Carbon-Free in 10 Years

In an article, How to Get Carbon-Free in Ten Years, written by Brooke Jarvis and Doug Pibel from the Summer edition of the Green Living Journal, they give real ways to eliminate the CO2 emissions that our homes and transportation create. I was impressed with the ideas they gave and how they broke it down into years at a time, making it feel doable over a ten year period.

Year One: Small Changes Make a Big Difference

Wash clothes in cold water and air dry them in the summer. Replace Incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs, and turn off the computer when not in use. Those small changes add up to an instant, virtually free savings of 6,200 pounds of CO2. Make one simple transportation change: commute by bus three days a week and that’s worth another 2,200 pounds.

Year Two: Home Improvement

Insulate the attic and basement, seal the heating ducts and patch up any large air leaks and that will save 7,100 pounds of CO2.

Year Three: House and Car

Start busing to work every day and consolidate trips outside of work and that will save 5,900 pounds. Weatherproof the house, beef up the wall insulation, weatherizing doors and windows and upgrading to high performance windows and another 1,800 pounds disappear.

Year Four: Shed Carbon on Vacation

Instead of flying for your annual vacation, take the train and save 7,200 pounds every year. If you take the bus you would save even more.

Year Five: Replace the Car

Buy an electric car and save 9,000 pounds. Electriccars.com

Year Six: Hot and Cold

Improve your water system, including insulating your hot water heater, pipes and also lower the temperature of the water heater and save 1,000 pounds. Buy an energy-efficient refrigerator and unplug the extra one in the garage. That will save another 1,300 pounds.

Year Seven: Close to Home

Vacation closer to home, driving your electric car on vacations. This will save 3,300 pounds of CO2 each year.

Year Eight: More things around the House

An efficient clothes washer saves carbon on its own and saves dryer time. Invest in a solar hot water system, saving 2,000 pounds.

Year Nine: Electric Bikes

Most cities have bike paths and bike lanes, making it easy to ride to work. Buy electric bikes to help with the hills, for use in those warmer dryer months. This will save 3,500 pounds. Electric-Bikes.com

Year Ten: Green Power

Replace the old furnace with an electric heat pump and buy certified green, renewable power from your electric company. This will eliminate 8,300 pounds.

The Greener Side of Golf

Are you an environment-conscious golfer? Someone who cares about this beautiful world we live in? If so than below are a few earth friendly golf products that you need to know about.

Eco Golf Balls – The Water-Soluble polymer used to make up the Eco Golf Ball is verified by microorganism testing to be non-toxic and does not restrain from the growth of microorganism and can be degraded totally. The Eco Golf Ball has no bad effects on the environment. Once the ball is dissolved in water, specific microorganism will cause it turn into carbon dioxide and water.

Eco Golf Tees – The Endurance Tee will outlast a wood tee by at least 10 to 1 ratio. cutting down on tee box litter. The Tee2Green is your choice for a true green friendly product. These tees will biodegrade in most cases in less than 60 days.

Hi-Tec Enviro Golf Shoe – Made from 99% Eco-Friendly Materials.

Eco Incentives Golf Pitch Mark Fork– Made from Recycled CD cases.

For a great list of Eco-Friendly Golf Courses check out Golf.com‘s article on Natural Wonders: Eco-friendly courses for guilt free golf.

7 Green Kitchen Products

Daily new companies are popping up with new ways to re-use and recycle the old into something amazing, beautiful and earth friendly. Below are some green, eco-friendly, recycled, sustainable kitchen products that you will love.

1. The new Scanpan Pro with ceramic titanium nonstick finish is the only nonstick cookware available that’s certified to be completely PFOA free. PFOA is a potentially harmful chemical used to make standard nonstick.

2. Eco-Filter, the gourmet re-usable coffee filter eliminates the use of paper filters. Made of 100% natural tightly woven cotton.

3. Recycled Paper Trivets from Are naturals, hand crafted recycled paper trivets with colorful inlays.

4. Organic, Sustainable Bamboo Kitchen Utensils from Pristine Planet.

5. Fire & Light Dinnerware Collection, paint and glaze free, and made with over 91% recycled glass.

6. Method cleaning formulas contain biodegradable ingredients derived from natural materials like soy, coconut and palm oils. Their packaging is made from the most readily recyclable materials.

7. Perf Go Green Biodegradable Kitchen Trash Bags are made from recycled plastics and completely break down in 12-14 months.

August Recycled, Used Clothing Challenge

Its August stores are hopping with back to school shoppers, and every store has a major sale. Its so hard not to buy New when they have such great bargains. The challenge I have taken on this month is not shopping for New clothes throughout all of August. If I make it through August, I am hoping to try to extend it through September. There are only two exceptions to this rule – I can buy Undergarments and Socks new. I have two kids who will be starting school in September, one in high school and one in grade school. I have talked to them and they are behind this endeavor to buy used or restyle the clothes they already have.

I am excited about this challenge. I know we are only a family of 4 but every bit helps when it comes to the environment. Recycling has become a big part of my everyday life and I think that buying used clothing doesn’t cut down on your fashion, it actually adds to it. How wonderful it is to be able to go out and know that you wont be wearing the same thing as the lady in the booth next to you.

I have already made some amazing items from material and clothes I have found at the Goodwill Outlet or Goodwill by the pound(AKA “crap by the pound”). For those that don’t know what the Goodwill by the pound is, it is where they have bins of clothes and you have to search(dig) through the clothes and when you pay, you pay by the amount of pounds you have. The more pounds you buy the better the price. Its an enlightening experience of digging and finding wonderful items. Some items are ready to wear and some need some updating but its such a gloriously fun time, it gets my blood pumping just thinking about it. For some of you weak-stomached people, make sure and bring some gloves for digging and hand sanitizer for after all the digging is done, this is not the cleanest place to shop. They usually have a bathroom right by the exit and I usually head in there to wash my hands and arms before leaving. The next process is going home and washing everything. This is a big task but its so fun to get all your goodies out of the dryer and start trying on what you bought.

Check back for more on my Green, Recycled, Used Clothing Challenge! I will give you updates as to how much was spent on my used clothing. I will also be posting photos of items I have updated or revamped. Keep Checking back!

Green Earth Friendly Furniture

Everyday we as consumers discover new ways to lighten our footprint and make our world a better place to live. Purchasing sustainable furniture is one way we can bring an Eco-friendly choice into our lives.

~ Buy Re-purposed or Used furniture ~ Many manufacturers use reclaimed or recycled materials in new construction. The most efficient and sustainable options are to buy re-purposed or used furniture. Antiques are great choices when buying used, as they were made to last for generations.

~ Buy Local ~ Buying locally keeps your money in the local economy, and most importantly it cuts down on money and fuel that would have been spent to ship the item.

~ Buy Good Wood ~ Buy wood that is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, they have the best policed standards worldwide. Buy furniture that is made from fast-growing commercial species such as bamboo or mango wood. Buy wood from sustainable harvesting program, where forests are responsibly managed, prevents the illegal logging and helps prevent deforestation.

~ Water-Based Finishes ~ Make sure the finishes on your wood are water-based. They have a volatile organic compound level of 50 vs. the legal maximum of 350. VOC(volatile organic compound) are toxins found at high levels in lacquer, varnish, and shellac.

~ Leather ~ Leather is one of the most sought after and bought materials for furniture. Its is very durable, but unless its sourced in the U.S., there are excessive transportation costs involved. Cows also require a lot of pasture, with millions of hectares of forest being cleared for grazing.

For more info on Green, Earth Freindly Furniture check out Green-Furniture.com.

Green Burials

Each year in U.S. cemeteries our loved ones are buried along with:

  • 827,060 gallons of embalming fluid
  • 1,636,000 tons of reinforced concrete
  • 14,000 tons of steel vaults
  • 90,272 tons of steel caskets
  • 2,700 tons of copper and bronze
  • 30+ million board feet of hardwood

Its no surprise that environmentally-minded people are choosing natural burials. By choosing how and where we are buried we can conserve, sustain, and protect the earth.

Reconsider Embalming – Embalming fluids are known to cause cancer and other diseases in the embalmers. These chemicals are not required by law and do not help in preventing the spread of disease. there are other options funeral home are now using for viewing such as, dry ice and refrigeration.

Casket Choices – To minimize a burials ecological impact it is important to request biodegradable materials in everything that accompanies you or your loved ones into the earth. There are many options out there for natural materials, untreated, organic, biodegradable wood, bamboo and unbleached cotton linings. Eco Caskets and E Coffins are two options.

Cremation – For those who don’t want to be buried, cremation can still be a viable option as long as the inputs and emissions are managed properly, as well as the ashes themselves.

Other options – Burial at sea can be green as long the body is in a weighted shroud and not in a traditional casket. A new popular option for a green burial is using a tree to mark the spot instead of a traditional head stone.

For Natural Burials check out GreenSprings Natural Cemetery.

SeaPort Airlines ~ America’s First Green Airline

SeaPort Airlines, a Portland, Or.-based company founded by Portland investors John Beardsley, Tom Carrollo and Kent Craford, is the first airline to fully mitigate its jet fuel consumption. In June they launched a new regularly scheduled commercial air service between Seattle and Portland, offering multiple flights a day.

SeaPort donates the equivalent of “carbon offset” funds by joining in a partnership with Vancouver, Wa.-based Columbia Land Trust to help preserve forestland in the Pacific Northwest.

SeaPort Airlines operates one of the most efficient aircraft’s in commercial aviation, the Pilatus PC-12, a Swiss-built pressurized turboprop that burns only 51 gallons of jet fuel per Seattle-Portland flight. Making it possible for SeaPort to control jet fuel costs and lessen the environmental impact.

Not only is it an environmentally friendly airline, they have reduced the hassles of traveling to a minimum by offering the following –

  • Flights in and out of Boeing Field, just 6 miles from downtown Seattle.
  • Own private terminal in the business aviation area at PDX.
  • No TSA hassles at either airport.
  • Arrive 15 minutes before your flight, even with check-in bags.
  • Valet parking right in front in Portland, and free parking just steps from the plane at Boeing Field.

Along with everything else, SeaPort Airlines offers Charter Flights, Freight, Hotel & Car help, and monthly seat commitment programs. If you live in the Pacific Northwest try out SeaPort Airlines for your next business trip.

The Top 10 for a Green Wedding

What is a Green Wedding?

Its a wedding that uses vendors who employ earth friendly practices, such as fair trade, organically produced food, recycling, energy consumption awareness and utilizing renewable resources.

1. The Ring – Here are a few alternatives to the conventional diamond rings, which are often mined in conflict-torn regions, synthetic diamonds, diamonds certified as “conflict free”, wooden bands or a vintage ring. Chicago Joinery has some amazing wooden wedding rings.

2. Invitations – Consider post-consumer recycled, handmade or tree-free papers printed with vegetable or soy based inks. Reduce paper waste by sending a postcard or by using online invitations and a wedding blog for quests. Green Field Paper Company offers tree-free invitations with seeds embedded in them in which the guest can toss in the ground when they are finished and a few months later up pop flowers.

3. Location – Have the ceremony and reception at the same place, reducing travel and decorating costs.

4. Green Bachelor/Bachelorette Parties – Indulge in organic wine or beer, or an organic spa treatment with an eco-friendly shuttle in tow.

5. Wedding Gown – Go vintage or borrow a gown and jewelry. If buying new, consider materials such as hemp, bamboo, organic cotton, wool or silk.

6. Decorations – Organic local flowers, live plants that can double as favors, and beeswax or soy-based candles will make your day beautiful and less toxic for your guests.

7. Food – When creating your menu consider using cruelty-free meats, local organic produce, wild seafood and vegetarian dishes. As for the dinner ware, consider renting dishes/utensils or buying compostable versions.

8. Photographs – Photographers should use digital proofs to save paper and chemicals. Also avoid single use disposables by sharing your photos online with your guests

9. Gifts – Register with stores that offer local, fair-trade, handmade, organic or other eco-friendly products.

10. Honeymoon – Stay local, try out an eco-tourism excursion or take a romantic train trip. Check out The International Eco-Tourism Society for more information.

For all your Green wedding needs, check out this fabulous website and be kind to the earth!

Great Green Wedding

Send Your Styrofoam Packing!

Eco-Friendly Packing Material

Styrofoam is made out of Polystyrene; it does not breakdown easily, it releases chemicals when it gets wet and contaminates the liquid it touches. If burned, polystyrene gives off highly toxic fumes. Its also been known to cause many health problems when ingested over time.

Next time you have a package to send try some of these Eco-Friendly, non chemical releasing ideas.

~ Instead of throwing away the shreds you get when using a paper shredder, use them to fill packages you send in the mail. It doesn’t cost anything, it can be recycled and it’s an environmentally safer product than Styrofoam.

~ Consider using cornstarch packing peanuts. They are made from corn starch and dissolve in water leaving no toxic waste. Organic fill is static free, economical, fast and easy to use. Place them outside and they will either disappear when the birds take them to make their nests or they will melt in the next rainstorm.

~ For holiday packing materials, try dry pine cones and air-popped popcorn. They’re virtually free, festive and can be fed to the birds or put in the back yard after use.

For Clean Green Packing Materials check out Starch Tech.

The End is Near – for bottled water

Restaurants, Large Companies and even college students are taking on the challenge of drinking tap water instead of still bottled water. The Food and Water watch has written a report; Take Back the Tap: Why Choosing Tap Water over Bottled Water is Better for Your Health, Your Pocketbook, and the Environment; to educate consumers about the various problems with bottled water and why they should switch to tap water. This report also illustrates the importance of supporting local water utilities through increased funding.

Did you know??

* The production of bottled water causes many equity, pubic health and environmental problems?

* The bottled water companies often take water from municipal or underground sources that local people depend on?

* Producing the plastic bottles uses energy and emits toxic chemicals?

* Transporting the bottled water across thousands of miles spews carbon dioxide into the air?

* And in the end, those empty bottles are piling up in landfills?

Why has tap water gotten such a bad rap? Bottled water is no cleaner, safer or healthier than tap water. Tap water is put under far more tests and regulations than bottled water and some bottled water is just bottled tap water. Bottled water is also much more expensive than tap water. If your tap water just doesn’t taste good, check out the water filters at PUR or Brita. Also Pure Water Technology carries non-bottled filtered systems for businesses or companies that want to Go Green.

Join others in the campaign to Take back the Tap by pledging to eliminate or reduce your use of bottled water.