Be Green This School

school

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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For Earth Day: 15 EASY household changes that do make a REAL difference

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Want to help save the environment, but don’t know where to start? What better place than in your home! You think one person can’t make a difference? Wrong! If one person recycles just one aluminum can, that one can saves enough energy to run your television for three hours, so now imagine if instead of one person we all recycled? A few changes can go a long way. Here are 15 easy household changes that can and will make a difference for our environment.

1.) Say no to plastic bags

Ditch plastic bags and opt for reusable bags when grocery shopping. Over 1 trillion plastic bags are used every year worldwide and 10% of those plastic bags usually end up in the ocean. If you can’t part ways with your plastic grocery bags then recycle!

2.) Unplug all appliances when not in use

Unplug all items that have a light on even when you have turned the item off, not only will you save energy but you’ll save money too.

Don’t forget to search online for “vampire appliance’s” to know which of your appliances suck up energy while you’re away or asleep.

3.) Buy local groceries when possible

In case you didn’t know, majority of the food in grocery stores come from faraway places, some travel up to 1,500 miles! Transporting these products sold in grocery stores burn up a lot of fossil fuels which then result to pollution.

So buy locally! Not only are you helping your local farmers but you are also getting the freshest food possible.

4.) Look for products that contain post-consumer material

What is a Post-consumer recycled product? It is a product made of materials such as paper or glass that were recycled after being used and where kept out of landfills.

Look for items that have high post-consumer material in them, the bigger the number the better it is for the environment. Nowadays you can buy from post-consumer toys to post-consumer toilet paper.

5.) Change your light bulbs to energy efficient.

Replace your incandescent light bulbs to compact fluorescent bulbs, they convert most of the energy they use into light rather than heat. Compact fluorescent bulbs consume about 75% less electricity and last up to 10 times longer than incandescent light bulbs.

6.) Turn off the lights when not in use.

Save yourself some money and just turn off the lights. During the day just open up the curtains and let that good old sunshine illuminate your home.

7.) Recycle everything you can

The typical categories of things you can recycle are; Metals, Paper, Cardboard, Glass, Plastics, Batteries, Bulbs and Electronics. It is best to check with your city for certain items you are not sure about. Styrofoam can be recycled but you must check if your city is currently accepting Styrofoam and if not go online and find a place that you can drop it off or send it to for recycling. You can also go to Earth911 to find locations that can take specific electronics, metals, batteries, etc.

Here is a list of things you can recycle

8.) Use Eco-friendly cleaners (save the water from toxic chemicals)

When we use harsh chemicals to clean up our homes we don’t realize we are polluting our soil and water, which can harm many animals and plants, we are also risking our own health by bringing in some pretty nasty toxic chemicals into our homes. Choose green, biodegradable, non-toxic cleaners or make up your own vinegar, water and baking soda formula.

9.) Cut up plastic soda can rings before throwing them out

It might seem tedious but cutting up those plastic soda can rings helps prevent any animals from getting stuck in them.

10.) Turn your computer / laptops off at night

Even in sleep mode your computer is still sucking up energy. Save all your material and turn off that computer!

11.) Hang dry your clothes (makes your clothes last longer as well)

Dryers consume more than 6% of your total household electricity usage, which can add up to $100 every year! Each dryer emits an excess of one ton of carbon dioxide per year!

So hang out your clothes to dry, it’s better for your clothes, cheaper for you and better for the environment.

12.) Lose the plastic bottle – use reusable water bottles instead.

Buy reusable water bottles instead of plastic water bottles. Last year, Americans used about 50 billion water bottles but only recycled about 23%, which means 38 billion water bottles are thrown away and end up in landfills each year.

13.) Adjust your thermostat by one degree (in summer & in winter)

By keeping your thermostat 68 degrees or below during the winter and 78 degrees during the warm summer you’ll save energy and money. For every degree below 68 degrees and above 78 degrees you are saving 3%-5% off your energy bill!

14.) Pay bills online

Save paper and time by paying your bills online. A lot of companies encourage their customers to go paperless and pay online by making it fast and easy on their websites.

15.) End bank statements

An environmentally friendly alternative is to opt for online bank statements. A lot of banks usually suggest you go paperless when you first start an account but if you decide not to in the beginning they also inform you, if you change your mind in the future, how to change the settings online so you can solely receive your statements online.

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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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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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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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You don’t have to be a Seahawks fan to enjoy these GREEN Super Bowl XL VIII Party Ideas

footballThis graphic was from 2013 Super Bowl game in New Orleans.

Invitations

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!

Pizza

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!

Recycle

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.

Repurpose

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!

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Are You Going To Recycle That Water Bottle?

FactFriday 1Here 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.

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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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