It’s that time of year, once again: Back-to-School time!

Sending our kids back to school is an exciting time of the year, and one of the inevitabilities of the school year are school lunches.  But what might surprise you to know is that kids’ lunches can be incredibly wasteful.  According to Waste Free Lunches, an average student using disposable lunches can create up to 67 pounds of waste per year.  In an average-sized elementary school, this can add up to 18,760 pounds of waste per year.

GREEN DEPOT SOLUTIONS

Green Depot has an entire back to school department!

Recycled Cotton Lunch Bags are a great way to carry lunch to school, and are a much more sustainable alternative to standard brown paper bags.  This canvas lunch sack is made from sustainable material, and is machine washable for long-term reuse.  The canvas is made from cotton scraps that are collected and re-woven into new material.  It can also be treated as a blank art canvas so that your kids can decorate it to create a unique and personal lunch bag.

Fresh Snack Packs are a reusable and washable replacement for plastic bags, especially when carrying aluminum or glass containers isn’t practical.  Designed to be durable, they are made from non-toxic, BPA-free, phthalate-free, and lead-free EVA plastic.  The closure is hook-and-look Velcro that makes it easy to open and close for children.

There are lots more green products that we carry to help your kids have a more sustainable lunch!  Click here to see our entire line of food storage containers for you and your family.

For green building materials, like eco insulation, as well as many other green products for a sustainable lifestyle, visit http://www.greendepot.com.

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sunThe sunniest – and hottest – days of summer are upon us.  While these days might be some of the most uncomfortable ones to bear, they also are the longest, and have the most potential for harvesting the power of the sun, using solar technology.

The mobile devices we use every day are remarkable tools, and using them can significantly reduce our paper consumption.  But these devices have a dark side: they recharge by drawing on the power grid – and, most likely, fossil fuels – to charge.

Luckily, there are affordable and effective options available on the market for the individual looking to reduce their reliance on the fossil-fuel powered grid.  Below are two options by Solio which may be of interest to our readers.

GREEN DEPOT SOLUTIONS

The Solio Mono T solar charger is the perfect companion for living the urban lifestyle wherever you are. Its compact nature allows you to slip it in your pocket or throw in a bag-its durable Lexan shell resists breakage. Designed for the urban enthusiast with a green streak, the Mono battery pack will keep you switched on at a cool price! It works with almost any electronic gadget you own–camera, PDA/phone, GPS, etc.–and stores power very reliably so it’s ready anytime, day or night.

The Solio Rocsta Hybrid Solar Charger is heavier duty than the Best Energy System Classic.  Its built-in carabiner makes it ideal for hikers, bikers, climbers, and backpackers and can also charge ahead of time from a wall socket or USB port.

For green building materials, like eco insulation, as well as many other green products for a sustainable lifestyle, visit http://www.greendepot.com.

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You might be surprised at how much water your toilet consumes over time!  Fortunately for environmentally-conscious homeowners everywhere, companies like Caroma are leading the way in water conservation in the bathroom.

The United States EPA launched a partnership program in 2006 that seeks to promote water efficiency around the country.  According to Watersense, more than 240 millions Americans rely on public water consumption for their every day use, accounting for more than 43 billion gallons per day.  A family of four uses up to 400 gallons water per day on average.

The EPA reports that if the average home retrofitted itself with WaterSense certified toilets and faucets, we could save more than 120 billion gallons and more than $800 million dollars annually.

GREEN DEPOT SOLUTIONS

Green Depot carries Caroma brand toilets, including Caroma Dual-Flush toilets and sinks.

Caroma is a manufacturer with a history of water efficiency.  The company was founded in 1941, and has since become the market leader in reduced-flush water efficiency products, citing its “total commitment to water conservation.”

Dual-flush toilets give the user the ability to choose more or less water when needed, by pressing one of two distinct buttons.  Smaller flushes use about 0.8 gallons, and larger flushes use 1.2 – 1.6 gallons.  All Caroma products are certified by EPA-Watersense as a water-saving device.

For green building materials, like eco insulation, as well as many other green productsfor a sustainable lifestyle, visit http://www.greendepot.com.

 

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from flickr user smoovey

image: flickr user smoovey

One of the hallmarks of the sustainability movement is a recognition that many of the ways we have conventionally consumed food over the last fifty-odd years haven’t been the most sustainable.  We turn to organics to be kinder to our bodies and our earth; we turn to natural, unprocessed foods to eat more healthfully and more naturally.

But consuming foods out-of-season can be a detriment to the environment – and in turn, to ourselves – as well.  According to the International Institute for Environment and Development and Oxfam, food in the U.S. in 2004 traveled an average of 5,120 miles from farm to fork.  That represents a seriously carbon-intensive way of sourcing our food supply.

Buying tomatoes or strawberries or almost any fresh produce in the winter (at least for those of us on the East Coast, or in the Northern Hemisphere) almost invariably means that food has traveled a long distance, from warmer climates.  So what can you do about that?

GREEN DEPOT SOLUTIONS

Canning!  Canning is one of the most surefire ways to preserve fresh fruits and vegetables from your garden, CSA, or the farmer’s market for the winter.  Stocking up and canning now can ensure a steady supply of healthy foods throughout the winter, sourced locally.

Canning for a New Generation by Liana Krissoff is a new, updated guide to canning fruits, vegetables, chutneys and more, containing over 150 recipes.  With recipes for canning like “Classic Peach Jam,” “Salsa Verde,” and “Zucchini Pickles” – and recipes for foods to be enjoyed with canned foods “Applesauce Cake,” “Rustic Almond Cake,” and “Joe’s Basic French Bread,” this handy guide is all you need for year-round inspiration.

Green Depot carries Weck Canning Jars with Glass Lids.  These jars are available in a variety of shapes and sixes, and have unique glass lids with rubber gaskets, meaning no BPAs.  They stack easily, and have wide mouths making them easy to fill and clean.

For green building materials, like eco insulation, as well as many other green products for a sustainable lifestyle, visit http://www.greendepot.com.

 

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By now, most Americans are likely familiar with Energy Star as a certification label for higher-efficiency appliances and other products.

But behind the scenes of Energy Star are lobby groups and nonprofits working to raise energy efficiency standards within the appliance industry.  Some of these organizations provide their own certification processes for energy-efficient products.  The Consortium for Energy Efficiency is one such organization.

The Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE) was founded in 1991 in Boston as a nonprofit, public benefit corportation that “works with its members to promote the use of energy-efficient products, technologies, and services,” according to their fact sheet [PDF].  Today, those members include gas, water, and electric utilities; research and development organizations; state energy offices; and regional energy programs.  CEE receives significant support and guidance from both the EPA and the Department of Energy.

CEE’s work sets standards across industries and sectors to create a more sustainable America.  Their initiatives since 1991 have included providing definitions for high-performance commercial kitchens (2006); promoting energy efficiency in municipal water and wastewater facilities (2004); providing resources for energy-efficient traffic signals (1999); and in 1994 spearheaded an initiative to stimulate the residential market for CFL lightbulbs in partnership with Energy Star.  CEE is currently investigating the potential for expanding the LED residential lighting market.

More than providing evaluative criteria for the manufacturing and services industries, though, CEE also runs certification programs, similar to Energy Star, for home appliances including refrigerators, air-conditioners, clothes washers, and dishwashers.  This program, which compliments Energy Star, is the Super-Efficient Home Appliance Initiative (SEHA), and has proven to be an evaluative criteria of such a quality as to be official registered as an ISO standard.

When looking for energy-efficient appliances, starting out with an Energy Star product is a good start.  But to determine which products are the absolute highest-efficiency, turn to SEHA-certified products.  Since 1997, the SEHA program has identified the super-efficient spectrum of the Energy Star spectrum.

For green building materials, like eco insulation, as well as many other green products for a sustainable lifestyle, visit http://www.greendepot.com.

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A HEPA filter. Image credit: Flickr user John Loo licensed under Creative Commons.

Standard vacuum cleaners can actually aggravate allergies in a home because of the allergens and pollutants they can recycle into the air.  Texas A&M University provides a guide to allergens in the home and vacuum cleaner use, which illuminates a few interesting facts:

1. The average vacuum cleaner – one without a HEPA or UPLA filter – filters particles from 30 to 50 microns in diameter, exhausting harmful allergens that are smaller than this back into the home.

2. The most common airborne particle size is 2.4 microns.  Human hair is 60 – 100 microns; a dust mite is 125 microns; dust mite waste is 10 – 24 microns; mold is 4+ microns; pollen is 10 – 40 microns; bacteria is 3 – 50 microns; fungal spores are 2 – 10 microns in diameter.

3. HEPA filters and ULPA filters are the two most effective and common air filtration systems found on vacuum cleaners.  Of the two, ULPA (Ultra Low Penetration Air) filters are the most effective: they filter out 99.999% of air particles.  HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filters are the next most effective air filter: they filter our 99.97% of air particles – more than enough for all but the most sensitive of allergy sufferers.

For more facts on the effectiveness of air filters for a healthier home environment, visit the aforementioned guide by clicking here.

GREEN DEPOT SOLUTIONS

Green Depot is having a vacuum cleaner sale at the moment, which can help to ensure that the indoor air quality of your home is the healthiest it can be.  Take a look at these green products:

The Electrolux Versatility Upright Vacuum is a full-featured vacuum cleaner.  This cleaner includes a quick-release wand, allowing you to vacuum hard-to-reach spaces on the ceiling and in difficult corners.  High impacts plastics and rugged construction make this a durable product, and the anti-odor HEPA filter captures 99.7% of pet dander, dust mites, pollen and mold for healthier indoor air.

For something a little more basic, the Electrolux Egrorapido is a cordless two-in-one stick vacuum for cleaning floors, and a hand vacuum for spot jobs around the home.  It includes a motorized brush roll, has no bag to dispose of, and includes attachments for a variety of uses.

For green building materials, like eco insulation, as well as many other green products for a sustainable lifestyle, visit http://www.greendepot.com.

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