17 April 2014

How Going Green Saves You Money!

There has been a recent surge in popularity with being more eco-friendly and “going green”. With this new environmentally friendly trend comes a misconception that it is expensive, and we are going to provide you with a list of Green Alternatives that ultimately save you money, all while caring about the health of your family as well as your planet.

1. Use cloth napkins – Not only is your waste limited, but you don’t have to replace them every couple of months!

2. Grow your own food – this is not as difficult as you think, and it probably has the largest impact on your budget and on the environment. By not contributing to your carbon footprint of transporting produce from all over the world, and growing them either on your windowsill or in your backyard, not only do you save hundreds in the long run, but you reduce your contribution to harmful emissions into the air.

3. Use reusable water bottles – Tap water is drinkable, and for the same price as that $3 bottle of water, you can get hundreds of gallons!

4. Make your own cleaning products – not only are chemicals toxic for you, but they are toxic for the environment too. And, a basic cleaning solution of vinegar, lemon juice and baking soda, all of which you likely have in your kitchen, is all you need! Stop wasting money on toxic cleaning chemicals!

5. Yard sales – get rid of all of that extra clutter and cash in! Not only can you make money by selling old stuff, but you can save money by purchasing pre-loved items! Yard sales are the epitome of the “reduce, reuse, recycle” mantra!

6. Walk, carpool, or ride a bike - Gas is expensive, and it is also harmful for the environment. By choosing to walk, carpool or ride a bike, you are not only saving money on gas but you also help reduce the amount of chemicals being released into the air!

7. Recycle and Upcycle - tin cans can be re-purposed and converted into little plant pots; leftover produce can be converted into compost; an old ladder can be mounted on a wall and be used as shelving. Also, look into your local electronics dealer and see if they will properly recycle old technology for you - at Future Shop you can get a store credit for returning old laptops!

8. Buy local - from produce to furniture, when you purchase locally sourced items you minimizing your carbon footprint by not paying extra to have items shipped from all over the world! Visit farmer's markets and local vendors for not only better quality items but more eco-friendly items, too!

9. Hang to dry - It's spring time and there is nothing better than putting fresh sheets on your bed that have been hung out in the sunshine and nature to dry! Plus it lowers your hydro bill!

10. Use reusable bags - Although plastic bags may only be 5 cents in some areas, by simply using reusable bags that are usually made of recycled items, you are no longer contributing to landfills and waste!

12 April 2014

What does it mean to be ECOCERT certified?

AspenClean is Ecocert Certified – but what does it mean to be Ecocert certified?

With the recent surge in popularity with going "green" and organic, it is very easy to become confused or lost when deciding which products are best for you, your family and your environment. Many labels can claim “non-toxic” or “organic”, but can still be harmful to you and your environment.

This is where Ecocert comes in.

What is Ecocert? ECOCERT is an organic certification organization which was founded in France in 1991. It is based in Europe but performs their inspections in over 80 countries and this makes it one of the largest organic certification organizations in the world!

The general regulations for detergents set boundaries and limits on products' toxicity for humans. By creating the "natural cleaning products" standard in 2006, Ecocert's aim was to augment these regulations by defining criteria for the manufacture of environmentally-friendly detergents.

The basic principles of the green detergents standard are as follows:
  • To protect our planet and its resources by using renewable ingredients obtained using eco-friendly methods and by banning the majority of synthetic petrochemical-based ingredients.
  • To protect and inform the consumer by clearly stating the origin and quantity of the ingredients used and the presence of allergens and by recommending environmental advice and precautions for use.
Ecocert continuously monitors their certified brands with 2 check-ups per year to ensure that all criteria are continuously being met.

At AspenClean, we pride ourselves in being Ecocert Certified. Not only are our products safe to use around children and people with allergies, but they also help sustain the earth without producing toxic emissions and landfill waste.

31 March 2014

AspenClean Celebrates Earth Month in Vancouver!

AspenClean celebrates Earth Month by teaming up with Whole Foods to offer customers a chance to win a free Spring Cleaning and green cleaning products!

Share your #AspenCleanTip Green Cleaning tip with Whole Foods Vancouver during the month of April and you’re entered for a chance to win Spring Cleaning prizes!

VANCOUVER, BC – April 2014 – AspenClean, a local company who prides themselves on offering eco-friendly home cleaning services and products is teaming up with Whole Foods for Earth Month to offer customers a chance to win some great prizes. We want to learn about and promote the best green cleaning tips and look for some new green cleaning tips and share them with the world! AspenClean is asking you to share your best Green Cleaning Tip and you could win a Spring Cleaning home cleaning service.

You can enter online by tweeting your tip to @WholeFoods or with #AspenCleanTip hashtag. You can also visit any Whole Foods location in Vancouver until April 22nd and pick up a ballot at Customer Service to enter.

As a bonus, once you've entered you can pick up some free AspenClean products at the Whole Foods stores on Earth Day (April 22nd) Vancouver, while supplies last.

Make sure you check out other Green Cleaning tips on Whole Foods Twitter account @WholeFoods and using the #AspenCleanTip hashtag.

29 March 2014

What To Look For When Choosing A Natural Cleaner

Posted by Angela in Eco-Friendly LivingHealth & Wellness
There is really no generally accepted definition of “green cleaning”.

Since it has become fashionable to be green, a lot of companies now describe their not so eco-friendly products as “green”.

For some, it means that the products contain SOME green ingredients that are “plant derived”.  However, they like to overlook a lot of harmful, petroleum based ingredients that go into making it.  For some it means that the product is “biodegradable” – which again does not mean much unless it’s further defined, as “biodegradable” could mean a product takes a number of lifetimes to break down fully.

At AspenClean, we have set our own standards through our own research on ingredients necessary for effective cleaning and their impact on health and the environment.  We also used Ecocert as well as other certifying bodies’ standards as our reference.

Products that have a “green certification” and list all of their ingredients are more likely to be green than those that are only making unsupported claims. Cleaning product labels don’t necessarily disclose a complete ingredient list.  In light of this absence, the consumers should be looking for external certifications when making purchases.   Ecocert has the highest standards as far as the cleaning products certifications.

For us, green means:

  1. No ingredients identified as health or environmental hazards allowed (even though the certifying body’s standards allowed inclusion of them in some limited amounts, we decided against this option)
  1. No petroleum based ingredients (the products contain only plant and mineral derived ingredients)
  1. ALL ingredients are listed so that the consumer can make their own informed decision. The food manufacturers as well as cosmetic manufacturers are required by law to disclose ingredients.  At AspenClean, we believe the requirements should be similar for cleaning products manufacturers.
  1. No fragrances, only pure essential oils  known for their anti-bacterial, anti-viral and other therapeutic properties
  1. Minimum impact on the environment in every decision, i.e. post-consumer recycled material in our packaging and an option to purchase concentrated products that can be diluted with water to save money and the environment.
  1. No disposable products offered – we offer microfiber cloths that even though they are not natural, are so effective for cleaning that they can be used with water only for day-to-day cleaning, and so durable that can be re-used for up to 2 years. (And we’re not just saying it, we have tested it and do so every day with our cleaning service!)
 Can green cleaners be effective as their chemically abrasive counterparts?

Well, AspenClean is living proof of that.  We clean approx. 100 homes every day and have been doing so successfully for close to 10 years.  Our clients’ testimonials are the confirmation of that and we have converted a lot of skeptics during this time.

28 March 2014

What Should You Really Be Spring Cleaning In Your Bathroom?

       The first warm days of spring have always been a great time to purge our homes of the winter’s residues and welcome the freshness of the season with a clean, uncluttered living space. To help you along with this year’s spring cleaning, the Canadian Health Food Association (CHFA) has identified the three chemical-laden hotspots around the house to which you should pay special attention when cleaning: the kitchen, the laundry room, and the bathroom.
       You may already be aware of the chemicals to avoid in your cleaning products like MEA, DEA, and TEA, as well as the many irritants often squeezed into the ingredients list of these products. CHFA has also shared with you several natural alternatives to the common household cleaners you may be using while spring cleaning your home. This week, we’d like to bring to your attention the unclean culprits lurking in your bathroom; or more precisely, your cosmetics cabinet.
       The average woman can leave the house in the morning wearing over 500 chemicals, all from her personal hygiene and cosmetic products. To avoid this, read the ingredients of these products and stay away from common offenders like BHA and BHT, which have hormone disrupting effects and have been linked to carcinogen compounds. Your nail care products can contain dibutyl phthalate, a substance which may negatively impact reproduction, and has been linked to environmental degradation of the lakes and oceans. Siloxanes, have been connected to impaired fertility and are commonly found in cosmetics and deodorants. Even your shampoos and soaps can contain unseemly chemicals; particularly, look out for Sodium laureth sulfate.
       No need to panic, however. CHFA has some suggestions to help you spring clean your bathroom and still look and feel fabulous. You can replace many of the most common products, like deodorants, facial cleansers, and moisturizers, with effective natural alternatives. For example, did you know that coconut oil is an excellent skin conditioner and moisturizer? Rich in antioxidants and bursting with natural microbial and antibacterial agents, this versatile and easy-to-use product is readily available at any natural health retailer in Canada.
       While spring cleaning this year, check out some of these recipes for natural alternatives to beauty and hygiene products. While you’re at it, you can use some of these do it yourself cleaners and freshen up the whole bathroom as well.

Make sure you check out our website here for both spring cleaning services as well as eco-friendly house cleaning products.

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21 March 2014

Clean Clothes, Healthy Skin, Happy Family

     Spring cleaning is a big job, and when the cleaning bug hits it’s difficult to know where to start. To help you along, the Canadian Health Food Association (CHFA) has identified three major home toxin hotspots to which extra attention should be paid. Roll up your sleeves, read on for tips on what to avoid and what to use instead, and tackle these three chemical-laden areas naturally: the kitchen, the bathroom, and the laundry room.
     Doing laundry is a common chore in a household. But when your fresh-smelling clothes come out of the wash, how clean are they really? The detergents we use in our laundry machines can remove stains and dirt from our clothes, but what’s left on the fabric can actually be quite unpleasant. Did you know that your skin absorbs over 60% of what’s put on it, including chemical residues from detergents? To help you keep your family healthy and still making sure everyone’s clothes are clean, CHFA suggests avoiding certain chemicals commonly found in detergents and dryer sheets, and opting for easy to use, cost-effective, natural alternatives.
     When shopping for your detergents or dryer sheets, be wary of synthetic dyes and petrochemical derivatives which are contaminated with heavy metals implicated in several types of cancers. The pleasant, refreshing aroma your clothes give off after a fresh wash is the result of chemical irritants that can trigger allergies and migraines. Other chemicals often found on the labels of these products include: chlorine, which is a skin irritant; phosphates, which promote algal blooms that kill aquatic life; and trisodium nitrilotriacetate, which can actual re-dissolves heavy metals in our waterways and is also toxic to aquatic life.
     This may all be intimidating and avoiding these chemicals can seem nearly impossible, but that is not the case. In fact, it may come as a shock to you when you realize how simple the solution is. The next time you need to stock up on materials for your laundry room, don’t go for the product with the best marketing campaign. Instead, opt for a trip to your local health product retailer and stock up on these simple and cheap ingredients: baking soda, liquid castile soap, and coarse salt.
     Re-use an old laundry soap container and blend the following ingredients (Use ½ cup for a full load):
Natural laundry detergent

  • 2 litres hot water
  • 2 Tbsp coarse salt
  • 6 Tbsp baking soda
  • 6 Tbsp liquid castile soap

Dissolve dry ingredients in hot water. Add soap and stir.
For more spring cleaning solutions, and for other natural health tips, visit chfa.ca.

Make sure you check out our website here for both spring cleaning services as well as eco-friendly house cleaning products.

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14 March 2014

Toxic Kitchen Cleaning Products You Should Avoid!

        While 74 per cent of Canadians name the kitchen as their top spot for cleaning, only 10 per cent of the ingredients present in common cleaners are fully tested for their health and environmental effects. In fact, an estimated 75,000 different chemical ingredients are used in common household cleaning products. One has only to read the virtually unpronounceable ingredients and cautionary notices on cleaning product labels to realize these products are extremely toxic and, in all likelihood, not good for us or the environment. Most cleaners leave residues of these toxic chemicals on countertops and dishes, exposing us and our children to unwanted substances that have the potential to cause countless health issues.

This spring cleaning season, while you purge your home from the accumulated winter gunk, dust and dirt, the Canadian Health Food Association (CHFA), recommends you read the labels of cleaning products to avoid the most common and harmful toxic chemicals present in kitchen cleaning products such as all-purpose cleaners, dishwashing soap and oven cleaners, to name few.
        All-purpose cleaners contain MEA, DEA and TEA, chemicals which may form carcinogenic nitrosamines. They are also filled with fragrance chemicals that easily irritate human tissue and can cause migraines. All-purpose cleaners also contain Coal tar dyes and petrochemical derivatives which are contaminated with heavy metals thought to be implicated in cancers. Amonia is another highly toxic chemical present in all-purpose cleaners. This chemical produces highly irritant vapours that damage the skin, eyes, throats and lungs. Nonulphenol ethoxylates are also commonly present in these products. These compounds affect the endocrine system by mimicking estrogen and it is linked to reproductive problems.
Another chemical-heavy cleaning product present in most kitchens is common dishwashing soap. This product contains high levels of phosphates which damage aquatic ecosystems by promoting algal blooms which kill aquatic life. They are also full of Coal tar dyes and petrochemical derivatives which, as explained above, should be avoided. Triclosan is another culprit commonly found in dishwashing soap; this chemical is a hormone disrupter and can also irritate the eyes and skin.
        Though it is always pleasant to cook delicious meals in a clean oven, oven cleaners are also packed with highly toxic chemicals such as 2-Butoxyethanol, which is linked to blood disorders and reproductive problems. Also Sodium hydroxide, a highly corrosive compound which can burn eyes, skin and lungs is a common ingredient in oven cleaners.
        The best way to avoid contact with these highly toxic chemicals is to carefully read labels and opt for greener alternatives. CHFA has some excellent do it yourself recipes for natural cleaners that are just as effective as the expensive and potentially toxic products commonly found. To download these recipes and to access other natural health tips, visit chfa.ca.

Make sure you check out our website here for both spring cleaning services as well as eco-friendly house cleaning products.

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