Friday, May 30, 2008
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Monday, May 26, 2008
My new experiment is to soak it in a jar of water into a weak walled oblivion, so that the nut cracker will magically open the soggy pit with ease. Think it will work?
Does anyone have any suggestions?
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Getting ordinary plastic bags to rot away like banana peels would be an environmental dream come true.
After all, we produce 500 billion a year worldwide and they take up to 1,000 years to decompose. They take up space in landfills, litter our streets and parks, pollute the oceans and kill the animals that eat them.
Now a Waterloo teenager has found a way to make plastic bags degrade faster -- in three months, he figures.
Daniel Burd's project won the top prize at the Canada-Wide Science Fair in Ottawa. He came back with a long list of awards, including a $10,000 prize, a $20,000 scholarship, and recognition that he has found a practical way to help the environment.
Daniel, a 16-year-old Grade 11 student at Waterloo Collegiate Institute, got the idea for his project from everyday life.
"Almost every week I have to do chores and when I open the closet door, I have this avalanche of plastic bags falling on top of me," he said. "One day, I got tired of it and I wanted to know what other people are doing with these plastic bags."
The answer: not much. So he decided to do something himself.
He knew plastic does eventually degrade, and figured microorganisms must be behind it. His goal was to isolate the microorganisms that can break down plastic -- not an easy task because they don't exist in high numbers in nature.
First, he ground plastic bags into a powder. Next, he used ordinary household chemicals, yeast and tap water to create a solution that would encourage microbe growth. To that, he added the plastic powder and dirt. Then the solution sat in a shaker at 30 degrees.
After three months of upping the concentration of plastic-eating microbes, Burd filtered out the remaining plastic powder and put his bacterial culture into three flasks with strips of plastic cut from grocery bags. As a control, he also added plastic to flasks containing boiled and therefore dead bacterial culture.
Six weeks later, he weighed the strips of plastic. The control strips were the same. But the ones that had been in the live bacterial culture weighed an average of 17 per cent less.
That wasn't good enough for Burd. To identify the bacteria in his culture, he let them grow on agar plates and found he had four types of microbes. He tested those on more plastic strips and found only the second was capable of significant plastic degradation.
Next, Burd tried mixing his most effective strain with the others. He found strains one and two together produced a 32 per cent weight loss in his plastic strips. His theory is strain one helps strain two reproduce.
Tests to identify the strains found strain two was Sphingomonas bacteria and the helper was Pseudomonas.
A researcher in Ireland has found Pseudomonas is capable of degrading polystyrene, but as far as Burd and his teacher Mark Menhennet know -- and they've looked -- Burd's research on polyethelene plastic bags is a first.
Next, Burd tested his strains' effectiveness at different temperatures, concentrations and with the addition of sodium acetate as a ready source of carbon to help bacteria grow.
At 37 degrees and optimal bacterial concentration, with a bit of sodium acetate thrown in, Burd achieved 43 per cent degradation within six weeks.
The plastic he fished out then was visibly clearer and more brittle, and Burd guesses after six more weeks, it would be gone. He hasn't tried that yet.
To see if his process would work on a larger scale, he tried it with five or six whole bags in a bucket with the bacterial culture. That worked too.
Industrial application should be easy, said Burd. "All you need is a fermenter . . . your growth medium, your microbes and your plastic bags."
The inputs are cheap, maintaining the required temperature takes little energy because microbes produce heat as they work, and the only outputs are water and tiny levels of carbon dioxide -- each microbe produces only 0.01 per cent of its own infinitesimal weight in carbon dioxide, said Burd.
"This is a huge, huge step forward . . . We're using nature to solve a man-made problem."
Burd would like to take his project further and see it be used. He plans to study science at university, but in the meantime he's busy with things such as student council, sports and music."
Via : firstname.lastname@example.org
1.Designer Rene Geneva makes incredible, show stopper, eco wedding gowns and corsets (as pictured here)- using sustainable materials such as hemp, organic cotton, and eco silk. This is for the high end eco wedding, these ethical bridal dresses can price well into $3,000 range- but holy crap they are awesome!
2. Get Conscious makes extraordinary eco wedding gowns for every genre, from the clean lined strapless (as pictured), to the flowy Marilyn Monroe, Flamingo Dancing, Mermaid, and various other fun designs. Seriously, these dresses have character! Their prices start around $630 and go up well into $2,000 range for their eco couture styles. They also carry bridesmaid & groom gear.
3. Thread Head Creations -Choices! Choices! At Threadhead Creations you can choose from a handful of organic bridal designs already on the rack, or design your own dress, or even work one on one with designer Rai-Lynne to design your very own dream dress. All materials used are sustainable fabrics like hemp/silk blends. These dresses are very affordable (as far as organic weddings go) starting at $475.
4. Isadora has designed a beautiful stylish bamboo wedding gown that is absolutely gorgeous!!! This is for the wedding goddess in you. It runs about $750, which for an all eco wedding gown is pretty reasonable, or rather comparable to a traditionally made gown (aka-sweatshop/bad for the earth).
5. Wholly JO - Custom made eco wedding dress created exactly the way you want it, by someone who lovingly will help you design just the right one for you. Only drawback for gals in the USA is this designer is based in the UK - Prices start around $600. Check out her picture gallery for inspiration! For those in the USA, try Olivia Luca who provides the same personalized service as the UK's Wholly Jo.
6. Gaia Conceptions is an eco designer on Etsy, her organic Wedding dress is made with locally grown and milled organic cotton, this is a simple formal wedding gown that you can have custom designed, starting with this basic example. AWESOME price at only $250!!!
7. RawGanique- Not my favorite store (because they don't always return e-mails from customers and dang their website is cluttered), but they do offer a reasonably priced eco wedding gown for $369, made of fine hemp linen. And for those of you on an eco budget, this is one of the cheapest options on the market.
8. Spiritex - here is an article local to Asheville NC, where our local organic clothing/fabric maker SPIRITEX has added organic, bamboo, hemp and silk wedding gowns & bridesmaid gowns to their collection. Call to order & ask questions (828-254-8949) because their designs are absolutely stunning (see picture at the top with waterfalls of fabric). A must see for the eco-bride!( Green Wedding Gown Guide for Asheville.)
9. Blue Sky Bridal (for wedding accessories) - an eco esty store that carries pretty organic & vintage wedding veils, wraps, and corsets. Prices start as low as $35.
QUICK UPDATES: (July 2008)::: (Found these wedding dress gems on Sprig):::
www.adelewechsler.com - made with certified organic hemp and vegetable dyes.
www.naturalbridals.com - made of silk and sustainable hemp.
www.deborahlindquist.com - vintage lace, sustainable hemp and silk.
www.whitechocolatelabel.com - sustainable and organic materials.
www.consciouselegance.co.uk - hemp, silk and 100% pure unbleached cotton.
NOW for the part I LOVE... this section is the re-wear, second hand, vintage, charity donation, & DIY wedding gowns! Some are so affordable & you can get so creative with, you'll be dizzy with post marital giggles.
1. E-bay - for a crazy amount of used & vintage wedding gowns - sometimes priced as low as $5 ! Whoa that's freaken cheap and totally eco friendly! :) You can have your seamstress transform these old bridal gowns into new one of a kind creations, and leave almost no environmental footprint behind!
2. Brides Against Breast Cancer - This is the place to buy once worn and new donated gowns, and supporting breast cancer awareness ta' boot. They tour the USA with their collection, plus it currently says their online store is "coming soon". That could be now- so check it out :) (http://www.makingmemories.org/)
3. The Frock - Exquisite, stunning, fabulous vintage wedding dresses, that would make a drag queen shed tears! These though are not cheap, running $1,000 and way up. The selection is 16 pages long, and every gown is a complete showstopper.
4. ETSY - This is the place for everything affordable & handmade, making the carbon footprint lighter, and the wedding dress, accessories, and party supplies more intimate. Supporting small businesses who don't use slave labor & mass manufacturing processes will always be the more earth friendly option.
5. DIY - A great way to go would be hire your local seamstress who can wip up your pretty dream dress from a picture or pattern (look for vintage patterns on e-bay and at local thrift stores), and purchase the organic fabric online from a store like Near Sea Naturals - who sells swatches and samples so you feel it before you decide what you want.
Also look to Crafting A Green World, for a long list of fabulous eco fabric stores online. The types of fabric with the most traditional look and feel would be hemp/silk blends, tencel or eco silk.
Learn about how beautiful upcycling old clothing can be here. Try Amour Sans Anguish for inspiration!
Now go get yourself a saucy eco gown and get married!!! :)
PS- for some eco friendly party supplies try www.ecoparti.com , which carries earth friendly wedding favors including soy candles, natural soaps, and seed favors. They also offer tossing cones, baskets, freeze dried rose petals and biodegradable ecofetti!
Saturday, May 24, 2008
Read the rest of this article at Crafting A Green World!
Thursday, May 22, 2008
This year I started my organic garden with only a hoe, and no extra compost, no bags of special top soil, no hose, no rain barrel, & no metal rake. Just the dirt that was already there, a small list of plants that heart one another, and the king of all tools- the hoe. I have let the rain do most the watering, and occasionally I bring out the watering can if they seem rather parched.
And so far, this garden is kicken butt! I mean it is really rocken' the yard, with peas, kale, bok choy, radishes, squashes, cucumbers...
I really like to think, that nature provides and we don't always need to add alot to it. It's awesome the way it is.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Underwear-making class next week in Brooklyn- sign up!
I'm teaching another underwear making class next week at Etsy Labs in Brooklyn next week.
Our development/design of long-life, self-luminous micro particles called Litrospheres (non-toxic) emit light continuously for 12 plus years (half-life point) without any exposure to a light or other energy (not effected by cold or heat). This extremely low cost material offers 24/7 light, which can be injection molded or added to paint. It is 5,000lb crush resistant, stable and constant light source (gives off no U.V. rays). It is designed to give off almost any color of light desired. Our goal is to mass produce this material and supply OEM’s.
Litroenergy has potential to save billions of dollars in energy costs world-wide. Litroenergy surpasses all known available lighting options for cost/durability/reliability (12+ years) and safety. The uses are unlimited as the imagination; however we predict the safety aspects to be the front runner in application (light safety tape, lighted life rafts/flotation equipment, light safety markings/equipment, etc.). Supplemental light source will be second as the material is bright and one can read by it, if you have some Litroenergy lighting you will not need to always turn on a light source that requires electricity. The use of Litroenergy in toys, sports/camping equipment, bikes and novelty uses will be close in applications.
The fill rate of Litroenergy micro particles in plastic injection molding material or paint is about 20%. The cost to light up 8 ½ x 11 piece of plastic 1/8” thick is about .35 cents.
We appreciate this opportunity to introduce our patent pending designed Litroenergy light source material to the world. "
Call it couture, call it unique, call it simple, cute, trendy - any way you look at it these hot samples rock, and bidding starts at the lowly wholesale price!
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
If you are looking for eco thrills, chills and deals - including crazy sweepstakes that give away hybrid cars - scoot over to Eco Bunga! The newest collaborative discount website, which features all the usual categories, but this time everyone's got a deal just for you. When the Eco bunga team realized the top reason people didn't buy organic & earth lovin' was because of high prices they decided to get together and offer a place for everyone to get a deal. Customers are in eco heaven, and eco savvy businesses are too since it's free to list your special promotion. Eco Bunga has everything, from sales, buy 2 get 1 free, free shipping, huge prize giveaways, and major discounts from all your favorite earth friendly store like Under The Canopy, Organic Bouquet, Organic Imaginings, and The Oko Box (of course).
So what are you waiting for!? Stimulate your stimulus check with major discounts on earth friendly gear! ECO BUNGA!
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Fabulous brands such as The Organic Cotton Company who make all their "Clean Undies" in 100% Organic Pima Cotton, Ecoland's pure and simple organic cotton bras, hipster pantie and tank, and Clare Bare's cutting edge eco lingerie handmade only from reclaimed vintage fabrics . Men can join in the party too, with the popular classic brief and sport brief in organic pima cotton with no elastic around your *sensitive* areas (which causes low sperm count!)
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Friday, May 16, 2008
I work counseling adults with developmental disabilities in North Carolina. A couple of weeks ago one of my clients died. Yesterday a tree was planted in her honor and there was a commemoration ceremony. A dark enough event without me having to write an
eco-peeve Friday about it!!
I was informed earlier in the week that 60 balloons were going to be released in her honor. 1 for each of the clients and staff. 60 balloons to potentially suffocate animals with and poison the soil. I was appalled. Would anyone really want to be commemorated in such a way?
It's such a common tradition in our country. I remember as a child I used to love letting go of my balloons to watch them drift off into the sky until they were a speck, finally disappearing altogether. If I knew then what I know now about the impact of balloons on animals there is no way I would have taken
such pleasure in that act.
I had to file a complaint about the balloons. Nothing else to it. My complaint was considered and the number was reduced to 6 balloons. I'm helping to save the planet 54 balloons at a time!!!
As a society we need to take a look at our actions and measure what is helpful and what is potentially harmful. Sure doing things like releasing balloons is great when you are ignorant like a child but when you actually stop and think about how your pleasure may bring pain and even death to other living beings it is time to find new traditions. I think planting a tree is a great start.
Read the rest of this easy eco lingerie craft here !
PS- This snazzy project got a mention in the LA Times Emerald City Blog! YAY!
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Want to buy this dress? Get it at The Oko Box for only $60!
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
hmmmm... I still am thinking "WTF?", because who wears their bra out on the town? Maybe this bra says alot more about it's designer's frame of mind, then it could ever possibly say about helping the environment. Green Washing much?
Photograph: Junko Kimura/Getty Images
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Friday blog but I am glad to take up the mantle a little late. I've had an eco-peeve I have to deal with all the time; people throwing cigarette butts out of their car windows! I can't tell you how many people I've seen mindlessly tossing their nasty (and often burning) cigarettes out of their cars while I'm driving behind them,
giving me (not so eco-friendly) fantasies of smashing my car into theirs...
I was reading some websites that talk about cigarette butt litter and got even more peeved with the information I found. Not only are cigarettes the number 1 cause of fire related death but the butts themselves are horrible for the environment. It takes up to 15 years for 1 cigarette butt to biodegrade.
It's estimated 700 billion cigarette butts on 1 site, and trillions on another are littered every year. 200 of which contain enough nicotine to kill an adult human. The chemicals are being released into the soil and washed into creaks, streams, and the ocean...Yum give me some of that poison! Thanks for being so thoughtful!
If you are a smoker beware! Next time I might decide
to live out my fantasies!!!
Monday, May 12, 2008
Just wanting to give another shout out to THE GREEN SET blog, who gave a nice mention of The Oko Box! The Green Set writes about all about the lastest and hard to find sustainable fashion and beauty products. I absolutely love her zany writing style, which is not only slightly odd, but super humorous... and did you know that giggling alot is very good for your health?! A healthy you makes a healthy planet!
Other Blogs I Love :
Crafting A Green World
Sunday, May 11, 2008
So here's my personal Eco Check List of things I do and things I would like to start doing for the environment. Share your own list in the comments section, so we can see all the little ways we are making a difference!
*I bring reusable hemp shopping bags everywhere I go.
*I recycle all my plastic, cans, glass, paper, etc...
*I eat 100% organic, and also from local farmer's markets.
*I buy sustainable, vintage, organic, fair trade, or natural fiber clothing & accessories when i need something "new".
*I would like to have a full house water filtration system, because for health reasons I still drink bottled water (spring/artisian) and feel the bottles are wasteful and not healthy themselves due to BPA contamination. (But i am highly sensitive to any amount of chlorine).
*I cut down on "extra stuff" and keep only the basic necessities for furniture, cooking, gardening, and general living.
*I walk ALOT. I fill up my truck with gas about once every 4-6 months, and live in town so I can get everything I need without having to drive.
*I would like to own my own house, rather then rent because I feel I could do so much more to be energy efficient if I had full rule over my domain ;)
* I am on a medical diet, I can't buy bulk food which reduces plastic/packaging waste, because of the gluten dust on dried goods... this one REALLLLLLLLY bothers me. I really want the whole dusting food with wheat thing to stop so I can go back to earth friendly bulk buying.
*I cook all my meals, 3 x's a day.
*I donate anything I don't use to local thrift stores.
Now it's you turn!!! :)
Saturday, May 10, 2008
Instructions are here. :)
Friday, May 9, 2008
PS- Here is a photo of the new "stop wars" tank, maybe you can wear this and casually warp the minds of pro-war people who love Star Wars, to come over to the 'peace side'.
Thursday, May 8, 2008
Coming to The Oko Box in the next few days, with Machja's organic men's Figari shirt and organic Ombro polo(shown in this picture).
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
Yay for discounts, especially those on eco fashion!
ps- more men's organic clothing is arriving this week, and don't forget to check out CLARE BARE eco lingerie, soooo sexy.
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
Get some Hand Soap to freak out your guests, friends or mom at Foliage on Esty.
Monday, May 5, 2008
Had to share my excitement, I got to eat from my organic garden for the first time this season!!! This is a picture of the organic French Breakfast & White Icycle radishes I grew from seed & picked for my lunch. Despite the lack of rain they still have grown pretty large, smelled something like wasabi, and tasted oh so yummy in my stir fry over organic rice noodles. If you can't grow your own garden the next best thing will be your local farmers market, which is much fresher then even the organic grocery chains. Local farmers usually have picked those veggies fresh the night before or that morning, and are far more eco friendly, produce less CO2 in transport and are healthy too.
Eat Fresh- eat from your yard or local farmers market!
There are so many things we can do to upcycle our old jeans, ugly thrift jeans, or your partner's jeans you secretly want to cut up! And these project ideas don't always have to look like something only a tween could love (no offense tweens cause you will love these ideas here too!)
Try a few of these projects on:
**DIY: Upcycle Old Jeans Into A Sexy Mini - this instructional will inspire you to make those funky out of style jeans into a brand new sexy mini skirt!
**DIY: How to Save Your Favorite Jeans - always wanted to know how to patch that hole, and keep your dream jeans alive... this will tell you how.
**What Can You Do With Jeans? There's a plethora of ideas out there for jeans, including making your own i-pod case and organizer.
Right now I am working on a BYOB jean project, made from the left over legs of the jeans I cut to make the upcycle denim mini skirts :)
What have you done with your old jeans, if you have any stories please share!!!
Sunday, May 4, 2008
There will be some other styles available too, bloomers, garters, camisoles and ruffly panties - check it out @ The Oko Box!
Saturday, May 3, 2008
Um, and thanks Jon Stewart for your dry humping idea!
Friday, May 2, 2008
Want to know how to green your crafting style, and stop the out of control addiction to china made craft supplies? I know how it is, I was once a Hobby Lobby junkie- I couldn't stop buying chemical dyed feathers, miniature anything, sea shells, fake flowers, iron ons, glues, tiny starfish ... it goes on and on. But we are entering a future where the environment will need to be considered in every purchase. Crafters have the power to change the market & create not only cool DIY but also a cleaner planet. That's why Crafting A Green World is here to help, you know kinda like rehab for the slave made craft supply addicted.
Thanks CAGW for making a safe place for eco friendly craft-a-holics everywhere!
PS- I write for Crafting A Green World now, so check out my posts on Fridays :)
The best solution is to stop this madness of using stuff soooo freaken toxic in our homes, cause who the hell really wants bio hazardous waste on their walls?!? Think about it. If it pollutes the water, the soil and everything else- it's polluting your house too.
So in the meantime what can we do with toxic substances we either no longer want, or have finished using? Call your local garbage pick up or dump to ask where the nearest location is that handles toxic materials. There are special landfills designated for these types of toxic materials, that have "liners" in a massive hole to keep it from seeping into ground water & soil. Also check with Earth 911, that has guides to many city's recycling programs and places to dispose of paint. In the future just stop buying this sh*t, there's an alternative out there - non toxic paint is now available at tons of eco stores on the web, and many local big chains carry no VOC too.
Thursday, May 1, 2008
Last eco peeve friday I went off about how much lawnmowers annoy me. A friend tipped me off about this cool program called Food Not Lawns (Thanks Gabi)! I copied some info here for ya'll rather then recount such well stated and statistical ideas. (The following is taken from Food Not Lawns website.)
"French aristocrats popularized the idea of the green grassy lawn in the eighteenth century, when they planted the agricultural fields around their estates to grass, to send the message that they had more land than they needed and could therefore afford to waste some. Meanwhile, French peasants starved for lack of available ground, and the resulting frustration might have had something to do with the French Revolution in 1789.
Today, 58 million Americans spend approximately $30 billion every year to maintain over 23 million acres of lawn. That’s an average of over a third of an acre and $517 each. The same size plot of land could still have a small lawn for recreation, plus produce all of the vegetables needed to feed a family of six. The lawns in the United States consume around 270 billion gallons of water a week—enough to water 81 million acres of organic vegetables, all summer long.
Lawns use ten times as many chemicals per acre as industrial farmland. These pesticides, fertilizers, and herbicides run off into our groundwater and evaporate into our air, causing widespread pollution and global warming, and greatly increasing our risk of cancer, heart disease, and birth defects. In addition, the pollution emitted from a power mower in just one hour is equal to the amount from a car being driven 350 miles. In fact, lawns use more equipment, labor, fuel, and agricultural toxins than industrial farming, making lawns the largest agricultural sector in the United States. But it’s not just the residential lawns that are wasted on grass. There are around 700,000 athletic grounds and 14,500 golf courses in the United States, many of which used to be fertile, productive farmland that was lost to developers when the local markets bottomed out.
Turf is big business. $45 billion a year big. The University of Georgia has seven turf researchers studying genetics, soil science, plant pathology, nutrient uptake, and insect management. They issue undergraduate degrees in Turf. The turf industry is responsible for a large sector of the biotech (GMO) industry, and much of the genetic modification that is happening in laboratories across the nation is in the name of an eternally green, slow growing, moss-free lawn"
I believe that these statements speak for themselves, clearly pointing out the consumeristic absurdity of the beloved suburban lawn. I am all about digging up our lawns - but I understand that for those who are renting the landlord may have to be convinced before you delve into your grass obliteration project. But for those who own homes with lawns, you can turn that turf into edible gardens, native gardens, wildlife habitats, raised bed gardens, stone pathways, with cascading morning glory vines and archways... you see where I am going with this. Your Lawn is a blank slate, a white canvas for you to create a beautiful natural garden with a purpose !!! One where no lawn mower will be required ;).