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Four U.S. Companies Leading the Green Effort

Sunday, January 26th, 2014

green companies1. Green Toys

Green Toys is a California-based manufacturer that specializes in classic children’s toys made from 100 percent recycled materials. The company reprocesses plastic milk jugs into a clean, safe, BPA-free plastic, which is then molded into dish sets, play food, blocks, toy cars, and baby toys. All steps in production–from reprocessing to packaging–happens in California alone; no materials are imported, thereby reducing greenhouse gasses associated with interstate transport. All Green Toys products are packaged in recycled cardboard with no cellophane, twist ties, or any other non-recyclable material. This reduces waste and also makes the packages easier for little hands to open. It is estimated that every pound of recycled plastic used in manufacturing saves enough energy to power a laptop computer for an entire month, or a television set for three weeks.

2. Container Exchanger

Large corporations and transport businesses use thousands of boxes and metal, plastic, and wooden containers every day. Many of these vessels end up in landfills when emptied, where they can take years to break down. ContainerExchanger.com aims to break that cycle by providing a link between companies looking to offload their used containers and those who require them. The company specializes in the sale and resale of bulk containers, storage bins, plastic pallets, and other metal and wood receptacles. Each container can be reused thousands of times; reselling them saves labor, money, and reduces each participating company’s overall carbon footprint. As Container Exchanger’s operations continue to expand, so too will its healthy environmental impact.

3. EcoProducts

The founders of EcoProducts believe that “Waste is a waste of resources.” EcoProducts produces disposable cups, plates, and other tableware with a twist–all of its products are created from renewable or post-consumer recycled material, and many are recyclable in turn. Renewable resources include plant starch, sugarcane (used instead of paper), and a compostable plastic derived from corn. All products are manufactured using solar power as well. This use of alternative energy and sustainable materials produces less waste, preserves virgin forest, and improves soil through post-use composting. EcoProducts caters to green-minded restaurateurs in order to ensure an environmentally friendly impact on the modern food industry.

4. The Home Depot

Home Depot, though one of the larger corporations deserves recognition for its environmentally beneficial efforts. Since launching Eco Options in 2007, the home improvement retailer has done much to promote water conservation, energy efficiency, cleaner air, sustainable forests, and healthy homes. It was the first national retailer to carry FSC-certified lumber, has reduced the energy consumption of its stores, specializes in low VOC paints and environmentally-friendly cleaning products, and offers a recycling program to its customers that accepts CFL bulbs, batteries, and even old cell phones.

Going green is about so much more than labeling; more and more companies, manufacturers, and workplaces are joining in community efforts and implementing environmentally responsible practices. After all, we only have one Earth, and it is the duty of all to be good stewards.

Don’t Throw it Out, Green it Up!

Thursday, October 17th, 2013

The paper towel mentality has gone too far. The zipper in your jacket got stuck and into the trash it goes. Your desk fan is slowing down and it finds a new home on the curb. If something wears out or breaks, you throw it out and buy new. After all, the new one only costs $10 or $20 and repairs cost more. As much as you can’t stand to admit, every time you throw something out, you are throwing away your hard-earned money. Ask yourself if a simple DIY repair is a better choice. You save money, reduce waste and learn something new.

Small Repairs

If your oscillating fan stops oscillating, unplug it, take it apart and give it a good cleaning, as WD40.com recommends. Spray some WD-40 on the motor shaft and spin it with your fingers. Spray lubricant on any visible gears and you have given your fan a new lease on life. Lubricant will help almost all shafts or gears last longer.

WD-40 can cure the sticky zipper on your jacket, restore waterproofing on winter boots and improve the operation of switches. Spray a small amount of lubricant into the radio controls of your car stereo to clean the contact points.

You can repair a leaking faucet with an o-ring. You can purchase almost any size o-ring through Apple O-Ring. Cartridge replacements are also easy. Replacing the faucet itself, even with an inexpensive model, will cost a good $50. A leaking blender is often curable with a new o-ring as well, according to GoBlendIt.com.

If your beautiful table lamp no longer works, you can replace the bulb and switch the housing or the cord by hand. You only need a screwdriver and wire strippers. 1000bulb.com reccomends unplugging the lamp and following the instructions included around the cord tag, or via online repair steps. Kits for lamp repairs are available at most building supply or hobby stores. The $10 to $15 you spend is much less than the cost of a new lamp.

Large Repairs

While you would not just throw out your dryer or dishwasher, calling a repair service does cost money. For the sake of your safety, many repairs do require professional service. However, there are small repairs that you can perform and save the cost of a service call.

A broken dryer belt is a DIY repair. You will need your manual or an online diagram. You can download repair manuals for many appliances. An hour or so of your time and $10 to $20 for a belt (as HowMuchIsIt.org estimates) is a worthwhile investment over the cost of service.

If your dishwasher is leaking, there are three things you should check before spending money on a professional. As PartSelect.com suggests, locate the water supply hose, and check to see if it is loose or broken. You can tighten or replace this yourself. When was the last time you cleaned the drain filter? If food particles are blocking the drain, the water can end up on your floor. Check the gasket around the dishwasher door. This is also good project to take on DIY-style.

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