Wednesday, December 21, 2016

D(eco) the Halls

There's such magic in Christmas. The smell of freshly baked cookies at Grandma's house, rosy cheeks & hot chocolate at the end of a chilly December day, the soft glow of the twinkling pine lighting up the room with love. In an instant, it brings you right back to being a kid again. Tack on a few candy canes and popcorn balls and all of a sudden you're 8, beaming with excitement in your footie pajamas. 

These days, we could all use a little bit more of that... as long as we don't hurt the earth along the way. You already know where we stand on the age-old tree debate, but your planet-friendly d(eco)r shouldn't stop there. So in the spirit of the season, here are some of our favorite ways to spread Christmas cheer to the only home we'll ever know. We owe her that much. ☺

Oh, Christmas Tree!

L, E & D: these three little letters are all the rage - and for good reason. LEDs, or ultra-efficient Light Emitting Diode bulbs use 95% less energy than traditional incandescent lighting. When used indoors, they last up to ten times longer than the alternative. Plus, they don't burn or shatter (are you listening, cat lovers?). It's a Christmas miracle! 

How about money as a motivator? 'Cause this time of year, Santa is all tapped out. Powering 500 LED's over a 30 day period will set you back about $0.19, while your go-to set from the 80's racks up an $18 bill. That's almost 20 bucks worth of stocking stuffers we're talking about here. Either way you go (cough, LED, cough), remember that both types of lights are recyclable. Check your local hazardous waste collection site, or donate your broken strands to The Christmas Light Source: a non-profit that donates proceeds to Toys for Tots. We're feelin' all holiday time warm & fuzzy over here.


Santa Baby

Remember your 8-year-old self on Christmas morning, buried in an endless sea of crumpled wrapping paper? Well, if you were me, it was nicely folded, but that's another story. Eventually your mom comes in to ruin the fun, massive garbage bag in hand. And since endless rolls of Santa and Rudolph are dyed & laminated, your holiday cheer ends up on one-way trip to the dump. It's a not so festive fact: each year, Americans generate 4 million tons of trash from gift-wrap alone. That's enough red & green to circle the planet 9 times.


According to Stanford University, if each American wrapped three gifts in reused materials, the saved paper would cover 14,000 football fields. Think earth-friendly alternatives, like old comic books, paper bags (hello, 7th grade book covers), or funky scraps of fabric. Even old shipping envelopes and clay flowerpots make for one-of-a-kind wrapping. Slap on a repurposed bow (we're loving these from a 1940's hymnal!) or some vintage twine, and your fellow flower child will thank you. Mother Earth will, too. 

Silver Bells

No Christmas tree is complete without ornaments. Unless of course you have toddlers or 6 cats, in which case we'll give you a pass. But while the baubles you've been decorating with for the last few decades might be picture-perfect, they're probably full of more than just memories. Most vintage ornaments contain mercury and lead, making them toxic to handle. If you insist on carrying on tradition, break out the gloves. Your stellar bill of health will thank us later.

New seasonal products like tinsel, artificial wreaths and beaded garlands have also been proven to contain high levels of dangerous, cancer-causing chemicals like lead and bromine. Consider getting crafty and making your own decorations this year (yes, we're serious - you can do it). Here's a roundup of 75 DIY decor ideas that'll be sure to get you in the spirit. Plus, how cute are these homemade holiday ornaments that bake right in the oven? And no, you can't eat them... we asked. 

This holiday season, let's give back to the earth the best way we know how. 'Cause there's no time like the present. 

Monday, November 21, 2016

Bohemian Dreamin'

Driving through the northwest hills of Connecticut, a quaint and colorful little place caught my eye. Decked out in Christmas lights (it was August), painted top to bottom in bright, sunny hues, and covered in weathered shingles behind a rainbow of flower boxes, the warm "welcome" sign and open doorway had me feeling like home. I veered off my path and pulled right in to the old, dirt drive.

Stepping onto the creaky, wooden deck, the aroma of freshly-charred pie filled the sticky summer air. I had stumbled upon Litchfield's well-loved Bohemian Pizza, and it just happened to be lunchtime. I was there to stay.

80's record sleeves lined the walls, peanut shells crunched beneath my feet, and strings of old-fashioned lights gave the space a soft, cozy glow. My eyes met a soul-filling sign: "Loved you yesterday. Love you still. Always Have. Always will." There was a country-playing jukebox, a bar full of locals and genuine smiles from the staff. This is the kind of spot you don't forget... and you wouldn't want to.

I cozied up at the only free spot at the bar, and was greeted by an older, blue-eyed gentleman. "Want some pizza?" he asked. "I've got plenty, it'll go to waste." As I was politely declining, he slid his box full of pie on over to me. My eyes lit up. To my utter delight, it was the GreenBox...and I couldn't contain my excitement.

Next thing I knew, a small crowd formed as I was breaking down our beloved GreenBox. Ooh's and aah's were plenty, and I could feel myself beaming with pride. The owner eventually joined us, exclaiming how the GreenBox has been the "perfect fit" for Bohemian Pizza. He gave me a hug, and thanked me. I couldn't help but think...this is what it's all about. 

I eventually helped myself to a few slices of the man's "HamBurglar" pie, hopped in my car and drove off through the rolling hills of my hometown. GreenBox in hand, always.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Sorting It All Out: 5 Tree Hugging Toss-Ups

Not sure if you've caught on, but recycling is big here at GreenBox HQ. It's in our Earth-obsessed, pizza-lovin' bones... and we're thinking it's in yours, too.

So when we found out that the recyclable materials in the U.S. waste stream would generate over $7 billion if they were recycled, well, that got us going. How is this possible? And most importantly, what can be done to fix it?

We could speculate for days (with the help of an extra large pepperoni pie, of course), but we thought this list might be a good place to start. We've put together a roundup of some of the biggest recycling mix-ups, hoping that we'll learn a thing or two along the way. Because if we don't make a change now, who will?

1. Keep it Capped

Back in the day, tossing the cap before recycling the bottle was the way to go. But as of 2012, facilities across the U.S now accept plastic bottles, caps included. And since 25 million of these are recycled per hour, it's nice to know the cap can come too. Simply empty the bottle, crush it (the best part, obviously), replace the top and you're good to go. Sidenote: since not every municipality has hopped on the cap-crazed bandwagon, make sure to check with your recycling center to confirm.

2. Peace Out, Plastic

"Paper or plastic?" You know the drill. Collectively, we discard over 1 trillion plastic bags annually - but it's a myth that these can't be recycled. 

In fact, plastic bags are often transformed into playground equipment (weird, but cool), backyard decking, piping, fences and yes.. even new bags. 

But recycling curbside may not be the best option, as most local facilities do not have the manufacturing capabilities to recycle such thin, lightweight plastic material. But never fear, Target is here. Most large retailers like Wal-Mart and Home Depot provide collection bins at the front entrance (you know, conveniently close to the gum ball machine). Your local grocery store might even recycle them, too. Check here for a list of drop-off centers near you. 

Still craving canvas? Lucky for you, we're Etsy obsessed - and they've got some of the cutest re-usable grocery bags around. Your eggs (and the Earth!) have never been more excited.

3. Donezo with Details

Labels. They're everywhere. And I swear they're super glued on just to bug me. Don't pretend like you haven't spent 20 solid minutes, sweating, trying to remove every last bit of paper from your recyclable container. But come to find out, it's a totally unnecessary step. The same goes for staples or other metal fasteners stuck in cardboard, as recycling centers use massive magnets to do the work for us. So let's save ourselves the stress (or in my case, a freshly manicured set of nails) and toss 'em in - labels, staples and all.

4. Did You Shred It? Forget It.

In the U.S., we recycle 60% of all paper products (cue us patting ourselves on the back). But when it comes to the shredded stuff, you've got to forget it. Most often, this material is incompatible with recycling center machinery... and just ends up sprawled across the facility floor. Fun times. But glossy paper products, such as old magazines are fully recyclable (but only 20% of them make it to the bin). A good rule to live by? When it comes to paper, if you can rip it, recycle it!

5. A Toss In Toss Up 

Think twice before you trash an old CD or 90's video game (especially if it's Mario Kart, in which case we call dibs). Even old appliances, mattresses, furniture and that pile of wire hangers from the dry cleaners could be kept of out landfills based on the rules of your local recycling department. 

Earth911 has a trusty tool we live by, where you enter an item and your zip to find out how best to recycle it. And, in case you're wondering, the recycling center in my area accepts old trophies. Excuse me while I collect my slew of "participation" awards. :) 

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Bringin' the Green to the Bean

Most head to Beantown for the baseball. But us? We’re here for the pie. 

The pizza pie, that is. Cause at Brighton’s Big Daddy's, there’s a “cheese-a-roni” with our name on it. And, lucky for us - it comes in the GreenBox. 

A city staple with a neighborhood feel, Big Daddy’s has been servin’ up old-world style pies for over three decades. From their “mucho meaty” to their mac-n-cheese masterpiece, each BD pizza is baked crispy on fire hot bricks, creating what one Yelper calls “the best in Brighton.”  

Now, tack on an order of fried dough bites - topped with homemade garlic butter & romano cheese - and we’re here to stay. 

Mmmm. Looks wicked good. 

While we might be partial to the pizza, the sandwich menu deserves a shout-out. Cause who’d say no to a good ‘ol fashioned New England sub? No friends of ours, that’s for sure. Big Daddy’s “Patriot” features homemade stuffing & cranberry sauce (hello, Thanksgiving), while Wonton noodles are piled high on the “Chinatown Special.” Oh, and their Steak & Cheese is rated #1 in Boston by UrbanSpoon. We could go on, or you could check out the 40 different varieties for yourself. 

...I know. We’re starving, too. 

Dessert, you ask? Pass the homemade raspberry Rangoon: warm dough pockets stuffed with cream cheese & raspberry preserves - each topped with a layer of powered sugar for good measure. Magic. Pure magic. 


Needless to say, when Big Daddy’s decided to go GreenBox, we were ecstatic. And when they wanted to customize? Cue us jumping for joy. They’ve got a standout design that’s tough to top - and a familiar logo that has fans feeling like home. Plus, check out how good we look in blue. ☺ 


So next time you’re headed to Beantown, grab a pie from Big Daddy’s...and pick up an order of their award-winning dough bites to go. They’re lathered in butter, cinnamon & butterscotch. Need we say more?