Green Tip: Green Wedding Ideas

Your wedding is one of the most important days of your life, but your special day can also result in harm to the environment. It has been calculated that the average wedding can result in up to over 15 tons of CO2 that it also causes substantial environmental damage.

Luckily, if you do not have the time or know how, there are many wedding planners that specialize in eco-friendly weddings. However, there are many easy steps that the do-it-yourselfer can do to minimize waste on their special day.InvitationsOne way to cut down on paper usage, you can send e-cards or emails instead of sending out card invite. This would allow you to limit paper invites to those without computer access. For those paper invites, be sure to use recycled paper.

Flowers

The flower arrangements can be one of the most expensive and wasteful portions of the wedding. Try to get double use of the flowers by arranging to use the same flowers for the wedding and reception. The flowers could have a second life by drying and pressing the flower petals for use as handmade thank-you notes or for placement in your wedding memory book or photo albums.

After the wedding, you could dry and press the flower petals and use them to make handmade thank you cards for your guests and/or incorporate the petals into your wedding scrapbook or photo album. Also plan to have the leftover flowers sent to a hospital or a nursing home. .

Food

There are nearly always leftover food items at weddings. In the first place it’s a good idea to order the food with restraint, as people never eat everything there. If you do have leftovers, choose a venue that supports the environment and has a waste composting capabilities.

If composting is not an option, encourage guests to take home the remaining food or donate the food to a local charity.

Wedding Favors and Decorations

If you opt for favors, avoid disposable itmes that are not recyclable such as disposable cameras.  Use leftover decorations, and napkins either reusable or recyclable Go for favors which are not personalized with your names, so that they can be reused for future use.

Catering Service

This may be one of the most visible ways to make your wedding green-everyone talks about the food at a wedding. Making simple choices like using biodegradable utensils and plates that can be composted. Also choose organic and local food for the cuisine.

Honeymoons

Following the wedding, it’s time for the honeymoon. There are global opportunities for eco-tourism options that get get you fare of the beaten path. There are many companies that specialize in outdoor adventure activity and environmental advocacy. These companies promote sustainable tourism which safely connects people with the world’s greatest places and adventures. By combining the economic power of sustainable tourism with the ingenuity of those connected with nature and aware of its peril.

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What’s In Your Water?

Water pollution remains a constant concern in many US communities. This guide can be helpful in understanding what contaminants that could be in your water. You should contact your water utility if you suspect something is wrong.

Water

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Benefits of Compostable Bags

Most people are interested in knowing how and why eco-friendly products should be used. The market for plastic bags, bottles, and foodservice products that are biodegradable or compostable is growing at an ever increasing rate. The use of compostable plastics to replace traditional plastics can have many potential positive environmental benefits, such as lower the amount of fossil fuel created products, reducing landfill waste and leading to the development of new innovative sustainable and biodegradable products.

What are the prominent uses of the compostable plastic products? 

  • Food scrap diversion – instrumental in the process of diverting left over food from landfills.
  • Co-collection of food scraps and service ware in institutional and restaurants.

What are the main types of recyclable trash bags?

  • Compostable Trash Bags - This type of bags break down more quickly than biodegradable bags. They will completely decompose under ideal circumstances in 10-45 days.
  • Biodegradable Trash Bags – These kinds of bags break down into CO2 and water when disposed of in commercial landfills. This process can take 1 to 3 years.

What are the key benefits of compostable bags?

  • Easy to identify
  • Designed to fit most common organic collection systems/containers
  • Becomes part of the compost produced
  • Bag design allows for reduced moisture content by up to 25% within 4 – 5 days, which minimizes usual odorous results.

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Green Tip: Recycle Your Printer Cartridges

An estimated 375 million inkjet cartridges are disposed of each year in the U.S. and a staggering 73% of them are only used once. The stats for laser jet printers are no better. This is both a waste of resources and money. Now you can recycle your cartridges and contribute to the materials used to produce remanufactured cartridges.

Many cartridge companies have the capability to reuse almost 100 percent of used cartridges to produce new ones, adding only new ink. It takes about 80 percent less energy to remanufacture the cartridge plastic compared to producing a ink cartridge it from new materials. Also, remanufactured laser cartridges use about half the amount of oil needed to make new cartridges. The process of recycling cartridges saves more than 38,000 tons of plastic and metal from going into the landfill.

You can also reduce your consumption by printing less. Not only will this save cartridge use, but it will also save paper. When your cartridge does run out, there are plenty of options that should be considered. You can recycle it in the following ways:

Reasons to Re-Use Ink and Toner Cartridges

  • Re-using and recycling cartridges uses less energy and resources. It takes around a half gallon of oil to make just one typical laser printer cartridge. This goes to show that every cartridge saved makes a big difference.
  • Oil is a non-renewable material and re-using and recycling cartridges conserves oil.
  • Printer cartridges also use aluminium and steel and these resources are also preserved when cartridges are re-used.

Ways to Re-Use Cartridges

  • Refilling: One way to get the most use out of your printer cartridges is to refill them. Refilling your printer cartridges is far more economical than buying new ones.It should be noted that cartridges can only be refilled a limited number of times before they need to be replaced. The average is three times.
  • Professional refilling: For those that don’t want to take on the refill process themselves, there is the alternative of having empty cartridges managed by an outside organization. This is not as economical as refilling cartridges yourself but it may be more convenient.
  • Recycling: Often the same companies who collect cartridges for refilling will also collect ones which can’t be refilled. They will often pay a fee for every cartridge recycled and they will ensure that the cartridges are either re-manufactured or recycled safely and kept out of the landfill.

Purchasing New Cartridges: Buy Green

When you do need to buy a new cartridge, the greenest choice is to buy re-manufactured cartridges. These cartridges are less expensive than brand new ones and they come with a guarantee to work as well as new cartridges.

Make Cartridges Last: Use Less Ink

  • Use draft quality where possible. If you’re just printing something for yourself or internal distribution, draft quality is usually fine and saves a lot of ink.
  • Print in black and white rather than color wherever possible. This uses a lot less ink and color ink is considerably more expensive.
  • If you are printing a lot, consider whether printing two sides to a sheet in a landscape format would work.
  • It can be more economical to print photos as a professional printing shop.

Resources for Recycling Toner Cartridges

Castle Ink Cartridges
(New York Area)
Recycle your ink and toner cartridges.
FreeRecycling Recycle Ink Cartridges and get cash! Recycling inkjet cartridges is a great fundraiser, help schools and nonprofit organizations to fundraising success or make some extra cash for you or your company.
FundingFactory
(For Organizations)
Educational and nonprofit organizations within the contiguous United States and Ontario, Canada, can earn technology, classroom and recreation equipment, and even cash through the Funding Factory Recycling Program.
eCycle Group
(California)
Recycle your inkjet and toner cartridges for cash. We have some of the best buy prices in the business. Guaranteed fast payment bi-monthly!
Toner Buyer.com Both of these companies buy empty ink and toner cartridges
Cash for Empties

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2014 Green Lifestyle Resolutions

First come the New Year, and then comes the resolutions.  With eco awareness on the rise, it’s not surprising that many New Year’s resolutions are to live a cleaner and more sustainable life. While green living may be the new buzz word, to start doing it may take some definition and direction. Here are a few ideas that may help you move toward a more green 2014:

1.  Practice the 3 R’s: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. new-year-resolution
2.  Buy organics:  Shop your local farmer’s market for organic fruits and veggies and look for natural personal care and clothing made from natural fibers.
3.  Bring your own reusable bags when you go shopping.
4.  Composting as much as possible. Collect your table scraps and lawn clippings in a yard composter to make free fertilizer! Use it on your plants, gardens, tree pits, anywhere!
5.  Recycling: recycle everything! Paper, materials, home items, and more!
6.  Energy efficiency: purchase energy star certified appliances.  Buy and use renewable or wind energy and monitor your use of energy.
7.  Water: Reduce you water usage with xeriscaping and using sprinkler systems in the yard. Use shower timers and other water conservation tools to reduce your daily water usage.
8.  Indoor air quality: use chemical free cleaners, live plants, sustainable fabrics and paint in your home. Your indoor air quality will improve and you’ll support sustainable businesses producing green products.
9.  Wash your clothes in cold water. You will reduce your energy consumption by reducing the amount of heated water needs. Also, instead of using the dryer, try to hang your clothes outside or indoors on a folding rack .
10.  Play outside. Have fun and keep fit by appreciating all that nature has to offer: parks, trails, gardens, etc.
11.  Green your travel. Try a eco trip this year for your vacation.
12.  Get an Energy Audit: Find an energy audit company in your area to analyze the energy efficiency of your home.  An audit can potentially save you thousands of dollars by making a few changes.

Have a Happy (Green) New Year!!!

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Ways to Have a Green Christmas

Here are a few ways you can make this Christmas season more eco-friendly:

green-christmas

1. Buy Less

Gifts can fit a practical need and need to be bought new, while other are gestures of thoughtfulness. Find gifts that fit without overspending. 
2. Christmas lights

Solar LED lights are the most energy efficient lighting options. Worse case, convert all older lighting to some form of LED and reduce your energy cost by up to 90%.

2. Wrapping paper

Instead of wasting loads of money on wrapping paper,  use old paper bags, newspapers and school art work. If you do buy, use environmentally friendly wrapping paper. Choose wrapping paper made using fibers such as hemp or paper from recycled content. Also, reuse or recycle gift packing materials

3. Set Holiday Light Displays On Automatic Timers

Setting the light display on an automatic timer allows you to only have the lights on during optimal times, minimizing the waste of having the lights on during the overnight hours.

4. Shop online

Rather than driving around for hours and wasting time and gas, consider shopping online.

5. Cook As Efficiently As Possible

If you are cooking on an electric oven, the Environmental Protection Agency suggests that you can reduce your use of electricity by doing some of your cooking in a crock pot, which supposedly uses less electricity than an electric oven. You can also reduce your fuel consumption 

6. Durable decorations

When buying decorations, ensure you buy good quality or make them yourself from reusable products you find around your home. Good quality decorations may cost more initially but they won’t need to be replaced as often as their cheaper versions

7. Christmas tree choices

Whilst artificial Christmas Trees last longer, the plastic used to make them can be quite toxic to our environment. Consider purchasing a real Christmas Tree. You can keep it in a pot through the festive season than plant it in your backyard at the end of December. Real trees also support tree planting programs which soak up carbon from our atmosphere.

8. Green gifts

Consider only purchasing Eco Friendly gifts. You can find products available that are often made from recycled goods or are made only of sustainable materials.

9. DIY cards and gifts

Make your own cards and presents – these gifts are more likely to be treasured, extending their life cycle. You can also reuse last year’s cards by making gift labels for this year.

10. e-cards

Instead of sending traditional Christmas Cards to family and friends, which cost both money and resources, reduce your carbon footprint by sending an e-card with a personal message.

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Green Tip: Compost Your Food Waste

Generally food waste is organic and will decompose, but when mixed with other waste in the landfill food waste actually contributes to the production and release of harmful gases which potentially cause environmental damage. In fact, food scraps are the third largest segment of the waste stream with nearly 26 million tons generated each year. Of the overall waste stream,about 12% is food-related, behind paper and plastic

However, by composting your food waste, you can actually put that waste to good use by putting it back back into the earth. The resulting compost can be used in a variety of different ways to support your yard or garden.

Compostable Food Items:

  • Uncooked vegetables and peelings
  • Salad
  • Fruit
  • Tea bags
  • Crushed egg shells
  • Coffee grounds
  • Non-food materials such as plants and flowers, grass clippings, leaves and shredded paper, cardboard.

Non-compostable Food Items:

  • Food which has been cooked. Cooked food, even vegetables, can attract vermin
  • Meat or fish
  • Dairy products
  • Non-food items such as cat or dog litter, large pieces of wood, coal ash
  • Plastics and metals.

How to Compost

You will need to buy or make a compost bin to effectively to manage your waste to create compost. Check with your local municipality for compost bin rebate programs.

Place your compost bin on a level, well-drained area. Make sure that the base of your compost bin is open and place it on soil ideally. This is so that the compost can absorb nutrients and moisture from the soil below easily. It also enables creatures like worms to get into the waste and they help break it down into compost.

Cover the compost bin with a water-proof cover. Every three months you will need to stir the compost pile until it is ready. The process can take anywhere from four to 18 months depending upon your climate and the types of waste in the compost pile. The compost is ready when the compost is a consistent dark brown and develops an earthy smell.

Tips for Composting

  • The ideal composting mixture will be a combination of all the materials in the first list above.
  • Small items tend to compost faster. Cut larger items into smaller pieces to speed the composting process.
  • Add fresh water periodically to maintain the needed moisture level for a healthy compost pile, but do not over-water. If your compost pile gives off a strong odor, add less water and add wood chips or cardboard  to soak up the additional moisture.
  • Access to direct sunlight will speed the composting process.

Easy and Quick Composting

For those that may not want to deal with the physical demands or time it takes for a compost pile to mature, we recommend the use of a tumbling composter. Tumbling is the most effective method for making compost quickly because it evenly mixes nitrogen and carbon materials(green and brown) for optimal eco-interaction. Add the benefit of complete distribution of moisture, air, and organic microbes throughout the batch and you’ll create conditions perfect for express composting. Vented ends provide optimal aeration so this tumbler will help create finished compost 4 to10times quicker than a tradition composting bed. Plus its resistant to animal entry and it’s easy to turn. Just load up the composting drum and tumble it a couple times a week. Nature will do the rest as it creates nutrient rich organic compost in as little as 3 weeks.

If you are interested in a yard composter, you can visit http://www.greenlivingeveryday.com/category-s/40.htm to see our full line of home and garden composting products.

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