Divide and Conquer – Cleaning after Christmas

522620_35507155An easy way to start your holiday clean up is to divide your holiday debris into three piles; reusables, recyclables and trash.

Reusables – Bows, ribbon, wrapping paper, boxes, gift bags, tissue paper, Christmas cards, all can be reused in its former state or repurposed into an ornament or new Christmas card. There are so many possibilities.

Recyclables – Wrapping paper, gift bags, Christmas cards and boxes that are ripped or crumpled can be recycled with your regular household recyclables. You dont have to remove the tape from the paper either. Cardboard boxes, styrofoam, tins are all recyclable. Also your holiday food scraps can be put in a composter for your garden.

Trash -Ribbons, bows and tissue paper, if not reusable, go into the trash bin. Foil wrapping paper, cardboard contaminated with food, paint or glitter, plastic toys all go in the trash bin.

How to Have a Recycled Christmas

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It seems that we tend to get a bit overly excited and throw a lot of stuff away when we could be saving or recycling. Christmas doesn’t have to be a wasteful time of year, lets keep the recycling going all year round. Teach your kids how to recycle too. Here are some tips to make this Christmas a recycled one.

Zero waste wrapping paper – Why not take a deep breath and open your gifts nicely so you can save your wrapping paper for next year? Fold your bags, tissue and paper so you can have an assortment to use all year long.

Save or Recycle – When a gift is open, either recycle the box it came in and wrapping paper(if your not saving it) or save the box for a few months in case you need to return the item and then recycle.

Christmas Cards – You can always keep save your Christmas cards for crafts/cards  next year or put into your recycle bin right away.

Christmas Dinner – You can even recycle your Christmas dinner. Don’t waste your leftovers, save up your turkey for curry or stew, treat your pets to a Christmas meal or compost your vegetable trimmings and left over vegetables.

Garbage! The Revolution Starts at Home

Garbage! The Revolution Starts at Home is a feature documentary about how the family household has become one of the most ferocious environmental predators of our time.

Concerned for the future of his new baby boy Sebastian, writer and director Andrew Nisker takes an average urban family, the McDonalds, and asks them to keep every scrap of garbage that they create for three months. He then takes them on a journey to find out where it all goes and what it’s doing to the world.

From organic waste to the stuff they flush down the potty, the plastic bags they use to the water they drink out of bottles, the air pollution they create when transporting the kids around, to using lights at Christmas, the McDonalds discover that for every action there is a reaction that affects them and the entire planet.

Everyday life under a microscope has never been so revealing. By the end of this trashy odyssey, you are truly inspired to revolutionaize your lifestyle for the sake of future generations.

Click here to view the first 20 minutes of the movie for free. Playing at theaters all over, check your local listings for details and closest theaters.

Green Thanksgiving Decorations

Its November again and its crazy how fast it snuck up on us. Before we know it Thanksgiving will be upon us and we will be eating our way through a turkey.

To keep with the green theme we have going here on greenglancy, why dont you check out these environmentally friendly and festive ways to decorate your table and house for Thanksgiving.

For a great fall centerpiece check out these fall leaves turned into roses. Courtesy of haha.nu.

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When setting the table make sure you have cloth napkins and use silver ware, dishes and glasses – stay away from any throw away, non recyclable items. Courtesy of apartment therapy.

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If you look around you will see you can use an array of items from around the house to make your table and home more festive and inviting. Help the environment by reusing the items you have and if your crafty turn those things into new creations. For more ideas check out:

Halloween Costumes in a Box

bildeIf you have run out of ideas for kids costumes this halloween, check out these costumes in a box. Yesterday I found this great article in the Statesman Journal newspaper, in the Life section, about Costumes in a Box.

Trying to be green this Halloween requires that  I try to reuse and recycle and with these box costumes I think it would be fairly easy to do. With just a box, some paint and some clothing match ups you can be on your way to making a great costume. And as a bonus its on the cheap too!

bilde1Costume Ideas:

  • The Tin Man
  • Lego Block
  • Sponge Bob Square Pants
  • iPod

Click here for the complete article and instructions. And if your looking for an adult verion of any of these you would just need a bigger box, ask your local furniture or appliance store for boxes.

Why You Should Stop Using Styrofoam

262931_8214The common consensus, that I can find, is that it takes Styrofoam 50 years to decompose. 50 Years! Yeah that’s too long for something you use once and toss into the garbage. I was thinking about Styrofoam the other day when my husband and I were out to eat and the little diner only had Styrofoam cups for water. He looked at me and said ‘only get one, we can share a cup’.

So why is Styrofoam so bad? Here are a few facts that you may not know about Styrofoam from greenliving.lovetoknow.com:

~Non-Biodegradable – Styrofoam appears to last forever, as it is resistant to photolysis or the breaking down of materials by protons originating from a light source. This fact, combined with the fact that Styrofoam is lightweight and floats, means that over time a great deal of Styrofoam has accumulated along coasts and waterways around the world. It is now considered the main component of marine debris.
~Not-Usually Recycled – Many municipal recycling programs do not recycle Styrofoam because it is virtually weightless which makes it worthless as scrap. The same lightweight property of the material makes collecting it difficult, because even light winds can send it blowing great distances.
~HFCs – Styrofoam is manufactured by using HFCs, or hydrofluorocarbons, which have negative impacts on the ozone layer and global warming. HFCs are less detrimental to the ozone than CFCs, which they replaced in the manufacturing of Styrofoam, but it is thought that the impact of HFCs on global warming is much more serious.
~Flame Retardants – The brominated flame retardants that are used on Styrofoam are also causing concern, and some research suggests that these chemicals might have negative environmental and health effects.

What can you do? Are their alternatives out there? Check out Ecovative Design for greensulate, which is insulation that helps you reduce the amount of energy used to build your home, and  ecocradle, which is to replace Styrofoam in packaging.

Its become more apparent to me lately that we as a society throw a lot into the trash that can be recycled and isn’t, that cannot be recycled or that takes many many years to decompose. None of these are good options. Before you consume, please think about what you are throwing into the trash.

Can You Recycle Old Carpet?

308334_8918As I was looking out into my yard this morning I noticed a carpet remnant had been dragged from the side of the house onto the lawn? Our dog was having a hay day pulling it around the yard. I was thinking I need to go throw it in the garbage bin but wondered if it could possibly be recycled. So I started looking around the Internet and found a site called CARE – Carpet America Recovery Effort.

Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE) is a joint industry-government effort to increase the amount of recycling and reuse of post-consumer carpet and reduce the amount of waste carpet going to landfills.

How Can I Recycle My Old Carpet?(Adapted from CARE website)

There is no simple, routine method in place today to recycle old carpet. Each case is individual since there is no infrastructure to handle old carpet at this time. CARE is working to help put that infrastructure in place. If you are a residential home owner you might ask your dealer for suggestions. If you are in the commercial sector, call your mill representative or specifier and tell them you want your old carpet recycled and they can work with you to try and make this happen. Please keep in mind, recycling costs money; it is not free. Costs vary with location and available systems.

Keeping the above in mind, you do have options. The goal is to stop filling up the landfills by reusing our waist, which in turn is a huge help to the environment. To find Carpet Reclamation Partners in your area click here.

Recycle Your Used Cooking Oil

1211548_68090598Did you know you could recycle your used cooking oil? I was reading the newspaper and came across an ad from the Public Works Environmental Services about recycling your used cooking oil and was so excited. I always felt so guilty throwing the oil down the drain or in the garbage.

Here is what the ad says –

Recycle Curbside:

Place cooled, used vegetable cooking oil into same labeled container & cap originally purchased, or place into CLEAN see-thru plastic jug with tight fitting cap. 2-gallons per week maximum. Place in small recycle basket.

Now you will have to check with your local Recycling Center to find out if they are offering this. For help finding a Recycling Center near you try Earth911.com.

If your city is not participating in any kind of recycling of used cooking oil here are some other ways to recycle your used cooking oil.

  • Some towns only offer used oil recycling for businesses, but may be able to put you in touch with a local restaurant that can add your oil to theirs for recycling.
  • If you’re cooking meat, use the leftover grease to make suet-based bird food.
  • Mix small amounts of oil with paper or cardboard and add them to your compost bin.

Urban Renewal from Urban Outfitters

Urban Renewal pieces are totally one-of-a-kind handcrafted in Philadelphia from vintage, dead-stock and surplus materials sourced from around the world. ~ Urban Outfitters

Urban Renewal is its own section on the site of Urban Outfitters where you can find clothing items that are essentially made from recycled clothing or material. Making it possible for you to be green and buy items like this one-of-a-kind vintage chambray shirt:

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Vintage chambray shirt - each one is one-of-a-kind

They also have various knit dresses that are pieced together from vintage knit fabrics, you pick the shade you want and they choose for you from a limited edition of dresses, similar to whats on the site.

They have vintage Hawaiian shirts that have been made into dresses and tank tops that have been made into dresses. They have used amazing creativity to make the clothing they sell on Urban Renewal.

If you are concerned about the environment and want to wear clothes that are in style check out Urban Renewal before you shop anywhere else. Recycling makes the world go around!

Eco-Friendly Paint

693779_75065407Are you getting ready to paint your house? Inside or out, its important to use paint that is easy on the environment and on the family living in the house, that breaths in the fumes. Green Living Ideas has an article on the potential hazards of paints and what to look for in paint.  Here are a few companies to look at when you are ready to paint.

Devine Color – Interior Paint that goes on like yogurt. Low odor, low VOC, Eco-friendly, luxury paint and sheens. All of Devine Colors paints meet or exceed the strictest requirements of the South Coast Air Quality Management District. They offer a full range of colors to meet all your painting needs.

The Real Milk Paint Co. – Milk paint is an environmentally friendly paint that is ideal for antique furniture, decks, floors and walls. You can mix milk paint with pigment powders to create just about any color. Real Milk Paint is completely safe, eco-friendly, non-toxic, lead free and not radioactive.

Benjamin Moore Paints, Aura Interior – Environmentally friendly coatings not only meet, but often exceed the strictest industry standards, while also delivering the premium levels of performance you expect from Benjamin Moore.

Olympic Premium Interior Paints – Combining an outstanding quality zero VOC formula that is better for the environment and dries with no lingering odor. Have a green home in any color you want.