Labor Day weekend is a time for recognizing the end of summer, celebrating the start of football season, and taking some time off from work. It is also an opportunity for family and friends to get together for a cookout or other outdoor activities.
If you have recently tried to “go green” in your everyday life by taking steps to better protect the environment, Labor Day weekend should definitely be part of your efforts. But in case you’re not sure where to begin as a “green” entertainer, we have put together some helpful green tips. Being more aware of what is being served and on what it is being served should be a conscious first step for everyone. Once you get the hang of it, you may come up with more ideas on your own. Going green for Labor Day weekend can be fun, and it is easier than you may think.
Begin with the grill. Most people tend to use an outside grill for their parties. Getting rid of the traditional black charcoal and using wood or natural charcoal instead is one of the easiest things to change. Basically when you are using natural charcoal, you are using wood that is charred. And when you use wood as your heat source, all you need to do is go around your yard and pickup sticks to put in the grill. This in turn will make your yard look better while you keep obnoxious charcoal smoke out of everyone’s lungs.
How to regrow food from scraps
Don’t toss those old potatoes or celery scraps. Put them to work and grow a kitchen garden from leftover bits and pieces.
Feeling a bit adventurous with your green living efforts? If so, I’d recommend trying out a few of these tips to help you grow fresh veggies from the scraps you’d normally throw away. A few of my friends have experienced success in the past with celery, avocado, garlic, and green onions.
If you’ve re-grown any vegetables using scraps, please let us know what works best for you.
TEN TIPS FOR EATING CHEMICAL-FREE/ORGANIC ON A BUDGET
1-Eliminate processed/prepackaged foods from your grocery cart. This will allow more available funds for healthy/organic items.
2-Buy foods that you prepare and cook yourself rather than ‘convenience’ versions—they are far cheaper. (Example: buy individual salad ingredients rather than bags of packaged, pre-cut salad; buy blocks of cheese and a grater rather than bags of pre-shredded cheese, etc.)
3-Invest in a good cookbook (used copies can be found online for as little as three dollars) and collect a file folder of recipes you find for free online.
4-Avoid eating out. It’s expensive and unhealthy…most restaurants obtain their ingredients in bulk—ingredients that are frequently filled with potentially dangerous preservatives, dyes, additives, pesticides, synthetic animal hormones, antibiotics and other animal drugs). Instead, invite your friends and family to a cook-in or host potluck dinners of healthy homemade dishes free of unwanted food chemicals.
5-Take advantage of the times your local health food/organic store has specials on large shipments of fruits and vegetables. If you have a good supply of recipes you can save money by getting the fruits and veggies that are on sale because you will know what to do with them/how to prepare them.
6-If you are free of dietary restrictions, include grains and beans as a part of your diet. They supply plenty of nutrients and can be purchased very cheaply in bulk. There are many delicious recipes that focus on both of these food groups.
7-Grow your own vegetables and herbs/seasonings. Look through our archives (or online) for articles on how to start a garden—there are numerous, easy step-by-step instructions—including for people who have apartments or even a single room they are renting.
8-Check your area for community gardens and discounts with local farms. Many offer deep discounts for picking your own fruits and vegetables and/or volunteering a couple hours a month.
9-Make your own healthy, organic snacks and breakfast drinks rather than buying prepared versions. We have posted recipes for both so check our archives and watch for future postings.
10-Use the recipes we have posted on this blog and other online sources to make your own grooming products like shampoo, conditioner, facial wash, masks, etc. Not only are these organic versions chemical-free and healthier for you but you will save a significant amount of money that can be put towards your organic food budget.
This is a great list of ideas to help you purchase great organic food while adhering to a tight budget. We especially recommend the following tips:
#1 Eliminate processed/prepackaged foods from your grocery cart.
#3: Invest in a good cookbook.
#9: Make your own healthy, organic snacks and breakfast drinks rather than buying prepared versions.
What are some of your preferred ideas for reducing costs while still purchasing and consuming organic products?
By just increasing the temperature by 1 degree, one can save 10% on the power bill and reduce impact on environment.
Today’s green energy-saving tip, complete with a cute anthropomorphic air conditioner unit.
We all know what it’s like to rack up a huge energy bill in the summer. You’re constantly running the A/C to keep your family cool, all while using lots of electricity to power various activities and summer parties. To alleviate some of the energy burden as a homeowner, you should take the time to update the exterior paint on your house. Even though there are environmental concerns involved in painting, it is possible to paint your way to a lower electricity bill and still be kind to Mother Nature and your environment.
Here are five great tips to spruce up that paint job while also taking care of the world around you:
Going Green can seem like a mountainous task, but starting to live a greener lifestyle can be simple. Below are 20 simple tips that save you money as well as save the earth! They may seem like little things but you would be amazed at how much difference can be made by taking some of these little…
Even though this list is billed as being for “beginners,” it’s chock-full of tips that everyone should be implementing every single day. We specifically recommend the following:
- Get off junk mail lists. (Tip #3)
- Turn off lights and electronics when you exit a room! Unplug your cell phone charger from the wall when not using it. Turn off energy strips and surge protectors when not in use (especially overnight). (Tip #4)
- Go paperless with statements and bill paying and do it online. (Tip #9)
- Stop using plastic bags; instead, buy some reusable shopping bags and keep them in your car. (Tip #13)
- Stop buying plastic water bottles and invest in a re-usable, re-fillable metal one. (Tip #14)
What are some of your favorite recommendations to help someone go green?
There is a stunning metallic dome floating on the Bronx River in New York City right now—this fragile-looking structure is made of discarded umbrellas salvaged from the city’s streets and recycled plastic bottles.
Created by husband-and-wife design team Amanda Schachter and Alexander Levi of SLO Architecture, the Harvest Dome 2.0 had a predecessor that was accidentally destroyed while being installed—this newer and better version has been made possible by a successful Kickstarter campaign.
What a glorious fusion of design aesthetics and upcycling know-how - umbrellas have been re-fashioned into this dome installation on the Bronx River in New York.
Attention crafty people who love DIY activities mixed with a strong portion of upcycling goodness! The creative folks over at Buzzfeed DIY have collected a fantastic list of 31 different things that you can make out of cereal boxes.
Some are definitely kid-friendly activities that can keep your family engaged and having fun together on a rainy day or extra-hot summer day. Others require the sort of skill and finesse that mere mortals like myself can only envision in my wildest crafting dreams.
Check out our favorites:
Courtesy of babble.com, this flashlight idea is fantastic.
Creme de la Craft gives us the idea for cool mini notebooks.
At Whimsy Love, you and your kids can learn how to make seed planters for your window or backyard.
Amy J. Delightful shows us how to make photo frame mats with relative ease.
From Cut Out and Keep, you can learn how to make puzzles.
All images courtesy of Buzzfeed.
It’s time to start planning healthy lunches for your kids as they’re heading back to school. This year, along with organic fruits and energy-packed proteins to fuel those learning activities, consider these intriguing green lunch ideas that will get your kids showing their love for the planet.
Ditch that Plastic Lunchbox
Let’s start with the basics. Plastic takes decades to decompose in the landfill, and many lacquered paints have harsh, damaging chemicals that will seep into the water supply when they are no longer used.
You can make your own lunch containers at home with organic cotton, or you might browse this Etsy selection of reusable sandwich bags, lunchboxes, and environmentally friendly containers for every family member can use (even the parents). This stainless three piece set from ecolunchboxes.com features air-tight boxes to store fruit, sandwiches and veggies securely — and without disposable wastes after each meal.
Snacks and Desserts
Fruit roll-ups made with certified organic fruit and zero sugar are perfect for dessert with lunch or afternoon snacks. This Homemade Fruit Roll-ups recipe only has two ingredients – dried fruit and water – and it’s relatively easy to make on a regular basis.
Organic peanut butter on celery slices or rice cakes is delicious and filling. For your green lunch ideas, choose brands such as MaraNatha, whose products are made with USDA certified organic nuts, or grind your own with fresh nuts available at the Fresh Market in your area. You can also use simple home recipes from Michelle Borboa of Sheknows.com and a home food processor to make butter from almonds, cashews, pecans and more.
Other sandwich fare includes low or no-sodium, nitrate free turkey, certified organic cheese, and mixed veggies on a rice roll or baguette — Panini style. Kids also love banana sandwiches, so try a combination of soy-nut butter and thinly sliced bananas on Spelt bread or organic barley for a healthy option that is as healthy as it is nutritious.
Bento Boxes and Healthy Lunches
Shredded chicken, dried pears, chocolate chip cookies and string cheese lay the foundation for this beautiful bento meal with mixed greens, cucumber slices and pretzel rods for crunch and texture.
Want more fun green lunch ideas for your kids? We recommend HealthKicker.com, as that site offers several creative ideas for back to school menu items, especially if you’re planning to make meal time fun.
What are some ways that you get your kids to live and eat green?
It’s time to go back to school, which means that it’s time to buy new school supplies! This school year, you might want to choose school supplies that are Earth friendly and produce minimal waste. It’s important for the next generation to know just how important preserving the environment is. What better place to start than with the items that everyone needs to get and uses every day? Here is a comprehensive list of green ideas and products that will you’re your family keep a small carbon footprint this year.
Plastic bags are terrible for the environment because they literally NEVER biodegrade and are usually only used once. Say goodbye to these Earth destroyers this year by introducing the Wrap and Mat, a cloth sandwich bag made from natural fibers. It is completely reusable and washable. After taking a sandwich or other treat out of this stylish, eco-friendly bag, it doubles as a place matt. You can teach your kids how to be kind to the environment while simultaneously making sure their eating surface is clean!
Parents start thinking about back to school wardrobes for their kids in August, and thankfully, there are more choices than ever before for families that are looking for eco-friendly clothing options. Since most of us aren’t able to spin our own wool to knit winter socks (much less sheer our own sheep), there are many companies in the market that practice sustainable harvesting and manufacturing methods.
Thus, we’ve compiled this great list of green wardrobe ideas for your kids, complete with links to environmentally conscious companies that market hip, trendy, and fun clothes. This way, you can keep the planet in mind as you get your family ready to head back to school.
On the surface, the ubiquitous pallet seems ideal for reuse: It’s wood, it’s recycled and it’s free. Before reusing a pallet at home, though, read this to protect your health.
While we often extol the virtues of upcycling wooden shipping pallets, this article discusses some potential health concerns with reusing this wood. Like so many things in life in general, it’s important to consider the source of your materials before you use them.