Thursday, December 17, 2009

Go Digital This Christmas!

Instead of buying traditional books and CD's this Christmas, go digital! It obviously saves resources like paper and plastic and it will save the recipient from dealing with more clutter. There are many places to purchase mp3's and ebooks online and many online book and music retailers also offer gift certificates.

Monday, December 7, 2009

GLEE Goes Nude To Help Environment

I came across an interesting story when reading the news yesterday and thought I would share it with you.

In the Florida Keys, a group the Green Living and Energy Education, or GLEE, came up with a unique way to raise money to build a park. They posed nude for a calendar called. From what I read, the women are all 40 and older and I think they are all women. They women have sold out of their caledars. They raised $8,000 by selling all 500 calendars. They are thinking about reprinting the calendar.

I’m not judging; I just thought it was interesting.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Get Out The Shovel This Winter and Save Some Gas!

Some of us have already had snow this year! Save some money and gas by using a shovel this winter when possible. Save the snowblower for when you really need it. In addition to saving money and gas you will also burn some calories. Most of us are more inactive in the winter and shoveling is a great way to get active!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Stop Drafts Under Doors To Save Energy

When visiting my friend in her apartment the other day I noticed draft guard stopper save energyhow large of a gap there was between the apartment doors and the floor. It was more than a half inch! Besides the lack of privacy, these large gaps let their heat into the hallways in the winter and the cool air into the hallway in the summer. What a waste?!

My friend bought a draft-stopper under her door. It eliminates the drafts and saves her money on her utilities. There are many different types of these available. If you have a drafty door these products will save you money!


Thursday, December 3, 2009

How To Unclog Drains The Green Way

green way to unclog drainsMost of us have experienced a frustrating clogged drain at some point in our lives. It's a huge pain and most of the commercial products are expensive and bad the environment. Let's explore some greener options for unclogging a drain.

I use a small plunger for use on non-toilet drains. You'd be amazed at how much of a difference a little plunge can do sometimes. Also, I have small tool called a Zip-It that is a long, flexible plastic stick that has little teeth sticking out of the sides. It works great on hair clogs.

Another option is to make your own drain clearing solution out of baking soda and vinegar. You may remember the reaction these make from making a volcano in grade school. First, bale out most of the standing water in the sink with the clogged drain. Next dump 3/4 of a cup of baking soda down the drain followed by a cup of vinegar. Let this mixture sit for about 20 minutes. While it's sitting boil a few cups of water. Dump it down the drain and it should flush out the clog. If it doesn't work the first time, repeat the procedure.

If this doesn't work you may need to call a plumber or if you are handy try a pipe snake. Beware - it's often a messy job!

Related Posts
Baking Soda: The Green Cleaner
How To Recycle Your Toothbrush

**image courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

Monday, November 30, 2009

Reconsider Whether Or Not You Need A Fireplace!

Most fireplaces are a money hole. Yes, they create heat, but when a fireplace is in use, it generally pulls in as much cold air as the amount of hot air it creates. Additionally, when the fireplace is not in use, it lets in much more cold air than a wall would. It's nearly impossible to create an energy efficient fireplace without causing a fire hazard.

There are ways to help reduce the drafts caused by fireplaces, but many are dangerous. If you want to make your fireplace more efficient, call a professional. They would know how to safely work on your fireplace. A large number of house fires are caused by fireplace mishaps.

If you are in the process of buying a home, consider buying one without a fireplace. It will save you green!

**image courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Switch Your Ceiling Fans To Clockwise In The Winter To Save Energy

Ceiling fans help keep us cool in the winter by pushing the cool air down. In the winter you want to push the hot air back down into your living space, not up into the attic. Most ceiling fans have a switch on them that controls whether the fan will spin clockwise or counterclockwise. Check to make sure your ceiling fan is turning clockwise in the winter and your hot air will linger longer!

**image courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Green Christmas Video From Sierra Club

I was surfing YouTube and found a great video for this time of year. It confirms what I stated in the last post about green Christmas tree options. Check out the video:

Friday, November 27, 2009

Green Christmas Tree Suggestions

green christmas treesObviously, having no Christmas tree is the greenest option for Christmas but for those of you who can't go without a tree, do it the green way!

I've heard of some people purchasing small, potted evergreen trees. They decorate them, and then after Christmas they plant them on their property. This is not an option for everyone, but it's definitely something to consider.

Some people will say that buying a fake tree is more eco-friendly than cutting down a real tree. I don't agree with this. Fake trees are made out of PVC, and this takes forever to decompose. Buying a tree from a tree farm is greener. These businesses plan years ahead and are replanting trees, most of the time at a higher rate, than trees are being cut down.

Call your local tree farms ahead of Christmas and try to find an organically-grown tree. There's no point bringing extra chemicals into your home if you don't need to. This also makes for a greener disposal.



**image courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

List Of Green Christmas Gift Ideas For 2009

Here's a list of greener gifts you can give for Christmas this year:

  1. Plant, flower, fruit, or vegetable seeds to be planted in the spring
  2. Donate time and/or money in the recipient's name
  3. Baked goods
  4. Music downloads
  5. Ebooks
  6. Books or movies about green living
  7. Carbon offsets
  8. National Park pass
  9. Wooden board game set
  10. Bike or rollerblades
  11. Solar powered cell phone charger
  12. Tickets to an event or concert
  13. Services like car washing or babysitting
  14. Museum pass
  15. Herb garden
  16. Reusable shopping bags
  17. Reusable water bottles
  18. Playing cards

Related Posts

Friday, November 13, 2009

Why Can't We Opt Out of Receiving Phone Books?

Every year I received almost a half dozen phone books, all from different companies but with the same exact information. I can't remember the last time I used one. It's been at least five years. Directory assistance and the internet work better for me. I'm not saying that nobody uses them, and I'm sure they are used heavily by some people. But there are a large number of people who never use them and sadly don't recycle them.

Delivering phone books to every door is a complete waste. So many of them go right into the landfill or recycle bin. Telephone books should be distributed, for free, at local grocery stores or at the post office or other public places. This way people who actually use them could still access them, but the majority of people who don't need one don't get forced to accept them.

I understand why this doesn't happen, however. Phone books make their money by selling advertisements. The number of copies handed out are referred to as the 'reach' of the advertisement. A larger reach allows phone books to sell ads for higher prices. Therefore, by giving out a phone book to every single person they can claim that their ads reach a larger audience, making them more money. They are ripping off people who advertise with them because there are so many millions of phone books that are never even opened.

**image courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

How To Recycle Old House and Car Keys

How To Recycle Old House and Car Keys
Most recycling programs will take old keys. Make sure you remove any rubber around the key. There are also other ways to recycle or reuse old house or car keys. My three year old son loves to play with my keys. There have been times where he has grabbed them off the counter and hid them from me! Old keys make great toys, but be careful and put a large keychain on it.

There is also a charity that will take old keys called Keys for Kindness. They take old keys and recycle them, and then donate proceeds to the M.S. Society.

You can mail your old keys to:
Keys For Kindness
PO Box 201
Pearl River, NY 10965

 I love all my readers.  Thank you to all of you who share my passion!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

How To Recycle Wine Bottle Corks

Do you enjoy wine? If so it's probably common for you to have old wine bottle corks laying around. Here are a few ways to recycle them:

  1. Wood corks can be put into compost piles
  2. Some people have collected corks and used them to create mulch.
  3. Find a crafty person who can use them.
  4. Send them to Yemm & Hart, who turn them into cork tiles. You pay for your own shipping. Their address is listed below. It wouldn't hurt to check their website to be sure they are still accepting them.

Wine Cork Recycling
Yemm & Hart Ltd
425 North Chamber Dr.
Fredericktown, MO 63645

How To Recycle Microwave Ovens

There are several ways you can recycle your old microwave. Repairing may be an option. Contact a local small appliance repair shop and get a quote. If you aren't interested in fixing it and want to recycle it, there are several options. If you are handy with tools you can take apart the microwave and separate the materials and recycle them accordingly. You can also contact your local recycling center to ask if they accept them. If they don't, they should be able to point you in the direction of someone locally who does.

If you have a working microwave that you are trying to dispose of you can donate it to thrift stores like Goodwill or the Salvation Army, churches, charities, or local shelters. Craig's List is a great place to list it if you are interested in trying to get some money for it.

If you have found my blog helpful, please consider supporting my time and efforts by checking our this ebook:
 I love all my readers.  Thank you to all of you who share my passion!

**image courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

Great Green Site: 365 Ways To Go Green

I recently discovered a great website,, where a guy named Mike is doing something green every day for a year. Check it out and follow him on Twitter!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Breaking Through To My Not-So-Green Boss

Today my boss went to get himself a new chair for his office. His old one broke. He came back with a chair made of eco friendly materials and advertised as the greenest desk chair. Him and I have never really seen eye to eye on environmental issues so this was a huge breakthrough for me. He even paid an extra five dollars to get the ecofriendly one! Here's a photo I snapped with my cell phone.
I know this probably does not seem like a huge deal to most people but if you knew how hard I've tried to get him to allow me to green our business you would understand!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Green Your Halloween

There are a number of ways to make your Halloween celebration easier on the environment. From costumes to treats to parties, here are some green tips for Halloween:

  1. Think local. Whether you are hosting a party, taking food to a party, or handing out treats at home, try to find locally produced items because this saves pollution from transporting the items, and it also supports your local economy.
  2. Find treats with as little packaging as possible. Think of non-candy treats you could give out such as pencils or something practical that kids can use without wasteful packaging. I don't recommend making your own treats because many parents won't let their kids accept candy that isn't seal-wrapped.
  3. Make a costume out of items you already own. I do it all the time with my three year old son, all year round. He thinks it's funny when I dress up like different characters. I don't own a very large wardrobe, but it's surprising how easy it is to make a costume if you use a little creativity. If you buy a costume, don't throw it away. Consider taking it to a consignment store or to Goodwill or Salvation Army.
  4. Think about growing your own pumpkin. We did that this summer and it was fun for my son to watch it grow and he will get a kick out of picking it and carving it. It's a great way to teach a kid about plants. When we carve the pumpkin, we will take the seeds and bake them and have them as snacks. After Halloween we will compost the pumpkin.
Have a fun, safe, and eco-friendly Halloween!

**image courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Green Your Groceries, Don't Buy Eggs in Styrofoam

One simple way to help the environment is to stop buying eggs that are packaged in styrofoam. Styrofoam takes up as much as thirty percent of our landfill volume and is a substance that takes a long time to decompose. If your favorite brand of eggs packages their product in styrofoam, consider writing a letter to the company telling them that you will take your business elsewhere until they start packaging in cardboard.

You could take this one step further and stop buying eggs at the grocery store. Many cities have farmer's markets where you can purchase locally grown eggs, lowering the energy used to get the eggs from the hen to your home.

**image courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Venture Capitalists Have Fewer Dollars For Green Business Startups

According to a news article I just read, venture capital companies are seeing decrease in the funds individuals willing to invest in green business start ups. Several venture capital firms have cited the recession as well as a drop in oil prices. They say everyone is being tight with their money but the green business ventures are feeling it even more because fuel prices are down. Low fuel prices causes less griping about fuel costs, which in turn causes a lower demand for products like alternative and renewable energy. The demand is still here, but not as high as a year ago.

Was going green just a passing fad for businesses, or will the demand be back? What will bring the demand back?

**image courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Green Your Laundry By Not Using Dryer Softner Sheets

Clothes dryer fabric softener sheets are commonly used to help prevent wrinkles in clothing. These sheets work well but they contain chemicals that are not great for your skin or the environment. Here's a tip that will save the environment and your laundry budget: DON'T USE THEM!!!

Clean tennis balls work great for softening up clothes in the dryer without the harmful chemicals. Toss a couple in with your clothes and you will get the same softening effect. This will also save you money!

**image courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

Monday, September 14, 2009

Nasdaq Updates Clean Edge Green Energy Index Green Businesses

Nasdaq (NDAQ) has added five green companies and removed two from it's Clean Edge Green Energy Index. Nasdaq updates the index twice a year.

Broadwind Energy Inc. (BWEN), Comverge Inc. (COMV), Capstone Turbine Corp. (CPST), Esco Technologies Inc. (ESE) and National Semiconductor Corp. (NSM) were added.

Orion Energy Systems Inc. (OESX) and GrafTech International Ltd. (GTI)were removed.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Q: How can I recycle old tennis shoes or sneakers?

A: There are several ways you can reuse or recycle them. Here they are:

  1. Take them to Goodwill or the Salvation Army or another thrift store is they aren't too worn out for someone else to wear. You could also donate them to a local homeless shelter.
  2. Donate them to Nike's Reuse-A-Shoe program. They will recycle the rubber in the shoes to be used to build tennis courts, running tracks, and other sports complexes that use rubber material.
  3. Use it as an alternative to buying a new dog toy. Dogs love old shoes.
  4. Save them to wear when doing dirty work like painting or staining, mowing the lawn, or other dirty jobs. You don't want to ruin your nice pair!

**image courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Not All Environmentalists Are Tree-Hugging Hippies

In response to several emails I have received I have decided to write about what motivated me to start this blog. I've been called a "treehugger" and "hippie" many times and also receive emails lecturing me about why global warming is a myth. In reality I am far from being a hippie. I grew up playing basketball and football and I don't care for Bob Marley. My reasons for living green have actually have nothing to do with global warming. As weird as it sounds, the thing that drove me to live a greener life was 9/11. I know this sounds strange, but please allow me a chance to explain.

Ten of the hijackers involved in the terrorist attacks on 9/11 were Saudi nationals. Street vendors in Saudi Arabia sell anti-US t-shirts to tourists. Saudi Arabia earns billions of dollars every year in money spent on oil by US citizens. We are pouring money into the hands of people who hate us! What a slap in the face? It's like giving the school bully your lunch money before he even asks for it.

Then there is recycling. I clearly remember the moment I decided recycling is important. I was in my last year of college and as a favor to my favorite professor I was giving a tour of the College of Business to a new assistant professor from India. He had such a puzzled look on his face as we walked past a coffee shop. I asked him if something was wrong. He replied, "No, nothing is wrong. I am just so confused at this country's drinking habits. I just saw over 30 empty bottles of water in the trash can. Where I come from we would keep the bottle because it would have so many other uses. So many people buy these waters for two dollars and then discard the bottles while there is a drinking fountain right there. You guys are so lucky to have such clean water available on demand and don't even realize it. It is foolish to pay for something that is free."

I had no idea how to respond to that. He had such a good point. That comment stuck in my mind for weeks for some reason and I found myself looking at my life and how much money I spend on things I don't really need. Luckily I didn't have to worry about tuition due to good grades, but I still had to come up with rent, food, and entertainment expenses while only working 30 hours a week at a part-time job. I cut so much waste out of my budget by becoming more conscious about my environmental footprint and I've used this blog to share some of things I did. Living green saves you green($).

There are a large number of people living green because they are hippies or 'treehuggers'. However it's important to realize that this is only a portion of the total population of eco-friendly citizens. There are many more reasons people choose to live green.

Great Video on Making Your Bathroom Eco-Friendly

Check out this great video I found on YouTube about creating a greener bathroom. Some of these tips can be used to green other rooms in your home too. Feel free to add any other green tips in the comments!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Photos of MidAmerican Energy Windmill At Iowa State Fair

I was looking through old photos on my camera today and came across a couple I thought I would share. A couple weeks ago I went to the Iowa State Fair. MidAmerican Energy is a power company that has a few windfarms across the state and one of their windmills was donated to the fair. I read that the Iowa State Fair gets a donation of $100,000 of free power every year for the next ten years. It is about half the size of the windmills that you can find at their windfarms and is about 200 feet tall. Due to the crowds and landscape it was tough to get a good shot but here are a couple photos:mid american energy windmill ISFiowa state fair windmill

Saturday, September 5, 2009

How To Recycle and Reuse Golf Balls

Hundreds of millions of rounds of golf are played each year and I just heard a statistic that made me cringe. The average golfer loses 4 balls each round. I find this statistic fairly hard to believe but it still reminds you of how many golf balls are lost, broken, or discarded throughout a single year. Here are some ways to reuse and recycle your golf balls:

  • Search the internet for wanted ads. Sometimes they are used for crafts or construction.
  • Resell them to a secondhand sporting goods store, at a garage sale, Craig's List, or come up with your own unique way to sell them.
  • I've been told that Raven Golf Club Company recycles them and pays you for it. There isn't a retailer near me so I don't know for sure. I've been told that they give you $1 for a ball with their name on it, or 50 cents for other brands. Again, I don't know this for sure but you may want to see if there is a retailer near you to try this.
**image courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

Friday, August 28, 2009

Do You Know of A Green Credit Card Company?

Hello everyone! I got an email this morning from a reader asking me which credit card company is the greenest. I am stumped and have no idea. Can you help us out? Do you know a a green credit card company? If so, please either email me at or post a comment. Any help is appreciated!

Going green applies to back-to-school purchases, too | | The Detroit News

Going green applies to back-to-school purchases, too | | The Detroit News

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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Greenest Solution to Rodent and Pest Problems: Prevention

Most pesticides are made from very toxic ingredients. The greenest way to take care of pest problems is to prevent them from happening at all. The fall is the season that most pest problems occur so I thought I would share some tips on pest prevention for your home or business.

  1. Visually inspect your home or apartment for holes or cracks and if you find some make sure to seal them.
  2. Store all food in air-tight containers and keep food off of the ground.
  3. Clean up! Pests can easily hide in a cluttered home.
  4. If you have pets do not leave their food dishes out at night and also make sure to keep the pet food sealed in an air-tight container.
  5. Inspect anything you bring into your home for pests.
  6. Keep trash away from your home or office, preferably in a bin or trash can.
**image courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

How To Reuse and Recycle Old Pots And Pans

If you've recently updated your kitchenware or you have pots and pans that are worn out, DON'T THROW THEM AWAY! There are many ways to reuse and recycle your old pots and pans.

  • Remove the handles and use the pans as pet food or water dishes. The heavy weight makes them work well for this.
  • Give them to kids to play with in their pretend kitchen.
  • If they are in decent shape, consider donating them to Salvation Army, Goodwill, or another charitable organization.
  • If you are into camping, consider saving old pans to take on camping trips to save your newer or nicer ones from getting damaged.

Find out what the pan or pot is made out of. If the item is aluminum, it can be put in most recycling bins. Magnets do not stick to aluminum so this is a good way to test the item if you are unsure. If it is steel, check with your local steel scrap yard to see if they will accept them. Many scrap yards will pay your for the steel!

**photo coutesy of Flickr Creative Commons

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Guest Posting From the Mesothelioma and Asbestos Awareness Center

Green Living: Improving Health For Today and Tomorrow

Much attention has been paid in recent years to what seems to be a growing environmental conscience in the United States. Going green used to be considered expensive and a luxury for those who could afford the trend. Now it appears that we are learning that not only is adopting more environmentally conscious attitudes good for our economic situation, but also our….health? Yes, if we dig a bit deeper we can see that dirty industries and backwards policy is actually harming the health of the earth for our children and the health of her inhabitants today.

How Does Environmental Policy Affect Public Health?

There are two levels of health consequences associated with dirty industry, both direct and indirect. The direct consequences are examples like increased asthma rates in areas with high smog indices. Chlorofluorocarbon release into the atmosphere has shown to decrease the filter of direct sunlight on the planet, resulting in more concentrated ultraviolet light reaching the surface of the earth. Perhaps it is no surprise then that in countries with depleted atmospheric gas, skin cancer rates are among the highest in the world.

The indirect health consequences are harder to see immediately, but closer examination reveals that these are, in fact, perhaps the most hazardous. Bi-products of dirty and backwards industries, such as coal and oil processing, include cancer causing substances like asbestos and benzene. A U.K. study conducted in 2002 indicated that coal and oil industry workers are at a much higher risk of developing mesothelioma and leukemia. Dr. Robert Taub among many other doctors who specialize in this area understand that these are substances that can be directly traced to antiquated pre-regulation equipment in industries whose environmental hazards are even more inherent.

Can we really afford to continue on the path we were on before? Investment in clean industry means not a healthier planet for our children and grandchildren, but also a healthier place for us to live today.

--August 16, 2009 Written by James O’ Shea with the maacenter

Saturday, August 8, 2009

'Going green' easy for anyone living on-campus

'Going green' easy for anyone living on-campus

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How To Recycle Old Textbooks

how to recycle textbooksMany textbooks become outdated very quickly. New information becomes available and many professors require students to purchase the most recent edition. eBay is a great place to sell textbooks of recent editions, but once a newer edition is released some textbooks are worth next to nothing. Here are some ways to recycle your old textbooks that keep them out of the landfill:

  1. Contact your local library to see if they would like the textbook.
  2. Check out Books For Africa. They take books less than 20 years old.
  3. Check your local recycling program. Most centers now allow you to place hardcover books into your recycling bin.
  4. Check and coordinate efforts to get a textbook recycling bin dropped off at your school.
Related Posts
How To Be A Green College Student
Green Computing: Buy A Laptop Instead of a Desktop

**image courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

Friday, August 7, 2009

EarthTalk: Greener ways to cut the grass |

EarthTalk: Greener ways to cut the grass |

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Get Your News The Green Way With Electronic Editions of Your Newspapers

Think about all the energy and materials used just to make and distribute a single paper. In addition to the obvious use of paper and ink, you must also consider the fuel it takes to get the paper to the delivery person. Most paper delivery drivers, at least from my life experiences, use a car for at least part of the paper route. All of these resources are used for a paper that usually only gets read once or twice, and then (hopefully) recycled. What a waste?!

Most papers now offer an electronic version of the paper for a fee. Usually this fee is lower than the price of getting the paper delivered to your door. In addition to being able to access the news each day, most online subscriptions also allow you to search archives of all their previous editions. You will also benefit from not having to store all of the old papers until the day your recycling truck comes. Think of how much paper, ink, and fuel could be saved if everyone did this!

**image courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Amusement parks giving green rides --

Amusement parks giving green rides --

How to Recycle Old VHS Tapes

recycle vhs tapesMany of us don't own any VHS tapes anymore but some still have shelves full of them. As people convert their VHS collection to DVD's many old VHS tapes are making their way to landfills. Stop! There are greener ways to recycle your VHS tapes. Here they are:

  • Check eBay to see if the title is selling. A good way to tell is to do an advanced search for completed listings. You can see how much similar items have sold for recently.
  • Put the tapes on Craigslist for free, as long as the taker is willing to pick them up. This give you a way to get rid of the tapes without having to do any extra work.
  • Send them to GreenDisk to be recycled. See their site for instructions.
  • Take them to Goodwill or Salvation Army drop off locations.
How to Recycle CD's and DVD's

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

How To Recycle Old DVD's, CD's and Hard Drives

I found a great website today and wanted to share it with all of you. The site is Back Thru the Future. You can send them old CD's and DVD's to be recycled for free. According to their site you must only send in the discs, no cases or packing material, to Back Thru The Future, 150 Main Street, Ogdensburg, NJ 07439, and write "FREE CD/DVD RECYCLING" on the package. It may be a good idea to click on the link above before sending to make sure their offer is still valid. I've never tried it, but next time I have an old disc I am going to send it there and will update this post for everyone.

Some quick facts on CD and DVD recycling from Back Thru the Future's website:

  • A cd/dvd is considered a class 7 recyclable plastic
  • To manufacture a pound of plastic (30 CDs per pound), it requires 300 cubic feet of natural gas, 2 cups of crude oil and 24 gallons of water
  • It is estimated that AOL alone has distributed more than 2 billion CDs. That is the natural gas equivalent of heating 200,000 homes for 1 year
  • It is estimated that it will take over 1 million years for a CD to completely decompose in a landfill
This sounds like a great way to recycle your old discs that most local recycling centers won't take. Please feel free to leave comments about any experiences with this recycling website. Thanks!
**image courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

Sunday, August 2, 2009

How To Know A Product is Organic

In the US and EU there are standards that products must meet to be able to put an organic label on their product. Both have an organic label that can be printed on a products label if the product is at least 95% organic. Here are the labels:
A product label can have the word "organic" on its label if it made of at least 70% organic ingredients. It cannot have the USDA or EU organic label unless it's at least 95% organic. If a product is made up of less than 70% organic materials, the word "organic" can only be next to the ingredient in the "ingredients" section of the label, and it cannot be used on the main part of the product label.

Many people are surprised to find out that a food with the EU or USDA organic stamp can still contain up to 5% unnatural products. This was true for me, too. The best way to find out if your organic product is truly organic is to get to know the company that makes it. Many organic producers have websites or offer tours of their facilities. It's a great way to learn about your favorite products.

Related Posts:

**images courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Green Computing: Buy A Laptop Instead of A Desktop Computer

When purchasing you next computer for your home or office, consider getting a laptop. Laptops only use about a third of the energy that it takes to run a desktop computer. Most laptops have outputs that would allow you to display your computer on a large LCD, television, or computer monitor if you would ever need a larger screen. Also, USB ports allow you to connect keyboards and mice if you are at your desk.

In addition to the energy savings you may also benefit from the portability offered by laptops!
**image courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

Beloit homeowners get green tips to cut energy costs - – Rockford’s News Leader

Beloit homeowners get green tips to cut energy costs - – Rockford’s News Leader

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Follow Us On Facebook!

We've just set up a Facebook fan page for our blog and would like your help promoting it. Please help increase environmental awareness by following us on Facebook!

Go to the Greener Ways Facebook Page!

We are working to improve the page daily. Watch for updates and more green tips to come!

Four Ways To Save Water in Your Home or Business

When thinking about greener ways to live, many people focus on energy savings and electricity. Water is an important resource and reducing your usage will help save you money while decreasing your environmental impact at the same time.

  1. A leaky faucet dripping one drop every second will waste almost 3,000 gallons of water in a year. This is costly for you and the environment. The repair will end up saving you money in the long run.
  2. Choose landscaping with plants native to your area and climatic conditions. This will reduce the need to water them since they are able to grow in your area under normal weather conditions.
  3. Find a local carwash that uses recycled water for your vehicle or company vehicles.
  4. Install low-flow faucets and high efficiency showerheads as well as water efficient toilets.
Image courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Take Advantage of Natural Light

You may be able to save money on electricity in your home or office by simply rearranging a few things. If you have a desk that you regularly work at you may want to think about moving it near a window. There are many advantages to doing this. You will not need to use as many lights if you light your desk with natural light from the window. A window also makes a great background for a desk, and it's much more pleasant to see than a blank wall. If the weather is decent, the window can be opened and the fresh air will be pleasant when you are hard at work.

Other ways to reduce, reuse, or recycle in the office:

Save Your Business Money By Purchasing Coffee Mugs

Video On Greening Your Office

**image courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Baking Soda: The Green Cleaner

Most cleaning products do a great job but this comes at the expense of your health. Breathing in chemicals from these products can have an affect on your health similar to secondhand smoke. Baking soda has so many uses and it makes a great cleaner. Mix it with water to make a paste to scrub soiled dishes, counters, and sinks. Try diluting it in water and use this mix to clean toys, furniture, carpets and almost anything else you can think of. In addition to cleaning the baking soda also deodorizes and leaves things smelling fresh. You can use baking soda and not have to worry about affecting you and your loved ones’ health and this makes it great to use when cleaning toys and other baby products.

**image courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

Mommy Minute: Going green and chemical-free with natural deodorants

Mommy Minute: Going green and chemical-free with natural deodorants

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Wal-Mart using its clout to go green - The Boston Globe

Wal-Mart using its clout to go green - The Boston Globe

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Throw A Green Second-Hand Baby Shower

When planning a baby shower for you or a friend consider a new trend, second-hand baby showers. This is where you request that guests get used or second-hand gifts. Many people tend to buy more gifts since they are more expensive. Most infant or toddler products are only used for a short time since babies outgrow stuff so fast! Also, it’s a great way for family and friends to clean out things that they don’t use anymore, while giving a loved one a gift at the same time. It’s beneficial to everyone involved!

**image courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

How To Reuse and Recycle Greeting Cards

Each year about 7 billion greeting cards are sold throughout the world. Over a third of those are Christmas cards. A single greeting card might not seem to make a difference on the environment, but think about how much room 7 billion of them would take up! Here are some ways to reuse or recycle old greeting cards.

  • Create your own cards out of old ones. You can cut the front cover off of most greeting cards and then paste them onto a new handmade card. Kids love this. There are so many ways you can creatively use them. Many hobby stores carry blank cards that work great for this.

  • Check out St. Jude’s Ranch website to see if they are accepting greeting cards. If they are, you can mail your old greeting cards to be remade into new greeting cards by this charitable organization.

  • Cut off the front side and turn it into a postcard. These can be sent using postage stamps, which are much less expensive than regular postage stamps.

  • Old greeting cards can also be used for crafts. If the card is a Christmas card, think about using it to make an ornament. Cards can be cut into tags for presents or gift bags too.

  • Most cards can be recycled with paper. Be aware of any material on the card that is not recyclable and remove it. Glitter can be a problem. Also, musical cards contain metal parts so those must be removed prior to recycling.

You may help save trees by simply not buying any more greeting cards. Think about how much money it costs for an impersonal message with a simple decoration on the front. Ecards are an alternative. You can still sent your loved ones greeting cards without wasting paper. There are many websites that offer free online greeting cards that you can add personalized messages to. Think of how many trees could be saved if there weren’t 7 billion greeting cards being produced each year!

JibJab Birthday eCards

**image courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

Monday, July 20, 2009

Save Your Business Money By Buying Coffee Mugs For Employees

It's odd to walk into a business that doesn't serve coffee. Most businesses serve it and set out styrofoam cups for employees to use. The average employee will go through over 450 coffee cups in a year. If a business were to buy every employee a mug, the mugs would pay for themselves in under a year in styrofoam cup savings. Most people prefer coffee in a mug anyways.

**image courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

How To Be A Green College Student

Leaving home for college is a big step in a young adult’s life. Becoming independent and being on your own is and exciting step in life and it’s a great time to start some green habits. It’s much easier to lead an eco-friendly life if you start early instead of having to relearn bad habits.

In the dorm
Many dorm rooms are way too bright for most people’s comfort and just offer two settings, on or off. Bring your own lamp with a compact fluorescent bulb. You will find that the mood and feeling of your room feels much more like home, unless you lived in a warehouse. Take advantage of any natural light during the day by opening your curtains.

Buy environmentally friendly products for your room. This goes for everything from toiletries to laundry detergent. Keep a cloth rag on hand for spills or other cleaning. Keep a small towel to use as a napkin. Toss these in with your laundry and you will save some trees and money by not having to buy paper towels or napkins.

Adjust your computer’s power settings to have your screen turn off and eventually set your computer to hibernate after a set time of inactivity. Plug in electronics to power strips, which can be powered off with the flip of a switch. This prevents electronic devices from sucking energy even when they aren’t on.

At School
Carry a refillable bottle for drinking water. The most common item in the trash cans at my school was empty bottles of water. Besides the obvious problem of all the waste, many of these bottles were purchased in vending machines for $1.75. I was more concerned about drinking another fluid in college, beer, which is another area where students can go green. Search out local breweries and find a beer that suits you. By buying local you will help save the environment because it takes a lot less energy to transport local beer to you.

Use a three-ring binder to take notes using loose-leaf paper. Loose paper is packaged much more environmentally friendly. You could also take notes on your laptop. I found this very easy because I can type faster than I write and found it easier to keep up in class.

If you have a chance to present an issue in a class, choose a green topic. This will help educate your peers and it’s also a great conversation starter. Find other students who share your interest in the environment and either join a club or organization or start one.

**image courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Switch To Biodegradable Diapers

Diapers are something that your baby will probably wear daily for about three years. Think of how many diapers end up in a landfill from just one baby! This is an area where parents can make a huge impact on their baby's environmental impact.

There are a number of diaper products on the market that are biodegradable. Some even say they can be composted. I'm sure this is true but before you start throwing diapers in your compost make sure you have a large, developed compost pile. If your compost is 90% diapers they will take a very long time to decompose.

Since you will go through thousands of diapers over the years this is a great way to start having a green baby. Watch for future posts on green parenting.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Green tips for buying organic produce and bulk

Green tips for buying organic produce and bulk
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Get Paid To Recycle Your Cell Phone!

GreenPhone is a company that will actually send you a check for recycling your old cell phone. You can go to their site and enter the details about your phone and it will quote you a price. You simply send them the phone and they will mail you a check!

**image courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons user

What is a Carbon Offset?

An emerging trend for businesses and individuals is purchasing carbon offsets. These are financial donations put towards projects like renewable energy, planting forests, destruction of methane from landfills, and many others. Renewable energy projects like wind turbines and hydroelectric power along with forestry projects are the most common.

Individuals purchase carbon offsets in an attempt to make up for their carbon footprint, thus offsetting their impact on the environment. Businesses do the same, purchasing offsets to make up for their environmental impacts.

I don't use them personally. I think it can be seen as a reason to not care about your environmental impact. It's great to do things to offset your impact, but I think it's more rewarding to do it yourself. It can be fun to plant a tree yourself, somewhere you can see it grow. Instead of paying for projects in other regions, why doesn't a company put up their own wind turbine and be energy-independent or find other ways to reduce their impact? Usually when a company takes measures to reduce their environmental impact they end up saving money. It's a win-win situation.

That being said, I don't want to discredit carbon offset projects. It's great that they provide an outlet for individuals and businesses who may otherwise not do anything about their environmental impact.

**image courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons user Caveman 92223

Saturday, July 4, 2009

How To Recycle Old Credit Cards

Many of us receive unwanted promotional credit cards in the mail. Others have cards that wear out and expire. If the account number on the card is still valid, then not all of these options may be good for you but here are some ways to recycle your old credit and bank cards.

  • Some people swear by using them as an ice scraper for your car. I've never had success doing this. Maybe in other climates the ice doesn't get so thick.
  • Some kids enjoy using them as toys.
  • I've seen earrings sold in stores either made from old credit cards or made to look like they were.
**Image courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons user Andres_Rueda

Friday, July 3, 2009

Here is an article I found while reading the news the other day. This is very encouraging and hopefully the U.S. will follow suit.

EU, phone makers agree on charging standard

BRUSSELS (AP) — No more asking around the office for the right sort of
charger. At least that's what European Union and cell phone makers are
The world's leading mobile phone makers announced Monday that they
will ensure that their data-enabled phones and chargers will all work together,
as of next year.
EU Industry Commissioner Guenter Verheugen said a
standardized charger will cut costs for manufacturers and reduce the number of
chargers thrown away when consumers buy new phones.
Though the agreement
applies to the EU, it's likely that the standardization will apply to phones and
chargers sold outside the member countries.
Nokia Corp., Samsung Electronics
Co., LG Electronics Inc., Sony Ericsson, Apple Inc., Motorola Inc., Research in
Motion Ltd. and NEC Corp. committed to developing a standard for phone charging
based on the Micro-USB interface. Together, they account for more than 80
percent of the world market for cell phones.
Several of those companies
already make phones that charge through Micro-USB ports, but they don't
guarantee that they will work with chargers made by other companies.
"What we
are doing here is we are agreeing that any external power supply will be able to
charge other manufacturers' phones," said Tony Graziano, technical director for
DigitalEurope, which represents digital technology associations and companies
that do business in Europe.
This doesn't mean that all new data-enabled
phones will come with Micro-USB ports. Graziano said manufacturers can satisfy
the terms of the agreement by producing an adapter. Apple, for instance, has
consistently used a proprietary connector for its iPhone and could produce an
adapter that plugs into the phone to accept a Micro-USB charger.
Cosgrove, director general of DigitalEurope, said the group is "optimistic"
other countries and regions across the world will adopt the same universal
charger soon.
Consumer rights groups called for more ambitious plans.
could have extended this to different small appliances, such as MP3 players,
small digital cameras and PDAs," said Gabriele Fleischer from the Consumers'
Council in Berlin.
Texas Instruments Inc. and Qualcomm Inc., two U.S.
companies that make components for cell phones, also signed the
Associated Press Writers Barbara Schaeder in Brussels and AP
Technology Writer Peter Svensson in New York contributed to this report.

How To Recycle Your Toothbrush

Here's something that everyone uses (hopefully). Think about how many million toothbrushes are used every day. Many natural food stores carry toothbrushes made from recycled plastic. These are great products. Once you are done using the toothbrush there are many ways to lengthen the life of it. There are too many ways to list how you can reuse your toothbrush so here are just a few to get you started.

  1. Use it to detail clean your vehicle, getting in cracks that a normal rag can't reach.

  2. They work great for scrubbing hard water and mineral buildups around sink faucets.

  3. Use them to clean and polish your jewelry.

  4. The bristles work great for cleaning tile grout.

  5. Scrubbing shoes with toothbrushes gets them nice and clean, however, make sure you aren't using a brush with hard bristles.

  6. Car battery terminals often get dirty and toothbrushes work great to clean them.

  7. Use them to scrub stains out of carpet.

As you can probably tell already, this list goes on and on. Feel free to add your own tips and uses that prolong the life of toothbrushes. Remember, buy brushes made from recycled plastic.

**image courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

Video About Greening Your Office

This is a great video about how to make your office greener. Many of us green our homes but we forget about the office. Watch this great video. The tip I'd like to highlight is turning off your computers at night. This is something that doesn't get done at many businesses. You can tell because when walking past them at night you can see screen savers or desktop screens through the windows. If for business reasons you can't turn off your computer at night, at least turn off the monitor.

Ecotourism, Eco-Friendly Green Travel

Okay so by now most of us have taken steps to green our homes, but what about when we aren’t at home? When we travel most of us leave an even bigger impact on the environment than we do at home. Ecotourism is a new way to think about travel.

When planning a trip, do some research on potential destinations. Some cities or parts of the world are greener than others. Also, many hotels are taking the initiative to go green. Ask questions when booking your hotel rooms and book at an eco-friendly hotel. When at the hotel, don’t request new sheets on the bed each day and reuse your towels. Even better, consider camping instead of hotels.

When getting around your destination think green. Find out ways to bike or walk instead of driving. There are places where you can rent bikes in some destinations. If walking or biking are not options, opt for public transit like buses or shuttles instead of renting a car. This will also save you some hassle. Buses, trains, subways and ferries are also great ways to get around. If you must rent a car opt for a hybrid or compact model.

When at your destination eat local foods. Food takes a lot of energy to transport (see post on locavores). Ask questions when making reservations. Eating local foods will give you a more genuine vacation experience and often the food is better.

Don’t forget to turn everything off at home. Not only that, but unplug everything you can. Many electronic items still suck energy when the item isn’t on. Turn off the thermostat, weather permitting, or at least crank it so that it hardly runs at all.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

What Is A Locavore?

A locavore is someone who only eats food grown locally. This is a green way of eating because shipping foods across the country takes a lot of fuel for trucks, trains, or other ways of shipping. Farmer's markets are great places for locavores to pick up locally grown food. Some larger chains also carry local brands and/or produce.

Click here to go to

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Video By TreeHugger Showing Green Tips for Slackers

The people at TreeHugger have put up a video showing a couple things anyone can do to live greener. One is unplugging your cell phone charger to save wasted phantom energy. The other is to buy local beer instead of imported brews. Check out the video below.

Monday, June 29, 2009

How To Recycle Used Blankets and Pillows

I have some old pillows that I needed to recycle and didn't know a thing about it. I knew enough that nobody really wants to sleep on a used pillow and couldn't think of anything else to do with them. I hit the web and here's what I found:

Many veterinary clinics, pet hospitals, and pet boarding facilities accept old blankets and pillows. They use them to give the animals something other than a metal floor to sleep on.

You can also take off the pillow cover and either buy a new one or make a new one to match your needs. This would save you from throwing your whole pillow away and also save you money on a new looking pillow.

Some homeless shelters will gladly accept old blankets and pillows. This is where I ended up taking mine. I didn't just help the environment, I helped a person in need.

How To Recycle Video Games

New gaming systems seem to come out every couple years. This presents the problem of what to do with old games and systems. There are several things you can do with both working and broken video games and consoles.

If your console is still working, consider selling it. Ebay is a great place to sell old consoles. Just be sure to package it safely when shipping. Craig's List is another great place to do this. Additionally, many video game stores will accept working systems for cash or store credit towards new games. There is actually a pretty good market for old systems.

If the console is broken there are still ways to make money. Two of the three video game stores in my city actually pay you for a broken system. I got $20 for a broken Nintendo DS that I found at a park and I got $40 for my old XBOX 360 when it broke and was out of warrany. My guess is that these companies refurbish the systems and resell them at a profit, but I'm not exactly sure. Check with your local stores.

I've been told that for a fee Staples will recycle old video game systems and games, but I can't personally verify this.

Check The Filters On All of Your Appliances/Machines Regularly

There are so many appliances and machines around our home, work, and everywhere else that use filters. Filters block particles in the air from getting inside a machine. After a while, filters get dirty and reduce the flow of air, making machines less efficient. Regularly changing filters will keep your stuff running smoothly and using less energy.

Common machines that use filters include furnaces, air conditioners, and cars. Check them to make sure they are not blocking air from flowing.

Green Disposal of Grass Clippings

It's summer and many of us are mowing our lawns. Grass clippings are a byproduct and some people don't know what to do with them.

If your lawn isn't too overgrown consider not using the grass catcher and let the mulched grass clippings feed your lawn. Grass composts very quickly and it can leave behind great nutrients for your lawn, and also save the need to fertilize.

When the clippings are too long leaving them on your lawn can be bad for the lawn. Piles of clipping can block the living grass from sunlight and actually kill your living grass. In this case it would be good to catch the clippings and put them into a compost pile. I usually throw a couple scoops of dirt on top of the clippings and this helps them compost even quicker. The compost works great in flower and vegetable gardens!

Ways To Keep Cool Without Running the AC

Here's a list of tips on keeping cool without running your costly air conditioner.

  1. Grill out. It's a good way to have hot food without heating up your house like the oven does.
  2. Put some bottles of water in the fridge or freezer. You'd be amazed how much an ice cold drink cools you down.
  3. Find places on the lowest floor of your home to work or relax. Heat rises, and cool air falls.
  4. Use ceiling or floor fans. They are much less costly to run than air conditioning.
  5. Take cold showers. Humid air from steamy showers makes your home feel even warmer than it is.
  6. Open windows on all sides of your home. This will help air circulate through your home.
Stay cool! Remember this. The average fan uses about 100 watts/hour while the average air conditioner uses about 1200 watts/hour.

Are Your Home Appliances Outdated? Save Money By Replacing Them!

According to the EPA, or Environmental Protection Agency, an old refridgerator can cost around $150 to run. If you have an old refridgerator plugged in just because you don't want to throw it away you may want to reassess whether or not you need it. Appliances account for nearly 20% of your annual utility costs. If you have an old appliance you can see immediate savings on your bills by replacing it with a newer energy efficient model.

Be sure to recycle your old appliances!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Craig's List Can Be A Great Way To Recycle

Do you have an odd or out of the ordinary item that you would like to recycle. Craig's list can be a great place to advertise something you have no use for but don't want to see it end up in a landfill. List your item for free on Craig's List and tell potential takers that they can have it if they come get it from you. This can be a great way to get rid of the item and not have to move it yourself.

Even some broken items can find homes through Craig's List. You'd be surprised at how many people even pay for broken items. Some repair companies need spare parts and would be happy to take a broken television or refrigerator off your hands. It's free to list items so even if you are unsure whether someone's interested it doesn't hurt to try.

How To Recycle Marbles

how to recycle marbles Marbles used to be very popular and I don't notice them in stores as much anymore. When cleaning out my grandparents old house we came across a huge bag of marbles. None of us really had a use for them so I came to the internet to find ideas on how to prevent them going to the landfill. Here's some ideas I found:

  • Use them in place or along with gravel in a fish tank or aquarium
  • Use for decoration around stems of potted plants
  • Put them in the bottom of a vase that's too tall
  • Mix in with cement for a decorative stone
  • Donate to second hand store or charity
I think mine are going to Goodwill.
**image courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

Friday, June 26, 2009

How To Recycle Backpacks

The American Birding Association accepts donated backpacks. If you are interested in more information visit The American Birding Association's website.

Is There Any Way To Recycle Old Plastic Bottle Caps?

Is There Any Way To Recycle Old Plastic Bottle Caps?

I've received this question many times and I don't have a good answer. As far as I know there is no reliable way to recycle these unless you know someone who needs them for a unique craft. If anyone has any suggestions please put them in the comments section of this post!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Reaction To Going Green Laundry Segment

I just watched a web clip of a South Carolina news channel discussing greener ways to do laundry. In the segment, the news anchor stated that "the average American does 400 loads of laundry every year". I can't believe this! Do you do 400 loads of laundry a year? My household of three, two adults and a two year-old child, does two loads of laundry each week. That comes out to 35 loads per person each year if you include my son, or 52 loads if you only count the two adults. So what the segment is telling me is that the average American does four times as much laundry as I do!

Four hundred loads a year would be more than one load per day. Who dirties this many clothes? Beyond that, who has the time to do 400 loads of laundry each year? That's more than 7 loads each week! What a life, spending that much time in the laundry room and folding clothes! Do people really do this much laundry, or was this news channel's research wrong? Please drop me a line and let me know what you think!

Here's a link to the article:

Friday, January 23, 2009

Great Article on How Going Green Benefits a Business

I came across a great article on titled "Going Green to Create 'Green' for Your Business". This is a great article, especially for those of you who own your own business. Check it out:

Are Plastic Credit Cards Recyclable?

I got an email from a reader, Joanne, asking me if fake or real plastic credit cards are recyclable. This is a great question and I am not sure so I'm wondering if anyone can help us out. I don't know of a way but feel free to leave some in the comments section. Either way, if it's a real one I would recommend cutting it up. Any help is appreciated!

Greener Driving 101: Ten Tips To Save Gas and Money

Here are some tips to make your commute a greener one:

  1. Plan your trips before leaving and plan your stops efficiently. Don’t backtrack whenever possible. This will also save you time.

  2. Make sure your tires are properly inflated. This can save you up to 5% of your fuel.

  3. Make sure air filters are clean. Dirty air filters decrease engine efficiency.

  4. Don’t brake hard or accelerate rapidly. Watch ahead for stop signs or lights and take your foot off the gas when approaching one.

  5. If your vehicle has overdrive, use it. This slows the speed of your engine, saving gas and increasing the life of your engine.

  6. Take anything out of your vehicle that you don’t need. A lighter vehicle will get better mileage.

  7. Carpool or take public transit if available.

  8. Only use air conditioning when needed. Air conditioning causes your gas mileage to decrease.

  9. Keep your vehicle maintained. Regular tune-ups and oil changes will ensure your vehicle is running efficiently with minimal emissions.

**image courtesy of Flickr user Toni_V