Archive for October, 2011

Tips for a Green Halloween

Monday, October 24th, 2011

It’s only one week away. How about some tips to go green this Halloween?

1. Use the WHOLE pumpkin: Don’t just carve it and throw it in the trash November 1st. Use the pumpkin seeds and the carved out pieces for food. Pumpkin seed recipes are all over the web and make for a delicious snack. Puree the pieces of pumpkin you carved out for recipes that call for fresh pumpkin. And if you have a backyard compost pile, throw the rest of the pumpkin in there after Halloween.

2. Skip the expensive costumes: Save some cash by avoiding those expensive plastic costumes in the retail store. Make costumes made of reusable or recycled materials. Check out Green Halloween for ideas.

3. Use recyclable bags for trick-or-treating: Avoid using the orange plastic Jack-O-Lanterns that are used for a couple hours and discarded in the trash. This will also save you money too! Reuse plastic bags or even better, how about those cloth bags you have lying around? They’re strong and can hold more candy than you can dream of your kids bringing home for you.

4. DIY Decorations: DIY means Do It Yourself!. Making your own decorations is fun and expands your creativity. Give a little character to your decorations this year. It’s also a fun activity to do with the kids. Great Dad has some great ways to decorate DIY for Halloween.


Reusable Packaging Helps Haiti Relief Efforts

Monday, October 17th, 2011

It has been almost 2 years since the catastrophic earthquake that devastated Haiti and the relief efforts are still in full force. The Hemp 4 Haiti Project is an effort focused on providing sustainable, reusable goods to victims of the disaster. It’s a great project with a packaging twist.

Using high quality hemp, packaging is created to provide many of the victims with non-perishable goods. After the goods are consumed, the packaging can easily be unwoven and used in many practical applications that are vital to the relief efforts. Hemp 4 Haiti packaging also eliminates waste and pollution by being reusable and sustainable. Check out the photos below.


Old Vinyl Records Pump Up the Volume

Friday, October 14th, 2011

Need an amplifier to pump up the volume on your smartphone? How about “Change the Record”. That’s the newly designed product from London-based Paul Cocksedge. Old vinyl records are reused and then turned into a stylish, retro amp that has the vintage look of a phonograph. Of all the reused products I’ve seen, this might be the coolest one. The best part is that there’s no need for wires or electricity.

The 12″ records are heated and molded into a sound-enhancing conic shape which boosts the volume of the music being played from a smartphone. Of course there’s no volume adjustment but this beauty is all about aesthetics.


Mattel Shifts to Greener Packaging

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

Responding to a campaign by Greenpeace, toy giant Mattel announced Wednesday that it will stop buying paper and packaging from Asia Pulp and Paper. The environmental group has linked Asia Pulp and Paper to rain forest deforestation in Indonesia.

Going forward, Mattel will increase the amount of recycled and sustainable fiber used in its packaging and products. The move will focus on using post-consumer recycled content whenever possible and avoiding virgin fiber from controversial sources. The toy maker also said it intends to increase the amount of recycled paper it uses, and to increase the use of wood products certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.

By the end of 2011, 70 percent of Mattel’s paper packaging will be made from recycled material or sustainable fiber. It aims to raise that to 85 percent by the end of 2015.

Mattel’s earlier environmental changes included eliminating plastic-coated wire ties that used to be used to secure Barbie dolls and other goods to their boxes. That effort was spearheaded by Wal-Mart.

Indonesia has one of the fastest rates of forest destruction in the world. Indonesia’s rain forest, the largest in the world after those in the Amazon and the Congo, is home to orangutans, tigers, elephants, clouded leopards and scores of other endangered plants and animals. The Indonesian government estimates that nearly 2.5 million acres of rain forest is being lost every year, according to Greenpeace.

Upcycled Birdhouses Turn Junk Into Art

Monday, October 3rd, 2011

A few months back, we blogged about the concept of upcycling. In short, upcycling is the process of converting waste materials or products that cannot be recycled into new materials or products of better quality or a higher environmental value. In fact, just last week we covered a story about Method and their upcycled plastic packaging made ocean waste. Though people have been upcycling things for years, the term wasn’t officially coined until recently. Now it seems it’s becoming quite popular in our eco-conscious world.

The folks at, for example, are beginning to make quite a name for themselves by making upcycled birdhouses. The birdhouses are pieces of art made from items collected at flea markets, thrift stores, antique stores, etc. The designs are made from a random list of items including old license plates, trophies, oil cans, scrap metal, and metal space heaters. The birdhouses are really colorful and unique and available for purchase on their website.