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A Greener Cup of Joe

While doing some holiday shopping last week, I noticed a mall kiosk selling those K-Cup coffee makers.  I first encountered the Keurig coffee makers at work about five years ago.  I don't drink coffee, but I never liked the tea it brewed.  It was never the right strength.  Aside from that, it dawned on me how wasteful those machines are.  The cups are not recyclable, so by the end of the workday, a lot of waste would accumulate.  

Even though I don't agree with the use of these machines, I can sort of understand why an office would want to have them.   But now I am seeing them appear in homes, where I really don't understand the point.   With the kiosk at the mall, they were obviously targeting holiday shoppers who would likely buy these coffee makers for friends and relatives.  What an ungreen way to make coffee!  The Carbon Diet website breaks down just how wasteful these machines are.   Yuck.

Now it's time to think about how to green your coffee.  ... read more

Recycle Your Toilet: Turn your Toilet into Tiles

toilet recyclingSo, it's time to remodel your bathroom, but what should you do with your old toilet? Over nintey percent of all old potties end up in landfills and will take hundreds of years to decompose.  Not yours - you will recycle your toilet!

Various companies are turning up which offer toilet recyling, such as Ecycleenenvironmental. However, many of these companies require bulk amounts of toilets and it's not quite clear where the porcelain ends up.... read more

Have a Holly Jolly & Green Holiday

The holiday season is here and it's easy to fall into the pattern of consumption and waste.  I just wanted to recap some of last year's green holiday posts:

  • Real or Fake Christmas Trees?  Real!  Artificial trees are bad for the environment, since they are usually made of PVC and can be difficult to dispose.  Christmas tree farms exist just to grow Christmas trees, so you're not depleting a forest.  Find one that you can replant in your yard.  If not, you can compost one or turn it into mulch.... read more

Reusable Feminine Products

OK, fellas.  We're going to be discussing reusable feminine products in this post.  If you're squeamish or otherwise disinterested, may I direct you to the following posts that may interest the average American male?

Alright, on that reinforcing-gender-stereotypes note, I've got the lowdown on reusable feminine products below.  

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Germy Reusable Shopping Bags

Lately, a lot of news articles have been coming out saying that reusable bags are filled with all sorts of icky bacteria.  

Fear not.  Mother Jones reports:  "But you have to look at what the likelihood of that is," says Craig Hedberg, a professor in the University of Minnesota's Division of Environmental Health Sciences. "Probably your meat is going to be in a container, not leaking." And the likelihood?  Hedberg says, "Theoretically this could happen, but it's not likely."... read more

They call it mellow yellow........

"When it's yellow, let it mellow.  When it's brown, flush it down."

You've heard that adage before.  But, how much water does it really save?

According to Waste Not Want Less, by not flushing when you pee:

...the "average" person could save about 10 gallons of water per day. Multiply that by 300 million people in the United States, and that's over 3 billion gallons of water saved each day. Over a year, that's over 1 trillion gallons of water.

So, it does save water.   Older toilets (ones built before 1982) use 5-7 gallons per flush.  (!!!)  Newer ones use 1.6 gallons per flush.  ... read more

Greenwashing and Green Labels

Last week, a report came out by TerraChoice, a North American environmental marketing company, stating that 95% of "green" products claim are misleading buyers.  The report stated that the amount of "green" products on the market today is 73% higher than just one year ago, which is good news, but 95% of them committed the Seven Sins of Greenwashing.  ... read more

Scott Toilet Paper Going Tube-Free

Cardboard toilet paper rolls.  It's not something I think about too much.  I guess it's sort of a nuisance when I run out of toilet paper in the upstairs bathroom and I need to remember to bring it downstairs to toss it in the recycling bin, but other than that, it's really never crossed my mind.

Then I saw that Scott toilet paper will be introducing a TUBE-FREE toilet paper through their Scott Naturals brand.  Then it dawned on me:  toilet paper tubes are not necessarily...necessary.  At all.  ... 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.

The Vertical Farm

I caught an interesting interview on The Diane Rehm Show on Boston's WGBH Radio yesterday.  The interview was with Dr. Dickson Despommier, author of The Vertical Farm: Feeding Ourselves and The World in the 21st Century and Bob Young, chief economist at the American Farm Bureau Federation.  

Dr. Despommier's book is coming out next week, and I can't wait to read it.  Last month I wrote about urban farming, and the concept of "vertical farming" takes urban farming to a much bigger and exciting level.  

Despommier's website says that by the year 2050, nearly 80% of the earth's population will reside in urban centers.  Meanwhile, much urban space is being underutilized and urban centers often don't have access to fresh, local food.  The solution?  Farm vertically.  Farm "up."  Build indoor farms on this land, such as tall greenhouses or using hydroponics.  Think of how green this is.  No shipping produce long distances, no tractors, and less water usage.  ... read more

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