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

Friday, May 30, 2008

Cool People Car Pool

Be a part of a CoolPeople Care program, get a free sticker AND save gas. What else can you ask for? Check it out today!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Our Favorite New Book

There once was a town called Abberdoo-Rimey. Where garbage was left to grow rotten and slimy.

It never smelled fresh. The air was all hazy. But the people did nothing. They got rather lazy.

But the townspeople are called to action when a streak of green crash-lands in the town dump! It's not a bird, nor a plane, but a new kind of superhero- Michael Recycle, who has a plan to save Abberdoo-Rimey...and the world.

Fresh and funny, Michael Recycle will entertain young and old while gently imparting an important message about recycling and environmental awareness. A special section of Go Green Tips from Michael recycle himself encourages all kids to become environmental superheroes.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Cool Tool!

Check out the Drive Smarter Challenge to find out how you can save money and fuel in YOUR vehicle.

Friday, May 23, 2008

A New Way to Sit in the Grass

The ultimate grow-your-own—the grass armchair. Here is the answer to those tricky design problems—where to put the garden chairs, what kind to buy, will they get rusty, be comfortable, be green, look good.

The grass armchair is available from Purves & Purves, a furniture design shop. It’s a flatpack, do it yourself kit, consisting of a 14 piece corrugated cardboard frame and a package of grass seeds. It starts to grow after just 10 days.

First decide on the best location for it—at the back of the garden so you can enjoy it in peace, or at the front so that you can watch it grow. But it can’t be moved so be serious about this.

After you assemble the cardboard frame, you fill it with 240 litres of soil ( supply your own), sprinkle the grass seeds over it, and water it daily. Watch it grow. And enjoy. ::Purves and Purves

Restaurants Push for More Green

Big chains embrace initiative; smaller operators pressured
By Mike Hughlett Tribune reporter

The restaurant industry unveiled a big push to go green Monday, and it couldn't have come at a better time. Or a worse time, depending on your perspective.

At its annual convention in Chicago, the National Restaurant Association launched an initiative to lessen the industry's environmental impact—cutting energy use, reducing waste and so on. While clad in feel-good green, such an initiative could also have long-term economic benefits for restaurants.

But in the short term, many restaurants are hurting, battling a soft economy and soaring ingredient and labor costs. The upshot: Restaurant chains with deep pockets, like McDonald's Corp., are likely to seize the moment and sink money into going green. And small operators with shrinking cash flows are more likely to hold back.

"They just don't have the reserves to invest," said Chris Muller, restaurant management professor at the University of Central Florida.

"The richer companies, typically significant chains, they can pounce in times of economic adversity and use [going green] as a competitive advantage," he said. "In a down market, you invest capital because you know the market will come back."

Going green is a term that can easily become mere marketing babble.

In the restaurant business, "we really don't know how to define what green really means," Muller said.

Still, green practices generally would decrease energy and water use, while increasing recycling and cutting back on waste.

The National Restaurant Association is trying to spread the green word through a program called "Conserve: Solutions for Sustainability." It features a Web site with tips ranging from inexpensive advice to information on major projects.

Major investments can have long-term paybacks, said Richard Young, senior engineer at Fisher Nickel, a California-based food-service research firm. For instance, a restaurant can choose to buy a new fryer for $800, or shell out $3,400 for a more energy-efficient model. The latter would likely last twice as long and save an operator more than $2,000 in energy costs in an eight-year period, Young said.

Most restaurant operations are full of cost-saving and energy-saving opportunities, he said. And restaurant companies are looking even harder at them now as their other costs, from ingredients to labor, are rising at a fast clip, Young said.

Oak Brook-based restaurant giant McDonald's began paying attention to conservation during the 1970s energy crisis and has bolstered its efforts in recent years. Its strategy is based on purchasing the most energy-efficient equipment—from grills and fryers to heating systems—coupled with everyday energy-saving practices, such as running equipment only when necessary.

Last year, McDonald's said it cut carbon dioxide emissions by 200,000 tons and made a 3.75 percent reduction in energy use at company-owned stores. Those energy-saving measures saved the company $30 million, said Jill Scandridge, a McDonald's spokeswoman.McDonald's is building its first full-scale "green restaurant" on Chicago's South Side. It will include low-flow toilets and skylights that allow for natural light during the day.

"It's really our learning lab for sustainable tactics," said Max Carmona, McDonald's senior director of U.S. restaurant design. "What works here we can take to a larger scale in the future."

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


I have this book on order. Garbage Land was GREAT!

It’s not shocking to learn that Americans drink more bottled water than they did ten years ago, but how much more is astounding. Sales of bottled water have increased by 170 percent since 1997, surpassing sales of both beer and milk. In Bottlemania: How Water Went on Sale and Why We Bought It, journalist Elizabeth Royte spins a compelling story of how beverage companies have successfully persuaded Americans to spend more than $10 billion annually on a product that’s available everywhere practically free of charge.

Royte (whose book Garbage Land followed the trail of American trash) is a great guide through bottled water’s brave new world. Each chapter chronicles a different issue facing the industry, from the mechanics of large-scale water pumping, to the problems of plastic bottles, to the use of “hydrostitutes” (industry-paid scientists). But it’s the section on what’s actually in the water we drink that makes this book an essential, if somewhat disturbing, read.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Babies "R" Us: More Parents Registering for Green Items

Parents increasingly are registering for green items for their babies, according to a trend national retailer Babies "R" Us has identified.

The company maintains a dialogue with new and expectant mothers to gain insight into shopping preferences. More than half of all first-time moms register with Babies "R" Us or Toys "R" Us for their wish list of items for their baby. Those lists increasingly include organic and environmentally friendly products, said Tori Binau, senior vice president of marketing for Babies "R" Us.

"In the past, color and pattern were key determining factors but, now, parents are increasingly interested in ensuring that their baby´s world is healthy and clean," Binau said.

Brown Goes Green

May 14 -- United Parcel Service of America Inc. is adding another 500 hybrid electric and compressed natural gas vehicles to the company´s fleet.

The Atlanta-based delivery giant said an order of 200 hybrid electric trucks is its largest order ever for such vehicles. The firm also is adding another 300 CNG vehicles to its delivery fleet in the United States.

"Alternative fuel research and development is just one of the ways that UPS is mitigating climate change risks," said Bob Stoffel, UPS´s corporate sustainability officer. "We also are focused on aggressive conservation programs and improving network efficiency to cut fuel use."

The company´s alternative fuel fleet will grow to 2,218 in the United States.

A Favorite New Site

I found a FABULOUS Web site this week - Tin Can Sally!

Tin Can Sally is recycled tin artist, Sarah Kilvert, who operates out of her studio in southern Maine.
Her medium is old and new advertising tins! After carefully studying the graphics on each tin, she hand-cuts and forms each switch plate individually, no two are exactly alike and some are only 1 or 2 of a kind! They are available as single and double switch and outlet in a variety of sizes made to suit each tin's unique art and text. (You can even send her a tin of your own for her to use - how cool!) Check it out!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

How Green Are YOU?

You've read the news—everyone wants to be green now. But do you really know how your personal choices are adding up? What about the choices of your fellow citizens? How well are people around the globe adopting behaviors that can make the world a more environmentally sustainable place?

National Geographic has a great new site, Greendex, where you can:

1. Calculate your personal Greendex score.
2. Measure your knowledge of some basic issues against what your fellow citizens know, at home and around the world.
3. Learn how to take steps to change your behavior so you ARE making a difference. Visit the Green Guide.

I scored 100 on the quiz, but didn't do much better than other Americans with my Greendex score! I need to drive less and give up bottled water.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Offensive, Foul.

From Pete Fehrenbach, managing editor of Waste News.

The San Francisco 49ers professional football franchise is considering building a new stadium on the site of a former garbage dump in Brisbane, Calif.

I apologize in advance for this flagrantly mismatched sports metaphor, but is that not a deliciously fat pitch, wisecrackwise?

Insert your own punchline about the odor of the 49ers' recent-years on-field performance here.

Time to Turn Back to the Tap?

Did you know that:

Bottled water costs as much as $10 per gallon compared to less than a penny per gallon for tap waters?

Making bottles to meet Americans' demand for bottled water required the equivalent of more than 17 million barrels of oil in 2006, enough fuel for more than 1 million United States cars for a year, and generated more than 2.5 million tons of carbon dioxide?

96% of bottled water is sold in single-size polyethylene terephthalate plastic bottles, which end up in city trash cans rather than recycling bins?

Learn more about the bottled water backlash at two great sites: Tappening and Turn to Tap!

Monday, May 5, 2008


I found this while cleaning out my e-mail box. My friend, Dolly, sent this to me seven years ago after a gardening seminar. I still like it as much as I did back then!

Imagine the conversation The Creator might have with St. Francis about this:

"Frank, you know all about gardens and nature. What in the world is going on down there in the "States"? What happened to the dandelions, violets, thistle and stuff I started eons ago? I had a perfect, no-maintenance garden plan. Those plants grow in any type of soil, withstand drought and multiply with abandon. The nectar from the long-lasting blossoms attracted butterflies, honey bees and flocks of songbirds. I expected to see a vast garden of colors by now. But all I see are these green rectangles."

"It's the tribes that settled there, Lord. The Suburbanites. They started calling your flowers 'weeds' and went to great extent to kill them and replace them with grass."

"Grass? But it's so boring. It's not colorful. It doesn't attract butterflies, birds and bees, only grubs and sod worms. It's temperamental with temperatures. Do these Suburbanites really want all that grass growing there?"

"Apparently so, Lord. They go to great pains to grow it and keep it green. They begin each spring by fertilizing grass and poisoning any other plant that crops up in the lawn."

"The spring rains and cool weather probably make grass grow really fast. That must make the Suburbanites happy."

"Apparently not, Lord. As soon as it grows a little, they cut it -- sometimes twice a week."

"They cut it? Do they then bale it like hay?"

"Not exactly, Lord. Most of them rake it up and put it in bags."

"They bag it? Why? Is it a cash crop? Do they sell it?"

"No, sir. Just the opposite. They pay to throw it away."

"Now let me get this straight. They fertilize grass so it will grow. And when it does grow, they cut it off and pay to throw it away?"

"Yes, sir."

"These Suburbanites must be relieved in the summer when we cut back on the rain and turn up the heat. That surely slows the growth and saves them a lot of work."

"You aren't going believe this, Lord. When the grass stops growing so fast, they drag out hoses and pay more money to water it so they can continue to mow it and pay to get rid of it."

"What nonsense! At least they kept some of the trees. That was a sheer stroke of genius, if I do say so myself. The trees grow leaves in the spring to provide beauty and shade in the summer. In the autumn they fall to the ground and form a natural blanket to keep moisture in the soil and protect the trees and bushes. Plus, as they rot, the leaves form compost to enhance the soil. It's a natural circle of life."

"You better sit down, Lord. The Suburbanites have drawn a new circle. As soon as the leaves fall, they rake them into great piles and have them hauled away."

"No! What do they do to protect the shrub and tree roots in the winter and keep the soil moist and loose?"

"After throwing away your leaves, they go out and buy something they call mulch. They haul it home and spread it around in place of the leaves."

"And where do they get this mulch?"

"They cut down trees and grind them up."

"Enough! I don't want to think about this anymore. Saint Catherine, you're in charge of the arts. What movie have you scheduled for us tonight?"

"Dumb and Dumber, Lord. It's a real stupid movie about..."

"Never mind. I think I just heard the whole story."

Jessica and Ashlee not included

Universal Studios is launching a Simpsons-themed ride, but don't have a cow, man! It uses LED lighting and energy-efficient electronics -- so it's as green as Ned Flanders' sweater. Ay, caramba! Though, not, of course, as green as having no ride at all ... D'oh!

Sam's Club Offers Electronics Recycling Program

Editor's Note: I'm a Sam's Club member and hope to try this soon. If anyone else has experience with the program, please let me know. I do see from a quick check that monitors aren't accepted.

BENTONVILLE, Ark. (AP) -- Sam's Club warehouse stores are starting a new online recycling program for electronics that will pay for some of the items that customers want to discard.

Under the program announced Wednesday by Sterling, Va.-based NEW Customer Service Companies Inc., Sam's Club will help its members dispose of older small- to medium-size electronics. The company has a link to the program on its Web site.

Items accepted under the program include desktop and laptop computers, game systems, LCD monitors, printers, camcorders, digital cameras and MP3 players.

Sam's Club, a division of world's largest retailer Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT, Fortune 500)., won't collect the items at its stores. But members will be able to ship items free of charge to recycling centers.

For items determined to still have value, members will get Sam's Club gift cards. Even if the items aren't purchased, the program will provide prepaid shipping and will recycle the items.

The program guarantees that the electronics won't end up in landfills and won't be exported. The items may be reconditioned and sold or disassembled so parts can be sold or turned into raw material to produce new items, NEW Customer Service said.

Members who want to recycle items can go to the program Web site, fill out a form and enter contact information. The system will generate a label for free shipping.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Greenwashing: It’s Not Black and White

Check out the Greenwashing Index — home of the world’s first online interactive forum that allows consumers to evaluate real advertisements making environmental claims.

“Going green” has become mainstream for businesses large and small — and that’s a good thing. What’s not so great is when businesses make environmental marketing claims that can be misleading.

The intent of Greenwashing Index is to:

Help consumers become more savvy about evaluating environmental marketing claims of advertisers;

Hold businesses accountable to their environmental marketing claims; and

Stimulate the market and demand for sustainable business practices that truly reduce the impact on the environment.

The integrity of today’s green ads can range from outstanding to outrageous, so it’s important for consumers to educate themselves on what makes environmental marketing claims truly authentic. The Greenwashing Index is an automated tool that provides five simple criteria developed by advertising academia and weighted according to their relevance in marketing claims.

I Want That!

Check out this new bag from Ecoist.com. I actually have a similar one, but it's a lot smaller!

It's the Pitts

Pittsburgh beats out L.A. for sootiest U.S. city

Pittsburgh, Pa., has received the dubious honor of being the U.S. city most well-sooted for short-term particle pollution, topping an annual list put out by the American Lung Association. Los Angeles came in at a surprise second as Pittsburgh became the first non-California city to top an ALA list. "It's not that Pittsburgh has gotten worse," says the association's Janice Nolen. "It's that Los Angeles has gotten better." A little better, anyway: L.A. was still deemed the worst city for ground-level ozone and for year-round particle pollution (Pittsburgh was the runner-up on that list). Overall, some 42 percent of the American population has unhealthy exposure to ozone and/or soot, according to the report. Want to breathe clean air? Fargo, N.D., beckons.

Editor's Note: But at least they have The Andy Warhol Museum!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Trash Talk

We're way overdue for one of our periodic jaunts through the world of wild and wacky waste headlines from the World Wide Web.

'Tis The (Post-) Season: "Trash-talking sparks Bryant to 49-point game as Lakers win," Associated Press, April 24

Actually They Just Need To Go For The Jugular: "Cavs need to take out the garbage," Akron Beacon-Journal, April 30

Add This To The List Of Great Team Names: "Start recycling today for chance to win Hickory Crawdads tickets," Statesville [N.C.] Record & Landmark, May 1

Link Tight-Lipped, Provides Few Answers: "U.S. report questions link between Great Lakes pollution, health problems," Canadian Press, April 30

Whistler's Mother Mortified: "Fur flies over Whistler bear birth control," Calgary Herald, April 29

Unusual Unit of Measure: "Recycling tonnage equals 12.5 Chevy Impalas," Schaumburg [Ill.] Review, May 1

Fergot To Spell-Czech: "Town deals with anotehr garbage mess," The Evening Sun, Chenango County, N.Y., April 28

Recycling Polyps Kept Hidden? "New recycling 'nodes' unveiled," Harborough [U.K.] Mail, April 30

Tried Tighter Shoes, But That Didn't Work: "Global tourism struggles to shrink environmental footprint," Associated Press, April 30

Then What Did They Do? "Volunteers pull trash, poop," Daily Planet, Telluride, Colo., April 30

Thanks to Pete Fehrenbach, managing editor of Waste News, for these gems.