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Daily Greening

No New Plastics Month in Review

No New PlasticsNo New PlasticsAlthough I'm not proud to admit it, going plastic free was not an overwhelming success. Plastic is EVERYWHERE, from our living rooms to our cars to our nights out. And our plastic habit is piling up to the tune of 2,500,000 plastic bottles every hour and 25,000,000,000 styrofoam cups every year in America alone. And plastic doesn't go away, even if you do your due diligence by tossing it in your recycling bin: every piece of plastic ever created still exists in some form or another. Even those that "biodegrade" just break into to small pieces, never truly disintegrating entirely.

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Green Compromises

Sometimes I come across someone who really wants to make their life greener, but they are wary about taking the plunge.  Some find certain lifestyle changes daunting, some are worried about costs, others think that going green is an all-or-nothing deal.  It doesn't have to be daunting, it doesn't have to be expensive, and it doesn't have to be all-or-nothing.  

I came up with some problems and solutions to going green.  ... read more

November Challege: No New Plastics

Pacific Garbage PatchPacific Garbage PatchI first started thinking about plastic consumption when I read an article on about a couple who, right after they got married, pledged that they would live the first year of their married life plastic free. Then I read Plastic Nightmare by Sophie Uliano (which is required reading for anyone wanting to get fired up about the subject). Then I was horrified. I had no idea about the Pacific Garbage Patch. I started thinking about plastic as the grown-up version of the monster under the bed: we may not see it and other folks may try to tell us it's no big deal, but we know it's there...and it's growing.... read more

Localvore Challenge In Review

My month as a localvore can best be summarized by the trip I took last Saturday to Shared Bounty CSA. I wrote about them earlier, when discussing the benefits of knowing where your food comes from, and was excited to receive an invitation to their open farm. Jim and Ramona had already harvested all they needed for themselves and local needs (Jim has delivered innumerable heads of cabbage to a local retirement home), and the first freeze had already come. In other words, what was left in the ground needed to go and go fast. 

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Shared Bounty Purple CauliflowerShared Bounty Purple CauliflowerWhen we got out of the car, we were immediately welcomed by Jim and Ramona's dog. We met another family who experienced the first year of Shared Bounty CSA with us, and then headed to the field. Jim handed out bags and knives and told us we were welcome to anything we wanted. He briefly told us what was located where, and turned us loose. My family and the other who came out, though, didn't just come to pick food. We came to spend time with the folks who fed us so well for the past 20 weeks. Ramona went off with the other family, and we sidled up to Jim. As we walked the rows, he talked with us: about the food (even asking what we'd like to eat next year), about the farm, about growing up on a farm, about the season's rains, about the first frost, about the animals they keep, about anything and everything.

October Challenge: Becoming a Localvore

In September, I pledged to be greener by going paperless. In an effort to kick my paper habit, I downloaded Android apps to manage my shopping lists and balance my checking account (and I used them), I stated a recycling bin for myself and my officemates, I gave a reusable coffee cup to my assistant so she could stop using new paper cups every day, I utilized the Google To-Do list portion of my calendar over sticky notes, and I started a marker board to-do list for my officemates to use. ... read more

Do It Gorgeously: A Book Review

Do It GorgeouslyDo It Gorgeously... read more

Sophie Uliano's Do It Gorgeously: How to Make Less Toxic, Less Expensive, and More Beautiful Products struck my eye at the library yesterday. I'm a sucker for books that claim they can help me green my home front, but most of them leave me disappointed. I've checked out far too many of these books and wasted far too many hours flipping through their chapters on using recycling bins and turning out the lights when I leave the room. I mean, my generation has been learning about recycling and conservation since elementary school. We don't need any more Love Your Earth 101 lessons, folks.

Green Company Profile: To-Go Ware

To-Go Ware

Why Its Keen:

Kelly Farkas of To-Go Ware introduces the company well:

"To-Go Ware provides reusable, non-plastic eating ware, including bamboo utensils, stainless steel food carriers and handcrafted accessories from communities abroad. Giving people some great options to reduce their forkprint while on-the-go. Our mission is to make available innovative products that provide a solution, tell a great story, and are enjoyable to use."


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Kick the Paper Habit, A Challenge for September

Too much paper?Too much paper?

While clicking through random postings to WordPress' green tag tonight I stumbled upon a brilliant idea by Shawn, a UCF student who has made the pledge to go paperless this semester--or as paperless as his circumstances will allow. As he points out, we have the technology now, so why wait for the world to catch up? I concur.

I'm going to make September as paperless as possible, and I challenge each of you to be keener and greener by doing the same.... read more

Be a Greener Reader

Since childhood, one of my favorite activities has always been reading, and a quick glance around my house proves it. I'll be the first to admit it: I'm a book junkie. I have at least one book I'm currently reading in each room of my house, and my Sunday afternoon library trip is one of my favorite times of the week. The problem, though, is books are not the most green of habits, especially if you purchase your own books and only read them once. However, there are plenty of ways to be a greener reader. ... read more

  • Utilize your public library system. can help you locate a library anywhere in the U.S. (including Presidential libraries) and also has a neat forum to give authors a chance to share their books with potential readers. 
  • Donate to and purchase from local book fairs. Most of the larger ones in your area will be well advertised in local news media, but you can also find one here, if you're in the U.S. or Canada. Note that, due to the enormous task of sorting all the books before a sale, most fairs stop taking donations about a month ahead of time, so check before you donate.
  • Use websites developed for book sharing. There are dozens of them out there, but my favorite is Used BooksUsed Books
  • Buy an ereader. The two most successful are the Amazon Kindle and the Barnes & Noble Nook. While ereaders are a hefty investment up front (find them used and save some money--I got mine from craigslist), they have the potential to save you a lot of money over time, since you can get newspaper and magazine subscriptions on them (cheaper and greener than the paper versions) as well as purchasing books at a considerable discount. And most of the classics are free via sites like Project Gutenberg. 
  • Download audiobooks. Personally, I like to actually READ a book, but I swear by audiobooks for car trips or the occasional workout.
  • Have a creative side? Get artsy with old books here. 

A Greener Lunch

I try to be as green as possible in my daily life. I compost. I recycle (even though we have to pay for curb-side service in my city). I buy a majority of my food at various farmers markets, and talked my family into joining a CSA this summer. I store my photos online (okay, that may be more laziness than a conscious choice). I buy all natural cleaning products and refuse to use chemicals on my lawn or in my gardens.

On point with this post, though, I have a resuable lunch bag that I bring to work (almost) daily. The thing about lunch bags, though--at least the size I like to carry--is that it doesn't hold much. There's plenty of room for the (reusable) plastic container holding my main course and my fork, but that's about it. If I want to pack some trail mix or some grapes, I usually find myself begrudgingly shoving them into a resealable bag because there's no room for another container. And, although I really want to use those bags more than once, I just end up throwing them away because I don't like mixing the flavor of yesterday's snack with today's.... read more

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