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Friday, September 26, 2014

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Eco-Fashion Friday Finds – Falling for Sweaters


bamboo alpaca sweater

It’s that time again. Cool autumn breezes are beginning to waft through changing fall foliage. Time to start thinking of warmer clothing, layering and transitional items like sweaters. This week we’re featuring a roundup of sustainably sourced and eco-friendly sweaters – note not all these pieces are vegan, most are sustainably sourced, handmade and stylish.

This original hand knit sweater (above) is made of baby alpaca, merino and bamboo mixed yarn. It features a sumptuous, two-strand thick and thin textural pattern with some loosely plied strands mixed with spiral-plied strands creating a unique texture and form. This sweater’s hand-paint color combinations of sapphire gray and cream is (more…)

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Friday, September 26, 2014

7 Ways to Conserve Water


water droplet falling

Water is life. It is the single most important resource on the planet. Nothing that we know of can survive without it. There are many places throughout the world where fresh water is scarce, and people go without it due to population growth, longer life expectancies and pollution. That is why it is so important to conserve what we have for ourselves and for future generations. If we don’t, what else are we going to do?

There are so many ways the average consumer can conserve water, both on their own and with efficient energy saving products:

  • You can reuse grey water, like dish water and laundry water in your garden. This will allow you to reuse what you have rather than use new water.
  • You can collect rainwater in a cistern. It is amazing just how much water is wasted when they take a shower. All of that water going down the drain adds up to a lot more than you can imagine.
  • Using a low flow shower head and cutting down the time you spend in the shower is probably one of the best ways you can help the environment. It cuts down your water usage.
  • A shower and faucet flow meter bag monitors the flow of water in your shower and faucet aerators by actual gallons per minute. This can be essential to watching exactly how much water you use. It will serve as a healthy reminder to conserve and allow you to cut down your water bill immensely. Water leaks are not only wasteful, they can cost you more than you realize.
  • It’s always best to monitor your toilet for leaks. They can spring up anytime. One of the best ways to do that is with a LeakAlertor. A leak alerter detects leaks by monitoring the vibrations of your toilet and alerting you when they change. It gives visual and auditory alerts. You can’t miss when you have a leak. It works perfectly with faulty flappers and other leaks that can’t be heard.
  • A moisture meter is another device that can be really helpful. You stick it in the ground and it detects how much moisture is in the soil so you can avoid improper watering in the garden. It works at the root level where the plants soak up all the moisture that way you know just how much water is there and whether or not you are using too much or too little. It even comes in cute little designs, like a frog or ladybug. You can even customize it with your logo, company or program name.
  • We waste a lot of water by rinsing out dishes before we do them. There are dish squeegees that can avoid this problem. By squeegeeing your dishes you can get all of the caked on food off without having to use any water.

You’d be surprised how much water these simple changes can save. We can’t waste the world’s resources. They’re all we have. The environment is the single most important thing we have and water is an integral part of saving it.

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Thursday, September 25, 2014

rustic zen – handmade reclaimed barnwood coffee tables


reclaimed barnwood coffee table

I’ve got a feeling we may see one of these reclaimed barnwood coffee tables on the set of Talking Dead this season … Furniture pieces with a rustic industrial style can enhance a space with either a retro or modern decor – and the basic material (reclaimed wood) is eco-friendly and sustainable.

barnwood coffee table

These handmade tables by the The Zen Artist possess a great rustic patina that’s created by the alternating arrangement of weathered rectangles of (more…)

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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Eco Fashion: Recycled Rubber Taking Center Stage


Margaret Nowak Dobos necklace

If there is a need for something, innovation will follow. And that is the case with the issue of old rubber bicycle and car tires, rubber remnants and vinyl. These materials – and rubber in particular – provide very few good recycling options, if they can be recycled at all. And they are not easily biodegraded – meaning that if they are not reused and do end up in a landfill they will sit there for a very long time. In answer to the problem of what to do with all this rubber, some creative designers have responded with the transformation of waste into wearable art and eco-friendly fashion accessories.

Margaret Dobos necklace

Margaret Nowak Dobos
Dobos is a designer featured by My Sisters Art which kicked off in 2009 (photos above). She creates high fashion designs that are progressive in both material and form. She works with urban material such as rubber, aluminum and resin – recycling and upcycling these materials into simplistic yet beautiful pieces. Dobos won the 2014 International Eco Arts Award, and has been designing for 25 years.  (more…)

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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

How to Donate or Recycle Cell Phones


Since smartphone manufacturers are constantly releasing their newest and hottest smartphones with exciting features, consumers are buying phones more often. The average person upgrades their cell phone every 18 months, a cycle which results in many people throwing out their old phones. This has major consequences on the environment: experts estimate that an astounding number of devices are thrown out every year in the United States alone. This adds to our country’s growing problem with overcrowded landfills.

The Environmental Effects
cellphone-slaes infographicAccording to e-Cycle.com, Americans throw out 130 million devices every year, making up the majority of toxins in our landfills. Even though more than 70 percent of these millions of phones can be reused, it is believed that only 14 to 17 percent of mobile devices are recycled. The environmentally responsible thing to do is properly recycle any mobile device that you no longer plan to use. When enough people participate, it can have a tremendous impact on the environment, our energy supply and our landfills.

For example, e-Cycle.com points out that recycling one lithium-ion battery of a smartphone can prevent the contamination of 60,000 liters of water (the equivalent of three Olympic-sized swimming pools). And, if 1 million people recycle their cell phones, this will reduce greenhouse gas emissions equal to taking 33 cars off the road for a year. Just 42 recycled cell phones save enough energy to power the average household for a full year.  (more…)

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Transparent Photovoltaic Glass May Soon Power Smartphones and Buildings


Apollo Glass

There are so many technologies and sensory contraptions packed into today’s smart devices, the average Joe or Jane would not know of many besides perhaps the battery, some sort of high-definition touchscreen and a few volume, home and power buttons. To illustrate, one could consider the Samsung Galaxy S5 smartphone as an all-in-one personal computer, television, digital camera, cordless payphone, flashlight, mp3 player, global positioning device, and personal trainer. If we include what these little metal and glass rectangles can replace through software functions, one could also consider them alarm clocks, calendars, shopping malls, personalized banking centers, address books, instant messengers, newspapers, or photo albums. Most adults in the United States are walking around with small weathermen, stockbrokers and personal assistants in their pockets; wireless and free to move about their daily lives, these smart devices still must inevitably rest and recharge just like their owners. But in the near future, just as we may feel energized from a cool, radiant day, our smart devices may benefit from some daily sunlight exposure as well.  (more…)

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Monday, September 22, 2014

Shoes that Sprout: Biodegradable Shoes that Grow Plants


OAT shoe with plant

When your trusty tennis shoes wear out, the fastest and easiest option to dispose of them – also the one that is not eco-friendly – is to pitch them in the trash. Once in the trash your old shoes find their way to the landfill where they remain for many, many years. If you think about how many shoes you and everyone else have tossed out over the years, it adds up to a lot of shoes in the ground.

OAT shoe

But with footwear from OAT shoes, your shoes will biodegrade in about a year’s time and plants might even sprout from them. OAT shoes are completely biodegradable and the shoes actually contain seeds in the tongue that can sprout if buried.  (more…)

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Friday, September 19, 2014

Eco-Fashion Friday Finds: a Day at the Beach


recycled sail cloth beach tote

This week we thought we’d feature some beach-related fashion finds in honor of tomorrow’s Coastal Cleanup Day.

Hoist Away Bags makes rugged recycled sail bags, beach bags and totes from retired sail cloth. This drawstring tote bag (above) is equally at home in a car, bus, boat and the overhead of your favorite airline. The drawstring insert will keep sand, rain and hermit crabs away from your valuables. Hoist Away uses sail material that has enjoyed coastal Maine breezes, were raised during Olympic trials and hailed from as far away as France. All the sail bags have a bit of “sail history” stitched inside. The drawstring top is from a recycled spinnaker sail. $155 (more…)

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