The route to living chemical-free
doesn’t begin in rehab; it begins with
In this era of “going green,” people are
looking for, and creating, new methods to
eradicate the use of excessive chemicals to
do things naturally. Gone are the days when
you need to “shock” your pool with chlorine,
evacuate your house for hours after fumigation
or wear a mask to avoid the dizzying
fumes of cleaning products.
The following are among the many eco-friendly
products that can help you get
things done around the house au naturel.
Eco-friendly cleaning products. The Costa Rican company Florex has created an entire catalog of biodegradable household cleaners, disinfectants and detergents, as well as industrial and work equipment, such as environmentally friendly vacuum cleaners, trash cans, boots and gloves. Most Florex cleaning supplies are made from plants and plant cells, while most industrial equipment is made of recycled materials.
Florex has been honored by the Chamber of Industries for its efforts to create environmentally friendly products and its commitment to sustainability. The company also received the prestigious Ecological Blue Flag Award for its efforts against climate change. Florex products are currently available at Hipermás, Megasuper, Perimercados and Jumbo supermarkets. For more information, visit www.florexcr.com or call 2447-2323.
Water purification systems. To purify water and limit use of plastic water bottles, Hidroclear has created water purification products that eliminate bacteria, viruses and microorganisms by using ultraviolet (UV) rays. An electric lamp that casts UV rays is attached to the origin of water in a home or office. The UV rays projected by the lamp kill bacteria, microorganisms and other forms of contamination. When the water rises through the faucet, it is purified and potable.
“This was created for places where clean drinking water was not available,” said Rodrigo Ortega, an administrator at Hidroclear. “It also reduces the use of plastic and plastic drinking bottles, which are very harmful to the environment and require energy to recycle.”
For more information, visit www.hidroclear.com or call 2289-0402.
Eco-friendly fumigation. After working many years in agriculture, Osvaldo Molina and son Eduardo began to examine the pesticides applied to crops and plants. While the function of the pesticides was to dispel insects, the Molinas were concerned with their effects on consumers.
“When you spray an insecticide on a tomato, the tomato absorbs all the toxins and chemicals of the spray,” Molina said. “When you eat that tomato, all of those chemicals are passed right into your system.”
To change this, the Molinas are in the process of creating Trumix products, chemical-free insecticides and pesticides for homes, restaurants, schools and farmers.
Trumix products are made from plant cells and fibers, acid from neem pollen, ingredients from sunflower seeds, citronella and a variety of other products that are mixed in a laboratory in Cartago, east of San José. The mixture is derived from an Indian formula, Molina said.
Trumix products, which are pending approval by the Health Ministry prior to distribution, are intended to eliminate cockroaches, mice, fleas and other household pests. For information, visit www.trumix.net or call 2250-4616.
Solar Water Heaters. To eliminate the use of electricity and gas to heat water, Importaciones la Estrella de Oriente S.A. created the Girasol solar water heater in 2008. The Girasol solar water heater stores water in small, finger-like glass rods. As sunlight hits the rods, the water is warmed by absorbing solar rays and deflecting ultraviolet rays. When the water reaches a certain temperature, it is stored in a central tank, which keeps the water at the desired temperature for use in home and commercial operations, such as restaurants, spas and kitchens. For information and prices, visit www.girasolcalentador.com or call Randolph Chinchilla at 2272-1282.
Vetiver. Vetiver, the “miracle grass” native to India, is known for preventing soil erosion. With the downpours that soak Costa Rica during the rainy season, many have turned to vetiver to limit erosion, flooding and landslides in yards, properties and on highways and construction projects (TT, Jan. 8).
The secret to vetiver is in the roots. Vetiver roots are straight and do not fan out like the roots of most other grasses. The roots reach up to three meters and make for a clumpy, thick, firm grass above the soil.
“It really is an amazing grass,” said Doug Stern, a managing partner at Tierra Pacifica in the northwestern Guanacaste province, who has used vetiver at his development for six years. “It’s a shame it took so long to discover it. I think we are all going to look back and realize how stupid we were for not having used it all the time.”
A list of vetiver suppliers in Costa Rica may be found at www.vetiver.org/g/plant_suppliers.htm.