Monday, April 30, 2012

Natty Knows Best: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle... And Resale In Style

Natty Knows Best: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle... And Resale In Style

Repeat after me: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle! We’ve heard this mantra a thousand times, but what if we added one more… one perfectly suited for the fashion set: reSALE! In honor of Earth day, rather than the standard “highlight-your-favorite-eco-brands” article, I have decided to dedicate this post to the most literally fashion forward form of recycling: resale. Because one woman’s trash really is, another woman’s treasure.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Green Apple

Apple to build nation’s largest end-user owned on-site solar plant

, NC Green Power
Apple is big on green for many reasons. The company uses green power, as solar energy, to reduce the money spent to power its facilities and because green power causes less pollution. This week Apple published its 2012 Facilities Report and Environmental Update. This report details Apple’s environmental footprint. The report shows that in 2011 Apple saved 5,000,000 kWh in Cupertino alone.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Congratulations Rockingham County

Green Building Certification Given to Rockingham for Justice Center

Caption: Pictured are John Nichols and Steve Nally from Moseley Architects presenting the LEED Gold plaque to Rockingham County Government and certificates to key individuals responsible for the development of the Justice Center including present and former Rockingham County Commissioners and County staff members.

Moseley Architects, a leader in the design of justice facilities, presented the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) Gold plaque from the Green Building Certification Institute to Rockingham County Government in March. This prestigious award honored Rockingham County’s new Justice Center, the first LEED Gold justice facility in the Eastern United States

John Nichols and Steve Nally from Moseley Architects presented the LEED Gold plaque to Rockingham County Government and presented certificates to key individuals responsible for the development of the Justice Center including present and former Rockingham County Commissioners and County staff.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Eco-Rugs for 2012

Reinventing Home Décor: Must-Have Eco-Rugs for 2012

A cleaner, more stylish home doesn’t have to be bad for the environment. Check out these rugs that are easy on the earth and on the eyes.
Carpeting is one of the most widely used flooring options, not to mention one of the most inexpensive. It can be used in almost every room; it serves as an indoor filter as well as a sound absorber; and it adds color and texture to your home.

According to the Carpet and Rug Institute, more than two-thirds of American homes have wall-to-wall carpeted floors. However, what many might not know is that almost all carpet is made from petroleum byproducts and synthetics such as polypropylene, nylon and acrylic. Today’s carpets have also been treated with antistatic sprays, artificial dyes, antimicrobial treatments and finishes so that they are engineered to withstand stains and soils.

We will say that the carpet, however, does act like a filter by trapping allergens and may even improve air quality in your home. But, in addition to the chemicals used when manufacturing carpet, the downside is that most people do not clean their carpets correctly or regularly, which can only exacerbate allergies and asthma.

FLOR carpet recycling Reinventing Home Décor: Must Have Eco Rugs for 2012
FLOR's easily recyclable Arabesque carpet. The FLOR brand is part of Interface's Mission Zero initiative.

If you are considering adding carpeting to your home in 2012, we recommend looking for area rugs instead. Because it is more permanent, wall-to-wall carpeting is less healthy than smaller rugs because it is in fact harder to clean (vacuuming doesn’t always do the trick) and, not to mention, several pounds of soil can accumulate in and under a carpet each year when not cleaned properly (if you’ve ever pulled up old carpet, you know that this is true).

A great eco-friendly alternative to wall-to-wall carpeting is natural wool because of its warmth and durability. However, it is not appropriate for all rooms in the home (think entryways or the bathroom) because once it’s wet it takes a while to dry. This means that it is more susceptive to mold and mildew, making it not as versatile. Hemp and sisal rugs, on the other hand, are more durable and are perfect for many locations, not to mention they are becoming widely available.

We love these all-natural must-haves for 2012:
  • The Parquet Sisal Carpet from Merida is an extremely versatile rug, as are all of the sisal patterns the company offers. The design creates a visual interest and can be used in hallways, bedrooms, dining rooms or family rooms. Merida is reinventing the way that rugs are designed, and we love the innovation and wide array of sustainable options that are available.
  • The Chunky Wool & Natural Jute Rug from Pottery Barn is crafted from sustainable jute, which is a fast-growing and renewable fiber. This rug is soft, making it a nice option for bedrooms. Pottery Barn has many other natural options as well, including sisal and sea grass.
  • New for 2012, the Arabesque Carpet (above) from Interface’s FLOR line is great for heavy-traffic places in your home. As with all of FLOR’s products, the modular carpeting allows for customization in any size and space. And when one part gets worn, it can be simply replaced using the company’s Return & Recycle Program. Founded by the late Ray Anderson, Interface’s goal is to eliminate its carbon footprint by 2020. Called Mission Zero, Interface’s ambitious sustainability goals are challenging, but the company has already achieved great progress.
  • The Rainier Collection is the newest rug line from Earth Weave, and is made from 100% undyed, untreated wool available in several different colors. This rug would be a great addition to a finished basement or playroom. We also like that Earth Weave offers natural and nontoxic padding, in addition to natural rubber for the backing of its rugs.
  • The bathroom and shower area can be a challenge due to the amount of moisture, but not so with the Bamboo Rug from Crate & Barrel. Made from 100% bamboo, it dries quickly so bacteria doesn’t have time to grow. Crate & Barrel also has a wide variety of natural fiber rugs available.
If you are replacing your carpet, as opposed to buying new, look for ways to recycle your old carpeting. On the Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE) website it is noted that an estimated 5 billion pounds of carpet was sent to landfills in 2003. Through CARE’s website, you can find ways to divert it from the landfill and find companies that actually recycle it.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Earth Day Then and Now

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Sustainable wedding favors

Sustainable wedding favors

Unique, handmade, recycled and low-impact gifts will send your guests home with something useful and planet-friendly.

From Mother Nature Network

A green, eco wedding favor made of plants and ribbon. Photo: Shawn Campbell/Flickr
European aristocrats were probably among the first to give wedding favors, which are small thank-you gifts of appreciation for attending guests. The "Bonbonniere" likely contained something sugary (since the sweet stuff was once a very expensive and coveted substance) contained in a handmade porcelain or crystal box.
Today, brides and grooms still give an edible sweet (cookies, sugar-coated almonds and cupcakes are all popular ways to start a marriage off on a "sweet" foot) as a take-away treat from the wedding, but most give a non-food gift, and more often than not, it's something relatively useless (and therefore wasteful). Because so much of a wedding involves waste that can't really be controlled — from food to fuel — reducing where you can is a thoughtful way to go. 
The first rule is to make sure that whatever you are giving as a favor is something people will really use. While your parents might love a mug or champagne glass that's emblazoned with your name and nuptials date, chances are that most of the other guests will send this kind of item packing to Goodwill the week after the wedding.
So before you start, think of things that people wouldn't necessarily buy for themselves (see suggestions below), and keep packaging to a minimum. A bag filled with paper, ribbons and sparkles can look pretty, but it's going to be trashed minutes after your reception is over. So think of gifts that can be slipped in a bag or pocket.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Leaky Toilets

From:  The Daily Green

Most of us would be surprised to find out that one in every five toilets leak, and since the leaks are usually silent, you probably have no idea if your toilet is leaking. A leaking toilet can waste anywhere between 30 and 500 gallons of water every day, so any leak should be repaired. To see if your toilet is leaking, put a few drops of food coloring in the toilet tank. If the dye shows up in the toilet bowl after 15 minutes or so, the toilet has a leak. Leaking is usually caused by an old or poorly fitting flapper valve, which can be replaced by any amateur DIY-er!


Monday, April 23, 2012

100 % Pure Imagination

Recycling Boosted by Pure Imagination

The Imagination Factory, solid waste
Trashasaurus Rex, the Imagination Factory's mascot made of solid waste. Photo: Marilyn Brackney, The Imagination Factory

Willie Wonka invited a whole generation to be part of “a world of pure imagination.”
Lovers of this ’80s movie-must grew up knowing that imagination could bring you wonderful things, including edible flowers and rivers of chocolate. The Imagination Factory, the brainchild of artist and teacher Marilyn Brackney, has been teaching the youth of today that very same message but adding in a new twist – recycling.

In 1996, Brackney expanded her classroom teachings by launching The Imagination Factory online. As stated on the website, “The purpose of the site is to teach reuse and recycling concepts through art activities using solid waste as a source of free materials.”

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Earth Day

Happy Earth Day Everyone!!

Saturday, April 21, 2012


Friday, April 20, 2012

First Earth Day Recycling

Curbside recycling now serves about half of the U.S. population, but that wasn’t the case for Earth Day activists in 1970, when very few cities offered these programs.

In order to recycle, most residents had to transport recyclables to drop-off centers, which severely limited participation. The U.S. recycling rate in 1970 was 6.6 percent, compared to a 34.1 percent national recovery rate in 2010, according to the
most recent EPA data available.

So, we recycled less, but we produced less waste, right? Well, yes and no.

Overall waste generation has nearly doubled since 1970, from 127.8 million tons to 249.9 million tons in 2010. But our use of some materials, such as glass and ferrous metals, has decreased or stayed about the same.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Chandelier Made from Plastic Recyclables

Must-See: Chandelier Made from Plastic Recyclables

Katharine Harvey's "Chandelier" piece in Toronto, Canada. A similar work was unveiled in New York City on April 15. Photo: Katharine Harvey

On Earth Day we’re reminded to recycle, but one Toronto-based artist is giving New York City a new idea of reuse.

On April 15, artist Katharine Harvey unveiled her 21 foot tall, 15 foot wide sculpted chandelier at New York City’s World Financial Center Winter Garden, made of thousands of used plastic containers. Water bottles, take-out boxes, egg cartons and more will be woven into an elaborate, light-reflecting chandelier like the Toronto example above.
Chandeliers are the picture of luxury. Harvey literally turns trash into treasure.

Beyond the appropriately-named piece, Chandelier, Harvey considers reuse and upcycling a way of life. The artist regularly takes plastic packaging and dollar store items and turns them into complex works of art. Other public pieces she created include “Waterfall,” an assembled wall of plastic packaging meant to look like cascading water, bringing up ideas of nature and how our trash often infiltrates it.

On her Facebook fan page, Harvey is asking fans to drop by the World Financial Center and drop off their clean plastic recyclables to use for the exhibit. The chandelier will remain in its NYC location through May 11

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


605 Colleges and Universities Recover 92 Million Pounds of Organic and Recyclable Materials During RecycleMania

Grand Champion American University recycled 85% of its waste, while Per Capita Classic champion Union College collected 62 pounds of recyclables per person.
RecycleMania 2012 303x220 605 Colleges and Universities Recover 92 Million Pounds of Organic and Recyclable Materials During RecycleManiaThe ruckus heard across college campuses this spring was not just because of the NCAA collegiate basketball tournaments. It was also RecycleMania season at 605 colleges and universities. The RecycleMania Tournament, which wrapped up its 12th annual competition at the end of March, is an eight-week challenge that ignites classic college rivalries, rallying students, faculty and staff to increase on-campus recycling rates beyond their collegiate competitors.

This year, 92 million pounds of recyclables and organic materials were recovered, which prevented the release of nearly 150,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MTCO2E). This reduction in greenhouse gases is equivalent to the annual emissions from more than 25,840 passenger cars; electricity use of more than nearly 16,406 homes; or the burning of nearly 705 railcars’ worth of coal. Equally impressive, the average recycling rate for participating schools increased from 27.61 percent to 28.49 percent over the course of the tournament.

The competition, which extended from Feb. 5 through March 31, included eight categories. The colleges and universities that took home top prizes in the three primary categories are:
“Grand Champion” (determined by the percentage of overall waste recycled): American University- (85.16 percent) – Washington, D.C.
 “Per Capita Classic” (determined by total pounds of recyclables collected per person): Union College- (61.79 lbs.) – Schenectady, N.Y.
“Waste Minimization” (determined by the lowest overall amount of recyclables and trash per person): Valencia College – (2.79 lbs.) – Orlando, Fla.
To increase student enthusiasm RecycleMania held its second annual video contest with the theme “The Spirit of Recycling.” With the public invited to vote for their favorite from among the 28 videos posted to YouTube, the student submission from Florida State University garnered the most “likes” to win first prize followed by East Tennessee State University. Clemson University’s video received the Judges’ Award.

“One unique aspect of RecycleMania is that everyone is a competitor,” noted Bill Rudy, recycling coordinator at Brigham Young University and chair of RecycleMania, Inc. “No one sits on the sidelines. When students recycle, they add to their score, and if they throw something away, it hurts their school’s ranking. With the whole campus in the game, the competitive spirit spreads and recycling increases.”

The RecycleMania Tournament is an independent program of RecycleMania, Inc., a nonprofit organization led by recycling managers from participating schools. The competition is made possible with the sponsorship support of the Alcoa Foundation, The Coca-Cola Company, SCA AfH Professional Hygiene, Waste Management, the American Forest & Paper Association and HP. Program management is provided by Keep America Beautiful with additional program support from the US EPA’s WasteWise program and the College and University Recycling Coalition (CURC).

“Colleges and their students are leading the way towards a more sustainable future, and RecycleMania is a perfect demonstration of their energy and commitment,” said Matt McKenna, president and CEO of Keep America Beautiful. “KAB is pleased to support the RecycleMania program. We celebrate this year’s results and congratulate every school and individual that participated.”

“We’re proud to support RecycleMania and congratulate all the students for taking small, but meaningful actions to preserve the planet,” said Paula Davis, president, Alcoa Foundation. “In the U.S., we have an enormous opportunity to improve our environmental footprint by recycling more of what we consume. When recycled, a can of soda is back on the shelf in just 60 days.”

“Everyone wins when we all recycle,” said Alain Robichaud, president of Coca-Cola Recycling. “Congratulations to all the students who helped protect the environment and conserve natural resources by recycling during RecycleMania. Coca-Cola is proud to help bring this exciting program to college campuses around the country and remind students about the good things that happen when they recycle.”

Joseph Russo, vice president sales & marketing for SCA’s North American away from home professional hygiene business, said, “We are proud to sponsor RecycleMania, and we share students’ commitment to protecting the environment. We urge all universities to evaluate how they can increase sustainability while keeping students and faculty happy, healthy and thriving in the classroom.”

“RecycleMania is an incredible opportunity for Waste Management to energize and educate this broad audience of college students, faculty and staff about our efforts to triple the amount of recyclable materials nationwide by the year 2020,” said Waste Management Vice President Paul Pistono. “As a company committed to extracting the most value possible from all of the materials we manage, we continue to look for ways to help our customers with cost-efficient, environmental solutions and improving recycling rates at higher education institutions.”

Top schools in each category earn “bragging rights,” while the winners of each are recognized with an award made from recycled materials. For the full results of the competition, go to

About RecycleMania

RecycleMania was launched in 2001 as a friendly challenge between Ohio University and Miami University to increase recycling on their campuses. The contest has expanded from two schools in 2001 to 605 colleges and universities in 2012 spanning all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Canada and the U.K. Over an eight-week period, campuses compete to see which institution can collect the largest amount of recyclables per capita, the largest amount of total recyclables, the least amount of trash per capita, or have the highest recycling rate. For complete competition background and details, visit the RecycleMania website at

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Earth Day is this Sunday, April 22nd.  What will you do to help the environment?

Monday, April 16, 2012

Recycled, Reborn Thrift Store Finds

Brenda Abdullah Designs: Recycled, Reborn Thrift Store Finds

The self-described “clothing artist” takes old duds made of natural fibers and recycles them into colorful new designs.
Brenda Abdullah recycling Brenda Abdullah Designs: Recycled, Reborn Thrift Store Finds
Brenda Abdulah's Multicolored Petunia Sweater Coat

Brenda Abdullah, the force behind Brenda Abdullah Designs, has been designing and creating clothing and accessories for more than 25 years, first as a custom dressmaker now as a self-described “clothing artist.” She says she has always admired knitting, crocheting, quilting and painting, and she considers using repurposed materials in her clothing as a way to combine all these interests.

Ms. Abdullah creates gorgeous one-of-a-kind dresses, tops and jackets from a mix of recycled wool, silk, denim and contemporary and vintage textiles. She gathers unwanted clothing from thrift stores, intentionally trying to use as many natural fibers as possible. Once collected, the items go through a cleaning and deconstruction process. She then sorts the materials by color and lets her imagination and design skills take over.

According to the U.S. EPA Office of Solid Waste, Americans throw away more than 68 pounds of clothing and textiles per person per year. Clothing and other textiles make up about 4% of the municipal solid waste stream. Designers like Abdullah are making a difference not only by recycling, but also by educating people on how materials can be repurposed and why it is important to keep textiles out of landfills.

Her goal as an eco-conscious artist/designer is to create high-quality, unique apparel using repurposed clothing. Her inspiration is her “love of beautiful woven, knit, and crochet textiles, her passion for exploring color relationships, and her desire to assemble fabrics with the sensitivity of a painter creating pleasing visual compositions,” according to her website biography.

In October 2011, Abdullah’s work was included with other sustainable designers at Conscious Living TV’s 3rd annual Vert Couture eco-fashion show. The carbon-neutral charity event benefitted Keep Chicago Beautiful and highlighted the range of Chicago’s sustainable, fair-trade fashion movement.
To discover more about Brenda Abdullah and her stylish designs, visit

Sunday, April 15, 2012

My Future's So Bright......

Take a Look: 100 Percent Recycled Sunglasses Frames

BTL sunglasses
A look at the imprinted design of BTL sunglasses. Photo: BTL Optical
Cheap sunglasses come at a price that isn’t always obvious – an environmental one.

Between creating new plastic and materials to manufacture frames and the hefty shipping footprint of foreign-made goods, those beach sunglasses start to look less appealing. Los Angeles-based BTL Optical is looking to bypass the environmentally unfriendly process by using recycled materials to create new, fashionable eyewear looks, but they need your help.
In order to produce the recycled frames, BTL Optical needs a costly injection molding tool. That’s where you come in. On their Kickstarter page, designers of the imprinted wayfarer-style frames are asking for $26,500 to help fund their frame-forming dreams.
Get Involved: 5 Coolest Green Kickstarter Campaigns

“Not only are BTL frames designed in Los Angeles, but we manufacture and assemble in Southern California as well,” the company says on its website. “This is a very important aspect of our brand and we are very proud to offer American made products.”
Of course, your good deed will be rewarded with one or more pairs of sunglasses that will eventually retail for $100 and up. The company is asking for pledges between $65 and $250 and is currently close to breaking $6,500 in pledges.

As with all Kickstarter projects, the company will only be funded if they reach their goal.
Every pair of BTL sunglasses is shipped in an eco-friendly box made from recycled materials and is encased in upcycled fabric from used clothing. The lenses, however, aren’t recycled.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Mass. town: No recycling means no trash pickup either

Wilmington, Mass. begins mandatory recycling on July 1.

Anyone who doesn’t participate in the recycling effort won’t have their garbage picked up, according to The Boston Globe.

Wilmington has a 35% recycling rate, but when yard waste isn’t included, that number falls to 15%.

The town pays $630,000 per year for solid waste collection, the paper reported.

"I think there are a lot of people that are recycling and that are being very responsible about the disposal of their trash. We just want to do things a little better," Wilmington Town Manager Michael A. Caira told the paper. "This is giving notice to those folks who have not caught up with the times that it’s time to start recycling."

Contact Waste & Recycling News reporter Vince Bond at or 313-446-1653.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Fast Company’ Mag Defends Recycled Paper

Fast Company’ Mag Defends Recycled Paper
Fast Company builds on its already innovative reputation with a new video explaining how it’s leading the way in paper reduction within the publishing community.

“Sustainability is one of the core areas that Fast Company focuses on, so in order to practice what we preach, we need to use recycled paper,” says Fast Company Managing Editor Allegra Lagani. Not only are readers appreciative of the publication’s choice, but even advertisers are looking for recycled paper in the publication in which they choose to advertise.

Too Many Mags? Dive into 10 Funky Ways to Reuse Old Magazines
What can a magazine switching to recycled paper really do for the environment? According to Green America’s Better Paper Project and the Environmental Paper Network’s Paper Calculator, if the entire North American magazine industry included just 30% post-consumer recycled paper in their publications, we’d save:
  • 10 million+ trees
  • 7 billion gallons of wastewater
  • More than 1.5 billion pounds of CO2 (the equivalent of removing over 160,000 cars from the road)
With 97% of the magazine industry still using virgin fiber paper, Fast Company’s initiatives should help an entire industry rethink its sourcing.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

From Eggshells to Plastics

Eggshells Reborn as Plastics

bio-plastic eggshells
Photo: Flickr/Mavis
Written by Russell McLendon, Mother Nature Network
Easter is about rebirth and renewal, yet that spirit doesn’t extend to all parts of the holiday. Countless Easter eggs, for example, are produced, used and then discarded every year, whether they were laid by a hen, a rabbit or a plastic mold.

Conveniently, a new research project aims to make such ovoid overkill less wasteful, and not only on Easter. Led by scientists at the U.K.’s University of Leicester, the project is developing a way to convert eggshells into bioplastics, to be used in anything from pharmaceuticals to egg cartons — and maybe even plastic Easter eggs.

Ask the Editor: Are Eggshells Really Compostable?
This could be a boon for food producers, which often must pay to dispose of eggshells in landfills. That’s why the Food and Drink iNet, a U.K. food-industry group tasked with “increasing profitability through the successful exploitation of new ideas,” is funding the project. But the possibilities go well beyond that — recycled eggshells could also find a second life in biomedicine, for instance, or as filler to “bulk up” conventional plastics, potentially reducing demand for such oil-based, nonrenewable materials.

“Eggshell is classified as a waste material by the food industry, but is in fact a highly sophisticated composite,” says Richard Worrall, director of the Food and Drink iNet, in a University of Leicester press release. “This could have potential benefit on many levels, both for food manufacturers and a much wider industry.”

Bioplastics have been around for years, most notably the corn-based kind found in water bottles and plastic cutlery. But conventional plastic — which isn’t biodegradable, and typically includes toxic petrochemicals — remains far more common around the world. The U.K. alone still uses more than 5 million tons of oil-based plastics every year, according to the British Plastics Federation. The U.S. is even more prolific, generating 31 million tons of plastic waste in 2010, according to federal data.
Shocking Eco Art: Our Waste by the Numbers

Scientists who specialize in “green chemistry” and sustainable materials are leading the project, which has so far received nearly £20,000 (about $31,600) from the Food and Drink iNet. Once they finalize a pre-treatment process to sterilize the eggshells, their next step will be to figure out how to extract glycosaminoglycans, or GAGs, a class of proteins in eggshells that are also used in various biomedical applications.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Crystal Coast Earth Day Festival April 14

Crystal Coast Earth Day Festival 2012 

Saturday, April 14, 2012
Fort Macon State Park, Atlantic Beach, NC

The third annual Crystal Coast Earth Day Festival brings together more than 20 local environmental groups to celebrate Earth Day. Visitors are welcome from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. to learn about and celebrate the earth by participating in hands-on activities, listening to music and enjoying local art. Volunteers are needed to help man the federation booth.

Please register if you want to volunteer to work the event.  Details will be emailed prior to the festival. Thank you!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

How to Build a soda bottle bird feeder

You can make a simple, quick DIY bird feeder out of a soda bottle and two wooden spoons or dowels. Photo:

Soda bottle bird feeder

A favorite of the elementary school classroom, the soda bottle bird feeder is a simple DIY project for bird lovers of all ages. After rescuing a 1-2 liter soda bottle from the recycling bin, look around your house or yard for two wooden spoons, dowels or twigs you can use for the project; these will create a place for the birds to sit while they eat.

Then follow the instructions on to cut small holes in the bottle where you will insert the spoons or dowels; parents will need to help their kids with this step. Fill the bottle with bird seed, twist the cap back on and then hang the bird feeder from a tree or porch with string or fishing line.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Burn CD's, Save a Sandwich

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Green Living is the Life for Me

Brooklyn’s Jade 8 Condos are Eco-Chic

An eight-unit infill condo project in Brooklyn’s Gowanus neighborhood has serious green cred, including incorporating many recycle materials in its finishes.
Jade8 interior recycling 1 Brooklyns Jade 8 Condos are Eco Chic
Recycled materials are highlighted in an upscale sustainable kitchen at Jade 8. Photo courtesy of Jade 8.

If you are considering a move to Brooklyn, NY, and you care about sustainability, take a look at Jade 8 condominiums. Recently opened, Jade 8 features eight green condominiums custom-tailored for an environmentally aware buyer with a lot of green in the wallet. The introductory prices run from $685,000 for a 905-square-foot two-bedroom/two-bathroom unit, to $1.15 million for a 1,475-square-foot three-bedroom.

Each unit provides the following green elements:
Included in the healthier and more efficient lifestyle awaiting homeowners at Jade 8 are fresh air filtration systems via heat recovery ventilation (HRV), low-VOC paint, LED lighting, energy-efficient Loewen windows and recycled materials such as sound insulation and Caesarstone countertops.
Jade8 exterior recycling Brooklyns Jade 8 Condos are Eco Chic
A view of Jade 8's front façade from the street. Photo courtesy of Jade 8.
The kitchens have oak and lacquer cabinets and those gorgeous Caesarstone counters. The quartz used to make these counters is a mineral byproduct of mining operations, so instead of being dumped into a landfill, the material is used to create ecologically friendly countertops. The wall and floor insulation is also made from recycled materials. The kitchens are stocked with energy-saving appliances and low-flow faucets, and are equipped with magnetic-induction cooktops and convection ovens, resulting in a cooler, more energy-efficient cooking environment.

All units include private outdoor space, from deep back yards, to large balconies and sprawling roof decks. There is a common “green” roof that provides residents additional shared outdoor space. It is also utilized to promote drainage when it rains and help keep things cool in the summer months. Each residence also has high-efficiency heat pumps and A/C units.

One of the most important aspects of a sustainable home or condo is that it provides clean and healthy air by using an energy-saving heating and cooling system. HRV systems consist of an air exchanger that utilizes both clean and stale air to create warm (or cool) air depending on the desired temperature.

According to Popular Mechanics, “HRVs can recover up to 85 percent of the heat in the outgoing airstream, making these ventilators a lot easier on your budget than opening a few windows. And, an HRV contains filters that keep particulates such as pollen or dust from entering the house.”

Jade 8’s site states that the key to living in a healthy environment is “breathing healthy air, and living in a sustainable structure. The Jade 8 condo complex uses an HRV fresh air filtration system to accomplish this goal.”
Jade8 interior recycling 2 Brooklyns Jade 8 Condos are Eco Chic
A bathroom in Jade 8. Photo courtesy of Jade 8.
The official launch of the building was in January 2012 and, at press time, three of the eight condos have been sold. Units still available include one one-bedroom unit (listed at $775,000) and four two-bedroom units (ranging from $685,000 to $695,000). When in Brooklyn’s Gowanus neighborhood, stop by Jade 8 at 186 8th St.
Wendy Gabriel

About the author

Wendy Gabriel is a freelance eco-writer based in Fargo, ND. She is the founder of and tweets at @MyGreenSide.…

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Latest Solid Waste Report Highlights

NC Solid Waste Report Shows Decreased Disposal, Progress on Recycling

NC DENR has posted the North Carolina Solid Waste and Materials Management Annual Report for FY11 with a comprehensive overview of disposal, recycling, and other waste management issues statewide.  Much of the data for this document comes from facility and local government solid waste reports submitted in the fall of 2011.  Highlights from the report this year include:
  • The state per capita disposal rate fell below one ton per person per year for the first time since base fiscal year 1991-92.
  • Solid waste disposal has fallen 27 percent since fiscal year 2005-06, largely due to continuing recycling efforts and decreased construction.
  • Recycling of traditional recyclable materials, such as paper, glass, aluminum and steel cans, and plastic, increased 5.4 percent from fiscal year 2009-10 to fiscal year 2010-11. Plastic bottle recycling in particular increased 23.4 percent last year and has increased by close to 45 percent over the last two years.
  • Electronics materials collected by local programs has almost doubled since fiscal year 2008-09, rising from .84 to 1.55 pounds per capita in fiscal year 2010-11.
  • The number of curbside recycling programs reached a record high of 283, serving more than 1.68 million households across the state.
  • Oil filter collection by local government recycling programs has tripled since fiscal year 2008-09, driven in large part by the filter disposal ban.
Prices for recyclable materials were extremely strong in fiscal year 2010-11 before declining slightly at the end of the fiscal year, indicating healthy market demand for recovered commodities.

Monday, April 2, 2012

TEDxNCSU Design Challenge



TEDxNCSU Design Challenge

TEDxNCSU will take place on Saturday, April 14th in Witherspoon Student Cinema from 11:00am until 4:00pm.

The design challenge is an outlet for students to display their talents and be recognized for their work. Students will submit their work to be displayed along the walls of Witherspoon Cinema throughout the event. During intermission, attendees will vote on their favorite piece and the top three will receive an iTunes giftcard from $75, $50, and $25.

* Each piece must fit on the canvas provided.
* The use of recycled materials is strongly encouraged (please do not spend too much, if any, money on supplies).
* Please relate your work to "making connections," the TEDxNCSU 2012 theme.
* All entries must be completed and turned into Harrelson 211 by Monday, April 9th.
* When you submit your work, please include a title, description (how it relates to making connections), and a list of the materials used.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Bamboo Used to Make Laptop Computers

Bamboo Used to Make Laptop Computers

Mature Moso bamboo, around 2 years old, is used in the Bamboo notebooks. This aligns with the natural lifespan of the bamboo, and the manufacturing process uses less energy than traditional metal alloys that are refined from petrol. Photo: Flickr/mike lowe

Bamboo is not just for pandas anymore. The renewable material is being utilized in ASUS laptops as an alternative to plastic casing, and it also serves as the packaging for Dell Inspiron notebook computers.

A primary reason for using bamboo as the outer protection of these computers is that it has the strength of many metals, but it is also easy and quick to grow.
Bamboo also has a lifespan of about 20 years, which means it won’t biodegrade while you still own the computer.

One reason that Dell chose bamboo for its packaging is that it can be placed in compost systems, and the company used the resulting soil from its tests to grow cucumber and sunflower plants.

It is used as a substitute for foam plastics and plastic bags that would otherwise be protecting the laptops during shipping.

The reality is that computers can be packaged in many different materials, including cardboard. During the electronics recycling process, the packaging is separated from the circuit boards and metal components, so recyclability of the packaging does come into play.
Oftentimes, hard plastic casing is reprocessed for use on other electronics, but if not recycled it can take many years to break down in a landfill.

Bamboo use is growing in popularity as a renewable option for disposable products. This includes bamboo tableware, dish towels and reusable bags.

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