Green Music

May 19, 2008

I thought I’d switch gears a little bit and focus on green music. The Dave Matthews Band has a well deserved reputation as an environmentally and socially friendly company. Well, they’re a band, but they are a company as well. The Dave Matthews Band (aka DMB) has had their foot in the social/environmental arena since the mid-90’s, performing at FarmAid benefit concerts. In 2002 they made a splash when their tour was certified “Climate Cool” by the Climate Neutral Network. In the following five years, they have gone even greener. In 2007 DMB teamed up with Reverb, a non-profit environmental group which works primarily with musicians. DMB had an extremely green tour last summer utilizing everything from B20 bio-diesel to reducing waste to eco-friendly merchandise.

In 2008, DMB and Reverb are again joining forces to create one of the most environmentally friendly concert tours out there. The techniques employed last year which saved over 3.3 million pounds of CO2 will again be employed, along with some neat new tricks. DMB will be instituting an online ride-sharing/carpooling program for fans to utilize to get to and from the shows. An eco-footprint reduction contest will be held to educate fans about their own eco-footprint (not to mention teaching people how to reduce it). Stonyfield Yogurt and Climate Counts will be sponsoring the Eco-Village, which is an environmental outreach program featuring education, prizes such as solar-backpacks, national and local non-profits, etc.

Reverb has greened 50 tours and is currently working with Jason Mraz, John Meyer, Jack Johnson and the Honda Civic Tour as well as DMB. If you are so inclined and would like to volunteer at a DMB show near you, Reverb offers that opportunity. You will get some free swag, see the show and help save the environment!


Green Office Supplies

May 15, 2008

We’ve already written about ways to Greenify your office by using recycled paper, so the only thing I will reiterate there is that the cumulative effects of 100% recycled paper is staggering. A pallet of 100% recycled paper (40 cases) will save 24 trees, 7, 000 gallons of water, and 60 pounds of greenhouse gases.

Copier/printer paper is obvious, but did you know that you can purchase letterhead, envelopes, notebooks, self-stick note pads, pocket-folders and business cards made from recycled content as well?

Your office binders do not need to be made from vinyl. Rebinder Recycled Binders are made from corrugated cardboard and just as durable as vinyl covers. You can even get replacement covers should you need one!

If your office uses AA, AAA, B, C or D batteries, consider investing in rechargeable batteries and a solar charger.

Is there a dry erase/white board in your office? Artline makes a line of ECO-Green dry erase markers which are made from recycled materials and have a lower dose of that dry erase marker smell.

The office pens do not need to be left out of the campaign to Greenify! There are ballpoint pens available made from recycled CD cases, recycled plastic and recycled wood, not to mention that biodegradable pens are available!

If you ordinarily run out to the store for your office supplies, you may discover that you easiest way to order your green supplies is online. But with a little research and ingenuity, you can easily Greenify your entire office without spending much, if any more, than you ordinarily do.


Decorating Your Office In A Green Fashion

May 12, 2008

When thinking about the different ways to Greenify your office, have you considered the way you have decorated? There are many ways to incorporate sustainable and green items into your office décor.

Whether your walls are painted cream or bright yellow, VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds) from traditional paint can leach into your air for years after painting. If your walls are looking a little dingy, think about sprucing up with non-toxic paint, zero VOC or low VOC paint. Companies such as The Real Milk Paint Company  or the Old Fashioned Milk Paint Company  produce old fashioned milk paints which are green enough to be thrown on your garden. There are a number of other companies that manufacture non-toxic, zero and low VOC paints including corporations such as Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams.

After you’ve painted your walls, maybe you need some new artwork. Rather than an anonymous photo or motivational poster, why not green the coffers of a local artist? A local artist helps keep money in your community, which is all part of the Go Green movement. If you want something more personal, commission a painting series or photographs from a local artist.

Rugs do not need to be left out when decorating green. Consider rugs made from recycled soda bottles, wool carpets using no synthetics and eco-friendly fabrics such as those made from hemp or bamboo.

And finally, while bringing plants into the office may be the most common way we think of to Greenify our offices, it is definitely one of the most beneficial. NASA studies have proven that live plants can help clean the office air. The top ten plants to clean chemicals from the air are bamboo palm, Chinese evergreen, pot mum, Gerbera Daisy, Janet Craig, English Ivy, Marginata, Corn Plant, Mother-in-law’s tongue, Peace Lily and warneckii. These will help rid your office of benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene.


Greenify your lighting with CFLs

May 9, 2008

Compact Fluorescent Lights (aka CFL’s or CFB’s) seem to be on everyone’s top ten list of ways to conserve energy. Are they worth the hype?

Absolutely! CFL’s are a great way to Greenify your office and your home. CFL’s use 50-80% of the energy that incandescent bulbs use for the same number of lumens and last 7-15 times longer than an incandescent bulb. CFL’s are more expensive, but on the other than, they have gone down in price considerably over the last few years. Depending on how large a bulb you need, costs range from around $4.00 to just over $1.50 a bulb at the larger home improvement stores. Dimmable CFL’s have just recently hit the market as well.

There are a couple things to keep in mind when using Compact Fluorescent Lights. Like any fluorescent light, the bulb’s life is shortened if turned off and on frequently. If you have an area where you need light for only a few minutes at a time, use an incandescent bulb. CFL’s have a tiny bit of mercury in them, about as much as an average household thermometer. With that in mind, they need to be disposed of with hazardous waste, rather than with the trash. Should your CFL break, the EPA has suggested guidelines for site cleanup. CFL’s can be a little more effort than incandescent bulbs, but they are worth it.


Go Green and Reduce Your Junk Mail

May 6, 2008

If you keep all the junk mail you receive this year, you will end up with about 41 pounds of useless paper by the time New Year’s Eve 2008 rolls around. The environmental and financial costs of junk mail are enormous, 100 million trees are sacrificed, the production and disposal of junk mail uses as much energy as 3 million cars, 44 million pounds of junk mail is never opened before it is thrown away and barely a third of the junk mail is recycled. Local municipalities will collectively spend hundreds of millions of dollars to dispose of all this mail.

A few years ago, I remember reading in an environmentally friendly magazine (name purposefully withheld!) that they had determined that six subscription cards per magazine per issue was the ideal number. Apparently it was the most environmentally friendly and cost productive way they had to keep their subscription base. Well, lets see, at most I will use one subscription card. So that is 71 post cards a year I am throwing away- just me. This particular magazine has a paid subscription base of 350,000. That is almost 2,500,000 post cards thrown away- assuming that everyone who gets the magazine uses one post card!

The best way to Greenify and stop most junk mail from coming into your office or your home is to go to the Direct Marketing Association’s Mail Preference Service website and ask them to remove your name from their lists. You should include every variation of your company name that junk mail comes to.

However, that will not rid you of all your junk-mail problems. If you order something from a catalog, the company will continue to send you more catalogs unless you tell the company specifically to remove your name from their lists. Also, when ordering, remember to include these important words: “Please do not sell, rent or give my name away to any other organization.”  I’m off to the DMA site to remove myself from mailing lists!


Power of the Greenified Seal

May 2, 2008

Going green may be the hip thing to do, but it is more than just a trend. Many people are trying to incorporate being greener into their everyday lives and are making deliberate choices such as searching out companies who are green. Which brings me to today’s topic – why the Green Business Alliance Greenified Seal matters.

When you display the Greenified Seal on your website, your windows or in your office, you are telling your customers and clients that you have made a conscious effort to adopt environmentally friendly business practices. In fact, you have made such an effort that you have third party verification – someone else other than you is saying “yes, this company has demonstrated a commitment to going green.”

The Greenified Seal assures the new breed of consumers that the business they are considering is one that cares about the environment and its employees. There are organizations that one can purchase a membership to, but in order to receive the Green Business Alliance Greenified Seal, the company actually has to embrace a green philosophy. This step is enough to create sales and business from environmentally concerned consumers.


E-waste...how to reycle or reuse it

April 29, 2008

Inevitably, the technology equipment you invested in a few years ago, no longer meets the demands of your business. Or maybe you would just like a newer, shinier computer/printer/cell phone/what have you. But the old one is still functional, so what is the Green thing to do with your e-waste?

Fortunately, you have many alternatives! One of the easiest ways to recycle your cell phone is to donate it to a local domestic violence organization. Cell phones are generally able to dial 911 with no SIM card, and that may be all someone needs from a cell phone. If your company has many phones to dispose of, investigate options like ReCellular which will purchase your old cell phones, (with pre-paid postage for over 50 phones) or connect you to charitable programs such as Cell Phones for Soldiers.  I read earlier today that the amount of copper wire contained in cell phones disposed of each year could cover the Statue of Liberty, twice over. That’s a lot of copper!

If your computer or printer is still in generally good repair, one way to reuse is to call the local schools and see if they either need a used computer themselves or perhaps know of a student from a low-income household who could benefit from a computer. Computer donations to a non-profit institution may yield a tax deduction. Another option would be to Freecycle your computer. Dell, Apple, HP and other large companies offer recycling programs and your refuse hauler or local waste authority may offer a recycling program as well. If Waste Management services your neighborhood, they were the first electronics recycling company to achieve ISO 9001 and 14001 certification. Earth911 mentioned in Friday’s blog offers some other great tips for recycling e-waste.

No matter which recycling method you choose for your e-waste, keeping it out of the landfills helps you Greenify!


Office Recycling 101

April 25, 2008

One inquiry that is continually coming our way is “how do I start an office recycling program?” We know that the official celebration of Earth Day came and went earlier this week. We at Green Business Alliance are hopeful that our citizenry is beginning to realize that Earth Day is really EVERY day. Along these lines, an office recycling program can be implemented in a variety of fashions in order to allow all employees to participate in taking care of the environment on a day to day basis. We can all do at least a small part …at the very least throw a way a piece of paper in a special bin in order for that paper or cardboard to be recycled rather than pile-up in a land-fill.

Earth911 provides some great resources on how to get started with the 3 Rs...Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Anyone can contact their local Solid Waste Authority and ask about implementing an office recycling program. Keep in mind, office recycling is not limited to paper and cardboard. There are many items that can be recycled in an office ranging from aluminum cans to fluorescent tubes for lighting to many sources of e-waste (electronic waste like computers, VCRs, and cell phones). The point is to just do it. Just recycle something – paper, electronics, bottles and cans etc. It’s good for the environment, our land-fills and our future on this planet!


Earth Day Resolution #7 – Greenify

April 22, 2008

It’s hard to believe but it is finally Earth Day! This blog series began 55 days ago when many of us were seeing white (as in snow) but hoping for green (as in spring). Along the way we discussed Earth Hour, Earth Day music, eco-friendly water bottles, reusable shopping bags, green foods, green fundraisers for schools, and carbon footprints. We have now reached our seventh and final resolution for Earth Day 2008. We can sum it up in one word, 8 letters…

GREENIFY

This Earth Day resolve to make a permanent change to your daily habits by making the decision to Greenify at work and/or at home. Integrate environmental stewardship into your day-to-day routine. We at Green Business Alliance can help you to achieve this goal. By implementing our Guidelines to Greenify your home or company, you will not only have a positive impact on the environment, but also on those around you. You will send a message to others that you are a part of the go green movement and that you have taken action to ensure that your daily practices are eco-friendly. To learn more about how to Greenify, visit our business and residence pages.


Earth Day Resolution #6 – Going Green for Schools

April 18, 2008

For the past few weeks, the parents at my children’s school have been hearing about the upcoming spring fundraiser. One never knows what that is going to entail – selling cookie dough, chocolates, wrapping paper or magazine subscriptions. As I my kids became more excited about the ‘sale’ and the prospect of selling enough items to get that coveted grand prize, I became more concerned about which neighbors and family members were ‘on deck’ in the friendly rotation of supporting one another’s schools via the children’s fundraisers.

I was very pleasantly surprised when the folder came home in the backpack and it looked unfamiliar. My kids could not stop talking about the ‘Go Green’ sale they were having. “Go Green,” I asked? “Yes mom…you know Go Green as in doing something good for the earth,” the kids replied. I immediately opened the envelope to find an eco-friendly looking brochure from Growkids – help children/heal the earth. What a concept, the kids are going to sell items like seed collections, green foaming soap, reusable shopping bags and hemp frisbees. The school receives 50% of all proceeds, a tree is dedicated and planted for every sales participant and the products being sold are environmentally friendly. It seems like a win for all – the school, the kids, the buyers and our environment!  As Sarah Talley, the founder of Growkids states on her website, “I’m not ready to run off into the forest and forfeit all of the comforts of modern life ... but I am learning to walk a little softer on the earth.”

In the midst of my excitement I picked up the phone to tell a friend at a neighboring school. When I started to talk about the Go Green fundraiser at our school, my friend quickly responded with her school’s version of the Green sale…CFL light bulbs. Her school was having a CFL sale. We seem to be moving away from cookie dough, candy and magazine sales. How nice!

This Earth Day, resolve to help spread the word at your children’s school about Green fundraising opportunities. Face it, the school fundraiser is here to stay. It’s a right of passage for the youngsters. The cute faces knocking on your door eager to make a sale are not going away and I hope they never do. Why not teach the kids about the importance of doing the right thing for the environment while going green and helping their school at the same time! I hope that we can all walk a little gentler this year!


Green Business Alliance - Home Greenify For Better Business - Greenify Now