Green lifestyle

We need to talk about your old basement TV

Read the full post at Grist.

In the latest episode of “So You Think You’re Doing a Good Thing?” we discuss what to do with outdated yet still perfectly useful electronics. Spoiler: You’re going to feel guilty no matter what because that’s what it means to be environmentally conscious in a consumerist society.

If you live in the Champaign-Urbana (Illinois) area, the Champaign County Regional Planning Commission publishes a list of local places to recycle used electronics. Note that many of these locations are national chains or charities, so you may find it helpful even if you don’t live in the Champaign-Urbana area.

How environmentally friendly are “green” dog poop bags?

Read the full story from CBS MoneyWatch.

If you pay a premium for “green” dog poop bags because you want your dog’s poop to be more environmentally friendly, you might be wasting your money.

The Federal Trade Commission on Tuesday said it sent warning letters to 20 companies that sell bags designed to hold dog waste that claims they are “biodegradable” and “compostable” and other things supposedly environmentally friendly.

The reason? The claims appear to be deceptive.

How Much Do You Consume?

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Recently, we published a graphic that helps you understand how much you spend on energy every year, based on where you live. Now we want to help you understand how much energy you use, not just how much you spend.

Explaining how much someone spends on residential and transportation energy is straightforward; you see it every month in your bills. But understanding how much you use is a more complicated concept.

For instance, if I told you that you used 149 million British Thermal Units (Btu) of energy last year on transportation, you would probably be left scratching your head. Just how much energy is in a Btu? How does that compare to more meaningful measures?

But what if I told you that your personal energy consumption needs would require the equivalent of 15,000 pounds of coal to be burned every year? I bet you could picture it a bit better.

We’ve selected a few measures that we think make more sense than “Btu” — and that we hope will help you understand how much energy you consume. We define total per capita consumption as someone’s combined transportation and residential energy consumption. Learn more about the methodology for that calculation here.


How to Throw a Holiday Gift Swap

Read the full post at Shareable.

The holidays are imbued with the spirit of giving, and that doesn’t have to mean buying. Gift swaps, which can be held at any time, are particularly fun and valuable around the holidays. We can avoid contributing to the consumerist madness, bring friends together, and give new life to things that have been collecting dust.

Shareable asked Detroit’s Sharing Cities Network coordinator Halima Cassells, who describes herself as an artist, mom, gardener, independent media maker, and lover of all things turquoise, for tips on throwing a great holiday swap. An experienced swap organizer who recently hosted the 300-plus person Free Market Holiday Swap, Cassells urges people to embrace abundance, challenge hyper-consumerist conditioning, and get into the swapping spirit.

9 Green Gift Ideas For The Holiday Season

Read the full story in the Huffington Post.

Want to give gifts that your friends and family will love while still caring about the environment? Giving green gifts is about more than just choosing a sustainable product. There are lots of ways to give gifts that can help your friends be more environmentally conscious or that don’t require buying any items at all. Check out these ideas from our gift guide to get you on your way to a happy (and green) holiday!