Posts Tagged ‘
Go Green ’
Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009
This month's green resolution was inspired by my brother-in-law's new compost pile. Composting is something I've been wanting to do for a while, but to be honest I've just been too darn intimidated to give it a go. But after taking the grand tour of Dave's compost pile – and being reminded how truly easy it is to do – I was once again motivated to give it a go.
Why compost? For starters, sending waste outside to decompose naturally, rather then bagging it and putting it curbside, is way better for our environment. Plus, as anyone with a green thumb will tell you, the organic material that's results works wonders for your yard and garden.
How does it work? Alternate layers of "green" materials, like grass clippings, vegetable peels, and fruit remnants (which are high in nitrogen) and "brown" materials, like dry leaves, paper, eggshells, and coffee grounds (which are high in carbon), then turn the pile once a week. You're basically speeding up nature's decomposition process to create a dark, rich soil that you can use outside. Click here for the EPA's list of organic materials that can be composted.
Because he has a pretty big yard, Dave was able to mark off a semi-open area with cinder blocks to compost in (a bonus since it allows him to access the pile directly with his wheel barrel), but there are lots of enclosed container options out there for those of us who have smaller yards, no yards, or no time to go building our own. Check out these tumbling models or if you're the DIY type click here for step-by-step instructions on how to make a compact compost bin out of a standard garbage can. If you're an urban dweller or need to compost inside, check out this countertop composting kit. And don't forget about convenient countertop composting caddies that you can fill with scraps and bring out to your compost pile when full.
If you have tips on how to compost or success stories, please share in the comments!
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Thursday, June 18th, 2009
I know what you're thinking… dry cleaning is incredibly bad for our environment (not to mention our health). Period. And while you're completely right, there are some things that those of us who can't avoid unwrapping a crisp, clean, stain-free satin shirt once in a while can do to green our dry cleaning routine…
*Green: Check out Green Garmento (pictured right). It's a 3-in-1 reusable bag made specifically with dry cleaning in mind. It works much like a hamper for your delicates, but pull the drawstring and it transforms into a duffle bag that'll help you get your clothes to the dry cleaner in one piece. Plus, there's a small hole in the bottom that allows your dry cleaner to push the hangers of clean clothes through so that the Green Garmento can protect them until they're home safe in your closet. Grab your own here for $10 and say goodbye to wasteful, single-use plastic dry cleaning bags for good!
**Greener: Wash delicates by hand at home and bring only the most necessary items to be dry cleaned at a shop that uses either wet cleaning or CO2 cleaning instead of the traditional perc method. Click here for the EPA's list of dry cleaners in your state that are perc-free.
***Greenest: Of course the only good dry-cleaning is no dry-cleaning. Before you buy a new garment check the label to see if it requires special care or dry cleaning. If it does, move on to a cotton blend you can wash at home (in cold water with eco-friendly detergent, of course!) whenever possible.
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Tuesday, April 28th, 2009
Family game night just got greener! Check out this new line of eco-friendly puzzles from TDC Games. This 500 piece puzzle is handmade and embedded with wildflower seeds, so once you've solved the puzzle you can actually plant it instead of tossing it in the back of the toy closet to collect dust. Get your hands on Green Pieces puzzles at Barnes and Nobles!
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Tuesday, April 14th, 2009
My eco resolution for April is to reduce the amount of water I use every day. Did you know that we consume 800% more water than we did 100 years ago? With less than one percent of the water on our planet capable of being used and millions of people in the world without access to this limited supply, it's important that we all do our best to only use what we truly need.
I began treating my water problem by thinking about what room I use the most water in. And it's no surprise that the bathroom is basically the black hole of water waste in my home. But thanks to a few simple tips and some cool new products I came across, it was easy to give my water closet (no pun intended) an eco-friendly makeover in no time. My favorite DIY trick? Fill a 2 liter bottle with water and place it in the toilet tank so that when you flush the bottle displaces the water and (unbeknownst to the eye) you actually need less water to fill the tank and toilet up each time. But modern gadgets like low-flow shower heads (I love my new EcoFlow model from Waterpik!) and aerators can also save a ton of H2O without sacrificing water pressure. Plus, they're super easy to install and completely affordable (especially once you've factored in the savings in your water bill). Now, rest assured that I'll be able rinse all of the conditioner from my hair without going over my shower time limit, I'm one step closer to bathroom bliss….
To teach your kids about the importance of water conservation, visit the EPA WaterSense Kids website. And for 49 more ways you and your family can save water inside and outside of your home, click here.
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Tuesday, March 17th, 2009
Great news for anyone who cares about the earth and talks on a cell phone… Motorola's MOTO W233 Renew, the world's first carbon neutral phone, is due out this Spring! And, while it may not have a 3 megapixel camera, it does have a long list of eco-friendly properties that make this phone totally worth the wait!
The phone is made from recycled water bottles and it's packaged in a smaller, lighter box, so it actually burns less carbon when being transported. Plus, all packaging and pamphlets are made from 100 percent post-consumer recycled paper and printed with vegetable-based inks. The phone's outer shell is 100 percent recyclable and a postage-paid envelope is included in the box so you can send in your previous cell phone to be recycled. And a longer battery life (up to nine hours of talk time) helps conserve energy since you don't need to charge it as much. Finally, Motorola has partnered with Carbonfund.org in order to offset all carbon emissions due to the manufacturing, distributing and operating the phone by investing in renewable energy sources and reforestation, which makes the Renew the first certified CarbonFree alternative to mobile phones!
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Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009
For March's eco resolution I decided it was finally time to do something to about my carbon footprint. Most of us have no doubt heard this term, but what exactly is a carbon footprint and what can we actually do about it (besides hand-sew clothes from bamboo fabric woven from the crop growing in our backyards, then walk into town to sell it)? Well, a lot. For starters, a carbon footprint is the measurement of the impact our actions have on the environment or, more specifically, it's the amount of greenhouse gases that are produced by burning fossil fuels for electricity, heating and transportation. That said, I learned that we can easily reduce the carbon we produce by doing a number of simple things at home, on the road, in school, and at work at this EPA webpage.
But what can we do when there really isn't another option? Air travel, for example, can be hard to avoid. I'm traveling nearly 3,000 miles by plane at the end of the month to
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visit family in California and according to this Carbon Footprint Calculator on TerraPass.com, my round trip flight burns 2,352 lbs of CO2. Yikes! My alternatives? 1. A "staycation" (minus the relatives) 2. Travel by train or car (extremely timely and not much more eco-friendly) or 3. board the plane and buy a carbon offset. That's right – the light at the end of the tunnel! There are a number companies out there, like TerraPass, that are actively funding greenhouse gas reduction projects in a number of industries and need our money to help invest these initiatives. So it's a win win. I pay $17 to offset the carbon emissions resulting from my flights and the money goes toward finding eco alternatives in the future. Another way to breathe easier… literally.
Wednesday, February 25th, 2009
Moving forward with my new year's eco resolution, it's time for February's green goal (albeit extremely late – sorry!)…..
This month the credit card offers, catalogs, and bills seemed to be taking over my kitchen table at a faster speed than usual so I decided I needed to put an end to this unnecessary paper clutter for good! Because, truth is, as much as I recycle from the mailbox, there's the fact that I still feel responsible for wasting trees and energy by allowing the miscellaneous mail to get to me in the first place.
So I made a few phone calls to opt out of catalogs (which always seem to reappear after the holidays) and I switched the last of my bills and statements to electronic versions. After putting in a couple of hours I felt a bit relieved, and a bit exhausted from looking up phone numbers and waiting on hold listening to mind-dulling elevator music.
Luckily, for those of you who don't have time or patience there is a quicker way to take care of this process – Green Dimes (which I will most definitely be taking advantage of once the junk mail starts to roll back in). For $20 a year, Green Dimes lets you select the catalogs you want to receive, monitors your mail monthly, and they plant 5 trees just for signing up. But whether you enroll in a program or clean up your mailbox on your own, know you are helping the environment – one piece of junk mail at a time!
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Tuesday, February 3rd, 2009
Did you know that a single disposable diaper can take up to 500 years to biodegrade in a landfill? Yikes! While the idea of using old-fashioned cloth diapers can be equally frightening, there's a more practical option out there for those of you who want to embrace the eco diaper trend sans fuss.
Check out gDiapers. The adorable outer "little g" pant is made from washable, breathable cotton and the absorbent, plastic-free inner liner is is flushable, compostable, or chuckable (when all else fails!). gDiapers break down between 50 and 150 days in garden composters (but only the wet ones, please) and take about 90 days in landfills – much less time then traditional disposables! With prices as low as $0.32 per refill/diaper, you can help the environment without breaking your budget. Try it out for yourself – buy a starter kit here.
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