Recycling is Not Just for the Single-Family Dwellings

151155_3090Most cities now have made it possible for people living in multi-family communities to recycle and reduce waste. With mixed recycling collection for plastic, metal, and paper materials being available to multifamily communities.

What is considered a multi-family community?

  • Apartment Complexes
  • Retirement Living
  • RV Parks
  • Mobile Home Parks
  • Condominiums
  • Townhouses
  • Any property with a minimum of five housing units

Multi-Family Recycling Programs can help by providing free education and outreach resources to get your recycling program started.

On-site collection of glass and yard debris might be available in your area also. Ask your collection service provider about these additional service options.

For more information google Multifamily Community Recycle Programs along with the name of the county you live in. And you will find the information you  need to get your multifamily community on the recycling band wagon.

Gifts That go a Long Way

1169782_99644957With the holidays drawing near we start making lists and checking them twice to see what we need. The internet seems to be the hottest place to find all your Christmas gear, but before you got shopping on the internet, why not take a walk around your neighborhood stores and locally owned businesses. Supporting and giving back to your community is the best way to help the economy and your community.

In this article from Sew Green, Gift for Good, Hayley mentions all the ways you can give back. Below are little snippets from the article.

  • Donations – I put this first, because the absolute best gift you can give is to your community. It is also a huge relief for people who might stress over finding the perfect gift, plus they can give one gift donation as a family gift* and feel good about themselves in the process.
  • Memberships – Museums, zoos, botanical gardens, aquariums, public radio, etc. These are donations with benefits.
  • Gifts with a purpose – Many organizations have great online shops with merchandise that supports the cause.
  • Museum Shops – Not only will you be supporting art in your community, but you can find great gifts by local artists, fair trade goods, collectable books, and eclectic knick knacks.
  • Locally owned businesses – By shopping at local businesses, you not only support the store, but the community benefits.
  • Gifts of service – Print up a coupon or certificate and you might change someone’s life, or at least give them a much needed break.
  • Buying Handmade – You directly support the artist who loves doing what they do and you show, with your dollars, how important art and crafts are to you.
  • DIY – With so much commercialization and cheap production, a hand knitted hat carries that much more meaning.

To read the complete article – click here.

PDX (Portland) – The Greenest City in The States

portlandLast night I was was enjoying a dinner on Alberta St in NE Portland with my family, sitting outside watching all the people walking and riding their bikes by us and enjoying the fact that I live near the greenest city in the USA.

Portland, Oregon has 92,000 acres of green space and more than 74 miles of hiking, running, and biking trails.

Portland bike trails – Five Great Rides

Portland hiking trails –  Best Easy Day Hikes

The City of Portland is committed to clean air and water, livable neighborhoods, parks and open spaces for all, economic development that is sustainable for our environment, transportation that makes sense and much more. Learn more here about how you can be involved. Make Portland your sustainable city.

On the City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability website they have a Sustainable Food Resource section to help you find the local farms, how to grow food, opportunities for donation, composting and so much more.

Portland has a ton of solutions for reducing water usage, for greening your yard and home, using energy more efficiently, reducing and recycling and finding alternative transportation options.

So if you live in Portland, take pride in your city and see what you can do to help make Portland your sustainable city.

Green Jobs, Green Buildings

A friend of mine sent me the link to this video to highlight some of the actions are government is taking to not only boost our economy through adding jobs, but doing it in a green way. Van Jones from the White House Council of Environmental Quality visits a local work site that gives us a glimpse of the clean energy economy that’s on the way. Green roofing is just one of the countless green job opportunities that will emerge from President Obama’s comprehensive energy policy. Much like Roosevelt’s projects in the 30s and 40s, these jobs are intended to give people in local communities work and provide a much needed service to homes and buildings in cities around the country. Check out the video and let us know what you think!

Green Jobs for a Green Future: Weatherization from White House on Vimeo.

North American Organic Brewers Festival

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Jared over at The Weekly Brew was kind enough to send me a link to the The North American Organic Brewers Festival (NAOBF), which will be held in my area next week.

The North American Organic Brewers Festival features beers from as far away as England and Germany. Oregon’s brewers dominate the event with locally crafted organic beers. Some of the festival’s breweries brew exclusively organic beers, though others will be specially crafting organic beers just for the event.

Whats great about the NAOBF is that they strive to make the event the most earth friendly beer festival in North America and Europe.

Festival attendees sample beer from compostable corn-starch tasting glasses instead of the heavy plastic mugs used at other beer festivals. Composting and recycling stations are provided for festival waste and food vendors are required to use compostable cutlery and plates. Electricity needs are met with a combination of biodiesel and solar generators, volunteers wear organic cotton and hemp t-shirts, and signage is reusable.

They are also encouraging people to take Tri-Mets MAX line to the event by giving a $1 discount off of tasting glass.

The event is free and open to the public. Participation in beer tasting is $6 for a reusable tasting glass and samples are $1 a token. A full glass is 4 tokens. Strong beers (over 8% alcohol by volume) and certain imported beers will cost more. Children are welcome with guardians. Sorry no pets allowed. Beer sales are restricted to people 21 years and older with valid ID.

So if your wanting to try some excellent Organic Beers check out the NAOBF at Overlook Park in Portland, Oregon next weekend.

Take a Volunteer Vacation

192069952_c37416e100_oSchools are letting out and kids and adults alike will have some time off this summer. In lieu of or in conjunction with your regular vacation, why not take a volunteer vacation?

A volunteer vacation is one way to take a break and help a good cause at the same time. Allowing travelers to experience conditions and issues first-hand, giving volunteers the chance to deepen their concern and commitment to problems that previously seemed far-away.

Before you decide where and when to volunteer, first consider the causes that are important to you. What are you passionate about? Love to work with children? Fair trade a concern? Interested in organic farming? Whatever the  cause is, you should be able to find an organization that fits with your concerns.

While you can personally contact the organization of your choice, it’s often easier to work with a reputable eco-travel business that will take care of all the details such as lodging, ensuring good working conditions and trip planning to make sure your volunteer vacation is safe, productive and enjoyable. Check out Eco volunteer or Sustainable Travel International for help.

Volunteer Vacations can change your life and the vitality of the planet long after the actual trip. Consider developing a long-term partnership with the organization by sending regular donations, staying in contact with volunteers you met on your trip and by trying to raise awareness for that cause.

Some other helpful sites:

Wilderness Volunteers

Planeta

Green Drinks

562Green Drinks is a free, informal monthly meeting of green-thinking government officials, business owners, students, home owners and other people that get together once a month to meet, greet, discuss, share, catch-up, eat, explore and chat all while sharing a drink.

This all started in 1989 at a pub called the Slug and Lettuce in Northern London, Edwin Datschefski was sitting with his green design colleagues Yorick Benjamin and Paul Scott when he noticed an enviro-minded acquaintance at a nearby table. As it turned out, the friend was sitting with a few of his own eco-conscious mates, so they pulled some tables together. And so a movement was born.

All over the world people are gathering for Green Drinks to discuss environmental issues and make new eco-minded friends. The informal atmosphere that surrounds Green Drinks, allows people from all walks of life to mingle in a relaxed atmosphere, sharing ideas both simple and large and getting everyone personally and professionally involved in a sustainable future.

If you are eco-minded and would like to know more about the environmental issues that surround your city, check out Green Drinks in  your area.

For a list of Countries and Cities where Green Drinks is held, click here. If you can’t find a Green Drinks meeting near you, you have the opportunity to set up one in your city. Click here to start your own Green Drinks.

Can You Turn Cardboard Boxes into a Solar Powered Oven?

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If you are inventor Jon Bohmer you can. For just $5 he, along with his daughters, came up with a simple solution to one of the world’s biggest problems, a solar-powered oven.

The ingeniously simple design uses two cardboard boxes, one inside the other, and an acrylic cover that lets in the sun’s rays and traps them.

Black paint on the inner box, and silver foil on the outer one, help concentrate the heat. The trapped rays make the inside hot enough to cook casseroles, bake bread and boil water.

Bohmer’s invention won the FT Climate Change Challenge, a $75,000 competition to tackle climate change. Sponsored by Hewlett Packard, the technology company, the competition was organised by Forum for the Future, a sustainable development charity, and the Financial Times. Sir Richard Branson and Dr Rajendra Pachauri, a Nobel prize winner, were among the judges, who chose the winner in conjunction with a public vote.

What the box does is eliminate the need for nationals in developing countries to cut down trees for firewood along with allowing users to boil water, potentially saving millions of children from dieing from drinking unclean water.

For the complete article check out FT.com.

Burgerville – Sustainable Business Practices & The Best Burgers around!

If you are fortunate to live in the Oregon/Washington area you probably have enjoyed a Burgerville hamburger from time to time. Burgerville cares about the food that they serve, making their food a healthier choice when looking for a quick meal. Not only does Burgerville care about the food they serve but they also have partnered with very “green” and community based businesses.

When you choose Burgerville, satisfying your craving isn’t the only good thing that happens. You’re also contributing to the health of the region by supporting the use of fresh ingredients, local ranchers and farmers and sustainable  business practices.

Burgervilles Practices:

Helping Individuals and Communities Thrive – Burgerville strives to support and build community throughout the organization and within the regions they serve.

Renewable Energy – Burgerville purchases renewable wind power credits equal to 100% of the energy used in all our restaurants. This not only helps create renewable energy but it also supports rural communities in which generating wind power is a new source revenue.

Composting and Recycling – Burgerville launched an employee-led composting and recycling program. Their goal is to reduce the volume of restaurant-generated waste that goes to local landfills by 85%.

Local Farms and Ranches – Burgerville strives for the highest quality, humane animal care practices and sustainable land management practices when choosing the farms. They use foods at their peak flavor, and work to reduce the amount of transportation needed to move food from one place to the other.

If you had any doubt about how great these burgers are, well this should help: Burgerville was selected by AOL users for the “Best Burger” in Portland, Oregon for 2008 for our great taste and use of high quality, local and seasonable ingredients.

The next time you are in Oregon or Washington, try Burgerville!

8 Green New Years Resolutions

My husband and I have been thinking about ways we can simplify our lives and change the way we do things. The main goal we have is to make use of what we do have and get rid of what we don’t need. Having Christmas so close to New Years sometimes seems to make it tough on all of us, going from one extreme to the other. Giving and receiving and spending way too much and then turning around the next week and wanting to make changes for the new year.

This year we didn’t spend much at all, focusing on love and the true meaning of Christmas, instead of the commercialized side of it. Now with the New Year upon us, we want to make changes that will impact us the whole year through and on into the next year. Changes we can keep going and changes that will help others.

Here are some of the ideas we came up with:

1. Eat at home more often. Time spent with family is time well spent. Sitting around the table discussing the days events and enjoying some great organic, local food is better than any restaurant can offer.

2. Start a Community Garden. I have wanted to do this for a long time, and I am not sure how to start but we have some ideas. I love the idea of sharing our food and growing natural organic fruits and veggies. American Community Gardening Association has the basic information needed.

3. Commit to Understanding Recycling better. Recycling is sometimes harder than it may seem at first. Some items cannot be put in the recycle bin, like frozen food boxes or pizza boxes that have been used. Knowing what can be recycled and where to take electronics and light bulbs are all important. Check out The Internet Consumer Recycling Guide for a starting point for recycling information.

4. Getting rid of anything we don’t use. Taking clothes and toys to the Goodwill or nearest thrift store, selling some items on Ebay or Craigslist to put some extra money in our pockets and trying to stick to the basics, if we don’t use it, get rid of it. We would like to take some things downtown to hand out to homeless people also, like coats and sweatshirts.

5. Borrowing more. So many times we go and buy an item we want, like a movie, and watch it once and it sits in our drawer. We would like to start borrowing more, even with electronics or power tools, items you may only use once or twice a year. We are fortunate to have a great community of friends who are willing to partner with us on this endeavor to borrow more.

6. Reusing, Buying used and consuming less. From clothes to household furnishings, buying used can be just as good as new, if not better sometimes. In a report done by the New Road Map Foundation(ecofuture.org) it showed that when consumption went up, the quality of life went down. The statistics on this site are overwhelmingly saddening. Please read down through Questioning the Dream, one statistic says the highest income group are doctors and the professions with the highest proportion of unhappy people are doctors and lawyers. Think about that for a moment. We often think more money will make us happier, but that’s not usually the case.

7. Sharing our house with others. Now this one will be the hardest to implement into our lives. With so many people having a hard time financially we have thought about opening one our rooms to a couple to share our house with. As a married couple with children, this one has been a tough one to get my head around but the concept of sharing, using less and wasting less, helps me see how this could ultimately help the environment.

8. Giving Away. I have found myself wanting to give more to people in need. I have seen ads where people need things and aren’t able to pay for them and I want to help. So many people are in need and even though its tough to pay the bills some months, I still have so much to offer and give away. Get out and experience the joy you will receive when helping others.

Please add to my list! I would love to hear about your Green New Years Resolutions.