Category Archives: eco-friendly

How to Store Vegetables Without Plastic

Bringing a reusable canvas?bag to the grocery store is a fantastic way to avoid sending plastic to the landfill on a regular basis. But what happens when you get all that delicious produce home? How do you keep it from going bad without using plastic wrap, plastic baggies or other types of packaging?

That’s right, we’re talking about zero waste food storage!

Stored in plastic, fruits and vegetables stay fresh for weeks. But the environmental footprint?that comes with using plastics?wildlife-destroying pollution, endocrine-disrupting chemicals, adding debris to landfills?makes?using plastic bags and wrappers far from eco-friendly.

Ready to kick your plastic habit? Here’s how to store every type of vegetable in your fridge without a single piece of plastic. Stored like this, your produce?should last for up to 2 full weeks!

Veggies by Type

Leafy Greens

Leafy greens are known for their tendency?to wilt or brown quickly. To keep your greens from spoiling too soon, first remove any tight bands or ties, then rinse and dry fully (these should not stay wet!) before wrapping loosely in a dry tea towel and placing uncrowded in the fridge. Kale, a hardier green, will stay crisp and full when placed in a cup of water like a bouquet in the fridge.

Bulb Vegetables

Bulb vegetables should always be stored in a cool, dark, dry place with good air circulation (a.k.a. a cellar or cool pantry). You can also store them?together with tubers in a thick paper bag, then place them in a cool area. A dark corner of the kitchen pantry?should work too!

Tubers

Store your tubers just like your bulb vegetables (see above), in a cool, dark location that has good air flow. What you?re trying to avoid is your potatoes getting too much sun and greening or growing eyes.

Fruit Vegetables

Fruit vegetables like bell peppers, cucumber and zucchini?have a tendency to mold, thanks to their high moisture?content. Only wash these vegetables right before you?re ready to eat them, as wetness will decrease your storage time.?Place?your?vegetables loose in the crisper if it?ll be a while before you use them, or leave them?on the counter for up to a week.

Inflorescents & Mushrooms

Inflorescent vegetables like broccoli or cauliflower should be put?in an open container or wrapped with a damp towel then placed in the fridge. However, they?will likely have the best flavor if used the day of! Mushrooms, on the other hand, should be stored in a paper bag in the fridge. Bonus tip: if they dry out before you use them, you can reconstitute with water!

Root Vegetables

Beets, carrots and the like, tend to wilt before they mold. No one wants a soggy carrot! To store properly, cut the tops off (leaving any top on root vegetables draws moisture away from the root, making them lose firmness) and then place in an open?container with a moist towel on top,?or dunk in cold water every few days to rehydrate.

How do you keep your vegetables fresh without using disposables?

Related:
Tips to Reduce Vitamin and Mineral Loss When Preparing Food
8?Tips for Keeping Vegetables Fresh Longer
Make Your Own Vegetable Broth

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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How to Store Vegetables Without Plastic

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How a Minimalist Lifestyle Can Add to Your Green Efforts

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You may have seen the term “minimalism” being thrown around a lot lately, especially in the eco-friendly sphere. As more and more people have adopted minimalist lifestyles, the concept has begun to slowly creep to the forefront of our collective consciousness. But what exactly is minimalism? To be honest, it can be a little hard to pinpoint.

Minimalism means different things to different people — it’s unique to the person living it. The truth is, there’s no “one size fits all” to this approach. However, one thing that can be agreed upon is that living as a minimalist is far more earth-friendly than how the majority of Americans are currently getting by. Let’s take a closer look:

What Is Minimalism?

Ranging from apartment-dwelling urbanites to country homesteaders, minimalists come from vast walks of life. They might be single or have a large family, have a house full of treasured items or live out of a backpack. The common ground lies in the opposition to the American ideal of working more to make more, and spending more to have more.

The true essence of minimalism is determining what provides you the most value in life and removing everything that is simply excess. It’s a very intentional way of living that gives rise to positive changes in almost all aspects of life. Being a minimalist means choosing to live your life with great purpose.

Curbing the Consumer Mind-Set

Society’s greatest lie is that a good life is based on the accumulation and possession of as many material items as possible. Massive houses, expensive cars, grand yachts, glittering diamonds — you know, the Instagram-worthy, Kardashian-inspired lifestyle. When we believe that more is better, we fall prey to the notion that money can buy happiness. That’s where minimalism comes in. Minimalism frees us from the all-consuming desire to possess. It sidesteps consumerism and compels us to seek happiness in experiences and relationships. It encourages us to actually live a life instead of buying one.

Now, all this isn’t to say that there’s anything wrong with owning material possessions. It’s more about throwing off the meaning we attribute to said possessions. To put it more plainly, acquiring more stuff shouldn’t come before our health, relationships or personal growth. If owning a house or a car is important to you, that’s perfectly fine. Minimalism is merely a method that supports you in making these decisions more thoughtfully.

When it comes to your possessions, adopting a minimalist lifestyle means being very intentional about what you own and not being distracted by material belongings. While you may want to start your minimalist journey by getting rid of a bunch of stuff, the focus of minimalism shouldn’t be on what you are throwing out, it should instead be on the benefit of removing what doesn’t bring value to your life. Though minimalism sounds like it’s all about having less, there’s actually a lot of “more” that comes along with it. You’ll have more time, more space, more peace and more freedom.

Minimalism Is Eco-Friendly

The basic tenets of minimalism are surprisingly in tune with the eco-friendly way of living. For instance, by making a conscious choice to only purchase what is absolutely needed, you’ll naturally consume less. The less gas, plastic and nonrecyclable materials you use on a regular basis, the fewer nonrenewable resources are used up in their production. Reuse allows you to take this even further, say by borrowing a book from the library instead of buying a new one.

Minimalism makes you more aware of how much waste you generate. Buying less means wasting less; the fewer purchases you make, the fewer boxes, bags and packing materials end up dumped in landfills. What’s more, when you produce less waste, sorting through it for recycling and composting purposes is far easier and more efficient.

Minimalism is helpful in overcoming perceived obsolescence. Perceived obsolescence is when an object is completely functional but is no longer perceived to be stylish or appropriate. It’s rendered obsolete by perception, rather than by function. Minimalism encourages you to purchase goods designed to last for a long period of time, and use them for their entire life span.

Though eighty-sixing excess possessions is a big part of minimalism, the concept goes far beyond what you own. Minimalism should be practiced in all areas of your life — determine what you value most and remove what stands in the way. Apply this to how you spend your time, who you have relationships with, what you eat and so on.

Minimalism, like so many things in life, comes in many forms — it’s a flexible concept. You can choose to adopt the aspects of minimalism that appeal to you most and adapt others to fit your lifestyle. And since it all depends on what adds value to your life in the moment, it’s bound to change over time. After all, what’s meaningful to you in your 20s is not always the same as what’s meaningful to you in your 50s. Just remember, the true aim of minimalism isn’t to deprive yourself of anything, it’s to focus on the things that bring you the most value, cultivate your relationships and live the best life you can.

To learn more about embracing minimalism, check out these fantastic minimalist blogs.

Feature image courtesy of Shutterstock

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Surprisingly Sustainable: Oktoberfest’s Green Side

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Some celebrations are almost synonymous with waste. Picture the plastic-bead-strewn streets of New Orleans after Mardi Gras, or the mountains of plastic packaging and wrapping paper after Christmas. For the environmentally conscious, the incredible wastefulness of these occasions is enough to make a Scrooge out of even the most festive individual.

Surprisingly, an environmental hero has arisen from a most unlikely holiday. A celebration that seems to have no other purpose than excessive drinking. No, not St. Patty’s Day (although there are ways to go green then, too!). Friends, we’re talking about Oktoberfest.

Yes. Really.

The Environmental Oscars

Here’s a tidbit that might shock you — it certainly surprised us. Oktoberfest — the real one, that is, held in Munich, Germany, each autumn — is one of the most environmentally friendly events out there. So much so, in fact, that it was awarded the Environmental Oscar in 1997 for its efforts to be as minimally wasteful as possible.

How have Oktoberfest organizers achieved this? Three main aspects contribute to their environmental success:

Disposing of Disposables

In 1991, the city of Munich banned disposable servingware. No more paper plates, no more plastic forks. Instead, food was served on real plates, with real silverware. Drinks were served in glasses, rather than plastic tumblers. This one change reduced waste at the annual festival by over 90 percent. It’s an encouraging statistic for festivals worldwide, especially those that think that waste-free celebrations are beyond their capabilities. After all, Oktoberfest is hardly a small-time operation; it hosts six million visitors each year. If they can go without one-time-use tableware, surely your next backyard barbecue can too!

Organics & Recycling

Gray water from washing all these dishes doesn’t just go down the drain, either. In almost half the festival tents, gray water is reused to flush the toilets (I’ve always wondered why we don’t do this everywhere). Reusing water like this drastically reduces the need for fresh water, and ensures that Oktoberfest gets the most use out of every drop. Much of the food served at Oktoberfest — including the meat — is also organically sourced. And while we could definitely make a strong case for reducing the amount of meat eaten at the bacchanalian beer fest (each year, attendees devour tons of sausages and almost 500,000 chickens), choosing poultry that’s been organically raised does make a huge difference.

Renewable Rejoicing

Since the year 2000, streetlights, toilets and all other public areas of the festival have been powered by renewable energy, making the festival one of the greenest in terms of how it powers its raucous celebrations. This attitude of environmental awareness has filtered through to its vendors, too — approximately 60 percent of them have followed suit and also chosen renewable power sources.

Oktoberfest is one of the purest festivals out there when you look at pure intent. It was originally celebrated to mark the marriage of Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig to the Saxon-Hildburghausen Princess Therese on Oct. 12, 1810. These days, it’s a chance to celebrate good beer, great brats and dudes in lederhosen. But the way Munich has focused on creating sustainable Oktoberfest celebrations is an example to all of us that life needn’t be dour and stark to be eco-friendly. In fact, quite the opposite.

Your Own Green Event

So, how can you bring a little of Munich’s environmental sensibilities to your own Oktoberfest celebrations — or any other party, for that matter? It is possible, even if you can’t use gray water to flush your toilet or suddenly switch to renewable energy:

Use e-vite sites like Green Envelope or Paperless Post to create online invites instead of mailing paper ones.
Follow Oktoberfest’s lead and ditch the disposable plates, cups and silverware. If you’re worried about tipsy guests breaking your good dishes, pick up an inexpensive set at Goodwill or Value Village. It’ll likely be the same price as (or cheaper than) disposable stuff, and you can reuse for many parties down the road. Just remember to wash well before use.
Provide bins for compost, recycling and garbage. Often just providing guests options for eco-friendly waste disposal is all you need to do to decrease the amount of waste your party produces.
If you’re going all out for the celebration, rent a costume instead of buying one. Good lederhosen don’t come cheap, and cheap ones won’t last long. Get into the spirit by renting a costume that’ll help you dress the part without taking up space in your closet the rest of the year.
If it’s in your budget, offer your guests organic refreshments and food — organic and/or local chickens, sausage and even beer if you can find it!

We hope you have a fantastic time celebrating good beer, great friends and the crisp arrival of fall. Happy Oktoberfest!

Feature image courtesy of Shutterstock

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5 Tips for Biking to Work in the Rain

Biking to work is a wonderful way to commute. It’s healthy, eco-friendly and saves you tons of money on gas! However, biking to work becomes instantly a lot more complicated in inclement weather. How do you stay safe when visibility is down and it’s cold and wet outside?

Whether you’re dealing with a thunderstorm or a spring shower, these tips for biking to work in the rain will help you get to work safe, on time and completely dry. Before you know it, you might actually learn to love riding in the rain!

5 Tips for Biking to Work in the Rain

1.?Bundle up

First things first, you need to learn how to layer. Layers trap your body heat, ensuring you stay warm during cooler weather.

If you’ll be riding in the rain, you’re going to want to choose a waterproof jacket, rather than a water-resistant one, to keep you warm and dry. Look for a garment that is seam-sealed (turn the garment inside out to check), but also has vents to help release body moisture without letting rain?in.

Your jacket of choice should also fit snuggly over a wool or synthetic polypropylene-polyester base layer, which will help keep sweat off your body (so you don’t get chilled when you stop moving). Just make sure it doesn’t restrict your movement in any way.

Here are a few bonus features?you’ll want to check for as well:

Comfortable cuffs that fit tight around your wrists
Pockets where you can stash your phone and other essentials

2.?Be as visible as possible

Reflective clothing is your friend! If you’re going riding in the rain, make sure you’re wearing a variety of items that will ensure you stay visible on the road. Some great options include: a high-visibility vest, a flashing?light for both the front and the back of your ride and reflective spray (yes, spray!) that helps you show up in the dark and washes off when you’re done.

3.?Learn?the rules of the road

Biking in the city is hard enough as it is; keep yourself safe by following the rules for bikers on the road. Here are some of the basics:

Behave predictably ? stay visible, leave distance and yield as much as possible
Ride on the right side of the road and not on the sidewalk
Yield before entering major?roadways ? stay behind crosswalks and away from the curb
Look before moving laterally or turning ??check your blindspot and?use hand signals
Use correct lanes ? choose right, left or thru lanes like you would if you were driving
Stay visible to motorists who may cross your path and make it clear you need your space

Following these rules and signaling properly will ensure you stay safe and visible to other drivers on the road.

4. Know your bike

Find?a safe, rarely-trafficked area to test your bike’s behavior. How does it respond to wet conditions when you brake? Do you find it more difficult to control? In what specific scenarios should you be wary when you’re riding for real?

Riding in the rain is more challenging for obvious reasons: everything gets slipperier when?wet. So keep an eye out for painted surfaces, metal manhole covers and?rainbow oil residue.?You’ll also want to be careful when you turn; sudden movements or leaning could cause you to spin out.

5. Embrace it

Unless you live where the sun always shines,?rainy days can really mess with your biking schedule. So brave?the rain, power through with confidence and bike like the hero rider you know you are.

Are you a cyclist? What tips do you have for our other riders? Let us know in the comments!

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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5 Tips for Biking to Work in the Rain

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5 Zero Waste Swaps to Make in Your Bathroom

Going zero waste can feel daunting ? trust me, I remember the feeling! The average American generates 4.5 pounds of trash every single day (that’s 220 million tons total each year).?How in the world does a person shrink down all that?household waste into nothing? Are there really?sustainable alternatives to everything I use in my daily life?

Truth is, going zero waste happens over the course of a lifetime ? baby step by baby step. One day, you decide to stop accepting plastic straws at restaurants; the next you locate a bulk shop in your area and start shopping exclusively package-free. And every day in between you gradually replace disposable, limited-use items with reusable, lasting ones.

Why This is Important

Our world is hooked on disposables. We manufacture and purchase?vast amounts of unrecyclable goods that are?designed to fail on us, then we throw them away without a second thought. Many of these are?single use plastics?that will not?decompose?for hundreds, if not thousands, of years.

As such, most of these swaps involve replacing plastic with something better (often stainless steel, natural fibers or bamboo) that will stand the test of time or decompose naturally when it’s time to toss it.

Ready to join the party? Start by using up your old products (recycling, giving them away or selling them online), then gradually introduce these new options into your routine. Take care of them and you’ll be able to prevent all sorts of bathroom garbage from going to the landfill. Yipee!

10 Zero Waste Swaps to Make in Your Bathroom

1) Handkerchiefs vs. Tissues

Whether you’re fighting a cold or just dealing with allergies, it’s likely you go through a lot of tissues in your daily life. Grab a hankie instead! You can rinse?these as you go, then boil and line dry to get rid of any bacteria. Plus, they’re so much softer on the nose.

Related: 6 Potent Healing Herbs for Cold and Flu

2) Safety Razor vs. Disposable Razors

Disposable plastic razors are non-recyclable and extremely expensive. Plus, I’ve found that they tend to deteriorate remarkably quickly. Keep your skin smooth with a durable, stainless steel safety razor like this one instead and stop tossing razors for good.

3) Bulk Shampoo vs. Packaged Shampoo

Did you know you can buy hair and beauty products in bulk at most?bulk health food stores? It’s true! Just pour?what you need into a refillable glass pump bottle and use till it’s time to top off again. I purchased mine from Amazon, but you could likely find these in the bath aisle of any department store.

4) Coconut Oil vs. Makeup Remover

I’ve never found an eye makeup remover I like better than pure, organic coconut oil. It’s multi-purpose and dissolves?whatever tough makeup I have on at the end of the day. Buy your coconut oil in glass, then reuse or recycle the jar when you’re done with it.

Related: 15 Surprising Uses for Coconut Oil

5) Bamboo Toothbrush vs. Plastic Toothbrush

It’s time to be done with plastic like this for good! Standard plastic toothbrushes with plastic bristles are non-recyclable and wasteful. Look for a bamboo option instead. They are 100 percent biodegradable, eco-friendly and sustainably sourced and produced. Cool right? My favorite brands include Brush with Bamboo, WowE?and f.e.t.e. Huge fan!

Which zero waste swaps will you be making in your bathroom this fall? I’d love to know which ones stand out to you!?

Related:
How to Host a Zero Waste Dinner Party
3?Essential Zero Waste Items to Keep in Your Car
10 Ways to Start Living Zero Waste

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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5 Zero Waste Swaps to Make in Your Bathroom

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How to Green the Marijuana Industry

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From the outside looking in, the marijuana industry might appear very eco-friendly. After all, it involves harvesting plants — what could be greener than that? But there’s a darker environmental underbelly to many cannabis operations and, in a time where legalization is sweeping the nation, something has to be done.

Confronting the Problem

The problem with marijuana production is that most growing is done inside warehouses, greenhouses and other carefully monitored environments. As such, growers have very specific light and temperature requirements. Paul Isenbergh, who owns three cannabis-growing facilities in the hotbed market of Denver, Colo., told The Guardian he pays at least $4,000 per month for electricity. And when you consider that there are thousands of people just like Isenbergh, it’s not hard to believe a New Frontier study that says 1 percent of all U.S. energy is used to grow cannabis.

When it comes to outdoor growing, the situation isn’t much better. The pesticides used to protect the crops often pollute bodies of water and kill creatures.

“A bunch of fish may turn up dead in a creek, so we’ll go look, walk upstream and inevitably run into a marijuana growth site,” Patrick Foy from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife told the International Business Times.

3 Things Industry Leaders Can Do

Clearly there’s a problem. While making the public aware of the issue is one thing that can be done, it’s ultimately up to the leaders of the industry to take charge — and many of them are doing so.

Here are a few specific things that are being done, or can be done, to make the cannabis industry greener.

1. Improve Supply Chain Visibility

For cannabis dispensaries, marijuana growers, and manufacturing and sales operations, visibility is an absolute must. It’s impossible to run a profitable and sustainable business without having a clear understanding of what’s happening within the business. Thankfully, progress is being made here.

Agrisoft Seed to Sale software is one product leading the way. Developed specifically for the cannabis industry, Agrisoft makes cannabis compliance a breeze and ensures businesses can track inventory and remain 100 percent accountable to regulators and lawmakers.

2. Dial Back Energy Usage

Energy consumption is obviously a big deal. In order for growers and harvesters to do their part, they’ll have to discover what it looks like to dial back energy usage without compromising the quality of their product.

According to Amy Andrle, who runs the only cannabis retail store in Denver with official sustainability certification, there are some specific things cannabis-related businesses must do. She encourages the use of LED lighting and avoiding peak demand by staggering when lights are turned on and off. She also suggests hand-watering plants and limiting gray water productions.

3. Enhance Packaging

Did you know that 300 million tons of plastic are produced every year — and that half of it is intended for single use? This might seem like an unrelated problem, but the reality is that almost all cannabis products use plastic in packaging. (In a recent list of approved cannabis packaging types that the Oregon Liquor Control Commission put out, 28 out of 29 options included plastic.)

Believe it or not, the cannabis industry can have a very real impact on the reduction of single-use plastic packaging consumption. Many companies are already working hard to do their part, but it’s important that more join the fold.

Make Marijuana Green Again

As the decriminalization of marijuana continues to happen in more and more states around the nation, it’s important for marijuana growing, packaging and sales to become greener.

Sustainability is what will allow the industry to move forward.

Feature image courtesy of Shutterstock

Read More:
Study Finds Medical Pot Farms Draining Streams Dry
Hempcrete: A New Brick in the Wall
How Medicine Makes the Environment Sick

About
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Anna Johansson

Anna is a freelance writer, researcher and business consultant. A columnist for Entrepreneur.com, HuffingtonPost.com and more, Anna loves enjoying the great outdoors with her family. Follow her on

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Latest posts by Anna Johansson (see all)

How to Green the Marijuana Industry – September 8, 2017
Partnership Forms to Recycle Waste in the Antarctic – August 10, 2017
Cultivating Mindfulness Helps You Care for the Earth – July 17, 2017

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How to Green the Marijuana Industry

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Green Your Tailgating, No Matter Your School’s Colors

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What happens when you get 92,000 people together in one place on a Saturday before a football game? Tailgating is one of the most fun parts of watching a football game (both college and pro), but it isn’t one of the most environmentally friendly. Have you ever seen what those parking lots and lawns look like after a game?

Image source

Even when trashcans are provided, trash is littered everywhere. The residents, cities and schools end up spending lots of time trying to clean up the trash from the event. Even with recycling programs in place, all the recyclables never seem to end up in the right collection bin.

However, there are some practical ways that fans can green their tailgating and still have fun. Ready to find out how? Green 32, green 32 … set … hike.

1. Reusable plates, utensils and cups

Even the red Solo cup has a reusable cousin. Recycled plastic plates, reusable utensils and cloth napkins can be used for tailgating, and you can save them and use them again at the next game. These products are more durable than the traditional disposable products and can be tossed in the dishwasher when you get home.

2. Recycle at home

Keep a bag or box in your tailgate area and take your empty cans and bottles home to recycle, or drop them off on your way out of town at the local recycle center.

3. Low-waste or zero-waste food

Avoid individually packaged foods, buy in bulk and bring fresh food whenever possible. This will cut down on the amount of waste that you have to dispose of at the end of the day. Food scraps can be composted; just toss them in a bag to take home and compost.

4. Take an extra trash bag and share with a neighbor

Perhaps a neighboring fan forgot to bring their own trash bag. By sharing, you are helping keep the area clean. Before you leave for the day, perhaps you could pick up just a few pieces of trash from the surrounding area for any fans who may not be as tidy (or may be too intoxicated to realize what they’ve done).

5. Leave only footprints, take only memories

It’s a pretty easy concept, really — take everything you brought with you. Don’t leave any games, broken chairs, tables or trash behind. When thinking about souvenirs for the day, consider the items carefully and make sure they are durable.

It amazes me just how bad these parking lots and lawns can look after a game. We all know better, so let’s enjoy the football season sustainably.

What “green” tailgating tips do you have to share? Leave them in the comments.

Feature image courtesy of Daniel X. O’Neil

About
Latest Posts

Calley Pate

A self-described eco-junkie, Calley Pate is the owner and editor of

The Eco Chic

blog covering eco-friendly living, cloth diapers, parenting, photography, and life in general. Her passion growing up was the arts and the ocean. After working as an environmental contractor, Calley took the leap into blogging full time in 2011.Calley is also Marketing & Social Media Manager for Kelly’s Closet cloth diaper retailer.

Latest posts by Calley Pate (see all)

Green Your Tailgating, No Matter Your School’s Colors – September 6, 2017
9 Eco-Friendly, Upcycled Thanksgiving Decoration Ideas – November 20, 2015
The Upcycled Office Space – November 9, 2015

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It’s National Secondhand Wardrobe Day: How You Can Participate

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Chances are, you have a clothing item (or 10) in your closet that you don’t wear, haven’t worn since the previous solar eclipse and have no plans to wear here or in a parallel universe. But, before you purge your closet and launch your lightly worn items to a landfill to join the 13 million tons of textiles disposed of each year, consider this: National Secondhand Wardrobe Day is today, and you’re invited!

Swap, Don’t Shop

Disposing of clothing that you don’t wear isn’t just wasteful, it’s extremely unsustainable and oh so unfashionable. Even today, with all the convenient ways to sell your clothes for cash, a staggering 85 percent of discarded textiles are sent to landfills annually, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Yet, the majority of people are not extending the life cycle of their gently worn clothes while cashing in or greening them forward.

Today, global waste in the fashion industry is a real issue. In fact, it takes 2,700 liters of water just to create one cotton T-shirt. National Secondhand Wardrobe Day is breathing new life into old clothes, allowing consumers to offset their carbon footprint by exchanging or recycling their used garments.

What if I told you that you could recycle, donate or upcycle those tatty threads just by visiting a clothing swap pop-up location near you? Element Hotels, an eco-conscious, extended-stay brand, is hosting Element Exchange today across the country for hotel guests and community members. Some events will even offer sustainable sips of organic wine and tasty treats while you “shop.”

With the coveted LEED certification, Element Hotels doesn’t just talk the talk, they walk the walk. All of their hotels are built sustainably using eco-friendly practices from the ground up and supporting local communities. The hotel chain features bright interiors with natural light, eco-friendly fixtures and recycling bins in every guest room, recycled materials in the carpeting, low-VOC interior paints, saltwater swimming pools, bikes to borrow, workout bikes in the fitness center that charge your cell phone while you pedal, and electric vehicle charging stations outdoors.

6 Ways to Participate in National Secondhand Wardrobe Day

While orange may be the new black, vintage is the new rack. Let’s face it, we’re all guilty of buying items that just don’t live up to their impulse-purchase hype. Here’s how else you can swap and save.

  1. Host Your Own Clothing Swap
  2. Sell Your Clothes Online with thredUP or Poshmark.
  3. Donate Your Clothes to Goodwill, Dress for Success, the Salvation Army or the Vietnam Veterans of America. The latter two will even pick up the items from your front door.
  4. Rent the Runway for your next soiree or event.
  5. Sell Your Wedding Garments Online with Preowned Wedding Dresses.
  6. Donate Your Wedding Dress to Brides Against Breast Cancer.

One man’s or woman’s trash truly is another’s treasure. Making sustainable choices in your clothing selections just makes sense. This year, get involved to help those less privileged by giving your time or, literally, the clothes off your back. Remember, on National Secondhand Wardrobe Day, don’t shop — swap till you drop!

Feature image courtesy of Shutterstock

Read More:
Rags to Riches: 5 Ways to Earn Cash from Your Closet
Swapping Is Sexy: How to Host a Clothing Swap Party
How to Shop for Clothes with the Earth in Mind

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Lisa Beres

Lisa Beres is a healthy home expert, Baubiologist, published author, professional speaker and Telly award-winning media personality who teaches busy people how to eliminate toxins from their home with simple, step-by-step solutions to improve their health. With her husband, Ron, she is the co-founder of

The Healthy Home Dream Team

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Change Your Home. Change Your Health

. She is the author of the children’s book

My Body My House

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Just Green It!: Simple Swaps to Save Your Health and the Planet

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Learn to Create a Healthy Home! Green Nest Creating Healthy Homes

and

The 9 to 5 Greened: 10 Steps to a Healthy Office

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It’s National Secondhand Wardrobe Day: How You Can Participate – August 25, 2017
Perk Up Your Workout with a Recycled Coffee Grounds Sports Bra – July 24, 2017
The 4 Things You MUST Test for in Your Home Right Now – July 14, 2017

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University Recycling 101: How College Students Go Green

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University Recycling 101: How College Students Go Green

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How the Cloud Is Going Green

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You already know the many lauded benefits of the cloud — it saves paper, equipment and raw materials, while also providing employees and workplace teams an easier means to access important documents and files. But you may have also heard about how cloud data servers pack a punch in terms of environmental impact.

To minimize their carbon footprint, data centers are going green. Here are the ways companies behind some of the latest cloud-based technologies are working to reduce their environmental impact in the rollout of new products and services.

Starting Small

Like within many other industries, business owners who have previously invested in cloud data centers are starting small with their eco-friendly efforts. But this isn’t to say their current efforts aren’t making a difference. For example, many data centers are swapping out old, incandescent light bulbs for energy-efficient LEDs, which conserve energy and provide massive cost savings on monthly utility bills.

Cloud computing is also a more environmentally friendly practice compared to investing in on-site servers. That’s because these cloud data centers simply don’t need the same amount of infrastructure and space compared to their on-site server counterparts.

In fact, businesses that invest in on-site servers typically have more space than they need to house this bulky infrastructure, particularly if they plan to grow or expand operations. This leads to a number of drives sitting empty in the short or long term that still need to be powered and cooled.

In comparison, cloud data center operators can optimize the number of servers they own and use depending on their client and storage needs. For example, instead of running an on-site, physical customer service department, businesses can invest in a cloud contact center that requires less space and infrastructure.

Using Renewable Energy

Some leading cloud computing companies, like Facebook, Google and Apple, are also paving the way when it comes to investing in renewable energy in their data centers. In fact, all of Apple’s data centers are powered entirely by solar energy, while Facebook installed some of its newest servers in Iowa so the company could take advantage of the area’s wind energy. Microsoft is using both types of renewable energy for its cloud centers: solar energy in Virginia and wind energy in Texas.

These giant corporations have a lot of political power and community clout, and they’re using it to not only enforce stricter regulations on energy use, but to also move the entire industry toward renewable energy.

Optimizing Energy Use

One of the biggest electricity sucks for on-site servers includes maintaining cool temperatures in the spaces that house this infrastructure to prevent overheating. According to REIT.com, an average office space uses three to five watts of power per square foot, whereas a physical data center uses 100 to 300 watts per square foot.

That’s why many on-site data centers are housed in buildings or spaces specifically designed for their use. As the major tech giants have shown, locating operations near water and other renewable energy sources is optimal for conserving energy. However, if that’s not in the cards, some companies are going a different, forward-thinking route: working with contractors to build energy-efficient and even LEED-certified warehouses.

Data center operators have also been examining the airflow in their buildings, so they can separate hot and cold air streams. By keeping cool air near their servers — and moving hot air away from this expensive equipment — companies don’t need to run as many fans to maintain them.

The cloud continues to get greener. Not only is this technology saving companies space, time and money on hosting their own servers — and saving them a lot of paper and filing cabinets — it’s now leading the way in renewable energy and energy optimization. These are the first steps to a more connected, eco-conscious world.

Feature image courtesy of Shutterstock

Read More:
How 5G Technology Will Power a Greener Future
5 Top Tips for Recycling Old Technology
How to Finally Go Paperless in the Office

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How the Cloud Is Going Green – August 14, 2017
Hacks to Stay Cool: Beat the Heat Using Less Energy – July 31, 2017
How to Shop for Clothes with the Earth in Mind – July 28, 2017

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How the Cloud Is Going Green

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