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There was a great article in the New York Times today about our quest for our fish always to be fresh. While I tend to agree, there are environmental effects to keep in mind depending where you live in the country to your choice of wild or farm raised fish or fresh verses frozen fish. What the article fails to mention is that we should, when possible, choose foods that are produced, caught or grown locally and seasonally.
Outside of just fish, the average food on store shelves (fresh, canned or frozen) has typically been shipped hundreds, if not thousands of miles to get to it's final destination. Sure, your diet may lack the variety that you get walking into your average grocery store, but foods taste better when harvested in season. Consider buying in bulk and then freezing, canning or smoking (fish) to enjoy later on in the year.
Great News For Seattle. IKEA in Renton is now a drop off location for all block Styrofoam. A special thanks to V&G Styro Recycle for helping remove Styrofoam from our landfills. Pick ups can also be arranged for larger quantities. Here's the deal; Styrofoam (block, chunks, bagged peanuts, etc) must be clean and free of debris such as cardboard, film, staples or nails are all accepted at the IKEA drop off location. Be sure to save all the block Styrofoam from the new televisions, computers and electronics that used to fill up your garbage can. Spread the word to your friends making special trips to IKEA. Why not load their vehicle up with Styrofoam for the trip down south?!
Tires... There's no question we can not live without them. The real problem - what to do with them when they reach their end of life? Last year 1.3 billion tires were discarded worldwide. We have come a long way from diverting some of them from landfills, but there are still millions of tires out there releasing toxic chemicals into our environment.
The media has educated us that discarded tires trap water and make an excellent breeding ground for mosquitoes, making Malaria and the West Nile virus a far bigger problem. Maybe you didn't know that half of the old tires we discard are used as TDF (Tire Derived Fuel) which is a major fuel source for making cement.
This practice has severe environmental implication due to toxins being released into the air from the burning process.
Today's steel belted radial tires consist of several different materials from natural and synthetic rubber, nylon, polyester, steel, and roughly 40 other chemicals and the recycling process can be quite complex.
Innovators like Green Rubber Global have created solutions for breaking down (devulcanizing) tires into what's called "crumb rubber". Crumb rubber can be mixed with adhesives and combined with blacktop for paving the roads we drive. Other products using upcycled rubber convert the waste tires into artificial "beauty bark" for playgrounds, rubber mats, engine hoses, etc. Footwear giant, Timberland Company, recently signed a partnership with Green Rubber Global for making a complete line of shoes and boots with recycled rubber soles. The shoes can be returned to Timberland where they are fully disassembled and 80% of the material can be reused into making new recycled products.
Research has shown that 70% of today's consumers will choose products that are better for the environment, provided they perform adequately and they fit their budget. Undoubtedly, people want to do the right thing and the race is on for mainstream consumer product manufacturers to grab some of that market share.
The result has been a "free for all" of claims on products being "green", "eco friendly", "biodegradable", "sustainable" and the list goes on... The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) realizes that many of these claims are not valid and can be deceptive to the consumer. The FTC last published a list of Green Guides back in 1992 and it's reported that a new revision is due out this year.
Product manufacturers and retailers should be weary as the policing has begun. Just the other day, Kmart was slapped with a "fake green" claim on their private label paper plates (American Fare). The "false and unsubstantiated claim" they were marketing suggested that their paper plates were biodegradable with no supporting documentation. Kmart was required to remove the biodegradable claim from their products. I'm sure this is one of many accusations to come. We can only hope that the truth will prevail followed by less consumer confusion.
Did you know that chickens create 11 billion pounds of waste a year in just feathers? A group out of Australia, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, has come up with a way of turning feathers into a usable fiber.
The focus is on focussing in on protein fibers instead of plant fibers. Keratin is the protein fiber found in chicken feathers and is actually the same protein fiber found in wool. With further research, the fibers could be an alternative to synthetic based textiles that flood our market.
There's obviously an overabundance of chicken feathers and that's something to sneeze at!
I'm not one to order much takeout, but teriyaki in Seattle has always come in a styrofoam to-go container. Seattle put in a ban of styrofoam and plastic bags for restaurants and grocery stores. It's still questionable about the enforcement with local restaurants.
I'm happy to report that there's now two teriyaki places (that I know of ) that have switched from non recyclable styrofoam (polystyrene) to polypropylene.
The bad thing is that it's still plastic and this particular container was labeled on the outside with a misleading name called "EarthChoice". The good thing is that you can recycle these in Seattle and in other municipalities that accept a #5 Plastic. Seattle just started accepting #5 plastics including those plastic deli trays.
The person working the counter at Yosuko's Teriyaki couldn't answer my question whether the trays were compostable or recyclable. I could see that all just went into one big trash can - shame, shame... She did tell me that corporate was the one that ordered these containers for all three of their locations. We can only hope that this is a start in forward thinking. There are some great compostable options made from paper and sugar cane fibers that could be composted with organic waste with your city pickup.
Food waste wouldn't need to be removed from the containers and customers would have the choice throw it in your green yard waste bin at home or at one set up at the restaurant. Until that happens, I'll be reusing my recyclable clamshell for packing my lunch tomorrow! To stay on top of the styrofoam and plastic bag ban in Seattle, be sure to check out Foam Free Seattle.
Save The Bay in San Francisco is one group trying to stop the use of plastic bags that are clogging up our waterways, killing aquatic animals, fish and our ecosystem. This is a great PSA put out by our friends at Free Range Studios. Think twice before you take that plastic bag!
Watch Video Here: Bay vs The Bag
If you're like me, you've already fired up the lawn mower a couple of times this season. Then, there's the finishing work that requires a weed whacker, pruning and edging. Instead of hiring a landscaping service, why not put a few goats to work?!
Vashon Island's Rent-A-Ruminant is one of many "goats for hire" services around the country that are both efficient and not hard on the environment. In fact, goats love steep terrain and can often get into places that machinery cannot. Blackberry, Ivy, Scotch Broom, Morning Glory, Horse Tails and even Stinging Nettles are all favorites of the goats! Plus, the goats leave behind some great fertilizer for your landscape. Roughly 60 goats can eat about 1/4 of an acre (10,000 square feet) in 3-5 days.
Cost is about $825 per day. More and more businesses and developers are looking to goats for clearing brush and bramble.
Just in the news today, Google has rented a herd of 200 goats to clear weeds and brush from their Mountain View headquarters. It's reported that Yahoo is doing the same thing (got to keep up with the competition-I guess). Even Bayer Health Care was recently reported renting 1,400 sheet to graze on their Richmond, California campus.
Bill Gates.... are you reading this?!
Hold the Green Cotton Candy, Natural Clown Make-up and Cage Free Animals.... Carnival of the Green has nothing to do with bumper cars, ferris wheels or roller coasters. Sustainable Group (manufacturer of the world's greenest office supplies) is proud to host this week's edition (#177) of the Carnival of the Green, a weekly traveling blog series that collects great green content from a variety of sites to bring together in one place... Sit back, read and enjoy the ride! ****************** Organic Health gives us tips on How to Start An Organic Garden .
The Greenest Dollar reminds us that many women don't think about how much waste they produce with pads and tampons. Learn why the Diva Cupis so eco friendly, and why it's so fabulous. Being overweight is bad for the environment as well as your health, according to a study released today, but does obesity cause Global Warming? Sexy pinups demonstrate environmental awareness- an Earth Day special on The Pinup Blog. The Back Yard Grower tells us that Gardening blogs and websites abuzz over Food Safety Bill.
Earth Day Resolutions from a Big City Country Girl.
Guffly says that Bamboo Suits for men aren't the only eco friendly suits around.
There's more that meets the eye... a review on Physician's Formula Organic Wear Mascara.
Medin City Indonesia cleans up its act on Earth Day.
Woman Tribune provides some easy to do steps on Earth Day.
Green Cleaning: There is no easier way to start making your home more environmentally friendly than by considering the substances that you use to maintain it.
Given Pending Building Emission Regulation NAA Highlights Government Incentives for Apartment Owners .
Fake Plastic Fish reminds us that it's never too late to make you Less Plastic Pledge . Choosing products that are reusable is always the better option!
Sharp Brains - Improving the World and one's brain at the same time.
Veggie Revolution: Monkey moms give into tantrums when others are watching!
Solar Energy Tax Credit - Will You Install Solar Panels ?
May 15th is Bike to Work Day. If you’ve got a bike, hop on and join people all across the U.S. to cut down on air pollutants by biking instead of driving. Body + Soul Magazine says people save an average of 60 pounds of air pollutants each trip to/from work.
Lynn from Organic Mania shares some tips she learned to reduce her fuel consumption by nearly 10 miles per gallon!