Friday, August 26, 2011

Alligator fat to fuel cars?

Alligator fat to fuel cars?

The alligator meat industry sends 15 million pounds of fat to landfills each year. What a waste, thought researchers in Louisiana who have shown it makes for a great biofuel.

The fat, which is trimmed off in processing, is rich in oils that can be recovered and converted into biodiesel, according to Rakesh Bajpai and colleagues at the University of Louisiana in Lafayette.

In lab experiments, the team successfully converted 61 percent of the alligator fat into a liquid usable in biofuel, according to a report in the journal Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research.
"Alligator oil can be used as a potential biodiesel feed stock and given that this feedstock is traditionally a waste product, its use should result in reduced processing costs," they conclude in the paper.

The gator biodiesel was similar in comparison to biodiesel from soybeans, the main source of the 700 million gallons of biodiesel produced in the United States in 2008.
The use of alligator fat instead of soybeans could help stem the diversion of food crops to fuel, which seems like a net positive in a world facing food shortages.

As for the alligator meat industry, the reptiles are grown and harvested for their skin and meat. The skin ends up in fashionable wallets, boots, and belts while the meat appears on menus.  "They say it's very good," Bajpai told the New York Times. "I don't know. I'm a vegetarian."

According to the newspaper, the 15 million pounds of alligator fat could amount to 1.25 million gallons of fuel with an energy content that is 91 percent as great as petroleum diesel. The cost of processing would be about $2.40 a gallon, not including the transport the presumably free fat to the plant.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Water Use Calculator

From Save Water NC

Do you ever think about how many gallons of water you use each day?

Check this out.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Military Uniforms Made From Plastic?

Will your next uniform be made from plastic?

By Rick Maze - Staff writer
A Senate committee is pushing the Defense Department to consider using recycled military uniforms — not giving new recruits hand-me-downs but rather issuing uniforms made from recycled materials such as plastic bottles.

The idea is not new: Several companies produce fabric made of recycled materials. An Ohio firm, for example, announced in June that it now makes a uniform shirt for casino workers out of recovered materials from five plastic soda bottles.

The Senate Armed Services Committee, in its report on the 2012 defense authorization bill, asks the Defense Department to consider whether recycled materials could be an acceptable fabric for the military, and what types of garments would be feasible.

Cintas Corp., the business that makes the casino uniforms, says one of its products could be a big money-saver: It has created a machine-washable tuxedo, which reduces dry-cleaning costs.

A governmentwide policy set by a 2009 presidential executive order encourages conservation and recycling initiatives by, among other things, setting a goal that 95 percent of new government contracts for items other than weapons systems include products or services that are “environmentally preferable.”

This includes seeking nontoxic or less-toxic alternatives, not depleting the ozone layer, using water-saving techniques and containing recycled content.

In terms of clothing, the use of recycled materials includes using old clothes to make new pants and shirts, and developing bio-based techniques to combine recycled products with polyester to produce durable and comfortable clothing.

Military and other garment manufacturers are using plastic bottles and fabric scraps to make new clothing and other products. Hats, bags and luggage are products that can be made from a combination of recycled plastic and rayon.

The Senate committee is asking the Defense Department to think about what kind of items could be made with such products, and to report in time for the answers to be considered as part of the 2013 defense budget.

In particular, the committee wants defense officials to consider whether a unique military specification for the new material is necessary.

A DoD-wide standard might require working with the Environmental Protection Agency or the Agriculture Department to ensure the material could be designated as environmentally preferable.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Judi Lloyd's Green Downtown New Bern

I love to wander into the downtown New Bern shops where so far we do not have chain stores that would make it look like any mall in America. I got to thinking that there are a number of shops that definitely have an eco-friendly edge to them. I visited a few of the shops to find out about these businesses as well as the proprietors.

I’ll begin with Bear Essentials which was purchased in July by Mike Yates and Mary Ann Jordan Yates from Fairfax, Va. They discovered New Bern while coming down this way to visit family. Their son is a New Bern firefighter. She had been with the Fairfax County PD for 26 years and Mike has over 35 years experience as a grocery retail manager. They are calling the purchase of Bear Essentials “Life – Part Two.”

Bear Essentials sells natural and organic skin care lines such as Dr. Hauschka’s products, bamboo and cotton clothing for kids and women, local artisans’ jewelry, organic tea and natural snacks and pottery from Seagrove, N.C. One of their truly unique items is Maggie Bags, which are totes and handbags made from recycled seatbelts. 

Slender Temptations, which is across the hall from Bear Essentials, offers nutritious smoothies made from soy protein and wellness counseling.

As you’ve seen in my prior articles, my mantra is reduce and reuse (recycling comes last). Twice As Nice on Craven Street takes this seriously by consigning home décor items, clothing and accessories then reselling them. Hilary and Richard Lang took over this business after retiring to New Bern. This concept works well for someone downsizing their home, those who do not want to go through the aggravation of holding a garage sale or people who no longer wear the same size clothing. Hilary’s mother’s favorite expression was “Waste not, want not”. Even those purchasing décor items will take them home wrapped in newspaper rather than a new plastic bag. I’ve discovered some wonderful treasures here at a fraction of their original price.

We’re all familiar with Carolina Creations, featuring many wonderful gifts, household items and jewelry crafted by North Carolina artisans. Whenever I know I’ll be a house guest, I always stop here and purchase a little gift with the stores business card so that my hosts will know it was made in North Carolina. Often, the store has a little printed paper about the artist to put in the box with the gift.

And, of course, one cannot truly peruse the shops of downtown New Bern without a stop at Mitchell’s Hardware with all their wonderful home and garden items, crafts and gifts by local artisans, and, oh yes, almost anything you could need for hardware items.
This is a great time of year to visit the Farmers Market on Saturdays, with its abundance of fresh local foods and crafts.

I’m sure that I have not done justice to many of the fine downtown New Bern establishments by not mentioning them. But, if you haven’t spent an afternoon checking out the fine shops and having a relaxing lunch or dinner there lately, it’s a great way to support our community, get some exercise and have fun.

Judi Lloyd lives in River Bend and can be contacted at

Monday, August 22, 2011

Tired of Junk Mail?

Q: I never realized how much junk mail I got. I just returned from vacation and had a stack of junk mail taller than a fondue tower at Ivanka Trump’s wedding reception. What a waste of paper. This has got to be bad for the environment. Any suggestions on how to reduce the junk mail I get?
A: I hate junk mail. Hate it. Not so much because of the waste of paper (although it seems to be a colossal waste of paper — why is Gardening Weekly allowed to send out that massive circular every week? And how did they get my address?), but because I hate clutter. Cleaning out my closets and organizing junk drawers is my idea of a perfect Sunday. Add in my husband’s drawers (which he won’t let me touch) and you’ve put me smack in the middle of my own personal heaven.
I love the rush of cleaning and organizing and the finished product at the end — it probably has something to do with the sense of control it gives me in a world of chaos (at least that’s what my therapist told me), but I don’t care why I like it. I just do. So when this question came along, I jumped at the chance to answer it with all my junk mail-purging wisdom.
First things first. Do you still get hard copies of your bills? Are you still mailing checks out to your credit card company, your electric company and your cable company? Then you need to go paperless. All it takes is a few clicks on each Web site, and presto, no more paper bills. Not only are you saving the paper that goes into printing your bill, but you’re saving the check, the envelope and the stamp that you send back to them by setting up all of your bills for online bill-pay. You’re reducing your carbon footprint, too (no more bills to pick up from the company’s headquarters in Podunk, Minn., and deliver all the way to your house). Just make sure you store your login name and passwords to all those sites in a safe place so you can actually get into your online account.
Next are all those Valpak and SuperCoup packages you get. Never have I received a coupon in the mail for an establishment that I actually frequent (Merry Maids, my foot. I clean the bathrooms myself!), so why the need to keep receiving these? You can simply go to the Valpak website, click on "Contact Us," then click on "Mailing List" and request to be removed from their coupon mailings.
Can’t you imagine your junk mail pile just disappearing before your very eyes already?
Probably your most effective tactic for reducing junk mail is going to the DMA Web site. The DMA (Direct Marketing Association) is a trade organization for more than 3,600 direct mail companies. Sign up for their service free of charge, and from there, you can manage what mail you receive and don’t receive. They will contact the companies and have them take you off their mailing lists, and the companies have to comply. In fact, many of the companies are happy to comply because by taking you (someone who doesn’t really care for their particular catalog) off their mailing list, they are reducing their cost while also targeting the consumers who might actually buy their products. It’s a win-win for everyone.
What about all those unwanted credit card solicitations? Go to to remove yourself from such mailings for a five-year period or permanently.
Unwanted catalogs? Go to the Catalog Choice site, a project of the Ecology Center in Berkeley, Calif. You can decide which catalogs you do and do not want to receive.
If you’re looking for some motivation, check out this article on the not-so-small carbon footprint of junk mail.
Bottom line is this, folks: Purging your junk mail is great way to go green right at home. And if clearing out clutter does for you what it does for me? You’re going to feel great afterward … and you might need to see a therapist.
Got a question? Submit a question to Mother Nature and one of our many experts will track down the answer. Plus: Visit our advice archives to see if your question has already been tackled.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

For the Beauty of North Carolina

For the Beauty of North Carolina, check out this link.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Going, Going ...Green

From the Recycle Guys.

Going, Going… Green!

By Kathy Buckworth
With a family of six, trying to make sure we’re doing what’s least harmful for the environment can seem like a losing battle when I look at the amount of packaging and plastic in our overflowing recycling bins every week.  The good news is, these waste items are in the recycling bin, next to the organics bin, versus taking their old spot in the landfill-bound garbage cans on the other side of the driveway.
It’s these small but effective changes we make in our daily lives as a big family that can help to reduce our footprint, and just as importantly, teach our kids to look for ways to conserve energy, save water, and reduce our waste. Here are some tips to help educate your kids:
- Recycling & composting: Make a game for the kids out of trying to decide whether items are recyclable, compostable, or just plain garbage. Explain to them why certain items go into the landfill, and talk about ways your family could make that pile get even smaller (i.e. no plastic water bottles, plastic bags, individual use items, etc.)
- Carpool & find alternate methods of transportation: Maybe Jimmy doesn’t like having to pick up Jane on the way to hockey, or ride with Jane’s Mom sometimes, but explaining how we are cutting out greenhouse gasses and conserving oil could help. Make a chart of “rides saved” every year and have a family treat to celebrate every 10 saved.  A ride on public transit or a bicycle trip or walk in place of a car ride also qualifies.

- Turn it off: Create a system for losing points if a light or television is left on when the last person has left the room. Posting a small sign at the doorway to rooms can help to remind the kids when you first start – even little ones can understand a picture.  And don’t forget to power down your computer, and the kids’ computers, at night.  Don’t leave personal electronic devices running all night, which will need an additional recharge in the morning. (As will YOU, if you’ve been interrupted by a buzzing smartphone all night!)

- Recharge It Right: Buy and use rechargeable batteries for all your kids’ electronic gaming devices, noisy toys, and the 17 remote controls which are lined up in front of your television and entertainment units. No, I don’t know what THAT one is for.

- Shop local: Whether it’s from the small store down the street, or even when visiting a larger grocery chain and buying products which have minimal transportation time, challenge the kids to find produce from within a designated radius from your home. Consult a map before you venture out, and you can even research the names of the produce growers once you get home by checking the stickers on the fruits and vegetables.

A recent survey* shows that 80% of Canadian Moms want to do their part for the environment, with approximately 90% of them indicating they would switch to products they use in their home if there was a green alternative of their current brand, and 40% of Moms have stopped buying brands that they believe are not eco-friendly.  And who do we usually have with us when we hit the grocery store for these items? The kids. And they’re not just witnessing how we choose the products to bring into our homes, they’re seeing first-hand how we use them.

Change can be hard. But making small adjustments to our everyday activities, not only on Earth Day, but all year long, can make a big difference.

* Conducted by the Natural Marketing Institute on behalf of P&G Future Friendly

Friday, August 19, 2011

Fall Litter Sweep Coming Up

Fall 2011 Litter Sweep (Sept. 17 - Oct. 1)

Volunteers are needed to participate in the Governor's proclaimed LITTER SWEEP cleanup of North Carolina's roadsides. Help beautify your community by locally participating in this cleanup event.

Participants are eligible to receive a certificate of appreciation and enter the Unusual Litter Contest for cash prizes. 

About Litter Sweep:

  • Litter Sweep is a statewide roadside litter cleanup drive sponsored by the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT). It is a biannual event usually scheduled for the last two weeks of April and September. The NCDOT Office of Beautification Programs administers the spring and fall Litter Sweeps.
    Call the Litter Sweep Hotline (800-331-5864) for more information.
  • The Governor of North Carolina issues a proclamation prior to each cleanup to encourage North Carolina citizens, businesses, local governments, civic groups and Adopt-A-Highway (AAH) volunteers to participate in making our state clean, green and beautiful.
  • Volunteers can obtain pick up supplies as orange trash bags, blue bags (for items to be recycled), orange safety vests and gloves from their respective local NCDOT county maintenance office.
  • NCDOT maintenance crews devote one week of their time during Litter Sweep to pick up litter and collect orange bags from the roadsides once the groups have completed a cleanup.
  • Everyone's participation in Litter Sweep is needed in order to clean up the increasing amount of roadside litter.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Apple rolls out enhancements to reuse, recycling programs

- Staff writer News and Observer
Apple quietly rolled out enhancements to its reuse and recycling programs today. The additions? iPhones and iPads will now be accepted for Apple Gift Card trade-ins, and Apple will now accept any computer or display for free recycling, regardless of manufacturer.

Apple has a longtime partnership with PowerOn to allow customers to trade in an old computer — desktop or laptop, Mac or PC — and receive an Apple Gift Card that is good for the "fair market value" of the item to be used in-store or online. The trade-in program has now been expanded to include iPads and iPhones.

Apple has another ongoing partnership with WeRecycle to recycle computers that no longer have any trade-in value. The company previously offered free recycling of all old Macs and PCs for customers who were purchasing Macs. Old non-Apple computers and displays recycled without the purchase of a new Mac were charged a $30 fee to cover shipping. Now anyone can recycle any computer for free.
To participate in Apple's free computer recycling, call 877-712-2405 to receive a free, prepaid shipping label, pack it up in your own box and send it off.

Apple will continue to offer its iPod and mobile phone recycling program as well, which offers users 10 percent off the purchase of a new iPod when they trade in an old one at an Apple retail store. Old iPods or mobile phones from any manufacturer can also be recycled by mail for free.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Air Quality Health Notice for Today

Monday, August 15, 2011

HHW/Electronics Recycling Dates Set

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Barbie's Green Dream Home

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Friday, August 12, 2011

De-clutter for Back to School Part 3

De-Clutter Bug Logo

De-Clutter Bug Newsletter
Children's School Papers and Art Work
Craven County Electronics Recycling Event
August 2011

Other Creations
Along with art work, your child will come home with some other beautiful masterpieces.  Again, be selective in the pieces you keep.  Not every thing your child makes reflects their interests, gifts and personality.  They create some things to merely complete a required task to be able to do something they would really like to do! 

  • Find one area - a shelf or an area in your child's room -for these other masterpieces to be displayed.  Try to confine the items you keep to that area. 
  • You can also create a photo book, with the favorite pieces 
  • Share some of these pieces with relatives or people that would appreciate them however, don't overwhelm others just because you don't have the heart to throw it away!
  • Remember you are teaching your child a lesson.  Not everything is valuable and worth holding on to.  You are teaching them at an early age to surround themselves with things they really love and cherish.   

Thursday, August 11, 2011

De-clutter for Back to School Part 2

De-Clutter Bug Logo

De-Clutter Bug Newsletter
Children's School Papers and Art Work
Craven County Electronics Recycling Event
August 2011
Art Work
Children's artwork can be overwhelming.  Beginning with their first scribbles all the way to their art work in high school you can end up with an incredible amount of "art". 

There are several ways to deal with art work when it comes into the house.

1.  Display for a Limited Amount of Time - Have a designated spot in the home for displaying those art pieces.  Display them for a day, week or month and then replace them with another piece of art.
 2.  Display in a Frame - There are currently frames, on the market, that will allow you to display one piece of art and store several other pieces of art behind the one displayed (see picture below). They are available online and at stores like Target.  This option allows you to easily change what is being displayed. 
3.  Collect All the Art Work for 1 Year - When the child comes home with the art work, put it in a designated spot.......a box, a drawer, an under-the-bed box, etc.  Then when the year is out, look through all the art work and pick out those pieces that are the best and represent your child best.  Put the "keeps" in a permanent storage box that is designated just for your child.

4.  Display Areas - If you have an area of your house that you can set up to hang the art work, many people choose this option.  Below are several ideas that you can choose from or one of these ideas may spark an idea of your own!


This poster was created by a company called  Take several of your child's favorite pieces and upload to their site and you can create your own. 
Create your own photobook of your child's art work or of your child holding his/her art work. Through Snapfish or Shutterfuly you can do this easily. 

5.  Permanent Storage -There are several ways to store their art work.  

    Clear Storage Containers
Art Portfolios  
Archival Boxes

6.  Sharing Art Work - Giving some of your child's art work to grandparents, aunts, uncles is fine as long as you are not overwhelming them and expecting them to see it as the "masterpiece" that you do. Taking some of the art work to a nursing home to brighten someone's day is always a fun idea and a great lesson for your children. 

Just remember, when you are saving anything for your children, someone is going to have to deal with it in the future.  Don't burden them with so much memorabilia they become overwhelmed and can't enjoy any of it!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

De-clutter for Back to School Part 1

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

When to Water

From NC Green Power:

Water your lawn and garden in the morning or evening when temperatures are cooler to minimize evaporation.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Green Zoo

Recycle Guys
Visiting the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro this summer? Find out what the zoo is doing to protect our environment.
The North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro, NC. Use our calendar of events, animal finder and photo tour to plan your visit to the North Carolina Zoo. Discover great animal facts, conservation tips, and special content for kids.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Environmental Stewards

Environmental Stewards

This thriving economic engine is also a pivotal player in environmental protection and sustainability.
The scrap recycling industry recycled 125 million metric tons of materials in 2009, thereby transforming society’s outdated and obsolete products and materials into useful raw materials needed to produce new products. In doing so, the scrap recycling industry has made great savings in both energy and natural resources and thus has had an extremely positive impact on our environment. Further, by purchasing products at the end of their life and processing them back into raw materials used in the manufacture of new products, scrap recycling reduces the need for virgin materials, such as iron ore, trees, and other natural resources.

Scrap recycling offers real sustainable solutions for balancing economic growth and environmental stewardship. Scrap recycling stimulates economies from small towns in rural America to major cities to international trade. The result is economic and environmental sustainability for our nation and our world.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Friday, August 5, 2011


NC GreenPower
Don't just recycle, Precycle! Look for items with the least amount of packaging and use your own containers to cut down on waste.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Recycling Saves Energy

 From ISRI

Recycling saves impressive amounts of energy which, in turn, reduces greenhouse gas emissions.
Reduces Greenhouse Gas
Emissions by (CO2 equivalent)
Which is the Energy
Equivalent of
1 Car
8,811 lbs.
502 Gallons of Gasoline
1 Refrigerator
566 lbs.
36 Gallons of Gasoline
1 Computer & CRT Monitor
404 lbs.
27 Gallons of Gasoline
1 Washing Machine
397 lbs.
24 Gallons of Gasoline
4 Tires
323 lbs.
18 Gallons of Gasoline
1 Television
81 lbs.
8 Gallons of Gasoline
10 lbs. of Aluminum Cans
16 lbs.
7 Gallons of Gasoline
10 lbs. of Corrugated Box
40 lbs.
2 Gallons of Gasoline

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Water Saving Suggestions

Which of these water-saving suggestions can you adopt today to make sure we have enough water tomorrow?
Water is humanity's most valuable resource. Want to green your usage? These ideas cost next to nothing and can each save 1,000 gallons a year.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Electronics Recycling by Craven County Clean Sweep

Mark your calendars.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Why Recycle?

From ISRI, the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries

Reduces greenhouse gas emissions by requiring significantly less energy to manufacture products from recyclables than virgin ore and by avoiding landfilling.

Energy saved using recycled materials vs. virgin ore:

• 95% for aluminum• 85% for copper• 80% for plastic• 74% for iron and steel• 64% for paper

Conserves natural resources. Recycling one ton of:
• Paper saves 17 trees, 79 gallons of oil, 7000 gallons of water, and 3.3 cubic yards of landfill
• Steel conserves 2500 lbs. of iron ore, 1400 lbs. of coal and 120 lbs. of limestone.
• Aluminum conserves up to 8 tons bauxite ore and 14 megawatt hours of electricity.
Diverts 150 million tons of materials away from landfills.

Cleaner air and water from safely removing potentially hazardous materials and keeping them out of landfills.

• Mercury switches removed from older automobiles.
• Lead recovered from computer monitors.
• Various harmful chemicals safely recycled from electronics

Home Electronics Disposal