Posts Tagged With: green

Rethinking Recycling

This video shared by Treehugger’s own Margaret Badore is a simple and excellent look at the changing landscape of recycling over the years. This 3-minute video discusses the switch from refillable to plastic bottles, and the actual source of the  American anti-littering campaign.

Towards the end of the video, she brings up the idea of “Product Stewardship,” which is a topic that has been generating interest lately. One of the more notable takes on the idea is within the book, Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things. Written by Micheal Braungart, a renowned German chemist, and William McDonough, a famous American designer, the book explores the system of waste and product generation in the world today, as well as possible solutions to each of the issues presented.

Personally, I highly recommend the book. It was one of the first I picked up in my search for continuing environmental education, and it was an awesome introduction into the world of greater thoughts on sustainability. Do you have any picks for some green reading? Let me know!

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Simple Tips for Greener Groceries

“Bus or car?”

“Publix or Trader Joe’s?”

“Chicken or beef?”

“Organic or imported?”

 

Decisions, decisions.

 

“Paper or plastic?” isn’t the only choice at the grocery store. In fact, it’s only the beginning, and like all of the questions above, none of these scenarios are black and white. Thinking outside of the box bag gives you more options and more opportunities to flex your brain and put those newly learned green-minded skills to use.

Here are some simple tips to save you time, money and plastic at the grocery store:

  1. Making good choices at the store goes far beyond simply using reusable bags, but they are certainly a great start. Cloth bags hold more than a  plastic or paper bag, and using them prevents your would-be disposable bag from entering the waste stream. But if you’re in a pinch, paper is a (slightly) wiser choice than plastic. For an in-depth analysis of that debate, check out this excellent Treehugger piece.
  2. If you’re only buying one or two things of produce, don’t use a plastic bag. Just rest the item gently in your bag or cart. This was the biggest revelation for me, because most people use a plastic bag even for something as simple as a single apple. Skip that and buy your snack plastic-free!
  3. However, if you are buying enough produce that it would look silly rolling around in your cart, try paper bags. Some stores have them near the mushrooms, or you can always bring some from home. They can be recycled or thrown into a compost pile when you’re done.
  4. Whenever you can, buy products in bulk.  Bulk products, which include things like nuts, grains and flours, can be purchased as some stores in great quantities. The larger the quantity, the less plastic you use to bring it all home. Pro tip: avoid single-serve anything whenever you can. It’s a complete waste of plastic.
  5. Try carpooling with friends, or making your grocery run just one stop on your errands. The most economical use of your car or bus trip means less fossil fuels wasted for your trip to stock up on snacks.
  6. And as always, remember to be on the lookout for The Dirty Dozen and The Clean 15 and to be seasonal!

Some of these steps can be accomplished by choosing to source your products as locally as possible whether it be at farmers markets or independent grocery stores (hint: Ward’s is a great Gainesville choice!)

Good luck grocery shopping!

Categories: Green Your Routine, Tips | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

5 Apps to Green Your Phone

With all of the information out there about how to “go green”,  it’s easy to think that the only ways to save the Earth involve moving backwards in time — biking instead of driving, gardening more, using less electricity — but in fact, technology sometimes makes sustainability simple. We’re attached to our cell phones all day, every day, so why not try some apps that will educate you on making more sustainable decisions?

All of the apps are free to download and (almost) all of them are available for both iPhone and Android. Check them out and let me know what you think!

1. Locavore

Availability: App Store and Android Market

What is it? The app is super simple. It has you set up a free profile (find me if you’d like, I’m GreenGatorGirl), which gives you access to a map plotting out all the local farmers’ markets, farms and CSAs. It also includes a handy chart showing which fruits and vegetables are in season right now, which are peaking right now and coming up soon. There’s also a section devoted to recipes that you can make using your newfound fresh, local produce. The “local locavores” section allows you to find other active locavores in the area and connect with them. You see which farms and markets your followers have “liked”. You can also share pictures of your latest local finds.

Why should I download it? I like it for plotting out exactly how close every farm and market is to me. So the next time I head to Union Street, I can tell which farms are closer than others. The recipes section is nice, but there are better places to find recipes, as the selection is limited.

2. Good Guide

Availability: App Store and Android Market

What is it? As the promotional video puts it, we “vote with our dollar” every time we make a purchase. Many people strive to make better decisions in the grocery store, but knowing every little thing about every product can be a herculean task. The Good Guide app helps you determine the background of all kinds of grocery store goods, just by scanning their barcodes. You can sort by issues that are important to you, including if the item in question is organic, fair trade or meets any animal welfare certifications. It also connects with the Good Guide website, which is even more comprehensive.

Why should I download it? This is a cool one. If you want to know the social and environmental responsibility of a product, this is a great way to find out in the store. I don’t yet know exactly how detailed it is, but I see a decent enough number of products represented.

3. iRecycle

Availability: App Store and Android Market

What is it? This app makes recycling a breeze. Simply select what you’re trying to recycle, and the app will suggest local spots that accept whatever you’re getting rid of, even the tricky stuff like batteries and cell phones!

Why should I download it? If you ever need to recycle anything, this app makes it so easy. It’s definitely worthwhile to keep this on your phone for when you need it.

4. Green Genie

Availability: App Store

What is it? This is the most comprehensive green living app I’ve ever seen. With Green Genie, you have a world of information about any eco-friendly subject you desire. It has lists of companies, organizations, projects and blogs for your perusal. There’s also a glossary to define all the words that are casually thrown about in the sustainability community. There are hundreds of projects, sorted by size, difficulty, location and how much good they’ll do. This is a fun app to explore and learn from.

Why should I download it? If you’ve ever been curious about something in the sustainability community, this is the app to sate that curiosity. Plus, it’s free!

5. Lightbulb Finder

Availability: App Store and Android Market

What is it? Knowing that using CFL and LED lights is more sustainable is simple. However, finding the exact replacement bulb sometimes isn’t. Lightbulb Finder is a free app that helps consumers find the better lightbulb to replace their old one. It’s highly customizable and comes with a host of recommendations. It even lets you name and save your specific lightbulbs so you can easily re-find the bulbs when the time comes to replace them again.

Why should I download it? If you have plenty of lamps with many strange bulbs, this app comes in handy, especially if you own your own home.

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Categories: green tech, products, Tips | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

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