Paper or Plastic? Plastic, please!

The impossible question, paper or plastic?  For once I think there is a possibility that saying plastic isn’t such a bad idea.  We all know now that we have the option to recycle our used plastic bags.  Supermarkets are making it very easy by placing bins near doors allowing you to dispose of the bags you have been saving in your basement stairwell for months.  Although this is a great idea but can seem like an overwhelming and time consuming task, we all should be doing it.

Some wonderful person out there has finally come up with a better idea.  After a visit to Ace Hardware and again forgetting my reusable bags, I walked out with yet another plastic bag, dreading the overwhelming container in my hallway of plastic bags.  After unloading my bag and about to scrunch it up into a ball I read the words 100% Degradable.

Epi has done it, made me not feel so guilty about using this bag and even less guilty about filling it with trash and throwing it away.  The plastic bags contain TDPA (Totally Degradable Plastic Additives™). It is added in small quantities, it first works by breaking down the plastic into smaller particles and then with the mix of carbon dioxide, water and biomass it tunes into soil!  Now if everything could have a little TDPA in it!

The plastic bag that I received from Ace Hardware along with many of Epi’s other plastic bags still follow the three R’s, Reduce Reuse Recycle.  The bag’s that contain TDPA are still as strong in quality as their non degradable counterpart.  They also are completely recyclable so it’s okay to add them to the container headed to the grocery store to recycle.  The best part is the knowledge that this bag has the capability to become part of nature, what a great thing!

Posted by Kate Kiselka, follow me on Twitter

Craigslist and Freecycle offer a chance to find a bargain.

Craigslist and Freecycle are two great websites for people on a budget or with zero spending money to find some great stuff.  As a new homeowner with a limited budget these sites have offered some great bargains as well as ideas.  It is a great way to reduce, reuse and recycle.

Craigslist offers a plethora of different areas on which to find things, from vacation rentals and cars to household items or when a local garage sale is happening.  It is a great and useful website to use when looking for something in particular or if you just want to look around.

Freecycle believes that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.  Freecycle allows you to post anything you may want or need to get rid of, from a hand me down bed frame to flagstone you ripped up off your front lawn.   If you don’t want it but think someone else might need it post it on this website.  You can also go on and post a want-ad for things that you are looking for in hopes someone is getting rid of it. 

Posted by: Kate Kiselka: follow me on Twitter

Coffee, more than a pick me up

Coffee is a part of 1.4 billion people’s morning rituals.  Little do all these people know that the coffee grounds used to make their coffee have many more uses!   You can use the coffee grounds in your garden around your house and even on your skin. 

You can use the coffee grinds around your house, by using them to clean soap scum in your bathroom shower as well as to get caked on food off your pots and pans.  They are also a great use in getting that awful smell of garlic or onions off your hands.  Just like baking soda, coffee grinds also have the capability to take out the lingering smells from your fridge and freezer, just put them in an old nylon or sock and place it in the back.  Why spend money on baking soda when you have used coffee grinds?

Using them in the garden is also very easy.  By sprinkling them on your vegetable garden and flower bed’s it acts as a natural fertilizer and also repels unwanted pests.  If you have a compost pile you can use coffee grinds to restore nitrogen levels.  Coffee grinds are also food for worm’s which helps out your compost pile as well as your garden. 

Lastly coffee grinds can be used as a natural exfoliate for your skin.  The best way is by adding an egg white to ¼ cup coffee grounds for a facial mask.  You can also take it right in the shower and use it on dry skin.  Why you are in there, remember that it can be used to wash away soap scum.

Who thought a simple must have every morning had so many other useful jobs!  It wakes you up and cleans the house, now only if you could sit there and let it do the work without you!  Remember making your own cup of Joe in the morning saves you money as well as saving many unwanted disposable cups from the local landfill! 

Posted by Kate Kiselka, follow me on Twitter

Kids be Green!

Kids be green is a great website that I really enjoy using and learning about all the different ways, to reduce, reuse and recycle.  Kids green has a coloring book that tells a story with each page.  My nanny Kayla can print the pages out for my brother Max and I to color.  It shows us what dangerous things are in our house and to stay away from them.  Like cleaning materials as well as stuff that dad might use in the garage.  It also helps to tell you what types of things can be recycled.  Even though I am the one who loves to color the pages, Mom and Dad can learn from the pictures too!

This fun website also has games to play like Yucky Worm World; this game helps you learn how worms help the environment.  Another game I like is Recycle City which gives me ideas on how to recycle and different ways my whole town can!  Even though I would never even dream of eating one, there is a fun game that teaches you which fish are safe to eat, thank goodness scallops are safe! FEW! 

There are so many more fun things on this site, so I am going to go play.  Make sure you check out this site with your kids or even if you don’t I think even adults would find it fun and interesting..

Posted by Abby, Age 5

Eco-superheros Moving Boxes Man and Boxy expose the “recycling” industry by preventing box abuse and promoting box reuse.

Los Angeles, CA January 1st, 2010 — Enter Boxy and Moving Boxes Man, part human, part box, these “cardborgs” have built a website that offers gently-used shipping boxes sold in moving kits with 1-3 day free delivery, nationwide.

Watch their YouTube eco-mmerical here: 

They’ve joined the Used Cardboard Boxes, Inc network which has revolutionized the moving and shipping box industries. It supplies high-quality used boxes for moving, packing, shipping, and storage to both consumers and businesses. They’re helping eliminate the need for “dumpster diving” or “box begging” for abused boxes that may be damaged or unsanitary.

How Used Cardboard Boxes works:

• a new box is created by any given box manufacturing company

• the box is purchased and gently used once to ship packaged parts or products from a supplier to a manufacturer or distributor

• after the part or product has been unpacked, the box is gently flattened and stacked on a pallet

• when the pallet is fully stacked, it’s either loaded on a truck and sent to another supplier or distributor that purchased boxes wholesale or,

• the boxes are sorted into moving boxes sizes and packed into moving kits, which can be ordered online

• the moving kits are picked up by a UPS truck and delivered for free anywhere in the continental U.S. to retail customers

This new model for box reuse makes it possible for eco- and cost-conscious consumers and companies to have a viable alternative to the agonizing price of new boxes and the anxiety of trying to scrounge used boxes from grocery stores or classified ads.

 This process is environmental education in action and promoted through several “eco-mmercials” posted on the YouTube channel. They’ve posted fun and informative videos that help educate consumers about the reality behind the cardboard industry using “eco-super-hero” characters “Boxy” and “Moving Boxes Man”.

 Recycling is a feel-good word… as it should be… but what’s often forgotten is that a lot of what’s recycled can, and should be, re-used. Recycling is costly, a source of pollution and requires water, energy, fuel, chemicals and other inputs.

 Here are a few stats to put the cardboard industry into perspective:

 • The EPA reports that the US commercial sector generates more cardboard than any other material in the nation.

• Over $40 billion in cardboard boxes are produced in the U.S. each year.

• The EPA estimates that 14% of all municipal solid waste is made of cardboard containers.

• Approximately 43 million Americans move each year.

 Most cardboard is recycled, however very few boxes are used more than once. The typical shortened life-cycle of a box means dropping a box’s value from dollars to pennies. With and the Used Cardboard Boxes, Inc network, the value of the box is sustained. This allows cycles of reuse to occur and reoccur within the US, thus saving the nation’s trees, sustaining jobs and providing consumers and companies with a green low-cost alternative to new boxes., also has a business-to-business offering where companies can buy boxes in truckload quantities for shipping. Alternatively, if a company has pallets of reusable boxes it wants to sell for more than what the recycler pays, it can enter box dimensions, quantity, and location to be evaluated for purchase.


Ben Lawson