Wednesday, December 31, 2008

What's your Green New Year's Resolution?


There are some simple things you can do to be more green this upcoming year. There are big ones like composting, but small things like switching to reusable bags and buying local produce will make a big impact. Here are some ideas...


* Switch to reusable bags. Plastic bags consume oil and water during production, and don't break down. You'll also get some money back every time you shop (most stores give you a credit for every bag you use of your own!).

* Conserve water. This is an easy one that will also save you some money. Using low flow toilets, showerheads, and your own filtered tap water will conserve huge amounts.

* Eat more Veggies. Now how is this going to help out the planet? Veggies use less energy and resources to farm than meat, and don't have huge emissions like cattle and other animals. Reducing the amount of meat you eat(or going vegetarian or vegan if you're really dedicated!) is a huge step in being greener.

* Check your home for leaks. Air leaks. Energy escapes through small gaps and crevices in your home, and you can plug them up. They cost you money, and they waste energy. All it might take is a little weatherstripping.

Have some Green New Year's resolutions of your own? Be sure to tell us about it in the comments section!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Green Gift Wrap


It's virtually impossible to find green gift wrap in the stores, but the Daily Green has found one that might work for you. With 4 nature inspired patterns, these look great and won't be using as much energy to produce the paper in the first place.

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Create your Own Bird Feeder Christmas Tree Ornaments



Christmas is for the birds, well the week after Christmas anyways!

The holiday parties have started and the family celebrations are only a days away. The house is decorated, the tree has been up for a week or two and is beautifully decorated and the scent of pine fills the house. A lucky member of the family has tree duty, making sure the tree doesn't get too thirsty and dry out before Christmas.

But after Christmas, who will care for the tree? Some people will recycle the tree through local organizations that do tree pickups and turn the trees into mulch, others will add the tree to their compost pile, and a small group of us will carefully place our now naked tree in the backyard for the birds to celebrate their holidays. This year instead of throwing away your tree, consider throwing the tree in your backyard for your bird friends to enjoy. If you have a place to prop up your tree that is best! It will give them shelter from those strong winter winds and storms we get, especially in the Northeast, and you can decorate your tree the second time around. In a great project for young and young and young at heart, the perfect project for a chilly winter day is designing "green" Christmas ornaments for your tree outside that your feathered friends are enjoying.

These ornaments are very easy to create-all you need is some pinecones, which you can collect from outside your house (be careful not to use the scented ones as some of these have been treated with chemicals), smooth peanut butter, a butter knife or popsicle stick, a plate, some birdseed and some string made from non-plastic (and hopefully biodegradable) materials. Spread the peanut butter onto the pinecone with the butter knife or popsicle stick. Then pour some birdseed onto the plate and roll the pinecone around so that the seed sticks to the pinecone. Repeat this until you have several pinecones all decorated and ready to go. After your creation is complete take a piece of string and attach it to the end of your pinecone and head out to your old Christmas tree. Tie the pinecones to the tree and then return inside to watch your new friends explore their ornaments. When hanging the ornaments, keep in mind that the higher up you hang the ornaments the safer your friends will be when they go to grab a snack.

The best part, when the ornaments become bare, collect the pinecones and "refill" them!

Have a Green Holiday Season!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Green Travel Tips


The recent gas price reduction is a huge relief for most everyone across the country. It also pushes the idea of being more fuel efficient to the back of everyone's head! It's still as important as ever to reduce the amount of gas we consume, as well as emissions. If you're traveling this holiday season, there are a few things you can do to be a little greener while at hotels, on the road, or flying. Read up on more green travel tips here.

Friday, December 5, 2008

The Great Debate Rages on between the benefits of bottled water vs. plastic water


There has long been a debate on the benefits of bottled water vs. filtered water which you can filter on your own, either through a Brita Filter, a PUR filter or some other system. For those of us who have made the switch away from bottled water to a filter were still left with the problem of what to do with the filter once it has lived out its useful life. Yes we have reduced our plastic use from all of the bottles we have saved by using a filter, but the filter itself is made of plastic.

Well the exciting news is that Recycline (www.recycline.com) now accepts No. 5 plastics along with Brita filters to recycle and make into new household products. They will also be partnering with Whole Foods to have drop off bins at some of their stores. If you don’t live near a Whole Foods that is participating you can also go directly to their webpage and print off a postage paid mailer to mail you No. 5 plastics and your Brita filters in to them.

Thanks to recycline for making green living a little bit easier!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Five Ways to Make your Life Greener with Vegetables


Vegetarian lifestyle might sound like it only benefits the person who is eating it, but there's much more to it. The benefits for your body, like potentially preventing cancer by increasing the intake of antioxidants (found in many fruits), or increasing the body's immunity through consumption of natural vitamins, have been well documented. Besides the personal benefits, eating veggies as opposed to meat has a number of benefits for the environment.
Here are a few of those benefits...


  • Vegetables use less energy to transport. Vegetables are lighter in weight, don't require feeding (like livestock), and can be stacked much more efficiently for transport than animals.

  • Buying locally saves even more energy. Transporting vegetables from a local farm as opposed to a farm 2000 miles away will results in less energy consumed, and a fresher product from less transit time.

  • Growing your own vegetables, like buying local, will eliminate much of the transportation energy used. If it's in your backyard, your cutting out that transportation for you to go to the store, for the vegetable to get to you, and potentially pesticide use (and ingestion).

  • Livestock are responsible for 28% of global methane emissions, which greatly speeds up global warming. Vegetables don't create this massive amount of methane emissions that destroy the atmosphere. Opting for vegetables instead of meat can reduce the overall production of livestock.

  • Vegetables do not require excessive preperation before being sold. With livestock, there's the added process of slaughter, preparing the meat, cutting the meat at grocery store/butcher shops, using packaging to wrap the meat, and cooking the meat (which uses energy). Vegetables can be consumed raw in most cases with no cooking. In fact, the benefits of raw vegetables also have a positive impact on the body.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

More on the Christmas Tree Debate


People everywhere have to make the decision on whether they'd like to commit to an artificial tree or use the cut version this holiday season, and plenty of people have some heavy opinions on the issue. Weigh in with your thought about real vs fake Christmas trees here, as well as read up on some of the reasons why you should consider buying a live tree as opposed to the cut version.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Rethinking Christmas: Potted Trees?


There's fake trees, there's fake pre-lit trees, there's real trees, and now, there's potted trees. The Christmas tree is the epicenter of everything Christmas. The gifts are underneath, the decorations are chosen with care, and people even take plenty of time to choose just the right tree for them. With the rising popularity of potted christmas trees, which one is the best for you?

First, if you already have a fake Christmas tree, why get rid of it? It's next to impossible to recycle a Christmas tree, and most of them truly do last forever. With fake trees, you don't have to worry about the risk of fire, and the cost benefit of reusing a tree every year is very tempting. If you absolutely want a new tree, consider finding a local organization that will take the tree of your hands. Post an ad on Craigslist and Kijiji to have someone pick up the tree (or you could drop it off). Still, there are cons to owning a fake tree. Here are a few:

Cons of Fake Christmas Trees

  • Incredibly hard to clean. Dust accumulates on trees and is virtually impossible to clean.

  • There are large amounts of energy used to produce a plastic Christmas tree.

  • There's no way to recycle a Christmas tree, just to pass the tree down to someone else who may need or want it.



Pros of Fake Christmas Trees

  • Cost effective. Buy it once, you could possibly never have to buy another one.

  • Flame retardant. Fake Christmas trees are far more resistant to fire.

  • Easy to put back up every year.



Cons of Real Trees

  • You're cutting down a real tree.

  • Real trees often end up in landfills year after year.

  • Real Christmas trees are a larger risk to catch on fire.

  • While cheaper than fake trees, real trees over the long term will cost much more since you need one every year.

  • They need to be watered to prevent drying out and causing a fire.



Pros of Real Christmas Trees

  • The smell!

  • Christmas trees are replanted to replace the cut one that's in your home every year.

  • You don't have to worry about cleaning them since they'll be recycled (hopefully) after using them.

  • They look better.

  • Real Christmas trees don't use the huge amount of energy that fake ones use to be produced, even with transport considered.



Cons of Potted Christmas Trees

  • They're very big and heavy. You will most likely need a dolly and a couple of people to haul in a potted Christmas tree.

  • You need to take care of the roots and water your Christmas tree to ensure it will live after being in your home.

  • Potted Christmas trees shouldn't stay in the home for a long time...only 1-2 weeks.

  • Finding a home in your yard for your potted Christmas tree after use can be tedious.

  • They aren't easy to find in some areas.



Pros of Potted Christmas Trees

  • Potted Christmas trees can be planted in your yard or given to someone else and potted.

  • There's no curbside waste from potted Christmas trees.

  • You'll have a new tree in your card every year, providing shade and reducing your energy costs.



So which type of tree is the best for you? If you already have a fake tree, keep it. If you purchase cut trees every year, consider switching to potted ones, even if only every other year. If you must use cut Christmas trees, be sure to recycle them after use by visiting The National Christmas Tree Association to see where you can recycle your tree.

More Tips for Buying Potted Christmas Trees

  • You don't have to buy just pine trees, you can purchase palm trees or any household plant to use as a Christmas tree.

  • Use low watt or energy star approved Christmas lights to decrease energy use.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

It's That Time of Year: Weatherstripping your Home


Weatherstripping is one of the most effective ways to increase the efficiency of your home, and it's very simple to install. With rising fuel costs, there couldn't be a better time to perform this easy maintenance task. Most weatherstripping is self adhesive, so it couldn't be an easier project.
The Benefits:

  • With an average cost of around $20, you'll make the money back and see savings in just a month or two of cold weather.

  • Stops drafts, blocks out noise from the outside.

  • Keeps critters from entering the home when a tight seal is made on doors and windows.

  • You can read more about how to install weatherstripping here.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

So you THINK you Know How to Recycle Everything?


Do you really know how to recycle everything? How about old CDs and DVDs? Toilet paper rolls? What about huge appliances like washing machines? Those old Crocs that you've been wearing for a while? Aersol cans can be recycled too, and even computers. You can find out how to recycle more of these products on this page:

The Top Ten Things to Recycle that you Didn't Know About

Friday, October 24, 2008

Giving Flip Flops a Second Chance with Unique Eco


Unique Eco, the Flip Flop Recycling Company, has come with a commendable idea that's helping needy peope while cleaning marine habitat and beaches. The premise of the company is this: discarded flip flops that wash up on beaches (or are left at the beach) are repurposed into unique artwork, jewelry, stationary, computer bags and other unique items.

The organization has gone out of their way to create some really unique sculptures, including the lifesize projects they are working like Twiga, the Flip Flop Fashion Giraffe, and Mfalme, the life sized flip flop Minke whale. Located in Kenya, these projects are completely made from flip flops that have been collected by locals and fishermen.

To see the gallery of products Unique Eco offers, visit their collection of flip flop artwork today.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Organic Products from Chartreuse: Eco Friendly Gift Ideas

be earth friendly!There are plenty of companies out there that claim to be green, or that are making the effort to be greener, but some companies are basing their entire premise on the green movement and doing it well. Chartreuse, for example, is an eco friendly business offering many green products like organic shower gel, biodegradable trash bags, reusable produce bags, and all natural organic cleansers. The great thing about this company is that it makes a big effort to ensure every aspect of its business is green, from the shipping process (reused boxes, biodegradable starch peanuts, biodegradable plastic bags), advertising (sparing use of recycled paper pamphlets, recycled paper business cards), to transport (liquid products are shipped in concentrate form to reduce shipping costs, refills are available in pouches). Chartreuse's products are easily purchased online, or through fun, informative home parties that provide a forum to share questions, ideas and sample products.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Recycling your Old Cell Phones


Your old cellphones have plenty of uses that you never knew about. There are many people who desperately need a cellphone to stay in touch and don't have one (can you imagine surviving without a cellphone nowadays?). For those less fortunate, you can donate to any of the following:



Why Recycle your Old Phone

Cell phones are a adding up to huge amounts of waste. With millions of users, only a small percentage of those users are recycling their old phones when they upgrade to new ones. Cell phones contain hazardous, toxic materials like mercury, which are harmful to the environment and humans.

It's Easy.

Recycling your cell phone couldn't be easier. Use any of the above links, many of which will provide you with a postage free envelope to mail the phone. Also, many companies will allow you to return the phone to them to recycle.

Sell your Phone

Your cell phone could be worth something. Check eBay to see what you're cellphone is going for. Check "completed listings" to see what they've sold for recently.

Factory Resets on your Phone

Perform a factory reset on your phone to restore the settings to the "factory settings," deleting any information, text messages, pictures, and other senstive information. A simple google search should yield plenty of instructions on how to quickly do this.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Reading Gone Green: The Amazon Kindle


If you've ever thought that books were wasteful, you're not the only one. Amazon introduced late last year the Amazon Kindle, a wireless reading device that has "revolutionary electronic-paper display that provides a sharp, high-resolution screen that looks and reads like real paper." Not bad, and fairly high marks on Amazon in terms of reviews (average rating 4/5). The benefits for the environment are obvious: less paper created, less books and paper disposed of, less trees used to create paper. Newspapers like the Wall Street Journal and New York Times delivered to your Kindle automatically, and you can download virtually any book from Amazon right onto your Kindle.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Your Personal Bailout: A Green Tax Break

Everyone wants to know what they're going to get out of the new bailout package, and it seems there's a small silver lining on this cloud. The Daily Green has listed some of the 2009 credits and breaks that you can get for making some green upgrades to your home, from water heaters, hybrids, windows, insulation and much more, the package does look impressive. Take advantage and save yourself some cash in '09 by reading the Green Tax Breaks that you can take advantage of from the bailout package. Why not? You're also paying for it, so reap the benefits.

Reusable Trick or Treat Bags: Long Lasting, Better Looking, Holds More.


If you're looking for a better alternative to cheap plastic bags or a dusty pillowcase for your kids' Halloween treats, there's a solution: reusable trick or treat bags from EcoGreenBags. There's six different ones to choose from, and they're fully machine washable and fade resistant. Extra long handles on these 100% cotton canvas bags make them great for work, too, so you can bring a little Halloween festiveness to your office. Here's where you can find them: Reusable Bags from EcoGreenBags

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Better Compost, Lighter Trash: Using Coffee Grinds Up



Using your coffee grinds is extremely easy, and decomposes in a matter of days into nutrient rich soil for your plants, trees, shrubs, or even house plants. To start, you can try using washable, reusable coffee filters. These can be washed and reused again and again. If you prefer using paper filters, you can easily dump the contents of your coffee filter into a ziploc container, emptying it weekly into wherever you see fit. A word of caution: empty it often, it can produce mold if left over time, like any food product. You'll be reducing the amount of waste that is deposited into landfills, and you'll be providing plenty of new soil for your plants. According to many, the introduction of plenty of coffee grinds brings about bigger, healthier plants, along with more worms to help the process along.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

How to Recycle Pizza Boxes

Pizza boxes do take up quite a bit of space in landfills, but are also easily recycled. They cannot be thrown in with all other corrugated cardboard, however. To recycle pizza boxes, tear around the greasy/food area completely and throw the affected area in the trash. Recycle the non affected part as you normally would with your corrugated cardboard. The food affected part of the pizza box will quickly decompose (time will vary depending on the thickness of the cardboard). Sell pizza? You can purchase 100% recycled corrugated pizza boxes from the Web Restaurant Store. Your customers will appreciate and remember the sentiment, too.

The WEBstaurant Store - Massive online restaurant equipment and restaurant supply store.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Recycling your Old Batteries


You've probably wondered what to do with your batteries if you're an avid recycler, and it's probably one of the more important consumables that you should recycle. The hazardous materials like mercury that are inside some batteries make it imperative to not just toss these in the trash. You can visit Earth 911 for a complete rundown of how to recycle your old batteries. If you're buying new batteries, you may want to consider purchasing rechargeable batteries instead.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A Dozen Uses for Computer Mousepads (Recycle Them!)


Image courtesy of Willow Designs.

Mousepads...they're necessary, fun, great gifts...but unfortunately, sometimes they don't last forever. If yours is worn out, don't worry, there are a million uses for them as a_willow points out on her Squidoo lens on reusing old mousepads. There's also a gallery of unique mousepads there as well. You can find the tips section near the bottom of the page.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Most Important Fruits and Veggies to Buy Organic


Co-op America has listed some of the most important fruits and vegetables to buy organic to avoid pesticide residue. They've labeled these as the "most important" to buy organic:


  • Apples

  • Bell Peppers

  • Celery

  • Cherries

  • Imported Grapes

  • Nectarines

  • Peaches

  • Pears

  • Potatoes

  • Raspberries

  • Spinach

  • Strawberries



This list of produce may have thin skin making it more susceptible to pesticides, or the fruit/veggie may be prone to pests, hence frequent pesticide use. You can often find local farmers selling organic produce at a much cheaper (and fresher!) rate than the markets. In-season produce also ensures shorter delivery time, therefore less pesticides and risk are used to keep the produce fresh. Support your local farmer and stop by that roadside stand!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Plastic Bottle Numbers -- What Do They Mean?


You've probably noticed those small numbers on the bottom of most plastic bottles with the "recycle" triangle around them, but not sure what the numbers mean. Each number indicates what type of plastic that bottle is, and how it can be recycled. If you have curbside recycling pick up, they will pick up most plastics. If you're headed to the recycling center, you may have to sort out each plastic by number. Find out more about what the numbers mean here:

Plastic Bottle Numbers

Friday, September 19, 2008

Garbage Disposals: A Waste of Energy, Water and Money


Picture courtesy of TreeHugger.com


Garbage disposals might sound good to have in your kitchen, but in reality, they're fairly bad for the environment. Typical garbage disposals use 4 gallons of water per minute, making them very inefficient. Then there's the pollution factor that they cause by mucking up sewers and your own plumbing with old organic matter (which can smell awful once it's stuck!), AND it costs towns money to treat this waste. Combine that with the electricity to run the disposal? Diagnosis: it's a very wasteful machine. A better alternative to using the disposal would be to let food waste naturally decompose outside with composting. It helps gardens grow better, have lighter trash bags, alleviate landfills, and you'll cut down on your own personal waste. You can learn more about composting from composting.org.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Reuse and Repurpose Old Art Supplies, Computer Equipment, Writing Utensils, Sports Equipment and More by Donating Them to Schools


If you don't know what to do with your old art supplies, air conditioner, sports supplies/equipment, pens, pencils, computers, printers, photography equipment, cooking supplies, furniture, coolers, and many other items, a school near you might be in need of those items. You can check www.iloveschools.com to see what schools around you need some help. Just fill out the online reply to the specific item(s) to initiate it. For the best results, try filling out the least options possible for a wider range of results. Teachers should consider using this more often, too! If you know a teacher that might be able to use this site, be sure to pass it along. You'll not only be helping out teachers and kids that need supplies, but you'll be repurposing items instead of trashing them.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Fall Foliage Reusable Canvas Bag from EcoGreenBags


The September Bag of the Month
All this month, EcoGreenBags will be featuring the fall foliage bag as the bag of the month. $5 from the purchase of each Autumn Fall Foliage Map Reusable Canvas Tote Bag (product number 304039051) will benefit American Forests' Tree Planting Project! You can read more about American Forests' project here.

The fall foliage bag features a map of the United States, broken down by peak foliage time for trees in that region. Each color indicates what time of year the area reaches peak. The bag is 100% canvas cotton, has plenty of room for everything you need, and has extra long handles for carrying. Perfect for the grocery store, autumn mall shopping, the office, or to give as a gift! Remember, you're also reducing paper and plastic bag consumption by using reusable bags.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Where do the Presidential Candidates Stand on Green Issues?


Photo: NASA
The Daily Green has an interesting article on John McCain's Energy and Environment Profile, and what his current stance is versus Obama for the '08 election. There are 7 key issues at a glance that you can view, from nuclear energy, offshore drilling, food and product safety, energy costs, global warming, national security to renewable energy. You can read the full article here:

John McCain & Barack Obama on Green Issues

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Sarah Palin on Green Issues

Photo courtesy of the site zieak.com
Where does the new vice presidential candidate for John McCain stand on some of the important green issues facing the United States today? Here are some of recent stories that have emerged indicating her stance on Alaskan drilling, polar bears, energy, oil and global warming:



One of the most memorable quotes of Palin to sum up her viewpoint on climate change is this:

"I’m not one though who would attribute it [global warming] to being man-made."

Surely more will be revealed throughout the campaign about Palin's stance.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Top Ten Reasons NOT Recycling Will Afffect You

The idea of recycling has been around forever, but only widely promoted within the last 25 years. Progress has been made, but is it enough, and have enough people been recycling? No matter what you say, some people just refuse to recycle and don't care. For those type of people, here are the top ten reasons how NOT recycling will affect you (and everyone else).

10. Increased fuel cost. Creating more aluminum, plastic, paper, textiles, and other materials from scratch will use far more energy than reusing old materials. The more new products that must be created, the more energy used. The more energy used, less fuel is available. Less fuel, higher price.


9. Your kids! Why would you want to leave this whole mess for your children to fix? Do your part now and make it easier on future generations.

8. More work and more consumer debt. The higher fuel costs rise, the more everyone will have to work to catch up with rising fuel costs. The only alternative would be to fall into debt.

7. Contaminated drinking water. Throwing away toxic materials like paint, batteries, CFL bulbs, and chemicals will inevitably find their way back into the groundwater. Public water plants can't filter out everything, not to mention it affects wildlife, too.

6. The world becomes a giant dump. Landfills everywhere, garbage smell all over the place. The earth is only so big, where are you going to put all of this garbage? The only solution is to reuse things you've used before and to not use as much stuff.


5. It's less expensive than throwing it away. Dumpsters cost money, and so does trash pickup. Recycling is free.

4. More jobs. Recycling creates far more opportunities for employment than landfills and incinerators. More jobs will stimulate the economy and lower prices of goods.

3. It kills wildlife. Creating more waste not only takes up more space that wildlife use, but they use it as a feeding ground. Animals don't know any better than to scavenge off of our food scraps and waste, and can't diffrentiate between safe and unsafe food. There are also a number of harmful contaminants and materials in landfills that will easily kill or trap animals, like fishing line, nets, and plastic can rings (the kind that are on six pack containers to hold them together).

2. Cleaner air. Creating virgin products instead of recycling in most cases uses much more energy, and creates unhealthy emissions. Continued emissions leads to unhealthy living conditions and smog.


1. This is one point that everyone will understand: money. Creating brand new packaging, metals, plastics, paper and other materials on the average uses far more energy than recycling previously used materials. Use this as your arguing point if some stubborn people don't want to see it your way. Most people will understand when you mention the money and economic factor. A good example is aluminum. As opposed to creating new aluminum, recycling old aluminum uses 95% less energy.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Cutting Down on Back to School Waste


When kids go back to school, they need things. They're rough on stuff, they grow, and things don't last long. Clothes, shoes, notebooks, pens, pencils, coats, sweaters and backpacks are all things you'd be expecting to purchase. When making your back to school purchases, try to keep a few things in mind:


  • How much packaging the item you are purchasing is packaged in.

  • Is there a recycled version of the item you are using? If you're buying paper, can you purchase recycled paper instead?

  • Do you need a bag for the items you purchased? If so, why not use your reusable bag?

  • Do they really need the item you are purchasing, or is it just something they want?

  • Are you buying "fast clothing," or durable clothing? Fast clothing could be described as any article of clothing that you know won't last more than a year or so, like Old Navy and Target (almost disposable). Purchasing more durable clothing is more economical and eco-conscious.

  • Teach your kids about recycling and show them how to recycle their jeans.

  • Buying new bedding? Try to recycle it!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Don't Let Go!


Most people love balloons. They're fun, cheap to buy, and easy to get rid of. They're cheap entertainment, and they're attention-grabbing. Unfortunately, they also are very harmful to animals, just like plastic bags. Once released, balloons will eventually burst and return to the ground. Some may still be inflated when they eventually descend back to the ground or ocean.

Turtles, whales, sharks and dolphins commonly mistake floating balloons for food, namely jellyfish. These become entangled or block the digestion of the animal, killing it. Birds are also affected by balloons released, as you can see here.

What should you do about this? Don't release balloons! The best way to prevent balloons from causing problems for wildlife is to prevent their release. Read more about what the UK has done recently to halt balloon releases on this page by the Marine Conservation Society, which was used as a source for this blog post.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Ways to Recycle your Clothing

Go Green Birds Shirt from EcoGreenBags
If you're throwing away clothing, don't! You can donate it to many local charities. Here's a list of charities and organizations that will accept your donated clothing. They, in turn, will give or sell it to other people instead of the clothing winding up in a landfill! An estimated 6% of landfills are clothing items, a statistic that doesn't need to exist.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Recycling Odd Items


Ever wondered how you could recycle your old tennis shoes? How about your computer, or old outdoor furniture? Today you can recycle almost anything, and almost anything can be repurposed. From Christmas trees to batteries, there's a place that will take them. You can find out more about recycling odd items here.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Small, Simple, and Free: Recycling your Toothbrushes


Even the small things do add when it comes to landfills. Toothbrushes and razor blade handles seem small enough that they should be the least of your worries, but they can be recycled as well! You can get a postage paid envelope from recycleonline.com here that will allow you to send up to 13 ounces for no cost. Add several at one time to be more efficient.

CF Bulbs: The Downside

There are many positives for CF bulbs (compact fluorescent--the curly ones), though there is one downside: the trace amounts of mercury. Mercury is a toxic element, and is very harmful to the environment. If you have burned-out CF bulbs, you can return them to the place that you purchased them. They will properly dispose of them there. Break a CF bulb? There are some guidelines that you must follow! Read here to see the guidelines that EPA.gov has given.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Finding your Local Recycling Center


There are hundreds of sites that you might come across for green living tips, but one of the better green sites out there is greenliving.lifetips.com. One of the latest posts discusses how "in the United States right now, landfills are filling up and closing at the rate of approximately 2 a day," an alarming rate.

This brings up a good point about recycling. One of the biggest impacts you can make to reduce the amount of waste you create (and without taking up too much time) is to save all plastic or metal containers and recycle them. Laundry detergent bottles and water/drink bottles will take up the bulk of this space. By changing this one habit alone and recycling these containers, you can reduce your waste by 50%! Search for your local recycling center through recyclingcenters.org here.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Pepsi: "Have we met before?"


If you've picked up a Pepsi can lately, you may have noticed the green messages they're trying to spread about the benefits of aluminum can recycling. The "Have we met before?" campaign will feature messages on billions of cans of Pepsi before the year end of 2008. Messages like "Recycling could save 95% of the energy used to make this can" will be the taglines featured. They should be in stores now, so take a look!

Friday, August 15, 2008

The Future of Green Driving: The Chevy Volt

Chevrolet's concept for the Chevy Volt has been been getting some major postive attention from tree huggers, Chevy fans, and the average consumer looking to save a buck on gas. The electric-gasoline "E-REV" vehicle, that's short for "extended range electric vehicle," will be able to travel an estimated 40 miles just on the battery. This means zero gas will be consumed! Charge it up again before your next drive, and you could potentially use NO gas. When the battery is depleted, the car still gets great mileage...an estimated 50 MPG. There's already a huge wait, so if you're interested, think about joining the Chevy Volt mailing list!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Greenest Hybrids

If you're in the market for a new car and you're considering a hybrid, we've compiled some reviews of some of the most popular and fuel efficient hybrids on the market today.

The Greenest Hybrids

Some of the best-received hybrids are of course, the Toyota Prius, along with the Toyota Camry Hybrid, Honda Civic Hybrid, and Chevy Malibu Hybrid. Prius by far has the market cornered with 75% of hybrid sales going Toyota's way.

Monday, July 28, 2008

More News on VOC


Remember that VOC post that we published a while back? Well it seems like The Daily Green will support those facts in this article. Potentially hazardous and cancerous compounds have been found in everything from dryer sheets to candles and room sprays. Instead of lots of aromatic chemicals, try opting for the windows next time. It's a lot healthier.

Photo Courtesy of Picturepost

Friday, July 18, 2008

How Walkable is your City?


If you're a city dweller then you know the advantages locally of walking vs. driving in many instances...often everything you need is only a mile or less away anywhere in the city. The Daily Green has written an article about the walkability of the top US cities, and no surprise, San Francisco tops the list. If you've ever been to the city, you would know that nearly everything is within walking distance, and you could totally forego owning a car. Public transportation is everywhere, from trolleys to buses, it's the preferred form of transportation.

Next on the list was Manhattan. Taking a car out of the equation alleviates some of the stresses of living in Manhattan, where driving becomes a form of artwork. NYC has a great walkability rating, with everything at an armlength's reach.

See the rest of the top ten cities according to walkability here.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Worst Hybrid Cars


Everyone wishes they had a hybrid, some people already have them...you don't hear too many people complaining about their hybrid cars. US News has released an article on the worst and best hybrid cars according to mileage, performance, exterior, safety, and reliability. Bottoming out the list was the Saturn VUE 2008 Hybrid. "The hybrid VUE commands a $2,000 premium over the gasoline-powered model, but it should make up for the extra cost in increased gas mileage." If this is the worst model on the list, then you should consider taking a look at this list before purchasing your next car.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Pesticide Use on Produce


There has been a lot of publicity and concern that has risen about pesticide use on fruits and vegatables, both imported and domestic. One of the biggest preventatives to avoid ingesting pesticide covered fruit is to make sure it is thoroughly washed. All fruit should be washed before consumed, but grapes should be washed before storage. Simply washing thoroughly in water will reduce most risks significantly. Besides being able to purchase food-safe fruit and vegetable washes, you can make your own homemade veggie wash easily. Just because the label reads "organic," don't assume it's safe to eat right away. Organic fruit and vegetables still need to be washed before consumption.

The Organic Center has released a helpful reference on the subject here:
"The pocket guide presents pesticide risk rankings for several key fruits and vegetables and is based on The Organic Center's March 2008 report, Simplifying the Pesticide Risk Equation: The Organic Option. The following fruits and vegetables present the highest risk:"
High Risk Foods

Fair Trade Coffee & Migratory Songbirds

EcoGreenBags bag of the month: $5 from each bag of the month purchase benefits the Songbird Foundation!You may or may not have noticed some of the larger coffee chains like Starbucks and Dunkin' Donuts carrying some fair trade coffee and espresso products. While the benefits of Fair Trade Coffee have been greatly publicized, there are other benefits to songbirds as well. In Latin America, sustainable coffee farms are being promoted to protect migratory songbirds by the Songbird Foundation. Besides the benefits to the community and birds, shade grown coffee has a much more rich, full taste. This month, EcoGreenBags will be donating $5 from the purchase of every bag of the month to the Songbird Foundation. Proceeds will help educate the American public about Fair Trade Coffee, and will promote awareness of the decimation of migratory and native songbirds from non-sustainable coffee farming.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Saving Energy by Turning Down your Refrigerator Temperature


The colder, the better, right? Especially in the heat of the summer, it keeps things fresher...right? Well, if you're fruit is freezing in the bottom drawer and your orange juice has icicles that might mean that you can turn down the temperature. You can save significant energy by finding the right temperature in your fridge and not cranking the dial to "9."

Cold air has other ways of escaping your fridge and increasing your energy costs. The door seals can often tear easily, and are one of the more fragile and heavily used parts of the fridge. Small tears and open gaps can leak cold air. You can easily replace your fridge door seals, or it might just need a good cleaning.

Another useful tip: a full freezer actually helps make your freezer more efficient! The frozen food helps keep everything colder, and your freezer doesn't have to work as hard. Just be sure to not block the fan when you pack it up.

As far as colors go, stainless steel and white make the most sense, as they partially reflect any sunlight. Heat absorbing black would be the worst choice. Consider buying a higher efficiency model if you're in the market for a new refrigerator to save the most energy and money.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Saving Cash on Packaging Supplies

If you own a business, you know the cost of shipping and packaging is extremely expensive, and one of your biggest costs. The cost of getting rid of waste, having shipping materials shipped to you, storing the materials and the time to pack them all adds up.

Packages that have extra unncessary packaging will find themselves in a different situation than not too long ago. Before, customers may have appreciated, requested or enjoyed additional packaging, flyers, materials, etc, but that's not the case in the present day. Abundant packaging conveys a "non-green" attitude, so think about what you are including with your products. Generally, the less packaging the better. The package should still be packaged safely, but surely there are ways that packaging can be reduced.

With leftover packaging supplies like peanuts, cardboard boxes and plastic bags, these are hot items for eBay sellers. Post the items on Craigslist and you're likely to have many responses. The best part is they'll come to your home or business to pick them up! This saves eBay sellers/business owners a lot of money (a bag of peanuts costs nearly $20 at Staples!). You'll also be saving expensive dumpster space and labor time...not to mention doing a great green deed.

Friday, June 6, 2008

VOCs

Yesterday we posted about the proper disposal of paint. As a follow-up, we'd like to go into VOC--volatile organic compounds--which are released from most paints. VOCs are harmful oils or other mediums in paints which can be hazardous when used, especially in enclosed indoor spaces. Traditional household paint contains enough VOCs to give you a whopping headache (you know, that fresh paint smell?). Other products that also have high VOCs are paint thinners, aerosols, disinfectants, dry-cleaned clothing, and even plastics like shower curtains. That new plastic smell when you take the shower curtain out of the package? Thank VOC for that too. In fact, anything that you notice a "new plastic smell" on, you should think twice before taking a deep whiff! Some of the other side effects of high exposure to VOC are migraines, damage to the liver and kidneys, and even cancer! Read up more on VOC here.

To find low VOC paints, visit eartheasy for a list of approved sites. Also, some alternatives for objects like shower curtains, try avoiding products with vinyl, instead opting for nylon, cotton, or polyester.

You can also find some recommended best low voc paints here for your bedrooms, nursery, or anywhere you're deciding to do an interior paint job.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Properly Disposing of Paint

Have a paint project coming up? How about some leftover paint that you just don't know what to do with? Even on the labels of the paint can, it isn't usually clearly stated what you should do with your leftover paint. There are a few methods of paint disposal, as well as some information you should know before you make your paint purchases. Read here for more information on paint disposal.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Maintaining your Car to Save on Gas

Rising gas prices have made everyone pay attention to different ways to save money on gas. One of the biggest things you can do is properly maintain your car so that it's running at its highest efficiency possible. Here are a few easy tips that you can do right now to improve your mileage:

  • Constant braking and accelerating is one of the biggest gas eaters..it can reduce your highway mileage by as much as 1/3

  • Properly inflated tires can be 3-5% more efficient than those that aren't inflated to the right pressure

  • Heavy items in your car can soak up extra mileage. Take them out if you don't use them or need them.

  • Clean air filters can increase fuel economy by as much as 10%.


For more gas effiency tips, visit fueleconomy.gov. Also, to find the cheapest gas in your area before you head out, try out GasBuddy.com

Friday, May 16, 2008

Switching from Bottled Water Back to Tap

Photo of Bottled Water by Brett Weinstein


Tap water has a bad wrap. The truth of the matter is that tap water is much more regulated than bottled water in the United States. Bottled water companies often do have more contaminants and less minerals than tap. Other bottled water companies, like Aquafina and Dasani, are not even spring water. These two brands are filtered tap water, but still do not face the strict regulations of tap water.

Little known fact: plastic bottles eventually leak chemicals into your bottled water!

The other sad fact about bottled water is that 80% of all water bottles in the United States, despite being recyclable, end up in a landfill. With the recent popularity of bottled water, it should be no surprise that 20 billion bottles will end up in a landfill every year! Bottled water bottles can be recycled at local recycling centers and are very easy to transport.

Water filters are an excellent alternative to bottled water. The taste is usually parallel (and sometimes superior) to the taste of bottled water. It also saves an enormous amount of plastic. Filters like PUR and Brita offer excellent filtration, and are easily found in the supermarket or online. These companies offer pitchers, large and small, individual filtration bottles, and quickly replaced filters. This method will also lead to a large financial savings in a short period of time.

More bottled water facts and tips can be found here: Bottled Water FAQ

These are a couple of the highest rated PUR water filters on Amazon.com, all over 4 star ratings:
Pur 2 Stage Water Dispenser #DS-1800Z
Pur 2 Stage Faucet Mount Filter #RF-3375