GreenStamp Eco Products Blog

Innovative and eco-friendly ideas

   Mar 08

The Versatility of Wool

Despite being one of the oldest textiles used by mankind, wool lost popularity for many years. It had a stuffy image and was something only grannies knitted or only frumpy people wore. Thankfully, that has changed. Wool has had a resurgence in recent years and is now one of those in-vogue fabrics. And this is good news. Not only is wool high versatile, but also it is a sustainable and natural material that is kind to both our bodies and the environment.

Uses

Wool has an almost unlimited number of uses. Wool can be worked in a number of ways such as knitting, weaving, crocheting and felting, making it one of the most versatile textiles. In addition, while 80% of the world’s wool goes into making clothing, wool has plenty of other uses too, from bedding and blankets, to upholstery, carpets and curtains. Wool also varies from the inexpensive and practical to the expensive, with types of wool such as Kashmir and Angora being highly prized and pricey.

British wool is among some of the best wool in the world, but British wool products are not expensive at all, and yet they provide comfort, warmth and durability that is not matched by any other fabric.

Health

Wool makes one of the best bedding materials around. As we spend nearly a third of our lives in bed, ensuring we have a healthy environment in which to sleep is important. And wool provides this. Unlike manmade fabrics, which often have fibres that act as irritants, getting into our chests and causing coughs and conditions such as asthma, wool is hypoallergenic and perfectly natural. Wool duvets and pillows also deter dust mites, a leading cause of allergies and asthma, and are also fire retardant.  Wool is an ideal bedding material for children and adults.

Comfort

A lot of people make the assumption that wool is no as soft as other materials such as cotton and can feel prickly. However, this is not true. Because of the numerous ways wool can be worked, wool products, such as wool duvets, blankets and pillows, are just as soft as other materials, even cotton. The secret to the softness is in the way the fibres of wool are arranged when they are woven and felted. In addition, these fibres also provide wool with its unique capabilities to remove moisture from the skin, preventing you from feeling sweaty at night, as well as making wool highly stain resistant.

Durability

Wool is perhaps the mist durable of materials too. Wool garments and bedding are near impossible to rip or tear, and because of he unique arrangements of fibres, wool is highly stain resistant, so it makes ideal carpets and bedding. These fibres also make wool easy to clean, with often a damp cloth all that is needed to wipe up spills. Modern wool products can even be machine washed, and once dry, wool looks just as good as new. How many other materials do you know that can be used to make bedding materials that can last a generation and still look as good as new even decades later?


   Mar 06

Getting Kids Interested in the Environment

The econ friendly movement took a long time. From the seventies, when people first started drawing attention to the damage we were doing to the environment, it took decades before recycling, energy saving and organic produce became as ubiquitous as they are today. The success of the environment movement owes a lot to the fact that eco friendly ideas were targeted at children, making them aware of the environment and the importance of looking after it. This meant when the children grew up, they had this philosophy instilled in their consciousness.

Educating children to the benefits of living green and eco friendly is therefore important. However, it is not always easy. Children have a lot to distract them, these days, with video games, TV and the internet. So getting children interested in the environment and natural world means you have to be creative.

Eco products for kids

One great way to instil the eco friendly message to children is to incorporate it in their toys. Eco friendly toys come in a variety of types and utilise all sorts of eco friendly technology, from solar and wind power, to water and recycled materials. No matter what the age of a child, there are eco friendly toys to suit. Here are some examples:

Wind up raceway

Wind up raceway

 

Slot cars have been around for decades, and yet they are still a popular toy for kids. Usually these toy racetracks are powered by the mains, by means of a transformer. However, they don’t have to be. The cars actually don’t require that much energy and this wind up raceway is a great alternative to the more common mains powered slot cars. Simply wind up the hand held generator, and the cars can be controlled in exactly the same way as mains electric cars, using the throttle controller. Great fun for kids, and the cars are just as fast as conventional slot car raceways.

 

6-in-1 Solar Chameleon

Solar Chameleon 6 in 1 toy

 

Solar powered toys are a great way to educate children on renewable energy and its benefits. The Solar Chameleon is a fun and educational toy for children that can be converted into six different toys, all utilising solar power. The toy converts into a puppy, a boat, a wind turbine, a buggy, a car and a plane, all with moving parts powered by solar energy.

 

Salt water powered

Water powered car

 

This handsome looking sports car is highly advanced. It utilises the very latest in fuel cell technology that runs on salt water. The H2O power cells can run for up to 4 hours powering the car. This sort of technology is becoming ever more popular in real world technology these days, and this unique toy is a great way to get kids interested in this sort of renewable energy. And who knows, perhaps one day somebody will invent a real car that requires nothing but salt water.

 

Rocket ship playhouse

Cardboard playhouses

 

Younger kids lover play houses. Whether it’s a fort, den, little house or even this play rocket, what better way of providing hours of fun for your children by using these cardboard playhouses. Not only are these playhouses inexpensive and made from cardboard that can be recycled once they grow out of the playhouses, but also they are plain, so children can paint and decorate them how they like. As they are cardboard, they are easy to assemble and fold away and are ideal for nurseries and crèches.

 

Wormery for kids

Junior wormery

 

Kids love all things the slime, and there is no better way of letting them get their hands dirty whilst educating them to the importance of creatures to our eco system than with a wormery. A wormery is similar to a little composter, only it is full of worms that digest organic waste and convert it into nutritious plant food, which is easy to extract thanks to the handy little tap. The wormery can be kept indoors and out and doesn’t leave a mess.

 


   Mar 04

The Rise of the Wood Burner

Last year, 180,000 wood burning stoves were installed in British homes. With record high energy prices and growing concerns about the environment, more and more people are turning to natural methods such as wood burning to heat their homes. Unlike open fires, which lose a lot of heat up the chimney, wood burning stoves are incredibly efficient.

All this is great news for the environment because while wood burning stoves do produce smoke, the environmental impact is far lower than the emissions produced by coal-fired powers stations and burning hydrocarbons such as domestic gas.

Wood burning stoves are kinder to the environment

Furthermore, wood burning stoves are incredibly flexible. You can buy seasoned wood from garden centres, which burns slowly and produces a lot of heat. This seasoned wood is also relatively inexpensive compared to the cost of powering central heating. In addition, people with a wood burning stove can burn recycled wood, which is even cheaper. You can even season your own wood, found in parks and on country walks, in a log store. However, one of the cheapest methods of powering a wood burning stove is to burn recycled paper.

Log maker

You can’t just throw paper into a wood burning stove because it will burn in seconds and produce very little heat. However, if you compact, you can produce a slow burning paper log that burns for a good 20 minutes, which produces a lot of heat and very little smoke.

To make logs out of recycled paper, all you need is a Log Maker. These are incredibly cheap, and considering the money you can save in converting waste paper and card into fuel, a Log Maker will pay for itself in next to no time. Nearly anything can be turned into fuel using a Log Maker, not just paper and card. Garden waste, junk mail, takeaway menus, packets and packaging, even used teabags.

Cost of wood burning stoves

The only downside of the wood burning stove is the installation cost. Of course, over time, with the savings made this money will eventually get recouped. However, as it stands, a wood burning stove can cost a thousand pounds to buy and install. They can’t be installed just anywhere, either, as you need a flue. However, for those thinking about it, they are certainly a good investment, and thanks to clever devices like the Log Maker, you can start saving money on day one.


   Mar 02

Why Wool is Kind to the Environment and Kind to your Skin

These days people care a lot more about the clothing and bedding products they buy. Eco friendly and natural and two things more and more people look out for when buying products such as bed linen. Man-made fibres and intensive growing methods of crops such as cotton, mean people are more savvy as to what they use as bedding. While organic and natural bedding materials are available these days, few things are as environmentally friendly and natural as wool.

Sustainable

Wool bedding is soft, gentle, kind to the skin, and best of all a natural, eco friendly material. Wool is also one of the most sustainable materials you can use for bedding. Sheep are reared purely for their wool, so live a long life. Mostly, these sheep are allowed to roam around on pastures and moorland, so live a free range lifestyle.

Shearing doesn’t harm sheep

When their fleeces grow, sheep are sheared, and then released. Shearing doesn’t hurt or affect sheep in any way. Sheep have been bred to grow far more wool than they need to keep warm, so they won’t feel the cold when they lose their fleece. A single sheep can produce up to 13 kilograms of wool. Sheep can live to be up to 12-years-old, producing wool each year. This ensures a sustainable supply of wool. Furthermore, sheep rearing has very little impact on the environment, as sheep mainly eat grass and often live on pesticide and herbicide free land, making wool a fairly organic material.

Wool and you

Wool require very little processing to turn it into soft, comfortable bedding products. Sheep’s wool contains a natural parasite repellent compound called lanolin., Lanolin prevents sheep from getting ticks and mites, and this has benefits for when wool is used in bedding. Wool duvets, pillows and blankets naturally repels dust mites, one of the leading causes of allergies and asthma in the UK. This makes wool ideal bedding for children.

In addition, wool is also naturally hypoallergenic, fire resistant, water repellent and resistant to mould and mildew. This means it is kind to the skin, so won’t itch or leave you feeling sweaty in the night. Wool bedding also helps you regulate a steady temperature at night, so you can keep warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

Best of all, wool is resistant to stains, is tough, and easy to maintain, with wool bedding able to be washed in machines just like other fabrics. Wool also lasts longer than other bedding materials, so you won’t have to replace it. And a wool duvet never loses its shape, so will look and feel like new, no matter how old it is.

 


   Feb 28

Some Eco Friendly Laundry and Cleaning Products

Doing the laundry and cleaning is not a job many people enjoy. Worst of all, cleaning is also one of the least eco friendly of chores. All the hot water, electricity, detergents and cleaning products means washing clothes and cleaning the house can be pretty unkind to the environment. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be that environmentally damaging as there are quite a few eco friendly products available for cleaning and laundry.

Laundry

Eco Balls

The biggest problem with doing the laundry is that it is energy intensive, uses a lot of water and is also reliant on detergents and chemicals. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. Eco Balls are a great alternative to regular washing powders and tablets. They don’t contain soap and yet can lift out even the most stubborn of stains. In addition, eco balls can be reused, with each able to clean up to 150 loads. Furthermore, because they are soap free, you don’t need such a long rinse cycle, so they can save energy too.

Pedal powered washing machine

If you only have a few things to wash, putting on the machine is pretty wasteful. While hand washing is not much fun, you could always use this fantastic and simple to use pedal powered washing machine. This is great for getting clean a few garments and doesn’t require much energy to get clothes clean. You can soak, wash, rinse and spin, all without electricity.

When it comes to energy consumption, tumble dryers are among the worst appliances in our home. Drying a load is expensive and wasteful. By far the best method to dry your clothes is to use a washing line, allowing the sun to dry and air them naturally. Of course, this is not always possible, especially when it rains. However, rather than resort to the tumble dryer, or draping clothes over radiators (and blocking them up so the house gets cold, wasting yet more energy), use clothes airers, which can be suspended above radiators and allow clothes to dry quickly.

Cleaning

Toilet odour eater

Nobody wants a smelly toilet, but you don’t need to pour in gallons of bleach to keep your loo smelling fresh and clean. The toilet smell killer is an eco friendly, chemical free device that sits in your loo and neutralises even the most persistent odours. It also lasts a lifetime, so never needs to be replaced. If you live in a hard water area and want to eliminate limescale build up in your toilet, the Magnaloo is just the thing. It too is chemical-free, and uses magnetism and ionisation to break down limescale. It sits in the cistern and can keep your loo limescale free for up to five years.

When it comes to cleaning surfaces and ceramics, the number of chemical detergents on the market is almost unlimited. However, you don’t need any of them. No More Chemicals Cleaning Cloths do exactly as their name suggests. The unique fibre technology in the cloths, breaks down grease, dirt and eliminates bacteria on contact, so you don’t need cleaning agents. If you do need to use a little something to remove stains and clean surfaces, the Eco Household Cleaning Pack contains three eco-friendly cleaning agents that are just as powerful as regular detergents, but without the harmful chemicals.

 

 


   Feb 25

Make Good use of Unwanted Junk Mail

We’ve all experienced it. You go downstairs for breakfast and pick up the morning post, only to be confronted by a heap of leaflets, flyers, takeaway menus and all sorts of other circulars. Junk mail, or direct marketing as those in the industry refer to it, can be a nuisance. It doesn’t just arrive in the morning, but all day, taxi cards, takeaway menus and leaflets from local tradespeople flutter through the letterbox. For many of us, this unsolicited mail gets thrown straight into the paper recycling, so at leas it is being put to some use. However, there is a way to get junk mail to benefit you.

About junk mail

Each year in the UK, nearly half a million tonnes of unsolicited mail gets posted through people’s letter boxes, and that doesn’t include all the envelopes and letters we receive that are actually address to us. Direct marketing, to give it its proper name is big business, with millions being spent each year by marketing companies to promote all sorts of businesses and services.

Junk mail does serve a purpose for businesses by reaching out and attracting new customers, but it is highly inefficient. It is estimated for every 100 leaflets posted through doors, only one will result in a new customer or an enquiry, which means 99% of all junk mail achieves nothing.

This is an awful waste of paper and energy, but it can be put to good use. While recycling junk mail is beneficial, it doesn’t neutralise the amount of energy put into producing the junk mail and delivering it to your door. However, if you turn all that west paper into energy to heat your home, you are not only finding a good use for it, but also saving yourself some money.

Log Maker

The Log Maker is great for turning unsolicited mail into fuel for the fire. If you have an open for or wood burning stove, a log maker will enable you to convert all the waste paper that accumulates through the week into slow-burning, low smoke fuel that will warm your home and help you cut down on you heating bill.

Simply throwing waste paper into the fire is not very efficient. It will burn too quickly and produce a lot of smoke. However, a log maker will compress the paper into such a tight paper log, that it will take over half and hour to burn, during which time it will produce very little smoke.

All sorts of things, not just junk mail, can be put into a log maker to make fuel. Newspaper, envelopes, menus, cardboard, wrapping paper and even garden waste and tea leaves. Simply insert it all into the Log Maker, push down on the plunger and hey presto, a slow burning log made from your waste.

For even slower burning logs, soak the paper overnight. Then once dry, compress the paper in the log maker to make really compact paper logs that will produce masses of heat and very little smoke.

Log Maker is easy to use

 


   Feb 22

Asthma Prevention with Wool Bedding

Asthma is a condition that affects 5.4 million people in the UK. Over a million of these are children. Each year, over a thousand people die due to the condition, and despite treatments available to alleviate symptoms, such as Ventolin inhalers, there is no cure. In children, asthma is the most common long-term disease. However, nearly all deaths and three-quarters of hospital admissions due to asthma are preventable.

Asthma has many causes, from pollution, damp homes and allergies. However, the most common cause of asthma, and of asthma attacks, is dust mites and people’s sensitivity to them. Dust mites are tiny arachnids that live in carpets, curtains, furnishings and bedding. Dust mites themselves are harmless. However, when dust mite waste is breathed in it can aggravate the chest, sparking an asthma attack.

Dust mites live off human skin cells, which mean they are commonly found in our bedding and the bedding of our children. Regular cleaning and changing of bed linen is one way to cut down on dust mites. Unfortunately, though, no matter how much you clean, it is never possible to get rid of them completely.

Asthma affects 1.1 million children in the UK

Wool bedding

The good news is that wool bedding is naturally resistant to dust mites. A chemical in wool, lanolin, is used by sheep to deter ticks and parasites, and this same chemical keeps dust mites away from your wool blanket and duvet, reducing the chance that you or your children will suffer an asthma attack due to this all too common irritant.

And wool doesn’t just benefit asthmatics because of its lanolin, either. Another common irritant that can bring on an asthma attack is fibres. Fibres from nylon or other manmade materials commonly used in bedding are very small. This means that they are easily breathed in. Once they get into the lungs, these fibres irritate the lining and can bring on respiratory problems such as asthma.

Wool, on the other hand, has long, coarse fibres that are too big to be breathed in, so sleeping in wool bedding with your head on a wool pillow will allow you to breathe easily.

It is still a good idea to regularly wash wool duvets and pillows, but modern wool bedding, such as those available at NatureWarm can all be machine washed. Once dry, a clean wool duvet, blanket or pillow will return to its natural shape and lose none of its qualities, so for asthma sufferers, wool provides the ideal bedding to ensure a quality sleep without the risk of breathing problems.

Wool bedding for children is even more appropriate. Most asthma starts in childhood, so doing everything you can to avoid your child from contracting this life-threatening condition is important, and wool can play a part in that, minimising the chances your child will develop asthma.

If you are worried about asthma, or want to learn more, visit:

http://www.asthma.org.uk/


   Feb 20

Welcome the Sun with some Handy Solar Powered Gadgets

Yes, it is cold, wet, damp, and the snow probably hasn’t finished for the year. However, it won’t be long before spring arrives, and with it the much welcome sunshine. And what better way to welcome the sun than by getting some great solar powered gadgets that will let you make the most of the sunshine while it lasts.

Solar power has come a long way since the old calculators and digital watches you may remember from your school days. Modern solar powered gadgets are extremely powerful and able to store and utilise the power of the sun for a whole host of applications.

Solar powered gadgets have numerous benefits. Firstly, by using a solar powered device instead of one that requires batteries or mains power, you save money, and in this day and age with record high electricity bills, every little counts. Secondly, solar power is a clean and renewable energy source. There are no emissions, no greenhouse gases and no fear of running out or precious resources. Finally, solar power is mobile. You don’t need to be near a plug or have to hire an electrician to install a device to the mains. Solar powered devices can be used anywhere, so long as there is a little sunshine.

Of course, solar powered devices only work when there is sun about, but most gadgets these days don’t require bright, sunny days. Even when it is cloudy and overcast, many solar powered gadgets can still get enough energy to work. If you fancy taking advantage of solar energy, here are some of the best solar powered gadgets on the market.

Powermonkey Explorer Multi Device Charger

Powermonkey Extreme

When it comes to solar powered chargers, the Explorer is the daddy of them all. The Explorer comes with an array of adapters and is able to recharge mobile phones, MP3 player, digital cameras and whole host of other gadgets. The great thing about the Explorer is that it works anywhere, camping, on a train, on a hotel balcony or on a beach. No matter where you are your gadgets or phone never has to run out of power again.

Available at Greenstamp from £69.99

Pico Mobile Phone Charger

Pico Mobile solar phone charger

You know what it’s like. You’re on a train and need to make a call, only for your phone’s battery meter to be on one bar. Do you risk it? Knowing that as soon as the person answers on the other end there is a good chance you’ll run out of power. Now, thanks to the Pico mobile phone charger, one of the best value solar chargers on the market, you can always have power for your phone. Not only will the Pico recharge your mobile when its sunny, but it can store enough power to give you two hours of power, day or night.

£16.99 from Greenstamp

Solar Gorilla laptop charger

Solar Gorilla laptop charger

The great thing about laptops is that you can take your work anywhere. The worst thing about laptops is that the batteries never last long. Fortunately, the Solar Gorilla laptop charger can recharge all standard laptops, netbooks and tablet PCs using just the power of the sun. Now, you can work outside for as long as you like, or not worry that you are about to run out of battery life when trying to complete that project on a train or in a coffee shop.

Available at Greenstamp for £134.99 with free shipping.

 

Solar Utility Light

Solar utility light

Movement activated solar lights are a great way of keeping your home secure as they switch on anytime somebody approaches your house. They also make you feel a lot safer when you come down the drive at night by illuminating the way for you. The only snag with security lights is that they are difficult to install, usually requiring the services of an electrician. However, this clever security light is solar powered, so you don’t need an electrician as it just needs to be screwed on to the wall. Solar power is perfect for this type of lighting because the light recharges through the day, storing enough power for when it is needed at night.

£34.99 from Greenstamp.


   Feb 16

Comparison: Three Log Making Products

Making your own fuel out of recycled paper can be a real money saver for people with an open fire or wood burning stove. Not only can you make free fuel with a log maker, bug also you can cu down on the amount of waste you throw out. Log makers come in various types, styles designs, so finding the most effective on the market is not easy. Here are three of the top three log makers on the market.

Briquette Band Log Makers

Briquette Bands Log Maker

Perhaps the simplest and easiest log making device to use on the market. The Briquette Bands Log Maker is basically a metal hoop. You use them by rolling up your waste paper and card into a rolls and slipping the Briquette Bands Log Maker over the top, and hen tossing the whole thing on to the fire. While these are, no doubt, easier to use compared to other log makers on the market, the Briquette Bands Log Maker is not that effective at producing slow burning logs. The logs burn fairly quickly and produce a fair amount of smoke. This is because the waste paper is not being compressed very much. Another drawback with the Briquette Bands Log Maker is that you are restricted with the types of material you can burn, while it will easily hold newspaper and card, other items, such as teabags or old leaves can#’t be burned. On the plus side, it is cheap, so makes for exceptional value.

The Briquette Bands Log Maker is available from Greenstamp priced at £5.99

Briquette Log Maker

Briquette Log Maker

This is a more sophisticated log making device. However, the Briquette Log Maker is more complicated to use. To make the briquettes, you have to soak the paper or card before packing it into the briquette maker. The Briquette Log Maker has a press, which is used to drain the moisture and compact the briquettes. It is more versatile than the Briquette Band Log Maker as it can make burnable fuel from more materials. The finished briquettes are extremely compact and will burn slowly and release very little smoke.

The Briquette Log Maker is available for £19.99 from Greenstamp

The Original Log Maker

The Original Log Maker

The Original Log Maker is the oldest and possibly best on the market. These cylindrical device is simple to use an can convert the most types of material into burnable fuel. Not only can you produce logs from newspaper, card and junk mail but it will allow you to use teabags, twigs, leaves and almost anything else you can think of. The plunger enables you to make both wet and dry logs, which burn incredibly slowly, releasing very little smoke.

The Original Log Maker is £22.95 from Logmaker.org.uk

 


   Feb 14

Studies Show the Effectiveness of Wool Bedding for Sleep

More and more people are turning back to wool for their bedding. Wool duvets, pillows and blankets are comfortable, natural and in keeping with an eco friendly lifestyle. Now, research has shown that wool bedding also helps you get a better night’s sleep compared to other materials.

Scientists from the University of Sydney in Australia have tested wool along with a host of other bedding materials to see which induced the best quality of sleep. The researchers used a group of volunteers and monitored their sleep using a range of different bedding materials, such as wool, polyester and cotton. They also monitored sleep patterns at different temperatures, ranging from 17C to 29C.

Over the length of the study, wool was found to induce both longer and deeper sleep, with those sleeping wool bedding waking less frequently during the night. These affects were amplified the hotter the temperature, with people in wool sleeping over 20 minutes longer in wool compared to synthetic bedding.

Wool duvet from NatureWarm.co.uk

Sleep quality

When we sleep, we go through various stages, from light sleep, when we are just dropping off, REM sleep, when we dream and which scientists believe is the most crucial for our health and well-being, and deep sleep. Getting enough of all of these different sleep types is important, but too many people find that during crucial REM sleep they are easily disturbed and wake up.

However, in the University of Sydney study found that for those people sleeping in wool bedding, such as wool duvets and wool pillows, were less likely to wake during REM sleep than those in other bedding materials.

Temperature control

The reason for these results is wool’s ability to maintain a stable body temperature. Due to the way wool fibres are arranged it has the ability to carry perspiration away from the skin when we get hot. This helps keep us cool during warm temperatures and ensure we don’t wake because we have got too hot. In addition, this arrangement of fibres also traps air within the wool bedding, so when it is cold, we are kept warmer, which again, prevents unnecessary waking during sleep.

Cot Duvet from CosyLamb.co.uk

Children

These results make wool bedding ideal for children, especially toddlers, who often wake frequently during the night. In addition to maintaining a child’s body temperature throughout the night, wool is also naturally hypoallergenic, which means it is less likely to aggravate a child’s skin, causing rashes, eczema or other skin disorders. It can even be of benefit for people with asthma, as the natural fibres help deter dust mites and other allergens.

When it comes to ensuring your children are getting a good night’s sleep, wool bedding could be the natural solution you need. Cot duvets, blankets and other wool bedding products from CosyLambs.co.uk are specially designed for children, are made from 100% British Wool, are wonderfully soft, comfortable and also fire retardant.