Archive for the ‘Holiday’ Category

A Waste Free Holiday Season

A Sustainable LIFE welcomes a holiday guest post from Jakob Barry, home improvement journalist, for He blogs about Green topics for plumbing contractors and other pros across the U.S.

The holiday season has many amazing aspects to it but if we take a step back and survey where it could be a little more wholesome one area which has potential for improvement is cutting back on the amount of waste it generates. 

Whether from shopping, utilities, transportation, and other resources which are utilized at this time of year there are many ways waste occurs.

That being the case the following are a few tips on how the holidays can be a more efficient, waste free event for everyone.

1.    Make a list: Lists are great because they help us remember things. Since the holiday season is full of pressure and lots of running around making daily lists to help get things done is one of the best ways to be more efficient. It also prevents us from having to go places twice which can waste a lot of gas, not to mention time.

2.    Plastic: There are a lot of good things made from plastic which we use everyday and which contribute to a better world. At the same time many plastic disposables are simply unnecessary, especially when it comes to food. That being the case, for festive meals and family gatherings go waste free and plastic free by sticking to reusable tableware. Just have some help cleaning the dishes afterwards.

 3.    Water: One might look as the world and see an abundance of water but the truth is there is very little of drinkable quality. For this reason and the fact the US has been in a drought being more watchful with our water usage is important. Water conservation tips for the holidays include adding water regulators to faucets, taking shorter showers, reusing water whenever possible during cooking, and when water can’t be reused in the kitchen to feed it to plants or use it to wash the floor instead of pouring it down the drain. 

 4.    Leftovers: If you’re having guests chances are you’ll be cooking a lot of food and lots of food usually means there will be leftovers. So they won’t go to waste be prepared to package them for freezing or give them to people in need.

 5.    Compost: Leftovers are one thing but don’t forget when preparing meals there are a lot of organic peels and other scraps that often get thrown out. Instead of taking this waste and being wasteful save it for the garden and use it for compost.

6.    Wrapping paper: There’s no need to buy new wrapping paper as there are so many things around that we could reuse for covering gifts creatively. Think clothing, old pictures, newsprint, magazines, and even used wrapping paper.

 7.    Seal drafts: The holiday season comes at a time when it’s usually cold outside. That means most of us will be using heat in some capacity and when there are guests hosts like to be even more generous with how far they may turn up the thermostat.  Sealing drafts around windows and doors helps keep heat in and cool air out. Otherwise home heating can be incredibly wasteful and expensive.  

 8.    Digital cards: Do you like to send holiday greetings cards? If so go with digital ones instead of using snail mail. They can be very cute and are waste free.

 9.    Rechargeable batteries: If you’re buying a gift that requires batteries add a set of rechargeable ones to the item. Because batteries are hard to recycle and contain harmful chemicals rechargeables make the most sense when aiming for less waste!

 10.   Lights: Everyone loves to decorate their homes with lights during the holidays and they often stay on twenty four hours a day but did you know electric power plants which supply all that energy are some of the biggest polluters? To help cut down on demand switch all decorations requiring incandescent light bulbs for those with compact florescent lights (CFLs)or LEDs.

Thanks to Jakob for these helpful tips. A Sustainable LIFE welcomes guest bloggers, if you are interested please contact

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Happy Memorial Day

The Office of Sustainability would like to wish all of our readers a happy and safe

Memorial Day weekend!


Memorial Day Tips

 Memorial Day is around the corner and with this holiday comes lots of backyard BBQ’s! Here are some tips on how to make your festivities as eco-friendly as possible.  

  • Instead of getting supplies from a chain grocery store, support your local farmer’s market.  Walk or bike there to make it an even greener shopping trip.  Or if you have a garden, use your own organic ingredients.
  • Keep pesky mosquitoes away by using an organic bug spray/repellant.  You can also set out a cup of sugar water away from the crowd for the mosquitoes to flock to instead of your guests.
  • Serve your food with reusable or biodegradable plates, cups and utensils.
  • Use cloth napkins that can be washed and reused.
  • Set up recycling bins next to the trash can so guests will know to recycle.  Clearly label the bins by paper, plastic and aluminum. 
  • If you are using a charcoal grill, use lump charcoal made from natural and sustainable wood.  Avoid using lighter fluid if possible. 
  • Use biodegradable plastic trash bags to clean up unrecyclable items. 
  • Send your guests home with plenty of leftovers to avoid food waste. (Remind them to bring reusable containers with them)
  • Clean the grill using soap and water (and elbow grease) instead of using harsh chemicals. 
  • Compost any leftover food scraps in a special compost pile in your back yard. Don’t compost? Save the scraps for a neighbor who does.

Source: Energy Ace