Tag Archives: recycle

Give That Old Christmas Tree New Life This Year

Now that Christmas is over and we’re feeling the let down of gifts given, visitors come and gone and turkeys carved, it’s time to start thinking about what to do with that beautifully smelling tree in your living room. While most of us will be sending the tree to a recycling center to be mulched, here are some more fun, do-it-yourself options for disposing of the tree.

Recycle It Yourself. Cut the branches and trunk into smaller portions and put them in a wood chipper (or borrow a neighbors). Use the mulch for increasing the health of your soil in flower beds, around shrubbery or in your garden. Additionally, you can use the wood for kindling in your outdoor fire pit. Average sized trees can provide up to 13 pounds of firewood. Remember, do not burn evergreens inside because they are highly flammable and full of sap.

Make a Bird Sanctuary. Attract the local wildlife by building a Christmas tree-sized bird feeder. Decorate it with homemade popcorn garland, orange slices and pinecones or stale bread smothered in peanut butter and birdseed. Secure the tree to a support with wire or twine to keep it from blowing over and use stakes in the ground for extra stability. The birds will come for the food and stay for the refuge in the branches.

Perfume Your Home. Allow the needles to dry out and brush them off the branches. Separate them into small, decorative bowls or cups and mix them with cinnamon sticks, cloves and dried flowers or fruit. The result will be a creative, eco-friendly and aromatic potpourri that will leave your home smelling of the holidays even after the tree is gone.

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Instituting REAL Change

In the past, this blog has covered multiple topics: everything from “going green” to planning parties, from the benefits of bamboo to leading a healthy lifestyle and from progress in international environmental political practices to rejuvenating yourself after a long weekend. But something occurred to me on the way to work this morning: every week, we discuss some way to save the environment, conserve natural resources or simply life happier, more fulfilling lives; but what are we REALLY doing to institute change?
Personally, I take care to recycle, unplug my computer and charging devices and reuse things beyond all possible value. However, I still drive my car hundreds of miles a week, buy a throwaway cup of coffee everyday and eat packaged, unnatural food that commutes from farther away than I do. The more I read about the way our world is changing for the worse, I have to wonder, how long before I get angry and make the big (albeit inconvenient) changes? And what’s more, how long before our country’s biggest institutions do the same?

So I ask you, Cyberspace, what have you done to change your lifestyle? How long will you go on polluting the air we breathe, the water we swim in and the earth from which all our food grows? Granted it may not matter to you personally or your generation, but it will, sure as the increasing price of gasoline, matter to your children and unborn grandchildren.
Dead zones in our oceans, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, global warming, deforestration, and rising levels of CO2 on land and in the water are not myths we can ignore any longer. At the rate we’re going, the death of the only home we have is not an abstract idea, it is a reality.

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Great “Green” Products You Didn’t Know Existed

We all know that the “Green Revolution” is upon us. It is becoming more and more en vogue to “go green”; large corporations, small businesses, individuals and families are all doing their part to reduce, reuse and recycle. With a little homework and a little extra effort, we can all make small changes in our daily routines to decrease the negative impact our actions can have on the planet. Here are a few one-time purchases that can save a significant amount of waste in the long run.

Reusable Coffee Sleeves
If you can’t seem to remember to carry that reusable plastic coffee cup or water bottle with you, consider at least purchasing a fabric coffee sleeve. The sleeve is small enough to fit in your glove compartment (for drive-thu coffee stops), in your purse for walk-in coffee excursions) or at your desk for your office coffee breaks. These ones are handmade in Maui and come in a variety of colors and patterns for under ten dollars to fit your personal style and budget. Most are machine washable; just toss them in with your regular load to quickly and easily reduce the amount of waste produced by your coffee habit.

iPad Case
This particular iPad case is fashioned from old suit jackets and then padded with fabric and foam. The case utilizes the coat pockets so you can carry small personal items as well as the charger. Why purchase a brand new case processed from new materials when you can have a one of a kind and earth friendly one?  All of the “I” products are so ubiquitous anyways, make yours stand out with a truly unique and “green” covering. You can find them on etsy.com for about $5 or grab a sewing machine and make your own.

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Recycle and Re-Use Your Holiday Decor Throughout the Year

Happy New Year everyone!  It’s that time again for resolutions, starting fresh and of course putting away the holiday decor, which for some reason always seems a lot more arduous then putting it up.  This year before you pack everything up, or trash your tree and broken ornaments, support the green movement by re-using or recycling the holiday decor.

After each holiday season, one of the biggest items to unfortunately end up in the landfill is Christmas trees.  The ideal solution is to promote the use of artificial trees that could be re-used or keep a tree planted that can not only be re-used but also grow with the family.  If you have a cut tree that is in need of disposing of, look up local recycling centers that you can drop your tree, wrapping paper, paint and more to be recycled.   If you can trim your tree down to smaller pieces, many areas now offer recycling pick up.

Over the years of holiday decorating, many of us end up with mis-matched ornaments or even broken ones from storing and moving.  Rather than throwing them out, or purchasing new matching sets each year, take broken ornament pieces and fill a vase with other mixed ornaments to reflect color and create a surface centerpiece for any table.

(image from freshome)

Instead of buying new art, why not create it?  Pick up a canvas at your local art store, spray with adhesive and sprinkle varying sizes of the broken ornaments to create an abstract and colorful art piece. Re-use your candles for dinner parties, as bathroom or even kitchen accents.

Holiday colors such as greens, reds, silvers and blues work wonderfully in contemporary color schemes.

(image from oregonlive)

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