Monday, February 28, 2011

Compost or Mulch

Using Compost as a Mulch

Compost can also be used as organic mulch on the surface of the soil in place of peat moss, pine straw, etc. Organic mulches are valuable because they reduce rainfall runoff, decrease water evaporation, keep the soil friable and easier to cultivate and help control weeds. Recommended thicknesses of mulch layers are 2 to 3 inches for deciduous shrubs and trees, vegetable, and rose beds; 3 inches for flower beds; and 4 inches for shallow-rooted, acid-loving plants.

Compost as a Planting Medium

Compost may be used in potting soil; however, no more than 25-30 percent of the potting soil should be compost. Frequently, compost will continue to decompose and there can be a significant volume reduction of the potting soil. Also, most weed seeds are killed by the high temperatures of the composting process, but not all. Some weed seeds are heat resistant and will not be killed. Used properly; however, minimal problems will occur with weeds in the use of compost.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Uses For Compost

About Compost & Uses
           Compost is an organic amendment to improve the chemical, physical and biological properties of soils. It is not normally considered a fertilizer as it is too low in nutrient content for all plant nutrient needs. However, compost has many benefits for soil improvement and plant growth:
·  Improved Drainage
·  Improved Aeration
·  Increases Water Holding Capacity
·  Improves Plant Growth
·  Improves Some Nutrients
·  Decreased Runoff of Nutrients
·  Reduced Soil Compaction
 

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Lowes Offers Discount to Members of Home Builders' Associations

Lowe’s 2% Discount Benefit for NAHB Members

Limited Time Offer! Valid until 12/7/11
Earn a 2% discount* on purchases made with your Lowe’s Accounts Receivable when you confirm your Home Builders Association membership on LowesForPros.com.
Plus, get free delivery on purchases of $500 or more now through 12/7/11.
For online orders use one of these promo codes when you checkout on Lowes.com to receive free shipping on purchases over $500. Promo codes vary by location and address type:
  • For standard, U.S. addresses, use promo code NAHBDEL
  • For remote addresses outside the contiguous United States (Alaska-AK, Hawaii-HI, American Samoa-AS, Federated States of Micronesia-FM, Guam-GU, Marshall Islands-MH, Northern Mariana Islands-MP, Palau-PW, Puerto Rico-PR, U.S. Virgin Islands-VI), use promo code NAHBDELREM
  • For P.O. Box addresses, use promo code NAHBDELPO
For in store orders, visit the commercial sales desk and identify yourself as a Home Builders Association member and mention that you’d like to receive the free shipping on orders of $500 or more.
Here’s what you need to receive this great benefit from Lowe’s and NAHB:
  1. An active Lowe’s Accounts Receivable. Don’t have an account? See the commercial sales specialist at your local store to apply.
  2. A current local or national NAHB membership. Not a member? Visit nahb.org to join.
  3. A valid email address and phone number.
If you have everything you need to register, then fill out the form below:



Full Name/Business Name as it appears on your LAR Account
Your Email Address
Last 4 digits of your LAR Account
Phone Number as listed on your LAR Account

Friday, February 25, 2011

Check Out Our Compost!

Our compost is an organic amendment to improve the chemical, physical and biological properties of soils.  We produce a high-quality yard waste compost for sale to the public. "CoastalGrow" is available in bulk for $30.00 per ton at the Tuscarora Landfill, Grantsboro Transfer Station and Newport Transfer Station.

CEP grinds only clean yard waste (leaves, limbs, etc.) for compost. No painted, pressure-treated or creosote wood is used.

After grinding, the material is laid out in windrows and water is added.

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As the compost continues to decompose, the windrows are kept moist and turned weekly to keep the process going.  The internal temperature of the windrows rises to over 131 degrees, killing off weed seeds and other undesirable matter.

After approximately 3 months in windrows, the material is screened through a machine known as a trammel screen. The trammel screen separates small particles of yard waste from large particles. With openings only 5/8ths of an inch in the screen, only very small particles are used for compost.
 
After the compost has stabilized and matured, it is ready to sell. The larger particles are sold  as mulch or used in other landfill operations.  CoastalGrow has gained wide acceptance by landscapers and gardeners in the Carteret, Craven and Pamlico County area.

For additional information about CoastalGrow, please call (252) 633-1564 or Email us to request a brochure with details on how this product should be used.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Judi Lloyd Finds Green Dining in New Bern

From Judi's special to the Sun Journal.  Thank you Judi.


Some of my past articles have been on “localvore” (eating local foods).  A couple of benefits of this are fresher, thus healthier fare and foregoing the long distance trucking of the food. Even in January, the New Bern Farmer’s Market has fresh local vegetables, meat, eggs, BBQ sauces, a number of bakeries with fresh baked goods made with nutritious whole grains, locally canned jams, local honey, pecans and even soy candles and soaps from New Bern Candle & Soap Factory.  In addition, you can check out the web-site NCFarmFresh.com
Localvore can also extend to restaurant dining. Recently I had a nice visit with Brad Lowe, general manager of Persimmons Waterfront Restaurant. The word on the street was how environmentally conscious that establishment is, so I wanted to find out for myself. Well, this restaurant marks high scores from me on all ecological counts. Thirty wells were dug to utilize a closed –circuit geothermal heating and air conditioning system, saving on both energy and cost.  There was an old lumber mill on the property long ago and large pieces of a red gum tree were under a scrap pile there. This reclaimed lumber was made into tables and benches for the restaurant. The hostess stand was built from a small persimmon tree, also, found on the property.  The dining room floors are made from recycled tires and repurposed bamboo. A renewable resource, was used for the partitions and trim work.

No paper towels are used in the restrooms or kitchen. Green products are utilized for cleaning and dishwasher soap. In place of those awful Styrofoam boxes for your leftovers, they send you home with a biodegradable one made from sugar cane. All their oils and fats are recycled.

Persimmons has no freezers so all of their food is fresh. The shrimp, flounder, oysters and some of the other fish are purchased from local fisherman.  he chef’s wife travels daily to farms to find out what looks good and buy what is needed. They have very little waste. Beef, some pork and bacon come from Kinston; goat cheese from Jacksonville; veggies from New Bern, Pollocksville, Maysville, Kinston and Duplin County. In fact, they have a section on the bottom of the menu giving credit to the farmers they support.

Persimmons makes a concerted effort to use local and sustainable ingredients whenever available. They serve food that is playful, precise, tasty, beautifully presented and of the highest quality. For those of you who have not been there yet, try it for the sake of your palate, the view and the environment

Judi Lloyd lives in River Bend and can be contacted at judilloyd@yahoo.com

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The 3 R's....Family Style, Part 4

From RE3.org

Kristen Aubut

On the third morning of our packing adventure, I woke up early ready for another day of sorting and packing my grandmother’s house. I knew right where I would begin my day’s work.

I headed for the kitchen. It was time to clean out all the food that was unsuitable for donation or our own consumption. All of those recyclable food containers needed to be emptied, rinsed, crushed and put in the recycling bin. I did not mind being the one to take on this mundane task because I get abundant satisfaction out of rescuing ketchup bottles and pickle jars from the landfill.

I had already done the preliminary work of writing down the list of accepted recyclables listed on the City of Huntsville website. I taped this list to the wall in the kitchen so everyone would be aware. I had also found directions to the nearest recycling drop-off center because I knew we would have many more recyclables than the amount that the blue curbside container would hold.

With a cardboard box at my feet, I began pulling out the containers from the refrigerator. I made sure to drop the bottles into the box loudly to try to awaken Dad, Shane, Ellen and Jill. Didn’t they know we had a lot of work to do? Wake up!

Once I had cleared out the refrigerator, freezer and pantry, I sat in the white winged-back kitchen chair and began emptying the containers. I pried the lids off the bottles and jars. I squirted and poured the contents into a plastic bag. I dumped the pickle juice, lemon juice, milk and other liquids down the drain. I dumped the oatmeal, cereal, crackers and other solids into a large bag. “I’ll ask some of the neighbors if anyone has a compost pile I can dump these solids into,” I thought to myself.

Using as little water as possible, I rinsed each container. I broke down the cereal boxes and stuffed everything into four or five cardboard boxes. By now, all of my housemates were awake. Dad and I packed the Subaru full of the recyclables and headed off to the recycling drop-off center.

Following the directions from the website, we drove for about 15 minutes and then kept a look-out for A Cleaner Way Road. But, the road never came. “Maybe I wrote the directions down incorrectly,” I thought. We pulled to the side of the road to think.

Just then, a recycling truck drove by. “Hey, maybe that recycling truck is headed to the drop-off center. Let’s follow it,” I suggested.

We had to greatly exceed the speed limit to keep up with the truck. After 10 minutes, Dad and I realized the truck probably was not headed to the recycling center, so we pulled over again. We headed off in another direction and finally came upon A Cleaner Way Road. “We’re here!” I exclaimed.

We pulled into a parking lot lined with large gray recycling containers. We began pulling out the bags and boxes that smelled of ketchup, vinegar, molasses and pickles.

After sorting the materials into containers in the hot Alabama sun, our hands were sticky, brown and smelly. We got back into the car and made our way back home. The effort required to recycle all those containers was worth it to me as I thought of all that metal, plastic and paper being made into new products instead of sitting in a landfill.

During the remaining days, we generated a lot more recycling that would not all fit in the curbside container. Early one morning, I spoke to a neighbor who was sweeping off his driveway. After I told him how many recyclables we had generated, he said, “How ‘bout you just cram all the recyclables in the big trashcan and then put trash on top. No one will ever know.”

I laughed as if he had just told a joke because my mind could not conceive of such an act. He could tell I had not taken his suggestion seriously. Then I asked him if any of the neighbors had compost piles into which I could dump some of the food I had cleaned out of the kitchen. He didn’t know of any, so, sadly, into the trash the food went.

Check back next week when I tell the story of all the interesting discoveries we make while cleaning out the shed in the backyard.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Environmentally Friendly Presidents

From The Daily Green

Today is Presidents Day. What could be a better way to celebrate than to revisit a few little-known facts about presidential conservation achievements?

Coming fresh off celebrating Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, the best place to start is a seed that the 16th president planted, which later grew into America’s great system of national parks.

In the summer of 1864, when the fate of the Union still hung in the balance, Lincoln put his signature on a bill setting aside a remote mountain valley for the unheard-of purpose of “public use, resort, and recreation.”

The legislation deeded Yosemite Valley to the state of California for perpetual use as a park, setting a precedent for a system of scenic and historic preservation that often is described as America’s best idea. From the cold fastness of Alaska’s Brooks Range to the corals in the warm seas off the U.S. Virgin Islands, the national parks tell America’s story as nothing else can.

Lincoln often expressed a desire to visit California. One can only imagine the eloquent words he would have penned at the sight of the Mariposa Grove of giant sequoias.

Herbert Hoover, the Great Engineer’s reputation will forever be tarred by his ineffectual response to the Great Depression, but his conservation record ought to put a little polish on his memory.

Hoover used the Antiquities Act aggressively to protect what are now Arches, Death Valley, Grand Sand Dunes, Saguaro, and Black Canyon of the Gunnison national parks, as well as part of what is now Grand Canyon National Park and White Sands National Monument.

Hoover believed that outdoor recreation was a necessary counterbalance to the moral sloppiness that he feared would be a consequence of material abundance and the consumer culture.

Hoover was happiest casting a fly into a stream. He once wrote about fishing: "’Tis the chance to wash one's soul with pure air, with the rush of the brook, or with the shimmer of the sun on the blue water. It brings meekness and inspiration from the decency of nature, charity toward tackle makers, patience toward fish, a mockery of profits and egos, a quieting of hate, a rejoicing that you do not have to decide a darned thing until next week. And it is discipline in the equality of men, for all men are equal before fish."

And what of Ronald Reagan, considered among many environmentalists to be something of a bete noire? There’s a story about the Montreal Protocol – which began the phase-out of ozone-depleting chemicals – that is worth remembering.

As treaty negotiations approached their climax in 1987, Interior Secretary Don Hodel – who had suggested blithely that we adapt to ozone depletion with sun hats and dark glasses – was the leader among administration ideologues fighting the treaty tooth and nail.

Reagan rejected their strident arguments, backed up the pro-treaty position of his scientists and diplomats, and directed his negotiating team accordingly.

The result was an international agreement, a “monumental achievement” in Reagan’s words, that has begun repairing the great global commons that protects us and our fellow creatures.

Happy Presidents Day.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

George Washington, Environmentalist

From georgewashingtonwired.com

George Washington: Environmentalist

mules-w-sky

George Washington could be known as America’s First Environmentalist.  Washington’s contributions to farming are often overlooked because he was too busy leading an army and then a country to really write extensive tomes on them. But, we will have you know that:
  • Washington was the first American composter. Who knew, right?! His “repository for dung” was the first of its kind in America.
  • The Washingtons had a pleasure garden, kitchen garden, orchard, plant nursery, and even an experimental garden where exotic plants and seeds were tested to see if they would survive the Virginia climate.
  • Washington introduced the concept of crop rotation to American farmers. After watching tobacco ravage the soil of Virginia plantations, Washington employed many land conservation measures, such as switching his main crops to corn and wheat, planting green cover crops in the winter, and using organic fertilizers.
  • And as a random fact, Washington introduced the mule to America. Just some cocktail party triva for you as a special treat.
Image by L. Toshio Kishiyama

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Abraham Lincoln, Environmentalist




From Environmental Graffiti

I think it’s safe to say that Lincoln is not really remembered for his environmental legacy. Freeing the slaves and presiding over the Union during the Civil War were far more famous and important, and they deservedly overshadow his accomplishments in other areas.

Just because he’s not remembered as an environmentalist doesn’t mean he didn’t do anything for the environment though. In 1862 Lincoln established the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). At the time more than 90% of Americans were farmers, so this was an important and powerful department. The USDA still has a major impact on our environment, as does U.S. agriculture.

That wasn’t Lincoln’s only contribution to the environment and the sciences. He authorized the establishment of the National Academy of Sciences in 1863. He also signed one of the first conservation laws, which helped lay the foundations of the national park service. In 1864 Lincoln signed a bill which established protection for the Yosemite Valley in California. The aim of the bill was the protection of the valley’s trees, an idea that had gained support when a massive and famous redwood called the Mother of the Forest was felled in 1851, sparking outrage across the country.

Friday, February 18, 2011

A House Built From Trash

From Waste and Recycling News
By Jim Johnson
Women construct home in West Virginia from discards, donations

There´s bottles and cans and tires and paper. Lots of paper.

And the name of the website says it all -- http://www.builtfromtrash.com/.
 
A pair of women in West Virginia have taken what many consider trash and created a home that´s chiefly build from discards and donations.
 
Carrie Ross-Stone and Elisia Ross-Stone went looking for some inexpensive land years ago and settled on a six-acre track of land in 2003 in Wallace, W.Va., about 26 miles from Clarksburg, the nearest "big city."
 
From there, the sent off to create -- through plenty of hard work -- a home for themselves that´s made from recyclables, by financial necessity and by design.
 
Using a mobile home as the basis for construction, the pair expanded the structure on both sides by eight feet by using old tires as a foundation and a mixture called "papercrete" that´s about half recycled paper and half clay-based soil for the exterior walls. There´s also a bit of Portland cement and Borax to fend off mold in that mix as well.
 
With the help of water, the women mixed the recycled paper, soil, cement and Borax to the consistency of oatmeal and poured the recipe into wooden forms. Batch after batch, mixed in a large galvanized bucket, was layered on top of each other and dried to form solid walls.
They placed recycled glass bottles, cut and duct-taped in a tube-like fashion, into the mixture before it dried to allow sunlight to find its way through the walls and into the interior of the house.
 
Aluminum cans, concrete and mortar were used to build the interior walls that were not load-bearing. The first row of cans was screwed to the floor and concrete or mortar was placed where the cans meet. From that initial row, cans were placed on top, like bricks, and cemented into place.
 
Salvaged and inexpensive wood helped build forms for the papercrete mixture. This wood also was used to build floors for the additions on either side of the structure as well as an exterior porch.
 
"Both of us have always wanted to do something, build our own house. We wanted to build our own house for the challenge of it," Carrie said.
 
Work is about 95% complete in the home, which is a source of pride for both women. "We never don´t appreciate it. à I walk up that hill everyday and look up and say that is just amazing," Carrie said.
 
"It feels great to live in a house that you built with your own hands. Literally, bucket by bucket," Elisia said. "It´s awesome. I can´t believe it."
 
With the expense of housing these days, and the financial crisis that many Americans have gone through during the past few years, the women believe their path can be one way that people can afford their own homes.
 
"This is something we think people could do if they had the desire to do it," Elisia said.
While they started with a mobile home as the basis for their structure, the outside walls of that home were removed once the additions were finished on either side. Now, walking into the enlarged home, it´s hard to tell the house was once a trailer, they said.
 
"I do not walk in this house without appreciating how wonderful it is," Carrie said. "Maybe it´s not a palace to some people, but it´s a palace to us. Better than we thought it would turn out. You can live very well and build your house for almost nothing."
 
The women spent $6,000 for six acres of land and then spent another $10,000 during the ensuing years to construct their own house that´s built, as they say, from trash.
 
Along with salvaging materials for an old school that was being torn down, the women were able to pick up discarded and inexpensive lumber from a home improvement store as well as mistakenly mixed paint that was also inexpensive.
 
"We try to stay aware of our own environmental and societal impact and we feel like we have the ability to make change ourselves and not wait for other people to change things for us," Carrie said.
 
Contact Waste & Recycling News senior reporter Jim Johnson at 937-964-1289 or jpjohnson@crain.com
(Feb. 7, 2011)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The 3 R's....Family Style, Part 3

Thank you RE3.org!

 

My Alabama Waste Disposal Adventure Part 3: "Dinner Disappointments"

Kristen Aubut

I said in last week’s Taking Our Good Will to Goodwill that, “everything inside the house was just as my grandmother had left it when she last shut the door of her beloved residence of 50 years.” Well, this was especially true of the refrigerator, freezer and pantry in the kitchen and the large freezer in the garage. All of the food was still there. Fortunately, my grandmother had left for the last time only weeks before, so most of the food was still edible.

We had to decide what to do with all of the food. First, we decided which food items we could consume during our weeklong stay. The oatmeal, the butter and the unopened apple juice could be eaten for our breakfasts. The frozen hot dogs, the potato chips and the six-pack of diet caffeine-free Pepsi would make acceptable lunches.

“Hey, I found some steaks and green beans out here in the garage freezer,” my dad yelled through the door one afternoon. “We could cook them for dinner tonight.” That sounded good to all of us.

Next, we decided which food items could be donated. The pantry was full of unopened boxes of cereal, cans of vegetables and bottles of juice. Jill and Dad packed up five large cardboard boxes of these nonperishable foods to be taken to the nearby Salvation Army soup kitchen. Into one of these boxes, Jill tossed a few July 4th table centerpiece decorations she had found in a closet.

“I’ll ask the soup kitchen staff if they would like to use these to decorate the tables at their next meal,” Jill said.

When Jill and Dad pulled up to the Salvation Army, they saw a long line of people and a bunch of tables and chairs set up in the parking lot. Apparently, they had arrived right as lunch was being served. Jill and Dad took the boxes inside to the volunteers who were excited to receive so much food. On the way back to the car, Jill placed the July 4th decorations in the center of each table. When she got back to the house, she told us that she had eight centerpieces and there had been exactly eight tables.

That night, Shane fired up the grill in the backyard. We were all looking forward to eating the steaks Dad had found in the freezer. They sizzled when they hit the grill and filled the air with a delicious aroma.

After reaching a perfect medium-rare, Shane placed the platter of steaks in the middle of the dinner table. The rest of us were already eagerly waiting in our chairs with buttery green beans on our plates. We all cut into our steaks.

“Hmm, mine looks funny,” I commented. I looked up to see Jill’s face twisted into a disgusted expression. “What’s wrong with it?” Ellen shrieked.

Instead of finding a tender, fibrous and juicy inside, the steak had a gel-like congealed texture. It was completely inedible. Not even my dad who will eat anything was willing to take a bite of it. Shane’s grilling skills were not to blame for the disgusting state of the steaks. The steaks must have been in the freezer out in the garage for quite a long time.

“Maybe the green beans will be good,” I said as I put one in my mouth. No, they were not. They were not in as bad a shape as the steak, but they felt more like pencil erasers than green beans. For the rest of the week, we bought prepared meals from the grocery store and restaurants.

Check back next week when I tell the story of our journey to the recycling drop-off center that even includes the high-speed pursuit of a recycling truck.










Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Great Pacific Ocean “Garbage Patch”

From ScienceRay:

Here are some terrible facts about this toxic mass of PLASTIC GARBAGE:

  1. The size of foul field of Trash is 2 times the size of Texas.
  2. It is said 1/5th of junk trapped in the “garbage patch” comes from ship dumping and the rest of the trash comes from human land trash.
  3. Environmental researchers believe 90% of the trash in the ocean dump is from plastic, which is not bio-degradable.
  4. Some environmentalists say there is 3.5 million tons of waste swirling in the Pacific vortex near the beautiful Hawaiian Islands.
  5. Thousands of birds and sea-life creatures are dying from eating plastic particles in this huge debris field, because they can not digest the plastic and it dehydrates them or stops their digestive system from functioning.
  6. Some of the tiny plastic bits pass into the living systems of marine life and travel up the food chain until it lands on your dinner plate or in your fish sandwich! And, yikes…. Gulp…. you have eaten residual plastic! Perhaps a piece of your plastic grocery bag, water bottle, used condom or plastic chips bag ends up in your stomach.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Love the Earth

Happy Valentine's Day!

Earth, Africa

Sunday, February 13, 2011

George Washington Carver, Environmentalist



“Waste is man-made. Nature produces no waste; whatever is consumed is returned to the whole in a reusable form. Man fails to utilize appropriately the bounty of nature.”


Thank you George Washington Carver.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Super Bowl Played in Green Stadium



I'm still learning cool stuff about Sunday's Super Bowl.  Did you know the Cowboy's Stadium is the 5th greenest stadium in the country?  That's right.  Here is the description in their own words:

Cowboys Stadium includes a state-of-the-art bio-composting reactor from Totally Green, a retractable roof that allows a lot of events to be held in natural lighting, retractable end zone doors that allow for natural ventilation, permeable pavement that helps with water drainage and pollution, a comprehensive recycling program, and more. Overall, it has reduced solid waste, energy use, and water consumption considerably due to its green initiatives.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Five Ways to Save Green

From Do Your Part.Com:

1. Weatherize Your Home

Weatherizing your home with energy saving projects can keep money in your pocket.  Almost half of your home’s energy usage is spent on heating or cooling your home. When your house leaks air from drafty windows or leaking fireplaces you’re needlessly paying for wasted energy. Some projects that you can help seal up your home include insulating your attic door or using a chimney balloon. To learn about other weatherizing projects read this DYP column.

2. Put an End to Phantom Power

Paying for electricity you aren’t using? ‘Phantom power’ is the energy being wasted by having electronics plugged in that aren’t even being used. Anything in “stand-by” mode sips energy. That includes DVD players, computers, and most chargers. Phantom power adds up to 10% of the total amount of energy we use at home. Unplugging the electronics or using a power strip to shut them off when they aren’t being used will bring you instant savings on your electric bill.

3. Create Your Own Green Cleaners

You can’t beat the cost of some basic green cleaners that you probably already have in your pantry. Create your own cleaning toolbox with white vinegar, baking soda, borax, and hydrogen peroxide. These are a whole lot cheaper than store bought cleaners and are just as effective. For instance, I can buy a 128 oz. jug of vinegar for $3.49. That’s the same price of the leading glass cleaner that’s only 26 ounces. If I make a glass cleaner using 1 part vinegar to 1 part water, my jug of vinegar will last nearly 10 times longer than that chemical glass cleaner for the exact same price! Check out our ‘Green Cleaning’ section to see how to make your own cleaners.

4. Buy Used Items

If you’re in the market for furniture, clothes or similar new possessions consider buying second hand. Giving these items a second chance helps reduce consumption of new virgin materials. Two of my favorite stores are Goodwill and Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore but don’t overlook other resale shops that cater to specific markets like children’s clothes or sporting goods.

5. Drive Smarter

Getting better fuel mileage is a sure way to save some money. If you’re in the market for a new car, hybrids are a good option. However, hybrids aren’t in the budget for everyone. Instead, maximize your fuel efficiency by doing a few things. Avoid aggressive driving. It’s not just a bad move on the road, all the speeding up and slamming on the brakes burns a lot of gas. Keeping your tires properly inflated will also save you about 8 cents a gallon. Also, getting rid of the extra weight in your car and getting regularly scheduled maintenance on your car will keep it running efficiently.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Recycled Valentine's Day Cards

Make Recycled Valentine's Day Cards from Paper Sacks and Vintage Cards
Make Recycled Valentine's Day Cards from Paper Sacks and Vintage Cards
B. Holmes
User-Submitted Article
If you enjoy making your Valentine's Day cards, and are looking for something a little different to do this year, consider these Valentine's Day cards made from recycled vintage cards, brown paper bags, potato stamps and embellishments. It is a fun way to reuse cards and bring together several different craft mediums.
Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Instructions

Things You'll Need:

  • Raw potato, cut in half
  • Acrylic paint, poured into paper plate
  • Construction paper
  • Glue
  • Paper Sack
  • Old Cards
  • Embellishments
  1. 1
    Carve a shape into the cut end of the potato. Fold a piece of colored construction paper in half and dip the cut end of the potato into the paint and decorate the edges of one side of the card. Allow to dry.
  2. 2
    Choose an old card to decorate your project. Cut the picture out if necessary. Tear out a piece of paper sack, the same shape, and a little larger, than the picture you intend to use. Glue the paper sack piece onto the center of the card. On top of that glue the picture from your old Valentine's Day card.
  3. 3
    Add an embellishment to your card. Like a key, for the key to your heart, or little dry flowers.
  4. 4
    Fold a piece of paper sack to fashion an envelope. Embellish the envelope by using the potato stamp and acrylic paint.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011






 Valentine Trivia from American Greetings

  • - Around a billion valentines are sent each year globally, making the day the second  largest card-sending holiday of the year behind Christmas
  • - 25 percent of all seasonal cards annually are valentines
  • - Over 36 million heart-shaped boxes of chocolate are sold each year.
  • - Valentine’s Day is the top holiday for fresh flower purchases with red roses being most popular
  • - 10% of engagements happen on Valentine’s day
  • - Over 60 percent of consumers planned to buy at least one valentine last year

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The 3 R's....Family Style, Part 2

 

 

 

 

My Alabama Waste Disposal Adventure Part 2: "Taking Our Good Will to Goodwill"

Kristen Aubut

The first day of packing up my grandmother’s house was the most overwhelming. Everything inside the house was just as my grandmother had left it when she last shut the door of her beloved residence of 50 years.

My sisters Ellen and Jill, my brother-in-law Shane, my father and I all woke up early the first morning of our packing adventure. It must have been our eager anticipation of the task at hand that stirred us from our much-needed sleep. We were all exhausted from the previous day’s 10-hour drive from Raleigh to Huntsville. But we did not feel our exhaustion now because we were ready to get started.

Getting started was like trying to crack the hard shell of a pecan with your bare hands. The shelves and tabletops in the house all displayed the same knick knacks that had always been there. The nine large closets, the countless kitchen, laundry and bathroom cabinets, the enormous pantry, the attic, the two-car garage and the utility shed were all neatly filled with their original possessions. Where should we begin?

To crack that hard pecan shell, we came up with a game plan. We would work in twos. One person would stand on a chair and pull things out of the closets. That person would pass the items down to the second person who would place the item in either the donate box, the recycle box, the pack-to-go-to-Raleigh box or the trash box.

Occasionally, disagreements would ensue over the fate of an item. My dad would usually act as the referee helping to decide into which box the item should be placed. To get us through any disagreements or annoyances, we all worked hard to maintain positive attitudes, even tempers and light-hearted humor throughout the week.

As we sorted and packed, we discovered that about half of my grandmother’s belongings were no longer needed or wanted, and many of the items were in good enough shape to be donated. So, I checked online to find the closest Goodwill donation center and found one located 30 minutes away.

The first Goodwill load was so large we had to use the moving truck to drive it out to the donation center. Once Shane and Ellen returned from the first Goodwill run, Ellen decided to look online again to make sure there was not a donation center closer to the house. She did not want to make that 30-minute drive again considering how many loads we would be taking. Sure enough, Ellen found a Goodwill donation center less than five minutes away.
Oops. I promise the closer location had not come up on my search list the first time I Googled it. We certainly had wasted a lot of gasoline and time driving out to that first Goodwill.

Each day of our weeklong packing adventure, we filled up the back of Ellen and Shane’s Subaru with items to be donated. We made so many trips to the donation center that the Goodwill attendant began to recognize us.

Each time we pulled up to the loading dock, the attendant would scan the boxes for items that the donation center could not accept. Each time, he found a few things that he had to reject. Apparently, our zeal for reuse and our desire to prevent stuff from going to the landfill was at odds with Goodwill’s acceptance policy. I cannot blame them, though, because some of the things we tried to donate were a bit off the wall.

“We can’t take those,” the attendant said as he pointed to a stack of a dozen pink hospital bed pans. “Can’t take these,” he said as he pointed to our pile of about 30 rusty coat hangers. He did not even want the box full of pencils that had been sharpened down to the nubs. Apparently, none of these rejected items were selling very well at Goodwill these days.

Check back next week when I tell the story of our trip to the Salvation Army and our dinner of congealed steak and rubbery green beans.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Super Bowl Cleanup

From Republic Services:

SUPERBOWL CLEANUP ALSO INVOLVES A GAME PLAN
As city and stadium prepare for a record number of fans, someone has to take out the trash

Attendees at this year’s Super Bowl at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Tex. February 6 will cheer on the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Green Bay Packers at one of the year’s biggest days in sports and they will leave behind a lot of trash. Another key team will help make the management of those materials a seamless part of the day’s events. Republic Services of North Texas will be taking care of the empty cups, cans and other garbage and recycling as much of the material as possible.

“Based on other events at the stadium, we expect to recycle nearly 11 tons of material from Super Bowl Sunday,” said Nick Stefkovich, area president for Republic Services of North Texas.  

As the stadium gets set to accommodate even more fans with standing-room tickets, that number could grow.  

“There might be a lot of trash talk going on that day, but there will be an equal amount of actual trash to be dealt with, and we’re looking forward to the challenge,” said Stefkovich. 
In fact, the Republic Services team feels that it is up to the task. The company manages the waste and recycling at this venue and many other stadiums and arenas all across the country year-round.  

“After the game, most people will be talking about the big plays, or the commercials. Our folks will be taking care of business so that before you know it, you won’t even be able to tell that nearly 100,000 were there,” said Stefkovich.  

Republic Services, Inc. provides recycling and solid waste collection, transfer and disposal services in the United States and Puerto Rico. The Company’s various operating units, including collection companies, transfer stations, recycling centers and landfills, are focused on providing reliable environmental services and solutions for commercial, industrial, municipal and residential customers. For more information, visit the Republic Services website at www.republicservices.com

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Hosting a Green Super Bowl Party

Hosting a 'green' Super Bowl party





If you have plans to host a Super Bowl party, you may have to deal with trash talking between guests, but you don't have to deal with bags of trash from the party. Do your part by hosting a greener party, no matter what colors your team sports.

THE BEER: You'll probably be stocking up on most of your party supplies at the grocery store. If beer is on your list, consider trying a few varieties of organic or locally brewed beers.
If you're having a large crowd, renting a keg is both more economical and less wasteful. A full-size keg holds the equivalent of 165 12-ounce containers of beer and can be refilled and used over and over again.

For individually packaged beverages of all kinds, the greener choices are ones packaged in aluminum cans. Aluminum is the most valuable and cost-effective material that we recycle.
Plus, aluminum can be recycled and back on the store shelves as new product in a matter of weeks.

OTHER BEVERAGES: When serving water, the best choice is to provide a pitcher of ice water and reusable glasses for your guests. If bottled water is a must, buy bottles made with less plastic and make sure they get recycled.

PLATES, UTENSILS: Reusable dinnerware and utensils are the least wasteful means of throwing a party, but it's not always practical. When shopping for disposable products like napkins and paper towels, look for ones made from recycled paper.

Paper plates are a bit trickier, but non-coated ones are your best bet, because they break down in the landfill more quickly. There are also fun and eco-friendly plates, bowls and utensils made from bamboo or other sustainable materials.

FOOD, LEFTOVERS: And of course, there are all the things you'll be putting on those plates. From carrots and celery sticks to wings and chips, buying in bulk creates less packaging waste, and you'll save money, too. Keep a few reusable containers on hand to send leftovers home with your guests.

RECYCLING: Don't forget to make it easy for your guests to recycle. If you have designated recycling bins for things like cans and bottles, they will be a lot less likely to end up in the trash.

Home Electronics Disposal

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