News & views

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Organic cotton feels better!
See through the greenwash
What is a biome?
The Little Things
Are the candles you burn safe enough to eat?
Hemp fabric: an environmental marvel

Organic cotton feels better!

Totally chemical free, from seed to field to weaving and creation

An astounding 25% of agricultural chemicals in the world are used on conventional cotton growing and yet it represents only 3% of the world's arable land use…organic cotton is the sustainable alternative.

Certified organic cotton is grown without using harmful chemical fertilisers, herbicides or pesticides. Instead organic cotton farmers use natural fertilisers and crop rotation to nourish the plants and keep them healthy. Fields are weeded by hand and beneficial insects are introduced to eat the harmful bugs.

Unfortunately, organic cotton is not grown commercially in Australia. Currently, organic cotton products are either made in Australia from imported organic cotton or made overseas. You can send a powerful message to the cotton industry to 'go green' by choosing the organic alternative for you and your family.

Australian Outdoor Clothing Concepts is offering Organic Cotton t-shirts. In their words:

"Australia is ranked among the top ten cotton producing countries in the world, unbelievably not 1%, not one seed of this cotton is organic. We need your help to change this! You may not be aware, but conventionally grown cotton, like the type grown here in Australia, is one of the worst agricultural crops in terms of its effect on the environment. In fact, 25% of insecticides and pesticides used worldwide are used by the cotton industry. It takes approximately 1/3 of a pound of chemicals to produce one T-Shirt. In contrast, organic cotton is produced free from pesticides, genetically engineered seeds and chemical bonds.

Doing the right thing for your body and soul comes naturally. Exercising and eating healthy food are simple enough. Wearing clothing that is made with earth-friendly fibres should be too. Partner yourself with a Briskrace 100% organic cotton garment today - Organic Cotton Feels Better!

1% of our Net Profits are donated to the Pesticide Action Network (PAN), a not for profit organisation that aims to rid the planet of pesticides."

Visit our Clothing department to see t-shirts.


Most people are surprised to discover conventionally grown cotton is not as "pure" and "natural" as they were led to believe; chemicals applied to cotton are affecting the health of growers and customers alike.

The ultimate solution is organic cotton. The first crop of Certified Organic Cotton was harvested in Australia last year. See the Organature range of bed linen (link below) made from Australian Organic Cotton. There has been much interest amongst the farmers who would like to grow organic and expand naturally coloured cotton if we can develop a market for them. The certification process for organic is farm by farm and takes over 3 years, during which no chemicals or synthetic fertilisers can be applied to the land.

Visit our Bed & Bath department to browse our organic cotton sheets and towels.


See through the 'greenwash'

No doubt you’ve spent much time in the supermarket aisles puzzling over the labels, trying to figure out which product is the better choice for the environment and better for you too. All too often, however, we can be misled by the ‘greenwash’.

‘Greenwashing’ is when a manufacturer tries to pretend that a product is environmentally-friendly, organic or recycled/recyclable, but it's not really—like ‘whitewashing’ over a dirty wall. They use terms like:

    • biodegradable: this is a rampant greenwashing term. Everything is biodegradable eventually. The question is how readily will it biodegrade, and will it biodegrade into harmless substances or just disperse the toxic chemicals? For ‘biodegradable’ that’s good for the environment, look for products awarded the Australian Standard AS 4351 or International Standard ISO 7827 for biodegradability.


    • organic: by the dictionary definition it may be ‘organic’, but that doesn't mean it has been grown and processed without chemicals. Products should ideally state independent certification for them to be genuinely “chemical-free organic”.


    • natural: technically petroleum is a natural substance, but that doesn't make its by-products pleasant in body care products. Look for renewable plant-based ingredients, rather than long lists of synthetic chemicals, artificial “natural” fragrances and non-renewable resources such as Mineral Oil.


  • recyclable / recycled: the recycling triangle of chasing arrows appears on almost all packaging these days, but that doesn’t mean that there are systems for the material to be recycled. For example, most Councils only recycle plastics with the 1 and 2 (and some 3) recycling symbols (triangle of arrows with the number inside)– but you will see plenty of symbols up to 7 that nothing can be done with.
    Similarly, a circle of arrows denoting ‘recycled’ does not mean the product is completely made of recycled materials or that it is made from ‘post-consumer waste’ (i.e. materials already used and diverted from landfill). It may just be made from off-cuts, for example, that would be reused anyway (as is usually the case with paper claiming to be recycled). Look for a % of how much post-consumer waste is used in the product.

There are moves around the world to establish ‘eco-labelling’ requirements to regulate such claims. However, until effective regulations are in place, we need to make our own judgements. In essence, any claim to be ‘green’ should be backed up by the specifics of why it is. See you in the aisles!


'speed-greening': fast and simple steps to make a difference

Many people have told us that they want to make the right choices for the environment. However, the hectic pace of work, family and enjoying life, leaves little time to seek out what is best for the planet. Here are three simple steps that you can be sure will make a difference and that are easy to do with no extra effort:

Reduce your household electricity use by 10%. The David Suzuki Foundation says scientific studies have shown this is the number one way that people can make the biggest difference to help protect our planet. So, it really does count if you switch off lights and electricial appliances when not in use, choose energy efficient appliciances, use less heating by preventing heat loss from your home or use less cooling with insulation and trees for shade, give your clothes dryer a break, and only put the dishwasher on when it is full.


Use cleaning and body care products with no harmful chemicals. Effective, non-toxic alternatives do exist! The Biome Home Simple Steps Kit contains a range of excellent cleaning products that are safe for you and the environment. We've done the research to find the products you need with none of the nasties.


Give an earth-friendly gift. Next time you are giving a gift, simply choose one that cares for the planet. We're sure you will find plenty of gift ideas in our shop, each one with a special story to share.

Love life, love the planet!


What is a biome?

Reprinted from - a website all about biomes of the world, created by students from West Tisbury School on Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, USA.


A biome is a large geographical area of distinctive plant and animal groups, which are adapted to that particular environment. The climate and geography of a region determines what type of biome can exist in that region. Major biomes include deserts, forests, grasslands, tundra, and several types of aquatic environments. In fact, the world itself is one large biome. Each biome consists of many ecosystems whose communities have adapted to the small difference in climate and the environment inside the biome.

All living things are closely related to their environment. Any change in one part of an environment, like an increase or decrease of a species of animal or plant, causes a ripple effect of change through other parts of the environment.

The earth includes a huge variety of living things, from complex plants and animals to very simple, one-celled organisms. But large or small, simple or complex, no organism lives alone. Each depends in some way on other living and non-living things in its surroundings.

The survival and well-being of a biome and its organisms depends on ecological relationships throughout the world. Even changes in distant parts of the world and its atmosphere affect our environment and us.



The Little Things

Illuminate your day with this excerpt from the “The Little Things” 2004 Sustainability Info Diary.

Written by Melbourne-based Andrew Cooper, this creative, info packed week-to-page diary has sold-out quickly in the shops. 2005 diary coming soon. See the diary now.

Whether it’s the number of sports people we produce, diseases we cure, species we drive to extinction or beaches we spoil, the actions of our day-to-day living create the place we live in. None of us are insignificant—we all make a difference. The cause of many of our problems is simply a lack of awareness. Expensive situations that need to be remedied, diverting resources that could be put to better use. “What difference will it make in the grand scheme of things?” It’s the oldest excuse in the book for a bad act but look at the results of this kind of thinking. The point is—every little thing we do does make a difference in the big picture. Our lifestyle and culture is of our making—our quality of life is our creation. We change the world with every decision we make. So, the question is not, how can I change the world; it’s how do I change the world? All you need is an open mind. Open your cup so that it may be filled.

The journey of one thousand miles begins with one step … It is completed one step at a time.



Are the candles you burn safe enough to eat?

Candles are not for eating of course, but you do inhale the ingredients of the burning candle as its vapour is dispersed into the air.

Nearly all candles today are paraffin based, yet paraffin is a poisonous petrochemical. Burning two eight-hour tee light candles in an average size bedroom may exceed the international toxic fume levels within five minutes. A concerning fact, when we most often burn candles to create a relaxing and harmonious mood.

Paraffin wax candles are the most widely produced candles in the world because of their cheap and easy production and their stable burning properties. Extremely varied qualities of paraffin are used in candles. The unscrupulous candle manufacturer may use a lower and therefore more toxic grade of paraffin that is undetectable by the unknowing candle-user.

It is almost impossible for the average consumer to determine the grade of paraffin used in the candles they are purchasing. If you do not know for sure that your paraffin candles are produced from highly-refined paraffin, then you should only use them in a well-ventilated room for a maximum of 15 minutes in accordance with Australian and U.S. health and safety standards.

Traditional beeswax candles offer an alternative to paraffin that is healthier for you. Queen B candles are made from the purest quality organic Australian bees wax. When you burn these candles, you are not inhaling any petroleum derived products or other chemicals.

Northern Light candles smell so good you'll wish you could eat them!

See our range of delectable Queen B beeswax candles


Hemp fabric: an environmental marvel

Hemp is one of the oldest plants used by mankind. Cultivated for thousands of years it was used commonly to make paper, clothing, ropes, canvas, sails and shelter.

Sadly, prohibition in the 1930s and the post-war boom in petro-chemical-based fabrics saw hemp cultivation fall into serious decline.

The environmental benefits of hemp cultivation are in stark contrast to that of most crops:

  • It needs little or no use of fertilisers, insecticides, fungicides or herbicides to grow successfully.
  • When compared with timber, hemp can produce up to 4 ½ times more paper per acre.
  • It actually improves the quality of the soil it’s grown in as its deep tap roots raise nutrients towards the surface and aerate the soil.
  • Grown as a rotation crop it outgrows and chokes out weeds, leaving the field clean for the next year.

How have we let this amazing fibre be lost for so long? Rediscover hemp’s virtues…

Some interesting hemp facts

  • George Washington grew hemp
  • The original Levi jeans were made from hemp!
  • William Shakespeare wrote on hemp paper
  • Canvas is hemp (from the Arabic word ‘cannabis’)

Ecolution hemp range

The quality of Ecolution products is unmistakeable. Years of design and development have gone into every product from the weave of the fabric to the finishes.


Ecolution believes that quality and ecology go hand-in-hand. Well-made and long-lasting products contribute to ecological health. This principle guides all of its manufacturing decisions, from the choice of trim and fabric to the quality of construction. Durability is an essential factor in determining whether a product is eco or not, because the environmental impact of its production and distribution is spread over the lifetime of that product. A durable product carries a lighter ecological burden. Ecolution products are eco-built to last and mature with age, until they finally return their biodegradable selves back to the earth from which they came.

Ecolution hemp is grown and processed in Transylvania, Romania--one of the few enlightened places in the world where industrial hemp can be legally grown.

Take a look at our Ecolution hemp bags or hemp bed linen and towels.

© Copyright Biome Living Pty Ltd 2004.