Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Plantable greeting cards, invitations and announcements?

How many invitations and greeting cards have you received in your life? Hundreds? Thousands? Where are they now?

What if all of those cards and announcements had been made from recycled materials? And 100% recyclable?

How about one step better...what if each and every card were embedded with wildflower seeds? Imagine...a card you do not throw away -- a card you plant!

That's what I found at a site called Forever Fiances. Handmade, beautiful, completely plantable greeting cards, wedding invitations and announcements.

The uses are endless:

For businesses, they would be a wonderful way to coordinate your green practices or products with a truly green thank you or holiday card

For personal use, birthdays, thank you's, and of course, as their name implies, weddings. What a lovely way to honor a special occasion!

Just something I stumbled on and wanted to share!

Monday, June 22, 2009

How Green Is Your Swimming Pool? - Science News | Science

How Green Is Your Swimming Pool? - Science News | Science & Technology | Technology News -

Posted using ShareThis

According to an article on FoxNews,

Water filters guzzle power, nasty chemicals keep the water sterile, and the water itself is a tremendous waste during dry spells. In fact, this suburban status symbol could be an ecological travesty.

Here in Florida, we love our swimming pools. But does being green mean doing without a backyard pool?

Not necessarily, according to experts. While water use and chemicals pose significant ecological risks, homeowners who love their pools can still reduce costs and environmental impact by replacing inefficient filter systems with newer models, and by running their filters for only part of each day. Those two steps alone made a huge difference!

According to the author,
A study by the Center for Energy Conservation at Florida Atlantic University showed that some pool owners saved a whopping 75 percent of their pool's energy consumption by replacing pumps and reducing the amount of time their filters were run.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Green governement should lead the way

There's a lot of talk about going green, green incentives, green initiatives, etc. But so much of it seems to be lip service. I propose that our government - federal, state and local -- should be leading the way and setting the example of exactly how we can cut the cord of oil dependence.

My manifesto?

1) All government agencies should be paperless. Forms, applications, documents, registrations? All electronic. 100% by year end. No hard copies stored.

2) The switchover to green energy should start immediately in all government buildings. What a great use for stimulus money! Allow companies that sell solar power and wind power equipment to bid on green retrofitting of all government buildings by year's end. No lengthy process. Just choose a company and go.

3) All school lunches should immediately be switched to vegetarian ingredients. Crops use far less resources than animals, and school lunches account for a large and controllable segment of meat purchases and consumption. Healthier for the kids, too, which will reduce medical care needs. Follow this with all vegetarian in government agency and legistlative dining rooms. Oh, and don't forget the White House and all Governors' Mansions.

4) Telecommuting immediately available for all jobs that do not require face-to-face interaction or the use of machinery or equipment not available at home. That would free up a lot of space in government buildings, which could be converted in green research labs, homeless or transitional housing, or sold off to pay down debts and reduce ongoing facility costs.

5) Convert or replace all government vehicles with hybrids, hydrogen cell, solar or other clean (or cleaner) fuel sources. Again, great use for Stimulus $$$. Think of all the jobs created for this switch over! Making cars, building fueling stations, etc.

Five steps. Just five. Oh, but what a revolution those five would be!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Recycling carpet?

One of the people I talked with at MiaGreen was Tony Lundy from Resource 4 Floors, a Fort Lauderdale flooring company committed to sustainability.

First some background on carpet waste:

According to recent statistics, over 4 BILLION pounds of carpet end up in U.S. landfills each year. In Europe, 30 million square metres of carpet tiles are sent to landfills or are incinerated each year.

Companies like Resource 4 Floors are working to reduce those numbers by offering recycling programs for used carpet and carpet squares. And it's working! According to their website, they've successfully kept over 346,755 pounds of carpet out of South Florida landfills.

Until I spoke with Tony, I had no idea carpet was recyclable. Nor did I know that flooring represented such a huge part of the waste stream.

And the problem is actually growing, because companies using carpet squares for ease of installation are just throwing away and replacing soiled squares rather than cleaning them.

According to Tony and other specialists I consulted, the green challenge would be for companies who enjoy the easy installation of carpet squares to:

1)Use quality, earth-friendly cleaning products to clean spills and stains

2)Rotate stained squares into "hidden" areas like under cabinets and desks, and move the fresh square into the more visible site.

3)Replace squares only when needed due to damage

4)If replacement is unavoidable, work with a recycler to properly handle disposal of your carpet and other flooring so it won't end up in the landfill.

Tomorrow, another green tidbit gathered from MiaGreen!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

California moves to put textbooks online instead of on paper

In a story published on Slashdot, Hugh Pickens reports that California will be moving to online textbooks for their state's high schools.

The move was reportedly made to help reduce expenses for struggling school budgets. Governor Schwarzenegger called the reliance on heavy printed books "nonsensical," and pointed to the fact that students are already using electronic media such as Twitter and Facebook for communication.

The story has a decidedly green angle as well. Replacing thousands of printed textbooks with easy-to-update electronic versions will reduce paper and ink use, while reducing waste streams from discarded out-of-date or damaged text books. That model could make a huge difference in paper use if the practice spreads through other grade levels and other states.

I love the green aspect of this, and applaud the Governor for initiating such a bold move at a time when school budgets are teetering on the edge.

But there is an element of an SNL skit in here somewhere, too. We see a saddened Captain Jean-Luc Picard in his office, lovingly cradling his calculus textbook -- the last of its kind before the electronic book took over. (Those of you who get the allusion, congrats! You are as geeky as I am!)

Or perhaps we see a teacher Twitter today's history lesson...the fall of Rome in under 140 characters...

While the comic possibilities are endless, I have to go back to the potential this has for a green impact. K-12 schools and colleges buy, use and discard millions of tons of paper each year. While there is something undeniably wonderful about turning the pages of a real book, it would seem that for school text books, the green answer is on the screen.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Eco-Friendly Gadgets for the Office

How green is your office? Do you recycle all of your paper? Do you avoid printing when you can? Well, if you're doing all of that, then you might like these green gadgets for your workplace, so that you can be even more eco-friendly!

Rather than use plastic pens, you could use pencils instead. However, rather than use a conventional pencil, Smencils are made from recycled newspaper, and they come in different flavours too! Some of the scents are pretty tasty, so as tempted as you might be to eat these smencils, I recommend you don't! The scents include Bubble Gum, Orange, Toasted Marshmallow, Chocolate, Strawberry, Pineapple, Raspberry and Apple. The only downside to these pencils is that they come in plastic tubes, which is not so green.

For when you do print out your documents, then the eco-stapler using a special cutting and folding technique to hold up to clip 3 pages together without using a metal staple. Admittedly, 3 pages is not a particularly large number of pages. However, I'm sure it'll just be a matter of time before more sophisticated stapler gadgets can fix together even more pages.

If you use a computer in the office, then you might be interested to know that you can get some really low power PCs now. The Aleutia E2 is a small PC around the size of 3 stacked CD cases, and incredibly it runs on just 8 Watts of power! Considering that modern PCs use around 250 to 400 Watts of power, that's a massive difference. It's not designed for processor-intensive work, but it's definitely suited to word processing, email and web browsing. You can even run it from a solar panel if you wish!

Even if you have an older-style computer, there are lots of things you can do to make it more energy efficient, such as using a low power hard drives. These low power variants can save up to 50% of the energy compared to conventional hard drives. There are other peripherals that are coming on to the market too, including energy saving PSUs (power supply units).

It just goes to show, eco-gadgets aren't all just tote bags and compost bins!

This article is a guest post written by Dan Harrison who writes about all kinds of green gadgets for You can read about energy saving gadgets, gizmos that save water, basically any kind of device that's good for the planet.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Sustainability makes business sense and carpet maker Ray Anderson proves it!

There has been a belief, no, more than that, a set-in-stone assumption among many business people that a company can either maximize profits OR go green. It was a clear either-or statement. Or so it was thought.

Carpet company owner Ray Anderson has turned that equation on its head. His company's change from one of the worst offenders in environmental pollution and net carbon impact, to one of the stars of the new green business model. The numbers tell his story:

  • Net greenhouse gases, down 82%
  • Water usage, down 70% on average across all product types
  • Fossil fuel usage, down 60% per unit of product

  • Products now use 25% recycled materials
  • Production uses 27% renewable energy

And in the midst of all these changes, what has happened to sales and profits?

  • Sales have increased by 66%
  • Profits are up 200%
  • Avoidable costs saved of $400 million have paid for all the changes in production and materials

Not satisfied with these numbers, nor with the success of the new eco-friendly line, FLOR, Anderson has set a goal of zero carbon footprint for his company by the year 2020.

Sustainability has come of age in the business world!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Billionaire Pickens has a plan to save the earth...and our economy

T. Boone Pickens, the Dallas Billionaire has a plan for ending America's dependence on foreign oil...and in fact. most oil altogether.

And no, it's not a pie-in-the-sky someday-maybe dream. It's a do-able here and now plan. And to prove it, Pickens has already invested over $60 million dollars of his own money in his plan.

The plan involves an immediate and widespread switch to natural gas as our primary fuel source. It starts with a bill -- H.R. 1835 [the "New Alternative Transportation to Give Americans Solutions Act of 2009," introduced by Rep. Dan Boren], which allows fleet owners to get new natural gas powered trucks paid for. AT&T has already agreed to replace 8,000 vehicles to run on natural gas -- that's one fifth of its fleet.

Picken's plan continues with the world's largest wind farm -- his wind farm in Texas. And then involves individual landowners who could generate wind energy on their own property and sell it into the grid.

Fed up with the endless debates and hand-wringing, Pickens is promoting a "Let's just do it" attitude. The alternative, inaction, he claims will destroy us within a decade. Read about his plan in detail at and decide for yourself.

Comments anyone?