How to be Kind to our Planet Year Round

There has never been a better time to go green, so why not start fresh right now?  A greener approach to your overall life is not only a switch that will benefit the environment, it will also lead to a healthier life for you and your family, and believe it or not, may even save you money in the long run.  As the premier eco-friendly Kitsilano dry cleaning alternative we would like to offer you the following ways to lead a greener and healthier lifestyle.

Bundle Up

Turn down your thermostat.  This statement holds even more importance this year because of the gas shortage in B.C.  By turning down your thermostat a few degrees you will not only be reducing your carbon footprint you will also save money.  Some other great energy saving tips that are simple and can be used in your day to day life include:

  • Turn your hot water tank down a few degrees. You’ll reduce the risk of children or the elderly burning themselves. You will hardly notice the temperature change.
  • Get a smart thermostat. This will allow you to program when you use and don’t use heat.  You may be able to get a tax rebate on this energy efficient piece of technology.
  • Take a shorter shower. Try to shorten your shower by even a few minutes to save money and energy.
  • If you are cold, bundle up. Find your favourite sweater and put it on or use a throw or blanket and snuggle up on the couch with a hot drink.

Fill It Up

Your freezer uses less energy to keep your food frozen if it’s full than if it’s half or quarter full. Something to keep in mind.

A great way to reduce your reliance on plastic is to invest in a refillable water bottle for drinking.  Many major cities have outlawed one-time plastic water bottles and invested in tier drinking water.  Luckily, Vancouver has excellent drinking water (far healthier and cleaner than the water you will find in plastic bottles).  The next time you are thirsty, fill up your water bottle and keep the plastic out of the landfill or the ocean.

Be Choosy

As a consumer you can have a huge impact on the business market.  Make sure that you support and purchase from environmentally friendly vendors and businesses that also believe in green practices.

At West Boulevard Cleaners only use eco-friendly cleaning products and state-of-the-art cleaning machines.  We feel this choice will not only keep you and your family safe from the chemicals found in traditional cleaning solvents, but will also keep our beautiful city and province green for future generations to enjoy.  It is a choice that we believe in and stand by.

Go green this New Year – it requires very little effort. A greener approach to your lifestyle will only impact you in positive ways.  We all love Vancouver because of its natural beauty, so why not try to keep it that way for future generations?

Chemicals to Avoid

Do you want to be a part of a growing movement and positive change?  A green start is a great way to change your lifestyle, do your part for the environment and make a statement.

Make the Switch

Take a moment and look at your cleaning products, soaps, shampoos and even your toothpaste.  Chances are many of these products contain harsh chemicals that are not only harming the environment, they are also harming you and your family’s health.

When you are replacing any of these products make sure to look for environmentally friendly items that will not affect your health.  Many of these products are the same price, so making the switch will not even cost you more.

The next time you are shopping take the extra time to look at the ingredient list. Some of the most harmful chemicals that you will want to avoid include:

  • Phthalates – often listed as fragrance and frequently found in hand and laundry soap and air fresheners. Try to use fragrance free or all-natural fragrances.
  • 2-butoxyethanol – often found in window, kitchen and multi-purpose cleaners. Is linked to kidney and liver damage. Try using diluted vinegar or Bon Ami products with natural cleansers.
  • Sodium Laurel Sulphate – found in different toothpastes. Has been tested as a pesticide, but denied because of environmental damage. Use natural or sulphate free toothpaste.

Here’s the Deal:

At West Boulevard Cleaners we understand the dangers of common household chemicals. Instead of using PERC (perchloroethylene) to clean your clothes, which has been linked to cancer we use high tech eco-friendly detergents from Germany that will not harm you, your family or the environment.  These very special cleaning products are formulated to commercially clean your garments with water, better and more safely than with harmful chemicals.

We Recommend

For household uses such as washing your hands we recommend a mild liquid soap without phosphates. You can also use it for washing dishes when washing by hand. Even if you use a little more, the less harmful soap is better for the environment. 17 states in the USA have banned phosphates from dishwasher detergents because they pollute lakes, bays and streams. They create algae blooms and starve fish of oxygen.

Lower your Emissions

One of the major contributors to climate change is greenhouse gases.  You can reduce your global footprint and reduce your emissions by driving less.  There are many ways you can accomplish this goal.

  • Walk or cycle to the grocery store if it is near your home. Walking more will help you live longer.
  • Use public transportation to commute to work. Save parking costs and hassles.
  • Use carpooling when commuting. Meet more good people.
  • Switch to an electric car to reduce your emissions to zero. The biggest step of all.

At West Boulevard Cleaners we offer free pick-up and delivery service for your cleaning needs.  Not only will this save you a car trip or two, it will free up some extra time in your day.  Let us help you reduce your carbon footprint and clear your schedule.

A greener approach to your life is a positive change and a great goal.  By replacing harmful chemicals in your house you will not only be helping the environment, you will also be making a switch to a healthier lifestyle for you and your family.

Now Let’s Turn to the Seasons

Conserve Energy in the Fall

It’s never too late to join the Green Movement. Now is the time.

As the days get shorter and the nights get colder you will probably end up using more energy to light and heat your home.  These are some ways to conserve or even reduce energy in the fall:

  1. Turn off lights in a room when you are not using them.
  2. Consider switching your lights to more energy efficient bulbs such as compact fluorescent lights (CFLs). CFL’s use 70% less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs. Incandescent means generating light from heat.  This is the way light bulbs have worked since they were invented by Thomas Alva Edison in 1879.
  3. Or even better than CFL’s, why not switch to LED light bulbs? They cost more than CFL’s but last longer.  If you run a single incandescent bulb 5 hours a day for two years it will cost you around $32 depending on your energy rates. Most of that money is spent on electricity. If you run a single LED bulb 5 hours a day for two years, it will cost you $12.
  4. Use warm water instead of hot in your washing machine. Or even better, use cold water.  Lightly soiled items come just as clean in cold water.
  5. Hang dry the garments you don’t bring to us, perhaps on your shower curtain rod. This saves a great deal of energy and helps your clothes last much longer.

Use Less Water

Living in Vancouver it may be hard to think about conserving water as it rains so much in the fall and winter months. But reducing the amount of water you use can save you money and reduce your impact on the environment.

  • Use shorter wash cycles on your washing machine or invest in an eco-friendly washing machine.
  • Try to shorten your shower by even a minute. Using a washcloth is not only better for your skin, but if you put soap on your cloth instead of on your body you can spend less time in the shower.  You will not only conserve water, you will also save on your hot water bill.
  • Install aerators on your taps and a low flow shower head. Both will reduce your water consumption in a way you might not even notice. Also, they may come with a tax rebate, saving you money.

Cut the Plastic

Cut back on your reliance on plastic.

  • Instead of plastic bags use cloth tote bags for shopping.
  • Vancouver has a depot where you can bring all your plastic bags for recycling. Hopefully this ensures they don’t end up in a landfill or in our oceans.
  • Request paper bags when food shopping as they are sometimes made with recycled paper and are easier to recycle.
  • Decline plastic covers if you can do without when purchasing anything when shopping.

Save Fuel

One look at the cost of fuel in Vancouver will have you wondering how to conserve or get the most out of your next tank of gas.

One way is to look for companies that offer free pick-up and delivery services like we do.  More and more companies now offer delivery for restaurant food, and even groceries. This will not only save you time but also help you conserve fuel.  We are proud to offer a free pick-up and delivery service. Our friendly professional staff would love to be a part of your overall green initiative.

As mentioned above, taking public transit to work or riding a bicycle will greatly reduce the fuel you use, save you money, and reduce your carbon footprint.

Winter is a Great Time to Go Green

Clear the Air at Home

If you find the winter air drier than usual or are looking at improving the quality of air you breathe at home, indoor plants may be the answer to both conundrums.  These plants will not only brighten up your surroundings, they will also trap heat in your home and release moisture back into the air as well as purify and clean the air.

A small water fountain on an end table adds moisture to the air, which is good for your skin. It also provides a soothing sound similar to a brook.

Or you can use a humidifier.  Some are very quiet. It will also keep the air in your home from getting too dry.

You can also use an essential oil diffuser. It can promote good sleep and respiratory health, eliminate odours, reduce stress, and elevate your mood.

Pool It

Vancouver offers great public transit.  If at all possible try to incorporate transit into your daily schedule and reduce your carbon footprint.  Walking to the bus or skytrain is good exercise.

But sometimes public transit is not an option.  If this is the case, think about carpooling with work colleagues or friends.  Not only is this a more energy efficient approach, it offers benefits such as being able to drive in HOV lanes, and less stress from driving.

Go Seasonal

Many of your favourite vegetable and fruits can come from as far away as South America during the winter months.  The shipping and carbon footprint of these products is huge. Try to combat this and make an effort to purchase seasonal produce and fruit.  Try to prepare meals with local ingredients.  Many nutritional experts say this is better for your health. Not only will you be enjoying a fresher meal, chances are it will be far higher in nutrition as well.

Helpful Tips for Summertime

Before planning your summer and blocking off weekends for BBQ’s and other great events, take a minute to think about how you can reduce your summer carbon footprint.

Walk More, Drive Less

Gas prices always seem to increase in the summer, so why not save money and enjoy more summer sunshine?  Choose an alternate transportation method such as walking.  It’s healthier and are far more environmentally friendly.

Be Picky

Sunscreen protects us from the harmful rays of the sun and is a necessity if you are going to be out at the local pools or beaches.  However, you may want to reconsider your sunscreen choice, as all products are not created equally.  Traditional sunscreens are full of chemicals that not only damage corral reefs and pollute oceans, they may also be hurting you as well.  Harmful chemicals are easily absorbed through your skin. Choose a sunscreen that is natural and free of harmful chemicals.

Recycle

Take a little extra time to recycle this summer.  This needs to go further than just separating your household trash.  Instead, try to limit the garbage that you create on your outings, your picnics and your day at the beach.  Ways to greatly reduce the amount of trash that you create include:

  • Choose a paper straw instead of a plastic one or don’t use a straw at all.
  • Bring your own cutlery instead of using plastic throwaways.
  • Choose paper plates or even better, bring your own instead of using plastic plates.
  • Be responsible for your own garbage, take it home and discard it in your own bin. This will help you be more conscious of the garbage you generate.

Support Local Business is Going Green

By choosing local businesses and local produce, you are not only supporting local communities you are also drastically reducing your carbon footprint.  You are benefiting yourself because the community where you live will be more successful. Try to support businesses that share the same vision as you do and support green business choices.

Going Green is Personal

Every day we are bombarded with healthier options for both our lifestyle and our diet. Buzz words such as natural and organic seem to be in every product in every store.  What are the benefits?  Is it for you?

Diet

Probably the most noticeable place to start the new greener you is with your diet. You will be surprised how easy the transition will be. A greener diet will not only give you plenty of health benefits, but it is also better for the environment. Think about replacing conventional foods with organic or locally grown products. Most organic foods have more nutrients and are fresher and tastier as well. Usually local food products use less chemicals and more nutrition than imported food. Your body will thank you!

Personal Care

Your skin is your body’s largest organ. It also absorbs over 60 percent of the products that you put on it. This includes soaps, sunscreen, cosmetics and even your toothpaste. Unfortunately, most of these products, if you are buying conventional, are made of petrochemicals.

Petrochemicals can be toxic to your body and can lead to all kinds of health issues over time. Instead, think of replacing these petrochemicals with plant-based materials. Next time you are shopping for personal products take a second to read the ingredients list. If you cannot pronounce the ingredient, do you really want that on your skin and in your body?

Household Cleaning Products

Unfortunately, most household items are also of the petrochemical variety. The next time you are cleaning your bathroom or kitchen, for instance, have a look to see what you are using to clean with. Not only may these products be harmful to you, think about what they are doing to the environment. Again, think of replacing these products with something greener and more environmentally friendly.

One of the last places you may think about when it comes to going green is your washing machine. Most of the detergents that are available today use harsh chemicals to get your clothes clean. Again, you are wearing these clothes next to your skin. It may be a good idea to find a greener product for your everyday wash.

Services

The idea of using greener products can also translate into the services you choose, for example, in your dry cleaning. Unfortunately, most dry cleaners use a very toxic process to get your clothes clean. We are the premier Kitsilano and Kerrisdale professional cleaner. We use an eco-friendly high tech process to get your clothes clean. The results are better, and the process is far less toxic and better for the environment.

You may be surprised to learn the detergents we use to professionally clean your garments are milder than home detergents, yet do a better job. We are professionals with state-of-the-art equipment and years of experience.

Going green is simply a matter of making better choices. The next time you are out shopping, think about looking at some greener alternatives. And the next time you are looking at dry cleaning, consider using a eco-friendly dry cleaning alternative like West Boulevard Cleaners.

Vancouver is Canada’s Greenest City

We are lucky to call Vancouver home. This magnificent city boasts an unparalleled geographical backdrop ringed by mountains and bordered by the Pacific Ocean. Vancouver attracts a multicultural population, which offers a host of international cuisines and unique cultural neighbourhoods. The city is also Canada’s greenest city and continues to make great strides in this area.

Vancouver’s Green Action Plan

The Greenest City Action Plan (GCAP) is Vancouver’s sustainability initiative to make the city the Greenest in the World by 2020. The plan focuses on 3 primary topics:

  • Reduction of carbon.
  • Reduce overall landfill waste with a goal of zero waste.
  • Increase and diversify various ecosystems within the city.

Currently, the city feels it has hit 80% of the targets that they have set. Some of the highlights of the targets that have been met include:

  • Greenhouse gas emissions have been reduced by 7% within the city which is an 18% decrease since 2007 (www.vancouver.ca/greenvancouver).
  • Newly constructed buildings in the city use 50% less energy than those built in other parts of the province. (www.vancouver.ca/greenvancouver).
  • 76% of the waste created by the construction of new buildings and the demolition of old ones is recycled. This goal however is still a long way away from the zero waste goal set by the city.

The city continues to win awards for its bold environmental initiatives and is currently seen as the third greenest city in the world behind Copenhagen and Stockholm.

The Vancouver Lifestyle

The Vancouver lifestyle goes hand in hand with this green initiative and approach. Many of the city’s residents enjoy nature’s playground found throughout the city. From skiing to water sports and hiking, Vancouver has it all.

Arts and culture aficionados enjoy the countless festivals that have become an iconic part of the Vancouver’s scene. They include:

  • Vancouver International Film Festival.
  • Vancouver International Jazz Festival.
  • Vancouver Folk Music Festival.

Vancouver is also home to internationally recognized cuisine and offers a wide selection of fresh, organic food choices that go hand in hand with our green image. One trip to Granville Island will show you why Vancouver’s lifestyle is a sought after one.

So…

There you have it.  Ways to go green in almost every season.  How proud we are to live in one of the best and greenest cities in the world.  Now is the time to go through this extensive list once more and pick some, or all, of our easy tips and start to help our planet thrive for years to come.  Happy going green!