Monthly Archives: June 2007

Recycling Myths

Recycling is one of the things people think of first when they think about being environmentally friendly. In some ways that’s a pity, as reduce and reuse really should come first, but recycling is nonetheless important, and one of the easiest for the government to encourage both individuals and businesses to do.

Recycling has improved greatly these past several years, but it’s still not great. Far more could be recycled, especially when it comes to paper. It is still easier in many areas to throw paper in the regular trash, whether you’re at home, work or out and about.

Myths about recycling abound, as many people don’t really think carefully about it.

One is that recycling is hard. This one really depends on where you live. Where I live it is ridiculously easy for the materials that are accepted. One bin, no sorting required. Other places require sorting, but do provide the bins. It’s not that common anymore for recycling to be difficult.

Some also claim that recycling takes up just as much energy as using new materials. Continue reading →

Can We Do Anything About Lowered Organic Standards?

I read over on TreeHugger that the USDA did indeed lower organic standards. I had really, really been hoping that this would not happen. Calling something organic isn’t supposed to just be about the money, even if that is the advantage the corporations get out of it. It’s about how it’s produced.

So products that are not fully organically produced now having an easier time being labeled USDA Organic is really annoying to me. It means it is now harder to figure out if something is really organic.

There is just a tiny bit of hope. Due to the outcry, the comment period has been reopened for 60 days. Here’s a link with information on how you can comment. Just take a few minutes and participate.

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Choosing Bamboo Products

We bought a new bed for my son the other day. He’s 2 and just out of the blue told his Daddy that he wanted a big bed, not his toddler bed. That bed was a hand-me-down, so no real worry that he only used it a relatively few months. Just have to see who wants it next.

So we bought a bed. Nice one, made of wood, bought at Ikea. Took my husband a solid 4 hours to assemble it, but the bed should last him through high school at the very least. Not at all a bed that will appeal only to a child.

But of course this meant new sheets to. And that got me thinking about bamboo products. Those bamboo sheets feel nice! Made me want to replace the ones on my bed, except they don’t need to be replaced yet.

I really think I’m going to be remembering bamboo whenever I can as an option. I love the look of the bamboo cutting boards. And I know that other kitchen and home items also come in bamboo.

Best part about bamboo is how quickly it grows, unlike wood. Yet it’s durable.

I know there aren’t a lot of things I NEED to buy in bamboo, pretty and useful though it is. But I do like to keep it in mind.

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Focusing on Power Consumption

There’s a great article in The New York Times on energy consumption and how to decrease yours. I don’t know how easy the article will be to acces, since after a day or two they generally require sign in, but it’s an interesting read.

The author bought a Kill A Watt to measure the power consumed by various electronics when they were not in use. These included his computer, TiVo, cable box and DVD player.

The experiment made him realize just how much energy he was wasting in his home. He’s not alone:

Indeed, the Department of Energy estimates that in the average home, 40 percent of all electricity used to power home electronics is consumed while the products are turned off. Add that all up, and it equals the annual output of 17 power plants, the government says.

This is something I’ve been trying to convince my husband of for a while. I may even decide to pick him up a Kill A Watt at some point if it will help to make my point. Continue reading →