Main Menu - New April 14

  • Twitter
  • Facebook

Archive | Topics

Five steps to a greener and safer clean

Check out this 5 step guide to buying cleaning products you can trust. These ‘fresh green clean’ tips highlight the kinds of products that are simple and safe, have minimal risk of triggering Asthma or chemical sensitivities, minimise transport and packaging, are suitable for grey water use and provide proof of claims.

Continue Reading

Otter Interview: GECA’s Rupert Posner on green products and ecolabels

Rupert Posner

Rupert Posner from Good Environmental Choice Australia talks with Otter about choosing green and safe products, and how ecolabels like GECA can help.

What is an ecolabel and how does it help consumers?

An ecolabel is a useful tool that helps consumers make informed decisions about the products they purchase.

Going green is something we hear about often. Recycle your tin cans and plastic bottles, re-use your plastic bags or better yet, purchase a jute bag and avoid them altogether. These issues are fairly well-understood, but what about buying shampoos that don’t contain harmful substances? Or purchasing a paint that has a lower level of volatile organic compounds? Or what about if we buy toilet paper that is made of recycled paper? Is that all we should be considering? And how do we know with certainty that a product we buy really is better for the environment? Can we trust what is written on the packet? Continue Reading →

Continue Reading

Otter Interview: Patrick Walker’s sustainable home

Patrick Walker

Patrick Walker talks with Otter about how he created his dream sustainable home by renovating an older property. Views of Sydney harbour and the bridge a bonus.

Why did you decide to renovate an older home?

My wife and I love older houses and wanted to renew one, bringing it up to the highest environmental standards, but retaining the essential period feel and character.  The fashion to  “knock down/rebuild” a perfectly serviceable old house and replace it with a new one because it’s “cheaper” is the height of wastefulness. That cheapness, like many other things, does not take into account the environmental impact of not using what is already there. Continue Reading →

Continue Reading

ECO-Buy’s Stephen Reardon on buying printer paper and the value of the KeepCup

Stephen Reardon and his KeepCup


How effective do you think consumers can be in creating positive change through better purchasing decisions?

I think consumers hold loads of power since ultimately  manufacturers need their business. If there was a total boycott of a particular product or company worldwide then that company would go out of business in a few months.

Political democracy is indirect – we vote for a party and then they run the country. But consumer democracy is quite direct. We are constantly voting every time we make a purchasing decision. One dollar one vote! Continue Reading →

Continue Reading

Smart meters and smart appliances – what are they and why should I care?

Photo of smart meter

Flickr/Christian Haugen

Smart meters and smart appliances may help you reduce your electricity use, your bills and your impact on the environment.

Smart meters are already a part of life in Victoria and will become an option for consumers in other parts of Australia over the next few years.

Whether or not a smart meter is worth your while depends how you use electricity and may also be affected by where you live and your housing type. Here we touch on some of the issues that might help you to decide whether you could use a smart meter (and potentially also smart appliances) to reduce your energy use, save money or both.

Smart meters

Smart meters measure electricity usage in more sophisticated ways than old style meters. There are two new types of meters. Interval meters measure power use during particular time intervals, typically every 30 minutes. Smart meters measure use over time, but can also send and receive information by communicating with the energy supplier and the energy network. Continue Reading →

Continue Reading

The global fashion retailers are coming – what’s their record like?

Folded jeans (Flickr/Maegan Tintari)

Folded jeans (Flickr/Maegan Tintari)

Some of the world’s largest “affordable” clothing brands have opened stores in Australia or are headed our way. What’s their record like on sustainable and ethical production?

Zara and Top Shop have opened stores in Sydney and Melbourne. But this is just the beginning of a deluge, with reports of 15-20 new stores to be opened by both brands, and 25 stores on the way from Japanese mega retailer Uniqlo. Swedish giant H&M also has plans for Sydney and Melbourne for 2014.

How do these mega brands stack up when it comes to fair working conditions and sustainable practices?

Continue Reading →

Continue Reading