Sunday, January 23, 2011

A Mug every day keeps the Paper Cup waste away!

by Katy Green

Did you know that if you use a mug for your coffee or tea instead of a paper cup you are saving much more than trees? 

Paper cup recycling is not NEW to most people but the paper cup love affair is still strong in America and worldwide. In addition, most fast food and coffee shop retailers still serve beverages in paper cups.

To make matters worse, there is a ton of conflicting statements about paper cup decomposition and recycling on the internet - so to quench my thirst for paper cup facts, I scoured the web for several hours.  I discovered a couple things I did not know about paper cup recycling and a few questionable statements. Here goes:
  1. The paper cup was invented in 1907 (knew that)
  2. According to the Ministry of Environment, paper cup manufacturers use 20 - 25 year old trees to produce paper cups. (Ministry of Environment)
  3. The United States is the largest consumer of paper cups out of 220 billion cups worldwide the USA consumes 130 billion cups. That is a lot of paper people. (Eastern Europack)
  4. Over 6.5 million trees were cut down in 2006 to make 16 billion paper cups in the USA which is a lot less than what we consume but other countries like China produce paper cups for US consumption. (Korea Today)
  5. Most paper cups are created with a resin or glue to help with holding liquid. According to the Royal Society of Chemistry, it is very difficult if not nearly impossible to recycle a paper cup because of the resin. (RSC)
  6. The RSC states, that paper cups produce 93.8 percent greenhouse gas - methane and C02. (RSC)
  7. According to many sources, paper cups do not biodegrade easily because they are made of wood pulp and resin and it take between 5 - 20 years to recycle depending on climate - moist is better than dry. (too many sources to list)
  8. It is not true that a Styrofoam cup is any better (many sources state that because production of a Styrofoam cup uses less energy than a paper cup) because it is compressed air and although it may disintegrate it will never fully biodegrade and there is no service available for recycling Styrofoam. (Biodegradable Institute)
  9. Styrofoam cups are created using a polystyrene manufacturing process which is the fifth largest creator of hazardous material in 1986, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
  10. The primary chemical, styrene according to the EPA is listed as a possible carcinogen which can cause depression, headaches, damage to nervous system and many other alarming ailments.(EPA)
  11. Recycled plastic cups or recycled paper cups are better than non- recycled. (Katy's opinion)
  12. Starbucks is famous for promoting their post consumer fiber (PCF) paper cups that can be recycled into new cups according to an SBUX November 2010 press release.
  13. Starbucks has ambitious goal to make 100% of their paper cups reusable and recyclable by 2015. 
  14. Starbucks offers a 10 cents discount (not 10% as posted on other sites) on any beverage anytime for anyone that brings their reusable travel mug.
To remedy the paper cup debacle you can use a mug or reusable travel mug instead:
  • Vintage mugs are great
  • Recycled Glass Mugs
  • BPA Free Mugs
  • Non Toxic Cups
  • Handmade Mugs
  • Recycled Plastic Cups
You can start your No More Paper Cup Campaign by using a mug at the office and at home and STOP buying paper cups at the store. If you go to places like Starbucks bring your travel reusable mug instead (like the stylish double walled glass therm-o mug below). Take action by asking your neighborhood coffee shop to fill your mug instead of giving you a paper cup? 

I encourage all mug virgins to buy vintage mugs because not only are you helping the environment in many ways and but you will own a piece of history that you can pass on to your loved ones.

Information Resources:  Ministry of Environment, Royal Society of Chemistry,, Europack, Environmental Protection Agency, Korea Today, Biodegradable Institute.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Evites, Paper or Recycled Wedding Invitations?

by Katy Green

The Invitation - You Tube
Next Step Productions

The wedding invitation is an announcement to your most treasured friends and family about one of the most important days of your life ...your wedding!


Many brides spend months picking out the perfect invitation and sharing all versions and decisions to the with their future husband (see The Invitation) -  there are tons of options available. This is one of the best ways to be eco-friendly as well. There are so many electronic alternatives to paper. Not only can you share the time and place but the story of how you met, wedding themes, dress code, directions and so much more.

I have highlighted five simple eco-friendly wedding invitation alternatives:

  • Wedding Window - you  don't need to be a webmaster to post information about your wedding and send out invitations and follow up with your guests up till the day of the wedding and even after. As Wedding Window states, they can help you achieve your goal to be green by allowing you to communicate with your guests electronically. No need for multiple mailings that cost money.
    If you pre-pay for the return of your RSVP cards, 100 stamps will cost you approximately $44.00 and that does not include the cost of the cards themselves. Of course, this site is not free but their packages are not expensive and it is much less than the cost of invitations.
  • eWedding - is the most popular wedding website on the net. You can send invitations, create your own wedding website, mailing lists, music, etc. For a small monthly fee which is less than Wedding Window but they offer less features (not included: budget tracker, reminders, email blasts and workshops)
  • For a small wedding, I suggest evites. They have many designs to choose from and you can even add a poll to your invitation. It is simple and FREE. evites is also linked to American Greetings so you have access to more design options.
    Grow A Note
  • If you want to add songs to your email invitations then try My Invitation Link  they also offer an option to upload your pictures as well. This is not a free service but the cost is minimal and you can also send engagement announcements and save the date and they will host your invites for a year.
  • If you must send paper invitations try Tree Free with Green Field Paper Company their invitations cards grow wildflowers! Yes, according to Green Field, their card include instructions that appear on the back of each card, along with the seed content. Each handmade card will recycle naturally into the soil as the seedlings grow. They are blank inside for you to personalize. This is best for a small wedding unless, you can get family and friend to help you personalize each card but it is great for Save the Date and it is totally green. Green Field also offers hand made paper and hemp paper.

Wedding websites and e-vites may sound a bit  exhibitionist but you can choose what you want to share with your loved ones and most important you don't have to wait for those RSVP's in the mail you can track your guest list easily and send quick updates till your wedding day.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Green Bachelorette Party Destination

by Katy Green

Jurlique Spa

If you are planning a bacherlorette party excursion with your girlfriends and you like decadent tension busting treatments, pampering and serenity for your wedding jitters then a spa is perfect for you. 

I could list a ton of spas but there are zillion spa lists on the web which can cause more headache than peace of mind so in the spirit of simplicity, I will feature one spa a month. 

The FireSky Resort and Spa is a Green Seal Certified award winning resort nestled in the heart of Scottsdale, Arizona. The Jurlique Spa applies a holistic approach to the spa experience. I am sure this is not a new concept for any spa but this group really believes in healing externally and internally. They use certified organic and bio dynamic herbs that they grow in their own herb farms. The Jurlique Spa takes pride in offering a biodegradable and environmentally friendly atmosphere and they are pet friendly!

FireSky Resort and Spa
4925 North Scottsdale Road on the SE corner of Chaparral
Scottsdale, AZ  85251

Tel: 480.945.7666
Fax: 480.946.4056
Res: 800.528.7867

I don't receive sponsorship or any incentives for listing these spas. My spa selection is based on experience, research and reviews so I hope you get a chance to visit my green spa pick of the month and let me know what you think.

Eco Floral and Fauna - Green Weddings

by Katy Green
Flower Pot Centerpiece

As I mentioned in What is a Green Wedding, you can do your part for the environment by changing one item in your wedding. Every bride to be is passionate about the flowers used in her wedding - according to the Bridal Association of America, the average floral budget is $700 which includes: bridal and groom party bouquets and boutonnieres, centerpiece flowers at the reception and ceremony decor.

Is it possible to have a beautiful Eco friendly flora and fauna wedding and help the environment without exceeding budget? Yes. green floral alternatives are great keepsakes.

Did You Know: The methods used to grow non organic flowers is dangerous to the environment? The toxic pesticides that are used on flowers seep into the soil, water, and into the air you breathe.
Jo Barnes Vintage Bouquets
  • Instead of a bouquet of flowers use a vintage jewelry bouquet. It is an elegant organic alternative and you can keep it after the wedding. There are many DIY guides on the web.
  • As an alternative for table centerpieces use potted plants and then give them away at the end of the reception as gifts to your guests.
  • If you must have flowers - pesticide free is the way to go. Try organic flowers from  Organic Bouquet - one of the first and largest online sustainably grown and certified organic or VeriFlora  and they support local farmers.
If you can do one thing to help the environment you are making a positive difference in the future of our planet. Stay tuned for more in Green Weddings.