Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Reuse in Action

Can you spot the wonderful reuse in this picture? Don't feel bad if you can't-it's such a seamless reuse, it looks like it was made that way. 

I was just in the kitchen at our new office and one of the green team members pointed it out to me. It was her idea to reuse in this way and I'm glad she pointed it out, because I don't think I would have noticed otherwise. It's just that good!

Have a happy and safe holiday season everyone!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Waste Reduction Tips for the holidays

I get a weekly "tip" email from Clean Scapes and I particularly liked this one. I couldn't find it online* so I reposted it here. Happy Waste Reduction to you this holiday season!

During the holiday season there are many opportunities to go green. The US Environmental Protection Agency estimates that Americans throw away 25% more thrash between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day than any other time of year, which translates into an extra one million tons of waste generated nationwide each week!

What can you do to reduce waste during the holidays?

Give Experiences. Support the local economy by purchasing gift certificates for experiences.  Look no further than local restaurants, museums, sporting events, concert halls, theater shows, and classes for everything from yoga to guitar lessons for a unique and special gift for every interest and age group. Or, give the gift of a shared experience and make a date to do something special together. 

Shop Sustainably. With local and regional holiday craft fairs, it’s easy to support local artists, farmers and merchants. Other ways to shop green include purchasing items made from recycled content or items made from renewable resources, such as bamboo. And when you shop, don’t forget your reusable shopping bags!

Re-Gift! Make it a white (elephant) holiday! The easiest 'shopping' can be done at home. “Re-gift” things that have gone unused or unopened and find these items a new home.

Re-Charge. When you purchase gifts that require batteries, consider purchasing rechargeable batteries and a charger. Each rechargeable battery replaces up to 1,500 single-use batteries.

Give Homemade. Get crafty! Save money this holiday season by making your own gifts and cards. No matter your skill level, the sky is the limit for do-it-yourself projects.

Donate. Instead of a gift, donate to a charity in a frien! d or family member’s name.  Holiday donations are a great way to support local non-profits and help the community.

Reduce Packaging. While shopping for holiday meals, consider buying in bulk, or purchase items with the least amount of packaging.

Bring Your Own. It's easy to reduce waste when you bring your own travel mug to the coffee shop, take your refillable water bottle with you for on-the-go hydration, and stash your reusable shopping and grocery bags in the car to carry your holiday purchases. Reusable bags also make wonderful gift bags, and provide an eco-extra for your special someone.

Around the Table. Before stocking up on single-use plates and cups, save money by using reusable and washable plates, cups, silverware, napkins, table clothes and serving dishes. For larger parties and a festive table, combine resources by borrowing tableware from friends. If you are looking to save money, purchase gently-used durable serviceware at local second-hand retailers.

Holiday Recycling! Encourage your guests to pitch in. Set out and clearly mark your recycling bins, and if you have food scraps collection service, help guests keep food waste out of the garbage by using a collection container for food scraps

*Clean Scapes-if there's a way to view your weekly emails online, please let me know!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Artist Profile #5:

Business name: Zoe's Gifts from the Heart  

I live on the Washougal River where I have a studio open by appointment and offer day retreats from Memorial Day through mid-October.  I renewed my interest in knitting when we moved here 10 years ago due to the long winter days.  

At first all my fiber was from local yarn stores. Most of my embellishments were recycled jewelry or buttons.  Now, I tend towards hand spun and hand dyed wools from local fiber growers and look for even more vintage or hand-made items that can be used to make my work truly one-of-a-kind.  

Much of my manufactured wool now comes from garage and estate sales and left-over wool becomes pins for hats and scarves.  It gives me great satisfaction to know that I am supporting other local artists and passing on old items that other people have enjoyed.  

My winter goal is to master the spinning wheel and begin to use the 25 tubs of angora rabbit wool we have harvested from our bunnies.  I am also beginning to create fiber jewelry - lots of fun.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

What am I going to give this holiday season?

Here's some ideas for the special people on your list:

You still have time to gather up some friends and your holiday lists for this Saturday! Come on out to the Check 'Em Off, Green holiday gift event. All the vendors are locals (the farthest anyone is traveling to be here is Goldendale-everyone else is from Clark County or Portland.) There will be jewelry, hats, clothing, food, toys, experiences etc. Most of the items are hand-made from recycled and reused materials. If you've ever shopped at the Recycled Arts Festival* and would like to buy in a similar way for your holiday gift needs, come see us this Saturday from 12-5 at the Marshall Center. With 47 vendors, there's sure to be something for everyone! Here's some ideas:
Also, if you've recently realized you’re drowning in holiday decorations you never use, bring them to this event and swap them out with others, all for free!

We hope to see you there! This event is open to the public.

*Recycled Arts Festival is a super fun annual event put on by Clark County, the last weekend in June

Artist Profile #4: The Reuser (yours truly)

Name: Terra Heilman

Website: Well, that's kind of obvious, isn't it? (You're here!)

Inspiration: I've made upcycled jewelry organizers. They're made of almost exclusively all thrifted materials. My inspiration was that I had a giant jumble of jewelry and I was looking for a good way to easily organize it. I've also made some reusable produce bags-the inspiration for them is trying to eliminate plastic waste in my grocery purchasing.

Why green gifts? I absolutely love the holiday season, but I don't want to be contributing to the problems this planet is dealing with, when giving gifts. I also love the stories behind green gifts. When you purchase a green gift, you're connecting with your community and often, the artist who made the gift. That's pretty special.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Artist Profile #3: Tara Stansberry

My name is Tara Stansberry, I am a 33 year-old self-taught artist living in Portland, Oregon. 

I specialize in using recycled materials such as vinyl records, cigar boxes, and canvas. 

Giving green is important to me because it's so much more personal. Every piece you buy from an artist has been crafted by their hands and heart. Growing up, we made gifts because we couldn't afford to buy them from a mall. Each green gift you buy supports an artist, and saves our landfills from being filled with more trash.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Artist Profile #2: Half Moon Farms

Artist: Brenda Lee Calvert 
HalfMoon Farm 
Brush Prairie, WA 

Beekeeper & Artist:  
I am a self-taught artist working out of my studio at my flower and produce farm (HalfMoon Farm) in Brush Prairie. 

My work encompasses many recycled materials; glass, metal, clay, wood, and plastics. Working with such diverse materials lets my creativity and imagination soar. Several different lines of artwork have come from this mixed media including functional, garden and decor. My use of texture along with great attention to color and basic shapes add to the design element of my art.
Beekeeping:  I and my husband Bob took up beekeeping around 7 years ago and just love it because it fits into our misson for our farm. We grow a lot of heirloom vegetables, herbs and fresh cut flowers. We also run pasture chickens for fresh eggs. We have 15 Bee hives this year and hope to eventually keep 25-30.  All of our honey is sold in glass containers for better recycling and our honey is Raw. (not pasteurized)  Our goal is to be good stewards of our farm and respect it by using organic practices. 

Monday, November 8, 2010

Artist Profile #1 DukeArt and family

This week, I'll be doing a series of artist profiles. These lovely people are some of the many you will meet this weekend at the Check 'Em Off Green event at the Marshall Center.

Name:  Matt, Steph, Kat and Briayne Dukart

Business Name:  DukeArt, Juicy Jewelry, Pikt - DBA Rock Candy Art

Inspiration:  Finding ways to make fun new things out of materials that some others would have discarded.  Starting this hobby/business has shifted my outlook of things--I now look past the current state of the material and try to see its potential.

Giving green gifts:  'Tis the season of joy and waste.  If we can't reduce the waste, perhaps we can turn that waste into something beautiful. 

The Reuser says: I met Matt about 2 years ago and have since met his beautiful family, as well. They sure are a creative bunch! Above, you saw one of the purses Matt creates out of materials that normally would be thrown away (chip bags and frozen food bags.) 

Here, we see some cute little hamburgers hand-crafted by Stephanie. She makes all kinds of neat jewelry, much of it along the lines of food (a girl after my own heart!) Earlier, when I was perusing their site, I noticed that she made Kat (one of their lovely daughters) a hair clip shaped like bacon.  Awesome!

Their two daughters are also very crafty. Kat makes guitar picks from used gift cards and Briayne makes cute hair accesories, like the one pictured here.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Empower Up Wish list (local non-profit)

Empower Up has just put out their most recent wish list. If you can help out by donating any of the following items, contact them!

Good Afternoon!

Shown below is an updated wish list for Empower Up. Donations are tax-deductible as in-kind donations. Please take a minute to review and see if you have any extra items laying about or if you could donate any of the following (we can always use gift cards!):

Wish List

Office Supplies:
  • Receipt Tape for Cash Register
  • Thermal Tape for Credit Card Machine
  • Hanging File Folders
  • Three-ring Binders (w/ Dividers, Clear Inserts, etc.)
  • Letter-size Notepads / Spiral Bound Notebooks
  • Colored Card Stock
  • Printer Ink
  • Printable Labels
  • Florescent Light Bulbs
  • Fine Tipped Dry Erase Markers
  • Pens, Sharpies, Highlighters, Rubber Bands, Paper Clips, etc.
  • Packing Tape, Masking Tape, Scotch Tape
  • USB Flash Drives
  • Wire-marking Labels
Kitchen Supplies
  • Cups/Plates, Dishware, Sponges, Scrubbers, Towels, Trash Bags, etc.
Restroom Supplies
  • Soap, Paper Towels, Hand Sanitizer, Kleenex, Toilette Paper, Air Freshener, etc.
Earth Friendly Cleaning Supplies
  • Wipes, Sprays, Dish/Hand Soaps, etc.
First Aid Supplies
  • Hypoallergenic Latex Free Band-Aids, Packets of Neosporin, etc.
Volunteer Appreciation Items:
  • Gift Certificates / Vouchers (Coffee, Dining, Grocery, Fuel, Movies, Bus Passes, etc.)
  • Food Items (Snacks, Treats, Hot Drinks, Pizzas, etc.)
  • T-Shirts for volunteers and staff (approx $600)
Gift Certificates for Miscellaneous Purchases
  • Office Depot, OfficeMax, Staples
  • Home Depot, Lowes
  • Cash and Carry, Fred Meyer, Walmart, Costco, etc.
One Time Items
  • Locking Cabinets
  • Office Chairs
  • Name Tags
  • Deco. / Small Art Pieces/Plants
  • Clocks
  • Multi-pot Coffee Maker
  • Rechargeable AA/AAA/C/D Batteries (w/ Charger)
  • Electronics Vacuum Cleaner(s)
  • Label Maker
  • Cork Bulletin Board
  • Small Step Ladder
  • Storage Totes
  • Components to Repair Computers
  • Network Tester
  • Stripper/Crimper/Tool Set for Networking
  • Power Supply Tester
  • Shelves

 Thank you!! 

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Let someone else #reuse your holiday decorations

As if you didn't already have enough reasons to come to the Check Em Off, Green event, here's one more. If you're sick of your holiday decorations and want a change, but can't bring yourself to go buy brand new stuff, you can swap out your old stuff with others!

There will be a special section at Check 'Em Off, Green for a decoration swap. Bring in your unwanted decorations from Halloween, Solstice, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, New Year's and any other fall/winter holidays. Leave them for others to reuse. If something catches your eye, take it home with you! No money is exchanged, just a straight-up sharing of community resources.

Friday, September 3, 2010

A study in reuse

My coworker found this photo and sent it on to us, figuring I would appreciate the many reuses shown. And, I do! Don't you? You don't often see this many reuses in one picture; "topsy turvy" planters made from all different sorts of plastic containers, compost pile made from old pallets.  So creative!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Starbucks coffee cups recycling information

Here's a great article I found on the challenges of and state of current technology for recycling those ubiquitous single-use coffee cups. This article also has a mini-slideshow of the recycling process, which is pretty interesting, especially if you've never seen any of it.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

And now, for some good news

The other day, I was on my soapbox about waste and the damage we're all doing to our beloved planet and I felt kinda bad for regaling my audience of one with all the doom and gloom. So, I later sent her a couple pieces of good news to try to make up for it.  This was one of them.

What a cool program!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Pool toys and pantyhose as props

I stumbled upon this fun use of pantyhose, pool noodles, twine, etc as props for the show The Producers.

One of my favorite sentences from the post: "The pantyhose technique is actually really great for props and especially masks because it is cheap, pliable and lightweight...a must if you're going to be balancing a four foot sausage on your head"


Thursday, July 29, 2010

I welcome our Google overlords

This Grist article makes me love Google even more than I did before, if that was possible. I love that they seem to "get" it and I love at the end of the article how they mention that it also makes good business sense to invest in clean energy

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Free clothing swap presented by Vancouver Green Drinks

I've added another page to my site-for an event that Laura and I (Vancouver Green Drinks) are quite excited to be bringing you.  Click on "Community Clothing Swap" to the right for all the details.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Plastic bags clog recycling machinery

You're all probably sick of me harping on this, but plastic bags are a HUGE problem for the facilities that sort your recycling.  I've heard myself say this so many times, I finally had the brilliant idea to create this poster explaining why you should NOT be "recycling" your plastic bags in your curbside carts.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

door knob reused as coat rack

Yesterday, I went to one of my new favorite restaurants for lunch, the Rosemary Cafe and I found this awesome coat rack in the bathroom.  You can see my purse hanging on it. I love it!

Monday, June 28, 2010

ocean plastic to be used to make vacuums

Waste & Recycling News has an interesting story about Electrolux making a limited number of vacuums out of plastic recovered from the ocean.  I love this quote: "Plastic is a material with many advantages. But when plastic ends up in the wrong place it becomes a problem. To raise public awareness about this issue, Electrolux aims to gather plastic debris from vulnerable marine habitats -- and produce a limited number of vacs out of it."  Very cool!

Pictured is our "bag display" The text reads, "These 400 plastic bags represent the average amount used by every man, woman and child in America, each year."

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Reused tote bags as aprons

Betz White recently posted three fantastic ideas for reusing canvas tote bags as aprons.  I'm crazy about totes and aprons, too, so once my current schedule slows down a bit, I plan to try a few of these.  Check them out, they're adorable! (and useful, to boot!)

Gardening Apron (pictured) This one is super cute with canvas embellishments. (extra tutorial on that included)

Little Artist Apron I love that she added velcro for adjustment on this one.

BBQ Apron I love that her husband has a beer in one hand and the BBQ tongs in the other in the picture for this one.  It reminds me of my brother grilling.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Fill Minds, Not Landfills

S.C.R.A.P. has launched a new program that I love, called Fill Minds, Not Landfills. This program encourages reuse by diverting even more materials from landfills through direct capture at the business. Check it out!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Recycled Arts Festival Next weekend!

This year is the fifth anniversary of the Recycled Arts Festival.  Since I happen to have a teeny bit of inside knowledge (I'll be working the event all weekend) I believe this year's festival will top all others.  It's going to be nothing short of amazing.

At least two of my friends/colleagues will be selling their handmade wares there, as will I. (One of my friends will be featuring my upcycled jewelry organizers in her booth for me, since I'll be working in the Tossed and Found booth all weekend.)

I sincerely hope to see you there!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Reused doors as art, fundraiser

Tonight The Rebuilding Center is holding a fundraiser where discarded doors have been upcycled into furniture, art and other lovely things and will be auctioned off.  Check it out!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Reused fabric scraps as tablecloth

A few months ago, a colleague and I took a trip to SCRAP. She found a very large bin of upholstery samples and decided to make a tablecloth out of them. Check out the finished product:

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Added Resources page

If you look to the right under Pages, you'll see I've added a page for resources. You might find some interesting stuff in there! If there's anything you'd like to see me add, let me know!

The title slide of my presentation. 
This presentation can be found on the Resources page.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Granola Bars: Product Review #6

This review is part of a series.

Product Name/Company/Price: Nature's Path Organic granola bars, Hemp Plus Raisins $1.99

The Good: Wheat free, low sodium, no trans fat, organic (every ingredient that can be is), 400 mg Omega-3 per serving, whole grain, company is in same state as me. These are pretty tasty. I can definitely see taking one of these puppies along on a hike or as a mid afternoon snack to ward off hunger. 

The Bad: They're almost *too* sweet, with the raisins and they're a bit sticky.

Would I buy again? Probably

Green Drinks 2 Year Anniversary Party NEXT WEEK!

I sure hope I'm going to see you all out at our wonderful 2 year anniversary party next Tuesday night! More details

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Crackers: Product Review #5

This review is part of a series.

Product Name / Company / Price: R. W. Garcia 5 Seed Onion & Chive Crackers $1.99

The Good: Made with organic corn, wheat and gluten free, non-GMO, no trans fats. These little guys are pretty tasty. They sorta taste like the cracker equivalent of a tortilla chip.  Or, if tortilla chips and crackers had a little tryst, this is what would come of it.

The Bad: They're a little bland (I expected the chive/onion taste to be bolder) and only the corn is organic-the other ingredients don't seem to be. 

Would I buy again? Probably

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Vote for a micro-grant

Check out this micro-grant "competition" and vote for Anna Grunwald.  She wants to take her students on a tour of their local recycling facility.  Having given countless tours of our transfer station, I can honestly say that it's an experience that you will probably never forget.  I wish everyone could tour their local transfer station!

Monday, April 19, 2010

No Impact Man screening

The Reuse Alliance is sponsoring some free screenings of the documentary No Impact Man. We happen to be lucky enough to be one of the locations.

The Reuse Alliance is partnering with Vancouver Green Drinks and The Quarry at Columbia Tech Center to bring you this wonderful opportunity.

Screening Details

 I'll be there-will you?

Friday, April 16, 2010

Wafers: Product Review # 4

This review is part of a series.

Product Name/Company/Price: Helwa Organic Lemon and Vanilla Wafers, $.99/each

The Good: These are pretty tasty

The Bad: They're flaky-you end up getting crumbs all over you.  That's not really a deal breaker, but seriously...crumbs everywhere!

Would I buy again? Probably.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Chocolate!: Product Review # 3

This review is part of a series.

Product Name/Company/Price: Dagoba organic Chai chocolate, $1.49
The Good: The chai is an interesting addition. It's mild enough that the whole thing still tastes like chocolate, but a little spicy.
The Bad: It's not really "bad" it's just not necessarily my cup of tea-pun intended.
Would I buy again? Probably not, especially since Dear BF didn't like it at all. He made a face and said "Why would you mess with chocolate?"

We tried a second type, as well:

Product Name/Company/Price: Alter Eco Fair Trade Milk Chocolate Cajou, $1.49
The Good: The chocolate is very smooth. 
The Bad: I prefer chocolate straight up-completely unadulterated. I think I would prefer this chocolate that way.
Would I buy again? Maybe. If the chocolate didn't have any additives (cashews and raisins), I definitely would. All Dear BF said was, "Yeah, it was good."

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Chocolate Chunk Cookies Product Review # 2

This review is part of a series.

Product Name/Company/Price: The first product I tried was Chocolate Chunk Gluten free cookies from Arico Natural Foods Company, $1.49 at Grocery Outlet

The Good: No trans fats, no preservatives, no artificial flavor or color, certified organic, Arico is local; the address is Beaverton, OR (about 20 miles away from where I bought the cookies.) Every ingredient that can be certified organic is.

The Bad: pretty much everything else. These cookies are not to my liking. They're pretty bland-for being supposedly chocolate "chunk" the chunks are more like small skimpy "chips." The texture is all wrong for me. I like cookies to be ideally chewy or barring that, crunchy. These have a somewhat dense cake-like texture. I've never had any other gluten free cookies to compare them to, so maybe they're good as far as gluten free goes?

Would I buy again? Absolutely not

One last caveat: I noticed just now while I was writing the post that the package I bought has a small slit in it (looks as though someone was using a box cutter to get into the package of these cookies and accidentally sliced it.) This may have changed the texture/moisture level of the cookies.

Earth Day event at the Marshall Center THIS weekend!

If you're in this area, you should definitely come out to the Earth Day event this weekend.  I'll be there as well as 2 of my colleagues, my CSA and a bunch of other great folks.  There will be four main tents with themes-Planting, Tending, Harvesting and Preserving. This is a great family event. Bring the kids, bring the pups! (it's an outdoor event.) Complete an Earth Day passport (visit all the tents and get a stamp from each.) to be eligible for free lunch, (first 400 people) a free bag of compost and entry into a drawing for fantastic prizes! We hope to see you there!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Organic plant starts: Product Review # 1

The very first items in my cart were actually outside the store. There was an impressive display of herb and veggie starts and I bought five in all; strawberry, yellow brandywine tomato, tomatillo, lemon balm and chives.

This review is part of a series.

Product Name/Company/Price: organic strawberry, yellow brandywine tomato, tomatillo, lemon balm and chives from Brentwood Park Organic farm in Estacada, OR. $1.29 for everything except the chives-they were $1.59

The Good: the chives are tasty and the lemon balm reminds me of my childhood home. All the other plant starts I'll have to mention later in the season, once they've been planted and hopefully are producing. The whole display looked pretty healthy.  Also, Estacada is pretty local.  It's about 30 miles away from the store.

The Bad: My strawberry plant already looks pretty dismal. It might be just fine, but it's touch and go for now. Otherwise, everything looks great.

Would I buy again? Definitely. I'm always on the lookout for good plant starts.

I'm still trying to decide whether a plant start being organic is important to me. What seems more important would be what you put on the plant once you get it home. On the other hand, it was nice to know the chives didn't have anything on them when I tried a little bit of them. Also, simple science seems to suggest that if they're organic starts, they'll be a bit more suited to life with me. (I'm mostly an organic gardener, so if the plants "needed" something to be healthy, they'd be out of luck.)

Shopping for eco-friendly products at Grocery Outlet

Over the next few weeks, I'll be posting a series of product reviews. I was approached by Grocery Outlet and given a gift card to buy products and review them. While Grocery Outlet did indeed send me the gift card, all the reviews are solely my work. I was not given any parameters beyond "shop at our store with the gift card and review whatever you buy" I was not told to give favorable reviews of any of the products (and indeed I won't be for all)

So what did I buy? First of all, lots! I shop at Grocery Outlet probably on average 2-4 times a month. The selection is always very...varied. There are certain staples that you can find there pretty much any time, (for example, meat, cheese, milk, butter and produce.) but everything else is a complete mixed bag. The one consistent thing is low prices. Because they seem to often have close out items from other stores, (they call themselves a "remarketer of excess inventories") their prices are usually very reasonable.

In the past, I have noticed a fair amount of organic products (or products with some other environmental claim) at Grocery Outlet. For this project, I did my shopping at the Hollywood district store in Portland, OR.

They have the largest selection of organic products of all the Grocery Outlet stores. In fact, when I first started shopping, I thought I was going to have to carefully search every aisle for products, but as I neared the end of the first aisle, the PA system informed me that this particular store had an entire aisle (pictured below) dedicated to organic/eco-friendly products. My shopping then got a lot easier!

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