Housewares

Zoo Reusable Sandwich & Snack Bag Set- Monkey

$11.99

Snack Bag Set is made for little kids learning to eat independently, whether at home or on-the-go. The sandwich pouch... Read

Snack Bag Set is made for little kids learning to eat independently, whether at home or on-the-go. The sandwich pouch is ideal for your kiddo’s favorite lunch, without the waste of traditional plastic bags.

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Family

Monday Tip of the week: Send your kids to school with a waste-free lunch

Did you know that you can adopt an endangered species? There are a lot of animal lovers out there who... Read

Did you know that you can adopt an endangered species? There are a lot of animal lovers out there who just don’t have time to take care of a pet. A great way to help animals if you don’t have a lot of time is by adopting an endangered species. There are quite a few programs out there, but we love the World Wildlife Foundation (or WWF). There are a variety of animals and price ranges to choose from, so no matter how much (or little) you can spend, you’ll still be helping keep these animals alive and well. This is also a great project to do if you have kids–it’s never to early to teach them the importance of taking care of our world. Check out the WWF website for more information here.”We can’t believe it’s that time of year again–back to school! This year, pledge with your kids to have waste-free lunches. It is estimated that school lunches produce 67 pounds of waste per school year per child. Not only is a waste-free lunch great for the environment, but packing your child fresh foods instead of prepackaged is good for their bodies! A waste-free lunch requires the following:

  • Reusable lunch box (preferably bento style so you can easily say goodbye to plastic baggies)
  • Reusable utensils, napkin, water bottle
  • No prepackaged food–buy in bulk and section snacks off in the lunch box

Learn more about waste-free lunches at wastefreelunches.org so you can start Doing a Bit Better.

 “

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Promote

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Pets

Do a Bit Better by Adopting an Endangered Species!

Did you know that you can adopt an endangered species? There are a lot of animal lovers out there who... Read

Did you know that you can adopt an endangered species? There are a lot of animal lovers out there who just don’t have time to take care of a pet. A great way to help animals if you don’t have a lot of time is by adopting an endangered species. There are quite a few programs out there, but we love the World Wildlife Foundation (or WWF). There are a variety of animals and price ranges to choose from, so no matter how much (or little) you can spend, you’ll still be helping keep these animals alive and well. This is also a great project to do if you have kids–it’s never to early to teach them the importance of taking care of our world. Check out the WWF website for more information here.

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Family

All About Recycling

One of the easiest ways to Do a Bit Better is to separate your recycling from your trash, but a... Read

One of the easiest ways to Do a Bit Better is to separate your recycling from your trash, but a lot of people (us included!) aren’t always sure what can be recycling and what is trash. Here are some simple tips to remember when you aren’t sure if you should put it in the blue bin.

1. All cardboard boxes can be recycled unless they are waxed. If you can, removing the adhesive labels and tape will ensure that the glue won’t interfere with the pulping process

2. Corks from wine bottles should be thrown away (or reused!)

3. You cannot recycle a container that has motor oil in it, but all other chemical containers can as long as they are completely empty

4. Remeber, there are many things you can’t put in the trash or recycling–most recycling centers and stores like Best Buy will take your old electronics and batteries

5. It is important to keep your recycling indoors until recycling day. Wet newspapers and cardboard may not absorb the chemicals needed to process the paper fibers into new products

Here at Doing a Bit Better, we have the graphic below right next to the garbage to remind us what goes where.

Start recycling so you can Do a Bit Better!

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UpCycle

Monday Tip of the Week: Use a tea can to grow a garden

“There are a lot of great uses for old tea cans–you can use them for storing little things like buttons... Read

“There are a lot of great uses for old tea cans–you can use them for storing little things like buttons or safety pins. Here at Doing a Bit Better we like to use them to make an indoor garden! It’s simple. First step, drill (or punch if the metal is thin) a small hole in the bottom of the tin to give you plant proper drainage. Step two, plant your garden. We like to plant herbs and keep them in our kitchen so we have easy access to fresh seasonings! Check out the picture below.

 

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Housewares

Way Basics Eco Friendly Three Shelf Cube

$55.95

Lifestyle! If you need simple, basic furniture that&rsquo;s practical, versatile, and good for the environment, Way Basics is for you.

Lifestyle! If you need simple, basic furniture that&rsquo;s practical, versatile, and good for the environment, Way Basics is for you.

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Men

Eco-friendly Lawn Renovation tips

So one of our staff came in to say his lawn has seen better days.  If you also notice your... Read

So one of our staff came in to say his lawn has seen better days.  If you also notice your lawn needs a bit of TLC, here is our eco-friendly lawn renovation process:

1. Rake lawn to remove thatch and dead grass, which creates good seed-to-soil contact.

2. Apply grass seed; and use it liberally.

3. Cover with layer of compost; this helps retain moisture and keep the birds away, and it’s a lot cheaper than spreading straw.

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Environment

Look Swanky AND be Greener with Eco-Friendly Business Cards

“Okay, so we have a small love-affair with GreenerPrinter.com, and not to present too much of a sales pitch, we... Read

“Okay, so we have a small love-affair with GreenerPrinter.com, and not to present too much of a sales pitch, we would like to sing their praises just a little bit.

Eco-Friendly business cards are not something one just stumbles upon.  In fact, 5 years ago, you would likely not find one, even by means of a search engine.  Nowadays, there are a few companies out there that like to say they’re green, but how green are they really?

Here are a few boons to GreenerPrinter.com:

They use recycled paper – many of which are 100% recycled!
They don’t use chlorine to bleach their papers – which means no chlorine in any waste water
GreenerPrinter uses vegetable and other naturally-based inks, which means no VOC’s
(remember our article about natural paint?)
They have several green certifications for their materials and processes.  We could list them, or you could just view the green certifications here!

Okay.  We’re done swooning over these guys… for now.”

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Family

Ways to Reuse that Expired Interior Paint

So you painted your bedroom last year and have some leftover interior paint.  Now it’s expired, and won’t mix well... Read

So you painted your bedroom last year and have some leftover interior paint.  Now it’s expired, and won’t mix well enough to use in any other rooms. What to do?  If you throw out your expired interior paint, it will end up in the landfill and some runoff will probably end up in the water.  No good for mother Earth. It’s not recyclable, even though the can is – but first, we have to figure out what to do with the paint inside!

-Make Art!  Grab a piece of canvas or reclaimed wood and slather it in your expired paint. Use masking tape to parse out lines for styling, or add in some sand for texture. Then, you brag to all of your friends that you made it.

-Do some last minute touch-ups. Chances are you’ve missed a spot or scratched the wall at some point.

-Paint some furniture. You can buy unfinished furniture at a fraction of the cost of finished furniture, and while we think stains and lacquers look great, consider making a great accent piece with your leftover paint.

Not only will you have a fun project for the weekend with all of your leftover paint, but you’ll also make some space in the garage.  Up next: How to upcycle that old paint can!

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Family

Monday Tip of the Week: Make Story Magnets from old children’s books

Our friends over at Sun Hat & Wellie Boots have some great tips for green living. One of our favorites... Read

Our friends over at Sun Hat & Wellie Boots have some great tips for green living. One of our favorites is upcycled children’s books turned into story book magnets.

The steps are simple. Take an old book (a great place to pick these up would be your local library’s book sales–you can usually get children’s books for $.25 a piece!), you cut the images you would like, use a thicker card stock or old manila folder for backing, laminate, and attach some magnetic tape.

This is a great way to teach your children the importance of re-using, and will help their imaginations grow!

 

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Celebrity

Hayden Panettiere and Matt Damon are Doing a Bit Better!

Congratulations to two of our favorite stars! Hayden Panettiere and Matt Damon are being honored by the Environmental Media Association... Read

Congratulations to two of our favorite stars! Hayden Panettiere and Matt Damon are being honored by the Environmental Media Association for their commitment to promoting green living.

Damon will be receiving the Ongoing Commitment Award for his organization, Water.org, which provides safe water and sanitation to people who don’t have easy access to it.

Panettiere will be accepting the Futures Award which honors young stars for their work as environmental activists. She is very involved in Whaleman Foundation, working to protect the oceans and their inhabitants.

Way to go Matt and Hayden! You are Doing a Bit Better!

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Housewares

Reusable Snack Bags-Whale Watching-Blue

$9.95

These eco-friendly Snack Happened Reusable Snack Bags are ideal for holding everything from snacks, fruit, sandwiches, mini first aid kits,... Read

These eco-friendly Snack Happened Reusable Snack Bags are ideal for holding everything from snacks, fruit, sandwiches, mini first aid kits, cell phones, crayons, toiletries, iPods, and more! Perfectly sized so little hands can use them with ease.

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Food

The PB&J Campaign is Doing a Bit Better!

Ready to save the world one peanut butter and jelly sandwich at a time? The PB&J campaign is all about... Read

Ready to save the world one peanut butter and jelly sandwich at a time? The PB&J campaign is all about pledging how ever many meals a week you can to a plant based meal. Every time you choose a plant based meal, you reduce your carbon footprint by the equivalent of 3.5 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions. You conserve 133 gallons of water–5 PB&J lunches a month saves more water than switching to a low-flow shower head! You also save 24 square feet of land each time you have a plant based meal.

Read more about how you can Do a Bit Better with the PB&J campaign here.

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UpCycle

Monday Tip of the Week: Back-to-School Notebooks

This year, my nephew enters “big boy” school, Kindergarten. While babysitting last weekend, we worked on an upcycling project that... Read

This year, my nephew enters “big boy” school, Kindergarten. While babysitting last weekend, we worked on an upcycling project that not only kept his very active little self completely absorbed, but also better prepared him for his start to a new class and school-year.

Themed -Notebooks from Cereal Boxes

My nephew loves all things Star Wars related. Now that he’ll be learning to read and write, what better way to equip him than with his own, Star Wars themed notebooks?

Here’s all you need:

  • Cereal box
  • Paper for the inside pages (college ruled for school)
  • A piece of decorative paper (we used Star Wars wrapping paper)
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Pen
  • Glue stick, tape runner or double-sided tape
  • Needle and dental floss
  • A button

Here’s how we did it:

  • Cut out the cereal box to create the cover for your notebook (we cut ours to  5.5″” x 8″”)
  • Fold it in half with the blank side out
  • Run Thread a needle with dental floss and sew the button to the front of the notebook. Leave about enough of the thread hanging to wrap around the notebook twice
  • If you want to cover the images of the cereal box, just glue a piece of paper to the inside
  • Take your 8 ½” by 11” paper and trim about 1/4” inch
  • Stitch the paper to the notebook with the dental floss down the spine
  • Cut your themed paper (we did 2 ½” by 8”) and glue to the flattened notebook

 

That’s it!

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Family

After school projects to keep your little ones busy—the DAbB way

“It’s that time of year again! The kids are back in school. As the weather starts to change, and your... Read

“It’s that time of year again! The kids are back in school. As the weather starts to change, and your energetic children are confined to the nice, warm, dry indoors, it’s always nice to have activities that keep them busy and their minds off mud puddles.

We are all about reusing and upcycling. There is so much you can do with cardboard and a little imagination – no one knows this better than your kids. We love all of these great simple (and extremely cheap!) ideas for crafting play things out of big boxes, milk cartons, paper towels rolls, and more! Get your imagination going by Doing a Bit Better!

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Housewares

Recycled Glass Votive- 5 Pk Green

$20.00

5 Pack Green is an exercise in simplicity and sustainability. Handcut from reclaimed wine cooler bottles, these charming votive candleholders... Read

5 Pack Green is an exercise in simplicity and sustainability. Handcut from reclaimed wine cooler bottles, these charming votive candleholders are ideal for wherever you want to add the sparkle of candle light.

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Family

Summer is here….here are some easy and DAbB ideas for kid friendly activities

“Wondering how you can keep your kids from spending the summer planted on the couch watching TV and playing video... Read

“Wondering how you can keep your kids from spending the summer planted on the couch watching TV and playing video games? Get your children outside while also creating great family times and memories.

Here is some of our favorite ides for you and your kids this Summer:

1. Grow a Garden

Kids love this.  We have found if we ask our children what veggie or herb they would like best for dinners they really connect and are more invested in building and caring for a garden.

When building the garden, let your kids get right in there in the dirt when planting, tending and picking. Even toddlers can use a small plastic shovel, put seeds in the soil, and pull a carrot out of the ground.  Clearly you will want to make sure your camera is at the ready because this will be too cute.

No room for growing veggies? Grow a few in pots on a balcony or even inside by a sunny and ventilated area.

2. Get Crafty

Rainy day? Turn cereal boxes into magazine organizers (or a fun way to corral kids books) by covering them in used wrapping paper, or paper grocery bags you decorate together. Explain the importance of reusing materials that still have a useful life, rather than throwing them in the landfill.

Or make a quick model of the solar system with clay and straws — and talk about how Earth is the only planet we know we can live on, and why we all need to take care of our planet.

3. Take a Hike

Regardless if it is a short walk or a longer hike, you will have the opportunity to teach your children about the nature, how to care for the planet, and get in a bit of exercise.  We sometimes take a kids “specimen” kit to aid in our exploring and understanding.

4. Bike to the Store

Between 1990 and 2001, miles driven for shopping grew more than 40 percent — three times as fast as all other types of driving — according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. Ride bikes to the store together — get a cruiser bike with a big basket (or take a backpack). It’s great exercise — and a great opportunity to talk with kids about how using fossil fuels impacts the Earth. Take a stash of reusable shopping bags with you.

5. Reduce Your Carbon Footprint Together

From recycling to composting to using less water, eco-friendly activities can start before you leave the house. Calculate your environmental footprint together using The Conservation Fund’s Carbon Zero Calculator. Let kids type in the numbers, and talk with them about what your footprint means. Then involve your kids in steps you can take to make it smaller — such as switching to compact fluorescent light bulbs, which use 75 percent less energy than standard incandescent.

Have a great summer!”

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Solar

Benicia, California is Doing a Bit Better!

Thanks to a new residential solar incentive program, Benicia residents can get  rebates up to $3,000 for installing a solar... Read

Thanks to a new residential solar incentive program, Benicia residents can get  rebates up to $3,000 for installing a solar system! The rebates  will be available until funds run out. Hurry up Benicia! Time to go Solar!

Three  East Bay solar companies are also offering incentives of matching discounts ($0.60 per watt, up to $3,000). Check out Diablo Solar Services of Martinez, Ally Electric & Solar of Richmond, and Verengo, Inc. of Concord.

Come on Bay Area! Join the Solar revolution and start Doing a Bit Better!

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Food

Easy Tips to Green up your next BBQ party

Whether you are celebrating our nation’s birthday or having friends over, we have five easy tips to make your next... Read

Whether you are celebrating our nation’s birthday or having friends over, we have five easy tips to make your next BBQ party a bit better.

  • Party Food – Shop at a local farmer’s market for your BBQ ingredients. You can usually find great local organic produce, breads & meats.  If you can’t find what you are looking for then go to your grocer and look for products which are made/farmed in your local area.  Buying local is best for you and your local economy.
  • Tableware – Buy biodegradable dishes (we should link this to a CJ brand).  Great for outdoor use & can be tossed in the trash with little guilt.
  • Napkins – Use washable cloth napkins to reduce paper waste.  If you want a bit more style to your BBQ go and buy bandannas.  They are usually rather inexpensive-we find them $5.00 for a twelve pack-and you can give them out to your guests as a party favor.
  • Compost – So easy.  Just have your compost bag ready for all leftovers food scraps & other organic trash.  Another hint, we often will buy compostable flatware and dishes so all trash ends up in one bag.
  • Grill – A solar powered grill is the most eco-friendly way to grill these days, but if that’s not an option for you opt for a grill that burns natural gas rather than charcoal–it’s cleaner!
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Family

Very easy ways to DAbB for your home. Seriously, these are very easy.

We asked our staff what quick, easy ways our readers can make a change in their home right away.  This... Read

We asked our staff what quick, easy ways our readers can make a change in their home right away.  This is what came back:

For your kids, buy crayons made of soybean oil, not paraffin

Switch to a manual can opener.  Yes, a manual…you can do it.

Invest in a roasting pan instead of using disposable ones.  You will save money in the long run, and honestly, it is so much easier to pull out food in something sturdy.  (We don’t need to tell you the amount of time we have dropped food on the floor from a flimsy aluminum one).

Buy a bigger jug of milk. If you only use half a gallon at a time, you can pour half the milk into a carafe and freeze the rest. Then about a day or two before you need it simply put in the fridge.  And yes, it tastes the same.

Stop throwing away your dryer lint! Put it in the backyard for the birds — they use it to feather their nests.  Crazy-but true.

Clean your refrigerator coils — vacuum out the dust and wipe with a damp cloth. You’ll be surprised at how much nasty stuff accumulates down there!

Put a cover on your pool when you’re not using it. Not only will it keep the water cleaner, but it will keep it from evaporating, resulting in saving water.

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Housewares

Hard Rock Cloth Diaper Detergent Remix

$19.95

Free of phosphates, dyes, enzymes, whiteners and brighteners, Rockin’ Green Detergent is natural and safe for your family’s clothing and... Read

Free of phosphates, dyes, enzymes, whiteners and brighteners, Rockin’ Green Detergent is natural and safe for your family’s clothing and perfect for baby’s cloth diapers!

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Men

Summer is here guys-and your lawn is waiting.

It is that time of year again when your weekend “honey-do” list contains “mowing the lawn”.  But if you are... Read

It is that time of year again when your weekend “honey-do” list contains “mowing the lawn”.  But if you are looking to get out of this chore, here are our recommendations for eco-friendly grasses.  These attractive grasses  require less watering, less mowing, and less fertilizer, all of which helps cut down on your carbon foot print-and give you more time on the weekends.

  • Ecolawn: This blend of fine fescue grasses is highly drought-tolerant and requires less fertilization than traditional grass. It can be grown anywhere in the United States.
  • Buffalograss: As the native grass of the Western Plains, this variety thrives in drier areas of the country such as California and Nevada. It only needs to be mowed once a month.
  • Seashore paspalum: This is an eco-friendly grass for Southern states with warm climates. It doesn’t even like fertilizer, and it tolerates recycled water, or even salty water.
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Solar

Massachusetts is Doing a Bit Better!

Did you know that Massachusetts has the nations eighth-highest electricity rates? It’s no wonder the residents are installing solar left... Read

Did you know that Massachusetts has the nations eighth-highest electricity rates? It’s no wonder the residents are installing solar left and right! In 2012, Massachusetts ranked the sixth highest in solar installation–generating $500 million dollars spent on solar energy!

2013 is going to be a great year for Massachusetts solar. Great job Doing a Bit Better!

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Housewares

Lint=dinner

Did you know that tests have shown that keeping the lint trap clean in your gas or electric clothes dryer... Read

Did you know that tests have shown that keeping the lint trap clean in your gas or electric clothes dryer may provide savings of up to $34 in energy costs each year (ENERGY STAR).  So basically you could go out to a decent meal from the saving of lint.

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