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.”
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.
Let’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.
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.
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
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
Valentine’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!
- Bissinger’s Chocolates: Delicious chocolates and marshmallows made by hand and use high-quality cocoa beans, made in St. Louis, MO.
- 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.
- Who doesn’t love cute and cuddly bears for valentines? Give your loved one a snugly Vermont Teddy Bear for Valentine’s Day!
- 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!
- 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.
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!
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!
This graphic was from 2013 Super Bowl game in New Orleans.
Go paperless this year and send your invitations through email or create an event on Facebook, its free! You can also go on evite or punchbowl, they have free online invitations you can browse and if you want to splurge a bit they also have more creative invites your pay for. All you have to do is just create an invitation, add your guests and send it, it’s that easy!
Let’s talk about pizza. It’s delicious and glorious and a football game party without pizza is not a party. We all know we can recycle cardboard but did you know that because of the grease of the pizza it’s hard to recycle pizza cardboard boxes? You can tear off the top clean part of the cardboard box and recycle that but the bottom greased up part is a big no. This year try out your awesome cooking skills and make a pizza! You can find various recipes online and even make a football shaped pizza for your guests!
Buy eco-friendly plates and cups this year! Don’t forget to recycle your beer bottles! Even with the lime you can still recycle them!
Label your trash and recycling bins individually to make it easier for your guests to know where to throw their waste. Have designated areas around your home for the bins whether it be inside and outside our just solely inside.
Paint tin cans and use them to hold your cutlery and if your making popcorn, give your guest decorated glass jars so they can fill them up with delicious popcorn! Look around you, you can probably find some interesting things to reuse to decorate for the party. Go to online sites like Pinterest for nifty ideas on how to repurpose your old stuff!
Check out Dolphin Blue’s Eco-friendly Preserve Products!
Here are some surprising facts about water bottles you probably didn’t know about.
- Plastic water bottles take around 450 years to 1000 years to decompose.
- We have about 2 million tons of water bottles in our landfills.
- The making of the bottles to meet our demands uses more than 17 million barrels of oil annually.
- Americans used about 50 billion plastic water bottles last year, yet the U.S. recycling rate is only 23%.
- Nearly half of all bottled water is reprocessed tap water.
- Some bottles might be contaminated and cause health problems.
Go green and ditch plastic water bottles.
- Water pitcher filters are as efficient as 300 standard 16.9 ounce bottles. They filter about 240 gallons of water a year for about .19 cents a day.
- Tap water goes through more regulation than bottled waters since tap water is regulated by the EPA and water bottles are regulated by the FDA. It’s cleaner and cheaper.
- Buy BPA free bottles for when you’re on the go, they’re reusable and can last you for years.
If you just can’t part ways with your water bottles then recycle. Don’t forget, when you recycle plastic, you’re helping save energy, oil and landfill space.