GreenStamp Eco Products Blog

Innovative and eco-friendly ideas

   Apr 06

Environmental Benefits of a Log Maker

Some people think that by burning paper logs made in a Log Maker in an open fire or wood burning stove it is not very kind to the environment. After all, they say, burning paper creates smoke. However, while this is true, the amount of emissions put out by burning paper logs is much, much lower than the emissions put out by using conventional gas or electric heating. In fact, Log Makers have plenty of environmental benefits, not just in saving you using gas and electric.

Log made from kitchen waste

Recycling

One of the best ways to reduce energy and help the environment is to recycle. However, recycling isn’t without its disadvantages. The energy used to convert waste paper into new paper and the costs of transporting it around can be quite high. However, around 30% of the average householder’s waste in their kitchen bin can be recycled as burnable waste in a Logmaker. This includes: Shredded junk mail, shredded paper, newspaper, wrappings from food and household products, cardboard, tissues, ripped up toilet rolls, olive stones, nuts, tea-bags (dried), used coffee beans and coal dust. Garden waste can be recycled in the same way: chopped twigs and branches, sawdust and dried leaves and foliage.

Log Maker

Environmental facts

On average each person in the UK produces just over ½ a ton of waste every year – that’s enough waste to fill dustbins stretching from the earth to the moon and back again!

And every year we produce 3% more waste than in the previous year.

78% of UK household waste goes to landfill and 9% is currently incinerated. Denmark, The Netherlands, Sweden and Germany dispose of a quarter or less of their municipal waste in the same way.

Only 12% of UK household waste is currently recycled, compared with 19% in Denmark, 22% in Switzerland and 40% in Japan.

Paper and card are the main materials in our household rubbish bins. They make up almost 1/3rd of UK household waste. It takes 17 trees to make one tonne of paper. The amount of paper buried in landfill sites each year would fill 103,448 double-decker buses, which if lined up, would stretch from London to Milan.

 


   Apr 03

FAQs about Wool Bedding

Wool duvets, pillows and even mattresses are having a surge in popularity recently. This is because more and more people are realising the advantages and benefits of going back to natural materials such as wool compared to synthetics. However, not everybody is convinced of the value of wool bedding, or are confused as to what its advantages is, so to help out, here are some frequently asked questions answered.

Wool is soft and comfortable

Is wool bedding more expensive than other types of material?

Not necessarily. While you can undoubtedly find some really cheap synthetic bedding products on the market, wool is no more expensive than cotton or other quality bedding materials. In fact, wool is highly durable, so will last a lot, lot longer than other bedding materials. Over time, this makes wool one of the cheapest bedding options.

Can wool bedding really help you sleep?

Yes. All sorts of research and news articles have shown the benefits of wool bedding for helping people sleep, especially children. Wool has many unique properties that are conducive to good night’s sleep. Wool fibres allow the skin to breathe, so you won’t feel clammy and sweaty in the night. In addition, wool maintains a stable body temperature, so in the winter it keeps you warm, while in the summer you feel cool.

Wool is easy to care for

Isn’t wool rough on the skin?

No. Wool bedding is kind to the skin and modern wool duvets are just as soft as other bedding materials. Softer in some cases. Additionally, wool is hypoallergenic, so it won’t cause allergies or aggravate the skin.

What about wool fibres, will they aggravate my child’s asthma?

No. IN fact, the leading cause of asthma and asthma attacks in the UK is dust mites. Dust mites are present in many bedding and linen products in our homes, but wool bedding contains a substance called lanolin, which deters dust mites. If your child has asthma, he or she will be better off in wool bedding than any other material.

Is wool eco friendly?

Absolutely. Sheep are bred for their fleece and are unharmed by its removal, so wool is a completely natural and sustainable bedding product. Even cotton is less not as sustainable as cotton plantations often take up- great swathes of land and require chemical herbicides and pesticides to encourage growth.

Isn’t wool harder to maintain than other bedding products?

No. Modern wool duvets and pillow can be machine washed at regular temperatures. In addition, wool is hardy and quite stain resistant so actually needs less care. If you spill something on a wool duvet it is very easy to wipe clean, and after a good airing, a wool duvet always keep sits shape.

Isn’t wool too hot for use in the summer?

On the contrary. Because of wool’s unique arrangement of fibres, it will help keep you cool in the summer by allowing the skin to breath. It will also draw moisture away from the skin, so you won’t feel wet and clammy.

If you wish to know more about wool bedding, or are interested in wool bedding products for both adults and children. Visit NatureWarm, the wool bedding specialists.

 


   Apr 02

Energy Saving Products that can Save Money

Saving energy isn’t just about helping the environment and cutting down on greenhouse emissions. While saving energy certainly has environmental benefits, it has a more direct benefit to householders: saving money. Energy costs seem to be spiralling out of control with electricity bills at an all time high, so anything you can do to save a few pounds here and there has to be worthwhile. Of course, there is no point in spending hundreds of pounds on energy saving products if the financial savings only add up to a few pounds, but there are plenty of energy saving devices available that are both inexpensive and cost effective.

Electricity monitors

Envi Current Cost Monitor £44.99

If you want to save money on energy bills, knowing how much you use has to be the first step. After all, you can make lots of drastic changes and revert to all sorts of energy saving appliances, but if you don’t know how much power you are using before and after, you’ll never know what is saving you money and what isn’t.

Electricity monitors come in a variety of types and a range of complexity, but even simple devices can help you identify high usage appliances and times of the day, allowing you to make necessary changes. The great thing about energy monitors is that you can discover in actual pounds and pence just how much an appliance is costing you. By making just simple changes, such as turning the temperature down on your washing machine, or unplugging the TV at night, you will see the savings rack up.

Daylight Biobulb, a full spectrum daylight bulb that uses 75% less energy than a standard bulb

Energy saving light bulbs

Despite having been around for years, and despite only using a fraction of the energy of regular light bulbs, and despite lasting a lot, lot longer than incandescent bulbs, so many people are still using old fashioned light bulbs in their homes. This is crazy. Energy saving bulbs can save a fortune in the long run. Lighting is something we all need, and yet you could be spending three times as much as necessary by not switching to energy saving bulbs.

People do provide some arguments as to why they don’t use energy saving bulbs, such as they don’t like the light that is given out or they think energy saving bulbs take too long to warm up. While these were problems in the early days, modern energy saving bulbs come on at full brightness almost immediately. Furthermore, you can get the same lighting tones with an energy saving bulbs as you can with an incandescent bulb; you can even get daylight bulbs, which put out light that is identical to natural sunlight.

Solar powered gadgets

Solar Gorilla Laptop Charger gives you power anywhere

While the sun hasn’t made much of an appearance recently, using solar power can be a great way to save a few pounds, especially with those low energy gadgets we all seem to have these days. Laptop, phones, iPads and iPods all have to be charged up. Not only does this mean you can have a charger in virtually every plug socket in your house, but also over the energy used to charge all these gadgets soon adds up.

The great thing about solar powered chargers is that most gadgets that require recharging can be trickle fed. In other words, leave a solar powered charger on your windowsill and you can recharge your laptop/phone/iPad withot having to use any power. You don’t have to have blazing sunlight to make use of a solar powered charger either, as enough sunlight gets through even on a dull day to provide some power. Furthermore, solar powered chargers allow you to recharge your gadgets on the go, so they are a great travelling companion.


   Mar 29

Counting the cost of a Wood Burning Stove

Along with the Aga, wood burning stoves have become a popular item in many homes. This back to basics from of home heating can be a great eco friendly alternative to central heating and gas and electric fires. Wood burning stoves put out a lot of heat, and while they also produce emissions in the form of smoke, this is far less than the emission put out for heating you home with gas and electric.

Log Maker will complement your wood burning stove

However, are wood burning stoves money savers? It is certainly true that you can pick up seasoned wood cheaply enough, and with gadgets such as the Log Maker, which allows you to turn recycled paper and card into slow burning logs, they certainly seems to be a money saving device as well as an energy saving device. Of course, wood burning stoves are not cheap to buy and install, so does this cost work out a good investment in the long run?

Cost

Wood burning stoves are not cheap. With starting prices around £600-£700, you can pay several thousand depending on the size and style you want. However, as with most things, it is worth shopping around. Not only do dealers often discount their stoves, but also you might be able to get a reconditioned unit. While these have been used in a home before, they often look just like new. Price can also vary depending on whether you want a back boiler to heat hot water too. A lot of people do like these, but with modern hot water mixer taps it is unlikely you will save that much money using your hot water boiler.

Installation

The cost of the wood burning stove is not necessarily the highest outlay. Installation can often exceed £1,500. It is important you only use the services of a registered installer, because a poorly installed stove could lead to your home filling up with fumes, including carbon monoxide, which can be fatal. You’ll need your chimney  and flue swept and cleaned, and sometimes lined to cope with the high heat levels of the stove. And if you want to heat hot water expect to pay more for installation.

Maintenance

Buying the stove and installing it isn’t the end to the costs of a wood burning stove. To ensure safety and efficiency you will need to have the stove serviced and your chimney swept, at least once a year. Expect to pay a couple of hundred pounds for this.

Running costs

A log store will save you money

Despite all these costs, it is in the running of the stove that you will make savings. While a bag of seasoned hardwood will set you back about £100, which could last a couple of months in the winter, you can always unseasoned logs and season them yourself, which will save money, but you will need to buy a log store in the summer. Furthermore, with a Log Maker you can produce fuel for free, so this will save more money.

As for the savings, a decent sized wood burning stove could save you between 10%-20% on your gas and electric bills, for the average three bedroom house this equates to about £100 to £200, while if you are all-electric, you can save up to four times this amount, which certainly makes a wood burning stove a good investment.


   Mar 27

Is it Worth Having a Wool Mattress too?

There is no dispute as to the advantages of wool bedding. A pure wool duvet, pillow or blanket is incredibly comfortable and conducive to a great night’s sleep. In addition, wool is hypoallergenic, kind to the skin, able to maintain a stable body temperature, and highly durable. So is it worth going all in and get a pure wool mattress too?

Buying a pure wool mattress to go with your other wool bedding does have many of the same advantages of a wool duvet or pillow. Namely, wool mattresses are more natural and hypoallergenic compared to regular mattresses, even those memory foam ones. This means if you have allergies or asthma, a wool mattress is certainly worth considering.

Secondly, as wool is the best natural insulator there is, a wool mattress will be warmer than other types of mattress material. Furthermore, wool is naturally flame retardant, so for peace of mind, particularly with children’s bedding, wool may well be a good choice.

Thirdly, wool is a durable material that is stain resistant and tough. A wool mattress will probably last longer than other materials, and it will always bounce back to its original shape, so wont sag or get lumpy.

Finally, unlike other types of mattress, wool mattresses do not inner springs. This makes them really comfortable and does away with the problem of a spring coming loose and poking you in your back.

Wool mattresses have pluses and minuses

Disadvantages

However, while there are certainly many advantages of a wool mattress, unlike a wool duvet or pillow, wool mattress do have some downsides. Firstly, wool has the ability to absorb moisture, which is a real benefit for people sleeping under a wool duvet as it draws away sweat from the skin and prevents you from feeling clammy. However, for a mattress, this means it will have to be aired regularly to allow the moisture to dissipate. Of course, no matter what the mattress, you should give it a regular airing, but you may have to do it more frequently with wool.

Secondly, while a wool duvet is as comfortable as any other type of material, the same is not true for wool mattresses. Cotton sprung and memory foam off much more support than wool mattresses. While you won’t have pressure points caused by the internal springs, you won’t have the same amount of support either. This means if you have a bad back or prefer to sleep on a firm surface, a wool mattress is probably not for you.

Wool is a natural and healthy material for sleeping on, but whether a wool mattress for you will depend on the above factors. Before you buy any mattress, wool or otherwise, always ensure you test it in the shop. Have a lie down and think about the position you sleep in and ensure yo are getting something that will be comfortable.


   Mar 25

Winter is over but don’t forget your Eco Lighting

Spring is officially here, although for many people in the country you wouldn’t know it, especially as there has been snowfall over the last week or so. However, spring does mean that the days are now getting longer and the nights shorter. Despite this, we all still rely on our electric lights in the spring and summer, although not quite as much as the winter. However, lighting is still a major source of our home energy use, which is expensive financially, and for the environment.

But you can do so much to reduce both the cost of lighting your home and reduce the environmental impact. And the first thing to do is ensure you are using energy saving lightbulbs.

Energy saving light bulbs

The daylight Biobulb is an energy saving light bulb that produced a natural light like sunlight.

Energy saving light bulbs use just a fraction of the energy of incandescent bulbs do, and while most people have now replaced their traditional light bulbs with these eco friendly lights, some people still haven’t changed. If you are one of these people, remember, energy saving bulbs can not only save you money in electricity use, but energy saving bulbs last much, much longer – up to ten years in some cases – which will save you having to buy replacement bulbs.

 

 

 

Light bulb timer

Leaving a light on is not only wasteful, but also it is so easily to do. You nip into a room to get something, switch the light on, and then forget it off again. If you don’t return to that room for some time, that light could be burning electricity for ours – even days. A light bulb timer is the perfect solution, especially for rooms you rarely use, such as the box room or garage. You can set these to switch off after a few minutes, which means you never have to worry about leaving them on. In addition, you can set them to turn on intermittently too, which makes them a good security feature for your home.

Solar lights in the garden can save money and be just as effective as regular lights

Solar lights

Another way of saving money and energy when it comes to lighting is not to use electricity when there is an alternative power source. This means all those external lights, such as security lights and garden lights, which are only used intermittently, can be powered by solar energy. Solar powered lights have several advantages. Firstly, they cost nothing to power. By recharging in the day, a solar light can store enough energy for use at night. They can be pretty powerful, and solar garden lights and security lights are just as bright as mains powered lighting. Secondly, because you don’t have to connect solar lights to the mains, they are cheap and easy to install, as you don’t need an electrician. If you need a security light, or enjoy having garden lighting, solar power is by far the best solution.


   Mar 21

Making Wet and Dry Paper Logs

If you own a Log Maker you may have pondered whether you should be making dry paper logs or wet ones, and what, if any, the difference is between them. Well, dry paper logs are perhaps easier to make; they are certainly less messy. However, while wet logs do take more time to produce, mainly because you have to let them dry, they will burn for longer and produce more heat.

To help you decide which the best method is for you, here is a short guide on how to make both wet and dry paper logs.

Making dry logs

Making dry logs has the advantage of being less messy, quicker to do and allows you to use the logs you produce straight away. Making dry paper logs for the fire is pretty straightforward. Just follow these steps:

1. Use a piece of newspaper in the Log Maker to make the mould in which you pack all the recycled material. Remember to twist one end to seal in all the material.

2. Compact as much paper into the newspaper mould as possible.

3. Use the plunger to compress the recycled paper as tightly as you can.

4. Remove the log and seal the other end.

5. The paper log is ready to be used as fuel for the fire.

While this is incredibly simple to do, the only problem with dry paper logs is that they burn quicker than wet logs so you are not maximising the potential of the recycled paper you are using.

Making wet logs

To get the most out of your Log Maker and the waste paper or card you are using to make fuel, making wet logs is the way to go. It may be a little messy and take moiré time, but the added heat and burn time more than makes it worthwhile. It is also not difficult to do, just follow these steps:

1. Soak the paper in a bowl of water. Ideally, you want to soak it so that the paper sticks when pressed together. It is a bit like making papier-mâché.

2. Use a dry piece of newspaper to make the paper mould as before.

3. Once the soaked paper is sodden, press it into the Log Maker.

4. Use the plunger to compress the paper down tight.

5. Take out the log, seal the end of the newspaper and leave to dry. This can take up to a week, sometimes longer depending on the material you used. A good tip is to leave them in the airing cupboard, which will allow them to dry quicker.

When dry, wet paper logs will burn much slower than dry paper logs and give off more heat. This is because when it is wet is can be compressed tighter, so after the log dries the paper it contains is more tightly compact. Some people manage to get a wet paper log to burn for over two hours. That’s two hours of free fuel to can heat your home, which more than makes up for the mess.


   Mar 18

Wool Bedding is not just for the Winter

Wool is a wonderful material for bedding. Fewer things are as warm and cosy in the winter than a wool duvet. Being snug and warm in bed, while the wind howls outside and snow lies on the ground is a great feeling. However, that doesn’t means that wool bedding is only for winter.

The summer is a time when a lot of people struggle with their sleep. Feeling hot and clammy is often a cause of insomnia, while overheating during the night can lead to you waking up, or spending the night tossing and turning. And adults are not the only ones that struggle with sleep in the summer. Babies and toddlers often have sleepless nights when it is hot and sticky, and this means if they are awake, you’ll be awake.

When it is hot and sticky, you may feel like just sleeping under a sheet. However, this is often a bad idea because if it gets cooler during the night, which it invariable does, you’ll possibly wake up because you feel cold. Secondly, while cotton sheets start off cool, if it is humid and you start perspiring during the night, you can soon start feeling clammy and sticky. This is because cotton traps the moisture against the skin, or worse, it gets soaked up into the cotton making it moist.

Wool for the summer

Wool is perhaps the best material for the summer because of the way it reacts to changing temperatures. Just as wool keeps you warm in the winter, wool can keep you cool in the summer. This is because of the unique way wool reacts to temperature and the way its fibres are structured. Wool fibres allow in the air. When it’s cold, the body heats this air and helps insulate you. However, when it is warm, because the air is circulating, the heat is taken away from the body keeping you cool.

In addition, the same arrangement of fibres helps draw moisture away from the body too. Perspiration is there to keep us cool when it gets too hot. It does this by evaporating in the air, removing the heat energy. However, when we lie between sheets or a duvet, the moisture can’t evaporate and clings to our skin, making us feel clammy. This also will prevent you developing rashes because of night sweats, a condition that affects millions of people, especially those getting on in years.

With wool, the moisture is drawn away from the body, allowing the heat to dissipate. This not only helps you maintain a stable temperature, but also prevents any feelings of clamminess or stickiness. Furthermore, if the temperature changes during the night, the circulating air in the wool fibres will maintain the same temperature, no matter how hot or cold it gets.

Wool helps children get a good night’s sleep

Wool for children

Wool bedding for children is perhaps even more beneficial. Babies and toddlers obviously don’t have the knowledge to know they are feeling too hot or too cold, so invariably will just wake up crying, leading to parents waking up too. By putting your young ones in a wool cot duvet you will reduce the chance of them waking up during the night.

In addition, because wool is hypoallergenic and deters dust mites, a leading cause of asthma and allergies, wool is a safe, friendly and natural material for children, It is less likely to cause rashes irritate the skin compared to manmade fibres, so your children will get a long, restful night’s sleep, which means you will too.


   Mar 15

Growing your Own

Food prices are rising, and with current food scares, people are wary about what and where they are buying their food. Increasingly, people turn to fresh, organic vegetables for their dinner plates, but organic veg can be quite expensive. One way of ensuring you get fresh vegetables cheaply and know exactly what has gone into the production of the food is to grow your own.

Allotments have become hugely popular over the last few years. What used to be a pastime of the superannuated is now popular with all sorts of people who are growing their own vegetables. In fact, most allotments up and down the country have waiting lists for plots, which means if you are thinking about growing your own veg, you may have a long wait.

Raised vegetable bed

Garden plots

Thankfully, you don’t need an allotment to grow your own vegetables. Indeed, you don’t even need a large garden; you can even grow vegetables in a window box or hanging basket. If you do have a large back garden, sectioning off a piece of it for growing vegetables can be a great way of putting fresh, healthy food on the table, but also it can help save you money.

If you don’t want to dig up the lawn, a great way of growing vegetables is to use raised beds. A raised vegetable bed can be placed anywhere, even on the patio, but will provide enough space to grow quite a few vegetables.

Vegetable growing kit

Vegetable growing kit

A great way to get started growing vegetables is to use a vegetable growing kit. These contain everything you need to grow your own, including a special water reservoir and feeder tray, which make growing simple and easy. Even if you have never grown anything before, a vegetable growing kit makes it easy to start. Best of all, it includes everything you need to get started, so you can be munching on your home grown vegetables in just a few weeks, depending on what you are growing.

A vegetable patch growing kit is also a simple way to get started. These contain little pots to grow your seedlings, which can later be transplanted into the ground or raised vegetable bed. Furthermore, these vegetable patch growing kits also contain all the seeds and a handy booklet on growing tips

No matter how much space you have for growing, making the most of it is what counts, and that means carefully choosing what to grow. While potatoes are a popular British staple, you are not going to be able to grow very many spuds in a window box of small plot of land. However, something like salad vegetables can be quick to grow and provide a decent meal. Or what about something like growing your own chillies, which can provide the ultimate accompaniment to all sorts of meals, from curries to salads.

Dib Dab

Growing accessories

Vegetable growing doesn’t require a massive amount of equipment, either. If you are using a raised bed kit or vegetable growing kit, all you need is something to treat the soil and plant the seeds. This hand three-in-one Dib Dab is a great tool that can be used as a rake, dibber and dibblet, which in many cases are all the tools you will need.

 


   Mar 10

Log Making Tips: getting the most out of your Log Maker

If you own a Log Maker, or are thinking of buying one, you will want to know how to make the most use of it. Of course, a log maker is incredibly easy to use and it doesn’t take much practice before you can quickly make your own logs. However, there are a few tips and tricks that can help you get more out of your log maker and ensure you are making slow burning logs that produce lots of heat.

Different materials

While log makers can pretty much compress and turn any household recycling into burnable waste. Try experimenting with different combinations of materials. Obviously, different types of waste will burn at different rates, while newspaper may burn quickly, cardboard burns a lot slower, so rather than make lots of newspaper logs, and then lots of cardboard logs, try mixing the two materials.

Also think a little outside the box. All sorts of things will burn in a log maker, so try different things. Of course, avoid anything that may give off toxic fumes, such as plastics and rubber, and anything that won’t burn. But why not try used and dried teabags, leaves and grass clippings.

Original Log maker

Original Log maker

Wet logs

While making dry logs is simpler and less messy, soaking your waste before you make your logs will produce much more compact fuel when the logs dry. It may take a little longer, and be a little messier, but you will get extra heat from your fuel and it will burn for longer, which has to be worth the extra effort. A good tip is to soak it overnight, make a whole batch of logs, and then leave them to dry, preferably for a day or two. You can even hang them on the washing line to ensure every drop of water has been extracted.

Nice smells

Another great tip is to use a little spice, herbs or seasoning to add an aroma to your logs. While natural woods have their own smells, burning paper and card doesn’t tend to have the same aromas. By sprinkling a little cinnamon or other spices into your logs, you can produce wonderful fragrances as the logs burn.