Green is Universal

Baggage

By Nicole Walters, GreenisUniversal.com

If you went to grade school with a girl who used oral reports as a forum for environmental issues, chances are you went to grade school with me. Since I can remember, I have been an advocate for the environment. So last year when my project launching hulu ended and the Green is Universal project came across my desk, I jumped at the opportunity. It seemed a natural progression, no? From hand drawn posters of recycling bins and the ozone layer to digital versions of the same… and this way I get to save paper.

Being an advocate and actually being someone who does things to save the environment are two very different things. Launching a website like GreenisUniversal.com shined a light on all of the things that I wasn’t doing, and as my knowledge grew, so did my list of personal commitments.

verde.jpgOne of my first was to remove plastic shopping bags from my life. So I bought this bag. There were lots of other designs to choose from but I liked that this one said “Verde!” instead of “Green!” (I realize it’s the same thing, but when you work on a “green website” about “going green” and all the things you can do to “green your life”, it’s funny, but you start to develop an aversion to the word.)

The first time I used my new bag, I was so proud! It fit what would have been about 3 or 4 plastic bags worth of groceries and slung easily over my shoulder. But that was just a small, stop-by-the-shop-on-the-way-home-from-work, shopping. I live out in the ‘burbs where weekend grocery trips are a major event to some folks. I’ve seen families pack two carts full of food for the week. My family isn’t that big yet, but I knew my single canvas bag was not going to cut it for that weekend’s trip.

Any Project Runway fan whose worth her salt knows how to make a pattern, so I used my Verde! bag as a template and commenced to making 4 more. Don’t ask me how long it took, but now that I’m practiced I’ve decided to make more as gift bags for the coming holiday season to cut out gift wrapping. Actually, now that I think about how long it took, I should get started soon! Since those initial 5 I’ve managed to add a few more to my collection, including a Marks & Spencer bag brought from the UK by my mother-in-law and a Green is Universal bag that conveniently rolls up to a size that fits in my purse.

And after all this effort… I still forget them sometimes! I know I’ve got work to do, but it’s like we say here at Green is Universal – it’s the little things we do that add up to make a big difference. The amount of plastic I’ve reduced in my life is significant to the environment, but in our shrink-wrapped, fast-paced world, there will always be more room to reduce, reuse and recycle.

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If you can’t Reuse, definitely Recycle

I recently received an email from a friend with all of this recycling advice from The Nature Conservancy and I thought I’d share:

Aerosol cans: pull off the plastic cap, empty the canister completely and recycle with other cans.

Antiperspirant and deodorant sticks: Many brands have a dial on
the bottom that is made of a plastic polymer that’s different from the
plastic used for the container, so you might not be able to recycle the
whole thing (look on the bottom to find out). Tom’s of Maine makes a
deodorant stick composed solely of plastic No. 5.

Backpacks: The American Birding Association accepts donated
backpacks, which its scientists use while tracking neotropical birds (americanbirding.org).

Batteries: Drop off at the recycling center. For car batteries
– almost any retailer selling them will also collect and recycle them.

Bottle Caps: Visit Recycle Caps with Aveda for more information.

Carpeting (nylon fiber): Go to carpetrecovery.org and click on “What can I do with my old carpet?” to find a carpet-reclamation facility near you, or check with your carpet’s
manufacturer.

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What She Really Wants: Green Holiday Gifts for Gals from Small Green Businesses

BE4G1_yellow_tn.jpgWhether it is already on her wish list or not, what woman doesn’t want a gift that keeps giving back to her family, her community, her planet and herself? This holiday season surprise her with eco-gifts she’ll love and help support economically-challenged green small businesses. In “Buycotting the Holidays“, I explained why these companies need our support to survive this tough holiday retail season…so here are some great green gifts for all the women in your life:

Luxurious eco-clothing, bath and bedding: DreamSacks is a one-stop, eco-shop for comfortable and natural fiber products made from silk, soy and sustainable bamboo. On their website, you’ll find beautiful sheets, blankets, casual clothing, robes and towels. And for a limited time (Sunday November 23rd – Friday December 5th at midnight), DreamSacks is offering a special coupon just for visitors to this blog. Just enter NBCUGREEN at the website when prompted for the coupon code and get 15% off! Quality and value…a dream solution.

Organic Skin and Personal Care: There are so many great eco-friendly, organic skin care companies in business today…please support them so they will all be here tomorrow. A few of my favorites with special offers this season:

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A Trashy Solution

dvd_case.jpgOdds are you’ve come into contact with a plastic jewel case, whether at work or at home. Each month over 100,000 pounds of CDs and DVDs become obsolete in the U.S., with a majority headed for the landfill, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). While reusing the cases for future CDs and DVDs has traditionally been a good way to divert the pesky plastics from being thrown out, NBC Universal is now using an innovative closed-loop recycling process to make 100 percent post consumer recycled paper cases from the 30 Rockefeller Plaza office trash.

So how does it work? With the help of the NBCU facilities team, a compactor in the basement of 30 Rockefeller Plaza has been isolated specifically for NBC Universal paper trash. One week yields approximately 10 tons of paper, which is then picked up by NBCU’s recycling company, IESI, and brought to Pratt Industries on Staten Island. While at Pratt, the paper is sorted, bailed, and pulped. The pulp then enters warm water where it will be deinked, drained, dried, and wound onto a reel. Pratt then takes the material and uses their on-site box plant to create NBCU’s customized DVD cases.

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Eco-Holiday Gifts for Men: Supporting Small Green Businesses

Blue Star.jpgThis holiday you have the choice to support economically-challenged green small businesses as you select holiday gifts for the special men in your life. As discussed in “Buycotting the Holidays“, I’d like you to show small green companies your green and buy your holiday gifts here:

Green Gifts for Men:
Shower Water Timer: Zwello.com’s Blue Star Digital Shower Timer from Ripple Products. They promote water awareness and water conservation thru inventive bath-time products like this easy to use digital shower timer. This is a real clock with a simple, programmable countdown timer. Battery operated, steam proof and water proof.

Men’s Grooming Products:
Pangea Organics has many organic personal care products for men (and women) and to celebrate their 7th anniversary their festive holiday gift sets come in plantable boxes to grow a Spruce Tree! Embedded in the gift boxes are spruce seeds which can easily be planted to reforest our planet.

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