Alternatives to Petroleum Based Products

June 28, 2010
Hoboken, NJ – June 28 2010 – This will be a 3 part series in reducing our use of Petroleum based products. Reasons to reduce our use of Petroleum are extensive. There are health, environmental, and political reasons. The spill in the Gulf has many people reexamining our dependency on oil.  Now there are certainly ways we can reduce our use of fuel, heating oil, gasoline, etc. This article will focus on additional ways we can reduce our use of Petroleum. We can reduce our use of Petroleum by first understanding common items that are made by Petroleum.
 
  • Plastics & Synthetic Rubber
  • Paint, paint thinners, lacquers, solvents, floor cleaners,
  • Petroleum (or paraffin) wax used in candy making, packaging, candles, crayons, matches, and polishes
  • Petroleum jelly – used in medical products and toiletries (lip gloss)
  • Polyester and other synthetic fibers.
  • Fertilizers, pesticides
  • Many more miscellaneous items such as hair spray, printing inks, asphalt

 1. Plastics and Synthetic Rubber: Today, there are many alternatives to utilizing these items.  Take plastic bags for example.  Many grocery and even clothing stores now sell reusable bags made from Corn or Hemp. Some local grocers also give discounts to people who bring their own bags.   

   

Even garbage bags have an eco friendly option. There are entire lines of disposable garbage bags that biodegrade. “EcoDegradable” bags now come in all sizes and strengths. (See here STOG2430W70)

 

Cutting down your use of plastic is even easier. Many manufacturers are using alternatives such as corn and vegetable plants in place of plastic! Take a look at these disposable knives, forks, and spoons, (ECOEPS001, ECOEPS002, ECOEPS003) all made from plant starch.    We also found disposable plates made from sugarcane (ECOEPP016, ECOEPP013, ECOEPP005, ECOEPBL12).   

 

PVC is one of the most widely used and potentially toxic forms of plastic.  Many manufacturers now make PVC free products. For example, both Avery and Wilson Jones make an entire line of PVC free binders and office products (AVE79699). 

 

2. Paint:  According to the EPA, indoor air is 3 times more polluted than the air outdoors. Much of this comes from the materials we use to build our homes and the paints and finishes we put on the walls. Paints and finishes release low level toxic emissions into the air for years after application. Luckily for us, most manufacturers now make paints based from Natural products with less toxicity and even petroleum free alternatives.

    

Casein, a protein found in milk products is a fast-drying egg-based paint that has been in use for hundreds of years. Today, it is purchased in a dry and powdered form. The powder must be mixed with water and then used immediately (usually within hours to days) to prevent the paint from clumping. Milk, like clay, is intended as an interior paint and only comes in a matte finish.  

    

Another Alternative is Lime Wash. Limestone, a calcium-based mineral, is combined with water to form a natural paint. It can be used indoors or outdoors and forms a unique, glowing finish that comes in a variety of colors. Although 100% natural, limestone is corrosive to both eyes and skin, so wear gloves and goggles during application.  Ask your hardware store personnel for green friendly and petroleum free products the next time you shop for them.  

    

This concludes Part 1 of this article.  Join us for Part 2 (coming soon) of this article as we continue to explore ways to reduce our use of petroleum.


Save Energy, Save Money

June 15, 2010

Simple and Easy Ways to Conserve energy in the home or office  

Hoboken, NJ – June 15 2010 – Sometimes being green friendly and wanting to save energy (and money) requires a major change.  Fortunately, for you reading this, we are exploring the simpler options.  Hey, it is the little things, right?

1. Vampire electronics:  Most of our electronic devices continue to utilize energy even when they are turned off!  This “standby energy” is constantly being drained as long as the device is plugged in.  Your entertainment system when it’s not in use is costing you an estimated $76 a year, ouch.  Several manufacturers are working on energy saving surge protectors.  The Belkin (BLKBG10800004)  surge protector comes with 2 “always ON’ outlets for items like Routers and DVR’s but has six outlets that can be turned off when not in use.  These “Eco outlets” stop energy from flowing to the plugged in device which will prevent the energy drain on appliances not in use.   As an added bonus, it comes with a remote for easy operation.  This summer, a number of similar products are expected to hit the market. 

2. Computer or Home Office: How about tackling 2 items with one solution?  The Tripp Lite ECO series UPS system provides “Eco” surge outlets, Phone/DSL surge protection, and is a UPS backup system that protects your computer from data loss in the case of a power outage. We found several versions with the entry level around $50.  The entry level ECO350UPS gives you 6 outlets (2 Eco friendly and 3 with UPS backup).   Protect your computer from data loss and save energy?  Not a bad deal considering that your computer easily uses $50 a year in ‘standby’ energy.

3. Give the home or office Fridge a break:  Refrigerators account for about 20% of Household electricity use.  Use the thermometer in your refrigerator to set your fridge to 37F degrees and your freezer to about 3F degrees. Good rule of thumb, make small changes with your freezer to ensure that you don’t set it too hot or too cold.

4. Use the sun to your advantage: On hot days, while you are at work, leave the blinds drawn or closed to keep out the sunlight and reduce the heat in your house.  Come home to a much cooler house!  On cold winter days, allow plenty of sunlight to flood your rooms. 

5. Turn down your water heater thermostat:This is a simple process and there are many guides to help you do this.I would caution, as with any electric device, if you are unsure of what to do, seek professional help.  However, most people could probably do this on their own.  Thermostats are often set to 140 degrees F when 120 or even 110 are usually fine. Each 10 degree reduction saves 600 pounds of CO2 per year for an electric water heater.

 

 

 

 “All Your Office Needs!”    Sincerely, Supply Brothers


Cleanse your home the eco friendly way!

November 18, 2009

November 17, 2009 – Supply Brothers

Cleaning your home in an environmentally safe way will go a long way towards living a healthier life.  The air in our homes should be pure, refreshing, and free of toxins.  The next time you clean, remember these important guidelines.

 Know your products

On average, most people clean their house once a week. Many household products use toxins and chemical, which pollutes the air in your home and contain dangerous chemicals.   Look for warning labels containing the words “caution, danger, poisonous,” or anything that would indicate harmful ingredients.   Not only are these products toxic when used, they also can leak small amounts of chemicals into the air polluting your home environment. 

 Did you know that compounds derived from coconuts can act as a disinfectant?

There are a host of replacement items that are safe to use and friendly to the environment.  One can easily find biodegradable cleaners at almost every local store across the country. When shopping for cleaning products, look for cleaning products that contain the words, “biodegradable, organic, natural, and non-toxic.”  Many people often make their own cleaning products out of items such as vinegar.  The web contains a vast amount of resources on this subject.

Dispose of toxic products in an eco friendly way

Removing these products from your home safely is easy. This does not mean you can just pour them down the sink or throw them in the trash! Doing this will only pollute our outside environment, streams, drinking water, etc. Call your local town or city hall, and be sure to ask them where and how to dispose of hazardous waste.  Many towns have a local hazardous waste pickup day as well.

Lastly, after removing harmful chemicals from your home, green up your home with plants! House plants are not only pleasing to the eye, but they also bring terrific health benefits into your home. NASA studied house plants, and they determined that they could greatly improve the quality of air. They reported that house plants can remove up to 87% of the air toxins, within 24 hours!

 By, Supply Brothers