How to Recycle Your Mac When its Days are Over

While reading the April edition of Macworld I found an article on Responsible Recycling: What to do with your Mac when its days are over.

Don’t Throw It Away – According to a 60 Minutes report, an estimated 130,000 computers end up in the garbage annually. In 2008, Apple recycled 30.5 million pounds of electronic waste, achieving a worldwide recycling rate of over 38%. For more on their recycling program click here.

Donate It – If your computer is still in working order, consider donating it. The research firm Dataquest estimates that less than 5 percent of all personal computers find a second life at a charity or school. You can increase that percentage  by recycling your old electronics with a noprofit facility.

Sell It – If your old goods are only a year to three years old, you might be able to sell them for petty cash. Try Ebay, Craigslist or you can sell it to any  number of online services that buy used electronics.

Clean It – If you are planning on donating or selling your computer, make sure that nobody else will be able to access its data.

The first step is to back up all the data on your old Mac’s hard drives. Either copy that data to your new machine or pick up an external hard drive and use that as a repository for all the old files. Second step is to begin erasing all vestiges of your ownership from your old drive. Make sure and deauthorize iTunes, you dont want to later realize you have one less machine on which you can play your old, pre-iTunes Plus music. Next deauthorize any third party programs that you’ll want to reinstall on your new system.

For more check out this discussion from Apple Support, How to Clean my Hard Drive to Sell my Mac.

Green Eco-Friendly Batteries

Every year over 15 billion batteries are produced and sold worldwide. Many are alkaline batteries which are discarded after a single use.  Fortunately, thanks to ongoing advances in both batteries and battery chargers, alkaline batteries can be replaced with higher capacity, environmentally friendly, batteries.

Here are a few to try:

FUJI EnviroMAX Batteries – Fuji is announcing a new line of Eco-friendly, high performance consumer batteries at CES. EnviroMAX batteries do not contain cadmium or mercury or any ingredients harmful to the environment, are packaged with recycled paper and fully recyclable PET plastic and can be disposed of through normal waste systems or in landfills as they degrade. Fuji is claiming equal or better performance/longevity to the major equivalent brands, and an affordable price.

SANYO eneloop NiMH BatteriesRechargeable, recyclable nickel-metal-hydride battery which is designed to be environmentally friendly while offering the user the convenience of a dry cell battery. The battery can be used immediately after purchase, like a dry cell, but without the disposal issues that accompany such batteries. Sanyo is setting up battery recycling centers at thousands of electronic retailers.

Green NiMH Batteries – Rechargeable Nickle Metal Hydride Batteries come in all sizes, ideal for digital cameras, portable music players, PDA’s and other portable electronics.

Budget Christmas Cooking Recipes

Christmas doesn’t have to be a stressful, overspending time of year. You CAN have a great Christmas with great food and stay on your budget! Just check out these sites and try out some of the delicious recipes and tips they offer!

Recipe4Living.com has a section with 5 cost-cutting tips for a magnificent Christmas. They have many recipes for the budget conscious, along with lots of ways to save on food during the holiday season.

At Taste.com.au they have a budget section with an array of recipes. Who says deliciously different meals have to be expensive? These cost-conscious dishes will wow your family and please your pocket at the same time. They even have some great tips on how to spend less and eat more as well as a budget-friendly menu plan for six.

AllRecipes.com also has a section on Cooking on a Budget. How can you make your food budget go further and eat well at the same time? Allrecipes can help with tips for smarter shopping and recipes for low-cost, family-pleasing meals. They also have 10 meals for under $10, Budget-Friendly Recipes for ground beef, and a Go Green Save Money section with tips on how to green up the planet and your pocketbook too.

Cheap Cooking – Cheap Cooking is a site that was set up to provide information and resources for people needing—or wanting—to cut back on their expenses. Your source for lots of cheap family recipes.

At RecipeZaar.com you can find 134 recipes in budget cooking.

An interesting website I found and enjoy is Hillbilly Housewife. The focus of Hillbilly Housewife is a low-cost, home-cooking from scratch. The recipes are all tested in a real kitchen with hungry children, stalking cats, begging puppies and a playful husband underfoot. The ingredients are affordable and readily available in most areas. She has tips on shortcuts, cooking secrets, How to make your own convenience foods, Budget Beverage Bargains and much more.

Going Green In The Hospital

I was at OHSU, one of the largest hospitals in our area yesterday visiting my father and as we were walking through the halls on our way to the cafeteria I was impressed by the ways in which they had integrated being green into their daily routines.

They started a Farmers Market held every Tuesday, that sells locally grown fruits and veggies inside the hospitals courtyard, with an after hours pick up program for those who cant make it to the Farmers Market during operating hours. They started a Token program to use when buying products in case you don’t have cash or to give as gifts for patients or whoever you would like. They now have a Healthy Convenience Store located in the lobby that sells some of those same Farmers Market items along with wheat and gluten-free items, organic raw nutrition bars and fresh salads.

In the cafeteria they have started a more vigorous recycling program with mixed bins for glass, plastic, tin, and aluminum cans. They put a bucket on top of the garbage for dumping liquids in before recycling.

In 2007, OHSU’s Center for Health and Healing, earned the Leed platinum certification for energy efficiency and environmental sustainability, the first medical and research facility to have achieved this distinction.The building is 61% more energy-efficient than required by law.

As for Water and Energy, OHSU has implemented several strategies to become a more efficient operation. Upgrading irrigation controllers, proper maintenance of piping systems, and they replaced lights with high efficiency lamps.

As I was leaving the hospital I saw this sign below and thought about this and what it means to be an organ donor. It is recycling and what a cool way to give back!

Green Your Halloween ~ Recycled/Homemade Costumes

Halloween is just around the corner, 50 days to be exact, and instead of going out and buying those cheap vinyl, fall apart costumes at your local grocery store, why not make your own or revamp an old one that’s laying around. Aside from the fact that creating your child’s costume will be a homemade original, it will also allow you to bypass the unknown element in pre-made costumes, by assuring quality and content you know you can trust. Vinyl(polyvinyl chloride) releases carcinogenic dioxin into the atmosphere during production.

For some great recycled costumes that were made to last, check out your local Thrift store. They carry some great costumes from way back when. Recently my friend found a Spider Man costume and a Buzz Light Year costume for just a couple bucks at the thrift store. They will have a lot to offer at this time, but if you wait too long, they will be gone.

Costume Idea Zone has some great ideas of how to use what you have already to make a costume. I love the Jack and Jill idea for a couple. And who can resist the Piece of Gum Stuck to Your Shoe? They even have ideas for groups of people, like the Survivor Cast or 3 Men in a Tub. With Traditional ideas, Quick and Easy, Unique & Unusual, you are sure to find something you can use. And you can submit your own brilliant costume ideas to share with others.Another great site with ideas for the items you have laying around the house is 1Halloween.Net.

If you know your way around a sewing machine you can find plenty of patterns for costumes on these websites. At About.com they offer free patterns for Costumes for Halloween and Stage, from Pirate skirt to Nurses Cap to a Bunch of Grapes. Knowledge Hound The How-To Hunter is another site with free Halloween costume patterns.

If you are low on cash this Halloween or have several children needing Halloween costumes this year, Preschool Rock and Any Time Costumes have come together for the 2nd Annual Halloween Costume Exchange to provide parents-in-need free costumes for their families.

If you have some original ideas of your own, please share them with us.

Be Good to Your Hair and Use Non-toxic, All Natural Hair Dyes

Have you had problems with split ends, dry hair, and scalp breakouts from coloring your hair? Have ever you wondered if there is anything out there that you can use to color the gray or give your hair a nice lift without all those bad side effects and awful chemicals? Well I am here to tell you there is. After my last visit to the hair salon, and not having the option of using anything natural, I opted out of my regular hair coloring and decided I would find out all I could about all natural and toxic-free hair dyes.

Ecocolors, the leader in the finest non-toxic hair care products and home of the best non-toxic permanent hair color. They offer a professional hair color line for stylists and home hair color kits. Ecocolors is safe to use on pregnant women, cancer survivors and those individuals that are chemically sensitive.

Shades Natural Color, a salon featuring Susan Henry’s permanent color process that is naturally based, non-toxic, and most importantly, 100% ammonia-free.

Herbatint, a hair color specially formulated using herb extracts and plant proteins without ammonia. They offer Semi-Permanent and Permanent colors for use at home or in salons.

Naturcolor is a salon in Napa California that offers ammonia and paraben-free natural hair colors. Naturcolor does contain a small amount of PPD though.

Morrocco Method Henna, the only 100% natural way to color your hair and condition it at the same time. Henna works its magic without damaging, without drying and without chemically altering the structure of the hair. Specially recommended for those with chemical sensitivities.

Color Me Natural by Aubrey Organics offers 100% natural, permanent hair color, containing no PPD, no coal tar dyes and no synthetic chemicals. The only draw back is that they only offer two colors to choose from.

I am sure there are more options out there, so please share them with me.

Save $100’s on Your Power Bill by Measuring Energy Usage

P3 International came out with the Kill A Watt EZ, which is a gauge that measures energy consumption of appliances from microwave ovens to monitors.

This device helps you find out what’s using the most energy around the office or in the home and whats worth keeping plugged in when not in use. You just slip the Kill A Watt EZ into an outlet, and then plug an appliance into the device. It will calculate the kilowatts-per-hour being used. Enter what your utility charges you per kilowatt-hour, and it will project the cost of running the equipment per week, per month and per year. The projection automatically takes into account how often the electronic gets used.

The Kill A Watt EZ Benefits:

* Shows the operating costs of your household appliances.
* Accurate to within 0.2%
* Large LCD display
* Calculates cost
* Built in battery back-up
* Displays eight critical units of measure

The only drawback to the Kill A Watt EZ is that it measures only one appliance at a time, making it a labor-intensive task to conduct a full do-it-yourself energy audit.