Tuesday, February 19, 2013

FREE Recycling Basics class

It's time once again for the 2013 schedule of free classes. Sign up for a class.

Recycling Classes for Neighborhood Associations: Learn & Earn

Plastic Bags ~ Nursery Pots ~Aerosol Cans ~ Cardboard Boxes ~Motor Oil ~ Yard Debris ~ Antifreeze

Would you like to learn more about recycling – What goes in the cart, what doesn’t and other places where things can be recycled? Well, you can AND gain some funds for your City of Vancouver neighborhood association treasury at the same time.

Please join us for a free recycling class at one of these times:
• 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 26, at the Cascade Park Community Library, 600 NE 136th Ave. 
• 9:30 to 11:30 a.m., Saturday, Apr. 6, at West Van Materials Recovery Center      
• 9:30 to 11:30 a.m., Thursday, Apr. 11, at West Van Materials Recovery Center (full 2013 class schedule linked above)

City-recognized neighborhood associations who send a representative to one of these classes and publish an approved recycling article in their neighborhood newsletter can earn $120 for their neighborhood association treasury. For more information or to pre-register, please call 360-619-4122, and provide your name, neighborhood association and phone number. 

Plastic Bags ~ Nursery Pots ~Aerosol Cans ~ Cardboard Boxes ~Motor Oil ~ Yard Debris ~ Antifreeze

Friday, February 15, 2013

Get your glass straw!

Last year, I posted about how much I LOVE my glass straw. I love it so much so, in fact, that I asked for some more for Xmas this year and got them!

If you'd like to give a glass straw a try, Glass Dharma is giving away more this year.

As I've discussed before, it takes some time to create a new habit. I definitely have my bag habit down and I'm really close to having my take away container habit. Last night (and frequently lately) I've been noticing when I order water in a restaurant, they automatically put a plastic straw in the drink. My next habit to work on is to ask for water with no straw.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Green gifts-what my family got this year

First of all, yes, I know this post is ridiculously late. I hope to some day write for a living (and thus, you can expect regular content updates) but that day is not today. If you think this post is late, you should know I've been sitting on a post since August of this year and I'm thoroughly embarrassed by it, because it's a virtual home tour and the lovely people that let me in to their home were so excited about it. But...I'll get to all of these things eventually!!!

I blog fairly frequently about lessening your environmental impact around the holidays. I wanted to share with you the gifts that my family got this holiday. Everyone got at least one gift from me that had some kind of green "cred." It might have been handmade by me or by someone else or it might have been reused-come from a thrift store. Here they are:

Mom: My mom loves blue. She loves lapis, so gifts for her often are pieces of lapis jewelry. This year, when I was in Spokane on business, I stayed an extra day (had a fabulous day!) and found an artist's cooperative shop. I bought handmade lapis earrings and a blue glass pendant for Mom.

Not-husband: NH and I invested in a new bed this year as our Xmas present to each other. So, we didn't do much else in the way of gifts. I did, however, make him some handwarmers (he's always too cold and me too warm.) out of some of the fleece left over from the scarf I made (see below.)

Brother 1: I found these nerd propaganda posters from a local artist for NH and decided to get my bro one, too. He also works on cars fairly frequently, so I made him a citrus scrub as well.

The carriage that transported us around the
Wade House-a living history site in Wisconsin.
SIL 1: I found green beaded earrings that made me think of L when I was on vacation in August, in Wisconsin at a little local handmade vendor fair. She also got a scented candle that she admired while we were shopping at Check 'Em Off, Green

Brother 2: J got a handmade wooden bottle opener, purchased at Check 'Em Off, Green and some handmade seasoning blends (made by a colleague and I-we made enough for secret santa gifts and some for my bro, too.)

SIL 2: V loves foxes and I often find things for her that are fox themed. (a handmade custom hat from Etsy one year, framed fox prints the next.) Earlier this year, in one of my favorite local thrift shops, I found a fox T-shirt that I thought she might like but it was not her size. I went ahead and bought it anyway and then used a fleece sweatshirt that I gathered at the clothing swap to make the pictured scarf.

cut t-shirt panels. Was trying to decide
white vs. brown fleece.
went with the white fleece in the end.
Finished scarf

Nephew 1: C often asks for video games, so I helped buy a game but also found one of Matt Groening's books for him at a local book shop.

I decided to give the potions some names.

Nephew 2: Since my youngest nephew and niece are a bit younger, I was able to create some things for them. J got a handmade Harry Potter wand (inspired by this, but I decided to use large gauge knitting needles instead of chopsticks-bought them from aforementioned thrift shop) and also made him some "potions" in reused bottles. (I glued the lids shut, so J&L wouldn't have to worry about the bottles ever spilling.) These potions are much more interesting in real life and I was pleasantly surprised by how much J seemed to enjoy them.

J loved this hat when he saw
it at Check 'Em Off, Green
J also got a handmade alien hat made from old sweaters, purchased at Check 'Em Off, Green and some honey sticks from a local beekeeper (he loves those-also purchased at Check 'Em Off, Green.)

The wig in-process
Niece: Earlier in the year, J had received a handmade Rapunzel wig from me (for her birthday) and I also made her a tutu in pink and purple. I also had an extra "potion" on hand for her in pink and it was a good idea, since J&J are thick as thieves and when he was "mixing potions" and "saying spells" on them, she wanted in on the action.

Cousin's kid: I also made hair bows for all the little girls in my life. They were inspired by this post. R got some of these, as did 4 other little girls.
some of my first hair bows (and some
rosettes I made out of scraps)
more hair clips-the pic on the right shows them all ready to go. I used some vellum map material
to cut out tag shapes and then wrote on them with Sharpie.

So, there you have it. I bought some of these items as early as this time last year. I use an iPhone application to keep track of my Xmas list and this helps me save money by not only buying things when I see them but also by buying me time to prepare thrifted items for gift-giving.

I'm very lucky to have a family that not only accepts reused/thrifted gifts, but who also buys them for me. We also use fabric bags in our family to cut down on wrapping paper waste and it's become somewhat of a "thing" to have the bags reused year after year.

Here's hoping you had a fantastic holiday season and you got some fun gifts this year. Anything you're particularly excited about? Leave a little note in the comments-I'd love to hear what you and your family do to save money or reduce waste in the holiday season.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Doggy poo-Are you being "green" by paying extra for so-called "biodegradable" plastic poo bags?

The very short answer is, "No. Don't waste your money." Use whatever you have on hand (pardon the pun) to clean up after your dog when you take her out for a walk.

I've mentioned before some of the worst things that a recycling specialist can hear. (I should do a separate post on that!) but one that crops up fairly regularly for me is, "I buy those special biodegradable doggy poo bags!" I added the exclamation point because people are usually so proud of themselves for this purchase. The truth of the matter is that the doggy poo is likely going to the landfill, correct? If it goes to the landfill, not a lot is going to happen. Landfills are created specifically for safety first and that means not a lot gets in or out of them. In other words, the conditions you need for decomposition (light, moisture, oxygen) are simply not present in landfills. So, what is Fido's poo doing in the landfill in that special bag? Much the same thing it would be doing in a plastic sack. Or a paper one. Or a plastic glove. Or grandma's china. It's just sitting there.

So, don't waste your money on biodegradable doggy poo bags. Or anything that has a claim of biodegradability that will ultimately end up in a landfill, for that matter.
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