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September 2009

By Saul Brown | Image: Uncleweed | Published: September 21, 2009

Clean smells like nothing!

I grew up thinking that clean smelled like ammonia while wiping the glass kitchen table for my family after eating dinner. This was how we did it. But we were wrong… Clean smells like nothing! Clean doesn’t smell at all.

Over the last few years, I’ve helped to put thousands of green cleaning kits into people’s new homes, one gift at a time introducing people to new ways to keep a clean and healthy home. The two no longer need to be mutually exclusive.

 

Tips for green cleaning

1) Be realistic. Yes, there are easy ways to make your own green cleaning products from common household items like vinegar and baking soda, but doing so takes time, commitment and changes to behaviour. If you’re not the type of person to take initiative for change, you might want to consider buying off-the-counter products to make things easy.

2) Get the help you need. Cleaning services such as Aspen Clean and Simply Green EcoClean, serving Vancouver and surrounding areas, help busy people keep clean and healthy homes. Every cleaning company is different so you should ask questions and be clear about what they will and will not do, including what cleaning products they use. As a bachelor, my roommate and I have had a hard time keeping our place as clean as we’d like so we’re trying out home cleaning services to help us get and keep the results we want. I’ll keep you posted!

3) Convenience – If it’s not easy, chances are it’ll be harder to make it stick. Choose a green cleaning option that’s realistic. Making your own green cleaning products is the healthiest, most cost-effective option, but it takes extra time and also more effort, so there are plenty of products on the market that help you reduce the impact to the environment and minimizing the elbow grease required.

The products I recommend come tested and true, they’ve worked for me in my home and I hope you find some new things that are worth a try. Have fun with it—if it’s not fun, it’s not worth it!

 

Top 3 green cleaning products

Having tested dozens of green and non-green cleaning products there are three that stand out in my mind as leaders in the local market. I emphasize local because products that travel far have a larger impact on the environment, and buying locally made products has a greater positive impact on the local economy than buying products produced far away. I like these products because they not only work but also benefit our health, community and society in various ways. You’ll find all of the following products in my home for these reasons. (Click the links to read the review)

 

1.    Sapadilla

2.   Live for Tomorrow

3.   Method

 

 

Yoyomama

July 2009

Green Briefs

May 2009

Live for Tomorrow – A green cleaner that stands out with its pack

May 13th, 2009 · No Comments

As an avid fan of the Avalon Dairy classic glass bottle, I was intrigued when I saw this line of cleaners packaged in these iconic containers. One look at that historic shape and I get an instant sense of purity and a throwback to less toxic times. Speaking with Keena, wife of Live for Tomorrow owner Munu Hicken-Gaberria, I found out the bottle has a practical side as well. It is returnable, with a deposit (just like its farm cousins) and goes right back into production to be refilled. On the spray cleaner side of things, a more modern solution is provided in the form of a compact, stainless steel bottle. This too, is a ‘lifetime’ refillable product, and its handy size means you don’t have to shlep around a big bottle to zap a stain or two. As a locally-produced and Eco-Logo certified product, Live for Tomorrow gets full marks.
Green Briefs Marketing Thoughts: Although the brand has a consistent and clean look, the modern design and font choice of the labeling seemed somewhat at odds with the old-fashioned milk bottle design in that particular line. But the real opportunity to me would be to cross-promote directly with Avalon Dairy. This would be a deep-green target market, used to paying a premium and used to the returnable bottle format. No brainer.

 

 

Vancouver Sun

April 2009

Business

More Images »

Smooch chocolate bar by Zazubea.

Photograph by: Handout, Files

VANCOUVER – My five-year-old friend Ben has a wonderful expression: “Git your belly out!” he says when thinking “Get it together, fool!” (Don’t ask. He’s five!) Anyway, I love it and borrow it.

I got my belly out recently, sampling and checking out new products at the 20th Grocery Showcase West which takes place every year in Vancouver. It seems the grocery store business is girded against recession. People eat out less, stay at home more, cook more and consequently, shop for groceries more.

“Grocery store purchases have gone up in sales across the board,” says John Scott, president of the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers.

“What do consumers want? Value!” he said when asked about shopping trends. “In some cases, they look only at price. In other cases, they look at competitive prices for value. They are conscious of getting good value more ever.”

Budget vigilance has been evident in Canada for the couple of years but in B.C., it’s only been since October when the market did that swan dive from the high board that consumers began to seek out best value.

“What’s fascinating is that typically, what consumers usually do in a recession is go for value in volume as opposed to quality. But we’re not seeing the usual spike in starches like pasta,” he says. “They’re looking to health and wellness and tend to be buying ‘better-for-you products.’ Consumers are better educated and savvy. They’re not trading in their knowledge. And ‘local’ is a big trend right now,” he says.

Another trend is more planned lunches and snacks. Before the market collapse, about 50 per cent of people planned their lunches. Now some 80 per cent will buy food in grocery stores and prepare a lunch rather than eat out or on the run. In the snack area, he says, there’s an increase in better-for-you purchases. “Even Kraft is moving into the ‘natural’ area. When the worlds largest company is doing that, you know that’s where consumers are going.”

And a heartening sign: “People continue to ask questions about sustainability and environment. That has not gone away. In past recessions, it went got back-burnered but this time, it tends to be very important. Consumers are asking a lot of questions. What’s in it? Where’s it come from? Is it sustainable? And woe to the retailer who doesn’t have that information,” says Scott.

He says Vancouver has the most diversified market and is the most entrepreneurial city in the country. “What you’ve got is a virtual feast of different formats, different lifestyles and different cultures catering to different things. It’s fantastic. Everybody’s kind of found a niche in Vancouver and they’ll try new things.”

“It’s terrible thing to say in some ways, but the recession is not all bad. It’s teaching us to cocoon a little, be more family-oriented. A lot of ingredients being purchased right now suggest it. There’s a lot of baking ingredients being purchased. We call it centre-store purchases. There’s a lot of neat things happening,” says Scott.

10 to Watch

I walked around the Grocery Showcase West exhibition of the annual convention and took note of some of the new products consumers can expect to see on grocery store shelves. It was heartening to see so many local businesses (nine out of 10 on the list) with good ideas for the grocery shelves, as well as do-good and sustainable businesses. Here are some of them.

1. BETTER LIFE COFFEE AND CHOCOLATES

Co-founder Sarah Davis started this Vancouver company three years ago because she’s “passionate about saving the world” and donates 15 per cent of of “cost of goods” revenues to charities. The First United Church and the Salvation Army are but two of the charities. “I wanted my kids to know there is more to life than Barbie dolls and cars,” she says. I tasted the coffee and loved it.

A 12-ounce bag sells for $12.99 and a 65 gram chocolate bar costs $2.99. Sold at Stong’s IGA, Whole Foods, and SuperValu.

2. LIVE FOR TOMORROW CLEANERS

This one-year-old Port Moody company sells household cleaners including bio-degradable, hypo-allergenic, plant and mineral based, phosphate free dish and laundry soaps. They are not tested on animals and packaging is re-usable or recyclable. I tried a sample of the dishwasher powder and liquid at home and they worked really well. $8.25/litre for liquid; $8.99 for powder. Available at Stong’s, Donald’s Market, Drive Organics, Roots Natural (Maple Ridge) and Meinhardt’s.

3. SENSIBLE FOOD SNACKS

These organic snack-packs of freeze-dried veggies and fruits would be great for kids and adults alike. I tried a few niblets of the freeze-dried corn at the stall and you wouldn’t have thought they were good-for-you vegetables at all. They’re ultra light and delicately crunchy. Comes in corn, cherry, soy nut and apple. Available at Choices, Whole Foods, Capers, Planet Organic (Coquitlam). $2.39 for 1/2 cup of fruit. ($2.69 for cherry)

4. ZAZUBEAN CHOCOLATES

The local makers of organic fair trade Zazubean chocolate bars have been around for a year or two now, but they keep coming up with catchy new products. The latest: Nutbar (“Go nuts; be happy”) and Smooch (“Chocolate 4 play”). The women behind the product call them functional chocolate bars as they contain herbs and ingredients to enhance health and well-being. $3.99 per bar. Available at some IGA stores, Urban Fare, Choices, Whole Foods, Nesters, Planet Organic (Coquitlam).

5. BRADLEY SMOKING BISQUETTES

Great for your first barbecue of the season. These made-on-Annacis Island little pucks of woodchips are bound with a beef protein and pressure. Put a puck on the barbecue grill over low heat and you’ll get 10 to 15 minutes of smoke while you’re grilling your food. It comes in six “flavours” – apple, mesquite, hickory, alder, and two are made from the spent barrels of Jim Beam and Crown Royal whiskies. They’re clean, efficient, and easy to use. $5.99 for a pack of 12. Available at some IGAs, M&M shops and Clancy’s Meats (five Metro locations).

6. OCEAN AMBER SMOKED ROCK FISH

Another local product; a fishing family’s side business; a unique product that can be used in the same way as cold-smoked salmon. It’s less oily and lighter in taste. It was previously available as a fillet, but now it’s available pre-sliced and ready to use. The fish is harvested by mid-water trawl, meaning the net doesn’t touch the ocean floor. $7 for 100 grams. Available at Stong’s Market.

7. SHADY GLEN VINEGARS

Used in the kitchens of Araxi, Bluewater Cafe and Raw Bar and the Cannery, these gourmet vinegars, made in North Vancouver, come in raspberry, blackberry and bing cherry infusions. $12.99 to $15.99 and can be bought at Gourmet Warehouse, Thrifty’s (Tsawwassen, Port Moody, Coquitlam), Cioffi’s (Burnaby), Urban Fare and Whole Foods.

8. DAN.D.PAK ALMOND AND CASHEW OLA’LA

You know Nutella, the hazelnut and chocolate spread. Dan-D Foods, the Richmond company behind all the great Dan.D.Pak foods has come up with Almond Ola’la and Cashew Ola’la, blends of nuts and Belgian chocolate. There’s even a higher percentage of cocoa and nuts in them than in Nutella. Can be used for a dessert fondu, spread or sauce. $4.99 to $5.49 for 400 gram bottle. Available at Save On Foods, T&T Markets, some IGA stores, Canadian Tire and some small grocery stores.

9. DOI CHAANG COFFEE

A Vancouver company has partnered with an indigenous hill tribe in Northern Thailand with a guarantee to purchase 75 per cent their single estate coffee beans. The Akha growers own their own coffee company as well as 50 per cent of the Vancouver-based company that roasts and distributes the coffee. $9.99 for 227 grams. Doi Chaang Coffee is available at IGA, Meinhardt’s, Urban Fare, Capers on West Fourth Ave. and Donald’s Market.

10. CLICK ESPRESSO PROTEIN DRINK

Perhaps it’s a sports-minded beverage, but there’s no reason you couldn’t chug-a-lug a cup of Click, hot or cold, in the a.m. The company is based in Port Coquitlam. A serving gives you a double shot of espresso, 15 grams of protein, calcium and it adds up to 120 calories. Retails for $19.99 to $24.99 for 320 grams. Available at GNC, Reflex, Alive and Nutrition House retailers in Metro Vancouver.

mstainsby@vancouversun.com

© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun

 

VanGoGreen

December 2008

As featured on VanGoGreen

 

Clean and Green – Podcast

Print This Article

 

Finding environmentally friendly cleaning products is a big challenge around our house.

Vancouver entrepreneur Munu Hicken-Gaberria is hoping to solve this challenge with his new eco-friendly line of products called Live For Tomorrow.

They include laundry detergent and fabric softer for home and commercial use.

His approach goes even further than finding eco-friendly chemical mixtures – the household use products are sold in re-usable glass containers.

Munu’s also grounding his products on local production model – so while he does have to source some of his base ingredients outside of BC, the final product is created here, to reduce shipping.

LFT products are now carried in a variety of stores in Vancouver and Fort Langley.

I spoke with Munu in June, just as he was taking his idea to local retailers…

VanGoGreen – Living For Tomorrow products [10:09m]: Hide Player | Play in Popup | Download

Resources:
Live for Tomorrow web site
Munu Hicken-Gaberria’s bio (pdf)

Quick facts about LFT products:

  • are manufactured and distributed locally
  • incorporate ‘recycleability’ in as many components of the product design
  • factor in ‘re-usability’ into the maximum number of product components
  • bio-degradable
  • follow sustainable best practice in the sourcing and manufacturing of products
  • are available in unscented formulations, and are sensitive and safe for use by individuals with sensitive skin conditions
  • are free of animal testing

 

Podcast details:

Runs: 10:09
Munu Hicken-Gaberria, president and CEO of LFT Group Brands Ltd.
Interviewed by Robert Ouimet, June 2008, Pt. Moody BC

ISBN: 978-0-9809054-8-9

Copyright 2008, Bigsnit Media Consulting Inc.
Rebroadcast with permission only. Contact info@bigsnit.com

 

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October 2008

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August 2008

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August 2008

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July 2008