Archive for the ‘Green Businesses’ Category

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

 

Let’s Call It Like It Is!

Why do you recycle?  Do you care about the future of the earth or do you recycle because it is the “thing” to do?   Are you genuinely concerned about the overflowing landfills or do you feel guilty if you don’t?   Maybe you don’t recycle at all unless it is already set up and really convenient. Whatever the reason, it is necessary to recycle.  In our consumer-driven society, there is just too much trash.   Thankfully, recycling is becoming a way of life.

I like the kitchen recycling center in my sister’s office in San Francisco.  It’s convenient and tells it like it is.  “Landfill” bin for trash, “Recycle” bin for items that can be recycled, and “Compost” for items that can be composted.  Labeling the trash bin “Landfill” gets you thinking about where your trash goes and encouraging composting raises awareness about the importance of composting.

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Recycling areas should look like this.  I can’t help but believe if more places set up their recycling centers  like this one, our landfill problem would be dramatically decreased!

Click here for more ideas on greening your office!

Boxed Water is Better!

photo-2This past weekend I attended a delicious local food truck festival and discovered boxed water!  Not luxury, specialty or flavored water, but plain, purified water in a boldly printed box that says, “Boxed Water is Better”.  What a great idea – in the fast-growing water bottle market, it’s hard to believe it hasn’t been boxed before.

Boxed Water is Better, LLC, started in 2009 in Grand Rapids, Michigan with the mission of creating a new water company with simple, sustainable packaging, one that gives back to foundations and one with a lower carbon footprint than traditional bottled water.

About 76% of the box is manufactured from trees grown in certified, well-managed forests where new ones are constantly grown to replace those harvested.  Using this renewable resource, trees, which also sequester carbon dioxide, makes it one of the most sustainable beverage packages available.

The water is carbon-filtered, purified drinking water from the municipal source in each of their major markets.  The boxes are shipped flat to the local filling company, a significantly more energy-efficient way to ship, where they are then filled.  The boxes are easily recycled and can be flattened to take up less space.

photo-1-2 I love the look of the boxed water.   The no-nonsense black and white printing on the box simply says what it is “Boxed Water is Better” with a water drop.  One panel on the box explains their environmentally friendly, sustainable, give back philosophy.  10% of their profits are donated to world water relief foundations and another 10% donated to reforestation foundations.

Boxed Water is Better is working on US and international distribution in both small and large retailers.  In the Boston area, Boxed Water is Better is carried at Bloomingdale’s.  You can also order a carton of 12 or 24 online.  One 500 ml box cost $1.00.  Cheap!!!

While I still think it is better to use a BPA-free, stainless steel water bottle, there are definitely times when you need to buy one.  This is the solution for me! I’d much rather drink out of a water box from a company with a socially responsible mission than a plastic water bottle.   Look for Boxed Water is Better in your area!

For more green living tips, visit greenwithbetsy.com.

Green Entrepreneurs – Part 2

Last week I focused on Cape Cod entrepreneurs.  This week I am highlighting off Cape green companies.

Where Clothes – I have to put a plug in for my industrious daughter Amy Wild who runs this earth friendly clothing line.  Each one of a kind piece of clothing is designed, repurposed and constructed by Amy who uses vintage, antique and recycled materials. (Many of her designs feature antique lace.). She also has an adorable line of children’s clothes, accessories and takes custom orders as well.  Amy’s passion for protecting the environment and humanity along with her artistic flair and creativity is what drives her business.   All of these clever and unique upcycled items are available on-line.

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Soluna Garden FarmFrom her one-acre farm in Winchester, MA, Amy Hirschberg sustainably grows herbs and flowers, specializing in unusual herbs like Mexican oregano, lemon verbena, and caraway scented thyme.  She offers CSAs for both the herbs and flowers, all grown without chemical fertilizers, preservatives and pesticides. Soluna Farms participates in several farmers’ markets in the area selling tea, herb and spice blends, nutritional and medicinal tea and power food blends, and interesting salts, all grown with certified organic ingredients from companies with fair business practices.  Now you can find Soluna Farm’s great selection of teas, tea flowers, accessories and other specialty items at their storefront location in Winchester.  You can also get tea by the cup, served of course in compostable cups.  If you are in the Boston area, visit this unique herb, spice and tea emporium or go on-line to purchase most products.

gohspa Beth Gaudette’s green, organic and holistic (hence the name gohspa) day spa and beauty salon is a treat for the skin, the body and the mind.  Beth has been a dedicated green cosmetologist for over two decades, well before it became fashionable.  She sees gohspa as a place to relax with a focus on wellness and healthful beauty.  Services in this warm and inviting green spa include organic manicures and pedicures, holistic facials, makeovers, hair removal, body care treatments and massages. gohspa also offers alternative services like Tui Na, a cross between acupressure and Shiatsu and tuning forks.  I highly recommend the gohAGE-with-grace Facial, a preventative procedure that uses gentle machine assisted rhythmic action to encourage improved lymph flow and the release of toxins, along with carefully chosen organic products.  Your skin will look younger and more radiant! gohspa’s caring and capable technicians assure your spa experience will be exceptional, ultra relaxing and healthy!

With their passion and conscientious approach to all things “green”, these hard-working green entrepreneurs are making a difference.  Email me about the unusual and creative green things entrepreneurs are doing in your area!

Green Entrepreneurs

I have recently met some impressive green entrepreneurs who are making a real difference by the earth and our health as they squeak out a living.  In this 2-part blog, I will share with you some of the eco-businesses these creative people are running.

FarmFare Market – A registered dietitian, Nicole Cormier is a green go-getter who has her hands in everything related to organic, food and local.  She runs her nutritional counseling office out of a cute little store in Sandwich, MA where you can buy seasonal fresh vegetables, farm fresh eggs, fresh cold-pressed juices, bulk items like nuts, berries, and beans, specialty food items such as locally made cheeses and organic vanilla, and environmentally friendly products.  She also started a farmer’s market in Mashpee, MA, offers a yearlong CSA, does organic catering, runs wellness workshops for businesses, schools or groups, and hosts a radio show with “nutritionally sustainable topics.”  Whew!

Edible Landscapes of Cape Cod –A talented musician and gardener, Dave Scandurra’s goal is to make the local food movement even more local by bringing it to you.  How?  He creates (installs and maintains) low-maintenance perennial edible landscapes on Cape Cod that will feed you and your friends or family for years to come. He specializes in herbs, perennial vegetables, fruits, nuts, beneficial flowers, trees and edible water gardens. Using raised beds, cold frames or interesting swirl designs, Dave’s gardens are fabulous.  He also consults and is a whiz at plant identification, finding obscure but beneficial plants like St. John’s wort among your “weeds”.

The Optimist Company – A young mother of two, Devin Donaldson’s strong interest in green living led her to make and sell pure cleaning and laundry products.  Her powerful, but gentle and of course non-toxic products are made from simple (and pronounceable) ingredients like baking soda, coconut oil soap, Epsom salts and other household ingredients.    I use her “Loads of Laughs” natural laundry suds and softener and love it.  The attractive packaging is basic and naturally recyclable, reusable, compostable, and biodegradable.  Along with the finished products, The Optimist Company provides DIY (do it yourself) kits.  You can order her products online.

Each of these young entrepreneurs has a similar mission and a passion for protecting the earth and our health. Each exhibits drive and ambition in a socially responsible way.  The green movement is here to stay!

Next blog I’ll highlight a few more conscientious green entrepreneurs.

Congratulations to the winner of the advanced power strip from MassSave, Nancy Yardley of Houston, Texas!

 

A Question from a Reader – Buying an Organic Bed

Dear Betsy:

We’re looking to buy an “organic bed”. I’ve done a fair amount of research, which, frankly is overwhelming. So just wondered if you’ve had any experience with this part of the “green marketplace”.

 Thanks – 

Carole

East Sandwich, MA

Hi Carole:

Thank you for contacting me.  We spend approximately 1/3 of our life sleeping,  (that’s 33. 3 years spent sleeping if you live to be 100 – wow!), which makes choosing a mattress an important investment.  I’m glad you are considering non-toxic materials; conventional mattresses are made of polyurethane foam, toxic flame-retardants, and water or stain-resistant chemicals.  You don’t have to be chemically sensitive to reap the benefits of an organic bed.  I think everyone should sleep on one.

I’ve been sleeping on an organic mattress for 6 or 7 years and I love it!!! It’s definitely the most comfortable mattress I’ve slept on. It’s made of natural rubber (latex) with the following features:

  • Extremely durable, flexible and resilient
  • No toxic substances or ozone-depleting agents used in the manufacture of the mattress
  • No synthetic rubber or other fibers used
  • Warm in winter, cool in summer
  • Resistant to moisture buildup
  • Naturally antibacterial and hypoallergenic
  • Mold and dust free

With my bed, there are three layers of rubber – soft, medium and firm.  Based on your weight and preference, you can custom design the layers.  You and your spouse or partner can each choose your own layers. There is an organic wool or cotton casing (meaning it is grown without pesticides) that surrounds the rubber layers.  Wool provides great dust mite protection, making it ideal for allergy sufferers.  Wool is also naturally fire resistant.

I suggest you look around and try different options. There are many choices in organic mattresses, designed for all preferences and all budgets – those made from a combination of natural latex and cocofibers, those with only one or two layers of natural rubber, organic cotton innerspring mattresses or mattresses made with wool and coils.

I bought my mattress from Furnature in Watertown, Mass (they also have a complete line of chemical free furniture with certified organic textiles).  Organic Mattress in Sudbury, Mass and The Clean Bedroom in Wellesley, Mass also carry toxic-free mattresses, as well as bed frames made from sustainable, renewable and biodegradable hardwoods and organic pillows, bedding and toppers.

(For non-Massachusetts readers, go online and search “organic mattresses”.  They are more available than they used to be.)

Check out my post on “The Green Bedroom” for additional information on organic bedding.

Good luck Carole – sleep soundly on your comfortable and healthy organic mattress.  Let me know how you like it!

Regards,

Betsy

Readers: Don’t forget to send me your saving energy tip to win an advanced power strip from Mass Save!  Contest is over next week.

 

 

What Mass Save Can Do For You!

For my Massachusetts readers, I imagine many of you are familiar with Mass Save and their energy efficiency initiatives like the free energy audit program for your home or office.  For those of you who aren’t, Mass Save is a program you want to get to know! Mass Save is an initiative sponsored by Massachusetts’ gas and electric utilities and energy efficiency service providers to provide a wide range of services, incentives, trainings, and information promoting energy efficiency that help residents and businesses manage energy use.  In addition to the free energy audit of your home or office, they provide incentives, rebates, and information on products such as LED and CFL lightbulbs, room air cleaners, light fixtures, and advanced power strips.

One of their newer programs focuses on refrigerator recycling.  To encourage responsible recycling, they are offering a $50.00 rebate when you schedule a pick up of your second refrigerator or freezer. All you do is call or go on-line and make sure you meet the following requirements:

  •       Unit must be between 10 and 30 cubic feet using inside measurements.
  •       A second fridge and/or freezer – not your primary fridge or freezer.
  •       Clean, empty and in working order at the time of pick-up.
  •       Accessible with a clear path for removal by recycling contractor.

Like the EcoATM I wrote about a few weeks ago which pays you for recycling old cell phones, this incentive program is a smart way to keep appliances out of the landfill.  Sometimes a little financial perk gives us just the push we need to do the right thing.

Mass Save’s innovative programs are specific to Massachusetts, but most utility companies offer something similar. After all, they have the same objectives of saving energy, saving money and recycling.  To find programs in your area, check out these websites.

ENERGY STAR: http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=recycle.pr_refrigerator_rec

ENERGY STAR – Rebate Finder: http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?fuseaction=rebate.rebate_locator

DSIRE: http://www.dsireusa.org/

Interested in Saving Money, Saving Energy and Winning an Advanced Power Strip?  

Read on…….

Now that it’s back to school and more energy will be consumed with computers, printers, and other electronics in use, it’s a good idea to consider using an energy-saving power strip.  I will send out a brand new advanced power strip to two readers who send me their most creative energy efficiency tips.  What’s yours?