Jul 28, 2016

Green Kids Toys Tips

1. Look for PVC-free
PVC (aka polyvinyl chloride) seems to be everywhere we look. Some beach toys, teethers, dolls, and even (gasp!) rubber duckies are cheaply manufactured with the environmentally dubious material. A dioxin-producing powerhouse, PVC releases toxins into the environment all the way through its lifecycle from manufacturing to disposal. Many PVC toys also contain phthalates, chemical compounds that make the PVC plastic more flexible, which initial studies have linked to both cancer and hormonal disruption. Although the long-term effects of phalates on youngsters is not fully known, we fully subscribe to the idea of an ounce of prevention now over a potential pound of cure later.
2. Wood is good
Look for FSC-certified wood to find sustainable toys that will last generations longer than the cheap plastic stuff. For the little ones, untreated, unpainted wood is safe to chew unlike plastics that contain PVC. When your child is done, wooden toys can be passed on to a relative, friend, or even sold on eBay or Craigslist to give it a second life. The FSC certification is important, it ensures that the wood you buy has been forested responsibly, allowing for sustainable growth.
3. Power down
Batteries have become second nature in most toys today. Not only is this a terrible problem when these toys get disposed of, who wants to give their child the opportunity to chew on a battery? For the young ones, decide if all the battery-powered noise is worth it. Could your child stay just as entertained with a simpler toy, one that might even let you keep your sanity. For the older ones that absolutely must have the newest electronics, look into rechargeable batteries to eliminate waste. For more, see How to Green Your Electronics.
4. The great outdoors
The most rewarding toy might not be a toy at all. It might be the act of planting a tree or a vegetable garden. Want a truly carbon neutral activity for your kids? Play tag or hide and seek. Getting your wee ones outside provides them with abundant opportunities to run around, have fun, get exercise, and learn about the urban and natural environments around them. You probably remember time spent outside with family and friends in your youth...your kids will too.
5. Second-hand magic
Just because a toy has been used once doesn't mean that it can't be just as much fun the second time around. Check out eBay, Craigslist, Freecycle, yard sales, or your local classifieds for perfectly good toys than have simply been outgrown. And, don't forget that you can always give that same toy a third life (and recoup some of the cost) by putting it up for sale right where you found it.
6. Get organic
There are more pesticides and fertilizers sprayed onto conventional fibers than you might care to know about. Not only does the thought of chemically treated fabric probably raise a red flag when you think of your child, it raises a huge red flag for the environment as well. The chemicals we use to "improve" our crops often contaminate the soil they grow in and the air and water systems around it. Look for organic and naturally-dyed cotton, bamboo, tencel, and wool for toys such as stuffed animals. For more, see How to Green Your Baby.
7. Sometimes it's not what's in the box...
It is the box. Sometimes it is the stuff you already have that can prove the most fun to imaginative children. So, next time you think about throwing the box from that new toy away, think of it as a potential arts and crafts project instead.
8. Non-toxic paints
It's not just the paint on your walls that you should think about. The paint on your child's toys may also have VOCs (volatile organic compounds). There are a slew of new toys that use water-based and low-VOC or no-VOC paints (and nearly all of them will advertise this fact). This way a non-toxic toy gets the non-toxic paint job it deserves.
9. Lasting toys
When purchasing new toys, keep the toy's potential longevity on your mind. A long-lasting toy not only means that you won't have to buy another one in a matter of months, it also means that when the toy is no longer in use, you can always pass it along. More money for you + keeping materials out of the landfill = easy decision.
10. The color purple
Subtitled: Everything on this list can't have a cheesy "green" pun. But seriously, what better way to go green than with the color itself. Craft projects give your kids an opportunity to use their imagination. Find non-toxic paints and crayons and let the kids loose on all sorts of recycled material from cardboard boxes to junk mail to items they find in the woods. Pet rock, here we come.
Source: Planet Green

How to Green your Workspace

Greener homes are in the spotlight these days, but what about the other places where many of us spend huge chunks of our time--our offices? Some simple changes of habit can save energy and resources at work, and these small steps can be multiplied by persuading the powers-that-be at your workplace to adopt environmentally friendly (and often cost-effective) policies.
1. Be bright about light
Artificial lighting accounts for 44 percent of the electricity use in office buildings.
Make it a habit to turn off the lights when you're leaving any room for 15 minutes or more and utilize natural light when you can.
Make it a policy to buy Energy Star-rated light bulbs and fixtures, which use at least two-thirds less energy than regular lighting, and install timers or motion sensors that automatically shut off lights when they're not needed.
2. Maximize computer efficiency
Computers in the business sector unnecessarily waste $1 billion worth of electricity a year.
Make it a habit to turn off your computer—and the power strip it's plugged into—when you leave for the day. Otherwise, you're still burning energy even if you're not burning the midnight oil. (Check with your IT department to make sure the computer doesn't need to be on to run backups or other maintenance.) During the day, setting your computer to go to sleep automatically during short breaks can cut energy use by 70 percent. Remember, screen savers don't save energy.
Make it a policy to invest in energy-saving computers, monitors, and printers and make sure that old equipment is properly recycled. Look for a recycler that has pledged not to export hazardous e-waste and to follow other safety guidelines. Old computers that still work, and are less than five years old, can be donated to organizations that will refurbish them and find them new homes. (You may even get a tax deduction.)
3. Print smarter
The average U.S. office worker goes through 10,000 sheets of copy paper a year.
Make it a habit to print on both sides or use the back side of old documents for faxes, scrap paper, or drafts. Avoid color printing and print in draft mode whenever feasible.
Make it a policy to buy chlorine-free paper with a higher percentage of post-consumer recycled content. Also consider switching to a lighter stock of paper or alternatives made from bamboo, hemp, organic cotton, or kenaf. Recycle toner and ink cartridges and buy remanufactured ones. According to Office Depot, each remanufactured toner cartridge "keeps approximately 2.5 pounds of metal and plastic out of landfills...and conserves about a half gallon of oil."
4. Go paperless when possible
Make it a habit to think before you print: could this be read or stored online instead? When you receive unwanted catalogs, newsletters, magazines, or junk mail, request to be removed from the mailing list before you recycle the item.
Make it a policy to post employee manuals and similar materials online, rather than distribute print copies. They're easier to update that way too.
5. Ramp up your recycling
Make it a habit to recycle everything your company collects. Just about any kind of paper you would encounter in an office, including fax paper, envelopes, and junk mail, can be recycled. So can your old cell phone, PDA, or pager.
Make it a policy to place recycling bins in accessible, high-traffic areas and provide clear information about what can and can not be recycled.
6. Close the loop
Make it a policy to purchase office supplies and furniture made from recycled materials.
7. Watch what (and how) you eat
Make it a habit to bring your own mug and dishware for those meals you eat at the office.
Make it a policy to provide reusable dishes, silverware, and glasses. Switch to Fair Trade and organic coffee and tea, and buy as much organic and local food as possible for parties and other events. Provide filtered drinking water to reduce bottled-water waste.
8. Rethink your travel
Make it a habit to take the train, bus, or subway when feasible instead of a rental car when traveling on business. If you have to rent a car, some rental agencies now offer hybrids and other high-mileage vehicles.
Make it a policy to invest in videoconferencing and other technological solutions that can reduce the amount of employee travel.
9. Reconsider your commute
Make it a habit to carpool, bike, or take transit to work, and/or telecommute when possible. If you need to drive occasionally, consider joining a car-sharing service like Zipcar and Flexcar instead of owning your own wheels.
Make it a policy to encourage telecommuting (a nice perk that's also good for the planet!) and make it easy for employees to take alternative modes of transportation by subsidizing commuter checks, offering bike parking, or organizing a carpool board.
10. Create a healthy office environment
Make it a habit to use nontoxic cleaning products. Brighten up your cubicle with plants, which absorb indoor pollution.
Make it a policy to buy furniture, carpeting, and paint that are free of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and won't off-gas toxic chemicals.
Source – Sierra Club

Jul 19, 2016

Think Green. Be Green. Save Green: Adventure Traveling (Part 1)

While it is getting extremely hot, it has hit the time to start traveling. Most people have already budgeted for their travel plans, which would include spotlight destinations, affordable housing, appropriate travel clothes and so on.

But for everyone else who hasn't started, help is on the way. We compiled top questions a person with wanderlust needs to address and a few solutions too. Keep in mind, we want you to travel with little to no carbon feet visible. Green Travel (aka Responsible Travel) is the wave of the future. Didn't you know?

Think Green:

People on the earth emit toxins into the atmosphere every second of the day. Car rides to work, bottles with low biodegradability, cleaning products developed from non-natural sources...The list goes on and on but it doesn't have to. We can do more in keeping our emissions low. How far do you want to travel? Rethink what cars you want to drive during your trip. Which flights have the least amount of stops?  What is most important to you when traveling? And how could your travel wants affect the Earth's needs?

Didn't we tell you we were getting you to travel greener?

Now Let' Start Planning.

I. Where do you want to go?

Can you believe that more trips are planned and successfully executed with a destination in mind than without one? You already know you want to go somewhere, anywhere for those with expendable funds, so just choose a location. Once a destination is selected, planning lodging, travel vehicles, and packing becomes much easier. When thinking of where you want to go, also consider the time and season.

There are two types of travel experiences that cause a traveler to start their interest.

1. Alternate Reality

You want to escape where you are now. This could be work or a lifestyle. This is the vacation you couldn't experience in your current location for whatever reason.

2. Experiences

Do you wish it would snow in your city? Can you catch a wave on the shores of the beaches in your state? Is there a type of destination you wish to see in your current town? If your answer to these questions and others alike are no, then it is time for you to explore other cities that offer you what you want.

II. Where to Stay?

Great! You chose a location that serves your wondering heart and now you need a place to rest your exhausted mind. Choosing a location to stay is very important because it affects your trip majorly. For example, if the location is too far from you cites, it cuts into travel time and takes away from you enjoying the attraction.

There are two popular options to consider when traveling.

1. Rentals

There has been a surge in rented homes and apartments using companies like Airbnb, Tripping, Homestay and many more. These sites allow users to roam through postings of homes and apartments being rented out by their owners for a fee. Travelers would have the opportunity to choose their home size, range of stay, and amenities. This option suits small and large groups traveling together.

This is an awesome option for choosing a host cite that can cater to your environmental interests as well. Renting a home allows you a variety of options to consider when being eco-friendly (shower use, faucet use, recycling etc.)
2. Hotels

While we have been using hotels for centuries, just recently have some hotels been making a stance to being more environmentally aware of their actions. Major names are taking note of their buildings power and energy usage and making changes towards a brighter, greener future.

Here a few terms to consider when looking up hotels.
  • Biodegradable Washing and Laundry Detergent
  • Composting 
  • Efforts to Decrease Energy and Water
  • Energy Efficient Lighting
  • Eco-friendly Bath Amenities

And just like that, you are half way done with planning your trip.

Look out for our next blog to finish your trip planning to get you to where you need to go.
Visit Conserv-A-Store to get all the green products needed to keep your home #ecofriendly.

Jul 17, 2016

Our Favorite Green Links by Conservastore.com

Rule #1 of web protocol is to keep visitors on your site as much as possible

But we look at Conservastore.com as a information portal as well as a Green Ecommerce offering
As a result we want to offer you a list of some of our favorite periodicals and sites where we learn every day and hope you will to on how to lead a Greener Life and enjoy Energy Sustainability

dsire.org--this is a state by state directory of renewable energy credits and incentives

homepower.com--this website focuses on renewable energy and most importantly how the individual can get off the grid either partially or totally

ases.org-- American Solar Energy Society

grist.org- a green blog-a bit left leaning but they do point out some interesting things

We'll add to the list as we find others that we enjoy
Of course we will take your favorites as well and put them on this list

Jun 24, 2016

How to Commute to Work Responsibly

1. Walk or Bike to Work
Obviously putting yourself in motion is the lowest-carbon option for traveling to work. Assuming you are healthy and don't live in a war zone or surrounded by interstate highways, anything under a mile can easily be walked. If biking sounds a little intimidating, try sharing a bike until you get the hang of it, or pairing up with a more experienced cyclist as a mentor. While you're at it, try using the stairs instead of the elevator. You may start to question why you are paying those hefty gym fees.
2. Use Public Transportation
Yeah, we know -- we are always going on about public transportation. But it's more than just a greener way of getting to work -- it can be a great way to meet your neighbors, avoid traffic, save money (depending on where you live), and improve your health. Start slow if it's hard for you: Go one day per week by bus or rail, or drive only part way. To make it easy for yourself, keep a set of timetables on your fridge or notice board, or bookmark your local transit authority's website or Google Transit. Once your up to speed, consider campaigning for better services and greener operations.
3. Work from Home
The greenest commute is the one you don't make at all. Telecommute, bring paperwork back to your pad, hold phone conferences, take online classes, or otherwise work from home. It will save you the time you would have spent on the trip, and also tons of gas. As a bonus, you get to work in your pajamas -- try that on Wall Street!
4. Switch to a Four-Day Work Week
Haven't you always wanted a three-day weekend every week? Here's your chance. Talk to your boss, and your family, about working four ten-hour days, instead of five eight-hour ones. If you're commuting to college, try to arrange a four-day class schedule. Just one day out of your schedule reduces the time and energy that go into your weekly commute by 20 percent. If that's too much to ask for, explore shifting your hours so you commute when the roads are clear, when you can share a ride with a friend, or to fit in with bus or train timetables. Many bosses will care more about what work you do than about when you do it.
5. Consider Carpooling
How many people at work live near you? Is there any chance of sharing the ride?
6. Maintain Your Car Properly
If you must drive to work, looking after your car is just plain, common sense. Regular maintenance of your car not only means it lasts longer, it will also save money on fuel. This means you should make sure your car tires are always inflated properly, you should change the oil regularly, and you should take unnecessary loads out of the car to ensure fuel efficiency. How often do you really need your golf clubs at work, Tiger?
7. Slow Down
Seriously, staying at or below 55 miles per hour vastly improves your fuel efficiency, and for every 5 miles per hour above 55 that you go, you reduce your fuel efficiency by 10 percent. Of course, in many cities there's very little chance of getting above walking speed at rush hour, but for those of you who still see open road occasionally, tread lightly on the pedal.
8. Calculate the Price of Gas
Use a travel budget to get a full picture of how much it's costing you to drive, and then make goals to reduce. If you have errands to run, do them on the way to and from work. If your car use is minimal, consider getting rid of your own vehicle and joining a car club for those major errands or large trips you can't make any other way. If you're moving, factor in ease of travel when considering where to live. A bit of planning goes a long way in reducing your reliance on the car, and it makes you life so much easier too.
9. Drivers, Stop Your Idle Engines
As a general rule of thumb, if you are going to wait for longer than 30 seconds, it is better to kill the engine than to leave it running. This saves gas and also keeps emissions out of the surrounding air. This is especially important when waiting to pick your children up from school -- kids have enough to deal with without being gassed by their parents!
10. Buy a More Fuel-Efficient Car
So we really can't get you on a bike? Perhaps you'll consider trading in your vehicle in for a smaller, more efficient one, or a hybrid. You might also consider a car that runs on alternative fuels like biodiesel, ethanol, straight vegetable oil (SVO), or electricity. Remember, however, that efficiency and conservation are should always be your first line of defense.
Source: Planet Green