Search results for chemicals

How you should drink your coffee (and it’s not about butter!)

Posted on October 29th, 2014

I drink coffee. I love the stuff. But I have to say I’ve been wondering how mindful I’ve been about it lately. I decided to dig around a bit and get informed. I’ve adjusted my habit accordingly. Feel free to do so too because every little bit of care counts.

We have more than one kilo of undigested plastic in our systems from ingesting our foods via bourgeois accoutrements...

We have more than one kilo of undigested plastic in our systems from ingesting our foods via bourgeois accoutrements…

1. Piff the coffee pods

These things – despite George Clooney’s mug being attached to them – are ghastly suckers. Thanks to George’s thumb’s up (in part) billions of coffee pods are ending up in landfill each year. Last year, Choice reported Nespresso alone had sold 28 billion such pods worldwide – about 28 million kilograms of aluminium. Sure, they’re recycle. But in practice they rarely are, particularly the plastic ones, which are the more common, cheaper version. Plus this: hot water passing through the pod essentially “cooks” the plastic and the substances in the pod’s lining is leaked into your coffee. This may or may not bother you.

2. Give up your takeaway cup habit…the lids are poisoning you

Disposable cups are a travesty. When the hot liquid passes through the plastic lid as you drink your coffee, it has been shown BPA is drawn out of the plastic by the acidity levels and the heat. BPA is a known thyroid/endocrine disruptor, a tedious Read more

What to look for in your cleaning products. Plus a giveaway!

Posted on August 19th, 2014

If you’ve been following the My Simple Home series, you’ll know I’m really rather committed to keeping my home ecologically and ergonomically minimal and sustainable. I’ve shared on toxic hazards you should avoid and how to detox your kitchen. Oh, and how to buy a sustainable couch. Which I did finally do!

Banksy image

Banksy image

Today, I’ll touch on a few tips for cleaning up your cleaning products… for toxicity and environmental purposes. Plus, the kind folk at ENJO (a planet-friendly cleaning product company that makes microfibre products requiring only water) are kicking in to give away

an ENJO Essential Pack of cleaning gloves, cloths, paste, detergents and floor cleaners – everything you need to clean your floors, bathroom and living areas – valued at $950 

Keen? See the details below.

And just so you know, this is a sponsored post, but as always views are all my own. You’ll find my very particular position on sponsored posts and advertising here and further thoughts below.*

How to clean up your cleaning habits

1. Check for eco labels by independent accreditors.  Try  programs like Good Environmental Choice Australia (GECA), Planet Ark, Australian Certified Organics and National Asthma Council Australia’s Sensitive Choice. You can read more at Green Lifestyle Mag.

2. Read your labels. Detergents have two major ingredient categories: “builders” to reduce water hardness and “surfactants” to lower the surface tension of water.

  • Avoid the bad “builders”, namely any kind of phosphates, which contribute to the deoxygenation of marine environments, and EDTA, (ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid), which can bind to heavy metals and cause damage to both people and aquatic animals.
  • Instead, go for products that use safe builders such as sodium citrate or sodium bicarbonate.
  • Avoid these “surfactants”: butyl or 2-butoxyethanol, which are toxic when inhaled, and oxalates, which can interfere with hormonal regulation above certain concentrations.
  • Instead, choose surfactants like alkyl polyglycoside, isopropanol and glycerol.

Here’s more on how to know if your green cleaner is really eco-friendly.

3. Use cleaning cloths that go straight in the wash. I’m not a fan of wastage. Disposal Chux wipes drive me mental. And don’t get me started on paper towels! I’ve found this clever all-purpose cloth that does the day-to-day work, and this Kitchen Glove designed with two different sides to remove grease, grime and food residue from your rangehood, bench-tops, splash back area, tiles, stove top, inside your oven and microwave. Once you’ve finished, just pop in the wash. I’ve come across ENJO a few times in my quest for toxin-free cleaning products. Founder and CEO Barb had a son who was struggling Read more

How to buy the most sustainable sofa (ever).

Posted on March 14th, 2014

As many readers of this blog know, it’s taken me 40 years to buy a sofa. Which, it so happens, is 32 years longer than it took Steve Jobs.

Image via Favim.com

Image via Favim.com

I’ve previously found some comfort in the fact it took Jobs eight tortured years to find his perfect sofa and quietly repositioned my chronic couch commitment phobia as genius when I read that Job’s indecision was due to the same eccentric perfectionism that created the iPhone.

Perfectionism certainly stalled me, as it does often. In this case I feel (reasonably) justified. I do think it’s super important to make a thoroughly researched and mindful decision when it comes to big house hardware. A lot of resources go into creating, building and delivering them. As well as disposing of them once we realize we made a dumb, fashionable purchase.

I think it’s criminal that many of us now regard furniture as almost seasonal.

I don’t want to be the person chucking out a cheap sofa after three years.

I want to be the person who proudly holds on to it, allows stories to attach to it, has it in her life as a familiar totem and who can pass it on in 30 years to a loved one.

How about I outline a few factors I considered in making my decision, and some tips for buying the most sustainable, toxin-free, environmentally credible, practical, timeless, economical sofa possible. (For those not wanting to read all the way to the punch-line: I arrived at the “Leila” three-seater (deep option) by Jardan.)

First up, let’s be real:

  • The most sustainable option is second-hand. No new resources used, no waste going into landfill. Makes sense.
  • The most toxin-free option is second-hand. Most modern couches contain flame retardants that are not chemically bonded to the foam, they are ineffective in preventing furniture fires and are linked to serious health effects. Formaldehyde is used in pressed wood products and may be present in couches that are stain-resistant. With a pre-loved sofa, someone else bore these toxic loads. Clean sailing for you.

I looked into second-hand options for quite some time, and have previously taken on couches from friends and from off the street etc. But I was turning 40 and felt it was time to invest in something that actually suited my needs.

If you buy from scratch:

  • Be practical with the shape. Think about it. Reflect on how you use a couch. I went for a three-seater (I wanted the couch to be a hero Read more