Nothing screams clean more then the heady whiff of bleach or hospital strength disinfectant, right? Wrong, wrong and wrong again. We all know that the chemicals in conventional cleaning products are as horrible for our health as they are for the environment. That’s why the real housewives of Orange Country and New York City are opting for a greener approach to cleaning their homes. And where these early adopters lead, the rest of the country will follow: just look at the popularity of breast implants.
But seriously, using non-toxic cleaning products in your home is a no-brainer. In the same way asbestos is now outlawed, I’m sure one day we’ll look back on the days of 2-butoxyethanol (EGBE), sodium hypochlorite, sodium dichloroisocyanurate with a certain nostalgia, I mean nausea.
Supply seems to be meeting demand with a host of green cleaning companies springing up nationwide. Executive director of the Association of Residential Cleaning Professionals, Perry Phillips, explains: “It’s definitely a trend in our industry, more and more customers want their homes cleaned in a health-conscious way.” What’s more, customers are happy to fork out premium prices for the service, which is often due to the higher costs of eco-products.
In addition to eco-maids armed only with Seventh Generation, Ecover, Method, vinegar and baking soda, this new breed of green cleaners also offers education and consulting services; eco-painting; eco-janitors for the workplace; even (eh-hem) space blessing and energy clearing.
Okay maybe that last stuff is little new age-y, but as far as cleaning services are concerned, there’s no doubt in my mind that green is the new clean.
Water heaters are not the sexiest of appliances. They certainly don’t inspire song or poetry. And no-one would choose one to become their muse. But as the second biggest energy guzzler in your home, it’s important we know at least enough about them to make a smart choice. GE has come out with two new water heaters: the tankless and the hybrid electric. They have a great video explaining the functions of each — which means no more hiding behind illiteracy to shroud environmental ignorance.
Got wood? You will. Just as soon as you lay your eyes on the Mya lingerie collection by French label g=9.8. Designer Sophie Young’s line of exquisite bras and knickers are made naturally. No, really. They’re made from white pine tree prunings.
The wood, which comes from sustainably managed forests, is enzymically processed into fiber without the need for extra water. Add to that a touch of spandex for stretch and low impact dyes for color…et voila! The resulting fabric is as soft as silk with the feel of cashmere and coolness of linen. It’s anti-bacterial, bio-degradable and won’t lose its shape. Plus it’ll be shipped to you in a cute clutch made of recycled materials or purchased fair trade.
Fashion is a wasteful industry. This statement doesn’t refer to the rivers of champagne that flow backstage at runway shows or the cans of aerosol required to set the models hair; it mostly refers to the enormous amount of excess fabric that’s a seemingly inevitable by-product of the production process. Did you know that 15% of the material in cut and sew garments are tossed out?
London-based designer and graduate of the prestigious Saint Martin’s College, Mark Liu, has come up with innovative solution to this sartorial dilemma — an imaginative cutting process that thumbs its nose at waste. By cutting pieces from a single roll of fabric (like you would cut a jigsaw puzzle), Liu’s Stique line of cutting edge fashions generates zero waste. After all, says Liu, “wasted materials are bad for the environment and a loss in potential profits.”
As a half-breed (Japanese/English) female, non-American citizen (and unable to vote), I feel I’m uniquely positioned to comment on the upcoming Presidential elections. I can tell you completely agree, so here we go.
First off, I know what your thinking, so what exactly are my qualifications? I have none. I just like the sound of my own internal monologue. Seriously, the only thing I have in common with Arianna Huffington is a European passport and a strong dislike of the Bush administration. In any case, here I go — a looksy at the candidates, with specific emphasis on race.
So, what can the green fashionista look forward to, fashionwise, in the spring/summer of 2008? If you were at Econouveau, a “collection of the most innovative eco-fashion designers in a non-traditional runway show crafted for an audience of 1,500 international press, buyers and eco-conscious celebrities and influencers”, this past weekend, you’d be in the know. But if you weren’t, don’t fret. G Living was there on your behalf.
In depth coverage is coming soon. But here’s a sneaky preview:
Los Angeles-based designer Amanda Shi kicked off the night with the latest offerings from Avita. The theme of her collection, Global Fairyland, featured a lot of pretty pastels, mini dresses, knits and florals — many of them made from her fave eco-fabric, organic cottons.
Let’s face it: we all have a vice or two. Mine? I’m addicted to the white stuff. Those little white grains filled with the promise of livening up any…dish. Ha, ha — had you for a moment, right? I’m speaking of salt, silly. It’s true: my palate is on the salty side. I justify my sodium intake by only sprinkling organic sea salt or squirting Braggs on my salads or soups and avoiding processed food like the plague. But in any case, writing this article serves as a good reminder to cut back.
So, what should I do with all this leftover salt I won’t be consuming? Luckily, UK-based Hippyshopper complied a list 10 eco-friendly uses for salt. Here are some of my favorites:
1. Treat a bee sting. Having endured more the eight bee stings (I kid you not), I wish I’d known about this one earlier. You simply wet the sting and then cover the affected area with salt. Apparently it’s much more effective (and cheaper) than most over-the-counter remedies. Hope I never get the opportunity to try this one out.
Water. While over one billion people in the developing world don’t have access to the clean sort for drinking, here in the West, we take it for granted. We leave our sprinklers on timers and end up watering our lawns on drizzly mornings; we obsess about which bottled water is currently in vogue; and we ignore the fact our showers are often a tad too long. So, what can we do to get smarter about water usage? Green Choices offers us “50 ways to save water” that covers our homes both inside and out. Here are the highlights:
In the kitchen:
1. Only run the dishwasher and washing machine when they are full. Sounds like a no-brainer, but the lazy and china-challenged amongst us seem to conveniently forget. For small loads, wash ‘em by hand.
Who? Sure, it’s not a story about Madonna and her appearance on the cover of Vanity Fair’s Green Issue or Trudie Styler saving Ecuadorean tribes or Leonardo DiCaprio kitting his house out with solar panels. So, why are we writing about this former Dallas cheerleader/American Idol semi-finalist? Because she’s a TV host and we all know that’s the most important job in the world. (At least that’s what I tell myself every morning on my way to work.) Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos
As an emerging green fashionista will tell you, it’s exciting to discover and fall in love with a new designer — and then later unearth the fact that they are green. It’s like eating an entire tub of ice cream and learning afterwards that it was National No Calorie Day. Or to find out that cigarettes were good for you after all. (I’m so kidding about this inflammatory last remark — no pun intended).
If global temperatures rise as predicted, the planet’s sobering message to tropical insects is: adapt or die. Scientists warn that a full blown wipeout is in the cards, altering the face the entomology forever as we bid adieu to a host of beetles, butterflies, aphids and others insects.
Researchers at the University of Washington explained that while temperature rises could deplete insect populations in the tropics, it could also result in an insect boom at higher latitudes as tropical insects are driven out of their normal habitats. The effects on plants pollination and the food supply are unknown. Says the BBC: “In the research published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the U.S. scientists studied how temperature changes between 1950 and 2000 had affected 38 species of insects”.
Who would have guessed that a big pusher for a greener Britain would turn out to be none other than Prince Charles? The Prince of Wales, who published details of his personal carbon footprint in 2007 and is also trying to reduce those of the royal household, has long been a campaigner for the natural world. And it appears that his latest project will allow HRH to meld his interests in architecture, organic produce, sustainability and the environment, all into one… town.
Dubbed “eco-town”, planners from the Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment and the developer Red Tree have been granted permission to build “Sherford, a brand new town for 12,000 people, in South Devon that is billed as Britain’s greenest settlement”.