Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Green Ideas to cut down on packaging & save money

Now that the carbon tax bill has passed many people are worried about how this will affect them and their families.  There has been concern about rising amenity costs, groceries, fuel and other every day necessities. 

People have given examples of how they think these costs will occur: for example the cost of manufacturing plastic bags to hold dried fruits, nuts, lollies etc. will cost the manufacture more to produce due to the carbon tax.  To cover losses the manufacturer will then raise the price of the plastic bags they make, the buyer will then up the price of their end product and once this product hits the supermarket shelves it will cost more than it use to.

The main point behind carbon tax is to try and stop consumers from over spending / companies from overproducing.  We are at a crucial moment in our history were if we want it we go out and get it , with many people not even considering their global footprint.  There are things we can do ourselves to make the situation a little bit easier on the hip pocket, though not all these ideas will be options for everyone.  Some of them may help.  

The main ideas are cutting down on packaging and ways to cut spending.

1.      Grow your own herbs, such as fennel, oregano, curry, thyme, rosemary, lavender, bay leaf, lemon grass, chili – this saves on packaging and the cost of buying fresh herbs from the shop.

2.     Dry your herbs out so you can use them out of season.

3.     Make your own herb blends with your dried herbs for sauces and seasoning.  Give any over abundance of herbs to family and friends.

4.     Make your own herbal teas with herbs such as peppermint, chamomile and lemon verbena.

5.      If you have the room, grow your own fruit tree(s).  Pick a fruit you will use often and in various ways.

6.       Preserve the fruit you grow so you can enjoy it out of season, or make your own jam.

7.       When you’ve finished with some jars (i.e. jam jars) keep them and reuse them to preserve your fruit in.

8.       Dry out your fruit so you can enjoy it out of season.

9.      Purchase some fregie sacks – available from Your Cheeky Monkey.  Place the fresh produce you purchase from the shops in these reusable bags instead of the plastic bags supplied.

10.    Take reusable bags shopping with you or invest in some really trendy hand made reusable fabric bags.

11.    Purchase reusable cloth nappies – Bubbalooba have some adorable hand made cloth nappies.

12.   Make your own house hold cleaning products and reuse the containers again and again.  My Green Sopabox has some excellent ideas and recipes for home made goods.  As does this JOLI blog.

13.   Visit second hand clothing shops instead of always purchasing brand new clothes simply because you can afford to do so.  This is a double win as the money spent in these shops goes towards people who are struggling to make ends meet.

14.  Collect water in buckets whenever you rinse your dishes and use this water on your garden to bring down your water bill.

15.   Get back to basics and make your own cookies, bread, pasta etc.  You avoid the preservatives and additives in food by doing this, cut down on the amount of packaging you discard as well as having fresh produce to enjoy.

16.    When buying eggs, visit local egg farms to purchase your eggs.  They're cheaper and you can return the cardboard egg trays when you're finished with it.  Or if you've got the room and desire, have some pet chickens.

17.    Use flannels instead of throw away dish cloths.  You can wash and reuse them indefinitely.

18.   Buy in bulk. You'll end up having less packaging to throw away.

These are just a few suggestions.  As I think of more I will add them to the list.  If you have any other suggestions please share them with us.  We’d love to hear from you.

By JOLI Natural Skin Care


Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Bamboo Toothbrush Review

Independent product review by JOLI

I was reading the Jan/Feb 2011 issue of G Magazine – Green Living Made Easy, about toothbrushes and how modern toothbrushes are not recyclable due to being made with a number of different types of plastic.  These plastics are recyclable separately however once joined together on the toothbrush the plastics cannot be separated.  The article also talked about electric toothbrushes vs hand held toothbrush – which is better for the environment.  The general consensus is that bamboo tooth brushes have the least impact on our planet, with regards to manufacture, materials and waste.

After reading the article I purchase a box of bamboo toothbrushes from The Cruelty Free Shop online.  I did wonder how well the toothbrushes would clean since they don’t have all the bells and whistles of the fancy toothbrushes available these days.  I have to say they clean just as good.  I don’t feel as though areas are being missed even though the bamboo toothbrush doesn’t offer flexi grips or build in tongue cleaner, with extended bristles to reach those ‘hard to get’ places.  My teeth are still coming out clean.

Bamboo toothbrushes last as long as other toothbrushes and as an added bonus come in recyclable packaging.  The toothbrushes cost $3.50 each, though when you buy a box of 12 they cost $38 which equals $3.16 per toothbrush – which is much the same as the cost of other toothbrushes.

Unlike other toothbrushes they come in only one colour so to tell our toothbrushes apart I write our names on the brush handles or attach coloured hair elastics to the handles so we know whose brush is whose.


Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Head Lice Treatment

Let’s start with some basic facts.

Head lice go through 3 molting phases before they become adults who are able to mate.  Around 8-9 days is how long this takes, if lice have continuous access to a human host.  Mating can begin within the first 10 hours of adult life.  Females lay about 3-4 eggs daily and during its lifespan of four weeks a female lays 50-150 eggs (nits).  Lice hatch around 6-9 days later.

Egg laying is temperature dependent to be conducive to proper embryo development.  In cool climates eggs are laid closer to the skull for warmth, around 1cm up the hair shaft.  While in warmer climates eggs may be laid a good 6inches down the hair shaft.

Head lice are blood-feeders and bite the skin four to five times daily to feed.  To feed the lice bite through the skin and inject saliva to prevent blood from clotting.  It then sucks the blood into its digestive tract.  Blood sucking can continue for a long period if the lice are not disturbed.  Head lice live for around 35 days and will die of starvation within 1-2 days if removed from the scalp and do not find a new host/blood source.

Lice favour the nape of the neck and behind the ears.  This is where eggs are usually laid.  This is because head lice are repelled by light and you will often see them moving towards the shadows or dark coloured objects once disturbed.
Knowing the cycle helps deal with lice.  You now know when is the best time to treat them and how to tell males from females.
* * *
Many products on the market today offer chemical treatments to kill off head lice.  Research has shown that lice are becoming resistant to these chemicals.  Aside from their resistance many parents, and rightly so, are not comfortable with using harsh chemicals on their children’s hair.  And usually these chemical treatments require reapplication again and again.
* * *
Infestation story:

“As a little girl I never got head lice at all.  I figured I was lucky but really didn’t think much of it.  Then as an adult with small children, where other children would come to visit and have overnight stays I found myself getting head lice.  I got head lice 3 times in one year after never having them as a child.

I was using the usual chemical applications to get rid of my lice; lotions, shampoos etc.  On the third infestation I was using lotions and shampoos around every 3 to 7 days.  Combing through my hair each time and finding nothing, and it wasn’t getting rid of the lice.  All my bedding was regularly stripped and washed, along with clothes, in lice lotion.  Still the lice wouldn’t die.  I had hubby keep checking my hair and telling me he couldn’t find any trace of lice… but I KNEW they were there.

My five year old ended up with head lice and much to my dismay so did my baby boy, not yet one.  I knew I couldn’t treat my baby boy with over the counter chemical filled products and I wasn’t winning my own battle with head lice.  So I went searching through my natural remedies book for head lice treatment.  Found one and  applied the lotion to my five year old and it worked.  Then I applied the lotion to my baby boy knowing it was gentle enough to use on him and again it worked.

I used the lotion on myself and sure enough I combed out a couple of good sized adult lice along with some young lice and eggs.  I had been certain they were there all along!  I also washed all our clothes, bedding, cushion covers, towels etc. in eucalyptus oil.  I waited a couple of days and rechecked everyone’s hair.  Nothing.  I waited longer thinking perhaps eggs just needed to hatch.  Still nothing.  I was so happy with the results.

The lotion is viscous.  It is easy to use - though it might be tricky for those with thick long hair (I have long hair).  Still, the results are great.

What was the 'lotion' my natural remedy book recommend?  Humble old olive oil!  It literally overpowers the lice and they suffocate to death within minutes.  Simple, and gooey, yet effective.

* * *
To use the Head Lice lotion:

Comb or brush out all knots so hair is tangle free.

Apply the lotion in small batches to the scalp, starting from the front of the head.  Massage the lotion into the scalp and up the hair shaft, then apply the next dollop working your way back to the nape of the neck.  Repeat until all the scalp and as much hair as possible is coated.  Much the same way you apply hair dye.

Comb through the hair with a normal wide tooth comb or bush making sure hair is tangle free and manageable.

Working in sections, comb through the hair with the head lice comb slowing working your way through the hair to scoop out the lice.  You may need a white plate or bowl and a toothpick to take the lice and eggs out of the comb and place on the plate.

Continue until all the hair has been combed through and repeat several times.  Good news is even if you miss some lice they will have suffocated to death.

Put on a cap (or plastic bag) over the hair and leave to stand for 10 minutes.  Then repeat the combing process once more.

In most cases one application is all that’s needed.  Though if necessary repeat 3-7 days later as per the lice cycle.

Wash hair as per normal.  You will need to wash your hair a couple of times before the lotion is fully removed.

* * *
To do a pre lice check before applying the lotion, to find out if there are head lice to begin with.  Spritz hair with a solution of 2 parts water 1 part vinegar.  Vinegar is a mild acid and slows down the ability for lice to run and escape.  Comb hair with a normal comb or brush to untangle hair, then go through hair with a lice comb to see if the person has head lice.  If they do follow through with the head lice treatment.