Archive for July, 2008

wrap it up

July 31, 2008

Trying to reduce the presence of disposable plastic things in your kitchen? Ditch the cling wrap and tuck your sandwich or leftovers in one of these:

If You Care Aluminum Foil

  • Made with 100% recycled aluminum

Natural Value Wax Paper Bags

  • Made with unbleached wax paper
  • Non-toxic when incinerated

Chef’s Select Soy Wax Paper

  • Made with petroleum-free wax paper

Frigoverre Food Storage Containers

  • Glass container with polypropylene top, safe for food storage
  • Microwave and freezer safe
  • Made in Italy

Pyrex Glass Food Storage Containers

  • Glass container with polypropylene top, safe for food storage
  • Oven, microwave, refrigerator, freezer, and dishwasher safe
  • Made in USA

To-Go Ware Stainless Steel Food Tin

  • Safer than plastic, lighter than glass, with this tin you can take your lunch to work or on a picnic with ease
  • Two dishes are separated by a plate
  • You can also get it with a handy insulated sling bag
  • Try the To-Go Ware Bamboo Utensil Set, too

If you really want to have cling wrap and plastic bags, try these bio-friendly products:

Natural Value Clear Plastic Wrap

  • PVC and plasticizer free, this plastic wrap won’t leach chemicals onto your food
  • Works just as well, if not better than traditional Saran wrap, I swear!

Natural Value Sealable Sandwich Bags

  • PVC and plasticizer free

don’t flush!

July 30, 2008

Your drugs that is… Since we’re on the topic of medicine and waste, I thought it apropos to issue this reminder. When you want to dispose of expired or unused drugs, don’t send them on their merry way down the toilet into sewageland. That drug-laced sewage ends up in our precious waterways, changing the sex of fish, or in the case of flushed Prozac, making fish too happy they forget to eat. Medical waste does all sorts of fun damage to the environment.

So what do you do with those old drugs? Some suggestions:

  • Contact your pharmacy — they may have a drug recycling program
  • Call your local hazardous waste facility — they may have recommendations for drug disposal [The New York State site here]
  • Smash the pills, put them back in their original container, and put that container in a sealable plastic bag. Throw it out with the trash. The problem here is that plastic doesn’t degrade well, and once it does, that medicine is still finding its way out into the environment

Just remember, whatever you do, don’t flush!

toxic gowanus hotbed of medical discovery

July 30, 2008

Ah, the Gowanus Canal, glowing radioactive green. Reflecting the scrap metal heap and its cranes, reminiscent of brontosaurus eating lunch. How can anyone not appreciate the toxic splendor of thee?

If you’re not familiar with the much-discussed (at least in Brooklyn), much-joked-about waterway, here’s a taste:
(MMmmm, delish!)

It turns out, surprisingly enough, oil slicks and various toxins aren’t the only things swirling around in there. A team of researchers –New York City College of Technology Biology Professors Nasreen and Niloufar Haque — has determined the Gowanus is a breeding ground for future medical agents, specifically antibiotics.

An excerpt:

“Despite the canal’s toxicity, which includes cancer-causing chemical agents,” explained Nasreen, “microorganisms are surviving by adapting to the harsh environment there that shouldn’t survive at all. Working in synergy, they seem to sense if nutrients are available; they exchange genes and secrete substances — some of which operate like antibiotics. I believe these substances may provide clues that lead to the development of new drugs to combat human disease.

Who knew?
Read the whole story here.

[Newswise via Gowanus Lounge]

summer sale @ kaight

July 30, 2008

Sorry for the brevity and infrequency of posts this week. The day job is keeping me busy. Just wanted to tell you about a sale at my favorite eco-boutique. Check it out:

it just takes a dollar

July 29, 2008
One dollar can buy you a heck of a lot more than a lottery ticket. Through Plant A Billion Trees, a Nature Conservancy initiative, every dollar you donate will plant a tree in the deforested Atlantic Forest of Brazil. It’s home to 23 primate species, 1,000 bird species, and over 20,000 plant species. The restored forestland will take 10 million tons of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere every year, the equivalent of taking 2 million cars off the road.

Through this program, The Nature Conservancy is working with local partners to restore 2.5 million acres of land and plant 1 billion trees in 7 years, and you can be a part of it. See below for details.

little things add up

July 28, 2008

I try not to use disposable things, but sometimes you need a toothpick or cotton swab. For those times, try these products:

Preserve Toothpicks, Mint tea tree flavor

  • Made from sustainably harvested wood
  • Natural flavoring, also available in Cinnamint
  • Packaged in a pocket-size 100% recycled canister

Organic Essentials Cotton Swabs

  • Made from organic cotton, the sticks are biodegradable and compostable
  • Packaging is recycled and recyclable

Organic Essentials Cotton Balls

  • Made from certified organic cotton

Preserve Triple Blade Razor, with refillable

  • Made with 100% plastic recycled from yogurt cups
  • Titanium coated triple blades with Vitamin E and aloe lubricating strip
  • Replacement blades available in packs of 4
  • Handle also works with Personna® Acti-Flexx® and Gillette® Sensor® blades

Preserve Toothbrush

  • Handle made from 100% recycled plastic
  • Packaging is recyclable and doubles as a travel case
  • Send your toothbrush back to Recycline to spare it from the trash heap
  • Preserve Jr. also available for kids

sale @ let’s go green

July 27, 2008

Enter coupon code “FRIEND” at checkout to get a 25% discount. Use it stock up on all your eco-friendly summer supplies.

mother knows best…

July 27, 2008

We sometimes feel that what we do is just a
drop in the ocean, but the ocean would be less
because of that missing drop.

~ Mother Theresa

bags without baggage

July 26, 2008

From recycled plastic messengers to sustainably harvest rubber duffles, here’s a round-up of eco-friendly bags to suit every style.

Click image for larger views and purchasing info.

Hemp and silk slouch bag
(60/40 blend of eco-friendly hemp and silk)
Was $69, Now $48 – save 30%
Designed to fit the shape of your body and hangs with sturdy straps. Includes two convenient outside pockets for cellphone and sunglasses, and a silk-tie trim.
27″L x 16″W x 11″H
Hemp & Silk Slouch Bag - Blue

Vietnamese Market Feed Bag
(Recycled grain bag)
Great looking bag for groceries or anything else you need to cart around. Each bag is a one-of-a-kind and the design will be a surprise.

18″W x 12″H x 6″D, 21″ straps

Vietnamese Market Feed Bag

Yes! Straw Tote
(straw and scrap fabric)
Lightweight and adorably colorful tote bag. Deep gusset, zip closure, interior cell phone pocket.

15″L x 12″W, 26″ straps

Yes! Straw Tote

Quilted Messenger Bag by Treetap
(rubber texturized fabric)
Was 274.95, Now $192.46
Made from natural latex from rubber trees of the Amazon Rainforest. Treetap works with native people to extract latex, and their bags are made in Rio. The purchase of this bag helps to ensure the preservation of traditional cultures and the conservation and biodiversity of the rainforest.
Features: inside zip pocket, outside zip pocket, quilted front flap, adjustable canvas strap, and two snap closures. Holds up to a 14″ laptop. Due to its organic nature, the product reacts to climate variations and looks different according to the humidity of your environment.
NOTE: the black canvas is a dark forest green, not as pictured.
14″L x 10″W
Quilted Messenger Bag Brown

Solar Powered Messenger Bag
(solar panels, recycled PET fabric)
Great for charging your mp3 player, cell phone, or digital camera. The panels generate 4 watts of power for faster charge times. They’re lightweight, tough and waterproof.
NOTE: 3.25 lbs.; does not charge laptops.
14.5″L x 11.5″W x 4″D, 5.5″ D with outside pocket
(sorry this image is so small, for more detail, please click it)

Daily Grind by Patagonia
(Outer fabric: 64% recycled polyester)
$70.00, Now $56.00
Patagonia is a pioneer in eco-friendly fabrics and manufacturing.
Features: Zippered organizer pocket with internal zippered security pocket; side zippered organizer pocket with detachable key chain; easy access document sleeve; long, adjustable shoulder strap; top-mounted carry handle; fully padded to protect contents; holds 17″ laptop or smaller
15″ x 12″ x 5.5″

Daily Grind

Weekender Duffle Bag by Treetap
(rubber texturized fabric)
Was $288.95, Now $202.21
Features: two outside pockets with snap closures, adjustable canvas shoulder strap, reinforced handles which snap together, and a canvas bottom with metal feet. The exterior is lime green canvas and Treetap rubber.
18″ x 10″ x 11″
Weekender Duffle Bag Brown/Lime
Yoga Bag
(recycled plastic bags)
Made from plastic bags picked from the trash heaps of a New Delhi slum. Women with no other employment opportunities are paid a fair wage hand pick them in order to repurpose them instead of letting them pile up in the dump.
Yoga Bag

Iris Bag by Helen E. Riegle
(vegan leather)
Was $158.00, Now $126.40
Features a zippered main compartment lined with organic cotton, with internal pocket and an outside pouch.
11″ x 6″ x 2″
Iris Vegan Leather

Newspaper Clutch by Raw Bags
(100% Chinese newspaper)
Was $75.00, Now $60.00
Adorable woven paper clutch is laminated to protect the paper from
14.5″ x 6″ x 2″
Newspaper Clutch

Recycled Subway Map Clutch
(recycled subway maps, cellophane)
Recycled NYC subway maps are woven together in a sturdy criss-cross pattern, and then covered in cellophane. Features: detachable plastic wristlet, zip closure, full lining.
8″L x 3.5″H x 2″W
(sorry this image is so small, for more detail, please click it)

Lightwire Pack by Patagonia
Was $105.00, Then $79.99, Now $63.99
From the leaders in environmentally sound gear, a daypack for daily trips to the office or day hikes in the mountains. Features a padded laptop compartment. (Fits laptops 13″ x 10.5″ x 2″)
17.5″ x 13.5″ x 10″

Lightwire Pack (Closeout)

Solar Bicycle Bag by Eclipse
Was $149.95, Now $119.96
Bag mounts to a standard rear bicycle rack for a universal fit and ease of use. Features: single charge port with 1.5 Watts of power; accessory pockets; removable shoulder strap; front grab handle; top flap includes an integrated solar module designed to trickle charge your hand held electronics or extra batteries using a common 12V cigarette lighter adapter.
15″ x 11″ x 10″
Solar Bicycle Bag

eating less: good for more than health

July 25, 2008

“Eat Less Fatso…”

This is something I’ve been thinking about lately — that eating less is good for me and the planet. Now, I love to eat, and while I try to be a responsible eater, I can be a little indulgent sometimes. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with treating yourself once in a while, but it’s neither healthy nor responsible to eat more than your share.

Maybe I’m not like most Americans when it comes to demanding large portions, but I find it off-putting when a restaurant serves a big pile of food that no human should consume in a single sitting. It’s just wasteful. And I’m not just talking about the food waste, it goes deeper than that.

For every bite of food we eat, there was soil tilled, water sprayed, and fuel spent. If it was conventionally farmed, there were chemicals used. For meat, all of the aforementioned applies, as the animals were fed farmed and processed grain. Animal waste has to be managed. And their waste pollutes. Pollution control from farming is subsidized, as is the grain for animal feed. Not to mention the gaseous waste from the animals’ rears, contributing to climate change. Or the fact that all of this animal farming takes up vast swaths of land, where trees were felled to make way for grazing habitat.

Once the raw products leave the farm, there’s processing, and often packaging, involved. So eating minimally processed foods — whole grains, fruit, vegetables, etc — also helps reduce waste (and your waist).

As I was thinking about all of this, two articles came my way, reporting on the same study that says eating less is one of the best ways to save the planet. A couple of excerpts:

According to researchers, by just reducing junk food intake and converting to diets lower in meat, the average American could have a massive impact on fuel consumption as well as improving his or her health… They contend that the most dramatic reduction in energy used for food processing would come about if consumers reduced their demand for highly processed foods.

…the consumer is in the strongest position to contribute to a reduction in energy use. [The Economic Times]

A link to the abstract here (you can purchase the full journal article for $32).