Today is Blog Action Day where this year’s focus is on climate change! My fellow Eco Woman, Recycla, has written about how each and every one of us can make a difference in saving our planet. Remember, small changes from everyone can add up to bigger results!
Lights out this Saturday night March 25, 2009
This Saturday, March 28, 2009, at 8:30pm local time, individuals, businesses, government buildings, schools and major landmarks will turn off non-essential lighting around the world. This participation in Earth Hour is to help show others and our elected officials about the need to address climate change.
This year, Earth Hour’s goal is for 1 billion people to turn off their lights. It’s not about what town or country you’re from, but rather, what planet you’re from! As of this moment, 2,712 cities, towns and municipalities in 83 countries have pledged to participate.
So collect your candles, get your board games ready, and be one of a billion this Saturday night. Lets hear it readers! Will you be one of them?
Earth friendly BioBags for your trash December 15, 2008
Not too long ago, I wrote about biodegradable bags to use for your trash. Well, here’s another one I came across recently.
BioBag is the world’s largest brand of 100% biodegradable and 100% compostable bags and films made from the material, Mater-Bi. All of our products contain GMO free starch, biodegradable polymer and other renewable resources. No polyethylene is used in the production process.
There’s many different sizes to choose from: tall kitchen, food waste, lawn and leaf, dog waste, and cat pan liners. I bought mine at a health food store and I know Whole Foods carries them if you live near one. With regular plastic garbage bags taking 1000 years to break down and toxic substances from them leaching into the soil, these bags are a excellent earth-friendly alternative.
Copyright © 2008. Trying To Be Greener. All rights reserved.
Greening your giving in five easy steps December 11, 2008
My friend and fellow Eco Woman Warrior, Jen, is back today with some easy steps to make your holiday gift giving a little “greener”.
This holiday season, as you are making your lists and checking them twice, here are five ideas to help you be a little greener and earth-friendly:
#1 — Come up with a plan. Don’t go shopping without one or else you’ll end up making some bad choices, such as getting your diabetic cousin a kit to make funnel cakes. Having a written plan will also ensure that you don’t forget anyone on your list.
One year, I actually forgot to finish shopping for my father and didn’t realize it until Christmas morning. Oops. I now keep a shopping list on my computer all year. On it, I list every single person we need to buy for, including my children’s teachers and a tip for the newspaper carrier. I also list my gift ideas for each person as I come up with them and, later on, I list what I actually got everyone and check them off when I’m done.
#2 — Don’t buy cheap plastic stuff that will end up in a landfill by Valentine’s Day. Seriously, your nephew might adore his remote control car collection, but how many does he really need? Instead why not get him something that will last longer? For example, this year four of my nephews are getting good quality wind-up LED flashlights that don’t need batteries and will last for years. You might also try shopping at locally-owned stores in your town, as well as supporting artists and crafters. Etsy.com is a great place to find handmade goods for nearly everyone on your list.
#3 — Cut back. There’s no reason to go overboard with your giving. Give reasonably and not in excess. My husband and I force ourselves to stick to a prescribed number of gifts for our children (two girls, ages 8 and 10), even when there are more things we want to give them. We’ve learned that more is not more — it overwhelms our kids and they don’t appreciate each gift as much.
#4 — Think disposable. This may sound odd, but you could also give something that’s neither lasting nor permanent. No, I’m not talking about plastic crapola; I mean things that are meant to be used up. Some examples, are baked goods for your neighbors, stationery and stamps for your grandmother, and art supplies for your niece.
This year, my husband and I are building a house and we’ll be giving the construction crew — three guys we’ve gotten to know pretty well in the past nine months — a themed-assortment of local organic treats. I’m going to put everything in canvas shopping bags and will tie festive ribbons on the handles so that the gifts are eco-friendly from start to finish.
#5 –You don’t have to give STUFF. There’s no reason that you have to hand out beautifully-wrapped boxes of sweaters, books, electronics and more. There are other options. Last year, my older daughter got to spend a day baking with her aunt, which was far more memorable for both of them. One year, I gave my retired neighbors heirloom daffodil bulbs AND I planted them. My in-laws co-founded a nonprofit in their small town that they actively support, so my husband and I make gifts in their honor for their birthdays and/or Christmas.
There are a lot of ways to be greener with your giving this holiday season. You just have to stop and think about what you can do. Even if you don’t follow these guidelines for everyone on your list, just making a few changes will help Planet Earth.
All images courtesy of Flickr.
Plastic bags may cost you in NYC and elsewhere November 25, 2008
Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York City is proposing that all stores charge 6 cents for each plastic bag a customer asks for. Five cents would go to the city and one cent would go to the store owner. The ultimate goal is to encourage customers to start using reusable bags. Ikea started charging customers five cents per bag in 2007 and they report a decrease in plastic bag requests in their stores by 50%.
So lets hear it, readers – participate in the poll today!
Startling fact about formaldehyde November 24, 2008
I was watching “Stuff Happens” on Planet Green yesterday and Bill Nye was talking about insulation for your home. He mentioned that formaldehyde is in traditional fiber glass insulation and the “anti-green” issue with it is that after we’re through with it, it goes in a dump, thus reeking havoc on the environment. Two “greener” alternatives to fiberglass insulation were given. One was recycled blue jeans and the other was vegetables, believe it or not. There is now a vegetable oil polyurethane insulation foam where bubbles within it trap air. Both are amazing products.
What really struck me during this segment was a horrifying fact he gave about formaldehyde. Twenty years ago, two times the amount of formaldehyde was needed to embalm a body. Now, only half the amount is needed due to the fact that we have so much formaldehyde already in our body. Here are typical products that contain it:
- nail polish
- hair spray
- floor polish
- spray starch
According to Wikipedia, formaldehyde is “classified as a probable human carcinogen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has determined that there is “sufficient evidence” that occupational exposure to formaldehyde causes nasopharyngeal cancer in humans. Formaldehyde has been banned in cosmetics in both Sweden and Japan.”
Scary, isn’t it? Probably the simplest ways to reduce the amount of formaldehyde you come in contact with is to read the ingredients on all your personal care products, visit Skin Deep for safer ones, and use “greener” cleaning supplies. Remember, small changes over a long period of time can make a big difference.
UPDATE: December 1, 2008 – The EPA has announced that it will be looking into the health risks of formaldehyde in pressed wood products
Eco Rant November 5, 2008
As I’ve mentioned in earlier posts, I live in an apartment building. Because of this, certain things are out of my control. One of which happened yesterday. My next door neighbor’s apartment was painted – something she really didn’t want done but the law demands it every few years.
It was obvious from the very start that low or VOC-free paint was not used due to the smell that made our heads swim. Volatile Organic Compounds (or VOCs) are emitted gases that may have short or long term adverse health effects. Choosing a VOC-free paint will eliminate toxins from emitting into the air over time and therefore, create a safer environment for you and your family.
To make matters worse, our neighbor has asthma and tried to spend the day away from home. She still had to come home to it and spend the night with it, though, and so did we. We were given no warning that this was all going to be done.
I know there’s an economic issue here but safety should take precedent. It really bothers me when “green issues” affect us, “go wrong”, and seem to be out of our control.
So what bothers you? Do you have a neighbor who uses chemical fertilizer or has cut down healthy trees to add on an unnecessary edition to their home? Here’s your chance to let it all out. Go ahead, we’re all listening.
Calculate your carbon footprint and get help with improvement September 11, 2008
Low Impact Living is a great site I came across recently. When you visit, you’re walked through a series of questions like how big and old is your home, what types of appliances you have, and how often you travel. When you’re through, a summary tells you how well you’re doing in terms of what your carbon footprint is and how you can make adjustments towards improvement. Take a look to see how you’re doing compared to the average.
“Green” your daily cup of Joe September 6, 2008
For four years, I commuted daily by train to my teaching job. I’d leave my home early, wishing I was still in bed, and think about how just getting to work seemed like a job onto itself. But once I was settle in with my book in one hand and my cup of tea in the other, I actually enjoyed the quiet ride.
That cup of tea was what truly made the trip so relaxing. For all of those years, my daily morning routine was heading to the same coffee shop in the train station to buy my medium cup. I would often be given two cups because the tea was so hot and I accepted them because I didn’t want to burn my hands, but it bothered me. How wasteful, I’d think, as I sipped away. I’d do things differently now though.
The Environmental Defense Fund’s Papercalculator estimates that the United States throws out over 16 billion paper cups a year, which works out to 6.57 million trees. These numbers really are not surprising – think of how many people you see on the go with a disposable cup in their hands.
If you are someone who drinks coffee or tea on a regular basis when you’re on the go, strongly consider buying a reusable insulated mug to use instead. If you purchase coffee even just 3 times per week, it would mean not using 156 cups per year. Remember, small changes over time can amount to measurable differences.
Blackle.com – Use fewer energy watts with every web search September 1, 2008
Next time you need to search for something on the web, try Blackle – the energy conscious version of Google. Blackle’s all black screen uses fewer energy watts than Google’s white screen. The site recommends that you use Blackle as your home page to save watts each time you power up and as a reminder to save energy in general. You can find out more about Blackle here. What an easy eco-change!
“Blackle.com – Saving energy one search at a time.”