Friday, August 31, 2012

Photo Friday!

Hope everyone has had an excellent week and is looking forward to their 3 day weekend! We're expected to get some storms this weekend and into next week, so this week's photo shows an important storm cleanup service we offer- wood grinding!

Be sure to leave your photos from this week in the comments!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Featured Article: Fifth-Grader's Petition Prompts Jamba Juice to Ditch Styrofoam

Normally we try to stick to one featured article a week on our blog, but this story was too good to ignore. Thanks to the petition of a 10 year old, Jamba Juice will no longer be using styrofoam in their stores. This is great news, but we'd like to urge the company to take it a step further.

With a chain like Jamba Juice, composting just makes sense, so why not make sure that every Jamba Juice cup is compostable as well? They rely on heathy fruit and yogurt to make their beverages, so why not give back to the earth that gives them so much? Jamba Juice is currently looking into ways to reduce their footprint and trying to make their entire business more sustainable, and composting would take care of a large portion of their waste stream.

What do you think? We talk about the benefits of composting a lot on this blog, would you like to see more restaurants and businesses participating? Let us know in the comment section!

Read the original story here.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Featured Article: E-Waste Recycling Program Employs Disabled Americans

This featured article is a little bit different. While we usually cover some new, interesting, or odd green product, this week is about an organization that's working to care for E-Waste in the country and to employ disabled Americans.

The Arc is an advocacy association for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities. They are now working to support E-Waste programs across the U.S. and hoping that their work will create a more competitive job market for the disabled while also creating a greener earth. The group received a grant from the Walmart Foundation that is helping them to fund these E-Waste programs.

With the economy still on the rebound, these E-Waste centers will now be able to create jobs and help their communities to keep additional E-Waste from disreputable disposal methods. Often times even E-Waste that is supposed to be recycled ends up in Landfills or sold overseas.

These E-Waste materials can and are being reused. The article quotes the EPA, saying that one million recycled desktop computers can prevent the release of greenhouse gases equivalent to the emissions of 16,000 passenger cars annually. Hopefully this funding will lead to greater E-Waste recycling as well as more competitive employment for Americans with disabilities.

Read the original article here.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Photo Friday

This friday's photo comes all the way from Cedar Rapids! It's a photo from the Cedar Rapids Kernels game last Friday night! We love taking in a baseball game in the summer and we couldn't have asked for a better night! Have you got any great photos from some of your favorite summer activities? Be sure to post a link in the comments!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Our Top 12 Tomato Recipes

Summer is slowly creeping into fall, and with that we're getting the last of our tomato plants (hopefully grown with compost so you get the best tomatoes). However, there is no need to worry, there are plenty of great tomato recipes that also store well for the winter! Here are our top 12 tomato recipes, and a few of them you could easily save to get your tomato fix later on!

Find the Recipe Here
This Chilled Tomato Soup with Cilantro-Yogurt Swirl looks delicious. You have to make it the day before you plan on serving it, as it needs to be chilled, but as long as you plan for it, this soup is a great healthy summer supper.

Find the Recipe Here

Here is the staple I'm sure you expected to be first on the list. This Roasted Tomato Sauce would go great with pasta or any other dish that calls for tomato sauce.

Find the Recipe Here
 This Tomato-Basil Crab Bisque combines a lot of seasonal favorites, and so it can be made with all fresh ingredients this time of year. This would be tasty for the cooler summer nights we've been having lately.

Find the Recipe Here
Garlic-Basil Grilled Chicken with Caprese Salsa is a great dish for summer, using the great weather as an excuse to grill and the fresh produce to create a great dish.

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Imagine a BLT on Fresh Tomato Bread. Sounds delicious, right? Well now you can make homemade tomato bread whenever the craving strikes. This recipe calls for tomato sauce and tomatos, but you could easily use the tomato sauce recipe we have below if you want to make sure it's all fresh.

Find the Recipe Here

This Avocado, Tomato and Mango Salsa is a fun twist on traditional salsa and is great for the summer. Make it for your next dinner party and it's sure to please, just plan to chill it for 30 minutes before serving.

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Broiled Mahi-Mahi with Parsleyed Tomatoes is sure to be a family favorite after you try it once. If your family includes seafood lovers, this dish is sure to please.

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Just looking at this Tomato and Goat Cheese Tart is enough to make your mouth water. with leaks and herbs in season as well, this is sure to be a great fresh produce recipe to add to your collection!

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This Tomato-Basil Pizza is sure to please any pizza lover and it'd be very easy to personalize with your own favorite toppings.

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 This Linguine in Fresh Tomato Sauce with Garlic-Basil Toast is sure to make everyone happy. Just looking at it is sure to make your stomach growl.

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No list of tomato recipes would be complete without at least one Bruschetta recipe. This Double Tomato Bruschetta is sure to please any tomato lover and will make a great hor d'oeuvres for your next gathering.

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This recipe does require an ice-cream maker, but it is well worth it. This Tomato-Watermelon Sorbet is surprisingly delicious, although we would recommend reading the reviews and altering the recipe slightly to include less tomato juice(approximately 1 cup rather than 3).

Do you have any favorite tomato recipes? Let us know by posting them in the comments section!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Featured Article: Compostable Bedsheets for College Kids.

This week and last week are two of the big move weeks for college students in Iowa. Student from around and outside of the state are flocking to their new dorm rooms and apartments to start their new school year. This featured article is about two mom who knew college students and knew about an unanswered need, and so they created compostable bed sheets with college students in mind. Anyone who remember being a college student or having a college student knows that sometimes cleanliness comes last, especially with that big final coming up. Often times bedsheets get forgotten until it's time to visit home and laundry is free.

Now, in the long run we're not positive that these sheets will be the best economical choice, but it's encouraging to see people attempting to answer a need of an extremely large segment of the population. We're excited to see how this technology advances.

Read the full article here.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Photo Friday

Happy friday! This week our photo shows you how we turn our compost! Some of you may be familiar with how to turn a home compost heap, but this is how we do it.

Did you snap any great shots this week? Feel free to post the links in our comments!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

How to Start Preparing Your Garden for Fall

Fall is fast approaching and after a rough summer, you'll want to prepare your garden for the fall even more. There are a few things you can start doing now to make sure you're ready for the upcoming season.

1) Maintain your landscape: Fall is the perfect time to clean up and maintain your garden. If a plant is completely dead, this might be the time to deal with that. It's also a great time to fill in spaces with new plants like shrubs. You can also prepare your vegetable garden for cooler weather with cool weather plants. It's also a good time to re-apply compost to make sure that your plants have plenty of nutrients.

2) Deal with your potted plants: If you were meaning to move your potted plants to the ground all summer, get that done with now. For more fragil plants that may not survive the winter or which thrive indoor, finding an indoor home for your potted plants in crucial. Remember that potted herbs can still do well inside as long as they have access to plenty of natural light.

3) Make room for your outdoor furniture: You shed or lawn and garden room was probably getting crowded all summer, but now is the time to clean out and reorganize so you can move your garden or patio furniture indoors if it isn't weatherproof for the winter.

4) Do some gardening tool maintenance: Garden tools are your reliable friends during the summer, but if you don't care for them properly you could find them rusting next spring. Make sure you take proper care for each of your tools and store them in an appropriate place so they can continue to work next year.

5) Take stock of what did and didn't work for you: Gardening is a learning process, and, like any learning process, you should make sure you take good notes. If one of your plants did exceptionally well this year, document it and figure out why. If one did very poorly make sure you do the same.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Featured Article: A Green Business Rating System, Created By Middle School Students | Co.Exist: World changing ideas and innovation

Today's featured article, from Fast CoExist, seems even more important as we approach the beginning of the school year. Today's article features students near Detroit who developed a Green Business rating system for businesses in their town.

These middle school students collected information from 100 business owners in their area to find out just what they were doing to be sustainable. They included waste diversion, CFL bulbs, natural lighting, hybrid or alternative fuel vehicles for business purposes, and many other factors to develop a rating system of all of the businesses they worked with.

This article is inspiring. If these students can work so hard to encourage area businesses to be more sustainable, what could we do at our own places of work. Waste diversion is easy, and we can help your business to become more sustainable through waste diversion. Other methods of creating a greener business are also easy to implement, as long as you take the time to do so.

What is your business doing to be sustainable? Let us know in the comments.

Read the original article here

Friday, August 10, 2012

Photo Friday

It's Photo Friday again! This morning we're excited at our Corporate Offices. It's been a dry summer in Iowa, but look at this view from the office. Tut, tut, looks like rain!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Featured Article: Recharge in the Great Outdoors

Summer is reaching a close, but there is still time to get in some final camping trips before it's done, and the  Iowa State Fair starts today. These outdoor activities are great for family bonding and a general good time, however sometimes they can leave you with dead electronics. This article features information about how to recharge outdoors, as well as some helpful information for campers about getting dual usage out of your electronics.

Being able to recharge electronics on the go, without outlets, is a pretty spectacular thing. This type of charging utilizes greener energy and may help to show people just how easy it can be to utilize green energy.

Read the original article here.

Monday, August 6, 2012

How to be green when back to school shopping

Last weekend Iowa had their annual tax free weekend, where shopping centers state-wide are filled with back to school shoppers. Between pencils, backpacks, and new clothes it's hard to remember to be sustainable when dealing with crowds and children who want the folder with the newest fad on the front. Here's our 5 tips for having a greener back to school experience. 

1) Try to reuse: When you get that back to school shopping list it's a lot easier to just shop there. Most stores carry the lists for you, so you pick it up and buy everything on it while you're their. It is better to start with your list at home. Cross off those scissors, pencils, and protractors that you still have from last year and save a little money as well. 

2) If possible, buy refillable: Refillable pens and pencils are initially a little more expensive than the disposable ones, but they are definitely more sustainable, and they usually last longer than their disposable counterpoints as well. 

3) Look for recycled products: Notebooks, planners, pencils, pens, and computer paper made from recycled materials are all available from mainstream shops now. Recycled paper works great for anything a student would need it for, and it's the more earth friend option than virgin paper. Using recycled plastic or wood in your pencils and pens are also no different than the non-recycled ones, but they make a much smaller impact.

4) Reusable bottles and lunch bags: Purchasing reusable lunch bags can save another brown bag from going in a landfill, and reusable bottles can be filled with whatever your child's favorite drink it, be it chocolate milk or juice, without having to buy individual milk cartons or juice boxes. 

5) Spring for high quality: When buying long term items like backpacks and lunch boxes, spending a little bit more can end up saving you money in the long run. When buying a backpack try to lead your children away from the superheros and television or movie characters that they may like this year, often times those interests are short lived. Instead buy a plain, good quality backpack. If they still want their character on the bag, just buy a patch or a pin for them to clip to the outside. Then they can change interest every year and you can keep the same backpack.

With these tips you'll be sure to have a more sustainable and possibly a cheaper back to school shopping experience. 

Friday, August 3, 2012

Photo Friday!

It's the first photo friday of August! Where did the summer go? High school football practices are starting up again. We are very excited, so for this week's photo we chose one from us spreading compost on the football field nearby in Blairsburg.  Did you get any great shots this week? If so make sure to post a link in our comments.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Top 5 Bizarre and Beautiful Recycling DIYs

We've already shown that we love Pinterest, and that it can be a great source for eco-savvy DIY-ers. We've found some pretty bizarre DIYs that are a little off the wall but pretty cool as a finished product. Here are our top 5 of the bizarre and beautiful recycling DIYS.

Original Pin
This pin leads to a whole list of bizarre but awesome. It's really hard to find something to do with those one time use paint chips or paint samples when you're done with them. This list gives a plethora of different DIYS to help you use all of your old samples.

Original Pin
At first glance this pin just looks like a regular necklace. However, this DIY teaches you to make necklaces and other things out of old aluminum cans. While you may not want to do this with your pepsi can, this is a really fun tutorial and will definitely create some unique jewelry.

Original Pin
Anyone who has ever tried to gift baked goods knows that it is always hard to get them to their intended recipient unbroken, squished, or in any other way harmed. This repurposing of an old plastic or aluminum wrap box creates a unique way of gifting muffins, cupcakes, and other baked goods.

Original Pin
Coffee addicts out there go through a lot of those cup sleeves. Now, there's a way to reuse them to create coasters, so their coffee mugs at home don't leave rings on their tables. With the number of patterns and designs used by different coffee shops, these could be pretty cool and colorful.

Original Pin
Remember doing shrinky dinks either as a kid or with your kids? Well, here's a more "grown up" way to have all the fun of shrinky dinks with all the style of store bought jewelry. This bracelet is made out of plastic that was shrunk and hardened in the oven and then bound together. It's a fun way to keep your plastics out of landfills.

Are there any great DIYs that you've found that are off the wall but awesome? Leave them in the comments, we'd love to check them out!