Tag Archives: recycling

8 Green Home Cleaning Tips

8 Ways To Go Green While Cleaning Your Home

Parents today have a lot on their minds to worry about. Paying the bills, putting food on the table, saving for their children’s college education and making sure everyone is happy and healthy are just a few. Many parents spend several hours every week cleaning the home, and some even go to the length of hiring someone else to come in and clean.

Keeping the house tidy is considered a parenting duty of the highest order in many homes, on par with keeping children healthy. But what about when cleaning the home uses toxic chemicals and other potentially hazardous materials? Or what about when cleaning the house just becomes wasteful, another way to add to the piles already sitting in landfills? There is good news for parents concerned with these issues. There are many ways to be green while cleaning your home.

8 Green Home Cleaning Tips

Reduce

If you cut down how much stuff your family uses, you will have less clutter in your home and fewer messes to clean up. So make it a point to be less wasteful by buying less of what you don’t really need. If you find yourself throwing away rotten vegetables, for example, buy less at the store.

Reuse

A lot of what we throw away can actually be reused. If you reuse half of what you can, you will be making a big difference. Instead of throwing something away, ask yourself what it can be used for. For example, does that cardboard box need to be tossed? Or can you save it to pack up other things?

Recycle

So maybe you don’t have another use for that cardboard box, and you don’t want to keep it around and wait for one to appear. That’s okay; just be sure that instead of throwing it away with the rest of your trash, you are recycling it. Sort out your recyclables from your trash, whether or not it’s the law.

Use fewer store-bought cleaning products

It can seem like Windex is the solution to all of your cleaning problems, but most of our favorite cleaners are loaded with toxic chemicals.

What can you use instead? Glad you asked. Try using a mix of water and vinegar on windows. It is good for the environment and keeps those toxic chemicals out of your home. Learn more about non-toxic cleaners.

Make a large donation

The more stuff you have, the more stuff you need to clean. Use the opportunity of greening your home to purge your belongings and those of your family. Donate anything that can be reused, including clothing and old furniture. Instead of letting these things sit unused in your closets and basement, you can put them to a charitable use. If for no other reason, the donation will be a tax write-off!

Teach your children to be green, too

Kids are responsible for 85 percent of the messes in their homes. They spill things; they spread things; they color where they aren’t supposed to. When you are cleaning up these messes, explain the measures you are taking to be green to your children.

Stop using throwaway cleaners

Do you use paper towels to clean up spills and other messes? Switch to reusable rags or dishtowels. You can wash them and use them over and over again. This will save you money and save those paper towels from landing in a trash heap.

Get plants

Plants make for great home décor, but they also clean the air because they naturally remove carbon dioxide from the air and replace it with oxygen. This is good for everyone!

Going green 2011

10 Ways To Go Green For Free In Your Home

“Going Green” is more than a term for saving our planet; it’s a lifestyle. Changing the way you perform everyday household activities can help you save money, energy and time.

You don’t have to leave home or spend money to turn your house green. The following simple activities take little to no effort to increase your home’s green power. You’ll feel better about yourself knowing you’re doing something to help the environment without spending any green.

open curtains 2011, Flickr d'n'c

1. Open Curtains

Leave your curtains open for as long as possible. Allow the daylight to brighten your home. According to Salt River Project’s Website (SRP), on average, lighting accounts for about eight to 10 percent of the energy bill. Turn off lights when you are not using them. The myth turning your lights on and off costs more is wrong. You save more energy turning them off than leaving them on.

drink tap water 2011, Flickr TheGiantVerm

2. Drink Tap Water

It’s no secret that water bottles load our landfills and take an average of 700 years before they decompose. Drinking tap water will not only cut down the price to dispose of plastic bottles, it will cut down the price to make them. According Refillnotlandfill.org, if everyone in New York were to use a reusable water bottle for one week, 24 million bottles would be saved. Switching to tap water will reduce waste and conserve resources.

clothes dryer 2011, Flickr Tracy O

3. Clean The Lint Screen In The Dryer

Taking the lint filter out of the dryer and cleaning the fuzzy fur only takes a few seconds, but can save you a pretty penny. The dryer filter collects fluff while drying clothes and most people forget to clean it. When the filter is dirty it takes longer to dry clothes causing the dryer to work harder and longer using more energy in the process. By cleaning the lint filter after you dry each load you reduce the risk of a higher electric bill, waste of resources and damaging your dryer.

compuer 2011, Flickr Si1 very

4. Turn Your Computer Off At The End Of The Day

Although there is an energy saver (sleep or standby) option on your computer that allows the screen to go black and conserve energy, the computer is still receiving electricity and, therefore, costing you money. A typical desktop computer can use between 65 to 250 watts, a laptop can use 15 to 60 watts and a monitor can use 15 to 70 watts. For example, leaving your 100-watt light bulb on all day for a month costs about $5, and that’s just one bulb. On average, $15.60 is the cost for leaving your computer on all month. Turn your computer off at the end of the day so it can rest, and you can save money.

plastic bags 2011, Flickr Swanksalot

5. Recycle Plastic Bags

After you come from the grocery store, don’t throw away those plastic bags, keep them in a drawer. When you need a small bag to go in your office, bathroom or bedroom trash bins, utilize those. Reusing plastic bags reduces the waste of plastic going in the recycling bins and later to the landfill. If you have no need for trash bags, get a plastic bag recycling bin and dispose of them properly. According to Plasticbagrecycling.org, in 2006 more than 812 million pounds of plastic film and bags were recycled, which is enough to manufacture nearly 1,500,000 composite lumber decks.

shower 2011, Flickr Spring Dew

6. Take Shorter Showers

Taking shorter showers save on wasted water and money. The typical shower time should be five minutes or less. Water is used at about 2.5 gallons per minute costing $2 per 1000 gallons, equaling .005 cents per minute.  That number may seem small but what’s important and worth knowing is how much water you will save. In one year, doing this simple task could save 4,500 gallons of water.

laundry 2011, Flickr mysza831

7. Line Dry Laundry

No, it isn’t the 70’s and almost everyone has an electric clothes dryer, but many people put clothes in the dryer that could be hung on a line. Jeans are a perfect example of something to line dry. They are weighty and take more energy to dry. Hanging heavy-duty clothes out to dry saves money, keeps clothes looking newer longer and cuts down drying time. Arizona is a dry state — take advantage of the heat.

paying bills 2011, Flickr bandita

8. Get Bills Online

The Internet has taken over in communication. Take advantage of that by receiving your bills online. You’ll save the company printing the bills money, and they will stop charging you a delivery fee — saving you money in return. When logging on to your accounts to pay your bills, choose the option that says “go paperless,” and they will start sending your bills to your email address. You will no longer receive a paper bill, and by doing this you will reduce paper waste.

junk mail 2011, Flickr Charles Williams' photostream

9. Stop Junk Mail

I can’t think of one person who doesn’t get annoyed by the junk mail filling their mailbox. Not only is it irritating, it packs our garbage bins faster than you may think. Credit card offers, catalogs, newsletters and fliers from places at which you don’t shop go from the mailbox to the trash bin. Stop receiving junk mail by visiting DMAConsumers.org (The Direct Marketing Association’s Mail Preference Service). It may take a few minutes, but you will stop getting wasteful mail.

tell friends 2011, Flickr Comedy nose

10. Tell Friends About Going Green

There is no chore in talking to our friends. Next time you’re on the phone with a friend tell them of money saving green tips to use for themselves. Word of mouth is the biggest advertising agent. Getting another person to improve their living habits to support the environment will benefit everyone around them, including you. Don’t forget to remind them to pass the news along.

Environmental Protection Agency

The Environmental Protection Agency Celebrates Its 40th Anniversary

On Dec. 2, 1970, the the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was founded. Since the inception of the agency, the world has changed. Today, the green movement is stronger than ever, and our focus on bettering the environment is unwavering.

The EPA has also grown with the changing times. You can view the agency’s history on an interactive timeline featured on its website. Some noted achievements include the increase of recycling by American families and businesses. In 1980, only about 10 percent of trash was recycled, increasing to more than 33 percent in 2008. The agency has also helped create high-wage jobs for more than 3,300 Americans and through the passage of the Clean Air Act, helped Americans live better, healthier lives.

It’s safe to say that the work of the EPA has been fundamental in the shaping our country’s policies and practices regarding the protection and conservation of the environment. Happy anniversary and here’s to many more years of success!

Green, but still feeling guilty about negatively impacting the environment

Taking The Blame: Sustainable Experts Feel The Guilt

Being green isn’t always easy. With the commercialization of practically everything nowadays, sometimes it’s simply easier to do things the “non-green” way.

And we’re not the only ones who succumb to this.

An article in the New York Times sheds light on this issue with a great piece titled “Green, but Still Feeling Guilty.”

In the story, several leading figures in the sustainability movement sheepishly admit that they, too, sometimes take the easy way out.

Disposable diapers are one example. Several of the individuals interviewed admitted to using them on their children. Despite their best efforts to act in a sustainable manner, often this is easier said than done, and there is no better example out there than babies and their diaper needs.

From having a pool, to owning two homes, the list of green “offenses” goes on. But the message remained the same: no one is perfect in the quest to lead a sustainable lifestyle. What matters most is that the good outweigh the bad. So you use diapers, no problem, but then you’ve got to minimize your impact in other ways and so forth.

In this day and age, it’d be difficult to lead a life that wouldn’t in some shape, way or form harm the environment. There’s no reason to feel guilty. There is a difference between wastefulness and necessity. Making smart choices in places that you can (i.e. recycling, limiting water use, etc) will hopefully make the kind of impact that will make Mother Earth happy with us for years to come.

Paper-To-Pencil Machine

Green News Roundup-Green Advertising, Products & More

Welcome back to our weekly green news roundup. This week we’ve decided to focus on introducing you to some green advertising campaigns and green products.

Please feel free to send along any interesting stories you’d like to see featured in the roundup by e-mailing kasia@azbigmedia.com

Also visit AZ Green Scene for informative articles on sustainability endeavors in the Valley and state. Read the latest article here.

G.E. Says, ‘Eco! Eco! Hello! Hello!’
General Electric has been revealing its innovative “ecomagination” ads since 2003. The newest ad campaign titled “Tag your green” is making its rounds through the viral landscape on Flickr, Howcast and YouTube. The goal is to encourage fresh ways of thinking about the environment.

DBA 98 Pen
While perusing the Web I came across two really exciting products that will make you look at office supplies in a whole different way.
The DBA 98 Pen is a 98 percent biodegradable pen, the only one in the world. The ink is made of simple, environmentally friendly ingredients and it was also produced in a wind-powered facility in the U.S. Talk about a green way to write!

Paper-To-Pencil Machine Repurposes Printed Pages
If your office looks anything like mine, there is always plenty of papers floating around. We do our best by recycling all our used paper, but this machine takes it to a whole new level! This concept was created by designers Chengzhu Ruan, Yuanyuan Liu, Xinwei Yuan & Chao Chen and it basically takes old paper and pops out whole pencils. The pencils core is fed in and then as the paper is put in the machine, it wraps around the core and is compressed. And voila! you’ve got yourself a pencil. Now will this make it to production? Who knows. But I think it’s a great tool. Even if the office doesn’t have much use for pencils, I’m positive local schools would be more than happy to accept them.

Image courtesy of: Yanko Design

Green Trash Can

Effective Ways To Go Green, High-Tech Trash Bins And More

Here’s some green bits from around the web. This week we’ve gathered stories about tattletale trashcans costing their owners big bucks, effective ways to go green that may surprise you, a possible “feed-in tariff” to encourage solar power growth in Arizona, test driving electric cars and others.

Feed-in Tariff to Aid Solar Weighed
Arizona officials are considering a “feed-in tariff” to encourage more solar power usage and to guarantee profits for solar developers. The tariff would require power companies to buy electricity from solar developers at prearranged prices, since they are required to get 15 percent of their power from renewable sources by 2015. Similar tariffs are in place in Germany, the world’s leader in solar power, and in many states and cities across the United States.

Most Americans Unsure of Most Effective Ways to Save Energy
Researchers have discovered through surprising survey results that most Americans have vast misconceptions regarding the best ways to save energy. In general, the public thinks that curtailing energy use, by turning off the lights, for example, is the most effective way to save energy. In reality, using more energy-efficient equipment, such as compact fluorescent light bulbs, can be just as, if not more, effective. There are a lot of surprising facts like that in this article and in the survey, found the results of which can be found here.

High-Tech Trash Bins Rat Out Residents Who Refuse to Recycle
Don’t recycle? Better start before your trashcan starts tattling and slaps you with a fee. In Cleveland, trash bins are being embedded with microchips that will prompt the collector to go through the bin if the recycling can isn’t brought to the curb regularly. If the bin is more than 10 percent recyclables, you get stuck with a $100 fee – all because your trashcan ratted you out. How embarrassing.

Study Finds 40% of U.S. Consumers Likely to Test Drive EVs
Despite the fact that most consumers have concerns preventing them from buying electric cars, a new study finds that at least 42 percent would be willing to consider and test drive an EV (electric vehicle). Concerns consumers face include the possibility of running out of battery power on the road and limited mileage, but the benefits, such as the positive environmental impact and potential cost savings, may soon outweigh the negatives.

Employees Losing Confidence in Companies’ Green Commitments
Americans’ confidence in their employers’ commitment to environmental responsibility has reached an all-time low, likely as a result of high unemployment and increased workflows. Meanwhile, local governments have inspired their highest level of confidence yet. These are based on the Green Confidence Index, a monthly online survey.

Grand Canyon

Solar-Power, Eco-Friendly Grand Canyon & More

With so much happening locally, this week we’ve gathered stories about Arizona’s green endeavors, including a solar-powered plane and the Grand Canyon’s eco-friendly practices, and why a massive lawn is part of the Postal Service’s goal to reduce its energy needs.

Please feel free to send along any interesting stories you’d like to see featured in the roundup by e-mailing Shelby Hill.

Also visit AZ Green Scene for informative articles on sustainability endeavors in the Valley and state. Read the latest article here.


Green Roof Gives Postal Service Energy Savings
In Midtown Manhattan one building is lucky enough to have a lawn, on its roof.  This 2.5-acre lawn isn’t for sunbathing; it is part of the United States Postal Service’s goal of reducing its energy 30 percent by 2015.  With the help of this immense lawn, the USPS is more than two-thirds of the way to meeting its goal.

Unmanned Solar Plane Flies for more than a Week
A solar-powered unmanned plane flew a total of 336 in Arizona and landed last Friday.  The previous record for longest flight of an unmanned solar-powered plane was 30 hours, which the 110-pound plane beat by more than 10 times.

The Grand Canyon Goes Green
As previously mentioned ecotourism is a new way to be green while on vacation.  Well, now one of the most famous and most visited vacation spots in Arizona, the Grand Canyon, is a little bit greener.  With solar panels powering a building and recycling bins scattered along trails, your family’s visit to the Grand Canyon just got more eco-friendly.

The Greenest Wedding So Far
We’ve written about green weddings before ,but all of the others pale in comparison to this greenest of the green weddings.  A couple from Maine is growing and raising (yes they’re raising their own chickens) all of the food to be served at their wedding.  Aren’t weddings stressful enough?

Feds Capture and Recycle CO2
The federal government, via the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, is putting $106 million into six projects that turn carbon dioxide (CO2) into beneficial products.  The products range from biofuel to cement

Walking to Work

Greenway Health Goes Green In July

Most people would think you were crazy if you walked to work in Arizona’s July heat.  But at Greenway Health, that shows a commitment to the company’s green efforts.

Some employees at Greenway Health are so committed to the July “Greenway Goes Green” month that they’re braving the scorching summer temperatures to bike and walk to work.

About five employees are using transportation other than a car, including bicycles and the bus, while other employees are carpooling to work.

These aren’t the only green choices Greenway Health employees are making. They are also bringing reusable water bottles to work, using desk lamps instead of overhead lighting, recycling and using “treeless” paper.  The company is offering incentives to employees who make eco-friendly lifestyle changes.

The company decided to go green to show “employees the benefits and ease of going green,” says Mike McKenzy, of Greenway Health, a direct marketing health and nutrition company.

McKenzy says the young staff, most of the employees are in their mid-20s to early 30s, wasn’t well versed in green solutions.  Company officials wanted to show the employees easy, cost-effective ways to help conserve and preserve.

But, they are “amazed by what little things, if adopted by large numbers of people, can do,” McKenzy says.

The feedback has been great and McKenzy hopes the employees won’t ditch their new habits once July is over.  He says the chances of the green efforts continuing year round are pretty good.  When the company initiates programs like this one, “it sticks,” he says.

Greenway Health’s employees set an example for everyone. Just a little change can make a difference.

Battling Urban Sprawl by Creating Parks

Green News Roundup – Recycling, Oil Spill, Climate Change & More

Welcome to our weekly green news roundup. This week we’ve gathered stories about stylish ways to recycle your paper, climate change regulation, urban sprawl and more.

Please feel free to send along any stories you’d like to see in the roundup by e-mailing me at kasia@azbigmedia.com. Also visit AZ Green Scene for informative articles on sustainability endeavors in the Valley and state.

Two-in-One Design
The talented folks over at Pigeontail Design have come up with a way to recycle all that junk mail and decorate your living room at the same time. How you may ask? Answer: The Papervore. This versatile piece of furniture doubles as a coffee table AND a paper shredder. Just crank it and be rid of all those pesky flyers. On that note, here are some quick links about recycling paper here in the Valley: phoenix.gov and www.recyclearizona.net.

Gulf oil spill figures may be double earlier estimates
Unfortunately the oil spill disaster isn’t getting better any time soon. According to government scientists, as many as 40,000 barrels of oil per day have been gushing into the gulf. And even more bad news, BP has said that the blown-out well won’t be plugged before August.

Preventing Urban Sprawl with Parks
Phoenix has mastered urban sprawl, however, what if we could conserve land by creating more parks? This blog suggests that urban sprawl could be reduced if cities simply provided citizens with more park space. Parks provide citizens with the same open, natural space that yards do, but parks do it in a more space-conscious way.

Senate Rejects Republican Effort to Thwart Carbon Limits
This article from The New York Times details how a Senate vote could effect potential climate change legislation in the future. On Thursday, June 10, the Senate rejected an attempted block on new EPA carbon emissions limits. The EPA released findings in 2009 that showed that carbon emissions were a threat to human health and the environment. Limiting carbon emissions is a contentious debate on both sides of the aisle.

Go Green, One Step at a Time

Go Green, One Step at a Time

Nobody ever said being “green” was easy, but it doesn’t have to be that hard either. Recently, I read a great blog by Liesa Goins in Newsweek titled “Easy Environmentalism: How to Go Green Without Going Overboard.”

In the entry, Goins gives her two cents on how to live a more sustainable life in a practical way. Sure, we’d all love to have a low carbon footprint but the only way to get there is one careful step at a time. And as for beating ourselves up for not being “green” enough? Goins suggests we’re better off not and instead focus on the positive things we’re already doing and continue to make small changes.

From finding eco-friendly vacation destinations to buying from companies that are making an effort toward sustainability, the author stresses that being green doesn’t have to be an enormous lifestyle change.

As for me, I agree with Goins that we shouldn’t overwhelm ourselves with becoming “green”. Helping our environment is an ongoing process that we can implement in small steps. Recycling, reusing, etc., all those little things count.

Check out the rest of her tips here

Arizona State University

Arizona State University Makes The Green Honor Roll

“Go Green” indeed! Arizona State University has been named one of the nation’s “greenest” universities by the Princeton Review. For the second year in a row, ASU has made the 2010 Green Rating Honor Roll rating of environmentally-friendly institutions. And we’re among some pretty elite neighbors: Harvard, Berkeley and Yale to name a few.

The Princeton Review began its Green Ratings last year with the help of ecoAmerica, a nonprofit environmental organization that participates in the project. The schools are measured on a scale of 60 to 99 and the schools that made the 2010 Green Rating Honor Roll (go ASU!) received the highest possible score of a 99.

“At Arizona State University, sustainability is a fundamental precept underlying its teaching, learning, research and business missions. ASU President Michael Crow is co-chair of the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment. The Tempe campus has the largest collection of energy-providing solar panels on a single U.S. university campus.
Established in 2007, ASU’s School of Sustainability, the first of its kind in the U.S., offers transdisciplinary degree programs that advance practical solutions to environmental, economic and social challenges. The school has over 60 faculty representing over 40 disciplines and offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs along with a professional certificate. ASU subsidizes bus and light rail passes for all students and employees and offers car-sharing and a carpool program with special parking privileges. A student-run bicycle co-op offers low- or no-cost bike repairs and free bike rentals.”— The Princeton Review

The Princeton Review names these areas as the criteria for the ratings:

  • Whether the school’s students have a campus quality of life that is healthy and sustainable.
  • How well the school is preparing its students for employment and citizenship in a world defined by environmental challenges.
  • The school’s overall commitment to environmental issues.  The institutional survey for the rating included ten questions on everything from energy use, recycling, food, buildings, and transportation to academic offerings (availability of environmental studies degrees and courses) and action plans and goals concerning greenhouse gas emission reductions.

And there’s more good news. The publisher of the Princeton Review said that this year there was a 30 percent increase in the number of colleges participating in the Green Rating survey. The Princeton Review has also dedicated a special resource area on its Web site for students that are serious about the environment and are interested in learning more about attending a green college.

As an alumni of ASU I couldn’t be prouder of this achievement. The School of Sustainability is already making a huge step forward and this accomplishment only adds to the school’s ongoing commitment to greener living. This also brings the issue of the environment to the forefront and grabs the attention of a younger audience that will hopefully be motivated to do something about it. Dedication to sustainability is no easy task, but such sizable schools as ASU can certainly make a positive impact on the movement.

Criteria for The Princeton Review Green Rating of Colleges


The Princeton Review tallied the Green Rating scores based on institutional data it obtained from the colleges during the 2008-2009 academic year in response to ten survey questions that asked:

1) The percentage of food expenditures that goes toward local, organic or otherwise environmentally preferable food.

2) Whether the school offers programs including free bus passes, universal access transit passes, bike sharing/renting, car sharing, carpool parking, vanpooling or guaranteed rides home to encourage alternatives to single-passenger automobile use for students.

3) Whether the school has a formal committee with participation from students that is devoted to advancing sustainability on campus.

4) Whether new buildings are required to be LEED (environmental certification of equipment/appliances) Silver certified or comparable.

5) The school’s overall waste diversion rate.

6) Whether the school has an environmental studies major, minor or concentration.

7) Whether the school has an “environmental literacy” requirement.

8) Whether the school has produced a publicly available greenhouse gas emissions inventory and adopted a climate action plan consistent with 80 percent greenhouse gas reductions by 2050 targets.

9) What percentage of the school’s energy consumption, including heading/cooling and electrical, is derived from renewable sources (this definition included “green tags” but not nuclear or large-scale hydropower).

10) Whether the school employs a dedicated full-time (or full-time equivalent) sustainability officer.

*Source: The Princeton Review

asunews.asu.edu
www.princetonreview.com/green-honor-roll
www.princetonreview.com/green/
www.ecoamerica.net