Monday, October 31, 2011

Vampires Suck the Electricity in Your Home

Vampire Power Causes

In the average U.S. home, 25 percent of electricity use by home electronics occurs while the products are off [source: Pogue]. Is this power used for anything? Do electronics manufacturers hate the environment?
Vampire power causes usually include one of the following:
  1. The gadget, such as a cell-phone AC adapter, constantly supplies a charge, even if the batteries are fully charged or if nothing is plugged into it. Many AC adapters, nicknamed wall warts by some critics, waste as much as 50 percent of the power they use [source: Office of the Ohio Consumers' Council].
  1. The gadget uses electricity to power a display screen, an external time display or an internal clock. In some cases, this power usage is justified. For instance, your refrigerator needs to monitor temperature levels in order to power up at appropriate times. When it comes to your radio however, it's not as easy to justify a constant power drain to keep the digital clock lit.
  1. The gadget never fully shuts down so that it's ready to use at a moment's notice. Many printers spend hours in standby mode, waiting to receive signals from connected computers. Before you even pick up your remote control, the TV is already using electricity to power the sensor that will receive the signal.
Vampire power has been on the rise during the past decade, thanks to the proliferation of rechargeable gadgets, computer networks and devices with standby power functions. The United States consumes 26 percent of the world's energy. Of that energy, approximately 5 percent is vampire power [source: University of California, Berkeley]. To put that in perspective, that's between 200 and 400 terawatt hours -- roughly as much electricity as the entire country of Italy consumes in a year [source: Smyth].
All this energy use enacts quite a hefty toll on the environment. Coal-burning power plants produce carbon dioxide, a leading cause of global climate change. Therefore, less vampire power translates to lower carbon emissions. Even plants that run on nuclear or hydroelectric power produce emissions that can lead to smog and acid rain.
Want to know how to help the environment and save a little money on your power bill in the process? Pick up a few vampire-fighting tactics on the next page.

Vampiric Television

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Green Halloween Crafts

Make Your Own Recycled Halloween Crafts

Creating spooky decorations for Halloween is an easy and fun way to reuse old items you have around the house.
There is something about autumn that brings out the crafter in me. Even though I’m an avid DIYer and upcycler, I don’t usually pull out the craft supplies until the leaves start to change colors.

Whether it be making Halloween or autumn decorations, Halloween costumes or just regular ole interior décor, this time of year affords ample opportunities to pull out the drill, paint bucket and hot glue gun.

Check out these three Halloween decorations you can easily make from things you probably already have lying around your house.

Wine bottle Jack-o-lantern

There are lots of great craft and upcycling ideas for empty wine bottles, but this one can be done using a full bottle as well. As I posted on Eco-Snobbery Sucks earlier this month:
Head on over to the wine and liquor store to pick up a few bottles of your favorite wine, take them home, turn them into wine bottle Jack-o-Lanterns and then give them as gifts or take them to a Halloween party.
Of course if you have a few empty wine bottles (or soon-to-be-empty ones) just sitting around, you could carve them up just as easily… figuratively speaking.
And if you’re using empty bottles, you could even drop a string of clear Christmas lights in the bottle and use them as the “candle” in the Jack-o-Lantern.
Halloween recycled wine bottle Make Your Own Recycled Halloween Crafts
Photo by Instructables/fungus amongus
The only materials you need for this project are:
  • Your favorite (or an otherwise cheap) wine
  • Masking tape
  • A Sharpie
  • An X-acto knife
  • Spray paint (you definitely need orange, green is optional)
  • A bucket
Get the full project instructions at Instructables.

CD pumpkin or Jack-o-lantern

Pumpkin recycled CD Make Your Own Recycled Halloween Crafts
Photo courtesy of
Everyone has tons of old CDs just sitting around, cluttering up the office. Seriously, who uses CDs as a storage medium anymore? They don’t do much good collecting dust and aren’t very recyclable, but there are some pretty clever ways to reuse old CDs, one of which being this Halloween craft.

You’ll need some permanent markers, craft foam, hot glue and glue sticks, string, scissors, a paint brush and some orange suncatcher paint, but the project is so easy that you will have an entire pumpkin patch in no time.
Check out the full instructions on

Creepy ‘specimen’ jars

recycled specimen jar Make Your Own Recycled Halloween Crafts
Photo courtesy of DIY Network

Think of any Halloween movie you’ve seen. Inevitably, there is a witch standing over a boiling cauldron adding ingredients like, “three raven claws, a dash of pig vomit and the hair of three-legged goat” to what is sure to be a foul potion of some sort.

If you have some old toys your little ones have outgrown and some mason jars sitting around, this project will allow you to make it look as if you’re on the brink of cooking up your own ill-intended concoction

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Greening Halloween

Greening Your Halloween

littlelamb Greening Your HalloweenIt’s that time of the year again: Spooky creatures, black cats, frightful amounts of sugary treats and the horror of synthetic materials as costumes.
The waste created on Halloween can be truly scary. Enter Green Halloween, a program founded by Corey Colwell-Lipson, a mom who was tired of the waste and the terrorizing amounts of unhealthy treats that Halloween created. She decided to find a better way to celebrate the holiday.
What began as a conversation between Colwell-Lipson and her local Whole Foods Market store in Bellevue, WA, quickly turned into a movement with other organizations and businesses wanting to take part in making Halloween healthier and safer for our children and for the environment. Today, Green Halloween is an official program of the nonprofit organization, EcoMom Alliance.
Some simple steps to green your Halloween from Green Halloween:
  • Plan ahead to avoid last-minute shopping, which often limits your choices.
  • When it comes to costumes and décor, reuse, borrow, trade, purchase used or do it yourself.
  • Treat bags can be anything. For extra fun, match the bag to the costume using something you own already, like purses, flower pots (remember to cover the hole at the bottom beforehand), cloth sacks, backpacks and lunchboxes.
  • Choose healthier treats. Take baby steps with organic candy and honey sticks, two child-favored choices. (Honey is not for children under 2).
  • Choose fun treasures instead of conventional sweets. Think of the treasures your child collects in his or her pockets: pretty rocks, coins, etc.
  • If you’re throwing a party, avoid disposables, including napkins, plates, cups, tablecloths and other décor.
  • Walk from house to house instead of driving.
  • Compost pumpkins and any other food, including leftover candy.
  • Collect candy wrappers and help your kids recycle them into gift items like purses, bracelets and picture frames. You can find directions on the Internet.
  • Avoid purchasing any treats made with palm oil.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Household Hazardous Waste and Electronics Collection Tomorrow in Carteret County

Don't foget!  Carteret County’s Household Hazardous Waste/Electronics Recycling Event was rescheduled to tomorrow, October 29th from 8am—1pm at the Carteret County Health Department located at 3820 Bridges Street Morehead City.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Household Hazardous Waste and Electronics Collection Saturday in Carteret County

Don't foget!  Carteret County’s Household Hazardous Waste/Electronics Recycling Event was rescheduled to Saturday, October 29th from 8am—1pm at the Carteret County Health Department located at 3820 Bridges Street Morehead City.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Irene's Cleanup Tonnage Continues to Grow

We started accepting Yard Waste, Construction & Demolition Material and Municipal Solid Waste right after Irene wreaked havoc on our area. 

Let's compare the vegetative debris taken in during the month of September 2010 and September 2011.  September 2010 saw 400 tons of vegetation.  September 2011 saw 6,800 tons.  What a difference!  Our total to date is 13,313 tons of vegetation.  And it's still coming in.  The final number, I'm sure, will be phenomenal.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

From Your Car to the Playground

From ISRI, the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Method Debuts New Wave Bottle Made from Plastic Ocean Trash
Method Debuts New Wave Bottle Made from Plastic Ocean Trash
Method, the company that used green chemistry to turn age-old concepts for making and marketing soap on their head, has come up with another innovation that explodes a long-held idea -- that the trash trapped in the North Pacific Gyre is unredeemable.

Working with Envision Plastics in Southern California, Method came up with a model for collecting and upcycling some of the debris that's swirling in the currents of the gyre, a swath of ocean covering 20 million square kilometers.

By some estimates, the amount of plastic awash in the ocean is twice the size of Texas and in some areas the ratio of plastic to plankton is now 10 parts of plastic to 1 part of plankton, according to Jared Blumenfeld, the head of the EPA in the Pacific Southwest.

"We asked ourselves, 'What if we could take some of the plastic that's floating in the North Pacific Gyre and make bottles out of it?,' " said Adam Lowry, who founded Method 10 years ago with business partner Eric Ryan. "Well, we did it."
Lisa P. Jackson of the EPA, Adam Lowry of Method and Karen Mills of the SBA. The ocean bottle is on lectern on the left.
Lisa P. Jackson of the EPA, Adam Lowry of Method and Karen Mills of the SBA. The ocean bottle is on lectern on the left.
Lowry and Ryan, flanked by EPA chief Lisa P. Jackson and Karen G. Mills, the head of the Small Business Administration, unveiled the new bottle today at company headquarters in San Francisco.

The "ocean bottle" is 100 percent high-density polyethylene plastic, 25 percent of which comes from plastic from the gyre, according to a post by Lowry on the Envision Plastics website. Method plans to take the bottle to market early next year with a major retailer, whom Method isn't naming for now.

Method's new plastic ocean bottle is on the far left of the lectern in the picture to right. The bottles beside it contain bits of plastic from stages in the recycling process.

That's Lowry behind the lectern with Jackson and Mills. The two were in town to spread the word about getting the country back on track with the president's proposed American Jobs Act, which proponents say would help put more people back to work and help the ones who have jobs by cutting the payroll tax that comes out of their paycheck.

Method, a small but growing business with high profile products made in the U.S., has a history of innovation and success -- all of which bolstered the Obama administration's message brought by Jackson and Mills.

A scientist, Jackson noted Method's work in green chemistry, water management, innovation and resource-conscious packaging. (Nearly all of the bottles the company uses are made from 100 percent post-consumer recycled plastic, Lowry said.) Jackson dovetailed that praise with a call for chemical reform, water protection, job development and pollution prevention.
The company, she said, is "just one more example of how we can innovate our way to a prosperous future."

Method's introduction of the ocean bottle comes just two days before California's 27th annual Coastal Cleanup Day. The intent behind the ocean bottle, however, isn't to undertake the vast task of cleaning up the gyre, said Lowry. "The real goal is to raise the awareness of plastic pollution," he said.

The ocean bottle's also unveiling coincides with the publication of "The Method Method" by Lowry and Ryan, who tell the story of their company. GreenBiz hopes to soon provide excerpts from the book.

In the meantime, articles about the company, its products and approach to innovative design are available at
Photos by Leslie Guevarra

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

N.C. Coastal Resources Commission Meeting

N.C. Coastal Resources Commission will meet Oct. 26-27 in Beaufort

RALEIGH – The N.C. Coastal Resources Commission, or CRC, will meet Oct. 26-27 at the NOAA/NCNERR Administration Building, 101 Pivers Island Road, in Beaufort.
The meeting will begin at 3 p.m. Oct. 26 and at 9 a.m. Oct. 27. The meeting is open to the public.
The following are some of the main items on the CRC’s agenda:
· Hurricane Irene Impacts and DCM Response– Staff with the N.C. Division of Coastal Management, or DCM, will discuss the division’s response to Hurricane Irene.
· Assessing Terminal Groin Adverse Impacts– DCM staff will review the preliminary discussions of the CRC Science Panel for assessing impacts from terminal groins.
· Amendments to 15A NCAC 7H.0308 (a)(2) and 15A NCAC 7H .1705 Temporary Erosion Control Structures  –DCM staff will present recommendations for revising the commission’s sandbag rules.
· Consideration of Public Comments on Draft Sea Level Rise Policy – DCM staff will discuss public comments received on the CRC’s draft sea level rise policy.
· Impact of Hurricane Irene on Pivers Island Natural and Stabilized Marsh Shorelines – Dr.Carolyn Currin, of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, will discuss hurricane impacts on the natural and stabilized marsh shorelines on Pivers Island in Beaufort.
· Variance Requests– The CRC will consider four requests for variances from the commission’s rules.
· Public Input and Comment –Members of the public may comment on any issue not on the agenda at 11:45 a.m. Oct. 27.
The Coastal Resources Advisory Council, a group that provides the CRC with local government perspectives and technical advice, will meet at 1 p.m. Oct. 26 at the NOAA/NCNERR Administration Building.
A full meeting agenda is posted on the N.C. Division of Coastal Management’s website,
# # #

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Plastics Recycling on the Rise

 From U.S. Plastics Recycler
Plastic Recycling

U.S. plastics recycling continued to recover in 2010, reaching a record volume in addition to a small uptick in the bottle recycling rate.

A total of 2.579 billion pounds of plastic bottles were recycled in 2010, a 5% increase from 2009.

The National Association for PET Container Resources in Sonoma, Calif., released its recycling data for PET bottles separately. But the full 2010 bottle recycling report also includes data for high density polyethylene and polypropylene containers.

According to the report, the number of HDPE recyclers decreased in 2010 with 26 companies active at the end of the year. The seven largest companies recycled 80 percent of the total.
The amount of HDPE reprocessed in the United States rose by 24.2 million pounds to 811.8 million pounds. The increase came in spite of increased exports and decreased imports.
According to the report:
  • The total plastic bottle recycling rate was 28.8 percent, up from 27.8%.
  • The total pounds of plastic bottles collected increased by 123 million pounds, with increases for PET, HDPE, and PP bottle resins.
  • HDPE bottles collected rose by 2.5 million pounds to 984.1 million pounds. The HDPE bottle recycling rate rose to 29.9% from 29.2%in 2009.
  • PP bottle recycling totaled 35.4 million pounds, an increase of 31% over 2009.
The report is a cooperative project between the Plastics Division of the American Chemistry Council and the Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Plastic Bottle Sneakers

From Earth 911

New Balance Makes Plastic Bottle Sneakers

sneaker, shoe, running shoe, athletic shoe, New Balance, newSKY, NewSKY pink, pink shoe
Photo: New Balance
Builders and manufacturers have been doing some pretty cool things with plastic bottles lately. Here’s one more to add to the list.
New Balance announced the launch of a line of sneakers made from 95 percent post-consumer recycled plastic bottles. The design of the newSKY shoe replaces foam, leather and virgin plastic with a fleece-like material made from recycled PET.

Plastic bottles are chopped up into flakes, heated and molded into fiber to create the strong and versatile material, known commercially as Eco-fi. It takes about 12 bottles to produce one pound of fiber and eight bottles to make each newSKY shoe, according to the company.

Designers at New Balance embraced the new material for its eco benefits but struggled initially to create a stylish and comfortable shoe made from bottles.

“The principles of shoemaking didn’t necessarily apply to this fabric,” said Drew Spieth, design lead for wellness at New Balance. “It doesn’t work like a regular shoe material.”

A streamlined look was chosen to accommodate the fabric’s unique characteristics, and design elements like a slimmer outsole were borrowed from the NB Minimus to minimize waste and maximize comfort.

“It was a big goal to keep it functional and looking stylish,” Spieth said. “At the end of the day, it looks like an interesting shoe and also looks great on the foot.”

By making the most of the fabric’s ability to change through heating, molding and pressing, designers were able to eliminate most reinforcement materials and non-recycled components.
The recycled material’s lighter weight and excellent thermal conductivity make it a smart choice for runners, the company said. Eco-fi material is about 10 percent lighter than cotton and keeps out the cold better than nylon or wool.

Eco-fi is also a hydrophobic fiber, which repels water to keep feet dry and clean. The newSKY shoe for men and women will be available for purchase in stores and online in October, the company said.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Today's the Day!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Household Hazardous Waste and Electronics Collection Tomorrow

Do you have your electronics and HouseHold Hazardous Waste ready to go?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Household Hazardous Waste and Electronics Collection Countdown

2 more days for Craven and Pamilco counties!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Shoes Made From Waste From Manufacturing Plasma TVs

From Earth 911

Michigan Mom Starts Recycled Shoe Line

This eco mom found a way to stay at home with her kids and share the joy of eco living. Photo: Elizabeth Katzman
When Michigan mom Elizabeth Katzman decided to leave her job as a lawyer to stay at home with her two young boys, she never imagined that she would embark on an exciting new career in the green scene.
She’s since started her own blog, Elizabeth’s Kind Café, to teach other families how to cook, garden and compost with their kids, which eventually expanded to a local talk and cooking show by the same name.
As if chasing the kids around, blogging daily and hosting a monthly segment on Bloomfield Community TV wasn’t enough, Katzman is taking her eco-entrepreneurship one step further this fall by starting her own vegan shoe line.
As a woman who is committed to living an eco-friendly life in style, Katzman had trouble finding footwear that was fashionable but still met her values as a vegan and earth-lover.
“I thought [the line] was a good way to get the word out that fashion can be cruelty-free,” Katzman said. “You can care about the environment and animals and still want to be fashionable.”
A little more than a year after its inception, Katzman’s blog now hosts a full-scale retail shop – proving that the sky is truly the limit for this eco mom.
“It’s nice because it’s a job, but instead of taking me away form my kids it’s made me more connected with them,” she said.

Her story

Katzman lives about 30 minutes outside of Detroit in Birmingham, Mich. with her husband, Steve, and sons Henry, 2, and Noah, 4. After having children, she knew she wanted to stay home with them but wasn’t sure how to make it feasible.
“One of the hardest things after I had kids was trying to figure out what to do [for a career],” Katzman remembered. “If I went back to practicing law, I would be out of the house basically the entire time they were awake. So, I definitely didn’t want to go back to doing that.”
Cooking dinner with her sons was already a regular routine for Katzman, and her husband would sometimes videotape it to send to family and friends.
“He said ‘those videos are so cute – why don’t you do cooking videos with the kids and post them on the internet?’” she said with a laugh. After that, the rest was history.
Katzman began her blogging career in April 2010 with a composting, gardening and cooking blog called Not a Cool Mom, which she later changed to Elizabeth’s Kind Café after adding a vegan lifestyle to her eco repertoire a few months later.
“I wanted to talk about what we do at our house, which is gardening, cooking what we garden and composting what is left over,” she said. “Then I decided to change up the Website to be predominantly aimed towards vegan living…It was a whole new world that opened up to me.”
Since moving her blog over to Elizabeth’s Kind Café, Katzman expanded to hosting a local cable talk show and producing retail products, including the shoe line and her own brand of DIY home and yoga mat cleaning kits.
That may be quite a lot to do in a little more than a year, but the laid-back mom is humble and nonchalant about her speedy success.
“Once I get into something, I really get into it,” she said simply.

Going vegan

“I’ve always gravitated towards being a vegetarian,” said Katzman, who gave up red meat and veal during her teen years. “I would occasionally eat chicken or turkey, but it always kind of made me feel sick to my stomach.”
“I continued to eat it because I thought you needed that for protein or to be healthy,” she continued. “But as I was researching recipes [for the blog], I started coming across more articles about how not eating meat and dairy is really good for your health.”
After that, Katzman began tearing through books, articles and online videos about the meat and dairy industry and was shocked at what she found.
She and her husband finally decided to make the switch to vegan after watching the documentary Earthlings, which chronicles the lives of animals being raised for food and clothing.
“I decided after seeing [Earthlings] that not only would I not eat any meat or dairy, but I didn’t want to wear it either,” Katzman said. “It all kind of clicked for me at the same time.”
Katzman, who said she tried going vegan in the past but was put off by the flavor of mass-produced faux meats and cheeses, quickly discovered that a vegan lifestyle didn’t mean depriving her family.
READ: The Plant-Based Diet: Who’s Doing It, Why It Works
“It’s definitely opened up an entirely different social life for us,” she said. “Our weekends are spent going to farm sanctuaries and spending a lot of time with animals.”
Katzman chronicles her search for exciting vegan recipes, recycling and reuse ideas and earth and animal-friendly products on her blog, and many of her own friends have caught the vegan bug.
“Some of my close friends who really liked meat are now vegan, and it’s sort of amazing,” she said. “I feel like if even one person stops eating meat, it’s such a big accomplishment. It definitely makes it all worth it.”

Her shoe line

Elizabeth's, shoes, heels, booties, boots, peep-toe, recycled, vegan
You'd never guess that these peep-toes are made from waste from manufacturing plasma TVs. Photo: Elizabeth's Kind Cafe
“It all started because I was looking for vegan shoes for myself and didn’t really find the styles that I was looking for in the market,” Katzman said of her Elizabeth’s line. “I thought that there was a market for classic styles and everyday wear in vegan shoes.”
Handmade in the United States from recycled materials, the line features fashionable fall footwear like peep-toe booties and faux suede platforms that are high in style but low in environmental impact.
The ultra-soft faux suede used in Katzman’s line is made from waste recovered from plasma TV manufacturers. The faux leather, which is also made from recycled materials, is completely biodegradable and emits no volatile compounds, meaning these kicks are safe for your compost pile.
“It was really difficult to find those two textiles,” Katzman said of the faux leather and suede she chose. “Now I’m always on the hunt for new material that would make a nice shoe.”
For those in warmer climates, Elizabeth’s fall line also includes cute jelly flip-flops sporting black cow print or pink pigs and the message “Go Veg.”
A portion of the proceeds from every sale benefits People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and 1% for the Planet, a global environmental initiative, two organizations very near and dear to Katzman’s heart. In keeping with her family’s love for animals, proceeds from Katzman’s shoe line and cleaning products are also donated to local farm animal sanctuaries.
“I definitely did not think about the fact that an animal had to die for my shoes,” Katzman said of her fashion choices before going vegan. “It never occurred to me. So, whenever I see something that I find shocking, I guess I have a need to…let other people know in case they would think it was interesting also.”
Katzman intends to keep classic staples in the line and introduce additional styles over the coming months.
As for further expansion, this up-and-coming momtrepeneur will probably stick with what’s on her plate for now.
“Since [the blog and shoe line] are new, I feel like – at least for the next six months – I’m going to do just this,” Katzman said. “But you never know. I always think of something else.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Household Hazardous Waste and Electronics Collection Countdown

The countdown has begun.  This Saturday, October 15, we will collect Household Hazardous Waste and Electronics in Craven and Pamlico Counties.  Carteret County's Collection day has been rescheduled to October 29.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Save 32% of your Water with Moen

Did you know you can save up to 32% of water while making your home more stylish? Check out our green products!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

October is Energy Awareness Month

From Energy Star:

October has been Energy Awareness Month since a presidential proclamation in 1991. For more than 15 years, government organizations — in partnership with businesses, associations, and concerned citizens — have observed this month with activities and programs to promote public understanding of our energy needs and to reduce energy consumption in our everyday lives.
October is a great time to get started on the path toward energy savings —

Find out what you can do!

Learn what you can do at work to save energy, participate in ENERGY STAR campaigns, and much more.

Find out what your organization can do!

Take the ENERGY STAR Challenge, get active in your community, and team up with other businesses to help build a better world.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

NC Power

NC GreenPower
98% of electricity in the United States, and 60% in NC, comes from non-renewable resources such as coal, petroleum, oil and natural gas.

Friday, October 7, 2011

NC Big Sweep

In case you missed helping during the cleanups last weekend (or even if you did help), please join us for cleanups on Oct. 8 at Carteret, Graham, Hyde, Moore, Onslow, Orange, Person, Vance, and Yadkin counties. Go to for more info. Thanks!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

10 Eco-Friendly Baby Gifts

From Earth 911

10 Eco-Friendly Baby Gifts

Expecting parents have a lot running through their minds when readying for a new baby’s arrival. They can often forget about going green in between debates about name choices and color palettes for the nursery. So, when you’re out browsing for baby gifts, give one that’s eco-friendly. Here are our top 10 green baby gifts.

1. E.M. Set by Earth Monkeys

changing pad, pacifier pack, bib, baby gift, Earth Monkeys, E.M. Pack, baby
Thousands of disposable bibs and changing pads end up in landfills each year. Break the cycle by giving the gift of reusables with this eco set from Earth Monkeys. Each E.M. set includes a reusable bib, paci-pack and portable changing pad that fold up for easy storage.
But reusability isn’t the only thing that makes this pick green. Each of these on-the-go accessories are made from 100 percent recycled plastic bottles. So, baby can learn about the three R’s early.
Price: $26.97

2. Cloth Diapers by Swaddlebees

Swaddleees, diaper, cloth diaper, Blueberry Diapers, Margarita McClure
Millions of tons of disposable diapers hit the landfill each year. And although cloth diapers are a bit more of a hassle, the eco benefits far outweigh the time you’ll spend washing them. Just ask eco mom Margarita McClure, who we profiled last year for starting a business around earth-saving diapers.
McClure started out by sewing diapers for her son in 2005, but she’s since founded two brands – Swaddlebees and its stylish cousin, Blueberry Diapers – to make choosing reusable easier for other eco-conscious parents. Each super-absorbent Swaddlebees diaper is completely nontoxic and reusable, and they come in loads of cute colors and patterns to suit any baby’s style.
Price: $18.95

3. Affinity Double Electric Breast Pump by Lansinoh

breast pump, breastfeeding, baby, baby gift, Lansinoh, Affinity
Opting for breastfeeding is the best way to avoid the endless stream of packaging waste associated with using bottled or canned formula. And for busy moms, the best way to make sure baby always has enough milk on hand is to use a breast pump. All the equipment in the Affinity Double Electric Breast Pump is guaranteed to be BPA-free, and since most pieces are made from polypropylene, they are completely recyclable.
Some eco moms opt for manual breast pumps to save on energy use. But for faster and easier pumping, a battery-powered pump like this one is a good substitute. Just pop in some rechargeable batteries, and you’re good to go. This pump is available at most value stores and baby supply retailers.
Price: Varies by retailer

4. Glass Baby Bottle with Silicone Sleeve by lifefactory

baby, baby bottle, baby girl, baby with bottle, baby feeding, milk, formula
Even breastfeeding mothers are bound to need a bottle from time to time for pumped milk or the occasional formula. When bottle feeding, glass is usually considered to be the safest choice, as there is no chance of chemicals leaking out into the milk during heating or storing. The silicone sleeve of this design by lifefactory provides an easier grip for added safety.
And the best thing about this bottle is that it grows with your little one. The included clear cover can easily serve as an easy-to-hold first cup. And when you’re finished with your bottle, the material is completely recyclable. Although the type of glass used in this model is more durable than other varieties, please remember that it can crack when exposed to dramatic temperature changes or heavy impact.
Price: $14.49

5. Green Eats Serving Spoons by Green Toys

spoon, baby spoon, baby gift, Green Toys, Green Eats, BPA free
If you’re looking for a cute and eco-friendly baby gift that won’t break the bank, this is the pick for you. These Green Eats Serving Spoons from Green Toys are made in the U.S. from 100 percent recycled plastic milk containers. While some parents may be wary of using recycled plastic around their kids, these spoons are guaranteed for safety and are free of melamine, BPA, phthalates, PVC and external coatings.
Each spoon has soft edges to make meal time safe and easy for beginning eaters and those that help feed them. And once baby grows into big-boy utensils, these spoons are completely recyclable.
Price: $5.99 for a set of 8

6. Natural Pacifier by Naturally Trendy

pacifier, rubber pacifier, natural pacifier, organic, Naturally Trendy, baby, baby gifts, toddler
It’s usually not long before pacifiers get worn out or lost. So, why not choose a natural and biodegradable pacifier to cut back on plastic waste? These pacifiers from Naturally Trendy are made from 100 percent natural rubber from the Hevea brasiliensis tree, making them completely biodegradable.
An added bonus of these rubber pacis is that they’re free of the allergy-causing substances, artificial colors and other harsh chemicals that can be found in other models. They’re also softer than silicone, which is used for most pacifiers, making them flexible and durable. And they’ll never leave marks on baby’s face.
Price: $6.50

7. Natursutten Chill-it Fish BPA-Free Teether from Organic Baby Gift Boutique

toy, baby, fish, teething, chill-it, Natursutten, blue fish, blue toy
Teething is never the most pleasant time for babies (or parents). To make the process a little more bearable for your little darling, try a chill-able teether like this one from German baby retailer Natursutten.
These teethers are filled with purified, sterilized water. So, once refrigerated, they help ease baby’s pain by temporarily reducing blood flow in the gums. And the soft, textured surface massages the gums and helps teeth emerge. These teethers are BPA-free and contain no phthalates or chemical softeners.
Price: $11.75

8. Reclaimed Wool Stuffed Animals by Uncommon Goods

toys, stuffed animals, recycled material, Uncommon Goods, Josh Title, monkey, frog, giraffe
Handmade from reclaimed sweaters, these soft and adorable animals will make great favorite toys, and they’re a cute and interesting addition to any nursery. After becoming a parent, Canadian artist Josh Title decided to bring recycled goods into the toy box by fashioning one-of-a-kind children’s products from reclaimed fabrics.
These animals are also free of sharp edges or detachable pieces. So, there’s no fear of your child choking on a button when your back is turned. Note that since these pieces are handmade from reclaimed fabrics, color and size will vary slightly.
Price: $29.99

9. Messenger II Bag by Diaper Dude

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Don’t forget about dad when you’re planning your baby gifts! This dapper diaper bag is perfect for the dad on the go, and it banishes any illusion that he’s wearing a purse. The best part is – each bag is made from recycled plastic bottles. About 25 plastic bottles are shredded, melted and woven into polyester to form each Diaper Dude bag. So, dad won’t only be saving the day with your child’s favorite toy, he’ll also be keeping plastic bottles out of the landfill.
This bag is equipped with a fold-out changing pad to reduce the need for disposable pads. And dad can store everything baby needs, along with his personal belongings like keys, cell phones and work papers, within easy reach.
Price: $98

10. Sock Monkey Blanket by Uncommon Goods

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This adorable blanket has the same iconic colors of the sock monkey. And, just like the sock monkey, it’s made from recycled materials. These blankets are made from leftover fabric collected from apparel and upholstery factories that would otherwise be discarded. Each blanket is made from 75 percent recycled cotton and 25 percent acrylic.
All scraps of fabric are used to minimize waste. So, these soft blankies will vary slightly in color and pattern.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Green Roofs

From Earth 911:

Want a Green Roof? Here’s How to Get One

Photo: Flickr/Velo Steve

Home repairs can be a costly (and wasteful!) endeavor. Especially if you need a new roof, the upcoming winter may feel like more of a gamble than it should.
Earth911 and Owens Corning are teaming up to make sure you have a better winter. All you have to do is read this story and jump on Twitter or Facebook for a chance to win. Here are the details for where you can win this week:
  • Facebook Quiz: Read this story to get all the answers then show off your smarts with our latest Facebook quiz. One lucky participant will win a 30 percent ($1,000 value) off discount for a new, residential roof. Translation? You save $1,000 and your shingles will be recycled responsibly. The quiz won’t last forever, so go now!
  • Thursday, Oct. 6, join @Earth911 and @Owens Corning, along with top green building experts to talk about how recycling shingles can make a huge difference in the environment. One lucky participant will win a 30 percent ($1,000 value) off discount Owens Corning shingles for a new residential roof! All you have to do is follow the #RecycleShingles hashtag from 8-9 a.m. Thursday and chat with us!
Owens Corning is a pioneer in roof recycling, and they’re helping more and more contractors around the country make sure that shingles get recycled, instead of trashed. Shingles persist in the landfill for more than 300 years – a waste of valuable petroleum that could be recycled into new asphalt for roads. Your roof can make a big difference: So far, Owens-Corning has recycled enough roofing material to drive a car around the earth 3,000 times.
If you need a new roof, you can also visit Owens Corning to find out what contractors have taken their Roofing Shingle Recycling Pledge and make sure that your renovation is greener than ever.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Irene's Leftovers

As of yesterday we have taken in over 6,800 tons of vegetative debris.  That's more that we usually recieve in one year. 

Home Electronics Disposal