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.

Recycle Your 2 Liter Soda Bottle into a Bird Feeder

714319_58303619At this awesome toy store the other day I came across this kit to add to your 2-liter soda bottles to make a bird feeder. It looked easy enough to use, it was a plastic piece that connected to the top of a 2 liter soda bottle. But while looking online I found so many other kits and options for the soda bottle bird feeders. You can even make your own at home. Being green, I would prefer to make my own, reusing things around the house and not spending money on things I don’t need.

Here are some of your options:

Uncommon Goods Two-Liter Feeder: Durable cast zinc adapter can be hung or mounted on pole. Made in the USA. Set includes feeder nozzle and hanging wire.

Ace Hardware Wildbird Hanging Bird Feeder

Backyard Bird Zone: It consists of a diagram that contains all the information you need to make a recyclable, earth friendly type feeder,

eHow – How to Make a Soda Bottle Bird Feeder: Use this craft to teach your children an appreciation for nature, animals and recycling.

Grandma’s Modern Day Trunk of Treasures: This is a simple nature craft using a plastic bottle, a wooden skewer, twine, and birdseed.

There really is no end to the ways you can make these. You have many options of making your own or buying a kit to attach to your 2 liter soda bottle. Try and make one for yourself and include your kids in it, make this a family recycle project.

Green Your Barbecue

bbq_istock_-lukaszfus_hedBarbecue season has officially begun with this Sunday, Fathers Day,  being one of the biggest barbecuing days of the year. But before you race off to the store to buy all your barbecuing paraphernalia, check out these tips to help you become a more Eco-friendly griller.

1. Go for a cleaner-burning propane or electric grill over one that uses charcoal. Charcoal contributes to poorer air quality. But if you must use charcoal, look for lump brands made from invasive tree species or harvested from sustainably managed forests, and switch from lighter fluid to chimney starter.

2. Use your re-usable plates, cloth napkins and Silverware. Stay away from paper plates and plastic utensils. If you have to use paper, look for biodegradable products or recycled products.

3. Use Eco-friendly patio, grill and deck cleaners. Eco mist has a line of non-toxic, non-flammable and non-fuming cleaners for just those needs.

4. Use citronella candles instead of chemical bug sprays to take care of those pesky mosquitoes.

5. Try out some of these easy green grilling recipes from GreenLiving for your next barbecue.

Catching Rain – Rain Barrels

Catching the natural rainfall to store for later use helps conserve water and energy. A water catchment system can be adequate enough to provide most of the water needs for a water-conserving household, outdoors as well as indoors, by simply catching what falls on the roof.

Catching Rain is not only for use in your garden and yards but can cut down on the need to rely on city and county water, reduce energy consumption as well as greatly reduce water bills. Rain barrels can easily be sized for the amount of use, beyond using them in a garden, and remain relatively easy for an owner/builder to install for household use.

Here is a video from HGTV- How to Build a Rain Barrel.

Below are some helpful websites to get you on your way to conserving water.

Clean Air Gardening

Rainwater Harvesting

Rain Barrel Guide

Reuse A Shoe: Nike Shoe Recycling Program

home-shoe-pile-bottom

Reuse-A-Shoe, a Nike shoe recycling program, has collected more than 21 million pairs since they began in 1990. Enough to create a chain of athletic shoes that goes all the way around the world almost four times.

For nearly 20 year, Reuse-A-Shoe and Nike grind have been making a difference because of their concern for the environment. In 1990 Nike employee coins the Reuse-A-Shoe name. The next year they begin testing methods for grinding and reusing shoes, settling on sports surfaces as the most practical application. In 1993 shoe recycling begins in Willsonville, Oregon. In 1995 Reuse-A-Shoe begins collecting shoes in the first Nike retail shop. In 1999 the first Asia factory started recycling footwear. In 2002 Reuse-A-Shoe starts collecting shoes at all US Nike Town locations. And in the same year Nike’s anniversary project donates nearly 90 sports surfaces make with Nike Grind to parks throughout Portland, Oregon. In the next few years Nike begins utilizing Nike Grind in other promotional items. In the next years to come, countries all over the globe start recycling shoes and joining in the Reuse-A-Shoe program.

Reusing old athletic shoes also decreases the need for virgin rubber and other materials, decreasing the environmental impact of using new materials when building courts, tracks, fields and playgrounds.

If you are interested in getting involved in the Reuse-A-Shoe program and you are part of a group from school, university group or non-profit organization, you could collect worn-out athletic shoes for your own Reuse-A-Shoe drive.

Starbucks – Use a Tumbler and Save .10 and another Paper Cup

While at my regular Tuesday meeting at our local Starbucks I saw this new sign which read:

A lot of good and a FREE drink.

Made from at least 27% post-consumer recycled material. Every time you refill it, you’ll save .10 – and you’ll save another paper cup. Even better, your first drink is our treat.

  • 8 fl oz $8.95
  • 12 fl oz $9.95
  • 16 fl oz $10.95
  • 20 fl oz $11.95

Starbucks Shared Planet

You and Starbucks. It’s bigger than coffee.

USE A TUMBLER.

You’ll save .10 and another paper cup every time.

The new tumblers are very eye catching and green, but I would be more inclined to use what I already have and not buy a new tumbler just because they are pretty. I do like the idea that you will save .10 every time you use a reusable tumbler or mug when purchasing coffee at Starbucks. So start reducing your carbon footprint and use a reusable tumbler or mug on your next purchase at Starbucks.

Reusable Snack, Lunch, Laundry, Bulk Food & Storage Bags

What is more Eco-friendly than reusable bags? Plum Creek Mercantile has a wide selection of sizes and styles for every individual in your household.

These bags are made of 100% cotton twill. These bags can be machine washed and dried or hand washed with the dinner dishes and hung to dry for use the next morning. Each bag has a strong and secure hook and loop closure, yet easy enough for even the littlest of hands to open.

They offer:

  • Bulk food bags – These versatile bags are ideally suited for the bulk bins at your local grocer. These bags are sized to fit a gallon jar or a quart jar: just fill to the top and you know your jar will be full. The clear window allows easy identification of the product inside and allows the bin number to be written with a grease pen or a dry erase marker and removed for continued use.
  • Snack Bags – These bags are fabric inside and out avoiding the use of any plastic material. Although they are not to be used for liquid (i.e. soup) or soft fruit items (i.e. raspberries due to staining) they can be used to contain most lunch box items. Even a gooey PB&J or turkey sandwich will stay contained in this bag. A simple washing after its use will remove any extra gooeyness that has been contained by the fabric.
  • Lunch Kits
  • Storage Bags – The possibilities are endless as to the uses of these bags. Some examples are crayon holder for restaurant trips, a discrete feminine product holder, credit or gift card holder, jewelry holder for travel and photo or phone holder.
  • Laundry Bags – Keep your suitcase organized while traveling. The sturdy inner loop can be placed on any hook or door knob to keep dirty laundry separate from your clean clothes! When packing for your return, simply fold over flap and wrap elastic around the bag before placing in your suitcase. Children and adults can maintain tidy habits while away from home.

Check out Plum Creek Mercantile for all your reusable bag needs.