Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Why Make Compost?

For all you green thumbs out there, compost is a great way to boost up your plants' health and growth. It's also an economic and fun way to get rid of organic waste without throwing it out. Compost is a made with organic waste set into a bin, and it decomposes to provide a nutrient-rich fertilizer for all your gardening needs.

Homeowners should invest in making compost to boost up their eco-friendliness and to also recycle their waste. Before you begin making your own compost, consider if you have a place to set it. There are some compost bins that can be set indoors, and others outdoors. Where would you like to set your bin, and would your neighbors mind?

Compost IS smelly, but that is just the natural process of decomposition. Remember the old Native American stories about maize? Burying fish with maize seeds ensures that the seed is given all the nutrients it needs.

Even if you are living in a tight apartment, consider beautifying your home with a few hanging plants and make your own compost with the kitchen scraps that you'd otherwise throw away. There are several types of compost, several requires worms to help digest and process the compost, others require nothing but scraps. While looking for a compost bin, consider either making your own or the size and waste it would need.

Compost is an extremely green, economical, and smart way to recycle organic waste into gold. If you are considering making your own compost, check out your local gardening store. You are bound to not only save money on gardening, but you're also keeping the environment much greener.

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Monday, August 17, 2009

A Green Pet Owner

You don't have to be a member of PETA to combine your love of animals and environment together. You can start being more environmentally friendly by purchasing and using pet products that are more ecologically sound. You can begin, first, with their diet.

Diet
Dogs and cats enjoy popularity in the United States as pets. However, their diets the number one ingredient to a healthy and happy lifestyle. Do not skimp on your pet's food, as there are many illnesses that can build-up from eating poorly made, corn-based food. Holistic and natural foods offer your pet the nutrition they need. Remember, in the wild, canines are slight omnivores and felines are carnivores. Feeding your cat grain-based foods is not only unnatural, but unhealthy. Also, dogs and cats, naturally, do not eat cooked food. Their digestive systems have been built to break down foods that we humans would get sick eating. Some of the enzymes they need are destroyed in the process of cooking, so feel free to give them that small strip of fat while you are trimming steaks for dinner.

Bathing
Dogs can enjoy baths as frequently as humans, and at times are necessary to keep their coats clean and shiny. However, cats are afraid of the water for a very good reason! They are capable of keeping clean on their own, due to their trickly, sandpapery tongues. Indoor cats do not necessarily need bathing, so if you don't mind letting your pet clean themselves, you are both saving money and resources to bathe your cat. If your pet is an indoor/outdoor kind of animal, invest in a natural shampoo made from whole ingredients. Bathe them twice a month or less, and remember to trim their claws and groom them at least bi-weekly.

Waste
Not a pleasant topic, however it is equally important to manage your pet's waste as environmentally responsible as ever. Invest in biodegradable pet bags that can be flushed or follows the standards of your state (some bags are marketed as biodegradable but cannot be used in compost). These days there are many new alternatives to cat litter, including pellets made from grain or recycled paper. However, do not flush your cat's feces as it contains a parasite that resists water treatments and enters the ocean, destroying the wildlife. Avoid clumping clay litter at all costs, as it is bad for your cat and the environment.

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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Green Back-to-School

Back to school. Ah, those frantic weekends where you'd stop by the nearest store to stock up on spiral bound notebooks, backpacks, and pencils. Don't forget the packages of fruit juice and brown paper bags, either, but if you want to be a little bit more "green" this school year, here are a few things that can help even the average parent stay both economical but environmentally savvy:

1. Lunch. It happens everyday, therefore you can get the most out of investing in an eco-friendly lunch bag and a plastic sandwich box. It might seem cheaper to spend on paper and plastic, but imagine the environmental impact you'd make by simply abstaining to use such products!

2. Backpack. This typically doesn't spell out eco-friendly, but look for a well-constructed backpack or go to a thrift or secondhand store to find a used one. Although having the coolest backpacks may win your children the awes and oohs the first week of school, they are most likely to forget about it within a month. Most children do not need new backpacks each year, so save that extra $30 for something better for them, and maybe something cooler.

3. Clothing. Oh yes, the only thing that sinks money for all parents. Children grow at alarming rates, so shoes, shirts, and pants are constantly in circulation. Uniformed schools often provide a great solution to this dilemma, but what if your child's school offers them to wear just about anything? Regardless, check the thrift and secondhand stores. These days, it's stylish to be retro and Earth-friendly, and these stores often recycle textiles that are not suitable for wear. Afraid your kid will get bullied on still? You can get a pair of pants, and children often cannot tell the difference.

4. School supplies. You can find a great amount of pencils, pens, and paper at year-round, cheap prices at the 99 cent store, or in bulk. Typically your child will not go through a ream of paper or 10 spiral-bound notebooks. If you decide to buy, remember to store them (and don't forget!). But remember, supplies are typically ready-made and supplied to children in elementary school. Invest in notebooks, binders, and pens when your child is of middle to high school age, where they would need that extra organization bouncing from different teachers and subjects.

5. Coupons, sales, and rebates. This applies to any of the above products, so shop safe and savvy this year!

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Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Non-Renewable Sources

How much of a carbon footprint are you leaving on your environment? As living "green" grows in popularity, so does our knowledge of how our choices impact our Earth. Nowadays products have been labeled with, "eco-friendly" or "green", but what does that really mean? Sure, we may be using an "eco-friendly" television set, but does it matter when we're still using non-renewable sources to keep the tele running?

Non-renewable sources typically means a resource that cannot be replenished within the lifespan of humans. A great example of a non-renewable source is fossil fuel, which consists of coal, petroleum, and natural gas. Despite how hard we try, it's near-impossible to replenish a coal mine to its original state, and it would take millions if not billions of years for such resources to develop.

So what are these non-renewable sources used for? You need not look further from your own computer screen! Coal can be used to generate electricity, as well as provide warming or heating for systems. BBQs, an American tradition, have often used coal although now we often use propane, which is a derivative of natural gas or petroleum (not much of a change there!). Natural gas has been used to fire our stoves, heat our boilers, dry our clothes and heat our homes. Petroleum, on the other hand, is refined primarily as jet fuels and the gasoline that power our vehicles. You can also find petroleum in your beauty products, such as in petroleum jelly and lotions.

Although it's difficult to eliminate all non-renewable sources from your lifestyle, you can start by replacing your everyday products. Many lip balms, for example, are made from oils instead of petroleum. You can easily check the back of most products and search for ingredients that are non-renewable. When you plan for your next BBQ, opt for burning wood for that smoky woodfire grill taste. If you are picking up groceries from the supermarket 1 block away, take 10 minutes to not only walk there, but to get some quality exercise as well! Take public transportation as often as you can, and reduce your carbon footprint and your impact on our precious environment!

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