Glad You Could Join Us!

Welcome! Our blog focuses on environmental conservation, education, green living & wildlife rescue! We have put together links to resources, books and information to help you and your children learn more about these topics. Please feel free to comment on any items posted. Rate or review us on NetworkedBlogs (Facebook app) & Blogged. Tell your friends about us. Follow us on Twitter and other sites listed on this page. There's a banner & widget if you would like to include us on your webpage. All we ask is that you please keep any comments here G-rated for the kids!

NOTE: The birds & squirrel pictured at the top of this page and in the slideshow below are just a few that I have helped rehabilitate.
WARNING: Please do not touch a wild animal, especially the young ones. If you remove a baby from it's home, sometimes the mother is just off getting it's baby food and will be back.

Search This Blog

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Edible Chips & Computer Chips: How Do We Get Rid of Them?

Here are a few developments that I've been mulling over lately. I thought I would share with you all...

SunChips, Frito-Lay’s popular line of multigrain snacks, announced recently that on Earth Day April 22, 2010 this year it will introduce the first fully compostable snack chip bag made from plant-based materials. The change is designed to significantly improve the environmental impact of its packaging.

SunChips brand is taking the first step towards this transformational packaging. The outer layer of packaging on 10½-oz. size SunChips snacks bags will be made with a compostable, plant-based renewable material, polylactic acid (PLA). PepsiCo's Frito-Lay North America division plans to rollout a package for its SunChips snacks where all layers are made from PLA material so the package is 100% compostable.

“We know environmentally friendly packaging is a priority for our SunChips consumer,” says Gannon Jones, vice president, marketing, Frito-Lay North America. “Today’s launch of packaging made with 1/3 renewable materials is an important first step towards having a fully compostable chip bag in market by Earth Day 2010.”

Current snack food packaging has three layers: a printed outer layer with packaging visuals/graphics, an inner layer, which serves as a barrier to maintain the quality and integrity of the product, and a middle layer that joins the other two layers. When the packaging is 100% compostable, it will fully decompose in about 14 weeks when placed in a hot, active compost pile or bin. NatureWorks LLC is providing the PLA, which is trademarked under the Ingeo name.

“Packaging is clearly the most visible interaction consumers have with Frito-Lay’s brands,” says Jay Gehring, vice president, packaging R&D, Frito-Lay North America. “To make packaging that would interact differently in the environment we had to change the composition of packaging and invent key technologies. Using plant-based renewable materials, we have a promising solution that will transform packaging and significantly impact the billions of snack food bags produced annually.”

Once the 100% compostable bag is introduced, the company anticipates the switch will lead to reduced greenhouse gas emissions in the production of the packaging and the elimination of petroleum-based packaging material. The launch of PLA packaging is yet another small step in the SunChips brand’s sustainability journey.

Hmmmm interesting. That seems very promising!

Here's another tidbit.......

Over the weekend my laptop computer stopped working, so I'm currently trying to find the best option for recycling it.

Getting rid of a computer can be a complex process that isn't necessarily environmentally friendly. Right now I'm looking at several options. I found a reuse organization, a zero landfill option and a donation/computer repair center (although I'm cyncial about where the actual components end up.) Any other suggestions?

Happy Wednesday,


Thursday, February 4, 2010

Chapstick (and Other Products) For the Greater Good

Hello readers,

I'd first like to offer a little confession: I've been on hiatus from this blog for quite some time now. The end of last semester and my leg surgery over the holiday definitely took me down a few notches in terms of blogging availability... but I'm back!

I trust that everyone had a restful and relaxing new year and are back in the swing of things like I am here. I've settled back into my routine and have been thinking about green initiatives to keep me occupied during the wintertime here in Ohio. One recent change that I made had to do with my choice of shampoo. Even though this seems somewhat mundane, I think some of the most trivial choices can be some of our best and worthwhile.

but have recently switched to Nature's Gate Chamomile & Lemon Verbena

... for the simple reason that (for about the same price) I am assured that it is ecologically safe, environmentally friendly, cruelty-free... and better for my hair and scalp (I have VERY sensitive skin.)

Anyway, thinking about this minor change also spurred me to question some of the other things in my posession that I rely on daily during the winter months. Case in point: a chapstick that I use religiously that boasts it is "earth-friendly personal care for the greater good." That's a pretty weighty claim to make about a chapstick!

So yes, I use the classic Burt's Bees Beeswax Lip Balm:...and after doing some detective work of the ingredients list I'm still happy to note that it is ALL NATURAL! Looking over the website, I'm also reassured of a few of the company's other initiatives concerning green living, sustainability, etc. Maybe this chapstick is for the greater good! I know that it has had an impact on me (I hate products that add alcohol so that they make your lips more dry, thereby resulting you needing more of the same stuff. It's like an addiction.)

Anyway, peruse a few of the products you rely on once and a while and do some research to find out if they really do measure up to the words that they place on their labels. Kids can also do the same and they might begin to learn new things about the true meanings of "organic", "green", and "natural." I'm going to put on a fresh coat of lip balm right now... my lips are feeling pretty dry =)

Hope your February is unfolding nicely! Until next week! -BA

Monday, February 1, 2010

Thinking warm thoughts, planning spring garden

My garden is covered in snow, and it's not pretty. We just had a thaw and a freeze, and the snowbanks are dirty and chunky. Fortunately, I know the soil beneath is still resting in its insulated blanket of (dirty, grimy, ugly) snow and ice.

Meanwhile, I'm thinking of tools. As I get older, I need to be more cautious in the ways I bend and straighten and put stress on my body. I saw this article and it got me thinking: what do I need to take care of my vegetables and take care of myself, too?

I like the garden cart in the feature; I have one already. Mine was an inheritance of sorts from my Mother-in-law when she moved from her home to a condo. We sold a lot of their old tools, but we kept this one (and the chain saw, too). I wasn't ready to pass on the wagon to another owner without some serious thought. We found ourselves using the cart for several purposes. It held my tomato and pepper seedlings until I put them in the ground; it was the perfect size for firewood when Chuck cut down a tree. It's held piles of brush and made it easy to drag said brush to the minivan for the trip to the (you guessed it) brush dump. A garden cart is one item I won't need to buy.

When I read The $64 Tomato I considered getting a shuffle hoe. I've applied square foot gardening principals to my small plot, and the results are good: much less weeding. The shuffle hoe, however, will help in the areas that still need help. It might save my poor aging back (oh, I complain!), too, by allowing me decent posture instead of bending or kneeling in the dirt.

I think I'll keep my eyes open for a shuffle hoe. Maybe I'll spot one at a garage sale or auction. If not, I'll price them in the local garden shops; it may be a good investment.

The temperatures may be a balmy 16 degrees Fahrenheit today, but I'm looking ahead to spring.