Thursday, February 28, 2013

Scholarships Available for Becoming an Outdoors-Woman Workshops

Scholarships Available for Becoming an Outdoors-Woman Workshops

Scholarship opportunities are available for Becoming an Outdoors-Woman.
Media Contact: Geoff Cantrell
RALEIGH, N.C. (Feb. 25, 2013) — The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission is making scholarship money available to women who want to attend a Becoming an Outdoors-Woman (BOW) workshop in North Carolina. More than $2,000 is available in scholarships. The scholarship money will be distributed to eligible applicants in amounts of up to 80 percent of registration fees, which range from $10 to $225, depending on the duration and nature of BOW workshops.
Becoming an Outdoors-Woman is an international program for women, 18 and older, to learn outdoor skills through hands-on experiences, such as archery, fishing, paddling, wildlife photography, outdoor cooking, target shooting and motorboat safety. Upcoming BOW workshops for which scholarship money is available include:
· Fly-Fishing weekend at the Wildlife Education Center in Brevard and Davidson River Campground in Transylvania County (April 5-7), $125 registration;
· Archery/Bowhunting at the Wildlife Education Center on N.C. State University’s Centennial Campus in Raleigh (April 20), $10 registration;
· Outdoor Skills workshop at Lake Townsend near Greensboro (May 18), $25 registration; and,
· BOW weekend workshop at YMCA Camp Harrison in Wilkes County (May 31-June 2), $225 registration.
The Wildlife Commission provides funding assistance to BOW participants through the Mel Porter Scholarship Fund, supported by contributions from previous BOW participants. The deadline for scholarship applications is two weeks prior to respective workshop dates.
“Scholarships have helped single mothers and other deserving women take part in a rewarding, confidence-building experience they otherwise couldn’t afford,” said BB Gillen, outdoor skills coordinator with the Wildlife Commission and state coordinator for Becoming an Outdoors-Woman. “These are partial scholarships only, based on need. Recipients are asked to pay the remainder of the registration fee.”
Preference is given to first-time workshop participants who are full-time students, single parents of young children, and members of low-income households. Eligibility is determined by scholarship application and workshop registration.
More information is available by contacting BOW Coordinator BB Gillen at 919-218-3638 or

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Red Lobster, Olive Garden Recycle Cooking Oil

Red Lobster, Olive Garden Recycle Cooking Oil

red lobster, red, lobster, darden, darden restaurants, restaurant, seafood, chain
Photo: Darden Restaurants
Rising sustainability trends in the food service industry have left many greenies wondering:

Are zero-waste restaurants possible?
Darden Restaurants, which includes popular eateries such as Red Lobster, Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse and Bahama Breeze, is out to prove that while low-impact ambitions are challenging in the industry, going zero-waste is still an achievable goal.

Since 2009, the company has been putting programs in place to one day send zero waste to landfills, including a company-wide cooking oil recycling program that has collected millions of gallons of used oil. Launched in 2010, the program reclaims 100 percent of the used cooking oil from Darden's 2,000 restaurants - for a total of about 5 million pounds per year.

With biofuel markets on the rise, Darden is able to carry out the program at no cost and actually receives a small annual rebate for selling its oil to make new products.

"We use our fry oil for a host of different things," Brandon Tidwell, sustainability manager for Darden Restaurants, told Earth911. "A good bit of it goes to biofuel and biodiesels. Some of it is used for soaps and cosmetics, and some of it goes for animal feed."

Thanks, in part, to its successful cooking oil recycling program, Darden increased its enterprise-wide landfill diversion rate by 14 percent from 2008 to 2011, representing a total volume of more than 140,000 cubic yards of landfill space.

It's all part of Darden's ongoing efforts to reduce the environmental impact of its eateries. A year before releasing its zero-waste aspirations, the company announced plans to reduce water and energy use by 15 percent per-restaurant in seven years. It has already surpassed its water conservation goals, about four years ahead of schedule, and is more than halfway toward reaching its energy efficiency ambitions.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Restaurant Chains Donate Unserved Food to Families in Need

About 40 percent of all edible food goes to waste in the United States, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council. At the same time, more than 50 million Americans are food insecure, meaning they do not know where their next meal will come from.
The shocking contrast is enough to turn your stomach, but one Fortune 500 restaurant company is out to cut food waste totals down to size and turn what was once considered garbage into wholesome meals for hungry families.
darden, restaurants, harvest, program, donation, donating, food, red lobster, employee, employees, manager, restaurant
Two Red Lobster employees prepare food for donation through the Darden Harvest program. The program has donated more than 62 million pounds of unserved food to food banks and food rescue programs since 2003. Photo: Darden Restaurants

Darden Restaurants, which includes popular eateries such as Red Lobster, Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse and Bahama Breeze, is celebrating the 10th anniversary of its Harvest program, a food rescue initiative that distributes unserved food to community agencies and organizations across the country.

Since its inception, Darden Harvest has donated more than 62 million pounds of food - the equivalent of serving three meals a day to 19,300 families of four for an entire year.
"We know that one out of every three pounds of food goes to the landfill," Brandon Tidwell, sustainability manager for Darden Restaurants, told Earth911. "So, this is a way to reduce waste-to-landfill and all the environmental impacts that come with that."

"At the same time, I think the real opportunity that we see is there's a gap between those who are fed and those who are not fed. It's really a way to get food resources to the people who are in the most need and be able to help provide for them."
Related: EPA Tips: Feed People, Not Landfills
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An Olive Garden employee freezes unserved food for donation through the Harvest program. Photo: Darden Restaurants

Through the program, food that passes the restaurant-issued freshness date but is still entirely wholesome and edible by FDA standards is packaged, labeled and sent off to community organizations that feed the hungry, such as after-school programs, day cares, transition homes and rehabilitation centers.

To make sure nothing goes to waste, Darden employees take inventory in the kitchen after every shift. Food that is eligible for donation is prepared just as you'd get it on your plate at Red Lobster or Olive Garden, but instead of being served, it's flash-frozen and set aside in mint-green bins for pickup.

"Our employees love the program, and they make it work," Tidwell said. "They are able to see the value of that food going to people who are in need."

The program has garnered so much attention that even Chelsea Clinton took notice. Last year, the former first daughter sat down with Darden COO Drew Madsen in a special report for "Rock Center with Brian Williams" to discuss how the restaurant giant is making a difference in people's lives. For Dee Mitten, executive director of Waste Not - a food rescue program in Phoenix, the impact is immeasurable.

"It's just remarkable," Mitten said of Waste Not's partnership with Darden. "They make it so easy for us... and the hungry people of our community benefit tremendously."
Last year, Waste Not collected a staggering 146,938 pounds of food from local Darden restaurants and distributed it to more than 100 organizations throughout the Phoenix area. Through partnerships with regional distributors like Waste Not, along with national organizations like Food Donation Connection, Second Harvest and Feeding America, Darden now donates 10 to 12 million pounds of food per year from its 2,000 restaurants.
Learn More: Red Lobster, Olive Garden Recycle Cooking Oil

The program brings Darden closer to its ambitious goal of zero-waste. But on a larger scale, the restaurant giant hopes it will inspire other eateries to reclaim their surplus food and put it to good use.

"It's really a challenge for other restaurant companies to understand simply how easy the process is and why it's important to do it," Tidwell said. "Because it helps to feed people that are in need, and it helps to reduce waste to our landfills. So, it's something that we see a lot of benefits in, and we want others to join us in doing it."

To learn more about the Darden Harvest program and how it impacts hungry people in your community, check out the infographic below or visit Darden's website.
darden, restaurants, harvest, program, infographic, red lobster, olive garden, bahama breeze

Monday, February 25, 2013

Something to Sink Your Teeth In

3 simple homemade toothpaste recipes
These money-saving DIY toothpaste recipes let you bypass the synthetic ingredients that commercial toothpastes often contain.
Photo: Shutterstock
While some people in rural parts of the world may resort to the use of brick, charcoal, rangoli powder, mud, salt or ash for toothpaste, western brushers usually rely on a tube of mystery ingredients to make their pearly whites sparkle like the Pepsodent girl's.
But the ingredients found in conventional toothpastes — including sodium fluoride, synthetic dyes derived from petroleum or coal tar, sodium hydroxide (also known as lye or caustic soda), sodium lauryl sulfate, titanium dioxide, artificial sweeteners, and triclosan — might make us think twice about the products we employ for the sake of our teeth. Of course, we’re not actively swallowing the stuff, but it’s unavoidable that a bit will slink down the gullet from time to time. And given that most of us brush our teeth 730 times or more a year, there’s no shortage of opportunity to ingest ingredients better left in the lab.
The most controversial of all the ingredients is fluoride. The ADA supports the use of fluoride in toothpaste, but many advocate groups heartily argue against it, citing numerous health risks associated with ingesting the substance. If fluoride or any of the other ingredients are a concern for you, there are some honorable natural toothpastes available. But you can also borrow from the wisdom of the DIY set and make your own, thereby omitting questionable ingredients as well as spending less money and doing away with excess packaging.
1. Simple toothpaste
Inspired by Stephanie Tourles and her DIY beauty bible "Organic Body Care Recipes," this formula couldn’t be easier. This is for a single-use application, so the adjust measurements to suit the amount you like on your brush.
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, finely ground
1 drop peppermint, clove, or citrus pure essential oil
A few drops of water
Mix ingredients in a small bowl and combine thoroughly until a thick paste is formed. Scoop it on to your toothbrush and brush as usual.
2. Vegan toothpaste
Many commercial toothpastes include glycerin to help maintain the product’s texture, but unless it is listed specifically as vegetable glycerin, it is of animal origin. If you want a vegan toothpaste that contains glycerin, try this.
2 teaspoons vegetable glycerin
4 tablespoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon guar gum
8 tablespoons water
5 drops peppermint, clove, or citrus pure essential oil
Place all the ingredients except essential oil in a pot and cook on low heat, stirring frequently, for five minutes or until the mixture achieves a paste-like texture. Cool, add essential oil to taste, and store in a sterile jar at room temperature. Use as usual.
3. Coconut-based toothpaste
This formula swaps out the glycerin and uses coconut oil instead. The coconut flavor and essential oil should mask the subtle taste of the hydrogen peroxide and baking soda, but you can add a few drops of stevia if you prefer a sweeter paste.
6 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon hydrogen peroxide
2 tablespoons coconut oil (warm enough to be liquid, which means below 76 degrees F)
10 drops peppermint, clove, or citrus pure essential oil
Put baking soda in a bowl, add the other ingredients and mix until you achieve a proper paste texture. Add a small amount of baking soda if it’s runny; add more coconut oil if it’s too dry. Taste, and add more essential oil if you want a more flavorful paste. Store in an opaque container (required to protect the hydrogen peroxide) and use as usual.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Artists Transform 1.5 Tons of Mt. Everest Trash into Treasure

Artists Transform 1.5 Tons of Mt. Everest Trash into Treasure

Mt. Everest trash sculpture
Over 1.5 tons of trash collected from the slopes of Mt. Everest were transformed into 75 art sculptures as part of the MT. Everest-8848 ART Project. Photo: Mt. Everest-8848 Art Project

Empty beer cans, bottles, utensils, old rope, broken tent parts and discarded mountaineering equipment are just some of the trash items abandoned on the slopes of Mount Everest every year.

A group of Nepalese artists are raising awareness of the growing litter problem on Mount Everest by turning this trash into art. Over 75 unique art sculptures have been commissioned as part of the Mount Everest-8848 Art Project, “an art and sculpture symposium on transforming waste materials collected from Mount Everest camps,” according to the group’s Facebook page.

The symposium is the work of The Art Club Nepal, a branch of Da Mind Tree (DMT), an event management and research group. The Art Club Nepal is currently exhibiting the art in the central tourist hub of Pokhara and hopes to eventually install the pieces in the Everest region for permanent display.

Fifteen visual artists and five guest artists were selected for the one-month upcycling project, transforming 1.5 tons of sometimes decades-old trash into museum-ready treasures. The Everest waste was donated to the project by the Everest Summiteers’ Association (ESA), an alliance of climbers who have successfully conquered Everest. Sixty-five ESA mountaineers, along with help from 75 hard-working yaks, collected and transported the refuse during the springs of 2011 and 2012 as part of their “Save Mt. Everest” clean-up campaign.

Mount Everest, a UNESCO World Heritage site, attracts hundreds of climbers every year who hope to scale the iconic 29,028-foot Himalayan Peak. The popularity of the site has led to a growing influx of visitors. "The enormous increase in visitors to the Everest region in recent decades has brought serious strains and severe negative effects on the sensitive environment of Mt. Everest itself as well as along the many popular trails of Sagarmatha/Everest National Park," says the ESA website.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Are Artists the Ultimate Recyclers?

Friday, February 22, 2013

State's Environmental Office Complex Honored for Helping Transform Downtown

State's Environmental Office Complex Honored for Helping Transform Downtown

 RALEIGH– A new environmentally-efficient state office complex is earning high marks for helping transform and revitalize downtown Raleigh.

Green Square, which serves as the headquarters for the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources and a wing for the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences, received an Imprint Award from the Downtown Raleigh Alliance Feb. 13.
The award recognizes significant contributions to Raleigh’s changing identity as a model for downtown growth and revitalization. Imprint Awards were given to four other downtown projects. 

“We’re extremely proud the Downtown Raleigh Alliance selected Green Square for this prestigious award,” said John Skvarla, secretary of the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources, or DENR. “Green Square is the state government complex’s model for efficiency. Now, it’s also a model for the capital city’s urban revival, tourism and economic development.”

Green Square includes office space for about 640 DENR employees and the museum’s new Nature Research Center, and a footbridge connecting the research center to the office building. The complex also boasts a restaurant, a shop and a parking deck.
The complex was built to the highest standards in environmental efficiency. The window-filled structure saves money on energy by relying on far more sunlight for heat than a typical office building. It also has cost-savings mechanisms for capturing and reusing rainwater for cooling the building and flushing toilets. Green Square was constructed using low-emission paints and carpentry materials, as well as locally-produced building materials. Green Square’s features earned it a gold certificate for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, the highest standard in environmental design.

Officials with the Downtown Raleigh Alliance said Green Square earned the award because the complex serves so many diverse users and helps make downtown Raleigh a more appealing destination.
“Our award is more of a way to acknowledge great projects completed in a given year,” said Paul Reimel, economic development manager for the Downtown Raleigh Alliance. “Green Square is a huge project that put a flag in downtown in terms of attracting tourists to the Nature Research Center. It’s also a multi-agency project with the parking deck that serves DENR as well as other state agencies.” 

The downtown alliance bills itself as the official nonprofit organization designated to continue Raleigh’s downtown revitalization by enhancing investments of the public and private sectors. Other projects honored with Imprint Awards at the group’s Feb. 13 annual meeting included the Hampton Inn & Suites in the Glenwood South District, the G&S Building on South Wilmington Street and 309 Dawson building that is home to Babylon restaurant and some office space.

To learn more about Green Square, check out the following page on the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ website,

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Plastic water bottle recycling rate jumps almost 20%

Plastic water bottle recycling rate jumps almost 20%

  • By WRN Staff
File photo The recycling rate for PET water bottles is up sharply, according to the International Bottled Water Association.
The recycling rate of single-serve PET water bottles jumped 19.7% in just one year, the International Bottled Water Association reported this afternoon.
Citing new data from the National Association for PET Container Resources (NAPCOR), the association reported that 38.6% of plastic water bottles were recycled in the United States in 2011 -- an almost 20% percent jump from the 2010 rate of 32.25% and more than double the plastic water bottle recycling rate of seven years ago.
NAPCOR data shows that 500 million pounds of plastic water bottles were recycled in 2011 out of the 1.3 billion pounds available for recycling, according to an IBWA news release.
In addition to the recycling stats, the IBWA cited data from the Beverage Marketing Corporation that reveals that since 2000 the average amount of PET used in a standard size (16.9-ounce) water bottle has dropped 47.8% to 9.9 grams.
"The bottled water industry utilizes a variety of measures to reduce our environmental footprint," Chris Hogan, IBWA's vice president of communications, said in a statement. "All bottled water containers are 100 percent recyclable. And, when you do the math, it turns out that of all the plastics produced in the U.S., PET plastic bottled water packaging makes up only 0.92 percent; less than one percent. Moreover, plastic bottled water containers make up only one-third of one percent of the U.S. waste stream, according to the EPA."
The IBWA represents the bottled water industry's bottlers, distributors and suppliers, and their interests.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The 3 Rs Calling

17 creative ways to reuse your phone book
If you still have one of these lying around, at least make it earn its keep.
phone book
Photo: Carlos Gi/Shutterstock
I haven’t used a phone book in years. Years! I can hardly even remember life before Google. A while back I tried to opt out of my phone book delivery service, but still that enormous heavy tome of wasted paper kept arriving on my doorstep. So I recycled it, like a good green steward, but plopping that massive stack of totally-untouched paper into the bin . . . it still felt wasteful.
So I resubmitted my opt-out, and then got to work thinking of what I could do with the phone books I’d accidentally gotten. Here’s what I came up with:
1. Use the pages to wash your windows and mirrors. Just like newspaper, this is the best method for achieving a streak-free finish.
2. Turn the pages into envelopes. You can find a ton of cool tutorials for folding your own envelopes, and they add such a charming touch of DIY flair to a little gift or hand drawn card.
recycled-paper bow3. For a bigger, fancier present, you can make DIY gift toppers like lovely bows or fancy flowers.
4. Speaking of flowers, a paper bouquet of roses is, well, pretty dang amazing.
5. You can also turn phone book pages into leaves, like this lovely “newspaper leaf” garland. It’s a season-appropriate decoration these days, and makes a great craft project for children, too.
6. There are tons of paper crafts that are ideal for that thinner, newsprint-y type of paper. For example papier mache, or origami, or paper beads. Each of these can be skewed “beginner” or “master” depending on your skill level. Just Google around for tutorials.
cat in front of fireplace7. Paper is paper, and any balled-up paper makes an excellent fire-starter. Keep your phone book near your hearth this winter.
8. If you’re planning a move, keep your phone book to use for wrapping your breakable items. Balled-up paper makes great packing material. This can come in handy for mailing holiday gifts, as well.
9. Use the pages as mulch if you need to prepare a plot of land for gardening. Just spread a layer of paper over the area, then pile on the wood chips or other groundcover. It’s not only free, but very effective. (I speak from experience as a San Diego-area gardener.)
10. Lots of home composters end up with disproportionate ratios of “greens” to “browns.” Phone book pages will work great for the oft-sought after “browns” (don’t worry about the ink, soy is the standard these days). You can also add the pages, shredded, to your worm bin.
11. Although it’s most often done with newspaper, you can also use phone book pages to make seed starter pots. So hold onto it for next spring.
12. I love the shape of this easy-peasy “Flower Power” pencil holder.
13. One of my all-time favorite projects is the secret book safe. You could totally do this with a phone book and no one would ever think to look inside, since nobody ever uses phone books anyway!
14. This summer I got really into pressing flowers, and I plan to start again next season. A phone book makes a pretty excellent flower press. You can also press leaves (like the incredible colored ones that are abundant these days) in there.
15. A phone book is the right height and size to give your toddler the little boost that he may need to join the family at the table. Cover the book in cotton batting and fabric, or save a step and use a cool vintage quilt. Instant booster seat.
16. If you’re an exerciser, you can use a phone book to augment your workout.  They make great aerobics “steps” or yoga blocks.
17. And finally, you might want to keep one in the car in case you ever have to change a tire on uneven terrain or on uneven concrete. You can use the phone book under the jack to straighten it out. Just modify the height by flipping the pages.
And there you go, a wide range of ideas to suit every lifestyle. So please make good use of that last phone book, and then go here and OPT OUT!
Sayward Rebhal originally wrote this story for It is reprinted with permission here.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

How low (waste) can you go?

Monday, February 18, 2013

Coors partners with Recyclebank

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Staying on Top of It

The Staggering Impact of Roofing Waste (and a Recycling Solution)

Eleven million tons of asphalt shingle waste is generated annually in the U.S. What can you do to make a change?
When was the last time you thought about roofing waste? Yeah, we thought so.
Most of us think about asphalt roof shingles only when we need to repair or replace a roof. Recycling shingles probably doesn’t make your top 10 list of everyday recycling ideas to help protect the planet.
 damage e1355866710162 The Staggering Impact of Roofing Waste (and a Recycling Solution)
But, roofing waste is a big deal. Consider this: 11 million tons of asphalt shingle waste is generated in the U.S. each year. That is more than the combined weight of every Ford vehicle sold in the U.S. in 2011. If you think about how many houses and commercial buildings we have in this country — how many rooftops we have — you will begin to appreciate how much roofing waste we generate.
Recycling shingles can have a huge impact on reducing that waste. Consider the following facts about shingle waste:
  • More than 12.5 billion square feet of shingles are manufactured each year in the U.S.
  • That’s more than 448 square miles of roof shingles — enough to cover Washington, D.C., with shingles four-and-a-half times.
  • 11 million tons of asphalt shingle waste is generated in the U.S. each year.
  • Recycling 11 million tons of asphalt roofing shingles is the equivalent of saving 11 million barrels of oil.
  • The U.S. manufactures enough asphalt shingles each year to cover the entire Facebook campus 11,000 times.
  • Asphalt roof shingles don’t have to fill up landfills. They can be recycled!
damage2 The Staggering Impact of Roofing Waste (and a Recycling Solution)

Reduce, reuse and recycle shingles

Roofing contractors can reduce shingle waste by measuring accurately and only purchasing what is needed, which also keeps roofing costs down. When hiring a roofing contractor, ask each contractor you interview for an estimate of shingle use. A contractor who purchases an appropriate amount of shingles will contain costs and reduce waste.
Also, ask your roofing contractors if they plan to recycle old shingles after they have been removed from your roof. In many states, recycled shingles can be used in asphalt for paving roads. Choose a contractor who recycles shingle waste, rather than sending it to a landfill.
Finally, ask your contractor what will be done with surplus shingles. Extra shingles can be donated to Habitat for Humanity and other charitable organizations. Ask your local Habitat chapter if it can recommend a roofing contractor who supports this mission.
Recycling shingles when you replace or repair your roof can go a long way toward reducing the millions of tons of shingles sent to landfills each year. That’s a goal homeowners and contractors alike should work toward.
Infographic Roofing Waste The Staggering Impact of Roofing Waste (and a Recycling Solution)
logo The Staggering Impact of Roofing Waste (and a Recycling Solution)
This guest post was written for by American Custom Contractors,
family-owned roofing contractors based in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Upcycling Lost Sea Vessels

Shipwreck Furniture’s Nic Kruger: Upcycling Lost Sea Vessels

Shipwrecks off the coast of South Africa are repurposed into one-of-a-kind pieces of rustic furniture.

What is Shipwreck Furniture?

Shipwreck Furniture was started by Nic Kruger, a handyman and carpenter with more than eight years of experience. Nic creates innovative and unique furniture from the reclamied timber of salvaged shipwrecks off the coast of South Africa. Each piece is gauranteed to be unique and full of character. Here is his firsthand account on how Shipwreck Furniture got its start, and how it sources its incredible repurposed finds.
Shipwreck Furniture recycled table 2 Shipwreck Furnitures Nic Kruger: Upcycling Lost Sea Vessels

Where it all started: The Kunene

After being bought for ZAR 5.00 by salvagers Jimmy Uys and Paul Durandt from South Cape Salvage, the shipwas raised off the harbour floor in a mighty salvage operation. The Kunene was beyond repair and was stripped for scrap metal. As part of the deal, her timber hull had to be removed and was nearly burnt. She finally came to rest on a grain farm in the Swellendam district, where her once gracefull hull lay in segments, given a last bit of character by the hot African sun.
Finally, I stumbled upon the wreck of the Kunene and fell in love with her timbers. I carted the bits off to my workshop in Knysna, South Africa, without a specific plan and started cleaning the multiple rusted nails out of the timber. Boats and ships built from wood in the 1940s and 1950s in South Africa are now coming to the end of their working life, and while new boats are being built from steel, I was fortunate enough to stumble accross all this beautiful wood.
The timber sat in my workshop for a while until finally there was time to make the first item. I called it “Table 1″ for lack of a better description, but in no way did it detract from the great character and warmth that this table owned.
Screen Shot 2013 01 31 at 11.24.57 AM Shipwreck Furnitures Nic Kruger: Upcycling Lost Sea Vessels
The Kunene
“Our aim is to capture and preserve as much of the character and history of the shipwrecks off our coastline in our furniture, in an environmentally concious manner.”
–Nic Kruger

This was more or less how it all started and now we’re busy setting the standard for great looking, innovative furniture made in an environmentally conscious manner. We exclusively use timber from wrecks, which in many ways limits us in conventional thinking and forces us to let the timber dictate the size, shape and finish of the final product.
These boats were chopped up with chainsaws and little regard for future use. The only parameters were the size of the dump trucks that used to transport them. For this reason, it is not possible to make very long tables without joints. Boats are also not square or box shaped. It is their beautiful streamlined hulls that make it possible for them to sail the oceans. Therefore, there are very few straight planks that come off these wrecks. All of the above challenges make it so much more rewarding to work with such great raw material.
Our team is small at the moment, but they consistently deliver a great product. A lot of time is spent extracting wrecks from where we found them and turning the raw chunks into usable raw material. We have a big budget for saw and planer blades because of all the metal still prevalent in the timber. A full-time team member is involved in cleaning and dismantling the wrecks. The metal bits incorporated in some of the designs are all leftovers from the wrecks.
Shipwreck Furniture crop Shipwreck Furnitures Nic Kruger: Upcycling Lost Sea Vessels
The image above is an engraving on a plank incorporated in the table above. It is a certifying stamp that was done during a survey of the ship’s seaworthiness during its lifetime at sea. The lighter colored timber is what is known here as Oregon Pine and was imported in the first half of the previous century in large volumes to our country from the U.S., mainly for use in construction, but obviously also used in boat building. The dark patches in the wood come from the leaching of rusting nails and metal bolts in the timber.
Nic Kruger Shipwreck Furnitures Nic Kruger: Upcycling Lost Sea Vessels
Nic Kruger, founder, Shipwreck Furniture
Our wrecks, salvage operations and the history of the boats can be seen by following this link.
The process of salvaging the wood and some detail on our workshop progress can be seen here
Please also visit the Shipwreck Furniture Facebook page for more up-to-date news and recent designs or products.
Nic Kruger, a carpenter with more than eight years of experience, started Shipwreck Furniture more than four years ago. Nic has a passion for the sea and for taking other people’s waste and giving it a second life. Whenever he is not fashioning furniture from the wrecks of fishing trawlers or spending time with his family, he is in his wetsuit, spearfishing, come rain or shine. Emails are welcome at

Friday, February 15, 2013

Record-level attendance at North Carolina State Parks continued in 2012

Record-level attendance at North Carolina State Parks continued in 2012

RALEIGH – The N.C Division of Parks and Recreation today announced that visitation at North Carolina’s state parks and state recreation areas continued at a record level in 2012, with 14.2 million visits, matching attendance levels set in 2009 and 2011.
Among 41 state parks and state recreation areas, 18 reported increases in attendance in 2012. Fort Macon State Park in Carteret County reported the highest attendance at 1.24 million visits, down slightly from 1.29 million last year.
“Continued record attendance demonstrates that our state parks and state recreation areas fulfill a desire of North Carolinians and their visitors for affordable family recreation and a meaningful outdoor experience,” said Lewis Ledford, state parks director. “A direct result of this high visitation is the strong contributions that state parks make to North Carolina’s tourism economy as well as the economies of local communities.”
A 2008 economic study revealed that travelers spend an average $23.56 a day to enjoy the state parks. The analysis by North Carolina State University’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management estimated the state parks system’s total annual economic impact at more than $400 million. The complete study can be found at:
During the past 25 years, the state parks system has seen a dramatic 87 percent increase in visitation. In 1987, 7.6 million people visited state parks and state recreation areas.
Several state parks that reported higher attendance in 2012 were able to offer improvements and new amenities to visitors. A new 7,100-square-foot visitor center and related facilities were dedicated at Gorges State Park, and the park experienced a 22 percent increase in visitation. Improvements in access facilities at Chimney Rock State Park contributed to a 36 percent jump in attendance, while William B. Umstead State Park in Wake County, which improved parking and a popular trailhead area, recorded visitation up 33 percent.
Other parks with significant increases in visitation include Hammocks Beach State Park in Onslow County (57 percent), Haw River State Park in Guilford and Rockingham counties (31 percent), Jordan Lake State Recreation Area in Chatham County (35 percent) and Lake Waccamaw State Park in Columbus County (53 percent).
The state parks system manages more than 217,000 acres within state parks, state recreation areas and a system of state natural areas dedicated to conservation of rare resources. Through its New Parks for a New Century initiative, six new state parks have been added to the system since 2003.
(EDITORS: Complete 2012 attendance records are available on the linked to this release under “News.”)

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Love Letters to Mother Earth

Love Letters to Mother Earth

Photo: Alexandra Vietti, Earth911

This Valentine’s Day, Earth911 decided that expressions of affection shouldn’t be limited to couples only; we wanted to show Mother Earth some love. We asked our readers and staff to come up with their Valentine’s love letters to Mama Earth, and here’s what they wrote:

“Roses are red,
The Earth's green and blue.
You take care of Mother Earth,
She'll take care of you.”

-- Leah Blunt, Fulfillment Editor, Earth911

“Earth Mother, Earth Mother
What would we do
If the streams dried up
And the skies weren’t blue?

Earth Mother, Earth Mother
I promise this to you
I will do all I can
To take care of you.”

-- Jeannea Spence, Eastern Media Sales Director, Earth911

“Dear Mother Earth,
Roses are red, violets are blue, and I'm grateful to you for those things and the rest of the beautiful planet we're lucky enough to live on! I promise to do my best to keep this planet clean and green.
Love, Becky.”
-- Becky Striepe, Earth911 reader, via Facebook

"Hey Mother Earth, I cho-cho-choose you…okay, I stole that from 'The Simpsons,' but the sentiment is all me!
Love, Raquel.”
 -- Raquel Fagan, Vice President, Media and Partnerships, Earth911

"Roses are red,
Violets are blue.
Recycling takes old materials
And turns them into something new."

-- Alexis Petru, Staff Writer, Earth911

“Oh, Mother Nature. How can I express my love for you?
I couldn't think of a way. So, I wrote a haiku!

Your spindly trees,
Bright green grass and warming sun
Beams make my day. Hooray!”

-- Mary Mazzoni, Staff Writer, Earth911

Mother Earth,
Be Mine
(and my children's)
(and their children's)
(and their children's)
(and their children's)

...You get the idea.
Love, Leah.”
-- Leah Blunt, Fulfillment Editor, Earth911

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Organic Bouquet: Recycled Packaging for Valentine’s Day Gifts

Organic Bouquet: Recycled Packaging for Valentine’s Day Gifts

Utilizing recycled packaging, carbon emissions offsets and other eco-initiatives, Organic Bouquet makes the perfect sustainable Valentine’s Day gifts.
Are you looking for the perfect present for your sweetheart this Valentine’s Day? Then go no further, because we have the perfect choice. Not only does Organic Bouquet offer gorgeous arrangements, but company also provides gift baskets, gourmet foods and beautiful wreaths.
This is your one-stop shop for any special occasion. The best part is that Organic Bouquet ensures each product is delivered in recycled packaging, so as not to harm the planet in its delivery process. Let’s explore why this company is so great.
organic bouquet Organic Bouquet: Recycled Packaging for Valentine’s Day Gifts
Photo courtesy of Organic Bouquet

Shipping boxes

Each piece of packaging is made from recycled and recyclable materials. These boxes are just as good as the standard, nonbiodegradable ones. Organic Bouquet ensures that gifts will remain intact, all while protecting the planet. The printing on the boxes is also eco-friendly, as Organic Bouquet uses naturally nontoxic, low-VOC, water-based inks.

Paper plant sleeves

Organic Bouquet’s paper plant sleeves are made using the utmost of sustainable processes. Paper sleeves are fashioned from Kraft paper, which is single sourced from Longview Fibre Paper and Packaging Company. The sleeves are also made from highly refined pulp and a contain a large percentage of recycled fiber content.

Gift cards and inserts

Gift cards and paper inserts can be wasteful, but at least Organic Bouquet prints each one on recycled/recyclable materials with soy-based ink, which comes directly from soybeans. Soy ink largely reduces air pollution released during the printing process, because soy is low in VOCs. Compared to petroleum inks, soy ink deteriorates four times more effectively.

Recycled vases

Organic Bouquet offers 100% recycled glass vases for your flowers. The tinted vases come with a green pedigree, which is made from recycled glass.
In addition to its recycled packaging, Organic Bouquet also offers certified-organic flowers that are grown with natural resources and certified organic plant foods. The company also participates in many eco-initiatives, like its partnership with, which offsets carbon emissions.

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