Tuesday, April 22, 2014

10 Ways to Love the Earth Today

Sometimes, “going green” can seem like an undertaking. But, here at Ecovention, we know that small changes can add up – and make a remarkable difference.

In honor of Earth Day, let’s show the planet how much we love her. There’s no better time to start changing the world, one step at a time.

  • Grocery shop in your PJ’s – Instead of trekking to the store this afternoon, shop online for your meals. A study by the University of Washington reveals that using a delivery service for your groceries (like PeaPod or Safeway) will slash your CO2 emissions by 50%.
  • Cut it short – Simply cutting your morning shower by 2 minutes saves more than 10 gallons of water (that’s 3,650 gallons per year!). Are you a bath person? A year’s worth of daily baths uses a total of 7,300 gallons of water, costing you about $1,280 annually. Keep that shower short & sweet today.
  • Junk the junk – The average American receives 40 pounds of junk mail every year (destroying 100 million trees in the process). Today, consider canceling a catalog that you hardly read, or removing your name from a few mailing lists. God knows you don’t need 14 coupon books throughout the year. 
  • Recycle your morning paper – Over 63 million newspapers are printed in the U.S. daily…and 69% of those end up in the trash by mid-afternoon. If every American recycled their Sunday paper, we’d save 500,000 trees per week. Better yet – cancel your newspaper altogether and start reading the daily headlines online instead.
  • Rethink your morning Joe – Each year, Americans toss more than 138 straws and stirrers used in their morning coffee. If you simply pour the cream & sugar in first, the hot coffee will do all the work.
  • Choose cold – Catching up on piles of laundry? Try washing all your clothes on cold today. According to Energy Star, just about 90% of the energy consumed by your washing machine goes toward heating the water. Splurge a little on your detergent, and you won’t have to worry about your clothes coming out squeaky clean.
  • Switch it out – If every household in the U.S. traded just one old light bulb for an eco-friendly fluorescent bulb, the pollution reduction would equal the removal of 1 million cars from the road.
  • Go light on the napkins If you stop by a fast food joint today (maybe for pizza!), grab a smaller handful of paper napkins. If every American took one less napkin a day (the average is 6), we’d save more than a billion pounds of wasted paper from ending up in landfills. 
  • Swap out your shower curtain – You all know that new plastic smell. In fact, the average vinyl shower curtain emits 108 different chemicals into the air you breathe. Today, replace it with cloth, hemp, bamboo (oooh!) or a PVC-free plastic curtain.
  • Pop the old-fashioned way – Hate to break it to you, but microwavable popcorn isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. In fact, the bags are lined with PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid): a chemical that contributes to cancer and infertility. A much safer (and yummier!) way to fresh popcorn is to pop it on the stove with some olive or canola oil.  
uOur planet is a beautiful place. Let's keep it that way. 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Spring Clean…But Stay Green

With warm spring days comes a sense of renewal, rejuvenation… and a whole bunch of motivation to clean.

As we collectively wipe away the memories of winter with a bottle of Clorox, it’s always easiest to dump all of our old stuff in the trash. But when it comes to the environment, there are much smarter ways to wash away the winter blues.

Below are some of our favorite ways to stay green during your spring clean.

1. Your Closet

Are you a bit of a hoarder? Me too. Not TLC style, but there’s just something about those chilly winter months that make me hold onto a bunch of stuff I don’t need. Spring is the perfect time to say adios to these unnecessary items. Apparently, the rule of thumb is to get rid of anything you haven’t used within the past year. But, I think 6 months is more realistic. For examplethe Duck Dynasty bobble-head my long-lost cousin sent last Christmas? It’s gotta go.  

Don’t you dare just throw everything away, though. Whatever you think might be salvageable, donate it to a local Goodwill, Salvation Army or one of these 101 places your clutter can do good. Have a few pairs of gently-used shoes hanging around? Check out Soles4Souls: a non-profit that distributes shoes to people in need in over 125 countries. It’s amazing the things we take for granted.

2. Your Car

The inside, the outside, the trunk… it’s all filthy, gross, and full of garbage (oh, is that just me?). Regardless, on a hot, sunny day you might be tempted to pull out the hose and get to it. Hey, it saves a whole 9 bucks and a trip to the car wash, right? But, according to the International Car Wash Association, going to the wash uses less than half the water used when doing the job yourself. To top it off, commercial car washes almost always purify and reuse their water, while those harsh chemicals you bought at 7/11 eventually end up in local lakes and streams.

3. Your Paper Goods

Why do we keep books after we’ve read them? Unless it’s a copy of The Giving Tree, this boggles my mind. Instead of letting stacks of books gather dust, put them to good use. If they’re in decent condition, donate them to a local cause like a thrift shop or fundraiser. Another great option is Bookends.org – an organization that places your gently-used books in inner-city schools, youth centers, homeless shelters and children’s group homes. Make room, and make a difference. Simple as that.

How about piles of old mail, magazines and newspapers? These can all be recycled. On average, a family of four goes through 1.25 tons of paper every year. That’s the weight of a Bison, by the way. And, according to the GreenBox environmental impact calculator, 1.25 tons of paper could create about 4,500 pizza boxes. Let's all think before we throw!

Monday, April 7, 2014

The Secret Garden

Flowering window boxes, warm afternoon winds and the bluest of skies.

Spring in New York, you are lovely. And you are here to stay.

You might never guess that tucked away in the nooks and crannies of our “concrete jungle” are some of the most breathtaking green spaces. Complete with wildflower gardens, river views and butterfly bushes, they’re the hidden gems of our bustling city.

We thought we’d share some of our favorites.
Nestled along the corner of Riverside Park, the colorful space at 91st Street has been run by a community known as “The Garden People” for over 30 years. With winding trails and park benches abound, the gardens are a picturesque setting for an afternoon picnic or Sunday stroll.

Look familiar? You might know it from You’ve Got Mail – the 1998 romantic comedy starring Meg Ryan & Tom Hanks. It’s where they professed their love, after all.

Heather Garden sits within Fort Tyron Park, a 3-acre green space about 250 feet above the Hudson. With over three-dozen varieties of heather flowers, it’s the largest public garden in the city, and boasts spectacular views of the New Jersey Palisades.

With Spring comes a spectacle of azaleas, peonies, rhododendrons and flowering dogwoods… it’s truly a sight for the sorest of eyes.

So much more than just a green space, Wave Hill is a 28-acre garden and cultural center that overlooks the Hudson (with views all the way to the GW Bridge). 

It used to be a private estate, and features an exquisite 19th century mansion surrounded by endless wildflowers & shady spaces. There’s even a cafĂ© serving afternoon tea & farm-fresh treats. What more could you need?

New York City is infinitely more than 5th Avenue shopping, yellow cabs and food trucks abound. There’s beauty and serenity hidden in the most unlikely places… and we think Spring is the best time to savor it.