Tag Archives: eco-friendly

Benefits of Clay Plaster for Your Home & Health

Traditional paints are now widely known for their toxic properties. Painting your walls and ceilings with these kinds of materials will introduce harsh chemicals into your home. As indoor spaces rarely receive proper ventilation, dangerous fumes can easily linger in your interior air for years to come. Such toxins can be the culprits behind headaches, fatigue, dizziness, asthma, heart disease, and cancer. So if you’re looking to spruce up your walls this spring, don’t put your family’s health in danger. Instead, consider natural clay plaster as a healthier and more eco-friendly alternative.

Unlike typical paints, which are laden with volatile organic compounds (VOCs), natural clay plaster is safe for interior painting. Clay plaster is made from pure, naturally-occurring clay. It comes in a wide variety of earthy tones, and its pigmentation is derived from completely natural oxides and ochre minerals.

Clay PlasteringNatural clay plaster is an excellent choice for your health-conscious and eco-friendly home makeover. It’s completely natural benefits include:

Improving your indoor air:

In our modern world, we can’t avoid filling our homes with dangerous electromagnetic-emitting appliances, electronics, and synthetic plastics. Fortunately, natural clay plasters release negative ions, which neutralize the air. Biochemical studies have also shown that these negative ions have the capability of raising serotonin levels, which can help you and your loved ones better manage stress, depression, and midday fatigue.

Preventing mold:

Natural clay plasters contain the naturally-occurring mineral, borax.  Borax is well known for its anti-molding properties, which is particularly useful in mold-inducing “wet areas” such as bathrooms and kitchens.

Providing Texture:

As it is thicker, natural clay plaster has a greater potential for texture than regular paint. Paint producers have taken advantage of this property, by developing a range of clay plaster textures, including marble, suede, sponged, mica, and speckled. Applying clay texture to your walls will add depth and interest to your living space.


No need to strip your walls. With a quick primer, natural clay plasters can be applied directly onto just about any pre-existing surface, including wallpaper, brick, concrete, adobe, and drywall. Just be careful with glossy surfaces, as they may need a light pre-sanding. Both rollers and paint sprayers for home use should be enough to get the job done easily and effectively. And remember, natural clay plaster should be avoided on oriented strand board (OSB), ceramic tiling, and tongue-and-groove paneling.

Waste Free:

Natural clay plasters are eco-friendly in that they are waste-free. When you’ve completed your paint project, simply restore your leftover plaster for future patch-ups, as dried plaster can easily be rehydrated. Excess plaster can also be let out into soil, with no negative environmental effects.

Many people don’t realize that they are more susceptible to airborne toxins inside of their own homes than outside among smog and fuel emissions. Just because we can easily forget about them doesn’t mean paint-toxins aren’t plaguing our day-to-day lives. So if you’re looking to improve the look of your home, why not improve the air as well? Besides, in addition to being beneficial for your health, clay plasters are naturally practical, efficient, and eco-friendly.

Guest post by Lynn Jackson

Metro Wallworks Recycled Paint Debuts in California

You buy it in excess because you don’t want to be caught without it in the middle of a home improvement project. You have cans of it sitting in your garage for touchups or because it’s a “limited edition.” What is it you ask? Latex paint.

Americans consume more than 1 billion gallons of paint every year, and in many cases, the leftover paint from projects is still usable. Recycling this latex paint is now an affordable and sustainable alternative to sending it off to a landfill. It’s also the hottest new green design trend.

Specializing in fine wall finishes, California-based Metro Wallworks is the first company to launch a line of recycled paint. The new line of recycled paint consists of 15 colors and holds many advantages over buying virgin paint. In fact, using one gallon of recycled paint is the equivalent of saving 100 kilowatt hours of energy that would otherwise have gone into producing virgin paint. Recycled paint is generally acknowledged to be much cheaper than buying new latex paint.

But how is the paint recycled and is it of the same quality as what you buy from the store?

In order to begin recycling, filterable solids are removed from the paint. Most paint is then mixed with new standard paint, creating a 1:1 ratio of recycled to new paint. However, some paint is completely recycled without adding new paint. Pigments are then added to create the new color and the pH is adjusted. This new recycled paint is the same quality as virgin paint, just more environmentally conscious.

To learn more about Metro Wallworks line of recycled paint, visit their web site.

EPA Recognizes 2010 WasteWise Award Winners in Southeast

green buildingWhile you may already know about the green building trend that’s moved across the United States, what you may not realize is that the southeast is a hotspot for green activity. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently recognized five WasteWise partners in the southeast for outstanding achievement. Nationally there were 24 winners in categories including business, education and government.

The 2010 WasteWise award winners were:

Better World Books, Georgia — This company collects and sells new and used books online. They also donate a portion of each sale to help literacy initiatives worldwide.  In 2009 alone, the company recycled 7,090 tons of materials, which is equivalent to removing 2,900 passenger vehicles from the road for one year in terms of carbon dioxide output.

Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp (FCCC), South Carolina — Freightliner is the nation’s largest producer of diesel-powered chassis for the RV and walk-in van industry.  By taking a ‘green’ initiative, the company has gone from dumping 125 tons of solid waste per month in January 2008 to zero landfilling in September 2009. Not only is this great news for the environment, but it has also saved FCCC $157,598 in 2009 alone.

Fetter Group, Kentucky – Fetter Group, a printing company out of Louisville, has switched to reusable plastic shipping boxes and no longer uses “proof approval stickers,” eliminating the production of more than 10,000 proof stickers per year.  In 2009, Fetter Group was able to add $250,000 to its bottom line through its efforts to reduce waste.

Florida Department of Financial Services, Division of Legal Services –The Division has implemented several environmentally friendly practices. Its paper reduction efforts saved Florida taxpayers more than $1 million in 2009.  TBy switching to electronic processing tools, paper use was reduced by 1.5 million pages per year, saving  more than $85,000.

Georgia Environmental Protection Division, Tradeport Complex – In 2009, employees recycled 100 tons of traditional recyclables and diverted one ton of used coffee grounds for use in home compost bins. These efforts saved taxpayers almost $6,500 and eliminated greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to nearly 37,000 gallons of gasoline.

The WasteWise program is a free, voluntary partnership that helps businesses reduce their environmental impact and find cost savings through innovative waste reduction and recycling activities. Currently, over 2,700 participants and endorsers are involved in the program.

For more information on the WasteWise program and the award winners, visit http://www.epa.gov/epawaste/partnerships/wastewise/events/2010awardees.htm.

Meet Schlumberger

by Megan McLaughlin

Schlumberger: "The leading oilfield services provider, trusted to deliver superior results and improved E&P performance for oil and gas companies around the world. Each day, in 80 countries, we help our customers find and produce oil and gas. Through our wellsite operations and in our research and engineering facilities, we are working to develop products, services and solutions that optimize customer performance in a safe and environmentally sound manner."

This month, Schlumberger will be attending the EnergiseYourFuture Youth Forum in Paris, France. "During EnergiseYourFuture, delegations of students, academics, young professionals, experts, think tanks and NGO’s from all five continents of the world will enjoy three levels of discussions: keynote plenary sessions for strategic thinking, workshops for a deep-dive into the overall themes and for generating new ideas and resolutions, and “Knowledge Cafés” for knowledge sharing and informal networking."

While at the event, Schlumberger will participate in debating 3 key themes;
A Reality Check on Tomorrow's Energy Landscape
An Ethical and Sustainable Energy Industry: Making it happen
Tomorrow's Leadership: Matching our Skills to the Challenges.

Schlumberger has been gathering ideas and submitted by their followers and blog-readers via this online survey. Today is the last day to submit your ideas! Submissions close tonight at 11:59pm EST. If your idea is chose, you will be recognized for your contributions and all selected participants have a chance to win an 8GB iPod touch!

Check out Schlumberger's blog and their survey page for the EnergiseYourFuture Youth Forum and give them some great ideas for a chance to gain recognition at a global forum. After the forum is over, you can continue to follow Schlumberger by reading their Community Blog.

Originally Posted At: To Green or not to Green | Read Original Post

Keep it Simple

by Megan McLaughlin

Simple Shoes: "Shoes for a happy planet," is the slogan of this eco-friendly company. Simple Shoes finds sustainable ways to make "gazillions" of shoes.

Its been about 15 years since I've even thought about Simple Shoes. When I was younger, I begged for a pair of Simple clogs for some reason. Since then, this company has come a long way. Born in 1991, Simple Shoes was created as a response to the over-hyped sneakers that were gracing the shoe scene at the time. However, it wasn't until 2004 that this company decided to change themselves in hopes of changing the world. Since then, they have introduced several collections, like ecoSNEAKS and Green Toe. These collections are super eco-friendly, affordable and fashionable!

Simple Shoes is now committed to making products that are 100% sustainable, and they plan to keep it that way! They make shoes for men, women and kids and they also have a line of bags. So next time you are shopping around for a pair of comfy shoes, think Simple!

Originally Posted At: To Green or not to Green | Read Original Post

Are You Green Certified?

by Megan McLaughlin

Just about everyone uses computers and a large percentage of those who do are definitely using the internet. Many people also have websites, whether for personal or business purposes, but not everyone has a Green Certified website! CO2Stats is out to change that.

Now that you're reading this, you may begin to notice this little bug on many of the web pages you usually browse. CO2Stats offers green site certification by calculating the combined electricity used by computers visiting a site, the servers providing it and the networks that connect them. CO2Stats then helps to make a site more energy efficient (and load faster), and purchases renewable energy to neutralize the carbon emissions due to generation of that electricity. Pretty cool, huh?

According to the CO2Stats site, "it is an easy-to-use service that makes your website carbon neutral and energy-efficient, and that provides certification that you have taken steps to make your site environmentally friendly." So if you haven't already found ways to make your website more eco-friendly, check out CO2Stats and get your site Green Certified! Its an interesting, fun way to care for the environment while bringing some green appeal to the web!

For more about websites and web design, check out these links:
How a Website Comes Together
90s Web Design

Originally Posted At: To Green or not to Green | Read Original Post

Eco Tourism

by Megan McLaughlin

Fall is here and the summer season has left us for good. No more trips to the beach or summer BBQs by the pool. It is bitter sweet. The warm and inviting glow of summer ends, but as the crisp, clean colors and scents of fall usher in you are still longing for a weekend getaway or a pre-holiday season retreat. Plan a fall getaway in eco-friendly style.

A great place to start researching a wonderful trip is EcoTour, "your source for planning an eco holiday." Whether you're looking for a big vacation or a little 3-day weekend road trip, you can get some great ideas from EcoTour!

So what is Ecotourism? According to EcoTour, "The aim of our Ecotourism Resource Centre is to act as an informative guide for users about the concept of Ecotourism. In addition, useful resources have been provided to further increase understanding & provide guidance for ecotravel." For EcoTours, many activities include getting in touch with nature; hiking, biking, mountain climbing, camping. These are some eco-friendly ways to reduce your carbon footprint while taking a break from the everyday. Even if its just for a weekend or even a day, take a quick trip to immerse yourself in some of the beautiful fall foliage the earth has to offer!

Check out this site for some great, eco-friendly camping advice!
Take a look at this Experience blog about Five Ways to Travel Green
Or this one about a Greener Vacation

Originally Posted At: To Green or not to Green | Read Original Post

Great Green Pets

by Megan McLaughlin

Whether you have a four-legged friend or not, its great to know that there are eco-friendly pet supplies out there to satisfy everyone's pet care needs.

"GreatGreenPet is a shopping blog devoted to the green, eco-friendly, pet owner. We comb the web and find environmentally friendly products for you and your pet." At GreatGreenPet you can read about pet toys, treats and pet supplies that are good for the environment and our furry friends. Their topics and product reviews aren't just limited to dogs and cats either! GreatGreenPet has advice about eco-friendly pet supplies, food and toys for rabbits, reptiles, mice, hamsters and horses, too!

One of their latest blog posts highlights a recycled chew toy for dogs. According to the blog, "Planet Dog makes this recycled chewbone from materials left over from manufacturing other products. It is non-toxic, and you can recycle the scraps when your dog is done with it." Sounds like a great way to make your pooch and Mother Nature happy!

GreatGreen isn't just limited to pets... they also have other blogs about shoes, travel, gadgets, baby and more where they offer advice on which great green products you should buy and where you can find them! These blogs serve as a constant reminder that its great to be green!

Originally Posted At: To Green or not to Green | Read Original Post

Your Eco-Friendly Summer

By Megan McLaughlin

Summer is here and for many, that means more travel. Gas prices are higher, roads are more congested and shore destinations are packed with travelers. If you’re looking to save a little money and make mother nature proud, you should consider some of these ways to make your summer a little more eco-friendly.

Road and Travel Magazine offers some great tips for vacationers, like using public transportation or a bike to get around your destination or “Hit the farmer's markets for locally grown foods, skip the chain restaurants in favor of locally-owned establishments, and buy fair trade products as souvenirs to make sure your money goes into the locals’ pockets.” Both of these tips are great advice, but one of the biggest pieces of advice offered by Road and Travel is “Give your house a vacation.” Don’t leave lights on when you’re not home. Instead, put a few lights on timers while you’re gone. Also, adjust your thermostat to a more modest setting; you don’t want your house to be a heat box when you return, but if no one’s home, there’s no need to keep your normal, probably chilly, air-conditioned setting!

Another great way to reduce your carbon footprint this summer is to purchase eco-friendly travel items. Greenzer offers greener ways to shop online and one of the brands sold there is Solio. “"Plug into the Sun" as Solio says of its eco-friendly, solar-powered charger for handheld electronic devices. Solio brings you green convenience, eliminating the burden to keep track of many different chargers for every different device you own.” Solio offers hybrid chargers to power your iPod, GPS and many other electronic devices while you’re on the go.

So whether you’re traveling to the beach, the lake, a warmer destination to soak up the sun or a cooler destination to beat the heat, consider some of the simple things you can do to be a little more eco-friendly this summer!

Originally Posted At: To Green or not to Green | Read Original Post

Green Building Resource Guide; Eco-friendly Building

By Megan McLaughlin

Whether you’re buying your first fixer-upper or you’re looking to remodel your current home, planning and building that dream addition or updating an outdated room can be costly, to the environment, that is. If you’re looking for yet another way to take part in greening our world, turning to the Green Building Resource Guide may be your best bet.

“The Green Building Resource Guide is a database of over 600 green building materials and products selected specifically for their usefulness to the design and building professions, rather than merely their green material content.” Clearly, a lot of effort has been put into this guide, to make building with green materials, just as effective as building with materials that aren’t safe for the environment or that could be better for the environment.

The Green Building Resource Guide is offered for a 30-day trial period. The CD-ROM allows you to initiate searches and modify your exact needs; this can save you time and money during the planning stages of your project.

In many cases, these materials are not only better for the earth, they are also better for you. For example, within the Green Guide Photo Gallery, a photo displays a project where formaldehyde-free laminated sheathing was used. Many first-time users of this guide may be surprised at how practical some of these materials are.

Did you know that newspaper can be used as loose-fill insulation? You’ll find yourself saying, “Why didn’t I think of that?” And the beauty of it is…you don’t have to, because the green guide will do the thinking for you!

Originally Posted At: To Green or not to Green | Read Original Post