The EcoDorm at Warren Wilson College

Imagine the state of your average college dorm room: lights left on, electronics left charging, garbage and recycling thrown together in the same bin. A dorm can seem like the last place a person would find any sort of concern for the environment. But, as it turns out, sustainability is now spreading to college campuses across the country! Programs such as The Sustainable Campus and others are working with universities to help them reduce their carbon footprint and provide eco-friendly housing to students. All over the country, schools are adjusting how they manage waste, protect indoor air quality, and save energy.

From instituting programs that encourage students to change their behavior (turning off lights, unplugging electronics, and sorting waste) to adopting responsible building practices, colleges and universities are making great strides towards sustainability while improving their bottom line. In 2009 The New York Times  reported that more than 600 U.S colleges and universities had already made a pledge to become carbon neutral; and more than 90 dorms across the country were LEED certified. For example, they cite the EcoDorm at Warren Wilson College in North Carolina that consumes two thirds less electricity than a conventional building of the same size. Another example of a green dorm is a LEED Certified student residence building at Harvard University that features renewable bamboo flooring, low VOC finishes, and regionally sourced siding with recycled content.

If you happen to know a student who is moving into a dormitory this fall, help them (and their roommates) go green in their dorm room with these Green Depot solutions!

Keep Warm With Wool
Help save energy by turning the thermostat down and using a comfy throw blanket while catching up on course work! The Eco-Wise Pendleton Throw is 100% wool and is machine washable. Wool is a naturally renewable fiber and the fabric in these blankets has been Cradle to Cradle certified.




Prevent Phantom Energy Use
For all your electronics, from your phone to your laptop, a TrickleStrip –Saving Surge Protector will greatly reduce the amount of vampire/standby energy consumed by dorm electronics. Be sure to flip it to “off” when going out!

  

  

Wake Up On Time and In Style
After a late night studying, it is important to have a high quality alarm clock. The bamboo-clad Vers Alarm Clock Radio is compact, and is also a dock for an iPod. Gorgeously hand crafted, this unit cuts down on plastic use and the company plants 100 trees for every tree they use in production.

 

  

Deodorize the Dorm with Plant Oils – Not Petro-Chemicals
It’s common for every college dorm room to have that smell every once in a while. Be it from people living in close quarters, or the resonance of that pizza from three days ago, or maybe you can’t put your finger on it. Whatever it may be, Airscense to the rescue! This room freshener doesn’t cover up odors; it neutralizes them using a petro-chemical-free formula.

 

Charge Electronics Anywhere on Campus
The Solar Back Pack, efficiently charges all hand-held electronics through built in solar panels even as it holds textbooks and a laptop in its spacious main compartment. On a cloudy day, the charger can also be powered up using a USB power cable.



Zoe Bloom contributed to this post.

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Green Holiday Entertaining

November 24th, 2011 | Posted by sschultz in Air Quality | Green Products | Living Green | Waste Reduction - (Comments Off)

Are you looking for ways to make your holidays more sustainable? From reducing waste, to increasing energy efficiency, to reducing toxicity there are tons of ways to make our celebrations more sustainable. Our friends Corey and Lynn over at Celebrate Green have lots of creative ideas for greening Christmas, Kwanzaa and Hanukkah.  Another great resource is Practically Green where you can find tips on avoiding BPA in your holiday meals, green gift ideas and more! Below are some of the green solution available at Green Depot! You can see all of our eco-friendly Holiday Supplies by clicking here.

Holiday LED String Lights
Light up your home this Holiday season with LED lights, the energy efficient version that uses up to 80% less energy to operate than traditional incandescent lights. Use them indoors or out to brighten your holidays

 

 

Dinuba Stainless Steel Water Container
This beautiful stainless steel container is stylish and functional. Use it for storing and serving water at events, or for everyday use on your countertop or in your fridge. This is a perfect alternative to the classic tub of plastic water bottles – even better it’s BPA-free! Great for water – or your favorite festive beverage! Comes in 5L and 15L sizes.

 

Compostable Cups
These compostable 12oz cups are made of Kraft Paper coated with corn-based lining. Great for hot or cold beverages – you can use them for hot apple cider, or rum punch. At the end of your party, unlike those red plastic cups, these don’t have to go to the landfill.

 

Juniper Ridge Room Spray
Few things evoke the feeling of holiday more than the fresh scent of pine trees. Juniper Ridge’s Room Spray was made to capture the smell of the forests of the Cascade Mountain range using real, wild-harvested botanicals, no toxic or artificial chemicals.

 

For more, browse all of our eco-friendly Holiday Supplies by clicking here.

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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 http://www.greendepot.com.

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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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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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photo credit: flickr user techbirmingham

If you’re reading this blog, you are using an electronic device – whether it’s a computer, smart phone, or e-reader.  But one of the things you may not know is that electronic devices can have serious consequences on the environment.  All electronic devices use heavy and other precious metals which, when they are mined and are returned into the ecosystem can have a detrimental effect on the health of local ecosystems and watersheds.

Recycling electronics is a huge step in ensuring that our devices do not harm the environment.  But in some instances, recycling electronics only means that recycling companies remove the valuable metals – like gold – and dissolve the rest in an acid bath, which often reenters the watershed.

Fortunately, there are organizations which serve as watchdogs to ensure that the electronics that you recycle are done so in a responsible manner, which has no negative impact on the environment.

The Basel Action Network (BAN) is one of the most important international organizations today working to ensure the efficiency of electronic recycling industries.  According to their website, they tackle important issues of environmental justice relating to the toxics trades, confronting “the issues of environmental justice at a macro level, preventing disproportionate and unsustainable dumping of the world’s toxic waste and pollution on our global village’s poorest residents. At the same time we actively promote the sustainable and just solutions to our consumption and waste crises — banning waste trade, while promoting green, toxic free and democratic design of consumer products.”

BAN runs a certification program called e-Stewards which serves as a watchdog to ensure that e-recyclers meet sustainable standards.  To date, they have certified over 40 e-recyclers with 100 locations across the United States that meet “globally responsible, safe means to process e-waste.”  These standards represent best practices in the e-waste processing industry, including no disposal in landfills or incinerators, no prison labor, and no export to poor communities.

In New York City, responsible e-waste recycling isn’t so difficult to do!  The Lower East Side Ecology Center runs a city-wide recycling program that responsibly recycles e-waste, and throws several e-waste recycling programs throughout the year.  To learn more about the LESEC’s recycling programs in NYC, you can visit their website here.

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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