Blogs > July 2012

Recycling A to Z



Contributed by Catherine Vierthaler, Director of Finance, Green Builder Media

Do you recycle? If there is a recycling program in your community, you probably recycle paper, glass, aluminum and some plastics. But, did you know you can recycle so much more?

Appliances are full of nasty chemicals and valuable materials. By recycling your old washer, dryer, refrigerator, stove or other appliance you reduce landfill waste and the release of CFCs, mercury, copper and lead into the environment. Materials like steel and certain plastics that can be reclaimed and recycled. If you are purchasing a replacement, check with the store to see if they will haul away your old appliance and recycle it (make sure they are recycling, not hauling to the landfill). Charities like Goodwill and the Salvation Army will take your working appliance, refurbish it and either resell it or donate it to someone who needs it. Many counties or municipalities have appliance recycling programs as well.

You runners out there probably replace your running shoes every 3 to 6 months. Have you been wondering what to do with your closet full of old shoes? Well, Nike has a solution with their Re-Use-A-Shoe program. Your old athletic shoes might become part of court or playground surface, or a new pair of shoes.

Planning a wedding? Go green save yourself some money, and precious resources. Check out for everything from used (and even previously owned but unused) dresses, accessories and decorations. Haven’t gotten the rings yet? Shop for rings made from reclaimed metals and gemstones to reduce the impact of environmentally damaging mining and socially damaging conflict gems and gold.

And Z? Ziploc bags are now recyclable. They’ve always been reusable, but now they can be recycled with plastic shopping bags at supermarket recycling bins. Target, Lowe’s and Whole Foods Markets have in-store recycling centers for everything from household batteries to electronics as well as the usual plastic, paper and glass. I’m glad to see corporate America stepping up to make it easy to recycle.

I’m amazed at the number of products and materials that are now being recycled. Just do a web search for “recycle [enter product]” and see what comes up. I found recycling websites for asphalt, bicycles, cell phones, diamonds, eyeglasses and practically everything else.

If there is no recycling program in your community, you may want to start one. Check out this article for ideas.


Posted: 7/30/2012 2:10:05 PM by Mary Kestner | with 0 comments




 Contributed by Catherine Vierthaler, Director of Finance, Green Builder Media 


Before running out to buy new products, check to see if there is something that you already own that can be repurposed to do the trick.  My husband recently reorganized his garage, and needed a bunch of containers.  We could have gone to a major box store and purchased shiny new “garage” containers (that honestly would have looked old and greasy in a month), but first we raided the kitchen for empty salsa and yogurt containers, then we headed to the buy/trade facility at the local dump (sorry...Waste Management Facility) and found everything he needed.  Buy, Sell, Trade forums on Facebook are a good source of previously owned good stuff, as well.

Cloth napkins are an easy replacement for paper napkins; I just throw them in the wash with my towels each week.  I’ve used the same cloth napkins for the last 10 years.  When they get to gross for the table they get repurposed as garage rags.  In my house cloth dishrags are used in place of throw away sponges and paper towels.

Consignment clothing shops are popping up all over the place.  They’re great places to find gently or never worn pieces at bargain prices.  And, I like that when I’m ready to clear out my closet, I can make a little cash on the items I take in.  Don’t forget places like Goodwill and community thrift stores!  They are doing great things in our communities, and can use your support, either by shopping or donating.

Upcycling items that might otherwise be thrown away into usable treasures is a great way to reduce your environmental footprint.  Check out these cool candles from Holey Can. In our April blog Laura shared some innovative ways to reuse old clothes. And how about transforming old furniture into interesting new pieces?

Have a building or remodeling project coming up?  Stores like the RE Store offer quality reclaimed building materials.  The store also offers classes, demonstrations and lots of ideas for reusing materials that would otherwise go to the landfill.






Posted: 7/23/2012 4:43:57 PM by Heather Wallace | with 0 comments




 Contributed by Catherine Vierthaler, Director of Finance, Green Builder Media


Reducing consumption levels need not be drudgery, actually I like to make a game out of it.  There are websites that can help you figure out how to reduce power and water usage (or check out Green Chix blogs and March Facebook posts).  I like to try to reduce the amount used over the same month from the previous year.

I decided to call a spending holiday one day per week.  Wednesdays are a No Shopping Day in my house.  Nothing.  Not even groceries.  And no internet shopping either!  If it isn’t in the house on Wednesday then I don’t need it.  I have found that as I buy less, I want less.  And it makes for some REALLY interesting dinners.

One thing that does help keep me from overbuying food is to make a list before going grocery shopping.  By buying only what I will use, I waste less food. I’ve also learned some basic food preservation skills, so that I can safely freeze items that might otherwise go to waste.

Another way to reduce consumption is to drive less.  I live 1 mile from our little town.  I can walk or ride my bike to do errands on most days.  Every mile driven in a car produces one pound of CO2.  Each time I walk or ride my bike into town, 2 pounds of CO2 is not pumped into the atmosphere.  Check out this video for other fun facts about using bikes as transportation.  The side benefit is that I’m also burning calories!


Posted: 7/16/2012 3:00:58 PM by Heather Wallace | with 0 comments

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Intro



 Contributed by Catherine Vierthaler, Director of Finance, Green Builder Media


Maybe it is the influence of my grandmother who came of age and started her family during the Great Depression, but I have a deeply rooted fear of wasting anything!   As a young child I loved the drums we “made” out of oatmeal containers, and as teens, my cousins and I giggled about the balls of string and rubber bands.  But, her “do more with less” ethic has definitely rubbed off on me.

If something has an iota of use left in it, I can’t throw it away.  So, you can imagine that my home might look like a garbage pit, but you’d be wrong.  I love the sleekness of modern design, and hate to have anything around that isn’t essentially useful to my life.

So, what to do with all the stuff that is no longer useful to me?  I try to follow the covenants of “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle”.  First, I try not to buy stuff that I don’t need, or that only has a single purpose (shoes and purses excluded).  Then, I ALWAYS try to find a way to reuse the items that are no longer useful in the way that they were originally intended.  And finally, I recycle everything I can, from aluminum foil to ziplock bags.

Follow along this month as I introduce you to some new ideas, articles and websites that help us conquer our consumerism and the “throw away” economy.  By implementing ideas that make sense for you, you might help save the earth and some money, too.



Posted: 7/3/2012 12:46:56 PM by Heather Wallace | with 0 comments

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Welcome to the Green Chix blog. Each month we are exploring topics that we hope you will find relevant, interesting and supportive of a sustainable way of life. Join Green Chix and become a fellow ambassador for Mother Nature and help us to influence the world and spread the word on sustainable living.

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