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Ecoluxe offers a collection of ecofriendly bamboo made products for the environmentally conscious person or business.

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father's day gift idea

Father’s Day Gift Ideas that are Low-Tech and Eco-Friendly

Father’s Day is just around the corner. If you’re looking for a unique gift idea that doesn’t pollute the environment, then check out these eco-friendly low tech high value products for Dad. 

Electronic gadgets are cool but at some point, they end up in the landfill. There are a lot of other products in the market that are just as functional and practical and more organic that you can gift to your dad this father’s day and below are some ideas.

These products are more biodegradable, they require no batteries and very little maintenance. Some may require a little bit of dismantling at the end of their life to make them recyclable and compostable but nonetheless, they don’t sit in the landfill for hundreds of years contributing to greenhouse gasses the way plastic products do. So this year, consider introducing dad to sustainable products and show him how much you care about the planet.

Give dad something unique, memorable and appropriate. If dad enjoys the outdoors, give him a gift that allows him to enrich his experience. If dad travels a lot for business, consider a personal care travel kit or a fashion accessory. If dad works at home, consider an office desk organizer. To help guide you in formulating your own unique gift idea for father’s day, here are some suggestions. 

 

Bamboo Sunglasses

Get dad ready for summer with these cool shades. A more affordable option to the designer brands but trendier and environmentally friendlier too. This all natural fashion accessory would be a great summer time gift for the beach trotter.

Fathers Day Gift Ideas EcoLuxe bamboo sunglasses

 

Bamboo Watch

Another great gift idea for the dad who loves to dress up. Get him this trendy bamboo watch. Tell him it’s time to start living more sustainably and give him a head start with this fashion accessory. Complements any color and style of suiting with its earthy, neutral color.

 

Fathers Day Gift Ideas EcoLuxe bamboo watch

 

Bamboo Office Organizer

If dad works at home, this home office desk organizer is a great practical gift idea. Help him to stay organized with this multi compartment desk accessory so he can keep post-it notes, pens, paper clips and other office supplies within reach. 

 

Fathers Day Gift Ideas EcoLuxe-desk organizer bamboo

Bamboo Wooden Razors

Super low tech but 100% reliable and practical is the wooden handle razor. Electric shavers are great if you can carry batteries or if you have access to electricity. But, if dad likes the outdoors and he’s off the grid, manual razors never fail to keep him well shaven.

 

Fathers Day Gift Ideas EcoLuxe Personal Care razor

 

Bamboo Speakers

For his road trip, a bluetooth enabled speaker with the bamboo outer shell. Lightweight, practical, portable, durable and works just like the commercial plastic grade ones. Let him enjoy his favourite tunes on the road, at the beach or anywhere he wants to be with this bluetooth speaker.

Fathers Day Gift Ideas EcoLuxe Bamboo speakers

Bamboo Camping Mess Kit

If dad is a camper, hiker or the outdoorsy type, this eco gift box is an excellent gift idea. It’s a mini mess kit complete with tableware and personal care kit for his overnight stay. This 6 piece utensil set is reusable and tucks away nicely in this fabric case. The stainless steel tumbler is excellent for his road trip. He can use it both for hot or cold beverages. With its removable tea infuser basket, he can enjoy organic tea without the bag. The personal care kit includes the essentials including a reusable bamboo toothbrush, dental floss and comb. 

 

Fathers Day Gift Ideas EcoLuxe camping mess kit

Bamboo Personal Care Travel Kit

If your dad is a traveler, consider this personal care travel gift box. It’s complete with all the toiletries and personal hygiene essentials including an eco-friendly bamboo toothbrush, bamboo charcoal infused dental floss, comb, containers for his shampoo and conditioner and a manual razor. Everything he needs for a truly sustainable travel adventure.

Fathers Day Gift Ideas EcoLuxe Travel Personal Care

The Round Up on Sustainable Father’s Day Gifts

Think of sustainable products when buying gifts. Everything we buy and consume will eventually end up in the landfill so to avoid this, think about the raw materials used to produce the gifts you buy dad and what happens to these products at the end of their life. Make smart choices and consider organic and biodegradable gift ideas that don’t add to our environmental issues.

 

 

ecofriendly office supplies

5 Ways to Operate a More Sustainable Office at Home

Since the pandemic, many of us have experienced a change in our workplace environment. Commercial spaces emptied and the downtown core saw an outflow of employees moving their work from office to home. Our workplace environment has changed and so has our mode of business operations.

With less commuting, less overall business activities and to some degree, reduced consumption, we realized that this new normal improved our environment, specifically our air quality. Less carbon emissions from the commuting public and less manufacturing activities cleared the air (as they say). Working from home has now taken root and many employers are now accepting this as part of the new corporate reality.

With many of us now permanently working at home while others are working within a hybrid model, how do we maintain the eco progress we have made during the pandemic and ensure that we continue down this greener path?

One answer is to adopt more sustainable ways to operate your office and business. At home, you have full control of your environment from heating, electricity, waste management to purchasing office supplies. Here are ten easy tips on how to maintain a more sustainable workplace at home:

1. Minimize the Printing

There are many ways you can help to save a tree. Remember that wood is not as sustainable as bamboo and requires approximately 50 years of maturity before being harvested into pulp and paper. Reducing the need to print will help slow down the deforestation (which impacts a host of other biodiversity issues). Here are ideas on how to adopt this quickly:
Choose email as a way to receive mail rather than physical documents

  • When printing, double side your print jobs to reduce the number of pages and ink required
  • Digitize everything. If you have paper copies, scan them using a printer / scanner or take a photo of it to create PDF documents and then recycle the paper
  • Instead of printing and distributing presentations, choose to screen share at the meeting or send a link prior to the meeting to prepare attendees for your meeting discussions

2. Cut down on Electricity Use

When not in use, turn things off. Sometimes we don’t realize that office equipment like printers, devices and other computers are using up electricity while idle. There are many ways you can conserve energy at your home office:

  • Use the same computer (desktop or laptop) for working and listening to music if possible in order to cut down on the number of devices you are using
  • Turn off printers, monitors, devices and other equipment when not in use
  • If you have a lot of natural light in your home office, consider positioning your desk near the window to reduce the amount of lights you need
  • Replace light bulbs with energy efficient LEDs
  • Wear warmer clothes to reduce the amount of heat required or turn off your heater during warmer weather

ecofriendly office supplies3. Recycle and Reuse Office Supplies

We buy a lot of office supplies that we throw away after a single use. While there are some items you can’t reuse like notepads with writing, there are many that you can recycle and reuse.

  • Binders are reusable and practical. They are expandable, durable, multi-purpose and versatile and a perfect replacement for single use notepads
  • Page Flags can be reused. They may not be as sticky as the first time you use them, but they still do the job when reused a second time.
  • Rulers and scissors can be reused. If you have a dull scissor, sharpen them instead of throwing them away
  • Reuse paper as scrap. Before throwing away a single sided piece of paper, use it for scribbling, sketching, doodling or note taking
  • Paper clips and rubber bands can be reused many times over
  • Replace single use plastic pens with refillable mechanical pencils.
  • Reuse printer cartridges by refilling ink jet or recycle the old ones appropriately

4. Buy Eco Friendly Supplies

Another option to creating a sustainable office is to buy eco-friendly supplies made of bamboo. A majority of office supplies are made from man made materials like plastic which are non biodegradable. Consider replacing these plastic supplies with bamboo made products. Bamboo is 100% biodegradable, eco friendly and far more renewable than wood. Here are some supplies that can be replaced with bamboo:

  • Pens and pencils
  • Pen and pencil holders
  • Drawer organizers
  • Device caddies
  • Rulers and straight edge sets
  • Pencil sharpeners

ecofriendly office supplies5. Choose Sustainable Kitchen Products

Working at home means having more frequent access to the comforts of our kitchen. This might mean more cups of coffee or eating snacks more often throughout the day. There are many opportunities to improve our habits in the kitchen. Here are ideas on how to adopt a more eco friendly practice:

  • If you’re using k-cups consider using instant coffee or filtered drip coffee to reduce waste
  • Make coffee at home instead of buying them from the coffee and then disposing cups that only add to landfills
  • Consider using paper bags for your garbage instead of plastic garbage bags.
  • Reduce the use of disposable food containers by making food at home instead of ordering out often
  • Use stainless steel or eco friendly bamboo utensils instead of plastic take out utensils

Working at home gives one a lot of flexibility and the ability to create a good work-life balance. For the most part, working remotely allows you to have the freedom to choose office supplies that are the most eco-friendly, control your energy use and configure your office in a way that optimizes your space for improved productivity.

sustainable living kitchen

Sustainable Living Series: 10 Simple Tips to Creating an Eco Friendly Kitchen

Look around your kitchen. If you haven’t already noticed, there are probably a lot of non biodegradable and harmful products in your kitchen. From plastic cooking utensils to toxic cleaning chemicals, they are everywhere in our kitchen. If you haven’t taken stock yet, take inventory of what you have and pay special attention to where these products end up at their end of life. 

 

Are they recycled or do they sit in the landfill for years? Do they naturally decompose or does the breakdown process require energy or chemical treatment that could be harmful to the environment? This is an important consideration when choosing what you buy because our landfill is not shrinking but instead continues to grow. 

 

In 2018, Canada’s municipal solid waste (MSW) which includes food, plastics, glass, metals, paper, rubber and wood was 35.5 million tonnes while the United States generated 292 million tonnes of MSW. Of the total waste generated in the US alone, about 146 million tonnes (or about 50%) ended up in the landfills.

 

The largest component of the waste that ended up in landfills consisted of food at 24% with plastics accounting for just over 18%, paper and paperboard at 12%, rubber, textiles and leather at 11% and other materials at 10% each. 

 

Our kitchens generate the most waste combining food, plastic, paper and steel. Imagine if each household did their small part in being a little more conscious of how they choose products and dispose of their waste, we can all contribute to diverting and reducing landfill pollution.

 

Here are some simple tips you can adopt and practice as you begin your journey to a more sustainable lifestyle. 

 

Cleaning Products

1.  Sponges are one of the basic cleaning items that we use to hand wash dishes, pots and pans. Many may not be aware that every day sponges are derived from petroleum-based polyurethane or polyester which is a form of plastic. These sponges not only shed microplastics as you wash, but they are also non-biodegradable, non-recyclable and end up in landfills.

 

Tip: Replace man-made synthetic sponges with organic veggie based materials like loofahs or cotton cloths. You can also consider using brushes with wood handles and castor oil (veggie based) bristles that are fully biodegradable. This option is healthier for you and the environment

sustainable living kitchen

2. Cleaning Solutions is a major source of pollutants. They may be effective in getting your kitchen sparkling clean or unplugging your drain, but those toxic chemicals end up in our waterways with some remnants infiltrating into the food chain. These chemicals can also be harmful to our health causing eye, skin or respiratory irritation and long term exposure causing more serious health issues.

 

Tip: Consider cleaning solutions that are gentle on the environment and have ecolabels or are certified as a Safer Choice product in the EPA database.

 

3. Paper towels and paper waste, though biodegradable, still contribute to the growing landfill pollution. They made up 12% or 17 million tonnes of municipal solid waste in the US in 2018. Many have grown accustomed to single use paper towels and napkins to wipe down counters and surfaces because it is convenient and we know it is compostable. However, when combined with other non biodegradable waste, paper towels add just as much garbage to our landfills.

 

Tip: Instead of using paper towels, use dish clothes that can be washed and reused to wipe down surfaces. Use a tea cloth for wiping your hands or dishes dry. This encourages reuse and helps reduce waste materials.

 

4. Disposable Floor Wipes, like the swiffer, is a convenient, hassle-free way to clean your kitchen floor without the labor that’s involved in traditional floor mopping. It’s quick and easy but unfortunately, the cleaning chemicals in the pad are toxic and the swiffer pads themselves are made of polypropylene which is a form of non biodegradable plastic along with other materials.

 

Tip: Consider using a mop. It seems cumbersome to have to fill a pale with soap and water and push and squeeze a mop to clean a floor but the single-use disposable swiffer option contributes to our waste problem.

sustainable living kitchen

Wraps, Bags and Enclosures

5. Saran Wrap is a convenient way to store food especially when used as a seal to cover food in a dish or just generally to store food safely. It is a thin plastic film made of Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE). Plastic wrap is not safe to use in ovens and personally, I don’t trust that it is safe in a microwave either because untreated plastic wrap can release chemicals and melt when heated. Aside from the health risks it poses in high temperature, it is also non biodegradable when disposed in the garbage.

 

Tip: Instead of using plastic wrap, consider using glass containers with a cover or use a plate to cover the top of an open dish if you are storing food in the fridge. 

 

6. Ziploc bags are common items found in the kitchen that conveniently stores and packs sandwiches and other items. Plastic food bags, made of polyethylene, are widely used as packaging to store meat in a freezer because they are space savers and also used for packing lunches. Unfortunately, after we use them, we discard them and they end up in landfills.

 

Tip: Consider using glass containers when storing and packing food that will be consumed in the short term. Instead of buying in bulk, buy and consume just what you will eat to prevent the need to store food.

 

7. Plastic Food Containers are kitchen essentials and commonly used for storing larger amounts of food. Many refrigerate their left overs and then later warm them up in a microwave. These food containers are made of low-density polyethylene or polypropylene and have a high temperature tolerance before it reaches its melting point. Whether it is safe to microwave with food is debatable because researchers claim there are still gaps in their understanding of how plastics affect our health and development. Polypropylene is known to be non biodegradable and will reach our landfills at end of life.

 

TIP: Substitute plastic food containers with reusable glass containers for safe microwave use and ultimately generate less reliance and demand for plastic products in general.

sustainable living kitchen

8. Garbage Bags are made of polyethylene (petroleum-based resin) or in the case of Glad garbage bags, they are made of butene polymer with ethene (or polythene). While some say there are polythenes that are biodegradable over a very long period of time, others claim that polythenes are not biodegradable. Many of us buy whatever garbage bags are available on store shelves but, we may not be aware that our choices will leave a legacy in our landfills.

 

TIP: Instead of garbage bags, consider finding bioplastic bags or just using paper bags for your garbage and put them out in your trash can to be ready for pick up. 

 

9. Aluminum based products including tin cans, aluminum foils and packaging contribute about 8.8% of the total municipal solid waste in the US in 2018. This is approximately 26.3 million tonnes with 52% that is landfilled. Foils are convenient ways to store food in shelves and fridges. But, unfortunately, they are easily discarded and unless they are not soiled, they can’t be recycled. 

 

TIP: Using aluminum foil is convenient for lining pans when baking and storing leftover food however, to reduce aluminum waste, consider these three things: 1) using simply the non-stick pan without the foil lining 2) eliminating tin foil baking sheets from your kitchen supplies and 3) instead of accumulating leftovers, buy exactly what you will need and consume. 

sustainable living kitchen

Kitchen Cooking Tools

10. Plastic Utensils are what we commonly use for cooking. Plastic utensils are made of Acrylonitrile–butadiene–styrene resin (ABS) and acrylonitrile–styrene resin (AS) which contain volatile substances that are potentially carcinogenic and toxic. Both ABS and AS are not biodegradable. In fact, many may not know that these utensils are made from recycled computer parts (especially the black plastic utensils) and over time, they chip and fray with microplastics landing in your food. Because plastics can’t biodegrade, they end up in landfills.

TIP: Consider wooden bamboo utensils for health and safety reasons. Bamboo, in particular, are biodegradable so they are one of the safest cooking tools you can have in your kitchen. They are antibacterial, organic and don’t scratch the surface of your pots and pans. 

 

These are simple ways to start your journey to sustainable living. You may find many more opportunities to become more sustainable at home. Share your experience and tips with us here.

 

kitchen zero waste sustainable living

5 Simple Tips to Purge Plastic from Your Kitchen

We can all do our little part in changing the way we live by being more conscious about our use of plastic at home. Many don’t realize the impact that plastic has not only on our environment but also on our health. From every step of the plastic manufacturing process, we are exposed to the toxins emitted through inhalation or ingestion through the air, water or soil we breathe, consume or touch. 

Plastic materials contain micro plastic particles and various toxic substances that are known or suspected to contain carcinogens that disrupt the human endocrine system leading to a host of health problems that affect human reproductive and nervous systems.

Plastic comes into our homes in various ways through various products. Many we may not even be aware of. There are the obvious household products like plastic bags, tableware, cups, milk jugs, food containers and personal care products that we know contain plastics. But then there are those products that are less obvious, like carton boxes of milk or cream, that are made of paperboard but also contain a thin layer of polyethylene (plastic).

For those who are interested in starting the journey to sustainable living and purging plastic from their homes, we start by identifying the common household products that have alternative eco-friendly options first. 

Replacing Plastic Kitchen Products with Bamboo

One of the most practical and eco-friendly materials for kitchen products is bamboo. There are many kitchen items that can be replaced with bamboo. If bamboo is not your preferred choice, you can also consider other wood products like teak, oak or birch. But we highly recommend bamboo because it is far more renewable than wood with its ability to grow and replenish in a matter of months where wood would take at least 50 years.

Start with your kitchen drawers. Open your kitchen drawer and you might find the following items in plastic form. Consider these easy swaps from plastic to biodegradable eco friendly ones as a simple way to purge your plastic from your kitchen.

  • Cutlery Organizer: If you have a plastic cutlery organizer in your drawer you can replace it with a bamboo expandable drawer organizer that offers the flexibility to fit most drawer sizes. They come in various compartment sizes. They are very practical and look elegant. You can typically get these organizers in a light bamboo natural colour, black painted wood or white painted bamboo.

 

  • Cooking Utensils: Many of us have plastic cooking tools in our drawers. Maybe you got them at the dollar store for a cheap price. Never thinking that the plastic would actually melt, flake and embed in your food as you cook. It’s toxic and you may want to replace it with bamboo cooking utensils

kitchen zero waste sustainable living

  • Cutting Boards: Your cutting board might be plastic and stored in your kitchen drawer. This is another plastic product you can replace with a bamboo board. There are many advantages to using an organic cutting board over a plastic one including its antibacterial properties and its resilience to scarring. 


  • Flatware and Other Cutlery: Perhaps you have stainless steel flatware at home, but some of us store various types of plastic cutlery products including straws, stir sticks, tongs and picnic cutlery in our drawer and we may not even be aware of this. You may already know that plastic straws have been banned in various regions in North America and replaced with paper, stainless steel or bamboo straws. Now you can also replace all other plastic products with reusable bamboo utensils from cutlery to stir sticks and more.

 

  • Bowls and Containers: In your deeper bottom drawers or cabinets, you may find plastic bowls and storage containers for your leftovers. In fact, your fridge may be full of these plastic containers. Remember that putting these plastic containers in your microwave can cause toxins to leak into your food. Plastic containers have additives called phthalates that provide its flexibility and resilience and may melt at a lower temperature and leach out to the food when temperature reaches beyond 100C (212 F) in the microwave. You can replace these with ceramic or glass that can be safely microwaved and also effectively store food in the fridge.

kitchen zero waste sustainable living

These are very common household kitchen tools that have eco-friendly replacements. With so many bamboo kitchen products now available even at the dollar stores, they are very affordable and accessible. Consider the biodegradable nature of bamboo or wooden products and the safer option of using glass, ceramic or stainless steel for more temperature resilience. 

It’s not too late to start making changes around your home and purge plastic from your kitchen. To find more eco-friendly products, visit the shop page.