Archive for May, 2009

Green Floor Choices

There are a lot of floor coverings that are sold as green these days.  A few of your choices might include bamboo hardwood floors, carpet made from recycled plastic or wool carpet.  The bamboo hardwood floors and wool carpets are considered green choices because they are made from rapidly renewable materials. 

I was encouraged today to see that Heather Armstrong aka Dooce, an internet style maven and one of the web’s most famous bloggers, chose 100% wool carpet when decorating her nursery.  She also offered a frugal tip: they bought their carpet from Costco.


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Xcel Seminar for Small Businessess

I got a call last week from Xcel, performing a customer satisfaction survey.  One area that I gave Xcel high marks on was their communication about their efforts to use more renewable energy and help their consumers lower their energy consumption.  When you think about it, it is counter-productive for a utility company to educate their consumers to use less energy, since energy-use is how they make their money, so I am even more proud of the utilities in our country for passing up short-term profits with a view on long-term health of their utility and our citizens.

As part of their education effort, Xcel is reaching out to small businesses with a seminar on June 16th at the Pepsi Center, focused on how energy-efficient lighting can lower bills and possibly improve your work environment.  With free parking and complimentary full breakfast, it sounds like a great way to spend a morning.  This program will also be introducing Xcel’s new Small Business Lighting program – a free program that aims to help small businesses lower their lighting costs by up to 40 percent.  If you are interested in attending, email

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Free Eco-Totes From Oroweat

Hurry – this promotion ends May 30!

Receive a free “eco-tote” from Oroweat (bread) when you redeem codes from three specially-marked packages.  The packages that have the code will have a banner for the free eco-tote above the label on the front, as well as a Healthy People, Healthy Planet seal on the end of the package.  The alpha-numeric codes are located on the inside of the outer bag.  You must enter the codes from all three bags when you make the request – at Oroweat or through this site.

And a bonus frugal tip: Check to see if you have an Oroweat outlet in your neighborhood.   I can get up to 4 loaves for $6 at the outlet versus 2 for $5 on sale at the grocery store.  The outlet near my office is advertised as an Entenmann’s outlet and is operated by Bimbo Bakeries, their parent company.

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From poolside

This week I’m lying by the pool in a sunnier climate.  As I work hard to shield my body from the sun’s intense radiation, I wish I had a way to harness that energy to my benefit.  Too bad I don’t have a beach bag that will use the sun’s energy to charge my favorite devices, like this one

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Gifts for a green mom

After reading many green gift guides for Mothers’ Day, I’ve picked a few of the best that I’m thinking of getting for my mom:

  • Instead of traditional jewelry, how about jewelry made from recycled gold or silver?
  • Or get jewelry that is a bit more unusual
  • If you like to stick to flowers, you can still order organic bouquets
  • This clutch, made from recycled candy wrappers, is incredibly striking
  • If you are lucky enough to be near or with your mother on Mothers Day, why not give her an experience instead of more stuff?
  • And of course, don’t forget chocolate!

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Celebrate Endangered Species Day on May 15, 2009!

It seems that spring time is just rife with holidays to celebrate the world around us:

Endangered Species Day is an opportunity for people young and old to learn about the importance of protecting endangered species and everyday actions that people can take to help protect our nation’s disappearing wildlife and last remaining open space. Protecting America’s wildlife and plants today is a legacy we leave to our children and grandchildren, so that all Americans can experience the rich variety of native species that help to define our nation.

Endangered Species Day is the third Friday of May. Every year, thousands of people throughout the country celebrate Endangered Species Day at parks, wildlife refuges, zoos, aquariums, botanical gardens, libraries, schools and community centers. You can participate in festivals, field trips, park tours, community clean-ups, film showings, classroom presentations, and many other fun and educational activities.

See if there is an event near you or use their toolkit to create programs for groups in your area.  There is also an Endangered Species Art Contest available on their website.

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Notes from the road

I travelled to Chicago this weekend and was surprised when I stopped in the restroom at Midway Airport because they did not have any air hand dryers.  I was surprised not to have this alternative, which seems, at least on the surface, to be the better environmental choice.  I decided to do a bit of research and see if the airport administrators knew something that I didn’t. 

I came across this column from 2007 which focuses primarily on whether there is less energy usage by hand dryers versus the production and transport of paper towels.  I was pleased to see that there was, but my major curiousity – the amount of waste that paper towels produce – was also addressed:

A World Dryer study of 102 hand dryers installed in public schools in Topeka, Kansas, claimed an annual savings of 34.5 tons of solid waste, 690,000 gallons of water, and 587 trees; another World Dryer study of 153 hand dryers in the Iowa state capitol showed an annual savings of 10.5 tons of solid waste and 176 trees.

So, the next time you’re travelling to Chicago, stop and ask our friends at Midway to add hand dryers to their bathrooms.  And I haven’t started to research why they didn’t have auto-sensing water faucets…

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