Neogreene Provides Even More Alternatives To Neoprene

We’ve previously talked about Neogreene and it being a green alternative to neoprene. That “Neoprene smell?” is actually off-gassing Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). Formaldehyde, lead, chlorine and toluene are frequently in there and many people are sensitive to these chemicals, so it’s not uncommon for people using wetsuits to have a skin reaction to the material.

A company called GreenSmart were determined to find a cleaner, greener alternative. They have expanded to lunch bags and wine bottle carriers, taking the stink out of lunch and giving a stylish way to carry and keep wine chilled during the holidays. The water bottle sleeves have now gotten refined in their design and come in a range of colors.

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They have three designs of lunch bag, called Sifaka, Margay, and Javan, that expand on the often staid concept of what a lunch bag can look like.

Wine bottles get a non toxic, stylish home as well, with models called Finback (holds one bottle) and Bowhead (two bottles).

As you may have noticed, all the products have animal names. These are endangered species, a reminder that GreenSmart now donates 10% of net profits to the World Wildlife Fund and other environmental organizations.

Neogreene is a result of a long, careful collaboration with GreenSmart’s supplier, and is a vast improvement:

  • All water based adhesives
  • No Chlorine
  • PVC & Lead Free
  • No Formaldehyde
  • No VOCs
  • 25% less petroleum than neoprene
  • 25% less energy (compared to producing neoprene)
  • Even the green coloring of the Neogreene is a water based dye (neoprene cannot be dyed)

Check them out at GreenSmart

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Saving The Planet By Small Contributions

Another post from Big Green Smile. This one’s written by Nick.

Governmental advice on how to help the planet will be available in a pamphlet that will be available from our libraries later this year.

We at BigGreenSmile can only smile at the Government’s advice that is spot on with our mantra:

Big change is required in the way we live but big change doesn’t always have to be made by governments. The individual can make a difference and small changes by one person can have a ripple effect through society at large. The information includes how the public can make simple changes to their lives contributing to climate change.

Hanging out clothes instead of using a tumble dryer
Cutting food waste
Use less water when boiling a kettle (see our Eco Kettle)
Taking showers rather than baths (why not save more with our aerated showerheads)
Switch off the television at night (check out our Standby buster)
The leaflet also includes areas on how to insulate your home and using energy saving light bulbs (our energy saving light bulbs)

This is a starter for ten for the Government’s plans to commit Britain to ambitious global greenhouse gas reductions when the talks take place at the UN’s climate change meeting in Copenhagen in December. We say bring it on!

What Is Neoprene and What Is The Alternative?

I never really knew, but I suppose I could have guessed that Neoprene, that black stretchy material that goes into wetsuits, laptop sleeves, water bottle covers is full of toxic nastiness, particularly the solvents used to glue it to other materials. That “Neoprene smell?” is actually off-gassing Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). Formaldehyde, lead, chloring and toluene are frequently in there and many people are sensitive to these chemicals, so it’s not uncommon for people using wetsuits to have a skin reaction to the material.

A company called GreenSmart were determined to find a cleaner, greener alternative. Neogreene is a result of a long, careful collaboration with GreenSmart’s supplier, and is a vast improvement:

neogreene
  • All water based adhesives
  • No Chlorine
  • PVC & Lead Free
  • No Formaldehyde
  • No VOCs
  • 25% less petroleum than neoprene
  • 25% less energy (compared to producing neoprene)
  • Even the green coloring of the Neogreene is a water based dye (neoprene cannot be dyed)

The first products to include Neogreene are laptop sleeves and water bottle totes/holsters. The first thing you notice is something missing: No cardboard packaging framing the sleeves for store display. Just a small fabric loop at top for it to hang in stores, with a paper tag telling you about it, itself recycled and recyclable.

They realize there’s more to go to eliminate all non renewable resources, using all recycled material, and they’re committed to continuing towards that goal. Meanwhile they have a product who makers don’t have to use masks while manufacturing it, and is safer to us, while apparently being at a competitive price to the typical options out there.

Click to find more info on Neogreene and recycled plastic bottle Bottles 2 Bag gear and
Neogreene water bottle totes.

Lighting The Wind

Another piece of eco product news for you, one that is not only environmentally friendly (at least in the way that it’s powered), but looks cool too.

Firewinder

The Firewinder, also known as the Original Windlight, is a decorative and completely wind-powered outdoor light from the UK-based Firewinder Company that transforms the ebb and flow of the wind into an upwardly spiraling glowing light. Wind from any direction spins a small turbine on the helix-shaped device, thereby lighting up LEDs along its outer edge.

With light winds of at least 3 mph, the Firewinder emits a dim glow, but as winds increase, so too does the brilliance of its light. In variable winds, the result is a pulsing, twisting glow that appears to float in mid-air. The Firewinder can be hung or mounted to a post or wall, and it’s made of recyclable materials; no batteries or wires are required. It will be available starting late summer in the UK priced at £99.95.

You can watch it in action below:


If you cannot see this video, please go here

[Via: Springwise]

Interview With An Eco Coach

Anca Novacovici is an eco coach. What’s that I hear you ask? Well we asked that too.

Tell us about how you came to set up Eco-Coach and be one?
I have always had a passion for the environment, and have wanted to work in the field for quite some time. My interest has been in helping businesses become more environmentally-friendly, since businesses use a large amount of resources. However, at the time that I graduated from college, and later on, from grad school, sustainability consulting was not a well-known field. Therefore I went the more traditional management consulting route, hoping one day to be able to do what I am doing now. While I enjoyed my time in the management consulting arena, learned a lot and have met some amazing people, I decided to start Eco-Coach to combine my interest and skills from consulting with my passion for the environment.

anca.jpg

How do you help people and businesses?
We educate individuals and businesses and provide them with the tools to help them be more eco-friendly. For individuals, we do this through workshops on different aspects of green living, home eco-audits, and a variety of related services. For businesses, we provide support through green business audits, sustainability planning and benchmarking, training and educational workshops, and LEED certification and consultations.

Why do people/companies come to you? Is it not something they can do themselves?
They come to us because we have the expertise to do it and we bring in past experience and best practices that will enable them to obtain a better solution in a shorter period of time than they probably would by doing it on their own. They can certainly do most of this themselves, but it would take them more time and resources; by working with us, this enables them to focus on their core business while we focus on helping them become more sustainable.

What’s been the most surprising thing that you’ve learnt from the reviews and consultations?
When I started the business, I thought individuals would be more willing to hire someone to work with them than would businesses. However, I have found the reverse to be true. Businesses are eager to become more sustainable, whether it is to save money, improve their brand image, or from a genuine desire to help the environment. Individuals are also interested, but most are more willing to take small steps and spend a minimal amount versus investing considerable time and money in becoming more eco-friendly.

What sort of things do you suggest?
Suggestions for businesses vary based on the situation, and can be either simple or more complicated, depending on resources and commitment. Some of the simpler recommendations include: purchasing wind power, implementing lighting changes, installing water saving fixtures, changing to eco-friendly products/vendors, greening existing services, and training and educating employees. More complex suggestions include implementing a sustainability plan, identifying ways to become carbon neutral, and making building-related changes.

Once you’ve finished with a business or person, do they stick to what you’ve told them?
From our experience, most businesses and individuals will take the suggestions and implement a majority. Though not all of them. Some clients have come back to us and asked for further recommendations, and we will do these as long as they have implemented all of the previous recommendations or have a good reason for not having done so.
Interview With An Eco Coach

Bulldog Natural Grooming Shave Gel Product Review

I try to shave as little as possible, but as I don’t want a beard (unlike Adam), and my wife complains, it means “as little as possible” is almost every day. I tend to think shave gels and creams are pretty much alike, some are cheap and some expensive but they all do the same job. Then we were sent some Bulldog Natural Grooming Shave Gel.

Bulldog Natural Grooming Shave Gel

It didn’t change my world massively, but I was impressed. For example, as I was testing it for the first time, this is the conversation I had with my wife:

“Something smells good!?”
Me: “It’s me!”
“No, seriously, something smells new and different.”
Me: “I know, it’s ME!”

She was right to a degree, it wasn’t really me but the shave gel. Made with seven essential oils, paraban free with Aloe Vera (apparently for cooling and softening), Jojoba (a natural moisturiser) and Konjac Mannan (for, er, “slip”), there are a full list of ingredients plus a downloadable explanation to what each ingredient is, on the Bulldog website. The gel had an almost menthol flavour and tingled on my lips, and as I had a cold at the time, actually helped me :).

Besides the product itself, I like the humour on the packaging, for example the back states “Unless you’re a geography teacher or a communist revolutionary [or Adam] you’ll have to shave sometime”. Besides that, there’s not much left to say. it’s nice to use a decent shave gel that has been naturally sourced. My face was fine afterwards, no more ugly than usual so I guess it works well.

Bulldog are a small company based in London. Currently their products are just available in the UK and through our new Life Goggles Reviews and Shop page.

Eco Funerals

Number 28 of our 100 Ways To Save The Planet is to have a green funeral, mentioning Arka Original Funerals and Ecopod. However there is an even more extreme measure you can go to – freeze-dried burials.

Critics say that unless sufficient safeguards are in place for eco-burials, the human remains inside those coffins can pose a hazard since they may contain toxic metals and other substances that can seep into groundwater.

Freeze Dried Funerals

Which is why various companies are promoting high-tech methods that allow cadavers to decompose while avoiding potential environmental hazards. Some of the techniques may seem strange, but they eliminate the messy embalming fluids, concrete crypts and metallic caskets used in traditional burials. Promessa Organic are a Swedish company whose technology begins by freezing a body to -18C. A bath in liquid nitrogen cools the corpse even further, making it brittle. Next, vibrations render it into powder, and later the water that makes up the largest part of human bodies is evaporated by means of a vacuum chamber. Finally, ground polluting metals – such as mercury from tooth fillings – are removed, and the now-purified powder is placed in a small, corn starch casket. Once buried, casket and remains fully decompose in 6–12 months.

[Via: Springwise]