Project: Greenify

Scroll to Info & Navigation

We all love the conveniences provided by our fancy smartphones, but it’s easy to forget that these devices aren’t inherently the greenest products on the market. Thankfully, engaging companies like Verizon have set up programs where people can recycle their electronics with ease and with the betterment of others in mind.
According to its “Electronic Device Recycling" program page: 
“Recycle your used devices with Verizon and you may be eligible to receive a Verizon Wireless gift card. We accept cell phones, tablets, netbooks and mobile hotspot devices from any carrier. For every device recycled, we will also make a $1 contribution to HopeLine® from Verizon.”
The best parts of this program are pretty great:
Verizon will take products from any other carrier
Victims and survivors of domestic violence will receive some much-needed assistance and support.


"More than a million pounds of e-waste have been collected at Verizon Recycling Rallies," which means that plenty of junk has been kept out of landfills and the appropriately re-used and recycled.
Even if you’re not a Verizon customer, this is a fairly excellent program that looks to benefit all the people, plants, and animals that live on our lovely planet. And be on the lookout for similar programs from your city, phone provider, and/or favorite retail outlets. We use lots of electronics in the 21st century, so it’s important that we understand the environmental impact of the technology we love.
This post does not reflect an endorsement of Verizon as a phone provider or retailer. It merely seeks to highlight a worthy program that looks to help reduce the waste and environmental impact of electronic devices, while spreading awareness for the environment.

We all love the conveniences provided by our fancy smartphones, but it’s easy to forget that these devices aren’t inherently the greenest products on the market. Thankfully, engaging companies like Verizon have set up programs where people can recycle their electronics with ease and with the betterment of others in mind.

According to its “Electronic Device Recycling" program page: 

Recycle your used devices with Verizon and you may be eligible to receive a Verizon Wireless gift card. We accept cell phones, tablets, netbooks and mobile hotspot devices from any carrier. For every device recycled, we will also make a $1 contribution to HopeLine® from Verizon.”

The best parts of this program are pretty great:

  1. Verizon will take products from any other carrier
  2. Victims and survivors of domestic violence will receive some much-needed assistance and support.

"More than a million pounds of e-waste have been collected at Verizon Recycling Rallies," which means that plenty of junk has been kept out of landfills and the appropriately re-used and recycled.

Even if you’re not a Verizon customer, this is a fairly excellent program that looks to benefit all the people, plants, and animals that live on our lovely planet. And be on the lookout for similar programs from your city, phone provider, and/or favorite retail outlets. We use lots of electronics in the 21st century, so it’s important that we understand the environmental impact of the technology we love.

This post does not reflect an endorsement of Verizon as a phone provider or retailer. It merely seeks to highlight a worthy program that looks to help reduce the waste and environmental impact of electronic devices, while spreading awareness for the environment.

Plant Your Fall Crops Now and Enjoy Tasty Food Later

image

Most folks associate the fall with harvest, not planting – and this is especially true for our local deer, as they pack away as many dropped apples as they can.

However, depending upon where you live in the United States, there are still a few crops that fare much better during the cooler autumn weather than in the summer heat. Specifically in New York, Pennsylvania, and similar Mid-Atlantic and Midwestern states, you have time to plant and harvest fall crops before the snow falls.

image

We built a small greenhouse from a kit last year in which to house our fall crops.  It’s all cleaned up and ready for our young starts of spinach, lettuces, radishes, and broccoli. While it is a bit late to begin from seed, you can build a simple cold frame to begin your growing efforts.

One of the tricks we found that helps ward off freezing was wrapping a piece of black plastic around a 5 gallon bucket of water. This creates like a heat sink and keeps the ambient temperature just above freezing to help the plants survive. Of course, when it’s -10 outside, everything freezes.

image

These little lettuces will grow quickly into nice ones in a few weeks, just like the ones in the image below from last year.

image

Combined with the spinach and some of summer’s cherry tomatoes, they make a delightful salad.

image

While it might be too late for tomatoes and peppers (though our summer batch was excellent), it’s just right for fall crops like broccoli, as well as cauliflower, cabbage, squash, chard, collards, carrots, and of course, okra. Check out the Aggie Horticulture fall garden list.  

If you’re in Texas, however, you’ve still got plenty of time before winter temperatures get too cold to set out young starts.

Rodale’s Press’s Organic Gardening has its September planting list based on your hardiness zone list. Don’t remember your hardiness zone? The USDA has an interactive GIS Plant Hardiness zone map. Just type in your zip code and it will display your zone.

What are your plans for planting fall crops that you can harvest enjoy throughout the winter and into next spring? Anything you’d care to share with the readers?

8 Questions to Ask before Going Solar (Guest Post by Jayde Ferguson of Infinite Energy)

image

Concern for the long-term health of our environment has been growing over the past decade as more people than ever before have made the decision to “go green.” One of the better ways to contribute to a greener world is installing solar panels at your home or business. However, there are a few questions that you will need to ask yourself before you make the switch to solar power. In order to ensure you are making the right decision, take a look at the top eight questions that you need to ask yourself before going solar.

Do you have a lot of storms in your area?

Solar panels are typically fitted to the roof of your home or business. In most areas of the world, they sit undisturbed for years, soaking up solar energy without any day-to-day attention from you. On the other hand, if you live in an area that has the capacity to experience regular tornados or hurricanes, your solar panels run the risk of being compromised.

In order to ensure you will not need to replace them periodically, you will need to invest in extra materials that affix your solar panels permanently in place. There are also specialized solar panels that are meant to be used near beaches and other areas that experience frequent high winds. With these precautions, storms are unlikely to cause the same issues to solar panels as they did 10 years ago. When all else fails, please check your homeowner’s insurance policy to ensure that it covers damage to solar panels.

Does your local community allow solar panels?

In most areas of the country, you shouldn’t have too many issues with having solar panels installed. Nevertheless, if you live in a gated community or a deed-restricted neighbourhood, solar panels may be restricted. While you may not be able to have solar panels on top of your roof, other alternatives might be available, and there may also be a way to conceal solar panels from the street view. We recommend that you check with your Homeowners Association to learn what is and is not permitted regarding solar panels

Where will the solar panels go?

Most people will put the solar panels on the roof of their home, since the roof is the closest point to the sun generating all that solar energy, but they can be installed other places. As an alternative, some people with extra acreage can use portion of your yard, while others might the top of the garage. For homeowners that live in the country, using an empty field along with a barn or outdoor building with a metal roof is often the best solution.

Do you need a new roof?

Before you install solar panels, you will need to have a stable place to put them. In most cases, the roof of your home or business should be sturdy enough for this task. Regardless, you will need to have your roof checked for rot by a specialist before the solar panels are put in place. We’d recommend not installing solar panels if you have roof issues, since it would be costly to remove them in order to have roof repairs done at a later date. Get the roof fixed before installing the panels.

Will you be able to produce enough power?

No matter how energy efficient you think you are, there’s always something in your house that needs to be powered. Keeping your energy consumption low can be a challenge, especially true if you have children. Frequent power needs can cause some homeowners to think that they may not be able to produce enough solar power in order to power their home. The biggest misconception here is that you do not need to solely rely on solar; instead, we suggest that you use a combination of electrical utilities and solar to ensure you always have the power your home needs.

Should you lease or own your solar panels? 

It is not uncommon to find homeowners that want to buy solar panels or switch to solar, but they do not go through with it because they cannot afford the upfront costs. In these scenarios, one option available in many areas is leasing, where you pay a solar panel company a small instalment each month. One of the advantages of leasing solar panels is that you don’t need to be responsible for maintenance. When the solar panels wear out, the company comes in and switches them out. Most of the time, the price of the monthly solar bill is far less than the typical utilities bill.

Are you prepared to turn a profit?

Solar panels are directly linked in to your current electrical system. When too much energy is produced, it can be stored in batteries or sent back to the utility company that services your area. When the meter is read by the utility company each month, if you generated more electricity than you used, the difference is credited back to you as the homeowner. Although this can vary by region, it’s best to check with your utility company to determine if they will buy back the extra solar energy you collect.

Does the cost outweigh the benefits?

When you see how much it costs to initially install solar panels, the numbers can be shocking. Regardless, the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the average solar panel lasts for 25 to 40 years. Along with that, there are several tax breaks for installing solar options in your home. In addition to the federal tax breaks, state and local tax credits may be available.

In the end, several studies have shown that installing solar panels is cost-effective. By consulting a solar panel installation company, you can review your needs and concerns with a professional to determine if your home is fully ready to make the transition. Of course, if your main goal is to protect the environment, going solar is one of the best, most sustainable ideas available.

Author Bio

This article is written by Jayde Ferguson who writes for Infinite Energy – a market leader in quality solar power systems and solar hot water in Perth, Australia.

Harvesting Your Spring Crop – The Results Show!

image

After a long, hot summer of watering, fighting off insects, and pulling weeds it’s now time to enjoy the fruits of your hard labors. Literally. I have been watching our apple tree all summer. Technically, it’s a 30- or 40-year-old mongrel that grew wild from a sapling. We didn’t spray or treat it with anything. The last few weeks have been hot and dry and helped concentrate the sugars. These are delicious — like eating pie right off the branch.

image

So, we picked just a few. We hope to get to pick some more.

image

I have also been watching our tomatoes and peppers all summer. Tomatoes have been growing nicely for most of the summer. More than once, I went out into the sunshine to snack on the yellow salad tomatoes right off the vine. Warm, juicy… aaahhhh! We keep a chili pepper plant in a pot by the back door. When we want to sauté a fresh one, it’s only a few steps away.

image

With late summer comes canning season. Here, my wife is blanching them to remove their skins for canning whole or in pieces.  We grow about 6 or 7 varieties, including Amana Orange and Jeanne Flamme. Ever have yellow spaghetti sauce?

image

Take a gander at some of our sweet bell peppers, Bloody Butcher corn (for grinding into meal), an eggplant, and a couple of squash (one was a volunteer). Don’t all those fall colors just make you hungry?

Did you have any success harvesting your spring crop? If so, please share any links or images you might have to your produce! 

redesignrevolution:

DIY Terrariums! (via DIY Thursday: 8 Fall Interior Decor Tutorials | Redesign Revolution)

So yeah - this idea for a DIY terrarium is kinda fantastic. They add colors to your home, make the air more breathable by removing CO2, and can be constructed in most any size of glass jar (as I’m personally partial to a good Mason jar). Moreover, it should be rather simple to vary the plants being grown according to season.

redesignrevolution:

DIY Terrariums! (via DIY Thursday: 8 Fall Interior Decor Tutorials | Redesign Revolution)

So yeah - this idea for a DIY terrarium is kinda fantastic. They add colors to your home, make the air more breathable by removing CO2, and can be constructed in most any size of glass jar (as I’m personally partial to a good Mason jar). Moreover, it should be rather simple to vary the plants being grown according to season.

Four Ways to Go Green with New Green Technology

Between the concern over the changing climate, food production, endangered species, and other environmental dilemmas, a growing number of people had expressed an interested in “going green” in their everyday lives. Fortunately, the rapidly developing green technology sector is churning out inventions that help people adopt this new standard of living at an ever increasing pace. From green cleaners to low emission automobiles, people who want to go green are finding it easier and more cost efficient with each passing year. Here are some of the latest examples of green technology, from home improvements to fresh water, that people will be able to slowly incorporate into their lives to help them achieve green living standards in their homes.

1. Improving Household Heating and Cooling Efficiency

Many people do not realize the enormous amount of energy wasted around the home. This is especially true regarding the escape of hot and cold air through cracks and crevices that you might not even be able to see with your naked eye. Some estimate that up to 30 percent of your average energy bill could result directly from the leaks around a home. Home builders have increasingly become interested in making sure that newly built homes are properly sealed to prevent leaks and the subsequent unnecessary use of energy. Unfortunately, outside of visual inspection and the handy use of a caulking gun, there was little that could be done.

However, new heating and cooling efficiency technology being developed by the Western Cooling Efficiency Center aims to change our ability to detect and fix leaks. The technology uses compressed nitrogen to push sealants wherever air is flowing in or out of a home. It has experienced some real world testing on Habitat for Humanity homes, and this is expected to continue in preparation for use by the general public. The company hopes to continue to improve the technology until the leaks from homes are zero, and then develop a system to allow for adequate ventilation for health reasons.

2. Air2Water

Most people try to keep humidity out of their homes at all costs. Low humidity keeps the home comfortable and prevents common problems, such as mold. To remove this moisture from our home air, some folks even run dehumidifiers to help remove the excess water, dumping the results often right down the drain. But thanks to one entrepreneur from Puerto Rico, the Air2Water technology takes this excess atmospheric water and purifies it into drinking water right in the home.

While the cost of the machines may be a little expensive for most homeowners right now, there is a great deal of promise about the capacity of the technology. Successful implementation of the Air2Water device in your home could increase the motivation to eliminate bottled water, reduce the strain on general utilities, and combine the need for dehumidifiers with the basic human requirement of water into an efficient, self-sustaining system. Those who live in areas where humidity is seasonal will be happy to hear that the models can also tap into the regular water supply when needed. The company has also developed models to pull in water from the air outside, which it advertises as a potentially solution for the global water crisis.

3. Bambooee Towels

With their capacity to wipe up spills and participate in general household maintenance, paper towels are incredibly handy. Unfortunately, they require the continual cutting of trees for the manufacturing process, and the towels themselves are responsible for an estimated 3,000 tons of waste per day.

Lucky for you, Bambooee towels seek to answer the green living dilemma that is the paper towel. These towels have been made from organic rayon bamboo and are machine washable, good for an estimated 100 uses. They are described as being extremely versatile, super absorbent, stronger, and more durable than standard paper towels. By opting to use these towels over the traditional paper option, you will quickly reduce your carbon footprint as fewer trees will be chopped down on your behalf. Bambooee towels can also help save money since you won’t have to purchase new paper towels all year long.

4. ‘Green’ Makeup

As consumers have become increasingly conscientious about the chemicals that have been added to their food, they have also begun to take notice of what is added to their makeup and body care products. A company known as Australian Scent has worked to develop a line of products for people interested in green living. The products have been designed using all natural ingredients such as rich oils and cocoa butter to keep skin and hair healthy. Australian Scent also sells items like as mosquito repellant that also shy away from potentially dangerous chemicals like DEET. You will feel confident that your beauty has been sustained using safe and natural ways that are better for the environment. Additionally, you will be glad that the products you’re using on your body does not pose safety risks to your health like more traditional beauty products can cause.

As green technology continues to improve, people across the world increasingly can access more efficient and safer products. Going green can touch every aspect of your life if you let it, from the car you drive and how your house is built to how food and water you consume are developed and purified. We’ve only provided four of the more intriguing bits of green technology that have been released recently – there are so many more available on the market, if you know where to look. Going green in 2013 has never been more exciting and open to more people.

redesignrevolution:

(via Upcycle This! 8 Ways to Embrace Eco-Couture (NY Fashion Week Edition))

In honor of New York Fashion Week, here are 8 creative ideas for upcycling a variety of materials to create inventive dresses and accessories. I personally like the clutch made from candy wrappers, the hobo bag made from computer keys, and the storybook gown made fromGolde Books.
What are your thoughts on the “eco-couture?”

redesignrevolution:

(via Upcycle This! 8 Ways to Embrace Eco-Couture (NY Fashion Week Edition))

In honor of New York Fashion Week, here are 8 creative ideas for upcycling a variety of materials to create inventive dresses and accessories. I personally like the clutch made from candy wrappers, the hobo bag made from computer keys, and the storybook gown made fromGolde Books.

What are your thoughts on the “eco-couture?”

mothernaturenetwork:

30 things you should never compost or recycleThough recycling and composting are two of the most important green practices, there are some items that are bad for the environment. Follow these guidelines for best practices.

While some folks might quibble with certain of the “do not compost” items, this list does represent a good guide regarding certain items that you shouldn’t try to compost and/or recycle. Most of these qualifications concern how a given product is made or processed. In general, we recommend that you do your own research into the restrictions in your area before you decide what you should and should not send to the compost pile or recycling bin.

mothernaturenetwork:

30 things you should never compost or recycle
Though recycling and composting are two of the most important green practices, there are some items that are bad for the environment. Follow these guidelines for best practices.

While some folks might quibble with certain of the “do not compost” items, this list does represent a good guide regarding certain items that you shouldn’t try to compost and/or recycle. Most of these qualifications concern how a given product is made or processed. In general, we recommend that you do your own research into the restrictions in your area before you decide what you should and should not send to the compost pile or recycling bin.

Four New Smartphone Apps to Help You Go Green

image

Going green is a growing popular movement that can touch nearly every aspect of your everyday life. Green living practices can help you save money on your electricity bills, as it encourages you to adopt attitudes and practices that are friendly towards the environment. Given that smartphone technology and the apps that drive them have also increasingly come to influence the lives of people across the county, it is natural that people look for ways to have these two areas intersect. Lo and behold, a wide variety of apps exists to help people interested in green living. Here are a few of the latest and greatest smartphone apps to help you go green.

image

1. Good Guide

This app is essential for green conscious shoppers. Users can download the app on their iPhone to scan the food or other products they are interested in purchasing. They will receive information about the nutritional content of the item, as well as the environmental footprint for cultivating that product. Users can personalize the app so that the issues that matter most to them – whether they are human rights issues, animal cruelty, safe ingredients, or climate change – will appear on screen if the product meets their specific criteria.

You can also create personalized shopping lists, share your recommendations on social media, and more. The app contains the information for over 170,000 products available throughout the United States, including food, pet food, baby and child care products, household cleaners, and other common household products. It has been featured in a number of publications, including NewsWeek and TechCrunch. While it is compatible with most iPhone and iPod Touch products with iOS 5.0 or later, it has been optimized for iPhone 5.

image

2. Seafood Watch

If you combine your love of quality seafood with concern for the environment, you probably worry a bit about the pollutant content of the fish you’re consuming as well as how sustainably it is being raised. Some seafood has been found to contain excessively high levels of potentially dangerous pollutants, such as mercury, which can be very harmful to people in large doses, pregnant women, and small children. Furthermore, there are also fish populations which are overfished and becoming increasingly endangered. To help people sort through the various fish available in conjunction with green living practices, this app will help to create personalized recommendations based on geographic location.

In addition to standard seafood found in restaurants or supermarkets, the app is also designed to help those who prefer their seafood raw and wrapped in rice and seaweed. Users can search for seafood based on their traditional Japanese names so that you make the best green choice when you’re enjoying sushi. You can also access lists that organize the available food options by “Best Choice”, “Good Alternative”, and “Avoid,” as well as receive recommendations for those that fall on the ‘Avoid” list. The app is compatible with most Android devices.

3. iRecycle

Recycling has been an important green living practice ever since the birth of the modern environmental movement. Our ability to reuse items means that manufacturers do not need to demand as much from the environment and the world around them. Since many items, such as plastics, are not biodegradable, recycling also reduces the different types of products that wind up in landfills. Earth911, a company dedicated to providing information and resources for those looking to live lifestyles more compatible with the environment, developed this app to help people learn about how to recycle in their own areas.

Users are given information about how to recycle over 350 different types of materials whether they are at home or out and about. The app advertises over 1.5 million ways to recycle, as well as offering a social and news connection for people to stay up to date with those with a similar mindset. You can search for ways to recycle the products used in your daily life, and the ease of the application means that finding the perfect way to recycle has never been simpler. This app is available for iOS, iPad, and Android.

4. Dirty Dozen

Just about anyone who is interested in green living has heard of the “Dirty Dozen” (no, not the movie) – a list that describes a group of fruits and vegetables who have been found to contain the highest amounts of dangerous chemicals. This list is created by the Environmental Working Group to help customers navigate buying foods in conventional supermarkets while limiting their exposure to pesticides and other harmful chemicals.

This app is designed to help shoppers go even a step further by providing helpful information about some genetically modified ingredients that shoppers might encounter as well as additional foods associated with pesticides. It is a wonderful app for those looking to balance shopping conventionally with being mindful about how their food was prepared. This app is compatible with most Android and Apple devices, including iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch.

Going green requires people to make radical changes in their lifestyles that affect what they do with garbage to what types of food they eat. As people go green, they often realize how much of an impact they can have on the planet just going about their day. Fortunately, green living technology is catching up to make the lifestyle changes easier, and smartphone apps for going green are a part of the puzzle. The apps we’ve introduced today can help you adopt more green living practices, as you seek to help make the world a better place.