Earth Friendly Water Blog

Why Plastic Water Bottles Blow for Our Oceans

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Yet another reason to ditch plastic water bottles. The world’s oceans suffer because of how much plastic water bottles we use. Courtesy of One World, One Ocean.

Tags: Aquahealth, Earth Friendly Water, Reduce plastic use, ban-the-bottle, Earth Friendly, Recycle, oceans

Healthy Living Tips: New Year… New You, Welcome Greener 2013!

Healthy Living Tips:

New Year… New You, Welcome Greener 2013!

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Every year men, women and children make so many different resolutions.  Go to the gym, lose that extra weight, stop smoking, find my dream job, fall in love, eat better, and treat people the way you want to be treated.  Now all our great ideas, but let’s get a little more specific.   Let’s come up with some new year’s resolutions for 2013 that will be beneficial for you as well as others, all while helping the earth.

It doesn’t take much to welcome a greener you into 2013.  Maybe you have been putting off recycling because you need to call your city or town and get a new recycling bin.  Well do it, pick up the phone and get that blue, green, yellow bin that you can put your recyclables in.  Not only will you be helping out the environment and turning old things into new things when you recycle you will also be cutting down on your overall household trash.  Believe me you will see a huge difference in the first week once you start putting your recyclables into those colorful bins.

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Now if you, like me, already recycle there is more you can do.  For one you can get better about cleaning out your recyclables before throwing them in the bins.  Separating your recyclables is also a great idea… did you know you can get 5 – 10 cents from cans depending on the state you live in.  Of course you did; but do you separate those out? Throw them away? Or put them in a colorful bin?  5-10 cents adds up and it’s always great to throw that change into a jar for a rainy day.  It adds up fast.  If you have kids, nieces or nephews or grandkids there are treasures within the recycling pile.  For some upcycling ideas you can do with recyclables, trash and other things in the house you just don’t know what to do with you can search online…

Pinterest is a great place to start if you want to seach for some upcycling idea.  You can search upcycle and a bunch of ideas will appear.  While searching through Pinterest I found a bunch of great ideas, some of which I am going to try in 2013.  Part of my news years green resolutions is to upcycle more.  I love making something old or used into something new and fresh.

Above I was talking about changing in your cans… well if you pop off the little flip top you can make yourself a really unique purse or tote, it may take a while to save all those tops but in the end you have something homemade and one of a kind.  Check out this post by Liz Swafford via Earth 911 to see the finished product and the how to:

Another great idea is for those little baby girls in your family… I have a few and one of them loves headbands, so what a great crafting idea to do with her, making our own headbands out of old baby clothes, or any old clothing you have.  The idea comes from Alisa Burkes blog, redefine creativity

Another idea that I love, that’s on my list for 2013, is making a blanket or quilt from old t-shirts, sweaters, curtains, any fabric really.  It doesn’t take an avid sewer to make one.  You don’t even need to sew in a straight line, which will give it more character.  It will get your spring cleaning started early.  Once you decide on the clothes, linens, and accessories (I think using ties will be fun) that you will use for your blanket or quilt you can donate the rest to a worthy cause… and hey when filing those 2013 tax returns you can say you donated clothing to a worthy cause.  Just write what you donated, where and the value and you can include it in your taxes.

Now that you have a few DIY ideas about ways to upcycle, you can start recycling or become a master recycler.    I know I’m feeling a little greener already, but there’s more we can do in the New Year to be a little greener. 

We all know we are guilty of wasting food.  Whether we forget about those veggies shoved way in the back of the crisper or we meant to freeze that chicken before the expiration date, we can all do a better job at cutting back our food waste. 

I cut back my grocery shopping; I buy what I need, what I will use for the week.  It always helps me to make out a weekly meal plan so I know what I will be cooking and what I need to buy.  Buying for the week or a couple days really cuts down on the waste.  Another great idea is something I have seen on the food network and in plenty of my foodie magazines, one meal, two dinners.  For example one night you can make a whole chicken for the family with sides of potatoes, and lots of veggies, the next day you can make chicken pot pies that you can eat later in the week or freeze for the following, no waste there.

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 Buying local is also a great plan, you cut back on your carbon footprint all while supporting the small independents and getting the freshest ingredients.  I find it’s a little easier during the warmer months to buy local, especially when it comes to fresh produce.  Fresh produce lasts longer, and when buying from a grocery store I always wonder how long it was sitting in the back room, let alone a truck on route to the store.  So if you can find a local market that supports the local farmers that the way to go.

I went to Google and typed in “buy fresh buy local”, for my area, I came across a website that lists farmer markets, farms and farm stands, seafood, restaurants, inn and B&B, as well as retail and products.  I’m guessing that wherever you are you can find a similar website to let you know where you can go to “Buy Fresh, Buy Local”. 

So now you have three goals to work on to make your 2013 a little greener.  Start recycling or become a master recycler.  Pick a project to work on in the New Year that works with upcycling, old things into new things.  There are so many great ideas out there on the web, so get searching and get crafting.  Lastly get better about your food waste.  There are a million things you can do to cut down on your food waste; buy what you need, buy fresh and local, meal planning and two recipes in one. 

Welcome to a Greener, Happier New Year, and New You!

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Tags: Recycle, Upcycle, Buy Local, Pinterest, resolutions

Earth Friendly, Green Living: Compost, Recycle, Reuse and Donate.

Earth Friendly, Green Living: 

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Compost, Recycle, Reuse and Donate

This Holiday season is approaching quickly as is the cold weather.  Have you already heard the sleigh bells jingling, seen a partridge in a pear tree, hung the mistletoe and decorated the Christmas tree?   Everyone always has a lot going on during the holiday rush, but I’m here to tell you not to forget to compost, recycle, reuse and donate what you are done using.

Even though most of us have experienced the first frost of winter you can still be using your compost pile in the garden or your back yard.  It just needs a little more TLC when it gets chilly outside.  You can build a shelter for your compost pile to keep the warmth in or dig a hole and place all your compost in their till spring, covering it with a piece of wood.  The Great Vancouver Regional District has built a great shelter for their compost; you can get the detailed plan here.

Here are a few things that you can use for compost:

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1)    Food scraps

2)    Fur from your furry friends or hair from your own brush

3)    Bills, junk mail and newspapers

4)    Paper products: towels, napkins, plates

5)    Breads, pasta & rice

6)    Used coffee grounds and tea bags

7)    Lint from the dryer

8)    From the yard: leaves, branches and yard waste

For all other things you can’t compost you can recycle, reuse or donate them.  Entertaining is a staple during the busy holiday season and not everyone has time to wash and dry every dish so they use paper or plastic dishes and cutlery.  Instead of throwing them away this holiday season look at the number on the bottom of the plastics and see if you are able to recycle it in your community.

Plastic numbers go from 1-7, they are located on the bottom of your plastic containers, a few you might find during the holidays:

#1 PET (drinks, bottled water)

#2 HDPE (Milk cartons, detergent, yogurt)

#3 PVC (Plastic Wrap, Vegetable oils)

#4 LDPE (Produce bags, bread bags, squeezable bottles)

#5 PP (Ketchup, medicine, straws)

#6 PS (CD Jackets, egg cartons, foam peanuts)

#7 Other (Tupperware, 3-5 gallon reusable water bottles)

For more information on what plastics you can recycle please visit Earth 911.

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You can always choose to reuse products you have for something else.  The most sustainable way to reuse something is to turn it into something else.  A few ideas for the holidays are making ornaments, reusing scrap gift wrap and fabric to dress up a gift, create holiday boxes and tins, and an eco-friendly gift could be something you make yourself, for instance a reusable tote from a pillowcase you no longer use.  Those are just a few ideas.  There are so many unique ideas out there to make reusable gifts.  You can reuse so many everyday items in your home to make something beautiful.  When paper, plastic and other recyclables get picked up and recycled and turned into new things there is a number of times certain things can be reused.

Plastic- Often, only one time into the same thing, but depends on the plastic.

Aluminum- cans can be recycled infinitely.

Paper- 5-7 times into new paper.

Copper and Steel- Infinitely

Cardboard- Stronger than regular paper it can be used more often to make new things.

Glass- Infinitely

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So do your part to recycle in your community and in your travels, but know there are so many creative things you can do at home to make something old into something new.

Now we all know we don’t have an endless number of hours to be crafting and making things into new to us items, and that’s when donating old, well taken care of, items is great.  Donating your old household, kitchen, living, bedroom, and bath items as well as clothing, shoes and accessories to local and national organizations can make someone who is less fortunate or thrifty have a wonderful holiday season as well.  Sometimes something we see as old or used can be considered vintage to another.

So let’s regroup.  This holiday were all going to be proactive, not only with donating, reusing and recycling but also starting a winter compost pile that will then turn into a spring compost pile making great soil for planting May flowers.

Enjoy your holiday.

Keep it earth friendly and green!

Tags: donate, holiday, Earth Friendly, Recycle, green living, compost, reuse