Category Archives: eco-friendly

Get Ready for a Green Chinese New Year Celebration

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Get Ready for a Green Chinese New Year Celebration

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New U.S. Solar Tariff to Stall Solar Energy Growth

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New U.S. Solar Tariff to Stall Solar Energy Growth

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7 Fast Food Chains Going Green

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7 Fast Food Chains Going Green

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8 Ways to Go Green While Getting Fit

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Committing to a healthy lifestyle is No. 1 on the to-do lists of so many of us this year. I can’t deny I’m in that group. If you’re with me, these eight easy tips will help you green your workout routine whether you’re just starting (or restarting) your fitness journey or continuing your already-established regimen.

1. Use a Reusable Water Bottle

Capitalism and marketing have created a bottled water surge in the U.S. Don’t fall for it! Plastic water bottles are a huge environmental pollutant and require harmful fossil fuels to be made. Americans buy 29 billion plastic water bottles a year, and only one of every six is actually tossed in the recycling bin. The others sit in landfills for up to 450 years before degrading.

Rather than contributing to environmental devastation by plastic bottle, I encourage you to switch to reusable drinkware. Bottles made from aluminum, stainless steel and BPA-free plastic are all great choices for eco-friendly thirst quenching.

2. Ditch Disposable Towels

Most gyms advise members to wipe down equipment after a sweaty training session. Handy wet wipe dispensers stand by to help you accomplish this. Unfortunately for the planet, wet wipes aren’t recyclable.

Look harder and you might find a bottle of cleaning solution and a reusable cloth towel for you to wash your workout machine. This waste-reducing tactic is a much greener option than using single-use towels. Ask an employee for help if you can’t find any wet wipe alternatives at your gym.

3. Enroll in a Green Gym

Gyms across the country are taking on eco-friendly initiatives. Solar panels on stationary bikes, treadmills that generate energy, water bottle filling stations and recycled equipment are a few things that earn gyms the “green” title. Look for one of these innovative facilities near you or ask your favorite gym about their environmental policy. You can — and should — embolden them to adopt more green practices.

4. Solar-Charge Your Phone

Using reusable energy instead of burning fossil fuels is so important for the environment. We all should be using solar power — or some other source of renewable energy — for everything. Sometimes that’s difficult, though. Until you go completely solar, you can start by getting a solar-powered device charger or power bank. That way, you can jam out to your pump-me-up playlist guilt-free while you sweat.

5. Master the Five-Minute Shower

There’s nothing quite like a refreshing shower after a tough gym session. It feels great to wash away the sweat that comes with a workout and emerge feeling fresh, clean and ready to take on the day (or night).

More than two gallons per minute are flowing down the drain from the moment you twist that nozzle. Remember that the next time you’re tempted to take your time in the shower to relax your tired muscles. Taking shorter showers is an excellent way to be eco-friendly. Invest in a shower timer and aim for five minutes.

6. Fuel Sustainably

There are many environmentally friendly ways to fuel up before or after a workout — are they part of your routine? Next time you reach for the protein powder or chomp down on an energy bar, ask yourself what it’s made of. Many of us choose to make shakes with whey protein, take harsh supplements or eat processed energy bars — because that’s what everyone does, right?

Whey protein is actually derived from animals and is part of a grossly fossil-fueled industry. Consider switching to a plant-based protein powder, like those made with brown rice or peas, which can be just as effective as whey protein in helping you reach your fitness goals and is much better for the planet.

I understand the appeal of the energy bar — it’s portable, tasty and filling — but the kind of energy bar you eat is crucial. The optimal bar is one with whole ingredients, like fruits and nuts, and no artificial sweeteners. Nutritionists suggest bars with at least five grams of protein, three grams of fiber and less than five grams of fat. A snack with these qualities is sure to keep your energy high and hunger satisfied.

Alternatively, pack a handful of almonds or a hard-boiled egg for a quick and natural energy boost.

7. Bike to Work

To drive or to bike? It may seem like an easy choice on a chilly morning before work, but you may not realize how beneficial hopping on your bicycle can be. Not only will you be reducing your carbon footprint, you’ll burn fat and improve heart health. You may even inspire your colleagues to green their commute, too! If biking to work isn’t an option, use two wheels for running errands around town.

8. Recycle Your Gear

Step away from the dumpster. When you’re ready to replace your old gear, donate or recycle it to give it new life instead of sending it to a landfill where it will pollute the environment for decades. Thrift stores will accept gently used workout gear as donations, and there are many organizations dedicated to providing donated gear to those in need. Nike, for example, takes donations and recycles old shoes into new apparel, footwear and surfaces.

Now get out there and break a sweat! Your body will thank you, and if you keep the earth in mind, it will thank you, too.

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8 Ways to Go Green While Getting Fit

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3 Green Goals Worth Setting in 2018

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The start of a new year is traditionally the time to reflect on the past and set goals to improve in the future. As you do so, consider setting some personal environmental goals to help you on your path to living a greener, healthier, more sustainable life. The three goals below are a great place to start.

Reduce Your Food Waste

According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, the average American household throws away $2,200 worth of food each year. Clearly, cutting back on food waste is something most of us could work on. Shopping smarter is the first step in reducing your food waste. Walking into the grocery store with no plan can be a big mistake. Without a plan, it’s easy to buy far more food than you’ll actually eat, or foods that you won’t eat all of, during a given week.

By planning effectively, you can buy exactly what you need without getting too much excess. Finding good recipes is a key component. Often, recipes will call for a small portion of something, such as half a bell pepper. As you plan your meals for a week, find recipes that use many of the same ingredients, so you won’t be left with extras. Don’t forget to visit the bulk bins, where you can get exactly the quantity you need of certain ingredients. And make sure you actually eat the leftovers, rather than watching them grow mold in the back of your refrigerator.

When you do have leftovers that don’t get eaten, a backyard composting heap can be an excellent way to reuse them. Composting can be done regardless of your yard size, and can even been done when you live in an apartment.

Decrease Time in the Car

Cutting back on time in a car can be a daunting task, especially if you’re one of the many people that has to commute to work each day. But there are a number of things you can do to reduce the mileage.

One, you could switch to public transit a few days each week if this is available in your area. Riding the train, subway, or bus may not always be convenient, but by doing it just a couple of days per week, you’ll make a significant impact over the course of a year.

Two, carpool with a coworker. I get it, carpooling can be a bit of a pain. You’re forced to work on someone else’s schedule and there’s no “swinging by the store” on your way home. But instead of carpooling every day, why not do it a few days each week? If you carpooled every Tuesday and Thursday, you’d reduce your driving and get to know your coworkers better.

Carpooling is cool! Photo: Adobe Stock

Three, work from home more. While not every employer is open to the idea of remote workers just yet, why not try easing your boss into it. See if you can work from home just once a week or even one day every other week. As they see your productivity unchanged, they may open up to letting you do so more often.

Cut Back on Consumption

The last goal I’ll list here for you to consider setting this year is to consume less. Every new item you buy requires resources to manufacture and transport. In many cases, these items will be used a limited number of times before ending up shoved into a closet or, even worse, in the trash.

When considering a purchase, first think about how much you’ll actually use it. If the answer is rarely, consider borrowing it from a neighbor or friend. You may not need a power sander regularly, but your neighbor may be willing to let you use his. Participating in the sharing economy can be an effective way to reduce your consumption. There are also many services that rent out equipment and items for short periods of time.

If it’s something you will use often, first consider buying it used. There are so many great ways to shop for used items these days, you’re bound to find what you’re looking for in good condition somewhere. If you do need/want to buy new, always strive to buy quality items. This is especially important when it comes to clothes and shoes. You may have to pay a bit more, but in the long run, it’s absolutely worth it.

While these three green goals are a great place to start, there are many more out there. What are some of your green goals for this new year?

3 Green Goals Worth Setting in 2018

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Whether you’ve resolved to be a better environmentalist or to unleash your inner …Lauren MurphyJanuary 3, 2018

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3 Green Goals Worth Setting in 2018

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Predicting the Biggest Green Trend for 2018

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Although Kermit the Frog once sang, “It’s not easy being green,” over the past decade, it sure has been cool to live green.

Ever since An Inconvenient Truth debuted in 2006, there seems to be one eco-friendly product or innovation that takes the U.S. by storm each year and enters the mainstream. In many cases, it’s a product that has been around for years that becomes popular due to legislation, lower prices or a scientific health study.

Even without a crystal ball, we can look at some of the green trends that appear to be on the rise heading into 2018.

What Makes a Green Trend?

In order to identify which green trend is about to take off, it’s helpful to look back at how previous green trends came to play. Here are the biggest green trends since 2007 and the trigger that started each:

Year
Green Trend
Cause(s)
Impact
2007
Compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFL)
Legislation, price
Highest U.S. CFL sales of all-time
2008
Proper disposal of medications
Scientific study
DEA starts national drug collection events
2009
Television recycling
Legislation
Consumers stop buying CRT screens and recycle old ones after digital switch
2010
Metal water bottles/ Bisphenol A (BPA)
Scientific study
Drop in reusable plastic water bottle sales due to BPA concerns
2011
Online shopping/
Cyber Monday
Price
Cyber Monday catches Black Friday for consumer interest in holiday shopping
2012
Hybrid/electric cars
Price
High gas prices, new models lead to 73 percent increase in hybrid sales over the previous year
2013
Fracking
Legislation, social media
New tech for acquiring natural gas leads to countless protests over environmental impact
2014
Farm-to-table food
General trend
Americans demand (and pay for) locally sourced foods
2015
Graywater
Legislation, natural disaster
California droughts make graywater a hot topic to water plants and grow crops
2016
Dakota Access Pipeline
Legislation, social media
Native American tribe protest goes viral on social media
2017
Flexitarianism
Scientific study
Documentaries like What the Health lead Americans to consider more plant-based diets

There’s no real pattern to discern from the past 11 years, other than the fact that these green trends were fueled by new laws, health studies, social media or a reduction in price. All of these circumstances are difficult to predict.

Candidates for 2018’s Greenest Trend

Before we crown a winner, here are a few contenders for the biggest green fad of 2018:

Companies embrace telecommuting: Yes, working from home already feels big, but only 3 percent of the U.S. workforce got to work from home in 2015. The environmental benefits are obvious, from reducing car emissions to limiting office waste. But companies are finally starting to see the cost savings in telecommuting, and as the unemployment rate falls, working remotely will be a top way to recruit new talent in industries like technology and health care. Expect to see fewer employees around the office next year, and for a positive reason.

Telecommuting will only rise in popularity in 2018. Photo: Adobe Stock

Emphasis on food product labeling: Consumers have already shown they want to know where their food comes from and its ingredients, but labels can tell so much more. The FDA will be requiring food manufacturers to print new nutrition labels starting in 2018 that provide a more accurate account of nutritional elements. Whole Foods has also announced that all its food products must provide genetically modified organisms (GMO) information on the label by September 2018. Expect to spend more time at the grocery store researching what goes in your body.

We’ll spend more time reading labels in the store in 2018. Photo: Adobe Stock

The solar revolution takes hold: Until recently, most of the investment in solar technology was restricted to commercial buildings and the richest homeowners. But the price of solar panels continues to fall, and it’s not just for buildings anymore. Some of the coolest innovations in electronics are due to solar power. Expect to see more solar-powered backpacks, watches and city trash cans, as Americans embrace the power of the sun.

Expect more roofs with solar panels this coming year. Photo: Adobe Stock

And the Winner Is . . .

Emphasis on food product labeling

This trend has everything consumers care about when it comes to green trends: government involvement, health concerns and even the price impact as health care cost increases necessitate better nutrition. Plus, in two of the past four years, the green trend was related to diet.

What do you think the big green trend will be this year? Let us know in the comments below.

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Predicting the Biggest Green Trend for 2018

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The Great Lakes are having Great Snowstorms partly thanks to climate change.

It started with the cinematic, widely serenaded death of spunky little spacebot Cassini, closing out a 13-year mission to Saturn with a headlong dive into the planet’s gaseous atmosphere.

Meanwhile, back on a more familiar planet, an orbiting satellite named DMSP F19 quietly blinked out. The DMSP weather-tracking satellites have meticulously recorded Arctic sea ice coverage since 1978, which makes them one of our longest-running climate observations. But in 2015, Congress voted to mothball the last satellite in the series. Now, on the cusp of the biggest planetary shift humans have ever seen, we stand to lose one of our best means for understanding it.

Also this year, I started following LandsatBot, a project by Welsh glaciologist Martin O’Leary that tweets out random satellite views of Earth’s surface hourly. Like a geographic Chat Roulette, LandsatBot scratches the same imaginative itch that high-def images of Saturn’s rings do, but its alien views are all terrestrial. From satellite height, every landscape looks like an abstract painting, all fractal rivers and impressionist daubs of cloud.

These days, amidst an unending torrent of Game of Thrones gifs, signs of the end of democracy, and variations on that distracted boyfriend meme, I sometimes come across a Landsat image dropped without comment into the clutter. I stop and stare. Whether it’s an astroturf-green wedge of land somewhere in the Indonesian archipelago or the Crest-colored swirl of icy Antarctic seas, I try to imagine the world down there: A place I will probably never go, without landmarks or footprints, but irrevocably changed by us. Whether you recognize it or not, it’s home.

Amelia Urry is an associate editor at Grist.

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The Great Lakes are having Great Snowstorms partly thanks to climate change.

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Toxic masculinity is probably destroying the planet.

It started with the cinematic, widely serenaded death of spunky little spacebot Cassini, closing out a 13-year mission to Saturn with a headlong dive into the planet’s gaseous atmosphere.

Meanwhile, back on a more familiar planet, an orbiting satellite named DMSP F19 quietly blinked out. The DMSP weather-tracking satellites have meticulously recorded Arctic sea ice coverage since 1978, which makes them one of our longest-running climate observations. But in 2015, Congress voted to mothball the last satellite in the series. Now, on the cusp of the biggest planetary shift humans have ever seen, we stand to lose one of our best means for understanding it.

Also this year, I started following LandsatBot, a project by Welsh glaciologist Martin O’Leary that tweets out random satellite views of Earth’s surface hourly. Like a geographic Chat Roulette, LandsatBot scratches the same imaginative itch that high-def images of Saturn’s rings do, but its alien views are all terrestrial. From satellite height, every landscape looks like an abstract painting, all fractal rivers and impressionist daubs of cloud.

These days, amidst an unending torrent of Game of Thrones gifs, signs of the end of democracy, and variations on that distracted boyfriend meme, I sometimes come across a Landsat image dropped without comment into the clutter. I stop and stare. Whether it’s an astroturf-green wedge of land somewhere in the Indonesian archipelago or the Crest-colored swirl of icy Antarctic seas, I try to imagine the world down there: A place I will probably never go, without landmarks or footprints, but irrevocably changed by us. Whether you recognize it or not, it’s home.

Amelia Urry is an associate editor at Grist.

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Toxic masculinity is probably destroying the planet.

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Urban hunters are pretty delighted by the coyote takeover.

It started with the cinematic, widely serenaded death of spunky little spacebot Cassini, closing out a 13-year mission to Saturn with a headlong dive into the planet’s gaseous atmosphere.

Meanwhile, back on a more familiar planet, an orbiting satellite named DMSP F19 quietly blinked out. The DMSP weather-tracking satellites have meticulously recorded Arctic sea ice coverage since 1978, which makes them one of our longest-running climate observations. But in 2015, Congress voted to mothball the last satellite in the series. Now, on the cusp of the biggest planetary shift humans have ever seen, we stand to lose one of our best means for understanding it.

Also this year, I started following LandsatBot, a project by Welsh glaciologist Martin O’Leary that tweets out random satellite views of Earth’s surface hourly. Like a geographic Chat Roulette, LandsatBot scratches the same imaginative itch that high-def images of Saturn’s rings do, but its alien views are all terrestrial. From satellite height, every landscape looks like an abstract painting, all fractal rivers and impressionist daubs of cloud.

These days, amidst an unending torrent of Game of Thrones gifs, signs of the end of democracy, and variations on that distracted boyfriend meme, I sometimes come across a Landsat image dropped without comment into the clutter. I stop and stare. Whether it’s an astroturf-green wedge of land somewhere in the Indonesian archipelago or the Crest-colored swirl of icy Antarctic seas, I try to imagine the world down there: A place I will probably never go, without landmarks or footprints, but irrevocably changed by us. Whether you recognize it or not, it’s home.

Amelia Urry is an associate editor at Grist.

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Urban hunters are pretty delighted by the coyote takeover.

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8 Green Tips for 8 Days of Hanukkah

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Happy Hanukkah! Running from today, Dec. 12, to Dec. 20 this year, Hanukkah is a holiday rooted in conservation — consider that a one-day supply of oil lasted a miraculous eight days. You can stretch your resources just as far by keeping these eight tips in mind for an eco-friendly celebration.

1. Burn clean candles.

Instead of candles made of petroleum-based paraffin wax, look for ones that use beeswax, soy or coconut.

2. Give gifts that are experiences.

The presents can really pile up when you have eight days of gift giving. Instead of adding more stuff to your life, give experience-based items like a cooking class or tickets to a sporting event. If your kids receive a lot of toys, have them choose one old toy to donate for each new one they get.

3. Reuse gift wrap.

Speaking of presents, the wrapping paper can really add up, too. Get creative by wrapping your gifts in reusable bags or other things you have around the house. Then save all the gift bags from this year to use for next year. If you do buy new gift wrap, choose a kind that’s recyclable.

4. Make just the right amount of food.

Leftovers can be great, but don’t cook so much that it ends up going to waste. You can figure out just what you need to make by using this waste-free dinner calculator.

5. Dispose of oil properly.

Ah, latkes. Those little potato pancakes go hand in hand with Hanukkah. When you’re done frying them in oil, don’t pour it down the drain! Here’s what to do instead.

6. Serve your meals on reusable dishes.

It might seem easier to buy some paper plates and plastic utensils if you’re hosting a big shindig, but using real plates and forks is the better choice.

7. Buy fair-trade chocolate.

Chocolate gelt — chocolate “coins” wrapped in gold and silver — is a fun tradition, but mass-produced chocolate does no favors for the environment. Look for fair-trade, ethically sourced options instead.

8. Avoid cheap plastic accessories.

Instead of buying little plastic dreidels and disposable menorahs, go for high-quality, handmade items. The up-front cost might be higher, but the environmental footprint, especially if the items are passed down through the generations, is much lower.

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8 Green Tips for 8 Days of Hanukkah

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