The Holidays are upon us once again. As green-focused people, the Holidays can present somewhat of a challenge. You want to take part and celebrate with your friends and family, but you also want to make sure that you do not waste or increase your impact on the Earth too much. Some people choose to make their own gifts or buy only used items, which are both great ideas, if you have the time to do so. However, not all of us do.
Luckily, the number of eco friendly gift choices keeps expanding each year. So, if you do not have the time to make something yourself or spend hours hunting for the perfect used item in thrift or antique stores, you can still buy something and feel good that it does not harm the environment too much.
Here are our Green Gift Guide for 2012.
Read more on Green Gift Guide for 2012…
I was cleaning out our bathroom cabinets the other day, looking for materials to take to our local county special trash collection. While I was cleaning everything out, I came across our medicine box. I opened it up and found that about half of the over-the-counter medicine we had was expired. I threw it all into a box, figuring that I could take it to the special trash collection that was happening in a few days. However, after thinking about the types of trash that I had taken to previous special collections, I started to wonder if they would accept expired medicine or not, so I gave them a call.
It turned out that they do not accept medicine of any type, expired or not. I looked at my box of medicine and started wondering what I should do with it. So, I started researching how to properly dispose of medicine. Here is what I found out.
Like many people, we have cats. Despite the fact that their litter smells sometimes and that they throw-up hairballs on the carpet and shed all over our couches, we really do love them and try to do our best by them.
In truth, they are really my cats, as I am the one that takes care of them, gives them food and water and cleans out their litter boxes. The other day, I was cleaning out the litter and started to wonder what the litter was made of and if it was safe for them to use. I mean, every time I poured new litter into the litter pans, I would hold turn my head and hold my breath to keep from breathing the dust in. I knew litter was primarily made out of clay, but I did not know what else was in it or what kind of environmental impact it had.
I also wondered if there was a better way to deal with the dirty litter. My existing method was to scoop the dirty litter into a plastic bag and then throw that plastic bag in the trash, which is not green at all. But, as far as I knew, there was no other way to dispose of dirty cat litter.
So, I finished cleaning out the cat litter, filling up their food and water bowls and set out researching my questions. I soon found out that traditional clumping cat litter is not very good for cats, people or the environment and that there are much better options out there that also help with the problem of disposal of dirty cat litter.
Ah, summer. The time for cookouts, outside fun and, sometimes, unwanted visitors to your yard. One of these unwelcome visitors are ground bees (much like wasps, which we wrote about how to get rid of naturally a while ago).
I was out in the front yard a few weeks ago picking up some branches that came down after a rainstorm and our daughter came up and told me she had seen bees coming out of the ground. I was skeptical at first, as I had mowed the grass recently and done some other yard work and had not seen any bees. But, she took my hand and led me over to where she saw them. Lo and behold, there they were, small black and yellow bees flying out of the ground.
I wanted to get a better sense for the bees and their behavior, so I watched them a while. They were very small, only about an inch long. They were also not very aggressive towards me as I watched them, which made me think that they were not yellow jackets. However, I did not know for sure, and I had heard before that yellow jackets could nest in the ground and be docile at first and get very aggressive later in the summer. So, I started researching ground bees to determine what type they were and how I could get rid of them naturally if it made sense to.
By now, you most likely have heard about the Nissan LEAF, the first electric car produced by Nissan. I heard about the LEAF in 2010, but they were not available for purchase until 2011. Even then, they were still a rarity, as there was limited production of the cars and they were only sold direct from Nissan corporate and not their dealers. Even though I had been keeping my eyes out for them, I had yet to see one on the road either. So, when I found out that I could have the chance to test drive one recently, I jumped on it.
The test drive took place in Bethesda, MD. It was one of the Nissan LEAF test drive spots in their nationwide campaign to increase exposure of the LEAF and give people a chance to see it up close, drive it and ask questions on it to product specialists. It was quite a cool event and by the time I walked under the entrance tent, I was really psyched to drive the LEAF and learn more about it.
I have to admit, we love to travel. We love to see new places, do new things, stay in hotels or condos and enjoy local food and restaurants. However, travel can carry a pretty hefty carbon footprint with it. A car trip from Washington, DC to New York city, NY emits about a quarter ton of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. A round trip flight from Dallas, TX to Los Angeles, CA emits about 1 ton of carbon dioxide per person. And that is just the travel. If you include all of the disposable drink and food containers, as well as, all of the towels and sheets washed in the hotels you stay in, you can start to see how travel emissions can add up. Now, multiply that by the estimated 1 billion travelers that criss-cross the globe each year and you can see that travel has a huge impact on the environment.
So, whenever we travel, we try to reduce our carbon footprint as much as we can. Here are the top 5 things that we do to practice green travel and reduce our travel emissions. Read more on Green Travel – 5 Ways to Reduce Your Travel Emissions…
Memorial Day is here, which means the unofficial start to summer and the backyard cookout season. This weekend, millions of families across the U.S. will fire up their grills… and those who don’t will most likely be at someone’s house who does.
We will be one of those families that is firing up their grill this weekend. We love grilling out. It is a great way to enjoy the outdoors and spend quality time with friends and family. However, backyard bbq’s can be a disaster for the environment as well. Charcoal grills can belch tons of carbon into the atmosphere and disposable plates, cups and silverware fill up trash cans and end up in landfills.
Here are 5 ways to green your bbq and help reduce the impact it can have on the planet. Read more on Green BBQ – 5 Ways to Green Your Outdoor Celebrations…
Whether you know it or not, you probably have hazardous waste in your home. Most of us do. Many of the traditional cleaning products that we use in our homes contain chemicals that are considered hazardous. Also, many of the products that we use to take care of our home, yard, bicycles, cars, toys and other items contain chemicals that make them household hazardous waste. Whether we should even have this household hazardous waste in our homes is a question for another post. The question posed here is, if we decide that we don’t want a household hazardous waste product anymore or if the product is too old or unusable for some reason or the other, how do we dispose of it properly? Read more on Household Hazardous Waste…
Paint is great stuff. It is a cheap and is an easy way to add value to your home, especially now that there are so many different brands and types of no and low VOC paint available. However, what happens when you are done painting and have paint leftover that you do not want to save? How do you dispose of paint properly? Read more on Dispose of Paint Properly…
Many friends and family members ask me about the mercury contained in compact fluorescent bulbs and how to properly do broken CFL clean up. When I ask them what they have heard to do with a broken CFL, I get stories ranging from “just open a window and clean it up with a broom,” to “open all of the windows in my house, turn off the AC or heat, leave for 24 hours and call poison control.”
It is obvious that there is widespread confusion on the subject of cleaning up a broken CFL. Read more on Broken CFL Cleanup…