Tip of the Week – Keep Your Grass Longer

grassKeeping your lawn longer will require less watering; saving you time, money and of course water. This works because the length of the blade will shade the roots more and help prevent the soil from drying out. According to Paul Tukey, author of The Organic Lawn Care Manual, cutting your grass to 3 or 4 inches tall can reduce evaporation by 70% to 80% getting you greener grass with less work.

Posted in Environment, Tips | 5 Comments »

Product of the Week – TOMS Shoes

TOMS ShoesTOMS is an incredible shoe company founded on a simple premise: “With every pair you purchase, TOMS will give a pair of new shoes to a child in need.” TOMS calls it One for One. They use the purchasing power of individuals to benefit the greater good.

TOMS shoes are also eco-friendly, taking advantage of materials like pesticide-free cotton, all natural canvas and recycled EVA scraps. TOMS even offers Vegan shoes options.

And not to mention…Their shoes are totally cute! Check out this ad for their new girlie wedges.

Buy your pair now!

Posted in Eco-Products | 1 Comment »

Chicago’s Top 5 Vegetarian Restaurants

Eating vegetarian or vegan out on the town can sometimes be a challenge. But have no fear…there are many restaurant options that offer great eco eats without all the guilt.

Here are the Top 5 Vegetarian Restaurants in Chicago:

  1. Karyn’s on Green – Contemporary. Stylish. Vegan. With delicious food and a vibrant bar scene, Karyn’s on Green is making vegan sexy in the midst of Chicago’s traditional Greektown neighborhood. Serving lunch, dinner and drinks seven days a week in an atmosphere so chic you’ll forget it’s good for you and the planet.
  2. Life On Mars – Life On Mars strives to provide a variety of foods which are unique, animal-free and affordable.
  3. The Chicago Diner – Chicago’s favorite vegetarian vegan restaurant diner & vegan bakery catering. The Chicago Diner was voted best vegetarian restaurant in Chicago in 2005 & 2009.
  4. MANA food bar – From the owners of Sushi Wabi, MANA offers a meatless dining option in a warm tasteful environment.
  5. Drew’s Eatery – Drew’s Eatery makes every effort to be as organic, local and green as possible. From the recycled glass tiles on the walls to the 100% biodegradable corn fiber take away containers, the idea behind this little eatery is simple: We all have choices in what goes into our bodies and into our environment. Why not make a choice that’s better for both?

Posted in Healthy Eating | 5 Comments »

Top 5 Eco-Friendly Memorial Day Party Tips

Kick off the summer this Memorial Day Weekend by greenifying your BBQ Party. Here are the top 5 ways to make your Memorial Day shindig a little more sustainable.Memorial Day Flag

  • Grill - A solar powered grill is the most eco-friendly way to grill these days, but if that’s not an option for you opt for a grill that burns natural gas rather than charcoal, as it is cleaner.
  • Food - Shop at a local farmer’s market for your BBQ ingredients. You can usually find great local organic produce, breads & meats.
  • Tableware - Switch to biodegradable dishes.
  • NapkinsUse washable napkins to reduce paper waste.
  • Compost - Compost leftover food scraps & other organic trash.

Happy Grilling!

Posted in Environment, Family, Tips | 3 Comments »

ReUse ReMake Crayons

There’s nothing better than a fresh box of brand new crayons… Runner up is a brand new up-cycled crayon. What the heck is an up-cycled crayon?

Supplies Needed:

  • Old Crayons
  • Aluminum Cans
  • Wooden sticks or dowel rods
  • Candy mold or ice cube trays
  • Large Pan

Step 1 -
Making melting pots. Use aluminum cans to melt your crayons in. The first thing to do is cut off the tops. You need enough so that they are packed tightly in the pot and will not fall over. But watch out! The top will be sharp.
ReUse ReMake Crayons

Step 2 -
Sort the crayons. You may want to remove the wrappers as well. We didn’t, so we had to fish them out of the melted wax.
ReUse ReMake Crayons

Step 3 -
Create a water bath. Place the aluminum cans full of crayons into an old pan that has about an inch of water in it. If the cans do not have very much in them, they will float. This is a bit of a pain but the crayons inside will still melt. The wax will get very hot & never heat wax directly on the stove.
ReUse ReMake Crayons

Step 4 -
Waiting. The crayons will melt at different rates, the yellow and brown melted first. Some of the inexpensive crayons never melted. You just have to fish them out or work around them.
ReUse ReMake Crayons

Step 5 -
Ready to pour. Before you pour the new crayons you need to remove most of the wrappers.
ReUse ReMake Crayons

Step 6 -
Time to pour. Lay out some paper and put your mold on top of the paper. Pinch a pour spout into the top of the can, use your dowel rod or stir stick to hold back any clumps of unmelted crayons. Carefully pour into the candy molds. The cans are not hot at all, but the wax is.
ReUse ReMake Crayons

Step 7 -
The wax drips and things can get pretty mess, so be make sure you covered your work space or you will have a huge mess to clean up.
ReUse ReMake Crayons

Step 8 –
If you need the molds fast to do you next batch put them in the freezer for about 5 minutes. The new crayons will pop right out.
ReUse ReMake Crayons

Step 9 -
All Done! Let’s color!
ReUse ReMake Crayons

A special thanks to SomArtMama & Instructables for sharing their up-cycling crafts with us!

Posted in Green Crafts, Recycling | 4 Comments »

Tip of the Week – Do Your Shopping Online

Shopping OnlineShopping online is full of conveniences, but did you realize that it is eco-friendly too. That’s right, internet shopping saves energy, resulting in enormous environmental benefits.

On average, an e-commerce warehouse use 1/16th of the energy that is used to operate a traditional retail store. It also saves transportation energy. Even overnight air shipping uses 40% less fuel than the average car trip to the mall. In fact, each minute spent driving to the mall uses twenty times more energy than a minute spent shopping online.

So go nuts…and start shopping now!

Posted in Energy, Tips | 6 Comments »

Compost Cab – Composting Made Easy

Composting maybe great for the environment but it’s still a dirty, messy, smelly business with plenty of reasons not to do it. But what if you could called upon someone to handle all the dirty details of composting and make it as easy as 1,2,3?

Introducing… Compost Cab!

What is Compost Cab?Compost Cab
Compost Cab is a way to compost that doesn’t stink. It is a new service about to launch in the Washington, DC area making reduce, reuse, recycle simple.

  1. Compost Cab provides you with a bin.
  2. You fill the bin with what you used to call garbage: food scraps, coffee grounds, all sorts of organic trash.
  3. Compost Cab will pick the bin up once a week, leaving behind a fresh clean bin with a new liner.
  4. Compost Cab then turns your organic trash into fertile soil.
  5. After that it’s up to you: keep some fertile soil for yourself, or Compost Cab can donate it for you to a local, not-for-profit urban farmer who grows sustainable, nutritious food for the community.

The cost for Compost Cab is a simple $8 per week per bin with no long-term commitments.

I absolutely love this idea & can’t wait for Compost Cab to hit Chicago!

Posted in Environment, Recycling | 2 Comments »

DIY – Recycled Magazine Trash Can

What do you do with your old magazines you already read? Recycled Magazine Trash CanRecycled Magazine Trash Can

Instead of trashing them, Mark Montano made a bathroom trash can out of his old magazines.

You can get a detailed how-to guide in his Big-Ass Book of Crafts, but you basically coil strips of paper together & use hot glue to hold the coils together. The bottom part is one big disk with a bead of hot glue to fill in the center hole.

Thanks Mark for sharing your eco-crafts.

Posted in Eco-Products, Green Crafts, Recycling | 23 Comments »

Product of the Week – Green Genius Biodegradable Trash bags

GG_LOGO_Did you know that normal plastic bags never biodegrade? Well, at least not for a thousand years or so. That’s why Sam Paul & his team invented Green Genius bags. Bags that are biodegradable but still had the strength and price of regular trash bags.

Check out this animated narrative explaining the science & technology of Green Genius biodegradable plastic trash bags.

Buy your Green Genius Bags today!

Posted in Eco-Products, Environment | 7 Comments »

Tip of the Week – Use a French Coffee Press

French Coffee PressSave yourself some time & money by making your coffee at home with a French coffee press.

The biggest eco-benefit to using a coffee press is the fact that they don’t use a non-reusable paper filter. Besides the obvious waste-decreasing benefit, no filter also means more flavor. Plus, if you tend to make coffee only for yourself, a French press is great because they’re often smaller than drip machines, allowing you to brew just one cup.

Posted in Healthy Eating, Tips | 4 Comments »