suggest four great ways of reducing your personal carbon footprint. These are:
- Eat a plant-based diet
- Less aeroplane travel
- Live car-free
- Have one fewer child
These actions are a significant personal investment, indeed they represent a complete lifestyle change, but they do have a much, much greater impact.
Of course, reading this, I thought to myself – one fewer child? That's a big deal – but moving forward, lifestyle changes are going to have to factor into our environmental policy and education.
So, it got me thinking – what other things do I do to offset the impact of having children? These are what I came up with:
1 – Reusable baby wipes
I know from conversations I've had with other parents, the use of disposable baby wipes is still prevalent even among those who are more environmentally conscious.
The problem is that disposable baby wipes are made of plastic fibres. Even so, they are flushed down the toilet, or otherwise they go to landfill.
If they are flushed down the toilet, then they end up on our beaches – the Marine Conservation Society in the United Kingdom found that there is an average of 14.1 wet wipes per 100m on the UK's shores which is astounding.
The alternative is to use reusable baby wipes. I use cotton flannels which I simply soak in water with a little bit of mild castile soap, and that is perfectly adequate. In the long run, it also saves us a lot of money – another bonus.
2 – Reusable nappies
The obvious way to reduce one's impact on the environment when you have a small child or a baby is to use reusable cloth nappies.
Of course, most of these nappies come with an outer wrap which is made from plastic fibres which, during washing, enter the water system – a major drawback, to be sure.
Nonetheless, the environmental impact of reusable nappies may be less than that of disposable nappies.
The outer layer of a disposable nappy is usually made from woven plastic fibres, and sodium polyacrylate or another non-biodegradable polymer forms the absorbent core – both of these are petrochemical products. However, the cotton required to make cloth nappies has an environmental burden of its own. Since one has to opt for one way or the other, I choose reusable nappies.
The environmental benefits of reusable nappies can be further increased by 40% by using them on a second child or by selling them or giving them away to another new parent.
3 – Second hand clothes
Another simple thing that we have done is to buy used clothes from charity shops and thrift stores, second-hand clothes from friends and hand me downs.
This is a very simple yet very effective way of reducing waste and using fewer resources. Besides, you would have to be mad to buy all new clothes for a fast-growing newborn!
This also has the very welcome side effect of saving you quite a lot of money (although you won't be able to keep up with latest fashion trends).
4 – Sell or otherwise pass on clothes and cloth nappies
My fourth suggestion is related to these last couple of points – to sell or otherwise pass on clothes and cloth nappies.
We purchased two bin liners filled with second-hand cloth nappies (don't worry they were clean) and we intend to pass them and as many clothes as we can onto new parents in their turn.
5 – Line dry as much as possible
My final suggestion is not limited only to parents but could apply to anyone: it is to line dry as much as possible.
In the United Kingdom it is not practical to dry all of your laundry on a line outside in the sun but if your climate permits it then is a great idea to save energy.
It is also beneficial to at least occasionally dry your cloth nappies in the sun because UV radiation an antimicrobial effect and the sunlight also helps to bleach out any stains.
You could also dry on a clothes horse or online inside your home, but with the volume of washing that a baby produces it is not practical to do this for all of your laundry.
I have looked into how other people suggest you can be a greener parent, both in books and on the Internet. However, a lot of the suggestions are not very actionable.
They include things like purchasing solar panels and solar water heaters for your home and educating your children on environmental matters.
These things, while important, have a high barrier to entry (solar panels are even more expensive than cloth nappies!) or have a delayed effect. Of course, I will still raise my kids to be environmentally aware, not to be wasteful, and so on – but I wanted things I could do NOW!
Hopefully, these suggestions will give you some ideas of things that you can do right away to make a difference.
While sustainable construction was nothing more than a concept once, now it’s a state-of-the-art solution to numerous environmental concerns.
Owing to the fast-paced world of technology, this type of construction is bringing new and improved methods year after year.
Available both for commercial and residential purposes, sustainable construction is paving the way to a better and greener future.
Eco-friendly materials: stone, brick and wood
With approximately a half of non-renewable resources used in regular construction, finding their eco-friendly replacement is one of the top concerns of modern green technology. It seems that sustainable construction is well on its way to replace the use of non-renewable materials by implementing sustainable alternatives. Natural stone is one of the most popular solutions due to its durability, flexibility and a classic visual appeal. You can use it for a range of different construction elements, including décor and insulation cladding.
Brick is another eco-friendly alternative that doesn’t fall behind with its popularity. Although this is a man-made material, it’s both durable and flexible just like stone, with a wide application in construction projects.
As for wood, researchers have developed a new type of wood called Kebony by combining sustainable softwood with heat and bio-waste liquid. This non-toxic type of wood might be expensive, but it’s widely applicable and highly durable. A more affordable solution is recycled wood made of waste plastics and wood fibres.
Energy-efficient HVAC systems
Since HVAC systems account for around a half of buildings’ energy consumption, any green update that can contribute to their energy-efficiency can make a big difference in the field. The concept of air purification is one of the most promising green HVAC technologies. Combining photo-reactive chemicals and ultraviolet light, this type of system can significantly lower buildings’ heating costs and enable the reusing of indoor air.
Passive radiant and solar heating is yet another eco-friendly concept that can keep buildings cool during summer and warm during winter by attracting colder and warmer, sunlit air. There are already many energy-efficient buildings that employ this type of technology, including the German Bundestag in Berlin.
Green lighting alternatives
As one of the most affordable and available green improvements in the field of sustainable construction, energy-efficient lighting is becoming a standard feature of modern homes and buildings. Light emitting diodes (LEDs) are widely used around the globe with the aim of reducing energy consumption of commercial and residential properties. LED lighting uses significantly less energy than the regular incandescent lights or compact fluorescent lights (CFLs). In addition, their energy-efficiency is accompanied by their durability, so they are a long-term investment.
Lighting innovations continue to reduce energy consumption, with a growing number of technologies, such as OLEDs (organic light emitting diodes) that can be incorporated into building materials. Therefore, if you’ve been thinking about making your home more sustainable, energy-saving lighting can be the first step.
Since regular insulation materials are toxic because they contain chemicals and other additives, researches have been trying to develop healthy, green alternatives. The eco-friendliest of them all is insulation based on natural materials, including wool, cellulose, hemp, flax and wood. One of the most wildly used insulation materials is sheep’s wool that is usually treated for mite infestation.
Cellulose is yet another perfect insulation material because it’s made from cellulose fibre and newsprint. It’s highly versatile since it comes in different shapes and it can be blown into the smallest wall, floor and roof cavities.
Flax and hemp fibres bound together with potato starch are also a popular green solution for insulation. Not only do they have low embodied energy, but they also contain borates, excellent fire retardants, fungicides and insecticides. Finally, wood-based insulation is typically combined with wood cladding and has a wide application in green construction.
If you decide to replace your old insulation with a green alternative, you should make sure to get all the necessary equipment. You can easily find high-quality mobile scaffold for sale, as well as other tools that you need for the job. This is of the utmost importance for ensuring your safety during the construction.
With these innovative, eco-friendly technologies that sustainable construction offers, both commercial and residential buildings can significantly reduce their ecological footprint and contribute to the environment preservation.
Last Holiday season, we shared the “Tradition or Trash” infographic from Punchbowl, which outlines the environmental impact of paper invitations & cards sent during the Holidays. We learned that between Thanksgiving & Christmas, household waste increases by more than 25% — including more than 1.6 billion paper invites and cards that are discarded at the end of the season. This holiday season, Punchbowl is urging consumers to #ChooseDigital invitations over paper to help cut back on this staggering statistic and do their part to reduce Holiday waste.
Punchbowl, the gold standard in online invitations, is promoting a Zero Waste Holiday season — all starting with online invitations and cards! Holiday hosts can take their eco-friendly efforts one step further to help cut back on holiday waste. From homemade gifts to upcycled Christmas decorations, you can follow this simple 10-step guide for a more sustainable season.
Ready to start your zero-waste celebration? You can send digital holiday invitations to family & friends in just minutes! Browse the Christmas online invitations from Punchbowl to get started. When you choose to send digital Holiday invitations this season, you help the Earth. Punchbowl has also pledged to make a donation to reduce paper waste when party hosts choose one of these specially-marked holiday invitation designs.
When it comes to moving, you’ve probably heard this a thousand times already, but relocating your home is a challenge. There are so many things you have to keep in mind, and with so many important tasks, people tend to get anxious and let the stress take over. You have to make checklists, organize a transport, keep an eye out for your kids, and quite a lot of other issues as well, so it’s perfectly normal that you forget about some things, like the environment, for example.
It’s not that hard to try and be eco-friendly while you’re moving. Moving a lot of your possessions across the country can be very bad for the environment. The amount of fuel you spend, the trash that stays behind once you unpack the boxes, even the old furniture you want to dispose of can make a seriously negative impact on our planet. So how do you deal with these issues and keep a clear head? Let’s check out some of the most useful tips for an environmentally friendly move.
Get Rid of the Excess Stuff in an Eco-Friendly Way
Take a long look at all of your possessions before you start planning your move. Think about what of those things are really needed, and which items you’re already thinking of throwing out. Make a selection of items that will be necessary for your new home, but make sure you get rid of those items you can really do without.
You can organize a garage sale, or sell your unnecessary things online. You can also donate a lot of lightly used items you won’t need to various charities. Some websites like Craigslist and Freecycle allow you to put your items for giveaway. Use all of your stocked supplies before you move, so nothing goes to waste, or contact a friend or a neighbor to let them have all of the supplies you won’t need. Of course, when it comes to disposal of hazardous materials, make sure you follow the right protocol.
Use Household Items as Packing Materials
One of the most important steps you can do to ensure the eco-friendly and affordable relocation is to use household items as packing materials. Instead of buying or renting not so environmentally-friendly packing solutions, you can use whatever you have in your home to achieve the needed effect, and still stay eco-friendly.
Use suitcases, laundry baskets, and crates; use old boxes you still have laying around for some reason. All of these items are pretty common in almost every household, so why spend money and create a lot of trash, when you can use what you already have and get the job done properly, and without the negative impact on the environment. Use blankets and towels to secure your belongings from breaking and damaging along the way, and the best thing is – once you’ve finished unpacking – there is no mountain of trash waiting for you to dispose of it.
Focus on Recycling
When it comes to recycling, almost everything in your home can be processed and recycled. From plastic and cardboard, through batteries to old electronics, there are quite a lot of household items that could and should be recycled when you’re done with them.
Batteries contain a lot of hazardous substances which can have a very bad effect on waterways, while those old appliances you have may also contain hazardous materials like lead. There are resource recovery centers that accept old open cans of paint, and there is virtually a recycling station for basically every type of material you have in your home, so before embarking on a moving adventure, make sure you’ve recycled as much of the unnecessary stuff as you possibly can.
Hire an Eco-Friendly Relocation Company
Last, but not least – when you’re searching for an environmentally-friendly super easy storage solution you must make sure that the moving company you’re hiring is trustworthy. Look for lower-emissions trucks, use of recycled materials, LED cargo areas and similar energy-efficient solutions they are using. Do your research and try to be as environmentally-friendly as possible, even if you’re doing your own driving. Keep the speed low, and try moving during spring, when there’s no need for A/C system to be turned on.
Most important thing you have to keep in mind is not to panic. Moving is a huge step, but it’s not impossible to overcome. Focus your strength on planning and thinking ahead. Big moves can have a really negative impact on the environment and know how we have already made quite a negative scar on it, you should give your best to try and make a change. It’s the least you can do for both your planet and yourself.
Green People is delighted to introduce its brand new special edition gift collection in partnership with Plantlife.
Modern Botanicals is an exquisite new gift collection of certified organic skin, hair and body care products for men and women. These unique gifts draw inspiration from nature, using clean, contemporary plant imagery and organic ingredients to stimulate, nourish and balance both body and mind.
This year, Green People has partnered with Plantlife, a British conservation charity that works to protect threatened species of wild flowers, plants and fungi. For every Modern Botanicals gift sold, a portion of the profits will be donated to Plantlife, helping to support the charity's vital work.
This month Green People got some great offers lined up for you, including a month long exclusive promotion.
Spend £40 or more and receive 15% off
Dates active: 01.09.17 – 30.09.17
Link: September Offer
3 for 2 on all Organic Young (Oy!) products
Dates active: 11.09.17 – 30.09.17
Link: Organic Young
FREE Intensive Repair Conditioner when you purchase the matching shampoo
Dates active: 13.09.17 – 14.09.17 (not active yet)
Link: Intensive Repair Shampoo
Most of us have an old smartphone laying around in a desk drawer somewhere. But did you know that smartphones are one of the biggest sources of tech waste? Millions of usable phones are thrown out every year. One of the best ways to recycle your old phone is by using it as a dash cam every time you go for a ride. It can not only
Hard Facts on Electronic Waste
In the United States alone, 57 million phones are thrown out every year. Nearly 3 of every 4 phones goes directly to a landfill, where toxic substances are released into the environment. Here are a couple more reasons to recycle your smartphone…
• The USA produces 9.4 million tons of e-waste yearly
• The EPA estimates that less than 13% of electronics are recycled
• We’re throwing away valuable materials. In every one million cell phones tossed, we’re losing 35,000 pounds of copper, 772 pounds of silver, 75 pounds of gold, and 33 pounds of palladium. If we recycled all of the wasted copper, silver, and gold we throw out, the electronic sector could have a $12 billion capital gain.
• Less than one of three electronic items are recycled safely via the EPA’s “best practices.”
Cell phones are one of the most commonly replaced electronics. Americans usually receive a new phone every year. By simply utilizing your old smartphone after receiving a new one, you’ll help to reduce your carbon footprint and protect the environment from harmful materials.
Reasons to Use a Dash Cam
While there are many ways to recycle a phone, one of the best options is to use it as a dash camera if you ride a bicycle. Recording your rides is critically important if you’re ever involved in a crash with a motorist. A recorded video bypasses the “he said she said” when discussing the crash with police, and video is always more reliable than witness statements.
Setting Up the Dash Cam
Here’s what you’ll need to equip your cellphone to the handlebar of your bicycle:
• An old smartphone
• A downloaded dash cam app (available on both Android or iPhone)
• 2 pipe clamps
• 1 flat corner brace
• 2 strips of heavy-duty Velcro
Step One: Attach the corner brace to your phone. Apply one strip of Velcro to the back of your old phone, and the second strip to one end of the corner brace.
Trim the excess Velcro from the corner brace. If you’ve purchased heavy-duty Velcro, it shouldn’t have any difficulty holding.
Step Two: Attach the corner brace to the bike. You’ll want to insert the untouched side of the corner side underneath your two pipe clamps to hold the phone up while you ride. First, unscrew the pipe clamps and position them on your handlebar. You’ll usually want this to be pretty close to the center of your handlebar so the video will record as much as possible.
Slide the corner brace underneath the pipe clamps and tighten! If you’re worried about ruining the finish on your handlebars with the pipe clamps, you can put a small piece of inner tube over the area where you’re attaching the clamps.
Step Three: Start the app! You will not need any kind of WiFi or cellular service to run a dash cam app on your smart phone. Just launch the app and head out.
Using a homemade dash cam is not a flawless option. You’ll need to remember to start the app every time you use your bicycle. You’ll also need to remember to take your phone off your bike before locking it up at a bike rack or fence, because it’s possible someone will steal it. Although it’s not perfect, you’ll have a significantly cheaper and more environmentally-friendly way to record your rides than using a GoPro or expensive alternative. If you are involved in a crash with a motorist, a recycled dash cam can be the difference between a simple insurance claim and a year long headache.
There are currently 1.4million edible bananas thrown away each day in the UK, which is not only a waste of food but valuable resources too. Snact’s aim is to take these bananas and produce a range of delicious, wholesome bars instead. The crowdfunding project has been launched to help them do this.
BANAN-ARCHY IN THE UK
Become a Snactivist and join the #deliciousprotest
Snact are on a mission to help save the UK’s ugly and unwanted fruit from going to waste, but they need your help…
The creators of Snact have been saving unwanted and ugly fruit for the last few years, turning it into delicious fruit jerky. An amazing 1.4 million edible bananas are still being thrown away each and every DAY in Britain however.
The result is a ludicrous amount of wasted food, water and carbon, with most bananas having travelled half way across the world to reach us and using 95 litres of water per banana to grow.
Snact are looking to do something to reverse this trend, but they need your help in the fight to ‘create more taste and less waste’.
The brand have launched a Crowdfunding campaign to get an exciting new product range off the ground, in the form of a trio of banana snack bars.
‘There’s been a huge rise in popularity for raw and natural snack bars over the last few years, with the likes of Nakd leading the way. Almost all of these bars use dates as their base, which aren’t a source of food waste, yet bananas are the nation’s favourite fruit and make a better bar with a deliciously soft and moist texture. We hope through the range we can begin to stop nearly 500 million bananas going to waste each year – with one bar saving one banana.’ – Ilana Taub, Snact Co-Founder
Wrapped in cutting edge home-compostable packaging, Snact banana bars are about much more than just saving fruit from going to waste however and look to provide a balanced snack that is richer in both flavour and nutrients, all with less than 130 calories.
Available in three taste bud tantalizing flavours, Apple & Cinnamon Kick, Carrot & Spice Boost and Beetroot and Cacao Blast, each is jam-packed with fruit, veg, nuts and/or superfoods, ranging from quinoa and beetroot to pumpkin seeds and coconut. Vegan friendly and gluten free they provide a host of important vitamins and nutrients, without a flavouring, colourant or artificial sweetener in sight.
Ultimately the result is a tasty snack that provides you with slow-release energy and balanced nutrition to help fuel your day, whether you’ve a late night finish in the office ahead or are about to climb a mountain – they just happen to save the nation’s unwanted bananas in the process.
Get involved in the #deliciousprotest and head over to Snact’s Crowdfunding page, where you can become one of the first people in the country to try the bars – as well as getting your hands on some eco-friendly goodies, from ‘delicious protest’ kits with T-Shirts to knickers and reusable shopping bags. If you pledge over £100, you’ll even get an invite to an exclusive ‘banana party’.
The campaign, which will run for a month, kick starts on the 20th of July and ties in with a re-brand of Snact’s fruit jerky range. Visit www.crowdfunder.co.uk/deliciousprotest to find out more.
Other ways to become a Snactivist and join the #deliciousprotest
- Have a bite and join the fight – try our fruit jerky and check out other brands that use surplus in delicious ways.
- Give ugly fruit and veg some love. They’re more and more available – and often cheaper too. Send us photos of your best finds!
- Do cool stuff with your leftovers. Have you tried baking banana peels yet?
- Tell your friends. Seriously, that’s how you change the world!
Motorbazee.com an automotive portal in India has come up with an informative infographic on car cleaning with baking soda. Yes, you read it right baking soda one of the most common items available in almost all kitchens. To help you clean your car in a green way, protecting the environment from harsh chemical based car cleaners Motorbazee has created an infographic on the topic – Car Cleaning Tips with Baking Soda. Now you can follow this DIY green car cleaning approach to make it shine to the best.
So, let’s explore the infographic below on how you can clean your car – make it shine and can get rid of the bad odour all with an effective product in your kitchen i.e., baking soda.
The idea of sustainability has become a very commonplace term in the last decade. More and more, we are becoming aware of the permanent effects our actions have on the planet, and we are increasingly aware of our personal responsibility to make better choices when it comes to making eco-friendly choices.
Not only do we have a personal responsibility in our homes and daily lives to be more proactive about the environment, but it’s also becoming more important for businesses to start making these moves as well.
Nowadays, companies could be losing out on a lot of business when their customers realize where their products come from or if they don’t at least try to practice sustainability. Often, consumers will go with a competitor who is doing more to work toward sustainability, even if it means spending a little more for their products and services.
New goals for sustainability have been set in the United States in terms of reducing emissions and greenhouse gases, and everyone from large corporations to small businesses will need to start adopting more efficient practices. The following are 5 eco-friendly small businesses in the U.S. that are changing the game for the better:
1. Andean Collection
The Andean Collection was founded by Amanda Judge, an individual with a master’s degree in economic development and a desire to make a positive impact on the world. This jewelry collection was founded to bring sustainable change to impoverish communities in South America, by helping them to create jewelry in a profitable market.
It is an eco-fair-trade jewelry company, where the jewelry is made from seeds that are harvested from the South American rainforest. The nuts are then processed and dyed in a way that is less impactful on the environment. The company uses environmentally friendly textile dyes for coloring the seeds.
Not only is the process of making the jewelry sustainable, but the company also helps to provide women in Ecuador with a way out of poverty.
2. Bennu, LLC
Bennu is a marketing company that provides services for a wide variety of businesses with an eco-friendly mindset. They only make and work with eco-friendly products and use sustainable business practices to lower their carbon footprint.
For example, Bennu works with a company that sells shirts and backpacks that are made with only 100% recycled materials, and they insist on working with certified plants that use decreased emissions and recycled materials.
3. Wash Cycle Laundry
The Wash Cycle Laundry company is a triple-bottom-line business (TBL) that, essentially, picks up your laundry, cleans it in a sustainable way, and then returns it to you—all via bicycle. The company uses natural, locally produced products, as well as high-efficiency washing machines to ensure that the process is eco-friendly from start to finish. The process helps to save on water, energy, and gas in order to beat out regular washing and drying machines that use up a lot more of all of these elements.
Aside from the eco-friendly system they use, Wash Cycle Laundry is working to form relationships with various non-profit job training programs and is the perfect opportunity for those who are having a hard time looking for employment. Those who want a job in a sustainable market that also includes some outdoor exercise are the perfect candidates. The company is growing to serve universities, gyms, salons, and spas and continues its outreach to improve other companies and the way they clean their laundry.
4. Tropical Traders Specialty Foods
This company works to provide vendors with a triple-bottom-business model that creates amazing honey. Tropical Traders Specialty Foods sells honey under the names Royal Hawaiian Honey and Bee Well Honey brands. Their honey is 100% raw and comes from a family-owned apiary on the Big Island of Hawaii.
The honey itself is certified organic and was named the nation’s first certified carbon neutral food. Honey made under the Bee Well Honey brand is harvested in Brazil and is also available as certified organic and Fair Trade Certified. Aside from the product being certified organic, the company ensures that they are certified carbon neutral and that the beekeepers involved are paid fair wages (fair trade).
The integrity of the company is to treat co-workers, bees, and the environment in a fair and respectful way. The success of their business relies on ecological awareness and preservation, and this small business uses their platform to share their world views and help others to become more aware of the effects of sustainability.
5. Liberty Bottleworks
Liberty Bottleworks is a green company that works entirely within the United States. Manufactured from 100% recycled aluminum, Liberty Bottles are the only product with their process completed entirely within the U.S. The equipment used for manufacturing uses less water and resources, and their waste water is cleaned for reuse. Any metal scraps are also melted down so that they may also be reused to make more bottles.
The basics of this company were to support the United States, create more jobs in the country, support U.S. suppliers and to do it all in clean factories. The goal is to be a zero-waste business, and, even after all of the eco-friendly actions that are already taken, the company still donates 5% of net sales of their Karma collection bottles to charities, including Keep America Beautiful, National Parks Conservation Association, and Canned Water 4 Kids.
It’s important for all business to take responsibility for their company’s carbon footprint and for them to have an understanding of the kinds of effects it will have on the environment. Even now, as many companies work to reduce their footprint, the planet still needs more help to reverse the effects of some of our poorer choices of the past.
Working with certified companies is important, in order to ensure that the businesses you’re supporting are providing you with products and services that you can trust. It’s a great idea to speak with companies you support to ask them about their processes or to offer some suggestions to help them reduce their impact on the environment for the future.