With another Christmas come and gone, we're all still recovering from the family gatherings, the holiday parties, the food and all that shopping. As you relax and look forward to the New Year, don't forget about taking the time to properly see to all that holiday waste.
Here are some easy green tips that you can follow to minimize the impact of holiday waste.
- Packing Peanuts - Online shoppers wind up with a huge amount of packing peanuts throughout the holiday season. If you ever send gifts via mail or sell items on eBay, you can save these in a dry, cool area for future use. If you have no use for the packaging materials, you can drop them off at many copy and shipping centers, including most UPS stores nationwide.
- Wrapping - Wrapping paper, boxes and bows can nearly all be recycled. It's also perfectly fine to reuse wrapping for next year's gifts. If you're crafty, you can even fashion patchwork wrapping paper "quilts" out of scraps from this year's gifts.
- Greeting Cards - If you don't save Christmas cards for sentimental reasons, why not cut them up and use them for gift tags next holiday season? You can also recycle unwanted cards.
- Christmas Trees - Although Christmas trees are biodegradable, when you simply put them out for the trash, you're contributing to overcrowding in landfills. If you have a wood chipper, you can use your tree to make mulch, or you can check iRecycle for businesses in your area that will pick-up your Christmas tree or accept drop-offs for recycling.
- Food Scraps - If you overachieved on the amount of food prepared for your holiday party, throw away as little as possible. Consider purchasing a composting bin to start an organic garden in the spring. You can also freeze many prepared foods to enjoy on cold winter evenings when you don't feel like cooking.
How do you deal with holiday waste? Share your tips in the Comments section!
Bringing a reusable bag with you to carry home your shopping is the better choice for the health of the planet. It's also becoming the law of the land in some parts of the country. This year, new ordinances have passed in many communities that make single-use bags forbidden or more expensive to use.
In March 2013, all businesses in Austin, Texas, will stop offering paper and plastic bags to customers. One of the largest and strictest of the bans, the Austin law requires reusable bags made out of cloth, at least 40 percent recycled paper or extra thick plastic. The bags must have handles as well. Even restaurants are subject to the new law; fast food and takeout restaurants will have to switch to recycled paper single-use bags to comply with the regulations.
New laws in other areas allow for more flexibility. In Alameda County, California, The Reusable Bag Ordinance that goes into effect in January makes it possible for stores to still distribute paper bags to customers but with a fee of at least 10 cents. Plastic bags are completely banned under the ordinance.
Opinions on what impact laws like these have on businesses varies depending on the source. Advocates of these types of ordinances argue that it will save businesses the cost of having to purchase plastic and paper bags and that they can generate revenue from fees and from selling reusable bags. Opponents worry that moves like these could drive people away from stores and fear that more people will shop online or travel to stores in communities without such ordinances to do their shopping.
Paperless Kitchen wants to know, "What do you think of bag ban laws and ordinances?" Tell us in the comments.
I don't trust mops. I blame my mother and grandmother who I saw get down on their hands and knees to wash their floors by hand, both insisting that even with the best soap, a mop simply can't get your floors clean as some good old-fashioned elbow grease.
Because of my mop mistrust, I was skeptical about the e-Cloth Deep Clean Mop, which is not only a mop--it's a mop that reportedly can clean your floors without soap. I went into my e-Cloth Deep Clean Mop kitchen test unsure what to expect, but after a morning of cleaning I have to say I'm now a mop believer, at least when it comes to the e-Cloth Mop.
The e-Cloth Deep Clean Mop has a removable cloth cover with a highly concentrated fiber network. Each square centimeter of fabric contains 480,000 tiny fibers, which capture dirt and lift it away. Because of this unique network of fibers, the mop can be used with just plain water and can eliminate 99.9 percent of household bacteria.
Getting the e-Cloth Deep Clean Mop ready for use is remarkably simple. All my kitchen assistant and I had to do was remove the head, wet it with water ring it out and attach its Velcro side to the end. That's it. The cloth fastens securely in place and doesn't shift when you start to clean.
I let both my kitchen floors go without cleaning for two weeks in preparation for this road test, so I was anxious to get cleaning. I have hardwood floors in my kitchen, and the e-Cloth Deep Clean Mop glided easily over the wood, even in the seams. My trusted assistant and I were both impressed with how much dust and dirt the mop lifted off of the wood, and I only had to rinse the cloth once to get the entire room clean.
The e-Cloth Deep Clean Mop was equally impressive on the ceramic tiles in my bathroom. We were both amazed at how much dirt I was able to remove from the floor because the white tiles had looked clean before I went to work. I'm now left wondering how much dirt my rag, soap and bucket cleaning method had missed before. The telescoping handle on the mop really came in handy for cleaning around the toilet and tub.
The e-Cloth Deep Clean Mop's package states that the mop head is guaranteed to last through at least 300 washes, so when I was finished cleaning, I tossed it in the washing machine. The mop head came out looking as good as new. Just make sure you don't add fabric softener! I didn't read the instructions carefully enough the first time and had to rewash mine without the softener.
The e-Cloth Deep Clean Mop was as effective, if not more effective, than washing my floors by hand with soap and water. I even invited my mother over to inspect the results, and my sparkling clean floors received her approval. If two thumbs up from Mom isn't the ultimate endorsement, I don't know what is.
Smart phones and tablet computers have made it easier than ever to make many aspects of your daily life completely paperless. I'm always on the hunt for ways that I can stop writing things down and use my handheld devices and laptop instead. Here's a rundown on some of my best finds for specific tasks that I used to use paper for.
For Your To Do Lists
While there are many apps and programs for list keeping, my personal favorite is TeuxDeux. This unique program can be used in your web browser on your computer and is also available in the App Store for Apple products. TeuxDeux gives you a calendar that allows you to enter tasks, cross them off and move them from day to day. With the browser-based version, your information is saved, so that you can access it across multiple computers and devices.
For Your Notes to Self
Among the many note-taking programs out there, Evernote is by far my favorite. The free program allows you to save information easily and share it across all types of devices. You can download Evernote for use on your computer and purchase apps for iOs and Android devices.
For Your Shopping Lists
Grocery iQ has become an indispensable part of my grocery shopping. You can use the program to create online shopping lists, share your lists, find coupons and much more. In addition to the web app, there are also versions for Apple and Android smart phones and tablets.Do you have a favorite app or program that's helped you go paperless? We want to hear about it in the comments section!
Somehow it seems that I always struggle with what to get the most important women in my life for the holidays, and from talking to people, I think this is a common holiday dilemma. Even though we know our mothers, sisters and BFFs so well, it can be difficult sometimes to decide what would make a thoughtful gift, yet still be affordable.
To help make your shopping a little greener and easier, here's four affordable gifts that you can get right here at Paperless Kitchen.
$11.99 for set of 2
Why It's Great: If you know a lady who is always chatting on a cell phone, changing songs on an iPod, reading on a Nook or Kindle or surfing the web on an iPad, these handy cleaning cloths will keep her favorite device in perfect working order by eliminating dust and fingerprints.
Why It's Green: The unique design of the cloths makes it possible to clean electronics without just plain water, eliminating the need for chemical cleaners. The cloths are also machine-washable and can be used again and again.
Why It's Great: Even if she doesn't have a green thumb, she can grow a maple tree from scratch with this unique gift.
Why It's Green: Not only does the set allow a special lady to plant a tree, but it also helps her protect one with two colorful paper towel alternatives.
Why It's Great: For the working woman who's always eating meals on the go, this reusable silverware and chopsticks set is sure to come in handy again and again.
Why It's Green: The knife, fork, spoon and chopsticks in the set are made from sustainable, renewable bamboo, not wood, plastic or metal. The attractive Japanese-inspired carrying case is made from recycled plastic.
Why It's Great: These unique gloves are perfect for in-shower massages and help to soothe aching muscles. The gloves will also stimulate circulation and exfoliate the skin as she rubs.
Why It's Green: The spa gloves are made from 100 percent certified organic cotton and knitted by hand by women in India who are paid fair trade wages to help them support their families.
Don't forget that you'll enjoy free shipping every day on your purchases here at Paperless Kitchen!
Whether you're shopping for Dad, your brother, a guy friend
or a coworker you drew for Secret Santa, deciding what to get a man for
Christmas can always be a challenge.
This year, why not give him a green gift that he'll love and save some money as well? Check out these cheap green gifts for him!
Why It's Great: This four-piece set gives him everything he needs to detail his car himself without having to pay big bucks for professional services.
Why It's Green: The Glass & Polishing Cloth and General Purpose Cloth included in the set lift away oil, dirt and debris with just plain water, so there's no need to use chemicals to get his car spotless.
Why It's Great: If you know a gentleman that always seems to be polishing his glasses, this neat cloth will let him get the job done in no time.
Why It's Green: This unique microfiber cloth cleans eyeglass and sunglass lenses without scratching them and without the need for chemical-based lens cleaners.
Why It's Great: If he's a golfer, he can use these eco-friendly towels to wipe his clubs and ball when he's on the links. For guys who love to hit the gym, the towels are great for toweling off after workouts.
Why It's Green: PeopleTowels are made from 100 percent organic cotton and printed with only low-impact inks. They are machine-washable and can be reused repeatedly.
When you choose any of these green holiday gifts for guys, you won’t pay any shipping! That’s sure to make things merrier.
With the holidays coming up, we thought it would be a great idea to sponsor a giveaway to our loyal customers and followers. We know many of you are planning on hosting holiday parties so we thought of a great idea. From now until December 22, you will have a chance to win a PaperlessKitchen Party Kit!
The Party Kit consists of a 3 day supply of People Towels, 8 Bambu Bamboo Veneerware Plates, and a Bambu Veneerware Utensils Pack. The entire kit is valued at $46.00 and you have the opportunity of winning one for free! All you need to do is go to this website, sign up with your name and email address, and make sure to “Like” us on Facebook! That’s all! The criteria are listed in the official rules, but it won’t take any more than 2 minutes to win $46.00 worth of PaperlessKitchen products. Make sure you sign up before time runs out! Good luck to everyone that signs up!
Along with joy and fun, the holiday season also brings with it a large amount of waste. Between Thanksgiving and New Year's, the United States produces 6 million tons of trash in addition to the average amount of waste generated by Americans. One of the largest contributors to all of that extra trash is gift giving, which creates a huge amount of paper waste.
To make your holidays a little greener, here are some ways to reduce gift wrap waste and decrease the size of your eco footprint during the holiday season.
- Give gifts that don't require wrapping. When you buy gift cards or tickets to sporting, theater and music events, you can give your gift in a recycled paper greeting card. Also, consider giving gifts in open baskets, which can be reused rather than thrown away.
- Wrap your gift in a gift! Use scarves, dish towels, socks and other inexpensive cloth items to wrap your gifts, and you'll be giving your friends and family two gifts at once.
- Stuff stockings. For your family gift exchange this year, recommend that everyone purchase stocking stuffers and leave them unwrapped, using only a gift tag or piece of scrap paper as a tag. Then, you can hang your stockings when you gather for the holidays, fill them and enjoy the fun of discovering what’s stuffed inside.
- Use nontraditional wrapping paper. Kraft paper, newsprint, used tissue paper, cloth scraps and other items can all make unique homemade wrapping paper.
- Purchase wrapping paper made from recycled paper and seed paper gift tags. If you must buy wrapping supplies this year, opt for greener choices.
- Don't throw away wrapping paper scraps. Use this neat pattern to turn the scraps into a bow.
- Open carefully.
If you open up your gifts gingerly, you can often save the wrapping paper to
use next year.
A recent study published in the "Journal Environmental Health" has confirmed the importance of limiting children's exposure to even trace amount of toxins in foods.
The study was conducted at the Division of Environmental and Occupational Health at the University of California Davis and involved 364 children, 207 of which were preschoolers and 157 of which were between the ages of 5 and 7. Among the findings of the study:
- Every child was found to have levels of arsenic, dieldrin, DDE and dioxins that could put him or her at risk for developing cancer.
- 95% of children had levels of acrylamide in their bodies that increase their risk for cancer.
- High pesticide levels were detected in many types of produce that children often eat raw, including tomatoes, apples, grapes and celery
The results of the study raise serious concerns about the safety of the foods that our children eat on a daily basis. Fortunately, there are some steps that you can take to help reduce your children's exposure to toxins and reduce their risk of cancer.
- Purchase organic foods certified by a reputable organization whenever possible.
- Thoroughly clean fruits and vegetables with a natural produce cleaner before serving them raw or using them in recipes.
- Eliminate the use of chemical cleaning products in the kitchen by switching to green cleaning cloths that require only water or natural cleaning solutions that are nontoxic.
- Serve fewer processed grain foods like potato and tortilla chips, as these are the primary sources of acrylamide.
By greening your kitchen and making smart choices about the foods you serve, you can help protect your children and decrease your family's eco footprint.
If you're making an effort to go organic in your paperless kitchen, you may be dismayed to know that the word "organic" on a package or a sign may not always mean the same thing. Currently in the U.S., there are no laws regarding the use of the word "organic," which means that any manufacturer can claim to sell organic spaghetti sauce, organic rice or any other type of product.
To ensure that what you are buying really does contain ingredients that were grown without the use of chemical pesticides or synthetic fertilizers, you should always look for products labeled as "certified organic." This indicates that a third-party organization or government agency has examined the product's ingredients and the techniques used in its manufacturing and that the certifying body has confirmed the product is indeed organic.
Unfortunately, not all "certified organic" products are the same either. Each body that offers certifications uses its own set of standards to decide what is and what is not organic. This makes it important that you select products that were certified by reputable groups.
One way to play it safe is to look for items approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the European Union; the official government of another nation like Japan, Canada or Australia or a state or provincial government body. There are also some reputable third-party groups that offer organic certification, including:
Soil Association (common for UK products)
National Association for Sustainable Agriculture (NASAA) (common for Australian products)
If you discover a new product certified by an agency not on this list, do some research before you buy it. A reputable organization should have a website that provides its standards for organic certification. By reading these, you can determine whether or not the organization's values are in line with your own and make an informed buying decision.