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krissy's blog

Reusing Floppy Disks

Hey, remember floppy disks?  I recently came across some old ones in our house (along with some old blank cassette tapes and those annoying AOL CDs...but that's for another entry!)

GreenDisk.com takes old floppy disks, but what if you can reuse them in a really cool way?  Some perfect ideas for the eco-minded craftmaker!... read more

Green Company Profile: Crunchy Granola Baby

Why it's Keen:

Crunchy Granola Baby, in Salem, Massachusetts, sells organic and natural items for babies and kids. From cloth diapers to skin care to room décor, Crunchy Granola Baby offers an alternative to the Babies R Us-type stores of the world.  They even have a baby registry.  You can shop at their online store or you can visit their location in Salem

Jennie Cudmore, owner, opened Crunchy Granola Baby in 2006. Not only is Crunchy Granola Baby a great store, it is also a community center of sorts for like-minded individuals. She says, “I realized how great it would be to create a place where families could meet other families and feel comfortable just hanging out and, of course, spreading the 'green' word.” Their store hosts a variety of events.

Why it's Green:

Crunchy Granola Baby offers green products for the eco-minded parent. There are plenty of cloth diapers, organic babywearing equipment, linens, eco-friendly toys (which are a must for a teething baby who puts everything in his or her mouth!) and so much more. It can be hard to find a place with a good selection of organic and natural baby products, but Crunchy Granola Baby has them!  ... read more

Dump the Pump Day is TOMORROW! 6/17/10

Tomorrow (June 17, 2010) marks the fifth annual Dump the Pump Day in the United States. Dump the Pump Day encourages people to take public transportation instead of driving their personal vehicles. It's sponsored by the American Public Transportation Authority in partnership with Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Sierra Club.

Many different cities are doing different things for Dump the Pump Day. Greater Boston's MBTA is giving away commuter passes, Chicago's RTA is offering prizes, and DC's Metro is having a contest.  Check out your local public transportation's website to see if they have anything going on tomorrow!... read more

Green House Hunting

You live an eco-friendly life. You compost, you garden, you dry your clothes on a clothesline, you use cloth napkins and cloth diapers...but, have you considered moving into a “green” home? And if you have, how do you even begin to find such a thing?

First off, find a a green real estate agent. They do exist! Ecobroker has a database of green real estate agents who are educated and certified in the area of green real estate. Ecobroker's site also a search function where you can find green properties in your area. You can check off green features in your search, such as just looking for properties with energy-efficient appliances, green building materials like bamboo or cork floors, and more.

Another resource is Listed Green. They list green, energy efficient LEED homes.

If you want to do the research on your own, think about what types of green features you want your home to have. Energy efficient home design? Solar panels? Built using recycled materials? Keep yourself up-to-date on green home terminology. EcoHearth has a great glossary to help you out.

When house hunting, also consider size. Look for a house with only the space you need. Does a family of four need a McMansion with 6 giant bedrooms, a family room and a living room, a dining room and an eat-in kitchen? Probably not. All of those rooms that you rarely need just use more energy.... read more

Green Company Profile: Irving House in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Irving House is a green guesthouse in Harvard Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts, just outside of Boston. Rachael Solem, Owner and General Manager, says that they have been environmentally friendly since opening 20 years ago, but in recent years they've become even more green. From solar panels to breakfasts featuring locally made food, Irving House is not only an inspiration, but a great place to stay if you're visiting Greater Boston!

Green lodging in Cambridge MA - Irving House

Why it's Keen: 

Eco-friendly travel options are very important. Hotels can sometimes be very wasteful, from those itty bitty shampoo bottles (and who knows if they are actually recycled!) to the food that they serve. It's refreshing to find green accommodations, especially in a popular travel destination such as Harvard Square. Just steps away from the Harvard campus, shopping, and delicious eateries, you can visit one of the coolest neighborhoods in the country while staying in accommodations that are kind to the Earth. 

Harding House also has extremely good reviews across the Internet. It has 4 stars on Trip Advisor with plenty of comments from extremely happy people who have stayed there!

Why it's Green: 

Irving House buys locally made breakfast and snack items, and some items are also fair trade and organic, such as their coffee.

... read more

What Organic Labels Mean

Shopping for organic food can be very confusing, especially when it comes to reading labels.  What do the different certifications really mean?  

100% Organic - The product must contain 100% organic ingredients.

Organic - At least 95% of the ingredients are organic.

Made with Organic Ingredients - At least 70% of ingredients are organic. 

Natural and All-Natural - This type of labeling drives me crazy.  They mean nothing.  There are no government standards to dictate what can be labeled Natural or All-Natural.  I wrote a more in-depth article about this back in August.  ... read more

Green Summer Tips

Summertime is the easiest time to go green and stay green!  I have some green summer tips that I've rounded up...anyone have anything to add?

 

  1. Instead of driving hundreds of miles, discover local attractions. Take a “staycation!”

  2. If you still want to take a vacation, there are plenty of green vacation options these days. From green hotels to green restaurants, there are plenty of places to go. And consider ditching the car and seek out some public transportation options. If you must take a plane, offset your carbon footprint!

  3. Go camping instead of taking a vacation in a hotel. Usually, you won't need to travel too far to find beautiful campgrounds, especially if you look for state parks! Camping can be so refreshing...no TV, internet, cell phones...enjoy a few days of simplicity!... read more

What's Greener: Flying or Driving?

A few months ago, we were planning to go from Boston to Washington DC.  We had to make the choice:  drive or fly?  Flying was clearly the quicker choice, but what about the eco-friendliness of it?

After some research, driving was the greener choice for us.  If you drive a car that gets over 25 miles per gallon, driving generates fewer greenhouse gases than on a plane.  We drive a hybrid, so there was no question about what was the more environmentally-friendly choice.  So off we drove, from Boston to DC!

On TheDailyGreen, it says that flying from San Francisco to Boston would generate roughly 1,300 kilograms of greenhouse gases per passenger one way, as opposed to driving, which would account for only 930 kilograms per vehicle.  Of course, driving cross country isn't usually doable, but for shorter distances (i.e, San Francisco to LA or Boston to Philadelphia) it makes more sense to drive.  Grist also says that short-haul flights are particularly bad because take-off and landing use the most fuel in a flight.... read more

Storing and Washing Cloth Diapers

I think that when people decide not to cloth diaper, a lot of it has to do with the "ick" factor.  I can understand that....but really, it's not as bad as you think.

We store our dirty diapers in plastic tubs with lids.  (i.e., medium-size Rubbermaid tubs)  You can also sprinkle some baking soda in there to help control any stink issues, but we find that just securing the lids on the tubs is effective enough.  

Some people store their dirty diapers in "wet pails."  This just multiplies the ick factor to me.  Wet pails are pails filled with water and usually baking soda, and you let the diapers soak.   I kind of think this method is disgusting (stagnant water with poop and pee in it?  No thanks!) and a little unsafe to have a pail filled with water when you have little kids around.  So I advise storing them dry.

When your baby is mostly just taking breastmilk or formula, you can just throw the entire diaper into the washer, poop and all.  Once they get a little older, you can just shake any solid poop into the toilet.  Some dunk the entire diaper into the toilet and swish it around, or some people buy a diaper sprayer.  

And now...here comes the washing part:... read more

Wool Insulation

A few years ago, we did some work on our attic, including insulating it. We did it ourselves and used that awful, toxic, Pink Panther insulation stuff. That brand does use 40% recycled glass, but many studies consider it to be a carcinogen if inhaled, and it can cause breathing and skin irritations I felt paranoid using it, but at the time I wasn't educated on alternatives.

If we were to install any insulation now, I would definitely rethink using fiberglass.

I thought of this today as I took a walk in my neighborhood and saw a sign for home insulation using wool. "What a great idea!" I thought, and then I came home to do a little research.



Some quick facts about wool insulation:

- Wool can absorb moisture, unlike fiberglass insulation.
- Wool doesn't irritate the skin or lungs.
- Sheep can be treated with pesticides, fungicides, and insecticides. Those things leave a residue which comes off once a sheep is sheared, but it can result in toxic byproducts. Find out where your wool comes through and what the sheep have been treated with.
- Wool is naturally flame resistant.
- You don't need to wear protective gear when installing it unless you have a wool allergy. You should have seen what we wore when we insulated our attic...masks, gloves, clothes from head to toe!... read more

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