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Recycled Insulation Materials For Your Home

Recycled Insulation Materials For Your Home

Have you ever seen the insulation of your home? Or a photo of insulation? It’s not pretty, and it’s also not great for the environment. You don’t need the huge rolls of pink or blue insulation that wreaks havoc on the environment in order to keep your home insulated and your utilities bill low. Luckily, you can ditch those monstrous rolls, and opt for a green insulation option instead! There are plenty of both green and recycled insulation options to choose from to keep you cool this summer, and warm this winter.   Cork insulation   Of all of the recycled wood insulation options available to you, cork insulation is one of the most common. Cork is made from the bark of a species of Oak trees, and it’s a sustainable wood product. It’s not just for stopping your bottles of wine. Cork has outstanding temperature moderation capabilities. In addition, when you use recycled cork insulation for your home, you are preserving the bark on those trees to be used for other eco-friendly solutions.   Newspaper insulation   Newspapers become irrelevant as soon as you put it down after finishing reading it. Instead of throwing these away or recycling them, set them aside for a greater purpose. If you have naked water pipes, especially ones in your basement, you can wrap these naked pipes with old newspaper. This preserves the temperature of the water in the pipes. This will help you save money on your utility bill, because your water heater won’t have to work as hard.   Cellulose insulation   Cellulose is the most widely found organic compound...
A Breakdown of Plastic Recycling Numbers

A Breakdown of Plastic Recycling Numbers

What do you do when you’re done with plastic goods? You should be recycling them. A lot of people get overwhelmed with the rules and regulations surrounding recycling, and give up before they even get started. Don’t let recycling intimidate you! One thing that commonly many people find confusing, is the plastic recycling numbers on different types of plastic. There is no explanation readily available on the actual product you are trying to recycle, so it’s easy for you to disregard it and either recycle it improperly, or not recycle altogether. Don’t let this be you! Recycling is so incredibly important. Here’s a quick guide to what the different plastic recycling numbers mean. PET 1: Polyethylene Terephthalate. This applies to liquid bottles such as soft drinks and water bottles, and things like peanut butter jars.   PE-HD 2: High Density Polyethylene; milk and juice bottles, or trash bags.   PVC 3: Polyvinyl Chloride; can be used for PVC pipes, juice bottles, and plastic/cling wrap.   PE-LD 4: Low Density Polyethylene; Flexible items, such as freezer bags, flexible lids, and squeezable bottles.   PP 5: Polypropylene: can be used for microwavable disposable containers such as takeout containers, disposable plates and cups, and yogurt containers.   PS 6: Polystyrene; this applies to products like packing peanuts, egg cartons, and disposable cutlery.   O 7: This applies to other types of plastic, like polycarbonate and ABS. This can apply to things like electronic casing and beverage bottles.   Check with your local recycling plant   Not every area will recycle all types of plastic. To save both them and you hassle, give...
Three Steps for Sustainable Grocery Shopping

Three Steps for Sustainable Grocery Shopping

If you want to be more eco-conscious, there are lots of things that you can do. In order to have the most impact, though, you might want to start with one of the activities that you do the most often: grocery shopping! Most of us go to the grocery store once or twice a week, and when we do so, the decisions that we make can greatly contribute to the sustainability of our lifestyle. Here are three major things that you can do to make your grocery store trips better for you, and better for the planet: Bring your own bag I’m not just talking about bagging at the end of your grocery trip, but also for getting produce – put fruits and veg into reusable bags that you bring yourself. It’s easiest for everyone if you get simple mesh bags that are easy to clean, and easy to see through and scan. If you don’t have these, it’s okay! You can just reuse old bags from your last grocery shopping trip. Buying organic What does this do for the environment? Well, it supports businesses that are doing the harder, but more responsible thing by using natural pest control methods instead of threatening public resources, waterways, aThree Steps for Sustainable Grocery Shoppingnd wildlife with dangerous pesticides. But there’s more to it than that. For example, opting for organic milk and dairy products will protect you from growth hormones that are used to increase milk production in dairy cows. These hormones can impact your own hormone balance, leading to mood fluctuations, health problems, bad skin, and even issues with your...

Dealing with an Old Mattress

Curbside trash pickup is one of the most wonderful inventions of modern society. However, there are some items that don’t qualify for curbside pickup. These bulky items can quickly become the bane of our existence, if we don’t find a good way to take care of it. King of this category is the old mattress. There are often donating restrictions on mattresses, and it’s probably the least likely item of furniture in your home to actually sell if you post it on Craigslist. An old mattress is useful to no one, but they’re also inconvenient to dispose of, and that probably explains why they’re so often found junking up garages, yards, and houses. So how can you get rid of your old mattress effectively, and with minimal cost? First, Try Recycling Your Mattress According to the International Sleep Products Association, landfills in America receive about 50,000 mattresses PER DAY – that’s crazy! Mattresses and box springs take up a lot of space, and with their metal springs and potentially inorganic construction materials (synthetic fabric and foam and plastic frames,) it’s usually much better to find a way to recycle your old mattress, rather than chuck it in the garbage. About 90% of the average mattress can be recycled and reused. However, mattresses are made of a variety of materials which have to be pulled apart and separated in order to be recycled. Wooden frames, layers of foam and latex, fabric cushions and covers, and metal springs all make up the overall construct of the mattress. Foams and plastics can be shredded and used as carpet padding. Fabrics are shredded...
The Psychology of Clutter

The Psychology of Clutter

Not all of us are good at making a habit out of cleanliness. Often, we assume that having clutter around is just a matter of laziness, or not knowing how to organize. But a recent wave of research shows that there’s a lot more to it. There are layers of psychological reasons behind the way that we react with our environment. It can both affect and reflect our mental state, productivity, and overall satisfaction with our lives. In fact, there’s a really high correlation between a crowded living or working space and stress. So what is it about all that stuff that stresses us out? And why is it still so hard for us to get rid of it? How Clutter Affects Your Life Those of us who live and work in cluttered environments are often experiencing negative effects because of it. Sometimes, the clutter is just a result of other behaviors, but it can also have a cyclical effect, perpetuating bad behaviors and making it more difficult to be healthy, proactive, and positive. Here are some of the ways that it affects us: People in clutter are more likely to procrastinate. This is often because we tend to feel overwhelmed before we even get started. You’re more likely to overeat if you’re in a chaotic environment. Isn’t that interesting? Studies have shown that the chaotic environment stresses us out, and so we react by eating more. It gives us a lower sense of self-worth. Keeping clutter around often means that we’re putting too much value into the wrong things. Instead of looking at all those things and considering...
What to Do With Furniture Waste

What to Do With Furniture Waste

Waste from your kitchen and bathroom, from cleaning up your home and bringing home pizza… all of this is pretty easy to know how to get rid of. However, when it comes to getting rid of bigger things, most of us are at at bit of a loss, especially when it comes to items like bulky furniture. What’s the protocol? How can you get rid of these items in a responsible way? Bulky Trash Pickup Days Most cities have, as part of their regular residential garbage disposal, special days for bulky trash pickup. This isn’t always available, but it’s worth checking before you look at other options for getting rid of large items like furniture. Sometimes, bulky trash pickup is available for an added fee. Junk Pickup Services Because dealing with awkward, large garbage is becoming a more and more common problem, there are many services that are created just to help with this situation. These professionals can either pick up items curbside, or sometimes they’ll actually go right into your home and take everything out themselves and clean up the area before they leave. This can be especially useful for people who are moving, or for landlords during tenant turnovers. However, these services come with a fee, and most of them don’t have upfront pricing. Instead, they give you an estimate when they come to evaluate the situation. Prices often range around $100 just for a simple mattress, so many people opt to find their own way. Charity In order to prevent waste and do some good in the community, it’s always best to donate items when possible....
Why Plastic Bags Are a Problem

Why Plastic Bags Are a Problem

Worldwide, people dispose between 500 billion and 1 trillion plastic bags every year, according to a 2008 report by Waste Management. Plastic bags are everywhere; under our sink, jammed into compartments in our cars, lining our bathroom trash bins… and caught in trees and bushes at the park and on the side of the freeways. The Problem with Plastic Bags Plastic of any kind is a challenge for the environment because it’s specially built to not break down, which means that it stays indefinitely wherever it ends up, whether that’s in a landfill, in the ocean, or in an animal’s digestive tract. Plastic bags are an especial problem for a few reasons: Because they’re cheap and easy, we use them indiscriminately, certainly much more than we need to. Their lightweight composition makes them easily blown-about, which means that although they might start in garbage cans, they often end up somewhere else entirely. They’re more difficult to recycle than most plastics because they clog up sorting machines, and most municipalities don’t allow them in curbside recycling. For these reasons, we have to be proactive about protecting the environment against the effects of plastic bag pollution. What You Can Do   There are a few simple things that you can do to reduce your contribution to plastic bag waste. First and foremost, reduce the frequency with which you use them. Reusable grocery shopping bags are available everywhere, and chances are good that you already have a few that you simply forget to bring with you when you go out shopping. Make a habit of putting them right back in the car...
4 Tips for Winter Composting

4 Tips for Winter Composting

A lot of people wonder, once Autumn hits, whether or not they should abandon their composting efforts when the ground freezes. This would, initially, make sense. Your garden doesn’t really grow during the winter, so why would you need to create quality compost during these months if it won’t go to use? However, you’ll still be producing quality compost materials via kitchen scraps during these cold months, so why would you waste these when you could still use them? If you follow these tips and keep your composter going through the winter, you’ll have an amazing fertilizer ready for when spring comes around. Carbon, carbon, carbon   Your compost needs to be fed the right combination of green(nitrogen) and brown(carbon) ingredients. Green scraps are things that will have been produced in the kitchen, and you’ll continue to produce throughout these cold winter months. Brown scraps are things such as dead leaves, that you probably added to your composter during the fall. If you didn’t add all of your brown scraps when you gathered them, it’s a great idea to keep these handy to add to your composter to balance out the green scraps as you add them this winter.   Insulate the active compost   It’s important to make sure that you keep the microbes in the compost alive, even when it’s cold and frozen outside. This means, make sure that your compost stays warm. Keep it in the sunlight, somewhere warm. Place your active compost on top of a bed of brown matter, and then add more brown matter on top. This keeps the active, or green, matter...
3 More Tips for a Greener New Year

3 More Tips for a Greener New Year

We’ve talked a little bit about the importance of recycling and caring for the environment. Things like eating organically and shopping local aren’t just good for the environment, though. They’re good for you and your body! Even things like switching your cleaning supplies to greener methods will help improve your health, as there will be an absence of harsh and harmful chemicals lurking in your home. Here are just a few more ways you can live a healthier and greener life this new year. Coffee isn’t just for drinking   After you brew your morning cup of joe, what do you do with your coffee grounds? You probably dump them promptly into the trash, like most people do. However, there are other things you could be doing with those coffee grounds! We have two things that we love to do with our leftover coffee grounds. You can use those grounds, and mix them with your favorite hand soap to make a great exfoliant. Another way to use these coffee grounds as an exfoliant, is to mix them with your favorite body wash, and then use them as an exfoliant for your full body in the shower. One unexpected way to use these used coffee grounds, is to scatter them at the base of your evergreen shrubs and trees – it acts as an energizing fertilizer!   Turn down the heater   We know that it’s cold. It’s January, after all. During the winter, your utilities and electric bills tend to skyrocket. Not only is this bad news for your wallet, but it’s also bad news for the environment. Try...
3 Tips for a Greener New Year

3 Tips for a Greener New Year

Now that we’ve entered the new year, it’s time to think about our new year’s goals and resolutions. Some people believe fervently in setting new year resolutions, while others don’t care to create goals that they feel like they won’t follow through with. No matter which category you fall under, or if it’s somewhere a little in between, you can probably admit that the new year is a great time to make positive changes. Think of the new year as a clean slate. You don’t have to create definite goals in order to create positive changes in your life this year! Here are a few of our favorite ways to live a greener lifestyle this new year. Use less plastic   While, yes, you can recycle plastic, and you always should recycle used and unused plastic, wouldn’t it be better if you just didn’t use plastic in the first place? Obviously, there are situations where it’s unavoidable. In these situations, make sure that the plastic you use is reusable AND recyclable. For example, use reusable tupperware containers for food leftovers, rather than using plastic bags that will be thrown away after just one use. Another great thing to make sure you do, is bring your reusable grocery bags with you to the store, so you don’t have to bring home the plastic ones! If you forget your bags, make sure you recycle the plastic or paper ones as soon as you can.   Clean green   There are a lot of reasons that most mainstream cleaning supplies wreak havoc on the environment. The chemicals contained in these cleaning supplies...