Thursday, March 31, 2011

Green Tip 30: That's a Wrap!

    Learn how to make these recycled paper flowers. 
WRAP CREATIVELY

You can reuse gift bags, bows and even paper or make some unique wrapping by using old maps, cloth or even newspaper - the comic section especially works for this! Don't like to wrap your gifts? Wrap without the wrapping by using pretty reusable bags and make it part of your gift!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Green Tip 29: Don't Burn it, Back it Up!

REDUCE CD/DVD WASTE

It is estimated that American consumers buy about 1 billion CDs every year and most eventually end up in landfills. Since CDs are a mix of polycarbonate, plastic and aluminum, they don’t easily break down and are not easily recycled. They are also not biodegradable, so they won’t break down in landfills and when incinerated they release toxic fumes into the air.
 
Source: About.com
 
These days there are mush better options to listening to music, watching movies or backing up your computer work and photos:
  • Buy an external back up drive for your computer files and work.  They are getting bigger and cheaper and can be used to store files for years.
  • Download music
  • Watch movies / TV online
  • Buy used movies / CDs whenever possible
  • Some people reuse old CD/DVDs in artwork
  • Recycle them - find a location near you where you can drop off old discs to be recycled 
Some ideas on where to recycle them:

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Green Tip 28: My Two-Wheeled Vehicle


MAINTAIN YOUR VEHICLE

Not only are you extending the life of your vehicle, but you are creating less pollution and saving gas. A properly maintained vehicle, clean air filters, and inflated tires can greatly improve your vehicle's performance. And it might not hurt to clean out the trunk—all that extra weight could be costing you at the pump.

Source: 50 Ways to Help the Planet



In my case, it's my bike that I maintain. A good tune up at least once maybe twice a year will help your bicycle last longer.  If everyone took better care of their more expensive items then they wouldn't needs as much replacing as often.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Green Tip 27: Towel Up!

When I first saw this ad it really hit me and now every time I use a paper towel in the washroom I can't help but be reminded of it.  At the very least it reminds me to try and use less or to instead use the air dryer.

For our office washroom I brought in a hand towel that everyone can use and will take it upon myself to make sure it gets washed at least once a week.  It works because we work in a small office so we can do this.  It is most important however, that these changes start in the home. See the facts ...

USE HAND TOWELS NOT PAPER

Reduce your paper towel use whenever and where ever you can!  Over 90% of American households combined produce over 3,000 tons of paper towel waste each day.  

If each home simply replaced one roll of their traditional paper towels with paper towels made from 100% recycled paper, we could avoid wasting 3.4 million cubic feet of landfill space and prevent 864,000 trees from being cut down.

Source: Go Articles

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Green Tip 26: Better Bath time Options

 
BAN BATH TIME!

Have a no-bath week, and take showers instead. Baths require almost twice as much water. Not only will you reduce water consumption but the energy costs associated with heating the water too.

Other options try bathing once or twice a month as a luxury and shower every other time. Maybe bath once a week but use less water.   Or, it's nearly summer, just jump in a pool once in a while, you'll be fine ;)

Source: 50 Ways to Help

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Green Tip 25: Lights Out for Earth Hour



TURN OFF LIGHTS

Always turn off incandescent bulbs when you leave a room. Fluorescent bulbs are more affected by the number of times it is switched on and off, so turn them off when you leave a room for 15 minutes or more. You'll save energy on the bulb itself, but also on cooling costs, as lights contribute heat to a room.

Tonight is Earth hour, which means we'll be turning off the lights and more - computers, electronics, televisions ... here's a thought spend time cuddling with a loved one? Prepare dinner before the hour and then enjoy it by candlelight or (and my personal favourite) take a nap before going out tonight!

As fantastic as earth hour is at building awareness I have to wonder, does turning off our lights for an hour really enough, does it do that much to help conserve energy?  I would think a day like "no-red meat day" or "no-fuel hour" would make a lot more sense.


Maybe one day :)



For more information about EARTH HOUR tonight please visit their website.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Green Tip 24: Light Switch


CHANGE YOUR LIGHT BULBS

If every household in the United State replaced one regular light bulb with one of those new compact fluorescent bulbs, the pollution reduction would be equivalent to removing one million cars from the road.

Now that's a bright idea ;)


Source: 50 Ways to Help

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Green Tip 23: The Heat is On, Turn it off


I don't know about you but I always wear a nice outfit and heels when I'm cooking a huge roast! Oh wait, no, I would never cook that lol ... or would I ever dress this way when cooking.  Oh 1950's, you make me giggle. :)


DO NOT PRE-HEAT THE OVEN ... unless you really, really, really have to

Unless you are making bread or pastries (or cupcakes!), don't pre-heat the oven. Just turn it on when you put the dish in. Also, when checking on your food, look through the oven window instead of opening the door.

This will save energy and possibly time :)

It's still cold outside but the summer is coming and I know it, I feel it, I really, really want it! Try to turn your heat down or off early this year and save energy and money.  Want to keep warm? Snuggle in a comfy sweater or with that special someone (and yes, dogs and cats count).

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Green Tip 22: The Computer is My Bank Teller


PAY BILLS ONLINE

These days it is a lot easier and convenient to pay your bills or even do your banking online and it really is more secure then people think.  As long as you take every precaution when banking online it is a great alternative to getting those paper bills in the mail that eventually go to waste.

By some estimates, if all households in the U.S. paid their bills online and received electronic statements instead of paper, we'd save 18.5 million trees every year, 2.2 billion tons of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, and 1.7 billion pounds of solid waste.


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Green Tip 21: Challenge - Vegetarian for a Week!

 
GO VEGETARIAN ONCE A WEEK

One less meat-based meal a week can help the planet and your diet.  It requires 2,500 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef. You will also also save some trees.  For each hamburger that originated from animals raised on rain forest land, approximately 55 square feet of forest have been destroyed.  


Not sure where to start?  Try a cooking class or two, there are many great options available today and you don't have to go as strict as raw or even vegan classes but perhaps try a intro to vegetarian eating class or find some great information about it at your local vegetarian association.

Last week I took my first Marni Wasserman cooking class - Calci-Yum ... and Yummy it was!  A group of about nine of us made these amazing, calcium and nutrient rich dishes:

   Orange Salad with Pomegranate dressing (left) and Quinoa Broccoli Pinenut Pilaf (right)

    Spinach Almond Balls (can also be made into patties)


   Sesame-Miso Crusted Tempeh (I made this one in the class and I have a new found love for tempeh!)


   Seasonal Roasted Vegetables

    and for dessert ...

   Carob Fig Frozen Fudge!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Green Tip 20: Skip the Stick and the Coffee Cup

SKIP THE COFFEE STIR STICK or STRAW

In North America, 138 billion straws and stir sticks are thrown away each year!  You don't have to start drinking your coffee black for the environment sake but if you can, add your sugar and/or milk/cream first before pouring the coffee.  If you buy to-go ask the Barista to do this for you or ask for a metal spoon ... why not, never hurts to at least ask.

Try stir stick alternatives or keep a metal spoon in your bag or office desk.

Reminder: When buying coffee to go, don't forget your travel mug.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Green Tip 19: Ride, Glide or Walk Your Way

The warm weather is just around the corner.  It felt fantastic being able to ride outdoors this weekend and I can't wait to do more of it soon.

If you're a regular commuter to work why not consider car pooling or riding a bike or roller blading to work a couple days a week.  Public transit is always a great option even though it's not the most fun option, especially in the summer time when the weather is nice, take advantage of some greener ways to commute.

Rather then driving your car to work every day and wasting gas, wasting time in traffic burning toxic fuel and having to pay for parking, why not consider some environmental friendly and heart-healthier options.

 

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Green Tip 18: Ban the Plastic Bags Already!


PLASTIC BAGS =  VERY BAD

Each year the U.S. uses 84 billion plastic bags, a significant portion of the 500 billion used worldwide. They are not biodegradable, and are making their way into our oceans, and subsequently, the food chain. Stronger, reusable bags are an inexpensive and readily available option.

Plastic bags, not just hanging out in trees, there are one way too many of them consuming our oceans!  These days it's easy to just reuse the bags you have or buy reusable, durable bags.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Green Tip 17: Give it Away Before You Throw it Away

GIVE IT AWAY

Before you throw something away, think about if someone else might need it. Either donate to a charitable organization or post it on a web site designed to connect people and things, such as Freecycle.org.

I think this is a sign, a sign that it's time to plan my next swap party!

A swap party is another great, creative way to donate and give away unwanted items.  The fun part is you can get some great stuff in return. 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Green Tip 16: Let Your Fingers Do the Walking - Online!


Paper phone books are just a fancier version of  junk mail!  These days, with the Internet and Google and with nearly every business now having their own website, do we really need the wasted paper phone directory books anymore?

LET YOUR FINGERS DO THE WALKING—ONLINE 

You can call to stop your phone book delivery and use an online directory instead. Some estimate that telephone books make up almost ten percent of waste at dump sites. And if you still receive the book, don't forget to recycle your old volumes.

Here are just a few very awesome ways some people have recycled the ol' phone book (I could have spent all day finding these images, are some of them are amazing):




    3D Carved Portraits (from phone books!)
     Recycled Phone Book Bags ... no, really!

    I actually kind of love this ... Recycled phone Book Gown

    Building made from 7000 Recycled Phone Books

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Green Tip 15: Recycle It, After you Light it


 
CHOOSE MATCHES OVER LIGHTERS 

Most lighters are made out of plastic and filled with butane fuel, both petroleum products. Since most lighters are considered "disposable," over 1.5 billion end up in landfills each year

When choosing matches, pick cardboard over wood. Wood matches come from trees, whereas most cardboard matches are made from recycled paper.


Earth Hour is quickly approaching, so keep those matches handy for your candle lit night!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Green Tip 14: No Junk Mail PLEASE!


I can't express enough how incredibly wasteful junk mail is! It seems these days all I get in the mail now is junk because I do all of my banking and bill paying online, other then the occassional letter from a friend or invitation to a wedding, it's all junk mail.

The only option I've seen to put a stop to it is with a door sign ... NO JUNK MAIL PLEASE!

CUT DOWN ON JUNK MAIL 
The average American receives 40 pounds of junk mail each year, destroying 100 millions trees. There are many services that can help reduce the clutter in your mailbox, saving trees and the precious space on your countertops.

Want more tips to help you opt out of your junk mail? Check out these sites:


    Monday, March 14, 2011

    Green Tip 13: Do We Still Need Reminding, really?


    It seems like one of those tips that never get old and that you just can't stress enough ...


    RECYCLE ALUMINUM AND GLASS

    Twenty recycled aluminium cans can be made with the energy it takes to manufacture one brand new one.

    Every ton of glass recycled saves the equivalent of nine gallons of fuel oil needed to make glass from virgin materials.

    It's really a no-brainer and most people I know do recycle these days.  If your office doesn't recycle then I suggest you urge them to do so.  Yes, I'm a geek and I have gone as far as bringing my own recycling waste home to ensure that it does get to the recycling bins.


    Why it is SO important:

    Conservation alone is perhaps the biggest and most important reason.  Reusing the materials we have already extracted from the earth is better then extracting new raw materials and destroying even more natural resources just to satisfy our wants.

    It also saves energy because it takes less energy to recycle materials then it does to extract new ones from the earth.  This would also reduce pollution, you know, that dirty air that we frequently breath in every day ... yeah, that pollution.

    Recycling more will help to reduce landfill waste, which is extremely important seeing as how we are already at the point of making islands out of the garbage already out there.  Gross!

    Sunday, March 13, 2011

    Green Tip 12: Cell Phone Cemetary


    RECYCLE OLD CELL PHONES

    The average cell phone lasts around 18 months, which means 130 million phones will be retired each year. If they go into landfills, the phones and their batteries introduce toxic substances into our environment. There are plenty of reputable programs where you can recycle your phone, many which benefit noble causes.


    Probably one of the worst things we can waste or trash these days are old cell phones.  There are so many options today that it seems ridiculous to even consider throwing them in the trash. It doesn't even make sense keep old ones lying around your house (yes, even that is wasteful) because while they are tucked away hidden in your drawers more and more raw materials are being drawn out of the earth to make new ones when we can just as easily reuse or recycle the old.

    "Every year 150 million cell phones are thrown out in the U.S., along with over 300 million other electronic devices.  It's estimated that another 500 million unused cell phones sit around in people's drawers." - The Story of Stuff by Annie Leonard

    Most companies will take back your old phones when you trade them in for new ones and recycle the parts.  Keep in mind this is the case with many old electronics these days too or if something you don't want still works consider donating it.

    On that note, I think it's time for me to find all of the old electronics and unused cords I keep hidden in boxes around my place and recycle them.

    Good night!

    Saturday, March 12, 2011

    Green Tip 11: Wire there So Many Hangers?

    I can't for the life of me understand why my boyfriend has so many wire hangers instead of durable wood or plastic ones that I am used to.  Personally, if it were up to me I would buy all wood hangers and recycle the wire ones ... which I kind of have been doing, slowly but surely.  He'll never know!

    Besides, with cool ideas in how to reuse them like this one from TreeHugger who needs them anyway. So ....


    RECYCLE UNWANTED WIRE HANGERS 

    Wire hangers are generally made of steel, which is often not accepted by some recycling programs. So what do you do with them? Most dry cleaners will accept them back to reuse or recycle

    Friday, March 11, 2011

    Green Tip 10: Ban Those Bottles!


    I can not emphasize the importance of this tip enough especially with how easy it is to avoid buying bottled water these days, so why do it!

    Sadly, too many of us still don't realize how truly lucky we are to be live in North America where you can simply turn on our tap and voila, clean water readily available for you to drink, to bath in or cook with.

    After traveling to parts of South America and Africa I can speak from experience and say we are truly blessed to have such a novelty here in Canada.  I will will never forget how happy I was one night, in my small hotel room in Xai Xai (Mozambique) when the shower tap started to flow water that was more then a trickle and was suddenly became warm to the touch. I was so happy in fact I started shouting at my roommate with excitement about it!

    All too often we take the water we get (pretty much for free) for granted and too often buy bottled water instead.  Perhaps out of convenience or maybe some people are convinced it is somehow cleaner or fresher!? I doubt that, really.

    So today's tip ... RETHINK BOTTLED WATER

    Nearly 90% of plastic water bottles are not recycled, instead taking thousands of years to decompose. Buy a reusable container and fill it with tap water, a great choice for the environment, your wallet, and possibly your health. The EPA's standards for tap water are more stringent than the FDA's standards for bottled water.

    Want to know more about why you should, check out this article from: Sustainable Footprint

    Thursday, March 10, 2011

    Green Tip 9: Second is Often Best

    Derick Melander's Massive Second-hand Clothing Sculptures
    I stumbled upon this photo in my google search.  Derick Melander's work is so interesting, he creates these massive sculptures from second-hand clothing to "bring attention to the large amount of textile waste that is generated daily." The clothing is usually donated after the fact.


    SECOND-HAND DOESN'T MEAN SECOND-BEST

    I think about 95% of the stuff I buy now is second-hand these days unless it comes to running shoes or other sports items that I like to buy new.  As for clothing I love Value Village or Winners (kind of second-handish) and pretty much anything from Kensington Market is awesome.

    I asked myself, after University why did I stop buying second-hand? You'd be amazed at the great stuff you can find at second-hand stores, sometimes good quality items that you just can't buy at an H&M or Old Navy (my mother taught me well).


    If that fails, try a Swap Party! I recently hosted my first one and it was such a huge hit I'm already collecting and planning for my next one this Spring.

    Shopping impacts our environment so greatly, in ways that we ever stop and think about so buying second-hand items is an important way to reduce waste, to reuse what already exists and a bonus, save money!

    Universal Set 2008, Derick Melander

    Wednesday, March 9, 2011

    Green Tip 8: Save Water, Save Time ... Save a Life.


    Tips about saving water should really be no-brainers by now but unfortunately I think many of us (myself included) still need the constant reminding (still working on the no-rinse for my dishes).

    Here are just a few others that we need to be reminded of and why ...

    BRUSH WITHOUT RUNNING 

    You'll conserve up to five gallons per day if you stop. Daily savings in the U.S. alone could add up to 1.5 billion gallons--more water than folks use in the Big Apple. 

    SHOWER WITH YOUR PARTNER

    Sneak in a shower with your loved one to start the day with some zest that doesn't come in a bar. Not only have you made a wise choice for the environment but it's a shower, with benefits! ;)



    TAKE A SHORTER SHOWER

    Every two minutes you save on your shower can conserve more than ten gallons of water. If everyone in the country saved just one gallon from their daily shower, over the course of the year it would equal twice the amount of freshwater withdrawn from the Great Lakes every day.

    Tips Source: 50 Ways to Help

    Tuesday, March 8, 2011

    Green Tip 7: Metaphorical Tree Hugging

         http://adartin.wordpress.com/2009/03/12/wildlife-sos-animals/

    I can't emphasize this point enough in my own office and I never print anything at home because I don't have a printer.  I always try to print on both sides whenever possible or use scrap paper to print on the clean side.  My coworkers and I will also use scrap paper to make small notebooks for note-taking for meetings and such.  A great alternative!


    USE BOTH SIDES OF PAPER

    American businesses throw away 21 million tons of paper every year, equal to 175 pounds per office worker. For a quick and easy way to halve this, set your printer's default option to print double-sided (duplex printing). And when you're finished with your documents, don't forget to take them to the recycling bin.

    Monday, March 7, 2011

    Green Tip 6: A Better Way "To Go"


    I am definitely guilty of this on way too many occasions, so I have made a huge effort lately to always bring my travel mug to any coffee shop when I order to go.  These days you can find some very pretty travel mugs like these:


    Another great tip, one we rarely think about I think, is overusing napkins or plastic utensils when we order to-go.  These things are way to easy to grab but are such a huge waste especially when you have metal utensils at home that you can easily carry with you in your bag or keep at the office.

    The bigger culprit I think are the paper napkins!  They get picked up, used or even unused and thrown away faster then you can blink an eye, it's unfortunate really.

    Try this instead ...

    USE ONE LESS PAPER NAPKIN

    During an average year, an American uses approximately 2,200 napkins—around six each day. If everyone in the U.S. used one less napkin a day, more than a billion pounds of napkins could be saved from landfills each year.

    Other create options:
    • keep a couple of clothe towels or napkins in your bag to use and reuse; all it takes is a good wash or rinse and it is good again for next use.
    • Eat in! It's always the healthiest way to go anyway and cleaning up after will be less wasteful.
    • Slow down! Eating is not a race, take your time eating and chances are you'll make less mess and need less clean up after

    Any other ideas? Would love to hear them, please leave a comment, question or post idea - would love to hear from you!

    Sunday, March 6, 2011

    Green Tip 5: Cold Water Washing

           photo source: Flickr

    The clothes washing saga continues!

    I never did get around to hand washing my clothes last night until today that is! The experience: it was very soapy, warm and the water got quite dirty quickly (at least after 20 minutes of soaking and washing my clothes in it) ... yeah, good times.

    I did have one load to do in the machine so the tip for today: 

    WASH IN COLD OR WARM

    If all the households in the U.S. switched from hot-hot cycle to warm-cold, we could save the energy comparable to 100,000 barrels of oil a day.  Only launder when you have a full load.

    Wow, now I don't feel so bad about my sore hands from handing washing my garments, and on the plus side my hands are really clean and soft.



    Saturday, March 5, 2011

    Green Tip 4: Hand Wash & Hang Dry


    This challenge couldn't have come at a better time as I have a load or two of laundry to do this weekend - still!

    Yes it's 6:19pm and I have yet to do this laundry but the new plan (challenge really) will be to divide my laundry into what will go into the machine and what can be washed by hand.  Hopefully by doing this I will save a load of not only water but time, energy and money!



    The real challenge is this - hang dry!? Really? So how does one hang dry clothes in a small bachelor apartment occupied by me, my boyfriend and one dog?


    We'll see what happens, time to get creative!  I think I'll need to compromise this one, maybe hang dry just the clothes I hand wash to start.  It also doesn't help that it's pouring rain outside right now.

    Why hang dry?

    Getting a clothesline or rack to dry your clothes by the air will help your wardrobe maintain its color and fit, and you'll save money.  Your favorite clothes will last longer!
     
    Sounds good to me!

    Friday, March 4, 2011

    Green Tip 3: Reusing is Better, that's Glassy!

     

    As great and fantastic as recycling is ultimately it's not the best solution.  Reducing is by far a bigger priority these days, so is reusing - if we all did these two things alone then we wouldn't waste as much or have to rely so much on recycling.  Remember it still takes energy to recycle all our stuff and so much of what we throw away never actual gets recycled! 

    Recycled glass reduces related air pollution by 20 percent and related water pollution by 50 percent. If it isn't recycled it can take a million years to decompose.

    I say ...RECYCLE REUSE GLASS JARS ... and here are some tips on how:

    • I like to reuse the glass jars I buy (such as pickle or sauce jars) to store my dried foods and grains.
    •  As the picture shows you above, you can reuse glass jars to make pretty candle holders, perfect for a summer night outdoors
    • Use glass jars to store office supplies like pens, pencils and markers at your desk
    • Glass jars can be used to organize toiletries in the bathroom, kids arts supplies or collections.

    • Various sized glass jars make for a stunning dinner party center piece or as water vases for your flowers at home

    • Create memory jars for friends and familys as gifts with glass jars.
    • Use glass jars as gifts, fill them with cookies or candies or other sweet treats for friends and family. 
    • A friend of mine even uses her reused glass jars as a cup to drink or tea but this is by far one of the coolest ways I've seen glass bottles being reused:


      images sources: Home Quotient, Nature Moms and Shelterrific



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