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Friday, October 31, 2014


BRZ Brands Hot Art: A Greener, More Attractive Space Heater for Your Home

Hot Art wall space heater

These attractive heating panels from BRZ Brands, dubbed “Hot Art™,” are far and away the prettiest space heaters coming to market this fall. Hanging on the wall as your typical home décor piece, these works of art act as highly efficient room-heaters, using the same infrared heating technology as the many umbrella-like heaters you find on restaurant patios in the winter. Hot Art pieces serve as hidden, energy efficient heaters in the home and can even be placed in covered areas outdoors, providing a much-needed aesthetic makeover to the common space heater. But how are they more energy efficient? Let us compare them to your conventional space heater. (more…)

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Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Most Popular Pets Worldwide

Seamus the Boston Terrier

Keeping pets is a popular pursuit all over the world and although different nations have different attitudes about pets, in the end, we all favor one kind of pet over all others. Here are the four most popular pets worldwide.

Dogs and Cats
The most popular pets worldwide are dogs and cats, however there is some confusion about which are the most popular. While it used to be thought that there were many more cats than dogs, in fact pet dogs outnumber pet cats by a factor of two. A report published by the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) estimates that there are 432 million pet dogs and 272 million pet cats.

People keep pets for a variety of reasons, and this varies from country to country, but overall 49% of pets are kept for companionship; 43% for guard; 5% for hunting; 2% for religious reasons, and 1% for herding. It is also interesting to look at how this varies across various continents. In Europe the order of importance for keeping pets is companionship, guarding, hunting, and working (mainly herding) while in Africa it is guarding, hunting, herding, companionship. People love their pets so much that they even find companies that offer cat and dog insurance.

Birds are the third most popular pets and again there are a number of reasons why we keep them. One of these is that compared to cats and dogs they make inexpensive pets. All they need is a little food and water.

Although we think of dogs as intelligent, so too are birds; they have much more intelligence than they are usually credited with. They are even clever enough to use tools, which is more than dogs can do. They don’t need walking, house training or even a litter box; cleaning out a bird cage is very simple. We keep them because of their beauty and companionship, and interestingly enough, birds are also sometimes used for guard duty, which can include warning of intruders and chasing them away.

In terms of the numbers that are kept as pets fish far outnumber all other kids of pets, but the reason is that people who keep fish tend to keep large numbers of them.

Keeping fish has been popular for hundreds if not thousands of years. Originally kept for food, in Japan it was traditional to keep brightly coloured koi and goldfish as pets as far back as 2,000 years ago. In Ancient Samaria fish were kept in ponds for aesthetic reasons, and in Ancient Egypt they were kept in temples. In Europe carp were kept both for aesthetic reasons and for food.
There is something particularly calming about watching fish swim in an aquarium tank or in an outdoor pool, and keeping fish can be inexpensive, but fish can also make expensive pets. For instance some koi can cost many thousands of pounds for a single specimen.

No matter what species of pet you prefer, keep it safe, healthy and loved.

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Crafty DIY Halloween Decorating Ideas

DIY Halloween Lantern Box

Something wicked this way comes: Adding some low impact flare to your Halloween décor

As with any holiday, when looking around for fun decorations it’s important to think about the materials those decorations are made from and what will become of them when they are tossed out. So keeping this in mind and counting down to the last day before Halloween – I’m going to share a fun and simple DIY anyone can do to add some last minute-flare using basic cardboard. (more…)

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Wake up and smell the smog: eco tips and tricks

People, it’s time to wake up and smell the pollution you’ve created!

green homeSmog-filed streets, cars sputtering smoke and carbon, factories with chimneys like Victorian workhouses and aerosol cans tainting the air with every spray – these are the products of years of ignorance, and they’re killing our planet.

But you don’t have to be a part of that system. With a few changes in your home life, your carbon footprint will slowly fade away. While all those people outside might pollute like it was going out of fashion, you can be part of the growing mass of eco-citizens fighting the good fight.

So, what should you do?

Call the professionals
Trying to kit out your home with the right eco-goods doesn’t have to be a task you take on alone. As the industry grows, certified green deal installers are now on hand to help you fit solar panels and give you advice on trimming energy usage.

A chat with these guys will ensure that every nook and cranny of your home is at its optimal state to lower your carbon footprint.

It’s so easy to look at that fancy Subaru or Porsche, buy it and think, “Rats to you, ozone layer!” Eco-friendly carBut, while fancy cars might make you feel like a GOD when you drive them, they’re causing the rapid deterioration of the planet.

Hybrid cars, which run partly on electricity and dramatically cut fuel consumption, have grown in their efficiency over the past decade, with major brands like SEAT, Renault, Citroen and loads more hopping on the environmental bandwagon.

Flying with minimal carbon emissions is a trickier proposition. You could always take a train instead, but if you have to fly, avoid connecting flights (they use more fuel) and try to combine trips for shorter travel times.

Light and heat
You might not think about it too often, but those old light bulbs you’re using are wasting electricity and polluting. Use low energy bulbs (now available almost anywhere) and you’ll have the same concentration of light for a cheaper price.

To cut your heating bills, make sure to insulate your home as best as you can. Many local councils provide grants that will do this for your home if you’re strapped for cash. But to really gild the lily, place some tinfoil behind your radiators to reflect the heat away from walls and into rooms.

Every little helps, as they say, and nowhere is that truer than with the environment.

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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

the LED light bulb that shines when the power goes out

SmartCharge LED Bulb

If you live in an environment that is prone to extreme weather events like big winter snowstorms, high winds, or hurricanes you might want to contemplate what’s going to happen when the lights go out (and they will). One solution – an energy-efficient LED light bulb which contains a rechargeable battery that keeps the bulb lit when the power goes out and operates like a normal LED light bulb when the juice is on.

The SmartCharge LED Bulb was funded through a successful Kickstarter campaign that reached 183% of its target. SmartCharge is a nifty solution for folks who experience frequent power loss, or those who can’t afford to be left in the dark. (more…)

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What is medical waste and how is it disposed of?


Typically, medical waste is classified as any waste that has resulted from the diagnosis or treatment of people in clinics and hospitals. Some common varieties of medical waste include used bandages, used medical equipment (such as syringes), bodily fluids and human organs.

It can also be produced in laboratories or research facilities that are carrying out biological testing.

Additionally, facilities such as dental surgeries and veterinary practices also contribute to the estimated 200 million tonnes of worldwide medical waste produced each year. There are a whole host of risks and dangers associated with medical waste and it is vital that it is disposed of in the correct manner.

Classification of medical waste
Medical waste can be classified into four broad categories. Each form of waste needs to be treated individually due to the variety of associated hazards.

Outlined below are the four main categories of medical waste:

  • General waste: the most common form of medical waste. It accounts for almost 85% of the total amount produced and contains everyday items such as paper, plastics and liquids. This is by far the least hazardous form of medical waste.
  • Hazardous waste: predominantly waste that has no infectious capabilities but can be dangerous to humans in a physical sense. Sharp objects such as syringes, broken glass or scalpels fall into this category.
  • Radioactive waste – an extremely dangerous form of waste which results from any radioactive treatments such as chemotherapy. Equipment and materials involved in these forms of treatments need to be disposed of carefully due to the risks they present to people.
  • Infectious waste – this revolves around waste that has the potential to infect other humans. Used bandages, syringes, bodily fluids and tissue make up the bulk of this category.

How is medical waste disposed of?
Due to improved methods, medical waste disposal is now much more environmentally-friendly than it was a number of years ago. Incineration was once the only method used to dispose of medical waste but there are now a number of other processes that reduce potential risks during disposal.

Irradiation, steam sterilization and the process of treating the waste with chemicals allows medical waste to be disposed of alongside regular waste in landfills. This not only benefits the environment but it also reduces the danger to the general public.

Whilst incineration is still used to a certain degree, the benefits of this more environmentally-friendly approach is growing in popularity and could transform the face of this industry for good.

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

votive candles vs battery-powered LED lights

LED vs. Wick: shedding a little light …

halloween votive candles

A glowing Jack-O-Lantern is about as iconic Halloween as you can get. But lately, more and more families have been switching out their old fashioned candles for new battery-powered LED options. As LEDs grow in popularity they are slowly replacing traditional candles. So the question becomes, are these battery-powered LEDs more eco-friendly than their candle counterparts?

LED votive candles

Let’s breakdown some environmental pros and cons of each option. An LED candle:

  • CONS – it has a plastic body and powered by batteries.
  • PROS – they last longer than a candle (so we won’t go through as many) and they come with no risk of fire or fumes. Here are some rechargeable battery-powered LED votive solutions on

Whereas traditional candles:

  • PROS – usually burn themselves out leaving little behind so there is less waste for the landfills
  • CONS – most candles on the market are made from paraffin wax, which is a petroleum product derived from oil. Burning this type of candle increases dependence on oil and also releases byproducts like carbon dioxide, toxic toluene and benzene. Exposure to these substances is linked to nervous system damage and endocrine disruption. Lastly, there is always a risk of fire.

Perhaps it’s these negatives of a conventional candle that has families turning to the LED option … but with anything battery-powered we need to take into consideration what impact the batteries have.  One-time use batteries are commonly alkaline batteries and when they’re done they are discarded. Almost all Halloween candle LED substitutes use one-time use batteries. And the batteries contain harmful materials like cadmium, lead, mercury, copper, zinc, manganese and potassium that we don’t want leaching into ground water. Because of their toxic nature they can’t be tossed in the recycling bin, nor can they be tossed in the trash. Every city handles battery disposal differently but they do need to be collected and disposed of properly.

acorn candy soy votive candles

(above) Candy Corn Soy Votive Candles with Cotton Wicks, scented with phthalate-free scented oil (3-pack, $9) @ theprismaticpeacock on etsy.

Which brings me back to the candle option … you can make your traditional candle cleaner and greener by: (more…)

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Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Dark Side of Halloween Candy

Halloween candy

The darker side of what all those trick-or-treaters will be bringing home this Halloween season…

Alongside all the ghouls and ghosts this Halloween season there will be lots of fun sized candy bars, lollipops and sour gummies. For many kids all this candy is the tradition they look forward to the most. Every year for Halloween over $2 billion is spent by consumers on candy. But what are the environmental costs of all these sweet treats? (more…)

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