The “Greenest” Yard on the Block

The “Greenest” Yard on the Block After the brutal winter we have had, I personally have been looking forward to spring with the kind of childish enthusiasm that is usually reserved for Christmas morning, the arrival of a pizza delivery man, or even payday. I live in Texas, so spring is usually about four days of mild weather before we start hitting triple digit temperatures, but still, it’s exceptionally nice for those 4 days. With the change in weather comes the annual re-claiming of my yard from winter’s grasp, and let me just point out that I am not a fan of yard work. It is a necessary evil at best. Alas, in preparation for the improved weather I still broke out the old lawnmower, trimmer, chainsaw, edger, and hedge clippers. Then I fueled up and got to work.   Halfway through mowing my front yard my neighbor comes out from his side yard pushing a bright shiny new mower. Now as a Texan, and as a man, equipment envy is a terrible thing. I … Continued

How to Avoid Greenwashing

As consciousness has risen when it comes to the health of the environment, businesses have responded en masse by offering more eco-friendly products, services and policies — or at least, they say they have. Greenwashing is a term used for companies that claim to be — but in reality are not — acting in an environmentally responsible way. It was first used in print by environmentalist Jay Westerveld in 1986 in reference to hotels that encouraged guests to reuse towels to benefit the Earth but that in turn didn’t recycle if it didn’t save money. A whopping 95 percent of products are greenwashed. So how can you tell what’s real and what’s not? Here, TerraChoice Environmental Marketing (now part of UL) offers some tips, along with a handy primer on just what to be on the lookout for:

8 Ways to Not Get Tricked While Going Green

Editor’s Note: This story was updated on April 1, 2011. You can read it in its original version from May 30, 2009 here. Just like the game of Telephone has taught us, information filtered through multiple sources starts to get a little less reliable. The same concept can be applied to environmentalism. In celebration of April Fools Day, we thought we would shed some light on common eco-myths. 1. Just throw it out, it’s biodegradable! “I can just throw this ‘biodegradable’ bottle out, because it will break down.” That would be true if we kept our landfills open to the elements such as light, air and water. This, however, is not the case. Throwing a biodegradable bottle into a landfill means it’s not going to break down (at least in a time frame that counts). Landfills are meant to keep the elements out, and it is precisely these elements that need to be present in order for a material to successfully biodegrade. Read: Cheat Sheet on Biodegradable Biodegradable packaging is great, but the most important factor … Continued

5 Green Gadgets You Can Use Now

Itching for a new gadget? Here are five moderately priced devices you can use in your home to save energy, resources and, best of all, money. 1. Simplehuman Fingerprint-Proof Recycling Bin Recycling is one of the most tangible ways to get involved in the green movement, but the fact of the matter is that people simply won’t do it if it’s not convenient. Space issues are a No. 1 concern for apartment dwellers, and proper separation is a hurdle that even the savviest of recyclers can botch. So, we were pumped to find a smart recycling bin that makes the process easier (and stylish). The simplehuman fingerprint-proof semi-round recycler has two color-coded buckets for easy trash/recyclable separation. Plus, its flat back can fit easily against the wall, saving space in the smallest of studios. Price: $139.99 2. The Off Remote App The Off Remote is aptly named for its purpose: It turns off your computer devices from your iPhone or iPad. This works great for computers without an automatic sleep mode, and setup is fairly simple. … Continued

What NOT to Put in the Bin

Ever wondered if that cryptic greasy paper plate could go in your recycling bin? Or would it really be a big deal if you threw in just one plastic bag? It may seem simple to determine what doesn’t go in a recycling bin based on its labels or whether or not it shows a recycling symbol, but unfortunately, it’s not that straightforward. So, where do you begin to find out of the specific materials that shouldn’t go in a recycling bin? Listed below are some materials that are not as commonly accepted, unless of course the bin or the program specifically says that you can drop it in. You can also use the Earth911 Recycling Directory to find out what your community can specifically accept, or where to recycle the materials listed below, elsewhere. Shredded paper When you shred paper with a paper shredder, you dramatically decrease the value of the paper because you shorten the length of the paper fiber, which is the source of value of the paper, according Eric Lombardi, the executive … Continued

8 Ways to Green Your Fall

Now that summer has come to a close, fall brings us the chance to go outdoors and enjoy the cooler temperatures and changing scenery. Depending on where you call home, you can watch the leaves change color or at least take a break from the high summer temperatures. Added to that, the new season provides a great opportunity to make the most out of the great outdoors and add some new green habits into your daily life. Here are eight green ways to enjoy this fall: 1. Visit the Local Farmers’ Market Over the summer, many farmers’ markets across the country had to take a summer break, especially in cities where the temperatures reached triple digits. Luckily, as the weather cools down, many of your favorite farmers’ markets are back up-and-running with fresh produce. So, if you have a craving for some home-grown goods, grab your reusable bags and head over to the local farmers’ market. It’s an ideal way to stock up on fresh produce and catch up with neighbors and friends. Visit Local … Continued