As most holidays, Valentine’s Day is not so green. There is a lot of waste, consumerism, and hype. What are some ways to avoid this? By giving handmade, local, organic, Fair Trade, and eco-friendly gifts.
Choose organic local flowers & Fair Trade organic chocolates. Most flowers for Valentine’s Day are mainly grown in other countries that use harmful chemicals and pesticides. Who wants to bring that into their home? If you’d like to give chocolate, please choose Fair Trade organic chocolate. Most of those mainstream heart shaped boxes of chocolate, come from unethical child labor cocoa fields. If you want to give jewelry, then please choose sustainable jewelry, such as: Christy Robinson, Liza Shtromberg, and on Etsy.
Green Valentine’s Gift Ideas:
• Make your gifts. Be creative and have fun. The recipient will feel special to receive a custom made gift.
• Shop at local craft fairs for unique handmade goods.
• Shop vintage, antique stores, and flea markets
• Instead of giving a material object, try giving them an experience such as a class, event tickets, a membership, spa or massage.
• Cook a meal at home along with some eco-friendly, local, organic wine. Light some soy candles to set the mood.
• If you are planning to give your Valentine a card, please consider recycled cards or plantable seed paper cards. Although, the best form of holiday cards are always e-cards.
Have a green Valentine’s Day!
How do you have a Superbowl party at home and stay green? Most people opt for the convenience of disposables, and may not want to use their “good” dishes for a party. A trip to the dollar store or discount store can really save you money and you can buy reusable items for future gatherings. Get some ceramic dishes, drinking glasses, cloth napkins, and bamboo or stainless steel serving utensils. You could also buy some kitchen towels and washcloths in place of paper towels to clean up any spills. If any of these items were to get ruined, then it isn’t a big deal. Here are a few tips:
• Use reusable dishes, utensils, napkins, etc…
• Pick up a box of empty jam/jelly Mason jars at the grocery store and use them as drinking glasses.
• Put out pitchers of water instead of individual plastic water bottles.
• Be sure to set up stations for recycling and composting.
• Ask guests to carpool or use public transportation.
• Try to serve healthy snacks. Shop at the farmers market in the morning to serve fresh, local, organic food.
These are just a few ideas. If use must use disposable items, then please buy biodegradable/compostable items. They are becoming more and more available, so keep an eye out for them. Go team!
I hope you all have a safe, happy, and green 4th of July! Be sure to eat local fruits and vegetables, use reusable party ware, a gas grill or solar oven, and eliminate waste. A great way to be green is by using reusable cloth Eco-Napkins. If you do have waste such as chip bags, then please send them to TerraCycle through their collection program.
TerraCycle has a solution for getting rid of all the non-recyclable waste from the Fourth and other summer parties through its collection program, the TerraCycle Brigade program. Anyone can send non-recyclable packaging from summer events – such as chip bags, napkin wrapping or plastic cups – to TerraCycle free of charge to be recycled or even repurposed into new, useful and innovative products. http://www.terracycle.net/
Whatever you decide to do, have fun!
Happy 4th of July!
Festive cloth napkin from Eco-Napkins
This is a project I did a few years ago and people always ask me how I did it. It is new to eco enthusiast, but the photos have been on flickr for a while.
A few years ago, I refinished 2 vintage Eames Herman Miller fiberglass chairs. I found them for really cheap on craigslist, and they were in poor condition. There were 2-3 coats of paint on them. I decided to take the risk and remove the paint. I went to the hardware store and found Mötsenöcker’s Lift Off®. This stuff is great because it is: Green Cross Certified, Low–VOC, Water–Based, Biodegradable, Safe for the Environment & User, and starts to work in just 5 minutes.
I was hesitant at first because I didn’t think an eco-friendly paint & varnish remover would work as well as a toxic one. To my surprise, it worked really well! Maybe even better than a toxic paint remover. The longer it sits, the better it works. I know it says it starts to work in 5 min, but I would let it sit for 30 min to 1 hour to get the best results. Here are some photos of my step by step process.
Recently, I attended a few green fairs and I bought one of these hanging glass terrarium orbs. I’ve been seeing them everywhere and I was curious about them. They can be pretty pricey at some home décor stores. I did some research and I discovered that you can buy these glass orbs from CB2 for $3.95 each. It is called a “whirly hanging candleholder.” They are nice to use as a tealight holder or with plants like succulents or air plants. I really like these terrariums, so I ordered a few more, so I can make my own. Air plants are in season right now, so it is perfect timing. They will look great in a window or in a garden for the summer.
Update: If you are looking for handmade terrariums that are made in the USA, then check out these: www.bluejaysnbumblebees.etsy.com
How do you celebrate birthday parties, holidays, and special occasions at home and stay green? Most people opt for the convenience of disposables, and may not want to use their “good” dishes for a party. A trip to the dollar store or discount store can really save you money and you can buy reusable items for future gatherings. Get some ceramic dishes, drinking glasses, cloth napkins, and bamboo or stainless steel serving utensils. You could also buy some kitchen towels and washcloths in place of paper towels to clean up any spills. If any of these items were to get ruined, then it isn’t a big deal.
|Here are a few tips:
• Use reusable dishes, utensils, napkins, etc…
These are just a few ideas. If use must use disposable items, then please buy biodegradable/compostable items. They are becoming more and more available, so keep an eye out for them. Happy celebrating!
Styrofoam is a man made material that doesn’t break down. Styrofoam is mostly uneconomical to recycle or otherwise process environmentally unless in massive quantities, and can be lethal to any bird or sea creature that swallows significant quantities. I try to avoid it as much as possible. I bring my own to go containers if I go to a restaurant and have leftovers. If I forget my to go bag then I will ask for a piece of aluminum foil instead of a box. Most places are confused and they say they aren’t sure if they have foil. They always do, but they act like it is inconvenient for them. The fact is that styrofoam is inconvenient for everyone and aluminum foil can be recycled (after being cleaned). More and more places are using biodegradable and recyclable packaging, but there are many places that do not. So in the meantime, I will continue to bring my own reusable containers.
Are you interested in composting, but aren’t sure where to begin? Composting is natures way of recycling. I watched some “how to” videos online and they helped, but I wanted someone to show me in person. The Griffith Park Composting Facility offers FREE workshops on the 4th Saturday of every month. They sell bins and explain the difference between each one. The large composts are nice, but you need to have your own yard to put it in. Since I’m in an apartment, I went ahead and got the worm compost, which is a 10 gallon Rubbermaid container for $5. There are a few holes drilled in it for ventilation. The facility only has the bins and some free compost, but no worms. They give you a list of worm suppliers in the area. I thought this was strange and they were all so expensive. They average around $23 lb. This seemed pretty pricey for worms. They have to be special red worms that can survive in 90ºF temperature. I called one of the suppliers who sells worms out of his home. Before I went, I was imagining a creepy guy in a weird house with worms in his garage or something. This wasn’t the case at all. It was a very nice, older gentlemen who had some large compost bins on the side of his really nice, 2-story house. He just sells them because he enjoys composting. I got 1 lb. of worms and I placed the bin in my carport under the storage cabinet. Now that I’ve had the bin for over a year now, I feel that the worms have paid for themselves and the $23 I was so worried about didn’t matter anymore. It is a very educational process and I’m glad I am able to experience it.
The compost facility only deals with outdoor composting. I decided to get a small kitchen compost to keep my scraps in for a few days before putting them in the worm bin. I found one online and I haven’t had any problems with odor or leakage. I would only keep it indoors for about 3 days. If there is fruit, such as banana peels, you may have to take it out sooner. Otherwise, fruit flies will be in the kitchen. That’s not fun at all!
To learn more about composting, please visit the City of Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation website:
Green Tip: Whether you have a garden or a few potted plants, try putting out a bucket or barrel to collect rain water. I live in an apt and only have room for potted plants. This bucket is made from 100% recycled plastic. I found it at a chain hardware store for around $2 – $3.