Keep America Beautiful Month

Great American Cleanup logo

In 1953 a group of individuals formed an organization called “Keep America Beautiful” aimed at reducing the amount of littering on public lands, highways, and waterways encouraging Americans to take pride in America. It is the nations largest volunteer-based community action and education, group. Since it’s conception it really has grown in leaps and bounds with campaigns and promotions such as

  • Canine TV star Lassie appears as a mascot for an anti-litter campaign.
  • “Crying Indian” PSA campaign, the iconic symbol of environmental responsibility and one of the most successful PSA campaigns in history.
  • President Reagan endorses the Clean Community System.
  • Take Pride in America program, created to promote the wise use of public lands, begins with federal agencies.
  • “Close the Loop, Buy Recycled” U.S. EPA partnership
  • Web-based educational tools, including Clean Sweep U.S.A “Back By Popular Neglect” PSA campaign

Each April is Keep America Beautiful month drawing attention to the campaigns and research done by Keep America Beautiful and their three primary areas of focus: litter reduction, waste minimization, and beautification.

The only way to make a difference is to get involved. Keep America Beautiful invites you to join the millions of volunteers who participate in Keep America Beautiful programs nationwide. Get active with your family, friends, coworkers, and neighbors. Connect with local businesses and government. However you take part, you will help transform your local environment into a cleaner, safer and healthier community.

  • There are 565 Keep America Beautiful affiliates throughout the country. If you want to help keep your community clean and beautiful please volunteer!
  • Join the Keep America Beautiful mailing list for emails on national programs, events, and good news network.
  • Donate to Keep America Beautiful to provide much-needed support for Keep America Beautiful educational and community programs.
  • Become a sponsoring business by supporting local community initiatives or nation programs
  • Volunteer for the Great American Cleanup

Great America Cleanup Campaign
Throughout the months of March, April and May, an anticipated 1,200 KAB affiliates and participating organizations nationwide will rally an estimated 3 million volunteers to hold litter and debris cleanups on public lands and waterways, host recycling drives, spruce up community amenities like parks and playgrounds, remove graffiti, plant trees, and community gardens, and host many more activities designed to improve the living environments that we all call “home.” The 2010 theme, “Green Starts Here,” is a rallying call that encourages volunteer groups, community leaders, and people of all ages and walks of life to begin creating more sustainable communities through their efforts as volunteers, and through their daily choices and actions. It also reflects Keep America Beautiful’s long legacy of community improvement activities. You can find volunteer locations at the Keep America Beautiful website


Going green with USPS

Living in the United States and recently visiting my local post office I noticed an inconspicuous box on the far left of the counter. I’m not quite sure what drew me to looking at it more closely, because it really wasn’t anything special to look at, no large slogans or fancy advertising just a rather ordinary looking box with colorful images on it. On closer inspection whilst waiting for the USPS clerk to finish my transaction I noticed the words recycling and that the box contained a large supply of what looked like small plastic bags.

Looking closer still at exactly what the USPS was offering, I was stunned! Free mail in recycling for small electronics! The envelope is USPS approved for the transport of cell phones, PDSAs, smart phones, MP3 players, digital camera or up to four ink-jet printer cartridges. Well the last part really drew my attention! I had used printer cartridges at home awaiting recycling, but the nearest collection point is the far side of town and I don’t go that way often, if I used this bag all I had to do was walk to the mailbox! The best part is that this service is FREE. No cost to the consumer! Awesome news indeed. The USPS website stats that these envelopes are available in select locations. Regarding this recycling scheme, state that they are:

Making recycling easy by mail. The mail is an easy and efficient way to recycle items so they don’t cause environmental harm.

We’re piloting a mail-it-back program consumers can use to mail their used electronic items such as PDA’s, cell phones and ink cartridges.

We are working with OSRAM SYLVANIA and Veolia Environmental Services to help consumers properly recycle used compact fluorescent lamps.

And Hewlett Packard, Dell, and Sprint are helping customers return empty ink cartridges, cell phones and other wireless devices, old computers and computer equipment through the mail.

This scheme follows closely with their green initiative. The USPS was the first mailing or shipping company to achieve Cradle to CradleSM certification for their packaging. Many of the containers in the USPS system are made from recycled
materials, and so are the stamped envelopes, post cards, stamp booklet
covers, and packaging materials they provide. Also their online click’n’ship service eliminates the need for customers to travel to the post office to mail letters and parcels. And as their website states “When you order a product on online, choose the Postal Service to
deliver it. We are already coming to your house 6 days a week so it’s
not an extra trip for us. Make the switch-have your packages delivered
by the Postal Service.”

It all makes perfect sense really! After visiting their website and seeing everything they are doing to help lower their global footprint and help me lower mine. I really wish that they’d make more of a big deal out of this service though as the in store promotion really isn’t that enticing, and if I hadn’t been right next to the envelope box I really wouldn’t have given it a second glance. So get the word out there, get to your post office and get recycling!





Natural Air Fresheners

image of pink flowers

Whether you’re trying to freshen up your house for guests or if you’d like to cancel out strong food odors from that delicious meal you just made, there are quite a few natural air fresheners you can use instead of chemical-laden commercial air fresheners.

Live or cut, a bunch of flowers can add beauty to your space as well as purifying the air. They have been known to neutralize the air by removing the formaldehyde given off by furniture or kitchen cabinets made with fiberboard. Live rubber plants, azaleas, and bamboo palms are also thought to be able to do this. Some flowers are so fragrant that their scent will fill the air while they are in bloom. Gardenias, lilacs, lilies, and some organic roses smell lovely and linger.
If you’re cooking vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, or cabbage or fish, all which give off sulfur orders, use lemon to reduce the smell. Slice about six lemons and simmer them in a handful of cloves in a pan of water for ten minutes. Much better!
You can make your own sweet-smelling rose water by placing a few drops of rose oil in a small bowl of water and add a solubilizer (available in the cosmetics section of health food stores) one drop at a time. Float fresh rose waters on top and replace them as they brown.
To add a natural fragrance to your closets and drawers stud oranges with whole cloves, spaced evenly and as close together as possible. Don’t forget about it once you put it in there and when you’re through with it, compost it.
Aside from using natural chemical-free soaps for washing, they make excellent drawer fresheners too. Place them in with your socks, undergarments, pajamas for a clean fresh smell.
Eucalyptus appears in many products, from deodorants to shower gels to cold remedies. It is known for its sinus-clearing power. Simmer eucalyptus leaves on the stove in water to freshen the air and clear the sinuses. Put a sprig of eucalyptus in a room to freshen it for a couple of weeks.
Vinegar can neutralize stinky smells, such as cigarette, strong cooking odors, and musty smells. Fill a glass dish with 1/2 inch of white vinegar and place in musty drawers or cabinets until the smell goes away. Make ice cubes out of vinegar and run them through your garbage disposer to eliminate odors.
This non-toxic, odorless volcanic rock is known to remove pet odors, cooking, and smoke smells, You can buy it at hardware stores in pouches or shakers. Hang the pouches in closets or basements or use the powder on spot odors.
(Ref: Martha Stewart, Home Keeping Handbook)

Slide Your Computer Mouse Onto Something Earth Friendly

image of a mouse on eco-friendly-pad

In the market for a new mouse pad? Mousepads these days are reasonably priced for the most part. Want to bring eco-friendliness to your mouse habits? Try using an eco-friendly mouse pad instead. They are still reasonably priced just as the not so eco-friendly mousepads are. Check them out, and help support the cause for a brighter, cleaner, healthier environmental future. Also, if you know of a local store that carries eco-friendly mousepads please share it in the comments section. It could help out the other readers. Thanks! We should try to help each other as much as possible, especially during these tough economic times. Every little bit counts every step of the way. Have a good day, everyone!

Tetra Pak Mouse Pad
Made entirely of recycled Juice Boxes. The plastic coating bonds the sheets together and viola! no glue needed. Random colorfulness makes these wonderfully unique and one-of-a-kind.

Fellowes Recycled Mouse Pad – Leaves
Earth-friendly mouse pad is made from 95% recycled tires, optical-friendly for superior tracking, non-skid rubber base protects desktop from scratches, durable and easy to clean. USA orders only.

Recycled Mouse Pad – Blue Ocean
Earth-friendly mouse pad is made from 95% recycled tires, optical-friendly for superior tracking, non-skid rubber base protects desktop from scratches, durable and easy to clean.

Scenic Foam Mouse Pad, Nonskid Back, 9 x 8, Sunrise Design
Colorful mouse pad works great with both optical and ball mice. Striking photo design will enliven your workspace. Non-skid backing keeps mouse pad still while you move.

Recycled Plastic Mouse Pad
Mousepads are made of recycled polythene bags and measure 7.5″ x 9.5″ (19 x 24.1 cm). Handmade in and fairly traded from India.

Not interested in earth-friendly mouse pads but want to encourage a healthy environment? Try one of these two mouse pads:

Blue Recycled Mouse Pad

Non-slip backing keeps the mouse moving while the mouse pad stays in place. Dimensions: 9.25″ x 7.75″. No minim order.

Handle With Care Mouse Pad
Non-slip backing keeps the mouse moving while the mouse pad stays in place. Dimensions: 9.25″ x 7.75″. No minim order.

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.

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.

Eco Friendly Christmas Trees

christmas tree

There an interesting tradition in my family when it comes to finding a Christmas tree. We simply go to the backyard. I grew up on a Christmas tree farm in fact, planting and selling Douglas Firs and Scotch Pines, even Norway Spruce. Trees are a tradition coming from Germany and originally decorated with candles as well as a wealth of traditional edible nuts and berries.


Its origins indicate an older tradition springing from the Anglo-Germanic use of Yggdrasil, the World Tree, a symbol of life and spirit. Modern Christmas tree retains the decorative and hopeful spirit of its predecessor, but with the concern centered around today’s environment and the cutting of trees as well as the use of artificial trees, there are a number of question about how to celebrate an environmental Christmas, including the tree.
Some people opt for an artificial tree instead of cutting one down, but in reality, while real trees produce clean oxygen during growth, artificial trees are made with non-renewable plastics and require a manufacturing process that leaves excess environmental waste and pollution. Disposal is also hard since rarely can artificial trees be recycled, and they certainly cannot be mulched.
However, real trees can be recycled by using a wood chipper, making great ground cover and mulch for other outdoor plants. Pine chips are also great for naturally keeping that fresh-tree scent around your home even longer. You can also search for an organic Christmas tree farms for extra support of green.
If you’re not comfortable with cutting down a tree, balled ‘n baled trees are another way to save the tree you use. Balled trees include a burlap sack that holds the tree’s roots. By using a large tub, you can keep the tree in your home for the holidays and then plant the tree after the festivities are over. Balled trees can be a great family tradition when it comes time for planting and pines make great property screens, are always green, and last through all sorts of weather.
When it comes to decorating your tree you can also take a hint from the German tradition and use organic foodstuffs such as traditional popcorn, nuts, and berries. Paper ornaments and snowflakes are also a good option, and many times already a tradition. If you really want that sparkle though, some companies make recycled decorations that keep the tree bright.
But lighting might be the biggest part of the tree, and the most costly. Constantly keeping your tree lit uses up unnecessary energy and can raise your winter energy costs even more. Try avoiding electronic ornaments and if you still want the lights, try only lighting the tree on special occasions. Using a plug attached to a switch is an easy way to turn the tree off quickly, making energy-saving easier.
There are plenty of ways to keep the tree extra green this year. If you have any extra tips, please feel free to share! And have a very merry, and very green Christmas.

Homemade Baby Lotion

homemade lotion

As this week comes to an end it is time to wrap up our eco-friendly baby week. In the ending of this eco-friendly baby week we are going to close things off with eco-friendly baby lotion. The two homemade lotions, which you learn to make yourself, featured in this article are both good to soothe your baby’s irritated skin. Not to mention, of course, you will be able to find out where to purchase eco-friendly baby lotion online if you prefer to buy it rather than make it.

To start figuring out how to make your own homemade baby lotion please follow the following recipes:

The Honey Milk Baby Lotion
For a lotion that you can refrigerate and use for up to a week, you will need ½ cup of honey and ½ cup of cream or milk (with the former being a better option). Pour the honey into the milk in a saucepan over medium heat and stir until the two are completely blended. Allow the mixture to stand for five minutes before placing in a glass jar with a lid and refrigerating. When completely cool, it will be ready to use!

The Lavender Baby Lotion
Mix 225g of petroleum jelly with nine teaspoons of olive oil, thirty drops of lavender oil and the same amount of chamomile. You do not have to heat this at all, but simply mix it in a bowl. You may want to use a fork to mix because it does take some blending but always needs mixing by hand to ensure all ingredients are thoroughly blended. Again, refrigerate for a few hours and then use on your child. It will keep for up to two weeks so be sure to store it properly in the fridge.

These recipes are by babies online. Please visit their website for the full article on baby lotions, and also for more information on babies, pregnancy, etc.

For those of you who wish to purchase eco-friendly baby lotion instead try Aura Cacia Calming Baby Lotion and All Natural Moisturizing Solid Lotion Bar. I’m sure that a lot of you will find that eco-friendly baby lotion is quite rewarding.

Wash Your Hands With Homemade Liquid Soap

So, we’ve figured out how to go about making homemade eco-friendly laundry detergent, but what about homemade eco-friendly liquid hand soap? Liquid hand soap is something that some people may or may not take into consideration when it comes to greening their cleaning supplies and or personal care products. Just like laundry detergent liquid hand soap does in fact typically have ingredients in it that are not good for the environment whatsoever. Well, guess what? You are about to learn how to make your own homemade eco-friendly hand soap!

Follow the following recipes to learn how to make your own homemade eco-friendly hand soap. Don’t forget to get creative when it comes to making your own soap. Try adding a few drops of your favorite smelling essential oil to the mix.

Homemade Organic Liquid Hand Soap

Organic Bar Soap
Distilled Water

Chop the soap up super small or grate. Boil the water (start with 3-4 cups) and once hot, add the soap. Mix, let it sit on a low boil, and if needed add more soap and or water, let low boil, mix. Once it appears to be the right thickness, do a massive final mix, it needs to be completely blended or little soap hardened pieces will show up, which of course will clog your pump. After the final mix, run a test. Your test is to let it sit out overnight. If you come back and it’s too thick, heat and add more water.
Getting the thickness right is the hard part. It depends on the soap. If you add 3 oz of soap or so, start with 3-4 cups H2o and go from there. It will turn out different depending your soap, so this is a project you need to watch, at least the first time you do it. You can add a few drops of organic essential oils too.

This recipe is by Jennifer. Check out this recipe in her article online.

Homemade Organic Liquid Hand Soap

1 cup distilled or filtered water
3 tablespoon liquid castile soap
1 teaspoon vegetable glycerin
Drops of lemon or orange essential oils-or your choice
Tea tree oil is antibacterial and antifungal, add some drops of that too

Combine all ingredients, I used a blender stick. Funnel into a reused pump bottle. It cost a lot less than buying organic hand soap. I tried Kiss my Face , then realized it has parabens (methyl-, propyl-, butyl-, ethyl-, isobutyl-).

This recipe is by Chari. You can view her recipe in her article online.