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Friday, January 28, 2011

Guest Post: Protect Your Stuff and Your Conscience: Packing Valuables With Eco-Friendly Materials


Getting your possessions from point A to point B can be stressful, and worrying about your valuables getting there safely can magnify that stress exponentially.  Factor in the decision to try to move in an environmentally conscious way and it sounds like a whole lot of pressure. Relax, it doesn't have to be that bad; there are a number of professional moving companies that can help you move your goods, safely and thoughtfully.

Some of your valuables may need a little more padding than your socks, shirts and towels can provide. Grandma’s china, your wedding crystal, and that piece of art that cost you about two months salary, to name a few. It is understandable that you want to make sure that these valuables are as safeguarded as possible during their journey. Sometimes you have to use a protective wrapping, and the good news is that there are companies that make it out of recycled material. This green cushioning material works like bubble wrap, but it is plastic free and is recyclable with mixed papers. This eco-friendly material uses a honeycomb texture to provide cushioning, and can be wrapped tightly to conform to angles and protect the fine details of your valuables.

If you are still not convinced that your treasures are safe enough even in protective wrapping, consider recyclable packing peanuts for your more precious items. Traditional packing peanuts are made of Styrofoam, which makes up 30 percent of material in landfills, leaches toxic chemicals into the earth, and also contributes to offgassing. This can’t be the lasting impact you want your valuables to have on this earth! Especially when there are biodegradable, eco-friendly options. Not only are many recycled packing peanuts made without petrochemicals, they are also compost-able and dissolve into proteins that are easily absorbed by soil when combined with water. Please note: some of these “recycled” packing peanuts are simply left over or re-used Styrofoam packaging. Make sure you are buying biodegradable packing peanuts for your small move.

Finally, if you just can’t find quality boxes at your local liquor or grocery store, your friends don’t have enough plastic containers for you to borrow, and none of the shipping companies that rent sturdy plastic boxes are located in your area, you may need to buy some cardboard boxes to move your valuables. The good news is...

Join Me On The Think Green Hop Along!

Happy Friday, everyone!  I'm SO glad that the weekend's finally here and I know you are too.
Would you like to link up with other green bloggers?  Are you interested in being "green"?  Well, join us for the Think Green Hop Along, hosted by Tips 4 Green.


Here are the rules for the link up:

  • Follow the hostess, Tips 4 Green, of the Green Hop Along.
  • Grab the Hop Along button and put it on your blog somewhere, make a post about it, if you like, to try and get the word out!
  • Follow as many of the blogs on the link up, as you'd like to (it is common courtesy to follow whomever follows you).  Please follow at least 2 or 3 other blogs in the link up.
  • Leave a comment on the blog of whomever you're following so that they can follow you back.
  • Have fun and THINK GREEN!
The hop along closes today (1/28/11) at midnight and will reopen again on each subsequent Friday.  If you have questions or comments, send an email to tips4green@gmail.com.

Click here to enter              

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Epicurean Organics Rainbow Pepper Blend Is Colorful, Indeed!

I was excited when I was approached to do a product review for Mountain Rose Herbs, because for one, I like free products (doesn't everyone?), secondly, because I like sharing products that I have personally tested with you, my readers, and lastly (but definitely not least), because I'm a major foodie!
Here are some facts on Mountain Rose Herbs provided via their website:

  • Their products are Certified Organic.  All of the ingredients used to create their culinary oils, seasoning blends and vanilla beans are made from 100% certified organic botanicals (without pesticides, chemical fertilizers, herbicides, GMO's, or synthetic chemicals).  Their ingredients are also free from irradiation and chemical sterilization.  They are certified organic through OTCO.
  • Fairly Traded.  Their Good Trade Program goes a step beyond the traditional Fair Trade practices, by allowing farmers full negotiation rights in determining the prices that they receive for their harvests.
  • Support For Organic Work.  For each purchase that is made of each Epicurean Organics Seasoning Blend, Mountain Rose Herbs will donate 2% of the retail price to the Organic Farming Research Foundation.
  • They use Recycled Materials.  Mountain Rose Herbs is a Zero Waste Company. My package arrived in a small box (made from 100% recycled paper) that contained shredded newspaper as packing material.  I also noticed that all of the printed materials that came with the shipment were printed on 100% post-consumer waste paper.  Kudos to them!
Organic Peppercorns
Now, on to the review...

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Transform Your Trash


Green Goes Simple

By Marisa Belger for Green Goes Simple

The jars came first. Instead of sending my growing collection of empty glass receptacles to their usual fate at the bottom of the recycle bin, I did something unexpected -- something wild. I peeled off their labels and plopped them in the dishwasher.
I wanted to see just what would happen if I gave these jars another chance. Full disclosure: I was motivated not only by the thought of transforming trash into something new, something useful, even something cool, but also by the fact that jars were clogging up my kitchen. You see, we’re a jar-centric family, tearing through what I’m starting to believe is an abnormal amount of pickles, mustard (the spicy French and yellow varieties), sauces of both apple and tomato, and jams and jellies.
Bright and sparkling, fresh from a wash, empty jars were exactly what I was missing. Without their labels and sticky contents, these vessels found instant new homes as beverage glasses (drinking jars are big on rustic charm), loose-change receptacles, pen holders, and -- my all-time favorite -- vases. Nobody can resist a mason jar filled with daisies. Nobody.
Not a fan of pickles? No problem. Jars aren’t the only way to reuse that which you’d otherwise throw out. Paper towel tubes, shoe boxes and detergent bottles are all contenders for a useful second act.

Paper Towel Tubes
Pulling the last paper towel from the roll used to signal the end of something, but now it’s the start of something new. Paper towel tubes in their natural state are the ultimate building blocks for art projects -- they provide hours of rainy day entertainment with kids -- and they serve practical purposes too. Try these ideas:
  1. Glue on a pair of paper wings or a tail, then draw on a face for an instant cardboard-tube animal.
  1. Attach two tubes and decorate with paint and stickers for a pair of homemade binoculars.
  1. Turned upright and outfitted with orange and yellow paper flames, paper towel tubes make fantastic fire-free candlesticks. Decorate them in orange and black for Halloween, or choose a Christmas or Hanukkah theme.
  1. Adults can put paper towel tubes to good use by employing them to prop up droopy windows or to hold silverware and sharp knives when camping or picnicking.
Detergent/Fabric Softener Bottles
Empty, clean detergent and fabric softener bottles can be transformed into hand-held shovels or scoops (simply use a utility knife to cut off the bottom off the bottle). Adults and kids can use these in the garden and at the beach. Bonus: remove the cap and you have a funnel!

Shoe Boxes
Yes, shoe boxes are ideal for household organizing (think: recipe cards, old love letters, office items, sewing supplies, Legos, electric cords and much more). But they’re even more versatile than that. Moving? Shoe boxes are ideal for packing smaller, loose items like tchotchkes, silverware, medicine bottles and the like. Gifting? Cover them with decorative paper, and you’ve got a homemade (and let’s admit it -- more meaningful!) present package.

Marisa Belger’s work has appeared in Travel + Leisure Family, Natural Health, Prevention and on the TODAYShow.com. She was a founding editor of Lime.com -- which specialized in wellness and sustainable living -- and she collaborated with author Josh Dorfman on his bestselling books, The Lazy Environmentalist and The Lazy Environmentalist on a Budget.