Probably one of the most famous names in candle making, Yankee Candle, are best known for their huge range of scents in big glass jars you find in home shops and garden centres. What they haven’t been is particularly environmentally friendly, until now.
Scented Candle Shop sent Life Goggles one of the candles from its Beanswax range – with an Open Space scent. Yep, Open Space. Basically that seems to be the smell of grass, which is actually surprisingly pleasant and not something I would normally think of when buying a candle. More on the scent later.
The candle itself comes in a tin and while not recycled, it is recyclable and it negates the need for a candle holder. The wax is 100% all-natural American soy wax, the wick is 100% natural and no artificial colour or dyes are used – not bright green candle for you.
And it burns quite nicely in its self contained unit. It’s quite light so be careful not to knock it like I did and spill wax everywhere. Although it went on my skin it wasn’t actually that hot and is a milky white in colour which proved a challenge to clean up on my kitchen surface which was almost the same colour. That’s not a criticism, it actually shows the lack of dye in it.
Back to the smell. Unlike other Yankee Candle products I found the smell a lot more delicate and it didn’t overpower a room like its mainstream products. In fact it could have done with being a little stronger I thought, but other than than I’ve been impressed with the candle. And I like the direction the company is going in. There are lots of scents in the Beanswax range and some have two wicks to create a stronger smell.
You can buy the Open Space candle I reviewed for £5.39 from the Scented Candle Shop.
The Scented Candle Shop kindly sent Life Goggles a lot of candles to review. And I mean a lot, there were about 60 in all. Okay some were packs of candles but that’s still a lot of candles to review and hopefully once we’re done it’ll mean we’ve covered the majority of environmentally friendly candles out there.
Anyway on this organic pillar candle from Heaven Scent; Kate reviewed a Ylang Ylang version of it back in December 2008 so we know it has good eco credentials. Made from 100% organic vegan plant wax and natural oils, it’s harder to get a better candle for the environment.
The one pictured is the one I tested, a mini pillar candle that’s remarkably cheap, so I wasn’t expecting much, but it’s very strongly scented and once lit will fill the whole room without being overpowering. The wax is different from what you’re used to with candles and it will just disappear rather than melt, it almost crystallises.
To make the most of it I’d suggest putting the candle in a bathroom or toilet as it will overpower other smells and give smaller rooms a nice smell. For my first review from the Scented Candle Shop I’m very impressed.
The Sea Breeze Organic Pillar Candle costs £1.79 and can be found here.
We’ve tested a lot of water bottles at Life Goggles (look under Home), but I have to say stainless steel bottles are still my favourite.
Even with BPA-free reusable plastic water bottles I simply prefer the taste of the water from them. I certainly don’t need to tell you about the reasons not to use disposable plastic bottles although the other week I used one myself without thinking, all too easily done!
So Eco Canteen sent us some bottles to test, the bottles are stainless steel, no aluminum, with a plastic cap (polyproylene #5 as apparently that’s the safest, non-leaching plastic). You can put the bottle in the dishwasher, but just wash the cap in soapy water. As you can see from the picture the bottle is clean in design, 26oz (a 16oz version is available) and has a wide enough neck to take ice cubes (one problem with my SIGG).
The Eco Canteen also has a carabiner clip on the top to hook to your backpack or sports bag, and comes with a free insulated tote (although a small additional p&h charge is included). Mine came in black, though their websites show blue and green too. It has a little shoulder strap should you ever need to carry it that way or secure it to something else. The bottle arrived securely but minimally packaged.
So if you’re looking to give up the plastic habit and save money, and want to try stainless steel water bottles then check them out.
I recently took the opportunity to test out some new recycled paper products from LetsGoGreen, the online only eco-friendly supplier.
We have previously taken a look at some of their green products here , but this time I wanted to check out the recycled paper sampler, and some other items.
I’ve tested the toilet paper before and pretty good it is too, indistinguishable from most other types, and certainly a lot better for the environment, being recycled without chlorine or bleaching.
The paper towels were of a handy size (we had some old ones from Costco that came off the roll about the size of a bath towel….) and cheaper when buying a single roll or 6-pack than that of Bounty from my local grocery store. With more sheets too, though I’m not sure of the size of the sheets.
The recycled facial tissues are good, though if you’re of the sensitive type, they are not as soft as other non-recycled brands. They’re perfectly good for me though, and again the price is good.
The recycled napkins – I can’t tell the difference between the other non-recycled ones we have. I’m sure not many people could and they, er, work perfectly well too.
While I was there I also bought a toilet tank bank for my new house (I didn’t take the old one with me….) and some more degradable trash bags, which at the moment of writing, are on sale.
We’ve looked at VerTerra dinner plates before, and they have now released their Signature Collection.
I got a four piece pack including a 6″ and 8″ plate, a 6″ bowl and a small tray. Essentially more curvy and stylish than the plates in my previous video, they still undergo the same rigorous steaming and heating to sterilize the fallen leaves that can be then used as plates and bowls. As always they are chemical-free, non-toxic, biodegradable, sustainable, renewable, microwave, oven-, and refrigerator-safe, and at the end of their use, compostable (unlike recycled paper plates).
I found them to be a great talking point at our housewarming party, plus made me feel good about the leftover trash! And they look more stylish than the regular versions. They held up well, though through a variety of sauces and cutting they’re not really reusable, but are not intended to be. No need to transfer leftovers on to another plate or bowl to put in the fridge either, as they are safe to use there, and also safe for the microwave when the food was reheated.
The question I got most after “what are they made of?” is “how much do they cost?”. Compared to other eco friendly choices, they are more expensive than recycled paper (not compostable or oven safe), recycled plastic (not biodegradable, compostable or oven safe), bio plastic corn (no hot liquids, nor oven safe and partially compostable), but cheaper than bamboo paper plates that aren’t compostable or oven safe. Price varies by size of plate and the number of plates you get, so take a look at their website for the latest info.
My cousin summed them up: “Dinnerware from fallen leaves? Nice!”
One of the things we definitely wanted when we move into our new house was an eco-friendly bed. The main part of that was a mattress not drenched in fire-retardant chemicals.
After doing some research and attempting to find somewhere near by that we could visit, we took a trip to Mattress World, part of Davis World, in Hillcrest, San Diego. They carried seven different organic mattresses at the time, telling me that they used to carry just one but as demand grew they increased the range and choice as more and more customers were looking for an organic mattress.
We chose the Land And Sky Mountain View mattress partly by recommendation partly by choice. Mattress World were shipping these mattresses all over the US to people who had never even tried them in their store, plus it’s extremely comfortable.
The bed has three inches of organic latex to provide additional support and is swathed in 100% organic cotton cover filled with naturally flame retardant, moisture wicking, insulating pure wool. This means there is no need for massive chemical treatment. The organic latex acts kind of like a memory foam but again, without the man-made chemicals.
The top rests atop an all-natural unvarnished wood foundation handcrafted in the Amish community. It comes in three varieties:
Mountain View Plush: The entry-level Mountain View model features everything listed above, and provides a plush feel for customers who desire a firmer feel.
Mountain View Euro Pillowtop: The mid-level Mountain View model features an additional three inches of BreatheFresh latex in a sewn-in Euro-style pillowtop.
Mountain View Boxtop: The top-of-the-line Mountain View model features an additional three inches of BreatheFresh latex in a free-floating boxtop-style pillowtop, providing the utmost in comfort that conforms to your body.
After three months of sleeping on the bed I’ve no complaints, it’s very comfortable, the only problem being I have difficulty getting out of bed in the morning!
I was a little sceptical about having a composter in the kitchen having grown up with a large one in the garden, mainly for grass cuttings. And I don’t throw that much away that needs composting… do I?
It turns I do, or I did, as I don’t any more. The beauty of this composter is that you can just keep it right next to the sink or near the bin and then you just throw stuff in. Eggshells, vegetable peelings, teabags, banana skins and so on can just be tossed in. It’s amazing how much stuff used to go in the bin. Even things like paper can be composted and it’s good for the compost to throw some in occasionally. In fact, if you search the internet you can find ‘recipes’ for good compost.
With a secure lid that stops smells coming out and a carry handle, the design is simple but effective. And the fact that it’s small stops it becoming too smelly as you’ll fill it up quickly and empty it often.
The 5 Litre Kitchen Composter is available from Ethical Superstore for £4.95.