Thursday, December 8, 2016

Composting

Composting


Most of you have heard of composting and have a pretty good idea on what it is, but you may not be ready yet to start your own compost pile or bin at home.

Composting is easier to do than you think and it is a great way to add to being more eco friendly and sustainable.


How to start:
Build a crate out of lumber to hold the compost materials - you could use a plastic bin too, if you don't know how to build one or if you don't have the time

Gather the materials needed - 
you'll need an activator like grass clippings, weeds, or manure 
limes to help eliminate odors
dried leaves or straw(also for odor)
proper drainage system to prevent a soggy pile


What can you put in the compost bin?

There are many things that can go into your compost bin here some examples

paper products including napkins
freezer burned fruits and vegetables
spices
potato peels
stale bread
coffee grounds
seaweed
kelp
watermelon rinds
dairy products like yogurt

and many other items can go in like pet hair or toe nail clippings

what shouldn't you put in?

diseased plants
foil
magazines/catalogs/other heavily glossy and printed paper
sawdust
diapers
feminine hygiene products
things with blood on them


So why should you compost?

For one, it eliminates waste!
It's a safe way to rid of materials without use of chemicals
Makes great soil/fertilizer for plants
Saves you money on garbage removal

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

The Little Things

Day by day we do things that damage our earth. From the waste we produce to deciding not to recycle, some of us realize these negative affects and others don’t, but nonetheless it continues to do damage when there are more sustainable options. But there are other things we often lack to think of when going about life that are so simple to change in order to reduce our waste. Here are a couple ways each one of us may be able to make changes to benefit our ability to be sustainable.

Reusable v. Recyclable

Image result for coffee cup waste
Often times when you go to your favorite coffee shop and buy a beverage and lack to provide a reusable cup, even when they are offered for an additional cost and we do this without even a second thought, actually this is annually 58 billion cups in the United States.  This costs the earth 20 million trees a year for all these wastefully little cups and for only four of these devilish little guys results in one pound of CO2 emissions. This is not only a large amount of waste created just by one country in a year, but it is also easily avoidable waste for a country every year if we just thought things through a bit. With just the use of a single reusable cup once a day, for forty years, you yourself could save 24 trees. Or you could even just have a cup of coffee at home if you cannot handle carrying your own cup around.   

Reusable K-cups

This brings us to the invention of the Kuerig. With each one of those plastic pods they are doing just about as much damage to the earth. One way to avoid doing this damage is using reusable k-cups, just like those coffee cups at your coffee shop, they are avoidable waste. However, sometimes it’s better to just invest in a plain old coffee maker if you are more of a regular coffee drinker anyway.

Another Cup

Image result for reusable water bottle reduce waste
Another cup that we can try to stop buying is plastic water bottles. Even though lots of these are recyclable less than a quarter are and we should try to avoid purchasing. With Americans alone consuming 8.6 billion gallons of water out of these plastic bottles this is clearly a problem that must be addressed. This water isn’t even tested and regulated half as much as tap water, and wen compared often doesn’t keep up to the tap water standards, so it really isn’t even benefiting us. Instead, we need to switch over to reusable water bottles, where we can reduce this waste, enjoy healthier water to consume and save water bottles for emergency situations where we shouldn’t be consuming water from our facets.






http://planetsave.com/2010/04/05/betacup-encourages-collaboration-to-create-a-sustainable-coffee-cup/ 
https://www.banthebottle.net/articles/5-ways-you-can-help-reduce-plastic-bottle-waste/ 

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Buying Organic vs Conventional Food

A recent video has emerged claiming that the farming required to produce organic foods causes more greenhouse gases then that of conventional farm raised food. This is a result of organic farms producing less product requiring more land to be used for farming. This means occupying more land that could be used to host wildlife and natural habitats. Because this land is so immense the energy required to harvest these foods causes more greenhouse gas emissions. The video describes more information about genetically modified farms versus organic farms. The video can be seen here:

An older article back in 2012 from the Washington Post, also tackled this issue of conventional versus organic farms. The article looks at meta-analysis of the amount of product produced from organic farms versus conventional. The analysis found that organic fruits such as tomatoes had no difference in yield compared to that of conventional foods. It also analyzed organic canola and sunflower seeds finding that there was no difference in the amount of product compared to conventional. According to the analysis however, some conventional vegetable and grain farms did produce more compared to organic farms.

The article does admit that meta-analysis is not a perfect way to study results as it is a compilation of multiple studies. These studies also do not mention some of the other aspects that could result in less product such as pH balance and nitrogen levels. This is something the video fails to discuss.

The article can be viewed here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/the-environmental-footprint-of-organic-vs-conventional-food/2012/09/14/40b16582-fb65-11e1-b2af-1f7d12fe907a_story.html?utm_term=.73f9fc7133ae

What do you think? Will you buy organic or conventional? Perhaps you will do more research and formulate what you think is better for the environment. Remember, reduce, reuse, recycle.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Repair Cafés

Have a broken household item that you can not afford to throw away? Have a favorite sweater that needs sewing, but do not have the skills to fix it? Check your local listings for repair cafés!

Repair cafés are a new and exciting way where people can bring their broken household items and learn how to repair them for free. Many people volunteer their time at these local cafés to teach people how to fix items from iPad screens to ripped jeans. This is a great way for people to reduce their carbon footprint and participate in a creative way to recycle. Even if you do not have the money to donate or volunteer in environmental practices then this is just one of the many simple ways you can easily stay environmentally and economically smart.  

Here is a quick video showing the beginning of repair cafés along with a sense of how the community of these cafés has evolved. The video is from 2014 and surely by now in 2016 more cafés have emerged.
Here is another video showing the community and the types of skilled individuals you can hope to meet if you participate in one of these cafés. This particular café is in Pasadena, California. 
This is a really neat idea and if you live in Oregon or California there are repair cafés all throughout these states. Reduce, reuse, recycle! 

Friday, December 2, 2016

The Benefits of Using Glass Packaging

Using packaging made of glass and recycling it is great for the environment and your health. It is 100% recyclable and 80% of it can be reclaimed. Glass can also be used repeatedly without any loss in quality. There is no chemical contamination that comes from using glass products. Glass is also the only packaging material that has been “generally regarded as safe” by the Food and Drug Administration.

Glass is comprised of all natural materials such as sand and limestone, that can be found in abundance in the United States. It is also much easier to clean than other packaging alternatives, and does not contribute to trash that accumulates in landfills or bodies of water in the same way that plastic does. Since it is made of natural ingredients to begin with, it breaks back down to its original form (i.e. sand) over time, without polluting the environment in the process. Ultimately, using recycled glass cuts CO2 emissions. It has been shown that for every six tons of recycled glass that is used, one ton of carbon dioxide is prevented from entering the environment.

One of the main cons of using glass packaging is it’s weight and fragility. Some argue that plastic is more environmentally friendly than plastic due to this factor, but it is the opinion of many that, ultimately, it is what goes into the product in the first place that determines its environmental impacts. Since plastics are are produced from natural gas processing and materials derived from crude oil refining, experts say that glass is the more environmentally sound choice. Another interesting fact to consider is that glass bottles today are 40% lighter today than they were 20 years ago. This ultimately means that it takes less fuel, energy, and emissions to transport glass than in the past.

Unlike plastic, glass packaging does not contain many of the harmful chemicals that are now known to come from the use of plastic packaging, such as BPA (bisphenol A). Glass also has a non-porous surface which in turn means it does not retain as much bacteria as plastic packaging. Since glass has little to no chemical interaction with most other materials, it means that whatever product the glass packaging is holding (if sealed properly) will keep its aroma and flavor intact.

At the end of the day, glass packaging seems to be one of the better choices for the environment. It has been shown that up to 80% of recycled glass can be reclaimed and that recycled glass uses 40% less energy than creating new glass. There is no loss in quality when the glass is recycled and over one ton of natural resources are prevented from entering the air for every six tons of glass that is recycled. There are no wasteful by-products that are produced from using and reusing glass, and once recycled properly, an old glass bottle can be returned to the consumer as a new glass bottle within 30 days.

Sources:


Thursday, December 1, 2016

Gotta Start Somewhere

Many people are so stuck in their ways that making a change in their routine sounds impossible. However, with the effect of humans taking a huge toll on the Earth, we have no choice but to examine what we can do to less our impact.

One of the easiest changes that can be made is being sure to group your errands together. This not only saves time, but also lessens the time spent driving your car, which is a huge source of pollution. if your errands don't involve stocking up on groceries or picking up a piece of furniture, there is also a very good chance that you can even do all your errands while using public transportation - even better!





You can even go one step further and change the way you go to work everyday, on top of doing your occasional errands. Many places have carpools you can join. The chart above shows how much that helps. You could also bike or walk, getting your body moving while helping make the air better to breathe!

If you'd like other ways to start making a difference, you can find 12 other ideas here.


Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Staying Warm Without Using Excessive Energy


Saving energy doesn't mean having to freeze this winter!
You can save money and energy and still stay warm if you follow these tips:

1. Check your windows- make sure there are no cracks and that they stay locked. Seal any cracks and fix jammed or broken locks to keep the cold air outside.
(Check for other cracks around the exterior of the house as well and seal them up!)

2. Make use of curtains and blinds- use curtains to keep the cold air out. Open up the curtains when its sunny and let the sun naturally bring in some heat!

3. Layers and blankets- wear layers to stay warm, put on a comfortable, movable sweatshirt or zip up jacket, wear warm socks and utilize blankets when you are studying or watching tv

4. Get warm on the inside. Eat and drink foods that will give you heat. Have soup, drink tea or coffee, eat enough protein and nutritious foods that add heat to your body.

5. Move around- move around, do some light exercise to get your heart rate up and break a sweat.

6. Tend to your furnace and water tank- tune the furnace and insulate your water tank to keep temperatures at bay

7. Insulation- make sure the house, especially storage closets and attics are well insulated


You can still run your heater or fire place for a bit, but try these energy saving methods first before going crazy with the heater!

Reducing carbon footprint while dining out.

When trying to be more Green, and reduce one's own Carbon Footprint, one of the many things people consider, as covered earlier in this blog, is buying food locally grown whenever possible. One thing that is often less considered however is dining at restaurants that do the same.

Portland is a great city to do this in, as many of the restaurants are partnered with local farms to make sure that there food is as fresh, high quality, and local as possible. Such as the Irving Street Kitchen in the pearl district, which not only uses local food whenever possible, but also recycles their fry oil as bio-diesel.

For those not living in portland; or during travels. There are a few simple ways to find restaurants that use local ingredients like http://www.eatwellguide.org/ which has a database of over 25,000 restaurants, farms and even supermarkets that use local and sustainable food, and yelp.com has their own selection of restaurants that can be found by searching for "farm to table" restaurants



- C.B..

A green Christmas

How to have a green Christmas



Christmas, the greatest time of the year for many people. And yet, it also can do a lot of harm to the environment, many people don't seem to know this so here are some tips on how to help them have a more environmental safe Christmas.


1: Use a potted tree.
About 30 million Christmas trees go to the landfill, using a potted tree means you can reuse the tree year after year.













2: Recyclable wrapping paper.
Avoid tinfoil paper this year and get wrapping paper that is recyclable. There are various types of metal that go into the tinfoil paper that is not only wasting of metal, but can be harmful. Also if you open the wrapping gently, you can reuse it for another time.




3: Don't have so many lights plugged in.
So many lights not only increases your electric bill, but it also drains natural resources. Most people can avoid this by using LED lights.








I hope to anyone who reads this, that you all have a safe and eco-friendly Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

DIY Cleaning—It’s better for the environment.


DIY Cleaning—It’s better for the environment. 


Now that you’re unsure of what type of cleaning supplies you should use, here are some tips on how to clean with things you may already have laying around your house.

Vodka:

Found to be good to clean glass, porcelain and chrome, just grab a rag, some cheap vodka (poured into a spray bottle) and go to town. Worried about your house smelling terrible? Don’t you worry, the smell will fade when it dries.

How to Make Homemade All-Purpose Cleaner: 2 Ways. These are so easy, just three ingredients. Plus, they work on just about anything.
            With  3 parts water, 1 part white vinegar, 1-2 teaspoons of lemon juice and 5-7 drops of essential oil (if desired sent) you can use this cleaning product for just about any surface.

Soap and Water:

Homemade cleaner:       

              For something more complex surface, like stainless steel, a simple 1 part vinegar 2 parts water mix and microfiber cloth can clean the surface. As long as you wipe off the grain you will get a beautifully clean stainless steel appliance. 




 When in doubt a little bubbles and damp rag  can get a lot done around the house. You don’t need those crazy cleaners around the house, that simple solution will do the job.










http://livesimply.me/2015/11/02/how-to-make-homemade-all-purpose-surface-cleaner/    







The Negative Impact of Beauty Products on the Environment

Beauty and hygiene products that many of us use every day can have a hugely negative impact on our environment. The harmful repercussions of the products listed below ultimately harm us in the end. Awareness is the first step in fixing some of the issues associated with the chemicals used in different types of products. Mindfully purchasing these items can make a large difference in the health of our planet. There are natural alternatives to all of the products listed below and companies out there that make an effort to not make harmful products. Freeman, Ives, Burt’s Bees, Bioré are just a few companies on the list.





Facial Cleansers with Microbeads

Many facial cleansers use microbeads and are marketed to exfoliate the skin of those who use it. We are now finding out that these tiny little microbeads, typically made of plastic or synthetic materials, are too small for sewage treatment plants to catch. The plastic that is getting washed down the drain is collecting in our water sources and greatly polluting them. As many as 8 trillion microbeads are being deposited in our water sources every day in the United States alone. Aquatic animals and birds often mistake these microbeads as food, and the plastic that we have polluted our water with eventually works its way back to though the food chain.



Shampoos and Soaps

The problem with many super sudsy shampoos and soaps is that they contain sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) or sodium laureth sulfate (SLES). Both of these ingredients are hard on your skin and harmful they get in your eyes. Although SLES is the less harmful of the two, 1,4 dioxane is often mixed in with it, which has been suspected as a human carcinogen. After these chemicals enter the waterway through our drains, they ultimately end up building up in marine life. Just as with the microbeads, these harmful toxins again end up back to us via the food chain.



Sunscreen

There are four common chemicals found in many sunscreens—cinnamate, benzophenone, camphor derivatives, paraben, and oxybenzone. These harmful chemicals are known to contribute to coral bleaching which leaves can lead to viral infections and the ultimate death of the coral all over the world. Oxybenzone specifically has been proven to be fatal to baby coral. It causes baby coral to encase itself in its own skeleton and die. Anywhere between 6,000 and 14,000 tons of sunscreen have been estimated to wash into the ocean each year. Studies show that only 62 parts per trillion oxybenzone  is needed to damage coral. That is roughly one drop of water in 6.5 Olympic-sized swimming pools.



Ingredients to Avoid

Parabens
Synthetic Colors
Phthalates
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate & Sodium Laureth Sulfate
Formaldehyde
Propylene Glycol
Butylene Glycol
Benzoyl peroxide
MEA and TEA
PEG
Phthalates
Dioxin
DMDM Hydantoin and Urea


Sources:
http://greenspirit.com/beauty-environment/
http://mashable.com/2015/03/07/beauty-products-environment/#_GiGyjXrEkqA
http://www.mnn.com/lifestyle/natural-beauty-fashion/photos/11-beauty-products-that-may-be-ruining-the-planet-0/the-price-0
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/vanessa-cunningham/dangerous-beauty-products_b_4168587.htm
http://voices.nationalgeographic.com/2016/04/04/pesky-plastic-the-true-harm-of-microplastics-in-the-oceans/
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/oct/21/sunscreen-contributing-to-decline-of-coral-reefs-study-shows
http://jablogz.com/2014/07/jamaicas-coral-reefs-are-dying-fast-this-sobering-video-shows-how/
http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/news/Blogs/makingwaves/microbeads-microplastics-ranking-personal-care-cosmetics/blog/57082/
http://www.onegreenplanet.org/environment/why-you-shouldnt-pour-personal-care-products-down-the-drain/


Cleaning supplies that kills

Cleaning supplies that kills



Some of the most recognized cleaning supplies on the market is actual the most dangerous to our environment, containing things like nitrogen, phosphates and ammonia which highly contaminates our waterways. This is often goes unrecognized, but is a highly important topic to be aware of since this is what our planet is made up of. With the majority of dishwasher detergents being a whole forty percent phosphorous the desire to find new ways of making these cleaning supplies in a more eco-friendly way.
Saving the animals:
            If this isn’t enough for you to be driven to change your ways of cleaning it even has been found to be a cause in cancer among wildlife at West Virginia State University. The affects of things like chlorine can be traced back to their food supply that becomes contaminated by the waste of these cleaning products. This may sound like some farfetched idea; however in 2002 a stream water sample by a U.S. Geological Survey found sixty-nine percent of these waterways had traces of disinfectants. Even the phosphates discussed earlier effect this fishy friends by creating an overgrowth of algae causing lack of oxygen supply in the water, in turn killing fish and other organisms.

What to Use instead:
            To not make this nasty footprint in our environment there are certain factors you should look out for when buying your next set of cleaning supplies. The first (1) is that if there is a warning or caution label on the product this means the product contains toxic chemicals and thus should avoid using. Other words that fall under this red flag context are “flammable”, “may cause skin irritation”, “vapors harmful” and “may cause burns on contact”.
            2. The next thing to think about when buying your cleaning products is how they gauge their ecological claims. The simple idea to this is the less vague the better, words like “eco-friendly” are less meaningful than “plant based” or “no solvents.”
            3. If the product lists ingredients look for plant-based rather than petroleum-based ingredients.
            Four  
`           4. Buy in bulk. The less waste in packaging form the better. Another side to this point is to buy concentrates so you’re able to dilute it at home. This requires less waste in the form of packaging as well as less fuel for shipping.
            5. Avoid active ingredients of chlorine and ammonia. This should be marked as hazardous because of its ability to cause skin irritation and respiratory problems if mixed together.


Monday, November 28, 2016

This Holiday Season Give The Gift Of Less Waste

Eco Friendly and Creative Gifts


As the holidays approach us we are planning out gifts for all of our friends, family members, and co-workers. Giving and receiving gifts has become a huge tradition and has commercialized the holidays. We want to get gifts for everyone that is important to us but it can get costly, and it can also be hard to shop for some people. This holiday season, let's be creative with our gifts and give a little twist to the season of giving by giving things that keep on giving. 

With all the gifts and the wrappings we are also contributing to waste. Here are some ideas that will make everyone smile and will hurt your wallet and the environment a little less.



Upcycled or Recycled Gifts:
Make gifts out of materials that can be recycled or upcylced to make a whole new item. You can use the fabric of old clothes or blankets to make things like handbags, coasters, headbands etc. Handmade jewelry can also be made from a variety of different materials and objects.

Here are some ideas:

1. Cut up jeans, use sleeves from shirts or sweaters and make mug sleeves. Decorate the sleeves and personalize them with things like beads,pom-pons,yarn, etc, then slip them onto some mugs and gift each mug with packets of hot cocoa. 

    2. Bake or cook up some yummy treats and serve them up in a reusable container to cut down on            waste. This way you are giving two gifts in one, a yummy treat and a cute new container they can use over and over again!

3. Make handbags out of old clothes or fabric. Like the mug sleeves, use the material from clothes to create a cute handbag for a friend who loves artsy things from saturday markets. 

4. Flowers are also a great gift, and a common one too. Why not gift some seeds instead? Find some seeds of a pretty flower, or something useful like an aloe vera plant. This way the receiver gets to grow pretty flowers, which will be a gift that lasts them longer than a bouquet. An aloe vera plant gives them aloe vera, which is great for skin!

Be creative with your gift wrapping as well and avoid using gift wrap that will just end up in the trash!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

How Eating Less Meat Can Save the World

How Eating Less Meat Can Save the World


As it turns out, eating meat is horrible for our health and the environment. By cutting down or eliminating meat from our diet altogether, there is huge potential to improve our overall health and therefore cut down on healthcare costs. Greenhouse gas emissions would be greatly reduced, and there would be more clean water to go around. Livestock also takes up land, so by cutting down the need for as much land to be used by livestock, we would open up those plots of land to grow more crops. By growing more food for humans, rather than using that land to raise animals, there would be more food to distribute around the world to those who need it the most.  


Healthier Living

By eating an unbalanced diet that is full of processed foods and meats, we are creating a global health epidemic. If more Americans chose to eat more fruits and vegetables, and cut down on meats, global healthcare costs could be reduced by up to one billion dollars a year. Studies have shown that by going vegan, you can significantly cut down your risk for cardiovascular disease, cancer, arthritis, and diabetes—just to name a few.


Greenhouse Gas Emissions

If most of the world adopted a vegetarian diet, greenhouse emissions could be but by up to 63%. Cows and lambs release methane into the air naturally as a result of their digestive process. Although carbon dioxide is typically a more well known greenhouse gas, methane is 21 times more powerful, creating a huge burden on the environment when released in large doses. As well as the release of methane, huge amounts of trees are being cleared out in order to make room for grazing livestock. This deforestation is not only bad for those humans and animals directly dependent on the trees for their livelihood, but we are also losing trees that soak up harmful carbon. 


Growing More Food

For every acre of land, 250 pounds of beef can be produced. As of today more than 260 million acres of forests in the United States have been cleared out in order to make room for livestock and 80% of the deforestation in the Amazon rain forest is directly related to the beef industry. For every acre of land, only 250 pounds of beef can be produced. To put that into perspective, If instead of raising cattle on that acre of land, crops were grown, we could grow 50,000 lbs of tomatoes or 53,000 lbs of potatoes. 


Clean Water

The average american meat eater consumes 54 pounds of beef, 46 pounds of pork, and 83 pounds of chicken each year. If we break down how much water is needed to raise that meat, we find that one pound of beef requires 1,799 gallons of water, one pound of pork takes 576 gallons, and one pound of chicken requires 468 gallons. That means that 2,843 gallons of water are needed to produce 3 pounds of meat (1lb beef + 1lb pork + 1lb chicken). If just ONE average American meat eater decided to cut meat out of their diet, 162,486 gallons of water could be saved annually. The average human needs one gallon of drinking water a day, meaning that if just that ONE average American meat eater cut meat out of their diet, 445 additional people could have clean drinking water every year.


World Hunger

Long story short, there are a lot of extremely undernourished people around the world. As of right now, just under half of wheat, rye, oat and corn produced around the world is fed the animals that so many love to eat. The meat that the average american consumer eats every year requires 495 pounds of grain (per person). If every person in America decided to give up on poultry, 315 million people could be fed with the grain that would have been used to feed the chicken. If Americans stopped consuming meat altogether, the grain that would have been used to feed those animals could be used to feed 1.4 billion people. Basically, if everyone chose to eat a plant based diet, there would be enough food to go around for all of us.



Sources:
http://www.onegreenplanet.org/animalsandnature/eat-for-the-planet-meat-and-the-environment/
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/nov/28/eating-less-meat-save-planet-dietary-guidelines
http://www.nursingdegree.net/blog/19/57-health-benefits-of-going-vegan/
http://www.treehugger.com/health/study-reveals-tremendous-benefits-eating-less-meat.html
http://www.greeneatz.com/foods-carbon-footprint.html

The Benefits of Buying Bulk

The Benefits of Buying Bulk

Buying in bulk drastically helps to reduce your carbon footprint. Bulk items help to cut down on paper and plastic packaging that often ends up in landfills around the world. By choosing to buy less pre-packaged items, there is more freedom to customize amounts of goods so you do not end up overbuying food that you will not use. Buying in bulk from your grocery store is not only beneficial for the environment, but it also saves you tons of money. 





Less Transportation Needs

Items in the bulk section typically do not need as much overall transportation in order to be delivered to the final customer. Packaged food require not only its individual packaging, but additional packaging to be transported on the truck, such as cardboard boxes, tape, pallets, and plastic wrap. For bulk items, this additional packaging is often not needed, and more items can be packed into the vehicle transporting them because there is not as much packaging taking up extra room. 



Minimize Food Waste

When you buy in bulk you can select custom amounts of ingredients needed, therefore many people can choose to get only as much as they need. This reduces the amount of food waste that often happens when there is only one size available of an item needed.




Less Paper and Plastic Waste

Buying food with less packaging helps to cut down on waste. According to a study by Portland State University, we could save up to 26 million pounds of packaging from going to the landfill in one month alone, just by making the switch and buying bulk items.





Save Money 

In addition to the environmental benefits, it is up to 89% cheaper than buying packaged products.


Sources:
https://www.epa.gov/recycle/reducing-and-reusing-basics
http://www.bulkisgreen.org/Docs/2012-PSU-BIGStudy.pdf
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/06/bulk-wholesale-foods-spices-beans-grains_n_2820321.html
http://www.officedepot.com/a/browse/shrink-wrap/N=5+1012416/
http://www.midasletter.com/2014/05/cielo-waste-solutions-converts-landfills-high-grade-diesel-fuel/

Eco-Friendly Gifts Ideas for Everyone this Holiday Season

If you’re wondering what to gift your friends and family this holiday season, look no further. Giving eco-friendly gifts helps share the message of sustainability to those dear to us, while supporting businesses who have made sustainability their mission. Here is a list of items that are fun, well designed, useful and cost-effective:

SOLAR POWERED LED LAMPS


These beautiful accordion-style LED lamps charge for no cost during the daytime and run anywhere from 6-8 hours at night. The energy-efficient bulbs can last up to 100,000 hours! These lamps are great for obtaining indoor lighting for parties and come in a few different colors. Buy them here.


UPCYCLED PLANT MARKERS



For gardener friends, upcycled plant markers are a great way to reuse everyday items (like the utensils shown here) with an added quirky feel. These markers are stamped with plant names and last for a long time, if not forever. Buy these ones here.
HAND POWERED PAPER SHREDDER


This hand powered paper shredder might not sound exciting, but will definitely encourage people to print out less paper if they know they’ve got a bicep workout coming their way while efficiently replacing electric-powered shredders! Buy this here.

PORTABLE ECO-FRIENDLY SPEAKERS



Who doesn’t need portable eco-friendly speakers? These ones on sale here are great for traveling, and are made from cardboard. Sized at 3 inch square cubes, the speakers fold flat and and are lightweight enough to carry in a backpack. Plug them into a MP3 player or cell phone and enjoy listening to music and podcasts wherever you are!
WATER POWERED ALARM CLOCK



A water powered alarm clock like this one from Bedol is environmentally friendly, hassle-free, and very accurate. Just fill the tank with natural tap water from your kitchen or bathroom to guarantee 8 to 12 weeks of use, while using no power! Buy this version here.

HAPPY SHOPPING! 
Sources
http://www.bedolwhatsnext.com/friendly-water-powered-clock-green-p-2785.html
http://www.travelandleisure.com/slideshows/10-new-eco-friendly-travel-gadgets/more
http://www.sustainablebabysteps.com/eco-friendly-gifts.html

Be Secured and Recycle

Many people keep receiving offers and application forms from credit card companies—it is so annoying that you have to scrap the paper before you trash it because you don’t want others take those applications to apply a credit card under your name. Or maybe you just don’t want others who have access to your recycling cart know your name and address—for security and privacy. Also to recycle documents that you don’t need anymore is hard—you don’t want others know any of those information. Here is some tips to be secured for security documents recycling.



Stop receiving mails that you don’t want.
Especially credit card offers, most of people don’t need it at all. But many credit card and insurance companies just keep sending out those mails to fill your mail box. Simple, you can just go to optoutprescreen.com (a joint venture among Equifax, Experian, Innovis and TransUnion) and request to stop those mails. There are two choices: you can fill an online application and be removed from the list for five years, and you can fill an application to remove from the list permanently. Personally, I recommend to do the online one—even though on the application they ask for your birthday and SSN, you don’t have to fill in those information; all you need to do is to give your name and current address. It could reduce a huge amount of junk mails.

Shredder your document before you throw it away.
You don’t need a fancy paper shredder. If you mix all your shredded paper up before you throw it away, I don’t think anyone can do anything with those paper.

Attend a e-cycling event.
Take your paper to your local events, those professional companies will take it to shred and recycle.

Recycle your shredded paper
After you done the shredding process, you can just put those paper in your recycling cart—remember to put them in recycle able package/bag/box. You also can compost your shredded paper, but you need to make sure there is no colored or glossy paper. After you compost it, you can use it in your backyard for your gardening.

Reference:

http://northdelawhere.happeningmag.com/wp-content/uploads/shred.jpg