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.

Recycling Old Candles into New Candles

As I was cleaning my house the other day I noticed how some of my candles, even though they had a lot of wax left, they no longer burned. Not sure if it is something wrong with the wick or what happened, so I decided to buy new ones.

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Image courtesy of Chickens in the Road

As I was taking the old ones down and replacing them with the new ones, I thought, I don’t want to just throw these away, is there a way to recycle them? I figured there had to be something I could do with them, instead of just throwing them in the trash. So I started my search to find how to recycle candles.

I found that it is fairly easy to recycle your old candles into new ones. With a few simple tools you have lying around the house you can make new candles out of your old ones.

Instructions Below:

  • Take your old candles that are burned too low to light again.
  • Scarp out the wax with a butter knife.
  • Separate the scents of the candles, unless they blend well.
  • Be sure to take out all the old wicks and tabs.
  • Reuse your old candle jars. After you scrape the wax out of them, wash them real good with hot soapy water.
  • Re-wick your clean jars.
  • Place salvaged wax in a double boiler and bring to pouring temperature.
  • Pour candles, supporting wicks while candles set up, topping off as needed.

For the complete instructions check out Chickens in the Road blog post – Recycling Candles. She has beautiful pictures, poke around and I am sure you will find plenty of interesting articles and photos to enjoy.

Recycle Those Cell Phones and Help Our Troops

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Did you know that in California and New York City its illegal to throw away a cell phone? Hopefully other states will join soon. But even if you aren’t in those two states that requires you to recycle your cell phone, you should still recycle it. If you need some help finding a place to recycle your cell phone, consider Cell Phones for Soldiers.

Cell Phones for Soldiers was started in April 2004 by 13-year-old Brittany Bergquist and her 12-year-old brother Robbie of Norwell, Massachusetts. The goal is to help our soldiers serving overseas call home. They hope to provide as many soldiers as possible with prepaid calling cards. Through generous donations and the recycling of used cell phones, Robbie and Brittany have already distributed thousands of calling cards to soldiers around the globe.

How it works: Cell Phones for Soldiers accept any type of cell phone, you drop your old cell phone off at a donation station and the cell phones are then sold to ReCellular, which pays Cell Phones for Soldiers for each donated phone. The money that they receive for the phones is used to purchase calling cards that are sent to our soldiers serving. The amount they get paid for the donated phones is enough for an hour of talk  to soldiers abroad. It is also possible to donate money for a calling card along with the fact that you can have Cell Phones for Soldiers to directly mail a card to a specific soldier.

So the next time you have a cell phone you no longer need, remember Cell Phones for Soldiers and find a donation station near you.

Origins – Plant a Tree Program

promo_plantatree_0406Origins Plant a Tree program was created as an alliance with Global Releaf, American Forests education and action program that helps individuals, organizations, agencies, and corporations improve the local and global environment by planting and caring for trees.

Our goal is to help plant millions of trees in new Global ReLeaf projects across the country and the globe. By planting trees around the world, we help restore areas damaged by wildfire, where critical wildlife habitat has been lost, and help clean our air and water.

With each A Perfect World Antioxidant Moisturizer with White Tea sold in North America during April Origins will plant a tree and will continue to plant trees throughout the year.

Along with this great Plant a Tree program, Origins has started the first recycling program in the cosmetic industry.

Now when you are finished with your cosmetics you can bring your empty tubes, bottles and jars, regardless of brand, to the nearest Origins store or department store counter and all returned packaging will be sent back to a central location where products will be recycled or used for energy recovery. And the best part is, when you bring an empty cosmetic tube, bottle or jar to Origins, you will receive a special Origins sample to take home.

Eco-Friendly Rain Gear for the Whole Family

Spring is 2 days away and the rain is already pouring. What better way to protect yourself and your family from the weather than with eco-friendly, recycled rain gear. Below I have listed some of the best eco-friendly rain gear.

MenRei has a Sierra Designs Cyclone Eco Rain Jacket with 2.5-layer Drizone™ Green fabric that is composed of a textured, double-ripstop recycled polyester face over a solvent-free waterproof, breathable laminate

WomenPatagonia offers a Women’s Eco Rain Shell Jacket that’s breathable and waterproof and made entirely from recycled polyester. This jacket won the Outside Green Gear of the Year award in 2007.

ChildrenPatagonia has a Kids Rain Shadow Jacket that is Fully recycled superlight storm-level protection that’s waterproof, breathable, compressible and 100% recyclable. Choice of 4 different fun colors.

Man’s Best FriendWest Paw Design has eco-friendly rain gear for your dog. Made with 100% recycled polyester fabric that is also recyclable again after providing years of comfort and protection to your dog on all those wet, misty Spring days. This product never needs to be thrown away – EVER! Innovative design allows this jacket to be recycled again, and again, and again.

RainbootsKamik offers recyclable rainboots for women and children in an assortment of colors and designs.

UmbrellasEco ‘brella Auro Open Auto Close Folding Umbrella made of 70% recycled materials. The Eco ‘brella canopy is made of 100% recycled PET (PolyEthylene Terephthalate) bottles. The Eco ‘brella frame is made of 70% recycled aluminum.

10 Tips for a Waste-Free Lawn and Garden

March 21 is the official start of the Spring season and if you haven’t started gardening already you probably will soon. Flowers are blooming all over and we are just starting to see the blossoms on the trees. So before you begin your lawn and garden care routines, check out these great tips from the US Environmental Protection Agency to help you have a waste-free lawn and garden.

1. Create a compost pile by using food scraps, yard trimmings and other organic waste. Compost is a rich soil amendment that can help increase water retention, decrease erosion, and replace chemical fertilizers.

2. Cut the bottoms off plastic milk jugs or use small paper bags to protect young seedlings from frost, wind, heavy rain, and roving animals. Remember to recycle the bags and jugs when the seedlings have grown.

3. Reduce your use of fertilizers and pesticides by planting grass and other vegetation that is native to your area.

4. Shred untreated wood and leaf wastes into chips and use them as mulch on garden beds to prevent weed growth, retain moisture, regulate soil temperature, and add nutrients back to the soil.

5. Conserve water. Use barrels to collect rain water and use it to water plants. Check hoses for leaks before watering plants, and position sprinklers so they water only plants, not the sidewalk, street, or house. Also remember to water during the cooler parts of the day (early morning is best) to avoid evaporation.

6. If you have a need for large lawn and garden equipment, such as tillers or chainsaws, you can reduce waste (and save money) by renting or borrowing the equipment.

7. Buy recycled-content gardening equipment and tools, such as garden hoses made from old tires, stepping stones made from old glass bottles, or hand tools made with recycled plastic. You can also use plastic lumber made from recycled plastic bottles and bags to make flower beds, trellises, decks, and birdhouses.

8. If you have healthy plants that you want to replace, donate them to community gardens or schools, or offer them to neighbors.

9. Recycle used oil and tires from lawn and garden equipment.

10. If you have a need for large lawn and garden equipment, such as tillers or chainsaws, you can reduce waste (and save money) by renting or borrowing the equipment.

10 Easy Ways to Live Greener and Not Break the Bank

1. Sign up: The easiest way to live green is by first signing up with your local Garbage company for the recycling service. Make sure and read the rules as to what can be recycled because some non-recyclable items put in the bin could cause the whole bin to be dumped into the landfill. For helpful guidelines click here.

2. Start a Bin: Keep a bin for recyclable items that aren’t so easy to recycle. Light bulbs, beer bottle caps, caps from other products all can be recycled. Wait until you have an amount worthy of sending away or dropping off at a store. Home Depot has a CFL Recycling Program.

3. Set Your Thermostat: Turn your thermostat down at night when you are sleeping, keeping it down for approximately 8 hours. As long as the temperature in the house has time to get from 72 degrees down to 65 degrees and then stay at 65 for a period of time, you’ll save energy and money.

4. Conserve Water: If you run water while you are shaving, washing or brushing your teeth, shut it off and only run it when you need it. If you are waiting for water to get hot, run the water into a bowl or pitcher to use later for watering plants.

5. Change a Light Bulb: If every American home replaced just one light bulb with a compact fluorescent light bulb, we would save enough energy to light more than 3 million homes for a year, more than $600 million in annual energy costs, and prevent greenhouse gases equivalent to the emissions of more than 800,000 cars.

6. Use a Power Strip: Plug your TV, DVD player, stereo, printer and the likes into power strips and when you leave a room turn off the power strip to save energy.

7. Support your Local Farmers: Typical grocery store produce travels nearly 1,500 miles before it ends up on your plate. All this traveling burns fossil fuels and results in carbon emissions. Buying from local farmers means you’re not only getting the freshest food possible, you’re saving energy.

8. Do Full Loads: The average American family of four washes about 540 loads of laundry a year, which consumes up to 21,000 gallons of water, and more than 150 loads of dishes, which uses about 1,500 gallons. Combining half-loads, choosing short cycles, and using cold or warm rather than hot water in the clothes washer racks up savings.

9. Adjust Fridge and Freezer Temp: Refrigerators eat up the most electricity in the house. Maximize effificiency by keeping the fridge at 37 degrees F and the freezer at 0 degrees F.

10. Stop Junk Mail: More than 100 million trees’ worth of bulk mail arrive in American mail boxes each year – that’s the equivalent of deforesting the entire Rocky Mountain National Park every four months. In a recent post I wrote about how to Stop Junk Mail and Help the Environment. This post will give you websites that can help you stop your unwanted mail.

Recycling Unused Prescription Drugs

Yesterday I read an article in the Oregonian, State seeks to recycle unused prescription drugs, which was about finding a way to recycle unused prescription drugs and make them available to patients who otherwise couldn’t afford them. An estimated 3% of prescription drugs nationwide go unused, lost, ignored, replaced or no longer needed.

During the past decade, 37 states have passed some sort of unused-drug-recycling program. “But as well-intentioned as these efforts are,” a survey by Scientific American found, “practical problems have prevented  widespread implementation of such programs.”

Recycling unused prescription drugs seems like a no-brainer but would you feel comfortable taking medication that was taken home originally by someone else? This is a valid concern.

Monday was the mark of the first legislative hearing to set up a Prescription Drug Repository within the Oregon Board of Pharmacy to redistribute costly unused medications to uninsured patients. Gary Schnabel, executive director of the Pharmacy Board, communicated that the board may eventually support the idea, if lawmakers can resolve practical details about how to guarantee the purity of recycled drugs.

One state to look at would be Oklahoma. In a bit over 5 years the program, which recycles medication from patients in long-term care facilities, has distributed nearly 47,000 unused prescriptions, with a wholesale value of more than $4 million. They accept only unit-dose packaging directly from nursing homes or assisted living facilities and in five years have grown from 3 participating nursing homes to 59.

Some benefits of recycling unused prescription drugs would be that they are being reused, they are not contaminating our water and they would be kept out of the hands of people who would misuse them. But the one question remains, It might be difficult to make people feel confident in what they are taking when they know its been taken away from the pharmacy intended for someone else.

Recycling Bottle Caps

A friend of mine from TheWeekelyBrew.com asked what I knew about recycling bottle caps. So I was thinking about it and I have watched the shows and seen how recycling works but the bottle caps from soda/beer bottles, shampoo, lotion and the like all got pulled aside and tossed into the landfill. So I was thinking why can’t they reuse these? I’m sure they have some value and possibility? So I decided to do some work and I found some ways that we can recycle these bottle caps and save them from going into the landfill.

Recycle Caps with AvedaAveda is announcing a new recycling initiative that helps extend the current boundaries of recycling and elicit participation from all corners of our community. With the help of our network of salons and stores, in partnership with community schools, we are building a new recycling program for plastic bottle caps in which caps are collected at stores and schools and then sent by Aveda to our recycler where the material is recycled into new caps and containers.

Turn your soda or beer bottle caps into fishing lures. The Bottle Cap Lure Company has been doing this since 2000.

You can sell them on Ebay for pennies a piece. People purchase them for homemade crafts and projects.

Make your own bottle cap thumbtacks or bottle cap magnets. Deep Fried Kudzo offers easy instructions on how to make these.

eHow has some suggestions on how you can recycle old soda/beer bottle caps into something new.

I have heard you can also take your used beer bottle caps back to a local brewery and they will clean and reuse them.

These are just a few of the great ideas out there. If you arent crafty, than start putting them aside to be recycled.

10 Homemade Valentines

I love homemade valentines. I love anything homemade, not only is it eco-friendly and saves you money, but it also means so much more when it has been homemade with love.

1. Make your own little Valentine Book. AE has a tutorial, perfect for your favorite Valentine, aliedwards.typepad.com

2. The Purl Bee has some lovely fabric window Valentines. These would be perfect for your little ones to give to their friends, even great for adding to the top of a Valentine gift. I love the simple sweetness of these.

3. For a kid-friendly Valentine craft, try these Woven Heart Baskets from mothers of inventions.

4. I love these fun Felt Fortune Cookies from Martha Stewart. There is a video in case the written instructions aren’t enough.

5. People come up with the most amazing projects. I love these Valentine Vermin from the Junior Society.

6. Moms in Business have a “That’s Amore! ~ A Valentine’s Day tutorial”. Great for hanging on the door. Homemade with items you already have around the house.

7. For the little girls in your life, decorate their hair with these cute Valentine hair clips. These look fairly easy and oh so cute!

8. Wise Craft has a tutorial on how to make a Rice Pillow for your Valentine. The perfect thing for those sore necks and backs after a long day at work.

9. Ok, I know this tutorial isn’t for Valentines Day but I thought this Fleece + Liberty Scarf tutorial would make a great Valentines gift. Use some pretty floral or whimsical fabrics, and it would be perfect.

10. The Stitching Room has a Thread Holder Tutorial but instead of holding thread these would be great for putting some Hershey Kisses or other chocolates in and giving them to your Valentine.

I know there are so many more Valentine tutorials and craft projects out there, these are just a few to help you get started on your way to a Happy Valentines Day! Enjoy!