We generate a lot of waste on Christmas morning, so here are some tips for ways to keep waste in check:
Ribbons Are Not Recyclable
Pro Tip: Keep a small bag of ribbons you’ve received in the place you store your wrapping paper – they can come in so handy when you need to wrap a quick present at other times of the year. If a friend is down in the dumps, cookies wrapped in foil with a reused ribbon or a Ball Jar filled with nuts with a reused ribbon around the neck of the jar makes a really quick thoughtful gesture of support!
Any paper or envelope with decorative foil has to go in the garbage (though all other wrapping paper, tissue paper, cards and envelopes can go in your blue recycle bin, minus the ribbons).
Pro Tip: On Christmas morning, set up two collection bags ahead of time when it’s time to unwrap gifts. One for wrapping paper, tissue and cards, and the other for ribbons and foil. It can be fun for kids to be in charge of things, so make one little elf in charge of bringing presents to people to unwrap, and another little elf that can be in charge of grabbing that wrapping paper and getting it into the right bag. You’ll be amazed at how much tidier the living room looks after present opening! Don’t forget: Those foil covered papers and ribbons are great for kids’ craft projects. Keep some pretty pieces for yourself for gift wrapping reuse throughout the year. A brown paper shopping bag used as wrapping paper can look beautiful with a decorative accent cut out of your reused foil paper attached to the top.
As our world’s population grows, our demand for resources becomes more difficult to sustain. This especially goes for meat production, which requires significant land use, incredible amounts of water and food needed to raise the animals, creates conflict with wildlife concerns, and is responsible for so much pollution, especially surrounding large-scale Confined Animal Feeding Operations. Better known as Factory Farming, these CAFOs also force animals to live in inhumane conditions by anyone’s standards, and are also responsible for contributing to problems with antibiotic resistance for us humans.
Consider cutting back or eliminating meat in your own diet as “Carbon Credits for Owning Carnivores”.
We love the carnivores we’ve chosen as our cherished furry family members, and they need large quantities of high quality animal proteins to thrive, so what to do? One part of the solution, of course, is for all of us to eat less meat, and to choose to only eat meat raised in humane conditions by farms that use sustainable farming and ranching practices (especially those you might find at your local Farmer’s Market or Food Coop).
Another interesting part of this solution may be found in insect protein!
Before you saw EEEWWWWW! and close this page, realize that many insects such as crickets, termites and mealworms are already a staple protein in as many 80% of other countries. (Don’t forget: Lobsters and Shrimp are some of our most cherished delicacies, but it wasn’t until the 1880s that people thought of lobsters as anything but ugly cockroaches of the sea, good only for fertilizer and prison food. In fact, both crickets and lobsters are from the same family, arthropods.)
Crickets are making their way into the U.S. as novelty treats. Did you catch Salt and Straw’s Halloween ice cream flavors? One of them was “Creepy Crawly Critters”, which featured chocolate covered crickets and coconut toffee-brittle covered mealworms blended into a matcha ice cream.
Funny stuff, but from both a sustainability and nutritional standpoint, insects actually make big sense! Check this out – Crickets have:
By Green Dog Pet Supply
Halloween can be fun, but there are a few important things to keep in mind to help keep pets safe.
Beware of Toxic Things on Halloween
Don’t forget to be on guard for dogs getting into that Halloween Candy stash! Chocolate isn’t the only thing that’s toxic to dogs; macadamia nuts, raisins, and especially the sweetener xylitol are all on the list of things that can be very poisonous and sometimes deadly to dogs. Remember, the wrappers and other decorations can also cause problems when ingested. Check out this link to other common household items that are toxic to dogs, and what to do if your dog gets into them.
Make sure that if your dog is stressed out by strangers to have him in a secure area of the house where he won’t be plagued by constant scary monsters ringing the doorbell. Conversely, if you’re up for it this is a great time to work on door manners with a dog that isn’t frightened, just excited. The doorbell rings, dog on leash sits, door opens, dog and costumed kid both get their own treats. Lots of repetitions available on Halloween equals lots of chances to practice how to act when people come to the door.
Part Three of a three-part series – Part one was an announcement about the loss of many kinds of plastic recycling, and what plastics are still able to be recycled. Part Two focuses on why China has recently stopped importing recyclable plastic, and why attempting to force recyclers to take materials we wish they would recycle actually can ruin the chances of recyclable materials getting recycled. Read part two here.
We often focus on recycling as it feels like such a direct way to help curb the waste stream, yet it’s actually at the bottom of the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle hierarchy.
If you want to save energy, water and resources, the best thing you can do is reduce the items you consume (products, packaging) and then reuse the items as many times as possible.
Ideas for reducing plastic waste:
Some of them seem obvious but do you actually do them? Could you do a few more? It might be easier than you think.
Compare brands to look for alternatives:
If you are considering buying a product but it comes packaged in plastic, see if there’s another brand that doesn’t. Rice or pasta often comes with the choices of plastic bags or cardboard. Cardboard is at least recyclable or compostable. Some products these days are being purposefully designed to create less waste – Seventh Generation has a laundry detergent designed to reduce waste – the detergent is concentrated to provide 4X the number of loads, and the package is a thin plastic bag enclosed in a clever sturdy recyclable/compostable cardboard shell. It’s also lighter to transport so uses fewer fossil fuels than heavier containers. Keep your eyes open for options like these.
Buy in Bulk: Better yet, look for stores that have bulk bins – you can bring a reusable container and buy your rice or pasta (or granola, or nuts, or flour, etc) in bulk. It saves you money as well! Some places even have bulk shampoos, olive oil, peanut butter, etc.
Part Two in this three-part series:
Have you heard that we can no longer recycle many kinds of plastic in the US that we’ve gotten used to being able to recycle?
We were so disappointed when we heard the news that China has stopped importing post consumer plastic waste. We try hard as a Green store to find creative ways to reduce the amount of waste that we generate and to find ways to re use everything we can, but for some materials, mostly soft clear plastics like plastic bags, we relied heavily on recycling. This recent import ban crates an enormous challenge for us and for all consumers, as the amount we are forced to send to landfill will increase quite a bit.
The Chinese recycling industry had been a $5 billion annual business, and scrap and waste was the sixth largest U.S. export to China. When shipping containers come into the U.S. from China they are laden with products, but those empty containers must return to China. Due to the trade deficit, this resulted in heavily discounted shipping rates that allowed huge volumes of mixed paper and plastics to be delivered inexpensively to China for recycling. Last year China imported 7.3 million tons of waste plastics, primarily from the U.S. and Japan. Non-curbside plastic has almost no other place to go if it can’t go to China (except our landfills).
wishful recycling can result in whole loads being sent to landfill. Photo from Adobe Stock
Economic Impact for Recycling Industry and their U.S. workers:
The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) quickly condemned the ban, stating it would have a “devastating impact” on recycling on a global scale and in the U.S. Robin Wiener, ISRI’s president says, “More than 155,000 direct jobs are supported by the U.S. industry’s export activities, earning an average wage of almost $76,000 and contributing more than $3 billion to federal, state, and local taxes. A ban on imports of scrap commodities into China would be catastrophic to the recycling industry.”
So Why Did China stop taking plastics for recycling?
Part one of a 3-part series
By Guest Blogger Barbara Bailleul, Master Recycler, class of Feb. 1997
China has been the buyer of our post-consumer plastics and other used commodities. They have just announced to the World Health Organization adoption of new environmental regulations, under which they are no longer allowing importation of recycled plastics, etc. from the United States and Europe.
With no buyer, recyclers here will no longer be collecting these items.
No need to go from one recycler to another, or one grocery store to another — recyclers will stop collecting plastics. They have no one to sell them to.
The exception, right now, is Curbside Recycling. Refresh your memory at Metro’s web page on plastics accepted curbside In short,
” Sort plastic by SHAPE, not by number:
• Ignore the numbers. Ignore the arrows. Sort by shape.
• See IMAGE.
These items are OK in your recycling container – rinse thoroughly:
Hearts are high in natural taurine and make an excellent treat or topper!
Taurine Dr Karen Becker DVM says, “Taurine, especially essential for cats, is an important amino acid for liver and gallbladder support. It’s essential for optimal blood flow, eye health, cardiovascular health, and the production of bile in both cats and dogs. Pets with less-than-optimal levels of taurine may be at greater risk of adverse effects from toxins. Although a minimal level of taurine is included in most commercial pet foods, taurine is easily depleted in stressed pets”.
Taurine can be found naturally in milk, eggs, meat, and seaweed, however, amino acids like Taurine are easily damaged by high heat cooking, which is why you’ll generally see kibbles and cans supplemented with synthetic taurine for cats, and with cysteine and methionine, which are the building blocks for taurine synthesis in dogs). If cats don’t get enough taurine from the foods they eat they can die, but many holistic vets believe that it’s incredibly important for dogs as well. (more…)
We all want to make sure we’re supporting our senior pets as they get older, but there are a few myths that persist about what is nutritionally appropriate for senior dogs.
Myth #1: Seniors need lower protein diets
It’s true that we used to be instructed to lower protein when dogs get older, but current research shows that older dogs actually need significantly higher protein than their younger counterparts. Their bodies become less efficient at metabolizing proteins as they age, so increasing the amount (and the digestibility) of proteins is key to supporting them and helping to prevent muscle wasting.
Pro Tip: Raw foods have the most bioavailable proteins, but if you feed a kibble diet, mixing in a nugget or two of prepared raw diets from our freezers can be a delicious, affordable, and super nutritious way to get whole food vitamins, minerals and important amino acids that haven’t been damaged by high heat cooking. Senior dogs need these tools to thrive as they age, and this easy solution is better and cheaper than any commercial supplement or food in a can!
Myth #2: But couldn’t too much protein hurt their kidneys?
This idea was based on studies done on rats, not dogs. Rats have evolved with different nutritional requirements than dogs have, so when they did study this question in dogs, it was determined that no amount of protein can hurt a healthy kidney. Mary Straus of dogaware.com says , “In fact, senior dogs fed high protein diets live longer and are healthier than those that are fed low protein diets, even when one kidney has been removed. Studies conducted at the University of Georgia in the 1990s demonstrated that feeding protein levels of 34 percent (on a dry matter basis) to older dogs with chronic kidney failure and dogs with only one kidney caused no ill effects. The mortality rate was greater for the dogs fed 18 percent protein than for the dogs fed 34 percent protein. Another study done on dogs with only one kidney showed that protein levels up to 44 percent of the diet had no harmful effect on the remaining kidney.” For a more comprehensive discussion of protein in dog diets, see this link
by Christine Mallar
In each of our newsletters I’ve started to write a little piece called “Amazing Things You’re Not Buying”, featuring a product that we love. We have a number of products that are truly amazing, and that we wish so many more pets could have access to, due to their ability to support their good health, or ability to help with common chronic health issues. But, too many customers buzz in and out of the store to pick up their bag of food without taking the time to explore some of the other ways they could be supporting their pet’s health and longevity. I’ve been reticent about posting specific products on the internet, as we don’t have the time to support online sales on our website. However, I would be happy if more pet owners everywhere used these products, and I know you’ll be able to ask your local independent pet supply stores to order them for you, or you can find them online. Of course there are many resources for other products containing medicinal mushrooms – the one featured is a good one, but not the only one! Don’t forget, these same benefits can be found for humans who might supplement with medicinal mushroom blends for people.
Today’s feature – medicinal mushrooms:
Medicinal Mushrooms are amazing. Many cultures around the world have used mushrooms for centuries for medicinal purposes. Modern research has shown us what ancient healers and scientists have learned through this practical experience – studies indicate that medicinal mushrooms have antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-tumor properties. Some mushrooms contain compounds that stimulate the immune system, activating the pet’s natural defenses and healing response. They can assist the healing of the liver, kidneys, and heart tissues. They can also support healthy digestion and support flexibility and ease of movement. The most impressive results we’ve seen in our store have been with dogs that have been diagnosed with cancerous tumors – many customers swear by the Bixbi Immunity mushroom blend for helping to slow down or shrink tumors and say they’re convinced it gave them longer survival rates and better quality of life. This is big stuff in our world!
Safety Tip For Dogs in Summertime:
Please remember, if you bring your dogs outdoors during a hot summer day, as the day gets hotter pavement heats up much more than the air. Today it’s almost 100 degrees – we measured the pavement temperature and it was 141 degrees! This temperature can easily cause pain and blistering for dogs and verges on the temperature that could result in permanent damage to the pads (120 degrees can cause pain, 140 degrees can cause permanent damage after 1 minute of contact, and 150 degrees can cause instant damage). Please remember that the darker road temperature can often be hotter than the lighter sidewalk, but not by much – the sidewalk can be almost as hot, or in some places hotter. Bring dogs out in the earlier part of the day for their exercise, and keep an eye on their feet. Reach down and feel the pavement – leave your hand on it for a minute – can you leave it there? They might have slightly tougher feet than we do, but heat is heat, and tissue damage can occur. Blistered paw pads are no fun for either of you to deal with! A pair of boots wouldn’t be the worst idea if you know you have to be on hot pavement with them. Here’s a good article that mentions the device we use to measure pavement temps, and discusses this issue in greater depth. One tip from this link: the temperature of car seats can be very hot as well – he measured his at 150 – this is hot enough to cause damage. Make sure to travel with towels or a blanket to throw onto hot seats when traveling with a dog.
You might even want to pick up a surface temperature reader for yourself to know when conditions are safe. You can find them for as little as $14.99 on Amazon.