Natural Living — Recycling

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More Ways to Green Your Holiday 3

Mid December is the time of year that the internet abounds with useful tips to green your holiday and a multitude of tips to lighten your environmental impact over the holidays. The Most Repeated Eco Holiday Tips Switch to LED lights to conserve massive amounts of electricity and forego the wrapping paper for something homemade from old magazines, newspapers or brown bags and festive bows. [caption id="" align="alignleft" width="178"]Reusable shopping bags Image by Luca Penati via Flickr[/caption] Ways to save money and environmental impact include:
  • From Eco-Wrap Your Holiday Gifts: Use vintage tins, reusable bags or eco paper to wrap your special gift.
  • Buy presents that don't require packaging such as gift certificates, movie passes or restaurant cards.
  • Don't wrap the presents or buy presents that don't need wrapping such as a charitable donation.
  • Give reusable shopping bags for gifts. Everyone should own these anyway.
  • Make your own gift with a reusable bag, fair trade coffee, a stainless steel water bottle and some soap nuts.
  • Make your own ornaments either from recycled materials or fun items from a thrift store.
Eco Book Gift Ideas From Eco-Libris: The Green Collar Holiday Gift Guide for Book Lovers - Part 1 - Consider the gift of an eco-book that will educate and inspire. Some of the more exciting recommendations include: “Gorgeously Green: 8 Simple Steps to an Earth-Friendly Life” by Sophie Uliano “Eco Chick Guide to Life: How to Be Fabulously Green” by Starre Vartan “The Lazy Environmentalist” by Josh Dorfman “The Better World Shopping Guide: Every Dollar Makes a Difference” by Ellis Jones For the eco conscious woman in your life, check out Inhabitat's Green Gift Guide for Her, with creative, unique eco-friendly gift ideas like a recycled chain bracelet, organic bath and body treats, purses made from recycled leather jackets or TONS of soda pull tabs. As always, Inhabitat finds great items that are as unique and stylish as they are sustainable.

Tips to Green Your Holiday 4

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="300"]An artificial fiber optic Christmas tree Image via Wikipedia[/caption] Green Your Holiday starting with your tree What is better? Real or artificial? Deforestation or plastic contraption? Here is Christmas tree 101 with tips from the Chicago Tribune. Artificial Tree Pros: Durable, affordable, easy to set up and maintain and continues to look good. Cons: PVC, phthalates, huge carbon footprint and no natural tree scent Real Tree Pros: environmentally friendly, local, renewable and recyclable and they smell good Cons: grown with pesticides, difficult to set up and maintain, pricey Solution? I already have an artificial so I am going with "reuse" despite the PVC and phthalates concerns. Plus I like a white tree and that is tough to find at the tree farm. Still can't decide? You could always go with a Festivus pole. Holiday Gifts With a Donation Twist If you would like to make a donation to a worthy cause and go holiday shopping in the process, then check out greenlagirls Give to get: Picking an eco-gift bag. Her useful review actually compares the contents of two different eco gift bags to determine if the bag is truly eco-useful or just fluff. One bag is from Environmental Working Group for a $135 donation and the other is from Jump Start to Green for an $89.99 donation. Either bag is a great way to get an "eco-interested" friend or relative started on the right foot.    
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Composting Food Scraps Makes the Earth Happy 0

by Duong Vicki Not too many people realize it, but composting is one of the best ways to return your resources back into the earth. In a way, composting is our way of saying thank you to Mother Earth for providing us with the resources needed to feed ourselves and our families. Simply put, composting is a lot like recycling, except you don't take your reusable goods to a recycling center, but rather you put it in a compost bin or tumbler and back into your garden. Let's start with a common scenario for households of two or more. In the beginning, there was food, and it was good. Fruits and vegetables were abundant, but so were the leftovers and food scraps. Instead of tossing all the food scraps into the trash where it would take up unneeded space in landfills, why not recycle it all back into the earth? Food scraps are easy enough to compost because there's always such an abundance of it lying around, so what have you got to lose other than the scraps themselves? Always consider what you can and cannot compost. For instance, it's strongly advised to never, ever compost bones, meat and dairy products, fats and oils since they take too long to decompose or won't decompose properly at all, smell really foul after half a day, and they attract all sorts of critters and wildlife. Unfortunately, not everything can be composted; I would recommend that you toss the aforementioned items in your trash and properly dispose of them. Veggie stalks, fruit rinds, apple cores and even coffee grounds are the goodies you want to compost. You wouldn't think it, but coffee grounds are great for the composting process since they're rich in nitrogen and aid in adding heat to your compost pile. We know that composting is great for the earth, but why and how? Well, if you think about it, composting cuts out a lot of costs. You would be saving a lot of money on water and garbage bills just by making free natural and organic soil fertilizer for your garden and houseplants. And did I mention it would improve the vitality of your soil? By returning nutrients back into the soil that will be released over the course of a couple years, you would be maximizing the growth and health of your plants and veggies. The soil itself will also have improved aeration and drainage. And even if you're not an avid gardener, composting takes very little of your time and like I've mentioned before, what have you got to lose other than your food scraps? Kitchen Compost Crock by Gaiam *Special thanks to C. Forrest McDowell, PhD and Tricia Clark-McDowell for their compost guide Home Composting Made Easy, available on Cortesia Press. About the Author: For an excellent selection in wood chippers and lawn sweepers, be sure to stop by Composters.com today. Buy the Kitchen Compost Crock [affliate link] Image Source: http://flickr.com/photos/stepintomythimble/2050628548/

Biodegradable Utensils Are Great For Composting 7

By Duong Vicki Summer means barbeques, family gatherings, picnics, beach parties, and even more barbeques! Summer is the time of year that all your good dishware and silverware stay in their cupboards and drawers and you utilize nothing but disposable plates and cutlery. But did you ever consider how much waste that adds up at all the landfills? So many plastic utensils end up piling up landfills and aren't being recycled, because who would even think to recycle that? A better alternative that does the job and is good for the environment that's now catching on in the market is biodegradable cutlery [affiliate link]. Made from corn starch and other biodegradable "plastic" fillers, eco-friendly utensils are on the rise in popularity. Contrary to belief, they will not fall apart on you if you use them in hot items like soups, and they will not break if you use them in cold foods or desserts like ice cream. Biodegradable utensils work just like their normal plastic counterparts; the only difference is that they won't pile up in landfills and can even be used in your compost bins. For the avid gardener who likes to compost, these eco-friendly utensils can be highly beneficial to your garden. After you're done using these utensils, toss them into your compost bin or heap instead of the trash can. In most cases, the packaging that the utensils come in is also biodegradable, which means you can add that to your compost bin, too. Since they're made out of corn starch and other eco-friendly materials, these biodegradable utensils will not harm your compost heap, adding to your nutrient-rich compost. Do keep in mind that if you plan to toss these utensils into your compost bin that it can take anywhere from six to 18 months for them to fully decompose. So the next time you're planning your big summer barbeque or food outing, consider using the eco-friendly alternative versus the regular plastic ware. Not only would you be reducing waste at landfills and giving back to the earth's soil, you'll feel good knowing that you're doing your part to protect the earth while enjoying the barbeque. About the author: For a wide selection in chipper shredders and lawn sweepers, be sure to stop by Composters.com Shop for biodegradable plates & utensils [affiliate]

Feng Shui Life - Declutter With A Yard Sale 2

by Laurie Raphael As you may already know, the first step to obtaining a feng shui life is to rid your home and yourself of all the stale and dead energy around you by getting rid of all the clutter. One really good way to do that is by having a yard sale. There are many great reasons for having a yard sale. Some people have yard sales before they move so they don't have to pack and ship belongings they aren't using. Sometimes they are updating the look of their home and sell their old belongings to make money and room for the new ones. Sometimes your children just grow like weeds and rapidly outgrow both their clothes and their toys. It could also simply be the desire to purge all those items you've held onto for so long, thinking you'd find a use for them but never did. No matter what your reason, having a yard sale is a relatively easy goal to achieve and requires just a few hours of preparation and a few more hours actually selling your wares. You'll reap both financial and emotional rewards from it. Getting rid of the clutter is your first step towards attaining a feng shui life. Decide on a date for your yard sale. Visit your local liquor store for boxes or use heavy duty garbage bags to put the items for your sale into. Start by surveying the items you have. When you are going through your house, you will need to be brutally honest with yourself. If you haven't used it, don't like it, don't see yourself using it or don't know of anyone personally who could benefit from it, then it's a yard sale item. Sort through every dresser and kitchen drawer, every clothes and linen closet, every cupboard and toy box you have in your house. Don't forget your basement, attic, pantry, entertainment center, buffet and outdoor tool shed as well. Get your family involved so that if an item belongs to one of them you won't be making the decision for them. Get their input before placing an item in your yard sale box. Regardless of the time it takes to sort through all your items, make the commitment to stick with it and remind yourself on a continual basis the monetary profit and emotional relief you'll feel once your clutter has been cleared from your home. Once the sale is over, make another commitment to yourself not to bring the unsold items back into your home. Make arrangements with your local charity thrift store to donate the items. Most will be happy to make arrangements to pick up large donations.Yard Sale If you don't have a local charity who will pick up the items just use my method and put a big "FREE" sign out at the end of the day. You will not believe how fast those items will disappear and it will save you a trip to the second hand store or from being tempted to bring the items back into the house. Once it's all said and done, you'll have a few extra dollars in your pocket, and can breathe an emotional sigh of relief that the clutter that's been weighing you down for so long has been purged from your home. Renew your commitment to remain organized and to combat the clutter on a continual basis. About the Author: Visit my Alternative Medicine website featuring Feng Shui life and Herbal Remedy Medicines, Chinese Herbal Medicine and much more: http://www.AlternativeMedicineBasics.com Buy the Book: Yard Sale [affiliate] Image Source: http://flickr.com/photos/opticallyactive/81438260/