Chemical and Organic Fertilizers

Digging The Vegetable GardenWe use organic and inorganic fertilizers to grow and add nutrients to our gardens in order for our plants, fruits and vegetables to grow faster and more efficiently. The most common fertilizers are chemical, inorganic fertilizers because they are relatively cheaper than organic fertilizers. Is cheaper always better? Some fertilizers are not as healthy or environmentally friendly as you think they are, they can cause damage to your soil, garden and our groundwater.

Chemical Fertilizer

Chemical fertilizers are produced synthetically from inorganic materials. They provide plants with 3 essential nutrients; phosphorous, nitrogen and potassium. Nitrogen can break down into nitrate and easily travel and seep through the soil, because it’s water-soluble it can remain in our groundwater for a long time diminishing our quality of drinking water as well as the habitat and health of our aquatic animals.  Drinking contaminated groundwater can have serious health effects for us as well; some long term exposure of contaminated water can cause certain types of cancer.

Long term exposure of chemical fertilizers can cause soil dehydration and destruction of plant tissue. The longer you use chemical fertilizers the more you’ll end up needing in order to successfully grow crops.

Organic Fertilizer

Taking a more organic approach with your lawns and gardens. Organic fertilizers are made with remains or by products of organisms like fish extract, seaweed and manure and compost materials. Organic fertilizers can add nutrients to soil, increase soil organic matter, improves soil structures and water holding capacity. They can also reduce soil crusting and erosion from wind and water and slowly and consistently release nutrients to your soil and plants.

Some farmers using organic fertilizers like Neptune have even gone to hold world records for having the biggest vegetables.

Fun Fact- Sewer Sludge in fertilizers

Farmers in some countries use sewage sludge as fertilizers. You read that right. They apply human waste to crops and soils. Sewer sludge frequently tests positive for a host of heavy metals, flame retardants, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, pharmaceuticals, phthalates, dioxins, and a host of other chemicals and organisms. Out of all those and other thousands contaminants found in sludge, the U.S. government regulates exactly 10 of them. Sometimes the various contaminants in sewage are at low levels, some chemicals bind to the soil some don’t, some seep into groundwater others are insoluble in water.

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Fact Friday: Indoor Plants

flowersHere is a list of indoor plants that can help improve your air quality and remove harmful toxins:

  1. Peace Lily- Peace Lilies absorb benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, and more.
  2. Spider Plant- Absorbs benzene, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide and xylene.
  3. Golden Pothos- Indestructible and an effective indoor purifier in the world. 
  4. English Ivy- Can remove allergens such as mold and animal feces. 
  5. Areca Palm- The most effect indoor purifier and is an excellent air humidifier.
  6. Snake Plant- Also known as mother-in-law’s tongue, is one of the best plants for filtering out formaldehyde.
  7. Chrysanthemum- This plants blooms help filter out benzene.
  8. Azalea- Remove formaldehyde from plywood or foam isolation. 
  9. Dracaena- Eliminates formaldehyde, xylene, toluene, benzene and trichloroethylene.
  10. Chinese Evergreen- Filters out air pollutants and can begin to remove more toxins as time and exposure continues. 
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Vertical Gardens

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Living in the city is great and all but being constantly surrounded by noise, traffic and pollution is not good for your mental and physical health. Having limited yard space can be unsettling if you have an interest in gardening. Well do not fret for now there is a new trend (although it has been around since 1938) sprouting worldwide and it’s called Vertical Gardening (also known as BioWalls, EcoWalls, Living Walls or Green Walls). What is a Vertical garden you ask? Vertical gardens are panels of plants grown vertically using hydroponics, on structures that can either be free standing or attached to walls. Vertical Gardens also come with a lot of healthy benefits. Here are some of those benefits.

Improves Air Quality

Plants have been proven to filter and remove toxins, by introducing vertical gardens into your home or office you can remove harmful toxins that are common in modern buildings. There are different types of plants that can remove common indoor toxic chemicals and improve the air around you. Here are some examples; Peace Lily can remove Formaldehyde (CH2O), Spider Plant can remove Carbon Monoxide (CO), Devils Ivy can remove Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) and Mother-in-law’s Tongue can remove Trichloroethylene (TCE).

Increases Workplace Productivity

Studies have shown that simply having a green view in a workplace increases work productivity, happiness and motivation of employees. Not to mention the fact of having plants indoors reduces symptoms of discomfort and decreases the number of days off due to “sickness.”

Regulates Temperature

They help with the heating and cooling of your home or office by providing a living installation barrier to the outside of your space that will catch all the heat or cold from hot summers to the cold winters.  They also protect buildings and structures from extreme temperatures and help slow down the deterioration of buildings and structures.

No Back Pain

For people who have back issues but love gardening, growing vertical gardens is a lot easier because the times you bend and crouch for plants to harvest, weed or water is reduced.

If you’re interested in making your own Vertical Garden, there’s plenty of online tutorials to help you along with the process. It is highly recommended to do proper research if you want to make a Vertical Garden in your home or office.

 

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Fact Friday: Paper Recycling

newspaperDid you know?

  • Recycling a single run of the Sunday New York Times would save 75,000 trees.
  • If all our newspaper was recycled, we could save about 250,000,000 trees each year!
  • The average American uses seven trees a year in paper, wood, and other products made from trees.
  • The amount of wood and paper we throw away each year is enough to heat 50,000,000 homes for 20 years.
  • Approximately 1 billion trees worth of paper are thrown away every year in the U.S.
  • Americans use 85,000,000 tons of paper a year; about 680 pounds per person.
  • The average household throws away 13,000 separate pieces of paper each year. Most is packaging and junk mail.
  • Every day, Americans buy about 62 million newspapers and throw out around 44 million of them. If we recycled just half our newsprint every year, we would need 3,200 fewer garage trucks to collect our trash.
  • Americans throw away the equivalent of more than 30 million trees in newsprint each year.
  • For every 15,000 tons of old newspaper recycled annually, 30 jobs are created to collect the paper, and 40 jobs are created to process the paper.
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It’s Not Plastic, It’s Not Paper but it takes up 21% of our Landfills

foodchartLet’s face it, we are all guilty of throwing away food. Whether you accidentally cooked too much last week and never got around to reheating it or maybe that unlucky item that was pushed to the back of your pantry expired, we all have had a reason to discard unused or unwanted food. It’s just food right? What harm can food possibly do? Well, all that food has to go somewhere. Food waste goes directly to landfills and incinerators with only 4% being diverted for composting. Every year around 36 million tons of food waste reaches our landfills. Although food waste does decompose, it produces methane, a potent greenhouse gas when it breaks down in landfills. Here are some tips on what we can do to reduce our carbon footprint and divert food waste from our landfills.

Reduce over-purchasing

Purchase only the food that will be used. Avoid large quantities of an item; even if it’s on sale think about if you’re really going to eat it all. It also helps to have a list or guideline on hand when you go grocery shopping. Keep yourself on track and avoid buying things on impulse.

Compost

Composting transforms your kitchen waste into valuable nutrients for your garden. There’s a difference when food waste decomposes in a landfill and when it decomposes on the ground at your home. In landfills air cannot get to the organic waste and so when food waste breaks down it produces methane, which is bad. On the other hand at home it decomposes aerobically which means oxygen helps the waste break down and so hardly any methane is produced.

Donate fresh food to those in need

Donate any non-perishable and unspoiled perishable food to your local food banks, soup kitchens pantries and shelters. Check with them to find out what items they will and will not accept.

Check out 21 frightening U.S Facts and Statistics about Food Waste  

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5 Things You’d Never Believe Could Be Recycled

Bicycles

Bikes are considered one of the most environmentally friendly ways of transportation we have but even with that they cause a problem in our landfills. Annually more than 15 million bikes are thrown away in the US alone. So what’s the proper way of disposing of your bike? Donate it! Maybe your bike isn’t suitable for you anymore but it sure can help out someone else. You can donate it to Bikes to the World, which collects, refurbishes and donates bikes to lower-income people and institution in developing countries.

bicycle

Crayons

More than 12 million crayons are made in the US, every day! That’s about 60 tons of crayons made with petroleum based waxed that will eventually end up in our landfills. We all have that small box filled with broken and unused crayons in our homes, not really sure what to do with them but can’t throw them away. Well the National Crayon Recycle Program will gladly take all your broken and rejected crayons off your hands! They have now collected over 93,000 pounds of unwanted crayons and made them into beautiful works of art for kids to enjoy!

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Bras

That’s right, Bras. The Bosom Buddy Program collects old bras and gives them to women in shelters or other programs.  So if you have a bra that doesn’t fit or a bra that you just won’t wear any more than wash it out, fill the donation form, package it up and either drop it off at a location near you or mail them directly to The Bra Recyclers.

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Wine Bottles and Corks

Have wine bottles or corks taking up space in your kitchen? If you didn’t know, the wine bottle itself is glass recyclable but what about the cork? ReCork American collects those tiny corks and turns them into flooring tiles, automotive gaskets, craft materials, soils conditioner, and sports equipment. They have collected over 47 million corks!

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Styrofoam 

According the EPA, each year Americans throw away 25,000,000,000 Styrofoam cups. Even 500 years from now, the foam coffee cup you used this morning will still be sitting in a landfill somewhere. Why? Because the materials used to make up styrofoam or polystyrene foam take a really long time to decompose. If you want to start recycling your styrofoam then go to Earth911 to locate a styrofoam recycling facility in your area or you can also check your local UPS store or mailing company for styrofoam recycling. Many of these companies accept styrofoam packing peanuts to reuse.

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How to say ‘I Heart U’ and the USA too this Valentines

valentinesValentine’s Day is approaching fast! This year rather than going to your local neighborhood store and buying the generic card and gift why not consider purchasing a gift that shows how much you love your partner and your country. Put your money to good use by buying from small businesses and purchasing made in America products. Buy them a gift that has great quality instead of purchasing it for its sweet deal. If you still have no idea what to buy, we here at Dolphin Blue have you covered! Don’t limit yourself to only buying these products, there are tons and tons of other made in America products out there just for this special occasion!

Here are some great American-made gift ideas to help you keep your Valentine’s Day Made in the USA:

  •  Valentine’s Day cards! Dolphin Blue has the Love Birds Seed Paper Keepsake Card. This card is made from seed paper, so after the recipient removes the insert with your message they can plant the card and enjoy flowers for months to come!

card

  • Bissinger’s Chocolates: Delicious chocolates and marshmallows made by hand and use high-quality cocoa beans, made in St. Louis, MO.

chocolates

  • OM Cocktails is a USDA certified cocktail and is the first of its kind! It’s made with certified organic ingredients and contains no artificial flavors or preservatives!If you’re more of a wine person, buy from your local wineries. You can visit the American Winery Guide and search for all the wineries that are near your area.

cocktail

  • Who doesn’t love cute and cuddly bears for valentines? Give your loved one a snugly Vermont Teddy Bear for Valentine’s Day!

Vermont Bear

  • For the risky buyers, Hanky Panky has been proudly making lingerie in the USA since 1977. They’re top of the line when it comes to lingerie and lets not forget their unique bouquet of thong roses! 

flowers

 

  • If you want to be completely out of the box then dedicate a tree to someone! Our Tree Planting Gift is a special and unique gift you can give to your partner, family member or a friend.

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Make this the most memorable year for both you and your sweetheart and have fun shopping for products made in the USA for Valentine’s Day! 

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Fact Friday: Aluminum Cans

Aluminum can

  • Aluminum is the third most abundant element in the Earth’s crust.
  • It is known as a sustainable metal: with two-thirds of aluminum ever produced still in use to this day.
  • Aluminum takes around 200-500 years to fully degrade in a landfill.
  • One ton of recycled aluminum saves 10 cubic yards of landfill space.
  • The aluminum can you recycled today will be back on the shelf as a new can at the grocery store in 60 days.
  • Aluminum beverage cans are 100% recyclable.
  • Every minute 105,800 aluminum cans are recycled in America.
  • The average aluminum can contains more than 50% post-consumer recycled aluminum.
  • We throw away enough aluminum cans every 3 months to rebuild our entire commercial air fleet.
  • It’s estimated that over the past 20 years, we have trashed more than 11 million tons of aluminum beverage cans. That’s worth over $12 billion in today’s market!
  • Recycling aluminum takes 95% less energy than creating aluminum from raw materials.

 

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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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