Saturday, April 30, 2011

From the United States Postal Service

Go Green stamps in action

The Postal Service is doing its part to “Go Green” by providing you with eco-friendly mailing materials and stamps.

As part of our Go Green commitment, we’ve designed a series of 16 Forever stamps showing what each of us can do to promote the health of our environment.

For more information go to:

Friday, April 29, 2011

Create a Mini Greenhouse

Thank you Earth911

Create a (good) greenhouse effect

The plastic bag surrounding the lemonade container creates a greenhouse effect that helps retain moisture and warmth to germinate seeds more quickly.

Plastic lemonade containers are recyclable, but why not reuse them first? Create a mini-greenhouse to promote germination of seedlings so you can be ready to transfer them outside when the weather is right.

You will need a cleaned out powdered lemonade container and a plastic bag.

How to do it:
1. Widen out the container by cutting off any narrow portions at the top.

2. Poke a few holes in the bottom of the container for drainage. Place soil in the container and water lightly.

3. Place your finger in the soil to create a small divot where you will plant the seeds. Make the divots an inch apart. Plant one seed in each of the divots.

4. Wrap the container with a plastic bag and use rubber bands to create a seal. Do not cover the bottom with the plastic bag. Place the mini-greenhouse by a window so light can infiltrate and warm the soil.

5. Check soil moisture every few days and water accordingly. Reseal plastic bag after watering. To watch the progress of your seedlings, use a transparent plastic bag like those used for bread.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Egg Carton Seedling Starter

Thank you Earth911

Instead of buying plastic containers to grow starts, egg cartons are a great alternative.

Hate to throw out that foam egg carton? The small size and shallow depression make egg cartons (both foam and paper) perfect for planting seeds for eventual transplantation.
If you have a space indoors for the seeds to germinate, or a south-facing patio that gets enough early-spring warmth, the egg carton method is for you.

How to do it:
1. With a half-dozen or dozen carton, cut off the lid portion of the carton.
2. Puncture small holes in the bottom of each depression (where each individual egg once rested).
3. Evenly fill entire carton with soil. Place one seed per egg depression/section. Gently water entire carton (be careful not to wash the seed out).
4. If growing and watering indoors, place egg carton lid underneath the planted section of the carton to act as a water catchment device. Once seedlings reach optimal growth for transplantation, gently pop out each start from its section, keeping soil and delicate root ball in tact. Place in outdoor garden or in larger pot if container gardening.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Milk Jug Shovel

Thank you Earth911

After cutting the milk jug in half, a shovel emerges. Use the remaining portion as a planter (remember to puncture some holes) or as a scoop (sans handle).

To give you precision when placing soil in pots, and to prevent a total mess indoors, small, easy-to-control shovels are a welcome addition to any gardening operation.
To make your own shovel from recycled materials, save those milk jugs!

How to do it:
1. Cut off the top portion of the milk jug (the spout). Depending on the amount of shoveling you need to do, both half-gallon and gallon jugs will work.
2. About 1-2 inches underneath the handle, draw a line around the entire milk jug. Puncture the plastic jug so you can cut along the drawn line.
3. Cut along drawn line, and then get to work shoveling!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Spice Up Your Old Pots

Thank you Earth911

If you are sick of the same old look for your potted terra cotta plants, add some flare with your favorite beer or soda bottle caps. Choosing a beverage at the store just got a whole lot more interesting!

With so many bottle cap varieties to choose from, the possibilities are endless for renovating old terra cotta pots.

How to do it:
1. Place a few small drops of super glue on the bottle cap.

2. Press bottle cap onto terra cotta pot for recommended length of time according to super glue package. Space bottle caps according to taste and number of bottle caps collected.

3. Repeat until lip of pot covered with desired amount of bottle caps.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Spring Cleaning Your Garage

Thank you Earth911

Spring Cleaning Your Garage

Quick cleaning tip: For organization, separate your clutter into four categories - garbage, recycling, keep, sell/donate.

Whether you approach spring cleaning with dread or a sense of positivity is entirely up to you, but either way, it has to get done. With a bit of preparation, the right tools, a good attitude and some information, you can zip through your cleaning quickly and feel great about it afterward.

Prepping for spring cleaning

Materials to have on hand: Clothing to cover skin, gloves, bucket of soapy water, trash bags, recycling bin, pencil and paper for notes

When undertaking a dirty and demanding chore like cleaning the understory of your home, have what you need before you start. There’s nothing worse than getting covered in dust only to realize that you forgot something at the store.

Set aside a long-sleeved shirt and pants that will cover your skin and that you don’t mind getting dirty. Sometimes there can be toxic stuff in a basement or garage (there’s some in mine left by previous owners), and it’s easier to clean clothes than one’s skin of paint, glue or random unidentifiable dripping materials circa 1997. I always put my hair back and cover it too, as my basement is very dusty and sometimes hair can get caught when moving things around awkward spaces.

Make sure you have a set of good thick gloves (plastic kitchen gloves or something nonpermeable is best) to deal with materials that may irritate skin. Keep a bucket of warm soapy water and plenty of rags on hand. Be sure to have trash bags (especially if you expect a lot of trash) and a couple boxes for recyclables of various kinds. Lastly, keep a paper and pencil handy to make a list of items you might need to refresh, repair or otherwise remind yourself to deal with later.

Getting started

Rule: If you pick it up, you have to find a place for it.

It can be daunting when you first walk down the stairs and see the mess and jumble of useful stuff and what you know is garbage. The best way to begin is to pick the furthest corner from the door and work in a grid or quadrangle, if your basement is relatively square.

Try to avoid walking from one area to another picking up random stuff. Make it a rule that when you pick something up, you don’t put it down until it’s in an appropriate pile, put away where it belongs or in the trash/recycling.

Sorting and tossing

Create categories: garbage, recycling, keep, sell/give away

As you pick up each item in the grid or quadrangle you are working in, ask yourself if you can put it in one of four categories: garbage, recycling, keep, sell/give away. Force yourself into choosing one of the four categories for each item.

For items you are keeping, try to group items that are used together in one area of the basement. For example, pots, cloth gloves, rakes and seeds should all be together in a gardening section. Paint brushes, caulk, paint, trim and your toolbox can all go together as they are most often used for minor home improvement projects.

Use available wall space to hang things so they are within reach, and any unused bookshelves or tables can be repurposed to display categories of things so you don’t have to dig through boxes; camping equipment or winter sports gear is easier to get to if you can see just what you need.

Dispose of items that are broken and can’t be fixed, or are too old to be of use to anyone. Donate items that are usable, and be sure they are relatively free of dust and dirt (basements can be musty) before doing so.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Wine bottle hydro-plants

Wine bottle hydro-plants

Many plants thrive when completely immersed in water. Here, a juvenile agave plant (left) and a common pothos plant (right). has featured plenty of ways to reuse old beer and wine bottles. For your home garden, another way to reuse wine bottles is to make water planters out of them.

How to do it:
1. Rinse wine bottles and fill with water.
2. With scissors, cut at a portion of stem where there are few leaves (you might have to take off some    leaves from the stem).
3. Put leafless portion of stem in water.
4. Watch beautiful roots begin to grow!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

8 Simple Ways to Reduce Garbage When Shopping

Thank you Farmers' Almanac and Dona Maria Baker for sharing.

8 Simple Ways to Reduce Garbage When Shopping

1. Bring reusable bags. This one is of the easiest ways to reduce trash, but sometimes, if you’re like me, you may forget to put the bags back in the car. So once you’re done unloading, be sure to place the bags back into the car you normally take shopping. Use these bags on all shopping trips—not just the grocery store. Reuse all bags even if some are plastic until you have enough canvas ones.

2. Skip produce bags. Do your bananas really need to be placed into a plastic bag? If you’re buying fruit that can be easily bruised, use a mesh bag that you can use over and over again. We have spotted mesh bags at the dollar stores and some grocery stores sell them.

3 Think bulk. Ever consider the amount of packaging that some of the products you buy come in? And then the waste? Ever buy plastic boxes that conveniently hold fruit and vegetables? Sure they keep the produce safe but in many areas the plastic used for these is not recyclable. Instead why not buy fresh from the farm and bring your own bag. Buy local eggs and use your cartons over again.  Shop at the bakery and bring a pillowcase for your bread or a reusable bag. Some newer grocery stores are offering more bulk products. Bring your own jars and containers and fill them up.

4. Before you buy ask yourself do you really need it? Sometimes the idea of buying something at a great deal isn’t such a great deal for the earth or the growing amount of trash we produce.

5. Don’t buy  single-serving items, which require more packaging per unit. Overpackaged offenders include frozen foods and lunch and snack items. Instead repackage them yourself in plastic containers or baggies you can reuse.

6. Avoid disposable goods, including razors, lighters, and plastic plates. Use the real stuff including rechargeable batteries.

7. Look for multipurpose cleaners instead of buying one for each kind of surface. Or learn how to make your own cleaning items rather than buying them.

8. Remember recycling does work, as does composting, reusing, and a new R — REFUSE. Refuse to buy items that have too much packaging or use that horribly NOT earth friendly Styrofoam containers. Every little bit helps.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Crystal Coast Earth Day Festival

Celebrate Earth Day at the beach and party for the planet. April 23rd the Aquarium teams up with other organizations for an enjoyable day all about the environment. See what’s happening with local conservation efforts and how you can help. Enjoy art by area artists and live music. Activities are at the Coastal Education and Visitor Center at Fort Macon State Park, 2300 West Fort Macon Road in Atlantic Beach. Free.

Call 252-247-4003 for more information.
Dates: April 23, 2011 - April 23, 2011

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Recycle Peanuts With UPS

From the Sun Journal

In celebration of Earth Day on Friday, The UPS Store in New Bern is encouraging people to help protect the environment by bringing in clean foam packing peanuts of all sizes, shapes and colors for reuse and recycling. This is part of an ongoing effort by The UPS Store to increase peanut recycling throughout the year.

“We encourage people to recycle every day, not just on Earth Day,” said Pat Drake, The UPS Store franchisee. “This is our opportunity to help the environment, while providing a convenient solution for the community.”

The UPS Store is at 1822 S. Glenburnie Road in New Bern, across from the main post office.  Their phone number is (252)637-7500.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Scouts Clean Marshlands at Fort Macon

Three truckloads of trash -- shown here -- was removed from marshlands at Fort Macon State Park. Eagle Scout Colon Edge rounded up 17 volunteers for the cleanup project. Where would we be without our Eagle Scouts?


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

It's a Bag's Life

A Bag’s Life Kicks Off in NC

NC Launches ”A Bag’s Life” – Plastic Bag Reuse and Recycle Program

Keep NC  Beautiful Salutes Campaign to Stop littering of Plastic Bags & Promote Reuse and Recycling 

North Carolina today became the fourth state in the nation to join the “A Bag’s Life” recycling education movement which helps consumers find nearly 1,200 grocery and retail store drop off sites for plastic bags statewide.  North Carolina retailers and legislators gathered at the Legislative Building to announce participation in the awareness campaign, which provides a website ( with a zip code locator app and a make-your-own video contest that will begin in the fall. 
 A Bag’s Life, through quirky messaging like “Don’t treat me like trash” and “Gimme a second chance,” encourages consumers to reduce, reuse and recycle their free grocery bags. It also reminds people that other bags like those used for dry cleaning, newspapers and bread, as well as wraps and films used on products like paper towels or bottled water also can be dropped off at many retailers for recycling.

“This program demonstrates what public and private groups can do when they work together,” said Heather Thompson, Director of Keep North Carolina Beautiful. “Recycling plastic bags is a simple earth-friendly practice that can yield tremendous results. By taking the extra time to bring grocery bags back to the store to be recycled, we are giving that bag a second chance to be made into something else like outdoor decking, park benches, or even new bags.”

 About A Bag’s Life in North Carolina
A Bag’s Life is a public education campaign that unites non-profits, business, community and government organizations around the common goal of promoting the three R’s as they relate to plastic bags — reduce, reuse and recycle.  Partners include Keep North Carolina Beautiful, the North Carolina Retail Merchants Association, Trex and the Progressive Bag Affiliates of the American Chemistry Council.  Participating statewide retailers include Food Lion, Harris-Teeter, Ingles, Kroger, Lowe’s Foods, Lowes Home Improvement Warehouse, Target and Walmart

Monday, April 18, 2011

North Carolina's First Green McDonalds

McDonald's on Kildaire Farm Rd in Cary

First “Green” McDonald’s in NC – Take A Break & Visit the Cary Location Today
WOW – Talk about putting the best green technologies and practices into a favorite dining establishment – McDonald’s has done it. The first “green” McDonald’s in North Carolina is located in Cary on Kildaire Farm Road. Not only is a visit to this LEED certified restaurant aesthically pleasing, but provides a hands-on educational experience.

You’ve got to check out these cool features:

  • tables and decor walls using sunflower seed board, bamboo
  • parking for hybrid/fuel efficient vehicles, plus charge stations
  • 19 Solatubes providing natural light
Natural light and eco-friendly seating dominate the space.
For more information and scheduling tours: or 919.469.3519

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The History of NC Keep America Beautiful

North Carolina Keep America Beautiful, Inc. (NC KAB) was established in February, 1984, within the North Carolina Department of Transportation as North Carolina Clean to develop strategies to reduce litter and to support the efforts of Keep America Beautiful, Inc. in North Carolina communities.

In February 1985, under North Carolina General Statues governing charitable organization, the North Carolina Clean Foundation was incorporated and awarded tax-exemption status. The Foundation engaged in substantial interaction with another statewide nonprofit organization, Keep North Carolina Beautiful.

In January 1987, the two groups merged, adopting the name Keep North Carolina Clean and Beautiful with staff support within the North Carolina Department of Transportation as well as private sector entities.

In 1990, Keep North Carolina Clean and Beautiul and the North Carolina Clean Foundation separated with the statewide Keep America Beautiful organization operating as North Carolina Keep America Beautiful, Inc. (NC KAB). Since that time, NC KAB has been housed in the Office of the Governor, NC Department of Environmental Health and Natural Resources and the North Carolina Department of Transportation, Office of Beautification Programs.
In 2004, the NC KAB bylaws were revised and adopted by an interim Board of Directors for the purpose of moving the organization forward.

September 24, 2007, NC KAB with funding from the Department of Transportation and the North Carolina Beverage Association, reorganized under the direction of a new board of directors and retained an executive director. The office is located in Charlotte, NC.
In December 2009, the name NCKAB was changed to Keep North Carolina Beautiful (KNCB) under the creation of a new logo and web site.

It is the intent of KNCB to affirm the partnership with the affiliates in local communities, the KNCB Board of Directors and the national Keep America Beautiful organization as a state affiliate.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Top Eco Friendly Cars of 2011

Thank you EcoVillageGreen for this information.

The Top Eco Friendly Cars of 2011

by Joe Barrios in Eco Friendly Home Tips

There have been great strides in the automotive industry to reduce carbon emissions and improve fuel efficiency so as to make cars less abusive of the environment. In 2011, we have seen an influx of relatively eco friendly cars that combine practicality with style and luxury to suit almost anyone’s taste.
When deciding which eco friendly cars stand out above the rest, there are certain factors that need to be considered. A vehicle’s fuel efficiency goes hand and hand with its carbon emissions and overall environmental performance, but it’s important to also consider which vehicles are practical in size and what standard features are most convenient.
While the Toyota Prius has held the market for the most eco friendly car throughout the last 5 years, it seems it now has some steep competition. With the recent rash of recalls from Toyota, it seems that this little hybrid powerhouse will be on standby with consumers until the company works out all of the kinks. The addition of a solar powered moon roof in more recent models, which is an optional feature, to power the air conditioning system in the car is a nice feature–but will this really be enough to restore confidence in Toyota, as a company?
Voted Motor Trend’s 2011 Car of the Year, the Chevrolet Volt is a gas/electric hybrid that packs a whopping 149 horsepower. Leaving Prius in the dust by over 50 horsepower, the Volt still manages to be highly fuel efficient and houses a slew of standard features. This powerful, yet thoughtful eco friendly car is earning honors for its solid construction and swift ‘get up and go’ feel.

As the only full sized sedan on this list, the Ford Fusion Hybrid stands out above the rest. With 41 miles per gallon fuel rating and the most affordable price tag, the Fusion Hybrid is an excellent choice. The Ford company has come a long way over the last few years and has led the pack of American automobile manufacturers in making eco friendly cars. The Fusion Hybrid boasts the highest projected resale value out of all the hybrid vehicles available in its class and comes loaded with features, like the hands-free ‘sync’ system and a fuel efficiency monitor built into the dashboard.

The year 2011 has seen some great innovations and technological advances in eco friendly cars. With so many options to choose from, there is something for every taste and practical need. Taking the time to thoroughly research your decision can help you decide which eco cars are right for your specific needs. Don’t forget to take your top favorites out for a test drive and even consider renting one for a week from your local dealership before making your final decision.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Recycle Your Car For a Tax Deduction

Do you have a junk vehicle you would like to get rid of?

Auto recyclers may choose to scrap your vehicle for parts or for its metal.  In many cases a person in need may already own an automobile of their own that has simply broken down due to the need of a replacement part. When you decide on auto recycling for your vehicle, the receiving recycling yard may be able to remove commonly needed parts and therefore be able to help several needy people at once.

If you live in the United States, another consideration is that the Internal Revenue Service allows a tax deduction of up to five hundred dollars per donated vehicle. The IRS provides an auto recycling guide via their website at

Ready to recycle your car, then? The Internet is a great place to find local auto recycling yards as well as more information on the subject. The environment will appreciate your contribution to sustainability, a person in need will appreciate your charitable donation, and you will appreciate the extra space in your driveway, garage or yard. If you’re in the US, the money in your wallet from your tax deduction will thank you too.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Green Buildings

The buildings in which we live, work, and play protect us from nature's extremes, yet they also affect our health and environment in countless ways. The design, construction, operation, maintenance, and removal of buildings takes enormous amounts of energy, water, and materials, and generates large quantities of waste, air and water pollution, as well as creating stormwater runoff and heat islands. Buildings also develop their own indoor environments, which present an array of health challenges. Where and how they are built affects wildlife habitat and corridors and the hydrologic cycle, while influencing the overall quality of human life.

In the United States alone, buildings account for:
-65% of electricity consumption,
-36% of energy use,
-30% of greenhouse gas emissions,
-30% of raw materials use,
-30% of waste output (136 million tons annually), and
-12% of potable water consumption.

As the environmental impact of buildings becomes more apparent, a new field called green building is gaining momentum. Green or sustainable building is the practice of creating healthier and more resource-efficient models of construction, renovation, operation, maintenance, and demolition.

The environmental benefits to green building are far reaching and include:
-Enhance and protect ecosystems and biodiversity
-Improve air and water quality
-Reduce solid waste
-Conserve natural resources

Economic benefits of green building include:
-Reduce operating costs
-Enhance asset value and profits
-Improve employee productivity and satisfaction
-Optimize life-cycle economic performance

Health and community benefits of green building include:
-Improve air, thermal, and acoustic environments
-Enhance occupant comfort and health
-Minimize strain on local infrastructure
-Contribute to overall quality of life

Content from: US Green Building Council and the Environmental Protection Agency.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Energy Conservation

Thank you Carolina Recycling Association for this information:

Energy Conservation

Did you know the average household could cut a third - or even half - of its current energy bill by switching to energy-efficient appliances, equipment and lighting, which use less energy than standard products? Below are ideas on how you can save money and energy.
  • Replace standard incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) and save 75% of lighting costs.
  • Unplug electronics, battery chargers and other equipment when not in use. Taken together, these small items can use as much power as your refrigerator.
  • Take steps to cut water use such as installing faucet aerators, low-flow showerheads, and low-flush toilets.
  • A 5° higher setting on your air conditioning thermostat will save about 10% on cooling costs.
  • Always buy ENERGY STAR qualified appliances and equipment - they're up to 40% more efficient.
  • Turn your water heater down to 120° or the "Normal" setting when home, and to the lowest setting when away. Water heating accounts for about 13% of home energy costs.
  • Reduce air conditioning costs by using fans, keeping windows and doors shut and closing shades during the day.
  • Turn off unnecessary lighting and use task or desktop lamps with CFLs instead of overhead lights.
  • Enable "power management" on all computers and make sure to turn them off at night. A laptop computer uses up to 90% less energy than bigger desktop models.
  • When possible, wash clothes in cold water. About 90% of the energy use in a clothes washer goes to water heating.
  • Run your dishwasher and clothes washer only when fully loaded. Fewer loads reduce energy and water use.
  • Make sure your dryer's outside vent is clear and clean the lint filter after every load. When shopping for a new dryer look for one with a moisture sensor that automatically shuts off when clothes are dry.
  • Test for air leaks by holding a lit incense stick next to windows, doors, electrical boxes, plumbing fixtures, electrical outlets, ceiling fixtures, attic hatches and other locations where there is a possible air path to the outside. If the smoke stream travels horizontally, you have located an air leak that may need caulking, sealing or weather stripping.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Water Conservation Part 4

In honor of Earth Week for Less Means More, I am dedicating the next few blogs on water conservation.  Thank you CRA for the information.

Saving Water Outside

1. Put a layer of mulch around trees and plants. Chunks of bark, peat moss or gravel slows down evaporation. Saves 750 to 1,500 gallons a month.

8. Drive your car onto a lawn to wash it. Rinse water can help water the grass.

9. Tell your children not to play with the garden hose. Saves 10 gallons a minute.

11. Xeriscape - replace your lawn and high-water-using trees and plants with less thirsty ones. But do this only in wet years. Even drought resistant plantings take extra water to get them going. That'll save 750 to 1,500 gallons a month.
12. When taking your car to a car wash--a good idea for saving water - be sure it's one of the many that recycles its wash water.

13. Dispose of hazardous materials properly! One quart of oil can contaminate 250,000 gallons of water, effectively eliminating that much water from our water supply. Contact your city, county or provincial government for proper waste disposal options. And don't flush prescription medications!
10. If you allow your children to play in the sprinklers, make sure it's only when you're watering the yard - if it's not too cool at that time of day.
7. Have an evaporative air conditioner? Direct the water drain line to a flower bed, tree base, or lawn.
6. Set lawn mower blades one notch higher. Longer grass means less evaporation. Saves 500 to 1,500 gallons each month.
5. Cut down watering on cool and overcast days and don't water in the rain. Adjust or deactivate automatic sprinklers. Can save up to 300 gallons each time.
4. Don't water the lawn on windy days. There's too much evaporation. Can waste up to 300 gallons in one watering.
3. Water during the cool parts of the day. Early morning is better than dusk since it helps prevent the growth of fungus. Saves 300 gallons.
2. If you have a pool, use a pool cover to cut down on evaporation. It will also keep your pool cleaner and reduce the need to add chemicals. Saves 1,000 gallons a month.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Water Conservation Part 3

In honor of Earth Week for Less Means More, I am dedicating the next few blogs on water conservation.  Thank you CRA for the information.

Saving Water in the Kitchen

1. If you wash dishes by hand - and that's the best way - don't leave the water running for rinsing. If you have two sinks, fill one with rinse water. If you only have one sink, use a spray device or short blasts instead of letting the water run. Saves 200 to 500 gallons a month.

3. Keep a bottle of drinking water in the refrigerator. This beats the wasteful habit of running tap water to cool it for drinking.

6. Use the garbage disposal less and the garbage more (even better - compost!). Saves 50 to 150 gallons a month.
5. Don't let the faucet run while you clean vegetables. Rinse them in a filled sink or pan. Saves 150 to 250 gallons a month.
4. Don't defrost frozen foods with running water. Either plan ahead by placing frozen items in the refrigerator overnight or defrost them in the microwave.
Saves 50 to 150 gallons a month.
2. When washing dishes by hand, use the least amount of detergent possible. This minimizes rinse water needed. Saves 50 to 150 gallons a month.
Saves 200 to 300 gallons a month.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Water Conservation Part 2

In honor of Earth Week for Less Means More, I am dedicating the next few blogs on water conservation.  Thank you CRA for the information.

Saving Water in the Bathroom

1. Put a plastic bottle or a plastic bag weighted with pebbles and filled with water in your toilet tank. Displacing water in this manner allows you to use less water with each flush. Saves 5 to 10 gallons a day. That's up to 300 gallons a month, even more for large families. Better yet, for even greater savings, replace your water-guzzling five to seven gallon a flush toilet with a one and a half gallon, ultra-low flush model.
Saves 200 to 300 gallons a month.

2. If you're taking a shower, don't waste cold water while waiting for hot water to reach the shower head. Catch that water in a container to use on your outside plants or to flush your toilet.

3. Check toilet for leaks. Put dye tablets or food coloring into the tank. If color appears in the bowl without flushing, there's a leak that should be repaired. Saves 400 gallons a month.

4. Turn off the water while brushing your teeth. Saves three gallons each day.

5. Turn off the water while shaving. Fill the bottom of the sink with a few inches of water to rinse your razor. Saves three gallons each day.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Water Conservation Part 1

In honor of Earth Week for Less Means More, I am dedicating the next few blogs on water conservation.  Thank you CRA for the information.

Water Conservation

Water is essential to life on earth. We need water to grow food, provide power, control fire, for sanitation and last but not least, we need it to stay alive! If water is constantly being cleaned and recycled through the earth's water cycle, why do we need to conserve it? The answer is that people use up our planet's fresh water more quickly than it can naturally be replenished.
Water conservation is the most cost-effective and environmentally sound way to reduce our demand for water. Using less water also puts less pressure on our sewage treatment facilities, and uses less energy for water heating.

What can I do?

There are many effective ways to conserve water in and around your home. Look through this list for ways that will work for you. Indoor savings mentioned below are based on a family of two adults and one child.

Top Ten Ways to Save the Most

1. Water your lawn only when it needs it. Step on your grass. If it springs back, when you lift your foot, it doesn't need water. So set your sprinklers for more days in between watering. Saves 750-1,500 gallons per month. Better yet, especially in times of drought, water with a hose. And best of all, convert your lawn to native plants.
2. Fix leaky faucets and plumbing joints. Saves 20 gallons per day for every leak stopped.

3. Don't run the hose while washing your car. Use a bucket of water and a quick hose rinse at the end. Saves 150 gallons each time. For a two-car family that's up to 1,200 gallons a month.

4. Install water-saving shower heads or flow restrictors. Saves 500 to 800 gallons per month.

5. Run only full loads in the washing machine and dishwasher. Saves 300 to 800 gallons per month.

6. Shorten your showers. Even a one or two minute reduction can save up to 700 gallons per month.

7. Use a broom instead of a hose to clean driveways and sidewalks. Saves 150 gallons or more each time. At once a week, that's more than 600 gallons a month.
8. Don't use your toilet as an ashtray or wastebasket. Saves 400 to 600 gallons per month.

9. Capture tap water. While you wait for hot water to come down the pipes, catch the flow in a watering can to use later on house plants or your garden. Saves 200 to 300 gallons per month.

10. Don't water the sidewalks, driveway or gutter. Adjust your sprinklers so that water lands on your lawn or garden where it belongs - and only there. Saves 500 gallons per month.

Friday, April 8, 2011

NC Recycling Jobs

N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources: State Study Shows Strong Growth in Recycling Jobs

RALEIGH – The N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources released a study in January showing strong growth in recycling jobs in the state despite the effects of the recent recession. The research, conducted by DENR’s Division of Environmental Assistance and Outreach, is the latest in a string of studies demonstrating the ongoing contribution of recycling to the state’s economic growth.

“We are pleased to see that recycling remains a dynamic source of green jobs in North Carolina,” said DENR Secretary Dee Freeman. “The study shows that recycling not only helps us reduce our dependence on landfills, save energy and prevent pollution, but that it also boosts the economy at a critical time.”

The study’s major findings include: There are currently almost 15,200 private sector recycling-related jobs in North Carolina, private sector recycling jobs have increased 4.8 percent since 2008 and the total annual payroll for North Carolina recycling businesses is $395 million.

A copy of the study can be found online at

Thursday, April 7, 2011

How Are Plastic Bags Recycled

Have you ever wondered how plastic bags are recycled?  Follow this link to learn:

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Less Means More Has a New Blog

Less Means More, Craven County's Water Conservation Committee dedicated to minimizing unnecessary water consumption has a new website.  Check them out:

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Stop Junk Mail is a directory service of sites dedicated to reducing junk mail, catalogues, and other unwanted clutter from people's lives. Click on any of the following boxes below to be transported to that site and begin to free your mailbox!

Check out their site at:

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Great Garbage Patch

The only thing great about it is its size.  It is roughly the size of Texas, containing approximately 3.5 million tons of trash.  Read more about this monstrosity:

Plastic Ocean Trash

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Earth Day Contest

Earth Day 2011 Green Community Contest
All High School Students, grades 10-12
Carteret, Craven and Pamlico Counties

Sponsored by the Coastal Environmental Partnership

How Can You Help Your Community and Environment?

What would you do if you had a truckload of compost and a desire to help your community?  Would you grow a garden for your neighborhood, beautify your school grounds?  The opportunities are endless.

*      This contest is offered to all High School students in Carteret, Craven and Pamlico Counties.
*      The Coastal Environmental Partnership will donate on truckload of compost, not to exceed one ton to each participating group.
*      Send us a plan of your project.  Information should include project name and idea, participants, date of anticipated completion.
*      Expected benefits of project.
*      Compost must be picked up.  Please call for directions.

Gift cards of $100, $75 and $50 will be awarded to Winners placing First, Second and Third, respectively.

Entries should be submitted by electronically, Friday, April 22 (Earth Day!)  at 4:00 p.m.  Submit entries to:

Please include all contact information when submitting. 

Use your imagination and have fun.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Mechanics of Garbage

Whether they’re working on a utility vehicle or a 55 ton Trash Monster the gentlemen who maintain our fleet keep things running smoothly for the Partnership.  Our Lead Mechanic is Calvin Williams.  He is joined by mechanics James Yates and Tony Lefavi.

The list of the equipment is amazing.  These guys are responsible for 79 vehicles and pieces of equipment.  That list includes pickup trucks, loaders, excavators and trailers…to name a few. 
Part of the maintenance, of course, includes changing oil and oil filters.  In the span of a year they change approximately 1,100 gallons of oil and 1,700 filters.  These discarded items are then recycled.

Friday, April 1, 2011

The Origin of the Recycling Symbol

The origins of the three arrows of recycling are rooted in the very first Earth Day,  April 22, 1970.

The Container Corporation of America sponsored a nationwide art contest for a design that would help identify the company's products that were manufactured using content that was recycled or recyclable. The winning symbol would represent the process of recycling paper. 
More than 500 young students and activists entered designs into the contest held in the Spring of 1970 in Aspen, Colorado. After being evaluated by a panel of judges, a winner was declared. A 23 year old student from the University of Southern California at Los Angeles named Gary Dean Anderson took home the first place prize of a $2500 tuition scholarship. 

Gary Dean Anderson grew up in North Las Vegas, Nevada in the 1950's. Like many families during this era, Gary's family lived a thrifty lifestyle having a very recent memory of the Great Depression. This translated into very little waste and reusing most of what we now consider trash for other purposes. It wasn't out of environmental concerns, but out of financial concern. This background was perhaps an influence on Anderson's continued and growing interest in conserving resources.  

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