Archive for the ‘News & Politics’ Category
There’s something fishy in the water, but not to worry – it’s going after the bad stuff! Meet robo-fish, an experimental device being tested in Spain’s Gijon Harbor to detect contamination and report back to scientists on the shore. This technology is encased in a sleek yellow body with a mechanical tail and fin that cuts through the shallow waters like … well, like a fish. Move over, Jaws!
Here at Ecover, where we believe in the power of science and nature to help reduce pollution, this marine experiment caught our eye! Several of these underwater robots were developed with funding from the Shoal Consortium, a European Commission-funded group of scientists and businesses. Currently, the robo-fish are undergoing testing in Spain to determine if they have a future as marine police!
“The idea is that we want to have real-time monitoring of pollution, so that if someone is dumping chemicals or something is leaking, we can get to it straight away, find out what is causing the problem and put a stop to it,” explains Luke Speller, a senior scientist at the research division of BMT Group, a technology consultancy.
With design features mimicking those of their real-life counterparts, the robo-fish appear to be agile swimmers. They house some serious technology, too, relying on artificial intelligence to hunt down the source of such pollutants as phenols, heavy metals and phosphates. The robo-fish can work alone or in teams, communicating through acoustic signals and continuously reporting back to port.
Mass deployment of robo-fish won’t happen anytime soon, but the developers hope to perfect the prototype within a few years. In the meantime, we give an enthusiastic shout-out in support of this creative endeavor that could help keep our precious waters clean. That’s something we can all get excited about!
Photo via BBC News
Are you fired up for that first “official” summer barbecue on Memorial Day? There’s no question that outdoor cooking over the long holiday weekend can be a sublime pleasure. But after considering the environmental impact of America’s love affair with grilling, you may be feeling some heat! Not to be deterred, Ecover did a little digging and found a few great tips for making your traditional backyard barbecue more sustainable…
First, some eye-popping statistics: 82 percent of households own at least one grill or smoker, according to the 2011 State of the Barbecue Industry Report. And it’s reported by the Oak Ridge Laboratory that a charcoal grill emits 11 pounds of carbon dioxide hourly, while a gas grill emits half as much. Yikes! These statistics suggest that trading your charcoal grill for one that burns propane or natural gas may be a good first step to greener grilling. Yes, gas comes from nonrenewable fossil fuels, but the reduced soot emissions make it a green alternative. Here are some more ideas:
Plan well, cook less - Make lots of tasty salads and finger foods (better yet, have guests bring them!) and let the grilled items be the “sides.” Veggies, seafood and even fruits are delicious on the grill. The less meat the better, since fatty meats release carcinogens into the air via smoke.
Go with a greener grill - Solar-powered and domed ceramic models are good options.
Give your charcoal grill an eco-boost – Can’t give up that charcoal flavor or afford a new grill? Try greener charcoal, such as Kothur. It’s made from coconut husks, a renewable resource. And ditch the lighter fluid. It releases harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Instead, use an electric charcoal starter or a chimney starter.
Now get ready to have a sustainably awesome holiday weekend!
Photo by woodleywonderworks via Flickr.com
The month of May, when much of the country gets its first good taste of warm weather and clear skies, is the ideal time to embrace cycling. The League of American Bicyclists is the national sponsor of Bike Month. Their goal is a simple and noble one: to promote bicycling for fun, fitness, and transportation, and work through advocacy and education for a bicycle-friendly America.
The highlight of the month is Bike to Work Week, which runs from May 14 to 18th. But if you can pick only one day to make the trek to work on your bike, Friday, May 18 is Bike to Work Day!
Many cities, towns and municipalities are also sponsoring events to help encourage biking. For example, the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition organizes and oversees a huge network of stations and stops along popular routes where cyclists can get a snack, a tote bag, other goodies and a few words of encouragement. The city of Annapolis, Maryland organizes a pre-work rally with refreshments, giveaways and bike safety checks.
If your locality doesn’t have a Bike Month or Bike To Work event, there’s still time to organize one. Turning car commuters into bike commuters is a wonderful goal … and the benefits for the planet, the air and the individual riders are plentiful! So enjoy your May, and hop on that bike; whether biking to work, for your health or for fun, it’s an important effort we all can support!
Image by joshbzin via Flickr.com
As Mother’s Day approaches, Ecover wishes for all Mothers a precious day with their family (and we also want to share a special Mother’s Day 20% discount with you, just use promo code YAYMOMS)! And we want to take the opportunity to shine a spotlight on Mother’s Day Every Day: The Campaign for Healthy Moms and Newborns – a global effort to save the lives of hundreds of thousands of mothers and newborns at risk during childbirth. It’s hard to believe that childbirth remains the leading killer of young women worldwide, taking a woman’s life nearly every minute of every day. But the good news is that this campaign brings together a broad range of influential people who work to make motherhood safer.
Consider these compelling facts from The White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood:
- In 2008, an estimated 358,000 women died from complications developed during pregnancy or childbirth. The vast majority of these deaths were preventable with health care access before, during and after childbirth.
- Only 63 percent of births in the developing world are attended by skilled health workers (up from 53 percent in 1990).
- Mothers play a vital role in the economic health of their families and communities. 90 percent of women’s income is reinvested with their families; with men it’s only 30 to 40 percent. Each year, an estimated $15.5 billion in potential productivity is lost when mothers and newborns die.
Powerful statistics – and an additional incentive to celebrate mothers worldwide. Mothers and families are always on our minds here at Ecover; our vision of economical, ecological and social change ranges across society, working for a better future. We give you our best as we help make the world safer and healthier – that’s the heart of our business. So we salute the Mothers Day Every Day Campaign and wish everyone a healthy and happy Mother’s Day!
Photo by riza via Flickr.com
If we had to pick our favorite month of the calendar year here at Ecover, we’d have to admit we’re partial to April …. not only is it springtime with that sense of new beginnings and renewal, but it’s also Earth Month! Since it began in 1970, the celebration of Earth Day has commemorated our planet and served as an invitation to all its global residents to help preserve the environment. In the past forty-two years the concept of Earth Day has grown significantly, and now the entire month of April is packed with activities and events where people show their dedication to a sustainable future.
This year Earth Day is on April 22nd– on that day more than one billion people around the globe, “people of all nationalities and backgrounds will voice their appreciation for the planet and demand its protection.” The theme of Earth Day 2012 is “Mobilize the Earth.”
At Ecover we do our best every day to make the world a better place. From clean-running factories to our commitment to plant-based ingredients, to innovative concepts such as quick and complete biodegradability and PlantPlastic packaging: we take the environment and the earth’s health into account every step of the way.
And we’re not alone. There are so many ways that citizens like you can take action and make every day Earth Day. We can’t help but smile as we celebrate Earth Day and Month, imagining people all over the planet working towards keeping the Earth clean. Yep, it’s official: April is our favorite month!
Image by NASA via fotopedia.com
Imagine living with your family in the middle of a busy city, and harvesting your own vegetables and tending to your own livestock. That’s part of the vision displayed by eVolvo Magazine, architecture and design journal, from their 2011 Skyscraper Competition. The annual competition recognizes superb ideas from designers all over the world that redefine skyscraper design for modern living.
For example, there is the Circular Symbiosis Tower, above, the vertical farm for livestock within a city. This avant-garde design consisted of spiraling platforms of grass fields where cows are free to roam. After 30 days of habiting the same pasture, they would rotate to the next level, so that other animals like chickens would then use the previous field until its grass has grown again.
We’re blown away by the innovation of each the architectural renderings; all the imagination, attention to sustainability and living in a changing world. We wonder if these images are the future of family living at its best; the architectural designs propose exciting solutions to green living space, urban living, and options for all lifestyles.
The winner of the competition, LO2P Delhi Recycling Center, revolutionizes living space and designs a cleaner air space. This design consisted of a giant wind turbine with a building wrapped around it – composed of old cars! The building was designed to function as a giant lung which would clean the air through several large-scale greenhouses that serve as filters. The waste heat and CO2 from the recycling center would be used to grow plants to produce bio-fuels!
Bravo to all of the contestants who proposed out-of-the-box skyscraper designs that would surely better our world. The future is now!
On March 19th, Today on NBC televised an in depth piece on one of our favorite topics: getting the laundry clean! The folks at Today asked the Good Housekeeping testers to see how a variety of laundry detergents worked on a plethora of stains … and, we are pleased to announce that Ecover did amazingly well!
As Today reported, the Good Housekeeping professionals tested a wide variety of laundry detergents on twenty different types of tough stains, including everything from gravy to lipstick to grass and blood. After washing the stains in a variety of laundry detergents, including “one of [the] plant-based picks” Ecover Laundry Powder ZERO, the testers concluded that Ecover got the job done. “It did well!”
During the segment, Ecover’s Laundry Powder ZERO detergent was highlighted as one of the best performers. And since people do almost 400 loads of laundry per year, this is big news. In addition to Ecover’s effectiveness, Today also noted that the testers found the laundry detergents to be effective in cold water. So, if our customers want to save energy … using cold water is another great way to start!
Based on the Today segment, Ecover’s Laundry Powder ZERO is a top choice so we hope that more people will be interested in trying all of our powerful ecological cleaners for a clean that feels good!
Natural Home and Garden recently came out with a fantastic list of cleaning recipes you can make at home with natural ingredients and essential oils. Ecover understands that many people who appreciate natural cleaning solutions simply don’t have the time to make their own products. So we were delighted to see that the Natural Home editors also included a list of ready-made nontoxic cleaners – with Ecover right in the mix!
We think our products are as close to what you would make yourself as possible, enhanced by some serious scientific know-how that takes DIY cleaning power up a few notches! In fact, Ecover has 31 years of experience developing not only super-effective natural cleaners, but also more energy-efficient production processes and sustainable factories. We know that you appreciate that – and the convenience of purchasing cleaning products on line or right off the shelf. And we never stop striving to improve on the mineral and plant-based ingredients in our products.
All that being said, it’s also great to know how to make your own cleaning solution, and if you’re so inclined – go for it! Having on hand a combination of homemade cleaners and Ecover standbys just might be the perfect way to meet all your housecleaning needs. One Natural Home recipe that jumped out at us: “ready-when-you-need-‘em kitchen wipes.” Simply fill a jar with old pieces of cloth and add 1 cup water, 1 ounce liquid castile soap, and 6 to 8 drops of your favorite essential oil. What a great way to use old T-shirts or cloth diapers!
Have fun experimenting with different cleaning recipes … but rest assured that Ecover is always there with the right ingredients list to tackle your toughest household chores!
Photo by Thomas Gibson via Natural Home and Garden
Ecover vs. the mainstream brands? It’s no contest! We know that you trust Ecover’s mineral and plant-based ingredients to perform as well – or better – than those unnatural and unsustainable products. And we always love to hear your feedback about how well Ecover products work for you in your home. Still, we keep careful track of independent reports about how Ecover stacks up against other cleaning products on the market. After all, we want you to be a fully informed Ecover devotee! So in that spirit, here’s a roundup of recent tests by the highly respected Consumer Reports that included Ecover products, as well as mainstream brands:
All Purpose Cleaner (January 2011) – Gets an overall score of “very good” for its ability to clean and degrease most surfaces, and is named one of only four CR recommended products out of the 16 tested!
Dishwashing Liquids (May 2011) – Make the list of recommended products rated “very good” at removing food and grease.
Stain Remover (July 2011) – Gets high marks for removing blood and grass stains from clothes and ranks overall as “very good.”
Of course, there are other important benefits to Ecover products, such as their minimal environmental impact. All are completely biodegradable, never tested on animals and are safe for septic tanks. But it’s their fume-free cleaning power that really makes the grade – with discerning folks like you (and those independent consumer groups)!
Photo via Consumer Reports
What’s for dinner tonight? Well there’s delicious evidence that Portland, Oregon, which reigns as America’s most sustainable city is on the job; with its profusion of food carts along main thoroughfares, artisanal food specialists and farm-to-table enthusiasts, Portland takes fine, fresh food seriously – as was recently detailed in Cooking Light magazine. Hey, even the mayor has laying hens and a vegetable garden!
It’s all part of Portland’s emergence as a city that truly walks the “green” talk, an attribute that Ecover admires and always seeks to encourage. In fact, the city’s planners have been thinking green since the ‘70s, according to SustainLane, which has twice ranked Portland the nation’s most sustainable city, based on 16 criteria, including reliance on local food and agriculture. Mindful of the threat of urban sprawl, the city enacted strict land-use policies that have set a strong precedent for sustainable development. Today, cutting-edge green ventures and ideas seem to flourish everywhere you look in Portland. The city is known for its green building initiatives (only Chicago has more LEED-certified buildings) and Green Street Program.
The city provides the perfect home for an ecologically progressive foodie culture. From the Portland Fruit Tree Project, which helps to harvest and distribute 21,000 pounds of urban fruit to local food banks, to the Southeast Portland Urban Food Co-op that feeds 120 people each week, to popular specialized eateries like Pine State Biscuits, Portland sets a great example for how to live and eat well in harmony with the environment. Portlanders have even managed to turn their notoriously wet weather into a positive. The perpetual drizzle contributes to the lush green landscape, allows for bountiful farmers’ markets and nurtures all those fruit trees!
Put it all together, and Portland is Ecover’s kind of town!
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