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We’re happy to announce the latest addition to our family of eco-friendly furniture sites: Teak Outdoor & Spa.
From beautiful teak patio furniture to endless options for outdoor seating, we have you covered. With its natural look and versatility, teak wood is becoming an increasingly popular wood for outdoor spaces.
Need to create more seating spaces for when you’re entertaining guests? Just want to make your deck a relaxation haven? We have a wide variety of teak outdoor tables, chairs, dining sets, loungers, containers and other teak accessories to bring sustainable, natural style to your home, patio and garden! And all of our sustainable teak wood patio and spa furniture is durable and long lasting, so you can enjoy your new products for years to come.
Hop on over to the all-new site and take advantage of great discounts, fast and easy shipping and superior customer service! Your patio will thank you.
Sure, you recycle paper, plastic, and aluminum. You try to reuse where you can, and reduce the amount you purchase to begin. But eventually your TV will stop working or you’ll wonder why you needed the Twilight DVD box set, and you’ll need to get rid of things you can’t just stick in one of the usual bins. What’s a modern environment-conscious consumer to do? Here are a few ways to dispose of some common household items you might have thought non-recyclable:
Batteries. They keep going and going, don’t they? No. Your batteries will die, or have died, or are dying, currently, in your remote control. Chilling! Unlike deceased carbon life forms, however, dead batteries can’t seek ultimate solace in the ground — they’re filled with hazardous materials that can contaminate your groundwater and air, and that’s a bummer.
Most retailers that sell lead-acid automobile batteries will collect them for recycling. The facility crushes these batteries into small pieces to separate the plastic components from the lead ones, and redistribute them for reuse. Common dry-cell batteries (Duracell, Energizer, and the like) can be dropped off at a number of locations for collection. Earth911 has a convenient search tool.
CDs and DVDs. The CD Recycling Center of America not only exists, but wants to help you dispose of Now That’s What I Call Music! Vol. 5 in an eco-conscious manner. Find a collection site here. GreenDisk is another good resource for all kinds of “technotrash.” In the recycling process, plastics and metals are separated and repurposed usually as automotive or construction materials. Unfortunately, both GreenDisk and the CDRCA will likely result in some kind of mailing or processing fee, so try dropping playable discs at a thrift shop first.
Packing peanuts. We can all agree that these things are awful (static cling!) and we want them out of our homes. Thankfully, it turns out that many packaging and mailing centers will accept your (clean) styrofoam packing peanuts and bubble wrap — so long as you resisted your urge to pop it all — for reuse. Call around to ask!
Electronics. Maybe your speakers broke, you bought a cooler TV, or upgraded to a low-energy dryer. “No matter where you bought it, we’ll recycle it,” says Best Buy. Here’s a guide to items they’ll take off your hands. AT&T and Verizon also collect unwanted cell phones in-store regardless of your carrier. But don’t forget that you can donate usable items to local thrift shops!
Motor oil. Used oil can actually be refined and reprocessed into a functional material again. Many instant oil change locations will accept your used oil donation for transportation to a hazardous waste facility — use this handy search tool to find one near you.
We’ve got you covered as far as eco-friendly wood furniture and décor goes, of course, but if you’re looking to make your whole life a little greener, Etsy has quite a selection of upcycled and eco-conscious goods to choose from! The online marketplace is also an oasis for vendors offering vintage finds (whose environmental benefits we have already discussed).
Coffee lovers everywhere will smile upon this concept: the reusable cup sleeve. Keep it in your car, purse, or at work — wherever you find yourself in need of a cup of joe-to-go — and start saving a little more cardboard from the trash. They’re available in an array of adorable prints from Etsy user beyondquilts.
User PapierLapin crafts what she calls “a self-mailing invitation” out of 100% post-consumer fiber. By printing on all sides of the envelope, she’s eliminated the need for the actual invitation card, allowing you to save on paper and cost of materials. Design your own invitation or ask PapierLapin to personalize them for an extra fee.
Put away the paper bags, and start packing lunch (or snacks!) in one of these delightful reusable bags (pictured above) available in a variety of prints and sizes. Or, if you’re dining at home, pour yourself a cool drink into one of these recycled wine bottle glasses.
As an alternative to synthetic dryer sheets, try a reusable “dryer ball” made from felted wool. Along with reducing static, the wool helps draw moisture away from clothing so you won’t need to run the dryer as long. Adding a drop of scented oil gives clean clothes a refreshing aroma, too.
And lastly, you can add an extra touch of eco-friendly bamboo to your home with these clothes hangers, which mimic the style of typical dry cleaning ones to prevent unwanted creases.
The holiday season of 2011 is coming to a close — no more carols, lights, or ugly sweaters! You may feel a wave of relief, glad for the peace and maybe a quiet weekend without plans. But, if you live in Michigan like we do, you may soon realize that four to five more months of winter stretch before you, as seemingly endless as the grey, gloomy sky. You may start thinking about taking a nice mid-winter vacation. How about a ski trip?
Many resorts around the country, and the world, are adopting more eco-friendly operations systems. In Spain, a Dutch company is even hoping to open an entirely self-sufficient ski resort in sunny Barcelona within the next five years. The resort would recycle liquified natural gas normally warmed with seawater from a temperature of about negative 238 degrees Fahrenheit, and then emptied into the bay. Instead, cooling energy provided by the gas would be harnessed and channeled toward the resort, which would also utilize solar panels for its other energy needs. Awesome, right?
But since that’s a few years off, here are some stateside suggestions on where you can relax at an eco-conscious resort. An organization called the Ski Area Citizens’ Coalition provides ratings based on how well western U.S. resorts address habitat protection and energy issues.
These are their top three:
Located near Lake Tahoe in California, this 4,000-acre resort incorporates energy-efficient power sources into nearly every aspect of its operation. A geothermal heat pump, designed uniquely for the resort, powers its 12,000 square foot children’s center, and various “heat exchange” systems are used to cool certain elements (an ice rink, for example) while heating others (such as a swimming center). The resort also offers educational outreach programs to teach visitors about its conservation efforts.
This Colorado facility implemented a “green building” policy in 1999 to conserve energy and lessen its impact on the local habitat. Its employee housing is LEED Platinum certified, and a restaurant on the premises was awarded LEED Gold. Many Aspen employees contribute a dollar per week to the Environmental Foundation, which funds projects to maintain clean water and air, and the facility is actively pursuing other ways to provide renewable energy for itself with wind and solar power.
The 2,000-acre Utah facility uses biodiesel in all of its off-road vehicles and to power its ski lifts and offsets 10% of its power usage with Renewable Energy Credits. Water used to cover the slopes with snow is taken from nearby lakes, where it returns in the springtime as it melts. Additionally, many of the raw ingredients that go into dishes at the resort’s restaurants and cafes are sourced locally, and adheres to a forest management plan set up by the Utah State Forester in 1986 to maintain a healthy natural environment for years to come.
Now that the Season of Giving is fully upon us, do you find yourself scrambling to think of one more present, send one more card, or plan your menu? It wouldn’t be the holidays without a little last-minute frenzy, but as you’re wrapping up all your preparations, here are five quick tips to make your holiday a little greener:
1. If you’re planning a big meal, consider the ingredients in each of your dishes. Are you using seasonable produce for the region you live in? Shop at local farmer’s markets where you can, and avoid using fruits and vegetables flown in from a tropical climate to help reduce energy used for transportation and refrigeration.
2. If you’re going to be traveling this season, remember not to wrap gifts before boarding your flight! The TSA may open and search any of your bags — including wrapped Christmas gifts — so pack some gift wrap separately to avoid paper waste.
3. Speaking of gift wrap, last week we showed you how to use cloth that your recipient can repurpose on his or her own. But if you’re short on fabric, try reusing some other common household materials such as leftover wallpaper or sample swatches, old road maps, or sheet music. Newspaper might seem like a last-minute alternative to gift wrap, but a foreign newspaper can give a gift a quirky, offbeat look. Baskets are also a good alternative to paper gift bags.
4. For that impossible-to-buy-for person still on your list, think about gifting them with an experience — a class they might enjoy, for example. Check out a local community college or community center for listings.
5. Just open a card from someone not on your list? Consider reciprocating with an e-card, the eco-friendly alternative to snail mail! Paperless Post offers creatively animated cards that you can personalize with a family photo and message for a lesser fee than paper cards with postage (and some are free!).
In the United States, annual waste from gift wrap and shopping bags totals about four million tons, according to earth911.com. Some eco-conscious consumers save used wrapping paper for future gift-giving or stick to gift bags, which can be easier to repurpose. But the Japanese have been using cloth for centuries to wrap gifts, in a process called furoshiki. The cloth can then be reused many times — not to mention that it’s easier to wrap round or oddly-shaped items in a more flexible material.
Furoshiki, which translates to “bath spread,” originated in Japan around the 18th century as a means for a bather to easily carry his or her clothing, but soon became known as a convenient way to carry other things, as well — including gifts. Furoshiki declined in popularity with the rise of plastic bags in Japan after the second world war, but is currently experiencing a revival among concerned environmentalists.
To wrap a gift this way, start with a square of fabric in a material not so thick that it will be difficult to knot. You can go to a craft supply store and pick out a cheerful pattern, use a square scarf or, if your gift is large enough, even use a small tablecloth. The Japanese Ministry of the Environment created a very useful chart explaining all the different ways the cloth can be folded, wrapped, and tied to accommodate its contents:
A quick YouTube search also turns up many instructional furoshiki videos, such as this one. With a little creativity and resourcefulness, you can help cut back on paper waste this holiday season!
All the environmentally conscious people who like to enjoy a martini or a bottle of beer from time to time, now have a reason to celebrate! Eco-friendly alcoholic beverages are on the rise, everything from wine to vodka now has an organic version.
What makes regular alcohol different from an eco friendly one? “Green” alcohol is a broad term. This could me anything from the way the ingredients that the alcohol is made from are grown to how sustainable the actual brewery or distillery is.
To be labeled USDA Organic, Spirits must be made from organic materials which are grown in soil that uses no pesticides and processed in an distillery that follows organic standards. Organic standards go as far as restricting the cleaning products used inside the distillery. The two brands that made eco friendly spirits a household product are Square One Vodka and Eco 360 Vodka. These two companies go beyond just growing organic ingredients, but also incorporate the “green” initiative to the way they do business. Square One recognizes people in their community for their eco friendly efforts as well as reducing the amount of energy and gas consumption within their company. 360 Vodka has an environmental benefits statement that is posted on their website where consumers can see in what other ways the business is going “Green”. Another brand of Vodka that is worth mentioning is Tru Organic Vodka, which is promising to plant a tree for every bottle that is sold. Besides this clever marketing technique, the company makes their bottles with 25% less glass, and uses recycled corks and soy ink.
But with Eco-friendly drinks come eco friendly bars! These types of bars are becoming more popular and can be seen across the country. The very first organic bar/restaurant, Gustorganics, was opened in New York City in 2008. The venue itself was built from recycled materials and uses solar lighting and energy powered by only wind. A bar in Portland Oregon, called Hopworks Urban Brewery, has an unbelievably long list of ways that their building, surrounding area, brewery and food/drinks are eco friendly. They went as far as having water retention systems on the territory. There is also a bar that is not only incorporating “green” technique in their business but is also reaching out to the local community. Uncommon Ground, located in Chicago hosts monthly mixers to bring people together and expose them to their rooftop garden and their free organic appetizers, while also getting them interested in supporting other causes. Along with mixers, Uncommon Ground has educational programs and the company partners with local business to bring more awareness to the “green” way of living.
So next time you are going out for a drink, or maybe two, pick organic alcohol and help preserve our environment.
Are you ready to take your eco-friendly lifestyle to a new level? When you book a vacation, do you ever think about the impact that it might have on the environment? Most people tend to overlook this little, yet vital detail. There are many types of vacations that are environmentally safe and they are suited for different budgets and tastes. An eco friendly getaway doesn’t have to mean going on a camping trip and living in tents. More and more resorts are redesigning their hotels to make them more sustainable. Some of the world’s most luxurious resorts are now offering their clients a relaxing getaway plus an opportunity to do their part in reducing the environmental damage. These hotels used to be rare and hard to find but now they are located everywhere from Europe to El Salvador and even Africa.
If you have a more acquired taste, there are a number of vacation spots that will truly surprise you. One of the more unique vacation resorts is called Ariau Amazon Towers and is located in the heart of the Amazon Rainforest. If you book here you will spend your time in a room suspended 10-20 meters above the ground and the only way to get around this hotel is by walking on wooden catwalks that connect all the rooms. Nowhere in the world will you find a pace that is more connected with nature yet still able to provide luxury amenities.
Looking for something even more dramatic? How about living in a recycled drain pipe? A hotel in Austria provides exactly those type of accommodations. The interior of DasPark is decorated with a full size bed, storage, art work and interior lighting. Bathroom facilities are located outside. Although not for everyone, this hotel does provide an experience that is going to be hard to forget.
No matter what type of vacation you enjoy, may it be luxury or extreme, you can find eco-friendly hotels and resorts across the entire world.
TerraCycle is a company that has been riding the eco friendly wave since 2002. Today TerraCycle has grown to be an international business. It produces everything from school products to organic soil. The reason this company is unique is for the fact that they use trash donated by people to make most of their products. TerraCycle collects recyclable and even not recyclable products.
Not recyclable products such as tooth brushes, or bags from chips and candy wrappers are used to make/decorate various other products. For example, you can see a jewel case made from Cheetos bags, or a tote bag from Capri Sun packages. These items are truly one of a kind. Along with these products TerraCycle also carries fertilizer, household products and even fences. Everything you might want or need you can find on their website.
TerraCycle not only offers great products but also opportunity for people to be more environmentally conscientious. It is incredibly easy to join the team, all you have to do is sign up, collect trash and then send it to the company headquarters. Not only will you be helping cleaning up our environment, but also with your help TerraCycle will be able to produce many other quality products.