10 Great Resources for Living a Greener Lifestyle

Updated:

10 Great Resources for Living a Greener Lifestyle

Green is more than just a color these days.

It is also the term for living a greener lifestyle that is more friendly to the environment around us.

Other than feeling good about doing something to help save the planet, there are additional reasons to consider incorporating at least some green lifestyle options into your everyday routine.

As the economy remains unsteady, it is comforting to know that some green efforts just might put a little more green back in your wallet.

Add to that noticeable health benefits associated with some lifestyle adjustments and it’s really hard to argue against making some effort to go green and live a Greener Lifestyle

Use Green Transportation

Let’s start with the way you get around. Consider forming or joining a carpool instead of driving to work yourself.

Another option is to ride your bike to work, or walk if work is close enough.

Many cities have bike trails open to the public.

Even commuting with a neighbor or co-worker can make your life a little greener, not to mention cut down on travel expenses such as gas and parking fees.

Another option is public transportation.

According to one estimate, taking public transportation instead of driving can save you about $70 a month.

Some employers even offer incentives for workers who opt for public transportation.

Walking or biking are the greenest options.

When that is not a realistic option, joining with fellow commuters in a carpool or on public transportation is the next best thing.

Reusable Cups, Containers and Bottles

One of the easiest changes you can make when shifting to a green lifestyle is the containers, bottles and cups you use everyday.

It may be cliche, but you really are saving a tree or two when you bring a mug, bottle or coffee cup to work instead of using a paper cup.

Many coffee shops will offer you a small discount just for bring your own reusable coffee mug with you.

Instead of buying a plastic bottle of water, use a reusable bottle to get water from the water cooler at work or the tap.

You can extend this to include the containers you use to store your food or even the way you bring your lunch to school or work.

Reusable containers may be a little bit more expensive at first, but you will save money – and a few trees – in the long run.

Use some reusable shopping bags when you shop for groceries and other items and you’ll be even greener.

Use Energy-Efficient Appliances

Appliances need to be replaced at some point anyway, so this isn’t really much of an adjustment.

Selecting energy-efficient appliances cuts down on the amount of energy required to run those appliances.

This has a ripple effect and puts less of a burden on the resources needed to produce the energy we use.

Fuel efficient appliances extend to everything from washers, dryers, stoves and refrigerators to coffee makers, television sets, air conditioners and computers. You use appliances at home and work. You don’t have any control over how fuel-efficient the appliances at work are – although, since energy efficient translates to savings, it shouldn’t be that hard to persuade your employer to make the switch – but you can control what you have and use in your home.

Buy ‘Green’ Clothes

Green clothes today are more than just hemp hats and scratchy materials. Many top fashion designers are making clothing with conscience, as some designers have called it. You don’t have to buy high-end clothing to go green either. All you really need to do is look at the label. Green clothing can include clothing that is made of durable fabric so that it lasts longer or clothing made with organic materials.

Even if you just buy clothing that is more durable, you will be making a green effort since you’ll get more use out of them. If you want to extend the green effort, donate your used clothing items.

Quit Smoking

Cigarettes spew more than 4,000 toxins into the environment. Quitting smoking is, according to the American Cancer Association, the best thing you can do for your health and the environment. (Smoking is Bad)Until you are completely off cigarettes, you can switch to the green alternative – an electronic cigarette.

The device looks like a cigarette, but only contains four ingredients. None of them are harmful to the environment. Giving up smoking also means fewer health issues and a little more green in your wallet.

Turn Things Off

Simply turning off lights and appliances you aren’t using can do wonders for the planet. You should go a step further and unplug appliances you aren’t using. Even when off and plugged in, appliances can emit phantom energy. Turning things off and unplugging stuff cuts down on CO2 emissions and saves a little green on your electric bill.

As long as you are it, replace traditional light bulbs with energy-efficient light bulbs – those funny looking ones – and switch to appliances that use alternative energy sources such as solar energy. You can even buy solar powered appliances such as coffee makers and mixers.

Recycle

A great way to make your life a little greener is to recycle. These days, you can recycle more than just aluminum cans. Everything from clothing to appliances can be recycled. In the age of digital media, odds are you have CDs and DVDs lying around that you no longer use.

Some used music stores or electronic stores will buy these and either resell them or properly dispose of them. Even old cell phones, monitors and computers can be recycled. Cell phones can be electronically cleaned and resold or donated for use by the elderly and disabled.

Buy Organic

Organic items can be found just about everywhere these days. Even your local supermarket is likely to have an organic section. Organic just means naturally grown. In the summer, a great way to go organic is to look for farmer’s markets.

Most of the produce available at farmer’s markets is locally grown, meaning little or no processing was involved.

Organic items include more than just fruits and vegetables. You can find organic meats and cheeses and similar items right along side the traditional versions of these items at most grocery stores. Organic clothing is clothing made without natural dyes or materials cultivated without the use of chemicals.

Buy Recycled Items

If you are going to recycle, you should make an effort to buy recycled items as well. Most recycled items will either say that they are made from recycled materials or have the recycle symbol somewhere on the product or label.

Most of the time, you cannot even tell that an item was made from recycled or partially recycled materials. The manufacturing process usually eliminates any signs of previous use. When you buy recycled items, you can actually see the results of your recycling efforts firsthand.

Buy a Hybrid Car

Electric cars aren’t really a practical purchase just yet, especially with the lack of sufficient recharging stations. As gas prices climb, gas-only cars are quickly eating up the month budget. The logical solution is to go with a hybrid car. At one time, a hybrid car wasn’t very practical either – but, times and technology have changed.

Hybrid versions of the Cadillac Escalade, Porsche Cayenne, Mercury Milan, Lincoln MKZ and Nissan Altima all boast an excellent fuel economy and impressive performance stats. On top of that, they use about half the gasoline of a traditional car. This reduces emissions and increases fuel efficiency. All good green qualities.

This is just the tip of the green iceberg. There are other little things that can be done to enjoy a greener lifestyle. It doesn’t have to be a shock to your system. Making subtle changes here and there can still make a difference. If others see that you are saving money and enjoying the health benefits of a greener lifestyle, they might follow your lead. There is something to be said for leading by example.

Green Living, Green Wallet ~ Easy Ways to Living a Greener Lifestyle
Green Living, Green Wallet ~ Easy Ways to Live Green

Green Living, Green Wallet ~ Easy Ways to Live Green

We live in a world that is driven by excessive consumer spending and excessive consumer waste. We often buy things we cannot really afford, and in many cases these are things we don’t really need. Everything has a carbon footprint associated with it.

These things we are buying have an impact on the planet. More than that, often we are buying things that detract from our health and longevity, too. It’s important to explore green living. There are easy ways to achieve this; you may be doing some already.

It can be truly eye-opening to consider, for example, how much waste is associated with grabbing a burger meal at a drive-thru window. There is little nutritional value in fast food meals.

The footprint associated with the waste of each individually wrapped item, and the process of making that food in a plant somewhere, shipping it to the restaurant, and preparing it for you is considerable.

It would be healthier, more affordable and far more eco-friendly to eat at home. This is, of course, just one decision that many of us make each day without really giving thought to it. The fact is that green living is not just healthier for you and for the planet, but it is also more affordable, too.

A Plant-Based Life

You may have heard other people state that nature provides us with everything we need to live, but you may not have given much thought to it. Consider some of these points:

Prescriptions and OTC medicines:

Herbal medicines have been used for centuries to treat everything from hair loss to migraines. In general, they provide effects equally as strong as expensive prescription and over-the-counter medications, with far fewer side effects in many cases. Often, you can cure common colds and other ailments without having to turn to the doctor and use your health insurance.

Processed clothes:

Manufacturers today make clothing with petroleum-based materials. These include polyester, nylon, and acrylic fabrics. These are processed clothes that are more likely to irritate the skin.

The manufacturing process involves drilling for oil, refining the petroleum, and then using that product in the creation of the material before the actual clothes-making process begins. Cotton and hemp clothing are generally a more affordable option, are less likely to irritate the skin, and are an organic material.

Processed foods:

Many people today consume a diet of processed foods filled with refined sugars and excessive fats. These foods in general offer far less nutritional value than all natural, organic foods. When consumed regularly, processed foods can lead to a person gaining excessive weight.

This can contribute to a variety of healthy issues over time like diabetes, heart disease, and more. All-natural foods, when purchased in season, are not just healthier for you but may be more affordable as well. Living a healthier lifestyle and keeping your weight down may help you to qualify for inexpensive health plans and low cost life insurance, too.

Green Living in Today’s Economy

When you hear the term “green living,” you may think about living an eco-friendly, environmentally conscious lifestyle. You may not realize that green living might be more affordable for you. However, the recent economic downturn has certainly inspired many people to make some changes in their personal spending. Quite a few of these changes are eco-friendly:

  • Canceling cable TV and reading a used book or books from the library
  • Weatherproofing your home to save on energy costs
  • Planting a garden
  • Eating healthy meals at home rather than going out to eat

These are simple ways to live a greener lifestyle and save money too. By making an effort to live a more environmentally responsible lifestyle, you are choosing to live a life that is healthier for you and the planet. Many of these lifestyle changes are also far easier on your wallet,too.

Great Practical Ways to Go Green

Most people know what going green means.

However, few know the practical steps that can be taken to achieve this lofty ideal.

This piece takes a look at some of the best ways to go green.

Most of the methods covered here are relatively cheap to implement, ensuring that you can start making a positive impact on the environment right away without feeling the pinch.

Great Practical Ways to Go Green

Embrace local organic food

Choices about the food we eat are ingrained into our habitual routines, so it is often difficult to make changes to where our food comes from.

However, a good way to go green is to make sure you don’t eat food that has traveled more than 1,500 miles to get to you.

Most of this faraway food is unhealthy anyway, and by making your personal stand you will be doing your bit to discourage long distance food industries.

Cancel the unwanted mail subscriptions

If you look through what comes through your mail box you will find subscriptions that are either unsolicited or no longer useful. Cancel them right away. This will ensure the companies delivering this mail will have one less recipient.

Assuming you receive 5 of these weekly from different sources, cancelling them means you have saved the needless publication and delivery of 260 items to your home alone! If you already have a pile of such mail consider recycling.

Embrace green transportation

Embracing green transportation means getting a bicycle, walking, and taking a bus more frequently. It also means ensuring that you drive more slowly, on fully inflated car tires when you need to use the car. Similarly, combine your trips where possible and take the train for longer journeys.

When buying a car purchase a hybrid or electric vehicle, or at least a car with high mpg.

You should probably steer clear of diesel Volkswagens for now.

This article takes an indepth look at green ways to commute.

Embrace reusable water bottles

The bottled water industry may appear a luxury you can’t live without.

Did you know though that most of the bottled water companies use municipal water sources, so there is nothing very special about them.

Billions of plastic water bottles are sold annually and less than 20% of the bottles are recycled!

The world spends $100 billion annually on bottled water alone. This is a shocking statistic, especially when you consider the fact that water is free! Think about what you are drinking from.

Cut down on solid waste

Living a green lifestyle is impossible if you can’t cut down on the amount of waste you bring into your home, and the amount of waste that you subsequently send to the landfill sites from your home and office. Cutting down on waste is tricky. It means changing our buying habits, and the way we handle rubbish.

Cut down on water usage

Help your children understand how to be eco-friendly
Help your children understand how to be eco-friendly

If your home is anything like the average home you can cut down your water usage by at least a third.

We waste water in a variety of ways, including boiling excess water for our cups of tea, using more water than necessary to brush our teeth and bathe, and using the washing machine with half loads.

The misuse of water across the globe and the effects of pollution mean our fresh water supplies are diminishing at an alarming rate.

Turn your tap off when brushing your teeth, draw shallower baths, and generally be conscious of the water you use.

Help your children understand how to be eco-friendly

Your efforts to go green will be helped greatly if you have children that properly understand the concept of eco-friendliness. Help them to understand why you take certain actions and why they should mirror your behaviour.

Make the process interactive and fun or they can quickly lose interest.  The Jackpotjane goes green program shows 5 easy, fun lessons on recycling. Use tools like this to help them understand. Children are the future after all.

Cut down on your energy use

As the years roll by, fossil fuel energy is getting harder and costlier to produce.  It also contributes up to 21.3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere each year making it largely responsible for the greenhouse effect and global warming.  Saving as much energy as possible ensures you are doing your part to cut down on CO2, whilst saving money in the process.

Depending on your current usage levels, conserving energy may cut your energy bills in half. Turn the lights off. Air dry your clothes when possible. Buy eco-friendly devices and appliances. Turn the heating down a degree or two.

Become a green ambassador

Your efforts to make the world a greener place can only go so far if you don’t educate others about the benefits of going green. Find ways to bring the topic into conversations without being overbearing about it, and use your habit changes as examples.  You need to be able to provide a listening ear to people that buy into your message and start looking for ways to go green.

If you build on these core areas you can begin to go green immediately, and help contribute to a healthier, more sustainable environment.

Eco-friendly Can Also be Economically Friendly

With electric bills and other utilities soaring, consumers and homeowners are looking for ways to reduce living expenses while still being able to maintain their current standard of living. Many are turning to eco-friendly means to make these desires a reality.

Whether it’s through alternative energy, technologies that help reduce energy consumption, or even eco-friendly ways to reduce waste, being eco-friendly can be financially beneficial.

While most think wind and solar are the only ways to reduce electric bills and overall expenses, that isn’t necessarily true. These technologies are certainly beneficial and can significantly reduce monthly bills, but they can also require a fairly large investment depending on the type of system being installed.

Luckily, many states are now offering incentives and tax breaks for individuals and companies that invest in renewable energy. For large homes and businesses, these solutions can provide a huge financial break. Excess energy produced can even be sold back to power plants, helping investors in this technology realize a return on investment.

However, for smaller homes and those looking to lower their energy costs but not necessarily produce their own energy, there are other ways to be eco-friendly while also benefiting economically.

Energy monitors are extremely useful because they help to monitor when and how much energy is consumed during the day. Individuals can then make better decisions as to when energy consumption can most easily be reduced.

Creating this compilation of energy consumption statistics better helps home and business owners to realize how much energy is being wasted, as well as areas and times when it can be drastically reduced. This method doesn’t require the production of energy but can still save a significant amount of money on monthly bills.

Solar thermal energy is a fantastic way to heat water in an ecofriendly manner. Hot water tanks can cost a lot of money to heat each day, but solar thermal energy uses the suns radiation to create heat. This heat is then captured and transferred to liquid and heats the water in the hot water tank. While many are reserved about this type of solution because they believe that solar energy only functions under optimum conditions, recent technological innovations have led to systems that can now function during cloudy weather.

There are also minor things that can be done that can significantly reduce energy consumption and cut down on waste. Turning off the faucet while brushing teeth, using reusable rags instead of paper towels, air drying clothes instead of using the dryer, using the dishwasher rather than washing dishes by hand, taking shorter showers, and reusing containers, such as those from sour cream, instead of purchasing new tupperware are just a few ways to save money  and help the environment.

In recent years, eco-friendly ways of life have become increasingly popular, but there are still particular stigmas that go along with these types of decisions. But, living in this way doesn’t necessarily mean changes in normal, everyday life. Often times, simply taking the time to look at daily activities is enough to realize the ways in which these activities can be done in a more efficient manner.

How Lawnmowers Can Be More Environmentally-Friendly

Lawnmowers are not traditionally thought of as being environmentally-friendly tools. Like any car, van or motor boat, petrol lawnmowers run on gasoline, which contributes to carbon dioxide emissions in the atmosphere, and ultimately impacts on global warming.

As our understanding of climate change continues to develop, the link between CO2 emissions and global warming is undeniable, and people now from all walks of life are choosing to find ways of living their lives in a more environmentally friendly way.

How Lawnmowers Can Be More Environmentally-Friendly
How Lawnmowers Can Be More Environmentally-Friendly

It might seem like a subtle area of home life, but anyone who is serious about their personal impact on the environment should consider alternative ways of cutting their grass than using petrol-fueled mowers.

While petrol lawnmowers are by far the most effective, most efficient way to cut your lawn back to size, there are plenty of alternatives that can prove useful for those cutting down on their carbon footprint.

While it seems hard to think of now, given the widespread reliance on petrol lawnmowers, there was a time when petrol models didn’t exist and so there was no need for lawnmower-based services from places like Small Engine Plus power equipment repair. In their place, people used to cut grass with hand-propelled mowers.

These mowers had no power source other than human energy, and while they can prove effective it is often much harder physical work. Today, push mowers still exist, and can be used in place of petrol mowers as a more environmentally sound solution.

Because push mowers have no fuel source other than your own effort, there is no carbon footprint associated with their use. They even come with the extra bonus of delivering a workout, free of charge, to whoever chooses to mow the lawn!

For those who do not quite have the interest to opt for a push mower, electric lawnmowers are also available. These tend to be at the lower cost end of the market, but there are also more advanced models that can be bought and used if desired.

Electric lawnmowers are powered by plugging in at home. This often means you need extension cables for larger areas of grass, and while this can enable roaming, you feel more directly restricted and limited versus a petrol mower.

how-lawnmowers-can-be-more-environmentally-friendlyFor better roaming capabilities, there are also battery-powered lawnmowers that can do an effective job. These charge up through a cabled connection like electric mowers, but can then be used freely without being cabled to a power point.

Both battery-powered and electric mowers still require some amount of energy to be used or charged, and in this sense they still present a drain on the environment. Nevertheless, this impact is less severe than with petrol mowers, which more directly impact on the environment as you use them.

Lawnmowers can be environmentally sensitive, and there is a growing trend among gardeners and homeowners to think more carefully about their personal environmental impact.

While the push mower might not be the best solution for everyone, both battery and electric-powered lawnmowers can provide a cleaner route to keeping your lawn tidy – without jeopardizing the environment for now and for future generations.

Going Green Technologies In Childbirth

We all know that efforts to going green can go a long way in helping our environment. We have found ways to be environmentally conscious in our work life, our personal lives, with our eating, and with our modes of transportation.

Going green technologies is seeping into every aspect of our lives. Pregnancy and childbirth are also not immune to the green lifestyle changes people across the globe are making.

If you are expecting a new bundle of pink or blue, consider using these green technologies to contribute to the well-being of our earth, and you and your baby.

Going Green with Children

Going Green Technology in Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding itself is green. It cuts down on the number of cows needed to produce milk for formula, which cuts down on methane in the environment. It also decreases waste from packaging formula, and energy needed to transport formula. Breastfeeding is sustainable and naturally renewable. However, there are aspects of breastfeeding that are not so eco-friendly.

Many moms need to use a breast pump for one reason or another. The majority of these breast pumps are not to be used for multiple mothers, as bacteria, viruses, and fungus can be passed through a used pump.

However, one company, Hygeia created pumps that can be safely passed on from mother to mother. This decreases the amount of waste in the form of breast pumps in our landfills, not to mention saves moms some green by allowing them to borrow or buy used pumps.

In addition to this, many moms are now choosing to use cloth nursing pads in place of disposable nursing pads. These pads have come a long way, thanks to technology. They are now made with hemp and other more environmentally friendly materials that help wick away moisture from the skin.

Clean Water for a Green and Healthy Pregnancy

Water is extremely important during pregnancy. During this time period the body needs more water to keep up with all of its changes and to have healthy blood cells.

Water during pregnancy can decrease edema, headaches, nausea, preterm labor and dizziness. It is recommended that pregnant women consume at least three liters of water per day, more if they participate in heavy exercise.

However, water can be a contaminant. Most municipal water supplies are safe, but they are not tested at the home tap. It is recommended that pregnant women install a water filter, such as the Ukf8001 filter, in order to decrease the amounts of lead and other toxic metals they could be exposed to, and in turn, expose their fetus too. Filtration systems for water is not a newer technology, but it is an important one, especially when it comes to having a green pregnancy.

Going Green Online: Buying Used Baby and Maternity Items

The internet has allowed us the freedom to connect with people all over the world, and people in our own communities for many different purposes. Pregnant moms can use the technology of the internet to connect with others for the purposes of buying maternity clothes and baby items.

Websites such as Freecycle.org, Craigslist.org and even Facebook allow users to advertise, search, and buy gentle used maternity clothes and baby gear. This means less waste in our landfills, less waste from producing such items and materials, and money saved for new moms and dads.

Pregnancy is a time to focus on yourself and to make positive changes. With the help of many different technologies, it has never been easier or more affordable to have a green pregnancy and childbirth. These positive changes not only lead to a better and healthier planet, a better and healthier you, but also a better and healthier baby.

Three Easy Ways to Go Green and Save Money in Your Home
Sunny Scenes of Green: How to Take an Eco-Friendly Holiday
6 Ways to Go Green and Save Energy cut your energy consumption
What does Going Green mean?

Educating The Elderly About Sustainability

Sustainability should be something that is on everyone’s mind, no matter how old we are, how many offspring we have for the future or how much time we have left with the Earth. If sustainability issues, commonly called green initiatives, are not addressed, there will be nothing left for anyone’s future. The issues need to be addressed by everyone if we, as a society, will be able to turn around global warming.

Green education for the elderly should be kept to a smaller scale. Elderly people are not going to add solar or wind to their homes because they may not keep their homes long enough to see the profits. They are not going to participate in forcing big companies to go green because those campaigns sometimes require years of hard work. The elderly population needs tasks that are simple and provide shorter-term solutions.

One of the biggest avenues for educating the elderly about sustainability is recycling. If everyone recycled their trash, we could save millions of pounds of trash filling the landfills every year. The elderly can recycle plastics, glass and other materials. It is a solution that they can participate in right now, and it is a solution that provides short term benefits that the elderly can witness firsthand.

How do we reach out to the elderly, however? How do you properly educate them on the realities of recycling? We want to make sure to reach as many people as possible, and we want to make sure their efforts are tangible. We can begin in assisted living centers and in local neighborhoods.

Assisted living centers should be holding classes for all interested residents concerning sustainability and what the residents can do to be sustainable today. These classes would cover recycling. Local communities need to reach out into the elderly population by holding events at local clubs, such as the Elks Club, the library or the town center. When these events are created to be open to the public, the elderly are very likely to join.

The courses taught at such centers or facilities should review what the elderly can recycle, how it can be recycled and why it should matter to them. Those who have offspring are reached most easily; of course they want to provide a place for their loved ones when they are gone.

These courses need to be very clear as to why anyone should bother with recycling if they hope to get elderly folks in the habit. Instructors of these courses should be knowledgeable about the habits and abilities of the elderly, and should be holders of certain certifications or degrees, such as a masters in aging.

Manufacturers also need to step up and help educate the elderly on sustainability. They can do this by making it far more evident when their product is made from recycled materials. The wording needs to be bigger so the elderly can see that their recycling efforts are paying off.

The recycling facilities can also work with manufacturers who provide products for the elderly then figure out how to use recycled products to serve the elderly. This would give people something tangible to witness in return for their recycling efforts.

The elderly are very intelligent but are used to moving through their day in a set routine. It may take extra effort for them to rinse out a juice bottle and set it aside for recycling, so it is important to show them why they should recycle and what happens when they do recycle.

The future elderly may already be in the habit of recycling, but if we all work together, we could create a society of present day elderly people who are also in the habit. Sustainability needs to be taught and practiced by everyone if it is to be successful.

Best Mobile Apps to Find Green Solutions

Green Solutions: Since there is a mobile app for just about everything under the sun, and since “going green” is all the rage these days, surely there must be a large area in which the two overlap. And there is — a range of apps for those who like to go green is now available; of those described below, all are for the iPhone, and all are free, unless otherwise noted.

greenMeter

We start our presentation of apps with one for your car. The refuse from the exhaust pipes goes into the air, where it can be toxic to breathe. The iPhone is equipped with an accelerometer that measures the forward acceleration of the vehicle. It then sends this information to greenMeter, which uses it to deduce information about the car’s power use and fuel economy.

The user can enter additional information, including the average level of fuel consumption for the area in which he or she lives, the weight of the car and the ambient weather conditions, which can be useful in calculating drag — and the app will determine the impact such a vehicle is likely to have on the environment. greenMeter can even let the driver know if his driving habits are environmentally friendly. It costs $5.99.

BreadCrumbz

The second app, on the other hand, is ideal for when you take a walk in the park. Using the camera and the GPS receiver in the iPhone, you can create a map of your location, and even share it with other users. The photos you take can be incorporated into the maps, thus keeping you from getting lost. And unlike those that Hansel strew along the path to mark the way home — which were eaten by birds — these BreadCrumbz will always be there.

Ecorio

Ecorio can help you track your “carbon footprint” by keeping track of where you go. It can even plan your trip to make as “environmentally friendly” as possible, compare your carbon footprint to the national average, tell you how you can change your trip and even purchase “carbon offsets” from your smartphone in support of green initiatives.

Rippl

Rippl is from Ocean Conservancy and gives you free green tips each week, each coming with a customizable alert so that you can not only live greener, but also save money. It will, for instance, remind you to grab your bags before leaving the house, bring your own mug when you go to your local coffee house so that you can get a discount and other things. You can also use Rippl to make green goals and track your progress and share your findings with others.

A Real Tree

A Real Tree, designed to fight deforestation, was developed by people who have worked with organizations that work to replenish forests in Haiti, Honduras, India and Nicaragua — one of these organizations plants a tree each time the app is purchased for 99¢.

Real Tree is still only in its initial stages of development — its designers intend to add other features as time goes on, but right now the user can make different things happen by adjusting the “gestures” of trees, such as making birds fly or flowers drift with the breeze.

Safe Sushi

Environmentally unfriendly habits can affect the food that we eat every day, a fact that is testified to by the amount of pesticide in our dishes. The Japanese food known as sushi is made wish various types of fish, many of which have dangerously high levels of mercury.

With the Safe Sushi app, you can keep track of which kinds of fish have the highest mercury levels. You can also use it to learn what kinds are available in your area — the best kinds of sushi are usually the ones made locally.

Nature Near You

This is one of many apps available from the Nature Conservancy. It provides photographs of nature where you live and gives news on environmental developments, both of which you can share with your social networks. Plus you can download photographs as wallpaper.

green roof
View of the green roof from the balcony of the Hawthorne Eco-Hostel (picture courtesy of Erik Assadourian)

Bikes, E-Waste, Petlessness, Reflections from Portland

This past week I had the opportunity to share the Transforming Cultures (blog by Worldwatch Institute) message in Portland and it was refreshing to see so many efforts to grow a sustainable culture wafting out of the Rose City. Though there were some scary trends oozing out from there as well. But let’s start with the positive: Bike sharing Creating Better Places

Biking

Living in DC for 11 years I have seen many cyclists hit by drivers distracted by their cell phones or simply because the motorists assume they have the right of way. So spending a week in such a bike friendly city was very refreshing.

From the city Bike Map that shows the best ways to commute by bicycle to the new “Bike Boulevards” that have speed bumps and no stop signs (and minimal car traffic); and from the comprehensive long-sighted Bicycle Plan for 2030 to the “Bike Bar” that has long rows of bike parking for the thirsty cyclist, the biker has a much higher place in the transportation pecking order than in any other American city I’ve been too.

Hawthorne Eco-Hostel

While in Portland I spent a few nights at a youth hostel that was impressively green. It captured its rain water to use in its toilets, it had a green roof, a garden, it composted, and was energy efficient. And most importantly it effectively educated guests about all of these efforts (including in the most strategic way possible—by putting signs next to the toilet, where one’s attention is quite captive). In a fun neighborhood and right on a bus line, it is an affordable place to stay when visiting this city.

Metro Paint

One of the true highlights of the trip was to take a tour of Metro Paint. This is a government run initiative that recycles 300,000 gallons of house paint each year and sells it at a lower cost to consumers.

Metro Paint produces 18 colors, generates $1 million in revenue, and now has 5 percent of the market share. It’s a self-sustaining operation, when this revenue is added to the funds that come from a disposal tax on paint (70 cents a gallon). It’s quite a great government initiative to prevent perfectly good paint from ending up in the landfill.

It seems that all major cities in the U.S. should follow suit—though ideally coupled with more aggressive efforts to encourage citizens to not paint as frequently in the first place. Like with most things, we often paint more out of novelty than out of need.

Toxic Carpet

Even worse than getting a peek at the overwhelming scale of e-waste, I visited a carpet “recycler,” or in reality, a carpet downcycler. This company shaved carpets and took the nylon to make fake wood, fabric, and other things. But there seemed to be more nylon floating in the air than was ending up in bundles and the place screamedlung disease.

I don’t know the effects of inhaling nylon day-in and day-out, but I imagine it can cause serious problems, just like silicon or even the fake buttery flavor of microwave popcorn. Yes, there’s a disease called “Popcorn Lung” so I’d bet “Carpet Lung” is a concern too.

This visit—as I exited the facility and again as I removed black snot from my nose the next morning—made me think that people need to simply stop using industrial carpets and for the few places carpet is really valuable (perhaps at the entryway to one’s home), we should return to traditional Turkmen carpets—made from organic wool and plant-based dyes, made by hand with no fossil fuels, made to last 100+ years, and fully compostable at the end of their lives. Yes, they’d be expensive but not when costed out over their full lifespans.

Green Your Pet

When our daughter began teetering around our home independently, I became seriously concerned about the dust on the floor surrounding our feline powder room. How could I be sure it was safe?

I soon realized that our litter was clay-based, meaning it was created through strip-mining (a process that is massively destructive to the earth), and the silica dust left behind was a health risk to our kitties’ lungs as well as our own. Fortunately, there are litter alternatives, including those made from newspaper, wheatgrass and pine. We made an easy transition to a pine variety and voila: No dust underfoot and less impact on the earth!

If your pet is a pooch, you can easily green your walks with biodegradable waste bags. These corn-based sacks break down and begin composting within days. Of course, if you want a truly earth-conscious pet, bring home a guinea pig or hamster. These fuzz balls eat little, create minimal waste and are blissful in their cages, earning them top billing as the greenest pet. Plus, you can’t beat holding your pet in your palm!

Perhaps even worse than the carpet recycler was the series of advertisements by the Portland Humane Society, calling on people to “End Petlessness.” On the surface, this is a noble effort, and has been wildly successful in increasing pet adoptions. According to Leopold Ketel & Partners, pet adoption rates have increased 6% to 96% for all pets since this advertising campaign has started, and web-based donations have increased 20%.

But of course, the last thing we can afford as a species is to provide a “furry soulmate” to every man, woman and child. Not if we want to somehow curb our consumption and our ecological impact and prevent the mass die-off of our species, and in turn the mass die-off of dogs and cats (What do you think we’ll turn to when food suddenly becomes scarce during the collapse?).

But as I learned from friends living in Portland, pets are sacred there, and unfortunately the odds of shifting this trend is probably as high as getting people to stop buying modern carpeting and new electronic junk (Did you hear Amazon is making a new tablet?! Where do I get one!?).

We are consumers to the core (thanks to a hundred years of cultural engineering), but at least in Portland more people consume bikes than cars. That’s something to celebrate–perhaps over a local microbrew at the Bike Bar, or at home over a genuine Hot Dog and some homegrown fries.

Choosing Environmentally Friendly Certified Wood ~ Eco Products

Choosing Environmentally Friendly Certified Wood and Eco Products, is a growing concern for many. The world’s rainforests and forests cover 31% of the earth’s land and are home to a staggering 70% of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity, with thousands of species that haven’t yet been discovered.

These species have the potential for new medical and scientific discoveries and breakthroughs, as well as the enhancing human understanding of the earth’s biodiversity. Forest ecosystems’ are complex.

The trees provide homes for birds, mammals, reptiles and fungi. The ground provides home for bacteria, insects, microbes, plants and much more. Forest ecosystems are naturally self-sustaining, yet the cycle can be easily disrupted, and as a result, the forest can begin to die.

Deforestation, resource exploitation and poor management of forests destroy the habitat of whole communities within the forest ecosystem. Felling trees cause a physical loss of habitat, but also causes the loss of protection from the sun: soil quickly dries out and becomes barren and temperatures soar, harming plants and animals.

Clear cutting of forests, the cutting down of whole areas fragments the forests, leaving species isolated and unable to sustain large populations.

Environmentally Friendly Certified Wood ~ Eco Products

Eco Friendly Harvested Wood

Forests also play a crucial role in regulating the earth’s climate by acting as a carbon sink. They absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere: some of this is released as oxygen through a process of photosynthesis, and some is stored as carbon within the trees and plants themselves.

Deforestation prevents the uptake of carbon dioxide by trees and is therefore a contributing factor to carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. It is estimated that deforestation has contributed to an estimated 30% of the carbon dioxide build-up in the atmosphere.

Deforestation comes in various forms: forest fires, degradation due to climate change, clear-cutting for agriculture, and unsustainable or illegal logging are just a few.

Forest fires can be devastating but are actually an important part of a forests life cycle. There are certain plants which have evolved to use forest fires to spread the seeds and germinate.

The rate of deforestation by man-made activities such as clear cutting and logging has only really taken off in the last 150 years as the demand for land and resources have drastically increased, due to increased population, technological and industrial advances. As science has revealed the importance of forests for the earth’s biodiversity and climate preservation, an increased emphasis has been placed on sustainable forestry and responsibly managed forests.

A sustainability forest is one which is carefully managed so that felled trees are replaced with seedlings which will grow and eventually replace the felled trees. This system has to be managed in such a way that it protects the biodiversity of species and wildlife by avoiding the destruction of whole habitats at a time. Water and soil quality must also be protected, and the overall health and function of the forest preserved.

Choosing Environmentally Friendly Certified Wood ~ Eco Products

A study by Oak Furniture found that two thirds (66%) of consumers are willing to pay more for furniture that is built from sustainably managed forests, yet less than half (46%) were willing to ask about the sustainability of the wood furniture they are purchasing. Forest certification programs were launched to create a way for consumers to track if there wood has come from forests which are sustainably managed.

Wood which is certified can legally carry the sticker of accreditation, allowing consumers to know what products they buy come from sustainable resources. Wood is certified if it meets particular criteria. As well as sustainable felling, forests need to respect native cultures and economies; prevent illegal logging and clear-cutting; avoid or restrict pesticide use; protect the rights of workers, communities and indigenous people; and apply to laws and correct development and appeals processes in order to become certified.

Certification audits are carried out by third party accredited certification bodies. There are several certification schemes, however, FSC is the most credible and endorsed by various charities.

Many forest owners do not get their forests certified as it is cheaper for them to log wood illegally than to comply with national laws. Illegal logging is a major problem for timber producing countries. In some countries, illegal logging is actually more common than legal logging.

Not only does illegal logging degrade forests, it deprives developing countries of up to $15 billion in royalties each year and lowers the price of timber, causing a knock on effect as more industries turn to illegal logging to compete with low prices.  By choosing to only buy certified wood, consumers create a demand for businesses to comply with laws and regulations.

Ultimately, it is the choice of the consumer to buy wood that is sourced from sustainably managed forests – by asking for certified wood products when none is available, consumers can increase future supply and ensure that businesses being to buy wood from certified suppliers.

There are several certification programs available to choose from but the most credible is the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) as it has stricter standards for the responsible management of forests than other certification programs. The FSC provide a database which allows consumers to check the validity of certificates, or to check which manufacturers, suppliers and retailers use FSC certified wood.

Other certification programs include the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) and Sustainable Forestry Initiative (FSI). Both of these also feature online databases, which you can find retrospectively here and here.

Environmental Consequences of Forest Fires

Green Consumerism Is No Solution

The header for this article is a headline from an article published by the American Anthropological Association, by Richard Wilk. I read it in the Green blog of the Huffington Post. I saw Wilk just a few days before this at a conference sponsored by SCORAI (Sustainable Consumption Research and Action Initiative). I was one of the group that established SCORAI. Here’s the beginning of what Wilk wrote.

Greenwashing is not just for corporations anymore — it has gone personal. Instead of feeling guilty about the huge gaps between wealthy and poor, the ways consumerism causes global warming, or how our daily pleasures cause rainforest destruction and despoil the sea, we can drink a few cups of fair-trade coffee, eat a rainforest crunch bar and instantly feel better. The consumer marketplace today offers us every kind of ethical, ecological and healthy option we can imagine, from recycled toilet paper to household wind turbines.

Goodness and moral values have been privatized in our post-Reagan-Thatcher neoliberal world. “Green” consumer goods promise the eternal lie of the huckster — that we can have our cake and eat it too, that we can change the world without sacrifice, or any more effort than smarter shopping. Because our gold ear-studs have been “ethically mined” we are absolved from thinking about why we feel we ‘need’ to wear gold at all. We can take expensive vacations in exotic tropical lands, ignoring the poverty around us while we enjoy “sustainable” gourmet meals and an organic mud bath… Green consumption reduces all of the problems of the world into making the right shopping decisions.

All this fits into the classic case of quick fixes that attempt to cure the symptoms without addressing the root causes. I have argued that consumption is an addictive habit created and supported by the underlying cultural beliefs of our so-called modern society.

Wilk adds an important additional causal factor, the disappearance of public moral values. We lack a public voice shouting, “Mindless consuming is not OK; it is destroying the social and environmental fabric of civilization.” (my words)

Wilk goes on to argue that we, in the affluent world, possess sufficient knowledge to appreciate the harms we are producing.

Another difference between our own consumer culture and that of our ancestors, is that now we know so much more about the way our consumption connects us to each other, to our own health and that of the planet. For the first time we can see, or even talk to the people who grow our gourmet coffee, weave our artisanal rugs, and put beads in our cornrows on a holiday beach. This marvelous network of information leaves consumers more exposed to moral fault than ever before, and makes the burden of moral behavior heavier and more perilous. Often the only choices seem to be tokenism — making changes that are more symbolic than substantive — or cynicism grounded in the experience of falling for new trends or solutions that turn out to be misguided, co-opted, or fraudulent.

Think green big green bagPatagonia’s advertising campaign based on the moralistic phrase “Don’t Buy This Shirt” may have persuaded some of its clients to postpone their purchases, but the overall effect was to increase sales.

[Consumer] choice is held to be a cornerstone of liberty by perhaps a majority of Americans, who see every instance of public values emphasizing the Commonwealth as a reduction of that liberty. Couple that to a foundation-level belief that we are constituted as “I’s” by an insatiable set of needs, and the ultimate outcome of consuming the Earth should become patently clear.

We can continue to value consumer choice, but not in the unlimited way we do at present. Even the most ardent libertarians should recognize that some rules are always needed to enable the freedom they seek. Traffic signals allow for the flow of drivers, free from the threat of injury and death at every crossroads. The free market is never completely free. Some rules are always needed to prevent misuse that contravenes the intents of those who see opportunities to collect excessive rents.

A shift in understanding of who the “I” really is could retain choice, but within limits. The seemingly slight change from an image of human beings as constituted by need to one where one’s humanness springs from care can convert the quick fix of green consumerism to a more fundamental system capable of producing sustainability-as-flourishing.

Care requires goods and services to satisfy one’s intentions in the several domains I wrote about just two blogs previously. The insatiability vanishes, however. One consumes only as much as is required to satisfy the target of care in all domains. The process is continuous as the world keeps changing, but is not insatiable.

With this belief, end points are dictated by existential assessments, not by comparisons with others, triggered by cultural values, or driven by persuasive mechanisms. The ideal of the Sabbath can be realized because one can cease consuming, satisfied that his or her world has been taken care of, at least for the moment.

It will take a cultural transformation to get to such a point, more than Wilk’s call-out, “Shock treatment through dramatic public events that bring shame on high consumers, and other direct action has to be on the agenda.” This would be a good start, exposing the amorality of today’s consumer culture, but without an accompanying shift in existential beliefs, would only slow down the race toward catastrophe.

Sustainability in 10 Bullet PointsSustainability in 10 Bullet Points

I have just finished proofreading my new book, Flourishing: A Frank Conversation about Sustainability, written with my former PhD student, Andy Hoffman. It’s hard to be objective about one’s own work, but I think it is very good.

In the five years since Sustainability by Design was published, my thinking about sustainability has become clearer, at least to me. I think this new book is more accessible and focused on the moat important issues.

I gave a talk yesterday at the Northeastern University Business School to a small group of the faculty that left me with a sense that little has changed in the understanding and appreciation of the true nature of sustainability in the past five years.

Granted that this meeting was not dispositive, sustainability is, if anything, less understood. I hear the same confusion between what used to be called greening, but now gets called sustainability or sustainable something and what I call sustainability. I have a slide that asserts that everyone in the audience who believes that they are doing something or thinking about sustainability is merely doing something to (unsustainability) less bad. Nobody has yet challenged me on this.

The distinction is critical. For sure, we are mucking up the world by overconsumption and we need to do something about that. But becoming more eco-efficient won’t change the story. We may be able to slow down the growth of negative impacts, but will not reverse the trend. The global GDP has grown at a rate far exceeding the increase in eco-efficiency over long periods.

To keep the mess at current levels, the two growth rates (GDP) and eco-efficiency must be equal. And to reverse the damaging impacts, the change in eco-efficiency must exceed the growth of GDP. Tim Jackson, in his book, Progress Without Growth, calls the belief in decoupling (growth in GDP without concomitant growth environment harms) a myth.

Expectations that the so-called information society would grow without the damage created by huge material demands are just that—thoughts. Nothing like this has happened. Per capita indices may be improving, but aggregate damages (the only thing the planet responds to) keep rising. Recent scientific assessments of the rate of climate change have found change is happening faster than previously predicted.

That’s the Planetary situation; the human condition is no better. If the US is to be held out to be the most advanced modern, industrialized nation, one should not look too closely at data related to individual and social conditions. It’s akin to the old saying that if you like sausage, never visit a sausage factory.

In spite of the extremely high level of average affluence, we have lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality, more prisoners, more homicides, and many more instances of negative measures of well-being. Inequality is highest in the US among peer nations.

If we do nothing more than what businesses call sustainability activities, we will not change the current “unsustainable” conditions of the nations and the world. “Why not?” members of the audience ask. What we want and need is to grow. That’s the solution to all of our problems. The unemployed will find jobs. Our well-being will continue to increase.

It’s not just economists talking here; just about everyone takes this as gospel, especially just after an election where promises of growth are aimed both at the left and the right. More wealth for the right (the richer) and more jobs for the left (the poorer).

Wake up and pay attention to the arithmetic as President Clinton advised in his speech at the Democratic Convention. We are living on more than one planet today and are headed for perhaps as many as 5 or so when the rest of the world becomes as affluent as we are. There simply is not enough ocean or atmosphere to absorb all our s—-.

We will soon be faced with a Solomonic choice. Who gets the limited resources needed to feed the hungry mouths of the people and the societal machines that provide them with everything they consume?

Everyday, the way into our problems and the way out becomes clearer to me. Without any elaboration (that’s what my books and other writings try to do) to build the case I will make in a few sentences, here is the story in bullet points.

Our unsustainable situation is fundamentally rooted in the failure of our most basic beliefs to match the way the world works.

The mismatch results in “fixes-that-fail” that leave the root causes in place, and in ever-growing (destructive) unintended consequences. The meaning of sustainability, itself, is misunderstood. It is an “empty” word, requiring an explicit quantity or quality to sustain. All present measures of sustainability or sustainable being used are based on an erroneous world view and are leading us astray.

The institutions that have evolved on the foundation of these beliefs are the proximate cause of the problematic situation. Capitalism itself is suspect, perhaps not at its core, but in the present form it has evolved to take. I am not equipped to take a more critical stance than suspicion.

Trying to design new institutions and modify the existing ones, but based on the same fundamental beliefs, is doomed to failure. When it will collapse is uncertain; it may be far enough off in the future to fool us into thinking what we are doing to cope today is working. Referring again to the language of systems dynamics, we are living out a massive shifting-the-burden or even addictive pattern. It will get increasingly difficult to cope, adapt or mitigate the damage as we continue to work on the wrong problems.

We have to stop thinking about the world only in mechanistic terms, as a system that we can come to know and manage through technology and technocracy (scientifically based institutional rules). We think there is only one way of knowing, science, and only one set of truths about the world. The “only” is important because our present system of knowing is not wrong; it is incomplete and insufficient to guide our human efforts to sustain life on the Planet in a state we deem normatively satisfactory.

The more powerful way to think about the world is as an organic, complex system in which we humans are simply about seven billion nodes interconnected to each other and to the rest of the world. Because it is complex, we can never come know precisely how it is working at the moment and, thus, are unable to manage it as we believe we can (see the preceding paragraph). The reality of the world (the set of meanings by which we operate) is created in and through language, and is historically situated, changing as our experiences change. If we start to think about the world in this manner, we will design new effective institutions to guide our societies. I believe that we will and should explicitly introduce pragmatic methods in place of our present deterministic ways of design, decision, and operating. We can never avoid unforeseen problems and failures, but in a complex world, pragmatism can lessen the likelihood of fixes-that-fail patterns. Immense and daunting changes to be sure, but absolutely necessary!

We have to stop thinking about ourselves as Homo economicus, creatures driven to acquire material goods as a measure of well-being. Said another way, we have to stop thinking that the main motivators for human live are the acquisition of pleasure and the avoidance of pain. These ideas arising during the Enlightenment are, like our mechanistic understanding of the world, incomplete and inadequate, but also are incorrect, so that the “only” qualifier does not apply here.

Our actions in the world take place in the flow of language—a manner of living together in a coordinated flow of consensual action—not a collection of words and grammatical rules as commonly understood. Humans also exist in the flow of emotions, body dynamics that specify what we can and cannot do at any moment in our relational behaviors. Emotions represent our attunement to the world, a general description of how we respond to our situations. The most primal and fundamental of human emotions is love, but not merely romantic love.

Love is the domain of those relational behaviors through which another arises as a legitimate other in coexistence with oneself under any circumstance. Love does not legitimize the other, love lets the other be. Through seeing the other, entails acting with the other in a way that they do not need to justify their existence in the relation. (Maturana and Nisis)

The shift in thinking about what it is to be human is profound but can be voiced in a word or two. Being human is all about care, not need. Care and love are naturally connected. Our interconnectedness to the world means that we better pay attention to it and take care of it. We cannot simply view the world outside of our bodies as simply an independent resource for giving us pleasure and avoiding pain. Our actions inevitably and necessarily interact and change the human and non-human world. Our humanness is not expressed in insatiable demands, but in a continuum of actions to make sure the targets of our care are satisfied. Satisfaction lies outside the body in the world, not inside as we are told by psychologists and economists. We are part of that world so we will experience satisfaction whenever we perceive that the world outside is taken care of. Whenever that happens we will be in a state of existential completeness, which I (and others) call flourishing. The attainment of this human condition will and should become the primary measure of the success of our societal institutions in place of the economic measures used today to indicate well-being.

Closing the loop back to the beginning of the brief explanation, flourishing is the right and relevant reference to use for the semantically empty word, sustainability. Hence the origin of my definition of sustainability: the possibility that human and other life will flourish on the planet forever.

This is a brief and dense itemization of the story of sustainability, but the essential points are all here. A warning. If you are serious about sustainability, then you have to take in the whole story. You cannot be selective, as present day businesses and other institutions are doing. It’s all or nothing. This doesn’t mean that you abandon the parts of the present paradigm (belief and institutional structure) that do continue to work. 2 + 2 will still equal 4.

It does help to slow down the destructive momentum of today (but not at the expense of neglecting the real problems). But you cannot work from within this old and effete paradigm when you set out to make sustainability-as-flourishing show up. You will look like an alien to those still comfortable in the status quo. So stick in there.

You have the right stuff; they do not. Rational arguments will not convince anyone. Different paradigms do not connect rationally one to another. You may be able to convince others that the old paradigm is the problem, not the solution. That’s how science advances. But you (and anyone else) will not be able to argue that the new one (sketched briefly above) is the way to go.

You will simply have to plunge in and wait for the results to come. They will be the legitimating evidence. Each of the elements sketched out has already been “proven to work,” but in much smaller contexts than that of the sustainability problematic. So you will not be simply hanging out there.

“Many people need desperately to receive this message: ‘I feel and think much as you do, care about many of the things you care about, although most people do not care about them. You are not alone.” (Kurt Vonnegut, Timequake)

A Green Clean

Here is a little tip of mine after having had my carpets cleaned the other day. As of being a conscious consumer I was pleased to come across a rug cleaning.

I was shocked to learn that many of the popular professional cleaning agents and protectants on the market are known toxins, linked to serious cancers, liver damage, and even birth defects, but Green Choice Carpet uses time-tested cleaning products, many components of which my grandmother and great-grandmother trusted to clean their homes, including salt, baking soda, and citric acids.

Since they use OSHA-approved, green cleaners, I know that my rugs are in good hands and that my small children and pets are also safe playing on the clean floors. And the house even smells fresh, without any underlying chemical residue!

They put health and wellness first. As a family-owned business with over 20 years of experience, Green Choice Carpet understands that our family’s safety is the priority, using only safe, organic cleaning agents. The result was fresh, clean carpet, upholstery, and rugs without the threat of dangerous toxins in our home.

Although I knew that my carpet and upholstery needed a deep-cleaning, I was worried about the price since money is tight around our house. They put my mind at ease with a single phone callThey were even running discounted prices, making them very reasonable for my family.

Best All Natural Supplements For a Green Living Family

“Green living.” That is one of the biggest buzzwords today. So many people, thinking that the earth is fragile and that unless we change our ways it will come to an end, are turning to alternative ways of life. The earth is not really fragile, to be sure, but green living can also be good for our own internal physical and mental health.

And so, here is an article on some of the best all natural supplements for a green living family. It should be realized that the digestive tract contains over 80 percent of the immune system, and so anything that strengthens the digestive system is also good for boosting one’s immunity. Besides, digestion takes large amounts of energy, and the less you use for that function, the more you have to do other things.

1) Supplements for good gum health

Dr. Paul Gilbert has recommended organic blue green algae and other similar multi- nutrient supplements to reduce the chances of developing periodontitis, a serious gum disease which can cause the teeth to fall out and it’s the primary cause of tooth loss in adults according to most dentists around the world including the dentists in Perth. The Alpha Sun certified organic algae drink contains a wide range of “micronutrients” that help the body feel better, and it promotes:

-biomodulation—improves the overall way in which the body performs

-the functioning of the immune system

-levels of cholesterol—Alpha Sun is a natural source of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids.

Most especially, the drink is an excellent source of vitamin A, of which it has more than of all other vitamins put together; the amino acid leucine (the only one that aids in the synthesis of muscle protein), used by the liver, muscles, and adipose tissue, where it aids in the production of sterols; and the trace element titanium, which is commonly used in medical and surgical tools.

Dr. Gilbert also recommends the drink SBG Zymes, which contains a special combination of enzymes that provide nourishment from the foods the user eats, and helps to break down carbohydrates, fats, fiber, and protein.

It also contains substances, including lipase and lactase, that make the digestion process more efficient, so that you never get that “after meal slump.” Enzyme supplements are important because processing foods that are low in enzymes is very hard on the digestive system. The SBG Zymes drink is made of plant fibers, rice bran, and water.

2) Growth supplements: StemPlex

StemPlex is the perfect supplement for cell growth, as it provides stem cells with the nutrition that they need to grow, and its unique combination of substances support the natural system of cell renewal that the body has. It also protects cells against free radicals, which can do them harm. Ingredients: plant fibers, maltodextrin (an easily digestible food additive often used in candy and soft drink production), and water.

3) Items that promote heart health

Fish oil definitely belongs in the category of substances that keep the heart healthy. (I myself take three fish oil tablets a day with a meal.) It lowers both the blood pressure and the level of triglycerides, reduces inflammation, improves the circulation, and slows the process by which the arteries become harder.

The arteries, too, may be kept healthy by Ultimate Artery Cleanse, available from Hampshire Labs. It contains an amino acid commonly used in baby food; and it lowers blood pressure and cholesterol levels, supports the immune system, strengthens the bones within two months, dissolves artery blockages—thus reducing the risk of a heart attack—and is even known to improve the memory!

Also available from Hampshire Labs is Ultimate Asian Heart Health, which can be used to remove clots from the bloodstream and reverse the process of heart decay without the need for drugs or surgery, and without producing any harmful side effects.

4) Feel young again with this product…

The people of Okinawa are among the healthiest and longest- lived people in the world. The ingredients of the foods they eat has been put into a products called Nutri- Sea.

5) Conclusion: GO GREEN!

So now that you know what green products can do for you, the thing to do is go green! It is ultimately the healthy way of living.

Best All Natural Supplements For a Green Living Family
All-Natural Immune System Boosters
All-natural Diet Supplements That Will Boost Your Energy

How to Make Your Groceries Last Twice as Long

If you are searching for ways to make your groceries last twice as long, you will be glad to know that there are many things that you can do to help make your groceries last twice as long. By taking the time to follow the tips discussed below, you will be on your way to getting the most out of your groceries and saving a significant amount of money each year.

Use Airtight Contains to Store Foods

One of the easiest things that shoppers can do to make their groceries last twice as long is to purchase storage containers that are designed to help groceries last longer. By investing in a wide variety of storage containers that are designed to keep food fresh longer, people will find it easier to make their groceries last at least two times longer.

What is great about storage containers is that they are inexpensive to purchase and they can be used for all types of food, including but not limited to food that has already been cooked, fresh fruits and vegetables.

Store Foods in Either the Freezer or Refrigerator

Many foods are designed to be stored in the refrigerator or freezer and others are not. By taking stock of what groceries you should store in your refrigerator or freezer, you will be on your way to making your groceries last twice as long. By taking the time to store foods correctly, you will be on your way to helping your food to last at least twice as long.

Use Vacuum Sealed Bags

Another technique that people use to make their groceries last twice as long, if not longer, is by using vacuum sealed bags to store their groceries. By using vacuum sealed bags, people can lock in the freshness by sealing their food in an airtight environment. Vacuum sealed bags help keep groceries much longer than typical storage containers because vacuum sealed bags have no air whatsoever.

Freeze Unused Portions

Another thing hat shoppers can do to make their groceries last twice as long, if not longer, is to get in the habit of freezing food. Many foods purchased at the grocery can be frozen for months at a time without going bad.

Shoppers who want to save a tremendous amount of money should take the time to wrap and freeze any leftovers and unused portions of food for future use. By taking the time to freeze food, shoppers will be taking the steps to help their groceries last twice as long.

Exercise Portion Control When Preparing Foods

When planning meals, another way to get groceries to last twice as long is to cook only as much food as you need. Instead of cooking larger portions of food, shoppers should exercise portion control and choose only to cook as much food as they know they will eat. By taking the time plan out meals and portion meals, shoppers will be able to cut down on waste and help their groceries last twice as long.

Put Dates and Projected Expiration Dates on Containers and Bags

Another way to take control of your groceries and get them to last twice as long is to mark a purchase date on a label along with a projected expiration date. By keeping track of when you purchase items, you will have an easier time keeping track of all the foods in your refrigerator and freezer. In addition, by keeping track of food in your refrigerator and freezer you will have an easier time remembering what date to use foods by.

Do Not Store Rotten Vegetables or Fruits With Other Fruits or Vegetables

Even if a vegetable or fruit is only slightly bruised, do not store it with all of the other vegetables and fruits. Fruits and vegetables that are spoiled or bruised actually contribute to the spoilage of other fruits and vegetables in close proximity. By taking the time to separate foods that look rotten or even slightly bruised, you will be taking the steps to help your groceries last twice as long.

By taking the time to follow the tips discussed above, you will be on your way to getting your groceries to last twice as long in no time whatsoever.

Chronic Dehydration: Choose Water for a Healthy Beautiful Life

Chronic dehydration is virtually an epidemic in America. Most people are so accustomed to being dehydrated that they don’t even notice it. They attribute headaches, joint pain and digestive issues to other problems, when they might be able to alleviate all of these symptoms just by drinking more water.

Americans are fortunate to have ready access to potable water pretty nearly anywhere they go. While running errands, traveling, on vacation and even taking a cruise that reusable water bottle is again a convenient source of hydration.

Plus, with technologically advanced water filtration systems (like Pelican Water Systems), that water is usually clean, pure and refreshing.

Reusable water bottles are also readily available. Most people probably own at least one or two. Why are Americans dehydrated?

Water for a Healthy Beautiful Life

Signs of dehydration

Dehydration is associated with feeling tired and groggy. When the body is dehydrated, the brain cannot function optimally. Being hydrated enables better concentration and makes it possible to focus. The brain also relies heavily on the body’s blood supply to keep it going.

When someone is dehydrated, their blood supply becomes reduced, resulting in imbalances that may manifest themselves as emotional outbursts and slower mental functioning. Stress only contributes to the problem.

A body under stress releases certain stress hormones, which also adds to dehydration. Accordingly, drinking plenty of water and learning to manage stress can both help anyone feel healthier and more energized.

When a person is dehydrated, the condition can wreak havoc with their digestive processes. The body is unable to secrete adequate digestive juices. Consequently, the body cannot break down food as efficiently. It may miss out on absorbing vital nutrients.

An uncomfortable and all too common side effect of this inefficiency is heartburn. However, the digestive problems don’t end there. Many people also become constipated as a result of dehydration. This happens because the colon needs water to produce stool.

If the body is dehydrated, the colon sends water to other parts of the body. It does not keep enough to create waste. The result is high levels of discomfort, frequently on an ongoing basis.

What contributes to chronic dehydration

A number of factors contribute to chronic dehydration. Busy schedules and constantly on-the-go lifestyles are two of the main culprits. Sometimes people don’t get enough water because they drink other things, like soda and alcohol, that don’t offer the same kind of beneficial hydration.

Other people don’t like the taste, or lack of it, of water. Whatever the reasons may be for an individual, dehydration can have serious short and long term consequences.

Symptoms of chronic dehydration

Chronic dehydration can even contribute to joint pain. Joints need lubrication to function. Without water, they can’t get the lubrication they need. Joint pain keeps people from being active and living life to the fullest. A lack of water affects muscles. When properly hydrated, muscles are elastic and function optimally. Without water, muscle fatigue and shrinkage mean that the body cannot perform to its highest potential.

A lack of water even affects physical appearance, most noticeably in the skin. Well hydrated skin is elastic and firm. Skin may appear dry, papery and wrinkled when it isn’t getting the water it needs. Proper hydration can minimize the appearance of some wrinkles.

Dehydration can even cause people greater suffering through allergies. Histamine levels rise when the body is not adequately hydrated. The immune system quickly becomes unbalanced and allergic reactions begin. Good hydration may mean less sniffling and sneezing.

As uncomfortable as the immediate effects of dehydration may be, the long term, more severe consequences can be absolutely devastating. The body’s organs, in particular the kidneys, may cease to function.

Without adequate hydration, people are also susceptible to heat related injuries like heat exhaustion or heatstroke. Dehydration also causes an electrolyte imbalance which can lead to seizures. It can even send the body into low blood volume shock as the blood pressure drops to dangerously low levels. The most extreme cases of dehydration may lead to coma and eventually death.

Warning signs of dehydration

Fortunately, the body offers plenty of clues that reveal low hydration levels. Thirst is the most obvious indicator, but other symptoms like confusion and fatigue can also be early warning signs. The onset of a headache and a dry mouth may also be initial symptoms of dehydration. Additionally, urine that is dark or particularly odorous indicates a need to consume more water.

There’s always the question of how much water is enough? Once, drinking eight eight-ounce glasses of water a day was the recommendation. Some people might require more than that while others might do very well on less.

It also depends on the climate; if you live in or visit a dry climate, you will need to drink more. The best advice is to experiment with different amounts of water for a few days. By doing this, most people can figure out the optimum amount of water consumption for their body.

Tips for drinking more water

For people unaccustomed to drinking water, incorporating more water into their daily intake can seem daunting. However, small adjustments can yield good results. Start and end the day with a glass of water. Make a point of drinking a glass of water with each meal.

Before working out, drink some water, and then keep the hydration going during and after the workout. A desk at work can become a hydration zone by keeping a reusable water bottle on hand. While running errands, traveling, on vacation and even taking a cruise that reusable water bottle is again a convenient source of hydration.

Of course, consuming all this water may mean less consumption of other liquids. Although the body does get some water from sodas, sports drinks, coffee and other beverages, it gets a lot of other things too. Sugar, excess calories and caffeine can all have an adverse effect on the body and affect the adsorption rate of nutrients.

Switch out a few of these drinks with water for a better nutritional effect. If plain water just seems too boring, squeeze in some lemon or lime or throw a few berries into a drinking glass. Regularly consuming clean, filtered water may be the key to a healthier, richer life.

Filtered Water Liquid Life
via Pelican Water

 Can Spices Make You Skinny? Here’s 5 Great Ones to Try

Can Spices Make You Skinny
Can Spices Make You Skinny

Spices add flavor and complexity to food as well as an impressive dose of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and medicinal qualities.

Better yet, they can boost your energy levels while helping you shed unwanted pounds. Several of the tastiest culinary spices are also associated with improving metabolism — a key to successful long-term weight loss.

Be generous when you spice your food and you may notice your waistline diminishing. But really, can spices make you skinny? Can eating help you lose weight?

Amplify Your Weight Loss

By spicing your food, you can support your entire body with smart nutrition. Spices and herbs often contain more antioxidants than foods do. For example, oregano has 42 times more antioxidant activity than apples. Cloves, a common spice added to soups, curries and meats, are actually one of the richest known sources of concentrated antioxidants in the plant world.

Research has suggested that spicy food creates a quicker sense of satiety, resulting in less caloric intake. The compounds in spices can be a potent ally in appetite control — another requirement for successful weight loss.

Introducing 5 Skinny Herbs

To add spice to your life and spring to your step, start with these herbs. They are well-documented to raise the metabolism. Starting off the day with spice can spike your metabolism and help control your appetite. Be creative by adding these spices not only to your dinners, but to your breakfasts as well.

Cayenne Pepper

Fueled by capsaicin, cayenne pepper is famous for adding heat to dishes around the world. Capsaicin is a compound that creates the warmth of pepper. Capsaicin is known as a thermogenic compound because it creates heat. Thermogenic compounds can fight obesity by decreasing appetite and by shrinking fat tissue. Capsaicin can boost metabolism by up to five percent over the course of a day, which can contribute to steady long-term weight loss. Cayenne pairs wonderfully with Mexican sauces, Thai noodle dishes and plain rice.

Turmeric

Turmeric is the main ingredient in most curries. It adds a distinctive yellow-orange hue to food. A key medicinal compound in turmeric is curcumin, which has been extensively studied. The established benefits of curcumin include its ability to reduce the formation of fat tissue by cutting off blood flow to fat cells.

This remarkable property of curcumin can lead to more successful weight loss. It has even been correlated with preventing certain types of diabetes. Turmeric makes an excellent base for slow-cooked meat dishes, complementing the robust taste of lamb and lean beef.

Black Pepper

This staple of the dinner table harbors remarkable metabolism-boosting qualities. A substance called piperine gives black pepper weight-loss efforts when combined with cayenne pepper and turmeric. To slim down, don’t pass on the pepper. Black pepper is excellent when freshly ground on soups and salads.

Mustard

The mustard plant is actually a vegetable in the same family as cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower. Mustard seeds increase the resting metabolic rate by up to 25 percent, helping to burn calories efficiently. Usually, you can buy mustard seeds that are ground.

You can add them to soups or make them into a paste with vinegar. For most individuals, just 3/5 of a teaspoon of mustard seeds a day can result in burning an additional 45 calories an hour.

Ginger

Ginger’s anti-inflammatory properties help to soothe and relax the intestinal tract, assisting in digestion and assimilation. A healthy digestive system is the foundation for any long-term weight loss success, so ginger plays a potentially profound role in weight management.

The spice makes an excellent tea to sip between meals. Also, you can add ginger to curries and other spicy dishes. You can consume ginger as a delicious crystalline candy for a sweet treat that won’t derail your diet.

How Can Spices Make You Skinny

So, can spices make you skinny? They have numerous health benefits. Use them to flavor your organic choices, and enjoy profound health benefits, oftentimes weight loss that comes from a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle.

Supplements That Will Boost Your Energy

Following a well-balanced diet, as well as getting plenty of regular exercise, is quite essential for everybody’s health. The foods that we eat can supply us with the vitamins and minerals that we need; however, it is often good to supplement your diet with all-natural pills that can give you extra energy. Some such dietary supplements are discussed below.

Ingredients used in all-natural dietary supplements

Dietary pills of the kind dealt with here include one or more of the following herbs taken from nature:

  • creatine—occurs naturally in human striped muscle; can increase performance in sprinting and other athletic events that require “short bursts of energy”
  • ginseng—enables the body to deal with stress better and can relieve fatigue
  • l-carnitine—found in brain, cardiac, muscle and other cells; should be taken by people who are following a vegan diet, as most of it is taken from meat
  • spirulina—a form of freshwater algae that boosts energy levels and is known to delay the time of exhaustion in runners by about one third;
  • tongkat ali—taken from the root of a tree that grows in Southeast Asia (the Malay word tongkat means crutch or walking stick); increases levels of testosterone and thus sexual energy

Bee pollen supplements

Xtendlife has introduced two formulas that make use of bee pollen—more specifically, the kind found in a pollution-free area of New Zealand. One of them, Natural Energy, is especially helpful if taken in the middle of the day, when people often feel like taking a nap.

It is not like those “energy drinks,” which often contain harmful chemicals and may induce a craving for junk food! The other, Total Balance, is created specially for men. It contains enzymes, trace elements, carotenoids, neuronutrients, amino acids, antioxidants and more, in addition to all the vitamins and minerals needed for good health. It increases testosterone levels and promotes prostate health.

Dragon Herbs Supreme Creation

Contained within these pills are the most powerful herbs that man knows of. In addition to ginseng, these include deer placenta and antler tips, eucommia bark, Chinese yam rhizome, roots of morina, polygala, rehmannia and achyranthes, and red jujube fruit.

CharcoCaps

Requa CharcoCaps, as its name suggests, is made from activated charcoal, the purest form of carbon that can be found. It is a detoxifying agent, removing toxins that would otherwise cause gas and flatulence (what we commonly refer to as “farting”).

Supplements containing acai

The açaí plant grows natively from Central American to Brazil. Healthy To Go has açaí supplements in two forms—a powdered drink and chewable pills. Both products also contain grapes, mangos, pomegranates and other fruits, as well as vitamin B, a rich antioxidant cocoa extract called Chochamine, and chromium.

Unfortunately, due to the recent hurricane, they are currently awaiting some of the ingredients for these products, so anyone who wants to order them will have to wait a while. A warning flag should go up here: You should not believe the claims you may hear about the health benefits of açaí—they have not been scientifically proven and the plant has been the subject of much online fraud, even from companies that pretend to warn about such dangers.

Cocoawell True Energy

These pills may be just the thing you want if you are seeking to be full of energy the whole day through. It keeps your heart healthy with its combination of organic cocoa and green tea and acacia catechu-derived flavinol complex and also promotes “holistic health balance” with three unique herbs.

Peppermint aromatherapy

Unlike all the products that we have discussed so far, this one is not meant to be eaten. Rather, if you are suffering from a migraine headache, you soak it into a facecloth, which you then apply to either your neck or head. When thus used, peppermint aromatherapy will relieve tension and leave you feeling more alert afterwards. If you are allergic to peppermint you should avoid this product completely.

Supplements You Can’t Be Without

Even to the most well-read, healthy savvy, medical journal reading individual, the massive scope of supplements for your health can be very confusing and hard to maneuver. With so many commercial companies and celebrity endorsed regimens and products all telling you that they are number one, it can feel like you’re a kid on the playground getting circled by a bunch of know-it-alls. You can’t just take anyone’s word on what are right for you and your health – especially where herbal supplements are concerned.

There are of course, your traditional supplements that don’t necessarily cure any ailments but have within them vitamins, minerals and other goodies that will support healthy living. Regardless, it is always important that you get the advice of your family doctor or a certified medical practitioner on what is best for you as well as the things you should steer clear of.

This bit of advice is by no means an attempt to freak you out, but you should always be aware of the effects some things will have on your body and health in both the long and the short term. It should also be noted that some supplements consist of just one major ingredient or herb, where others are actually combinations of several ingredients that are meant to work with each other to produce specific results. Always read your labels!

With comprehensive and transparent vendors like Pure Formulas, you will be offered a distinctively vast array of supplements that you can choose from to add some extra oomph to your health regimen. It is important that you go to this caliber of website when buying supplements online because they have the reputation and policies that can make sure your purchase is catered to you.

Not only do they provide products, more importantly, they provide information that you can use to either conduct research on their site or you can use it to conduct your own offsite, individual research – you may want to do this in case you feel your vendor is particularly biased to a specific brand or preparation.

When you get your supplements, make sure you identify the expiration date – this should be part of your personal quality control and will help you make sure that you’re taking supplements that are potent. Should you ever miss a dose, just roll on to your next scheduled consumption – do not double up! Some supplements can be toxic if ingested in non-recommended overdoses, and this can be devastating to your health.

Here is one important supplement that you can add to your daily regimen. As usual, don’t just take our word for it – go ahead and read up all that you can on your own!

OMEGA 3:

Supplements that focus on or contain Omega 3 have long demonstrated the capacity to improve and increase several healthy outcomes. Some of the most sought after results include loss of body fat, a reduction of inflammation, stabilization of blood sugar levels, decreased insulin levels, appetite suppression, increase in energy levels and healthier looking and feeling skin and hair.

Sensa: A Leader in Natural Weight Loss Products

Obesity is a continuing epidemic in many western cultures. However, sometimes our efforts to lose weight just aren’t good enough. We may try to work out more and eat better foods, but the pounds just don’t seem to melt away as they ought to. The Sensa Weight-Loss System was designed for the average person in this same dilemma.

It encourages gradual weight loss that doesn’t disrupt your natural body systems. Sensa is often nicknamed as “The Sprinkle Diet” because it works by sprinkling flavored crystals on the foods you already eat. However, the term “diet” doesn’t necessarily justify this system because Sensa is not a fad diet. In fact, Sensa helps users establish natural and healthy lifestyle choices for long-term results.

The flavored crystals in the system work by naturally increasing your brain’s hunger signals. Eating habits in western societies can be problematic. First, the portion sizes are much larger than they should be, so people are exposed to more food than they ought to eat. Eating fast only exacerbates the problem because you may eat too much before your brain has a chance to tell your stomach that you are full.

When you eat food with Sensa crystals, your brain is better able to send out its full signals. This happens just in time before you eat more than you should. When you eat less, you consume fewer calories. After your body experiences a reduction of 3,500 calories, you lose one pound of fat. The Sensa Weight-Loss System works particularly well with an active lifestyle because you will likely experience quicker results.

The problem with fad diets is that they don’t work in the long term. It is frustrating to lose a great deal of weight only to gain it back as soon as you stop dieting. The ingredients in Sensa ensure that you lose weight gradually so you won’t disrupt your metabolism. When you lose too much weight at once through a fad diet, your metabolism slows down.

This is an undesirable situation once you start to eat more after the diet is over because your metabolism isn’t able to handle the extra calories.

The gradual reduction with Sensa makes more sense because its goal is to help aid long-term weight loss.

One of the greatest benefits of the Sensa Weight-Loss System is that you can use it on any foods you like.

There are no dietary restrictions because the system focuses on portion control.

With that being said, users will see better results if they eat better foods.

If you already eat organic foods you are off to a great start.

Sensa is easily sprinkled onto any meal or snack, including those that have organic fruits and vegetables.

Flavor crystals help to enhance the taste of foods.

While the crystals make the foods taste for sugary or salty, the product itself is both sodium and sugar-free. In fact, this system doesn’t contain any calories whatsoever.

Hair Growth Supplements For Women

Women everywhere spend massive amounts of money on hair products that promise to make their hair long, silky and luxurious.

When that fails, some have been known to buy hair altogether, forfeiting the battle against short, uncooperative hair.

No matter what we do, we have come to the painful realization that hair growth operates on its own speed and while it may not be able to be speed up significantly, the hair that some techniques can produce, is a lot better than what we may feel we’ve started with.

Hair growth requires patience and hair care that is constant.

Once you understand that you won’t have waist length locks overnight, the process won’t be as frustrating as it may seem.

One of the best ways to address the issue of growing your hair is to make sure that the hair you grow is healthy.

You want your hair to be strong and able to withstand the elements as well as the abuse you may inflict on it.

How we brush our hair, when we brush is and what we brush it with can really thwart our hair growth efforts.

Hair can snap and break before it has the chance to achieve length.

Hair that is damaged at the end may run a split all the way to the root, rendering it useless.

With some many minefields when it comes to hair and hair care, you’ll probably wonder if your hair will ever have a chance.

A good option to bolster your hair growth efforts is hair growth vitamins for women.

These vitamins attack the goal from the inside out, producing strong follicles, robust shafts and long, soft hair that you can be proud of.

Below we have provided a couple suggestions for you to try to help make your hair grow to movie star length.

Remember, nothing happens overnight, but with our tips you can help the process along.

Resist the urge to wash your hair every single day.

This will prevent you from stripping the hair of natural oils and lipids, making it susceptible to breakage.

Breakage is counterproductive to any long haired goals you may be trying to achieve.

Also, when you’re dealing with wet hair, make sure than you comb through it and not brush it while it is wet.

Don’t sleep with your hair untied or uncapped.

Most people have a tendency to toss and turn when they are having a nap or sleeping for the night.

This tossing and turning contributes to hair that is down, to become mussed and knotty.

When trying to maneuver this kind of hair once you’re awake can prove to be disparaging.

Again, the breakage and snappage make hair really difficult to grow successfully.

Have a trim.

Hair that is broken or has split ends doesn’t have to be a death sentence for the entire shaft.

When left un-monitored a split can run right up the length of the shaft and ruin it entirely.

If you have a trim, you can remove the problematic portion of the hair without sacrificing the entire lot.

Best All Natural Supplements For a Green Living Family
All-Natural Immune System Boosters
All-natural Diet Supplements That Will Boost Your Energy

7 Ways to Be More Eco-Friendly at Home

More Eco-Friendly at Home As the shift to a greater ecological consciousness continues out of the necessity of long term survival, you might be wondering just what it is that you can do to help out the effort. Here are a few things to get you started on reforming your life in tune with the balanced harmony of our planet.

Financial Impact Of Going Green Daunting
Why Sustainable Products Face an Uphill Battle
How to Find Deals and Be Green at the Same Time
Saving The Planet One Flush At A Time
Give Your Garden an Eco-Makeover Try this

7 Ways to Be More Eco-Friendly at Home
Source: Eco-Office Gals

Eco-Friendly Garden

The first thing that you can do is plant a garden. By growing your own food, you cut down on the energy required for transportation. This eliminates the need for petrochemicals to be created in order to be sprayed as fertilizers. Best of all, you get to eat fresh, organic food and gain the satisfaction of knowing that you have the ability to feed yourself.

Eco-Friendly Washing Machine

The second thing that you can do is upgrade your washing machines. Consider buying an energy efficient washing machine if your old one uses up too much water or too much energy during the washing process. Top manufactures such as Beko washing machines make some fantastic energy saving machines now so it’s a great time to get a new far more eco-friendly washing machine.

Use cold water or a cool wash with your washing machine. Heating water during a wash cycle uses up a lot of electricity. Since electricity is overwhelmingly created by burning fossil fuels, this also cuts down on the carbon emissions being released. With modern eco laundry soaps hot wash cycles are a thing of the past.

Get Bargains

To get great bargains and help the earth a good thing that you can do is stop buying new when you can get “new to you”. Check out Craigslist, Freecyle, or your local thrift store to find quality used goods for a fraction of the price of new things. This prevents resources from being used to create new items and extends the life of ones that already exist. Become a smarter shopper that helps the environment

Eco-Friendly Bulbs

An illuminating idea to be greener is to swap out your old incandescent light bulbs for CFLs. This decreases the energy which is used to power the lights that brighten your life. Although it is a small step, many small steps are necessary in a journey of a thousand miles.

Power Down

An important step to become slightly more ecologically friendly is to turn off your computer whenever you aren’t using it. This saves electricity and it saves you money. This is yet another example where helping the planet can also help you.

Thermostat

You need to make sure you lower your thermostat in winter and increase it in summer. A difference of a few degrees can vastly lower your electricity costs. Plus, it means less coal and natural gas needs to be burned in order to provide you with unnecessary levels of comfort. This also lowers the amount of carbon dioxide and other pollutants floating around in the atmosphere, contributing to the severity and speed at which our shared climate is changing drastically.

Eco-Friendly Home Office

When you work from home, not only do you eliminate the commute to and from work, but there is an immense amount you can do to make sure you are working green. Use recycled copy paper, for web work use a green web hosting company that uses eco-friendly ways to power the servers, don’t print unless you have to and print double sided if you can. Check out these eco office articles for more ideas such as this one on cutting out plastic in the office.

Green Leadership

There are many other things that you can do to cut down on your environmental impact. To get more ecologically preferable ideas look around on blogs likegogreentravel.com to help you on your path towards a more sustainable life for yourself, our planetary habitat, and future generations.

Eco Resolutions Any Family Can Keep to Live Greener Life

Make a resolution to keep your resolutions.

Whether you’re hoping to make changes in your body (lose those 10 pounds!), your mind (finally learn Chinese!) or your home (start recycling!), begin by creating a realistic list of goals.

When it comes to living a greener life, start with these three simple eco resolutions anyone can keep:

Rethink Your Shopping Bag

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, more than 380 billion plastic bags, sacks and wraps are consumed in the U.S. each year — and the majority of them do not get recycled.

Make sure reusable totes are part of each shopping trip for you and the other members of your family.

Stash totes in the car and have younger family members create colorful reminders to post on the doors so you’ll see them whenever you head out.

You can even have branded reusable totes.

Stop Drinking Bottled Water

According to the Environmental Working Group, every 27 hours, Americans consume enough bottled water to circle the equator with plastic bottles stacked end to end.

Make sure your family is part of the solution by filling reusable water bottles with filtered tap water.

Turn Down the Thermostat

You can reduce your energy bill and save resources simply by turning down your thermostat.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, setting the thermostat back 10 to 15 degrees for eight hours each day will help shave between 5 and 15 percent off your yearly heating bill.

The easiest way to save energy and money is to keep your thermostat at 68 degrees while you’re awake and set it lower while you’re asleep or away from home.

And the whole family can get in on the energy-saving game by stopping before they raise the temperature and instead resolving to put on a sweater when chilly or curling up with a throw blanket when on the couch.

Great Green Household Products
Who Profits From Recycling
Financial Impact Of Going Green Daunting
7 Ways to Be More Eco-Friendly at Home

Green Yard Cleaning

While in theory the yard is typically already a green space, humans have found many ways in which to ruin an already perfect ecosystem.

Instead of enhancing the natural beauty of our yards, we often buy a lot of harmful and synthetic items in the hopes that they will somehow make the yard more attractive.

Even if you have a yard that is completely covered in concrete, it can still be a space that is environmentally unsound.

Too often we turn our yards into external storage spaces due to laziness.

We leave baby pools out past their prime, we don’t clean up thoroughly after parties, we leave tools and machinery out to be ruined by the elements and we don’t take care of yard furniture in a way that saves it and keeps the environment healthy as well.

From toxic chemicals to general acts of ignorance, we do the environment some hefty disservice when we don’t take care of our yards properly.

The ironic thing is that people often complain about the costs incurred to maintain an environmentally healthy yard when in fact it costs a lot more to repair and salvage a yard that’s gone awry.

Even if you’re not a green living fanatic, for the love of your family and the environment immediately around you, why not try our tips to making your yard clean, organized healthy and safe?

Give Your Garden an Eco-Makeover Try this

Pack it up and ship it out!

When the yard is covered in items you love but don’t use, they can become a hassles and even become environmental hazards.

Some of these items collect water which, when goes stagnant can be the breeding ground for mosquitoes and other undesirables.

For bigger items like yard furniture, when they go out of season, we often leave them out there in the wilderness.

How can we get rid of these items without filling up our already saturated landfills?

By putting them in storage of course!

There are many storage facilities that you can use to keep your yard clean, organized and good looking.

Why not have a look at the services that companies offer so you can find a storage option that meets your yard and budgetary needs and live a Greener Lifestyle

Pot it for inside and outside!

When choosing plants and flowers that you want to grow outside, instead of allowing them to suffer an untimely death during harsh seasons like the summer and winter, why not simply choose plants that can live both outdoors and indoors?

By having potted plants remain in their pots you can use them to decorate your yard and patio during the months that they flourish outside.

When you would usually ignore or leave them to fend for themselves on the outside during the rough months, you can bring them indoors to keep them alive and healthy and to add some green to the inside of your home as well.

Some of the best plants and flowering plants you can use for this migration are begonias, fuchsias, geraniums, caladium, coleus and tropical hibiscus.

Even better, you can use herbs as the plants for decorative purposes and then pull them in so they can serve a functional and dual purpose.

Plants that best fit this bill are chives, rosemary, lemon grass and basil.

How Green Is Your Home?

How Green Is Your Home? – As concerns about climate change and the wider environment continue to become more pressing, the need to ensure your household is as green as possible has never been greater.

Each of us has an impact on the environment, known as our carbon footprint.

For some, their carbon footprint is an irrelevance. However, those who are conscious of their personal impact on the environment should look firstly to their homes, as the most environmentally intense area of their lives. Everybody knows that driving is environmentally damaging, and many are even switching their cars to account for this.

But few realize that it is our homes that are biggest polluters. Taking simple steps in your own home can help minimize the effect of you and your family on the environment.

The first step to a greener home is to recycle household waste where possible. Levels of recycling internationally have grown dramatically in the last decade, with improved facilities and roadside collections now a reality across the developed world. This takes time in sorting household waste, but it can be an excellent starting point for reducing the environmental burden of your home. How Green Is Your Home?

Beyond recycling, insulation is the next easiest change you can make. Insulating the attic and the walls of your home can have a serious impact on your energy efficiency. Even opting for more energy-efficient windows and doors can have a dramatic impact on the amount of energy it takes to heat and cool the home.

Insulation can usually be retrofitted without too much upheaval, and while there are professionals that can assist in the process it is often a task embraced by DIY enthusiasts.

Insulating your home can save massively on the amount of energy required to power it. But there are other ways of improving the environmental credentials of your home. Some are now resorting to methods of generating their own energy, using roof and wall space externally to install wind and solar panel solutions.

Seattle Metal Roofing can support photovoltaic cells or small wind turbines in order to provide some degree of energy that can be used in the home. Metal Roofing can support solar panelThe roof in particular sees the most exposure to sunlight through the day. In sunnier regions, it can be possible to power the entire house from solar panels – even to the stage of generating extra energy, which you can sell on for a profit.

Moving from an energy consumer to a net energy generator can make your home much more environmentally friendly. Not only are you no longer dependent on unclean energy generated en masse, but you are now powered by a clean, sustainable source of power that will keep saving you money.

Reducing the number of trips we take in the car or switching the lights off at home can have an effect on our individual and family carbon contributions. But by far the biggest difference comes from improved insulation and attempts to self-generate. These will not only save money on a continuing basis, but will also make your home less environmentally damaging.

Running An Environmentally Friendly Kitchen

Running An Environmentally Friendly KitchenThey say that the kitchen is the heart of the home, so if you care about the environment, you’ll want yours to be as green as possible and have a Planet-Friendly Kitchen.

Naturally, you will have put in the most energy-efficient appliances – ones that have a great Energy Star rating – but did you know that there are so many other ways that you can make your kitchen something that you can be proud of from an environmental perspective?

Let’s start with lighting. While there is nothing worse than a kitchen lit with traditional overhead fluorescent strips, the new compact fluorescent lights give you a much more natural light.

If you replace any incandescent bulbs in your kitchen with these, you can expect to save up to 70% of the energy you used before. For example, a 30 W compact fluorescent puts out as much light as a 100 W incandescent bulb. If you have halogen spots recessed into the ceiling, you may also want to consider replacing these with more efficient LED lights.

As an added benefit, if you do replace your incandescent and halogen bulbs, you’ll also end up using less electricity for air-conditioning, since all that wasted energy is given off as heat.

The next thing to look at is your range hood. This is supposed to ventilate your kitchen, and carry heat away to the outside. However, if it is clogged, then it’s not going to do its job, and you will end up with a kitchen that is too hot. Again, this is going to result in excessive air-conditioning.

Make sure that you clean your range hood regularly, and check that it is in working order at least a couple of times a year. Also check that it actually vents to the outside, and is not venting to the attic or recirculating air. If it is, then you will have to get an expert in to fix the problem.

If you do decide to renovate your kitchen at some point, then this is a perfect time to make sure that it is environmentally friendly. For instance, think about getting flooring or cabinets that are made from recycled materials. You can also opt for recycled glass countertops. As an example, you can get beautiful wooden cabinets that are made from reclaimed lumber – in fact, old timber is often a better quality than new stock.

This way, you will prevent all that lovely old wood from going up in flames and contributing to global warming. Another thing to consider is getting a recycled granite countertop – these are often reclaimed when major renovations are done on houses. Being stone, they are going to be in relatively good condition, and you can have them recut and re-polished so that they are like new.

Once you get your granite countertop, it will last forever and look great provided that you treat it regularly with a good granite cleaner.

running-an-environmentally-friendly-kitchenNow, let’s come back to those appliances for a second – and specifically the stove. While you can get energy-efficient gas or electric rings, did you know that if you put in an induction range top, then you can save up to 70% on electricity?

They may be more expensive than a traditional cooktop, but you will end up saving in the long run. Not only that, they are safer – the cooking surface remains cool and only the pan gets hot. You can also save money by putting in a convection oven – food typically cooks 25% more quickly in one of these than in a traditional oven, so you don’t have to have it on for as long. This is because of the circulating air – a convection oven doesn’t consume power at a higher rate.

Of course, there are many little things that you can do to save energy and have a Green Kitchen. For example, only fill the kettle up with as much water as you need – boiling a full kettle when you don’t need it is a complete waste.

Similarly, don’t use a bigger pan then you need, otherwise you’ll expend energy heating the pan rather than heating the food that it contains. An even more radical idea is to use your microwave if it doesn’t affect the food quality – for example, butter melted in a microwave is remarkably similar to butter melted in a pan.

Finally, think about the food in your kitchen. Make sure that it comes from sustainable sources – this is particularly important when it comes to fish. Also, don’t throw out all of those scraps if you can find a use for them.

For example, bones and vegetable scraps are perfect for making stock. Even if food can’t be reused, it could go on the compost heap.

A Green Kitchen Is A Happy Kitchen
Source: Eco-Office Gals

Green Kitchen Is A Happy Kitchen: Invest In A Good Freezer

Creating a green kitchen doesn’t mean painting the walls green. It means making your kitchen eco-friendly. It’s amazing how much better you will feel about cooking in your kitchen when you know that you are saving time, energy and money.

Protecting the planet and your own finances will allow you to infuse your kitchen and each dish you cook with more love and flavor.

If you love to cook then you know that your kitchen can sometimes take on a life of its own. Some kitchens are warm and inviting. Others are cluttered and can seem to suck the life right out of a person. If you want your kitchen to be more inviting than it is, the answer might be to create a green kitchen.

A green kitchen does not automatically mean that you have to purchase brand new, energy efficient appliances. If you already have appliances, you could potentially swap out older, inefficient parts with newer ones. Whirlpool, Maytag, KitchenAid, Jenn-Air, Electrolux, and GE appliance parts are all available conveniently at most hardware and plumbing stores. Furthermore, with a little ingenuity and the right tools, installing these parts should not prove to be hard at all.

One of the best things you can do to save both money and energy in the kitchen is to invest in a good freezer. The best type to get is a chest freezer because most of the cold air will stay in it when you open it up. A freezer that opens in the front will let all of the cold air out.

Once you have your great energy-efficient freezer, you can start buying meats, frozen vegetables and other freezer items in bulk or any time they are on sale. Bulk packaging tends to be less wasteful and save you more money. A good freezer will also help you to cook in bulk. You can save a lot of time and a lot of money on your energy bills by cooking a lot of food at one time.

Freeze the food in freezer bags or freezer safe containers and then take it out and defrost it when you want to eat it. You can even package foods in single-serve sizes for quick defrosting when you’re in a rush.

Use Small And Efficient Appliances

In general, the smaller the appliance, the less energy output. So, for example, a microwave or a toaster oven uses a lot less energy than using a large oven. It also puts out a lot less heat, which is helpful in the warm months. Some other advantages of small appliances include:

• They Are Easy To Clean
• They Heat Up Quickly And Efficiently
• They Are Capable Of Cooking Large Amounts

Don’t Waste Water

A lot of water is usually wasted in an average kitchen. If you’ve been drinking bottled water, try getting yourself a faucet filter or a filtered water pitcher. Also, get your plumber to install a low-flow faucet, or do it yourself, if you happen to be handy with that sort of thing. An energy-efficient and water-efficient dishwasher will complete your water-efficient kitchen and definitely lower your utility bills.

Save With Stew

Finally, you can increase the efficiency of your kitchen and reduce your energy spending by making mixed dishes, such as stews. Soups, casseroles, stir fry recipes and similar dishes can be cooked in one container. Many of them can even be cooked in crock pots or slow cookers. That will cut down on heat and energy spent during cooking. It will also cut down on dishes that need to be washed later on.

Don’t Waste it ~ Flip-It!

Another very important way to save green and having a green kitchen, is not to waste! Use everything we have already paid for. Americans throw out an average of 40% of the food we buy every MONTH! By using a system like Flip-It!, I have found we are using most (if not all) of the bottled food and condiments.

Am I capturing the estimated 40% on average that is wasted? No, but I do see a savings and I know every little bit counts when you are buying products by the once. Now if I can only get my wife to use Flip-It! on her ‘Beauty Products’…that will be a savings!

Specializes in writing about green living. Specifically on the topic of energy efficient kitchen appliances, and also conducts a thorough analysis on the latest kitchen gadgets including toaster oven reviews, green cleaning products and other cooking devices.

Running An Environmentally Friendly Kitchen

Buying an Older Home and Greening It

Buying an Older Home and Greening It

My wife and I recently ended a 5-month long home search. Our parameters were a bit tight. Between budget and location, we automatically discounted a number of homes. We have one car and wanted to keep it that way for sustainability reasons (financial and environmental).

We looked for a place close to the bus line that would take me to work in under an hour. We also preferred hardwood floors, natural light, and walkability. While we compromised in a few places, we got most of what we felt we needed.

Unfortunately, the house needed a bit of work. Since we like to cook, we wanted a bit more kitchen space. That necessitated additional cabinetry, counter space, and functioning appliances. While the home, built-in 1960, is not old compared to many of the ones we considered, the layout was not as functional as we needed it to be. Carpeting in the basement was old and seemed musty.

In an attempt to balance budget with environmentally conscious choices, we replaced the existing carpet with Shaw’s cradle to cradle certified (Silver certification) option. For the countertops, we vacillated between quartz, a more Eco-friendly route, and granite. Both were costly, which necessitated a home improvement loan for our renovation.

We are still in the process of figuring out this step and are leaning toward the quartz because of its green credentials. Furthermore, if we decide to install solar on our south-facing roof, an iffy proposition in Minnesota, a loan will be key to making that transaction a reality.

We often found that the third leg of the sustainability puzzle, the social component, was more difficult to fulfill. We had a family member make the cabinets out of birch, employing a small business owner instead of a prefab big box supplier.

Birch is a nice option for its durability and local availability, but having the cabinets custom-built was an added expense. We also looked into Wood from the Hood to build several of our furniture pieces. Since this is a long-term project, we are waiting on this step.

One change over the previous home we owned, is the use of low/no VOC (volatile organic compounds), think new car smells, or paints. With two little children, keeping contaminants to a minimum is essential. It is for this reason that we will replace the carpet. This is a difficult decision, since much of the carpet thrown away goes to the landfill. We have not torn out the old carpet yet, so making it available via Craigslist is an option, though it is not in the best shape.

In the course of the renovation, there have been numerous factors to consider. For instance, in the preparation of the kitchen, we did not demolish the existing cabinets, but removed what we could and put them in the downstairs storage space, saving materials and money, while adding storage. Undoubtedly we could have done more, but there are tradeoffs, especially given our tight budget and time frame.

Checkout this site for kitchen colors with dark cabinets design ideas

Declutter Your Home and Give Back to Your CommunityIf you’re like many Americans, you have a lot of stuff. Most of it is good and useful stuff, but too much all the same. But while we’d like to simplify and declutter our homes, we worry about wasting usable items by throwing them away. Holding a garage sale or selling items online takes planning and work, sometimes for little reward.

A great alternative is to give your extra possessions away. Why not go through your clutter and look for what can be donated to a charity or other organization? You’d be helping someone else — perhaps many someone elses — and you’d have more room in your home afterward. Read on for ideas about what you can donate to charity, in addition to the clothes and furniture usually seen at thrift stores.

What’s in the Garden?

Our outdoor spaces often hold clutter we don’t think about. Garden nooks and sheds, as well as the outdoor spaces beside and behind our homes can become the resting place for many seldom-used objects. For example, sometimes people hold on to boats they haven’t used recently because they’re not sure what to do with them. The good news is donating a boat is easy.

Many groups, such as youth camps and disaster relief services, can benefit from a watercraft or the money from its sale. The same applies to surfboards, boogie boards and other sporting equipment your family has outgrown or replaced with newer models.

Past garden projects may have left your family with half-used bags of potting soil, extra flower pots or decorative pavers. Consider giving these to a local school or community garden project.

What Clutters Your Home?

A great deal of the clutter in our homes comes from items with a one-time or short-term use. For example, take magazines and newspapers. Even if your community has a recycling program, you may have held on to older issues, intending to read them one day. If you find yourself with several years’ worth of periodicals, only keep six months’ worth.

Donate anything else to a local retirement home, hospital or school (if age-appropriate). Retirement homes and hospitals are often in need of reading material for residents. Schools can use magazines in art projects.

Other people end up with a stockpile of items that were once useful but are no longer. For example, you have dozens of children’s books — when your kids have left the nest. Maybe a dog bed your pooch shuns (preferring the couch, of course). Some families find themselves with a stockpile of workout equipment that didn’t suit their routines.

All of these things — books, pet accessories and sporting equipment — is welcomed by charities serving disadvantaged families or possibly the local library, animal shelter and community center.

What’s in the Attic?

American houses usually have ample storage space for life’s odds and ends. We have attics for family heirlooms and holiday decorations, basements and pantries for bulk-bought food and consumables, and garages for excess tools and project necessities. But we often use these spaces as out-of-sight, out-of-mind areas.

Once you put something in the attic (or other storage area), how long will it be until you use it again? Meanwhile, there are many families and organizations that would put your extra items to good use.

Home renovation projects can end up with a large amount of items going into storage. Your old light fixtures, moldings, furniture and shelving might be too good to throw away — but doesn’t have a new use in your household after you’ve remodeled.

However, a church or another program that build houses for families in need could use some of those supplies, especially in disaster areas. Your local community theater or high-school drama program might need them for building sets for upcoming performances.

Even things like paint can brighten another person’s life if you decide to donate it rather than storing or tossing it. Many communities have paint-swap programs. They vary depending on where you live, but usually these programs accept your partially used cans of interior or exterior paint. Part of a can may be all that is necessary for another family to touch up their bathroom or refinish their kids’ playhouse.

Bamboo Household Products Have Been Confirmed to be Safe, Healthy and Environmentally Friendly

Over the years, the popularity of products made with bamboo has increased. Now, everyone is buying and using bamboo household products and clothes. Whether you need to have a new bamboo floor installed, need to purchase new furniture or need new items for your kitchen, bathrooms or bedrooms, bamboo household products have become very popular over the years because bamboo is considered safe, healthy and more environmentally friendly than household products made with other materials.

Experts Have Confirmed That Bamboo Products Are Safe to Use

After conducting years of research on the topic, many experts have confirmed that buying household products made with bamboo is better than buying products made with other materials. This is because most household products are manufactured with harmful toxins and chemicals.

Unlike other materials, bamboo is grown organically without the need for harmful pesticides and toxins. In addition, bamboo grows faster than trees and can be manufactured and processed without harmful chemicals.

Bamboo Plants Are Grown Organically Without Pesticides and Toxic Chemicals

Unlike trees and other plants that need to be treated with harmful pesticides and toxic chemicals, bamboo plants are grown organically without the need for any chemical treatments. For people looking to keep their homes and apartments toxin and chemical free, bamboo products are the way to go because these plants are grown organically and without the need for pesticides and other toxins. As such, products made with bamboo tend to be much more safe, healthy and environmental friendly.

Bamboo Plants Grow Faster Than Trees

Since bamboo plants grow faster than trees, many people are buying bamboo products instead of products made with trees. By purchasing bamboo products, people are actually helping the environment. Unlike trees that take years to grow, bamboo plants grow fast and thrive in all different types of environment. This why so many green companies have started manufacturing products that are made with bamboo.

Bamboo Plant Products Are Manufactured Without Harmful Chemicals

In addition to saving our environment, bamboo plant products are also manufactured in an eco-friendly manner that promotes healthy living. Products made with bamboo are much more healthy because harmful chemicals are not used during the manufacturing process. Unlike trees that are treated and then processed with harmful chemicals, bamboo plants are converted into different materials by pressing and extracting fibers naturally from bamboo plants.

Materials Made With Bamboo Are Hypoallergenic and Can be Used by Most People

Since bamboo products are manufactured without all the chemicals that most products are manufactured with, most bamboo products are hypoallergenic and allergen-free. People searching for hypoallergenic clothes and products for their homes, choose products made with bamboo because most people are not allergic to products and clothes made with bamboo plants. In addition to saving the environment and reducing the amount of toxins in a home, bamboo products are helping people stay allergy-free and eliminate allergens from their home.

In addition to being hypoallergenic, materials and clothes made with bamboo are also recommended by experts because bamboo is so much more versatile than other types of materials. In addition to offering greater insulation during the winter months, materials made with bamboo help people stay cooler and more comfortable throughout the day.

Additionally, clothes made with bamboo also have a built-in UV protection that other materials do not offer. With so many people concerned about harmful UV rays from the sun, many people are searching for materials that help keep them and their families safe from the harmful effects of the sun.

By taking the time to learn more about bamboo household products, many people are discovering that products and clothing made with bamboo are not only healthy and safe to use, products made with bamboo are also helping improve our environment.

To meet the high demand for green, healthy and safe products made with bamboo, many manufacturers have started manufacturing a wide range of household products manufactured with bamboo that is not only good for the environment, but also safe and healthy to use.

recycling-used-glass-bottles-in-the-homeRecycling Used Glass Bottles In The Home

Glass bottles are a household favorite, storing all manner of fluids. Wine, water, milk and even vinegar are all commonly stored in glass containers. In any given kitchen, glass will be one of the most abundant materials for storing foods, sauces and drinks.

Fortunately, glass can be recycled with relative ease, and collections nationwide are ensuring that the environmental impact of disposal is less severe. Even without sorting your used glass bottles for recycling, there are ways to recycle your own bottles to help to conserve the environment.

Recycling glass bottles has a number of advantages. Firstly, the more glass that is recycled, the less new glass that will need to be manufactured. The processes of recycling glass are less environmentally taxing than those involved in manufacture. Recycling ensures the same glass can be used time and time again.

For those who want to get creative in the home, repurposing glass bottles can help you save on landfill waste, important for protecting the planet for future generations. There are countless good ideas for repurposing glass bottles in and around the home.

recycling used glass bottlesWine bottles benefit from their attractive shape, and different colors or labels can make them interesting display pieces. Perhaps the most common repurposing of wine bottles is as a candle holder. The diameter of the opening of the bottle fits standard candlesticks snugly.

For an atmospheric candlestick holder that helps set the tone for a relaxing evening, this simple idea works surprisingly well. This is just one example of how essentially waste glassware can be used creatively in the home, helping to spare the environmental impact of its disposal while saving you money on household accessories.

Broader bottles and jars are commonplace in most homes, storing everything from sauces to coffee. Refresh glass containers by using them to host pot plants around the home. This looks great in the kitchen, and is a low-cost way of sourcing stylish containers for your planting.

It is even feasible to make wrap-around labels for your jar plant pots, to ensure they look as neat as possible in your home. From the jaws of the recycling bin, this can help breathe new life into old unwanted glass containers, and at no cost.

Taking Your Home in a Green Direction

When you talk about going green and taking your household in that green direction, a lot of people tend to shy away from the very notion. Some people cite expenses as being the primary concern while others simply think it’s too hard – and then you have people who are just plain afraid of change. The fact of the matter, however, is that you can go green in your home and your daily life and it really doesn’t require some kind of massive paradigm shift in thought.

Below are just a few ways you can go green in the home without completely overhauling your way of life:

Change energy providers. Energy Providers Texas and many other services across the country have made the switch and get their energy from renewable sources. These include hydropower, wind power and, of course, solar power. Getting your energy from a service like this is a great way to go green without drastically altering your daily routine and you could even save money.

Recycle. You can establish a secondary receptacle to handle all recyclable materials and, by doing this, you will help cut back on the production of waste in your home. If your neighborhood doesn’t have a recycling program, see if there is a local dump that handles these materials. One day out of your month taking a trip to the dump isn’t such a big deal.

Turn out those lights. This is an easy one to remember but difficult to execute – especially with children in the house. However, if you want to cut back on energy waste, you have to turn off the lights in rooms you aren’t using. Start early with your children and make sure they understand this rule. If you can’t get through to your children, there are other solutions like timer switches and motion detectors.

Fix that leaky faucet. A drippy faucet probably doesn’t seem like such a big deal but, depending on the rate, you could be wasting several hundred gallons of water a year in addition to what you use cooking, bathing and flushing the toilet. That’s a lot of wasted water and a lot of wasted money.

Unplug unnecessary electronics. A lot of current generation gaming consoles are notorious energy hogs because they not only draw tremendous amounts of energy while in use, but while they are offline, as well. As long as a gaming console is plugged in, it can draw power so make sure you unplug them when they are not in use and tell your children to do the same.

If you follow these tips, you will go far in not just saving the environment and going green, but saving some green, as well.

The Green To Be Seen

Today’s average homeowner knows about the benefits of going green or incorporating green principles into the home, but they aren’t moved enough to turn this knowledge into policy on the domestic front. Going green at home is not that difficult but in the initial stages it does require a few minutes of extra though, some sacrifice and a bit of effort.

These all become second nature once they are adhered too but let’s face it, humans are averse to change. Once we are set in our ways, we find it very difficult and sometimes scary to break free of these habits. Especially where our homes are concerned, we enjoy the constancy, even when we could do better and do better for ourselves, we are very slow to implementing productive changes for the fear of sacrificing comfort.

Why is it important to begin going green at home? Let’s look at it from a more global or rather, a more holistic standpoint.

This Summer will go down as one of the hottest in history – so hot that in some places the heat is having drastic effects on actual infrastructure. To deny that global warming is real and is occurring is a folly undertaking of epic proportions and while we are in no way trying to incite panic, we do however want to inspire a more thoughtful and meaningful way of living, not just for ourselves but for our children who will succeed us.

The biggest challenge when it comes to seeing green at home is that people don’t want to move away from their comfort zones. If just one person makes that step and makes that effort, it will be a lot easier to engender on the whole home front. There are simple things that can be done at individual level to make your home green. Putting recycling bins in the kitchen for everyone to use and adhere to is a great start.

Separate by glass, paper, plastic and you’ll soon be underway to helping your environment. Why not get a water filter for your kitchen faucet instead of buying bottled water all the time? Those bottles don’t disappear and even though some of them are recyclable, that’s an expulsion of energy that could be better utilized.

Don’t run your dishwasher on a small or too medium cycle as it takes the same amount of energy to build up the heat and do the work as a large cycle. As far as washing and cleaning are concerned, there are several effective, natural and affordable home-made solutions you can do yourself to create green household cleaning products.

Let’s look at our furniture and fixture choices – using natural and non-synthetic bedding and interior decorations is very key in keeping the home on the green team. You can find things of this nature!

There are some people who take showers AND baths every single day – this is so wasteful!! Why not alternate between having a quick brisk shower daily and relaxing in a hot or cool bath once a week or once every two weeks? The amount of water you’ll be saving will show up in your hydro bill next month!

Cool Roofs

Cool roofs fall into one of three categories: roofs made from inherently cool roofing materials, roofs made of materials that have been coated with a solar reflective coating, or green planted roofs. While green roofs are in many ways the best, they are also the most difficult to construct and maintain. Inherently cool roofs like vinyl are relatively easy to install, while the easiest and in this respect the best cool roof is a coated roof.

Types of Cool Roofs

Types of Cool Roofs
Types of Cool Roofs

Inherently cool roofs

White vinyl roofs, which are inherently reflective, achieve some of the highest reflectance and emittance measurements of which roofing materials are capable. A roof made of thermoplastic white vinyl, for example, can reflect 80 percent or more of the sun’s rays and emit at least 70% of the solar radiation that the building absorbs.

An asphalt roof only reflects between 6 and 26% of solar radiation, resulting in greater heat transfer to the building interior and greater demand for air conditioning.

Coated roofs

An existing (or new) roof can be made reflective by applying a solar reflective coating to its surface. The reflectivity and emissivity ratings for over 1000 reflective roof products can be found in the CRRC (Cool Roofs Rating Council) website.

Green roofs

Green roofs provide a thermal mass layer which helps reducing the flow of heat into a building. The solar reflectance of green roofs varies depending on the plant types (generally 0.3-0.5). Because of the lower solar reflectance, green roofs reflect less sunlight and absorb more solar heat than white roofs. The absorbed heat in the green roofs is trapped by the greenhouse effect and then cooled by evapotranspiration.

The Benefits of Cool Roofs

The Benefits of Cool Roofs
The Benefits of Cool Roofs

Cool roofs offer energy savings and global warming mitigation. In its simplest essence, Cool roofs offer high solar reflectance. This is achieved primarily by reflecting the visible, infrared and ultraviolet wavelengths of the sun, which in turn reduces heat transfer to the building.

Cool roofs are also are high in thermal emittance (the ability to radiate absorbed, or non-reflected solar energy).  Cool roofs can reportedly save up to 15% off the annual air-conditioning energy use in a single-story building.

Most of the sunlight that falls on a white roof much of is reflected and passes back into space. But when sunlight falls on a dark roof most of it is absorbed and converted into much longer wavelengths which we know as heat.

The atmosphere is transparent to sunlight but opaque to heat, which is why white roofs help cool the planet and dark roofs warm the planet. Most of the roofs in the world (including over 90% of the roofs in the United States) are dark-colored.

In the heat of the full sun, the surface of a black roof can increase in temperature as much as 50 °C (126 °F), reaching temperatures of 70 to 90 °C (158 to 194 °F). White surfaces reflect more than half of the radiation that reaches them, while black surfaces absorb almost all.

A 1,000-square-foot (93 m2) white roof will offset 10 tons of carbon dioxide over its 20 year lifetime. The potential reduction is GHGs is very significant. If all urban, flat roofs in warm climates were whitened, the resulting 10% increase in global reflectivity would offset the warming effect of 24 Gigatonnes of greenhouse gas emissions, or equivalent to taking 300 million cars off the road for 20 years.

A 2012 study by researchers at Concordia University estimated that worldwide deployment of cool roofs and pavements in cities would generate a global cooling effect equivalent to offsetting up to 150 Gigatonnes of carbon dioxide emissions – enough to take every car in the world off the road for 50 years.

Cool roofs have a wide range of benefits including:

  • Improved energy efficiency
  • Reduced greenhouse gas emissions
  • Reduction in urban heat island effect and smog
  • Improved occupant comfort (Less heat)
  • Reduced cooling energy load
  • Save peak electricity demand costs if you have time-of-use metering.
  • Extended roof life service life and help
  • Reduce roofing waste added to landfills.
  • Comply with codes and green building programs (like Title 24 Energy Efficiency Building Standards)

Reduced building heat-gain, as a white or reflective roof typically increases only 5–14 °C (10–25 °F) above ambient temperature during the day. Research shows that conventional (black) roof membranes degrade from the sun adversely impacting durability.

High temperatures and large temperature variations are also detrimental to the longevity of roof membranes. Reducing the extremes of temperature change will reduce the incidence of damage to membrane systems. Covering membranes with materials that reflect ultraviolet and infrared radiation will reduce damage caused by u/v and heat degradation.

White or white coated roofing membranes, or white gravel are best but Cool roofs can come in many colors, even some dark colors are EnergyStar rated, but white is the most reflective.

One contested study by researchers at Stanford University suggested that although reflective roofs decrease temperatures in buildings and mitigate the urban heat island effect, they may actually increase global temperature.

However, according to a 2008 case study in the Province of Almeria, Southern Spain, cool roofs reduced the ambient temperature by 1.6ºC over a period of 20 years compared to surrounding regions.

Green Building Materials

The construction industry was once chided for its contribution to environmental degradation but has turned things around and is now among the leaders in the green movement. Through the dedicated research and study of individuals such as those with a masters degree in civil engineering, the range of green building materials available in the market is quite staggering.

More and more consumers are opting to use these types of green building materials to build their new homes. These materials either come from renewable resources or are recycled from waste. They are instrumental in reducing CO2 emissions and lowering energy consumption. What’s more, these are free from toxic chemicals and demonstrate high quality.

Fiber-Reinforced Composite

FRC is made from waste materials including plastics, rice husks, and saw dust. Some community recycling endeavors supply the ingredients for FRC creation. These are blended together in a highly technical manner to come up with an extremely durable composite. The resulting FRC mimics many properties of wood but it is so much stronger than its natural counterpart.

In addition, it can be recycled as much as 20 times for construction purposes. The material is commonly used for sidings, moldings, railings, furniture, trimmings, fencing and cladding. Its resistant to water makes it ideal for various outdoor applications as well.

Bamboo as Green Building Materials

Bamboo is an incredible plant with plenty of desirable properties. It can grow very quickly compared to other trees so sustainability is not an issue. The material is tough and water-resistant so it can last for many years. Bamboo is now being used in residential construction for a variety of applications, notably as kitchen flooring.

It can take the foot traffic and occasional spills in stride. The panels are very beautiful and should fit any modern home. They can be used in other parts of the house as well like the living room and bedrooms. There is also plenty of bamboo furniture of different styles.

Recycled Steel

The steel industry is heavily into recycling as it is has been found that the process is much cheaper than mining and refining new ores. Energy expenditure is also reduced thanks to this practice. The vast majority of old structural steel from buildings goes to recycling plants for processing so that they can be reused in new constructions.

Homeowners need not worry about their stability as steel does not lose its inherent physical properties during the conversion into new beams. It is the most widely recycled material with scraps coming from cars, machinery, reinforcing bars, engine blocks, pipes, appliances and more.

Metal Cladding is a method that very popular around the world as an alternative to gluing and welding different metals together

Paper Insulation

Homes, schools and offices consume tons of paper every year. Despite the promise of a paperless society due to the digital revolution, we are still dependent on this cheap and reliable material to do all sorts of tasks. Engineers have thought of a way to recycle paper waste and reduce toxic building materials at the same time.

Paper insulation is created mostly out of cardboard boxes and old newspapers. It can be used as a green alternative to traditional foams. It has excellent insulating properties which contribute to energy efficiency and it is insect resistant so there is no need to fear an infestation. Non-toxic treatments make it fire-retardant.

Sustainable Concrete

Modern construction uses a lot of concrete. Massive efforts have been exerted to try to tame this material and make it green through sustainability. To this end, a number of concrete manufacturers have begun to add recycled materials to their products including wood chips, steel slag, and crushed glass.

The resulting material is not that different from typical concrete but the addition of waste materials slightly reduces carbon dioxide emissions. This is a big step forward for concrete manufacturing which is known to generate as much as a tenth of global carbon dioxide emissions.

Save Energy with Vinyl Shutters and Eco-friendly Blinds

It is true! Save Energy with Vinyl Shutters and Eco-friendly Blinds can really help make your home or workplace more eco-friendly. Creating a green home is no-longer a trend or something that only environmentalists would consider doing. It is now mainstream and ordinary people all across America have started realizing there are major advantages in making your home more sustainable and eco-friendly.

Some people are actively and systematically transforming their home, others simply base their purchasing decisions increasingly on green credentials. There are many reasons to this but I would say the primary factors to are efficiency, economy and the psychological  feeling of doing something important that really makes a difference in a larger sense but also in a smaller and more personal perspective. Good for you on a personal level, good for the community, good for the country and good for the planet.

Obviously for low- and mid-income earners the major driver would logically be predominately economical while for high-income earners it would more be based on psychological factors. Regardless, some of the main economical factors are fairly obvious and well-known, such as efficiency, reduced operating costs and tax benefits.

Steps you can take in achieving this include common things like installing solar-power and making your home more energy-efficient. However, one of the least known actions in making your home more eco-friendly is by installing window blinds throughout your home. Why?

Because it reduces your dependency on energy and petroleum-based products (without sacrificing style). It also protects your furnishings from sun-damage and can potentially lower your utility bills. A slightly forgotten action to take but very efficient and actually fairly easy.

What is Vinyl?

Vinyl is an organic compound made into a man-made, or synthetic material. It was first produced in 1920 as a way to provide consumers with durable and affordable ways to make their lives easier. It is known for heat and moisture resistant properties that make it a top choice in home construction.

This type of plastic is also particularly useful for window accessories, which often face the brunt of extreme weather. Furthermore, vinyl is recyclable and is partially made from renewable resources.

Application on Shutters:

In the past, the only shutters you could obtain were wooden versions. Although they are aesthetically appealing, wood shutters don’t hold up well. Water damage from rain causes such shutters to dry-rot, and sun exposure can make them crack over time. Vinyl shutters are a better option.

The shutters are made out of materials that will deflect weathering. When taken care of properly, nothing will be able to penetrate the vinyl shutters, including ultraviolet (UV) rays. This is far more effective than painting UV-protectant paints onto wood shutters.

Save Energy with Vinyl Shutters and Eco-friendly Blinds

Energy Saving Benefits:

While vinyl is extremely durable, perhaps the best benefits are the energy-saving ones. Vinyl naturally prevents excess heat from penetrating the surface. This means that when you use vinyl shutters, excess heat won’t have the opportunity to penetrate through the shutters and ultimately through the windows.

As a result, your air conditioner will run less during the hot summer months, saving both the environment and your energy bills. At the same time, vinyl shutters also have energy-saving benefits during cold winter months. Vinyl has the propensity to control interior temperatures.

This means that if you run heat or a fireplace during the winter, the vinyl shutters will help control the warmth in your home. You will quickly notice that your heater runs less, which greatly saves the environment from excess heating use. Plus, you will also save money on astronomical heating bills.

Find Your Perfect Shutters:

Vinyl shutters are plentiful on the market, but it is important to deal with a company that has the widest selection to fit your needs, as well as one that has a reputation for fast and reliable service. These types of shutters are highly versatile and they can be used on the outside of any room. Examples include living rooms, bedrooms, libraries, kitchens and bathrooms.

Is your one-stop shop for quality exterior shutters that will help you save the environment, as well as your bank account. Check out the wide range of selection and start reaping the benefits today.

Reduce Your Heating Oil Costs This Winter
Can Geothermal Heating and Cooling Systems Help Beat the Heat (and Cold)?
Affordable Environmentally Friendly Central Heating a Reality?

3 Easy Ways to Go Green and Save Money in Your Home3 Easy Ways to Go Green and Save Money in Your Home

Green living is more than just a trend; it’s an important lifestyle to adopt to keep our planet healthy. Many people think that going green at home means giving up things that they’re accustomed to, like long showers and a lighted hallway.

Fortunately, it’s easy to go green in your home without a big investment and without dramatically altering your lifestyle. New homes are popping up all around the country that are developed to be green, and there may even be a green master planned community in the area you want to live in.

In fact, going green will probably save you money, and you’ll feel better knowing you’re doing your part to make the planet a better place. Small steps can have big impacts, so check out this list of ways you can go green in your home, and start living a greener lifestyle today.

Watch Your Water

Many cities across the United States are experiencing water shortages, meaning water is in high demand and expensive. Reducing your water use in your home will mean you’re playing an important role in helping conserve water, and you’ll be saving some serious cash too. It’s easy to conserve water. Only run your washing machine when you have a full load, and consider wearing pants and jackets more than once before washing them.

Turning the water off when you brush your teeth saves an estimated 4.5 gallons of water, meaning if you brush your teeth twice a day you’ll be saving 3,276 gallons of water a year! If you want to make a big change, install a low flow toilet in your home. Low flow toilets use 1.6 gallons per flush, which is less than half of what a regular toilet does.

Switch Your Light Bulbs

One of the easiest ways to go green that won’t affect your lifestyle at all is by switching out your old-fashioned light bulbs for energy-efficient bulbs. Compact fluorescent light bulbs use 66% less energy than incandescent light bulbs, and last ten times longer.

The Light Bulb Finder app for your smartphone makes it easy for you to figure out what kind of bulbs will work well for your home, as you can simply input what kind of lamps you have and the app will tell you where to get new bulbs (including how much you’ll save per year by switching). You won’t notice a single difference in your home by switching light bulbs, but you will definitely notice a difference in your lowered electricity bill.

Garden Green

If you garden, there are easy ways to garden that make your vegetables taste healthier while making the earth feel healthier. One of those ways is to abandon synthetic fertilizers for good old-fashioned compost. Having a compost bin in your yard will give you perfect compost that provides your plants with the nutrients they need without using nasty synthetic fertilizers. Compost will also minimize weeds, and can even help keep away pests.

Going Green Technologies In Pregnancy and Childbirth
Sunny Scenes of Green: How to Take an Eco-Friendly Holiday
6 Ways to Go Green and Save Energy cut your energy consumption
What does Going Green mean?

Reduce Your Household Bills By Going Green

Green thermostat
Source: Eco-Office Gals

Times are tough and money is tight for a lot of us. Here are a few tips you can easily implement to reduce your household bills whilst you save energy.

Go Paperless
Companies such as phone/energy providers, credit cards and catalogs have all been known to charge a little per month for printing and sending paper bills. It might take a while to check everything and switch, but all those little bits add up, so with a bit of a time investment you could save a significant amount – and a lot of paper that would have otherwise been wasted.

Cheap Insulation
If you don’t have double glazing, investing in weather stripping or even drought excluders to fill any cracks around windows and doors is a cheap and effective solution, as is installing heavy curtains or Roman Blinds to keep the heat in after dark. Likewise, conservatory blinds can keep heat in a conservatory in the winter months, and have the added bonus of keeping it shady and cool in the summer.

Those of you without loft insulation should consider placing a thick blanket over the loft hatch before closing it, making sure it overlaps the edges. This will create a thick seal which should prevent heat from escaping into the loft and out through the roof, and less lost heat means lower energy bills!

Wasting Water?
The simplest way to save water is to put an unused brick in your toilet cistern. You’ll use half a gallon less per flush, which is great if you’re on a water meter. If you don’t have a spare brick lying around, lots of water providers will give you a “water saver” for free which serves the same purpose, and if they don’t, fill an unused plastic bottle with sand or gravel, and it’ll do the job.

Turn Down The Boiler
We all know that keeping the heating in our homes low can go a long way to saving both energy and money, but did you know that doing the same with the hot-water thermostat on your boiler can do the same? Having the hot water temperature anywhere above 140F is a waste of energy as your boiler has to work harder to keep it hot, and turning it down means your baths and showers will be a far more pleasant temperature.