Be Green This School

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It’s just a matter of days before the new school year begins, are you prepared? Many parents have already started shopping with the intent of buying the pure necessities like pens, paper, pencils and binders. On average, a family of school-aged children spends about $250 on school supplies and electronics each year. Do your part this year and look for more environmentally friendly and sustainable school supplies. Dolphin Blue offers a variety of Back-To-School supplies made with post-consumer recycled content and Made in the USA.

Here are 8 green tips for school

  1. Before you go supply shopping, go through all your old school supplies and sort out what you can still use and what you will need. It’s best to wait until after school starts to get your school supplies, teachers will usually give out a list of materials they will require your kids to have for their class.
  2. Reuse last years backpack. If it works then use it!
  3. If you are buying school supplies try to buy products that are made with post-consumer recycled content, ideally buy products that are made with 100% post-consumer recycled materials. Buy products that can be reused or refilled, like refillable pens.
  4. Walk to school. Streets surrounding schools usually become jammed packed with parents dropping of their kids, its better if you opt for walking or biking to school and if you’re good, why not skateboard to school? Walking is known to improve the academic performance of students; they arrive brighter and more alert to their morning class, it can also reduce stress and increase creativity!
  5. Take lunch. You’ll be able to monitor what they eat at school if you or they prepare and take their own lunch. Send your kids to school with reusable bottles of water instead of plastic water bottles. Also, use reusable containers or lunch bags for snacks and sandwiches.
  6. Teach your children to always recycle their paper at school.
  7. Use both sides of the paper when taking notes in class.
  8. Have your children cover up their textbooks with cut-up grocery or shopping bags to help keep their books in good condition. Many school reuse text books to save money and reduce waste so teach your kids to take good care of those books!

Schools Facts

  1. There are approximately 133,000 K-12 schools in the United States.
  2. There are approximately 60 million students, faculty and staff in schools.
  3. For every 42 notebooks made with 100 percent recycled paper, one tree is saved.
  4. 30 percent of all waste generated comes from packaging. Many supplies can be reused or recycled such as pens and notebooks.
  5. American schools spend $6 billion each year on energy, more than what is spent on textbooks and
  6. About 50% of classrooms have poor indoor air quality computers combined.
  7. Green schools are built and designed with strategies and technologies that aim to improve the quality of indoor air, which could lead to improved student health, test scores and faculty retention.
  8. Each school lunch generates 67 pounds of waste per school year. That means, just one average-size middle school creates over 40,000 pounds of lunch waste a year.
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4 Reasons On Why You Should Grow Your Own Fruits and Vegetables

home-vegetable-gardens-iv3cxjqhYou’ve probably thought about it before. The thought crosses your mind countless times, “I can totally build my own garden,” and you can, you can totally build your very own garden at home. Why aren’t you?

Sure, growing veggies and fruits may seem a little overwhelming at first, especially if you have never planted or watered a plant in your life, but it’s actually much simpler than it sounds. You can’t expect it all to be grand and great at first, there are going to be a few trial and errors. Will it be worth it? Yes, it’s most definitely going to be worth it.

Here are some reasons on why you should stop thinking about it and start growing!

fruitcage_2519133c1.) It’s good for you.

Gardening can be a great form for exercise; planting, weeding, watering and harvesting, and can also reduce your stress and decrease depression.

Growing your own fruits and vegetables can reduce your exposure to pesticides, making them healthier than produce bought fruits and veggies.  They’ll be fresh and rich in nutrients, anti-oxidants, vitamin C, vitamin A and folate.

2.) Good for the environment

Plants can improve the air quality around you and with proper placement a garden can help keep your home cool during the summer and warm during the winter.

You’ll reduce your carbon footprint by not buying produce that has travelled long distances, reducing fossil fuels and the pollution from the transportation.

3.) Reduce waste

Instead of buying more than what you need in order to get a better deal and later throwing away the amount you couldn’t use, you’ll be planting and growing “your own” food and thus you’ll be more unwilling to toss out “your own” produce.

2011-07-07 pc beans, strawberries,kefir14.) Self-satisfaction and Pride

Watching the very first seed sprout and later watching your entire garden flourish with fruits and veggies will bring you great satisfaction. Bask in the glory that is your amazing garden, it took a while but you got there. Eating your very first fruit from your garden and have the sweetness and freshness overwhelm you with joy and pride.

For natural and organic fertilizers check out Neptune’s Harvest. It’s 100% organic and safe for the environment.

We also offer Seedballz, they’re unique and grow in clusters rather than single seeds!

Have a compost near your garden! Composting can be a natural way to dispose of organic waste by breaking down organic material and transforming it into a rich nutrient soil additive. Read our “How To Start Your Own Compost Pile” blog post to get started!

We also have great tips on keeping your garden pest free. 6 Natural Ways to Keep Your Home & Garden Pest Free

For tips on how to make your lawn more eco-friendly check out, Really Make Your Lawn “Green”: Eco-Friendly Tips for a Sustainable Yard blog post.

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Quote Friday: Relax and Enjoy

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Love Letter to the Earth is Zen Master and Peace Activist Thich Nhat Hanh’s passionate and personal call to develop an intimate relationship with the source of all life. He shares why our personal happiness is intricately tied to the happiness of our planet and offers clear and concrete practices for connecting with ourselves, each other, and the world around us.”

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Quote Friday- Love Letter to the Earth

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Thich Nhat Hanh is a Vietnamese Zen Buddhist monk, teacher, author, poet and peace activist. Nhat Hanh has published more than 100 books, including more than 40 in English. Nhat Hanh is active in the peace movement, promoting non-violent solutions to conflict and he also refrains from animal product consumption as means of non-violence towards non-human animals.

Buy Thich Nhat Hanh’s, Love Letter to the Earth, here.

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Flame Retardants

home-interior-decorating-80In the month of June, Kaiser Permanente, one of the nation’s largest not-for-profit health care systems, announced that they will stop using upholstered furniture treated with toxic flame retardants chemicals in their hospitals, medical offices and other buildings. Kaiser Permanente has set an example for everyone, they want manufacturers to switch to more sustainable and environmentally friendly products and this will not happen unless we, the consumers, demand a change.

What are Flame retardants?

Flame retardants are compounds added to manufactured materials, such as plastics and textiles, and surface finishes and coatings that inhibit, suppress, or delay the production of flames to prevent the spread of fire.

Today, flame retardants are used predominantly in four major areas:

  • Electronics
  • Building insulation
  • Polyurethane foam
  • Wire and cable

The two types of flame retardants that cause concerns are; halogenated flame retardants containing chlorine or bromide bonded to carbon and organophosphorous flame retardants containing phosphorous bonded to carbon.

Video Courtesy of the Chicago Tribune

Why are Flame retardants a big deal?

The chemicals don’t break down and generally have long term effects rather than immediate effects and can build up in humans and animals. They are not bound to the foam and can settle into the dust around our homes. Flame retardants have become so pervasive they can now be found in meats, fish, and dairy products.

Image from Green Science Policy Insitute

Flame retardants have been linked to male infertility, birth defects, cancer, reduced IQ’s and other health problems.

Children can carry an average of three times the levels of flame retardants in their bodies than the levels found in their mother. How you ask? Simply put, children spend their time putting their hands, toys, anything they seem fit in their mouths and unintentionally ingest more flame retardant chemicals from the dust.

Do they prevent fire from spreading? 

Flame retardants do not increase overall fire safety. Even though they can delay ignition for a few seconds in products, they will eventually burn and produce toxic gases that cause most fire injuries and deaths.

What can we do?

Keep your home dust free. The Natural Resources Defense Council has some helpful tips on what you can do to reduce flame retardants in your home and your body.

  • Vacuum carpets with a vacuum that contains a HEPA filter.
  • Damp mop floors and damp dust furniture on a regular basis.
  • Wash hands frequently, especially before eating. Don’t eat on your couch!
  • Choose naturally flame resistant fabrics and fill such as wool, cotton or jute.
  • Call manufacturers to ask about their use of flame retardants.
  • Check the label before you buy upholstered furniture and if you live outside of California, don’t buy furniture that carries a TB 117 label.
  • Vacuum and wipe down your car’s interior regularly.
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