Sunday, December 9, 2012

Winterize Your Home Naturally For Cheap!


By:  Erica Blair
Every winter it never fails, our heat bills go up.  This year, try something new and inexpensive!





Natural Winterizing Tips For Your Home and Wallet
·      Close curtains instead of buying plastic to cover windows.
·      Program your thermostat, warmer when you are home and when you aren’t at home or are in bed, turn down the temperature.
·      Change your furnace filter to help with clean airflow.
·      Open and uncover all your heating vents.
·      Add blankets to your bed.
·      Wear socks, slippers and warm clothes while at home.
·      Sleep with a hot water bottle for extra warmth.
·      Check around doors and windows for air drafts or leaks then add caulk to the leaks.
·      Place rolled up mats or blanket on the floor near doors leading outside to keep the warmth in.
·      If you have a wood burning stove or fireplace make sure to use it!
·      Drink hot tea or coco to keep your insides warm.

 Source:
www.saveenery.about.com


Sunscreen: Its Impact On Coral Reefs During Your Winter Vacation


By: Erica Blair
It’s that time of year when people start to plan their winter vacations to warm place.  One item that you don’t want to forget is your sunscreen.  Let’s protect our skin and our oceans at the same time! 
Coral reefs inhabit a million different plants and animals that couldn’t survive without the reef present.  With an estimated 6,000 tons of sunscreen being released by swimmers per year, the coral reefs are under attack.  Most of the sunscreens responsible for this attack are those containing a petroleum based. 




Tips When Buying and Using Sunscreen
·      Look for the coral safe logo.
·      Look on label for it to say biodegradable.
·      Put on 10-15 before you go into the water so it can absorb into your skin and less into the water.

 
Coral Safe Sunscreens
·      Badger
·      Coral Safe
·      Alba Botanical
·      Earth’s Best
 Sources:

BPA, a New Epidemic


By: Erica Blair
BPA (Bisphenol), a plastic that is actually biodegradable that has started to spread like wildfire in our oceans, our bodies and in animals.  BPA is used a year to make food containers, re-useable water bottles, the liner of can goods, baby bottles, toys, CDs and DVDs to name a few.  Our industrial revolution has made a product that keeps on giving, but not in the best way.  1 million pounds are released into the environment a year leaving harmful side effects on our health.
 
The side effects of BPA exposure is not limited to the following study based on 400 Americans; 95% of them had BPA levels in their urine.  

Source: www.ewg.org


5 Ways to Protect Yourself From BPAs
·      Use stainless steel or glass water bottles and food containers.
·      Buy BPA-free canned goods such as Eden Foods.
·      Don’t use plastic bags; make your own cloth re-useable ones!
·      Ask for paper next time you are at check out line.
·      Don’t by bottled water.

Glass Water Bottles
Sources:

The Dirty Dozen vs.The Clean 15


By: Erica Blair
There is so much information out there about what to eat and what not to eat.  There mare many questions being asked,  “Should I eat organic or conventional, does it matter?”  
Not all of us have the opportunity to eat organic, locally grown fresh out of your backyard.  But those that do have a choice of eating organic need to remember it isn’t only about the food you choose to eat, it also is about the environment.  The more you choose organic the less consumption of toxins and it less impact on the environment.  The list provided below is great to help you identify the most highly contaminated produce and the least contaminated.   
The Environmental Working Group has added to the Dirty Dozen call it the Dirty Dozen Plus™ and also have a Clean 15™. 
Dirty Dozen Plus™
*Buy these organic!

Clean 15™
*Lowest in Pesticides
1.     Apples
2.     Celery
3.     Sweet bell peppers
4.     Peaches
5.     Strawberries
6.     Nectarines-imported
7.     Grapes
8.     Spinach
9.     Lettuce
10. Blueberries-domestic
11. Potatoes
PLUS…
12. Green beans
13. Kale & all other greens
1.     Onions
2.     Sweet corn
3.     Pineapples
4.     Avocado
5.     Cabbage
6.     Sweet peas
7.     Asparagus
8.     Mangoes
9.     Eggplant
10. Kiwi
11. Cantaloupe-domestic
12. Sweet potato
13. Grapefruit
14. Watermelon
15. Mushroom
Sources:

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Catch up on your recycling

Recycling container

 
Recycling: Old Story, New News.

By: Travis Galbraith

The saying Reduce Reuse, Recycle is as popular as Nike’s slogan Just Do It. But what do we know? Yes, we know we have recycling service along with our trash service.  You probably know that we can put old newspapers, plastic bottles, glass bottles, and cardboard boxes into your recycling can or box. Other than that, how much do you actually know about recycling? Do you know what do with your old computer? What about your old or unused motor oil? What about those drawers filled entirely pesky plastic bag you have stored somewhere in your house?
What Happens to Stuff We Throw Away: Pie chart showing 34.1% of trash is recycled or composted, 11.7% is combusted for energy, and 54.2% is landfilled. This data is from the 2010 Municipal Solid Waste Characterization Report.
 
Reducing Landfills

As a reminder recycling isn’t just for show and tell.  Recycling greatly reduces the problem of overflowing landfills. As most waste is put into landfill, the bigger the problem gets. Products that are not biodegradable or slow to decompose can remain in landfills for centuries, often emitting gases that could be harmful to the environment.

Reduce Energy Consumption

Recycling often uses less energy than manufacturing products from virgin sources. Making paper that is using recycled pulp, for instance, is less energy intensive that using new wood.

Decrease Pollution

Waste from landfills gives off gasses as it rots. The absolutely pollutes the environment, and if you have driven past one you know how they smell in the summer time on a hot day. Recycling products also emits less carbon which reduces the carbon footprint of a product.

Your local community is there to help, giving you the opportunity to act responsibly with the products you purchased and used up. Here is a list of common products people use in the household if recycled and help reduce the harmful effects of just throwing them into the landfill.

Unbroken glass: Only bottle glass is acceptable. Exceptions: Ceramics, Pyrex, windows, mirrors, and light bulbs.
Clean and Dry Newspapers: Pack newspapers tightly in brown grocery bags or tie with twine to keep together. Exceptions: Product samples, moldy or dirty newspapers, and other contamination.
Empty metal cans, caps, lids, bands and foil: Metals can be recycles over and over again. Exceptions: Full cans, spray cans (unless instructed) cans with hazardous paint or waste.
Plastics #1 and #2 (marked usually on the bottom): This one is tricky, because there are a lot of exceptions, most plastics aren’t recyclable numbers 3, 4,5,6,7 especially #3.
                                                                                                           EARTH911.COM
                                                                                                                                                      
Plastics grocery bags: Most grocery stores have barrels where you can return them. Exceptions: dirty and contaminated.
Motor Oil: Contact your garbage company, local quick lube/tire shop or call 1800-MOTOROIL
Automotive batteries: Take to an automotive or security dealer for recycling or trade in.
Laser/Ink printer cartridges: Search for the brand of the cartridge online and contact their recycling division.
I-pods, Laptops, computers: Contact the manufactures via the web for the best option. The batteries inside these electronics are extremely toxic a and should disposed of properly.
                                                                                                                        Apartmenttherapy.com      

 Sources
http://www.epa.gov/
http://www.livestrong.com/article/139294-how-can-recycling-help-environment/

 

 

Fair Trade

Help the environment and the people who live in it.

by Jeana Malcolm
Fair Trade is a trade system in which products (typically grown/produced in the developing world) are certified to have met certain ethical and environmental standards.  Fair Trade aims to reduce poverty by helping farmers and other workers to grow and make high quality, sustainably made products, and in turn offers a high price to those producers for their goods.  Consumers sometimes pay a slightly higher price than they would for goods from larger producers, but get a high quality product that they can be assured was produced ethically and sustainably. 

You can currently find the Fair Trade label on several different products, most prominently coffee, tea and chocolate, but also bananas, beans and grains, cooking oils, sugar, honey, herbs and spices, wine, flowers and even clothing.

How does Fair Trade help farmers and other producers?

The impact that Fair Trade has on the lives of producers is great and consists of several different aspects.  Fair trade farmers form cooperatives to help them get the best prices for their goods and cushion against unforeseen economic disruption.  They are given access to healthcare and education that they may otherwise have never received.  Women are guaranteed many rights, including freedom from harrassment and discrimination.  All workers are empowered to fight for fair wages and fair treatment, and work under safe conditions.  

How does Fair Trade help the environment?

Fair Trade promotes organic agriculture, and nearly half of all Fair Trade products that are currently being produced are also organic.  Use of pesiticides is quite limited in even their non-organic products, however, and use of genetically modified crops is strictly prohibited.  They also promote water and ecosystem conservation and agricultural diversity, as well as some more specific farming methods such as shade-grown coffee (which promotes ecosystem diversity).

Where can I purchase Fair Trade products?

Your local health food store likely carries plenty of Fair Trade products.  Coffee, tea and chocolate are the most commonly found, so much so that they can sometimes even be found now in conventional grocery stores.  If you cannot find a local source, Visit this link for a long list of online sources for all kinds of different fair trade products.  



For more information about Fair Trade or to make a donation, please visit http://www.fairtradeusa.org


Friday, December 7, 2012

A Greener Lunch Box

Pack smart to reduce waste.

by Jeana Malcolm

So you're making your own lunches with sustainable, local ingredients.  Why pack those lunches in brown paper bags with plastic sandwich bags, disposable napkins and plastic utensils?  There are a lot of different options for lunch packing that are reusable, fun and stylish.

Bento Boxes:

Bento boxes are the standard for toting your lunch in Japan, and are becoming very popular in the Western world, as well.  They come in many shapes, sizes, colors and materials to suit your individual needs and preferences.  Pack your whole lunch directly into your bento; you can buy smaller containers to fit inside for sauces or anything else you want to keep separate. 




You can also purchase a type of bento system that comes with multiple containers that fit into a larger tote, popularized by Laptop Lunches.  These are perfect for both kids and adults who prefer to keep each dish in its own space, and they come in many different configurations and designs.  



Sandwich Bags:

Instead of relying on flimsy, single-use zip-top bags for your sandwiches and snacks, try a reusable cloth bag instead. These bags are available in many stylish designs and are machine washable.  Many seal with Velcro-style hook-and-loop closures, while some seal with magnets or zippers.  They are usually lined on the inside to prevent leaks.  




Bamboo Utensils:

Tired of spending money to throw out plastic utensils?  Don't want to lug around your metal forks and spoons?  Try bamboo!  Bamboo utensils are sustainable and biodegradable, lightweight and easy to wash.  They don't stain, and they don't absorb odors like other wooden utensils.  They can even be organic!


Cloth Napkins:

Don't forget to top off your lunch with a sturdy cloth napkin!  Try organic cotton, hemp or bamboo for a soft, sustainable napkin that you can throw in the wash with your sandwich bags and reusable grocery bags.




Go Shopping:
Check out these websites to fulfill all your lunch-ware needs!

Kids Konserve http://kidskonserve.com/

Green Gym



By: Patrick Prince

There is other ways to have a good workout that doesn’t depend on electricity, automotive transportation, and useless gear. Purchase electricity-free equipment, like Mats, stepping blocks, dumbbells and self-powered machines (rowers). The biggest thing is watching your labels of your shakers for your protein shakes. Make sure they are recyclable and BPA free.

Average use of a machine
 1500 watts: Power consumed by an average treadmill.
 .75 kilowatt-hours: Energy used during 30 minutes on that treadmill.
    2 pounds: Amount of CO2 a treadmill gives off during a 30-minute workout.
   350 watts: Continuous power generated by the Team Dynamo and Spin Bikes


Possible solutions are
-Walk to the supermarket/ or store
-Ride your bike to work
-Hiking or running
-Gardening
-If you like going to the gym focus on the eco-friendly emanates a gym or equipment has to offer.
-Yoga, or Pilates Create a simple stretching routine that you can do outside
-Jumping rope
-Play outside with your children, or with the pets.
- Swimming in a lake or river or state park.
-Abs and core with your own body weight.
-Yoga, or Pilates Create a simple stretching routine that you can do outside

-Jumping rope
-Play outside with your children, or with the pets.
- Swimming in a lake or river or state park.
-Abs and core with your own body weight.

Workout videos are link at flash athlete, and will show how to do a work out on a step by step program

Source:

Garbage and Recycling



By: Patrick Prince

Garbage and recycling (how to cut down on garbage and use recycling)


Facts
-Each year, the typical American family throws out 2,460 pounds of paper, 540 pounds of metals, 480 pounds of glass and 480 pounds of food scraps.

-80 percent of what is thrown away gets put into landfills, which makes it of no use to anyone but the earth, who really doesn’t want it. The other 20% is split in 2; 10% gets recycled and 10% gets incinerated. 10% is recycled?

-Americans dump 16 tons of sewage into their waters — every minute of every day
Americans throw away 25 billion Styrofoam coffee cups every year, and 2.5 million plastic beverage bottles every hour.
-Americans throw away about 40 billion soft drink cans and bottles every year. Placed end to end, they would reach to the moon and back nearly 20 times.
-Eighty-four percent of a typical household’s waste — including food scraps, yard waste, paper, cardboard, cans, and bottles — can be recycled. Using recycled paper for one print run of the Sunday edition of The New York Times would save 75,000 trees.We all as people take things for granted, if you reach how to destitute the things that you don’t want or need you can simply ask your local donation centers of they can take instead of throwing it away.


Steps to make happen 
-Make a commitment to recycling as much as you can while starting in your own home and Setting up your own personal recycling system that works best for your home by Know what can be recycled and Knowing what cannot be recycled

List of recyclable materials/ and how it is recycled.
Aluminum Cans
Steel Cans (soup cans, veggie cans, coffee cans, etc. and you don't even need to remove the labels)
Newspaper (OK, so I'm not going to insult you with a description for this one
Magazines and slick inserts (after you are finished with that People magazine and all those catalogs and Wal-mart ads that arrive in the mail, they can be recycled)
Corrugated Cardboard (shipping and packaging boxes, usually identifiable by an squiggly layer of paper sandwiched between sheets. Used pizza boxes are often NOT accepted)
Paper and Paperboard (office paper, notebook paper, cereal boxes, non-Styrofoam egg cartons, some pre-packaged food boxes. Some paper items like paper milk cartons and drink boxes are lined with wax or plastic and are often not accepted)
Plastics (milk jugs, shampoo bottles, detergent bottles, vitamin bottles, plastic soda and water containers etc. Most centers will only accept those plastics labeled with the PETE 1 and HDPE 2 symbols. These can generally be found molded into the bottom of the containers. If you can't identify the type of plastic, don't include it. Most facilities also require that you remove the cap since it is usually made of a different type of plastic. Some facilities will accept additional plastics, so if you are so inclined, check with you’re local recycling center.)
Glass (beer bottles, wine bottles, pickle jars, jelly jars, etc. Occasionally a center will accept only certain "colors" of glass. Light bulbs, Pyrex, ceramics, and mirrors are NEVER accepted. Glass is becoming less accepted because of the potential of worker injuries due to broken glass.)

The problem people have is not being educated on the problem, and once it's brought to there attention they are aware.

Sources: