Delocator – go local

Tired of the chain stores that are taking over your neighborhood? Support local! Go to Delocator.net and search by zip code to find locally owned coffee shops, bookstores, and movie theaters in your area. If your favorite independent spot isn’t represented, you can submit information for the benefit of others.

Wash your car – the green way

When your car needs to be washed, do you do it yourself or head to the local car wash? You may be surprised to learn that taking your car to a commercial car wash is actually better for the environment than washing your car at home.

When you wash your car in your driveway, the runoff goes into storm drains, which lead directly to creeks, lakes, and streams and harm water quality and wildlife. Federal laws require commercial car wash facilities to drain wastewater into sewer systems, where it is treated before being released back into the environment. Commercial car washes use computer controlled systems and high-pressure nozzles and pumps that minimize water usage; the International Carwash Association reports that automatic car washes use less than half the water of even the most careful home car washer. Also, many car washes will recycle and re-use the rinse water.

Let them eat cake!

Organic cake, of course! When selecting your wedding cake, ask your baker to use only organic ingredients. Here are a few cakes for inspiration (these are not necessarily organic, but nobody is stopping you from taking them to your local baker for inspiration).

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{Round Ivory Ribbon cake by Cakegirls; Brown Polka Dot cake by The Ritz-Carlton, San Fransisco via The Knot; A Shore Thing by Gail Watson Custom Cakes via Brides.com; White Square Flower cake by Cakegirls}

3 in 1 “Spork” + knife

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We all know by now that disposables suck. Most of them are made of plastic, and wind up in the trash after a single use. But in the fast-paced world we live in, it is unrealistic to eliminate disposables and eating on the run (can you even imagine?). Enter the Spork Original from Light My Fire. Dishwasher safe and extremely durable (according to their website), the Spork Original reduces the need for three separate utensils.

To give credit where credit is due, my friend Mary Margaret had the idea for a knife fork (a “fife” or a “knork”) a couple years ago… I think we decided that having a knife blade (albeit a dull one) on the side of your fork was a little sketchy. That’s an accident just waiting to happen.

{via TreeHugger}

More vintage furniture – Kanibal Home

Kanibal Home is a wonderful new online store that sells of one-of-a-kind, vintage objects. Kanibal carries a mix of fine art and furnishings, many of which have been reupholstered, redesigned and repainted. Can’t find what you’re looking for? Send them an email, and Kanibal will track it down for you. I’m loving the black and yellow fabric on this chair:

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{via Design*Sponge}

Recycled silverware pens

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These recycled silverware pens are so uniquely cool! These would be a great gift for pretty much anyone (seriously, who doesn’t need a fancy pen?). You can find them and a bunch of other post-consumer recycled products at Close the Loop.

Recycled silverware pen, $25 at Close the Loop

Kiehl’s Lip Balm

kiehls.jpgI could probably track down at least 10 different chapsticks and lip balms in my apartment right now… if I felt like looking for them. I have tried a zillion different brands, and have found a new favorite: Kiehl’s Lip Balm #1. In a word: Fabulous. It is super moisturizing and prevents chapped lips without being too heavy or sticky.

Read Kiehl’s commitment to the environment here

Tip of the Day – Smarter dishwashing

Skip the pre-rinse cycle on your dishwasher. Most dishwashers are powerful enough to clean your plates without the pre-rinse, so why waste the energy and water? While you’re at it, skip the dry cycle – leave the dishwasher door open and let the air dry your dishes for you!

Did you know…

…that it takes 20 times more energy to make an aluminum can from scratch than from a recycled one? Another great reason to recycle, recycle, recycle!

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Fun fact: A recycled aluminum can is remanufactured and back in circulation within 6 weeks.

Underwater Logging

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In British Columbia, Triton Logging has uncovered an effective, profitable, and eco-friendly way to meet the continued demand for lumber: underwater logging. There are some 300 million sunken trees worldwide – with an estimated value of $50 billion – that have been completely flooded by hydroelectric dams. BC’s own Ootsa Lake was formed 50 years ago when a hydro dam was built, drowning millions of trees when the valley was flooded. In the cold, dark, oxygen-poor water, the tree wood has been preserved, and won’t decay for thousands of years.

The key to Triton’s efforts is the Sawfish™, an underwater logging machine invented by the company. Operated by remote control, the Sawfish clamps onto trees, to which it attaches inflatable air bags, then cuts the trees with an electric chain saw. The air bags float the logs to the water’s surface, where they are loaded onto a barge.

There are several environmental advantages to the Sawfish method. It serves as an alternative to conventional above ground logging, which produces 25 percent of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions and disturbs natural habitats. When submerged trees are cut, the lake floor is not disturbed and no silt (which can threaten the surrounding ecosystems) is created, leaving habitats of fish and other marine species undisturbed. Also, the Sawfish does not pollute the water — it runs on an electric motor and uses biodegradable and vegetable oil-based hydraulic fluids.