Celebrate “America Recycles Day” – November 15!

America Recycles DayNovember 15 is “America Recycles Day”… a day that “encourages more people to join the movement toward creating a better natural environment by recycling and buying recycled products” and “promotes the social, environmental and economic benefits of recycling.”

Are you planning to celebrate?!?!

Once again this year, we’re promoting this great day at my children’s school by encouraging the kids to submit their best recycling tips and the favorite ways their families recycle. We’ll compile all of their great ideas and turn them into a recycling newsletter that will be sent home to each family.  Some will even win cool prizes, like recycled drink pouch pencil bags and recycled newspaper pencils from Terracycle, reusable (yet recyclable!) BPA-free water bottles and 100% recycled content “green” notebooks!  I don’t doubt that the response will be amazing… kids always have the best idearecycl itemss!

So, as we celebrate the day, let’s remember WHY we recycle:
•    to reduce pollution
•    to save energy
•    to help the environment
•    to save natural resources
•    to keep trash out of landfills

And here are some things to think about …

  1. PLASTIC– it can take 20 years for a plastic bag to biodegrade and 250 years for a plastic cup!  Americans use 2,500,000 plastic bottles every hour(!) but if every household recycled just one of every 10 plastic bottles, it would keep 200 million pounds of plastic out of landfills each year!
  2. PAPER – it accounts for nearly HALF of what is sent to landfills and approximately 1 billion trees worth of paper are thrown away every year in the U.S.!  Plus, recycling one ton of paper would save enough energy to power an average American home for five months!
  3. ALUMINUM – an aluminum can is recycled and back on a store shelf in approximately 60 days, and just one recycled aluminum can saves enough energy to run a computer for 3 hours.  Last year cans that were NOT recycled and went to landfills were valued at $600 million!
  4. GLASS – a bottle in a landfill would take more than 4000 years to decompose, but glass never “wears out” and can be recycled forever! The energy saved from recycling one glass bottle can power a compact fluorescent bulb (CFL) for 20 hours.

ARD 2011Now is the time… TODAY is the day… let’s get to recycling!  As you can see, clearly it makes a world of difference!

Simple choice: disposable or reusable?

solo br cupsOkay my friends… it’s as simple as this.  We had a choice.

Many people were going to visit our house.  The keg was calling out for a party.  Do you buy disposable cups or reusables? Quick! Make your choice.

It sounds crazy, I know, but I found myself facing this ridiculous question.  What… do… you … do?

I went to the dollar store. I bought cups. I bought reusable cups. I walked away from the disposables… and guess what?  We were just fine.  Everyone followed the rules.  They used the cups. They deposited them back into the kitchen.  They found their way into a (full) dishwasher. They were washed. They were stored for the next gathering. We threw NOTHING away. We won’t need to spend more money next time either. The next time, “we already have cups”.

Success. Yes. No trash. That’s all you need to do.  Wise choices, my friends.  Wise choices.

The red, white, blue and GREEN for the 4th of July!

grn fireworks 2

This weekend is the mother of all “picnic times!” The 4th of July picnics, parties, cookouts and celebrations will go on all weekend!  (I know they will for us!)

But it can also be a time of excess, waste and lots and lots of traditions that aren’t green at all and it can leave you feeling a little blue!

So here is my list of things to keep in mind as you celebrate:

  • Cookouts – skip the charcoal & lighter fluid and go for propane grilling.  Even if you’re headed to a picnic area, you can prepare the grill items at home and bring them along.  Did you know that newspaper is a great insulator for any containers and will keep your hot foods incredibly hot!  (But remember to bring the newspaper home for recycling afterward!)
  • Food – choose fresh, locally-grown, organic produce and meats.  Whatever you can buy local, choose it!
  • Coolers – no cheapo Styrofoam coolers… they may be convenient but they don’t last long, and after buying a few Styrofoam versions you could have actually owned a “real one” that you can use again and again and again!
  • Dinnerware, flatware and serveware – if you’re at home (or even away), choose the reusables… just avoid4th ckout throwaway plastics and paper at all costs.  And if you are away from home scrape off the food scraps, bring home the reusables and wash ‘em!  You can even go crazy and choose some compostables!
  • Table covering – three words:  CLOTH, not plastic!
  • Containers – three more words: REUSABLES, not throwaways!
  • Beverages – whenever possible, mix up big batches of beverages (lemonade, iced tea) and have a large container of water, and use (or bring) the reusable glasses or tumblers (again, no Stryrofoam or plastic, pleeeeze!).  For those refreshing “adult beverages”, choose an organic and/or local brew and remember to…
  • RECYCLE! – it goes without saying… bottles, cans, cardboard & paperboard… have a recycling can or container ready to receive it all!

Happy 4th of July! Celebrate your freedom and exercise your right to choose “green”… and add it to the red, white and blue!

Grab your gear & campout… June 25 is the day!

Gr Am Bkyrd Campout 11Have you heard about this weekend’s greatest camping spot on the planet?  Well, it just so happens that you won’t need to go far… it’s your own backyard!

This Saturday, June 25, is the Great American Backyard Campout!

The National Wildlife Federation created this day to encourage families to reconnect with nature and the outdoors, and remind us that we can manage life “with a little less”.  You can set up tents, cookout over a fire pit, explore your surroundings, play flashlight tag, star gaze and our kids’ ever-favorite… gorge on S’mores!  Shut down all the lights, computers and TVs in your house and even save a little electricity while you’re at it. (Indoor latrine, via flashlight, permitted of course!)camp at home

If you want to find out who’s camping nearby, or register your own outing, check out NWFs site for more information.

I think this is a great opportunity to join families all over the country in embracing everything the great outdoors has to offer… it’s free, it’s fun… it’s the perfect way to reconnect with our families and nature.  Now grab your sleeping bag and let’s campout!…

… and the flip-flops lived on…

flp flpsI’m a “flip-flop girl”… I LOOOOVE my flip-flops! And most of my friends know about my obsession too.  If it’s above 50 degrees… FLIP-FLOP TIME!!!

It’s needless to say, however, that the lifespan of a flip-flop can be somewhat limited.  They wear out, they break and, well, sometimes they just start looking pathetic.

Want to help those tired, poor flip-flops live on? (Clearly, I also enjoy “saying” flip-flop!…) but sincerely… there is a fabulous use for them after they outlive their original purpose.

From now until May 21, Terracycle has teamed up with Old Navy stores to collect those flip-flops.  Deposit them in the collection bins at any Old Navy location in the U.S. and Terracycle will be turning them into playground materials.

The playgrounds will be given to a few schools and organizations that participate in the Terracycle Brigades too.  My children’s school participates in the Drink Pouch Brigade so hey, who knows… my old flip-flops may just end up being a part of my kids’ playground!ONTC flip

We’re all preparing for summer (anxiously!) and pulling out everything that has been put away for far too long. If your seasonal wardrobe includes some flip-flops that have seen better days, make your way to an Old Navy store before they make their way to the trash…

… beloved flip-flops can live on!