Thursday, October 16, 2008

Have a Green Halloween!!!


Everyone should know a few eco friendly ways to go green and enlighten your kids while celebrating Halloween. Some little fun ways to recycle are instead of using a store bought candy holder use a cloth bag or a pillow case. If you start this when they are young they will definitely endure this as they grow up.

It is always fun to be creative and festive for the holidays. Like the picture of this pumpkin that is made out of twigs. Another fun activitie is melting down old bees wax crayons and making Halloween candles with them.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Get Clean and Green



Nothing feels better on a cold, fall morning than a nice hot shower but did you ever think about how much CO2 that shower is producing? Showers account for approximately 30 percent of household hot water use and can produce over 1,000 pounds of CO2 per year. Electric powered water heaters can produce even more CO2 if you live in an area where electricity is generated from a coal fired plant.

So what can you do? Try limiting the time you spend in the shower under the hot water. As my dad used to say, "Do what you gotta do and get out."

Install a high efficiency showerhead.

Have you had your water heater more than 2 years? Contact your plumber and have it checked to see if it's time for a new one. Sediment and calcium build up inside your water heaters tank lowering it's efficiency and require the burner to be on longer to heat the water.

Have your kids recently moved off to college or out of the house? Ask your plumber if downgrading to a smaller water heater or a tankless model is an option. Smaller tanks don't require the burner to be on as long before the water is the proper temperature. Tankless models heat the water "as-you-need-it" using far less energy.

To see how much CO2 you generate in the shower check out thegreenguide.com's CO2 calculator.

Photo courtesy of Oxygenics.com.

Maybe It's Not Better


Walk around the gym, school, or even down the street and you're sure to see someone carrying a bottle of water they purchased at a store. But is that water really better than the water you get out of a tap? A new report says no and in fact, says tap water may be much safer in some cases.

In a new report from the non-profit Environmental Working Group, 10 popular brands of water were found to have contaminants ranging from fertilizer, benzine, bacteria and even medications such as Tyelnol.

Environmental Working Group: Overall, the test results strongly indicate that the purity of bottled water cannot be trusted.

“It’s buyer beware with bottle water,” said Jane Houlihan, Vice President for Research at EWG. “The bottled water industry promotes its products as pure and healthy, but our tests show that pollutants in some popular brands match the levels found in some of the nation’s most polluted big city tap water systems. Consumers can’t trust that what’s in the bottle is anything more than processed, pricey tap water.”

“For years the bottled water industry has marketed their product with the message that it is somehow safer or purer than tap water,” said Wenonah Hauter, executive director of the non-profit consumer advocacy group Food & Water Watch. “This new report provides even more evidence that the purity of bottled water is nothing more than a myth propagated to trick consumers into paying thousands times more for a product than what it is actually worth.”

Laboratory tests conducted for EWG at one of the country’s leading water
quality laboratories found 38 contaminants in ten brands of bottled water purchased from grocery stores and other retailers in nine states and the District of Columbia. The pollutants identified include common urban wastewater pollutants like caffeine and pharmaceuticals, an array of cancer-causing byproducts from municipal tap water chlorination, heavy metals and minerals including arsenic and radioactive isotopes, fertilizer residue and a broad range of industrial chemicals. Four brands were also contaminated with bacteria.

Unlike tap water, where consumers are provided with test results every year, the bottled water industry does not disclose the results of any contaminant testing that it conducts. Instead, the industry hides behind the claim that bottled water is held to the same safety standards as tap water. But with promotional campaigns saturated with images of mountain springs, and prices 1,000 times the price of tap water, consumers are clearly led to believe that they are buying a product that has been purified to a level beyond the water that comes out of the garden hose.


Photo by shrff14 via Flickr.

Safe Toys are Good Toys

Having a new little girl who is at that age where every toy in the house finds its way into her mouth I'm becoming more careful with the toys we buy for our kids. HealthyToys.org tracks toys and lists the hazardous chemicals found within them including lead, mercury, arsenic, chlorine, and cadmium.

You can vote for a toy to be tested and even nominate a toy to be tested.