Friday, July 20, 2012

Buy Local, Help Local….with SHOES!

Let’s start with a scenario…
A shoe made out of recycled materials..…that’s pretty sweet!
For every one of those shoes bought, a portion of the proceeds going to those in need of shoes…Awesome!
What about instead of sending those shoes to other counties (carbon heavy transport) they are first and foremost sent to those in need in the Triangle area….It can’t get any better!!

This scenario is not only plausible but happening! Kinder Soles is a flip-flop company started in Raleigh, N.C. by NC State graduate, Mark Saad. These flip flops are eco-friendly, made of recycled plastics and recycled industrial materials, and the most comfortable pair of shoes I’ve ever owned! It is extremely important to Saad that their carbon footprint is absolutely as low as possible. As if being environmentally responsible wasn’t enough for this N.C. company, Saad was very focused on getting involved with the footwear shortage movement and began a sister non-profit called SoleMates. SoleMates collects gently worn shoes within the United States and re-distribute them within our borders to those in need, starting in the Triangle.  So now when you buy a pair of Kinder Soles, a portion of the proceeds goes to the SoleMates Foundation and will shoe a local person in need.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Reusing and Repurposing - Don't Toss That!

This week, we are running our weekly Freebie Friday contest with the theme focusing on ways that you can reuse or repurpose items instead of trashing them. Beyond recycling, reusing or repurposing old items is an incredibly important part of the sustainability cycle. There are some very cool uses for random things that you might never have thought of. For instance, you can use a toothpick for a “place holder” on a roll of clear packing tape. We all know how frustrating it is to find the end and get it to tear off evenly. This way, you avoid wasting too much of the roll! Another great idea is to use an empty tissue box to store your plastic grocery bags. You can always recycle the bags at the grocery store, but if you like to keep a few on hand, a tissue box is a great way to store and dispense them – repurposing two different items! While you’re thinking about repurposing old items, the next best step is to support and purchase items that replace disposable items entirely. One example is LunchSkins, an incredible product created by moms to displace the amount of disposable baggies that were going into landfills every day. LunchSkin’s website states: “We’re on a mission to reduce the number of plastic baggies thrown out. Help us reach our 2015 goal of keeping more than 500 million plastic baggies out of landfills and waterways.” And the retailer ReUsit has so many amazing and affordable options. From glass straws to truly reusable paper towels, a “coffee brewer” that requires no filters and even reusable zip ties, they have a million ways to reduce your use of disposable items. In addition, 1% of their sales go to multiple environmental causes. Reducing and reusing never felt so good!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Buy Local! Buy Organic & Protect Your Health!

Do you ever shop organic at your local grocery store? Buying organic has its positives and negatives. On the negative side, organic products cost a bit more than conventional and don’t always look the greatest. And sometimes organics aren’t local, and therefore have a larger “travel footprint” than local, conventional produce for carbon emissions. However, consider the positives to see if they outweigh the negatives for you:  Purchasing fruits and vegetables (especially the dirty dozen) without pesticides or chemical residues on them can protect our health and that of the organic farm workers who aren’t exposed to potentially harmful substances. And fertilizers are converted from fossil fuels, so buying organic supports a more sustainable future for energy sources. This week, I bought local squash, zucchini and organic apples. Think outside of conventional  - support local farmers and your health by buying a portion of your groceries from greener sources! Take the pledge in this week's Friday Freebies contest and enter to win two organic cotton NC GreenPower tees (printed locally and planet-friendly by T.S. Designs in Burlington) AND a 1 pound bag of "breakfast roast" beans from organic and fair trade certified Cafe San Ramon, roasted locally by Counter Culture Coffee in Durham.

Ready to take the local food pledge? Join N.C.’s 10% Campaign and support the local economy! Visit your local farmer’s market or a find an “NC Farm Fresh” organic, pick-your-own or CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farm near you. 

Learn about organic farming at NC Organic launched by NC State University, an Organic Agriculture Internet Source for North Carolina Farmers. You can also follow them on their NC Alternative Crops and Organics blog

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Festival for the Eno - Celebrate environmental sustainability!

Since 1980, the Eno River Association has presented the annual Festival for the Eno in Durham City Park to help raise funds to secure land for parks, protect drinking water and provide habitat for creatures of all kinds. The festival is a 3-day event featuring nearly 100 musical artists on four stages, more than 100 craft artists, EEEK (Eno Environmental Education for Kids), hands on activities, demonstrations, non-profit booths, and many more family fun experiences. There is a common theme of sustainability and regional environmental awareness throughout the entire experience at the Eno. From their efforts for a “trash-free” festival with an award winning program, to activities that highlight the relationship between the river and the surrounding community, to sustainability workshops like how to make rain barrels and sustainable home tips. This year’s event will also celebrate and raise awareness about honey bee health, featuring bee demonstrations from the Orange County Beekeepers as well as informative presentations on promoting bee health in your own garden, bee-related games as well as an opportunity for kids to create their own hive. The first day of the festival was on July 4 – continue the celebration this weekend, Saturday, July 7th and Sunday, July 8th from 10am-6pm daily.
Head out to the Eno, support a great cause and have a ton of sustainable fun!!