Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Reusable Bag Contest Winner!

reusable bagCongratulations to Heather for winning the free reusable tote bag contest! Heather is the lucky winner, having our go green California tote bag shipped to her home, which will take the place of several plastic bags. Curious about our contest? You can read more about the free reusable bag contest on this post.

Don't worry if you weren't a winner, we'll be giving away another bag very shortly! Look for us to announce our next contest on Sunday, November 1st, right here on this blog, or at EcoGreenBags itself! Which bag will be up for a giveaway? Or should we say which (plural) bags?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Grinch of Halloween

Halloween is upon us! Next week all of the neighborhood children will be dressing up and going out to Trick or Treat or to attend Halloween parties. Costumes will be worn and the candy will be handed out until late into the night.

But I think its important to just stop and think for a second how we could lessen our environmental impact this Halloween. The more you think about the "holiday" of Halloween you realize how large the environmental impact can actually be.

Costumes. Imagine each child (and adult for those of us out attending Halloween parties) that is buying a new costume every year. After that one night of fun is over, where does the costume end up? Passed along to a friend for next year? Maybe? Packed away for next year? Possibly, but who wants to wear the same costume two years in a row? Thrown away to make room for other more important things you need to store? Very likely. Instead of going out every year to buy a new costume, consider what items you may already have in your house to create a costume for you and the kids. After Halloween is over you can return these items to their normal use within your house. For example, check out these creative recycled Halloween costumes.

Face paint. Now just about every child coming to my house has this face paint smeared all over their face. First we have the issue of the packaging and extra face paint which comes in the containers. Due to the fact that the paint will dry up before next year, most face paint is thrown away.The next issue is removing the face paint and either washing the toxic paint down the drain or throwing it into your trash, which by default could potentially end up in a water source. The last danger is that toxins included in the face paint will be absorbed into your child's skin while your child is wearing it. Consider looking for organic, non toxic face paint or perhaps make your own!


Lastly, we have the candy. Bags and bags and bags of candy. Creating waste not only from the packaging for all of the large bags containing the pieces to hand out but also the individual wrappers on the candy pieces. Then there is always candy that the kids receive which no one in the house likes-so the solution, just throw it away. Of course, all pieces which look potentially tampered with should and are immediately thrown away. Then, as I have heard from people, sometimes after the kids are in bed some more of the candy will be thrown away just so the kids aren't consuming mass amounts of sugar. More waste is created when the kids receive the fresh baked goods packed in individual baggies, which again for safety reasons are thrown away instead of being consumed. Instead of creating all this additional waste consider saving the candy your kids don't like for a local food pantry, and also having them include some of the candy they do like as a life lesson.

To help have a greener Halloween consider hosting a green Halloween party at your house for your friends and your kids friends. Make it a requirement that all costumes must be designed from items which they already own and are repurposing for the night. Have fresh baked goods instead of individually wrapped candy bars. Play some fun games, such a who can eat a donut the fastest when it is hanging from a string from the ceiling. Or you could have a pumpkin decorating contest and see who comes up with the most creative design.

Anything to lessen our impact will make a difference! As you can see from above, even a slight "holiday" such as Halloween creates a large amount of waste, creating only a larger problem for future generations...

Remember, "Treat the earth well: it was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children. We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children." (Ancient Indian Proverb)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Getting Your House Greener This Winter

Green Up Your Home Before the Winter Season Arrives to Save Time, Energy and Money!

The end of fall is here, and the leaves have changed and are falling from the trees. And dare I say here in Massachusetts some of us have seen SNOW! In mid-October... So we are in for a fun winter. In getting ready for winter there are a bunch of things to do around the house to "green" your home. What better time than now to start these small projects? Of course after the leaves have been raked and placed in your compost pile...

1. Find the drafts in your house. Not only does cold air come in, but that expensive heat you are paying for will go sailing out! This can easily be done by checking the weatherstripping around your doors, checking the cases around your windows and perhaps even investing in a door snake or two for the doors in your house leading to the outside. Also consider adding on a screen door. Not only will that keep the heat inside in the winter but allow the sun to shine in during the warmer months.

2. Recycle the Warm Air From Your Oven. Have baking to do? Consider doing it later on in the day when the sun has gone down. This will temporarily heat your house as its baking and since the sun is no longer shining it will make up for that loss of solar heat. After your done baking, crack the oven open a little bit to release the warm air into your home (but be careful if you have children!)

3. Think about adding a plant or two to your family. Not only are house plants great for cleaning the air, but they will also add some color into your home.

4. Turn the thermostat down a few degrees at night. Not only will you sleep more comfortably, but you will be saving some cash and reducing your energy consumption. During the day keep the temperature down a few degrees and put on your sweatshirt to keep you warm. The heat can be very drying and sometimes by keeping the temperature down a few degrees your skin will retain a bit more moisture.

5. Last but by no means least, get your spices started growing in pots inside! Once the weather warms up after winter you can move them outside. By growing these fresh spices inside you will save money on buying dried spices, the spices you use will be fresher and they will add a bit of greenery to your house!

We'd love to hear your ideas on how you are planning on going green for the winter! Please share them with the other readers in our comments section!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Boost Your Veggie Intake: Easy Vegetarian Meals

Making a full-fledged switch to becoming vegetarian isn't a change that most people are willing to make with their lives. But reducing the amount of meat that you eat, that might be more realistic. Throughout most of the world, meals revolve around some sort of meat dish for 2 out of 3 meals of the day. Squeezing in even one all veggie meal once or twice a week is a small change that can lead to big benefits for you, and for the environment!

Not only is it better for the environment, but it's better for you. Hormones, antibiotics, pesticides.. these are all some issues to think about when consuming meat. Consuming a little bit less of it probably won't hurt, and consuming more local vegetables definitely won't hurt.

Now how can you realistically replace one meal a week with just vegetables? Salads are boring. Soy is gross (to a lot of people), and tofu is nearly inedible to a meat eater. But these vegetarian recipes are more realistic. Most of these recipes are things you already eat that can be slightly altered to exclude the meat.

Looking for more easy meat replacements? Here are a few more ideas:

Friday, October 2, 2009

Reusable Eco Friendly Sigg Water Bottles

reusable Sigg bottleSigg Bottles are BPA Free, Eco Friendly, and Reusable! Plus, the Dangers of Using Other Plastics...

Are you thinking of switching over to a reusable water bottle? There are a lot of benefits for both you and the environment. For one, traditional disposable water bottles contain chemicals. The plastic can leach into your water, entering your body. Specifically, #7 plastics, and even Nalgene brand water bottles have been tested to find trace amounts of BPA (Bisphenol A ). This chemical isn't just a strange name, it can potentially, even in trace amounts, reduce testosterone levels, cause miscarriage, and has even been linked to breast cancer.

Even clear #1 plastics have been found to contain hazardous chemicals, leaching DEHP. Other plastics, like #6, have been found to contain hormone disrupting chemicals. The answer seems clear: don't use plastic! Not just for the environment, but for your own personal health.

SIGG has one of the best known and highest quality water bottles available today. Each bottle comes with a durable interior lining, and contains no BPA free or leaching. They also come with a lifetime warranty, and can be recycled at their end of their long use. These bottles are made of aluminum, with a durable EcoCare (BPA free) inner lining. They're also really lightweight.

One cool thing about SIGG is their line of customized reusable water bottles. The ones below spread an eco friendly message, while you help reduce plastic use (and keep yourself healthy!).