10 Tips to Keep Your Valentine’s Day Green

Romance is in the air as Valentine’s Day is fast approaching. But rather than planning on grabbing a bouquet of flowers at the check stand of your grocery store, try to keep your romance eco-friendly.

Here are 10 ideas to make your Valentine’s Day green!

  1. Plan a fun outing, like a trip to a new museum, art show, concert, etc.
  2. Cook a special dinner rather than going out. food-vegetables-meal-kitchen
  3. Give a handmade gift like this DIY wine rack.Wine_on_the_Wall
  1. Paint a picture.
  2. Write a poem.writing-923882_960_720
  3. Plan a picnic in the park if the weather is cooperative.Platbos_Reserve_Oak_Tree_Picnic
  1. Frame a favorite photo ot the two of you together.
  2. Skip the bouquet of flowers and give a potted plant that your loved one can enjoy longer and even plant in the garden.9090127853_2dcf4d902f_o
  1. Buy a unique gift from a local artisan or vintage store.Distressed_finish_vintage_dresser
  2. Give your full attention to your loved one(s) by making it a device-free night in with no interruptions.

However you spend Valentine’s, be sure to make it a memorable experience!

Eco-Conscious New Year’s Resolutions

2016 is almost here, and with the New Year come New Year’s resolutions!  Many people opt for popular resolutions like losing weight or traveling more. But what if this year you tried something a little different and tried to incorporate some eco-conscious resolutions?

Here are 15 resolutions to help get you started on becoming more eco-conscious:

  1. Implement a recycling system, or ensure that your current system is the best it can be
  2. Stop buying water bottles and use a reusable bottle bottles-774466_960_720
  3. Add some indoor plants for better air qualitySpider_Plant_Blades
  4. Unplug unused appliances and turn off unused lights
  5. Make your home more efficient by switching out old bulbs for longer-lasting energy-efficient light bulbs, or install a new digital thermostat for more accuracy and to better regulate the temperature while using less energy4473348751_55a915d276_o
  6. Go Paperless – stop paper bills
  7. Pay bills online
  8. Lower water temperature to conserve energy
  9. Repair, restore, and reuse items, when possible
  10. Use rechargeable batteriesbattery-1071317_960_720
  11. Adjust your thermostat one degree lower in the winter and one degree higher in the summer to help conserve energy15114147602_fb7e282435_o
  12. Buy local produce to reduce your carbon footprintFarmers_Market_and_Occupy_Eugene
  13. Take shorter showers
  14. Try to include a vegetarian meal in your weekly menu6933047123_ddefeb7037_o
  15. Enjoy the outdoors

This is only a short list of ideas. However, there are hundreds of ways we can make our lives more eco-conscious.

May your 2016 be a happy and healthy year!

Go Green for the Holidays: Eco-friendly Holiday Decorations

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It’s time to deck the halls for the holiday season. It’s time for sparkly lights, twinkly candles, and beautiful baubles that transform your home into a cheery, cozy holiday wonderland. This year, I am looking for ways to reduce my environmental footprint. Here are a few fun ways to go green when decorating this season.

LED Lights and Candles

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LED lights utilize a lot less electricity than incandescent lights. They are also known to last longer than traditional lights.

LED candles provide beautiful, soft light without the potential fire danger or messy burning of wax candles. They are available in all shapes, sizes, and colors. There are even models that flicker to replicate traditional candles.

Christmas Tree Alternatives

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There are many green alternatives to cutting down a tree for your home. Though you can buy an artificial tree that could be reused each year, it is not the greenest option because of the materials used and the manufacturing process to make it. If you are not opposed to a smaller tree, a potted rosemary tree is a good option. Rosemary has a delightful aroma similar to pine, and you can plant the tree after Christmas. You can also make a corrugated cardboard tree or felt tree, or buy a recycled aluminum tree.

DIY Hanukkah Gelt Tree and Garland

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You can easily make your own gelt tree and garland this holiday. I found a really cute DIY gelt tree on the blog “Yesterday on Tuesday.” You can also easily make a beautiful garland for your mantle or banister by attaching layers of gelt to a pretty piece of yarn or gold string.

 Bake Your Own Ornaments

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One of my favorite family holiday traditions is baking. I am really excited to try something a little different this year by baking some cookie ornaments. You can easily find cookie ornament recipes online. You make them with a non-edible salt dough and food coloring, or applesauce and cinnamon. My favorite recipe is for non-edible gingerbread cookies that I found on the Allrecipes website. You can decorate them with glitter, too, to make them look like they have colored sugar on them.

Wintry Window Décor

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Make a pretty vintage collage in your front window with doilies of different sizes and shapes. You can also get the whole family in on the fun and cut out a variety of snowflakes to hang in your window, from your ceiling, or in a garland.

Now take these eco-friendly ideas and have fun and decorate for a greener holiday season!

 

 

 

Give a Green Gift for the Holidays

During the holidays shopping for gifts can be fun, but also a bit overwhelming at times. What do you buy for your picky Aunt Bea or the wealthy relative who already has so much? How about your young nephew whose closet is already stuffed to the brim with games, stuffed animals, and other toys?

In recent years, there has been a trend in gift-giving that supports a more minimalist approach by celebrating gifts that are earth-friendly. There are many amazing gifts that do not add to our environmental footprint.

 

Give An Experience

Create lasting memories with your loved ones by giving them tickets to a concert, play, or sporting event, signing them up for a cooking or craft class, or paying their registration for a race or membership to a club. You could also give them a ski pass or movie tickets. This type of gift is my favorite, because whether I give the gift or receive the gift, I get to spend time having fun and building bonds with my loved ones.

Donate

This is probably the easiest green gift idea. You can make a donation in the name of the recipient to his or her favorite charity, or you can go a step further and donate to an organization that has conservation as its main goal. Some of these earth-friendly organizations include The World Wildlife Federation, The National Wildlife Federation, The Nature Conservancy, and The Sierra Club.

Eco-Friendly Tech Gifts

For all those techies on your list, there are gifts that help conserve energy and the environment. You can stuff their stockings with wooden headphones made and packaged with recycled materials, solar gadget chargers, or a cell-phone charger that shuts off its energy-sucking capabilities once your phone is fully charged.

My all-time favorite eco-friendly tech gift is an e-reader. A book is a great gift for all age groups. An e-reader will allow the recipient to collect an endless library without amassing a huge footprint. There are also household tech gifts like smart light switches and energy-saving thermostats that can lessen energy use and make great eco-friendly gifts.

Do It Yourself

Another recent trend in gift-giving is DIY. You can whip together a batch of your favorite treat, package it in a recycled box or re-gifted vessel, and attach the recipe. You can also crochet a scarf, make a digital photo book or any other photo gift, or even write a personal letter or memory book. The gift-giving options are endless with DIY.

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Plants and Flowers

A gift back to the Earth is probably the greenest gift idea of all. Plant a tree in the recipient’s name, give an avid gardener some gardening tools made with recycled materials, or gift someone with seedlings, an herb garden, or a terrarium.

Clearing Out

In the months leading up to the holidays, I also like to clear out my home to make room for holiday gifts. To keep from filling my local landfill with all of my discarded items, I sell or donate as much as possible. Selling items online is a great way to earn some extra holiday cash. Donating items to your local thrift store, church, or shelter is a great way to benefit those in your community, too.

Lastly, you can always re-gift items.  I like to follow a few guidelines when doing this:

  1. The item is in new (or excellent and unused) condition.
  2. The item is something the recipient would like or could use.
  3. You received it within the last six months.
  4. The recipient would not be able to tell that it is a re-gift.

Now that you have some good green holiday gift ideas, check off that list!

FTC Cracks Down on Labeling

One of the luxuries of being an American consumer is that we have many choices. Should I choose a 4-door sedan or an SUV, a wool sweater or a cotton sweater, organic food or non-organic food? Information displayed on products and in advertising can affect the decisions we make as consumers. Many consumers trust that the information provided on the labels of products they purchase is correct, but how can we know for sure?

The FTC recently mailed letters to five certifiers and 32 businesses warning them that the certification seals displayed on their products that claim the products are “green” or “eco-friendly” did not provide consumers with enough information and do not meet the FTC’s environmental marketing guidelines.   We, as consumers, deserve to know what we are buying. We deserve to be provided with correct and thorough information on product labels.

The main concern is that the companies mentioned above are displaying “green” certification seals without providing information about how the product is “green” or “eco-friendly.” These graphics and seals are easy to obtain.   I quickly found the logo above by using a popular search engine. According to the online press release on the FTC website, Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, explained, “…if the seals’ claims are broader than the products’ benefits, they can deceive people…”

The FTC publishes “Green Guides” that help to explain how to better communicate a product’s “green” attributes. Click on the link below for more information and to see a comparative example between a good seal display and a bad seal display.

https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/press-releases/2015/09/ftc-sends-warning-letters-about-green-certification-seals

Reeducate/Recycle: What is Truly Recyclable?

In an August 21, 2015 Wired Magazine article, “Listen Up America: You Need to Learn How to Recycle. Again.”, author Nick Stockton wrote that though a majority of Americans recycle, the recycling industry is hurting. He explained that pricing for second-hand commodities is down, and that the cost of sorting through too many “non-recyclables” that get thrown into the bin by overenthusiastic people has risen. Certain things are just not recyclable. Just because a product has metal or plastic parts doesn’t mean it is recyclable. Even if a product is made entirely of plastic, it doesn’t mean that that specific plastic is recyclable, or that your local recycling center is accepting it.

The problem is not that people are lazy, but that they are throwing anything and everything into their recycle bins, hoping that maybe the broken parts of their mirror and their food-soiled pizza boxes will magically turn into new products. The article quotes Susan Robinson, director of public affairs for Waste Management: “The single biggest problem material at recycling facilities are plastic bags.” Plastic bags get caught up in the sorting equipment and can slow or completely cease sorting machinery for hours.

So let’s reeducate ourselves. What can we recycle? What items should never be put into our recycle bins?

Aluminum and Steel Products

Aluminum and steel cans, aluminum foil, and aluminum bakeware are all recyclable. According to Waste Management’s website, “Americans only recycle 49% of the aluminum cans they use.” The website also stated that “Recycling steel and tin cans saves 74% of the energy used to produce them.” If we are saving that much energy, we should definitely make an effort to recycle all the cans we use. Energy-saving tip: Make sure to rinse off any food residue from recyclable products before throwing them into the bin. Many recycling centers will not accept products with food residue. Clean products also increase efficiency at the sorting facilities.

Newspaper, Magazines, and Other Paper Products

Newspaper, magazines, catalogs, and magazine-type ads (like grocery inserts) are easily recycled and accepted at most recycling centers. Items that are usually, but not always, accepted are corrugated cardboard, paper, and paperboard. Cereal boxes and non-styrofoam egg cartons are good to recycle. Used pizza boxes and milk cartons are not accepted because of oils and food residue that are not easily removed. Drink boxes lined with wax are also not recyclable.

Plastics

Know your plastics. Non-recyclable plastic products are one of the biggest problems for recycling centers and sorting facilities. Unless the plastic has a three-arrow recycle symbol on the bottom, it is not recyclable. Additionally, just because the product has a recycle symbol on the bottom doesn’t mean that your local facility accepts it. If your recycling center accepts plastics (not all do), they most likely accept products labeled PETE 1 and HDPE 2. Some centers accept other types of plastics, but always contact your local center for a list of the products they accept.

Glass

Glass is another product that is not always automatically accepted at recycling centers, because they need to have specific equipment to process it. If your local center accepts glass, make sure to ask that they specify if they accept colored glass, and if so, which colors.

Mirrors, Pyrex, light bulbs, and ceramics are never recyclable. Broken pieces of these products pose a danger to sorting-facility employees.

The best thing to keep in mind when deciding what to throw into your recycle bin is whether the product in question would be easily processed into a raw material or if it is just a part of another product that would have to be disassembled first (i.e., garden hose, shovel, etc.). Recycle centers are processing raw materials into raw materials to sell. In order to do business efficiently, they need consumers to be educated to save time and reduce the cost of processing.

Meet the OrganicPedic™ Terrene

Terrene

The OrganicPedic Earth™ Terrene is an ultra-plush, 12” sculpted-surface pillow-top mattress made with 100% natural and GOLS-certified organic natural rubber latex. It starts with a 3” core of medium, supportive latex.  The core is joined with two inches of soft latex on the top and bottom and covered in our signature certified organic cotton and wool quilting. A removable two-sided pillow top (3 1/2” deep)—also made of 100% natural rubber latex—is then placed on the mattress. The pillow top is made with two surface options: our exclusive sculpted surface on one side, and a flat surface on the other. This provides sleepers with maximum comfort and flexibility. The pillow top is fully covered with our signature certified organic cotton-and-wool quilting, and is attached to the mattress using our exclusive “button-down” process.

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Features and Benefits

  • Sculpted surface offers pressure-point relief and increases air circulation
  • Button-down pillow top can be used on either side
  • Motion-absorbing construction
  • Naturally mold-, mildew-, and dust-mite resistant

Specifications

  • Firmness: Ultra-Plush
  • Depth: Approximately 12”
  • Core: 100%-Natural & Certified Organic Rubber Latex
  • Cover: Certified Organic Wool & Certified Organic Cotton
  • Foundation: Wood Slat Padded with Sanitized Organic Cotton
  • Sizes: Twin – King
  • Warranty: 20-Year Limited Warranty
  • *All dimensions are subject to a slight variance due to being custom made.

MSRP (mattress only): twin $4,299 • full $5,799 • queen $6,799 • king $8,599

Foundation sold separately.

For more information on the OrganicPedic™ Earth Collection or OrganicPedic™ products, click HERE.