Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Electronics Ban Coming Soon

As directed by SESSION LAW 2010-67, SENATE BILL 887, Discarded computer equipment, as defined in G.S. 130A‑309.131.  and discarded televisions, as defined in G.S. 130A‑309.131. will be banned from North Carolina landfills effective July 1, 2011.

We know from past Electronics Recycling Events that there is a huge quantity of discarded electronics in our service area.  We also know that people want to do the right thing when is come to disposing of the electronics.

The NC Division of Pollution Prevention and Environmental Assistance (DPPEA) estimates that North Carolina currently has between 67,575 and 111,642 tons of electronic waste available for recycling.   This estimate is based on the EPA’s estimate and state waste characterization studies.  Bringing it closer to home, it is estimated that 1,285 tons of discarded electronics are available for recycling in our tri-county area.  Think about all of the electronics in your home.  We’ve definitely had a paradigm shift in our consumption of electronics.   I remember growing up when one TV was adequate for our family of six.  Now as a single adult I make use of 4 TV’s in my home. 

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Make a Rain Barrel

From Doyourpart.com:



If you like to garden — even if it’s only a few pots on the back patio — a rain barrel is a great way to help you Do Your Part. Not only will your plants thrive since they actually prefer rain water over city water, you will also save money on your water bill.

A rain barrel takes about 5 minutes to install and you’ll only need a small saw, a screwdriver and some gloves to complete the job.

Locate the downspout where you want to place the barrel and using a hacksaw or other small saw, remove the lower half of the downspout. Attach some flexible tubing — found at any home improvement store — to the downspout and you are ready to go.

Rain barrels come in all shapes and sizes. Make sure the barrel you choose has a secure lid. This will prevent small children from removing the lid and possibly falling in. Some rain barrels have two spouts for water. The lower one can be used for garden or soaker hoses. The upper spigot is high enough to fill your garden watering can.

Rain barrels do more than conserve water. They also prevent storm water run-off. When we get a quick torrential downpour the rainwater flows through the downspout and can wash out mulch or soil in your garden. Use a rain barrel and you’ll catch a quick, free 55 gallons of water to use for another day and prevent storm water run-off.

Do Your Part and install a rain barrel in your garden. You’ll be conserving water and allowing the plants in your garden to thrive.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Vavoline Goes Green

Valvoline NextGen is made with 50 percent recycled motor oil.
 
50% recycled oil.  Check it out!
 

Friday, May 27, 2011

Air Quality Health Notice for This Weekend

Release: Immediate
Date: May 27, 2011
---------
Contact: Tom Mather
E-mail: Tom.Mather@ncdenr.gov
Phone: (919) 715-7408 (work); (919) 218-0441 (cell)

Air Quality Officials Continue Health Notice for Northeastern North Carolina


RALEIGH – Air quality officials continued an advisory today for air pollution in northeastern North Carolina over the Memorial Day weekend due to smoke from a Dare County wildfire. 
 
Residents from mainland Dare County to Plymouth, Edenton, Elizabeth City, Manteo and the northern Outer Banks could experience unhealthy air quality, and sensitive groups of people are advised to avoid or reduce prolonged or heavy exertion outdoors.  
 
The fire in the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge in Dare and Hyde counties is affecting some coastal communities with smoke that could contain high levels of particle pollution. The fire is centered near Stumpy Point, and smoke is drifting downwind. For information about the fire, check out the link on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s website,http://www.inciweb.org/incident/2218/.
 
Air quality monitors operated by the N.C. Division of Air Quality, or DAQ, have shown elevated particle pollution due to smoke from the fire. People who live in counties close to the fire, particularly sensitive groups, should limit their outdoor activities if they can see and smell heavy smoke.
 
Some of the highest particle pollution levels that DAQ has ever measured were in smoke plumes from wildfires. Particles can be harmful to breathe and contribute to haze and other air quality problems.
 
The air pollution forecast for Saturday through Tuesday predicts that fine particle levels in the northeastern corner of North Carolina could exceed the standard of 35 micrograms per cubic meter averaged over 24 hours. High particle levels can impair breathing and aggravate symptoms in people with heart and respiratory problems, and irritate the lungs in healthy individuals. People with chronic lung and heart ailments as well as children and the elderly should reduce physical exertion and outdoor activity.
 
Forecasters have predicted Code Red to Code Purple, or unhealthy to very unhealthy air quality, in much of mainland Dare County. Code Orange conditions, or air quality that is unhealthy for sensitive groups, could occur in all or parts of the following counties: Camden, Chowan, Currituck, Dare, Gates, Hyde, Pasquotank, Perquimans, Tyrrell and Washington counties.
 
The forecast means people who are sensitive to air pollution should avoid or reduce prolonged or heavy exertion outdoors. Sensitive groups include the elderly, children, people who work or exercise outdoors, and those with heart conditions and respiratory ailments such as asthma, bronchitis and emphysema. Everyone else should reduce prolonged or heavy exertion.
 
Fine particles can penetrate deeply into the lungs and be absorbed into the bloodstream, causing or aggravating heart and lung diseases. Persons most susceptible to particle pollution include those with heart and respiratory conditions, the elderly and young children. Symptoms of exposure to high particle levels include: irritation of the eyes, nose and throat; coughing; phlegm; chest pain or tightness; shortness of breath and asthma attacks.
 
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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Recycling Brings More Jobs to NC

RALEIGH (AP) —

Electronic Recyclers International will open a regional recycling center at Alcoa's former smelting plant in Badin, providing jobs for 200 employees.

Company chairman John Shegerian announced the plans today before a crowd of company officials and local and state leaders in Badin, a town in Stanly County.

Shegerian said operations will begin in July at a temporary site before moving into the permanent facility by January.

Alcoa officials have pledged $5 million to improve the 165,000-square-foot building, matching Electronic Recyclers' $5 million investment.

The company recycles electronic products including computers and cell phones. Customers include Best Buy, Samsung and the U.S. government.

Badin Mayor James Harrison said he hopes the announcement will spark further interest in the Alcoa property, which has 535,000 square feet still available.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

New UPS Trucks Equals Fuel Effeciency

From Earth911:


UPS recently began testing a new lightweight delivery truck, made from a plastic-like composite material, to see if the new trucks can achieve 40 percent fuel efficiency over current vehicles. Photo: UPS

With gas prices on the rise again, UPS is testing a new lightweight delivery truck that could be 40 percent more efficient than its current vehicles.

Made from a plastic-like composite material, the new trucks are approximately 1,000 pounds lighter than the shipping company’s traditional trucks and have a smaller, more efficient diesel engine.

The new composite trucks offer other benefits in addition to improved fuel economy, UPS says. Manufacturing the new truck uses less energy than producing typical vehicles, and no paints are used, making the new truck’s construction eco-friendly. The truck’s bumpers, fenders and side cladding can be easily replaced if they are damaged, rather than requiring body repair work.

UPS began using the new trucks last month in five locations across the country and will conclude its testing in December. Cities in Nebraska, Arizona and New York were chosen as test sites to evaluate the truck’s performance under a variety of weather and road conditions.
UPS already has a fleet of 2,000 alternative fuel vehicles, including natural gas, propane, hydrogen fuel cell and hybrid electric vehicles. The new composite trucks give the company another eco-friendly option: They will cut down on fuel use, but are not dependant on the still-growing alternative fuel infrastructure.

Monday, May 23, 2011

NC Agencies Merge

NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources

Environmental Assistance and Outreach

 

Division of Environmental Assistance and Outreach (DEAO) - (Formerly, the Customer Service Center and the Division of Pollution Prevention and Environmental Assistance)

Contact Us toll-free 1 (877) 623-6748

The DENR Customer Service Center and the Division of Pollution Prevention and Environmental Assistance were recently combined to form the Division of Environmental Assistance and Outreach (DEAO). The merging of these two DENR agencies, having complementary visions and services, not only increases efficiency, but provides our customers with a wider range of quality services and products.  

Toll-free: 1 (877) 623-6748
Local (Raleigh Area): (919) 733-1398
http://www.envhelp.org/ - formerly the Customer Service Center
http://www.p2pays.org/- formerly the Division of Pollution Prevention and Environmental Assistance

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Fast Facts on Waste Generation

Fast Facts on Waste Generation

Source: RE3.org “The Facts” http://www.re3.org/facts.htm
Here are some facts about materials all of us use every day.

North Carolinians throw away more than $74,072,000 in aluminum cans each year.
  • Recycling an aluminum can saves 95 percent of the energy required to make the same amount of aluminum from virgin materials.

Glass
  • North Carolinians throw away enough glass each year to fill up more than 11,800 tractor-trailers. If you put those tractor-trailers end -to –end, they’d stretch from Asheville to Greensboro.
  • Producing glass from virgin materials requires 30 percent more energy than producing it from crushed, used glass.

Paper
  • North Carolinians throw away more than $164,375,460 in mixed paper each year.
  • Producing recycled paper requires about 60 percent of the energy used to make paper from virgin wood pulp.
  • One ton of paper made from recycled scrap paper saves 7,000 gallons of water.

Plastic
  • Every week, North Carolinians throw away enough plastic bottles to line the Outer Banks 28 times.
  • North Carolinians throw away more than $41,411,600 in plastic each year.
  • Producing new plastic from recycled material uses only two-thirds of the energy required to manufacture it from raw materials

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Tired of That Old Roof?

by DoYourPart  
 
Photo Credit: EuroShield

Homeowners can save money and the environment with a new type of roofing made from recycled rubber. EuroShield roof shingles contain over 75 percent recycled materials, mostly from used car tires. The company is able to divert thousands of  tires from landfills and turn them into what the company says is a durable and dependable roof. Anywhere from 600 to 1,000 rubber tires are used to make the roof of an average sized home. Any scrap material generated during installation can be collected and recycled again. GreenBuildingElements.com reports recycled rubber shingles have the durability and protection of rubber and can last longer than conventional roofing material. To make the shingles from an old tire, the tirewall is removed and the tread section is cut into large pieces. After the treading is buffed off the rubber is coated with slate dust or sawdust. The pieces are then heated and molded into a shape that resembles a traditional shingle. Since the shingles are made from recycled materials they are often less expensive and most offer a 30 year warranty.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Clean Out Your Closets and Receive 30% Discount From the Gap

From DoYourPart.com   Do Your Part



Gap and Goodwill are joining forces to raise money for job training. Beginning today until May 29, customers can bring donated clothing to Gap stores and get a 30 percent discount in return. The clothing donations will be given to Goodwill and sold in the more than 2,500 Goodwill stores nationwide. Money raised at Goodwill helps fund job training and employee placement programs for the unemployed.

It’s all part of the Donate Movement, an effort by Goodwill to educate the public on the positive impact donations can have and people and the planet. Goodwill’s job training resources help people who want to work but need Goodwill’s help to find and keep a job. Donating clothing is also good for the environment since it extends the life of usable products and keeps them out of the landfill.

Just like the recycle symbol helps people remember to recycle bottles and cans, Goodwill has come up with a donate symbol reminding people that many things can be donated rather than thrown away. Goodwill estimates one pair of donated jeans can provide someone in the local community with ten minutes of resume preparation services. In 2010, the organization provided services to more than 2.4 million people and diverted more than two billion pounds of usable items from the landfill. The President of Goodwill says “Through the Donate Movement, Goodwill aims to increase conscious donations by raising consumer awareness of the power their donations can have in strengthening their communities”.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

PepsiCo's New Eco-Friendly Fountain Drink Cups

PepsiCo rolls out new eco-friendly fountain drink cups

PepsiCo announced that it has begun offering five options of eco-friendly, recyclable and compostable cups to food-service customers in the United States.

The options include fully recyclable clear plastic cups, including an rPET cup containing 20 percent post-consumer recycled content, as well as compostable paper cups and wax cups made with plant-based materials sourced from sustainably managed forests.

The selection of cups allows food-service customers  — restaurants, stadiums, theme parks, and colleges and universities — to choose the right green cups based on locally available recycling and composting disposal facilities.

PepsiCo introduced the green cups in response to growing demand for eco-friendly beverage packaging, particularly among college and university students. Research shows that 94 percent of consumers are concerned about the environmental effects of beverage packaging (according to a Beveragepulse.com study), and 60 percent of Millennials and Gen-Xers would be willing to pay slightly more for recycled beverage packaging that's better for the environment (according to Mintel Beverage Packaging Trends).

Check out this video that showcases the new eco-friendly Pepsi cup portfolio:


Read more: http://blogs.newsobserver.com/greenscene/pepsico-rolls-out-new-eco-friendly-fountain-drink-cups#ixzz1Mhoe9juY

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Car Parts From Dandelions


Image Credit: Ford Motor Company

Most homeowners do whatever they can to get rid of dandelions but the pesky weed could be used in the plastic of your future car. Researchers at Ford Motor Company and Ohio State University are testing the milky white substance in the root of a dandelion as a sustainable source of rubber. Ford says it could eventually be used in plastic car parts like cupholders, floor mats and interior trim. Ford could potentially use the dandelion substance as a plastics modifier, to help improve the strength of plastics. There is a certain type of dandelion that is best suited for use in plastics, a Russian dandelion that is being grown at the Ohio State University’s Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. Ford needs to evaluate the substance and see how it performs in a variety of conditions and test its durability. Ford research engineer Angela Harris says “we’re always looking for new sustainable materials to use in our vehicles that have a smaller carbon footprint to produce and can be grown locally.” She says synthetic rubber is not a sustainable resource and Ford wants to minimize its use in vehicles as much as possible. In addition to the dandelion, researchers are also looking at the use of a shrub called the guayule as a natural rubber, which is provided by the Ohio State agriculture researchers and can be grown domestically. Ford is using other bio-based materials including soy-foam seat cushions, wheat-straw-filled plastic, recycled yarn on seat covers and natural fiber plastic for interiors.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Around the World in 80 Diets

One-third of food produced for human consumption goes uneaten.  What a waste.  This article is fascinating.

From Time:
http://newsfeed.time.com/2011/05/13/un-one-third-of-food-produced-for-human-consumption-is-uneaten/

Monday, May 16, 2011

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Fun Stuff for Kids From the Aquarium

Kids! Enjoy these Aquarium coloring sheets and crafts. All you’ll need are some crayons, scissors, brads and some creativity!


http://www.ncaquariums.com/kids-page 

Friday, May 13, 2011

Spring Plant Swap in Havelock City Park Tomorrow

The Havelock Appearance Commission will be hosting a Spring Plant Swap in City Park, May 14, beginning at 9:00.   If you have plants, trees, shrubs, bulbs, gardening tools, gardening books, seeds, etc you want to swap or if you would just like to come get... some come on out and join us.   Come on out and take advantage of this “free” event. Not a lot of free things these days. Let’s all get together and share our love of gardening.   For further information, call Jackie Attaway, 447-8327.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Air Quality Officials Upgrade Health Notice for Eastern North Carolina

RALEIGH – Air quality officials upgraded an advisory today for air pollution in eastern North Carolina on Wednesday and Thursday as smoke from a Dare County wildfire continues drifting to the south and west. 
 
Residents from the coast to the Triad could experience unhealthy air quality, and sensitive groups of people are advised to avoid or reduce prolonged or heavy exertion outdoors. 
 
The fire in the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge in Dare and Hyde counties is blanketing some coastal communities with heavy smoke that contains high levels of particle pollution. The fire is centered about 20 miles south of Manns Harbor, and satellite photos show a large plume of smoke drifting downwind. For information about the fire, check out the link on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s website,http://www.inciweb.org/incident/2218/.
 
Air quality monitors operated by the N.C. Division of Air Quality, or DAQ, have shown elevated particle pollution due to smoke from the fire, with concentrations reaching unhealthy levels at times in Goldsboro, Jamesville, Tarboro and Raleigh. DAQ’s monitor in Jamesville recorded unhealthy particle levels – higher than 200 micrograms per cubic meter – on Wednesday morning.
 
“Our monitor closest to the fire is reporting very high pollution levels at times,” DAQ Director Sheila Holman said. “People who live in counties close to the fire, particularly sensitive groups, should limit their outdoor activities if they can see and smell heavy smoke.”
 
Some of the highest particle pollution levels that DAQ has ever measured were in smoke plumes from wildfires. Particles can be harmful to breathe and contribute to haze and other air quality problems.
 
The air pollution forecast for Wednesday and Thursday predicts that fine particle levels across much of eastern North Carolina could exceed the standard of 35 micrograms per cubic meter averaged over 24 hours. High particle levels can impair breathing and aggravate symptoms in people with respiratory problems, and irritate the lungs in healthy individuals. People with chronic lung ailments and children should reduce physical exertion and outdoor activity.
 
Forecasters have predicted Code Red or unhealthy air quality in southern Dare, Tyrrell, Martin and Washington counties as well as all of Beaufort, Craven, Green, Hyde, Jones, Lenoir, Pamlico and Pitt counties. Residents could experience Code Orange conditions, or air quality that is unhealthy for sensitive groups, in the following counties: Bladen, Brunswick, Carteret, Columbus, Cumberland, Dare, Edgecombe, Franklin, Harnett, Hoke, Johnston, Lee, Martin, Nash, Onslow, Pender, Robeson, Sampson, Wake and Wilson counties. Intermittent Code Orange conditions are possible are far west and north as Rockingham, Asheboro, Greensboro and Durham.
 
The forecast means people who are sensitive to air pollution should avoid or reduce prolonged or heavy exertion outdoors. Sensitive groups include the elderly, children, people who work or exercise outdoors, and those with heart conditions and respiratory ailments such as asthma, bronchitis and emphysema. Everyone else should reduce prolonged or heavy exertion.
 
Fine particles can penetrate deeply into the lungs and be absorbed into the bloodstream, causing or aggravating heart and lung diseases. Persons most susceptible to particle pollution include those with heart and respiratory conditions, the elderly and young children. Symptoms of exposure to high particle levels include: irritation of the eyes, nose and throat; coughing; phlegm; chest pain or tightness; shortness of breath and asthma attacks.
 
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Advice From the De-Clutter Bug

Monday, May 9, 2011

Burt's Bees Green Packaging

From Burt's Bees:

Green Packaging

Our Products are Safe for You, Safe for the Environment

You know by now that our products are made from the purest natural ingredients available to ensure your and your family’s well-being. But how our products are created and packaged is equally as important in order to ensure that we protect the environment.

Our Packaging Mission

We follow the highest possible sustainable packaging standards. We strive to use the most environmentally responsible packaging systems available that meet or exceed regulatory, product and customer requirements. We also continue to lead by pioneering new systems to further the development of sustainable alternatives for all to use because it ensures The Greater Good™.

Our Packaging Innovations

As a member of the Sustainable Packaging Coalition, we’re continuing to develop innovative sustainable packaging solutions for ourselves—and the industry. In addition to using the highest approved levels of Post Consumer Recycled (PCR) or Post Industrial Recycled (PIR) and recyclable materials whenever possible, here are a few of our other achievements:

  • Our new lip balm and lip shimmer packaging labels are now shrink wrap free. In just one year this has eliminated 1800 miles of shrink wrap film that would have been sent to the landfill — enough to wrap the Statue of Liberty 100 times!
  • We’ve trimmed the excess packaging from many of our products — some by 50 percent!
  • We’ve also pioneered the introduction of TerraSkin™ Wraps, an environmentally friendly, treeless and bleach-free paper alternative we use to package most of our bar soaps. It has a lower absorption rate so we can use 20-30 percent less ink when printing. And because it’s stronger and water resistant, it makes for less waste.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Burt's Bees Committment to the Community

From Burt's Bees:

Our Culture

We care.

We've worked hard to create products that are honest and authentic, just like us. They reflect the culture that really exists within our walls — not flashy or fancy, but highly dedicated to doing the right thing for our brand and our loyal consumers. Burt's Bees is a company that cares about its consumers, the environment and the community and, equally as important, we care about each other.

This culture of caring drives our core values of steadfast commitment to The Greater Good, harmonious tension, passionate teamwork and embracing change. It also drives our everyday behaviors and activities. In the stewardship of our brand and the environment, we set high standards, build for the future and never compromise quality. We are dedicated to a debate and decide process, where we confront issues head on, challenge each other constructively and resolve issues amicably. We embrace a can-do attitude where we all roll up our sleeves to pitch in and take ownership, break the mold and celebrate action. And an incredible passion for people exists here, where we always give others the benefit of the doubt, celebrate excellence every day and invest in our growth.

Our culture of caring also influences how we re-inforce our values through our commitment to health and the environment, our development and recruiting activities, how we measure and reward employees' performance and how we communicate and celebrate our achievements.
Yeah, we're a little quirky. We have an extremely diverse group in experience, backgrounds and ways of working, which makes for an engaging and positively challenging environment. People feel free to express and be themselves around here, which makes for very few dull moments.

We are a very fast-paced, nimble company that, because of our size and entrepreneurial spirit, is able to get things done very quickly.

Ongoing Employee Engagement

We want to ensure that all our employees have the information and inspiration they need to act in ways that are environmentally and socially responsible, both at work and at home. And we’re continually looking for ways to get them involved.
  • A dedicated team of Burt’s Bees employees host an ongoing series of environmental educational sessions, focusing on everything from waste reduction to municipal commuter planning programs
  • A monthly in-house ECO-Web Newsletter is published to broadcast useful environmental websites that can keep our employees up to date
  • “Lunch and Learn” sessions engage employees on such topics as energy offsets and carpooling

Sustainability Within Our Walls

We're always looking for opportunities to express our values and vision in ways that reach beyond our day-to-day work of creating the best natural personal care products available. Several years ago, a group of Burt’s Bees employees came together with a common goal of making a difference in our company’s efforts to reduce, reuse and recycle. They named themselves the Environmentally Conscious Organization Bringing Ecologically Empowered Solutions, a lofty name with a great acronym - ECOBEES. While the name may not have rolled off the tongue, their passion for positive change spoke volumes. The ECOBEES exist to pioneer and inspire the way we think and act as a business by focusing on innovative alternatives for living and working in harmony with our environment.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Burt's Bees

From Burt's Bees.  This awesome NC company really shines.


Our Commitment to Natural Products

We promise to stick to The Natural Standard, maintaining the highest ideals and never taking the easy way out. We will never compromise what is best for your experience and well-being, and will always be true to what we define as natural. We are working with others in the industry — organizations and other companies — to join us and adopt The Natural Standard in the interest of The Greater Good.

We believe natural products should be 100% natural.

Our products average 99% natural, with half being 100% natural. We will continue to strive for 100% natural on all our products, investigating all ingredients and the latest technologies to create the best products for your greatest well-being and never using any ingredient that has any potential suspected human health risks.

We believe companies should be transparent.

We think natural personal care products manufacturers have the responsibility to fully disclose their ingredients and any associated risks so that consumers can make the most informed decisions about the products they use. We list the percent natural on every product label and avoid ingredients with potential risks. What's more, we strive to educate consumers — and the industry — about those potential risks.

We believe all packaging should hold to the highest standard possible of environmental sensitivity.

We use packaging with the highest levels of Post Consumer Recycled (PCR) materials. Our packaging is designed to be recyclable and have the lowest impact on the environment possible.

We believe in preserving the rights of both humans and animals.

We commit to the highest standards of free trade and working conditions in the sourcing of our products. We also pledge to never test our ingredients or products on animals.

We believe in giving back.

Through The Greater Good Foundation, we commit to pledge at least 10% of all Web Site sale revenues to our selected "well being" partners

We believe in taking care of the people who make our business what it is.

We provide an extremely rich and diverse workplace that focuses on the personal growth, development and wellness of the individual through comprehensive benefits. We set the highest standard in employee health education and benefits, safety, development and mutual code of conduct.

Friday, May 6, 2011

8 Perennial Vegetables Anyone Can Grow

Let the Green Cheapskate be your guide to easy, cost-effective gardening this spring.

bunches of asparagus at farmers market
I've confessed before that my enthusiasm for gardening usually dies on the vine long before the first cucumbers of summer are ready to harvest. I'm always looking for easy ways to satisfy my green thumb and, of course, ways to get the most broccolis for my gardening buck. That's why I'm a big fan of growing perennial vegetables in my garden–plant them once, and enjoy the fruits (well, actually, vegetables) of your labors for years to come.

I'll always remember when the UPS man delivered a mysterious, rather dirty looking box to our new home the first spring we lived here. The box was carefully packed with damp sphagnum moss, the packaging material of choice for shipping the sacred Yeager Roots, a housewarming gift from my parents.
Other families pass down jewelry or antique furniture, but for the Yeager clan, the holy triumvirates of family heirlooms are root starts of asparagus, horseradish, and rhubarb. They are the direct descendants of the original Yeager Roots, dating back at least to my great-grandparents, and–family legend has it–much, much further. After all, my great-great-grandmother was a Lungfish (that was her maiden name, not her species, mind you). But I digress.

Although–unlike fruits–there aren't too many vegetables that are perennials, many of the ones that do exist grow in a wide range of climates and, once established, are low-maintenance enough even for a lazy gardener like me. They're also among the healthiest veggies for you, and they're generally inexpensive to purchase, if you don't come from a family with its own royal roots line. Here are my personal eight great perennial vegetables:
Related: Dozens of Smart Gardening Tips
* Asparagus
Grows best in full sun and non-soggy, somewhat sandy soil. I like it cut into one-inch pieces and stir fried raw with sesame oil and a little sliced ginger (top with toasted sesame seeds). Or, brush with olive oil and crushed garlic and grill whole spears on the bar-b. (
More asparagus recipes.)
* Bamboo Shoots
We have a good-sized stand of bamboo that was on the property when we moved here, so I guess bamboo will be my contribution to the lineage of Yeager Roots. Not all varieties of bamboo shoots are edible (or tasty), so do your homework first. We boil ours to remove the bitterness, then sauté them in butter and a little sherry or sweet vermouth for flavor. Also, be advised that many varieties of bamboo are highly invasive and can be toxic if eaten in large amounts.

* Bunching Onions
This is a variety of onion that grows in clumps and multiplies on its own, and they are hardy in the ground even in fairly cold climates. The bulbs themselves are fairly small and pinkish in color (at least the ones I grow). I like to pickle them as something a little unusual for the relish tray... or in the martini glass.

* Garlic
As the saying goes, "If your lover doesn't like garlic, get a new lover." Garlic is a healthful perennial, although it's often grown and harvested as an annual.
Here's how to keep it coming back every year. I like to rub a whole head of unpeeled garlic with olive oil, wrap it in aluminum foil, and stick it in the oven or on the grill for an hour or so when I'm cooking something else; squirt the warm, creamy pulp of each clove onto a cracker or piece of bread for a heavenly appetizer. (See how to plant, grow, harvest and store your own garlic.)
* Horseradish
As long as you harvest just the side roots, horseradish taproots will continue to produce a new harvest every year. To use as a condiment, clean and peel roots; cut into small chunks, and grind in a blender or food processor with a little water to the desired consistency. Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt for each cup of blended horseradish, and 2 or 3 tablespoons of white vinegar; seal and store in the refrigerator.

* Kale and Collard Greens
Perennial varieties will grow in many climates, and are among the healthiest of all vegetables. I eat greens at least once a week, and find that the secret is to not overcook them. Chop greens into half-inch strips and plunge into a pot of boiling, salted water for 10-15 minutes; remove and dress with butter/olive oil, vinegar/lemon juice and salt or feta cheese. And you thought you didn't like greens. (Kale is a superfood. See what other
foods are top sources of Vitamin K.)
* Radicchio
Think you can't grow any perennial vegetables in your garden? Don't be radicchio! Seriously, radicchio (aka "Italian chicory") will come back every year in most climates if you don't dig it up for blanching, as some chefs do. I like to add young, raw leaves to spice up a tossed salad, or grill older bunches (brushed with olive oil) to remove some of the bitterness.

* Rhubarb
Prefers colder climates, well-drained soil, and part-shade. Strawberry-rhubarb pie is hard to beat, but I also like to make rhubarb sauce instead of apple sauce: Cook two cups of inch-long pieces of cut up rhubarb stems in one-half cup of water until totally broken down, then add sugar and cinnamon to taste.



Thursday, May 5, 2011

Green Cinco de Mayo

From Examiner.com

TerreCycle and Mission Foods have partnered to make Cino de Mayo delicious and 'green.' Families can celebrate by cooking amazing food with recipes from Mission Foods that feature ingredients with packaging that can be recycled into eco-friendly products and while earning money for their favorite charity.
How it works
“After feasting on treats such as Mango Tango Dip and Chicken Fajitas, the packaging can be sent to TerraCycle, a company which upcycles and recycles food wrappers and other waste into bright backpacks, plant grow kits, and even mini speakers. With Mission and TerraCycle, kids and parents alike can indulge in healthy food while taking care of their environment.”
Recycling can continue long after the celebrations are over. Schools and community groups can form a TerraCycle Brigade which collects packaging and sends it to TerraCycle. Each piece received will earn two cents for the groups charity of choice.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Hooray for Poly Wood

Poly Wood
Outdoor Patio Furniture

Shop-NC offers the best and only the very best recycled plastic Adirondack chairs, poly lumber porch swings, maintenance free outdoor benches and poly wood rocking chairs. They have long been a leading, authorized dealer of poly wood by Poly-Wood, Envirowood by Seaside Casual, Siesta by Casual Living and other top brands of maintenance free, recycled plastic outdoor patio furniture.

 Poly Classics Adirondack Chair - Tropical

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Identifying Recycled Content Products

From Earth911

Identifying Recycled Content Products

What’s the difference between recycled-content products and recyclable products?
  • Recycled-content products are made from materials that would otherwise have been discarded. That means these products are made totally or partially from material contained in the products you recycle, like aluminum soda cans or newspaper. Recycled-content products also can be items that are rebuilt or re-manufactured from used products such as toner cartridges or computers. There are more than 4,500 recycled-content products available, and this number continues to grow. In fact, many of the products people regularly purchase contain recycled-content.
  • Post-consumer content is a material that has served its intended use and instead of being disposed of it is being reused in a different product. If a product is labeled “recycled content,” the material might have come from excess or damaged items generated during normal manufacturing processes-not collected through a local recycling program.
  • Recyclable products can be collected and remanufactured into new products after they’ve been used. These products do not necessarily contain recycled materials and only benefit the environment if people recycle them after use.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

De-clutter and Reduce with a Garage Sale

 Thank you Peggy Barnes for tips on reducing our waste.  Plus, I love a garage sale!

Hello to Everyone and Hello Spring!

This month we are going to talk about Garage Sales.  Many of my clients have piles of items that are designated for their garage or yard sale. Many of them have had those items in that pile for a very long time!  The key to a good garage sale is organization and setting aside time to prepare for the sale.   

Should I Have a Garage Sale? 
It is important to decide whether your time and effort are going to be worth it and whether the upside will outweigh the downside.   
1. Take into consideration the amount of time it will take to gather up all your items, price all your items, set up the items, advertise your sale, work the sale, take the leftover items to a designated place after the sale and clean up after the sale.  It takes about 2-3 weeks to really prepare properly for a large garage sale.

2. The next thing to consider is realistically how much you will be able to make at your sale.  Your items may not be as valuable as you think they are….but we will talk more about pricing your items.    

3. The other consideration is whether or not a tax deduction, by donating the items to a charity, will bring about the same benefits.  Just be realistic and you won’t come away frustrated or disappointed. 

When Should I Have the Garage Sale?
The obvious answer is when the weather is nice but we can’t always determine that.  Just try and look as far ahead at the weather, as you can, and take your chances!
Obviously, Saturdays is the day that has the highest attendance although many people have a lot of success with a Thursday or Friday sale.  Sunday is usually not a great day to have a sale, it typically is a very low attendance day.   One of the best ways to have a successful garage sale is to ask your neighbors to have one at the same time.  A multi-family sale brings in large crowds and keeps your neighbors from being irritated with you for having strange people driving around your neighborhood early on a Saturday morning.

How Should I Advertise?
Always advertise your garage sale in the local newspapers.  Also you can advertise on Craigslist or your social network site like Facebook.  Placing fliers around your neighborhood is another great way to advertise.  Traffic is obviously what is going to make or break the success of your sale.  When advertising, keep it short and sweet – address, dates, times and sale hours.  Also make sure that you note that early birds are not welcome or you will have some people at your door at 5:00 in the morning or even the night before!  If you have some specialized items, like a lot of children’s clothes or exercise equipment, make sure that is listed.  Make sure you have signs and directional signs posted in prominent locations.  Bright colored poster board is a great eye catching thing to use for signage.
  
What Should I Sell?
Rule of thumb: don’t try to sell higher priced items, valueable antiques or collectibles at a garage sale.  Bargains are what the typical garage sale goer is looking for.  Go through your house and find those things, however weird or unusual, that you do not use or love anymore and set those aside to sell.  A great way to get your kids to clear out their clutter is have them go through their things and decide what they would like to sell and they can keep the profits!  The kids should also help with the setting up, working the sale and the taking down of the sale.  This is a great time to teach the value of hard work.  A lot of items with a variety of prices encourages lingering and lingering encourages buying 

What Price Should I Put On My Items?
This is probably one of the hardest parts of a garage sale.  The rule of thumb in pricing is to price items at about 10-30% of what you originally paid for the item.  However, if an item is still current and in really good shape, you can price that item for more than that percentage.  It is a really good idea to print out a page that shows the item and the price someone would pay for it new.  You need to have a price on everything. Even if you put a sign that says, everything on this table $1.00, people are going to ask how much something costs.  Blue Painter’s Tape is a great thing to use to put on items for pricing.  Price everything ahead of time; do not think you will have any time the day of the sale to be pricing items.  Below is a link to a website that gives a wonderful comprehensive guide to pricing individual items. 


How Should I Display My Items?
Most items should be on tables.  A Ping Pong table or several 6 ft. tables work well.  Toys, however, are sometimes better displayed on a sheet or quilt on the ground; if children are at the sale, they will be drawn to them!  Clothes are best sorted by size and/or hung.  Using a clothesline, strung between two trees will work!

Miscellaneous Tips
  1. Have an extension cord available for testing electrical items
  2. Have things clean and repaired
  3. Have change on hand (enough to make change for $100 along with silver coin), grocery bags to bag items, a calculator, pen, pencils, tape measure, boxes and newspapers (to wrap fragile items in) and have a safe place to stash your cash.
  4. Have bags and newspapers available for wrapping fragile items or for someone to be able to carry a lot of items home!
  5. Try and round up a few people to contribute items to the garage sale.  If they don’t want to help with pricing or working the sale, charge them a commission % to sell their items.  This will benefit both of you…….you will have more diverse items, you make a little profit, they make a little profit and they are able to rid their homes of clutter. 

Home Electronics Disposal

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