Market Baskets for Easier Green Shopping

by Tiffany in Eco Tips

Market Basket

I have fallen in love with a new reusable bag. This one is more like a bag/basket hybrid and ever since I got one last month I have been using it non-stop. They are polyester bags (wish they were canvas), on an aluminum frame. Mine has an attached cover that zips around it to enclose the basket. It is super light too.

Here are some of the things I have already used it for:

Shopping the produce isles at the supermarket
Shopping at farmer’s markets
Using it to hold books at the library
Packing lunches for the zoo or a picnic
Holding towels and sunscreen at the public pool
Cleaning out miscellaneous junk from the car
Holding my other reusable bags in the trunk
Holding takeout so I don’t have to take a plastic bag home

How did I manage without this nifty bag before??

You can find these market baskets on Amazon.


Green Printing

by Tiffany in Eco Tips

I used to work in marketing and advertising and we printed a TON. We printed brochures, fliers, newsletters, direct mail, and all that jazz. Then of course we ordered out for some printing jobs too…like stationary and business cards. I used to go through 200 business cards a week sometimes. It amazes me know wasteful it all was. We had office challenges to find ways to cut spending but no challenges to green our office…I should email them and see if things have changed, LOL.

Nowadays there are green printing companies you can patronize for business cards, fliers, brochure printing, etc. I don’t have a need for any of that anymore but if I did I am so happy there are options. I would be sitting my old boss down and telling her we needed to go green with our printing and I’d be talking about how we could market this to attract conscious clientele and offset costs.

PSPrint is an environmentally conscious printing company that prints business cards, custom stickers, custom postcards, custom greeting cards, posters and more. They recycle all wasted paper and used soy based ink that emit fewer volatile organic compounds than petroleum inks. They are also involved with or members of several eco-friendly organizations. Now if only we could get more businesses on board with this!

Thursday, October 23rd, 2008

5 Comments on Green Printing


Meat – Is it Bad for the Planet?

by Tiffany in Eco Tips, Environment

Is this Cow Food?Two years ago…even last year, I would have defended my meat loving ways until the cows came home. ;) But as I go further along in this great green journey it gets harder and harder for me to justify eating meat. The statistics for environmental devastation just get more and more depressing. The meat eating habit is killing this planet and I think it is time for more green folks to own up to that instead of treat it like the elephant in the room that everyone wants to ignore.

Just look at some of these scary statistics:

The US imports 200 million pounds of beef from Central America every year and much of the land used is rain forest land. For each hamburger that originated from animals raised on rain forest land, approximately 55 square feet of forest have been destroyed. Ouch! Rain forests are like the lungs of this planet and they house many different species of animals and could contain life saving medicinal plants. As a society though we have decided that meat is more important than our rain forests. As one man who lives in my small town said, “We don’t have a rain forests in the US so who cares.” We should all care that American dietary “needs” are destroying another part of the planet.

One pound of beef requires an input of approximately 2500 gallons of water, whereas a pound of soy requires 250 gallons of water and a pound of wheat only 25 gallons. With more than one billion people worldwide who “lack enough safe water to meet minimum levels of health”  our meat eating/water guzzling ways should bother us. Source 

Waste run-off and pesticide run-off from livestock crops create dead zones in our oceans where fish and marine plant life can’t live anymore.

Certain fishing practices endanger many fish species and result in overfishing that results in an imbalance of marine ecosystems.

To produce one pound of meat, an animal needs to consume as much a 10 pounds of grains that could be consumed directly by humans. Imagine how many people around the world we could feed if we stopped giving the bulk of it to livestock that will in turn feed just a few. We are literally living high off the hog while other countries are starving.

1.4 billion tons of solid fecal matter is produced by US farm animals per year and it is often left outside in open pits or pools that seep into groundwater, lakes and rivers. Because the animals are often diseased, and injected with hormones and antibiotics this renders their waste toxic and not suitable for fertilizing crops.

Livestock are responsible for over half of the country’s erosion and sediment issues. They are destroying the land they graze upon and rendering it useless for growing.

The global livestock industry is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than all the planes, trains and automobiles in the world combined. Yes we should feel good about our decision to bike instead of drive or use LED light bulbs but when we eat meat with every meal we are cancelling out the good we did in other areas.

This doesn’t even begin to cover the health issues we experience as a result of eating meat..for that side of the debate read my post over at Goddess of the Garden, Why Meat Consumption Is Bad for Your Health.

So should we all go vegan or vegetarian? Well, you certainly could…I know I lean more in that direction every day but in actuality you don’t need to go quite that far.  I love this post from Green Living Tips that shares a plan to only eat 3 meat meals a week. Many of us were raised in homes where meat was the centerpiece of every meal but it doesn’t have to be. Meatless meals are making a comeback. Try to make it  goal to only eat meat 3-4 times a week and go veggie the other nights. Slowly work toward that goal if you have to.

Cutting down or cutting out meat is a win-win-win situation. It helps in the fight against global warming, and environmental destruction and it’s good for you. Not to mention all of the animal cruelty issues it brings up. Watch a couple videos along those lines and you just might find the inspiration you need. If you do eat meat, it is soooo important that it be organic and raised by small scale ethical farmers. Same for other animal products like cheese and milk. But that kind of meat is expensive so factory farmed “cheap” meat is what most people buy. The video below illustrates what you are supporting when you buy that meat. It is graphic but if if you eat meat…you need to watch it.


Other sources



Green School Supplies Letter to Teacher

by Tiffany in Children, Eco Tips

blackboard at schoolWhen I wrote about a Green Back to School I received a question about how to handle supply lists you get from the school with specific product requests that are not so green. I am all too familiar with these lists and yes many do request specific products or brands that are not so great for green people. So I have written a sample letter you can send along with your student to explain why you have deviated from their recommendations. Feel free to use it, edit at will,  and it pass it along to others who might appreciate it. This is just a sample with a few of the products I remember on these lists. Others can obviously be added. Tell me, does it sound okay? Not too preachy?

Dear (Inserts Teacher’s Name),

My son/daughter (insert name here) is happy to be a part of your class this year. To help us get prepared we shopped for the necessary school supplies together and used the list you and the school provided to guide us. I wanted to write a quick note to you to explain why there are some deviations from the specific products you recommended.

In our household we have “green” values and we strive to live our lives with as little environmental impact as we possibly can. This no doubt effects some of the choices we make in our every day lives and the type of products we buy. We believe that every consumer choice we make is essentially a vote for the type of world we want to live in and we want a clean and beautiful earth for generations to come. To that end we have made the following deviations from your original list. I hope you understand why we have done this and will support our efforts for a cleaner planet.

Big Name Hand Sanitizer – This product has some unsavory chemicals that can be potentially dangerous for children so instead we have purchased a bottle of Clean Well hand sanitizer. In lieu of harsh chemicals, it uses essential oils from plants to kill bacteria. While it may not be the specific brand or type of sanitizer you had requested I hope you can see that it has the same function and it is a product I am comfortable with as well.

Big Brand Paper Towels – I have purchased a package of Seventh Generation paper towels for this requirement. While we generally do not use disposable products such as this in our own home but I recognize the need in a school setting where clean up resources are limited. To that end we are positive that these unbleached paper towels made from 80% post-consumer waste paper will work well.

Ziploc Plastic Bags – We do not use plastic bags in our home as they have many negative environmental impacts and recycling facilities for these are hard to come by. I would appreciate a quick note or phone call (insert number) to let me know what these bags would be used for so I can find an appropriate alternative that will work for us both.

Thank you for your time. I know I will enjoy working with you this year. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or concerns.

The Nut-job Parent


Scrapping Green

by Tiffany in Crafts, Eco Tips

Scrapbooking has become a huge pastime and hobby for moms everywhere. I have some friends thatBird Watercolors scrapbook each of their children’s lives almost daily! I am not so into scrapbooking myself but I did make one once, for a childhood girlfriend that was getting married and it WAS a lot of fun I must admit. I didn’t want to give it to her when it was done!

One of the drawbacks of scrapbooking is that it requires a lot of materials, especially paper. Each scrapbook page requires a piece of fancy paper or card stock for the background, and then of course more paper is used for die cuts, frames and other embellishments. Then there are the non-paper embellishments, and let's not forget the scrapbook cover. The finished product is priceless really, but this hobby can have an impact on the environment. 

Lucky for us there are environmentally conscientious scrapbook materials on the market. Read on for some ideas on how to incorporate some earth friendly practices into your scrapping adventures.

Recycled Paper of Course!

When we think of environmentally responsible scrapbook supplies, the first thing that should come to mind is recycled paper. Buying post consumer recycled paper is a step in the right direction. Buying recycled paper cuts down on the demand for new and this saves trees. But when you purchase recycled paper products, it's essential to know what you're buying.

For instance, how much of it is actually recycled? Is it a substantial amount or is it just a marketing gimmick? Each package of paper should list the percentage of recycled materials that were used in manufacturing. The higher the percentage, the better. It is also important to identify the percentage of post-consumer waste used. Post consumer waste paper has been recycled after it has hit the market and been used, as opposed to pre-consumer waste, which is just scraps created when cutting the paper during the manufacturing process. Pre-consumer waste is not really recycling in the traditional sense because manufacturers almost always recycle their own scraps anyway…it is just good business. So touting the word “recycled” for pre-consumer paper scraps is selling something…literally.

Another important factor is the type of ink is used to print on the paper and most scrapbooking papers do have elaborate printing and design. Many of the inks used can be damaging to the environment. Always look for vegetable or soy-based inks, which are environmentally nontoxic. Your local craft store representative should be able to point you in the right direction and if they don’t carry these items, ask if they will start ordering them. You can always buy plain recycled paper and use non-toxic ink stamps or have your children paint the backgrounds with watercolors.

Recycle Your Own

Using recycled paper is a great start when you're trying to be environmentally conscious in your scrapbooking. But it would be even better to use items that you would have otherwise thrown away. This can also help you save some money. It takes some imagination and creativity, but there are lots of things you can reuse in your scrapbooks. These include:

* Old Children’s Books – Have you ever been to a yard sale where they are selling old children’s books that are falling apart? I know I have…many times. Instead of passing them by because they aren’t very readable buy them up for pennies and cut them up to use in your scrapbooks. The old early readers like the Dick and Jane classics make wonderful scrapbook additions.

* Maps – Maps are great for matting and backgrounds. You can also cut out the states or countries you recently went on vacation and incorporate them into memory pages. Fun!

* Old calendars – These are wonderful to use because you can cut out dates and use the high quality pictures.

* Wrapping paper – You can make all sorts of nice embellishments or backgrounds out of wrapping paper or tissue paper. Ribbons can also be used so save your gift wrapping materials after someone gives you a gift or raid some one's party garbage (with their permission of course) to get some raw materials.

* Greeting cards – Not only can you cut out the handwritten notes and add them to a page for a personal touch, you can also cut out pretty illustrations and verses to use like die cuts. Instead of letting sit in a box or tossing them…use them!

Digital scrapbooking is also an option and quickly gaining popularity. You may want to try it. Few (if any) physical supplies are required for this type of scrapping.

Reusing items and buying recycled and non-toxic scrapbook materials will greatly reduce your scrapbooking hobby's impact on the environment. Doing some of these things might require a little more time and effort, but Mother Earth will thank you.

Wednesday, July 16th, 2008

7 Comments on Scrapping Green