July 13, 2015 Solar

Rainbows Could Double Solar Energy Output!

Increasing the amount of electricity a solar panel produces is one of the most effective ways to reduce the cost of solar power.

MIT’s Technology Review reports on a new $2.4 million project funded by the U.S. Advanced Research Projects Agency for Energy aims to greatly increase the amount of sunlight that becomes electricity.

Harry Atwater, a professor of applied physics and materials science at Caltech, is working on cells to sort sunlight into eight to 10 different colors (a rainbow!) and direct those to a second layer that contains an array of solar cells matched to each color. Light is absorbed more efficiently, and more energy is converted to electricity, rather than heat.

Most solar panels convert less than 20 percent of the energy of the sunlight that falls on them into electricity.  Atwater’s goal is a conversion efficiency of more than 50 percent, which would double the amount of power generated by solar panels of any size.

Rainbow solar power!  This technology will make solar more affordable for homeowners and industries, alike.

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Housewares

Baja Recycled Wine Glass- Set of 2

$20.00

It’s fiesta time! Our Baja Wine Glass is hand-crafted from 100% recycled glass. Bold lines of blue and green bring... Read

It’s fiesta time! Our Baja Wine Glass is hand-crafted from 100% recycled glass. Bold lines of blue and green bring a simple, elegant style that’s perfect for every day or party time. These are made from thick, durable hand-blown glass that won’t break or tip over as easily as traditional glassware

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Twitter
Apparel

Babies are People Too. Expensive Little People.

“A new baby entering your life can create an enormous number of unexpected changes. Along with the little one comes... Read

“A new baby entering your life can create an enormous number of unexpected changes. Along with the little one comes a whole new category of things to purchase — not only the obvious large items like furniture and diapers, but also all the unforeseen extras that seem to accumulate. While having a baby is consumer heaven, the key is to not be gulled into an unnecessary buying frenzy. In truth, a baby has very minimal needs. On the flip side, there is more to a sustainable life with your baby than cloth diapers, organic baby food, and fair-trade clothing.

A few tips for you and your baby:

Diapers-so so many diapers:
Studies are divided on the subject of environmental impact of disposables vs. cloth.  However, knowing your baby will use approximately 6,000 diapers before toilet training, and disposable diapers take 200-500 years to decompose, this is certainly a key issue to think about.  Washing cloth diapers takes water, energy and chemicals.  To this end, you may want to consider a laundering service.  Many studies have pointed to a laundry service has an ecological impact of 25% of you washing diapers at home.

Cloth diapers: Reusable diapers aren’t what they used to be and the days of diaper pins are all but bygone. Go for fitted cloth diapers with Velcro or snap closures for convenience, made from an eco-friendly material such as hemp, bamboo, or organic cotton. Use an organic wool cover that is both warm and breathable, minimizing diaper rash and cold bottoms at night. Use either removable or flushable liners and when washing either use a laundering service or wash at home at lower temperatures. With a new baby around you’ll probably notice a lot more laundry piling up, so make sure you’ve optimized your setup with an efficient machine and non-toxic detergent. If you can line-dry, that is ideal, but don’t bother ironing.

Biodegradable diapers: Made with plant-based plastics (also known as bioplastics), these diapers non-petroleum based and are compostable. While these have been found not to break down under landfill conditions, there are other options to compost them such as using a composting toilet, an earthworm system, or a highly active and properly conditioned composting area. Hybrid diapers, like gDiapers, have removable inserts that can safely biodegrade when flushed.

Feed your little one: From breast or bottle? – This one’s a no-brainer: breastfeeding is best. It’s free, has health benefits for mother and baby, has no environmental impact, and is a precious bonding experience. However, in our commerce-driven society there are products for everything, and breastfeeding is no exception. For breast pads, ditch disposables and try re-usable organic cotton or wool felt pads. While there are many great, organic nipple creams available, some locally produced olive oil or organic lanolin does a great job. If bottle feeding becomes a necessity, pumping your own is the first choice. Beyond that, using a fair-trade organic infant formula is preferable. If this is neither affordable nor accessible, then the next best thing is to ensure the brand of formula you buy is from a company not profiteering from marketing their product to developing countries. These companies disregard or try to get around the marketing code set by The World Health Assembly.

Chow down on solid foods – At about six months, babies starts to eat real food. Rice cereal and mushy veggies turn to combinations of fish, meat, eggs, legumes, and vegetables–yep, a regular person’s diet. Buying jars of food is sure convenient, but as an adult you don’t live out of jars, so why should your baby? For those occasional situations, purchase organic or fresh frozen baby foods. Otherwise, make your own. Cook up veggies, casseroles, or tofu and lentils, whatever is your thing, and freeze it in tiny containers or ice cube trays ready to take out and defrost when needed. (Be sure you discuss any concerns over dietary requirements with your health professional).

Dress your baby in smart green clothing – All those designer baby clothes are cute and oh so hard to resist in their fruity colors. But be careful. Not only does a baby grow out of clothes amazingly fast, but they are constantly sending bodily fluids flying onto those precious outfits. The baby couture might be better replaced with convenient one-piece suits in practical white terry cloth. Choosing organic hemp or cotton, bamboo or wool fabrics made without toxic chemicals are best against a baby’s sensitive skin and last longer with the constant washing. Second-hand clothing is the cheapest and most sustainable option. Get hand-me-downs from friends and family or look in thrift shops, Craigslist, or Freecycle.

Lather up with natural skin care – It’s very easy to get sucked into the constant advertising of baby powders, creams, and lotions. But the best baby lotion is plain old olive oil–cheap, natural, and un-perfumed. As for other products, keep it as natural, organic, and fragrance-free as possible.

Wash up: Green laundry and washing – It’s quite possible that our war on germs is actually making things worse. Studies have shown that children brought up in over-cleaned houses are more likely to develop allergies, asthma, or eczema. The best thing you can do for sensitive baby skin is not to cover it with synthetic chemicals. Wash nappies with pure soap and warm water. Make your own non-toxic cleansers with simple ingredients such as baking soda and vinegar.

Make play-time green-time with greener toys – Get back to basics and try old fashioned wooden toys and organic cotton or homemade teddies. Because babies put most things in their mouths, go as natural as possible, then when baby is a little older, get hold of second-hand toys. Also aim for toys that helps build a child’s bond with nature and the natural world. The sad truth is that the average American kindergartener can identify several hundred logos only a few leaves from plants and trees.

Rest easy with green furniture and accessories – Babies don’t need much–a secure place to sleep, a car seat, a high chair, and a way to be trundled around. Go for second-hand furniture, everything except cot mattresses (some research suggests a link between second-hand cot mattresses and sudden infant death syndrome) and car seats, (which can have invisible accident damage). If you buy new furniture, purchase high quality, durable pieces made of sustainable, low-toxicity materials. Think about some alternatives to the regular old wooden baby bed; try using an organic cotton baby hammock or a cot that extends into a bed and lasts 6-7 years. The most ethical option for stroller (pram) is recycled.

Improve your indoor air quality and maintain a healthy household environment – It goes without saying that alcohol consumption and cigarette smoking while pregnant are bad for a baby. But it is also very important to avoid exposure to the synthetic chemicals contained in everyday products such as paints, carpet, furniture, bedding, and pesticides. When decorating the nursery, use natural and low-VOC paints and don’t lay new carpet before the baby is born. Suspicious new items should at least be left outside to off-gas for a few days before bringing inside.

Wipe out chemical cleaners and disposable liners – Diaper wipes and liners commonly include propylene glycol (a binder also found in antifreeze), parabens (a family of compounds commonly used as preservatives) and perfume, which can be made from up to 600 different chemicals. Try using good natural organic cotton wool and water and avoid disposable changing mats and perfumed diaper bags.”

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Family

The Fridge Isn’t Enough – What to do with Your Kid’s Artwork

“Not that you don’t love your kid’s artwork, but what should you do with it all?  We all have stacks... Read

“Not that you don’t love your kid’s artwork, but what should you do with it all?  We all have stacks and boxes full of our little artist’s creations. Here are few suggestions on how to reuse and display their little master pieces, so there are no late night runs (you know, when the kids are asleep) to the recycle bin!

Use as gift wrap – kids designs make beautiful wrapping paper for birthday gifts.  Trust me when I say, people will be asking you who made the amazing paper creation.  Your kids will be happy knowing others get to enjoy their work as well!

Laminate- run on down to any printer that has a laminating machine or use the one you have at home.  Take the kid’s art and turn them into beautiful placemats, pet food mats and/or bookmarks.  They are great gift ideas for friends and family.

Frame It – frame and mat the art work.  It’s a great way to decorate the kid’s rooms, your office and more.  They also make great gifts for friends and family.

Make a Book – compile your favorite pieces and make a book the whole family can enjoy.

Lastly, a great way to preserve the work is to scan it all and you can look back at them forever.  Then get your child to agree to recycle the originals without the midnight run to the recycle bin!”

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Food

No Tear Formula!

“While it doesn’t come in a designer bottle with a made-up French name, homemade shampoo is surprisingly great for your... Read

“While it doesn’t come in a designer bottle with a made-up French name, homemade shampoo is surprisingly great for your noggin, and is incredibly easy to make. In fact, most of the ingredients are probably in your house already.  Many recipes include organic castile soap – which is a good cleansing and sudsing base for a natural shampoo.  Note, though, that this won’t moisturize your scalp and might even leave it a little dry. Other ingredients you can include for healthy hair:

Avocados

  • Essential oils and nutrients moisturize and treat damaged follicles. We promise you won’t smell like guacamole.

Bananas

  • Vitamins in bananas are shown to improve strength of hair, as well as increase shine. They’re also great for controlling dandruff.  Did we mention they smell nice?

Green Papaya

  • Green Papaya contains an enzyme known as Papain, which is also a natural skin exfoliant.

Raw Egg

  • The same way it gives your pets a strong, healthy coat of fur, these will make your hair stronger, shinier and softer when left in for several minutes. Don’t worry, you don’t have to mix it into kibble (you know, unless you wanted to). Make sure to use cool water to rinse so as not to cook the egg!

Beer

  • If you’re like us, there’s plenty of this in your house leftover from parties. That or you have trouble keeping this in your house. Either way, the sugars in beer will tighten your hair’s follicles to make it shinier, while the proteins in the hops will boost overall strength and body. Did we mention you’ll smell like beer?

Miss that freshly-washed-hair smell? You’ll likely find many other household scents far more pleasant than “perfumes” or “fragrance”.  Vanilla extract, fresh lavender, concentrated tea, lime, rosewater, or orange will be a nice change of scenery that we’re sure you’ll welcome.”

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Celebrity

Actress Jessica Alba Starts Green Parenting Company

“Working mom Jessica Alba is adding entrepreneur to her many titles, shifting from movie star to businesswoman with a venture... Read

“Working mom Jessica Alba is adding entrepreneur to her many titles, shifting from movie star to businesswoman with a venture that provides parents easy access to eco-friendly natural products for babies and homes.

Alba, who wed husband Cash Warren in 2008, has taken motherhood to heart, and mind, focusing on being a hands-on parent to her two daughters, 4-year-old Honor and newborn Haven.

“”Motherhood has affected me greatly and in so many ways,”” the Fantastic Four actress told Reuters.

“”I didn’t know that I would feel so comfortable and so at ease and so natural. When I became a mother, I felt the most comfortable in my own skin than I had ever felt in my life.””

While preparing for motherhood four years ago, the 30-year-old actress found that her biggest challenge was trying to find eco-friendly natural products for her baby and her home.

“”There are a lot of toxic chemicals in baby products, and these toxic chemicals are linked to not just allergies and asthma, but also autism and ADHD and lots of childhood cancers, and I was horrified that products that were made for babies and children would have these toxic chemicals,”” said the actress.

Alba founded The Honest Company along with Christopher Gavigan, former CEO of non-profit group Healthy Child Healthy World, after discovering that toxic chemicals were often disguised as “”fragrances”” on product labels and finding that not all eco-friendly and natural products worked efficiently.

Together, they came up with an online business model to launch an eco-friendly range of baby and household products, tried and tested by themselves and their own babies. They are toxin-free, aesthetically pleasing and can be delivered straight to your door.

“”I really wanted to make a company that was for parents, by parents,”” said Alba, adding that Honest Co. was “”one company parents could go to that had household products and products to clean your kid with, and also fulfill diapering needs.””

The actress took her fight against toxic products to Washington D.C. in May 2011 while pregnant with her second child to lobby on behalf of the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families coalition that supported the Safe Chemicals Act.

“”Even government officials aren’t aware that chemical companies don’t have to test their chemicals before they sell them to product companies. They can just put them in there, and we are the guinea pigs,”” said the actress.

While Alba’s energies are focused on her children and new business, her fans will be glad to know she has no plans to retire from acting. She voices a role in animated film Escape from Planet Earth due out next year.

“”I’m excited to get back into movies and I feel more adult and more grown up and ready to get back into it. And my mentality is different,”” she said.”

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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

Turn Off the Water, Buy Yourself Dinner

“Did you know that according to the California Energy Commission, about 75% of the water used in the average home... Read

“Did you know that according to the California Energy Commission, about 75% of the water used in the average home is in the bathroom?  Leaving the water running while we brush our teeth or wash our faces only increases this number. It can be a tough habit to break, but putting a price-tag may aid you in getting your family to change their habits.

Turning off the tap while brushing your teeth in the morning and at night saves a whopping 8 gallons of water each day, according to the EPA. If each member of a family of four nixed the water-running habit, you’d save about $13.75 per person or $55 each month.

That savings can buy your family dinner at your favorite restaurant.”

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Housewares

DAbB’s Review of “Cuppow”

“Okay, confession time: we’re suckers for rustic green design. And there’s fewer things more rustic than drinking out of a... Read

“Okay, confession time: we’re suckers for rustic green design. And there’s fewer things more rustic than drinking out of a mason jar, right?  So what happens when you need to go somewhere, and suddenly you’re walking or driving and, *splat* you’ve got coffee or iced tea all over your shirt? (Cue Detergent Pen Commercial)

That’s why Cuppow was invented, which made us hyperventilate with glee when we saw it.  It essentially turns your wide-mouth mason jar into an adult sippy cup.  It’s BPA free, too, so it’s safe.

Suffice to say, we ordered one.  It was like Christmas morning when we were opening the package, and here is a shot of the Cuppow in action with coffee at the DAbB office:

So what’s the verdict? It works great, frankly. The ordering process was a little archaic, and it’s a little loud from the air intake hole, but other than that we really have no complaints!  Well done, guys.”

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UpCycle

Upcycle Your Old Neck-tie Into a Curtain Tie

Recently, a team member here at DAbB remodeled their bedroom, painted it blue, and bought translucent white curtains.  The problem?... Read

Recently, a team member here at DAbB remodeled their bedroom, painted it blue, and bought translucent white curtains.  The problem?  What to use for curtain ties!  She tried jute rope, she tried denim, and she tried

 

 the scraps of the curtains themselves after being hemmed, but nothing was looking quite right.

 

Then the idea came – we’re all bound to have old neck-ties that we don’t wear anymore – so why not upcycle them into something actually usable?
The steps were pretty easy.
1. Measure out 2 equal lengths of the neck-tie, preferably parts of the same width (a skinny tie works really well)

 

2. Sew the ends of the lengths.  We got lazy and used white thread, which stands out – but it’s in the back of the curtain, so who cares?
3a. If you don’t have a snap setting kit, you can glue two pieces of velcro onto each end3. Add a snap using a hole-punch and a snap-setting kit
4. Take a picture and send it into DAbB!
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Doing A Bit Better

Early Prep for Your Green Garden

“Spring is rapidly approaching and before you know, mega-stores will be opening up their gardening centers (the ones that always... Read

“Spring is rapidly approaching and before you know, mega-stores will be opening up their gardening centers (the ones that always seem to get birds trapped in them). We’re not saying it’s time to bust out the trowel just yet, but prepping for an hour or two on the weekends now can make all the difference once it’s time to plant.

Start Composting
If you haven’t already, consider composting – it’s really not as icky as it sounds.  In fact, there are countless products on the market today that make the entire process more simple than ever – such as the NatureMill composter. It automatically mixes and applies heat to your food scraps to make composting simpler and faster. In fact, the sleek design makes it worthy of your kitchen, and it can easily fit in an unused cupboard or closet.

If you can’t stand the idea of composting inside, consider a hand-crank version which sits in your back yard.

Plant Potatoes
Heartier varieties of potatoes can – and should – be planted early for harvesting in August. Consider Yukon Gold and Russet potatoes, both of which are high in starch and are great for frying and baking (staples come August!)

Trim your Annuals
Now is the time to clip the flowers off of your annuals to allow for new growth – which means you don’t have to buy new flowers this year. Make sure you stick those clippings in your compost!

Clean your Green Bin
You’re going to be using it a lot this summer – but chances are it still stinks from last year. A gentle scrub with hot water and a biodegradable cleaner will make you think twice about using it at all this year!”

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UpCycle

GreenYour Pet (Part 2)

Green Your Pet We all know that humans need to reduce our carbon footprint, but what about your pets’ pawprint?... Read

Green Your Pet

We all know that humans need to reduce our carbon footprint, but what about your pets’ pawprint?  A green pet isn’t just for hippies anymore, but a way to help the earth and keep your pet healthy too!  Here are a few things you can do:

Buy Eco-Friendly toys.  There are plenty out there made from recycled and sustainable fibers.  Check out DAbB’s Things We Love: Pets section for our favorite picks!

Protect the Birds!  Keep your cat indoors.  They are natural hunters and a big threat to outdoor life.  Most vets recommend keeping them indoors due to fatal risks such as cars and disease.

Feed Them Natural and Organic Pet Foods.  Animals can also be affected by the chemicals in food.  Feeding them food that is sustainable and organic  leaves you with a happier, healthier animal.

Put Poop in its Place.  Use biodegradable bags for dogs that decompose and steer clear of clumping clay litters for cats.  The clay is strip-mined and is harmful to the environment.

Recycle a Pet and Adopt!  Save an animal and hundreds of dollars by shopping at a local animal shelter.  There are over 70,000 puppies and kittens a year that are abandoned and need a home.

Now go out and reduce that pawprint!

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Environment

From Wood Scraps to DIY Door Mat

We saw a great article on Shelterness recently that talked about a DIY doormat made from 9″ long blocks of... Read

We saw a great article on Shelterness recently that talked about a DIY doormat made from 9″ long blocks of wood, and painted a plethora  of rainbow colors.  This got us to thinking about how we could make this project a little more eco-friendly, and we were pleasantly surprised with what we came up with!

 – Use reclaimed wood or wood scraps from your work bench, rather than buying wood.  Reclaimed wood will already have a nice vintage look that will still feel warm and welcoming.

– Instead of paint, use beeswax or mineral oil. Both of these will give your new doormat a nice almost butcher-block-esque look, and also protect the wood without the use of harmful lacquers.

– Don’t buy the threaded rod.  Instead, use natural hemp or jute string. This will help the mat stay flexible enough to roll up, and will give it that nice naturalistic look.

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Environment

Cloth > Paper

When cleaning, like the counters in the kitchen, the first thing that many people go for is the paper towel.... Read

When cleaning, like the counters in the kitchen, the first thing that many people go for is the paper towel. While effective, this habitat can take a toll on the environment. After all, they come from trees! Instead, why not find some old t-shirts stashed way back in your closet that you never wear anymore and use them like you would a paper towel. They get the job done, you use less paper, and you are able to repurpose an item that would have most likely been thrown away.

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Recycle

Monday Tip of the Week – Shut Down, Save Up!

“Turn off your computer & printer every night instead of leaving it in sleep mode, and you can save 40... Read

“Turn off your computer & printer every night instead of leaving it in sleep mode, and you can save 40 watt-hours per day. That adds up to 4 cents a day, or $14 per year. If you don’t want to wait for your computer to start up, set it to turn on automatically a few minutes before you get to work, or boot up while you’re pouring your morning cup ‘o joe.

Don’t forget about those wireless mouses!  Leaving those on could mean replacing your batteries once a month (and we all know how expensive batteries are).”

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Environment

Fresh-Smelling Air that is Actually Fresh

“Commercials for synthetic air fresheners feature consumers blindfolded in the middle of garbage, innocently sniffing the air, and declaring it... Read

“Commercials for synthetic air fresheners feature consumers blindfolded in the middle of garbage, innocently sniffing the air, and declaring it smells like a spring meadow.  I always wonder what’s more toxic, the garbage or the spray that often contain hazardous ingredients that you don’t want floating around your home.

Consider some non-toxic, economical green products:

  • Orange slices, lemon slices, cinnamon, mint, cloves, or any other herb in boiling water on the stove
    • Create your own “Febreeze” by combining the following in a reusable spray bottle:
      • 12-15 drops of pure essential oil (lavender, peppermint, grapefruit)
      • 1/2 cup white vinegar
      • 1 1/2 cups water
  • Consider an eco-friendly scented candle made from soy or beeswax. They’re eco-friendly and this one from Yves Rocher smells wonderful!

Save money, save the Earth, and save your lungs!”

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Family

Ways to Sparkle Better. Yep, We said Sparkle.

“Who says Doing A bit Better means you can’t show some powerful bling? Well we have hand-crafted (…get it? Hand-crafted…)... Read

“Who says Doing A bit Better means you can’t show some powerful bling? Well we have hand-crafted (…get it? Hand-crafted…) a few terms to ask about during your significant other’s next trip to the jeweler.

Now, we know our DAbB audience is more than savvy. But remember, just because the salesperson says “our jewelry is natural, made from only recycled gems”, don’t necessarily believe them!  Any jeweler who presents any piece to you as eco-friendly should be able to tell you where each piece came from and how it was assembled.

Fair Trade
Looking at your hand shouldn’t remind you of an impoverished child who makes less in a month than you just paid for your nonfat latte. Ask the company if your pending purchase was sourced and crafted using Fair Trade labor. They should have some literature from the corporate office or from the maker.  Bear in mind that you will pay more for Fair Trade jewelry (typically up to 5%) but why shouldn’t you? Fair Trade means the people involved in making your jewelry were actually paid a living wage.

Recycled Metals
If you ask about the recycled content of a piece, the jeweler should easily be able to tell you the percentage of recycled metal content.  Metal mining is a leading toxic polluter in the U.S., and many people believe it is a major reason why our drinking water is showing increased levels of mercury and other chemicals.  We’re sure you’ve seen more than one advertisement for “Cash for your old jewelry” since the start of the recession.  The result is that there’s plenty of gold, silver, and gemstones to go around.

Organic Gemstone Processing
While looking at eco-friendly jewelry, you might be surprised at how much you like the look of an untreated, natural stone! If, however, you insist upon that rock being shiny, shiny, shiny, then you should ask how the stone was treated.  It should be treated with organic materials.

Sustainable, Organic Materials
There are many materials provided by Mother Nature that look great when crafted, and are 100% sustainable. Tagua net, coconut shell, and many woods and berries are show-stoppers. In addition to looking great, these pieces are often crafted by a true artist – who you’ll be helping to support through your purchase.  Look good, feel good.

There are many types of eco-friendly jewelry, and all you have to do is ask. It’s a simple way of Doing A bit better.”

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Health & Beauty

Caring about Personal Care

“Let’s face it – when the latest mascara or lipstick commercial comes on, we generally think “that product will/won’t work... Read

“Let’s face it – when the latest mascara or lipstick commercial comes on, we generally think “that product will/won’t work on me”. We’re probably not thinking “I wonder if there’s any lead in that”. Sadly, though, there probably is. And sadly, millions of us will apply that lead to our lips every day.

The FDA currently regulates things such as Drugs, Food, Water, and even some electronics. Cosmetics, unfortunately, are out of the FDA’s jurisdiction, and therefore, regulated by someone else: The Cosmetic Ingredient Review Committee. While there is one representative on the committee from the FDA, the FDA has little-to-no say as a result.

So how do we find some miracle compounds that will beautify us 100% naturally and organically? Chances are even the “safe” products will contain at least one chemical considered harmful to the human body, and generally in micro-doses.   Here are a few of the baddies we recommend steering clear of if possible:

Parabens – These are preservatives found in almost all Americans surveyed by the Center for Disease Control. It has been linked to breast cancer, developmental disorders, and reproductive disorders. Keep an eye out for propyl, isopropyl, butyl, and isobutyl.  They’re often found in shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, and scariest of all, personal lubricants.  Yikes.

Phthalates – Yup, just like your water bottles. Many nail polishes and detergents include these cancer-causing chemicals, and most things that simply list “fragrance” as an ingredient include them as well.

Tricolosan – This is a popular microbial pesticide, which is harmful to the thyroid function as well as reproductive hormones. Often found in hand soaps and cleaning products.

Oxybenzone – This little guy disrupts hormones and has been attributed to low birth-weight in newborns.

Formaldehyde – Sounds like a no-brainer, right? If you use hair-straightening products, there’s a good chance you’re spraying this on your head. Oh, and in case you didn’t know, it’s a carcinogen.

Hey, we’re not saying you should throw your makeup bag out. It would be virtually impossible to avoid everything, every day. Start by looking out for the list above. If you can’t seem to find a better alternative in your local stores, try looking online.  There are several beauty retailers whose sole focus is to provide the best products that are the best for you and your family.”

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UpCycle

Green Crafts – 4th of July Popsicle Stars

Praise this glorious country’s independence by upcycling something new out of something old! With school coming to an end and... Read

Praise this glorious country’s independence by upcycling something new out of something old!

With school coming to an end and the next big holiday approaching, here at DAbB we have been thinking about what kind of green crafts we can create for the 4th of July.  As the sun shines brighter and the temperatures rises, we know your kids will be consuming many, many summertime treats with a big one being popsicles.  After enjoying these delicious cool treats, why not collect the sticks and make a fun decoration with the kids?  We like the idea of a colorful star.

Supplies Needed:

-5 popsicle sticks
-Red, white and blue paint
-Glue
-String (optional)

Directions:

-Paint the sticks individual colors according to your design
-Glue the sticks together the shape of a star
-Once dry, add stars and stripes with more paint if desired
-If desired, glue on the string for hanging

Done!

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Solar

Tampa, FL – Going Green with More than just Solar

The City of Tampa is dedicated to sustainable energy, an efficient future, and making Tampa one of the best cities... Read

The City of Tampa is dedicated to sustainable energy, an efficient future, and making Tampa one of the best cities for people to live and visit. It’s committed to investing in real, tangible solutions to protect the natural environment for future generations.

In doing so, the City of Tampa has created many green programs and services for residents and businesses.  There are several green operational programs that Tampa has put in place to meet these goals.  They include, but are not limited to the following:

 

Refuse-To- Energy Facility
The McKay Bay Refuse-To-Energy Facility provides a reliable, environmentally friendly method of managing the City of Tampa’s 360,000+ tons of municipal solid waste that citizens generate each year.  Energy created from burning this waste is converted into enough electrical power to supply electrical needs for up to 15,000 Tampa homes.

Household Recycling
Curbside and multi-family recycling, yard waste recycling, office paper and commercial recycling programs.

Yard Waste Recycling
Yard waste is collected once a week at curbside from residences.  All organic wastes collected are taken to a private facility where they are processed into mulch and sold for commercial use.

Solar-Powered Parking Pay Stations

The City of Tampa’s solar-powered pay stations offer parking patrons more payment options than the standard coin-only meters, making paying for parking more convenient than ever, and not to mention solar-powered!

Solar Powered Recycling Compactors
Tampa’s Solar powered compactors hold approximately five times as much waste and recyclables as a regular bin of the same size.  The compactors, which require fewer collection pickups, save money and help reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.

Electric Vehicle Charging Stations
The Parking Division has installed 10 electric vehicle charging stations throughout City of Tampa owned-and-operated parking facilities.

 

Encouraging residents and local businesses to install solar panels is also an important part of this initiative. There are many Tampa Solar Installers in the area, as well as incentives and rebates available to home owners and business.

Check out how you can become a responsible Tampa, Florida resident and contribute to a green future by using our solar calculator today!

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