1. How Can Your School District Save Paper?

    Posted on January 29, 2010 by NPW

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    Over here at the Greenists I tend to cover the school angle. For me, the challenge of making things greener at the middle school where I work usually involves using technology to reduce the amount of paper we waste. Over the last five years I have campaigned for all of the faculty and staff to stop ripping through case after case of that white gold of schools: copy paper. When I tell you I see people on a DAILY BASIS making hundreds of copies, realizing there was a mistake on the original and then throwing away every single copy I am really not even kidding.

    It gets kind of depressing.

    If you would like your school district to stop wasting paper as well, here are a few ideas to suggest to your administration:

    • Have the administrative assistants email attendance reports every morning rather than printing them out.
    • Instead of having students print out papers they can save them to a shared folder on the school network.  That way, you can view and grade their work without having hard copies.
    • If this is not possible, teach kids about the importance of Print Preview rather than printing five copies of a paper before they get it right.
    • Project your directions on your white board or smart board rather than printing out individual sheets of directions for students.
    • Encourage your administration to limit the amount of paper they put in the copy room on a daily basis.

    My principal has commented that just by implementing these simple tips we’ve saved over $4,000 yearly on printer and copy paper. I was tempted to ask him when I’d be seeing that in a bonus check, but I managed to stop myself in time.

    One more tip: principals do not like when you tease them about money.

    You’re welcome.

  2. One Fish, Two Fish… Just Make It the Right Fish

    Posted on January 28, 2010 by Mickey

    fishing boat

    Sometimes caring about the world makes me feel like a real jerk. Sure, my self-righteous fervor usually overcomes that with ease, but occasionally my convictions make me feel a bit uncomfortable. The best example of this I can think of is when I use the little folding card I keep in my wallet that tells me what seafood is okay to chow down on and what should be avoided, either due to overfishing of a particular species, personal health risks associated with high levels of mercury, or both. Read more…

  3. Energy-Efficient Home Improvements Save You Money at Tax Time

    Posted on January 27, 2010 by Courtney

    money planet

    As you know, tax season is upon us. I used to love doing my taxes, back when things were simpler and I got a refund check in the mail. It was like Christmas! Now, thanks to my multiple freelance writing/editing jobs that make me pay Uncle Sam in one lump sum, I now lose a lot of money at tax time, which makes it … well, like Christmas.

    But that’s not the point of this post. The point is to inform you about how being green, once again, can help add a little padding to your wallet — this time in the form of tax credits. Read more…

  4. What’s Going On

    Posted on January 26, 2010 by Allie

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    Inhabitat says H&M and other brands are guilty of organic cotton fraud.

    Follow The Reader discusses environmentally sustainable publishing.

    Haute Nature talks about concrete made from hemp.

    Fake Plastic Fish has 8 reasons that personal changes matter.

    The Daily Green weighs the benefits and costs of fracking (not the B-star kind).

    The Good Human found an iPhone app that allows you to be an Eco-Snoop.  Would you use it?

    In unrelated news, I have a new website for STAY!  Please stop by at AllieLarkinWrites.com.

  5. Make Your Own Bread!

    Posted on January 25, 2010 by Dianne

    Whole Grain Bread

    It’s January and at the first of the year most of us are looking at new starts and new beginnings. I have to admit I’m not much of a resolution person, but I do like to make certain goals to strive for and one of those goals for this year was to make my own bread more regularly. Just think of all the plastic bags and twisty ties you can cut out of the picture, and keep out of landfills, by making your bread at home, and don’t worry, making bread doesn’t have to be hard!

    Read more…

  6. Cutting Down on Paper Towel Use

    Posted on January 22, 2010 by Michelle

    sunshinegrovefarm

    photo: sunshinegrovefarm

    The following is a guest post by Michelle.  Also check out the great post she wrote over at her blog, Leisure with Dignity, about her greener goals for 2010.  If you’re interested in guest posting at The Greenists, email courtney at thegreenists dot com for more info.

    We are all familiar with ways to live “greener”.  You can drive less, use reusable water containers instead of bottles, buy local, and cut back on waste and needless garbage.  I hear these things pretty frequently.

    But how many times do I actually implement these things in my day-to-day life?  I’m so used to the convenience of plastic storage bags, bottled water, paper towels, and the easier to get to large chain grocery store.  So I don’t implement greener choices as often as I’d like.  I live a life of convenience, as most of us do in the United States, but this year I’ve decided to make some changes in the small things. I’m trying to eschew convenience.

    One of the things that I have found to be the easiest to change has been paper towel use.  I find myself using them for just about everything, probably because that has been my habit for years.  I just reach over after doing the dishes and grab one to wipe up water, or after cooking to wipe up the inevitable splatters. Where I could just as easily grab a dishtowel or washcloth to do that job.

    So, I bought a cheap bulk pack of white washcloths and have been using those to wipe counters and spills.  I kept some old dishtowels that don’t match our kitchen to use to clean up larger messes or scrub spots on the carpet.  Instead of reaching for paper towels (as often – I admit, my old habits die hard!), I just grab a washcloth or old dishtowel, and then when we do our load of towels and sheets for the week, these towels just go right into that load.

    A good way to encourage yourself to keep and use cloth instead of paper options is to buy (or make) your own cute dishtowels and dishcloths.  Etsy is an excellent place to find handmade dishcloths, like the ones above from sunshinegrovefarm or you can find a free pattern on the internet and make them yourself like I’ve been doing.

    The key to overcoming any bad habit is provide yourself with easy and likable alternatives.  And there’s nothing wrong with cute rewards like handmade towels and napkins to encourage your new good habit!

  7. Let’s Talk about Borax (Baby)

    Posted on January 21, 2010 by Stefanie

    borax

    Photo credit: Pattyanne:made

    Any time I’ve done any digging for information on safe, natural ways to clean, the same few magically versatile ingredients come up again and again. Baking soda. Vinegar. Castile soap. Borax. That last one I’ve often skipped over, because frankly, I had little idea what it was or how it’s used. I decided it was time I finally remedied that.

    What I knew about borax was thus: it is sold alongside the bleach at my local Target stores, it is a white powdery substance of unknown (to me) origin, and it can apparently be used to clean and freshen many of the same things in many of the same ways that baking soda can.

    Do you know any more about borax than that? If so, I apologize for what may be a “Thank you, Captain Obvious” sort of post. If not, let’s learn a little more about borax, shall we?

    Read more…

  8. Don’t Be An Eco-Jerk

    Posted on January 20, 2010 by Courtney

    Child and adult hands holding new plant

    Environmentalism, I think we can all agree, is about many things. Responsibility. Health. Saving money, in many cases. Making sure future generations don’t have to struggle to survive in a wasteland. Although it’s controversial in many settings, at its heart, environmentalism is all about peace and love.

    So why does it cause so much fighting? Read more…

  9. What’s Going On

    Posted on January 19, 2010 by Allie

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    Nature Moms guides us in getting rid of junk mail.

    The Environmentalist talks about why global warming is causing cold weather.

    Tiny Choices shows us some electric cars on the horizon.

    One Green Generation found a site that helps people set up urban window farms.

    The Good Human discusses the Cool Foods campaign.

  10. A/V Fridays – Michael Pollan on The Daily Show

    Posted on January 15, 2010 by Courtney

    If you’re interested in learning more about Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma, here he is on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, which aired Jan. 4. Enjoy!

Tip of the Day

If It Doesn’t Smell, Don’t Wash It

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According to Real Simple, if every American made an effort to launder less — cutting out just one load of laundry a week per household — we’d save enough water to fill seven million swimming pools each year.

So if it looks clean, and it smells clean, call it clean and wear it again. Consider hanging worn clothes out on your clothesline to freshen them up between wearings.


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