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Earth Day, In Denver

Today is April 22nd, also known as Earth Day. Today is a day that everyone is supposed to go the extra mile to do something positive for the environment. All across the country, many major cities have several Earth Day events which the public can attend. Denver, happens to be one of those cities. In fact, this article from FOX31 Denver, lists several of the events being held in and around the city.

DENVER — Wednesday is Earth Day and there will be events throughout the metro area.


More than 50 sustainable businesses, organizations and city agencies will be at the annual Earth Day Fair at Civic Center Park. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. with Mayor Michael Hancock touring the event from 11:45 a.m .to 12:45 p.m.

Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel

A Project C.U.R.E. Earth Day plant sale will be held at the hotel (1550 Court Place) from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Downtown Aquarium

The Downtown Aquarium (700 Water St.) will have a Party for the Planet from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. There will be a nature-themed scavenger hunt, conservation crafts and activities, animal feedings and an interactive dive show.

The Alliance Center, Denver

The Alliance for Sustainable Colorado will host a recycle and reuse drive at The Alliance Center. The public can bring items to be recycled or reused from noon to 7 p.m. at the center’s parking lot (1536 Wynkoop St.)..

Foundations Academy, Brighton

Students from Foundations Academy in Brighton will plant flowers outside the school from 10:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Students will also hang signs around the school about recycling and help students learn more about how to help Earth.

Merryhill Preschool, Highlands Ranch

Preschoolers at Merryhill Preschool in Highlands Ranch (9345 S. Colorado Blvd.) will release thousands of ladybugs back into the environment from 3 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Colorado State University, Fort Collins

Colorado State will host a volunteer tree planting as part of its designation as a Tree Campus USA. The trees will be planted at 2 p.m. near Danforth Chapel.

Move/Renovate, the Green Way

Do you happen to be moving to a new place, or renovating your current home? If so, you probably need to remove or replace several items. Before you just throw out any of these items, take a look at some ways you can move/renovate the green way. In this article from Green Cleaning Magazine, you are given tips on how to do just that. Check it out, and make sure your next move or renovation is made with the environment in mind.


Moving or Remodeling? Clean Up Green

eco moving

It doesn’t matter if you are moving to a new house or you are just renovating your living area, there are always some possessions that need to be removed for good. Why not be environmentally conscious in this process?

Indeed, moving or renovating can be an overwhelming experience that involves a lot of planning and effort. Here are some tips for cleaning up green in the process.

Hire a Green Mover: If you are hiring a commercial moving comoany, choose a mover that offers eco-friendly solutions. Check ahead of time on their website to see if they have options for donation or recycling. Choose a trustworthy company that also has green ethics and responsible attitude toward the environment.

Divide and Conquer: If you decide to manage the process alone, consider a few important factors. Before going straight to the dump to dispose of your items, inspect the clutter. Divide the unnecessary into different categories:

1. Recycle: Decide what can be reused from other people. Household appliances usually have longer life. If they still work properly, at the moment you are replacing them, set these items aside. Clothes, books and furniture can also be added in to your donation list. Of course, they should be in good conditions.

2. Donate: Research charitable organizations or ask friends, family, and acquaintances if they could use the items. You probably know someone who might benefit from your unnecessary possessions.

3. Sell: Have you ever heard the popular saying, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure?” You can try and sell some of your items. Organize a garage sale. If you don’t have time and you want to quickly remove the clutter, visit a second-hand shop or offer them on an appropriate site on the internet, such as Craig’s List. An alternative to the online selling is the “freecycle” network. This is the fastest way to get rid of your junk, because everybody loves getting free stuff.

4. Trash: The final frontier.

Be sure that you label everything, especially if you are moving. Your home will be filled with boxes and it’s useful to be able to quickly identify their contents. Another useful sorting tip is to keep the items from one category in a separate room from the rest.

Lastly, the best way to have less to recycle is to stop purchasing things you don’t really need. Next time you go to the store you should not randomly buy stuff. In this way you will save money and you will preserve the environment.

Green Halloween Costumes

When we were kids, my sister and I had some of the most original costumes on the block. We didn’t have a lot of money growing up, but that didn’t stop our parents from creating some truly awesome Halloween costumes. A big part of the costume process, was finding items from around the house and incorporating them into the costume. Coming up with costume ideas and then being able to participate in the making of those costumes was a ton of fun, and a creative way to spend a little family time together. If you happen to be interested in having some fun creating green Halloween costumes with your kids this year, check out this article from Seventh Generation, which has a few ideas for costumes made from recycled materials.



A Green Halloween: Kids Costumes from Recycled Materials

From fall foliage to pumpkin picking, October is always an exciting month. With all of that fun, the days seem to pass by a little too quickly, and next thing you know, Halloween night is right around the corner! We’ve found some easy, adorable costume ideas made from recycled materials that are sure to have your little ones be the talk of the neighborhood.

DIY Rocket Power Jetpack

Natalie of Doodle Craft shares a simple jetpack accessory, made by recycling 2 two-liter bottles. Needing only 20 minutes to put together, this costume couldn’t be any easier. Get ready for takeoff!

WALL-E Made of Cardboard

Created out of recycled boxes and paint, this tutorial features step-by-step instructions with photos, creating a WALL-E version that may me more adorable than the original. No empty boxes around? This dad found his supplies out behind his office.

Homemade Snail Costume

With a little imagination, Oh Happy Day shows us how to turn brown craft paper and cardboard into the perfect garden critter costume. Instructions for both the shell with a headband of antennas, this snail is sure to stand out!

Recycled Umbrella Bat Wings

Penny of Mother Natured gives a step-by-step tutorial for creating bat wings from an umbrella – perfect for recycling a broken umbrella you may still have tucked away. Pair with black clothing and this bat is ready to spook its way throughout the neighborhood.

“Upcycle” Your Holiday Cards

The holiday season is upon us, which means you are most likely about to receive a ton of holiday greeting cards from friends and loved ones. It’s always nice to receive a heartfelt card around the holidays, but what are you supposed to do with the cards after the holidays are over, throw them away? Instead of disposing of your holiday cards this year, try reusing them in creative ways. This article from Seventh Generation, has 5 cool, creative ways to enjoy your holiday cards this year, and holidays to come.

5 Fun Ways to Upcycle Old Holiday Cards

On my first holiday as a married woman, I was a little surprised to see that my affluent in-laws cut off the front of old greeting cards and used them as gift tags. Flash forward several decades and their frugal Yankee ways are now recognized as “upcycling.” Whatever you call it, that first holiday (and my in-laws) inspired me to find second and even third uses for just about everything, including old holiday cards. Here are five fun ideas to inspire you.

Holiday Card Gift Tags

No craft skills needed to create the cards in our post photo. Just cut the back off old cards and tape or tie the front to packages this year. Of course, if you’re feeling a little craftier, cut the card fronts into different shapes, punch a hole in the top and add a ribbon to the tag. This is a fun project for your children, too!

Holiday Card Place Card

Personalized place markers make great holiday keepsakes for guests. Cut a 2×3-inch piece from a card and fold in half. Add a ribbon for trim and a printed piece of paper with your guest’s name. For an extra personalized touch, add a photo of your guest.

Recycled holiday place cards

Holiday Card Pinecone Ornament

This inspiration comes from Better Homes and Gardens. Use a flower punch to punch flowers from cards of coordinating colors (browns, creams, golds, oranges, and reds and shown here). Trim the punched-out flowers in half, and then in half again so you’re left with individual petals. Start at the bottom of a 1-7/8×2-1/2-inch Styrofoam egg and hot glue petals on in rows, overlapping as you move up. Don’t worry if the hot-glue melts the foam a bit. It will give the pinecone a natural uneven texture.

Recycled holiday card ornaments

Recipe Cards

About as simple (and special) as it gets. Re-use holiday cards as recipe cards to include with holiday food gifts.

Recycled recipe cards craft


Cut the fronts from old holiday cards send them as postcards. Remember that postcards require less postage than a regular card!

Recycled postcards craft


Fun Ways To Reuse Cardboard Boxes

If you happen to have kids, and cardboard boxes laying around, this article from our friends at Housekeeping, can give you some fun and creative ideas on how to take those old cardboard boxes and turn them into something fun. It’s a great way to get your kids to use their imagination and is something you can do as a whole family. Here is Housekeeping’s article on how to reuse those cardboard boxes…

Creative Ways to Recycle Cardboxes Boxes

After a move or the purchase of new appliances, it’s easy to drop your broken-down boxes into a recycling bin or even to take them to the nearest recycling center. When you have kids in the house, though, it’s definitely more fun to creatively re-purpose those boxes into something that will spark little imaginations and give them hours of enjoyment. These suggestions can help you turn an ordinary cardboard box into a free-play wonderland.

Make a Puppet Theater

Puppet shows are still a favorite with the smaller set, especially if they’re the stars and producers. Turning a large cardboard box into a miniature puppet theater not only allows your kids the chance to dream up their own shows and figure out their execution, but can also boost reading and writing skills as they create a script. Just be sure that you’re willing to sit through a few productions, as the little ones under your care will be anxious to show off their skills.

Build a Castle

If a playhouse is great, a play castle is even better! Using strong scissors, craft knives and decorative accents to create a castle for your little princes and princesses to rule over is sure to net hours of downtime as they explore their new fairytale universe. Just be sure that you keep kids clear of the area while you’re using such sharp objects to shape the cardboard, as curious fingers have trouble keeping themselves clear of shiny and forbidden tools.

Create an Automobile

Your little ones may not be allowed to drive an actual automobile until they’re sixteen, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t dreaming of the open road. Help them make those fantasies come to life by creating a simulated car, truck or other automobile from cardboard boxes. Extra points if you fashion a mini fire truck for a child with an affection for firefighters, or a police sedan for little law enforcement officers in the making.

Fashion a Home for Wayward Fashion Dolls

Kids’ fashion dolls may have an outfit for every occasion or occupation you can imagine, but their lodgings are generally restricted to commercially-available townhouses made of pink plastic. With a bit of effort and creativity, you can turn an old box into a palatial residence for previously-homeless fashion dolls. If you really want to get fancy, consider the installation of interesting wallpaper fashioned from patterned scrapbooking paper.

Create an Oversized Shape Sorter

Those small plastic toys with stylized holes and matching blocks help smaller kids learn shape recognition and spatial relationships, but the tiny pieces are easy to misplace in a cluttered room. While they won’t stand up to days of repeated play, it’s not difficult to fashion an oversized shape sorter out of a large box and smaller, three-dimensional cardboard shapes. These toys are great for kids’ parties and other gatherings!

Build a Pirate Ship for Small Buccaneers

There’s just something about pretending to be a pirate that sends most kids into paroxysms of joy. It’s not safe to send little ones out onto the high seas, but they can explore a life of old-fashioned piracy from the safety of their own home with a pirate ship made of cardboard boxes! You can get as elaborate as time allows, even adding ornate figureheads and painted sails to the mix if you’re so inclined.

Let Your Kids’ Imagination Run Wild

Anything you can come up with to create a plaything out of a cardboard box is sure to be bested by the vivid imagination of a child. Throw some drop-cloths on the floor and hand your little ones a palette of paints. If you want to help, just make yourself available to do any cutting or shaping that’s too advanced for small hands and watch to see what wonders they cook up in their remarkable little minds.

Use these suggestions as a jumping off point and as inspiration for future projects of your own creation. With a bit of creative thinking and determination, there’s very little that can’t be replicated on a smaller scale with enough cardboard and paint.

“Green” New Years Resolutions

Every year around this time you start to hear people talk about their “New Years resolution”, all the things they are going to do different to better themselves in the new year. Unfortunately, many of these “resolutions” don’t make it past the first few weeks. Maybe the reason people give up on these resolutions is because it usually involves a large sacrifice of something they enjoy. What if this years resolution wasn’t only to better yourself, but the environment as well? And what if it only meant minor changes in the way you go about your everyday life? Here are a few New Years resolutions that will not only benefit you but all of us.

“Walk or Bike”- If you have the option, walking or biking to work is not only a great exercise but it’s also better for the environment.

“Bring Your Own Water”- Instead of spending a ton of money on plastic water bottles all year, buy one reusable water bottle and fill up at home.

“Reusable Shopping Bags”- My mother has used the reusable shopping bags for years, they are bigger and stronger than the plastic bags they use at the grocery store and, needless to say, drastically cut down on the amount of plastic bags that end up in landfills.

“Eco-friendly Cleaners”- By using green cleaning products (or hiring a cleaning company that does) not only are you helping to keep the environment outside of your house clean from chemicals, you’re also protecting yourself and your family from those harsh chemicals inside.

These are just a few ways you can do things a little differently in the new year that will have a positive impact on yourself and the environment. Happy New Year!

Boulder Holiday Recycling Guide

After all of the presents are unwrapped, the Yule Log is nothing but ash and your belly is full of eggnog, it’s time to do some post holiday cleaning. During the holidays Americans create 25% more trash. Pretty crazy, huh? For residents of Boulder, there is a solution. Here is a link to the Boulder Holiday Recycling Guide for 2012:

This guide will show you how to recycle the most common holiday items:

  • wrapping paper
  • holiday trees
  • old electronics
  • bubble wrap
  • cooking oil
  • broken holiday lights
  • holiday cards and envelopes
  • white block foam
  • packing peanuts
  • leftover food
  • shopping bags
  • batteries
  • tissue paper
  • cardboard boxes

Hoping everyone has a happy healthy holiday!

For The Hardcore Recycler

I’ve done plenty of research and read a ton of articles on recycling, the positive impact it has on the environment, and the different ways you can make changes around your home to do so. However, this one was a first. “Reusable toilet paper”……yeah. When I first saw the headline for an article on Mother Nature Network, I must admit I cringed a bit, but after reading the article I could see how this could be a cost cutting, environmentally friendly alternative to traditional toilet paper. The idea may not be for everybody, but I thought I’d share the article with you just in case it peaks your interest. So, here it is:

Reusable toilet paper. Really.

Bottom line: The reusable model is always a more sustainable choice than the disposable alternative.

By Networx.comFri, Oct 12 2012 at 1:43 PM EST
reusable toilet paper on back of toilet; wastebasket The author’s “family cloth” and used cloth bin. (Photo: Sayward Rebhal)
When I first heard the term “family cloth,” it conjured up such a lovely image, like a warm snuggly blanket that’s big enough for the whole family. But no. It’s actually where you use cloth toilet paper, and then put it through the wash, and then use it again. Which is, you know … different.
My initial reaction was the same as most people’s, something along the lines of, “Ew gross!” But then my second thought was, “Well wait. Maybe that kinda makes sense?” See, I was raised by hippies — all burning sage and dancing drum circles in dry river beds and the like — so I guess my psyche is primed for that outside-the-norm, super green lifestyle sort of stuff. For those with a more conventional bent, please just bear with me a moment.
OK, much like forgoing traditional roofing for a living roof, the concept is alarming at first (our cultural conditioning does run deep), but really, it’s just a matter of common sense. We don’t wear disposable underwear, right? And we do accept cloth diapers for babies, and many of those cloth-diapering parents choose to use cloth wipes as well. Some people even use cloth menstrual pads. Each of these are sociopolitical decisions, which factor in issues like finances, environmental impact and individual values.
For me, this one was an eco-conscious no-brainer … once I’d wrapped my brain around the concept, that is. I mean, of course! Cloth can be washed and used again and again. It’s less resource intensive, it keeps tons and tons of waste out of landfills and waterways, and bottom line, the “reusable” model is always a more sustainable choice than the “disposable” alternative.
Just think about toilet paper: Made from trees. Chemically treated for “sanitation,” and bleached for “beauty.” Stark white antiseptic. Wrapped in plastic. Mass-produced in factories. Shipped across continents. Endlessly.
Then think about family cloth. Homemade. Cut from an old cotton sheet, a flannel shirt, a terry cloth towel. All upcycled. And so soft. Washable. Reusable. Again and again and again. For me, my choice was pretty clear.
And with that I was off. I cut up a stack of my husband’s old shirts, using pinking sheers so the edges wouldn’t fray. I displayed my cloth wipes neatly arranged, in a basket atop the back of the toilet. Some people choose to keep their cloth in a easy-to-reach drawer, or a covered container. It’s really just a matter of preference.
To be clear, I use my wipes for #1 only. This helps keep things cleaner and I don’t worry quite as much about germs. I drop my used wipes in a lidded plastic wastebasket next to the toilet. When it’s full, I take them downstairs to the wash, and clean them well.
Since I use wipes only for #1, I always have toilet paper available. It’s great for guests, and my husband. No one else ever has to deal with my wipes. Nobody, not even my Portland plumber, knows what’s going on.
In the end … well, may I be blunt? I mean, the environment is awesome and all, but honestly? Cloth really just feels better. I’ll take warm soft cotton over scratchy paper any day. Maybe I’m just a born-and-bred hippie like that.

Should Plastic Bags Be Banned?

Almost every grocery store cashier asks you the same question, “paper or plastic?”. It seems that there is a good chance that the “plastic” option may be gone pretty soon. Here is an article from The Wall Street Journal, about the possibility of a ban on plastic bags.

Which side are you on?

Toilet Paper More Eco-Friendly

Here is an interesting and informative article from GreenBiz, on how the paper industry (and especially toilet paper) is doing it’s part to lessen it’s negative impact on the environment.

Most toilet paper available today for the  away-from-home market includes most, if not all, recycled content. While the percentage of pre and post consumer recycled content in bathroom tissue can vary by brand and supplier, the good news is that, whether pre or post consumer material, the use of recycled fiber keeps it out of the landfill. Some brands of tissue are more eco-friendly than others. With a bit of research, one can determine what to consider, besides cost, when making a green purchasing decision.

The U.S. Department of Energy ranks paper manufacturing as the fifth most energy-intensive industry: a major emitter of greenhouse gases through electric power generated using coal, oil and gas. While its energy use remains a huge challenge, the industry has made giant strides in reducing its environmental impact in recent years. Today, according to Dan Silk, vice president of sustainability for Georgia-Pacific, there are more trees in the United States than 120 years ago. Properly managed forests are certainly important but the transition toward including more recycled content in products has also made a huge difference.

The elimination of chlorine from the manufacturing process — a step now certified by the Chlorine Free Products Association and signified by its Processed Chlorine Free mark — has further reduced tissue’s negative impact. In paper making, dioxins are formed during the bleaching process when chlorine combines with organic material. Dioxins can bioaccumulate in the environment and are a proven cause of numerous health problems. Dioxins almost wiped out the eagle population in the United States.

Byproduct of Recycling Process

While what chemicals are used in the manufacturing process is important to consider, so too is what is done with the byproducts of manufacturing. For example, the de-inking of recycled paper produces a sludge that historically has been sent to landfills. Georgia-Pacific’s Silk says concrete manufacturers are now using his company’s de-inking “waste” as an ingredient in concrete. Joe Tadeo, CEO of Atlas Paper Mills, says his company is providing it to farmers to use on their fields. “It holds water in the soil and adds some degree of nutrient,” he says.

Earlier this year, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) published a report titled, “Don’t Flush Tiger Forests: Toilet Paper, U.S. Supermarkets and the Destruction of Indonesia’s Last Tiger Habitats.” WWF found that American companies and consumers are inadvertently contributing to Indonesian rain forest and tiger habitat destruction by buying toilet paper and other tissue products made with fiber from Asia Pulp & Paper (APP). Products made with APP fiber, such as toilet paper,were increasingly landing in hotels across the country under the Paseo and Livi brandnames, WWF said. The WWF report highlights the importance of knowing where the ingredients for tissue come from.

“I would be skeptical of product made outside the United States,” Tadeo says.

Those looking for assurance that companies are indeed doing what they say they are doing from an environmental standpoint should not only look for the Processed Chlorine Free mark but also the Green Seal, EcoLogo, Forest Stewardship Council, and Sustainable Forestry Initiative marks.