My own educational adventures have been long.  I earned my B.A. from Oberlin College in 2007, and then went back to school at Columbia University for my M.A. for 2009 – 2010.  After a year off, I’m heading off for a Ph.D program in environmental anthropology at the end of the month.

Between frantically preparing for my move and ensuring that I am properly enrolled and registered for new courses, I’ve had to think through what I’ll need for the upcoming year, and how I can source what I need ethically and in an environmentally-responsible way.

So, below, here are some of the ideas I’ve come up with by perusing the Green Depot website.  I hope this comes in handy for anyone getting ready to head back to school – whether for elementary school, high school, college, or grad school.


TerraCycle Straw Paper: Roughly four billion trees are felled every year for the production of printer paper, which poses a significant threat to the environment and a massive contribution to climate change.  This paper is instead made from straw – the kind used for animal bedding as a byproduct of straw production – and is a much more sustainable material for paper-making than wood.  This paper is fully compatible with laser printers, ink jet printers, and copy machines.

Hero Bags Pig Lunch Sack: Cute!  These lunch bags are made from organic cotton, has a handy cotton carrying strap, and a stylish silk screen “butchery artwork” design of a happy pig.  The bag stands upright with a flat bottom, and it is large enough to hold a large sandwich, a tall beverage, and multiple snacks.  It is machine washable, and should be line-dried.

Ecosystem Flexicover Journals: The journals are excellent for expressing your thoughts or taking notes in class.  They are made of 100% post-consumer recycled paper (the best kind of recycled paper you can purchase) and contain 192 smooth, bright-white eco-friendly pages.  The books come with a back pocket on the inside cover, an organic cotton bookmark, perforated pages, and an elastic enclosure.  Plus, there is an ID number in the back of every book that allows you to track where parts of the journal were made via ecosystem’s website, and resources for learning where to recycle them.

Design Ideas Recycled Newspaper Pencils: A truly ingenious idea, these pencils are made entirely from recycled newspapers that are wound tightly around a no. 2 pencil lead.  Design Ideas ads an adhesive, presses them into a barrel shape, and the pencil turns out to be just as strong as a standard one constructed from wood.  Newsprint images from an English edition Chinese newspaper are visible on the barrel surface, and these can be sharpened just as you would a regular pencil.  They come in a set of twelve.

Decomposition Books: As straightforward as they are classic, these “decomposition books” are constructed from 100% post-consumer waste recycled paper.  They are made with bio gas derived energy, and feature several aesthetically-appealing designs.  They’re college ruled with 80 sheets per book, at 7.5″ x 9.75″ and produced in the United States.  At $4.95, they’re a great bargain for a green back-to-school product.

Solar Backpack: A truly remarkable item. the Solar Back Pack was designed specifically to efficiently charge virtually all handheld electronic devices via built-in solar panels and a battery.  The bag itself is built from a sturdy recycled PET fabric (that usually comes from soda bottles) and has a spacious main compartment with four interior pockets, plus space for glasses, a laptop, and a front pocket for holding charging devices.  A universal USB battery stores power for anytime use, indoors or outdoors, sunny or cloudy, and can be charged even when sun is not readily available.  When the sun is out, the solar panels go to work and charge the USB battery themselves.  The battery can be fully charged from 7 hours of contact with direct sun, or 5.5 hours from a USB port or optional DC or AC.  It’s even capable of charging a smart phone with just 4 hours of sun.  Comes with a 2-year warranty on pack and panels, and a 1-year warranty on the battery.

For green building materials, like eco insulation, as well as many other green products for a sustainable lifestyle, visit

The first summer after my freshman year as an undergraduate, I worked in a home improvement center.  One of my favorite jobs was installing countertop.  For the affluent resort community where I was working, new countertop meant huge slabs of pure marble and granite – high-quality materials, surely, but the thought crossed my mind more than once: stone isn’t an infinite resource; what will happen to these countertops when the owner chooses to remodel?  Are there any sustainable alternatives available?

Enter Squak Mountain Stone.  The story of Squak is quite remarkable.  The company was founded by Amee Quiriconi as a project dreamed up in a graduate school paper.  The idea was to find a product or service that would benefit the local economy, which in the past had been imported from elsewhere.  The idea became a business venture for Quiriconi, and she used her knowledge of engineering, construction, and research to develop a truly sustainable countertop surface and market it nationally.

Conventional countertops are constructed from a single slab of stone, or from a chemical composite, or even from compressed wood particles.  They can be petroleum-based, or extracted from strip mines, or pressed from forests that were conventionally and non sustainably harvested.  Conventional countertop options available on the market today are certainly not the most sustainable option available to the consumer.

Squak Mountain Stone, on the other hand, is a fibrous-cement material that is comprised of recycled paper, recycled glass, and low-carbon cement.  It’s a fantastic, sustainable, and durable alternative to natural or quarried stone and resembles soapstone or limestone.  It’s rustic and varied, providing a unique accent to any home kitchen or bathroom.  But these slabs aren’t only used in the home – they have been used to construct benches, tabletops, hearths, stairways, and signs.

Not only is squak mountain stone unique, but comes in five different colors to match any home: in natural (grey), latte (light brown), otter (dark brown), thunder (charcoal), and Quinault (forest green).

Take a look around Squak Mountain Stone’s website to learn more about their products, their remarkable story, and their commitment to sustainable home building materials.

Green Depot is excited to be carrying this new green building material.  Visit our website and give us a call to arrange a quote for delivery and installation.

For green building materials, like eco insulation, as well as many other green products for a sustainable lifestyle, visit

This just in: O Magazine is featuring one of our products, as suggested by Jayma Mays of Glee fame!

Upcyling is the process of taking a discarded or waste product and turning it into something of greater value.  It’s an even more environmentally-responsible method of manufacturing that goes one step beyond recycling.

Brooklyn Slate was founded in 2009 by local entrepreneurs Sean Tice and Kristy Hadeka.  According to Bklyn Slate’s website, the two visited Kristy’s family slate quarry in upstate New York and brought back a few all-purpose boards for home use.  They wound up finding a number of uses for these pieces of slate, which would otherwise have been discarded as a waste product or ground up for gravel: as trivets for tea kettles, and as drink coasters.

The duo decided to produce a line of slate products, sourcing from the family quarry, hand-picking the choicest pieces of discarded black and red slate.  They hand-finish the pieces of slate and treat them for food safety.

The result is a series of beautiful slate products, and Green Depot is delighted to carry several of their products: cheeseboards; garden markers; seed markers; and coasters, among others.

For green building materials, like eco insulation, as well as many other green products for a sustainable lifestyle, visit

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 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

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.


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

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 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