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.
A couple months ago, I was looking for a new printer for my home office to mainly print documents. I found the HP Deskjet 1000 Printer and decided to check it out. I was very attracted to the green features it offered. It is very straightforward, affordable, reliable, lightweight and compact. It is great for basic printing. I wouldn’t expect professional quality from a deskjet printer anyway. It is fine for what it is.
You can return the ink cartridges for recycling, but some people aren’t aware that you can refill cartridges at some drugstore photo labs or even Costco. I usually refill mine a few times before I recycle it. I would recommend this printer for very basic printing needs and here are the green features below:
Resource conservation and recycling
• Save energy with this ENERGY STAR® qualified printer, which uses less than previous models
• Conserve resources: this model is made of 30% recycled plastic and shipped in recyclable packaging
• Recycle cartridges by returning them via Planet Partners4
I live an apartment and I don’t have to pay for water. I use a water saver shower head because I want to conserve water. For a few years I have used a cheap $5 water saver shower head and it worked great. Although, recently it seemed like it was clogged up. I tried cleaning it and it didn’t seem to flow like it used to. I decided to splurge and try a $30 water saver shower head. It is nice, but I don’t like that the attachment portion is plastic. I stripped parts of the grooves while installing it. The outer shell is a brushed nickel finish and the rest is plastic. Unlike the cheaper one that is all metal and very sturdy. The water flow seems about the same and I don’t see a huge difference other than the 3 modes and the large head. It works ok, but I decided to return it. I wasn’t pleased with it, and went back to a cheaper one. I was just hoping the larger one would be more luxurious. That wasn’t the case, so I’ll stick with a cheaper one.
I have used Moo mini business cards for a few years now. I love the size and they are more memorable than average sized business cards. The only problem is the mini cards are not so green. Moo offers eco-friendly traditional sized business cards, but states that they haven’t found a recycled stock suitable for their printing process. They are also located in England so, traveling across the ocean makes a huge impact on the environment.
I did some research on other mini business cards that are eco-friendly, and one company is Zazzle and the other is Pixxlz. Their cards are slightly longer than Moo mini cards.
Moo mini cards: 1.10″ x 2.75″
Zazzle and Pixxlz mini cards: 1″ x 3.5″
Moo mini cards are extremely affordable and you can have 100 different images on your cards. This is fantastic, but I just needed 1 logo on all cards and I decided to pay extra to have eco-friendly cards.
After much debate I decided to go with Pixxlz. Nothing against Zazzle. Their products seem just as green as Pixxlz. I just felt the design interface wasn’t exactly what I was looking for. I didn’t want to design online. With Pixxlz they offer Photoshop and Illustrator templates so, it made it easy for me to design and upload. If you are not a designer, then the design online option on both sites will work for you.
The turn around was super quick and I received the cards in one week. I am please with the size, quality, price, and service. I will definitely order from them again in the future.
I shop at those discount, brand name stores all the time. I have found a lot of eco-friendly items for sale, such as:
- eco-friendly ceramic & terracotta coated frying pans
- laundry baskets made of water hyacinth & other sustainable materials
- glass & stainless steel water bottles
- reusable to go cups
- naturally harvested bamboo trowel & cultivator
- door mats made of all natural Coir and recycled rubber
- recycled baskets made of magazines or newspaper
- picture frames made from renewable resources, and more.
All of these items were under $20 each. Here are some of my finds:
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:
Today, I had the pleasure of volunteering in the garden at Thomas Starr King Middle School. It is a beautiful garden full of veggies. The students are a wonderful group and we had a lot of fun. They painted environmental signs, harvested salads for the homeless, and cooked a delicious meal of garbanzo beans, bok choy, carrots, cilantro, chives, garlic and herbs wrapped in a whole grain tortilla. Also, they turned the compost and tended to the garden. If you ever have a Tuesday off from work, then I recommend volunteering here. It is a great experience.
Here is more info about the garden:
Students from Thomas Starr King Middle School in Los Angeles, visit Farm King as part of various classes as well as part of an after school enrichment program. Every Tuesday, volunteers work in the garden with students, who participate in all aspects of garden life from planting to harvesting to cooking and eating. In addition, students use the garden as an outdoor classroom to study science, nutrition, art and other disciplines.
Check out the Farm King blog:
World Water Day is internationally observed on March 22nd to increase awareness about the provision of Safe & Healthy water for drinking & everyday use for everyone. The history of this day dates back to 1992 when a resolution was passed in Brazil and was then announced by UN council to be observed annually on 22nd March.
|Auto Club Shreds! Reduce your risk of identity theft this tax season with help from the Auto Club. On March 26, 2011, 10 a.m.–2 p.m., the Auto Club will host a FREE Shred-a-Thon in the parking lot of Dodger Stadium.Both Auto Club members and nonmembers are invited to bring up to five storage boxes filled with junk mail and personal papers that may contain names, birthdates, and account numbers for free on-site shredding.
Plastic bags, binders, folders, computer disks, laminated paper, or other nonpaper materials should be removed prior to bringing the material to the Shred-a-Thon. All shredded material will be recycled.
Green Tip: You can also use the shredded office paper in a compost bin.