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38 posts from October 2007

October 31, 2007

Adios, Aquafina

Perrier is so passé. With top restaurants now serving tap, bottled water is poised to go the way of acid-wash jeans. And given the environmental costs of pumping, packaging, and transporting all that water, it's none too soon.

C3logo_3 If you pledge to break the bottled-water habit before the witching hour (11:59 p.m. EDT) tonight, you can win a chance at an outdoorsy getaway or other great prizes. Switching to reusable bottles is the Carbon Conscious Consumer action of the month from the Center for a New American Dream. Previous challenges have included eating locally, going car-free once a week, and junking your junk mail, actions that the Center estimates have collectively reduced more than 2.6 million tons of carbon dioxide thus far!

Daily Tip: Oct 31, 2007

Happy Halloween Green Lifers!

Having a big Halloween party? Look for an organic food catering service like Back to Earth (California-based) or City Bakery (New York-based). Whole Foods’ nationwide catering services offers organic and local options.

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October 30, 2007

Daily Tip: October 30, 2007

If you’re thinking about remodeling your home, consider hiring a contractor with an ecofriendly philosophy. Green building professionals are now easy to locate and can offer very competitive rates. To find a green contractor, designer, or architect near you, consult the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) website. Co-Op America also screens building professionals based on their commitment to social and environmental responsibility.

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October 29, 2007

The Year(s) They Stopped Shopping

When Sierra interviewed John Perry, a founding member of the Compact, he and his friends were about halfway through their yearlong agreement not to buy anything new. As that anniversary approached, other publications checked in on the progress of their pledge. Almost another year later, Good magazine reports, many of the Compacters are still going strong. To celebrate their continuing commitment, we've gone back and added additional interviews with other Compacters to our original coverage. Check it out and let us know, what would be the hardest thing for you to stop buying?

Daily Tip: October 29, 2007

How about a bouquet of long-stem…pesticides? No thanks. Show someone you really appreciate them with a handful of organic or fair-trade flowers or, better yet, blossoms fresh-picked from your yard or a local farm. A nice pot of planted flowers or herbs will provide enjoyment for even longer. You can even find small potted trees for the home as well as larger varieties for the yard, a green gift will last for years and help reduce global warming.

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October 27, 2007

Now You're Cookin'

They say a watched pot never boils, but a covered one boils extra quickly, saving cooking time--and energy. Using smaller appliances, like a microwave, toaster oven, rice cooker, or crock pot when appropriate to the task; choosing the right size pan and burner for meals prepared on the stove; and keeping the oven door closed while baking are other great ways to conserve energy in the kitchen. It also doesn't take as much energy to reheat food as it does to cook it in the first place, so make enough for leftovers!

When buying new appliances, look for the Energy Star label. And when picking out new pots and pans, skip the nonstick ones. Teflon is made with a chemical, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), that is a "likely carcinogen" (according to the EPA) and a major polluter of air and water near where it's produced. Old-fashioned cast-iron pots and pans are a safe alternative, as are those made out of anodized aluminum and stainless steel (unless you're allergic to nickel).

October 26, 2007

Fashion Week Tip : October 26, 2007

Shopping at and selling your old clothes to used thrift and consignment stores reduces the amount of energy invested in making new garments, saves money, and ensures your wardrobe is as unique as you are.

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October 25, 2007

Fashion Week Tip : October 25, 2007

Protect yourself and the environment from harmful toxins by switching to organic hair-care products. Some studies suggest that methylisothiazolinone (Mit), a chemical found in many name-brand shampoos, may be linked to neurological damage. And this kind of stuff is certainly not great for our groundwater or soil either. Learn more about what’s in your shampoo and which brands are safe at http://www.cosmeticsdatabase.com.

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October 24, 2007

Fashion Week Tip : October 24, 2007

Shine your shoes with natural alternatives to toxic shoe polish. Try rubbing the inside of a banana peel on your leather shoes, then buff them with a clean cloth. Or rub a bit of vegetable or olive oil into the leather until it’s clean and shiny. And make sure to contact your sanitation department to learn how to dispose of any old shoe polish safely.

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October 23, 2007

Seeing the Light

A little darkness can be eye-opening. At this weekend's Lights Out SF event, San Franciscans turned off lights at City Hall, local bars, and in their own homes for one hour to raise awareness about energy conservation. A similar event in Sydney, Australia, reduced carbon dioxide emissions by 24.86 tons. (An Losfposter08_28_07sm added benefit, as one commenter on local blog SFist.com put it: "Your fellow partygoers are much cuter by candlelight.")

Organizers are already working on a nationwide follow-up for Saturday, March 29, 2008. Also carrying the energy-conservation idea forward are members of the Sierra Club-sponsored S.F. Climate Challenge, in which teams of households compete (for some pretty nice prizes) to reduce their utility bills over the next month. Tomorrow, October 24, is the final day to sign up. Not the competitive type? You can still celebrate the remaining week of Energy Awareness Month by taking some simple actions. According to the EPA, "If every U.S. household changed a single light bulb to an Energy Star bulb, it would save enough power to light more than 2.5 million homes."

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