Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Waste Free Lunches

Now that school is back in swing, it's time to look at your child's lunch box and it's impact on the environment. Many typical lunch boxes contain a lot of waste in the form of single serving packages, juice boxes, and plastic baggies. It has been estimated that on average a school-age child using a disposable lunch generates 67 pounds of waste per school year. That equates to 18,760 pounds of lunch waste for just one average-size elementary school. How can you pack a waste free lunch? Start with your lunch box - check out Laptop Lunch systems www.laptoplunches.com. The Laptop Lunches are a lunch system which feature great containers that all fit together to help you pack a healthy lunch. By using the container system, you can reduce the waste of single serving packages and can save money by buying in larger packages. Instead of putting your sandwich in a plastic baggie, check out Wrap-N-Mats a reusable sandwich wrap and placemat in one. Put your child's juice or water in a reusable stainless steel bottle instead of packing a plastic water bottle or juicebox.

Want to make a bigger impact on the environment? Check out ways to encourage your child's school or your workplace to go waste free at www.wastefreelunches.org

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Fall Spice Pancakes

Despite the high temperatures outside, I was in a fall mood this morning and whipped up some pancakes reminiscent of a crisp fall day.

Fall Spice Pancakes

1 cup organic whole wheat flour
1 cup organic unbleached flour
3 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. allspice
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 cups soy milk
3 Tbsp. canola oil
2 tsp. vanilla

In a bowl, combine flours, baking powder, salt, spices, and brown sugar. In another bowl, combine soy milk, canola oil, and vanilla; stir into dry ingredients. Pour 2 Tbsp. of batter onto griddle preheated to 350 and cook until batter bubbles and pancakes begin to brown around edges. Flip and cook 2 minutes more. Enjoy!

Monday, September 15, 2008

How to Recycle (almost) Anything...

Try to make your garbage can the last resort for items you no longer need. Hopefully you are already recycling the big 3 - newspaper, cans, and bottles. But what about the other stuff?

1. Check with your city's waste management department about what exactly your town recycles - our town also recycles office paper, magazines, and paperboard (cereal boxes, cracker boxes, etc.)

2. To recycle your computer give it to a local non-profit organization after cleaning the hard drive or if it no longer works see if your town accepts computers for hazardous waste recycling.

3. Many organizations accept cell phones for recycling including schools and charities.

4. Recycle printer ink cartridges at Staples or Office Depot.

5. Recycle old clothes at Goodwill or the Salvation Army.

6. Most counties host a hazardous waste disposal events where you can recycle batteries, paint, household chemicals, motor oil. etc.

7. When you recycle plastic bottles, the caps are thrown away. However, now Aveda has come up with a way to recycle them into shampoo and conditioner bottles. Recycle your caps at your local Aveda store - for more info check out http://aveda.aveda.com/aboutaveda/caps.asp

8. Freecycle it - your trash could be someone else's treasure. Check out www.freecycle.org

9. Still have questions on how to recycle something? Check www.Earth911.org it will tell you what and where you can recycle based on your zip code

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Lush Goes Naked

Several employees at Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics stores around the country went naked last week to get the message out: packaging is a waste. Staff wore white aprons with the words "Ask me why I'm naked" as part of a promotion to draw attention to the fact that the store's bath and beauty products largely come free of packaging. Lush has many products formulated into bars, cakes or balls which can be sold without packaging. Some products are cut from a large cake and sold by weight. Lush sells solid shampoos, solid bubble bath, soap without packaging, and even massage oil bars. According to literature from Lush, packaging contributed to 2 percent of overall greenhouse gases and plastic uses 8 percent of the world's oil resources. The U.S. consumes 79.6 million tons of packaging a year, with more than half sitting in landfills.

So do you need to shop naked to help the Earth? No, but remember the naked idea when shopping.

1. Don't buy produce on foam trays wrapped in plastic wrap, instead buy bulk produce that you put in a reusable produce bag.

2. Try to buy more bulk items - this can reduce the amount of packaging.

3. Look for products that have more than one job, especially cleaning products, this will eliminate excess bottles or better yet make your own cleaning products.

4. Eliminate plastic water bottles from your house - switch to a reusable bottle.

5. When packing your child's lunch, avoid single serving packs which generate a lot of waste - instead buy a large package and put food in a reusable container in your child's lunch.