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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A Guide to Buying Post-Consumer Recycled Products

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If you’ve been following our series on post-consumer recycled products, then you have a pretty good idea about what PCR is and why it matters so much to me. What you may still be wondering is, “How do I make sure I find and buy PCR products?” And unfortunately, that question is more complex than it seems.

There is no all-encompassing database of PCR products — it just takes good, old-fashioned research to find what you’re looking for.

The Wording on Packages

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Eco-Friendly Dump Truck Toy

Reading product packaging carefully is important. If a product says it’s made from recycled content, look for details. Does it specify whether that’s pre-consumer recycled or post-consumer recycled? (Any kind of recycled is better than nothing, but post-consumer recycling means that when someone dropped an item in the blue bin for recycling, it was actually used to make this new item you’re now contemplating purchasing. Pre-consumer recycling involves taking things like leftover scraps that weren’t initially used and finding a purpose for them.)

Do the claims apply to just the packaging, just the product, or both? How high is the percentage of recycled content, and of that, what’s the ratio of post-consumer recycled content? A product can claim to be made of “recycled content” even if only a tiny percentage contains anything recycled, but the FTC requires that the label tell you exactly how much is recycled (unless the product or package contains 100 percent recycled materials — in which case, that’s probably a pretty good item to consider purchasing!).

The Products Where PCR Thrives

It can be discouraging to find a product that touts its recycled content, only to find that it’s really not so PCR-laden at all. And it can take a while to find an item that fits the bill in all the areas that matter, like functionality, design, and sustainability. There is some good news, though: Lots of different kinds of retailers offer post-consumer recycled goods, from hardware stores and automotive centers to furniture shops and clothing boutiques.

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Boise Aspen 100% Recycled Multipurpose Paper

One category I’m proud to say often leads the field in PCR is office supplies (it is what I built my business on, after all). Recycled paper has come a long way; you’d be hard-pressed to tell the difference between a high-quality, recycled-content version and its virgin-tree counterpart.

Consider Boise Aspen 100: perfectly new, safe, nontoxic, environmentally responsible, 100 percent post-consumer recycled copy and printer paper. In addition to the recycled element, the paper is whitened without the use of chlorinated compounds or chlorine bleach, eliminating some rather caustic and harmful chemical processes. Those kind of additional environmental and human health benefits that aren’t always obvious are often an added bonus when you make a PCR purchase.

Certifications Worth Seeking

When looking to buy products, it can be helpful to see if they’ve been certified by a third party in environmental responsibility. Not all of these necessarily concern PCR, but they can be a good place to start:

Green Seal: Green Seal, a certification that’s been around since 1989, considers the total environmental impact of a product and works to reduce that impact while maintaining the same performance and quality you would expect.

Totally Chlorine Free (TCF) or Processed Chlorine Free (PCF): The Chlorine Free Products Association is an independent, not-for-profit accreditation and standard-setting organization for evaluating chlorine-free products. Only papers made with 100 percent post-consumer recycled fiber can be PCF.

Forest Stewardship Council (FSC): FSC certification ensures that products come from well-managed forests that provide environmental, social, and economic benefits.

Green-e: An independent certification and verification program for renewable energy and greenhouse gas emission reductions.

CarbonNeutral: For this certification, a company, brand, or product must accurately measure its carbon footprint, then commit to a reduction strategy and carbon offset program to prove their activities will not result in an increase in greenhouse gas emissions that affect climate change.

Doing Our Part

We know it isn’t always easy to find PCR products, and that’s why we do the work for you — asking companies tough questions, verifying certifications, and making sure that everything we offer on DolphinBlue.com is environmentally responsible. On each product, we’ll tell you the percentage of PCR content and clearly explain what that means.

We don’t know any other companies that go to the lengths we do to both verify facts and educate consumers on this issue, but we know it’s worth it. Every time you buy something containing PCR materials, you’re helping to close the loop — reducing our reliance on virgin resources and bolstering the market for recyclables so that more products in the future can make use of PCR content.

We all win when we recycle, and we win more completely when we purchase PCR products, preserving our planet for future generations.

Tom Kemper is the founder of Dolphin Blue, a company founded in 1993 on the belief that we can all be responsible in what we use. Dolphin Blue sells the most environmentally responsible home, family, pet, office, and business products available.

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Chemicals In Your Cleaners

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Household cleaners are not usually your first concern when thinking about pollutants, since essentially you’re buying and using the cleaners to improve and keep your home clean and pest free. Many cleaners are effective in ridding our homes from dust, allergens and infectious agents but what are their side effects? A lot of chemicals in cleaners are harmful not only to ourselves but to our environment. The chemicals in our cleaners vary in the type of health hazard they can pose. Some chemicals can contribute to chemical burns, eye, skin, or respiratory irritation and if ingested they can burn your throat and esophagus, while others have a more long term effect like chronic illness or cancer.

Having harsh chemicals like nitrogen, phosphorus and ammonia in our waters is dangerous in large quantities. When we clean our sinks, bathtubs, and toilets we are unknowingly contaminating all the living organisms that swim or drink the untreated waters. Majority of the chemicals are treated and removed from the water in waste treatment facilities before they are reintroduced to the rivers, streams, lakes and other waterways but those 3 chemicals, they are not removed by the waste treatment process.You should never combine any bleach products with any cleaner containing ammonia because they can produce very toxic sometimes deadly gases.

Are there any alternative ways?

Of course! Buying greener, non-toxic, biodegradable, and made from renewable materials cleaners! Find cleaners that do not contain any petroleum-based chemicals, this is a non-renewable material. If you’re still in doubt in buying any household cleaner products use vinegar and baking soda, they can be used to clean almost anything! Just mix a little water with either the vinegar or baking soda and voilà, you have an all-purpose cleaner!

You can check out Earth911 for tips and mixing formulas.

Here are other sites that have great formulas and tips for having an Eco-friendly spring cleaning this year.

Vinegartips-  “White distilled vinegar is a popular household cleanser, effective for killing most mold, bacteria, and germs, due to its level of acidity. Cleaning with white distilled vinegar is a smart way to avoid using harsh chemicals. You’ll also be glad to know that it is environmentally friendly and very economical.”

Recyclebank-  Has tips from a professional green-home expert to refresh your home after a long winter.

GoodGuide- Rate products and companies on their health, environmental and social performance.

Don’t forget to check out Dolphin Blue’s wide selection of cleaning products.

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What is Sustainable Living?

Sustainable Sustainable living has become a hot trend nowadays with a lot of people worldwide changing their lifestyles in order to improve themselves, their community and their environment. You’ve probably heard about sustainable living at some point in your life but never really bothered into searching or figuring out what it actually is. Well in case you didn’t know, sustainable living is having a lifestyle that uses as few of our earth’s resources as possible, causing the least amount of environmental damage for the future generations to come.

Living a greener lifestyle doesn’t mean you have to drastically change your life or spend a lot of money but by changing small things around your house you will help reduce your carbon footprint. Here are some ways on having a more sustainable life.

Get rid of the paper towels and use washable cloths, not only will you save money but washable cloths are a more efficient way of cleaning and better for the environment. Remember; let’s keep unnecessary waste out of our landfills!

Replace your old light bulbs with energy efficient LED or CFLs. While the CFLs light bulb can take a few seconds to a minute to fully kick start they use 75% less energy than incandescent bulbs. LED light bulbs save you energy and money; they can last up to 10 years!

Visit your local farmers market and buy locally! Believe it not we are wasting and burning fossil fuels transporting food from a farm to a grocery store. Buying locally is not only healthier but you are supporting your local farmers and community.

Why take the car when you can walk or ride a bicycle? Reduce your own carbon footprint by taking a stroll or riding your bike to your destination instead of driving your car. Now you can find bike rentals throughout many cities! Also many cities are building more bike and walking trails for everyone to enjoy!

Conserve your resources! Save electricity by turning off the lights whenever you leave a room and turn off the TV if you’re not paying attention to it! Also unplug all items not in use, even if you aren’t using them they’re still taking up energy! Make sure your faucet isn’t leaking and save water when you’re washing the dishes or brushing your teeth!

Don’t forget the three most important Rs: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle! You can also search up more ways on reducing your carbon footprint online!

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How To Get Organized This 2014

Wednesday, Jan 8Being organized isn’t easy. It takes time and energy to maintain an organized environment. Taking some time out of your schedule to organize all your paperwork and items can improve your productivity. Keeping your line of sight organized will help you stay focused on your daily/weekly tasks. Here are some tips on staying organized wherever your workplace may be.

  • Make a daily/weekly list

Invest your time wisely. Set aside 20 minutes before you start your day and 20 minutes after you have completed your day for organization. Make a list of things and schedules you plan to do that day before you start working and check them off by the end of the day. Make sure to keep your days/weeks planned and organized by having a handy calendar, whether it’s an app or a wall calendar, use it. It might seem like a burden when you start but once you get yourself into the habit you’ll realize you’re saving yourself time and unnecessary stress. Schedule when you check your email, constantly checking your email distracts you and your flow of work. If you are able to, check your email 3 times a day, when you arrive, lunchtime and before you leave.

  • Make your office space work for you

Keeping your workspace clean and tidy will keep you on track with your daily tasks. When you have a messy desk, it will distract you. You should keep the most important items and information and recycle or throw away everything else. Keep a handy shredder in your office to dispose of used up paper. Use a binder with dividers to keep reports, presentations and important papers organized. Don’t forget to return any item you have used to where you got it from. If you’re still not sure on how to effectively start organizing your desk area, ask for help. Look around and see how your coworkers maintain an organized environment.

To help reduce a carbon footprint when buying paper and office supplies it’s really important to look out for the Post Consumer Recyclable percentage. Most companies are as low as 10% but claim to be PCR. If ever in doubt just ask – most companies who focus on PCR will know what percentage is in their paper products. One brand we love is House of Doolittle. They have a PCR of 100% and is 100% American Made. Not only are you helping to keep jobs in our country but you’ll also be preventing unnecessary trees being cut down and reducing recyclable material ending up in our landfills.

  • Repurpose what you have

Before throwing anything away, look around and see if you can use it for something else.  A coat rack can be used to hold your jewelry, a match box can become your travel sized sewing kit and you can place plastic bags inside a tissue box to make it a plastic bag holder. Donate any item you have no use for, it might not be useful to you but it can be useful for someone else.

Free Apps available for both Apple and Android.

Here are some apps that we couldn’t live without. They are easy to use and have the ability to sync up to your computer.

Evernote

Doit.im

Google Calendar

Remember the milk

Check out Dolphin Blue’s Office Supplies for our Recyclable Binders, File Cabinets, Filing & Storage and our Recycled Desk Organizers! Also check out our Daily Planners/Calendars, they’re made from 100% Post-Consumer Recycled fiber and are printed with soy ink!

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