A fun Blog to share fun and easy ways to be green!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Designer Nick Graham Teams Up with Goodwill to Recycle Fashionably

Into this golden age of all things eco-friendly comes a quirky new fashion line called William Good.

Nick Graham, the eccentric San Francisco designer and founder of Joe Boxer, the company that gave boxer shorts personality, has teamed up with Goodwill to produce the line, which is made entirely from items from the discard bins.

Click here for more information on this fabulous fashionable project!

Handmade Newspaper Recycled Jewelry

This necklace is called Shattered Dreams and is made from losing lottery tickets!

Check our Handmade Newspaper Recycled Jewelry to see bracelets, brooches, earrings and cufflinks made of waste paper, including newspaper and sweetner packets. Fair warning: you may need to WIN a lottery to purchase some of these!

Now THIS is a TRASHformation!

A movie gallery of things being shredded. Very cool.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Even Ted Nugent is Recycling!

Join Crusade to Recycle, Reuse, Save Energy
By Ted Nugent, Texas Wildman

The hunting camp was alive with spirit and South Texas magic.

The hunt was in the air, visions of giant, mature whitetail beasts dancing in my giddy mind.

But there was something else in the air as well that fine December morning. The gagging stink of diesel fuel burned my nostrils.

The hunting operation was world-class; six matched long-bed, extended 4x4 pickup trucks with huge tires, state-of-the art radios, GPS, winches, roofracks and gunracks, spotlights, foglights and grill guards of the highest quality.

I suppose I was looking at more than $400,000 worth of hunting rigs before me. Quite impressive.

But as I have experienced throughout my dreamy history of hunting in Texas, during the entire hour-long breakfast, all six trucks were running, gushing fumes and gobbling raw crude for no good reason whatsoever.

We are talking more than an hour here, my friends, just sitting there, running.

I know Texans are a little tender when it comes to "cold" December mornings. But we Yankee MotorCity Michiganiacs do not consider 30 degrees to be that cold.

And it surely doesn't qualify as cold enough to waste all that fuel just so the big, tough hunters can be warm and cozy for the tortuous 20-minute ride to our cold deerblinds.

Tough it out

All the hunters were dressed warmly for the morning vigil anyway. A short ride in a cold truck should be no big deal. Oy!

Amazingly, this is seen all too often across the land. And not just at hunting camps.

Way too many people just let their vehicles run on and on. Add to that: In homes, every light and lamp left on. Heaters and air conditioners running full-bore. Even with no one around.
You start to get the picture that nobody gives a good damn about conserving energy around here.

Consider the habit of letting the water run unnecessarily, overrunning home appliances, tossing out half-eaten groceries and partially consumed bottles of water and various drinks. A pattern of overt waste takes shape.

Though these abuses appear minor on the surface, when added together they represent a lifestyle by far too many Americans of enormously wasteful resource mismanagement.

I hear a monstrous "ka-ching" going down the toilet here. For shame.

When we moved to Texas a few years ago, we were rather shocked at all the trash tossed into the garbage cans and headed to the landfill every week: plastic bottles, glass containers, cans, everything.

Back home in Michigan they have a soft-drink deposit system so that those gazillions of cans and bottles are recycled and never make their way to the dump.

Keep it out of ground

With the unprecedented volume of bottled water consumed these days, it should be a primary concern of all to demand a better way to recycle this toxic waste and keep it out of the ground.
Same goes for paper, cardboard and the various bubblewrap and Styrofoam packaging materials.

I feel so guilty about tossing out such waste that I tend to warehouse mass quantities until I find an outsource destination for its re-use. The Nugent family is on a crusade to prod all our family and friends to be more conservation-conscious.

If every family and business were to examine its resource use and waste procedures, we could all make a substantial upgrade for our precious environment and save money and natural resources.

Teaching and training our children to do so could make a huge difference in the future of the good Mother Earth. Why not?

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Last Two Green Halloween Tips

Green Halloween Tip 7: Keep Halloween Clean
Teach your children to keep candy wrappers in their reusable trick-or-treat bags until they return home, or to dispose of them in trash cans along their route.

Preventing candy wrappers from becoming Halloween litter on the street is the right way to treat the environment. Take along an extra bag when you take the kids out treat-or-treating, and pick up litter along the way to help clean up the neighborhood.

Green Halloween Tip 8: Keep it Going
Living an eco-friendly lifestyle and reducing waste and pollution should be a daily event, not a special occasion. With a little thought, you can apply the strategies you use to have a green Halloween to the way you live every day.

Reusable bags are a great way to shop every day, and can be used for everything from regular trips to the grocery store to back-to-school shopping. Any time you go shopping, take along a reusable shopping bag or two to carry home your purchases and keep the planet a little cleaner.
The same goes for using cloth vs paper napkins and washable vs disposable cutlery. Using reusable items instead of disposables will help the environment and also save you money.

Composting is something you can do year-round. A compost bin will transform your organic yard and household waste into fertilizer for your flower and vegetable gardens, reduce the amount of garbage you send to the local landfill, and keep you more in tune with nature.

You get the idea. If you make living an eco-friendly lifestyle a daily commitment, both you and the environment will benefit.

To review all eight Green Halloween tips, click here.

More Green Halloween Tips

Green Halloween Tips 4,5 and 6

Green Halloween Tip 4: Walk, Don’t Drive
Rather than drive to other neighborhoods to take the kids trick-or-treating, stick close to home this Halloween and walk from house to house to reduce fuel consumption and air pollution.
If you are attending a Halloween party, use public transportation or ride your bicycle.
If traveling by car is really the only way to join in Halloween fun with your family or friends, try carpooling.

Green Halloween Tip 5: Make Your Halloween Party Eco-Friendly
Host a Halloween party that features organic, locally grown pumpkins for carving, apples for bobbing, and other pesticide-free, locally grown foods appropriate to the holiday and the harvest season. Organic produce is now widely available at many grocery stores as well as farmers’ markets and stores specializing in organic food.

Once the jack-o-lanterns have been carved and the games have ended, the apples and pumpkins can be used in pies, soups, or other dishes. You can also roast the pumpkin seeds and serve them to your guests as a special Halloween treat.

Use dishes, cutlery, napkins and tablecloths that can be washed and reused instead of disposable plastic and paper tableware.

Use recycled and recyclable materials to create your Halloween decorations. Bed sheets hung from the ceiling or tree branches make great ghosts, for example, and can be taken down, laundered, and returned to the linen closet when Halloween is over.

Green Halloween Tip 6: Reuse and Recycle
If you don’t already compost, Halloween is a great time to start. You can add post-Halloween jack-o-lanterns to your compost bin, along with fallen leaves, food scraps, and other organic, biodegradable yard and household waste.

Compost creates excellent soil for your garden. You might even use the compost from your backyard bin to help grow the pumpkins that will become next year’s jack-o-lanterns and pumpkin pies.

If you are interested in composting, your local hardware store, garden center, county extension service, or waste disposal agency should be able to help you get started.

Instead of throwing away your Halloween decorations each year, store and reuse them year after year, just as you do decorations for many other holidays, such as Christmas and Hanukkah.

History of the Recycle Symbol

Remarkably, this international icon was created by a student for a contest sponsored by the Container Corporation of America, now part of Smurfit-Stone Container Corp.

Gary Anderson, who at the time was a senior at the University of Southern California, won the contest to design an icon that symbolized the recycling process, a development that grew out of the back-to-the-earth movement of the 1960s and was showcased at the first Earth Day in 1970.

Anderson's simple and expressive design was based on the Mobius loop, a discovery by 19th Century mathematician August Ferdinand Mobius that a paper twisted once over and joined at the tips formed a continuous single-edged, one-sided surface.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Green Halloween Tip 2 and 3

Oops, I've gotten a little behind on the eight Green Halloween tips, so here are nos. two and three.

Green Halloween Tip 2: Make Do-It-Yourself Costumes
Instead of buying a Halloween costume that you or your children will wear once and throw away, make your own costumes from old clothes and other items you already have around the house.

You can also get inexpensive Halloween costume materials from thrift stores or yard sales, or your children may have fun trading Halloween costumes with their friends to get something “new” and different to wear.

By designing and making your own Halloween costumes, you and your children can masquerade as anything you can imagine. When my children were growing up, one dressed up as a garbage can one Halloween. Another dressed herself in a collection of her older sister’s clothes and put ribbons in her hair, creating a costume that happily evoked her imagination even though it was unrecognizable to anyone else.

One boy I met in Washington, DC, went trick-or-treating one year wearing khaki slacks, a blue oxford shirt with the cuffs rolled back, and a striped necktie loosened at the collar. Asked about his costume, he declared he was masquerading as his father, a prominent magazine columnist.

After Halloween, you can either wash and store your homemade costumes for use in subsequent years, trade with friends, or donate the clothing from which they were made to day care centers, homeless shelters, or charitable organizations.

Green Halloween Tip 3: Give Eco-Friendly Treats

When the neighborhood ghouls show up at your door this Halloween, give them treats that also treat the environment gently.

There is a growing variety of eco-friendly candy—from organic chocolate to organic lollipops—available online and from local organic groceries, health food stores, or consumer cooperatives. These organic candies can satisfy your sweet tooth without compromising your health, and they are produced using methods that don’t damage the environment.

Choose treats that use little or no packaging that is produced using fossil fuels and cannot be recycled. Whenever possible, buy locally produced treats from local merchants. Buying locally supports your local economy, and also reduces fuel consumption and pollution associated with transporting products.

Another option is to avoid candy altogether and to give Halloween trick-or-treaters useful treats, such as colorful pencils, small boxes of crayons, erasers in fun shapes, or other inexpensive items you can find at your local dime store or dollar store.

It All Comes Back to YOU


November 15th is America Recycles Day, and to celebrate, we're asking you to take a pledge. A pledge to come together and recycle better, because it’s easier to make a difference now more than ever.

Recycling is one of the easiest ways you can help stop global warming. For example, one ton of recycled paper saves enough energy to power a three-bedroom house for an entire year. And it all starts with recycling your household paper and magazines once a week.

So this year, take five minutes to reevaluate your recycling routine. See if you can do more. Then get a friend to do the same. Start by letting us know you’re answering the call to recycle by signing our online pledge at AmericaRecyclesDay.org.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Green Dogs!

Awesome concept! I'd like to see them in person. The bone seems like a Nylabone, which despite being a great concept, my dog hates.

Great New Use for Plastic Grocery Bags

Check this out!

It's featured as a centerpiece, but you could also use the same premise in gift bags!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Environmental Funnies

A few enviro-quips from the late night joke mill:

Leno 10/12: "According to the latest polls, New Hampshire voters are warming unexpectedly to Hillary Clinton. This could be the best proof we have of global warming: Hillary thawing."

Leno 10/9: "According to Forbes magazine, the richest woman in China is a 26-year-old woman. Know what she does? She sells lead paint."

Letterman 10/11: "Great news for New York City and mankind generally: Mayor Bloomberg is planting a million trees in New York City. It’s all part of the city’s plan to revitalize the city’s logging industry."

Letterman 10/1: "A company that makes ground beef in New Jersey is recalling 300,000 pounds of ground beef. Here’s what they’re going to do: They’re going to mix it with lead paint and turn it into Chinese food."

Letterman 10/2: "President Bush says he’s finally going to take action now on global warming. He became very alarmed when another chunk of ice broke off his mother."

Monday, October 15, 2007

Change the Margins

When it comes to environmental disaster, the margin for error is small. Here's one step we can all take...

Shift Your Spending and Make a Difference

The Big Green Purse "One in a Million" Campaign is urging a million women to shift $1,000 of money they'd spend in a year anyway to green products and services that can help protect the environment. It's important because:

Manufacturing to meet consumer demand drives pollution and climate change.

Pollution and climate change affect our health and safety.

If we use our consumer clout to improve manufacturing, we protect ourselves and the planet, too.

Because women spend $.85 of every dollar in the marketplace, we have the clout to make a difference. Hybrid cars? Organic food? Safe cosmetics? Green shopping has already had an impact.

For more information, visit the "One in a Million" Campaign and/or The Big Green Purse.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Snoop Dogg to Pick Up Trash in Sentence

SANTA ANA, Calif. - Snoop Dogg will spend 160 hours picking up trash at an Orange County park as part of his sentence for carrying an illegal weapon in an airport last year, authorities said Thursday.

The rapper, whose real name is Cordozar Calvin Broadus Jr., will do "everything from raking leaves to painting benches" in order to meet the 160 hours of community service he was ordered to perform, his attorney, Donald Etra, said.

"He's glad to make a contribution to Orange County," the attorney said.

Dogg chose the park site from a list of probation-approved community service sites and will be supervised by a park ranger, county Deputy District Attorney Andre Manssourian said. A Superior Court judge approved the park service on Wednesday. Etra and county officials declined to release the name of the park, citing concerns that media and fans might interfere with the work.

No date was given for him to start or complete the service, but he wants to perform it as quickly as possible, his attorney said.

Energy Savings at Red Bank Wal-Mart

I wanted to share an experience I had at the new Wal-Mart near my office today. When I walked down the frozen foods aisle to pick up a pizza for lunch, I felt a strange sense that something was happening as I walked down the aisles. Then I caught it. All of the lights were off in the freezer case, but as I walked down the aisle, the lights came on. I guess it's similar to the bathrooms that have those type of lights. Anyway, I thought it was incredibly cool.

On a similar note, I went to Phoenix Recycled Products with our recycling group this week. They make products from recycled tires, including the rubberized mulch you see at the big box stores. The owner mentioned that Wal-Mart has mandated that their products contain recycled-content generated from Wal-Mart by 2009 in order for them to carry their products.

It's so interesting to see how a mega-power like Wal-Mart can impact so many environmental changes. It's all about the bottom line, and I'm still not a huge Wal-Mart fan, but it's really fascinating to watch.

National Lawn Gets Organic Makeover

Oct. 10 -- A section of the lawn at the National Mall in Washington, D.C., has become a pilot project for an organic lawn maintenance project by the federal government.

SafeLawns.org, a coalition of nonprofit and for-profit groups that advocate organic lawn care, has recently plowed a section of the lawn at the National Mall and added compost, other natural soil amendments and fertilizers before reseeding the four-acre area.

The National Park Service and the Environmental Protection Agency will evaluate how the section with the complete organic makeover compares with another section maintained conventionally by the National Park Service and a third section that receives standard organic treatment.

The three block comparison is between the U.S. Capitol Building and the Washington Monument, starting at 3rd Street and extending to 7th Street.

It´s Miller (Recycling) Time

Sounds like it's Miller time to me!

Oct. 10 -- Miller Brewing Co. recycled nearly 100 percent of its brewery waste, according to the company’s first Sustainable Development Report.

The Milwaukee-based brewer detailed 10 global sustainable development priorities, such as conservation, recycling and community impact, in the report.

In 2006, the company’s breweries recycled 99.3 percent of their waste, including glass, aluminum, cardboard and organic residue. Miller also reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 10 percent per barrel of beer over the past two years, equivalent to offsetting the carbon output of one of its breweries for a year.

Last year, the company conserved 196 million gallons of water through efficiency programs, enough to brew and package 21 million cases of beer.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

For Kids of All Ages

Meet the Greens. This is a Web site about looking after the planet, but "grown ups" will love it, too. I especially liked Fashion 101.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Children Are Enthusiastic Recyclers

In honor of Christian's new baby girl, I offer this link to about.com's list of great environmental Web sites and activities for our littlest recyclers.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

New Ways to Play with Old Hardware

For tongue-in-cheek alterntives to trashing old eletronics and some VERY COOL pictures, visit Dark Roasted Blend. This fish sculpture was one of my favorites!

Friday, October 5, 2007

Super Bowl will be green on and off field

Oct. 4 -- Arizona is promising to host the greenest Super Bowl ever. The state´s Department of Environmental Quality is joining up with the event´s host committee and the National Football league to create an environmentally friendly gathering when the big game is played in Glendale, Ariz., next February.

The NFL, for years now, has been incorporating environmental programs into Super Bowl activities. But this is the first time a state environmental agency, a host committee and the NFL are working together, the ADEQ said.

"It will be good for the Arizona´s economy and good for our environment," said Steve Owens, ADEQ director.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Green Costume Ideas for Halloween

Looking for a way to spread the message of environmentalism with a sense of humor? Why not consider a green-themed Halloween costume for this year's round of parties and trick-or-treating?

Following are 10 costume ideas with eco-friendly flair. You can be even more green by making sure you use old or recycled clothing, fabrics and other materials when putting together your preferred look for Oct. 31:

Green business. After all, everyone seems to be doing this (or at least claiming to be), right? A simple costume: all you need is an all-green business suit or business skirt outfit. Browse the thrift stores or resale shops, or dye (environmentally friendly colors only, please) an old suit green if necessary. You can heighten the effect with green face paint and green hair, if you like.

Willie Nelson. Another easy costume. All you need is a long, gray wig wrapped into a single braid, a cowboy hat or bandana on your head, some old jeans and a fake gray beard and, voila, you're everybody's favorite progressive country musician-slash-biofuel advocate.

Al Gore. This one's even easier ... and guarantees lively party conversations with your conservative friends: all you need is a sharp, dark suit (add a bit of extra body padding underneath), white shirt, dark tie and a copy of "An Inconvenient Truth" tucked under your arm, and you're set.

Compact fluorescent light bulb. Start your costume by donning a tight, white turtleneck and slim white pants or tights. Then inflate a dozen or so long, white balloons, tie them end to end, and wrap them around you from chest to hips for that unique, spiral-bound light bulb look.

Mother Nature/Mother Earth/Gaia. A classic look that can be achieved in a variety of ways: swirly broom skirt with peasant blouse, sea-blue and grass-green sweater and tights, or even an Earth globe sandwich board. Dress up the look with a floral head-wreath; flowers, fish and animal cut-outs pinned to your clothes; and a fake bluebird or robin perched on your arm.

Global warming. Start with an Earth globe sandwich board costume, clip one of those old-fashioned ice bags (or stuff an old white t-shirt with socks and tie a knot at the top) to the top of your head and stick an oversized thermometer (you can make one using a extra-large straw or long balloon if you can't find the appropriate prop) with a reading of 105 degrees Fahrenheit in your mouth. Ta da! You're the walking incarnation of climate change.

Tree hugger. Cut an extra pair of arm holes below the sleeves of an old sweatshirt or t-shirt, and stick your arms through those. Stuff the shirt's sleeves with rags, newspaper or socks, pin the ends together in front of you, then tuck a small, fake tree inside the false arms.

Rising sea levels. This one's for fans of really bad puns: Dress in a sea-blue turtleneck and tights or slim pants, cut out a few dozen letter "Cs" from white fabric or paper, and pin, sew or glue them to your clothes in an ascending sequence around your body. Rising "Cs," get it?

Green roof. Find or make yourself a flat-topped hat and cover it with fake grass or turf-like carpeting. Glue a miniature chimney or satellite antenna on as well for added effect.

"I'm Not a Plastic Bag." Dress up as one of the year's hottest green fashion statements: Anya Hindmarch's canvas shopping bag. Create a body-sized bag with canvas or light-colored burlap, attach a handle to the top and write the fashion statement (you can see what the bag looks like here) on the front with a marker or fabric paint.

© Shirley Siluk Gregory

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Penquins Take on Global Warming

Green Halloween Tip One:Trick or Treat with Reusable Bags

When the little ghosts and goblins in your family go trick-or-treating this Halloween, make sure they carry reusable bags or containers that don’t need to be discarded after they are used.

Cloth or canvas shopping bags, or even pillowcases, make terrific eco-friendly alternatives to paper or plastic bags, or to the molded plastic jack-o-lanterns so many kids use to collect candy at Halloween.

Americans use more than 380 million plastic bags and more than 10 million paper bags every year. Plastic bags end up as litter, kill thousands of marine mammals annually, and break down slowly into small particles that continue to pollute soil and water. During production, plastic bags require millions of gallons of fossil fuels that could be used for fuel and heating; paper bag production consumes more than 14 million trees annually in the U.S.

Reusable bags are not only better for the environment at Halloween, they’re also better for kids. Paper and plastic bags can tear easily, spilling Halloween treats and disappointing children. Reusable bags are much more durable.

Special Thanks to About.com and Writer Larry West