About EcoAtHome

Eco at Home is Australia's original eco shop, it's a 'Bricks and Mortar' shop in Sydney, and an online shop for all of Australia. Environmental and sustainable choices for all areas of your home. Our products are healthier options, they're better for you, and better for the environment. To visit the shop, go to 507 Willoughby Road, Willoughby 2068 To visit the online shop, go to http://www.ecoathome.com.au

Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis

"Our Choice" by Al Gore

“Our Choice” an interactive eBook by Al Gore

Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis” is an interactive App / eBook by Al Gore, which covers all the issues surrounding Climate Change.  We love books, but the regular variety of book cannot compete, or even be compared to a publication such as this. The production is superb, the content is excellent and engaging; at times stunning, sometimes astounding, factually sobering. The price of this eBook is insignificant, it is so cheap it’s literally going for a song.  Buy it to admire the technology. “Our Choice” the eBook by Al Gore is the only publication to showcase the ground-breaking software by Push Pop Press, who have been bought by Facebook and are now “setting off to help design the world’s largest book, Facebook.”

Al Gore’s App “Our Choice” has had an incredible response. To quote tech columnist David Pogue of The New York Times:

“this is one of the most elegant, fluid, impressive apps you’ve ever seen. It’s a showpiece for the new world of touch-screen gadgets.”

If you get this book just to admire the production, that, in itself, is money well spent. Pictures fold open and zoom into maps to show their location, graphs break apart to display details, and of course there are videos etc. This is so much more than the interactive books we’re used to! (remember the kids’ books with buttons that play a nursery rhyme, tabs that make animals pop up, and foil that makes crinkle noise? Ha ha..)

App: Our Choice by Al Gore

Change the way you think.

Every day we have choices, we chose what we buy, what we eat, who we vote for, where we invest, and who we believe in.  We need to be sure we know what we’re choosing, we personally want to have a good understanding of Climate Change issues.

Al Gore has based his views on the views of the vast majority of scientists and specialists in the field of climate change and environmental science. If you want an expert opinion, consult an expert.

The subject will grab you sooner or later, sooner if you’re lucky. We have a wider choice if we chose early. As with everything, the selection diminishes with time, until eventually there is no choice, you just take what is left (if anything is left). Much like eating at a buffet after a horde of teenagers has been; the good stuff is all gone.

Our Choice explains the true cost of carbon; including the human cost and the environmental costs.

The true cost of carbon is so much more than the production cost.

So take a look at “Our Choice”, admire it, learn from it, and let your children play with it. And gift it to everyone you love and your local politicians. Suggest it as the text at a book club, discuss it at dinner or drinks with friends and colleagues, and suggest to teachers that they use it. It’s a great gift for people who need to clarify a few Climate issues, ..and for climate skeptics if you can get them to look at it!

Al Gore – Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis - Push Pop Press, Inc.

100% of Al Gore’s earnings from Our Choice will be donated to the non-profit Alliance for Climate Protection.
“Our Choice” was published by Rodale, produced by Melcher Media, and powered by Push Pop Press
★ Winner of the 2011 Apple Design Award ★

images from Push Pop Press

The Humble Candle, but which candle is best?

Many candles

We light many candles at once, to make an impact

The humble candle, for passion and love, Birthdays and Christmas, remembrance, devotion and so many other things. Before electricity, candles were precious, expensive, and lighting a candle had meaning. Now you can get candles very cheaply; but lighting a 10c candle doesn’t seem to have the same meaning. So we light many candles…

When we researched candles to find out which candle is best, we considered as many aspects as we could, giving health the highest priority.

Smoke from paraffin candles is toxic

Smoke from paraffin candles is toxic

The common paraffin wax candle was rejected early. Paraffin is a by-product of the petrochemical industry. Dr Peter Dingle (1) found that burning three paraffin wax candles in a room put as much toxins in the air as idling a car in the room. Not good for anyone’s health. It seems it’s healthier to stand by the motorway and breathe in the exhaust fumes! On the plus side, paraffin is very cheap, and you can afford to burn many candles at once, a bit like moving onto the median strip of the motorway and getting the exhaust fumes from all sides.

Hand holding soy bean

93% of all soy beans grown in the USA are Genetically Modified.

The new kid on the block, the soy candle, was cited to have Eco credentials, and was enthusiastically researched. The report by USDA which showed that most of the soy produced in the USA is Genetically Modified (2). Exit the soy candles; GM is not supported by us, for many reasons best discussed in a separate article. I can hear you arguing that soy is safe enough to eat… true, some soy is. Most soy is not. If it is non-GM soy, then it’s better to eat it than burn it.

Next we briefly considered palm oil candles. You don’t have to look too far to find that palm oil is grown in many SE Asian countries.  If we burn the oil in our candles, more rainforests will be cleared to grow more palms to produce more oil. We need rainforests to stabilise the earth’s atmosphere, they are the lungs of the earth.

Orang utans lose their homes to palm oil plantations

Save the rainforests for the Orang utans

They are also the home of the Orangutan, a species close to becoming extinct. Our candle needs are not important enough to go up against that, and we want to feel good when we light a candle. Destroying rainforests doesn’t make us feel good. (3,4)

So far in the candle options, paraffin is out, soy is out, palm oil is out. It’s not looking too good for our birthday cakes!

The final contender is the beeswax candle. The wax made by bees, which coats the side of the ‘frames’ in a commercial beehive, is excellent for your health. It is simply scraped off the hive, warmed and strained to remove any bits of twigs etc., and then moulded or rolled with a cotton wick in the middle. Simple, clean, and it has a divine honey smell (without adding anything to create a smell)

Beeswax candle, pure, clean and naturally honey scented

Beeswax candle, pure, clean and naturally honey scented

Many, many bees work hard to make the wax, they are little guys, and although they work fast, we burn candles fast too.  On the down side (yes, without the bad there is no relative good), beeswax is more expensive than the other waxes, which means you start to cherish lighting a candle, making the lighting of a candle a more meaningful past-time. Birthday candles are suddenly appreciated more, a candlelit dinner becomes more special, and the candlelit bath becomes a real indulgence. When we have ‘special moments’ any old time, they take the shine away from the real special moments. Let a beeswax candle bring back the passion and love to your special moments. Gaze into its’ mesmerizing flame and breathe in deep, enjoying the non-toxic honeyed air brought to you by many, many busy little bees gathering nectar from the flowers. What could be more delightful, more natural, less processed? As far as being good enough to eat, look into the health benefits of honey, propolis and royal jelly. Just plain good for you!

a candle for love

A candle for love

When you think it through, Beeswax Candles are the champion candle choice. In fact it’s our only candle choice!





Photos from: sxc.hu hand holding soy bean by pennylayn : deviantart.com orang_utan_II_by_mimose_stock , many_candles_11054611_by_stockproject1-d4c097o , 616___candle_hands_by_WolfC_Stock , Interstate_3_by_Polly_Stock

Free Food, share where

There’s a great App for the eco minded, greenies and frugavores alike. This App has permaculture and guerilla gardening at heart! It’s called Berry Hunters, and it’s free for a short time, so check it out now!

Take me to theBerry Hunters - IGC Computing Limited

I really like this App because it makes use of existing but neglected resources.

Screenshot of Berry Hunters App adding your trees
It’s easy to add trees to Berry Hunters.

The idea is that when you find a fruit tree, nut tree or berry bush that’s not on private property, you register it using the Berry Hunters App. You can include a photograph of it, which indicates the size and condition of the plant, and where to find it if the location is a bit tricky. The Berry Hunters App uses your phone/ipads’ GPS locator to record where the tree is, or you can enter it manually if you’re not on-location.

Screenshot of Berry Hunters App showing fruit tree locations in Cambridge

Screenshot of Berry Hunters App with tree locations

It’s easy to search the Berry Hunters collection. Use the magnifier in the top right corner to type in a different address.  The example shows Cambridge, where it’s been used for a while. The App has been developed in the UK, so to see it in action type your location as London, and see just how much free food is available in a big city! It would be fantastic to see hundreds, no thousands, of food trees logged in Australia.

To expand on this, remember to plant some trees in your area, outside your property. This is a great way to get some of the larger trees, like nut trees, mangoes and avocados, close to you but not in your property where it will overshadow everything else. Your street verge, or the bit of ground at the end of a cul-de-sac, in amongst some bushes in a local park; I’m sure you can think of other places where the tree may be overlooked until it is well established!

Other Berry Hunters can now share in this otherwise wasted bounty, and in return you can see any other free food that’s within a radius of up to 10miles from you current location. Handy if you need a lemon for that fish you’re baking or tart you’re making! Or you can set your location to somewhere else, and register gandma’s tree which hangs over the fence with a load of free lemons or plums or pomegranates (that’s in the apple family, just type in the title). Knowing about a nearby cumquat would have been handy during my last jam making session!

Check it out. Do it now, you have nothing to lose!
Berry Hunters - IGC Computing Limited

Moving out with Beetlebox eco removal boxes

Moving out or moving house? BeetleBox hires out storage boxes for eco removals and storage. They’re also great for storing and stacking your stuff when renovating! BeetleBoxes are delivered and picked up, no hassles.

That’s Glen with a BeetleBox at Eco at Home!

BeetleBox eco packing boxes

Beetlebox stackable sturdy boxes for eco relocations and storage.

Moving house is a stressfull time, and it’s hard to maintain the ‘eco’ ethos when there’s a lot to coordinate. Enter BeetleBox, the eco removals box in Sydney.

BeetleBox brings a stack of packing crates to your old house, you load them up, wheel them about and eventually unload them in your new home. BeetleBox then picks up the crates from your new address! BeetleBox covers the three RRRs, reduce, reuse and recycle! Take the stress out of having to hunt down cardboard boxes, which always end up being odd sizes and not easily stack-able, plus they crush when you stack them, squishing their contents. BeetleBoxes are sturdy plastic, they keep your treasures safe and accessible, and they stack neatly and securely. The best part is that they come with a ‘dolly’, a little wheeled cradle that you can stack them on and wheel them out the door.

Save your back and save the environment! They are made from No 2 plastic, so when they eventually retire from BeetleBox duties, they are recycled.

A stack of BeetleBoxe eco removal boxes on a dolly

Green removals boxes, a stack of BeetleBoxes move easily on a ‘dolly’ or trolley.

BeetleBoxes are also great for storing your stuff when you’re renovating; repainting or refinishing your floors. Pack the contents of the room into a stack of BeetleBoxes, and transfer the neat stack to another room or the garage. The packs come with cable ties to secure the lids, and packing material for your fragile items. You’re set for an eco move with BeetleBox! http://www.beetlebox.com.au

Natural Mould Removal

Mould thrives in damp, humid conditions, the sort of conditions frequently felt in Sydney! Mould spores can present a health hazard, especially for people with respiratory issues such as asthma, and it is best to deal with the problem quickly. Fortunately, there are several natural mould removal options for you to chose from. Avoid using strong and unnecessary chemicals, they have a whole different range of health issues!

There are 3 natural products that perform really well.

Lencia Bathroom mould and mildew cleaner

Lencia removes mould and mildew from bathrooms.

First, I can recommend Lencia, made in NSW by Citrus

Lencia dilution bottle with foaming trigger

Lencia spray bottle with foaming trigger.

Resources Lencia is specifically designed to address bathroom mould. Lencia contains a natural mildecide and fungicide, and is extremely economical. It is available in a 1 Litre or 5 Litre concentrate, and is used in a 1 in 10 dilution. This means that you use just 50ml in a 500ml spray bottle! I recommend the specially marked spray bottle, it is calibrated, which means it has markings showing 50ml, 100ml, 150ml etc on the side of the bottle, and it has a foaming trigger, so the froth stays put on the wall when you spray it. It also has the full instructions printed on the bottle. It can be used in other areas of the house, such as on paths that have become slippery and black, or on exterior paintwork that has developed a green hue!

Fungiver Mould and Mildew Remover

Fungiver Mould and Mildew Remover

The second is a more expensive but very effective spray called Fungiver. Fungiver will also lighten any staining that has resulted from mould.

The third is Clove Oil – in 25ml or 5ml bottle. Clove Oil is particularly

Clove Oil

Use Clove Oil to kill mould on leather and wood.

useful if you have leather shoes, bags or jackets that have developed mould. You can use a few drops of clove oil on a damp cloth, the mould will wipe off the leather, and get killed in the process. There is an added bonus of a very yummy fresh smell! You can also put a few drops of clove oil in some water, and rinse your wash cloth in that, then clean the mould away.  Clove oil is also good for removing mould from timber furniture or decorative items, a common problem with furniture and artifacts which have come from the tropics.

There are ‘common’ remedies for mould, which also work and are part of the natural bicarb soda and vinegar cleaning routine. The basic premise is that acid kills mould. Vinegar is an acid commonly found in most homes (get some cheap vinegar, dont waste the balsamic!). Do a test patch on leathers and wood to make sure you don’t damage the surface.

Store Woolens Naturally!


Storing woolens is part of the spring cleaning routine, but there’s no need to use smelly naphthalene nor vacuum sealed bags that suffocate your clothes. Woolens are best kept so that they breathe; ideally in a timber box or wardrobe, especially if the box is made from Cedar or Camphor (insects hate the oils in these woods).

Cedar Fresh Moth Balls.

Natural oils in Cedar deter clothes moths.

In the absence of these pieces of furniture, as is the case in our home, store your woollies in the top (or bottom) of the wardrobe, with a generous strewing of Cedar Fresh moth balls. These little moth balls come 18 in a packet, and smell wonderful!

Even better, you could extend the life of these cedar balls for a second season by rolling each ‘marble’ between two sheets of sandpaper to remove the dried wood, and expose more of the cedar oil, or you can add a little lavender essential oil to them. But be careful not to make them too oily or you may stain your clothes!

If you have a box to store your woolen items in, that will help to keep the scents from the cedar and lavender in and around the woolens. Think of the sort of box you might use as a gift box, or when you buy expensive lingerie or perhaps a wedding gown! You may need to line the box with acid-free tissue paper to ensure the cardboard doesn’t contact the fabric if your items are delicate, just to ensure the cardboard doesn’t colour the fabric.

Start by checking each item to make sure it has all it’s buttons etc, mend any seams that are coming apart, and remove any piling that may have happened with wear. You want the woolens ready to wear when the first cold weather hits in autumn!

Choose a good wool wash, one with eucalyptus oil in it, to further deter all insect life. Lavender is also a deterrent for insects, so a wool wash or fabric softener with added lavender oil also helps. Note: it has to be actual lavender or lavender oil, look for ‘lavender essential oil’ in the ingredients list. A synthetic lavender fragrance just doesn’t cut it in the insect world!There are several good brands to chose from, here’s a collection of our favourites and recommended brands of both wool wash and fabric conditioners.

Add lavender sprigs to stored woolens

Lavender sprigs

Dried posies or twigs of lavender strewn throughout the shelves or drawers not only looks and smells good, it serves the added function of sending the insects away. If you dont have any lavender growing in the garden, think about planting some to use next year!