Growing A Greener Outer Banks NC

January 17, 2011

A Green Thought: What Happens to the Christmas Trees?

Filed under: environment, Recycle Projects, Tips — Tags: , , , , , , , — 4x4RE @ 12:45 pm
Have you ever wondered where all those Christmas trees go after Christmas? Think of all the trees that were cut down to be put on display in people’s living rooms for 3-4 weeks and then tossed on the curb for the trash collector. I never really gave it much thought, probably because when growing up we would get a tree that still had roots and dad would replant it along the property line. This is a GREAT way to give yourself a privacy fence although it may take a few years. 🙂
When I got married and moved into my own house, we bought an artificial tree because my wife was worried about our cats & she felt that cutting down a live tree was wasteful.  But to get back to the original question, what does happen to all those once live trees after Christmas?  Well believe it or not, some find their way to Carova. Yes, January is when you can see dozens upon dozens of Christmas trees come to rest on our beach. They don’t wash ashore, and there not left behind to litter. Some people use them to help build up our dune line. What a Great idea for recycling and protecting our beach.  Actually, I wish I was the guy who thought up this plan. I can see him now telling one group of people “for ten bucks I can haul away your tree” and then telling another group “for ten bucks I’ll sell you this tree”.  Actually I have come to learn that there are locations for residents to drop off their tress for anyone else who needs them. This a GREAT example of “freecycle“. They’re more environmentally friendly than sand fences and this helps reduce some of the strain on our landfills.
Here are some pics of the ones that have made it down so far. We had many more years past so I think that more might still show up. In the pictures there are all lying down.  I have seen them placed standing up also, and I think it depends on if you’re trying to add on to an existing dune or create one that’s not there yet.

December 15, 2010

December Green Action Tips

Filed under: environment, global, Recycle Projects, Tips — Tags: , , , , , , , — 4x4RE @ 2:06 pm

Top 5 tips to green your Holiday Season

Posted by Murielle in Health, Sustainable living, 9 Dec 2010

I love Christmas and the Holiday Season! As soon as the days start to shorten and the temperature starts to drop, I start dreaming of fairy lights, Christmas trees and snow-white postcard-like panoramas. Then I start feeling guilty for all the generated waste, energy abuse and cut-down trees this season brings about. So in the jolly spirit of the season, and with a feeling of thanks and gratitude towards nature and the beauty of our planet in the back of my head, here is a top 5 list to green your Holiday Season.

1) Choose a real Christmas tree over an artificial one
There is no doubt that a real Christmas tree is better for the environment than an artificial one. Artificial trees have heavy carbon footprints. Most of the trees are manufactured in Asia and will require a lot of energy for transport to European or American stores. The trees are made of metal, plastic and materials that are not biodegradable. Manufacturing the trees is also heavy on the environment and releases toxic chemicals into the atmosphere.

A real tree is carbon neutral (the tree absorbs as much carbon dioxide during it’s growth as it will emit when burned or left to decompose) and does not contain any toxic chemicals. If you have the choice, go for a real Christmas tree with roots. After the Holidays you can plant the tree and even reuse it the next year. Another cool option, although maybe too late for this year, might be to grow your own tree.

2) Go for compostable Christmas decorations
Try to avoid plastic or non-recyclable decorations at all costs. They can’t be recycled and there are much better ways to give your home a Christmas feeling. House decorations and decorations for the Christmas tree can be made from organic material. Why not try tree branches, pine cones or leaves? And throw some beautiful Christmas flowers and some mistletoe in? To decorate your tree, look in your kitchen cabinet. You’ll find that dough and a little bit of creativity can make wonders. Popcorn, gingerbread and cinnamon sticks are perfect too. And after the Holiday Season, all your Christmas decorations will be fully compostable.

3) Give eco-friendly gifts or do some good while giving
This year, instead of going for the carbon loaded gifts shops are already piling up with, consider going for something completely different. Many gifts don’t require any carbon emissions or manufacturing like the sponsoring of animals, donations to environmental or other non-profit organizations, planting a tree and much more. If you prefer to go for ‘real’ gifts you could consider giving away activities. IOU’s for a day in the park, a hiking get-away or any other (eco-friendly) activity you would like others to enjoy are a great alternative and gift. Theater, concert or movie tickets are a good option too as are vouchers for electronic items like music or movie downloads.

4) Consider alternatives for Christmas cards
Millions of trees worldwide are cut down every year just to provide us with Christmas cards. Although I’m a big fan of them myself, there are green alternatives that make a big difference. One option is to send recycled Christmas cards, or to go entirely electronic and send e-cards instead. Many Christmas cards support non-profit organizations or causes. If you can’t do without the traditional cards, why not do some good at the same time and offset your paper use by planting a tree?

After the holidays, there are many things you can do with your Christmas cards. You can use them to create fun collages with your kids, keep them in an album or frame the nicest ones. If you are not a Christmas card keeper, remember to recycle them the right way. Paper cards go in the paper bin; mixed cards (paper and plastic or any other material) are recycled in parts and in their respective recycle bins.

5) Reduce, reuse and recycle your Christmas dinner
Christmas dinner is so much fun, but it produces so much waste! Before, during and after your dinner consider these easy steps to reduce, reuse and recycle your waste as much as possible.

Reduce/ Don’t make too much food; it will end up in the waste bin anyway. Try to be conscious about the food you will be serving. An organic turkey is a good option, as are organic products from local stores or farmers’ markets.

Reuse/ Don’t use plastic dishes or paper napkins, here again they will only end up in the waste bin and they are not biodegradable. Instead, go for the real deal. Grandmother’s dishes, wine glasses and fabric napkins. After dinner try to stack as much as possible in the dishwasher and go for an eco-friendly program. If you don’t own a dishwasher, get some family members together and do the dishes by hand. It’s a fun and eco-friendly time for sharing some family gossip.

Recycle/ After your Christmas dinner compost your food waste and recycle any other waste (wine bottles, soda cans…) appropriately.

If you follow these tips you’ll have a wonderfully eco-friendly Holiday Season. One to remember and to be proud of!

 

 

December 8, 2010

Christmas at the Carova Recycling Center

Filed under: community, News — Tags: , , , , , — 4x4RE @ 1:50 pm

 

We don’t get much snow here in Carova, NC, but we still try to keep the Holiday Spirit alive as best we can.

Even our neighborhood recycling center, affectionately called “The Dump” does what they can to celebrate.

If you are planning on spending the holidays over here, make sure to stop by and say hi to the hard working employees.

November 1, 2010

November Green Action Tip

Filed under: environment, organic, Recycle Projects, Tips — Tags: , , , , , , , , — 4x4RE @ 2:17 pm

 

These are some great tips that came to me in an email last week.

25 A-peeling Uses for Fruit and Veggie Scraps

Got watermelon rinds or onion skins? Save money around the house with these creative food waste recycling tips.

Nearly all fruit and vegetable skins can be added to the compost pile. But since I’m the ultimate Green Cheapskate, I like to get even more mileage out of my rinds — at least before I deposit them in my compost pile.”A rind is a terrible thing to waste.” If you’re a composting enthusiast like me, that’s our mantra.

Try out these creative uses for your peels next time you’re thinking about heading out to the compost pile:

Seedling pots: Scooped-out avocado shells make perfect biodegradable “pots” to start seedlings in before you plant them in the garden.

Potpourri: I dearly love my wife, although she knows that nothing sets me off like store-bought potpourri. (“I have the world’s largest supply of that stuff in the back yard … it’s in my compost pile!”) Seriously: all types of citrus rinds, apple peels, pomegranate skins, and other fruit trimmings can simply be dried on a rack or in a food dehydrator to make homemade potpourri. Sprinkle a little “liquid potpourri” (available at craft stores) on it for more flavor if desired, or dose it with the dregs of perfume or cologne when you finish up a bottle.

Keep garden slugs at bay, the natural way: Sprinkle ground-up nut shells around tender garden plants to keep slugs and other pests away — they can’t stand crawling across the rough texture. (FYI, I know they’re not a fruit or veggie, but crushed eggshells do the same.

Is that peach-fuzz on your face? : You bet. Peaches are high in potassium and Vitamin A, which help to revitalize skin and keep it hydrated. Put a little sugar on the pulpy side of peach skins and use as a gentle face scrub. (Get more natural beauty recipes.)

Make metals shine: Lemon, lime, and other citrus rinds and pulp/juice are high in citric acid, which makes them great for polishing brass, copper, and other non-ferrous metals. Sprinkle on a little baking soda and the polishing goes even faster. (Also see how ketchup works great for shining metals.)

Organic Easter egg dye: Boil your Easter eggs with some onion skins and you’ll end up with wild yellow and orange eggshells, all without the use of artificial dyes.

Serving bowls: Watermelons, cantaloupes, honeydews, and other melons can be scooped out and the shells used as attractive (albeit temporary) serving dishes for fruit salads and such. I also scoop out acorn squash halves and use the shells as serving bowls for a tasty acorn squash and cider bisque I make in the fall.

Candied citrus rinds: My great aunt concluded every family dinner by passing around a tray of her homemade candied citrus rinds. Strips of rind from lemons, oranges, grapefruits, and limes can be boiled in a mixture of equal parts water and sugar until the liquid is absorbed (a couple of hours). Coat the cooled strips in granulated sugar and let dry on a rack.

Banana split shoeshine: Put a “split-shine” on your wing-tips by polishing them with the slippery side of a banana peel – it really works!

Throw some peanut shells on the barbie: Peanut shells burn slow ‘n smoky, so add a handful to the charcoal next time you’re grilling. Soak them in water ahead of time if you think of it, and let them dry a bit before you put them in the coals — that way they’ll burn even longer.

In a pickle: All kinds-o-rinds can be pickled and eaten as a delicious condiment. Most recipes for pickled watermelon, lemon, orange, and even pumpkin rind involve a simple mixture of vinegar, sugar, and spices, and some can simply be stored in the fridge rather than canned once prepared.

In a jam: Marmalades are simple to make, even for those new to jam cookery. They can incorporate the skins from a wide variety of fruits — not just oranges, but lemons, grapefruit, limes, tangerines, and even kumquats.

Cornhusks: Don’t even get me started about all of the uses for cornhusks. Back home in Ohio we make cornhusk dolls; in Mexico they’re used for cooking tamales; in the Philippines (where there is a Corn Husk Association) they weave them into hats, mats, bags, slippers, and just about everything else. Me, I like to wrap fish and other seafood in fresh, dampened sweet corn husks and grill and serve them that way.

Pomegranate skin to the rescue: Suffering from diarrhea? Boil a little pomegranate skin in water with a cinnamon stick and drink it down once it’s cooled. Repeat up to three times per day or until diarrhea subsides.

Add an Asian flare: Dried tangerine rind is a tasty — but expensive — element in Asian cooking. But you can make your own by simply using a vegetable peeler to remove the orange part of the tangerine, clementine, or tangelo rind (avoid the white/zest) and dry the peels on a rack or in a food dehydrator, once dried, store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Darken grey hair: Just call me Mr. Potato Head! Boil potato peels in water for about a half-hour, strain and let cool. Rinse your hair with this water after shampooing and it will gradually darken grey hair, without the use of harsh chemicals.

Pistachio garden soap: I need a sturdy bar of soap to wash up with after a hard day of yard work. I make my own by pulverizing pistachio shells with a little water in the blender, then mixing it with melted glycerin soap.

Vodka infusions: All kinds of fruit skins — particularly citrus rinds — can be added to vodka to create a flavorful infusion. Just add the peels and let it sit for a week or two. (See more tips on how to make infused vodka.)

Olive oil infusions: Adding citrus peels to olive oil will not only flavor it but will help to reinvigorate oil that’s getting old. (See more things you can do with old olive oil.)

Apple peels – A Very Good Thing: My mom makes apple-peel jelly, or she sometimes dusts apple skins with sugar and cinnamon and bakes them in the oven as a crispy snack. She’s also fond of using a needle and heavy thread to string them up, let them dry, and fashion them into a fall wreath. That woman could teach Martha Stewart a thing or two.

Gourd birdhouses: Larger gourds can be dried, treated, and the shells hollowed out to be used as birdhouses, like in these Amish instructions.

Lemony-fresh smell: Lemon rinds just smell way too good to throw away. Try boiling them in water on the stove top, microwaving them for a minute, or just throwing them in the garbage disposal to freshen the air in the kitchen. And put a couple in the humidifier to make the whole house smell lemony-fresh.

Shinier, healthier houseplants: Use banana peels to shine the leaves on your houseplants — not only will it make them sparkle, but it acts as a natural pesticide and fertilizer.

Compost pile chicken: I like to stuff all kinds of fruit and veggie peels inside a chicken when I’m roasting it in the oven to give it extra flavor. Trimmings from onions, celery, citrus, apples, garlic, etc. can be stuffed in the chicken cavity or sprinkled around a roast. Plus, once baked, the trimmings break down in the compost pile even faster.

And last but not least …. “My papayas are killin’ me!” Rub papaya skins and pulp on the bottoms of your feet to help soften skin and soothe cracked heels. They’re rich in Vitamin A and papain, which breaks down inactive proteins and removes dead skin cells. (Plus it feels pretty cool.)

Warning: The skins of vegetables and fruits that are to be consumed or come in contact with food should be thoroughly washed first, even if organically grown.

Jeff Yeager is the author of The Cheapskate Next Door and The Ultimate Cheapskate’s Road Map to True Riches. His website is www.UltimateCheapskate.com. Connect with Jeff Yeager on Twitter and Facebook.

Photo Credit: Jeff Yeager

Read more: http://www.thedailygreen.com/living-green/blogs/save-money/food-waste-recycling#ixzz13PPwEvuZ

June 10, 2010

Is there a sensible solution to the BP oil spill catastrophe?

Is there a sensible solution to the BP oil spill catastrophe?  Perhaps there is.  The video link below will take you to an amazingly simple way to absorb the oil while cleaning up the mess with all natural materials.   It seems all the tools are readily available, inexpensive and easy to use.   

OK, I know this sounds crazy.  The government doesn’t do simple, easy or cheap; usually the chosen solutions are complicated, difficult to administer and expensive.  I mean, Kevin Costner’s invention from Water World?  Really?  It wasn’t even a good movie!

If, after you view this video, you feel a glimmer of hope, please pass it on to everyone you know plus your government representatives.  Perhaps the EPA guys will see it on twitter!!

Hey, it is worth a try before the oil gets to the Outer Banks and ruins our pristine coastline, not to mention our economy.  Talk about beach closings, this could be the daddy of them all.

See the cool solution here.  And thanks for helping.  Maybe we can save some wildlife before they need that bath with Dawn!

June 8, 2010

June’s Green Action Tips

Filed under: Tips — Tags: , , , , , — 4x4RE @ 5:30 pm

Tips for Going Green on a Budget

Going green doesn’t have to cost a lot of green! Use these simple tips to make a positive impact on the environment while keeping your wallet intact. It’s easy, even for the laziest of environmentalists.

  • Shut down and unplug electronics. Make small changes to use – and pay for – less energy, like shutting down your computer when you’re not using it and plugging your cell phone and other electronics into power strips so you can turn several devices off with one switch.
  • Wash your clothes in cold water. By using cold water instead of warm, the average household can avoid emitting 1,281 pounds of carbon dioxide annually and save on energy bills.1
  • Fill your bottle with filtered tap water. Choose the greener solution by using a reusable bottle, like the FilterForGood bottle, and filling it with filtered tap water. If you use a Brita filtration system you can make another responsible choice by recycling your pitcher filter when you replace it, which should be about every two months (or every 40 gallons). Find out more about recycling Brita filters here.
  • Update your wardrobe for less. Instead of consuming new products, trade fashionable clothes, accessories, cosmetics and shoes for free (you only pay for shipping). By swapping merchandise you can lower the amount of harmful emissions caused by the manufacturing process. Check out swapstyle.com to learn more.
  • Exchange CDs, DVDs and books instead of buying. Now you can avoid purchasing new products without forfeiting your entertainment needs. Visit swapacd.com, swapadvd.com and paperbackswap.com for access to thousands of CDs, books and DVDs.
  • Use refurbished electronics. You can get refurbished electronics for a steal (they often sell for less than 50 percent of the retail price!), and before they’re resold to the public, they go through an intense defect-testing process and the warranties usually remain intact. So you can save money and help reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills. Shop at www.dyscern.com and www.refurbdepot.com.
  • Use kitchenware products made of recycled materials. Preserve uses items such as recycled Brita pitcher filters and empty yogurt containers to make their line of colorful kitchen gear. Since they’re about the same price as regular kitchenware, it’s a no-brainer to choose Preserve products. Visit preserveproducts.com to find a retailer near you

May 13, 2010

Surfside Scute 5K and Tiny Turtle Kids Fun Run

Filed under: News — Tags: , , , , , , — 4x4RE @ 10:23 am
Posh Pouches will be at the Surfside Scute as a FUNDRAISER for Corolla Ocean Rescue…please help us support COR and the Earth by using our handmade reusable snack and sandwich bags! GO GREEN in COROLLA!!!!! Please spread the word so we can make this an amazing fundraiser for them! Thanks visit www.poshpouches.com before you go!

April 4, 2010

A New Outer Banks for the Old Vacationers

Filed under: News — Tags: , , , , , — 4x4RE @ 11:14 am

People who have been coming to The Outer Banks of North Carolina should be aware of some “Green” changes that have happened since last Summer.  The obvious change they will notice is that when they go shopping they will be getting paper not plastic. The legislature passed a ban on plastic bags on the Outer Banks about 9 months ago.

The changes that are not as obvious, but are important for out of state vacationers to know, is that North Carolina has made it illegal to throw away plastic bottles or aluminum cans into their land fills. The ban on aluminum cans has been in effect since 1994, and the ban on plastic bottles went into effect this past November.

So While you’re enjoying the beauty of the Outer Banks this summer, please rember to recycle your cans & bottles.

April 3, 2010

April’s GREEN Action Tips

Filed under: Tips — Tags: , , , — 4x4RE @ 5:31 pm

LESS IS MORE – Outdoor Watering

Reduce Wasted Water

Did You Know?

· Outdoor water use can account for up to 50% of total water use for a home during the summer months.

· Homes with automated irrigation systems are more likely to overuse outdoor water (i.e. wasted water running down sidewalk).

· Over irrigation can damage plants or make them unhealthy.

· Over-watered plants are more susceptible to disease and pest infestation.
(Personally, I have killed more plants from over-watering than under-watering.)

What You Can Do:

·  Mulch – Mulch holds moisture in the soil and prevents evaporation from soil surface. Fine-textured mulches (pine straw, mini nuggets, shredded hardwood) are more effective in conserving moisture than coarse-textured mulch. Apply to as large an area under the plant as possible. Consider putting 2-3 sheets of newspaper under mulch for added water retention.

·  Deep Watering – Shallow frequent watering encourages a weak root system and reduces plant tolerance of drought.

·  Water Roots, not Leaves – Wetting the foliage encourages diseases and results in water loss through evaporation.

·  Hand-water newly planted trees, shrubs, and thirstier plants. Again, deep watering is the best way to encourage strong root system and drought tolerance.

·  Use Drip, Trickle or Soaker Hose – Drip irrigation uses 50% less water than conventional sprinkler irrigation and applies water slowly and directly to root system.

·  Use the Timer and Install a Rain Sensor on Irrigation System – Rain Sensors are inexpensive extras that usually pay for themselves (in water savings) within 2 years.

·  Adjust Irrigation Controller – according to change in seasons and rainfall.

·  Depend on rainfall as main outdoor water source when possible.

March 25, 2010

It’s Almost Earth Hour

Filed under: News — Tags: , , , , — 4x4RE @ 9:40 am

t’s about Earth Hour, which is this Saturday at 8:30 local time.  On Earth Hour hundreds of millions of people around the world will come together to call for action on climate change by doing something quite simple—turning off their lights for one hour. The movement symbolizes that by working together, each of us can make a positive impact in this fight, protecting our future and that of future generations. Learn more about how Earth Hour began, what we’ve accomplished, and what is in store for 2010.

In support of this event, please be sure to turn off your computers, monitors and printers when you are done for the day. Shutting down all unnecessary equipment can be a show of your support. It’s a small step, but let’s do what we can. Click here to visit MyEarthHour.org.

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