Who knew that curtains would save you so much energy and money? When it’s hot outside, use your curtains to keep the sun out and when it’s cold outside, use your curtains to keep the heat in! Consolidated Edison, the electric company that runs New York City, explains that these window treatments are more than just decorative cloths that keep the sunlight out or add privacy. They are a layer of insulation that can help to reduce the heat that comes in through the windows or keep your office, home, or apartment, from losing heat when the temperature drops.
By shutting the shades in warm weather, you can also reduce the amount of air conditioning that you use. When the sun shines through your windows it can raise the temperature and cause you to crank up the A/C. Closing the curtains makes sense any time of year and it saves energy. So not only do you save money on your monthly bill, you also save energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions with this one simple step!
According to the United Nations, 2012 is designated as the International Year of Sustainable Energy for All. As we come to the end of this year and start a new in 2013, it’s important that we take a small amount of time from our days to help the environment. What can we do? We’ll tell you with these 5 simple steps to start yourself on the right track towards going green!
Just add an extra bin next to your trashcan and make it easier for yourself to recycle your paper and plastics!
2) Turn off the lights
When possible, keep the lights off! Whenever you leave a room, remember to flip the switch. During the day, keep the lights off and use natural light instead.
3) Make the switch from incandescent to fluorescent bulbs
Fluorescent bulbs use significantly less energy to create the same amount of light that incandescent bulbs generate so make the switch! It’s as easy as that!
4) Use tap water instead of bottled water
Plastic water bottles create a ton of environmental problems. It’s up to you to save money and the environment by switching to tap water instead of bottled!
5) Turn down the heat
When you leave for work in the morning or when you’re sleeping at night, lower the thermostat! You’ll save energy and money on your heating bill!
These are just a few steps to get you started on your path to going green, and they take very little time! It’s easy to follow these five steps and you’ll even same some money in the process.
Godchildren, nieces and nephews can pose unique shopping challenges when it comes time for the holidays. Because children receive a variety of presents around the holidays, it's hard to know what you can buy that he or she won't have already.
These green gift ideas for children are guaranteed to be unique and hits with parents and kids alike!
For the Budding Chef
Bambu Kids In The Kitchen Tool Set - $19.00
Why It's Great: Kids love cooking and helping in the kitchen teaches them reading skills, builds gross and fine motor skills and helps them learn to follow directions.
Why It's Green: These five kid-sized kitchen tools are crafted from food-safe 100 percent organic bamboo, not plastic, metal or wood.
Bambu Feeding Bowl - $13.00
Why It's Great: Baby can drop this feeding bowl off her high chair again and again without damaging it, and her little fingers can easily grip it, thanks to its unique shape.
Why It's Green: Crafted from certified organic bamboo, the bowl is free of all types of chemicals, including BPA, phthalates and formaldehyde adhesives. It's safer for Baby AND for the planet.
For the Mini Host or Hostess
Green Toys Dish Set - $33.99
Why It's Great: Kids can enjoy hours of creative play with this 24-piece play dishes set.
Why It's Green: Green Toys are made from recycled milk bottle and are independently tested to ensure that they're free of BPA and phthalates. The toys require less energy to produce than traditional plastic toys and save the equivalent to 3,000 batteries worth of power.
For the Artiste
Why It's Great: Your favorite kiddo will love creating the design for his own snack bag, which he can take to school and show his friends at lunch or snacktime!
Why It's Green: The 100 percent organic cotton bag is washable and can be reused again and again in place of plastic sandwich bags. The markers are water-based, making them environmentally-friendly.
Remember that all of these green gifts qualify for free shipping!
Recently, we stumbled across an inspiring story here at Paperless Kitchen that we just had to share. The hero of the eco-conscious tale is Sam Dabrusin, a student at The University of British Columbia, who has launched an interesting initiative to help reduce paper waste at the university.
After volunteering for Greenpeace, Dabrusin became inspired to start an environmental project of his own that could help locally make a difference in the health of the planet. Then, he recalled his experiences as an exchange student in Japan and devised the perfect plan.
During the year that he studied abroad, Dabrusin had learned to carry a cloth handkerchief with him, as public restrooms in Japan typically didn't offer paper towels or hand dryers. Dabrusin realized that by encouraging his classmates to use handkerchiefs instead of paper towels on campus, he could decrease the university’s waste and eco footprint.
With a total of more than 45,000 undergraduate and graduate students, The University of British Columbia is the third largest university in Canada, and that large student body adds up to a large waste problem. Through his research, Dabrusin learned that the busy Student Union Building on campus threw away around 40 bags of trash per day. Assuming that much of this was likely paper waste from the restrooms, Dabrusin decided to make the building the headquarters for his paperless project.
In the lobby of the building, Dabrusin and a team of volunteers distribute cloth handkerchiefs to the students who pass by. "The Ubyssey" campus paper at The University of British Columbia reports that many students are taking to using the handkerchiefs regularly.
Photo Kai Jacobson/The Ubyssey
Reading about Dabrusin's project is a powerful reminder that all of us can make a difference by thinking creatively about how we can reduce paper waste and encourage others to do the same. Carrying a cloth handkerchief or a small organic cotton towel like the ones in the PeopleTowels collection is a great way to make a simple change that can make a big difference over time.
Gift shopping season is in full swing now, and Paperless Kitchen is getting into the holiday spirit. We've already started sharing our green gift ideas here on our blog, and today, we introduced a new feature on our site to make shopping for gifts even easier.
We've added a new section exclusively for our green gifts, so that you can quickly find all of our favorite items for gift giving all on one page. Our hope is to inspire more people to select green gifts, not just for the winter holidays, but also for other occasions throughout the year.
So why is it important to buy green gifts? Here are a few of the biggest reasons why we opt for green gifts for our friends and family:
- It's better for the planet. This may be the most obvious reason to choose green gifts, but when you think about how much paper waste is created with the wrapping paper from holiday, birthday and other celebrations, the importance of choosing eco-friendly gifts becomes even clearer.
- Green giving encourages others to protect the planet. When you give green gifts to others, you can introduce them to a new way of thinking about the planet. This can lead to changes in their lifestyles or at the very least, raise their environmental awareness.
- Eco-friendly gifts are unique. When you buy something green for a friend or family member, you're practically assured that no one else will have given them a similar gift for the holiday or occasion. This makes your gift stand out.
- Environmentally-friendly gifts are practical. Nearly everyone can benefit from gifts like paperless kitchen starter kits and other green gifts. If you choose a green gift, you can be sure that they'll actually get use out of what you buy. Why give Dad another necktie or Mom another bottle of perfume when you give them something they'll use every day?
Why do you shop for eco friendly gifts? Give us your best green giving inspiration in our comments section.
Taking an organic approach to eating is the perfect complement to your paperless kitchen. And what better place to start than during the Thanksgiving Holidays? Organic fruits and veggies have a lower impact on the environment than those grown with chemical pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. Although there is some debate about whether or not organic foods actually contain more nutrients than other foods, it's clear that preparing well-balanced, healthy meals instead of using processed foods at home is better for your family and for the planet.
The key to making meal times more natural and healthier for your family is having a great collection of recipes at your disposal. For those who love traditional cookbooks, we put together this list of five of the best natural cookbooks for families.
1. The Organic Family Cookbook by Anni Daulter (Paperback, 176 pages) - This book comes from the founder of Bohemian Baby, a top organic baby food company. Each recipe is geared toward pleasing the palates of kids and their parents. You'll also find tips for greening your home and organic gardening in this handy book.
2. 201 Organic Baby Purees: The Freshest, Most Wholesome Food Your Baby Can Eat! by Tamika L. Gardner (Paperback, 240 pages, also available in a Kindle edition) - Gardner is a well-known expert in healthy baby foods and has had her recipes featured on television. This book gives you simple, incredibly healthy alternatives to traditional baby food, and infants can't seem to get enough of their delicious tastes.
3. Allergy-Friendly Food for Families: 120 Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Nut-Free, Egg-Free, and Soy-Free Recipes Everyone Will Enjoy by Editors of Kiwi Magazine (Paperback, 256 pages, also available in a Kindle edition) - Featuring recipes compiled from issues of Kiwi Magazine, this book focuses on eating natural for families where food sensitivities are an issue. The recipes make it easy to provide the whole family with meals that are delicious, yet safe for every member to enjoy.
4. The Vegetarian Mother's Cookbook: Whole Foods To Nourish Pregnant And Breastfeeding Women - And Their Families by Cathe Olson (Paperback, 429 pages) - Writer Cathe Olson created this book based on her own experiences trying to maintain a vegetarian diet and ensure that she had the proper nutrition throughout pregnancy and while nursing. Perfect for busy moms and moms-to-be, the recipes are quick and healthy for everyone, eliminating the need to make separate meals for kids and dads.
5. Organic Baby & Toddler Cookbook (Paperback, 144 pages) The work of a founder of a line of organic foods for children, this cookbook includes recipes that are perfect for transitioning kids from purees to more solid cuisine. There is a wide array of delicious dishes from traditional American fare to Indian recipes.
Do you have any organic cookbook recommendations? Let us know!
Out of everyone on my holiday shopping list, my 21-year-old cousin always seems to cause the biggest shopping dilemma. Now that he's in college, it's hard to decide what gifts are both practical and "cool".
To help you find the perfect gift for that 18-to-20-something on your list, here's some affordable gift ideas for college students.
e-Cloth Screen Cleaning Pack - $16.99
Why It's Great: Laptops are used daily by college students. Their fingerprinted, grimy screens are proof of it! This set makes it easy to quickly and safely clean computer screens as well as the touch screens on cell phones and tablet computers. The kit also includes a spray that helps prevent fingerprinting and dirt from adhering to the screen after cleaning.
Why It's Green: The tiny fibers in the cloth make it possible to clean without chemicals, and the CleanSafe screen spray is free of harsh, synthetic ingredients that are bad for the planet.
Eco Lunch Box Kit - $26.00
Why It's Great: College students often eat lunches on the go, and these reusable containers keep sandwiches, crackers and other foods from getting smashed in backpacks and messenger bags.
Why It's Green: The metal containers are reusable, unlike paper bags. The green design is free of PVC, BPA, lead and vinyl.
Method Tub and Tile Wipes - $21.17
Why It's Great: While it may not seem exciting to purchase bathroom cleaning wipes, your favorite college student will appreciate being able to sanitize the communal showers and restrooms in his or her dorms.
Why It's Green: The wipes are 100 percent biodegradable and are free of toxins and harsh, synthetic bleaches.
You'll find all of these great green gifts here at Paperless Kitchen and enjoy free shipping on your order!
Paperless Kitchen is pleased to announce that we've recently expanded our collection of PeopleTowels! Since we launched our site, these handy organic cotton towels have been one of our best sellers, so we have decided to now carry the brand's complete line!
If you haven't yet discovered our PeopleTowels range, here's the scoop on the brand. All of the PeopleTowels are:
- 100 percent certified organic towels printed with low-impact ink
- 9 inches by 9 inches in size, designed for hand-drying but perfect for tons of other uses
- Adorned with colorful, vibrant designs that honor everything from Earth Day to pets
- Machine washable and reusable
- Outfitted with a loop in one corner for hanging
- Eco-friendly alternatives to paper towels
Paperless Kitchen sells PeopleTowels in one, two, three and five-day supplies. We also have a family pack that includes 12 towels. You can even find PeopleTowels in our Paperless Kitchen Starter Kit and Paperless Kitchen Party Kit.
Here are some of our favorite designs - let us know what you think!
On September 29, an explosion at the Nippon Shokubai Co. outside of Kobe, Japan, caused severe damage to a chemical plant and left one person dead and 35 injured. As work to repair the damage began, speculation about the impact that the explosion could have on a major necessity began to take place.
Nippon Shokubai Co. is one of the world's largest producers of acrylic acid, a major ingredient in disposable diapers. Many industry experts predicted that disruption in the company's operations could result in a major diaper shortage throughout the world. Now more than a month after the accident, disposable diapers still remain well stocked on the shelves, but experts now believe that consumers may be asked to pay more for their favorite brand in the weeks to come.
In a time when budgets are already tight, many families simply can't afford to spend any more on cloth diapers, leading to predictions that cloth diaper usage may dramatically increase in the months to come.
All this means great news for the planet. The Real Diaper Association reports that 27.4 billion disposable diapers are used and thrown away every year, comprising the third largest type of waste found in landfills. One diaper can take up to five centuries to decompose, which adds up to waste that our children, grandchildren and multiple generations to come will have to confront.
Making the switch to cloth diapers is also smart from a savings perspective and was even before the accident in Japan. Parents who use cloth instead of disposable typically pay only 10 percent of what those who opt for throw-aways will from birth through potty training, according to the Real Diaper Association.
Do you use cloth diapers? If so, how do you make it work for you? Share your story in the comments section to help other moms and dads who are considering making the switch to avoid paying more for their disposables.
I am always eager to try the latest paper towel alternatives, so when I had the opportunity to try out the branded Paperless Kitchen SKOY cloths I was pretty excited. SKOY advertises that you can use one of its green cleaning cloths so many times that each one has the cleaning power of 15 rolls of paper towels. My kitchen assistant and I decided to put that to the test by using one of the cloths to tackle two jobs that I formerly used paper towels for before I switched to a paperless kitchen.
SKOY cloths are made from a blend of cotton and cellulose and are completely biodegradable. Unlike a paper towel, a fresh SKOY cloth is stiff and flat. I like this feature because the cloths easily stand up against the side wall of my cabinets, meaning I don't have to take up space on my counter top with a paper towel holder. The cloths are also much thicker than paper towels.
If you've checked out my other reviews, you'll know that I'm fond of the spill test. When I used paper towels, I almost always reached for them to handle liquid spills, so it always seems natural to put paper towel alternatives to a spill test. For this one, I used iced tea and placed a dry, fresh SKOY cloth on the edge of the spill. The towel began to absorb on contact and actually pulled the liquid off of the counter into its fibers. Even though I placed the cloth just on the edge of the mess, most of it was absorbed within one minute. Then, I moved the cloth and placed it over the remaining mess. The liquid was gone without any wiping at all, and my counter top didn't feel sticky.
After the spill was managed, I rinsed the SKOY cloth under cold water. The majority of the iced tea ran right off of the towel. Once I rang out the cloth and rinsed it again, there was some faint staining, but the cloth was clean and ready to be used again.
In my former life as a paper towel user, I always used a wet towel to clean my toaster. I loved the convenience of being able to pick up the crumbs and then toss the cloth away. My kitchen assistant and I started with what I thought was a clean toaster (keep reading to find out about my big surprise!) and made ourselves 4 pieces of golden brown delicious toast. I wiped out the inside of the toaster with the SKOY cloth after we ate. Not only did the crumbs easily cling to the fibers, but the SKOY green cleaning cloth removed carbon and dirt that I didn't even realize was in the toaster!
After using the SKOY cloth, I do believe that the green cleaning cloths are the equivalent to 15 rolls of paper towels. To clean up my iced tea spill, I easily would have used three to four paper towel squares, and my toaster cleaning used as many as 10. After our kitchen test, the SKOY cloth barely seemed used and could certainly be reached for again and again.