Post has attachment
Check back on World Oceans Day (June 8) to see what impact we had on the health of our blue planet!
SHARE THIS CHALLENGE
Photo

Post has attachment
Lose the Leaks
Putting an end to household leaks is a great way to conserve water!
To check for minor leaks in your toilet, first remove the tank lid. The water in the tank should always be at least an inch below the top of the toilet’s overflow tube. If it’s any higher, water is leaking down the tube.
Flapper valves are also a common cause of leaks. When a toilet flushes, the flapper valve lifts, allowing water to rush into the bowl. The flapper closes after the toilet flushes and the tank refills.
If the flapper doesn’t have a solid seal, water could leak into the toilet bowl. To test for a flapper valve leak, place a dye tablet or a few drops of food coloring in the tank. If you later see the dyed water in the toilet bowl, you know the flapper valve is leaking.
SHARE THIS CHALLENGE
Photo

Post has attachment
I’m Done with Drafts
Escaped heat from windows can account for 10 to 25 percent of your heating bill.
Whether you’re a renter or a homeowner, drafty windows can waste energy and cost money. Some window treatments—like blinds, shades or shutters—can help, but weather stripping is even more effective. It keeps air out by creating a tight seal around doors and windows.
Weather stripping can wear out over time, so make sure yours is in top shape by checking for cracks, tears or loose pieces. You can purchase new weather stripping at your local home-improvement store. Remember to take a piece of the old weather stripping along, so you can find its match.
For a simpler, more affordable option, pick up weather-sealing tape or a home insulation kit. For just a few dollars, you can seal windows and glass doors with transparent film to keep the cold air out, saving energy and heating costs in the winter. The wrinkle-free film fits tight against your window, so it won’t affect your view.
Photo

Post has attachment
I’ve Got This in the Bag
Did you know that Americans throw away an estimated 100 billion plastic bags each year?
Have plastic bags around that you’re not sure what to do with? Recycle them! There’s likely a plastic-bag recycling center nearby.
Some states are trying to reduce the distribution of plastic bags. Contact your local representative to let them know this is an issue you care about. Not sure who your representative is? A quick ZIP code search here can tell you!
Environmental experts at 5 Gyres estimate there are more than 5 trillion pieces of plastic floating in our ocean. Together, let’s take plastic bags out of the equation.
SHARE THIS CHALLENGE
Photo

Post has attachment
Beat the Bead
Hundreds of personal care products, including some facial scrubs, toothpastes and body washes, contain tiny plastic particles. Let’s take some of those microbeads out of the equation.
Worried that you’re unintentionally using a product with microbeads? Fear not! TheBeat the Microbead app lets you search for a product or scan its barcode to find out if it contains microbeads.
Often, you can even spot microbeads on the label. Many products advertise microbeads as an exfoliating benefit. If a product lists polyethylene or polypropylene as an ingredient, that also means it contains plastic.
For more on microbeads, check out this video by The Story of Stuff:

Post has attachment
Beat the Bead
Hundreds of personal care products, including some facial scrubs, toothpastes and body washes, contain tiny plastic particles. Let’s take some of those microbeads out of the equation.
Worried that you’re unintentionally using a product with microbeads? Fear not! TheBeat the Microbead app lets you search for a product or scan its barcode to find out if it contains microbeads.
Often, you can even spot microbeads on the label. Many products advertise microbeads as an exfoliating benefit. If a product lists polyethylene or polypropylene as an ingredient, that also means it contains plastic.
For more on microbeads, check out this video by The Story of Stuff:
Photo

Post has attachment
Waste Not, Want Not
Did you know that up to 40 percent of the U.S. food supply ends up as food waste? With some thoughtful planning, reducing food waste can be easy.
Cook creatively.
As you cook, you’ll find there are certain things you can’t use along the way—eggshells, a squash stem, onion skins—and that’s OK. But you’ll probably discover you’ve been discarding a lot more than necessary. Broccoli stalks, celery leaves, beet greens and cilantro stems are just a few examples. Get creative with them; you might just make something delicious.
Love your leftovers.
Today’s dinner isn’t tomorrow’s lackluster lunch. Reinvent your leftovers. Turn last night’s roasted veggies into a simmering bowl of soup. Craft a tasty salad with yesterday’s pan-fried fish. Make a sandwich from that extra eggplant. The options are endless.
Befriend your freezer.
Cook freezer-friendly foods ahead of time and put them on ice so they won’t go bad. If you’ve got fresh herbs that are starting to wilt, drop them in an ice tray with olive oil—they’ll freeze into the perfect cubes to use later on. You can even juice fruits and veggies that are on their last leg, freeze them and break them out for a summer smoothie.
Plan ahead.
If you have the time, plan your meals for the week before heading to the grocery store. It’ll keep you from buying random ingredients you won’t end up using. Once you’re home, a good rule of thumb is to start with the most perishable item in the fridge. The rest can wait.
Save your scraps.
Well, some of them at least. Did you know that you can regrow some foods right in your kitchen? Green onions, leeks, potatoes and lettuce are just a few examples! Cook what you can, regrow the rest and compost anything that’s left behind.
SHARE THIS CHALLENGE
Farm
Photo

Post has attachment
Lose the Booze
Wait! Don’t panic. We’re not asking you to give up alcohol for good. But we don’t think one day would hurt, because the phrase “drink responsibly” can apply to the environment, too!
Today’s challenge is pretty straightforward, but on the days that you want to indulge, be mindful of your choices. For starters, supporting local breweries, distilleries and vineyards cuts down on the energy cost of shipping alcohol.
Track down a brewer that sells growlers—jugs of beer that can be taken home, enjoyed, washed and refilled during your next visit. The reusable packaging is more eco-friendly than picking up a six-pack at the corner store. If you can’t avoid it, cans are optimal over bottles, because they’re lightweight, making shipping more efficient. And always remember to recycle your empties.
If you’re a wine connoisseur, consider this: East of Ohio, a bottle of wine shipped from France has a lower carbon footprint than one shipped from California. West of Ohio, you’re better off choosing a wine produced at a California vineyard. Better yet, explore wineries closer to home—there’s likely a vineyard in your own state. Wines packaged in Tetra Paks and other environmentally friendly options also leave a lesser carbon footprint than those packaged in glass.
SHARE THIS CHALLENGE
Photo

Post has attachment
Choose to Reuse
In a year, Americans throw away nearly 25 billion styrofoam cups.
We know there will be times when you forget your refillable bottle. On those days, try to forgo lids and straws, and always remember to recycle when possible.
Recycling a single plastic bottle can conserve enough energy to light a 60-watt lightbulb for up to six hours, and recycling one aluminum can save the energy equivalent of powering a TV for three hours.
SHARE THIS CHALLENGE
Photo

Post has attachment
Get Smart About Scraps
Food scraps and yard waste make up 20 to 30 percent of what we throw away. Composting is a great alternative!
Compost is created by combining organic waste—things like food scraps, grass clippings, coffee grounds or dead leaves—into a pile that breaks down over time.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, more food reaches landfills and incinerators than any other single material in our everyday trash. Composting diverts food waste from landfills, reducing carbon emissions and creating an awesome, homemade fertilizer in the process.
Outdoor:
If you have the space for an outdoor compost bin, select a dry, shady spot near a water source; you’ll want to moisten dry materials as you add them. Periodically add your brown (dead leaves, twigs) and green (grass trimmings, fruit and vegetable scraps) materials. Try to keep the ratio even, as brown materials provide carbon and green materials provide nitrogen necessary to create compost.
As your pile grows, bury additional fruit and vegetable waste under about 10 inches of the compost material to promote breakdown. You’ll want to mix your compost about once a week with a shovel or pitchfork and can cover the bin with a tarp to hold in moisture. Cutting large materials into smaller pieces also helps them break down faster. When the material at the bottom of your bin is dark in color, it’s ready to use as fertilizer for plants!
For convenience, try keeping a small compost bin in your kitchen for food scraps. You can transfer them to your outdoor bin periodically, or drop them off at a local composting facility. You’ll want a special type of bin, which you can find at a local hardware or gardening supply store. If you’re feeling ambitious, skip the store and make your own!
Indoor:
If you don’t shy away from worms, vermiculture—the process of using worms to decompose your natural food waste—might be right for you. It’s especially convenient for our urbanites who may not have access to an outdoor compost bin.
For a DIY vermiculture lesson, check out this awesome Aussie’s video:
Wait while more posts are being loaded