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Earth Day 2018

Earth Day 2018

April 22nd is Earth Day, a day to celebrate the world’s largest environmental movement. Started in 1970, the Earth Day movement has mobilised over 200 million people worldwide since going global 20 years later. Over 1 billion people and 50,000 partners across nearly 195 countries all contribute to the yearly observation of this day. Moreover, it has influenced substantial change in approaches towards climate change and influenced that passing of acts such as the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act.

History:

Founded by Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson, he sought to bring about change after witnessing a devastating oil spill in 1969. Done alongside the counter-culture movements and student-led anti-war protest in America, Nelson used this momentum to educated about climate change. Furthermore, after years of mounting success in educating and inspiring the world to confront and change our attitudes towards how we treat the planet, Nelson was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1995.

A Billion Acts of Green:

In 2010, in the face of opposition from climate change deniers and oil-lobbyists, the Earth Day Network launched its most ambitious scheme yet – to get people across the world to commit 1 billion acts of environmental service. These acts ranged from small, personal commitments like Meat-Free Mondays, into global tree-planting initiatives like The Canopy Project. As it stands, we’ve reached over 2 and a half billion Green Acts, with a new goal of 3 billion. Find out how you can help reach this goal here. Equally, using a Firemizer reduces air pollutants by 72%, and Firebuilder is kerosene-free firebuilder that’s made of entirely recycled cardboard. Using these two products can drastically reduce your carbon footprint and inch us towards those 3 billion Acts of Green.

2018’s Theme

Additionally, the theme for this year Earth Day is ‘end plastic pollution’ – did you know that the UK and US throw away over 550 million plastic straws every day that eventually find their way to our oceans? These cause serious damage to natural ecosystems and tiny micro-particles find their way from our oceans to our tap water. This year, commit yourself to stop using disposable plastics and instead seek out environmentally friendly alternatives. Purchase a re-usable bag for shopping, acquire your own reusable water bottle instead of buying another, and wash-up metal cutlery instead of throwing away plastic knives and forks. End the needless use of disposable plastic products and make your contribution to Earth Day this April!

 

Relax

With May approaching and Summer just on the horizon, that holiday-feeling is starting to sink in. The days are getting longer, the nights are getting warmer and, for the lucky ones, the holiday countdown has begun. If, however, you aren’t among those lucky few, then there are plenty of ways to relax and unwind at home. Forget sitting in the garden or watching Netflix – make some small changes to create a more soothing atmosphere at home. Not only can it spruce up the place, it can also keep you busy and keep boredom at bay.

Small, Easy Changes;

Give some of the doors a new lick of paint, hang those shelves you’ve been promising for years or pick out some new garden furniture. The changes don’t have to be drastic or expensive, just small and meaningful around the house. They can bring new life to an area you once didn’t like (simply by the addition of some new curtains).

Don’t Overwhelm Yourself;

The key word here is – relax. The process is meant to be stress-free and revitalising, so if you find yourself getting worked-up, take a step back. Don’t start a new project until one is finished, and only tackle one area at a time.

Get Everyone Involved;

Don’t forget that there might be others who have something to say about your interior design style-choices! Get the whole family involved and listen to their input – a fresh pair of eyes can always benefit. Even pets will respond to certain colours and new pieces of furniture so bear that in mind, and while you’re styling up the house, get them a comfy new bed for them to enjoy!

Choose the right products;

There are plenty of products and furniture styles that can enhance the feeling of tranquil in a room. Chairs and tables with smooth shapes and lines, thin curtains letting in lots of light, and a Firemizer can keep your wood or coal burning fire burner for longer with the constant interference of building or stoking. The stainless-steel mesh helps the solid fuel to burn more evenly and efficiently so, while you’re taking care of those little tasks or basking in the changes you’ve made, let Firemizer keep your fire burning for 38% longer.

Bio-Bean’s Coffee Logs

We tried and tested Bio-Bean’s Recycled Coffee Logs!

The lovely folks over at Bio-Bean sent us some of their Premium Eco Coffee Logs to test in our log-burner. Paired with a Firemizer and Firebuilder, these little recycled pocket-rockets worked an absolute treat for our eyes and our stove!

We started with the Firemizer on the base of the stove and a Firebuilder burning on top. Made of used coffee-grounds collected from shops across the country, they reduce unnecessary greenhouse gases and need for landfill sites, getting that extra mile out of your Americano. The logs themselves still give off that lovely coffee aroma whilst in the packet, so handling and inspecting was joy.

The Review

We then threw the first coffee log on top of our Firebuilder, and within moments the log was burning nicely. As the logs are old coffee grounds, they retain about 20% more energy than wood, meaning they burn much faster. This was immediately noticeable – within minutes we had a fire going. The coffee logs do have a tendency to crumble and break apart, so be extra careful we stoking the fire. When we noticed the fire simmering down after a little while, we placed a couple more logs in to bring it back up and, sure enough, the fire was roaring again within minutes.

The coffee logs are an excellent way of getting a fire started quickly, or building it back up when dwindling. They take to the flame immediately and require little intervention – perhaps occasional rearrangement when the logs crumble into smaller fragments. Truly, the only slight shortcoming of the coffee logs is the amount of smoke and ash they produce. Thankfully, with Firemizer, no clumps were left and we were able to brush off the collected ash into the pan. Unfortunately we couldn’t do anything about the amount of smoke each log produced when burning, but with the stove doors closed and the flue wide-open, it didn’t linger around the house.

Bio-Bean’s Coffee Logs are a revolutionary concept and make excellent use of waste that would typically be considered useless. Instead, they have managed to create a sustainable alternative to fossil fuels that packs the speed and strength of caffeine. The logs provide an excellent way to start or resurrect fires quickly and efficiently (especially when paired with a Firebuilder.) Try them for yourself by visiting http://www.bio-bean.com/coffee-logs/ now!

National Pet Month

National Pet Month

It’s National Pet Month! Between April 1st and May 7th, everyone across the country will be appreciating and showing off their fuzzy companions. The purpose of this month is to promote responsible ownership and celebrate the benefits that pets give our lives. Whether it’s working animals like guide dogs or the lazy family cat (who always steals your seat), they’re all appreciated! We know that our pets love the warmth of the fireplace so, in conjunction with this month, we’ve drawn up a list of fireplace safety tips to keep your their paws warm and toasty (but from a safe distance).

Tips:

Keep it closed off. – The first piece of advice is the most obvious; get yourself a fireguard or a baby-gate. Any kind of barrier will stop your inquisitive pet from getting too up-close-and-personal with the fire. This means no burnt paws (or tongues), wagging tails are protected and any spitting embers won’t catch them by surprise. Keep all fireplace tools behind the barrier as an extra precaution, and especially for cats, make sure there are no draping decorations around the fireplace they might want to play with and pull down.

Be mindful of the unseen threats. – The enticing fire isn’t the only immediate danger to your pets; Carbon Monoxide fumes can be just as fatal. Make sure your CO2 alarm is checked regularly and that your fireplace or stove is correctly ventilated to filter out carcinogens. An added Firemizer will even reduce those harmful pollutants by a further 72%. Also, monitor the time your pet has spent next to the fire – don’t allow them to become dehydrated or overheated. This could result in small, sun-burn-like burns (particularly in thicker-coated pets).

Get the right equipment. – Get your pet fire-retardant items to prevent any disasters; non-flammable toys, beds and clothing are just an extra safeguard. Some pet-stores even sell stickers for your windows that alert fire fighters that there’s a furry loved one in the house.

Act responsibly and set an example. – It goes without saying, but refrain from any kind of playtime when the fire is lit. A wagging tail can catch a flame without warning, and bouncing toys or a tossed treat could send a pet right into the mouth of a fire. It’s best to act calmly and responsibly when the fire is on, as you would with a child. This means never leaving them unsupervised and for super-curious younger pets, consider keeping them at distance (in a box or crate).

Follow these steps to ensure you and your pet(s) can safely enjoy each other’s company by the fireside this month.

5 common myths you’ve heard about fireplaces

Fireplaces:

This week’s topic is the alternative solid-fuel heating method for those without space for a log-burner – fireplaces! Fireplace always provide warmth and ambience to any room they’re in whether it’s your lounge, bedroom, or even the garden. They provide a great source of heat, a focal point in any room and with a range of styles both classic and modern to choose from, there’s a hearth out there for everyone. Fireplaces can actually add value to a property as they have become a highly sought feature for first-time buyers. Fireplaces can utilise various different types of solid fuels, ranging from pellets, coal, gas, propane and various types of wood.

The history of the fireplace dates back to prehistoric fire-pits and smoke-canopies in the middle ages. First introduced to Europe in the 11th century, the likes of Benjamin Franklin and Prince Rupert of the Rhine have contributed in shaping the hearth into its current state.

As such a popular home installation, there are many claims and figures out there about fireplace performance. Here are 5 commons myths you might encounter when purchasing or servicing a fireplace.

5 common myths you’ve heard:

  1. Chimneys do not need regular inspections and sweeping. Chimneys must be serviced every year as build-ups of soot and creosote are often the origin of chimney fires. Firemizer reduces the creosote levels by 57%, meaning that chimney inspections will be far less difficult and pricey. However, creosote isn’t the only reason for inspections; debris and nesting animals also affect the structural integrity of your chimney.
  2. Fireplaces are poor sources of heat. Fireplaces can be poor sources if the fire is not maintained properly. Some believe that fireplaces send their heat up the chimney, and wood fires need oxygen to burn. Use a cast-iron fireback to radiate heat back into the room, and opening the flue will dispose of dangerous toxins. Firemizer reduces harmful air pollutants emitted by solid fuels by up to 72%.
  3. Lighter fluid and kerosene will produce a better fire quickly. Though it’s true that it will produce a fire quickly, this will be using harmful and potentially dangerous chemicals. Instead of putting your home at risk, use balls of newspaper or an entirely kerosene-free Firebuilder.
  4. I don’t need to clean my fireplace or chimney more than once a year. How frequently you use your fireplace dictates how often it should be cleaned (ranging from yearly to fortnightly). Always clear ash from the fireplace before starting a new fire (keeping a small bed of ash on the bottom). Firemizer reduces clumps of fuel in your wood, turning your ash into fine powder making clean-up much easier.
  5. It’s ok to leave the fire burning while I’m out or asleep. Absolutely not, fires are unpredictable and there are a number of factors that could contribute to a larger incident. To make sure it’s safely exterminated, throw a cup of water, sand or baking soda on top.

Conclusion:

When properly serviced and maintained, a fireplace makes the perfect addition to any room in the house. Pair your hearth with Firemizer and Firebuilder and get the most out of your solid fuel source saving you time, effort and money.

Earth Hour

Earth Hour

Following on from last week’s commemorative International Day of Forests, this week we celebrate Earth Hour! Hosted by the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF), the event encourages everyone to show his or her commitment to the planet. It has not fixed date other than it takes place at the end of March – this year it’s March 24th. Between the hours of 8:30 – 9:30pm, from individuals to communities to business, everyone is encouraged to turn off non-essential lights. This is to display a unified message of solidarity, a symbol of commitment in protecting preserving our beautiful planet. It is not an exercise is reducing energy however, but rather a simply gesture that highlights the fight against pollution.

Earth Hour’s History:

The event originated in 2007 when Sydney turned off all the lights of their major landmarks. The following year saw 35 countries join in, and larger companies like Google shut down their websites. Over the succeeding ten years, various TV and Radio stations have joined the cause in going ‘dark’ for the hour. Last year, 187 countries and territories took part, from New York to New Zealand; over 3,100 landmarks turned their lights off, nearly 16,000 Facebook pages donated their feed, and #EarthHour trended in 30 countries.

Do Your Part:

Doing your part is as effortless as turning off lights at home, or as involved as hosting a candlelit dinner! Get your workplace involved and go ‘dark’ for the hour, or turn off your phone, grab a bunch of friends and go enjoy a walk in the park – it’s that easy to take part and spread awareness of the cause.

It is all in the name of showing solidarity and support for the protection of our planet. Firemizer and Firebuilder are both emission-reducing, recyclable products – Firemizer helps reduce your solid fuel consumption and amount of particulates produced by your fire, and Firebuilder is completely kerosene and chemical-free, meaning your fires stay clean and green.

Keep updated over at the Earth Hour blog and post your contributions using the hashtags #EarthHour and #togetherpossible.

International Day of Forests 2018

International Day of Forests 2018

The United Nations proclaim that the International Day of Forests will take place on 21st of March 2018. The purpose of this day is to highlight all the wonderful things that trees and forests provide for our planet, and raise awareness of what we can do to help protect and preserve them. Whether it’s on a local, national or international level, the aim is to participate in projects benefitting our fantastic greenery. This could be a small photo competition, art exhibition showcasing natural imagery, or mass tree-planting across communities; everything helps.

Each year, the Collaborative Partnership on Forests designates a particular theme or area to focus on with regards to sustainability. This year, the theme is Sustainable Cities, placing emphasis on the unprecedented urbanisation of the 21st century and subsequent pollution. With the implementation of inner-city parks and forests, we can reduce the vast levels of carbon emissions and pollution for the some 6 billion people living there.

 

The key messages for the International Day of Forests are simple. They are:

  • Trees store carbon, which helps with the reduction of climate change (particularly in areas of high-pollution like cities).
  • Trees and forests improve the local climate, reducing energy needed for heating by between 20%-50%.
  • The placement of trees within cities reduces air temperature by up to 8°C, further reducing energy used on air-conditioning. Trees also act as air filters, removing harmful particulates and pollutants.
  • They produce fruits, nuts, leaves and insects which are used in food and medicines, providing a source of income. Trees and forests also make for perfect animal habitats, keeping the ecosystem stable and helping to maintain biodiversity.
  • Wood from these urban landscapes can be later purposed as fuel, providing a source of renewable energy. This is important as it takes reliance off the burning and consumption of harmful fossil fuels.
  • Also, forests help to filter and regulate water systems and, by storing water in branches and soil, can prevent flooding.
  • The planting and maintaining of forests generates jobs and tourism within green economies, and encourages active and healthy lifestyles that results in better mental health, more sociability and stronger immunity to disease.

Furthermore, the benefits of increased greenery are continuous, and there are lots of parts we can play in the protection of our trees and forests. Do you bit for the planet – plant a tree in your garden, donate to your local park, or perhaps use sustainable, locally-sourced wood as your main heat source, helping it last up to 38% longer (and reducing harmful particulates by 72%) by purchasing a Firemizer today.

Follow the latest news and information over at the International Day of Forests 2018.

Still to come in 2018

Still to come in 2018! 

Now that it’s 2018, Microtex have lots of exciting things on the horizon for Firemizer and Firebuilder this year. From new offers and campaigns, to new partnerships and products, to more exhibitions and shows – there’s so much going on! 2018 is going to be Firemizer and Firebuilder’s biggest year yet.

New Website:

We saw a completely redesigned Firemizer website (courtesy of M360), so everything is optimised and revamped for the New Year. The new design includes a simpler layout, sleek design and much more content! This means that picking up a Firemizer or Firebuilder for your home has never been as straightforward or enjoyable. Try out the website and leave us your thoughts or your experiences using our products at https://www.firemizer.com/product/firemizer/. By doing this, you’ll automatically be entered in a competition that could win you a free Firemizer and Firebuilder combo!

Exhibitions and Shows:

2018 will be a bigger year for us in shows and exhibitions after such a great success at Grand Designs. We’ll be attending the Dispatch Home & Garden Show in Columbus, OH introducing Firebuilder to the U.S. this month! With the help of our partners over at Ribtec, we’re certain this show will be both educational and exciting. Back in the UK, the Firemizer team will be attending the Countryfile Live! show in August. Hosted at the beautiful Blenheim Castle, we’ll be amongst the best and most innovative products the countryside has to offer. If you’re attending either of the shows and have questions about the products (or just want to see why Firemizer and Firebuilder could be the perfect products for you), swing by and come say hi!

Finally, our partners at OPR have invited us up to Newcastle for some training in social media and website upkeep. These guys are professionals and will really help us get the most out of our online mediums to make sure you get the best content wherever you are and whatever platform you follow us on.

Stay tuned for more exciting developments and news as the year unfolds – this is only the beginning for us!

The History of Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day

We do love our Mums – it seems a bit lazy to shower them in gifts just once a year. We should be doing this every day of the year, just twice as much on Mother’s day! It doesn’t take much to put a smile on her face; make her breakfast in bed, buy some nice chocolates and flowers, let her put her feet up and relax while you do the jobs and take the load off. Maybe even put on her favourite film and get the fire on (a difficult job made much easier by Firebuilder)? Or run a nice hot bath with some lovely new salts and scrubs? Or give her something personal and hand-made, here are 36 DIY Mother’s Day Gift Ideas to get you started.

 

History of Mother’s Day

Did you know that the reason America and Britain celebrate Mother’s Day on different dates is because they’re different holidays? America celebrates ‘Mother’s Day’ on the second Sunday in May, founded by Anna Jarvis in 1908. She became the campaign to get her holiday observed by U.S. states in 1905 after he mother had died. It wasn’t until 1914 that President Woodrow Wilson officially signed a proclamation that made ‘Mother’s Day’ a national holiday. Despite being the founder of the holiday, Anna grew to the resent it due to its growing commercialisation. Hallmark began selling gifts in the 1920s and she believed gifts should be personal, handwritten instead of pre-made cards.

The U.K. technically celebrates ‘Mothering Sunday’, a Catholic and Protestant holiday held on the fourth Sunday of Lent. In the 16th Century, people would return to their mother church (usually where they were baptised) during Lent. The phrase to do this was ‘to go a-mothering’, but the day gradually evolved into a day in which domestic servants were free to visit church with their mothers – usually the only time they were free to do so. After Jarvis’s campaign in the US, Constance Penwick-Smith sought in 1914 for the holiday to be celebrated in the UK. Like Hallmark, UK vendors saw the commercial appeal and by the 1950s, the two holidays eventually merged into one.

 

Though the histories of these two holidays is different, they are celebrated quite the same – in honour of Mums everywhere.

Green Olive’s Kiln-Dried Hardwood and Olive Wood

We tried and tested Green Olive’s Kiln-Dried Hardwood and Olive Wood!  

The people over at Green Olive were lovely enough to send us some of Kiln-Dried Hardwood and Olive Wood. Paired with Firemizer and Firebuilder, we cleaned our stove, patted the ash off and got to work burning these logs!

Olive Wood Logs

After getting our stove-fire started with a Firebuilder, we threw on a few of the Olive Wood logs. As a natural, low-moisture wood untreated by chemicals, these logs were lightweight and attractive (if not slightly too big). These logs did take a while to get going, but once they were, they lasted far longer than standard logs. This may have reduced the amount of heat given off however, as our thermometer gave consistently lower readings. The flame produced by the Olive Wood was a noticeably more regal-golden colour and the smell – oh the smell! The entire house was filled with a lovely olive scent that was closer to an Italian restaurant than a wood-fire. There was no smoke or steam coming off the fire, just bright yellow flames and that delicious smell. Despite the slow start and reduced heat output, the logs burned for much longer than normal logs and (with the help of Firemizer) burned evenly and continuously.

Kiln-Dried Hardwood

The Kiln-Dried Hardwood came in much thicker, denser logs that instantly smothered the Firebuilder’s flame before it could become established. Instead, we attempt to use the top-down method of starting a fire so we could get to use the Hardwood. The top-down method is simple –

  1. Place your logs in a neat pile at the bottom, on top of the Firemizer.
  2. Put kindling on top of them, with scrunched up balls of newspaper if needed.
  3. Position your firelighter (or our Firebuilder) at the very top. The wood and kindling should resemble a tepee shape.
  4. Light the Firebuilder and let the fire establish downwards, catching on the newspaper, the kindling and then the wood.
  5. Once the fire is going, add more logs if/when necessary.

The Hardwood was far more effective for us using the top-down method, and within 30 minutes the fire was roaring. It needed minimal interference too, just the occasional handful of newspaper to prevent the flames being smothered under the logs. The flame understandably wasn’t as golden as the Olive wood, but it gave off was that familiar smell of good-wood-burning. It also didn’t give off much steam or smoke either, keeping the stove’s glass doors clean and free of soot.

Both types of wood presented their individual challenges; the Olive Wood needed that extra bit of time to become established, and the Hardwood was often too dense and heavy for standard lighting methods that just used a firelighter. However, both types certainly had their rewards for persevering – the smell of the Hardwood was wonderful, whilst the Olive Wood lasted much longer and presented a dazzling golden flame. Pick up a bag for yourself and see which best suits your stove or hearth at https://www.greenolivefirewood.co.uk/.

 

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