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A beginners guide to eco cleaning

Posted by Peter Leatherland on 16th September 2014 with 0 comments

Nowadays we associate household cleaning with chemical products and harsh disinfectants. Indeed, there is a prevalent belief among some that a thing hasn’t been properly cleaned until it has been bleached to within an inch of its life.

Eco CleaningHowever, this isn’t the case and for centuries people cleaned their homes and their clothes in a much more natural way.

Now ‘eco cleaning’, as it has been dubbed, is coming back in fashion – albeit slowly – and it has plenty of benefits. From lower costs to a smaller environmental impact, eco cleaning is a great way to scrub up in a greener and more efficient way.

Benefits of eco cleaning

There are six obvious benefits from switching to more environmentally friendly cleaning methods. These include:

1) Less chemicals being absorbed into the body

By removing the presence of harsh, synthesised chemicals during the cleaning process, it limits their existence in your home and prevents them from being absorbed into the skin. This is especially important for children and those with sensitive skin.

2) A purer environment

Using natural cleaning ingredients means the world around you is not being polluted by harsh chemicals.

3) Better air quality

If chemicals aren’t being produced and disseminated into the air, air quality should improve.

4) Lower cost

Natural ingredients are cheaper and can often be used multiple times, making cleaning more cost effective.

5) Safer products

Chemicals are highly dangerous but natural goods often don’t present the same level of danger. This is because they are generally not flammable or toxic.

6) Ingredient transparency.

With natural products, you know what has gone into them and where ingredients have been sourced – something that is much harder with chemical products.

How to get green

The first thing you need to do if you decide to switch to eco cleaning methods is to identify your core ingredients. These are water, lemon juice, salt, baking soda and vinegar. These will allow you to clean your entire home in a much greener way. There may be a few other things you need to add, but these are certainly the main ones to get started with.

Once you’ve got these stored away, you need to learn how to use them effectively.

Let’s start from the outside in.

Mixing four tablespoons of lemon juice with half a gallon of water is a brilliant way to clean windows. The juice helps to break through dirt and create a great shine. If you’re a newspaper reader, instead of throwing them away, use them to wipe down the windows once you have applied the lemon juice/water solution. This technique can also be used to clean mirrors and other glass surfaces.

Once your windows are clean, it’s time to move inside and start polishing. Water and lemon juice will work well for plastic surfaces but for wood you need to combine two parts olive oil and one part lemon juice. Apply to the wood using a soft cloth. For tough stains, add some salt to create a thin paste. Wipe it on then lightly buff the area with the soft cloth.

For metal surfaces, combine salt, vinegar and flour in equal parts to make a paste. Rub it onto the metal, leave it to dry for an hour, then wipe it off.

Baking soda is one of the best ways to get rid of household smells. Add some to the bottom of the bin or wash containers with it. You can also wipe down surfaces with baking soda by adding a small amount to a damp cloth.

EcoballsCleaning clothes in an eco way may seem a bit more tricky at first but it’s actually easier than you think. It’s all about efficiency so be sure to only use the temperature you need and add an ecoball. EcoZone Ecoballs can be used for up to 1,000 washes, which is the equivalent of around 50 boxes of washing powder. Simply put the ball in the water to ionize it. The ionized water then gets deep into clothes, washing dirt away.

Costing less than three pence per wash, ecoballs are cost effective and completely get rid of harmful chemicals that irritate the skin and harm the environment.

The post A beginners guide to eco cleaning appeared first on Ethical Blog from Ethicalsuperstore.com.

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Traidcraft – Fighting poverty through trade

Posted by Andy Redfern on 15th September 2014 with 0 comments

Traidcraft LogoIt’s not often on an autumn Saturday morning you see the Shadow Minister of State for Employment, the wife of an Archbishop and the CEO of the World Wildlife Fund in a drafty warehouse in Gateshead. But then, the AGM of Traidcraft PLC, is no ordinary event.

Traidcraft is one of the pioneers of the fair trade movement in the UK. It began trading in 1979 importing fair trade handicrafts from India and Bangladesh out of a building in Carliol Square in Newcastle. To fund its growth in the 80s it became an unlisted UK PLC and sold shares to its supporters. After several rounds of funding, there are now 5,500 people who each own a small portion of Traidcraft. The AGM is the chance for those shareholders to get together and reflect on what the company has achieved in the last year and hear about the plans for the next.

Traidcraft was found by a group of Christians who had gone to Durham University and grew out of a passionate desire to give some practical expression to the principles of justice and love in international trade. There is still a Christian basis to the organisation today and the AGM begins with a short act of Christian worship including a powerful reflection on some coffee beans.

This year Traidcraft celebrated some great new innovations. The most significant of which was the launch of the clean and fair range of cleaning products. Creating a fair trade and sustainable palm oil has been a major move for Traidcraft over the last few years. Palm oil is well known for the negative environmental impact it has on the rain forest in Malaysia and Indonesia. (You can read about the Greenpeace campaign to stop rainforest destruction and protect orang-utans here). So Traidcraft is working with palm oil growers in Ghana on a long term programme to provide fair trade palm oil while protecting the local eco-system at the same time. Traidcraft is pioneering a new way of working in a market that produces 60million tonnes of palm oil every year.

Traidcraft AGMLeveraging a small action to drive a major change is at the heart of Traidcraft’s mission. While it is keen for you to buy and support its products, it has a mission to change the face of world trade. So often you will find it campaigning on much bigger issues than just the products it sells. It’s latest campaign is the Justice Campaign that seeks to make UK companies for more accountable for the actions they take in developing countries.

Perhaps the most inspiring part of the day was listening to Tomy Mathew from Fair Trade Alliance Kerala. An amazing organisation that brings together many thousands of small holder farmers in the South West India, to enable their products to be sold on fair trade terms. He spoke at length and with great passion about the benefits of fair trade and how it is now time to go even further. He challenged us to look at “fair trade plus three” – the “plus three” referring to supporting biodiversity, food security and gender justice – all big issues in India at this time.

Buying fair trade products is about building a relationship with people many thousands of miles away. A relationship of justice and fairness. It’s the pioneering organisations like Traidcraft that have made that possible in the past and it will be those organisations who continue to break new ground in the future.

And the Shadow Minister, Archbishop’s wife and WWF CEO? They are all long term supporters, trustees or directors of this influential organisation. Are you?

Ethical Superstore sells a wide range of Traidcraft items including the new Clean and Fair cleaning and personal hygiene range.

Andy Redfern is one of the founders of Ethical Superstore and a former International Director of Traidcraft. He now runs a web development agency called Commvia seeking to get more small businesses selling effectively on line.

The post Traidcraft – Fighting poverty through trade appeared first on Ethical Blog from Ethicalsuperstore.com.

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