Friday, September 30, 2011

Another Small Step: Avoid Receipts

Unless I'm getting reimbursed for something, I really have no need for receipts. I understand that some people keep them for personal records or whatnot, but at this point in my life, my finances are fairly uncomplicated. Therefore, my latest eco goal is to avoid receipts. Some places (such as Starbucks) are nice enough to ask you if you need a receipt BEFORE they print one, thereby preventing unnecessary waste of paper.  At other places, I've asked them not to print a receipt, and besides the obvious awkwardness of admitting that I'm a crazy hippy, it usually goes over well. Unfortunately, there are yet other places, usually chains, that are required to print out a receipt with every purchase. This is understandable for clothing purchases since garment returning is common, but at my local Dunkin Donuts, there is a little note on the cash register that says "If your server does not give you a receipt, your purchase is free."
Why would I need a receipt for my $2 cup of coffee? I'm not going to return it, I'm not going to be reimbursed for it....yet they have to give me a receipt with every purchase or else?! hmmmm...

To make a long story short, only ask for receipts if you need them.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

BASG Networking Event Tonight

The Boston Area Sustainability Group is meeting tonight at the House of Blues for their bimonthly networking event. The event features local entrepreneur Mitch Tyson. Tyson is  currently advising a number of clean energy start-ups and clean energy investors and serves on a number of corporate, non-profit, and governmental advisory boards.  He also writes and lectures on clean energy, entrepreneurship, management, and the triple bottom line.

The event starts at 6pm tonight in The Foundation Room at the HoB. Don't forget to register
I'm going to try to make it, so hopefully I'll see you tonight!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Another Reason to Get a Bike

Heads up! T fares are going to increase in July 2012. They are expected to rise substantially since this will be the first price increase in about 5 years, and the T is suffering ongoing budget issues. But, don't give up on public transportation just yet - its still way cheaper than driving!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Boston Green Drinks Tonight!

Tonight Boston Green Drinks and Net Impact Boston have teamed up to co-host the monthly green drinks networking event. Net Impact Boston is an organization of professionals striving to make Boston area businesses socially and environmentally responsible. I look forward to learning more about Net Impact tonight.

See you at Kingston Station in the Financial District at 6pm! Oh, and don't forget to register.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Plant Bottle

There are many reasons to love Odwalla. Its delicious, doesn't have preservatives, and uses some organic ingredients (the percentage of which varies from flavor to flavor). Odwalla is also now packaged in "plant bottles" that are made from 100% renewable materials and are still 100% recyclable.
If only Odwalla was a little bit cheaper, I'd be buying it all the time!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

RRR: Nerd Alert

This is amazing - someone sculpted a Star Wars storm trooper helmet out of old Adidas sneakers! People never cease to amaze me. I love it! Read the full story at Ecouterre.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

6 Green Goals for Fall

Fall weather has returned to Boston overnight. I'm a little sad about saying goodbye to summer, but fall brings around some great green living opportunities. Here are a few of my fall-specific goals for this year:

1. Pick My Own - So many fruits and vegetables are in season in New England at this time of year, and I'd love to get out to the suburbs and pick my own apples, pumpkins, and maybe grab some squash from my parents veggie garden! Heading to farm stands in the suburbs is a great way to eat locally and support local agriculture. 

2. Have a Green Halloween - my goal is to not purchase anything new for my costume, but instead, to trade and  sew my own. 

3. Skip the Heat - I'm not turning up my thermostat until it is absolutely necessarily, thereby cutting my carbon footprint and saving myself some major cash.

4. Stick to Skin Deep Database Recommendations - the cold dry air is pretty damaging to my skin, so now is the time of year to stock up on paraben-free moisturizers. My goal is to only purchase skin products rated 2 or lower on the Skin Deep Database. 

5. Have a Mug Ready - As I switch from iced to hot coffee and put my cold tumbler away for the season, I need to remember to carry around my hot coffee mug! 

6. Wear Sunscreen - just because it isn't hot out anymore doesn't mean the sun isn't damaging your skin. I've been good about wearing my Burt's Bees Chemical Free Sunscreen everyday, and I'm not going to give it up just because its fall. 

What are you're green goals for fall? I'd love to hear how you're staying sustainable this season!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Cumberland Farms Introduces Reusable Chill Zone Cups

Every once in a while slushies are hard to resist. Cumberland Farm's Chill Zone features a variety of slush flavors, real fruit smoothies, and frappes! The greatest part about visiting the Chill Zone is that a large beverage is around 79 cents - which seriously puts McDonald's dollar menu to shame. Now, to make Cumby's Chill Zone even more irresistible, they allow people to use their own reusable cups and have reusable cups available for purchase that feature the Chill Zone character graphics. The only downside about the reusable cups designed for the Chill Zone is that they do NOT come with reusable lid. Hmmm.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Boston Green Drinks Launches New Website

This June the networking group Boston Green Drinks made a big comeback and is now a thriving monthly meetup. Now, it has a website to match! is your one stop place to find out when and where the next networking event is, find out about other local green events, and join green discussion via the new Boston Green Drinks blog. The re-vamped group has drawn diverse and enthusiastic crowds that has made for some great discussion. Plus, the group plans to feature guest speakers in the coming months so that the sessions can be even more informative.

One other reason I am super-excited about the new Boston Green Drinks website is that I am in charge of the site's event calendar! So if you'd like to get the word out about sustainability-themed events, shoot me an e-mail and I'll add it to the calendar.

Hope to see you at the next BGD!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Basics of Living Green

A sustainable lifestyle isn't about doing or not doing specific things, but rather, its about a way of thinking. The best and easiest way to live green is to consider sustainability in everyday decision making. Here are my tips to making the best green decisions:

1) Be a responsible consumer. Knowing what various labels on packaging means can help you make greener and more cost-effective shopping decisions. For example, the word "natural" is not strictly defined, so it may not be worth spending extra money to buy an item that has the word "natural" in the label. On the other hand, items that are labeled with a third party symbol - by Green Seal, Forest Stewardship Council, the USDA, or other organization, means that these items have met specific standards for sustainability, safety, and health.

2) Minimize your impact. Remembering to do simple things everyday can really make a difference over the longterm. Remembering to turn off lights, unplug electronics, take public transportation, and bring your own shopping bags are just a few tasks that require very little effort.

3) Get engaged. Attend a green networking event, lecture, festival! They are a great way to keep your green momentum and stay inspired!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Kendall CoGen Plant

Sustainability truly surrounds us, especially if you're looking for it. The photo below may seem like some yucky smoke stacks, but in reality it is part of the Kendall Square Cogeneration Plant. Cogeneration captures heat created during electricity production and uses the heat to create even more power instead of letting it go to waste. Cogeneration makes traditional powerplants incredibly more efficient and helps decrease the need for more fossil fuels and coal. Next time you're in Kendall Sq. take a look!

Monday, September 12, 2011

RRR: Blown Glass Vases

Yesterday was perfect weather to go check out the SOWA open market in the South End. I loved digging through all of the vintage clothes, furniture, and jewelry, but I was also impressed by many of the crafts tents that were set up outside. One tent contained recycled blown glass items! Check out these vases made from old vodka bottles:

Thursday, September 8, 2011

CVS Biodegradable Nail Polish Remover

I recently purchased CVS brand Biodegradable Formula Nail Polish Remover. It is acetone free, uses less plastic in its packaging that standard nail polish remover, and is labeled on unbleached paper. This was my first time dabbling into the realm of "eco" nail polish removers - it took a little getting used to, but overall, I liked it. First of all, the smell was about a thousand times better than the smell of acetone remover. Secondly, the remover, though a bit oily, felt as if it was really moisturizing my cuticles. I am definitely not going back to acetone, and after I finish this CVS bottle, I am excited to explore what other sustainable nail polish removers are on the market!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Offset your Jet Set

My calendar for September is filling with fun trips and opportunities, however, part of me feels a bit guilty about  flying to my destinations. Yesterday, I did a little research into purchasing carbon offsets, and it looks quite easy! And to my relief, purchasing offsets for my trips isn't that expensive!

To offset your trips (or anything else you do that is carbon-intensive) go to  and look over to the right side of the home page where it has offset options for "individuals." Then you use the carbon calculator for whatever you want to offset, and pay. Your money goes to a variety of programs that the Carbon Fund supports including renewable energy development projects, reforestation, and forest protection. And if you decide to purchase offsets from a different organization other than Carbon Fund, make sure to do some research into where your money is going!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Wine Bottle Candles

I'm back, and I'm almost healthy again! While away for the long weekend, I spotted a some very cool green products in a boutique in Old Town Alexandria, VA. Below is a photo of candles that were for sale that were poured in the bottom halves of wine bottles. What a great example of RRR!