Archive for February, 2009

Stop buying soft toilet tissues, save the forests.

Thursday, February 26th, 2009

toilet paper with recycled paper

Yesterday the NYTimes had a great article on how American’s preference for using soft toilet tissue is terrible for the environment. The soft, fluffy toilet paper like Charmin can only be made from tree fiber and not recycled paper. Toilet paper made from recycled paper works fine and is used in many European countries. The NYT article quotes Dr. Allen Hershkowitz, a senior scientist with the Natural Resource Defense Council, saying “No forest of any kind should be used to make toilet paper”

Each year we use billions of rolls of toilet paper in the U.S. which means at least 15 million trees cut down,including some percentage of trees from rare old-growth forests. This also involves billions of gallons of water to produce the paper and hundreds of thousands of tons of chlorine for bleaching purposes. I’ve read that it takes approximately 13 gallons of water to make one roll of toilet paper.

Here is an eco-friendly shopper’s guide for home tissue products by the The Natural Resources Defense Council. On this chart it shows 365 (Whole Foods) brand currently you best green option with it’s 100% recycled paper with greater than 80% post-consumer content.

We should put pressure on tissue manufacturers to stop using virgin wood for toilet paper but in the mean time we can start by learning to adjust using more eco-friendly toilet tissue that is more important to be easier on the environment than our bums.

Go Local Food Year Round with a Solar Food Dehydrator

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

Solar Food Dehydrator

Have you gone Local yet? Is not having a garden or any local farmer’s market near you open for the winter is stopping you. One solution is to preserve food that you pick from your garden or from the farmer’s market in the summer to enjoy year round. It will be worth the hassle to not only enjoy healthy eating year round but also knowing that you are doing everything possible to help the environment by reducing your purchase of produce shipped in from thousands of miles away.

Freezing, freeze drying and canning may be the first method you think of and may offer a greater range of options but typically are more time consuming, energy intensive and expensive. Food drying is perhaps the easiest and affordable preservation method and if you make your own solar-powered food dryer it can be even cheaper. For some people electric dryers aren’t as satisfying as drying food with free solar energy, especially ones you make yourself.

This link to a Mother Earth News article that explains you can make your own Solar Food Dryer.

Solar Food Dehydrator Book

THE SOLAR FOOD DRYER by Eben Fodor $14.95
For more complete instructions and information on making a solar food dryer, you can purchase the book from Mother Earth News.

Excalibur Dehydrator

If you don’t have the time or energy for big do it yourself projects and using electricity off the grid isn’t a problem then you might consider checking out food dehydrators such as the excalibur at canning pantry.com they offer an affordable smaller unit, the excalibur dehydrator 2400 for $109.95
and the excalibur dehydrator 2900 for 209.95, better for families with 9 trays and a total of 15 square feet of drying area.

Canning Pantry also offer a comprehensive book about food drying, recipes and more that might be useful. Preserve It Naturally – 3rd Edition $24.95

And now a few words from our sponsor

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

It’s great to buy green gadgets that are earth friendly or promote sustainability on some level but while buying green stuff may help you feel better about your purchase ultimately it likely won’t really do much to help the environment or change our culture of over consumption and unsustainable consumerism. The real need is for more people to reduce their amount of stuff, reuse or buy used. Ask yourself do you really need this item? Our homes and society is becoming overwhelmed with crap, we all need to find new ways to change our orientation so we can feel good about making do with less.

It may seem odd to read this on a blog that promotes green shopping but perhaps you can think of it as an “anti-advertisement”! A few words from our “sponsor” – Mother Earth! Seriously though, An excellent resource for anyone who wants to follow the tenet of reduce, recycle and reuse is the Vedant.net site on Overcoming Consumerism. Check it out.

The Widening Gyre of Plastic Pollution in the Ocean

Monday, February 16th, 2009

plastic pollution in the ocean

The North Pacific sub-tropical gyre has a massive spiral of floating plastic crap floating over an area estimated from the size of Texas to bigger than the continental United States. Most of this plastic is from run-off from rivers and streams from around the world, much of it gradually breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces that eventually become as small as plankton. Already in vast areas of the ocean these plankton-sized particles outnumber the real particles by greater than 7 : 1.

This plastic can also act as a chemical sponge soaking up and concentrating all kinds of nasty chemicals which then enter the food chain with devastating impact to all kinds of marine life, birds and perhaps eventually returning back to us in new deadly forms. This is an complex and urgent issue we should all learn as much as possible about and put pressure on politicians to reduce and eliminate plastic pollution as much as possible and to launch campaigns to start to clean up the oceans.

Here is a great video, The Sythetic Sea and below are some great links for information on this issue.

Synthetic Sea
World biggest garbage dump – plastic in the Ocean

great article and site by Mindfully.org on plastic in the ocean.

Plastic Soup Flash presentation on the Alguita oceanographic research voyage into the great pacific garbage patch.

The Trash Vortex
Greenpeace article on this issue.

Great_Pacific_Garbage_Patch wikipedia

Sea of Trash – NYT article 6/22/08

Environmentally friendly pencils

Sunday, February 8th, 2009

green pencil
10 pack (100 pencils) $29.99 atgreenciles.com

Another way to help keep yet a little more paper from the landfill. These pencils are made with 100% recycled paper with a graphite core, no wood used at all. Could be a good idea for a fundraiser, it would be even better if they had some way to custom print your organization or company name on the pencil.

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