9 ways to have an eco-friendly Valentine’s Day

February 8, 2019 by  
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While there is no truth to the rumor that Hallmark invented Valentine’s Day, there is no denying that many people think of it as a manufactured holiday designed to sell cards, flowers and chocolate. Every February 14th, millions of people buy cards and roses, and drop a ton of cash on diamonds, gold and silver. In 2019, Americans are expected to spend almost 20 billion dollars for the romantic holiday, and that breaks down to nearly $150 a person. All of that consumer spending leads to a lot of waste . A holiday dedicated to love shouldn’t be about how much money you spend. You can still do a lot of romantic things that don’t destroy your budget and the environment. Rethink your chocolate choices Instead of picking up a last minute box of chocolates from the nearest convenience store, plan in advance to buy organic or local chocolate. Then, opt for minimal packaging instead of heart-shaped boxes or plastic molds. Go green with your Valentine’s cards Even though everything seems to be digital these days, more than 180 million paper cards are still exchanged on Valentine’s Day. Paper mills use huge amounts of water and emit loads of chemicals, not to mention, the trees that have to die to make these cards. Even recycled cards will emit methane when they decompose in a landfill. This year, skip the traditional paper card and make one yourself out of old magazines or give a card made from plantable seed paper. You can also send a custom E-Card or chalk a sidewalk where you know your significant other will see it. Related: 6 ways to reuse your Valentine’s Day roses Pick organic bouquets The flower industry is surprisingly destructive when it comes to the environment because of the heavy pesticide use. So, minimize your impact this Valentine’s Day by giving your loved one an organic bouquet or pick some flowers out of your own garden or visit the local farmer’s market. If you do visit your local farmer’s market, that is also a great place to find local, seasonal treats instead of buying something that’s been shipped from thousands of miles away. Stick to vintage jewelry There are numerous environmental and human rights problems that come from mining gold and diamonds. So, instead of buying brand new jewelry, opt for a vintage piece that makes a statement. Or, consider something that has been made from recycled metal, paper or other repurposed materials. Skip the restaurant Many of us look at Valentine’s Day as an excuse to dine out at a fabulous restaurant and drop a little extra cash. However, there is nothing more romantic than making a meal together at home in your own kitchen. Not only is cooking a meal at home better for your wallet, but it is also better for the environment because it will mean less food waste and no to-go boxes. Donate to a cause Instead of exchanging gifts or indulging with an expensive night out, you can go eco-friendly this Valentine’s Day by making a donation to an environmental cause or animal shelter in your loved one’s name. Or, you can go further than a donation and save an animal from a shelter by giving a shelter dog or cat as a gift. Just make sure that your significant other actually wants a pet. Related: Green Valentine gifts for Earth-loving sweethearts Make your own bath products A hot bubble bath with your Valentine is a great way to spend the evening, but there is no need to buy bath and body products from chain stores or big box stores. Instead, make your own bath salts, bath bombs, sugar scrubs or bath oils. There are plenty of recipes on the internet and most of them use natural ingredients. Plant a tree Skip the cut flowers this Valentine’s Day and instead plant a tree together as an ongoing reminder of your love and your relationship. If you aren’t ready for a tree, you can opt for a plant. And, if you still want to see beautiful flowers on the holiday, visit a botanical garden or nature reserve and take a romantic stroll. Use eco-friendly protection and undies Go green in the bedroom this Valentine’s Day with vegan condoms from companies like Sustain Natural, Glyde, L. or Lovability. Traditional condom companies aren’t very forthcoming with their ingredients, so we don’t know how long it takes for them to biodegrade. So, to stay eco-friendly this Valentine’s Day, go vegan — at least in the bedroom. Via Sierra Club Images via Sharon McCutcheon , Shutterstock

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9 ways to have an eco-friendly Valentine’s Day

Eco-friendly options for decluttering waste

January 24, 2019 by  
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Clutter in your home creates a weight, in every sense of the word. From the physical weight of moving objects around to the mental weight of maintaining each item, to the emotional weight of retaining items out of guilt. Ultimately, having too much stuff can take a toll. With the documentary Minimalism hitting Netflix a few years ago, and now Marie Kondo teaching everyone how to declutter their homes, the idea of decluttering and downsizing seems to be everywhere these days. There are many reasons decluttering is healthy for the mind and home, but there are also side effects of decluttering including the waste produced during the purge. When figuring out what to do with the items you no longer covet, consider sustainable practices, your wallet and your mental health. The mere act of clearing out the clutter is a step towards sustainability in your home. After all, that leaves less objects to clean, repair and carbon offset. It also removes the clutter from your mind. Once you get to the point of letting things go, it’s important to shift your subsequent buying habits so that you don’t accumulate unwanted items again. So now that you’ve cleared out the excess things in your home, what do you do with all the stuff you’re getting rid of? With simplicity and eco-friendly practices in mind, the goal is to avoid sending even the smallest item to the landfill . Here are some options to consider. Related: 9 simple tips to Feng Shui your home Sell Have a garage sale or sell items with online social media or community pages or apps on your phone. Type “Buy/Sell” into your Facebook search engine and you’re likely to find a local marketplace. If you’re overwhelmed by a large amount of items to sell, hire a local estate sale company to handle the task for you. Although it digs into your profits to pay someone else, it’s better than filling the dump with usable items. Donate Many cities have community pages online where you can offer up your goods as a “pay it forward” type of thing. By giving your belongings to someone who might need or want it, you’re ensuring a fuller life cycle and incurring less waste. You might even get someone to come pick it up, reducing the need to haul it away. For example, some people repair and resell appliances or lawn mowers so they will offer to pick yours up, saving you a lot of hassle. Also, look into local drop boxes. Some areas have them on nearly every corner for usable clothing and shoes. If your city has a sharing station, such as a small shed that anyone can take from as needed, donate food and toiletries there. Also look for organizations like Love Inc, who help people get needed personal care items or organizations that assist people with clothing and personal care items needed for interviews to get a job. Preschools, church childcare and homecare centers all appreciate the donation of toys is workable conditions. They might also accept a few changes of lightly used clothing to keep around in the case of potty or recess accidents. Look to your local shelter for another donation option. From kid to adult sizes, shelters are always in need of warm clothing and coats. It’s also a good place to extend the life of blankets you no longer use and along with all those unopened hotel toiletries you store. For unwanted shoes, check around for local drop boxes that recycle them, such as  the Nike recycling program , or others that send them to communities around the world to those in need. Of course, there is always the option of donating goods to local thrift shops as well. When it comes to home improvement supplies, take the load to your local Habitat for Humanity. Some branches will even pick up at your location so you can let go of the extra lumber, roofing, flooring pieces and cement blocks you’ve been holding onto. Not only does it feel good to know that you’re helping out others, but it’s rewarding to know that you’re also giving back to the environment by keeping items out of the waste stream. Related: Declutter your life with Lift, the ultimate multi-use bike hooks Repair An object may lose its usable value to you once it is broken, but remember that many things can be repaired with a little effort and perhaps a new part. It will also save you money to repair broken goods rather than to purchase a new one. Instead of tossing it directly towards the landfill, see if you can repair it and then either continue to use it, donate it or sell it. Recycle Most areas have public recycling services either offered through city curbside pick up or as a centralized processing center where you can drop things off. You will want to check with your local recycling center to see what they allow, but most take metal, batteries, light bulbs, cardboard, glass, plastic jugs and paper. Often times they also have an electronics recycling station for TV, stereo and video recording equipment, along with the remotes and cables that go with them. Reuse If you can’t find a way to sell, donate or recycle, consider repurposing your castaway items. Turn that old sweater into boot socks. Use t-shirts for automotive rags. Make a memory quilt with a loved one’s clothing. Just be sure that you don’t hold on to clutter with the intent of upcycling that will most likely never happen, or you’ll find yourself bogged down with the ‘stuff’ once again. Images via Shutterstock

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Eco-friendly options for decluttering waste

Solar-powered home embraces Hudson River views and aging in place

January 24, 2019 by  
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Wanting to reconnect with the outdoors after decades of living in Manhattan, a couple nearing retirement asked New York-based architecture firm Resolution: 4 Architecture to design a contemporary home in the northern suburbs of New York City that would take full advantage of a waterfront site. Located on one of Croton-on-Hudson’s highest overlooks, the resulting design features an elevated profile that appears to float above the trees and boasts panoramic views of the Hudson River through walls of glass. The home — dubbed the Hudson River House — was also built for longevity as noted by the materials selected for durability, solar rooftop panels for self-sufficiency and the elevator for comfortable aging-in-place. Spread out across 2,374 square feet, the Hudson River House comprises two floors and a basement. The main entry is accessed from the ground floor, which consists of a spacious outdoor pool and deck sheltered by the upper floor, a carport with an entry patio and a small indoor area housing a powder room as well as an elevator and stairs. The primary living and sleeping quarters are placed on the upper floor, with the master bedroom and guest bedroom bookending the centrally located open-plan living room, dining area and kitchen. An office and deck are also located on the main level. “They wanted a compact home that was as extraordinary as the vista it offered, equipped with just enough space for two,” the architects explained of the clients. “The house is lifted high in the air to enhance views, with storage spaces and an outdoor recreational zone below.” To maximize space while keeping a compact footprint, the interior follows an open-plan layout so as not to disrupt sight lines. Full-height glazing lends the interior a sense of spaciousness as well. Transforming furniture, such as the Murphy bed in the guest room, gives the homeowners added flexibility. Related: Minimalist TRIPTYCH house pulls the Quebec outdoors in The Hudson River House features a mostly natural materials palette that includes untreated ipe and metal paneling for the exterior. Inside, white oak and light-colored surfaces create a muted backdrop for the homeowner’s pottery and art collection and the stunning outdoor vistas. The energy footprint of the home is reduced thanks to the optimization of cross ventilation as well as the solar panels installed across the entire roof. + Resolution: 4 Architecture Via ArchDaily Photography by Emily Andrews via Resolution: 4 Architecture

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Solar-powered home embraces Hudson River views and aging in place

Bill Gates gives away $4.6 billion worth of Microsoft shares

August 15, 2017 by  
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Time and time again, Bill Gates has proven himself to be quite the philanthropist . In his latest charitable act, Gates has donated 64 million shares of Microsoft – which is worth a total of $4.6 billion. The donation will reduce Gates’ stake in Microsoft to just 1.3 percent (compared to 24 percent in 1996). Bloomberg reports that the donation is the biggest since he gave away $16 billion worth of shares in 1999 and $5.1 billion in 2000. The news was revealed in a filing to the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) on Monday. The filing doesn’t reveal the benefactor of Gates’ donation. Each year, Gates donates approximately 80 million Microsoft shares. The latest gift means that he has just 103 million shares left. The filing reveals that his wife, Melinda, holds nearly 425,000 Microsoft shares. If Gates continues to give away the shares, the philanthropist could reduce his stake in Microsoft to zero by 2019. To date, former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is the largest holder of Microsoft Stock, followed by Gates, then the current Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. Related: Bill Gates launches $1 billion clean energy fund to fight climate change Even though the contribution is a massive sum in monetary terms, Bill Gates still holds the title of the richest person in the world. In fact, Bloomberg values Gates at $86.1 billion (down from $90 billion). Fortunately, he and Melinda have used their wealth to further progressive initiatives . They also intend to give away 95 percent of their wealth by the time they die — and that is commendable. Via Bloomberg Images via Flickr , Pixabay

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Bill Gates gives away $4.6 billion worth of Microsoft shares

Levi’s Stadium Field of Jeans project saves 12 tons of denim from landfill

December 7, 2014 by  
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Back in November, Levi Strauss teamed up with the San Francisco 49ers to collect unwanted used jeans to donate to  Goodwill . Before the jeans were donated, however, the partnership called in Bay Area artist Hannah Stizer to transform the impressive collection of 18,850 pairs of jeans into an enormous art installation to raise awareness of the impacts of reuse and recycling. The resulting “Field of Jeans” laid out the haul end to end, carpeting Levi’s Stadium with denim — with a notable area of omission in the center. The stats for a project of this magnitude are mighty impressive. Hit the jump for more details on this inspiring collaborative project. READ MORE > Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: art installation , Charity , clothing , clothing drive , collaborative project , denim , donation , ecouterre , field of jeans , Goodwill , Hannah Stizer , jeans , Levi’s Stadium , Levi-Strauss , Levis , recycling , Recycling programs , repurpose , reuse , San Francisco , San Francisco 49ers

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Levi’s Stadium Field of Jeans project saves 12 tons of denim from landfill

Japanese Restaurant Fines Diners For Not Finishing Their Meals

February 19, 2013 by  
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Thought your mom was harsh about finishing your meal ? At least she didn’t charge you for leaving food on your plate. The Hachikyo seafood restaurant in Sapporo, Japan will fine diners for not eating every last morsel of tsukko meshi,  a dish that consists of a mountain of salmon roe piled on top of a bed of rice. At around $20 USD, an extra fee might seem ridiculous, but there is a reason for such a penalty. Read the rest of Japanese Restaurant Fines Diners For Not Finishing Their Meals Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: donation , fine , fishermen , hachikiyo , Japan , penalty , rice , salmon roe , Sapporo , seafood , tsukko mehsi

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Japanese Restaurant Fines Diners For Not Finishing Their Meals

Matt Damon Boycotts the Toilet to Raise Awareness For Clean Water

February 13, 2013 by  
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Actor and co-founder of water.org Matt Damon won’t let a good opportunity to raise awareness of clean water down the tubes. To draw attention to the 2.5 billion people who do not have access to proper sanitation, Damon will boycott the toilet and embark on a YouTube campaign enlisting the help of other celebrities. Introducing his plan in a faux press conference yesterday, the activist hopes that his videos will go viral and inspire viewers to donate $25 to his cause. Read the rest of Matt Damon Boycotts the Toilet to Raise Awareness For Clean Water Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: actor , bathroom , boycott , celebrity , clean water , donation , epic lloyd , john elerick , lisbug , live prude girls , Matt Damon , sanitation , shaycarl , smosh , stan lee , strike , toilet , water.org , wheezy waiter , world toilet day , world water day , YouTube

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Matt Damon Boycotts the Toilet to Raise Awareness For Clean Water

Artist Erik Abel Designs Gorgeous Eco Prints and Products to Keep California Oceans Healthy

February 13, 2013 by  
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Artist Erik Abel is releasing a series of fine art and eco-friendly products to raise money for Heal the Bay , an environmental nonprofit working to keep Southern California oceans healthy. Proceeds from the sale of his art and designer products will benefit Heal the Bay, including three original paintings, 18×24″ fine art prints on sustainably sourced bamboo paper, recycled aluminum water bottles and iPhone cases made from 100% recycled plastic . The article above was submitted to us by an Inhabitat reader. Want to see your story on Inhabitat ? Send us a tip by following this link . Remember to follow our instructions carefully to boost your chances of being chosen for publishing! Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Art , California , conservation , eco design , eco-art , erik abel , green design , green products , iPhone products , nature conservation , non-profit organizations , oceans , Recycled aluminum , Recycled Plastic , save the bay , sustainable design

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Artist Erik Abel Designs Gorgeous Eco Prints and Products to Keep California Oceans Healthy

sweet tee.

October 14, 2010 by  
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The change of seasons may have you cleaning out drawers to make room for bulkier winter-wear.  Should you find your donation bag filling up with tired and worn t-shirts, think about giving new life to the comfier ones.  It takes about 1000 gallons of water to make a cotton t-shirt, so giving it the longest life possible is the best choice you can make for the environment.  Cutting t-shirts is a cool way to individualize your style and to hide an accidental tear, hole or stain and these days it’s easy to learn how by searching for “t-shirt cutting how-to” on YouTube.  We like this how-to video from Kat Von D.  For tees that just seem blah and overused, why not add some flair with an iron-on transfer or a silk screen?  Your local craft store will have iron-on transfer paper to help you put your favorite doodle, quote, message or artwork onto your old favorite shirt and the local silk screening shop is a great place to start for info on making your old tee look like new.    Photograph by Eric Rosete.

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sweet tee.

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