2015 - Our Daily Green

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

How Ocean Pollution Affects Humans (infographic)

How ocean pollution affects humans How ocean pollution affects humans – Graphic by the team at DIVE.in

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Block Island Organics purifying facial cleanser (review & discount code included)

purifying facial cleanserOur Daily Green first became acquainted with Block Island Organics in 2014 when we tested their organic sunscreen. They recently contacted us to test and review their purifying facial cleanser.

The timing couldn't have been better. I recently underwent a series of allergy testing for what appeared to be serious eczema on my hands. My hands were dry, cracked, peeling, bleeding and swollen. I was in constant pain and no amount of doctor recommended "Intensive Repair, Very Dry Skin Lotion" was helping. I was slathering it on day and night and my hands just weren't improving, and in fact, were getting worse.

After weeks of misery, we opted to do the allergy patch test. When the results returned, we discovered that I have a severe allergy to a common ingredient used as a preservative in nearly every commercially produced body care and cleaning product on the market. Including the lotion. What is that ingredient you ask? CL+ME- isothiasolinone or Methylisothiazolinone, or MI, or the commercial name Kathon®. 

I spent over an hour at the local drug store reading one label after another, feeling more and more disappointed. If you scan almost every bottle of facial cleanser, shampoo, conditioner, dish detergent, laundry detergent, you'll find this ingredient near the bottom of the list. It's become a very common preservative in many products that contain water, as concern over parabens as a preservative have increased. Companies reformulated their products with a new preservative and it turns out, it causes contact dermatitis in quite a few folks. So much, that it was named Allergen of the Year in 2013 by the Dermatitis Society.

organic ingredients
This is why I am so delighted with the Block Island Facial Cleanser! Guess what they use as preservative? Trifolium pratense, or the biological name for Red Clover Extract. Created in nature, not a lab, this preservative will keep bacteria and mold from forming in the product without causing chemical contact dermatitis. I started to use this cleanser and besides not being allergic to it, I actually love it. It foams up gently, with coco polyglucose (a coconut oil based surficant) as the foaming agent which carries away the dirt and oil. Yet the cleanser doesn't  leave your skin dry or tight, just clean and glowing. And though I'm not really given to "selfies" I thought I would show you how nicely it cleans my face, firsthand & un-retouched. Talk about truth in advertising, huh?

You can order any of the Block Island products and Our Daily Green readers will receive an exclusive 20% discount. Simply use the code kimu when you check out to receive your discount good through October 21, 2015.


Our Daily Green is happy to work with Block Island.
We received the facial cleanser free of charge, but our opinions are completely our own. 








Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Five ways to keep animals from harming your lawn

backyard pests
image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Taking good care of a lawn or yard makes your property both beautiful looking and inviting. The trouble is the property might end up being inviting to animals. Even those who love our four-legged friends do not want to see the creatures ruin a lawn. To keep such a disaster scenario from occurring, here are five tips to protecting a lawn or yard from animals.


  • Fence off a yard or lawn.

  • Putting a fence around the lawn or yard is going to make it a bit tough for animals to easily traverse on your property. While it is true that certain animals can jump or climb over the fence, not every beastie is going to be inclined to do so. If the animal smells rotting garbage (i.e. food) elsewhere, then walking past your fence to another home is going to be its plan. Of course, if the animal smells food on the other side of your fence, the barrier is not going to necessarily be all that effective. This brings us to the next point.


  • Rake the lawn of all debris that might attract animals.

  • Simply keeping a yard "mostly" clean and throwing away all garbage is really not advisable. A soda can that rolls out of the recycling bin and under a hedge has enough sugar inside of it to draw in curious animals. Those animals just might end up causing a lot of havoc and damage to the yard.
    As often as possible, get out your rake and clean up anything that might attract animals. Your furry neighbors cannot do damage to the lawn or yard if they choose to skip it and visit a debris strewn neighbor's place. You may even wish to get into the habit of disposing trash as far away from your property as possible. Again, give the creatures no incentive to visit.


  • Add a Repellent

  • To spray effective natural repellent products on the lawn is a humane way to keep animals at bay. The minute a domestic or wild animal comes across an unfamiliar scent, he/she probably is going to choose to stay far away from the property. Similarly, you do not want to add any scents to the lawn that draws these animals in.



  • Set up motion detector lights.

  • Yes, those same lights that are used to scare away burglars might prove to be effective in chasing away some animals. Perhaps a deer or a raccoon that wanders onto your property is going to be spooked the second a light turns on out of the blue. Animals are always fearful of predators, which is why they prefer to move at night and under the cover of darkness.
    The mysterious and unexpected appearance of a flashing light could lead an unwanted visitor to depart the scene. Honestly, you cannot rely exclusively on the lights to chase animals away just as you could not rely solely on them to chase away burglars.


  • Do not grow natural food sources.

  • Perform a little research into what type of plants and flowers are a major part of the diet of animals living in your area. Then, simply do not grow them. If such plants and flowers are on your lawn, perhaps it may be best to dig them up and offer a less inviting replacement.

    Our Daily Green wants to thank today's sponsor for their responsible tips to living in harmony with nature. 

    Saturday, July 18, 2015

    Safe and all-natural solutions for bed bugs

    It is understandable that the environment has become a major concern for a large percentage of the population. Companies are trying to come up with eco-friendly solutions for just about anything. This includes the pest control industry. Standard pesticides are not good for the environment. As a result of the concern about the harm that pesticides are doing to the world around us, there have been many companies that have developed pest control formulas that are made from all-natural substances. This means that they will kill the insects they are supposed to target, without harming the environment in the process. Here are some advantages to using pesticides that will not harm the environment.

    1. Pets will be safe

    One of the biggest fears of pet owners is that their pets will get sick from licking a surface that has been coated with a harmful pesticide. However, when a natural bed bug killer or other natural pesticide is used, it will not cause any harm to animals that might happen to ingest it. These pesticides are specially formulated to only harm the insects they are designed to kill, not any other animals.

    2. Plants will not be harmed

    Trees and gardens are often the victim of pesticides. These chemicals can cause a great deal of damage to fragile plant life. If you have a garden that you will be planting vegetables in, you do not want to be eating your vegetables after they have been covered with regular pesticides. If all-natural pesticides are used, these will allow plants to grow as they are supposed to. It will also not cause humans any harm, although you should always wash off any vegetable before you eat it.

    3. More effective than traditional pesticides

    It is no secret that many species of insects are developing a strong resistance to traditional pesticides. If the same types of chemicals are used repeatedly during the extermination process, it will become harder to kill these insects. This is why bio-insecticides are being used by both consumers and professional exterminators. Insects have not had time to develop a resistance to these all-natural products. This means that people will not have to spend a lot of money hiring exterminating services to come out to their house again and again because the insects have returned. Bio-insecticides are much more likely to eliminate an insect infestation once and for all when they are used.




    Thursday, July 9, 2015

    How is corrugated cardboard recycled?

    photo courtesy of: Wikimedia Commons
    As more and more consumers and businesses begin to utilize mail order shopping, the market for corrugated cardboard continues to increase. The good news from an environmental viewpoint is that cardboard is easily recycled and reused, in a simple process. So how do cardboard boxes get recycled?

    The corrugated cardboard is separated and then bundled with equipment such as the QCR balers. Baling the cardboard allows for efficient and space-saving transportation, saving valuable resources.

    Once the cardboard is put into a bale, it is sent back to the paper mill to be reprocessed.

    photo courtesy of:
    Chris 73 / Wikimedia Commons
    At the mill, the corrugated cardboard bale is broken open and the cardboard is put into a vat with water and an agitator, somewhat like a big blender. The resulting pulp is then strained for contaminants, such as metal staples, ropes, or plastic straps.

    The fiber solution then is pressed between rollers to remove additional water. It heads to a dryer where it is rolled onto spools weighing up to 60 tons. Those spools of pressed fiber then are separated into individual rolls weighing up to 3 tons, and the paper rolls are ready to be turned into the 3 layer product we know as corrugated cardboard.

    We'd like to thank today's post sponsor for ongoing work towards
     environmentally responsible waste management and recycling. 


    Wednesday, July 8, 2015

    Three improvement strategies your cleaning company should implement

    These days, many cleaning companies are interested in optimizing their businesses. Whether this optimization is conceptualized in terms of increased conversion or an expanded sphere of influence, there are numerous ways to put the growth process in motion. Here are three:

    1. Buy supplies online.

    Although most business owners understand that time is money, not all of them capitalize on this reality by saving time however they can. Don't make this mistake. By learning how to save time now, you can increase your company's daily efficacy and improve your bottom line. One effective way to save money is by buying your cleaning supplies online. Companies such as Empacs provide clients with a wide range of janitor supplies that will make the cleaning process simple and effective.

    2. Advertise via internet

    In addition to purchasing your supplies online, it's a good idea to advertise your cleaning company's services via internet. These days, more and more consumers are going online to access the goods and services they need. This includes cleaning services. By finding a top notch digital marketing agency, you can attain the assistance necessary to build a strong online campaign. Typically, a good online advertising agency will be able to provide you with a plethora of services, including but not limited to web design and development, search engine optimization (SEO), social media optimization (SMO), and online reputation management (ORM).

    3. Focus on employee development.

    One final strategy you should consider deploying to keep your cleaning company in a state of perpetual growth is placing emphasis on employee development. This strategy is important and effective because of the primary role that employees play in determining how efficacious a company's daily operations turn out to be. In recognizing the fact that employees play an integral role in determining the success of a company, it's important that you focus on helping them optimize their personal and professional potential. One of the simplest and most effective ways to do this is to offer them ongoing educational opportunities.

    Conclusion

    If you're serious about ensuring that your cleaning company reaches its full potential, it's important for you to access success strategies that work. By purchasing your supplies online, investing in internet advertising, and focusing on employee development, you can extend your company's sphere of influence and attain the optimal conversion rates you desire.

    Thank you to today's sponsor for their suggestions for improving your cleaning business. 

    Monday, July 6, 2015

    Week #4: Community Supported Agriculture - featuring Rainbow Swiss Chard

    The past few weeks, our CSA has consistently provided Swiss Chard. I absolutely love Swiss Chard, to me it's like spinach with a backbone.

    Chard in the Victory Garden
    By mercedesfromtheeighties
    (Chard in the Victory Garden) via Wikimedia Commons
    As I mentioned last week, my spouse's Lebanese sitto (grandma), always used Swiss chard instead of spinach in her fatayer. What I didn't mention is that the leftover filling once you run out of the pastry is called (I cannot quite spell it phonetically, but I'll try...) Salee.

    I want to share our salee recipe. I combined the kale and Swiss chard. To prepare the kale, you need to chop it, boil it and then squeeze the water out. That keeps it from being too tough and bitter. The Swiss chard doesn't require the same treatment. Cooking with CSA ingredients requires flexibility. You don't know what you're going to get, but the benefits of cooking with fresh seasonal ingredients is well worth the surprise!

    • 8 cups greens (spinach, Swiss chard, kale, etc.)
    • 1 ½ cups yellow onion, finely diced
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
    • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 1 teaspoon allspice


    I chopped the chard and prepared kale and sprinkled it with the salt. While the greens and salt are resting, I chopped my fresh onion that also came with my CSA. Mix the onion with the pepper, lemon juice, and cinnamon & allspice. Combine with greens and then put into microwave safe dish. Microwave on medium power until onions are soft, about 3-5 minutes.

    Enjoy!

    This week's box included:

    • Summer squash
    • Zucchini
    • Chard
    • Head lettuce
    • Cucumber
    • Onion
    • Cauliflower
    • Kale
    • Radishes
    • Blueberries


    Tuesday, June 23, 2015

    Week #3 Community Supported Agriculture: featuring lots and lots and lots of lettuce

    This is the season when lettuce is exploding from local gardens. With week three's CSA, I had almost three full pounds of lettuce. As much as I am slightly embarrassed to admit, I have gotten spoiled by the washed and prepped grocery store lettuce. "It's so convenient!" I tell myself. Until I taste lettuce that was just picked that day. Taste trumps convenience but I've found a wonderful way to have both that I must share with you.

    I filled my sink with water and submerged all three pounds of lettuce, rinsing the dirt from the leaves. I removed all the cores and loosely tore up the leaves and shook as much water as I could from them.

    Look how fresh and crisp that is! 
    Portion family-serving sizes of the lettuce and lay it in the middle of a thin cotton towel (a tea towel). 
    Didn't even make a dent in the bowl
    Fold the towel over each side, swaddling the tender leaves.  


    Roll each towel up gently, to absorb the water and keep the lettuce fresh. 


    When ready to serve, simply unroll the towel into the bowl... 


    And fluff the greens... VOILA! 



    What I really like about this method of preserving my lettuce is that it is waste free. I used to wash lettuce and stick it in individual plastic bags with a few paper towels. But by using cloth towels, I can use them over and over. I've been trying more and more to minimize the plastic in our lives and re-using items instead.

    Mama Daily Green used to do something like this in the "pre-salad spinner" days -- can you even imagine a day when salad spinners didn't exist? She sewed towels into bags to dry the lettuce. Of course that was after we walked uphill 10 miles each way in the snow to pick the lettuce.

    Besides the lettuce, we also received:

    • Strawberries -- oh they are so good and disappeared so quickly. 
    • Chard -- another favorite way to use chard is as filling for fatayer, a Lebanese spinach pie. Sitto (my husband's grandmother always used Swiss chard instead of spinach). 
    • Cucumber -- first one of the season and it went deliciously into one of the many salads we've been enjoying
    • Zucchini -- Noodleless Zucchini Lasagna. While it was delicious, even after salting and squeezing the moisture out of my sliced zucchini "noodles", it was still very soupy. I'm open to suggestions to recreate the recipe with less moisture. 
    • Shell peas -- washed and snacked on. 



    Monday, June 15, 2015

    Week #2 Community Supported Agriculture: featuring strawberries

    Even though we're only on our second week of our Community Supported Agriculture, we've already learned a few things. Over the years, we've forgotten what it's like to eat seasonally. The artificial ripening and shipping of crops from around the globe has dulled our taste buds to the flavors of what is locally ripe and available. We forget how awful the firm but lacking-in-flavor red berries that masquerade as strawberries are any other time of the year but June (in Ohio).

    But last week, in addition to our share, we also went strawberry picking at a local farm. Sixteen quarts of strawberries later, we were on our way to strawberry jam, strawberry ice cream, strawberry smoothies, strawberry salad, strawberry shortcake, etc. We felt like the Bubba Gump Shrimp of strawberries.

    Bubba: Anyway, like I was sayin', shrimp is the fruit of the sea. You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, saute it. Dey's uh, shrimp-kabobs, shrimp creole, shrimp gumbo. Pan fried, deep fried, stir-fried. There's pineapple shrimp, lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp, pepper shrimp, shrimp soup, shrimp stew, shrimp salad, shrimp and potatoes, shrimp burger, shrimp sandwich. That- that's about it.

    weighing the strawberries for the jam

    Six of the sixteen quarts

    Between picking strawberries and our weekly share, we were able to share our strawberries with friends and strangers. We gave a handful to the kids at the library where we picked up our share then gave one to some young college interns at a networking event. We also shared some of the strawberries with our neighbors. We think we won over some folks to the benefits of in-season fruit. Or more accurately the strawberries won them over!

    While they are still in season, we'll also share one of our favorite hints on keeping the berries from molding (provided you actually don't eat them all in one sitting). This works on any berry, including raspberries and blackberries. Gently wash the berries in a solution of 1 part white vinegar to 10 parts water. The vinegar kills the mold spores in the berries and they will stay fresh longer. 

    This week's share included: 

    • Strawberries
    • Napa Cabbage: we are going to make what else? A Napa cabbage and strawberry salad 
    • Red Leaf Lettuce: wilted lettuce
    • Chicory: Greens with a caveat. Chicory is quite bitter. It must be boiled and squeezed out before you eat it unless you enjoy extremely bitter food. Save the water you boil it in for houseplants. 
    • Kale: Colcannon
    • Snow Peas: eat raw as a snack and add to stir-fry. 


    Friday, June 12, 2015

    Natural, organic pest control solutions for the summer

    As the weather heats up, the bugs come out, and many homeowners find themselves searching for ways to keep insects out of their homes. There are countless forms of chemical treatment out there, but if you're looking for something that's more environmentally friendly, you may have to get a little creative. Here are a few ways that you can control some of the most common summer pests without using chemicals that are harmful to the environment.

    Mosquito Control

    Photo courtesy of: FreshGreenKim
    Mosquitoes are a common pest during the summer, especially when you want to sit outside and have a nice evening barbecue. If you want to keep the mosquitoes away, try a few of these natural methods for repelling them:
    • Rosemary and sage: If you're using your barbecue, try putting some rosemary or sage on the hot coals. The smoke will repel mosquitoes.
    • Garlic juice: You can make your own mosquito-repelling spray by mixing 1 part garlic juice with 5 parts water. Put it in a spray bottle and apply to exposed skin to repel mosquitoes for up to 6 hours. You can also soak strips of cotton in this mixture and hang them up to repel mosquitoes in a certain area.
    • Flowers: Planting certain flowers in your garden can repel mosquitoes while beautifying your yard. Catnip, marigolds, rosemary, lemon balm, and citronella grass will all repel mosquitoes.

    Ant Control

    Cucumis sativus Blanco2.299
    Illustration courtesy of:
     Wikimedia Commons
    Ants can be bothersome at a picnic, but they're a nightmare when they start making their way into your home. If you have an ant problem in your home, try some of these environmentally friendly forms of ant control:
    • Cucumber: Many species of ants are repelled by cucumber. Place some slices or peels near points of entry or in areas where ants are most active.
    • Mint: Mint is another plant that naturally repels ants. You can plant this herb near points of entry, place a few sprigs around your kitchen, or even use bags of mint tea to repel these insects.
    • Cornmeal: Ants' digestive systems can't process cornmeal, but they're still attracted to it. Place small piles of cornmeal where you see ants, and they will take it back to the nest; it can take about a week, but eventually the colony should die off from eating the cornmeal.

    Fly Control

    Another common pest in the summer is the house fly. Though they're harmless insects, they're a major irritant, and they can leave germs everywhere they go. Try some of these natural fly repellents to keep them at bay:
    • Herbal bags: Create bags from small pieces of cheesecloth and fill them with crushed bay leaves, mint, eucalyptus, or cloves. Hang or place them around the house to repel flies.
    • Basil: You can plant this herb near your doors or keep it in small pots inside to help repel flies as well as mosquitoes.
    • Eucalyptus oil: Apply a few drops of eucalyptus oil to a cloth or rag, and leave it somewhere flies tend to congregate; the scent will drive them off and leave you with a fly-free zone.

    These forms of natural pest control are quick, simple ways to handle some of the most common pests you'll see this summer without damaging the environment or exposing your family to potentially harmful chemicals. For more long-term solutions, many pest control companies now offer environmentally friendly pest control treatments.

    We'd like to thank today's sponsors at Critter Control of Florida for these helpful hints. 

    Wednesday, June 10, 2015

    Introducing Straw Straws

    It's a drinking straw, made from straw!

    From the "I wish I had thought of that" department, these all-natural straws are grown, not made from plastic, and could be a greener way to slurp your smoothie.

    Sometimes the most sustainable way forward is backward, and considering the environmental havoc that plastics are creating in our world, perhaps it's time for the old-school method of making drinking straws from the stalks of rye to have its day in the sun again.

    I'm not a fan of drinking straws, and can't actually remember the last time I opted to use one, but when you have kids, you do all sorts of things you never thought you would, and straws are now a part of our daily life because my children love to use them. And because plastic tends to be a handy material for a lot of consumer goods, even though it's a complete environmental boondoggle, I'm always on the lookout for more responsible alternatives.

    We've tried glass straws, which are really great until they hit the floor and shatter (contrary to some of the claims of the makers of borosilicate glass straws, they aren't that durable, and certainly can't stand up to a three foot drop onto porcelain tile), so we've switched over to stainless steel straws. But a new alternative is on the way, and if this Kickstarter project reaches its goal, straws made from actual straw could be another way to get the plastic out of our lives.

    According to the book Sundae Best: A History of Soda Fountains, customers of restaurants and soda fountains that were concerned about touching their lips to a glass that another customer used (and which might not be disinfected), were offered straws made from the stalks of rye grass, hand-cut and cured as a sideline by farmers that already grew rye for animal feed. In the late 1880s, however, Marvin C. Stone was unsatisfied with using rye straws, and invented the paper straw (which was made with paraffin-coated manila paper), and rye straws went out of fashion.

    Straw Straws is bringing them back, and while they won't last nearly as long as a plastic straw, they are biodegradable and renewable, and could help provide a greener alternative to the 500 million plastic straws used every single day.

    Alex Bennett, founder and Chief Straw Man of Straw Straws, has this to say:

    The straws are hand-harvested and hand-cut from pesticide-free winter rye grown in Germany, and are sterilized and "approved by the FDA as a food contact substance." Straw Straws will also be grown in two locations in Maine by this Boston-based startup, which also pledges that Bennett "will not pay himself any money for one year from the time the Kickstarter launches."

    The Kickstarter campaign for Straw Straws seeks to raise $12,500 by July 7th to fully launch the product, and backers can be the first to receive a package of these biodegradable drinking straws with a pledge of $25 or more.

    Our Daily Green is happy to support this effort. We have not been compensated in any way for posting this article, we just think that Straw Straws are great and we'd love to see them succeed. 

    Monday, June 8, 2015

    Five tips for better vehicle maintenance

    The longevity of your car has a lot to do with how you take care of it. But what if you aren't sure which checks you should be performing on a regular basis? What steps can you take to keep your vehicle fully operational for decades to come? Here are just a few tips for better automobile maintenance.

    US Army 53009 Car Show brings good turnout
    Petty Officer 2nd Class Steven L. Shepard (United States Army)
    [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

    1. Know Your Car


    You should understand everything that goes on under the hood. You should know all about emissions, gas mileage and powertrain components. Take some time to learn more if your car knowledge isn't what it could be. If you aren't familiar with the inner workings of your vehicle, it'll be that much harder to recognize a problem when it appears.


    2. Change The Oil


    It may sound like an obvious suggestion, but you'd be surprised how many drivers are surprised when they realize how long it's been since their last oil change. Put it on your calendar so you won't forget. Your engine will thank you.


    3. Wash It Regularly


    Not only will it improve the shine of your car's exterior, but by hosing off all the salt, dirt and congealed nastiness from your underbelly, you'll also help to prevent damage and decrease aerodynamic drag. This in turn will boost your fuel economy.


    4. Inspect Your Tires


    Your wheels should be firm, tough and free of any accumulated debris. You'll also want to make a habit of greasing your wheel bearings so they stay lubricated enough to prevent wear down the line. Grease is cheap, but replacement spindles aren't.


    5. Check Your Readings


    You should be glancing at your dashboard every time you climb in the driver's seat. Are your brake lights blinking? Did you forget the all-important oil? Don't ignore any warnings given to you by your car. This is the kind of procrastination that leads to expensive repairs when the problems can't be brushed aside anymore.


    If you're hoping to keep your car around for a long time, use these tips to boost performance and prevent malfunctions. Your vehicle is one of the most valuable things you own, so take care of it properly!

    One of the key points to Our Daily Green's philosophy is less consumption and taking care of what we already own.We are so grateful to today's sponsor for these helpful hints to care for our car. 

    What is Community Supported Agriculture?

    Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is actually an idea that has been around the United States since the mid-1980s. As the local food movement grows, more and more folks are looking for ways to eat seasonal, local vegetables and fruits. Yet only 2% of the population actively farms. While Our Daily Green has a small garden with some of our favorite vegetables and herbs, we lack the space and time to grow all our own food. This is where CSAs come in. From the USDA publication library:

    In basic terms, CSA consists of a community of individuals who pledge support to a farm operation so that the farmland becomes, either legally or spiritually, the community's farm... Typically, members or "share-holders" of the farm or garden pledge in advance to cover the anticipated costs of the farm operation and farmer's salary. In return, they receive shares in the farm's bounty throughout the growing season... Members also share in the risks of farming, including poor harvests due to unfavorable weather or pests. By direct sales to community members, who have provided the farmer with working capital in advance, growers receive better prices for their crops, gain some financial security, and are relieved of much of the burden of marketing.

    This is the first year Our Daily Green has joined our local CSA and we've recently received our first week's share. In the past we would haphazardly find farm markets, pick and choose a handful of items but rarely try anything new or different. We spent the weekend searching for recipes and realized that this would make a great weekly feature, how we used our share. This summer, each Monday, be sure to check out Our Daily Green for recipes from our produce share and share any ideas of your own.

    In the future, we will feature step by step photographs. Since the idea came this week as we were washing our last dish, you'll have to imagine how delicious everything looked.

    Here are the foods that came in this week's share and how we have used it so far:

    • Swiss Chard: Swiss Chard & Feta Tart from Jamie Oliver's recipes.  
    • Green Leaf Lettuce: Wilted lettuce with bacon & onion dressing 
    • Strawberries: just washed and devoured-- SO delicious this time of year -- heading back to same farm for Pick My Own later this week to make jam & strawberry ice cream 
    • Lettuce Mix: fresh salad
    • Bok Choy: stir fried with teriyaki, onion, and wasabi.       
    • Asparagus: haven't used it yet, but love asparagus on the grill, broiled or in a quiche 
    • Scapes (583373543)
      Garlic Scapes courtesy of:
      Dwight Sipler from Stow, MA, USA via Wikimedia Commons
    • Hinona Kabu Turnip: never had seen or heard of these before, but they are an heirloom vegetable. As you know, I used the greens in my pesto, but the turnips tasted something like a very mild radish and cabbage. Reminded me somewhat of kohlrabi. I decided to experiment with lacto-fermentation (which worked beautifully for my pickles last summer). Will let you know in a few weeks how this went.  
    • Garlic Scapes: Originally thought to make pesto but only received 4 scapes, which would make about a tablespoon... then I glanced at the fluffy green turnip tops and VOILA! our pesto was saved. We'd made pesto with radish tops before. Pesto actually will work with any most leafy greens. Don't let them go to waste. Turnip green & garlic scape pesto, with olive oil, pine nuts, a pinch of salt, and Parmesan cheese. Whirl in a food processor and enjoy over pasta or served on crusty bread. 
    Stay tuned every Monday for our CSA report. If you want to join a CSA in your community, just search Local Harvest by zipcode for the one nearest you.


    Friday, June 5, 2015

    What to do with dead batteries (guest post)


    Some rights reserved by JohnSeb
    I used to think it was illegal to put batteries in regular trash, but that is exactly what New York instructs its residents to do. Except in California, D-cell and smaller alkaline batteries are not considered hazardous waste for trash disposal purposes. (The Environmental Protection Agency includes batteries in its list of hazardous household waste.)

     All batteries combine two metals and an electrolyte. Alkaline batteries use zinc, manganese, and for the electrolyte, either potassium hydroxide or  sodium hydroxide.

    These electrolytes leak out of damaged batteries. They are corrosive,  reactive, and unstable when exposed to water. They cause severe burns if they come in contact with skin or eyes. They are definitely considered hazardous in large quantities, but legally at least, the amount of either metals or electrolytes in batteries is considered to pose no environmental or health risks.

    photo from: Mathieu BOIS  via Wikimedia Commons
    Just because something is legal does not make it right. No responsible chemistry teacher would ever allow students to conduct the crazy experiment that takes place in modern landfills. Chemicals that ought to be kept separate mingle there.

    The water that percolates through the landfill soaks every battery discarded there, where the electrolytes combine with bleach, ammonia, and countless other chemicals that necessitate elaborate and expensive leachate collection systems. Rechargeable batteries, which contain mercury, and lithium batteries make their own additional contributions to this toxic broth.

    Legal recognition of hazardous household wastes has come only fairly recently. These include paints, cleaners, oils, pesticides, and electronic wastes. It is illegal to put any recognized hazardous household waste in the trash.

    Consider dead batteries hazardous household wastes even if they do not meet the legal definition in your jurisdiction. And don't forget rechargeable appliances with non-removeable batteries. What to do with hazardous substances depends on where you live.

    Some communities, and I hope all medium-sized to large cities and suburban areas, have hazardous household waste drop off centers that are open year-round. Other communities designate certain days when residents can drop their hazardous wastes. A few communities might not offer any collection of hazardous household wastes at all.

    If your community does not have a drop off center, or if you don't know where yours is, visit Earth911.com or phone them at 1-800-CLEANUP (1-800-253-2687).  You can also purchase a mailing box from The Big Green Box™ and mail your batteries to them. The price of the box includes all postage, handling, and disposal fees.

    Thank you for today's post from writer David Guion who publishes the blog Sustaining Our World and has written multiple e-books on sustainability.


    Thursday, May 28, 2015

    The world's easiest way to peel eggs (even farm fresh!)

    One of the persistent myths about hard-boiled eggs is that if you want to peel them, they must be "old eggs" because farm fresh eggs don't peel easily since they stick to the shell.

    This put me in a conundrum, because I like farm eggs, but that makes it tough to make deviled-eggs and some of my other favorite recipes. For many years, I found myself buying "old eggs" when I wanted to peel them.

    Then I discovered how to peel eggs in a jar. Here are my farm fresh eggs (from my friends at Jackson 'Maters) and one of the pint jars I received from Ball canning last fall.


    (how cute is the egg with the birthmark? lower right corner)

    my gorgeous green glass Ball jars


    You have to see it to believe it, so I videotaped myself peeling a farm fresh egg (before realizing I had dishes drying in the background... but check out the fact that YES, I do wash & dry my plastic zipper bags).


    video

    Things to consider when choosing diamond jewelry

    When it comes to diamond jewelry, it's nice to know that a company is following some sort of standards and assurances that the diamonds are from socially responsible sources. In April 2003, The United States of America passed a law adopting the Kimberley Process, which requires all US diamond retailers to buy all their diamonds only from manufacturers who have documentation warranting that the diamonds were obtained through legitimate channels. Our Daily Green recently had a chance to review a piece of jewelry from Anjolee.

    Here is a breakdown of the pros and cons of shopping for diamond jewelry with Anjolee

    PROS:

    Customization - you can customize your jewelry by gemstone, gold color, and carat size to create a piece that is exactly your taste. This is a great opportunity to choose a personal gift for your favorite graduate or wedding party as the season is coming into full force. Nothing says forever like quality jewelry. Additionally, at the time of shopping, you are able to order a replica of the jewelry in silver and CZ for a nominal fee.
    save 15% (use coupon code 15SP37 at checkout)

    Commitment to the Environment - Anjolee utilizes a green manufacturing process when they make your jewelry. They recycle all materials and prevent any unnecessary toxic discharge to the environment.

    Comprehensive online ordering and free shipping - ordering a custom piece of jewelry is convenient and time saving. They also offer a 30 day money back guarantee.

    Elegant presentation - The ring I received for review is a replica of the Millgrain Edge Diamond Eternity Band set in sterling silver. It came in a lovely box with a built in LED light to showcase the jewelry.



    CONS: 


    The Kimberley Process - This regulatory system does not require individual diamonds to be traceable to their mine of origin.Governments often give Kimberley Process certification to diamonds with unknown histories – making it easy to smuggle banned diamonds into the certified supply. While this is not necessarily the fault of the jeweler purchasing the diamonds, neither should it be touted as a selling point. Fair-trade diamonds have a more traceable and ethical certification and have a more clear supply chain.

    Price point - Anjolee sells high end jewelry and there is very little available to the consumer under $1000.  While Anjolee does a great job of providing video displays and detailed photos, it's difficult to make a purchase of such expense sight unseen, although the money-back guarantee is assuring.

    Our Daily Green is happy to share this information with our readers. If you know exactly what you want in a piece of jewelry, shopping with Anjolee will save you many miles and hours of traveling to find the perfect piece. You can design it from the comfort of your own home and be wearing it within a week.

    To see more of their pieces: find Anjolee: The Art of Jewelry on Facebook

    Disclosure: In order for Our Daily Green to evaluate the company's products,  we received a silver and cubic zircon replica valued at $114.00 free of charge. All opinions shared are strictly my own. 


    Friday, May 22, 2015

    Waste to Riches: how recycled filament can transform the 3D printing industry

    recycled plasticLet’s face it: plastic isn’t great for our environment. There are giant landfills of plastic in countries around the world, a small island of plastic floating in the Pacific Ocean, and plastic bags that carry our purchases from most stores. That’s a lot of waste, but it’s also a tremendous opportunity. Imagine if we could harness our plastic bottles, bags, and packaging to create brand new items and drastically reduce our carbon footprint. That’s the idea behind new 3D printers like the EKOCYCLE Cube, which employs a special filament made from 25% recycled plastic. Equal to about three 20oz PET bottles, it’s a welcome trend in the 3D printing world. As we head into a more sustainable age, here are some of the exciting features to expect with a recycle-ready printer.


    • 1. More Affordable Filament:

    Typically, filament cartridges for a standard 3D printer will set you back around $50. The plastic material isn’t cheap to fabricate and then roll into a spool, but production costs go down considerably when you use recycled plastic instead. In fact, it’s often more energy-efficient to recycle household polymers (like milk jugs and shampoo bottles) through a 3D printer than taking them to a recycle plant. This is especially true when the recyclable materials need to be transported long distances before being reprocessed. Printers like the EKOCYCLE have brought us one step closer to a fully recyclable system, where you can feel good about buying sustainable filament and spend less money in the process.


    • 2. More Recyclable Materials: 

    Organizations like the Plastic Bank and the Ethical Filament Foundation have made it their mission to bring awareness to our filament usage and set environmentally friendly trends for 3D printing. The Plastic Bank understands that plastic waste is an enormous problem around the world, so they’ve created a printing center to educate poor citizens in developing countries about recycling their plastic. These wasted resources are worth around $15 a kilogram when processed into filament, so it’s a real opportunity for people to improve their financial situation and clean up their towns in the process. To achieve similar goals, the Ethical Filament Foundation works with companies to increase the use of recycled filament. In this emerging market, they want to set clear environmental standards for the industry.


    • 3. New Printing Sources:

    Right now, 3D printing uses around 30 million pounds of plastic per year, and it’s expected to reach 250 million pounds by the end of the decade. To offset some of that consumption, designers have been coming up with new printers that harness glass and sand as a resource. Glass has the potential to become a bigger source for 3D printers, although the recycling technology is still in its early stages. Creative engineers like Markus Kayser are already using sand as a printer source — he created a printer called the SolarSinter to harness sunlight and melt down sand in the middle of the desert.

    Thursday, May 7, 2015

    Radon detection in the home

    Feeling tired or sick? You might have a radon problem.


    Radon is a type of naturally occurring gas that can come from the soil outside your home, leaks in your home or even cracks in your foundation. As the soil in your lawn or garden releases large amounts of this gas, cracks in the foundation and windows and damage to other parts of your home allows the gas to enter your bedroom and other parts of your home.

    Using kits at home


    An easy and simple way to find out if you have radon gas in homes is with a leak detection kit. You can find these kits online and from some home improvement stores. Specifically designed to identify radon gas in homes, the kits can let you know if radon exists. The problem with these kits is that one will only tell you if you have radon gas in your home at that moment. Hiring a professional for an inspection is usually a better option. 


    Why choose a professional inspection?


    A professional inspection is the only way that you'll know if your home has radon inside, where that radon comes from and how much is in your home. Professionals can use tools and detectors that determine exactly where the radon comes from and how it got into your house. A professional can also tell you if mediation is necessary. When the radon levels keep rising, mediation lets you lower those levels and keep your family safe and healthy.

    A special thank you to today's sponsor for keeping us advised to any potential health risk in the home.

    Monday, May 4, 2015

    Going green for spring parties

    It is up to all of us to clean it up and help Mother Earth any way we can. One of the best ways we can do this is by going green. Using environmentally friendly products in our everyday life will help. If every person adopts this way of thinking, the positive impact on the planet as a whole will be staggering. Here are some reasons why you should go green:

    1. Reduce the amount of waste
    eco friendly disposable platesWith graduation and spring party season in full force, many people rely on disposable table service to make entertaining clean up a much easier task. It isn't necessary to sacrifice convenience. me. By using products such as compostable bowls, you can do your part to reduce the amount of waste that goes into a landfill and stays there for decades, if not centuries. Compostable items will break down once they are thrown away, so they will eventually dissolve and become absorbed into the soil, leaving no footprint behind. Recycling will help to reduce the amount of waste as well. Rather than simply disposing of plastic and cardboard in the trash, take them to your local recycling center. Mother Earth will thank you for your efforts.


    2. The world will be better for future generations

    Going green is not just about making the world a better place right now, it is about making it better for the future. Your children and grandchildren will also need a clean and healthy place to live. Therefore, it is our responsibility to give it to them. By changing the way we live our lives today, we can ensure that the future remains bright for this wonderful planet we live on.

    3. Quality of life increases

    When the world is a cleaner and healthier place to live, the overall quality of life for the general public will be increased. It is the right of every human being to have clean air to breathe and fresh water to drink. If going green can help to make these things happen, then it is definitely a worthwhile endeavor for all people.

    Thank you to today's sponsor for offering a wide variety of eco-friendly items for the home. 
    Our Daily Green is proud to work with such companies. We have been compensated for this post, but the opinions voiced are our own.   

    Monday, April 13, 2015

    Bee Protective campaign with Vapour Tempt lipstick

    Vapour Organic Beauty products

    A few years ago, Our Daily Green reviewed lip glosses from Vapour Organic Beauty and discussed the importance of choosing cosmetics carefully. Not only does Vapour offer organic beauty products that are endorsed by The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, but they also utilize wind power in their production, use recycled packaging of both aluminium and paper, and minimize waste.

    Vapour has CHAMPION safety status from the Environmental Working Group, an American environmental organization that specializes in research and advocacy in the areas of toxic chemicals, agricultural subsidies, public lands, and corporate accountability. 

    We love what Vapour stands for and their commitment to responsible business practices. During the month of April, Vapour will be donating 10% of the proceeds from their limited edition TEMPT Siren Lipstick to the Bee Protective Campaign from Beyond Pesticides non-profit environmental activist organization. The Bee Protective Campaign aims to protect nature's pollinators. Credo Beauty will be matching the brand’s 10% donation for a total of 20% to BEE Protective Campaign during the month of April. 
    Beyond PesticidesOur Daily Green is proud to be affiliated with Vapour cosmetics and their mission.  We received a tube of this neutral lipstick as a complimentary token of their appreciation. It's a suitable subtle color that lasts all day. All opinions stated here are purely my own. If you purchase Vapour's Tempt Lipstick this month, they will donate 10% to the Bee Protective Campaign. It's nice to "bee" beautiful and make a difference at the same time. 

    Rain Africa: created for living (product review & giveaway)

    Spa store

    In December of 2013, my daughters and I took a holiday trip to New York City. Being the mid-western small town family that we are, the crowds were completely overwhelming. As we tried to navigate our way through the sardine-packed Rockefeller Center to see the tree, we found ourselves ducking into a store just to escape the throng of the crowd.

    created for livingLittle did we know we were about to be transported to a calm, serene place from another continent. Africa, to be specific. The spa-like store was exactly what we needed that afternoon and spent time choosing beautiful products to take back to our hotel room and unwind, pampering each other with pedicures. While chatting with the store employees, we learned that Rain Africa products are hand crafted using organically grown ingredients with African origins. They promise:
    • no parabens
    • no petroleum jelly
    • no mineral oil
    • no liquid paraffin
    • no petrochemicals
    • no animal testing
    • no child labor
    In addition to the sustainability of the ingredients, Rain Africa provides jobs, skills and hope to people living in abject poverty, particularly women and the disabled. With a low tech production cycle, Rain products and packaging are hand-made by trained artists. The wild ingredients are hand-harvested by Southern African women who have extremely limited economic opportunities. Rain is the only Southern African beauty and body product company which is accredited by both Fair Trade in Africa and the international Fair Trade body in Europe.

    I was so impressed by not just the products, but also the mission of the company that I subscribed to their newsletter upon returning home to follow along with their success. A few weeks ago, I contacted the company to see if they ever worked with bloggers. To my delight, Rain sent me a lovely assortment of products to test and review and agreed to do a Mother's Day giveaway, as well as offer my readers a discount on any purchases.

    Rain sent three products to pamper myself from head to toe and everything in between


    Hair Mud Mask

    Hair Mud Mask

    Heel Balm

    Heel Balm

    For the head, I have a mineral rich hair mud mask from Biologie that contains marula oil. Marula oil is loaded with antioxidants and was recently featured by a leading women's magazine for its healing and restorative properties. This hair mask made my hair feel silky and strong. It has a wonderful fresh scent.

    After I rinsed the mask from my hair, I lathered up with the lovely handmade artisan soap. I love bar soaps because they last so much longer than liquid soaps, and have minimal impact on the environment because they don't need specially manufactured plastic containers. Also, another benefit of bar soap is that I'm not paying for water (which is the primary ingredient in liquid soaps).

    Omega Rich Soap


    After the shower, I treated myself to a foot treatment with the luxurious Bee Essential heel balm that is just perfect for my dry, cracked winter-ized feet. The heel balm contains healing oils including olive, avocado, beeswax, shea, lanolin, argan, cape chestnut, rosemary leaf oil, peppermint oil, and calendula oil. I've been massaging it into my feet nightly since receiving it and they are just about ready for sandles.

    I loved knowing that as I was pampering myself, I was also helping build an economy and care for the planet. Rain Africa is one of those companies that takes social and environmental responsibility very seriously and Our Daily Green is proud to promote their products.

    If you're looking to spoil your mother or yourself while helping other mothers in a land far away, it's as simple as entering our giveaway. Rain Africa will be shipping a gift set of three olive oil artisan soaps packaged in a paper mache bowl and finished off with a ribbon, a $28 value.

    Win This!


    To qualify for the entry, follow these instructions:

    1. Like Rain Africa on Facebook
    2. Follow Rain Africa on Twitter
    3. Share this blog post on the social media outlet of your choice and leave a comment below this post as your entry.

    All steps will be verified.

    One entry per person, US residents only. Giveaway closes at midnight EST April 30th. Winner has 24 hours to send shipping information to freshgreenkim@hotmail.com or another winner will be chosen. 

    Rain Africa is also offering a 20% Mother's day discount code for Our Daily Green readers

    It is available April 15-May 1 for all online orders. 

    Enter GREENMOM20 at the checkout. 


    Our Daily Green received complimentary products to conduct our review. 
    We are absolutely thrilled to promote the mission of this elegant and thoughtful company and encourage our readers to do the same. 





    Wednesday, April 8, 2015

    Aquaponics and how it can help save water and our food supply

    As news of the California drought spreads, our national food supply will be effected. Residential water bans sound like a solution, in fact, in California, urban areas only use ~10% of water while 80% of water in CA is used for agriculture. In other words, the real difference will be made when we think about how we grow our food if we're serious about water conservation and more efficient food production. This is an education problem. We are so disconnected from nature and our food.

    Aquaponics is a way to grow food, raise fish and filter water in almost any weather as long as there is light. It also saves 90% or more of the water used, eliminate the 1 billion pounds of pesticides and fertilizers yet double their productivity in half the amount of space. It’s where fish is raised in the same body of water as vegetables. Unlike hydroponics, the fish produce fertilizer for the plants and the plants act as filters for the fish to create a recycling ecosystem. It’s simple, the Mayans and Chinese have been using aquaponics for thousands of years but why has aquaponics disappeared especially when we need it most? We surveyed 500 people in San Diego and UCSD including professors and students. Unfortunately, only 39 knew what aquaponics is and out of the 39, only 6 could explain the benefits of aquaponics.

    Aqua Design Innovations’s goal is to bring aquaponics back to as many people as possible. Our first product, the EcoQube, is a desktop ecosystem using mint and basil to filter aquarium water. It will turn any body of water into a sustainable hydroponics system and any aquaculture system into a recycling aquaponics system producing both protein and vegetation. Packaging aquaponics in the form of an aquarium automatically makes it incredibly accessible to diverse markets and gives this revolutionary concept incredible reach.

    Current aquarium filters use sponges and activated carbon to filter aquarium water. Activated carbon requires user to replace it every 2 weeks costing up to $200 in changing filtration material every year. Most aquarium keepers do not do this resulting in over 80% of ornamental fish to die within first year of purchase. The aquaponics filter is a filter that uses modern technology like Ultra Violet LED sterilization, NASA inspired plant growth medium and key patent pending mechanical features to optimize for plant and root growth. The faster the plants grow and the more mature the filter is, the better the filtration becomes. Plants do not need to be replaced for at least one year leading to user success.

    EcoQube is a concept demonstration of aquaponics, a better way of growing food. Packaging aquaponics in the form of a beautiful aquarium automatically makes it incredibly accessible to diverse markets and gives this revolutionary concept incredible reach. It's a great way to study the potential at home, but the hope is that this will revolutionize how we think about growing food on a much larger scale.

    ADI has made the EcoQube extremely attractive and is a perfect decoration for any office or home.

    The EcoQube C is available for $49 TODAY! (regular price is $79!)

    Thank you to ADI for sharing this information with Our Daily Green. We receive no compensation other than the joy of knowing we're encouraging a new way to think about farming. 


    aquaponics


    additional references: 

    Tuesday, March 24, 2015

    Save on a pre-owned iPhone 6 at Gazelle

    In 2009, Our Daily Green first wrote about a great electronics recycling opportunity through this little company known as Gazelle. We were impressed by their green-minded consumer-friendly solution to constantly upgraded electronics.  Since then, the small start up company has become a nationally known brand and continues to offer consumers a way to recycle, and therefore reduce their electronics. Our Daily Green is affiliated with Gazelle and they have a special offer for us to share with our readers.  


    Get $20 off a Certified pre-owned iPhone 6 at Gazelle!Still waiting to get your hands on the iPhone 6? Gazelle, the nation's leading consumer electronics reCommerce site, is giving you the opportunity to purchase this device and save $20. Simply visit Gazelle's Certified pre-owned iPhone 6 selection, choose your model and enter code
    IPHONE6 
    at checkout. This device described as bigger and better than previous Apple iPhones is Gazelle Certified by going through a rigorous 30-point inspection and comes with no strings attached or contract. Plus, buying through Gazelle is risk-free to you with 30 days to return. This special offer is only available for a limited time so hurry and get $20 off a Certified pre-owned iPhone 6.

    **FTC Disclosure Statement: This post contains affiliate links which means that I may receive a commission if you click a link and make a purchase. Offer Terms and Conditions: Single use per customer. Applicable only on Certified pre-owned iPhone 6. Ends 3/31/2015.