Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Recycling Project: Paper Beads Jewelry

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One of the best gifts on earth is jewelry. Your mother, sister, aunt, cousin or that special friend will love these pieces of homemade beaded jewelry.

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Figure A

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Figure B


Coffee stir straws
White paper
Stick glue
Acrylic paint
Necklace lace
Round elastic cording
Necklace fasteners
Inexpensive store-bought beads


Color the entire sheet of white paper with markers.

With a ruler, mark off colored paper into triangular strips about 1/2" wide and cut.

Rub the wrong side of the paper with stick glue. Starting at the wide end of the strip, wrap them around the coffee stir straws (figure A). Then let the glue dry.

Brush on the shellac to seal and add shine. Let dry.

Cut the straw right next to the edges of the beads to separate them.

Thread beads on the lacing for a necklace (figure B) or on the elastic for a bracelet. Alternate with other inexpensive beads if you wish.

Finish by tying on fasteners. Note: If you used elastic cord, simply tie off the ends.


Have an adult supervise when you are using scissors.

If you prefer to paint your beads, skip step one a move on to step two.

Products: All products available at craft, art and all-purpose stores nationwide.


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Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Top 10 Tips : Reduce Your Water Usage

  • Retrofit Your Toilet - There are flaps, floats and other gizmos you can attach to your toilet to reduce the amount of water used in a flush. You can find these retrofits at a hardware store, or appliance store.
  • Avoid Flushing Toilet Unnecessarily - If you sneeze into a tissue, don’t throw it in the toilet and flush - throw it in the garbage pail. Use the toilet for human waste and toilet paper only.
  • Retrofit Your Showerhead And Faucets - Retrofits are also available for showerheads and water faucets to reduce or control the water flow and pressure. Only use the flow and pressure you need.
  • Tackle Leaks And Drips Immediately - If you have leaks and drips, fix them immediately. If you’re not a handyman, give your plumber a call. Also, to find hidden leaks, watch your water meter. If it moves after a few hours and you haven’t used any water, you have a leak somewhere. Have a plumber come over and look at all your pipes.
  • Shorten Your Showers - Instead of showering for 20 minutes just because you like the feel of hot water on your back, reduce your shower to do the tasks you need, like shampooing and rinsing soap off your body. You may find you only need five or 10 minutes!
  • Don’t Leave The Tap Running While Brushing Teeth - Turn off the faucet while you’re brushing your teeth. If you brush for the recommended amount of time, you’ll be saving a lot of water.
  • Only Wash Full Loads Of Dishes And Clothes - Running your washers as full loads when you only have half a load wastes water. If you can’t set the washers for only half a load, wait until it’s full before running the machine.
  • Collect Rainwater - If you live in a rainy climate, put buckets under your downspouts to collect rainwater that flows down from your gutters. Use the this water to water your plants or wash your car instead of turning on your hose.
  • Use A Dehumidifier - If you live in a humid climate, use a dehumidifier. In addition to helping prevent mold, it will also give you a bucket of water every few hours to water plants, put in your washing machine and more.
  • Take Your Car To The Car Wash - Many car washes use water recycling systems, so your car will be washed by less water than it would from your garden hose.


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Top 10 Tips : Reusing Chinese/Japanese Takeout Containers

  • Reuse As Tupperware - The most obvious way to recycle the containers is to reuse them as they came - for food. Their sizes make them great for storing and freezing leftovers. They can also be used to carry lunch.
  • Give Your Pet Some Water - If you and your dog go for long walks, take a pint-sized container with you and fill it with water along the route. The size makes it easy for the dog to lap up water without spilling it everywhere.
  • Organize Small Items - From buttons to bolts and toys to hair ties, the containers are the perfect size for organizing and sorting through small items. As an added bonus, they stack well, so they can help declutter your shelves.
  • Plant Some Seeds - The containers make great starting pots for your plants. Just poke a few holes in the bottom for drainage, and then you can easily transplant the seedling into a bigger pot or the ground.
  • Water Your Plants - The quart-sized containers work well when you have to water plants. If you have special plant food, you can also store them in the containers - just make sure to mark them!
  • Store Beauty Concoctions - Make your own beauty concoctions, like body scrubs and lotions, and store them in the containers. You can easily take them into the shower or bath without worrying about ruining the packaging.
  • Store Mixed Latex Paint - If you’ve mixed a batch of latex paint, store the excess in the containers. Since they’re clear, you can easily see what colors they are. And while you’re painting, you can use the containers filled with water to rinse off the brush.
  • Use For Crafts - Besides storing craft items, you can make different items out of the container. For instance, you can decorate it and make a pretty pencil holder, or fill it with beans and make a musical shaker. The containers will also keep paint fresh and clay moist.
  • Manage A Ball Of Yarn - If you have a ball of yarn, poke a hole in the container’s lid and string the yarn through the hole. Make sure the hole is big enough that the yarn will not snag. Then store the yarn in the container, cover it, and you’re able to knit or crochet tangle-free.
  • Make An Office Basketball Net - Cut out the bottom, remove the lid, and hang from your cubicle or office wall. Toss a ball of scrap paper through the hoop.


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Friday, July 4, 2008

How To: Save Water at Home

1. A dripping tap can waste up to 4 litres of water a day so check taps on a regular basis and replace any worn tap washers.

2. Get a water butt to collect rainwater and use it to water plants.

3. Keep a jug or bottle of water in the fridge so you don’t have to run the tap until it runs cold every time you want a drink.

4. Don’t leave the tap running whilst brushing your teeth. This could potentially waste up to 5 litres of water per minute.

5. Wash fruit and vegetables in a bowl instead of under a running tap. The leftover water can then be used to water plants.

6. Water your garden either first thing in the morning or late in the evening to reduce the amount of water that is evaporated by the sun.

7. When you boil an egg wait for the water to cool down and then use it to water your house plants. Your plants will benefit from all the nutrients that are released from the shell.

8. Only put enough water in the kettle for what you require, rather than boiling a full kettle each time you want a cup of tea.

9. If you have a fish tank, use the dirty water when cleaning the tank to water your plants. This water will be a good fertiliser for your plants as it will be rich in nitrogen and phosphorus.

10. Old toilets manufactured before 1993 can use up to 9 litres of clean water with every flush. You can reduce this amount by replacing the cistern or by placing a ’save-a-flush’ or ‘hippo’ in the cistern.


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DID YOU KNOW? Facts and Stats

...By using a broom instead of a hose to clean your sidewalk, you can save up to 80 gallons of water.

...Installing a reflective roof can directly save up to 40 percent in heating and cooling costs.

...For every incandescent light bulb replaced by a compact fluorescent, a restaurant can save up $30 in electricity costs over the light bulb’s lifetime.

...Letting a faucet run for five minutes uses about as much energy as letting a 60-watt light bulb run for 14 hours.

...By fixing a leaky faucet an operator can save up to 20 gallons of water a day -- or as much as 140 gallons a week and 7,300 gallons a year.

...According to the U.S. Department of Energy's Center for Sustainable Development, buildings consume 40% of the world's total energy, 25% of its wood harvest and 16% of its water.

...McDonald’s redesigned the North American fry boxes in 2005, reducing packaging weight by more than 1,100 tons per year.

...Restaurants use five times more energy per square foot than other commercial buildings and five times more energy in the kitchen than in the rest of the building.

...Energy costs have been increasing at a rate of 6 percent to 8 percent per year.

...Buildings carrying the ENERGY STAR label consume about 40 percent less energy than typical buildings.

...If all the earth's water fit into a gallon bottle, the fresh water available for human use would equal just over one tablespoon.

...A standard toilet uses as much as 4.5 gallons per flush. Low-flush toilets use around 1.6 gallons per flush.

...A leaky faucet dripping one drip per second can waste more than 3,000 gallons of water a year. A leaky toilet can waste about 200 gallons of water a day.


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Conserve Now! Top 10 Tips To Do Within Your Workplace

1. Turn Off
Turn off interior/exterior lights and cooking hoods when not in use. Install motion detectors in storerooms, offices and restrooms. Set lights on timers.

2. Fix Leaks
Repair leaky faucets and toilets. Stop air leaks by caulking and insulating around leaky windows and doors and installing energy curtains in freezer rooms.

3. Replace Lighting
Replace incandescents with longer lasting CFL light bulbs or LED lights. Replace traditional exit signs with LED exit lighting.

4. Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.
Follow the 3 R's of sustainability: reduce, reuse, recyle. Reduce waste. Reuse furniture, flooring. Recycle paper, plastics, glass and aluminum.

5. Unplug
When not in use, unplug computers, electronics, coffee machines, POS system and any small appliances.

6. Use Less Water
Serve customers water upon request. Run dishwashers, washing machines only when full. Install low-flow toilets, waterless urinals, tankless water heaters.

7. Train and Inform
Train employees on energy saving procedures and on the importance of energy conservation and water use. Tell customers about your energy efforts.

8. Clean and Maintain
Clean equipment runs more efficiently. Regularly dust and clean appliances, top to bottom. Perform routine preventive maintenance on HVAC, plumbing, appliances, major equipment.

9. Remodel or Build Green
Use low-VOC (volatile organic compounds) or no-VOC paints, recycled flooring and managed forest wood. Install a reflective roof, sun lights and energy-efficient windows.

10. Look for the ENERGY STAR Label
Purchase appliances, electronics and other EPA-tested equipment that carries the ENERGY STAR label.


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Top 10 Ways To Reduce Global Warming

1. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Do your part to reduce waste by choosing reusable products instead of disposables. Buying products with minimal packaging (including the economy size when that makes sense for you) will help to reduce waste. And whenever you can, recycle paper, plastic, newspaper, glass and aluminum cans. If there isn't a recycling program at your workplace, school, or in your community, ask about starting one. By recycling half of your household waste, you can save 2,400 pounds of carbon dioxide annually.

2. Use Less Heat and Air Conditioning

Adding insulation to your walls and attic, and installing weather stripping or caulking around doors and windows can lower your heating costs more than 25 percent, by reducing the amount of energy you need to heat and cool your home.

Turn down the heat while you’re sleeping at night or away during the day, and keep temperatures moderate at all times. Setting your thermostat just 2 degrees lower in winter and higher in summer could save about 2,000 pounds of carbon dioxide each year.

3. Change a Light Bulb

Wherever practical, replace regular light bulbs with compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs. Replacing just one 60-watt incandescent light bulb with a CFL will save you $30 over the life of the bulb. CFLs also last 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs, use two-thirds less energy, and give off 70 percent less heat.

If every U.S. family replaced one regular light bulb with a CFL, it would eliminate 90 billion pounds of greenhouse gases, the same as taking 7.5 million cars off the road.

4. Drive Less and Drive Smart

Less driving means fewer emissions. Besides saving gasoline, walking and biking are great forms of exercise. Explore your community’s mass transit system, and check out options for carpooling to work or school.

When you do drive, make sure your car is running efficiently. For example, keeping your tires properly inflated can improve your gas mileage by more than 3 percent. Every gallon of gas you save not only helps your budget, it also keeps 20 pounds of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.

5. Buy Energy-Efficient Products

When it's time to buy a new car, choose one that offers good gas mileage. Home appliances now come in a range of energy-efficient models, and compact florescent bulbs are designed to provide more natural-looking light while using far less energy than standard light bulbs.

Avoid products that come with excess packaging, especially molded plastic and other packaging that can't be recycled. If you reduce your household garbage by 10 percent, you can save 1,200 pounds of carbon dioxide annually.

6. Use Less Hot Water

Set your water heater at 120 degrees to save energy, and wrap it in an insulating blanket if it is more than 5 years old. Buy low-flow showerheads to save hot water and about 350 pounds of carbon dioxide yearly. Wash your clothes in warm or cold water to reduce your use of hot water and the energy required to produce it. That change alone can save at least 500 pounds of carbon dioxide annually in most households. Use the energy-saving settings on your dishwasher and let the dishes air-dry.

7. Use the "Off" Switch

Save electricity and reduce global warming by turning off lights when you leave a room, and using only as much light as you need. And remember to turn off your television, video player, stereo and computer when you're not using them.

It's also a good idea to turn off the water when you're not using it. While brushing your teeth, shampooing the dog or washing your car, turn off the water until you actually need it for rinsing. You'll reduce your water bill and help to conserve a vital resource.

8. Plant a Tree

If you have the means to plant a tree, start digging. During photosynthesis, trees and other plants absorb carbon dioxide and give off oxygen. They are an integral part of the natural atmospheric exchange cycle here on Earth, but there are too few of them to fully counter the increases in carbon dioxide caused by automobile traffic, manufacturing and other human activities. A single tree will absorb approximately one ton of carbon dioxide during its lifetime.

9. Get a Report Card from Your Utility Company

Many utility companies provide free home energy audits to help consumers identify areas in their homes that may not be energy efficient. In addition, many utility companies offer rebate programs to help pay for the cost of energy-efficient upgrades.

10. Encourage Others to Conserve

Share information about recycling and energy conservation with your friends, neighbors and co-workers, and take opportunities to encourage public officials to establish programs and policies that are good for the environment.

These 10 steps will take you a long way toward reducing your energy use and your monthly budget. And less energy use means less dependence on the fossil fuels that create greenhouse gases and contribute to global warming.


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How To Green Your Recycling

"Recycling a ton of “waste” has twice the economic impact of burying it in the ground. In addition, recycling one additional ton of waste will pay $101 more in salaries and wages, produce $275 more in goods and services, and generate $135 more in sales than disposing of it in a landfill."

From Recycling: Good for the Economy, Good for the Environment

1. First things first, a little R & R & R

The aphorism is so tired it almost might seem like “reduce, reuse, recycle” should go without saying. But in fact, most of us have only really heard the last third of the phrase, and they’re ranked in order of importance. Reducing the amount that we consume, and shifting our consumption to well-designed products and services, is the first step. Finding constructive uses for “waste” materials is next. And tossing it in the blue bin is last. (The garbage can is not on the list, for good reason.) Through a balance of these three principals you can easily see your landfill-destined waste dwindle fast. A good example of recycling is setting your empty water bottles in the bin on the curb. But by using a water filter and reusable container you can reduce or completely eliminate your need for disposable plastic bottles.

2. Know what you can and can't recycle

Read up on the recycling rules for your area and make sure you don't send anything in that can't be processed. Each city has its own specifics, so try to follow those guidelines as best you can.

3. Buy recycled

The essence of recycling is the cyclical movement of materials through the system, eliminating waste and the need to extract more virgin materials. Supporting recycling means feeding this loop by not only recycling, but also supporting recycled products. We can now find high recycled content in everything from printer paper to office chairs.

4. Encourage an artist

If you know someone interested in making art from recycled materials, offer to provide supplies. Many school children need items like paper towel tubes for art projects. Older artists use everything from rubber bands to oven doors. If you know someone who teaches art classes, suggest that an emphasis be put on making art from trash. While you're at it, remind them to use recycled paper and biodegradable, earth-friendly glues, paints, and pencils whenever possible. See below for inspiration and groups that connect artists and students with useful “trash.”

5. Recycle your water

If you're a homeowner, consider rearranging your plumbing so that rainwater or wastewater from your shower and tub is used to flush your toilet. If you have a garden, water it with leftover bathwater or dishwashing water (as long as you use a biodegradable soap). For more on water recycling see How to Green Your Water.

6. Recycle your greenery

William McDonough and Michael Braungart, authors of the groundbreaking Cradle to Cradle, envision so-called “waste” divided into two categories: technical nutrients and biological nutrients. Biological nutrients are those that, at the end of their useful life, can safely and readily decompose and return to the soil. Composting is one of the simplest and most effective recycling methods. Both your garden cuttings and your green kitchen waste can go into an outdoor or indoor composter (with or without entertaining a population of worms). If you don't have a garden yourself, find neighbors or a community garden that can make use of your soil. Composting food scraps will mean your regular kitchen wastebasket fills up more slowly and also won’t smell. Hotter, more active compost heaps can also consume tougher stuff like newspaper and paper napkins. After Christmas, many cities also have programs for turning your tree into mulch.

7. Recycle your robots

Electronics recycling is becoming more common in many urban areas, battery recycling is ubiquitous (rechargeable batteries are ecologically sounder, but even they wear out after a while), and there are a number of non-profit organizations that will take computer parts and turn them into working computers for others. Companies like Ebay have also developed programs to help your electronics find new homes. Other groups will gladly recycle your cell phone or give it to a senior citizen, as even without a contract it can still make emergency calls. If you have a major appliance that doesn't work and you'd rather replace it than try to fix it, offer it to local repair shops, trade schools, or hobbyists to tinker with. Many cities now offer hazardous waste recycling days when they will take not only hazardous waste, but electronics.

8. Anticipate recycling

In addition to buying recycled goods, keep a keen eye out for recyclable goods. Whenever you purchase something packaged, think about how you can reuse the packaging, return it to a shipping store for reuse, or try to otherwise recycle it. If you get something likely to run down or wear out over time, such as an electronic component, give preference to the model that can be easily upgraded or cannibalized for parts so that you don't have to junk the whole thing if one part breaks. Products that are impossibly fused together are often called “monstrous hybrids” and are, while often cheaper up front, frequently unfixable and unrecyclable.

9. If you don’t love something, let it go

Lots of charities welcome your donations. Groups like Freecycle and Recycler's Exchange exist to help you get rid of useful objects that you just don't want to make use of. If you're in a Craigslist city, make use of the "free stuff" section. Give away clothes that don't fit, the boxes you used in your last house move, or scented soaps that don't appeal to your sensibilities. Make it a rule in your house that nothing useable goes in the trash until you've given the community a fair shot at it.

10. Become a waste-stream analyst

To better understand the kind of materials that enter and leave your home, office, or school, consider conducting a waste audit. Set a span of time like a week or a month, and separate your waste categories. Weigh the different kinds of material flows that go out the door (landfill waste, organic compost, aluminum, recyclable plastic, reusable material, etc.). Design a “material recovery” program that minimizes the amount going to the landfill. This is a great exercise to do with kids but can be very convincing to corporate higher-ups, too, especially since most companies pay to have their trash hauled away and can get money for recycled paper, containers, toner cartridges, corrugated cardboard, and such.


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Top 10 Reasons To RECYCLE

Good For Our Economy

American companies rely on recycling programs to provide the raw materials they need to make new products.

Creates Jobs
Recycling in the U.S. is a $236 billion a year industry. More than 56,000 recycling and reuse enterprises employ 1.1 million workers nationwide.

Reduces Waste
The average American discards seven and a half pounds of garbage every day. Most of this garbage goes into to landfills, where it's compacted and buried.

Good For The Environment
Recycling requires far less energy, uses fewer natural resources, and keeps waste from piling up in landfills.

Saves Energy
Recycling offers significant energy savings over manufacturing with virgin materials. (Manufacturing with recycled aluminum cans uses 95% less energy.)

Preserves Landfill Space
No one wants to live next door to a landfill. Recycling preserves existing landfill space.

Prevents Global Warming
In 2000, recycling of solid waste prevented the release of 32.9 million metric tons of carbon equivalent (MMTCE, the unit of measure for greenhouse gases) into the air.

Reduces Water Pollution
Making goods from recycled materials generates far less water pollution than manufacturing from virgin materials.

Protects Wildlife
Using recycled materials reduces the need to damage forests, wetlands, rivers and other places essential to wildlife.

Creates New Demand
Recycling and buying recycled products creates demand for more recycled products, decreasing waste and helping our economy.


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Top 10 Items You Need To Recycle

Top 10 Items to Recycle

1. Aluminum
2. PET Plastic Bottles
3. Newspaper
4. Corrugated Cardboard
5. Steel Cans
6. HDPE Plastic Bottles
7. Glass Containers
8. Magazines
9. Mixed Paper
10. Computers

To have a great idea on how to recycle these items, try out the Recycling Calculator, click the link below:

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