Posts Tagged recycling

The Great American Cleanup – Get Involved

 It’s never too late to improve your community’s environment. Keep America Beautiful’s annual event, The Great American Cleanup takes place between March 1 and May 31 in communities all across the United States. This is the nation’s largest community improvement project.

Established in 1953, Keep America Beautiful, Inc.’s mission is to “engage individuals to take greater responsibility for improving their community environments.”  This is done through their various programs such as The Great American Cleanup.  Each year, people work together to beautify their neighborhoods: picking up litter in parks and roadways, cleaning up beaches and other waterways, planting trees and flowers to restore public spaces, painting over graffiti, repairing local homes and businesses, and holding recycling drives and workshops.  The concept is two-fold—educate and participate.

The Keep America Beautiful, KAB, website makes it easy to get involved in a program near you.  KAB provides the tools  to locate or start your own community based beautification project; from how develop partnerships and corporate sponsors to curriculum for teachers to utilize in their classrooms. You can also visit the history of KAB and witness the beginnings of the green mentality long before it was fashionable.  Oh yes, I vividly remember the first public service announcements; one in particular with the single tear running down the Native American’s weathered cheek.  The message was, and still is, clear: pollution is disgraceful and we need to work together to save our planet.

Remember, it’s never too late to volunteer your time and effort for The Great American Cleanup.

And visit Earth Promise to make your promises to help clean up America!

 

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Water Bottles: Bad for Our Planet, Bad for Our Body

We’ve been flooded with information about the how’s and why’s single-use plastic water bottles are outright terrible for our planet and our bodies:

·         Fastest growing section of beverage department

·         (Many) end up in landfills

·         They are shipped either from overseas or just across our own country (burning fossil fuels and diesel fuels).  All this travel to simply get our fill of H2O; something that we have access to right nearby!

·         This, then, causes our gas prices to rise.  Creating and shipping plastic water bottles generates a demand for oil and thus depletes our oil reserves.

·         The estrogen (female sex hormone)-mimicking toxin is found in these deposable bottles.

 What should be done? Start by promising  to curb your bottled water purchases.  Also, make a promise to drink tap water when dining out when possible as opposed to bottled water.  Small changes like these, then, will halt the amount of estrogen-like pollutants entering your body. (At least via water bottles!) Below are some great scientific sites that provide detailed data regarding hormones found in plastic water bottles:

The report in The Globe and Mail reveals the consistent contamination of bottled water with a hormonally active substance leaching from PET, one of the world’s most popular packaging materials. The plastic is also used for soft-drink bottles and a host of other food and beverage containers and is identified by the recycling-industry symbol of the numeral “1” encased in a triangle.” 

Science News reports about a water bottle study done at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt.  Scientists conducted research on mud snails, animals highly responsive to female hormones.  Their results were astonishing: a production of up to twice as many embryos.  Be sure to read the article in its entirety.

All this news is outright frightening.  I thought #1 was one of the good plastics?!  How to remedy the situation?  Carry your own non-toxic plastic water bottle, but be wary of the bottle you choose.  Or, avoid plastic altogether and purchase glass bottles to refill and stainless steel ones to tote around.

Earth Promise has many eco-friendly living tips that make a big impact…for the Earth and your body.

 

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AVEDA’s Many Green Layers

I have been an avid Aveda junkie since my college days (early 1990’s). Walking the occasionally not-so-fragrant streets of Manhattan, I would often venture into Aveda’s oasis to get my fix: my olfactory fix.  Sampling the countless oils and lotions, I’d have a sensation of calm for my bustling walk home. 

While I was getting my hair cut last week in Boca Raton, I spoke to my stylist about all the great earth friendly endeavors Aveda participates in.  Little did I know, “In 1989, Aveda open(ed) its first free-standing Environmental Lifestyle Store on Madison Avenue in New York City. Aveda is first company to endorse and sign the CERES Principles (Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economies)—which encourages higher corporate standards of corporate environmental performance and disclosure.”  Wow!  I knew they used only natural products and denounced animal testing; but I had no idea the depth and breadth of their eco-commitments.

Packaging, recycling, renewable energy and being socially responsible are all part of Aveda’s conscientious eco-mission.  Aveda’s sleek packaging design is mindful of “minimizing packaging, maximizing the use of post-consumer recycled materials, using materials that can be and are recyclable, and by designing our packaging so that the individual parts can be separated for recycling.”  This brings me to the recycling. Many people don’t realize that when you toss your water bottle, or any bottle for that matter, into the recycling bin, the caps are supposed to come off.  This saves a crucial step for recyclers.  Unfortunately, many recycling plants will just throw the capped bottle in with the regular garbage, thus meeting the fate of the landfill.   These plastic toppers also litter our beaches and oceans.  With the help of the Aveda salons and stores along with local schools, Aveda collects and sends the donated caps to their recycler to be made into new products.  At Dorjon, an Aveda salon in Boca Raton, Florida  there is an eclectic collection of bottles caps where you can drop your used caps off. They will ship them off to be recycled into new products.  For more information concerning what types of caps Aveda collects, click here .

Aveda is also Green-e certified, which means “that the renewable energy (Aveda) purchases meets the strict environmental and consumer protection standards established by the non-profit Center for Resource Solutions.”  Aveda can proudly assert that they were the first beauty corporation to manufacture with 100% certified wind power.  So what does this mean, exactly?  It’s important to understand that electricity is one of the most significant contributors to carbon emissions.  Wind generated power, then, protects the environment by reducing greenhouse gasses.

The social campaigns Aveda takes part in are admirable.  Their annual month-long event, Earth Month begins in April.  Each year focuses on a different clean water project.  Aveda’s 2009 focus will be selling their exclusive Earth Month Candle where 100% of the proceeds will go to support Aveda’s earth month partner, Global Greengrants Fund, who provide grants for community-based water projects around the world.”  This year’s Earth Month event also celebrates Aveda’s 30th anniversary.  During the month of October, Aveda participates in a Breast Cancer Awareness.  A significant portion of Aveda’s grant-making supports projects for indigenous cultures and community groups. “Grants are offered to programs that create sustainable economic activity and support the protection of cultural traditions, environmental quality and community health.” 

For more information about the array of eco-responsibilities Aveda participates in, visit, the Aveda website.

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SCHOOLHOUSE ROCKs The Earth

“Now if we only had a superhero who could stand here and turn the generator real fast, then we wouldn’t need to burn so much fuel to make…electricity.” (Electricity, Electricity— SCHOOLHOUSE ROCK!)

 

OK, this may not be the most memorable of the SCHOOLHOUSE ROCK! tunes, but it was no doubt, catchy and forward thinking.  Just like Dr. Seuss with The Lorax (published in 1971), the creators of SCHOOLHOUSE ROCK! along with our beloved, Theodore Geisel, initiated eco-topics years ago.  It has not been until recently that the general public is taking notice. The music, lyrics and animation for this ultra-cool and timeless Saturday morning educational series, will always be remembered.   The creators cleverly instruct grammar, history, math, politics, and science in a magnetic way almost every 40 year-old American can recall. 

Just as they did with verbs, electricity and the solar system, SCHOOLHOUSE ROCK! has taken it upon themselves to approach the eco-friendly trend.  Indeed, perfect timing on the creators’ parts: wedged between Earth Hour and Earth Day, the original architects (Bob Dorough, music and lyrics and  Phil Kimmelman, animation) will reveal their talents once again on March 31with the release of SCHOOLHOUSE ROCK! EARTH . Thirteen songs will be used as a learning tool for old and new fans.   Some of the characters we grew up with (Interplant Janet and Mr. Morton) will make cameo appearances. Trash Can Band, Little Things We Do, Savin’ Water and The Rainforest are just some of the amusing, green topics that will infiltrate our minds.  SCHOOLHOUSE ROCK! EARTH will no doubt be a huge success as it is modern and in touch with the eco-generational change.

Get a sampling of some of the video shorts here Afterwards, have your kids join you to make some inspiring Earth Promises.

Friends at The Daily Kool  really talk up the Schoolhouse Rock! (Special 30th Anniversary Edition).  They, like me, are of the age that absorbed Conjunction Junction, Three is a Magic Number, and Interjections!   I secretly had a three-ringed notebook in my room where I’d quickly write all what my 5 year old brain could retain.  My Saturday morning comrades at The Daily Kool enthusiastically watch it with their children (as do I).  They recommend the Schoolhouse Rock! (Special 30th Anniversary Edition) not only because it is their “official birthday present for all of (their) children’s friends,” but because they, too believe ROCK! is a breath of fresh air compared to what our children are exposed to today.  So be sure to visit The Daily Kool to reminisce and be on the lookout March 31st for SCHOOLHOUSE ROCK EARTH!

 

 

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How Green Are Your Children?

Last week I recommended ecological books for children, green websites for both adults and children, and provided jumpstart ideas that you and your children can partake in to help care for the environment.  Children need to recognize the importance of making promises and changes to help protect the Earth to make it a safer place.  Knowing that no matter how small the action they take, their changes can make a difference is empowering. We need our children to protect and respect our environment for our future.

Are your children aware of what green activities are going on in their community?  Do they practice the three R’s: reduce, reuse and recycle?  Do they understand global warming and how it can affect them in the future?  Being conscious of children’s attitudes and behaviors concerning the environment is enlightening. My 9 year old daughter, Emily, wanted me to share the changes she has made and what she plans to do to help spread the word:

Some of the things that I do to help the Earth…

·         I try my best to not throw away paper or plastic and put them in the recycling bins.

·          I sometimes water the plants in my backyard to keep them healthy and keep the watering can outside so that rain can fill it instead of always using the hose. 

·         At school I tell people to recycle something instead of throwing it in the trashcan. My school’s aftercare program has the 4th and 5th graders help take out the recycling bins and they get little Earth prizes. For my school’s carnivals, I help make signs to remind everyone to recycle in the right bins.

·          I go to earthpromise.com and make my promises and try my best to do them.

·         I always tell my parents to get recycling bins for my room and my sister’s since we use a lot of paper when we do our homework or art projects.  For my homework I try to squeeze my sentences on one piece of paper so I don’t have to waste another one.  I also try to remember to turn my light and fan off when I leave my room.

·         A lot more people in the world suddenly realize how important it is to recycle.

Call to action – Ask your children their thoughts regarding promises they would like to make.  How can you and your children help change people’s habits?  Green children become green adults.

For ideas to initiate your green promises, check out what is listed on EarthPromise.com

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Teach Your Children Well

“Mommy, you’re wasting water!” my 5 year old informed me last night.  I honestly was waiting for the water to warm up to wash my face, but since my husband and I have drilled the “no running water” rule in our house, our kids act like the “green” police.  She was right; so off went the water.

As the saying goes: kids learn by action, so be a good role model. It is second nature for our daughters not to let the water run while brushing their teeth; they automatically reuse the backsides of paper; they know to turn their lights and fans off when leaving their rooms and they instinctively recycle.  They were astonished that Mimi and Poppy didn’t begin recycling until just recently.  When asked why, my parents were too embarrassed to let their grandchildren know that it was an inconvenience.  Guilt from the grandchildren works miracles!

It’s never too late to teach children the importance of helping our environment.  There are a myriad of ideas to get from books and websites that can help educate you and your children.  Over the next couple of days I’ll offer some suggestions and resources.

 Promises you can make with your children to jumpstart your green family:

·         Be sure to make the outdoors part of your day.  Have some sort of garden that your children can take part in caring for. If you show enthusiasm and respect for nature, your child will want to do the same

·         Plant a butterfly garden.  This is a great opportunity to go to the library to check out various books about butterflies and learn how they play a critical role in our environment.

·         Recycle.  Have separate bins so that they can help sort.  When we get stumped on a particular item, like styrofoam, we visit, http://earth911.com/ . You can also make it a learning experience and ask your local recycling plant if you can visit.

·         If their school doesn’t already recycle, start small by having the students recycle in the classrooms.  Eventually it can move into the cafeteria.

·         Buy organic foods when possible and explain why.  Foods grown in accordance with the National Organic Standards Act are done so without toxic pesticides, fertilizers, synthetic hormones, sewage sludge, GMO’s or irradiation.  This is not only good for the environment, but for your body.

·         Turn it off or unplug anything that uses electricity: fans, lights, computers, chargers etc.  Have this become a daily ritual.

·         Close the doors.  Kids (and parents, too) are notorious for standing in front of the open refrigerator.   Know what you are getting so that the refrigerator door doesn’t stand ajar too long.  This is the same for the oven as well, as it will use less energy to do its job.

 

 

Be sure to visit Earth Promise’s blog tomorrow for resources to help your family.

 

 

 

 

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How To Make Your Oscar Party Green

Are you hosting an Oscar party this weekend?  Let’s talk about shopping and how the small changes you make can make a big impact.  Be a motivated green shopper with these easy tips:

·         Be sure to make a list.  This will reduce the number of times you will need to go to the store; less trips means less use of gas (assuming you need a car to shop!)

·         Buy organic and/or local

·         To bring a cloth or canvas bag to the store. I always have a bunch in various sizes in my car and even carry a funky compact reisenthel bag in my purse.  This way, if I do forget to bring a bag, I’ll always have an extra. (If you are one who often forgets to bring your bags, many stores have “remember your bags!”stickers you can place on the inside of your car window.)

·         To decline the offer of a bag from a store if I am buying a small number of items.

·         To request paper bags at checkout instead of plastic if I do not have canvas bags with me.

·         Buy in bulk whether it’s dish detergent or food.  There is less packaging and many times, it is less expensive.

·         Use your everyday dishes and cloth napkins. Try not to use paper products.  If the thought overwhelms you, be sure, then, to purchase eco-friendly ones made from recycled products.

·         Print out Oscar voting ballots using the unused side of paper.

These effortless changes can greenify your Oscar party. 

If you haven’t already, join Earth Promise to make, and keep track of your personal promises

 

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