Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Eco-Crafting

Recycled artwork is not a new idea. I remember visiting Ripley’s Believe it or Not! in Pasadena and eyeing a pretty impressive lint “painting” of John Wayne. There are plenty of creative ways to make use of unwanted items, but where to start? I stumbled across Eco-Artware, which lists different craft projects that you can do on your free time. You don’t have to be a Martha Stewart to tackle these ideas, as each project is comprehensive, easy, and fun! It offers economical, eco-friendly ways to recycle old items, such as a cereal box gift box, an envelope holding shutter, and many more.

Other project ideas can vary depending on the item you would like to get rid of. I once came into a home with a bar made completely out of bottle caps, smashed and laminated into an interesting piece of art. I saw some caps from bottles decades before, and when I asked the artist of such an ingenious creation he said, “I collected whatever I could for years. See this one?” He actually had bottle caps from around the world, including Iraq! (Where he served during 2003.)

One of my favorites includes t-shirt makeovers..! I actually didn’t need to use a sewing machine for several shirts, but with some I dusted off my old home economics textbook and re-visited what I was taught in middle school. The greatest thing about eco crafts is that you are recycling and giving new life to objects that may otherwise spend the rest of its existence in a landfill!

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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Opportunities to Recycle!

It may surprise you of how easy and environmentally conscious recycling can be.

Spring cleaning takes on a whole new meaning when you clear out all those old electronics. Where do you put it? Do you throw it away needlessly or store it in a pile to take to a recycling center? We all have that guilt; throwing something in the trash bin when we very well know that we can take it elsewhere. But why don't we? Perhaps it matters in waste management. In other countries and cities like in Tokyo, Japan, there are several waste collection days and different waste categories. Not only do they have recyclables but they also have burnables, small plastics, bulk refuse, and more. This is a great way to think of recycling and being environmentally conscious.

With our world growing smaller and the human footprint bigger, it is part of our responsibility to take care of our homes. Chemicals and toxic waste has a detrimental effect on all living things, from green grass to the animals that graze on it, and to humans who rely on the milk and harvest of their labor. There are plenty more opportunities to recycle than you may previously believe! Consider these ideas:

1. Educate yourself, understand where you can recycle and what you can recycle. Earth 911 is a great resource.

2. Start with the smallest rooms first. Offices are perhaps the most time-consuming areas of your home, but a huge plethora of recyclables exist there. You can train your recycling knowledge here.

3. Bedrooms and living room. Do you know where your local donation store is? Many Goodwill and Salvation Army centers accept used furniture and clothing with a smile. Help someone pick out their next 80's outfit by giving away your plastic bangles and Doc Martens.

4. Bathrooms, kitchen. You might not be aware of the dangers of household cleaners or where to recycle or properly dispose of cooking oil.

5. Garage. You probably don't see many of these items or have put them there believing that you could take care of it later. Consider if you really need these items. If not, take the opportunity to recycle it!

So there you have it. Some ideas to help you recycle more and efficiently with the glamorous help of the internet!

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Monday, July 06, 2009

Green Roofing...What?

As we are building more urban areas, we are also losing green space. A great way to revitalize the urban landscape is to invest in green roofing. Green roofing involves high quality water proofing and root repellant systems, as well as a drainage system, a filter cloth, and a lightweight growing medium along with plants. Some of you may be wondering, “Why a green roof? What can it do for me?”

Green roofs will typically last twice as long as conventional roofs because all the sun damage that reaches bare floors will be used to grow plants. There is a lot of energy saving potential as well, depending on the size of the building, climate, and type of green roof. In Ottawa, Canada, Karen Liu found that 6” of green roof reduced heat gains by 95% and heat losses by 26%. Green roofs also absorb sound pollution from airplanes and traffic.

Green roofs also provide a space of serenity and aesthetic beauty. It can be a place for day care, meetings, and recreation. Instead of taking a break in a dull and enclosed room indoors, employees can take breaks taking a scenic stroll on the roof. For the Fairmount Waterfront Hotel in Vancouver, the kitchen saved up to $30,000 annually by growing it’s own greenery,

Although green roofs are still immature in North America, it is an investment worth looking into for your business. Give your employees a place to look forward to while they are at work!

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