It’s Time for Eco Etsy’s Handmade for Earth Day Auction 2011

Today bidding opens for Team Eco Etsy’s  annual Handmade for Earth Day Auction, which raises money for non-profit organizations. The items for the auction were all donated by an incredibly talented team of eco artisans. This year, all proceeds will go to Habitat for Humanity Japan to help the disaster relief efforts in Japan.
Team Eco Etsy’s Handmade for Earth Day Auction
WHAT: Handmade for Earth Day Auction sponsored by Team Eco Etsy will feature treasuries filled with eco-goodies that Team Eco Etsy members donated for different categories listed below. A bidder will be able to bid on as many categories as they want.

WHY: To celebrate and raise awareness about Earth Day, Team Eco Etsy proudly sponsors “Handmade for Earth Day Auction” and the proceeds from the auction is donated to a non-profit organization. This year, the proceeds will be donated to Habitat for Humanity in Japan to support the relief effort, to help rebuild and to aid Japanese earthquake survivors.

WHEN: The auctions will begin today, Monday, April 4, 2011 and will end on Sunday, April 24th, 2010. The winners will be announced on Monday, April 25th, 2010.

WHO: Auction is open worldwide.

WHERE: All auctions will be posted on this site, where bidders can post their bids in the comment section for different assortments of eco-goodies.

For full details, and a list of contributing crafters, please visit the Team Eco Etsy website.

I have contributed 1 Lime in the Coconut Soap, 1 Beer Here Soap and 1 Solid Lotion (pictured above). Bidding for the Kids & Beauty auctions start on April 18th. Hope you’ll join in the fun. And please spread the word about this great event for a great cause.

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Love Your Mothers

photo copyright Organic Bouquet

Sunday, May 9th is Mother’s Day, a holiday when people in several countries (United States, Australia, Denmark, Finland, Italy, Turkey and Belgium to name a few) make it a point to call, visit or send cards and gifts to our mothers. We take the time to show our gratitude for all they have done for us. And in light of the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day, I started thinking about the image of our Earth as Mother. The Earth supports and feeds us, so it seems fitting that we show the same respect and gratitude to our Mother Earth as we do to our human mothers.

And I was very happy a couple of years ago when I came across an environmentally conscious company that delivers earth-friendly flowers. At last, a way to honor both mothers at the same time.

According to the National Retail Federation, in 2009 consumers spent about $14.10 billion on Mother’s Day, about $1.9 billion of which went toward flowers. Unfortunately, commercial flowers of the type sent to so many mothers are typically grown using toxic chemicals that can negatively affect farm workers who handle the flowers. These chemicals are also bad for local wildlife and the environment. This is no way to show for love your mothers.

Organic Bouquet was the first company to offer eco-friendly floral products delivered right to your home. Organic Bouquet offers flowers and plants purchased from growers who are committed to using sustainable farming practices (Organic, Veriflora, Biodynamic, Fair Trade and Transitional) “that aim to improve the quality of farm working conditions, minimize damage to ecosystems, conserve biodiversity, and enhance environmental quality for future generations.” If you order by 3:00pm EST today, Organic Bouquet will waive their $10 Saturday surcharge.

If you live in the DC area, local florist Green Space in Georgetown offers organic flowers and plants in eco-friendly containers. All of their products are organic, recycled, biodegradable, fair trade and/or locally sourced from small farms and artisans.

Making Earth-Friendly Practices Second-Nature

Earth-friendly practices can become second-nature if you set up your home to make it easy. Over the past 40 years (since the inception of Earth Day), a whole plethora of products and services have appeared to help make it easier to live a greener lifestyle. Following are some solutions I use that I think look good and do good (for the earth and your family). As a result of these simple practices, my family produces very little actual garbage each week, and our water bill is very reasonable. Hopefully they will inspire you. And please share your ideas with me — I am always up for suggestions of new and better ways to green my home and business.

Compost A couple of years ago, our friends gave us this ceramic compost pail for Christmas. It was an awesome gift that gets continual use. I keep it on the kitchen counter, where it serves as an attractive and practical accessory. It has a charcoal filter in the lid so that smell is never an issue (I run the filter and the pail through the dishwasher after each use), and the handle makes it easy to carry out to the compost pile.

aesthetically pleasing kitchen compost container

Make your own cleaning products. You can insure the purity and safety of the ingredients in your household cleaning products if you make them yourself. Plus it’s a money-saver. Last month I posted an article on the safety of Borax, which contains a recipe for an all-purpose household cleaner. To make your own glass/window cleaner, simply mix 1/4 cup of vinegar with 1 1/2 cups of water. Spray onto windows and wipe immediately with a clean cloth. You just need to make an investment in a good spray bottle (I’ve found that some of the cheaper ones can break with a lot of use, so it’s good to pay a little extra for a sturdy one).

aluminum spray bottle for storing your homemade household cleaners

Use cloth napkins and towels instead of paper I keep a supply of these in my kitchen drawer. I love fabrics in different colors and textures, and not being very handy with a sewing machine, this is a practical and green way to enjoy them. The napkins in the photo were purchased from two of my favorite individually-owned stores – The Muse, an artisan shop in Frederick, MD and Olive Market, a gourmet artisan restaurant and gift shop in Georgetown, CT.

an assortment of cloth napkins and towels

Recycle paper products Although I reuse most of the packaging I receive, I still end up with unwanted paper products each month. So, I keep a wicker basket near the front door where we can easily toss any paper that we have designated for recycling. We are very fortunate that our municipality takes all types of junk mail, chip board, cardboard, magazines, and more.

strategically-placed paper recycling bin

Recycle glass and plastic I have a very small kitchen, so there is no room to keep a recycling bin for bottles cans and plastic. So, we installed a pull-out drawer that contains a built-in trash can with two bins. I use one for garbage (I use biodegradable trash bags) and one for recycling.

Even though my municipality takes number 5 plastic, I feel more confident that it is truly going to be recycled if I take it to the Preserve collection bin at my local Whole Foods. I’ve been a fan of their toothbrushes for several years now.

built-in trash/recycling center

Re-use paper If I make a mistake when printing something out, rather than just throwing the paper into the recycling bin right away, I put it in a stack of paper that I keep next to my printer for use in test prints and drafts. My husband also brings home paper from work. It saves us a lot of paper.

stack of used copy paper ready to be re-used

Use 100% recycled paper When I do need to print on a clean sheet of paper, I only use 100% post-consumer waste paper. Staples offers their own store brand 100% pcw paper that is processed without chlorine. Even though they don’t tout it, Staples does the most of any national office supply chain in terms of green practices.

Staples brand 100% post-consumer waste recycled paper

Replace your incandescent light bulbs Compact florescent bulbs are good investments and they also save you from the hassle of changing bulbs all the time. I have a couple of bulbs that I bought from Real Goods that have lasted me for over 15 years! Make sure that you purchase quality flourescents, which will last a long time. One drawback is that you have to be careful about the disposal of  your used flourescents (they contain mercury), so check your local Home Depot or municipal waste collection website for information.

compact florescent inside a regular lamp

Install a programmable thermostat Programmable thermostats are easy to install and can save a lot of energy over the course of a year. By setting your heating and cooling systems to turn on and off/up and down by themselves, you avoid wasting energy during times when you are out of the house or sleeping. For more information, including an energy savings calculator, visit the Environmental Protection Agency’s programmable thermostats page.

programmable thermostat

Install a rain barrel About 40% of total household water use during the summer goes to watering lawns and gardens. By installing a rain barrel, you can assure your own free supply of water for your gardens, flower pots and other outdoor uses.

According to the EPA, using water collected in your rain barrel can save you approximately 1,300 gallons of water during peak summer months!

55-gallon rain barrel

I ordered the rain barrel for my house in Connecticut through Real Goods, back when they were hard to find. Real Goods still offers some great rain barrels, but now they are also available from many online stores, as well as Home Depot and Whole Foods.

And that’s something that has changed in many areas over the past 20 years. Being green has become easier as products and resources have become more readily available. There is always more than each of us can do to help insure the health of our planet and its inhabitants, but it’s never too late to start with some easy steps, like these.

Happy Earth Day!

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Team EcoEtsy’s Handmade for Earth Day Auction!

The details have been announced for Team EcoEtsy’s Handmade for Earth Day Silent Auction. The auction, which runs from April 19th to May 3rd, will feature t-shirt bags filled with eco-goodies that the talented Team EcoEtsy members have donated. There are six bags up for auction, each filled with over $100 worth of eco-goodies, representing the following themes: Baby, Health and Beauty, Home, Paper Goods, Fashion and Jewelry.

The proceeds from the auction will be donated to the World Wildlife Fund. For a full list of the items being auctioned and auction details, please visit the Team EcoEtsy website.

The auction will begin on Monday, April 19, 2010 and end on Monday, May 2, 2010. Winners will be announced on Monday, May 3, 2010.

Team EcoEtsy’s Online Earth Day Auction: April 19-May 2, 2010


Update: Team EcoEtsy’s auction details were announced on April 18th. Here is our updated blog post.

In honor of the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day, Team EcoEtsy is sponsoring the Handmade for Earth Day Silent Auction. The auction will feature t-shirt bags filled with eco-goodies that Team EcoEtsy members have donated for six different categories (Baby, Health and Beauty, Home, Paper Goods, Fashion and Jewelry). Bidders can bid on as many categories as they want.

The proceeds from the auction will be donated to organizations that work tirelessly to preserve the Earth and people’s well being (check the Team EcoEtsy site for a list of the charities).

The auction will begin on Monday, April 19, 2010 and end on Monday, May 2, 2010. The winners will be announced on Monday, May 3, 2010.

The auction page will be posted on the EcoEtsy team’s blog on April 19, 2010 where bidders can post their bids in the comment section for different bags of eco-goodies.

LiveGreen’s Green Rush April 17th

If you are in the neighborhood, please join us on Saturday April 17th in honor of the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day, where we will be exhibiting as part of Live Green’s Green Rush. The Green Rush is an  action-packed, fun-filled scavenger hunt where teams will race against the clock to explore DC’s most eco-friendly spots and compete for the chance to win $1,000 Grand Prize!

The Green Rush scavenger hunt will kick-off at the Green in the Circle Festival in Dupont Circle with great performers, speakers and green exhibitors.  The Green Rush will conclude at The Reef (a seaside-themed, sustainable, fun multi-floored restaurant in Adams Morgan) for an after party with delicious food, raffle prizes and great entertainment!

Here’s how you can participate:

  • First, gather 2 – 5 friends and create a team
  • Next, sign up online as individuals, but include your team name so we know how to group you.
  • Then, on Saturday April 17th, meet at 1pm near the fountain in Dupont Circle for the Green in the Circle kick-off festival. Check-in with your team at the Live Green table.
  • The Green Rush starts at 2:30pm

And here is the schedule for the day:

Green Rush Kick-off at the Green in the Circle Festival
Dupont Circle
Saturday, April 17th
Check-in is open from 1 – 2:15 pm

The Green Rush will kick-off at the Green in the Circle Festival in Dupont Circle, hosted by NBC4 News Anchor Wendy Rieger. There will be great speakers, entertainment featuring Beat Ya Feet Kings and No Second Troy, and lots of green exhibitors.  Team check-in will run from 1pm – 2:15pm at the Live Green table.  Even if you can’t make the race, come check out the festival and all the Earth Day excitement!

The Green Rush
Saturday, April 17th
2:30 pm – the race begins!
The scavenger hunt will have you race against the clock to explore DC’s most eco-friendly spots. Teams of 2 – 5 people will have 3 hours to explore hidden treasures, solve puzzles, complete challenges, collect clues and sample food to earn as many points as possible. The team with the most points wins the $1,000 Grand Prize! There will also be a year’s supply of Honest Tea for the team with the best Green Spirit, and 5 tickets to the Washington Mystics for the winning Youth Team!  Clues and eco-goodie bags will be handed out at the kick-off event at the Green in the Circle Festival.

Live Green members register here – $20
Non-members register here – $25

Green Rush After Party
The Reef in Adams Morgan
2446 18th Street NW, Washington DC 20009
Saturday, April 17th
Finish Line & Family-friendly After Party, 5:30pm – 8pm

The Green Rush scavenger hunt will finish up at The Reef in Adams Morgan with food, fun and entertainment.  We’ll celebrate with an after party and awards for winners in 3 categories: Grand Prize, Youth Prize, and The Green Spirit Award.  The first 10 teams to cross the finish line will get a FREE DRINK and there will be great raffle prizes for lucky attendees!  If you can’t make it to the Green Rush during the day, you can register separately for the After Party at The Reef.

Live Green members register for after party only here – $10
Non-members register for after party only here – $15

Earth Day is April 22, and Herban Lifestyle is celebrating being green!

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photo ©2009 Julia Guarino

As you probably know, Herban Lifestyle is proud to use only truly natural and organic ingredients, which means only organic and/or ethically wildcrafted herbs and essential oils, organic fabrics and fill, no preservatives, artificial colors, fragrances, or surfactants, and no synthetic, petroleum-based or other chemical ingredients. We pledge to these standards as a signer of the Compact for Safe Cosmetics, and we always adhere to Whole Foods’ Premium Bodycare Standards.

But did you know that Herban Lifestyle is green in other ways? When we package things for you, we only use 100% recycled paper labels, and all packaging and shipping supplies are recycled, recyclable and/or biodegradable. To ship, we only use the US Postal Service; did you know that the USPS holds “Cradle to Cradle”Certification at the Silver level for human and environmental health? To further ensure environmentally responsible business practice, we always offset 100% of our carbon footprint through purchase of CleanCurrents and CarbonFund RECs, and we are an Environmental Protection Agency Green Power Partner, which means we purchase green power in amounts that meet EPA’s requirements.

As a member of Green America and the Sustainable Business Network of Washington, we also pledge to practice ethical business and labor standards, which is easy since everything we sell is handcrafted in Falls Church, VA we do absolutely no manufacturing! In our efforts to be conscientious members of our community we also donate 5% of gross revenues to charity, including Feeding America (formerly America’s Second Harvest), Sierra Club, Herb Research Foundation, and Martha’s Table, we donate goods to local charities (such as EcoVentures) for their fundraising efforts, and we purchase our 800 number through Earth Tones, where 100% of their profit goes to grassroots environmental causes.

We hope you’ll celebrate Earth Day with us! Check out the EPA’s website to learn about Earth Day events and volunteer opportunities happening near you. Be green!

This post was written by guest blogger, Julia Guarino.