Infographic: Why Should You Switch To Green Cleaning?

June 30, 2020 by  
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Infographic: Why Should You Switch To Green Cleaning?

How to properly and safely dispose of these 10 items in your home

February 10, 2020 by  
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Toxic chemicals, e-waste, light bulbs and batteries are just a few common household items that exit our homes and can end up in the landfill , where they may or may not break down or leach into the soil and water. Equally concerning is the potential for broken glass and chemicals to cause problems to sanitation workers, the water system and wildlife. Even when you make the best purchasing decisions upfront, you will eventually find yourself with toxic household waste. Before tossing items in the trash, check out these disposal options for items like batteries and paint that are safer for the planet. Tires Because most automotive, tractor and machine tires are a mixture of rubber and steel, they can’t be recycled without separating those components. As a result, you will likely have to pay to drop them somewhere. The landfill is one option, but you can commonly return them to a local tire center. Regardless of where you take it, the fee typically ranges from $2-10 per tire, so consider upcycling those old radials into a property border or flower bed divider. Related: EWG warns ‘forever chemicals’ are contaminating US drinking water at levels far worse than expected Light bulbs Your local recycling center probably accepts spent CFL light bulbs. Because CFL bulbs contain a small amount of mercury, it’s important that they are properly disposed of. Most large home improvement stores also provide a return option for CFLs and basic fluorescent bulbs. Depending on your local recycling center, LED or incandescent bulbs may be recyclable with your glass items. You can also visit Pinterest for ideas on ways to repurpose bulbs. Batteries The best option when it comes to batteries is to make the investment in rechargeable batteries. When they wear out, look for drop boxes at your local home improvement and office supply stores. For single-use household batteries, you can return them during city household waste collection events, or your recycling center may have a drop spot. Some home improvement stores also provide a drop location. Car, tractor and motorcycle batteries are easily recyclable at any retailer that sells them. You will likely even get a core refund for returning them. Check with automotive repair locations, car part stores or your local Battery Exchange. Electronics When the stereo, computer, TV or cell phone bites the dust, skip the landfill and head to the recycling center. You may need to separate the cords and/or batteries from the laptop or TV remote, but most components are accepted at these locations. Also check with the manufacturing company or service provider. For example, Apple and many cell phone companies will accept old devices for recycling, and some even offer a credit for it. Medications Expired and unneeded medications are absorbed into the soil and waterways if flushed down the toilet. They are also a danger to children and pets, so proper disposal is important. Most local police stations accept medications, and they can be returned at city waste collection events. The U.S. DEA also provides an annual National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day in conjunction with local law enforcement agencies. Stains and paints The good news is that modern paints and stains are formulated to last, so you can finish up the can while doing touch ups or other projects, even years down the road. If you’re moving and have to come up with a quick yet responsible disposal method, visit your local Habitat for Humanity reStore, where it will reformulate the paint for resale. Another option is to allow the paint to dry in the can, either naturally or with the aid of a commercial paint-dry product. Once dry, it can be thrown out with the rest of your garbage without a risk of contamination, although we do recommend using it entirely or donating it for resell before turning to the landfill. Related: 6 of the best places to donate your things Cleaning products Between glass cleaner and furniture polish, household cleaners have a way of accumulating. So when you pull out the last of the carpet and no longer need carpet spot cleaner or you make the switch to natural cleaners and need to do away with your old bottles, keep an eye out for that city waste collection event. For cleaners you can still use, try to use them up and recycle the container when you can. Also consider giving away any cleaners you no longer want, but note that most donation centers will not accept them, so offer them to friends, family and co-workers. Lawn and garden products Insecticides and pesticides should not be added to the garbage, where they can leak into water systems and soil. The same goes for the old oil and gasoline from your lawn mower and other equipment. This type of pollution will impact plants, animals and humans. Hold onto any lawn and garden chemicals for the next household waste round-up to return them responsibly. Personal care products If you find your bathroom cabinets and shelves full of old skincare , fragrances or nail polish you don’t want anymore, it is important to dispose of them properly, especially if they are from your pre-green beauty days. Unused, unexpired products may be suitable for donation. Otherwise, do not dump products in the sink or toilet. Check with your local hazardous household waste facility to see if it can accept your items. If you must, put all of the contents of the containers into one jar and place it in the garbage. Eyeglasses Whether you’ve undergone laser eye surgery or upgraded your style, eyewear is another common household item that may no longer be serving its purpose. Fortunately, there are many ways to donate old eyeglasses where they can provide the gift of sight and keep them out of the landfills. Lyons Clubs International, New Eyes (a division of United Way), OnSight and Eyes of Hope are all options. You can also drop eyeglass lenses and frames at most optical centers or local drop boxes, or donate them to a thrift store. Via Earth 911 and EPA.gov Images via Shutterstock

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How to properly and safely dispose of these 10 items in your home

Light-filled home makes the most of affordable, sustainable materials

February 10, 2020 by  
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Proving that building on a budget doesn’t have to mean compromising on aesthetics, Uruguayan architecture practice Bercetche Estudio has completed the WS House, a single-family home on the outskirts of Montevideo. Built primarily with unpainted natural timber inside and out, the home takes on a minimalist design that highlights its simple palette of natural materials. A strong connection with the outdoors and access to natural light is also emphasized throughout the home. Located in the La Tahona neighborhood about a half-hour drive east from the capital, the WS House stands out from its suburban neighbors with its contemporary form comprising boxy, flat-roofed volumes of varying heights. Spanning an area of nearly 2,750 square feet, the home is shaped like a horseshoe that wraps around the main entrance. Oversized square pavers that lead from the road to the front door emphasize the geometry of the home, while the timber cladding is applied in both horizontal and vertical orientations for visual interest. Related: Danish home champions wood over concrete for lower carbon emissions The main entrance leads directly to the open-plan living area, dining room and kitchen, which seamlessly connect to the outdoor terrace with a sunken circular pool through sliding glass doors. Flanking the main living areas are two bedroom wings: the master bedroom with an en suite bathroom is located on one side, and a secondary bedroom wing contains three flex rooms and two baths. Large windows let in ample natural light and views of the outdoors. “It is an easy-to-read house, built with sustainable and economical materials, which prove that with well-manipulated basic components, an expressive and energy-efficient house can be made,” the architects explained. “[The house] shows great respect for the environment and, through a nice space distribution, takes advantage of it. Two opaque volumes separated from each other generates a permeable ‘in between’ that gives rise to all the common activities of the house.” + Bercetche Estudio Photography by Sebastian Aguilar via Bercetche Estudio

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Light-filled home makes the most of affordable, sustainable materials

Costco to be the first major retailer to cut Roundup from the shelves

March 22, 2019 by  
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Moms Across America, a grassroots community of concerned citizens, began a campaign to eliminate the sale of the weed killer Roundup from three major retailers after the recent court decision to uphold the Johnson V. Monsanto lawsuit that concluded that exposure to Roundup contributes to non-Hodgkins lymphoma. After gathering 150,000 signatures on the petition to remove the products, they sent a letter to Home Depot, Lowe’s and Costco. In a big win for the organization and the public as a whole, Costco responded that they will be the first U.S. retailer to pull the products from their shelves. Costco, long known for their support of organic farming and organic food offering in their stores, not only felt that pulling Roundup was the right thing to do, but they took the supplemental step of finding effective organic options to stock instead. That means that in addition to canceling all orders for Roundup, they are watching for any glyphosate-based herbicides to ensure they stay off the shelves. Related: Researchers find weedkiller ingredient Glyphosate in name brand beer and wine Thousands of lawsuits are pending against Monsanto, the company that produces Roundup, after long-fought court battles continue to throw guilty verdicts in their direction. Science, doctors and exposed consumers have all fought to bring the dangers of glyphosate to the surface after repeated reports of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma surfaced and were connected to the chemical . In a previous lawsuit, Monsanto won the battle to avoid putting a warning label on the product even though the judge acknowledged it contains carcinogens and the decision goes against the original California Prop 65 designation that it should be classified as containing a known cancer-causing chemical. With this victory behind them, Moms Across America continues to push the other major retailers including Home Depot and Lowe’s Improvement Center to join in banning sales of the product. In addition, the activist group strives to continue educating the public about the dangers of glyphosate. After all, we are the ones who purchase and use it. With that decision comes the realization that once the chemical is applied, it contaminates the air and water for every plant, human and animal on the planet. If you’d like to join the campaign, you can add your signature to the petition here. Via Return to Now Images via Shutterstock, Mike Mozart

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Costco to be the first major retailer to cut Roundup from the shelves

‘Funnel-shaped’ cabin in an Ecuadorian forest is made of locally sourced wood

March 22, 2019 by  
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When it comes to creating living spaces that meld into their environment, savvy architects are showing us that sometimes less is definitely more. Quito-based architect Emilio Lopez has just unveiled a beautiful cabin made with  locally sourced wood and bamboo. At approximately 1,200 square feet, Cabana Don Juan is formed like a boxy funnel, with both sides featuring large glazed walls that provide stunning views of the coast on one side and a lush forest on the other. Located in the country’s Manabí Province, the beautiful two-story cabin is tucked into a native deciduous forest. Built on top of a hill along the coast line, the home rests in a setting that is picture-perfect, with views of the ocean on one side and the forest on the other. Related: Sculptural wood cabin is an alpine retreat with magnificent views To make the most of its natural environment, Lopez designed the cabin in a unique funnel shape with two extended sides that feature ultra-high, all-glass facades. The shell of the home is made out of concrete and covered with locally-sourced Amarillo and Asta wood. The interior was clad in eco-friendly bamboo , which provides a warm and cozy atmosphere. The living space is approximately 1,200 square feet, spanning two levels that connect through double-height ceilings. The ground floor houses the living, dining and kitchen area, while the two loft-like bedrooms are on the second floor, facing the ocean. The open-plan layout with large windows not only embeds the cabin and its inhabitants into the surroundings but also provides natural light and ventilation throughout the year. + Emilio Lopez Via Dwell Photography by Jag Studio via Emilio Lopez

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‘Funnel-shaped’ cabin in an Ecuadorian forest is made of locally sourced wood

8 ways to make your bathroom more eco-friendly

March 22, 2019 by  
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An outdated bathroom isn’t just an eyesore; it can also be quite harmful to the environment, because old toilets and faucets waste a ton of water, most of the building materials aren’t sustainable and many water heaters use way more energy than needed. In recent years, there have been significant changes in the world of bathrooms, with many eco-friendly fixtures, decor and accessories hitting the market. If it is time for a bathroom remodel in your home, take the opportunity to go green with some of these eco-friendly bathroom ideas. Interior design Recycled tile Most bathrooms feature some kind of tile, and now you can easily find options made from recycled content available in just about every aesthetic you can think of. Related: How to retile your bathroom You can find bathroom tile made from bamboo, cork or eco-friendly concrete. Newer options on the market include tiles made from reclaimed wood and vegetable ivory. Cabinets and vanity sinks Most traditional cabinets and vanity sinks use plywood, particle board, pressed wood and medium density fiberboard (MDF). But the glue used in those materials contains formaldehyde. Now, there are eco-friendly cabinets and vanity options  made from solid wood or recycled and reclaimed materials that are much safer. Think of cabinets made from bamboo or recycled concrete and countertops made from recycled glass or paper. Steel bathtubs Forget fiberglass and acrylic, and instead, consider a steel bathtub. The German company KALDEWEI offers bathtubs made from a steel enamel that come with a 30-year guarantee. Instead of ending up in a landfill at the end of its lifespan, these bathtubs — as well as their steel bathroom fittings — can be completely recycled. Fixtures Low-flow showerheads, toilets and faucets It should come as no surprise that every time you flush the toilet, you are wasting a significant amount of water . But there have been major advancements in recent years with low-flow and dual-flush toilets that have reduced water usage. Just a few years ago, toilets used more than three gallons of water with each flush. Now, high-efficiency toilets use less than a gallon. Considering how often your family flushes the toilet each day, this new technology can save thousands of gallons of water every year. Not only is this good for the environment, but it also helps lower those utility bills. The same goes for faucets and showerheads. The flow rates have dropped significantly over the years, so upgrading can result in less water usage, increased energy efficiency and even more savings on your utility bills. A fantastic resource for finding water-efficient appliances is the Environmental Protection Agency’s WaterSense program website. It offers a list of approved appliances that meet the EPA criteria, and it rates everything from showerheads to bathroom accessories. If you want to reduce your water usage without replacing your showerhead and faucet, you can add an aerator that will reduce the water flow rate without affecting water pressure. Energy-efficient water heater The U.S. Energy Information Administration says that nearly one-fifth of your home energy use is for heating water. An eco-friendly bathroom remodel should include the installation of an energy-efficient water heater. When shopping for water heaters, look for the EPA’s Energy Star label, so you know the product has been certified energy-efficient. Related: Adjusting a tankless water heater Eco-friendly options include a heat pump water heater, which uses heat from the air to heat the refrigerant that heats your water; a tankless water heater, which will heat the water as you use it; a condensing storage water heater, which will use less energy to create hot water; or a solar water heater, which will slash your energy costs. Accessories Oiled teak shower mat Cloth bath mats can invite mold and mildew, so opt for a mat made from teak wood that resists harmful bacteria while giving your bathroom a modern look. Oiled teak shower mats are slip resistant, naturally warm and easy to clean. Organic cotton towels and washcloths Harmful chemicals are often used when making traditional cotton bathroom linens, so when you are updating your bathroom, don’t forget to upgrade your towels and washcloths with organic cotton towels that don’t use pesticides. Related: How to save the environment one hair wash at a time Bamboo toothbrushes Get rid of those plastic toothbrushes and replace them with biodegradable bamboo. Mable offers a chic, self-standing bamboo brush at an affordable price. When you buy one, the company gives one to a child in need. Toothbrushes are just the beginning when it comes to bamboo bathroom accessories. You can find things like bathtub trays, soap dispensers and toothbrush holders that are made from this all-natural, sustainable material. It’s easy to go green when you remodel your bathroom. Even though some of these options may seem to be a bit pricey, remember that many of them will save you a ton of cash in the long run because of reduced energy bills. Try some of these eco-friendly bathroom ideas when you are turning your outdated bathroom into a sustainable home spa. Image via La Belle Galerie and Shutterstock

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Researchers find weedkiller ingredient Glyphosate in name brand beer and wine

February 28, 2019 by  
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Researchers have discovered Glyphosate — an ingredient found in some weedkillers — in name brand wines and beers . Scientists from U.S. PIRG tested 20 different alcoholic brands and found the troubling ingredient in 19 of the labels. Currently, a federal judge is examining the correlation between glyphosate and cancer, as trial has begun against Monsanto, the company behind the popular weedkiller , Roundup, for allegedly causing the plantiff’s cancer. Related: New study finds harmful chemicals, including glyphosate, in disposable diapers The director of U.S. PIRG, Kara Cook-Schultz, believes this is the perfect time to look at glyphosate and warn people that it is more widely spread than most suspect. “This chemical could prove a true risk to so many Americans’ health, and they should know that it is everywhere – including in many of their favorite drinks,” Cook-Schultz explained. Sutter Home Merlot had the most glyphosate with 51.4 parts per billion (ppb). But many of the wines and beers on the list were well above 25 ppb, including Beringer Moscato, Barefoot Sauvignon, Miller Lite, Coors Light, Budweiser and Corona. The only drink that did not test positive for glyphosate was an organic IPA from Peak Beer. These numbers, while troubling, are below what the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ( EPA ) considers the safety threshold. William Reeves, a toxicologist employed by Bayer, noted that the numbers are 100 times less than the recommended maximum exposure limit. For reference, a person would have to consume an entire bottle of Sutter Home Merlot wine every minute for their entire life just to reach the upper limits of what is considered safe. That said, even trace amounts of glyphosate could have negative health benefits. In the study from U.S. PIRG, the group found that tiny amounts of glyphosate, on the order of 1 part per trillion, could cause cancer cells to grow in breast tissue. The active ingredient also wreaks havoc on the endocrine system, though at what levels is still uncertain. It should be noted that the EPA does not consider glyphosate to be a cancer causing agent in humans, though the World Health Organization did label it as possibly carcinogenic four years ago. Via Eco Watch Image via Shutterstock

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Researchers find weedkiller ingredient Glyphosate in name brand beer and wine

Home Depot is coming full circle

November 14, 2018 by  
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The home improvement giant is building the circular economy into the built environment.

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Home Depot is coming full circle

What happens to industrial sites in de-industrialized cities?

October 13, 2018 by  
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Often, there are even more issues than just environmental racism at play.

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What happens to industrial sites in de-industrialized cities?

Safe and round: How healthier materials factor into a circular economy

September 24, 2018 by  
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Materials must be designed so that the molecules can be continuously reused — but that’s far easier said than done.

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Safe and round: How healthier materials factor into a circular economy

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