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Going Green When Downsizing

Because life gets so busy we often forget about all the stuff collected throughout our lives and how much of it in the big picture is truly insignificant. That’s why downsizing and letting go of a lot of belongings is a great way to feel lighter and spring is the perfect time to begin the process. 

As you start making progress, though, one thing to consider is how to responsibly dispose of the items you no longer want. After all some things are truly trash while many others aren’t and there’s no sense adding to a landfill when something greener can be done with them. 

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Is Styrofoam recyclable?

Question: Is Styrofoam recyclable?
Answer: No. Yes. Well kind of, sort of.

I get this question almost weekly working for a recycling company. Many times people assume Styrofoam is recyclable, especially if it has a recycling symbol and number on the piece. Packaging pieces and Dunkin Donut cups keep appearing more and more mixed in with single stream and glass/plastics recycling.

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How Reusing Should Always Come Before Waste Removal

Today we have a guest blog post from Kris Rayner.  Thanks for a great blog post, Kris!


It is common to see the “Three R’s” of waste management given as: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. The order in which these steps are listed is important, since it represents the path in which the waste stream flows and describes each decision point at which the waste stream itself can become more manageable. To these three “R’s,” it is only realistic to add a fourth: Remove. It is inevitable that there will be some waste which will have to be removed, when all is said and done.

By placing these steps in this particular order, the efficiency, cost and effectiveness of waste management can be controlled to the greatest extent possible. “Reduce,” at the headwaters of the waste stream, so to speak, is the first decision point. Consider the amount and type of packaging, for example. Over-packaging has become, as it should be, a matter of public discussion, but it is the decision of the manufacturer how to package a product. Bright, attractive and resistant to shoplifting seem to be the primary considerations for most retail packaging, but these choices can be affected by both buying habits and direct communication with the manufacturer by the consumer. These are effective, since manufacturers are in the business of selling their products, and are always sensitive to anything – including packaging – which influences buying decisions.... read more

How To Improve Your Home’s Green Factor

Today was have a guest blog post by Christine Heeley, a freelance environmental writer.  


As someone who’s always cared about the environment, it really does make me happy to see more and more people start to make the effort around the home to try and keep things as ‘green’ as possible.  If you haven’t yet started to get involved (shame on you, obviously), then you might find it a bit confusing as to how you can actually begin to get involved: there are, after all, a lot of potential ways in which you can start to contribute.  That’s why I’ve put together this little list of the four best ways to get started: 

Recycle.  Without doubt a biggie, this is one of most effective starting points for anyone hoping to contribute to the environment: partly because it’s so wonderfully simple.  Rather than simply chucking all the rubbish into a bin (something I admittedly did back in my much younger days), you can now purchase specialist waste units that are divided into the separate areas of recyclable material: glass, paper, rubbish etc.  All you have to do is put the right things into the right area of the bin, and the rest is taken care of.  Simple, and yet it still makes a big difference. ... read more

Upcycled Décor

Today we have a great post by the folks over at Erie Construction.  Here are some fun upcycling ideas!


Looking to decorate on a dime? Or perhaps you’d like to help out the Earth by being a little more green? Good news! You can do both of these things easily with upcycled home décor. Using materials you already have, some creativity, and a bit of elbow grease, you can make beautiful items to decorate your home with. Take a look at some of these quick and easy projects using upcycled and repurposed items from around the home.

Using Jewelry

Once you lose an earring, you might as well throw the other away right? Wrong! You can use lonely jewelry and older jewelry that you don’t wear anymore for upcycling projects. Give these pieces a second chance by re-crafting it into something you can appreciate. Try recycling big pieces like broaches and watches into glamorous refrigerator magnets or Christmas ornaments. Smaller pieces can be adhered to photo frames, coasters, or anything else that could benefit from a little bit of shine.... read more

Demanding Greener Product Packaging

Recycling:  this is something that’s been on my mind a lot lately and it’s really bothering me.  

I recycle and I am pretty good about it,  but what really bothers me is that businesses are not so much into it.   Especially big business.   Oh, they say they are “green.”  Green is the new marketing buzzword, but when it comes down to it the majority of the companies are not!

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Are Applesauce Pouches Recyclable?

I'm sad to say that I developed an unkeen, ungreen habit in 2011.   Sometime after my son's first birthday, he went from eating almost everything served to him to being the type of kid who would prefer to exist off yogurt, mac and cheese, and crackers.  Sigh.  

Frustrated, I'd wander the supermarket aisles trying to think of what I could possibly feed my picky son.  Then at my local Trader Joe's, I noticed these:


Pouches of applesauce - some plain, some with carrots, some with bananas.  To my surprise, my son loved them.  These pouches (and also the GoGo Squeez which I could buy in bulk at Costco - and a few other brands like Peter Rabbit Organics) quickly became my son's favorite snack while out and about.  Healthy, mess-free, portable...I could stuff a bunch in my purse for a quick snack on the go.  Genius, right?... read more

Time to Whip Cream!

At any holiday party you'll usually find pies for dessert, with whipped cream for topping them.  Our own holiday party is coming up this Sunday, and I was tempted to buy Reddi Whip or some other canned whipped cream to accompany the desserts.  But one look at the high prices for canned whipped cream, not to mention the waste of packaging, reminded me why I always whip my own. 

A can of whipped cream, which is enough to top two pies, costs anywhere from $2.50 if it's on sale to $5 regular price, and that's assuming you're not buying organic. The can is a nightmare for recycling facilities because it's made of metal that is interlocked with plastic components. ... read more

Upcycling Throw Pillows

I really like throw pillows, but unfortunately many of the throw pillows in my house have seen better days.  While going through the attic, old clothes, and my son's closet, I had an idea:  what if I upcycled these ratty old throw pillows?  I have a crafty friend with a sewing machine who has been hosting upcycling workshops - this could be a fun project.  

I gathered up some things that would be good covers on these old throw pillows:

Old T-shirts

I found a big old Winnie the Pooh t-shirt among my pajamas.  It's not something I wear frequently, and my son is a huge Winnie the Pooh fan, so why not turn that old Pooh shirt into a throw pillow for my son's room?

Old Sweaters

Sweaters can make a nice cozy material for a throw pillow.  If you have sweaters that are ill-fitting, ripped, or uncomfortable, they could make a lovely pillow case. ... read more

Upcycling Last Year's Holiday Cards

Who has bags of holiday cards from last year just sitting around?  If you're looking for ways to reuse them, consider making them into attractive gift tags for this year's gifts!  

All you need are scissors a hole punch, and string or ribbon.  You can write to/from on the blank side, and face the design part outwards.  ... read more

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