Wednesday, June 13, 2007

A Green Father's Day

With Father's Day fast approaching, I was desperately searching for a great gift that was different from anything Stephen would suspect. I got on google and searched for "green father's day gifts" and came up with a lot of links. I then checked everything out. No, I was not willing to pay $98 for a hemp briefcase, or $40 for a hemp necktie. Nor did I want to get an organic cotton white, button down, collar shirt for work. Where's the fun in that?

Then I began thinking...

We really don't need anymore "stuff" in the house. Buying a Father's Day gift (which Stephen informed me was not necessary, but I want to be prepared incase I'm not awake enough to cook him a fabulous breakfast in bed...) would just add to the stuff in our home; the stuff we have been trying to clear out for ages. So I had to come up with something different. Something he wouldn't use once or twice and then forget about.

Then I discovered Terrapass. Terrapass is an idea to help off-set your carbon emissions. You calculate the emissions from your travel (car, bus, plane, etc.) When you buy a TerraPass, your money funds renewable energy projects such as wind farms. These projects result in verified reductions in greenhouse gas pollution. And these reductions counterbalance your own emissions. I thought that was pretty neat. Plus, we get a nice bumper sticker and thing for the window promoting this idea and some more info on renewable energy.

There are many other "green" companies you can support, but I totally loved the idea of giving money that would fund renewable energy projects.

(Stephen promised he would not read this blog until AFTER Father's Day!)

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

It's the little things...

So, when it comes to living greener, does what toothbrush you choose to buy come to mind? Probably not. For years I have been using the Recycline's Preserve toothbrush because I knew that they used recycled plastic to make their toothbrushes and also took back used toothbrushes to further recycle them. How cool is that?!

Here is what their website says about the materials used to make these toothbrushes:

Innovative Construction Materials

The Preserve's materials, all of which are completely recyclable, have been selected for both performance and their recycled origins.

The Preserve's handle is made of polypropylene. This plastic material was chosen for its strength and flexibility. It is an efficiently recycled material--its strength does not break down in the recycling process. Polypropylene's recycling efficiency means it is commonly reprocessed and cleaned, and we have been able to hire the best in the business to recycle our plastics. Please see our plastics recycling section for more on our recycling process.

Polypropylene is also available in many sources of post-consumer and pre-consumer recycled plastics, labeled #5. Presently our main source is from recycled Stonyfield Farm® yogurt cups. Read more about our innovative recycling project with them. After reprocessing, our post-consumer plastics are tested to confirm their cleanliness - this test is called a "foreign elements reading" which shows that our cleansed and reprocessed plastics have the same infinitesimal readings of foreign elements as virgin plastics. Please see our plastics testing page for more about tests and their results.

The Preserve's materials are also completely recyclable. The handle and bristles are effectively recycled together--the polypropylene and nylon actually strengthen as they combine in the recycling process. Preserve's postage-paid envelope assures that your used brush will be turned into plastic lumber.

That's right, wherever you purchase them, you can get a handy envelope to mail them back to the company when you're through. You don't even need to put them in the trash!! I love this! I try to be very aware of everything we throw out, so the fact that I use a toothbrush that won't end up in a landfill makes me happy :) They don't make them into more toothbrushes, but instead grind them up and use them to make things like park benches and picnic tables.

Buying one of these (and they're really not that expensive) will help keep more junk out of landfills and will also help manufacture something that is needed without the use of new materials.

More from their site:
Why Recycle a Toothbrush?

Dentists nationwide recommend that patients replace their toothbrushes at least 4 times a year. The ADA concurs. Toothbrushes not only lose their effectiveness, but they also build up bacteria. Though the average American currently replaces a brush only 1.5 times a year, replacement is expected to increase due to the growing awareness of the benefits of preventative oral hygiene.

If we all obey our dentists, toothbrushes will begin to make a pretty significant impact on landfills. At present replacement rates, annual toothbrush waste amounts to about 50 million pounds. With the Preserve, significant amounts of plastic waste are diverted from landfills back into usable goods. As toothbrushes become more and more of a consumable, using recycled materials and the Preserve's recyclable design makes more and more sense.

I have seen these at most natural food stores, and I know for sure that Wild Oats and Whole Foods carry them. The bristles stay nice and firm and don't break down as quickly as other brushes I have owned. I'm really pleased with these brushes...environmentally friendly or not!