MGGs last minute guide to keeping your holidays “green”!

The holidays seem to be moving toward us at warp speed! We’re nearing deadlines and, if you’re anything like me, you still have things to do.  (Okay, so maybe I am one of the few dragging dreadfully behind but, humor me for a moment, and let me feel like I’m not alone!)

There are plenty of ways to avoid the excess and waste of the season, as well as making gifts selections that are fabulously green and giving.  So that we (okay, so that I) don’t waste any more time getting to it, let’s just throw it on the table and get it all out of the way!

Here are my four must-read posts that will help you through (click below and read on!):

  • My favorite gifts guide – a list of all the tangible gifts that I enjoy giving, because they happen to be great gifts and they are also fabulously green ideas too.
  • My favorite gifts that “give back”: – a list of gifts that give to a worthwhile cause:  wildlife, nature or the environment.  Sometimes we don’t need to give those tangible gifts that clutter the recipient’s home… giving to a cause in the recipient’s honor may be the biggest present of all!
  • Green party planning – a list of all the ways you can keep your holiday soiree goin’ green.  From decorations, to your menu choices, to your clean-up… there are simple ways to keep from abandoning all of your green principals!
  • Wrap it up in a big “green” bow – a list of all the ways those tangible gifts can be given without creating mountains of trash.

Hopefully, this guide will help you along the way, and gifts that you give will be useful, practical and, sometimes, just simply serve a cause.

The clock may be ticking, but there is always time to make great choices.

Happy green holidays, my friends!

Don’t forget about recycling over the holidays

Obviously recycling has been heavy on my mind since learning of my city’s proposal to eliminate our curbside recycling service as a cost-cutting measure. (Yes, my blood is still boiling!)

This is just a reminder about one simple fact:  the average household output of trash actually increases by 25% between Thanksgiving and New Year’s.  There are a lot of opportunities to misstep this time of year…

Make sure to make wise choices as you go about preparing for the holidays:

  1. Think about the gifts you’re purchasing and what will happen to all of the packaging.  Some things can actually be UN-packaged so YOU can do the recycling of boxes and materials.
  2. Reuse all of the wrapping materials you already have before you buy something new… take inventory! We often already have plenty if we made smart choices last year!
  3. Even when you purchase food for all of your holiday events, think about how they’re packaged. Choose recyclable materials and, well… recycle them!
  4. When you mail a gift, newspaper is a great cushioning material over bubble wrap and packing peanuts. Hopefully your recipient will toss the newspaper in the recycling bin after the box is opened.

Truly, this list could go on and on but, if you’re “here”, I think you already “know”… just don’t forget!  Try to make “your 25%” a whole lot less. 

Bacteria and your reusable bags…

Did I just sense some of you cringing?  Yes, I’ll admit… the latest news reports had me a little squeamish too, but let’s keep it in perspective and DO NOT let ourselves be led to think that reusable bags aren’t the right choice (it still IS absolutely the right choice!).

If you haven’t heard the buzz:  “A study from the University of Arizona and Loma Linda University in California found that most people who bring their own bags to the grocery store don’t wash or clean them regularly – and the researchers also discovered a large number of bacteria present in the reusable bags.”  Take a look at the study but you can also read more about the topic at Earth 911.

Admittedly, I’m not a frequent-reusable-bag-washer either. But I do have a fairly simple plan for combatting these cooties!  First of all, I have a set of bags dedicated to grocery shopping.  I tied a red ribbon on the handle of the bag meant for only meat products.  On the handle of the produce-dedicated bag, you guested it… a green ribbon.  It’s easy to just let the cashier know where you need your items placed (sure, sometimes they aren’t thrilled, but oh well!).

I have a whole second set of bags especially for all of my non-grocery purchases.  That absolutely eliminates the concern since there isn’t anything that goes inside to cause the contamination.

If this still leaves you a bit unsettled, well, there’s another simple way to ease your mind… (hold onto your hats!)… wash… your… bags. 🙂 

And in all reality, even the EPA admits that most of the bacteria doesn’t even pose a health threat.  Afterall, there’s more bacteria on the handle of the gas pump you just used to fill-up your car!

So, my green friends, do NOT be deterred.  Reusable bags are, and always will be, the way to go. (The harm plastic bags create is much greater!)  Just periodically let them go for a little swim in your washing machine and, I promise you, all will be well.

10 simple steps for a green Thanksgiving…

thanksgvg tblTo me, Thanksgiving has always felt like the holiday with the greatest “green potential”. There are no gifts, costumes, candy or extra, elaborate frills.  It’s simply about family gatherings, feasting on the bounty of the season and giving thanks for everything we have.  There are so many ways to avoid over-abundance… (well, with the exception of over-eating!)

Everything from the decorations, to the food, to the clean-up can be exceptionally green.

Here are the things to keep in mind:

  1. Invitations – forgo the paper invitations and send Evites instead.  You’ve probably already handled this task, but this rule goes for any gathering!  And if you do need to mail invitations, look for those made of recycled paper.
  2. Decorations – in many cases, you need only walk into your own backyard: leaves, acorns and twigs can be turned into amazing arrangements. Combine them with colorful gourds, Indian corn, squash and apples and you’ve just captured the season!  Afterward, compost or add them back to nature.
  3. Food – visit your local farmer’s market for all of the most amazing produce.  Go organic.  Think acorn squash, sweet potatoes, corn, green beans, apple and pumpkin pie! And seek out an organic, hormone-free, steroid-free turkey (if it will be a part of your feast).
  4. Drinks – serve organic drinks or consider a local brew… or, if you’re lucky (like me!) and surrounded by local wineries, a local wine!
  5. Tableware and serveware – stop saving “the good dishes” and silverware!  Use them!  Glasses, cups and stemware?  Get them out! Forget the disposable “anything”.  You can even score inexpensive cloth napkins and table coverings at any dollar store.crncopia
  6. Consider the temperature – ovens heat a house quite quickly… and so do lots of people… so turn down the thermostat or, in warmer climates, keep ceiling fans circulating or windows open to keep the indoors comfortable.
  7. Recycle – that should go without saying, but just remember to make it happen.  Cans, jars, containers, bottles, anything and everything possible.
  8. Don’t waste leftovers – keep only what you know your family will eat.  Send the rest home with your guests.  Start thinking about containers now (no styrofoam plates or plastic-wrap, please!).  You can even ask guests to bring their own glass or ceramic dishware… why not?! And if you compost, toss in those food scraps.
  9. Clean-up – use your dishwasher, but make sure you fill it first.  For the big jobs, you’ll need to use some elbow-grease, but be sure not to leave the tap running endlessly.  And get out your green cleaners.  You can get back to “shiny & clean” without harsh chemicals.
  10. Although it has nothing to do with being green… give thanks. Ask everyone at your table to share a thought. It will certainly put happiness in the air, and that’s absolutely free!

Now, if you need some of those ‘leaf, acorn and twig’ decorations I mentioned, email me… and then back up a truck… I have enough in my own backyard to supply your whole neighborhood!

MGG Giveaway Day 3: “Glass Dharma” for ‘green karma’!

glss dhrma logo(This giveaway is now closed for entries… see “comments” for the winner!)

It’s time for another giveaway, friends!… but you may be asking yourself “What is Glass Dharma?” and how will it give me ‘green karma”… well, let me tell you!

Glass Dharma makes the original glass straw.  How many straws do you and your family go through in a year? Plenty, I would imagine.  Whether you do or don’t have kids, there seem to be straws in every shape and size shoved at us everywhere we turn. And let’s face it, straws can be fun!glss dhrma glass

But not only do we toss those plastic things in the trash, many of us also worry about the plastic that leaches into whatever we’re drinking.  Luckily Glass Dharma makes glass straws in all shapes, sizes and designs so you never have to go down that road again.  They’re sustainable, reusable, durable, easy-to-clean, dishwasher safe and suitable for hot or cold drinks.  PLUS they come with a Lifetime Guarantee Against Breakage… if it breaks, they replace it!

Let me tell you about what’s up for grabs!  How about four of them???  Your winnings would include a 9.5mm Green Decorative Dot straw (with a hemp sleeve, to take it on the road with you!), a 9.5mm Beautiful Bends straw, a 7mm Amber Decorative Dot straw, AND a 12mm Simple straw (great for sippin’ a smoothie!).  Oh yea, and let me throw in two sizes of cleaning brushes too!

glss dhrmaIf you want to experience some Glass Dharma karma, just leave a comment here saying you’d like to win, or send a Twitter message that includes a reply to @momgoesgreen and a link to this blog. Facebook friends can also leave a comment to be entered. The winner will be randomly selected on October 28! (U.S. entries only… sorry.)

Check them out, enter to win… and “sip on”!…