Thursday, November 24, 2011

Household Waste Increases by 25% Over the Holidays

By Rima Mehta

Disposable dinnerware are not often the topic of tabletop conversation till a holiday arrives. And yet these simple objects raise complicated issues concerning environmental impact. To use them or not to use them, that is only one of the questions. While they are quite acceptable for serving large crowds, when dining is outdoors, they are the most practical holiday option as well. They also offer the quickest, easiest cleanup.

As we shop, celebrate, decorate, give gifts and travel this holiday season, we also generate a lot of waste and increase our energy use. The volume of household waste in the United States generally increases 25% between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day -- from 4 million tons to 5 million tons.

Here are some quick facts on disposables:

• 970 thousand tons of paper cups and plates were discarded in 2003 (EPA). If, we approximate 15 grams weight for each cup or plate, we get 64 billion paper cups and plates being thrown away every year in USA.

• 730 thousand tons of Styrofoam and plastic plates and cups (710 thousand tons were Styrofoam) were disposed in 2003 (EPA). Using 10 grams weight for each cup or plate, we get 73 billion mostly Styrofoam cups and plates being thrown away every year in USA.

• According to EPA statistics, a total of 3,810 thousand tons of plastic containers & bottles were thrown away in 2003. Using a generous number of 20 grams for each container, we get a number of 190 billion plastic containers & bottles being landfilled or incinerated every year.

• The above numbers do not include trash bags, grocery bags and other plastic materials like trays, utensils, clamshells, caps and other plastic packaging. A total of 8000 thousand tons of these items were discarded in 2003.

While, these numbers are alarming and have only increased overtime, there are many simple ways to “green” your holiday season by reducing, reusing and recycling. It takes only a small commitment to protect the environment.

Biodegradable plates and platters are the perfect alternative to traditional throwaway plates that are so popular for parties and any other time of the year. Many are even made of compostable material.

6" Palm Leaf Bowls
The benefits of using biodegradable plates are a lower environmental impact. Unlike, plastic coatings and Styrofoam materials that have the potential to last for centuries. According to the U.S. EPA, 25,000,000,000 foam cups are thrown away every year. Yes, that does say 25 billion in America alone. And that number doesn’t include plates and bowls. The foam cup that could be in your hand today will still be sitting in a landfill somewhere 500 years from now. Those are amazing statistics. Using disposable is easier but it is definitely not greener.

Fortunately, an increasing number of manufacturers are producing "green" paper ware not only from recycled wood products but also from bamboo, bagasse (sugar cane), palm leaves, potato starch and other easily renewable resources. One company that offers a long list of price comparisons for these alternative products is Shop to be Green.

It’s about leaving a legacy, inspiring others to become involved, and making a difference no matter how large or small. Think of the difference we can make by using alternatives.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Five Tips on how to Green your Home for the Holidays!

by Katy Green

The holidays are quickly approaching it seems much faster than last year...a minute ago it was Halloween.

Don't want to spend money on decorating for the season, too tired to think of ways to spruce up your home during the holidays? 

Don't worry, the folks at came up up with 5 simple ways to "green" your holiday season. We hope you learn something new and please share this with your friends and family.

Pink Jasmine Flowers

5 Ways to Green your Home for the Holidays:

  • Jasmine is great for the holidays, especially Pink Jasmine. The dark green leaves of the Jasmine plant provide a perfect accent to any holiday decoration. You don't need green thumbs because it is easy to grow. 
  • Did you know that for thousands of years the Jasmine flower has also been prized for its intoxicating scent. People use the Jasmine flower to attract spiritual love, wealth, money and prophetic dreams. The Jasmine scent evokes a happy atmosphere and it is also an aphrodisiac. You can purchase Jasmine flowers at your local farmers market, nursery or purchase the seeds at Mountain Rose Bulk Organic Herbs and Spices

Block Monogram Throw Pillow

Block Monogram Throw Pillow
  • Throw Pillows are perfect for any occasion. To spice your holidays swap out pillows through out the house and a bit of "merry" to any chair, love seat, chaise or bedroom. 
  • Our Block Monogram Throw Pillows are perfect as gifts or as an accent to your decor. The felt used to make these pillows derive from 100 percent post consumer recycled water bottles. Truly amazing!. Think about it... the empty water bottles you throw in the recycling bin are melted down and turned into the beautiful, really high quality soft felt. Visit our website by clicking here to view the Monogram Throw Pillows.
Love the look of holiday wreaths but don't like the high sticker price to post one on your door, well we have a less expensive solution.

Holiday Tie Wreath

Holiday Tie Wreath

  • A few of our favorites, Dad's Tie Wreath, look yonder at the wasteland of ties, well wonder no more this is great way to create a wreath. For instructions, please click on the link above. Green Note: No need to buy wire, take one of those wire hangers and fashion it into a circle. Don't use so many ties either, pick four ties and alternate each one so you have neat pattern and then use a different tie as the ribbon. 
Popcorn Wreath
Popcorn Wreath
  • A Popcorn Wreath is perfect for movie lovers that bought too much popcorn during the summer and now the popcorn seeds have expired. will show you how to make a popcorn wreath without the paper plate.
  1. Use any plate to shape the wire hanger into a circle.
  2. Wrap the wire in the thick fabric either with a blanket or old towel or whatever you no longer need.
  3. Cut a 3-foot length of jewelry string (better than dental floss); tie one end of the wire to the string after it is wrapped. You can also use sewing thread.
  4. Thread other end through needle, and string popcorn.
  5. Wrap strand around wrapped wire; tie off.
  6. Add strands until wreath is covered (layer to fill gaps ).
  7. Loop ribbon and hang; sew on a bow.
Holiday Card Decorations on a Door

Holiday Card Decorations on a Door
  • Years ago, I stopped buying holiday cards or cards of any kind because I don't like to waste trees. I prefer Grow a Note. I can't stop people from sending me cards and because I'm nostalgic and I think the best way to cherish the ones you love is to decorate with holiday cards.
  • Get a empty picture frame and fill it with cards.
  • Outline a door frame with ribbon and hand cards or hang cards over your fireplace
  • Hang cards on your tree or down your stair case

Visit us often for more Green Holiday Tips.

Monday, November 14, 2011

International Green Awards...want to attend?

by Katy Green

Green Celebs

If you happen to be in the UK next week, you are invited to attend this green star studded event.

According to ecorazzi, on Thursday, November 24th at the Natural History Museum in London, the The 6th International Green Awards for Creativity and Sustainability will celebrate the incredible contributions being made by the world’s eco community. By honoring celebrities, businesses, governments and entrepreneurs, the awards ceremony will highlight the best and brightest who are working hard to create a sustainable future. 
 To get tickets, click here: Tickets to Green Awards! To view the short list of nominees, click here.

If you attend, please let us know. We would love to hear feedback:)