"Good Morning America's" Sam Champion shares with viewers "just one thing" they can do to adopt a more environmentally friendly lifestyle.
Nov. 7, 2008
You can reduce the amount of trash you produce and save your pocketbook at the same time by reusing and recycling common household items. Check the tips below.
MattressesOne household item that takes up so much space in landfills and is illegal to trash in some areas is your mattress.
Since they take up so much landfill space, some municipalities require you to recycle them. Even if it's not required, please recycle because Americans throw away about 20 million mattresses each year, and donating or recycling means smaller landfills.
Recyclers can separate the fiber, foam, steel and wood for remanufacturing, including making new mattresses. To recycle your mattress, check with the store where you're buying your new mattress to see if it offers donation or recycling services for your old one.
Also, you can go to Earth 911 and type in mattress and your zip code to find a nearby recycling drop-spot.
Please clean your mattress before donating it or if you buy a used mattress, make sure you clean it. Also put a zipped plastic mattress cover over a used mattress to protect from bedbugs.
CarpetJust about every home has carpet. In fact, the amount of carpet sent to landfills each year could cover an area bigger than New York City.
Most carpet is made from petroleum, which is a nonrenewable resource. So, you should think about re-using carpet.
Some non-profit organizations such as Habitat for Humanity accept relatively clean carpet for reuse. You also can reuse carpet at home for floor mats and runners, cat scratching posts, and to even stifle weeds in your garden instead of pesticides.
Check out Earth 911 and enter "carpet" and your zip to find a nearby recycler.
Technotrash is a relatively new type of waste, which consists of old computers and computer-related materials printers including CDs, hard drives, zip disks, floppy disks, obsolete cell phones, rechargeable batteries, empty printer cartridges and all the cables, cords, chips and boards.
The items are difficult to recycle and more than 90 percent of technotrash is not beng recycled. Many don't know how to properly dispose of it.
There are two very important reasons to recycle your technotrash. First, recycling keeps your electronic waste, some of which contains hazardous material, out of landfills. Secondly, recycling your technotrash with GreenDisk is for privacy protection.
For more information, check out www.idealbite.com
Oct. 22, 2008
Keeping your water warm this winter can cost a lot of green, whether it's money or the environment.
A regular tank-type water heater burns gas all day, every day so that you can have hot water whenever you need it. That requires a lot of energy, especially because the tanks are large and carry about 50 gallons of water that needs to be heated.
A tankless water heater, on the other hand, only burns gas when you are actually using hot water. When you aren't, the tank shuts down, so it's not wasting any energy. Tankless water heaters are already in 95 percent of homes in Europe and Asia.
According to the Department of Energy, water heating represents nearly 20 percent of residential energy consumption -- making it the third-largest energy end use in homes.
By simply switching to a tankless water heater, homeowners can save up to 50 percent on the water heating portion of their monthly gas bill.
Homeowners can typically recoup their upfront costs in five years.
Check out these links for more information:
Oct. 16, 2008
Halloween is a time to frighten your fellow man, but it is also a time that can be frightening to the environment.
According to the National Retail Federation, last year Americans spent more than $5 billion on candy, costumes and decorations for Halloween. The holiday kicks off a very wasteful season: Between Thanksgiving and New Year's, household waste increases by more than 25 percent.
But the National Geographic Green Guide has a few quick, easy and efficient tips to curb your waste while maintaining that Halloween spookishness.
Tip 1: Make Up
Use what you have around the house instead of buying drug store or Halloween store products that are used once or twice and tossed out by next year.
If you're going to buy new, buy makeup you will use throughout the year. Organic and earth-friendly types are always a good choice.
Pur Minerals eye shadow products are free of talc, chemical dyes, petroleum-based oils and filters (good for making bruises!) and the package is recyclable.
Lipstick and lip gloss from Burt's Bees contain only natural ingredients. Tubes identified as #5 or #7 are recyclable.
Tip 2: Costumes
Use what you have instead of buying the pre-packaged Halloween costumes that tend to be made with harsh fabrics and plastics and will likely end up in the dumpster after Halloween.
Costume pieces found in mom or dad's closet do not create any waste.
Tip 3: Use What's Broken or Recyclable
You can use an old broken umbrella, a black reusable headband and cardboard ears to create your very own bat costume.
The umbrella's metal skeleton can also be recycled as scrap metal.
Cardboard, non-toxic water-based paint, reusable silver headband and recyclable aluminum foil antennas are all you need to make a beautiful butterfly costume.
Oct. 9, 2008
Hybrid cars may be more popular for a more eco-conscious society, but purchasing one isn't practical change for everyone. Instead, you can find ways to curb your gas consumption with your current vehicle and bring in big savings — upwards of $1,000 annually.
So you can save money and help the environment, too. Check out the tips below for more information and visit www.idealbite.com's Go Green and Save Gas page for more suggestions.
Car CareSmall changes to your car and how you drive it make it more energy-efficient.
Properly inflate your tires.
Under-inflated tires decrease gas mileage up to 10 percent. A motorist that drives an average of 12,000 miles annually on tires that are under-inflated wastes up to 50 gallons of gasoline. That's almost $200 a year.
Experts estimate 66 million vehicles have under-inflated tires, wasting nearly 3 billion gallons of gas a year -- a staggering $9.5 billion at today's prices.
Check tire pressure before you leave the driveway. Pressure increases when the car has been on the road for a while, but then drops when the tires cool down.
Change the air filter.
A dirty one can cost up to 7 percent of your gas mileage. If you're driving a car that normally gets 20 miles per gallon, a car with a dirty filter gets 18.6 MPG.
A good rule of thumb is to check your air filter every time you check your oil. Over 10,000 miles, that's an extra 38 gallons of gas, which, with gas at $4 per gallon, costs you around $150.
Every day Americans waste approximately 4 million gallons of gas idling.
Idling gets you 0 miles per gallon. After 30 seconds, idling to "warm up" the car only wastes fuel and increases emissions. In fact, idling wastes about a quart of fuel every 15 minutes That's $1 wasted every 15 minutes.
If you reduce your idling by 15 minutes a week, in a year, you can save about $50. Not only will you be saving fuel, you will also reducing wear and tear on engines as well as helping to improve the air quality.
Control A/C use.
Avoid aggressive driving and unnecessary cargo.
Driving sensibly could save you $300 annually, and by ditching the extra cargo you could pocket another $45 a year.
Oct. 2, 2008
When it comes to magazines and newspapers there is an environmental issue behind each issue.
Magazine paper is made of mostly virgin fiber. Less than five percent of magazine paper has any recycled content. As a result roughly 35,000 trees are cut down each year to produce magazines.
Most magazine papers have been bleached with chlorine or chlorine compounds, which produces toxic dioxin.
Roughly 90 percent of all magazines are discarded with in a year and only about 44 percent are recycled.
Over 60 million newspapers are printed in the U.S. per day and 44 million are thrown away.
What You Can Do:
A good alternative to paper magazines is to subscribe to them on-line saving trees and ink.
A great company called Zinio has put out the word to increase consumer awareness of the digital reading alternative and get folks to subscribe to their favorite magazines on-line. Some participating titles are Elle, Redbook, and Business Week. The digital prices are typically equal to or less than a paper subscription. Get more information by visiting zinio.com or GoReadGreen.com.
Newspapers.com has links to over 10,000 U.S. and world newspaper web sites. You can read the headline stories or subscribe to the on-line versions of your favorite paper. Click here to go to newspapers.com.
Check out electronic readers. At 9 oz. and with a 6 in. display, the Sony PRS-505 displays on "electronic paper" that is easy on the eyes. An integrated on-line EBook store has 30,000 titles available for download and memory can store up to 160 books. Price: $299 on SonyStyle.com.
Another electronic reader, the Amazon Kindle, has more than 180,000 books, blogs, newspapers and magazines available. At 10.3 oz. the reader can hold up to 200 titles and has wireless connectivity that allows you to shop at the Kindle Store directly from the Kindle. Books are auto-delivered in less than a minute. Price: $359 on Amazon.com.
Sept. 25, 2008
In this installment of "Just One Thing," Sam took aim at recycling printer cartridges. Rather than throwing away printer cartridges, companies and families can recycle them through companies like Cartridge World USA.
Not only does recycling cartridges help the environment, but it also saves some serious cash. You can save up to 30% by refilling cartridges instead of buying brand new ones.
Click here to get more information on Cartridge World USA and head to Earth911.org to find recycling areas near you.
Sept. 4, 2008
When shopping for back to school, it's important to be conscious of what your purchasing, not only for the sake of the earth but for your kids' health. Kick this school year off with an eco-friendly approach. Follow the tips below and your school year can be greener.
Avoid vinyl wherever possible. Vinyl can be contaminated with lead and also releases hormone-disrupting phthalates.
Create a healthier classroom. Classrooms don't always have proper ventilation and a number of art supplies have high levels of VOCs (or volatile organic compounds) that irritate respiratory tracts and cause headaches. Look on the package for the AP label, which means the product contains no ingredients found hazardous by a toxicologist. Buy low-odor markers (Colorific, Mr. Sketch Unscented, and Crayola Washable)
Use low-dust chalk. AusPen refillable white-board markers are a clean alternative conventional disposable. They are made from 100 percent recycled material; they are recyclable and refillable. Each pen and bottle of ink represents 40 markers. AusPen is not made with harmful chemicals.
Conventional white-board markers are one of the top sources of toxic waste for schools and offices because they use xylene, which can cause headaches and dizziness at high levels — not to mention white-board markers clog the landfills and will never biodegrade.
Choose binders, notebooks and lined paper made from post-consumer recycled product. Recycology highlighters are made from 50 percent post-recycled material and are refillable.
For more information on green classroom products, visit www.thegreenguide.com.
Aug. 28, 2008
Solar outdoor lighting is very low-maintenance -- it lets the sun do the work for you. You don't have to worry about electricity bills and it is incredibly easy and safe to install.
Solar lighting works by charging the LED batteries during the day, storing the solar energy in the LED batteries and illuminating your garden or yard in the evening. These lights have photocell technology that activates the LED lights automatically at dusk, burns throughout the night and recharges during the day. The life span of these solar lights is at least 50,000 hours, and batteries generally last about two years.
The magazine Plenty recommends these options:
Inwood Solar Lights from Grandinroad offer a soft glow and have a great solar value. This landscape lighting adds warmth for less than $10 apiece. A single LED illuminates for up to 10 hours at night after a day of sun. Replacing 10 lights with these solar lights will bring you up to 90 percent in energy savings over halogen or incandescent bulbs. Costs $99 for 10 lights.
Hampton Bay Three-Tier Metal Solar Light from Home Depot
This is a single bright white LED light provides plenty of light -- more than most solar lights. Replacing six electrical lights with six solar lights will save $22 a year in electrical bills. Costs $50 for a package of six.
Covington Solar Light Set 4-Pack eatures a frosted glass lens and an amber LED Light. Provided eight to 10 hours of evening illumination when fully charged. A set of these four solar lights in place of four electrical lights will save more than 400 pounds of carbon emissions a year. It's $35 for set of four lights
Fiji Torch Garden Light from SolarLightStore.com are fun accents for any garden or backyard. They are great eco-alternatives to traditional citronella torches, providing a gentle ambient light, and they add a tropical feel, with three different height options Recharges during the day, turns on automatically at night.
Replacing four candle light torches with four solar torch lights saves carbon emissions -- these emit zero carbon when in use versus the amount of carbon emitting from a burning flame. It's $80 for set of two lights and $140 for set of four.
Stainless Steel Beveled Wedge Light Set from Target can be a classy addition to any yard. Made from aluminum with stainless steel finish, the lights will not rust. It's $45 for six lights.
Replacing six electrical accent lights such as these will save approximately $60 a year in electricity versus a low-voltage electric accent light.
Aug. 7, 2008
On average, each American buys 48 new pieces of new clothing and throws away 68 pounds of old clothing a year.
How can you stay eco-friendly while you're out shopping for new fall fashions? Well, you might want to think about "recycling" and "reusing." With a little help from the National Geographic Green Guide, we'll show you how to green your wardrobe with environmentally-friendly vintage clothing.
Recycle Your Own Closet
Donate or sell your old and unwanted clothes. You can make some extra money or earn credit for new recycled fashions at resale shops.
Recycling your closet saves you money and offers a "new-to-you" wardrobe that has already paid its environmental debt.
Shop for Vintage Clothes
Shop for vintage clothing at shops, online, neighborhood flea markets and estate sales.
Shopping at vintage and consignment stores is already growing at a pace of 5 percent per year, according to the National Association of Resale and Thrift Shops.
You can also raid your parents' closets.
Host a Clothes Swap
Host a clothing swap at your home or office.
Have everyone go through their closets and bring in gently-worn items they've outgrown, grown tired of or maybe never even worn. (Everyone has at least one item hanging in the closet with the tags still on it.)
Sort through and have everyone who contributed to the cache of clothes select new items. It's a great way to refresh your wardrobe with clothing that's already paid its carbon debt.
It's also a fun way to get together. Friends can vote on who looks best in outfits or items that more than one person covets.
Take any leftovers to a local Goodwill or donation site.
Cotton accounts for less than 3 percent of farmed land, but according to Panna.org, global cotton production uses more than 10 percent of the world's pesticides and 25 percent of its insecticides.
Americans throw away more than 68 pounds of clothing and textiles per person per year, and clothing and other textiles represent about 4 percent of the weight and 8 percent of the volume of municipal solid waste in the U.S. This figure is rapidly growing.
Domestic resale has boomed in the era of the Internet. Many people sell directly to other individuals through auction Web sites such as eBay. Another increasingly popular outlet is consignment and thrift shops, where sales are growing at a pace of 5 percent per year, according to the National Association of Resale and Thrift Shops.
July 17, 2008
Did you know that when you visit a car wash, you use 45 gallons of water per wash, versus the 80 to 140 gallons of water per home wash? Washing commercially can conserve more water. And if you go to a car wash that uses recycled water, you can conserve even more water.
But, if you love to wash your car at home- or aren't anywhere near a car wash, here are two products you can use to conserve water.
Water Saving Hose Nozzle
A typical garden hose can flow at over twelve gallons per minute. Using a water-saving hose nozzle lets the user select how much water is released from a full-force spray to a water saving mist.
Lucky Earth Waterless Car Wash
Price: $16.99 per bottle (comes to $2-$3 per wash)
This product uses organic cleaners to dissolve dirt, and it's great to use with the whole family because it's non-toxic. You can also use this right in your garage.
It cleans all solid surfaces such as paint, glass, fiberglass, plastic and chrome. Containing organic soaps/surfactants and other high-quality organic ingredients, it can be used on a wet or dry surface. It dissolves dirt and creates a non-stick surface.
This product can be purchased at select Whole Foods or Ace Hardware Stores Nationwide or online.
And remember? a lot of dirt can be washed off of a car by simply letting it sit outside in the rain. And when washing at home, using a bucket rather than a running hose- except for the final rinse- will save a lot more water.
July 3, 2008
Boating is a favorite summer activity but isn't so easy on the environment. The Web site www.GreenBoating.com has tips for "green boating" as well as examples of boats that have the least environmental impact.
June 24, 2008
The average household spends $1,900 on energy costs annually — nearly half of which is directly related to heating and cooling. One way to ensure that your home's energy costs stay in check while also aiding the environment is to install and program a digital thermostat.
With the proper settings, households can save up to $180 a year on energy bills, according to Energy Star. In addition to saving you money, using less energy helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and these thermostats contain no mercury like some older models that may be in your home.
Here are some brands that could keep your house and the planet at the right temperature.
Hunter Set and Save 5+2 Day Programmable Thermostat
Features: If you're looking to simply have the temperature specified for weekday versus weekend, this is the thermostat for you. Set the levels for sleep, being awake, leaving and sleeping for Monday-Friday instead of Saturday-Sunday, as well as for vacation; you can temporaraily override settings. Display is digital and settings have buttons.
Rite Temp 5-1-1 Day Programmable Thermostat
Features: You can create your settings specific to Monday-Friday, and choose a different setting for each Saturday and Sunday for folks who might not have the same schedule Saturday and Sunday. Display is digital.
Honeywell Seven Day Programmable Thermostat
This model can be set for each individual day of the week. It also has a hold feature that you can set to hold the temperature for how many days you will be gone for. This model has not only a digital display but also a very user-friendly touch screen that makes it easy and simple to figure out how to program. (Honeywell also makes a commercial version for your place of business). Click here to learn how to install your thermostat.
The best base temperature in the summer is 78 degrees for your air conditioner, according to Energy Star. The guidelines for saving money and energy from the EPA for are:
Lower the temperature by 8 degrees when you're away or sleeping in the winter.
Raise the temperature setting by 7 degrees when you're away and 4 degrees when you're asleep in the summer.
Save even more by using the "vacation" and "hold" features to manage temperatures.
Check out the links below for more information.
June 5, 2008
Summer's sunshine means a rush to the beach for many. But before hitting the sand and surf, check out ways you can make your beach-time fun more eco-friendly.
And for more summer-green gear picks, check out www.plentymag.com.
Recycled Sailcloth Totes
These water-resistant bags run from $95-$185. The durable carry alongs are the perfect place to store your beach must-haves. The totes come in a variety of sizes and are available in several colors.
Check out www.seabags.com for more information.
Eton radios allow you to harness the power of the sun for your radio. Ranging from $50-$150, the radio is a way to listen to your favorite tunes while sitting on the sand and still being good the environment.
The self- and solar-powered device is compact enough to take anywhere. It also has a flashlight, emergency beacon and siren.
Plus, you can use it to charge your cell phone or Mp3 player.
For more information go to www.etoncorp.com.
Protecting yourself from damaging UV rays is a must, but the large amount of sunscreen tourists flush into the water maybe the cause of coral bleaching.
For an eco-friendly alternative form of sun protection, try natural sunscreens, like Nature's Gate, Korres or Dr. Hauschka. The mineral-based products create a physical barrier to reflect harmful UVA and UVB rays off the body without the chemicals of other sun protectors.
Green Beach Toys
What's a beach day getaway without toys for the little ones? Now parents who want safe, eco-friendly toys for their kids' sand and surf time can try out the Sand Play Set from Green Toys.
The toys use recycled milk containers as their main ingredient and the Sand Play Set cost $20. For more information go to www.greentoys.com.
May 19, 2008
Avoid noxious spray carpet-cleaner chemicals and try a steam cleaner on your rugs and carpets instead.
You can't avoid spills, but by choosing steam cleaning you can avoid harmful exposure to common cleaning chemicals such as perchloroethylene ("perc"), and keep them from ending up in groundwater, too.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer says perc is a "probable human carcinogen." According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the extent of any health effects from perc exposure depends on the amount of perc and how long the exposure lasts. People exposed to high levels of perc, even for brief periods, may experience serious symptoms, ranging from dizziness to death.
The cancer-causing potential of perc has been extensively investigated. In laboratory studies, perc has been shown to cause cancer in rats and mice when they swallow or inhale it.
There is also evidence, from several studies of workers in the laundry and dry cleaning industry, suggesting a causal association between perc exposure and elevated risks of certain types of cancer.
Instead of risking exposure, try these alternatives, recommended by IdealBite.com:
Hoover SteamVac, $109: heavy-duty home cleaner.
AFM SafeChoice Carpet Shampoo, $8/32 ounces: an eco-alternative to cleaning liquids that ups the effectiveness of your steam cleaner.
Also try using household ingredients to clean carpet stains:
Club soda removes red wine stains.
Use an ice cube to harden gum and candle wax, then scrape off.
Sprinkle greasy stains with baking soda, corn starch or corn meal. Let stand six hours or overnight. Then vacuum.
Mix 1/3 cup vinegar with 2/3 cup warm water and apply to the stain. Then blot with a clean towel and repeat until the stain comes clean.
May 14, 2008
Is your mailbox filled with wedding invitations? If you have a lot of gift-giving to do during this summer of love, why not give green -- beautiful, stylish gifts that the newlyweds will love that are earth-friendly.
Courtesy of National Geographic's Green Guide magazine, here are some great ideas for eco-chic wedding gifts that are sure to be a hit.
The Schlossberg Switzerland Millennium Towel Collection are made from 100 percent wood pulp from well-managed forests and cost $101. To purchase online: http://www.harrislevy.com/new/
For store retailers: http://www.bonswit.com/
A Black & Decker 8-cup thermal stainless steel coffeemaker is earth-friendly because it keeps the coffee hot without wasting energy to heat the warming plate and retails for $59.99.
On a Budget
Anfora glasses are also made from recycled materials and a set of six glasses costs just $23.70.
O-K Kitchen organic cotton dish towels and potholders are made from cotton that is grown without petroleum-based fertilizers and pesticides and they're packaged in 100 percent recycled paper. Using a cloth instead of a disposable paper towel is an exceptional way to be green, and these will cost you only $12 each. http://www.exclusivelygreenmarket.com/viewContent.asp?idpage=11
Umbra picture frames are made from plantation-grown rubberwood, which is harvested from rubber trees that have reached the ends of their useful lives; finished with water-based (not petroleum-based) finishes. The Cheeto and Etz frames run just $19 each. http://www.umbra.com/
April 29, 2008
We want our surroundings to be bright and light. But how to do it affordably, with the least impact on the environment? L.E.D lights are the newest eco-friendly alternative.
Used in flat-screen TV's, these cool, white bulbs are now used in everyday home lights to save energy and money. L.E.Ds, which means light emitting diodes, use 80 percent less energy than a regular bulb, and are safer and more energy efficient than those yellow compact fluorescents.
Plus, they look great.
April 23, 2008
You've heard all about brown-bagging it. Now we're going to show you how to green-bag it!
Today on "Good Morning America," finance guru and bestselling author David Bach shared a lunchtime tip that's not only good for the planet, but also good for your wallet, from his new book "Go Green, Live Rich."
Consider your everyday "litter factor" and choose a reusable lunch bag.
Every weekday nearly 44 million American workers purchase or eat lunch out. Every year 1.8 million tons of takeout containers and utensils end up in landfills.
In fact, the average American office worker goes through around 500 disposable cups over the course of 12 months. Americans even toss out enough paper and plastic cups, forks and spoons every year to circle the equator 300 times.
If you were to bring your lunch every day for a week (assuming you spend about $9/day = $45/week = $2,250/year), then collectively our planet could be saved from the millions of trashed containers and your wallet could be saved some green.
Check out these eco-friendly options for toting your lunch:
Built NY Lunch Totes:
A lightweight, flexible, insulated lunch and tote bag series. As practical for an outdoor adventure as it is for commuting to the office. Click here to visit www.BuiltNY.com.
To-Go Ware Lunch Kit
The To-Go Ware stainless steel carrier with bamboo utensil set includes all you need for a meal on the go. Also includes a handy removable plate that functions as a lid for the bottom container, so it's great for both hot and cold food, and for keeping them separate. Click here to visit www.to-goware.com.
Tiffin Lunch Box Set:
These Indian-inspired tiered food carriers are also made from stainless steel. They are 100 percent recyclable, super easy to clean, virtually unbreakable, and make a great alternative to disposable plastic or paper containers. Click here to find out more on www.DWR.com.
April 22, 2008
Did you know that up to 50 percent of the water we use gets put in our lawns and gardens?
Joe Lamp'l, author of "The Green Gardener's Guide," joined Sam Champion in honor of Earth Day to share his tips for conserving water in your garden.
One of the best ways to conserve water is by replacing thirsty plants with more drought-tolerant ones.
Instead of water-loving French or Mophead hydrangeas, Lamp'l suggested viburnums, which need 50 percent less water.
Instead of the popular coleus, try Joseph's coat (Amaranthus tricolor) for colorful annual foliage.
Instead of moisture-dependent Japanese iris (Iris kaempheri) try drought-tolerant day lilies (Hemerocallis).
Choose soaker hoses or drip irrigation that use 50 percent less water than sprinkles.
Water in the early morning or evening, rather than during the heat of the day, when as much as 50 percent of the water is lost to evaporation.
Use mulch to reduce evaporation. It also moderates soil temperatures, discourages weeds and reduces chemical needs.
Encourage deep roots. Water less often, but slowly and for longer periods, allowing plants several days to dry. This deep root system will sustain plants longer between watering.
Sam was also joined today by children from the National Parks organization to help celebrate National Park Week. Their First Bloom project uses native plants to help kids connect to their national parks and to their own backyards. Click here to learn more about the National Park Foundation.
April 8, 2008
Next time you're out shopping for new cooking and baking essentials, consider looking for products that are made from recycled material and are recyclable. Preparing and storing food creates a lot of waste, and not just from the leftover food that gets tossed in the waste bin.
Instead of wood, Preserve's Recycline Paperstone cutting board is made from 100 percent post-consumer recycled paper, which saves trees, of course.
Its prep surface is knife-friendly and non-porous, which means it's good for cutting fruits, vegetables, meats, anything. Its petroleum-free coating is easy to clean. Plus, this board is designed to last, which like anything that doesn't need to be replaced, also makes it kinder to the environment.
Preserve also makes food storage containers, tableware and tumblers, which are all dishwasher safe.
If You Care
If You Care aluminum foil is produced with 95 percent less energy than conventional foil because it's made from 100 percent recycled aluminum. Plus, it can be recycled again.
If you're a baker, you might want to consider baking cups made from unbleached paper, which means no chlorine is used in the process of making them. If You Care cups are made from recycled paper and are biodegradable.
Click here to visit IfYouCare.com.
Another alternative for wrapping up your food is Chef's Select 100 percent natural soy wax paper. It' not quite edible, but it's non-toxic and biodegradable.
March 27, 2008
Today we bring you a few eco-decorating tips from our friends at "Glamour" magazine.
Take these tips to give the rooms in your home a facelift while sparing the earth.
Eco-friendly interior paints
Conventional paint is tough on the environment and releases volatile organic compounds which contribute to indoor air pollution and ground level ozone.
If you want a great eco-friendly paint in one coat for those quick projects, try the new Benjamin Moore's "Aura" line. It quickly and easily covers your walls. The VOC level is remarkably low at 50 grams per liter, while federal regulations allow for up to 250 grams per liter for flat paint.
Sherwin Williams' Harmony Line uses sustainable raw materials like soy and sunflower oil in the paints, are low in odor, and have lower levels of VOC's than traditional paint. Olympic Paints, sold exclusively at Lowe's, has zero VOC and dries with no lingering odor.
Standard wallpaper has vinyl components that are not biodegradable, so try and find wallpapers made with eco-friendly materials. Brewster Wallcovering Company's Dalia collection is eco-friendly because it is made from a non-woven material, which is paper based and biodegradable.
Click here for information on what paint fumes can do to contribute to the poor air quality in your house.
March 19, 2008
Most of us have some kind of personal electronics with us all the time -- cell phones, iPods, laptops and so on. Charging all of them takes time and, of course, energy.
Watch "Good Morning America" March 20 to see Sam Champion reveal all the latest in solar-powered accessories.
Try one of these solar-paneled packs so that you can be green when you're on the go.
Each bag soaks up the sun, turning it into clean energy to power up almost any device.
Eclipse Solar Camera Bag, $125 Click here to visit EclipseSolarGear.com
Reware "JUICE BAG" Beach Tote, $250 $250 Click here to visit RewareStore.com
Logan Messenger Bags by Noon Solar, $412 Click here to visit NoonSolar.com.
GMA researched this exciting new trend in solar-powered accessories with help from Plenty Magazine. Click here to visit PlentyMagazine.com
March 5, 2008
Green Heat: The New Generation of Fireplaces and Wood Stoves
For the 55 million households in the U.S. with a fireplace or wood stove, what could be cozier than a night spent around a roaring blaze at home? Unfortunately, it's the sad truth that conventional fireplaces can actually suck more heat from the house than they give off.
However, with the addition of new, EPA-certified fireplace inserts, or the use of wood stoves, household heating costs can be cut by up to 40 percent.
To go "green," the Environmental Protection Agency is recommending you retrofit your old fireplace with a pellet insert, a vented gas fireplace or the new generation of wood stoves.
These appliances produce cleaner, more efficient heat for the house than burning wood — they are typically 70 percent cleaner and up to 30 percent more efficient than earlier models.
Quadra-Fire Pellet Insert
An EPA-certified insert is similar to a freestanding wood stove, but it has been modified to fit a fireplace opening. The insert converts a fireplace into a much more efficient, lower-polluting heating system. Pellets are made from saw dust and provide the cleanest-burning option for wood heat.
Jotul Wood Stove
Approximately 10 million wood stoves are currently in use in the United States, and 70-80 percent of them are older and inefficient. EPA-certified wood stoves emit approximately 70 percent less pollution than the older models.
While the older wood stoves and fireplaces release 40-60 grams of smoke per hour, the EPA-certified stoves produce only 2-5 grams of smoke per hour.
Replacing just 20 older stoves with certified stoves could cut particulate matter emissions by a ton a year.
Regency Direct-Vent Gas Fireplace
Gas fireplaces are clean-burning and convenient, offering automatic ignition, temperature control with a remote thermostat and no more hauling wood.
This fireplace is heater-rated at 84 percent efficient ? not simply decorative ? and can be used as a supplemental heat source for homes up to 2,000 sq. feet.
For help picking the right fuel source and appliance, check out some of these links:
Feb. 27, 2008
Ever thrown out a pair of worn-out athletic shoes? Did you know that it takes about 1,000 years for those sneakers to biodegrade?
Thanks to exciting eco-friendly innovations, there's a new breed of running shoes out there that is better for the environment, from start to finish.
This July, Brooks Sport Inc. introduces the BioMoGo -- a long-lasting midsole made from a nontoxic natural additive that encourages anerobic microbes to break down in just 20 years. Most athletic shoes are made with traditional ethylene vinyl acetate midsoles, which can last up to 1,000 years in a landfill.
In other words, over the course of 20 years, Brooks hopes to save 29.9 million pounds of landfill waste, or 1,277 football fields covered one shoe deep.
Brooks also makes High Performance Rubber Outsoles, a durable, long-wearing compound made from sand instead of oil.
The process of making the shoes is also more eco-friendly because it uses molds for the sneakers instead of punching the shoe shapes out of large sheets, which reduces waste during manufacturing by 50 percent.
Wondering what to do with the ones you've already got? Recycle.
Every year, millions of pairs of athletic shoes are thrown away, not only wasting landfill space, but wasting tons of reusable material.
Since 1993 Nike has been running a program called Reuse-a-Shoe, collecting old sneakers at retail locations across the country and using the material to make sports surfaces like basketball courts, tennis courts and running tracks.
So far they've used 20 million pairs of athletic shoes to create 250 sports surfaces.
Feb. 20, 2008
We love our pets, but just like people dogs and cats have a big impact on the environment. Check out these innovative green pet product recommendations from Prevention magazine.
Every year, 10 million tons of animal waste ends up in landfills. Even when it is left on the ground, the waste can seep into the groundwater ? which is dangerous because pet waste is full of pathogens.
Flushable Pet Pick-Up Bags
The most eco-friendly way to dispose of dog waste is to flush it down the toilet so it does not end up in landfills. A dog lover in Wisconsin invented the flushable pet pick up bag. It is made out of meltable polyvinyl alcohol film, an environmentally friendly, non-toxic sister to the compound that makes up Elmer's glue. The bags will dissolve when flushed down the toilet or degrade quickly if buried in the back yard. Check out Handicappedpets.com or www.wisconsinpetproducts.com for more information.
Swheat Scoop Natural Pet Litter
An estimated 100,000 truckloads per year of clay cat litter that doesn't biodegrade is dumped into municipal solid waste landfills. (The process of making clay litter involves strip mining, which is NOT eco-friendly at all.)
Swheat Scoop Natural Wheat Cat Litter is flushable ? clumps of this product can safely be flushed without clogging your sewer or septic system. It is also biodegradable if it must be thrown into the trash ? it will readily break down upon disposal and dissolve away. SWheatScoop.com
Biobag Biodegradable Cat Pan Liners
To dispose of the remaining biodegradable litter that doesn't get flushed, we suggest using Biobag biodegradable cat pan liners. These liners will biodegrade rapidly and safely when composted in a municipal or commercial facility. BioBagUSA.com
Catbib prevents cats from catching and killing birds. Hundreds of millions of birds per year are killed by domestic cats. Invented by a bird-feeding cat lover, this snazzy CatBib gently interferes with your cat's hunting skills, without interfering with their outdoor activities. Tests showed that CatBib reduces small mammal predation by almost 50 percent. Arcatpet.com
Hemp is not only a sustainable material, but it is one of nature's strongest fabrics. The collars are durable but soften with wear, so they are comfortable for your pet. Dyes are all-natural. Planetdog.com
If you're considering getting a pet, visit The Human Society of New York: HumaneSocietyNY.org
Feb. 11, 2008
You can be sweet to your loved one and the Earth this Valentine's Day with green gifts. Flowers are a holiday staple. One company, Organic Bouquet, uses eco-friendly packaging and grows its flowers in a way that is gentle on the Earth. Click here here for more.
And what are flowers without cards? Valentine's Day is the second biggest holiday for greeting cards, behind Christmas. That's a lot of trees and paper, but Reproduct greeting cards and envelopes are made from plastic and printed with healthier UV cured inks. After you've finished enjoying your card you can send it back in an envelope issued by the manufacturer. The card will find a second life as the backing of new carpet. Click here here for more.
Finally, even sweets can be friendly to the Earth, even if they aren't as friendly to your hips. Velvet heart chocolates are made with organic ingredients and are hand crafted. Click here here for more.
Jan. 31, 2008
Americans spent about $9 billion on bottled water last year, and we're adding more than 60 million plastic water bottles to the nation's landfills every day!
Over 25 percent of bottled water actually comes from municipal water supplies -- the same water that comes out of your faucet at home. Tap water safety standards are also far stricter than for bottled water, so despite marketing claims, bottled water is not "healthier" than tap.
The solution? Buy a reusable water bottle. Naglene and Sigg bottles are popular, but there are many other brands. The bottles cost about $10 each and are durable, recylable and can be used again and again.
Jan. 24, 2008
You've heard of Energy Smart, the Environmental Protection Agency's standard for energy-saving appliances. Well now the EPA is launching a new level of water- and energy-saving certification for bathroom fixtures too. It's called WaterSense.
Fixtures with the WaterSense certification are far more water efficient than the old standard bathroom fixtures, saving you H20, electricity and money with every use! So, with a few simple updates to your bathroom fixtures — changing them to the readily available WaterSense fixtures — you can save thousands of gallons of water each year, and lots of electricity too, because you won't require as much energy to heat all of that extra water you no longer use!
Look out for WaterSense's new toilet, motion-detecting faucets and water-efficient low-flow shower heads.
And, of course, that translates into money savings right in your pocket!
EPA's WaterSense Program Facts:
The WaterSense label makes it easy for consumers to recognize products and programs that save water without sacrificing performance or quality.
Each American uses an average of 100 gallons of water a day at home, but 30 percent of that could be reduced by installing water-efficient fixtures.
The WaterSense philosophy is to label products that are 20 percent more water-efficient than the average products in the marketplace. WaterSense-labeled products are independently tested and certified to meet EPA's criteria for both efficiency and performance.
Toilets are by far the main source of water use in the home, accounting for approximately 30 percent of residential indoor water consumption, and are also the biggest water waster. Americans waste up to $5 billion per year on water utility bills and nearly 900 billion gallons of water flushing old, inefficient toilets.
New WaterSense-labeled toilets use less than 1.3 gallons per flush, but perform as well as or better than today's standard 1.6-gallon toilets and older toilets that use much more water. By replacing an older toilet with a WaterSense-labeled toilet, a family of four could reduce water used for flushing by more than 60 percent and, depending on local water and sewer costs, save more than $90 annually.
If every home replaced existing inefficient toilets made before 1994 with a WaterSense-labeled model, the water savings would be enough to supply almost 10 million U.S. households.
WaterSense Faucets/Motion Detector Faucets
Most existing bathroom faucets flow at rates that are much higher than what's actually necessary. WaterSense-labeled faucets and aerators can reduce excessive flow volumes by more than 30 percent, without sacrificing performance.
Using WaterSense-labeled faucets or aerators could reduce a household's faucet water use by more than 500 gallons annually — that's enough water to do 14 loads of laundry.
WaterSense-labeled faucets or aerators could also help save 70 kilowatt hours of electricity used for heating water annually. That's enough electricity to power a hair dryer for about eight minutes a day for a whole year!
It takes a lot of energy to pump, treat and supply water to your home: American public water and treatment facilities use enough electricity to power more than 5 million homes every year!
Letting your faucet run warm water for five minutes uses up about as much energy as letting a 60-watt light bulb run for 14 hours.
Water-Saving Shower Heads
The EPA will certify shower heads as WaterSense by 2009, but until then look for ones that save water by lowering flow.
New water-saving shower heads meet the needs of environmentally conscious builders, consumers and property owners. New designs feature a flow of 1.75 gallons per minute, offering a 30 percent water savings from the industry standard of 2.5 gallons-per-minute shower heads
Innovative spray formers concentrate the flow of water, reducing the amount of water used compared to standard shower heads, while still providing a satisfying shower experience.
High-efficiency shower heads save on average about half a gallon a minute more than standard water-conserving shower heads. Water-conserving shower heads are rated at 2.5 gallons per minute, while high-efficiency shower heads provide an enjoyable shower at just 2.0 gallons per minute. Many older, nonconserving shower heads still in use are rated at 4 to 5 gallons per minute!
National statistics show that an average shower is about eight minutes in duration, and uses about 12 gallons of water. By switching to a high-efficiency shower head, the average person can easily save 2 gallons of water per shower.
High-efficiency shower heads also save energy, since most of their water savings is hot water. Heating water is often the second-largest residential energy user. Seattle City Light estimates that replacing standard water conserving shower heads with high-efficiency shower heads can save a household 163 kWh annually. Customers with gas water heat will save on their gas bill as well.
The EPA Web site for WaterSense is: www.EPA.gov/WaterSense
Jan. 17, 2008
You can be green while staying clean with environmentally friendly toiletries.
Lush Shampoo Bar, Face Wash, Soap
The company Lush has an initiative to support Fair Trade products and use sustainable raw materials. All of their packaging is either reusable tin or recyclable plastic.
No more plastic shampoo bottles! Their unusual shampoo comes in a bar.
The Lush face wash is 100 percent vegan -- it's made from natural clays, oils, and herbs, with no preservatives and no packaging.
Most market brand soaps have 70% soap content. Lush soaps are made up of only 35 percent soap and zero animal fat, leaving more room for the good for your skin ingredients like coconut and palm kernel oil.
Find out more at www.lush.com.
Method Hand Wash, Lotion, Body Wash
Method is well known for being an eco-friendly company. Their new line gets you clean with products that are 95 to 99 percent natural without parabens and other harsh chemicals.
Products are safe and non-toxic, and use ingredients that come from plants.
The formulas are biodegradable and the packaging is recyclable.
Available at most mainstream drug/retail stores.
Crystal Body Deodorant
Crystal Body deodorant products are all natural mineral salt deodorants.
Conventional deodorants mask odor with perfumed scents and often contain alcohol or other chemical compounds to shrink pores which inhibits the body's natural expulsion of toxins.
The packaging is recyclable and the product is not harmful to the environment because it is all natural mineral salt.
Contain no aluminum chloride or alcohol.
100 percent hypoallergenic and are fragrance, chemical, and paraben-free and doesn't stain your clothes.
The Environmental Working Group conducted a safety assessment on over 7,000 ingredients for personal care products, and Crystal Body was ranked No. 1 as the safest deodorant on the market.
Crystal Body Deodorant is the only deodorant prescribed by cancer treatment centers for breast cancer patients, as conventional deodorants contain aluminum, zinc, silica, talk, and other byproducts that can interfere with the radiation process.
Available at Rite Aid, Vitamin World, or Walgreens.
The first recyclable and environmentally friendly alternative to the disposable razor.
The handle is made with 100 percent recycled plastic.
The packaging is made of sustainable harvested wood based plastics and can be used as travel case.
You can recycle the handle through community recycling programs that accept #5 plastics or by mailing it back to Recycline. Just print a prepaid postage label from their Web site and send it back.
Returned products and packaging will be made into plastic lumber for things like playground equipment.
Availble at Whole Foods, Trader Joes, and some major retailers.
Toothbrush has the same makeup as Reserve razor (handle is made with 100 percent recycled #5 plastic). <
Available at Whole Foods, Trader Joes, and some major retailers. Find out more at www.recycline.com
Thera Neem Toothpaste and Mouthwash
Neem trees are known in India as the "toothbrush tree." Neem bar and sap within the twig have amazing cleaning ability and also protect the mouth.
Thera Neem toothpaste is made from extracts of Neem Bark, and Neem leaf. It is all natural with no parabens or other chemicals.
Thera Neem herbal mouthwash is made from extracts of Neem Bark, Neem Leaf, clove, and more, and it will keep your breath fresh and mouth healthy.
Neem trees are fast growing, making them sustainable plants and they help reduce greenhouse gases by absorbing large quantities of carbon dioxide and producing oxygen.
Jan. 10, 2008
Now you can combine two New Year's resolutions — staying fit while helping the environment.
One choice is to use the Adaptive Motion Trainer, a wireless treadmill. Although most treadmills still require power there is now new technology called PFC, power factor corrector. This is a system that maximizes energy usage. The machine saves 300 watts or a savings of one kilowatt-hour every 3.3 hours of use. One kilowatt-hour is roughly equivalent to 10 100-watt light bulbs on for an hour.
Another option is the Waterrower Natural, which has a wood frame rather than steel. The advantages of wood include the ability to absorb sound and vibration, which enhances the Waterrower's quietness and smoothness of use. Plus, all wood used in the Waterrower Natural are harvested from replenishable forests. Prices start at $1,095 for the classic model constructed from ash. Find out more at waterrower.com
When it comes to other workout gear, you can get just about anything you need secondhand, including treadmills, free weights, exercise balls and step. Check out gently used and secondhand items from freecycle.org, craigslist.org, second-hand stores, thrift shops, yard sales, and, of course, eBay. Besides helping the environment, you'll also save money and when you're finished with these secondhand items, remember to list them again so they can continue their life in another loving home — not a landfill.
Dec. 26, 2007
With Christmas behind us, many people still have the remnants of the season, like the pine trees and holiday cards. And just as Santa was good to you, you could be good to the environment. Here are some tips on staying ecologically friendly while disposing of your holiday decorations from www.plentymag.com..
Mulch Your Christmas Tree
Tree farms can actually do a lot of good for the earth. They plant trees that wouldn't otherwise have been planted and some of them are even going organic. Also, they indirectly produce a lot of material for mulch, which is great for using around green spaces in towns and cities. It even can prevent erosion at watersheds.
Check your paper or call your street department to find out where and when you should leave your tree for pick up. Most towns and cities have designated drop-off spots, or will collect your tree right from your doorstep. Or, look online at Earth 911's Web site.
Just enter your zip code, and it'll search the database of more than 3,800 drop-off spots nationwide to find the one nearest you.
You can also buy or rent a wood chipper to make your own mulch or cut the branches and put them in your garden to cover your plants during those winter months.
Save Wrapping Paper, Boxes, Etc.
Before you trudge out to the curb with all that trash, take a closer look at your wrapping refuse. Maybe it's not all trash. After all, you may have nice gift bags, boxes, tissue paper and ribbons you can reuse next year.
As for the torn wrapping paper: Foil paper is not recyclable and wrapping paper recycling varies depending on the local program; many community programs will take it, but not all. Check with your recycling center.
For next year consider alternative wrapping paper such as comics, newspapers or brown paper bags decorated with drawings, because these materials are readily recycled in most recycling programs. If you need to purchase wrapping paper, buy paper made from post-consumer recycled paper.
Creative uses for old wrapping paper: shred it for packaging material, make gift tags for next year, use it for kids' art projects like papier-mache, origami or collages.
Reuse Holiday Cards
Don't throw away cards you've received with nice images or decorations on the front. Chances are, the giver only wrote on the opposite side of the inside flap, so cut the card down the middle and use the front as a flat/gift card next year.
Yes, you can recycle most holiday cards; as long as there's no big metal embossing or other decoration on there, you should be good to go. Glossies are not a problem. However, super-color-saturated envelopes can be tricky. Deep reds and greens can contaminate the recycling process at plants and cause problems. Next year, choose cards with white- or cream-colored envelopes. Check out www.ecocycle.org for more information.
Store Leftovers in Containers
No single day in the year produces more leftovers than your family's big holiday. Significantly reduce the amount of plastic and aluminum trash you generate by storing all the extra food in glassware and Tupperware, instead of plastic baggies, tin foil and clear plastic wrap.
Lucky Magazine editor Allyson Waterman had some tips for eco-friendly gifts this holiday season. For more ideas, visit luckymag.com.
Plant-me Pets, $20 at Branchhome.com
Bamboo Collection, John Hardy at JohnHardy.com
Silver Bangle, $495
Silver Slim Bangle, $150
Silver Slim Bangle set of 3, $350
Silver Bangle LG, $695
Silver XL Hoops, $225
Valet Key Ring, $395
Wooden Chip and Dip Plate, $78 at Jaysonhomeandgarden.com
Bambu Curvy Servers, $12 at Branchhome.com
Wooden Radio, $178 at Treehugger.com
Matt & Nat bags and wallets at Mattandnat.com
White wallet, $75
Green bag, $160
Blue Bag, $140
Pink Bag, $160
Blue Wallet, $65
Green Wallet, $50
100% recycled leather Piggy Banks, large $95, small $35 at Barneys.com
Tire Swings, 100% recycled tires, $79.99 at Target.com
Elum Stationery Desk Set, $150 at elumdesigns.com
Soy printed baby book, $115 at GreenwithGlamour.com
Hannah Andersson Organic Cotton PJs, $38-$40 at HannahAndersson.com
Monogrammed Organic Cotton Blanket, $125 at In2Green.com
100% Soy Bean Sleep Set, $80 for set at Macy's nationwide
Thai Dominoes, Free Trade, $33 at GreenwithGlamour.com
Swaziland Candle, $16 at Anthropologie.com
Mud Studio Juicers, $28 at Anthropologie.com
Kiehl's Products, Limited Edition Candle, $28, Pear Tree Corner Milled Soap Set, $35
As shoppers scour the malls and specialty stores searching for that perfect child's gift, keep in mind the environmental impact the toy could have. There are a variety of eco-friendly playthings this holiday season.
To find out more about the toys featured on "Good Morning America" today, check out www.idealbite.com.
Now, Fido can put his best paw forward and help make the earth a little more green. Today, a myriad of eco-friendly pet products exists and some are healthier for your pet than the originals.
In fact, many conventional pet treats are composed of unhealthy factory farm byproducts and lot of old-school pet toys are made from materials like PVC which released carcinogenic dioxins into the air during production.
When shopping for your pet, look for organic and non-toxic toys. For more information check out www.idealbite.com.
As Halloween creeps closer and parents pick their children's ghoulish gear, they can make sure their environmental impact is minimal.
Web Sites like greenbabies.com offer a eco-friendly costume fare for kids.
If you are like most Americans, each time you check your mailbox there is some unwanted solicitation. Junk mailing can fill up mailboxes and garbage cans, but it also can be harmful to the environment by promoting extra waste.
Now, some companies are opting to ditch junk mail in order to be more eco-friendly. In an effort to reduce and eliminate direct mail solicitation some organizations help consumers stop unwanted junk mail and catalogues.
For more information on these services, check out the links below.
Most household cleaning products contain harsh chemicals that are poisonous, corrosive, irritating, flammable and harmful to your health and the environment. But thanks to the growing movement toward environmentally-friendly products, you can get your home clean and keep your air green at the same time.
Volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, contained in traditional cleaning products pollute the air inside your home -- sometimes making indoor air pollution worse than outdoor air pollution. They can also harm the environment and wildlife even after they are thrown away by contaminating soil and water.
Cleaning-product companies do not have to list every ingredient on the label, and words like "eco-friendly" and "all natural" on a product can be deceptive. So what should you look for?
Avoid products with ammonia, formaldehyde, phosphates or those that are chlorine-based.
Look for products with baking soda, borax, hydrogen peroxide, vinegar or those that are plant-based.
Green products recommended by Domino magazine: Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day Surface Scrub; Ecover All-PurposeCleaner; Holy Cow Concentrated Cleaner; Method Dish Soap, Seventh Generation products.
Instead of using paper towels, cut up old towels to use and reuse as rags. Or use recycled paper towels, like Seventh Generation.
Visit www.dominomag.com for more information.
Could your daily exercise be turned into green-powered energy? A tiny device called the HYmini absorbs wind and solar power and can convert it to energy that you can use to power your cell phones, digital cameras, MP3 Players and other portable gadgets.
The HYmini holds a collected charge for two weeks and gathers a surprising amount of energy. Stand in a breezy place for an hour, get enough power for two hours of MP3 playing. Ride your bike for an hour with the HYmini and you'll have enough power for over 50 digital photos or 15 extra minutes on your cell phone.
Mount your HYmini on the car window, and if you drive about 40 miles per hour, you can generate enough power to listen to eight hours of music on your MP3 or chat on your cell for 40 minutes.
The HYmini will be available in October. The basic package -- for wind-power only -- will be $50. All the accessories and a solar panel pushes the price to $80. It's economical and easy way to create green-power. To find out more, visit www.hymini.com.
Now even your dry cleaning can be eco-friendly. Some cleaners now use non-toxic substances and recyclable hangers when professionally cleaning clothes. This is very important because conventional dry cleaning is done with a chemical known as PERC or Perchorethylene. PERC can contribute to smog and can contaminate ground water, which in turn can cause health problems in people such as dizziness, fatigue and headaches. Long-term exposure could cause liver and kidney problems.
But there are ways to going green while you dry clean. First, there's a new method called CO2 cleaning, where clothes are washed in liquid CO2 and dried without heat. The heat-free drying is good for the environment and your clothes and means your clothes don't shrink.
Another method is Silicon Cleaning. It uses a clear, odor-free and non-toxic silicon solvent. You'll find that many cleaners in your area are using silicon because it's the least expensive green-clean option.
Both CO2 and Silicon cleaning cost a little more, but instead, you'll save a different kind of green, the earth. For more information check out www.findco2.com.
But the dry cleaning process isn't the only part to go green. Some are using eco-friendly hangers. Each year 3.5 billion wire hangers are used in the US each year and cause a huge threat to landfills.
That number equals 195 million pounds of steel per year (the equivalent of 60,000 cars!) 2.2 million miles of wire are used, enough to travel from the earth to the moon 9 times
But there is a solution. Hanger Network, a New York based company has invented the EcoHanger, which is a biodegradable clothes hanger made of 100 percent recyclable paperboard. The recyclable hangers are offered for free to participating dry cleaners through a partnership with Cleaner's Supply, Inc. They are paid for by savvy advertisers who print their advertisements on the eco-hangers.
Every time you flip on a light switch, or turn on the TV you are emitting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and contributing to global warming.
That's because most electrical production is fueled by coal-burning power plants, one of the world's biggest sources of carbon emissions- and a leading cause of global warming.
On average- every American is responsible for about 22 tons of carbon dioxide emissions every year, which is nearly four times the world average, according to the United Nations.
The nation's students are back in school and as they and their parents continue to shop for those last-minute supplies, they also can think about buying environmentally friendly products, including green back-to-school gadgets.
Find out where to get eco-friendly backpacks and more below.
These sites have a variety of environmentally friendly supplies: www.thegreenguide.com
Also, Try getting a solar cellphone charger. With it, you'll never have to plug it in.
For solar backpacks head to www.rewarestore.com
For PVC free backpacks try www.rei.com
Now school bags are made from a variety of materials, including hemp and recycled rubber. Click here for more product information backpacks made the green way.
Click here for vinyl-free and lead-free totes.
Tennis legend Billie Jean King joined "GMA" to talk about Green Slam, a new initiative she's announcing today that encourages professional athletes to do their part to help the environment.
Find out more at www.GreenSlam.net.
Three million tons of styrofoam are generated annually in the United States and most of it ends up in landfills. David de Rothschild, author of "The Live Earth Global Warming Survival Handbook," joined "GMA" with alternatives to using styrofoam.
If you have to choose between plastic and styrofoam, choose plastic -- it can be recycled.
Request biodegradable cups and containers from restaurants to encourage them not to use styrofoam.
Use non-disposable utensils.
To find out more, click here.
Your old cell phones may not be technologically savvy, but they're not useless. Donate or recycle old cell phones through these Web sites:
www.cellphonesforsoldiers.com is a charity organization that collects cell phones, sells them to ReCell, and uses the profits to pay for one hour of talk time for U.S. soldiers abroad.
www.wirelessrecycling.com offers information about where you can recycle your cell, how to start a collection for your favorite charity, and has information on how to remove the personal information from your phone prior to donation.
www.collectivegood.com features a listing of charities you can donate your cell to directly.
www.eco-cell.com can help you find local donation locations.
www.thedailygreen.com is a new Web site about green living.
Make your workday more eco-friendly by "greening" your cubicle or office. Check out www.ecofabulous.com for info on where to buy eco-friendly products for the workplace.
For more green living tips and resources, visit Climate.Weather.com.
Lawn mowers are 10 to 35 times more polluting than automobiles, especially the models that require the mixing of oil and gasoline. Scientists estimate that lawn care contributes to about 5 to 10 percent of the air pollution in this country in the summer. Landscape professionals and homeowners also spill tens of thousands of gallons of fuel when they attempt to fill tanks.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 54 million Americans mow their lawns each weekend, using 800 million gallons of gasoline in the process. In fact, using one gasoline-powered mower for an hour pollutes as much as 40 late-model cars, and weed eaters and leaf blowers pollute even more.
Tools like push mowers can reduce the amount of pollution we put into the atmosphere. Overall, global warming will affect gardeners across the country. It will result in drought, watering restrictions, damaging storms, out-of-control weeds, new garden pests and plant diseases, which could wipe out some of our favorite garden plants.
Find out more at www.safelawns.org.
Want to make sure the products you buy are eco-friendly? Get the consumers' guide to the green revolution at www.thedailygreen.com.
The Environmental Protection Agency has tips on keeping your home cool in summer while saving energy. Click here to visit the Energy Star Web site.
Today Sam talked about safeguarding your home from hurricanes. Find out more at www.Flash.org.
Actress Alicia Silverstone dropped by to talk to Sam about green energy, a subject she's passionate about. With summer around the corner, energy costs rise right along with the temperatures.
So what's "Just One Thing" you can do to save money, cool your home and be good to the environment all at the same time? The answer is all around us -- trees and greenery.
The right tree in the right place can cool your home, reducing the sun's heat by 20 to 50 percent. The right tree in your yard can also allow the sun to shine through and protect your home from winter winds.
So if you use less air conditioning in the summer, and less heat in the winter, you could save a significant amount of money. The average family spends nearly $2,000 on energy bills -- and heating and cooling account for half of that bill.
Where do you plant your trees to get the most energy benefit?
Plant trees on the east and west side of your house to cool in the summer, warm in the winter.
As we know, the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, so trees on the east and west side of your home can provide summer shade, but will let the sun in when leaves fall in the winter.
In cold areas, leave the south side clear so the sun is not blocked during winter. If you really want a tree on that south side, go for one with a more open branch structure, which allows the light to shine through.
Evergreen trees, shrubs and vines can offer natural insulation in the winter.
A solid row of evergreens next to a wall can create dead air space, and consequently, a year-round insulating effect. Evergreen vines like English ivy can be used on a trellis on a north-facing wall to insulate and inhibit winter winds.
Shading your air conditioner can actually save on electricity.
Plant trees or shrubs to shade air-conditioning units but not block the airflow. A unit operating in the shade uses less electricity because it doesn't have to work as hard to cool things down.
Find out more about the Silk Green Caps for Green Energy program.
May 17: Switch to Cold Water
By switching to cold or warm water from hot water, consumers can save energy and money on their electric bill, as well as reduce their own carbon emissions. An added bonus of doing your wash in cold water is that it also protects fabrics and helps retain color.
Laundry detergents or dishwashing products that are inherently better for the environment, such as those that are nontoxic, contain no parabens or chemicals and are biodegradable, are effective in cold or warm water.
Wash clothes in cold or warm water to save up to 500 pounds of carbon dioxide per year.
Before dishwasher cleaning, rinse dishes in cold water (they don't need two hot baths) and wait to run your dishwasher until it's full.
For more tips from Whole Foods Market's "Whole Earth Weigh In" program, visit www.wholefoodsmarket.com/earthday/.
May 3: Take Back the Light
The Environmental Protection Agency and big companies like Wal-Mart are encouraging people to use energy-saving compact florescent light bulbs (CFL), which can last 10 times longer than regular incandescent bulbs.
The problem is that CFLs contain a small amount of mercury, a toxic metal that can have dangerous health effects. The bulbs should be recycled but many companies and municipalities don't accept recycled bulbs.
The furniture retailer Ikea has announced that it will take back not only their CFLs, but any other brand of CFL as well and they'll recycle them.
Click here to find out more about mercury in CFLs.
You can also visit www.earth911.org, type in your zip code and find the nearest facility where the bulbs can be recycled. The Web site has information on recycling all kind of things, including computer equipment.
April 5: Power Down
Daisy Fuentes, host of the new syndicated show "The EcoZone Project," an eco-makeover show, joined "Good Morning America" to share today's tip.
Appliances use electricity even if they're still plugged in -- up to 40 percent of their full running power, in a year that can add up to 190 pounds in greenhouse gases and about $70 extra on your electricity bill.
You can use one power strip to plug in things that can be turned off, like phone chargers, that way, you can turn them all off at once.
March 22, 2007
Chef Wolfgang Puck has started a new initiative, called Wolfgang's Eating, Loving, and Living, in which he commits to serving only all-natural and USDA-certified organic food in all of his restaurants and catering venues.
Why go organic? The farmers don't use pesticides so the food is healthier and organic farming saves energy. And buying organic can be cheaper than you think.
One of the main objections about buying organic produce is that it's more expensive. There's a great way to cut costs: shop at your local farmers' market, just like Wolfgang. Your food will be fresher and in season, and often cheaper, because there's no overhead costs adding to the price, including the cost of transporting your food to the market.
Did you know that the average distance your food travels from farm to plate is nearly 1,500 miles? So shopping locally saves all that energy, too.
March 15, 2007: Cut Down on Plastic Bags
The Problem: Every year, Americans throw away 100 billion polyethylene plastic bags, and less than 1 percent of them are recycled. The bags take up to 1,000 years to dissolve; when they do, they leave dangerous toxins behind. Experts say they kill millions of animals every year.
The Solution Instead of taking new plastic bags every time you leave a store, put your purchases in a reusable bag. They're available at many stores, including Trader Joe's and Whole Foods. Ikea has gone an extra step by charging its customers 5 cents for each plastic bag they use -- the money goes to charity -- and cutting the price of its reusable blue bags to 59 cents.