Recycle Your Christmas Tree

Christmas Tree

Real Christmas trees are biodegradable; they can be reused or recycled for mulch, sand and soil erosion barriers and are placed in ponds for fishes to use as shelter. Here are some great recycling options for your real Christmas tree.

Drop off Recycling Centers:  It’s no charge and you can usually take up to two trees to a drop-off location. Some centers might charge commercial/business drop offs depending on load length. Drop off centers require that you remove all tinsel, ornaments, lights, nails and tree stands before dropping off your tree.

Curbside Pick-up: Most cities will collect trees during the two weeks following Christmas. Some curbside programs might have a certain size limit along with requiring you to remove all ornaments from the tree. Flocked and artificial trees will not be accepted.

Mulching Programs: The Mulching Programs shred the trees, turning them into mulch to use in gardens. Check your local department of public works for more information.

Nonprofit Pick-up: You can call a local nonprofit organization to pick up your tree.

Never burn your Christmas tree! The firs and pines of the trees have a lot of sap, which can explode!

You can go to Earth911 to check on curbside pick-ups and local Christmas tree recycling events.

 

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Infographic Friday: Lead in Toys

Infographic Friday: Lead in Toys

Lead poisoning shows no obvious symptoms but with prolonged exposure of lead it can affect a child’s brain, nervous system, heart, and red blood cells. In some extreme cases lead poisoning can cause seizures, comas and death. Children between the ages of 1-6 are at risk of being diagnosed with lead poisoning because they spend majority of their time on the floor putting their hands, toys and other objects in their mouths. Since lead poisoning shows no outer symptoms the only way to find out the amount of lead in your child’s system is to go to a doctor and get a blood test especially if your child has the habit of chewing their toys.

The United States banned the use of lead in children’s products, house paint, children’s toys and household dishes in 1978. However the importation from other countries that still use lead paint and plastics for various products still exists. In recent years the United States has limited the concentration of lead in children’s toys, furniture and other products to .009% (90 parts per million) in lead paint and any other similar surface coating. The only exception is bicycles which are required to have no more than 300ppm of total lead content. Other items such as jewelry, key chains and charms may also contain lead. Swallowing any of these items can also lead to acute lead poisoning or death.

There are in-home lead tests available that can help parents test their children’s toys. It’s not entirely reliable since it can only detect high amounts of lead on the surface but cannot detect lows amount of lead below the surface.

The U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) has released Trouble in Toyland, the complete list of 2013 toys deemed dangerous for small children. Click the link below to view the news report and list of toys deemed dangerous:

http://www.coloradonewsday.com/national/30019-2013-list-of-dangerous-toys-sends-warning-to-parents-this-christmas.html

Dolphin Blue sells toys that are produced without lead paint as they are made without any external coating.  They are also made in the USA!

Just click on the link below to go directly to our toy page:

http://www.dolphinblue.com/made-in-the-usa-green-toys-eco-friendly-children-toys.html

If your child’s toy has been recalled remove the item from the child immediately.

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Ecofriendly Holiday Decorating Tips

It’s easy to go overboard buying new decorations when the excitement and anticipation of Christmas sets in. Instead of purchasing new decorations that may be thrown out after Santa returns to the North Pole, check out our eco-friendly holiday decorating guide for simple tips to make the season extra green.

Keep It Real
When it comes to your Christmas tree, just say “no” to artificial firs. Artificial trees can’t be recycled, are often made of harmful chemicals, and take up a lot of unnecessary space in landfills. Try a pine tree from your local tree farm instead. These trees are replanted every year so you’re not negatively impacting the forest. And many counties offer tree recycling locations where your retired tree can be turned into mulch or wood chips for gardens and hiking paths.

Living trees are another great option for the eco-conscious decorator. Many local nurseries keep a variety of evergreens on hand to be kept in a pot during the holidays and then planted in the yard afterwards.

Let LED Light the Way
Switch out your old strands of incandescent bulbs for energy efficient LED lights! LED lights can last up to 25 times as long as incandescent bulbs! They’re also extremely durable and don’t emit any heat, thus eliminating the holiday fire hazard. Although LEDs have been expensive in years past, prices have decreased and many styles of LEDs are now available from most local hardware stores and retailers.

Don’t forget about LED candles to add that special touch to kid and pet friendly holiday centrepieces. Lightweight and reusable LED candles are made from wax just like a real candle. Some even flicker without the flame and can last up to 1,000 hours.

Homemade is the Best Adjective
Instead of buying a wreath that might get tossed in trash later, create your own with old fabric by following this simple DIY guide. You can also make your mantle look fabulous with a homemade stocking! Check out these cute DIY Christmas stocking projects using recycled materials. But don’t stop there! Why not create your own ecofriendly ornament? Browse these creative, ecofriendly ornaments for inspiration and start crafting your own.

Look Local
Ditch the typical big box retail stores and opt to buy your holiday decorations from a local source. Check out a local craft show or swap meet. Browse your classified listings for holiday decorations or check esty.com for nearby artists.

If you want to keep it local and save a lot of money, take a walk outside. Pine cones, cinnamon sticks, pumpkins, gourds, fallen branches, pomegranates, cranberries and citrus fruits are all beautiful, seasonal items that you can use to decorate your home with.

Let us know what your favorite ecofriendly holiday decorations are and keep making green waves!

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Infographic Friday: Buy American, Create Jobs

It’s a mathematical fact. If we all buy just 5% more US made products we will create a MILLION new jobs. Click here to read an important message from Dolphin Blue Founder and CEO, Tom Kemper, then click here to learn about the Million Jobs Project and start making a change today!

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The Million Jobs Project

Dolphin Blue was founded on the principles comprised in the triple bottom
line: Environmental Sustainability, Social Responsibility, and Economic
Prosperity.

Embodied in the principles of Social Responsibility and Economic Prosperity
are the understanding that for communities to thrive, ALL that community’s
citizens must thrive. The most certain way to create a thriving community is
to have all its citizens (who want to be) gainfully employed.

Because all products offered by Dolphin Blue are made of post consumer
recycled material or are manufactured with minimum ecological footprint, we
know we meet, and, in most cases, exceed the standard for Environmental
Sustainabilty.

All products provided by Dolphin Blue are made in the USA. By providing only
products made in the USA by our neighbors, family, friends and countrymen,
we know we meet, and, in most cases, exceed the standard for Social
Responsibility and Economic Sustainabilty.

By sharing the film that follows, we trust you will join us in our
commitment and mission.

Please pass it on.

Tom Kemper
CEO and Founder of Dolphin Blue

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Giving Thanks: Celebrate Thanksgiving by giving back to Mother Earth

The Pilgrims may have traveled quite a distance to celebrate the first Thanksgiving, but their food didn’t. They learned to source their sustenance locally, a tough task in a new world, and they celebrated with a feast that eventually turned into modern-day Thanksgiving.

Getting food today doesn’t require nearly as much work for most of us as it did for those Pilgrims in the 1600′s, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t think about where it’s coming from.

Dinner’s Ready
Concerned about the way animals are treated? Try celebrating this year vegetarian-style. There are so many yummy meat-free foods at Thanksgiving, you may not even miss it. But if the big feast just won’t be the same without a bird on the table, look for pasture-raised, free-range turkey. This tells you that the animal lived outside, without harmful chemicals and hormones pumped into its body. Here are some other labels, classified by the World Society for the Protection of Animals, to look for when buying food:

A GOOD Start
“Cage free” (eggs)
“Free range” (eggs, chicken, goose, duck, turkey)
“Grass fed” (dairy, beef, lamb)

The “Good Start” labels indicate a meaningful animal welfare standard, but the standard covers only one aspect of animal care, and compliance with the standard is not verified by a third party.

Even BETTER
“Free range” (beef, bison, pork, lamb)
“Pasture raised” (dairy, eggs, chicken, goose, duck, turkey, beef, bison, lamb, pork)
“USDA Organic” (dairy, eggs, chicken, goose, duck, turkey, beef, bison, lamb, pork)

The “Even Better” labels generally indicate a higher level of animal welfare because the standards are more meaningful than those for the “Good Start” labels, but the standards are either not verified by a third party or cover only a limited aspect of animal care.

The BEST Options
“Certified Humane” (dairy, eggs, chicken, turkey, beef, lamb, pork)
“American Humane Certified” (dairy, eggs, chicken, turkey, beef, lamb, pork)
“Animal Welfare Approved” (dairy, eggs, chicken, turkey, duck, goose, beef, lamb, pork, rabbit)

The “Best Options” labels cover multiple aspects of animal care, and compliance with the standards is verified by an independent third party.

To get your local store to carry products with these labels, just ask. Have your friends do the same, and the store will likely listen. You can download a request card to put in a store’s comment box or mail to its headquarters.

The Ambiance
Decorate your table not with cheesy Thanksgiving-print napkins and paper plates but with pumpkins, gourds, apples, and all the other wonderful edible treats the fall season has to offer. If the thought of doing all those dishes makes you want to scrap the holiday altogether, try Preserve Tableware, an environmentally friendly alternative to the disposable stuff. The dishes and cutlery are made from 100 percent recycled plastic and are strong enough to be reused dozens of times (or just recycled when you’re done).

Top off the look with soy candles and a few sprigs of pine, and you’ll have authentic decor that would make even those who came over on the Mayflower proud.

When It’s Over
After the meal’s done and the leftovers picked through, compost the rest. Of the waste Americans send to landfills, 24 percent of it is organic waste (i.e., kitchen scraps). Keeping that waste out of landfills saves space and reduces greenhouse gas emissions, making it a win-win however you look at it. Making your own compost is easy!

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Why BPA-Free is the Way to Be

By now you’ve probably heard about BPA and how you should avoid it or you’ve seen products advertise that they’re BPA free. But what exactly is BPA and why is it dangerous?

Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical found in hard plastics and the coatings of food and drink cans. It is used to make water bottles, baby bottles, medical and dental devices, electronics, sports equipment, and more.

When absorbed into the body, BPA can imitate hormones such as estrogen and have hazardous effects on health. In a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, they found that 95% of adult and 93% of child urine samples contained traces of BPA. The US Endocrine Society has expressed public concern over the amount of BPA humans are currently exposed to.

Keep reading to learn about the possible health hazards of BPA.

  • Scientists have shown that BPA can cause reproductive disorders by affecting egg quality and egg maturation
  • Impotence has been linked to BPA exposure among men
  • Scientists at the University of Cincinnati reported that BPA can cause heart disease in women and may reduce the efficiency of chemotherapy treatment
  • Researchers in California have shown that BPA exposure has been linked to type 2 diabetes
  • A study by the Yale School of Medicine found a possible increase in breast cancer risk among women who had been exposed to BPA in the womb

Everyone is susceptible to the hazards of BPA but babies and children are the most sensitive so its very important to limit their exposure to the chemical. Dolphin Blue has always ensured that our toys are healthy for the environment and healthy for kids. Our Green Toys are made from recycled milk containers and are BPA free.

When you’re shopping this holiday season be sure to check packaging on all toys and kitchen products to ensure they’re BPA free and safe for your loved ones!

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