Archive for the ‘Everyday Tips’ Category

Eco-Entrepreneurs

There are lots of young eco-entrepreneurs who are starting all sorts of creative services, companies, and apps designed to help build  the new sharing  economy and benefit the environment at the same time.  One of these companies is RelayRides, the nation’s largest peer-to-peer car rental marketplace, a new concept in car rental.  Basically, car sharing is a way to efficiently connect people who need a car with owners whose vehicle would otherwise go unused, backing each reservation with a $1M insurance policy.   Did you know that the average car sits unused for twenty-three hours a day, which raises the question: how many rental cars actually need to be on the road?   The infographic below highlights interesting facts behind the environmental impacts of car sharing.

According to RelayRides, “car owners can turn their idle cars into cash-generating rental car businesses and make extra money to offset their car expenses. On the other side, renters get to rent unique cars (Porsche, anybody?) that would otherwise sit idle and go unused. That means we’re not only maximizing the utilization of expensive resources, but also saving money on all the costs associated with owning a car.”

Eco-entrepreneurs are thinking outside the box.  What do you think?

 

For more green living tips, visit greenwithbetsy.com.

Traveling Waste

Ah, summer vacation!  There’s nothing like getting away.  Whether by car, by air, or by train, traveling however, generates a lot of waste!

My husband and I were recently in Asheville, North Carolina.  On the drive from Charlotte to Asheville, we stopped at a Subway restaurant , one of the healthier fast food options, for lunch.  Since I haven’t been to a fast food restaurant in years, I was shocked at the enormous amount of throwaway,non-recyclable products with each order – still!

My salad came in a sturdy, non-biodegradeable plastic bowl covered with a heavy-duty non-biodegradeable plastic lid.  The server gave me not one plastic packet of salad dressing but four.    My iced tea came with a plastic straw, several white sugar packets and a lid, even though we were eating in the restaurant.  In the paper bag  with my lunch ( a tray would have made more sense since we were eating there), was the plastic cutlery in a plastic bag and 6 or more paper napkins!   I returned the sugar packets, the napkins and the unused salad dressings.

fast food waste - plastic cutlery

 

fast food saladfast food salad dressings

 

On my flight to London, we had two throwaway meals.  The cutlery came in its own plastic bag, the salt and pepper in another, the cheese and crackers in another, the cookies in another, and the dinner itself in a plastic container sealed in plastic wrap.  Plastic water bottles, soda cans, stirrers, unused napkins – all I could think about was waste!  Some airlines do some recycling,  but not nearly enough.

I don’t understand why, considering the massive volume of fast food sold everyday and the thousands of daily flights, these companies don’t show more environmental consciousness and use biocompostable, biodegradeable disposable serving containers.  They do exist and plenty of restaurants use them for take out!   Starbucks and McDonalds are going towards more environmentally friendly containers and Dunkin’ Donuts recently eliminated Styrofoam coffee cups, but there is still such a long way to go.  It’s a complex issue I know, with cost being the bottom line.  The next time you are at a fast food restaurant, ask for more environmentally friendly containers.  That’s how change happens.

 

London Going Green!

London, like most places, is making an effort to recycle more, cut carbon emissions, conserve energy and eat locally.  Check it out…..

A “mini-dump” or recycling area in a central London neighborhood.

image

Including bins for old clothes,books and small electrical appliances.

image

 

London’s double-decker busses use green power! “Another red bus going green for LONDON”

london  double decker busses

 

 Charging stations for electric cars!

image

 

London’s power outlets turn on and off to avoid “vampire energy”.

english plug

A charming neighborhood farmer’s market.  Of course Europeans have traditionally food shopped that way.

2nd marleybone farmers market

marleybone farmers market

Vacation

I’m off to London for a couple of weeks to visit my daughter.  Hopefully I’ll come back with some interesting new British green living tips to share with you!

 

I’ll be back blogging towards the end of July!  Enjoy……

Bottles Made From Reclaimed Ocean Plastic?!!

 

Next time you need cleaning products, take a look at Ecover in the organic section of your grocery store.

Ecover Dishwashing Liquid

Ecover, a Belgian natural cleaning products company has been manufacturing phosphate-free, plant-based products for over three decades.  Their factory runs on green electricity and is covered with a flower roof, which acts as insulation to reduce energy needed for heating and cooling, and their renewable, reusable and recyclable “PlantPlastic” bottles are made from sugarcane and recycled plastic.  And now, to highlight the dangers of dumping plastic into the oceans, which is killing fish and threatening ecosystems, they are manufacturing the world’s first dishwashing liquid bottle made from reclaimed ocean plastic!

Along with manufacturer Logoplaste, Ecover is working to combine plastic trawled from the sea with “PlantPlastic” and recycled plastic, “a world-first for packaging” according to UK’s The Guardian Weekly.  Initially 10% of the plastic will be from the sea, though Ecover hopes to increase that amount.   It supposedly went on sale in the UK in May.

Plastic can take thousands of years to degrade, and as it does so can leach harmful contaminants into our waterways and soil, including the endocrine disruptor bisphenol A (BPA).  You might have heard about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch which scientists estimate is two times bigger than the state of Texas.

Ecover took an important step towards helping to clean up our oceans.  We need more ingenuity and corporate responsibility like that.  Hopefully other companies will follow suit.  Congratulations Ecover!

 

For more green living tips, visit greenwithbetsy.com

 

Information compiled from: http://us.ecover.com/http://science.howstuffworks.com/, and The Guardian Weekly, 16.05.14

 

The Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen

 

Whenever possible, eating organic food is always preferable.  Organic food is grown without chemical pesticides, may contain more natural antioxidants and nutrients linked to reduced risk for cancer, stroke, and heart disease, and tastes more flavorful.  But, organic food is usually more expensive than conventional food and many people can’t afford it.  While I still maintain you can’t afford not to eat organically (it’s cheaper than the doctor),  I of course understand.  That’s where the “Dirty Dozen” and the “Clean 15” guidelines developed by the Environmental Working Group come in handy.  The EWG is a non-profit watchdog organization, which uses “the power of public information to protect public health and the environment” and “empowers people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment”.

The Dirty Dozen are the 12 fruits and vegetables most heavily sprayed with pesticides – they contain 47 to 67 pesticides per serving – and the ones you should always buy organic. These foods are most susceptible because they have soft skin that tends to absorb more pesticides. They are, starting with the worst:

  • apples
  • strawberries
  • grapes
  • celery
  • peaches
  • spinach
  • sweet bell pepper
  • nectarines – imported
  • cucumbers
  • cherry tomatoes
  • snap peas – imported
  • potatoes

+ 2 more

  • hot peppers
  • kale/collard greens

 

The Clean 15 are the fifteen fruits and vegetables lowest in pesticides and not necessary to buy organic.  They are, starting with the best:

  • avocados
  • sweet corn
  • pineapples
  • cabbage
  • sweet peas – frozen
  • onions
  • asparagus
  • mangoes
  • papaya
  • kiwi
  • eggplant
  • grapefruit
  • cantaloupe
  • cauliflower

The organic food market is growing and organic foods are now easily found in conventional grocery store chains as well as natural food markets.  To be sure the produce you choose is organic, check the sticker on the fruit or vegetable. If the code number starts with a “9” ,then it is organic.

Next time you go grocery shopping, bring your Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen shopper’s guide.  You’ll find it’s cheaper than you think to eat safely!

Visit the Environmental Working Group website to download the EWG Shoppers Guide to Pesticides in Produce and to see their full list of all 48 fruits and vegetables with pesticide residue data. Their website also contains shopper’s guides to safe cleaning products, safe cosmetics, safe sunscreen and a variety of other important topics.

 

 

For more green living tips, visit greenwithbetsy.com.

 

Information compiled from ewg.org.

 

Concord Museum Guild of Volunteers presents Its 25th Annual Garden Tour Friday, June 06, 2014 – Saturday, June 07, 2014, 9AM – 4PM

 

 

If you are looking for a fun thing to do in the Boston area next weekend June 6 and 7, consider a visit to  the beautiful and historic town of Concord and check out the Concord Museum’s Garden Tour.  This New England tradition is for all garden lovers and offers something for the accomplished landscapers, the novice gardener and those in between.  Each of the 7 private gardens reflects the interests and passions of the owners and their families with acres of “garden rooms”.  The garden tours are self-guided, beginning both days rain or shine at 9:00am and continuing until 4:00pm.

While you are in Concord, make a day of it and visit the Concord Museum (including their newest exhibition opening April 18 – The Shot Heard Round the World: April 19, 1775), and plan to have lunch or dinner at one of Concord’s fine restaurants.

Advance purchase discount price through May 30: $30 Concord Museum members, $35 Non-members.  Reservations online at www.concordmuseum.org .

 

About the Concord Museum: The Concord Museum is where all of Concord’s remarkable past is brought to life through an inspiring collection of historical, literary and decorative arts treasures.  Renowned for the 1775 Revere lantern and Henry Thoreau’s Walden desk, the Concord Museum is home to a nationally significant collection of American decorative arts, including clocks, furniture and silver. Founded in 1886, the Museum is a gateway to historic Concord for visitors from around the world and a vital cultural resource for the town and the region. Visit www.concordmuseum.org

 

 

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