Green Gifts For Valentines Day

So red roses are out as a romantic gift, if your love is a green, green eco-warrior… so what would he or she like instead, as the ultimate romantic gesture that shows that you are equally committed to their environmentally friendly ideals?

soy heart candleNatural heart candle
A heart shaped hemp and soy candle with a gorgeous scent ticks all the boxes for a romantic token.  The oils are totally natural and beautifully silky so that you can use them as massage oils after you’ve enjoyed your candlelit dinner. This candle is available from Hemporium in several fragrances and is 100% vegan. Continue reading

Green Alternatives To Air Freshener Sprays

A friend recently was being driven to distraction – her teenage daughter was determined to go green and kept hiding the bathroom air freshener spray!

So if putting up with a stinky bathroom isn’t an option, what can you use instead of conventional air fresheners, both sprays and solid, which are definitely on the bad list as far as toxic chemicals and VOCs (volatile organic compounds) are concerned?

hemp and soy massage candleMy suggestion was to keep a natural soy and hemp scented candle in the bathroom, with a box of matches next to it. It can be lit at any time for long enough to give a sweeter fragrance to the air; much better than filling the air with an unhealthy burst of chemicals from a spray can. Another bonus of these candles is that the melted oil from them can be used as a luxuriously massage oil or skin moisturizer. What could be more appealing than a bath by candlelight, with lightly fragranced air scented with natural essential oils, followed by a massage with the warm natural oil from the candle?

Another option for a naturally sweet smelling bathroom is an essential oil burner. A few drops of essential oil in a little water in the top basin, is gradually evaporated into the air by a candle burning underneath.

Or just open the window. Most smells will disperse quickly enough with proper ventilation!

If you’re not convinced that air fresheners are  a health risk, check out this simple explanation of the most common chemicals used in them.

Hemp House Anyone?

House made of hemp, South AfricaAlternative building materials are gaining support everywhere: straw bale houses, cob houses, sand bag houses… but the latest alternative house I’ve come across is made of hemp! About 70% hemp in all including the furnishings, in this stunning hemp house in Noordhoek, Cape Town. Built by Tony Budden, of Hemporium, advocate and campaigner for hemp in South Africa, it is a perfect demonstration of  hemp’s infinite number of uses.

I knew hemp was a versatile material, now being used to make clothing and a wide variety of other products, but until now I’d no idea that it could be made into bricks, hardboard, insulation and more.

Hemp has the huge eco-advantage of being quick to grow and naturally pest resistant. It can be processed into hundreds of useful products without the harmful by-products of most industrially produced, petroleum based fabrics and materials. The hitch is that it’s still not legal to grow hemp in many countries, including South Africa. There is a dedicated online campaign in progress to get government legislation to allow hemp as a cash crop in South Africa, which could mean a whole new generation of affordable, eco-friendly and sustainable building methods… and houses that are totally bio-degradable when you’ve finished with them!

And no, you can’t smoke them! This variety of cannabis is very low in this substances that make you high, so it is not the same as dagga!