Could Rice Be the New Concrete?

image of a bowl of rice

According to this article that I came across on Discovery’s website there is a whole new use for rice husks. Concrete obviously isn’t the most eco-friendly thing in this world, however, it is possible that rice husks could change all of that. Take a look at the article on it below. You may find it to be enlightening…

A new way of processing rice husks for use in concrete could lead to a boom in green construction.

Rice husks form small cases around edible kernels of rice and are rich in silicon dioxide (SiO2), an essential ingredient in concrete. Scientists have recognized the potential value of rice husks as a building material for decades, but past attempts to burn it produced ash too contaminated with carbon to be useful as a cement substitute.

The world’s penchant for consuming concrete is a huge problem for climate change. Every ton of cement manufactured for use in concrete emits a ton of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere. Worldwide, cement production accounts for about 5 percent of all CO2 emissions related to human activity.

Now, Rajan Vempati of ChK Group, Inc. in Plano, Texas, and a team of researchers have figured out a way to make nearly carbon-free rice husk ash. Heating husks to 800 degrees centigrade (1,472 degrees Fahrenheit) in a furnace drives off carbon, leaving fine particles of nearly pure silica behind.

“The process emits some CO2, but it’s carbon neutral. Any that we emit goes back annually into the rice paddies,” Vempati said.

In recent years, concrete has become a repository for various waste products. Slag from steel mills, coal fly ash and silica fume — a leftover from the silicon metal industry — all have found second lives as replacements for carbon-belching Portland cement.

“I think the reason rice husk ash has had difficulty making it into mainstream applications is it typically comes with quite a high carbon content,” Jan Olek of Purdue University, who was not involved in the study said. “If properly prepared, it could be a very useful, good material for efforts to limit emissions of carbon dioxide in the concrete industry.”

Adding the ash makes concrete stronger and more resistant to corrosion. The team speculates that rice husk ash could enhance performance by replacing up to 20 percent of the cement typically mixed into concrete in the construction of skyscrapers, bridges and any structure built on or near water.

Article continues here.

Green Dog Odor Remover Now Available At Wal-Mart

image of a dog

First off, I hope all of the Dads out there had a fantastic Father’s Day weekend! Second off, here are the current results from last week’s poll:

Based upon your votes there are more of you who are giving eco gifts compared to anything else, which is based on the number of votes received. That’s a great thing because we all should help those around us who need help with getting their foot on the ground to go green.

This week’s poll is: Does Your Pet Live An Eco Life? Click Here to vote!

Readers, something amazing happened when I was doing my grocery shopping at Wal-Mart today. I stopped down the dog aisle looking for something in particular for my faithful, though often a moody, dog. Unfortunately, they did not have what I was looking for. However, on my way out I did notice something well worth mentioning to all of you, and could not wait to share it. I came across some odor removers that are eco-friendly put out by a company called Clean + Green.

While the products that I found were for dogs, this brand does carry odor removers/cleaners for various pets, so make sure to check out a Wal-Mart near you whenever you get a chance. What really astonished me, though, is that this brand puts out a product for wood/laminate/tile floors aside from just carpet. The price range that I saw these odor removers/cleaners at was between $6.00 and $7.00 each. Every store more than likely will vary in price. Here are a few of the products that I found by Clean + Green at my Wal-Mart, which can also be easily purchased online as well:

Clean + Green Carpet Odor Eliminator, Cleaner and Stain Remover For Dogs

Clean + Green Carpet Odor Eliminator, Cleaner & Stain Remover for Dogs cleans and permanently removes stain and odor on the carpet from dog clean up problems such as urine, feces, and vomit.

Clean + Green Wood and Tile Odor Eliminator, Cleaner and Stain Remover For Dogs
Clean + Green Wood and Tile Odor Eliminator for Dogs cleans and removes stain and odors from dog cleanup problems on finished wood and tile such as urine, feces or vomit.

Clean + Green Furniture Odor Eliminator, Cleaner and Stain Remover For Dogs
Petrotech Clean + Green Furniture Odor Eliminator, Cleaner and Stain Remover cleans and removes stain and odors from dog cleanup problems on fabric, upholstery and bedding surfaces.

Clean + Green All-Purpose Odor Eliminator, Cleaner and Stain Remover For Small Animals
Clean + Green All-Purpose Odor Eliminator, Cleaner, and Stain Remover cleans and removes odors and stains from small animal cleanup problems in cages, litter boxes, and air.

A Little Something To Sweeten Up the Grill


Love to grill but looking for something different to grill other than meat and vegetables? Want to satisfy your starving sweet tooth? This recipe by Whole Foods Market just might be the trick for you then! Their recipe for grilled fruit with caramelized orange sauce is really good and definitely helps out if you have a sweet tooth. Opt for as many organic ingredients as possible. Don’t like the fruits listed in this recipe? Simply replace with your favorite fruits instead. Also, if you don’t have any orange juice on hand you can use apple juice.

If you aren’t a fruit eater you can always attempt to replace the fruit with vegetables, such as carrots for example. When carrots have a little sweetness added to them, whether with the use of other fruits or something else, they taste extremely sweet, pending on what you use. Another vegetable you can try is corn. Personally, I’ve never tried to sweeten corn, however, I do know people that have and they love it.

Also, don’t forget to check out Wednesday’s Quick Tip Below!

Serves 6 to 8

1/2 cup orange juice
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon orange zest
canola oil
2 large peaches or nectarines, pitted and cut into thick wedges
2 ripe but firm bananas, peeled, halved lengthwise then crosswise
1 pineapple, peeled, cored and cut into thick slices

Whisk together juice, sugar, and zest in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until reduced by half, 6 to 8 minutes. Set aside to let cool completely.

Meanwhile, grease grill grates with oil and preheat to medium-high heat. Working in batches, arrange peaches, bananas, and pineapple on grill in a single layer and cook, carefully flipping once, until just hot throughout and golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer fruit to bowls, drizzle with sauce and serve.

Per serving (about 6oz/183g-wt.): 150 calories (20 from fat), 2g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 0mg sodium, 33g total carbohydrate (3g dietary fiber, 27g sugar), 1g protein

Wednesday’s Quick Tip: Organic tomatoes can be quite costly, offset this by growing your own at home.

Helpful Tips On What To Do With Baking Soda

image of baking soda
  • Instead of washing your garbage cans with soap and water, try using baking soda and water.
  • Want to polish silverware? Using a damp cloth polish/rub the silverware with baking soda and the damp cloth, followed by simply rinsing the silverware and drying it.
  • Remove odors in shoes by sprinkling baking soda in them. The baking soda will absorb the odors.
  • Add a tiny bit of baking soda to your favorite shampoo. This aids in getting rid of build-up on the scalp and in the hair caused by styling products.
  • Bee sting bugging you? Create a paste of baking soda and water. Apply the paste to the bee sting and allow it to dry before removing it. Usually, this will help to get the stinger out. My friend’s mother used to be a Nurse, whom I received this tip from.
  • Tired of pain caused by a canker sore? Make a mouthwash of water and baking soda, use as you would your regular mouthwash. This will help to relieve the pain caused by canker sores.
  • Applying a paste made of baking soda and water to a sunburn will relieve some of the pain.
  • Apply baking soda with either an extremely soft cloth or a powder puff to underarms in place of regular deodorant.
  • Love to plant roses but absolutely hate dealing with black spot fungus? Never fear! Mix together 1 teaspoon eco-friendly liquid dish soap, 1-gallon water, and 2 tablespoons of baking soda. Spray this mixture onto roses in order to treat roses for black spot fungus.
  • Add anywhere from ¼ to ½ cup of baking soda to a foot soak, stirring well. This will soften tired feet’s skin.
  • Add ½ a teaspoon of baking soda to a glass of water. Drink it, and it will greatly help to relieve heartburn.
  • Sprinkle baking soda in cat’s litter box. This will definitely help to get rid of odors.
  • Want a cleaner toilet bowl? Place 1 cup of baking soda in the toilet bowl. Let it sit anywhere from 1 – 2 hours, then flush the toilet to rinse. This will not only help to clean the toilet bowl but also help with odors if there were any previously present.
  • Place baking soda in a refrigerator and or freezer, putting fresh baking soda every 30 days. This will absorb odors.
  • One thing that has been mentioned by a few people before was to mix a little bit of baking soda with water and then apply it to a corroded auto battery. Supposedly it will dissolve the corrosion.
  • Clean your dishwasher by using baking soda instead of dishwasher soap, and run it through a cycle.

Taking An Eco Approach To After Shave

image of a man shaving

Men, especially, look to aftershave to help soothe their skin and prevent razor burn and bumps. While most men use aftershave some women do as well. Typically when women use aftershave it is because they have extra sensitive skin and are trying to prevent razor burn and bumps. Below you will find more natural aftershaves. Not only will they treat your skin better but they will also treat the environment better.

George’s Aloe After Shave
Georges Aloe Vera After Shave is stimulating with a refreshing scent restores moisture to the skin! 78% “Always Active” Aloe Vera.

Thayers Witch Hazel After Shave With Aloe Vera Extra Strength
Thayers After Shave Witch Hazel with Aloe Vera Formula reduces post-shaving irritation and leaves skin supple to the touch. Made of extract from the Witch Hazel shrub (Hamamelis Virginiana) and a blend of other time-tested ingredients – Thayers Witch Hazel with Aloe Vera Formula Astringents and Alcohol-Free Toners are soothing, natural treatments that cleanse, tone and soothe your skin.

Earth Science Aloe Herbal After Shave Skin Soother For Men
For dry and normal skin. A unique skin soother formulated without stinging alcohols. Soothes and cools the skin and helps prevent razor burn or irritation. Normalizes the skin to a pH of 4.0 to 6.0. I have bought this brand for someone once before and it worked really well for them.

Reviva Labs After Save Conditioner
Skin Texture will feel and look smoother, while Reviva Labs After Shave Skin Conditioner helps protect skin from dust and pollutants.

EO Products After Shave Tea Tree and Lemon

This revitalizing After Shave Splash refreshes and cools the skin surface. Essential oils noted for their natural crisp scent and healing properties, invigorate and tone skin naturally. Use Daily to awaken, revitalize and revive skin. Paraben and Alcohol-Free, this splash won’t dry skin. Witch Hazel serves as a powerful astringent to tone and balance. Nourishing Algae and Mugwort heal and nourish while Aloe, Panthenol, and Nourishing Olive Wax leave skin soothe and moisturize. Pure Lemon, Tea Tree essential oils and Gentle Organic Jojoba work together to restore moisture and clarify skin naturally.

Eco-Destroy Your Dog Or Cat’s Fleas With Shampoo

poll on green cleaning products

It appears that the vote was a tie to a certain degree. Both Palmolive and Clorox are decent commercial line product brands. Personally speaking, I love Clorox’s toilet bowl cleaner and Palmolive’s dishwasher detergent.

A lot of people complain that they have a lot of residues, etc. left by Palmolive’s dishwasher detergent even though they are using brand new high-end dishwashers. I don’t own a new high-end dishwasher, just a regular one that I’ve had for many, many years. I’ve been using Palmolive’s dishwasher soap for roughly 6 months and have not experienced anything like residue, etc. A while back I did notice that someone online mentioned they added a little vinegar to the dishwasher soap, and that helped out greatly. My apologies but I don’t know who provided this tip online.

Click here to vote in this week’s new poll on Obama and the environment!

It’s starting to become that time of year again, the time when fleas tend to do the most damage to pets. A lot of flea shampoos contain ingredients that can harm the environment and can also take a toll on your pet’s skin over a period of time without realizing it. Thankfully there are other options out there, such as eco pet shampoos aimed at killing fleas. Check out the eco shampoos below and keep your pet happy with eco-goodness.

Evolution Grapefruit Flea and Tick Shampoo

The Grapefruit Flea and Tick Shampoo kills fleas and ticks on contact and has a triple-strength formula that has three times more pyrethrin than the competition. It is safe and effective and can be used on dogs, cats, puppies, and kittens over 12 weeks. This shampoo has a grapefruit scent and contains natural Pyrethrin derived from flowers. Sizes: 18 ounces, 1 gallon, and 2.5 gallons.

Organic Pet Shampoo
Vermont Soap Organics Pet Shampoo is a USDA certified organic pet shampoo, certified by Vermont Organic Farmers to food standards. It is extraordinarily mild, hypoallergenic, and free of petroleum or animal by-products. Ingredients include saponified organic oils of coconut, olive, and jojoba, natural essential oil blend including (but not limited to) tea tree and organic orange oil, organic aloe vera, and rosemary extract. There are no chemical detergents, synthetic fragrances, colors, or antimicrobial preservatives used in this liquid shampoo. Natural rosemary extract is the only preservative. The natural essential oil blend may help to repel fleas and ticks. Vermont Soap Organics Pet Shampoo is made in Vermont and packaged in a recyclable plastic bottle.

Natural Animal Solutions Herbal Flea Shampoo
Free from Chemicals and Pesticides. Leaves the coat soft and shiny. Safe for regular use on your pets. All Natural Animal Solutions products are Sodium Laureth Sulphate free. Ingredients include Melrose shampoo base, Apple cider vinegar, Black walnut, Thyme, Rosemary, Rue, Fennel, Pennyroyal, Wormwood, Lavender, Yellow dock, Feverfew, Neem seed. Natural Animal Solutions products are made in Australia.

Dying Your Hair Without Harming the Environment

hair dye on a wig

Thousands of people dye their hair every day, including me every once in a while. While it may look nice and be considered fun it is very harmful to the environment due to the harsh chemicals that are involved. The good news is that there are eco-friendly options out there in the form of natural hair dyes. Below is a list of hair dyes that are natural and can be easily purchased online. All dyes come in various colors.

Surya Henna Powder Hair Treatment (Brown)
A new concept of powder temporary coloring and hair treatment. It colors white hair while provides treatment, due to its conditioning, toning, fungistatic and bacteriostatic action, which prevents from hair fall and dandruff. Since it is totally natural, it does not contain peroxide, ammonia or heavy metals and it can also be used for children, people allergic to chemicals, pregnant women or people undergoing chemotherapeutic treatment. It is available in eight different colors. 100% plant product with pure honey.

Surya Henna Cream Hair Coloring With Natural Extracts (Black)

Surya Henna Cream is a temporary coloring and hair treatment, in a ready-to-use cream presentation. Practical and easy-to-use, it is a natural and organic product, made from rare and exotic herbs and fruits of Brazil – Amazônia – and India. This product also colors white hair, with no peroxide, heavy metals or ammonia. It treats and conditions, due to the action of the natural properties of herbs and fruits. Available in other colors aside from black.

Light Mountain Natural Hair Color & Conditioner Kit (Mahogany)
Choose from Light Mountain’s original line with the famous “henna animals” in 12 shades, or Light Mountain’s unique Color the Gray line with 8 shades. Light Mountain uses no chemicals and no synthetic ingredients, only pure premium henna, and other botanicals. Light Mountain has been blending henna based natural hair colors since the early 1980′s. Complete application kit. 100% pure botanical hair color. No animal testing and no animal ingredients.

Rainbow Research Henna Persian (Marigold Blonde)
Henna is a natural plant-based alternative to chemical hair colorings. Rainbow henna coats each hair shaft with color. Smooths and seals the hair’s cuticle for greater shine. Texturizes hair and gives it body. Blends naturally. Fades gradually. Lasts 4-6 weeks. Available in the following shades: Black, Red, Sherry, Mahogany, Burgundy, Dark Brown, Medium Brown, Light Brown, Copper, Strawberry Blonde, Blonde, Marigold Blonde. Neutral Henna is a natural, colorless conditioner for all hair types.

Herbatint Herbal Haircolor Permanent Gel (Platinum Blonde)
Herbatint is a permanent hair coloring with a natural herbal base and no ammonia that gently colors and protects hair structure while giving hair a deep natural gloss. Gentle and easy to use Herbatint’s gel formula is easy to apply and gentle for your hair.

Eco Summer Camps

earth with recycling symbol

Summer camp is an institution of childhood for me and many others. We have fond (or perhaps not so fond) memories of being dropped off at a strange place with kids we don’t know, sleeping on rough bunks and having a blast. But the choice comes down many times to theme-camps, many of which are religiously affiliated. Why not, when sending your child off to camp, have them learn about the environment they’re living in? Eco-themed camps a great way to acclimate and introduce your kids to earth-friendly living while getting them out into it. A hands-on adventure.

When looking for a good camp, your best bet is local. One camp I attended was a day camp about ten minutes from my home called Piney Run, where the program revolved around nature hikes and survival games interspersed with lessons about animal habitats and being respectful to the environment. We learned all the traditional songs and made sculptures out of trash collected around the park and learned about our impact on the nearby lake. Day camps are good for kids who aren’t quite ready to leave home just yet, but who like to get out there during the day.

But my favorite camp was a larger establishment called Hashawa, where I was in for a week-long adventure in which the hikes were longer and the councilors much more knowledgeable about the state of the camp ecology. Our lessons included collecting and analyzing tadpole and insect specimens from streams, finding butterfly meadows and observing bee pollination, night-hikes to hear owls, and a whole collection of other exciting and interesting activities that truly opened my eyes to the world around me.


In the long run, I must say both camps were impressible experiences, and appropriate for my age at the time. Without attending these camps I doubt I would be as passionate about the natural world as I am today. So how do you choose one that’s right for your child? Sites like have searches that help zone in on your region or camp preference.

Pharmaceuticals Now Showing Up In Fish?

image of fish swimming

I was checking out some news on MSNBC and just so happened to come across an article that I believe is very important for everyone to read, and so I wanted to share it with all of you. Some fish were caught near wastewater treatment plants by a few major U.S. Cities and apparently had residues of pharmaceuticals in them.

Please read this article as it is very informative…

Fish caught near wastewater treatment plants serving five major U.S. cities had residues of pharmaceuticals in them, including medicines used to treat high cholesterol, allergies, high blood pressure, bipolar disorder, and depression, researchers reported Wednesday.

Findings from this first nationwide study of human drugs in fish tissue have prompted the Environmental Protection Agency to significantly expand similar ongoing research to more than 150 different locations.

“The average person hopefully will see this type of study and see the importance of us thinking about water that we use every day, where does it come from, where does it go to? We need to understand this is a limited resource and we need to learn a lot more about our impacts on it,” said study co-author Bryan Brooks, a Baylor University researcher and professor who has published more than a dozen studies related to pharmaceuticals in the environment.

A person would have to eat hundreds of thousands of fish dinners to get even a single therapeutic dose, Brooks said. But researchers including Brooks have found that even extremely diluted concentrations of pharmaceutical residues can harm fish, frogs and other aquatic species because of their constant exposure to contaminated water.

Brooks and his colleague Kevin Chambliss tested fish caught in rivers where wastewater treatment plants release treated sewage in Chicago, Dallas, Phoenix, Philadelphia and Orlando, Fla. For comparison, they also tested fish from New Mexico’s pristine Gila River Wilderness Area, an area isolated from human sources of pollution.

Earlier research has confirmed that fish absorb medicines because the rivers they live in are contaminated with traces of drugs that are not removed in sewage treatment plants. Much of the contamination comes from the unmetabolized residues of pharmaceuticals that people have taken and excreted; unused medications dumped down the drain also contribute to the problem.

The researchers, whose work was funded by a $150,000 EPA grant, tested fish for 24 different pharmaceuticals, as well as 12 chemicals found in personal care products.

They found trace concentrations of seven drugs and two soap scent chemicals in fish at all five of the urban river sites. The amounts varied, but some of the fish had combinations of many of the compounds in their livers.

The researchers didn’t detect anything in the reference fish caught in rural New Mexico.

In an ongoing investigation, The Associated Press has reported trace concentrations of pharmaceuticals have been detected in drinking water provided to at least 46 million Americans.

The EPA has called for additional studies about the impact on humans of long-term consumption of minute amounts of medicines in their drinking water, especially in unknown combinations. Limited laboratory studies have shown that human cells failed to grow or took unusual shapes when exposed to combinations of some pharmaceuticals found in drinking water.

“This pilot study is one important way that EPA is increasing its scientific knowledge about the occurrence of pharmaceuticals and personal care products in the environment,” said EPA spokeswoman Suzanne Rudzinski. She said the completed and expanded EPA sampling for pharmaceuticals and other compounds in fish and surface water is part of the agency’s National Rivers and Stream Assessment.

Looking To Eco Bathroom Tissue

roll of toilet paper

Bathroom Tissue, also called Toilet Paper by an enormous number of people, obviously uses a lot of trees over time. Can you imagine how many trees it would save if we all stopped using toilet paper? Okay, going without the use of toilet paper is obviously not the answer to cutting back on how many trees are cut down, no pun intended. However, there is a way to possibly reduce the amount. How? Well, what about eco-friendly toilet paper? While there aren’t a lot of various companies coming out with eco-friendly toilet paper there are a few, which you will see in the list of toilet papers that I provided for you below, all of which can be bought online.

At the moment there aren’t very many places to purchase eco-friendly toilet paper but there are a lot more than before. Locally, you should be able to find a toilet paper sold under the brand name of Seventh Generation in stores such as Walgreens, Walmart, and Winn-Dixie. If you come across any other local stores that carry eco-toilet paper locally please don’t be afraid to post a comment with the name of the store.

100% Cotton Bathroom Tissue
100% Cotton Bathroom Tissue – 1 double roll. How can something so luxurious be so ecologically friendly? Favored by trees everywhere, this incredibly soft and lint-free tissue is made from 100% recycled cotton. Completely biodegradable contains no dyes, latex, or perfumes, and is ideal for septic systems and low-flow toilets. Manufactured by Purely Cotton.

Seventh Generation Bathroom Tissue
100% Recycled Bathroom Tissue. Made from 100% recycled paper (minimum 80% post-consumer). Buying products made from the recycled paper helps reduce the need for virgin wood pulp. Their paper is whitened with an environmentally safe process, never with chemicals containing chlorine. Features and Benefits: Whitened without chemical containing chlorine, No added dyes, and fragrances, Safe for septic systems, Ideal for low-flow toilets.

Earth Friendly Bathroom Tissue Extra Strength
Made from 100% recycled paper containing a minimum of 80% post-consumer content. Earth Friendly Products toilet paper comes as a four-pack 2-ply 175 sheet count roll.

Natracare Wipes
Made from organic cotton with natural plant extracts of calendula and chamomile. These soft and strong feminine wipes are clinically tested, are alcohol-free, are biodegradable, do not contain any sodium lauryl or Laureth sulfates (SLS), have zero synthetic preservatives, are paraben-free and totally chlorine-free.  The resealable package makes them perfect to pop in a purse or overnight bag. Great for those “oh no, there’s no toilet paper” situations in public restrooms. Each package contains 12 feminine wipes. Ingredients include aqua, glycerin, coco glucoside, organic chamomilla Recutita, maltodextrin, organic calendula Officinalis, sodium levulinate, sodium anisate, potassium sorbate, lactic acid, Hyacinthus orientalis, cinnamyl alcohol, hydroxycitronellal, sodium phytate. Made in Greece.

Eco Soft Toilet Tissue
500 2-ply 4 3/8 x 3 3/4″ sheets per roll, carton of 96 rolls. 100% recycled fibers/40% minimum post-consumer waste. Processed chlorine-free and Green Seal certified. “424,000: The number of trees that would be saved if every household in the U.S. replaced just one 500 sheet roll of virgin toilet paper with just one recycled roll. -Natural Resources Defense Council.”