Category Archives: HOME & OFFICE

Top 5: Why not to plant bamboo in your garden ?

Bamboo is a trendy star of the eco-friendly construction movement, with a wide variety of flooring, furniture and other items being manufactured with the strong, fast-growing grass. However, bamboo production should be left to commercial growers. Bamboo’s hardiness and rapid growth make it a problematic plant for most yards. Here are the top five reasons not to plant bamboo in your garden. Bamboo may seem like an attractive garden option, but it poses serious problems. Stick to a lucky bamboo in a small indoor pot, or avoid growing bamboo altogether.

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.1. Bamboo can spread into neighboring yards. Many homeowners plant bamboo to create a fast-growing privacy screen around their home. Ted Jordan Meredith, author of “Bamboo for Gardens,” notes that some bamboo species can grow more than three feet per day. Bamboo can spread as quickly as it grows, and it doesn’t respect fences or property lines. Bamboo grows particularly vigorously when adjacent to irrigated lawns and gardens or in low-lying areas that collect water. Instead of just blocking the view of nosy neighbors, you could be turning your property line into a war zone by planting bamboo. Some bamboo species may even be categorized as noxious weeds, meaning a neighbor could legally force you to remove your bamboo. You could also be liable for the cost of any damage to the neighbors’ property caused by your bamboo, and for the cost of removal from their property.

.2. Bamboo can be an invasive threat to biodiversity. Bamboo that spreads and escapes your yard can also cause ecological problems. Many spreading bamboo species are categorized as invasive exotic plants that crowd out native plants and threaten biodiversity. The best ways to contain spreading bamboo can be expensive and complicated, and may not be worth pursuing for many homeowners. Moreover, they are not foolproof. Experts at the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension office recommend burying thick 60-ml polypropylene or fiberglass about three feet deep, and leaving another two inches of material above the soil to inhibit surface spreading. Morgan Judy of Clemson University Cooperative Extension suggests creating a solid barrier made of concrete, metal or pressure-treated wood at least 18 inches deep around the bamboo. Any of these barriers should stop shallow bamboo rhizomes from spreading, but Judy still recommends closely monitoring the area for escaping shoots, particularly during the early summer peak growing season.

.3. Getting rid of bamboo can take years. Bamboo is a long-term relationship that should not be entered lightly. It may take years and vigorous effort to remove unwanted bamboo. The first step in removing bamboo is to remove all the root mass and rhizomes. This is easier said than done, and many homeowners with bamboo-loving neighbors complain they can’t get rid of the spreading grass. No matter how much they dig, the shoots keep coming back. Judy suggests frequent mowing can deplete and starve the bamboo, but it take at least two years of regular mowing to see any results.

.4. Getting rid of bamboo may require herbicides. Moreover, Judy notes that chemical herbicides are often necessary for controlling bamboo. This can be a problem for those trying to maintain organic gardens and avoid herbicide use. She recommends Roundup Original, Quick Kill Grass and Weed Killer and other herbicides containing glyphosate. This broad-spectrum herbicide has minimal residual soil activity and typically kills only the plants that are directly sprayed. Mow or chop the bamboo and let it regrow until new leaves expand. Then spray the herbicide on the leaves. Again, this could take years. One application will not solve your bamboo problem. Also, Judy warns that only specialized glyphosate herbicides should be used near creeks, ponds and other surface water. Eraser AQ, Pondmaster and other products are approved for use near water.

.5. The right bamboo can be hard to find. Bamboo’s defenders will argue that not all of the more than 1,000 bamboo species are equally invasive. They recommend clumping bamboo species rather than spreading types. The problem is that even clumping species spread, albeit not as vigorously. It also can be hard to differentiate between the types, and some are mislabeled. Moreover, other similar invasive species may be confused with bamboo. For example, University of Arizona Cooperative Extension officials warn against transplanting or encouraging the giant reed (Arundo donax), a bamboo look-alike that has invaded parts of their state.

Bamboo may seem like an attractive garden option, but it poses serious problems. Stick to a lucky bamboo in a small indoor pot, or avoid growing bamboo altogether. Moreover, do your homework before buying bamboo flooring and other products. It may not be as eco-friendly or durable as you think.

How to “getgreen” at workplace ?

A greener workplace can mean a lighter ecological footprint, a healthier and more productive place to work, and good news for the bottom line. Whether you’re the boss or the employee, whether your office is green already or still waiting to see the light, some practical steps can lay the groundwork for a healthy, low-impact workspace.

 

Turn it OFF..!! when not in use

For many people, a computer is the central tool at work. Optimizing the energy settings for computers and other devices can be more than a modest energy saver. Set computers to energy-saving settings and make sure to shut them down when you leave for the day (“standby” settings will continue to draw power even when not in use). By plugging hardware into a power strip with an on/off switch, the whole desktop setup can be turned off at once (make sure to power down inkjet printers before killing the power–they need to seal their cartridges). Printers, scanners, and other peripherals that are only used occasionally can be unplugged until they’re needed. And of course, turn off lights in spaces that are unoccupied.

 

Say no to paper …Get Digital !!

It does seem a bit strange that in the “digital age” we still consume enormous amounts of mashed up, bleached tree pulp, most of which gets used once or twice and then tossed or recycled. The greenest paper is no paper at all, so keep things digital and dematerialized whenever possible. The more you do online, the less you need paper. Keep files on computers instead of in file cabinets. Review documents onscreen rather than printing them out. Send emails instead of paper letters.

 

Greening your Commuting

Indian workers spend an average of +100 hours every year commuting through rush hour traffic. This adds up to 23 billion gallons of fuel wasted in traffic each year. We can ease some of this strain by carpooling, taking public transport, biking or walking. If there’s no good way to phase out your car, consider getting a hybrid, electric vehicle, motorcycle, scooter.

 

Use of Green Materials

Some paper use can’t be avoided, so use recycled paper and envelopes that have been processed and colored using eco-friendly methods. Pens and pencils can also be made of recycled materials, and refillable pens and markers are preferable to disposable ones. Use biodegradable soaps and recycled paper or cloth towels in the bathroom and kitchen, and provide biodegradable cleaners for the custodial staff. Buy in bulk so that shipping and packaging waste are reduced, and reuse the shipping boxes. Recycling printer cartridges is often cost less, and recycled replacements are cheaper than new ones.

 

Greening the Workspace

Greening the space in which you work has almost limitless possibilities. Start with good furniture, good lighting, and good air. Furniture can be manufactured from recycled materials as well as recyclable. Incandescent bulbs can be replaced with compact fluorescents (CFLs) and there is an ever-growing selection of high-end LED desk lamps that use miniscule amounts of energy. Not only is natural daylight a free source of lighting for the office, it has been proven to improve worker productivity and satisfaction (as well as boost sales in retail settings). Workspace air quality is also crucial. Good ventilation and low-VOC paints and materials (such as furniture and carpet) will keep employees healthy.

 

Green XEROX

When buying printer paper, look for recycled paper with a high percentage of post-consumer content and the minimum of chlorine bleaching. Even recycled paper gobbles up a great deal of energy, water, and chemical resources in its processing. When using the real stuff, print on both sides of the page when appropriate and use misprints as notepaper. Try to choose printers and photocopiers that do double-sided printing. If your office ships packages, reuse boxes and use shredded waste paper as packing material.

 

Work From Home… give it a try..!!

Instant messaging, video conferencing, and other innovative workflow tools make effective telecommuting a reality. If you can telecommute, hold phone conferences, take online classes, or otherwise work from home, give it a try. It’ll save you the time you would have spent on the trip as well as sparing the air. Also, consider the possibility of working four ten-hour days instead of five eight-hour days (a consolidated workweek), cutting the energy and time spent on commuting by 20%.

 

Lunch Time

Bringing lunch to work in reusable containers is likely the greenest (and healthiest) way to eat at work. Getting delivery and takeout almost inevitably ends with a miniature mountain of packaging waste. But if you do order delivery, join coworkers in placing a large order (more efficient than many separate ones). Also, bring in a reusable plate, utensils, and napkins. If you do go out for lunch, try biking or walking instead of driving.

 

Get Others in on the Act

Share these tips with your colleagues. Ask your boss to purchase carbon offsets for corporate travel by car and plane. Arrange an office carpool or group bike commute. Ask the office manager to get fair trade coffee for the break room and make sure everyone has a small recycling bin so that recycling is just as easy as throwing paper away. Ask everyone to bring in a mug or glass from home and keep some handy for visitors so that you reduce or eliminate use of paper cups.

Soap Nuts – it’s time for an eco-friendly laundry wash..!!

What are Soap Nuts ?

Soap Nuts are a berry that grows in the Himalayas that naturally produces a soap.  The soap is called saponin, a natural cleaner that works as a surfactant, breaking the surface tension of the water to penetrate the fibers of your clothing, lifting stains from the fabric and leaving dirt suspended in the water that is rinsed away.

Soap Nuts also sometimes referred to as Washing Nuts or Ritha / Reetha /Aritha (in Hindi) or Anthwaal (Kannada). They are actually the fruits of the soap nut tree and contain Saponin, which is a 100% natural alternative to chemical laundry detergent and cleansers. When in contact with water, it creates mild suds, which is similar to soap.

Soap Nuts are gentle on both clothes and skin, making them ideal for those with sensitive skin, eczema, allergies and psoriasis. Because they are so mild, they are perfect for baby clothes and cloth diapers. All-Natural Soap Nuts are also great for septic and grey water systems. But don’t expect these shells to foam up like commercial soaps, which have artificial foaming agents. Foam simply does not represent cleaning power.

Soap Nuts are wild-harvested, meaning they are gathered from wild trees grown without any kind of chemicals, fertilizers, or pesticides. The saponin actually tastes bad to insects so no pesticides are needed, and the trees naturally love poor uncultivated soil. They are organically grown by mother earth.

Soap nuts are both Ecological and Economical when compared to other forms of detergents.