All Posts Tagged With: "recycle"

Green Gas. Greenroof. Greenwash.

 cartoon by: Wilcox

Gasoline production is never actually going to be "green" but to show they really care, British Petroleum has been going the extra mile for the environment in other areas. A Los Angeles BP , Helios House, is the nation’s first station to operate with high "green" standards which includes low-flow toilets, solar panels, a rain-catchment system and floors made from recycled glass, everything green (except its product.) The station also hands out tips on being green and seeds you can plant in your home garden.

Here in Baltimore we have our very own "growing" equivalent. The BP station across from the Museum of Industry off Key Highway has a greenroof on both the convenience store and the car wash. This roof was was planted in spring, 2007 by me, your GOforChange contributor, while working for Furbish Co . The easiest — and probably the only — way to see it is if you have any friends with roof-top decks in South Baltimore. Although most of us can’t see it, it is helping improve air, lowering the urban heat-island effect, and slowing storm water run-off.

Is BP acting "Beyond Petroleum" or is it closer to greenwashing? Listen to NPR news story.

Greenwash is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as “disinformation disseminated by an organization so as to present an environmentally responsible public image.” View a list of America’s 10 worst offenders from The Green LIfe.

We have two new programs starting up, including the Green Website Adventure Tour, which begins the week of July 13. Join me on a F*R*E*E phonecall to find out more: Friday, July 3 at 11:00 a.m. EST.

How To Recycle Everything

photo by: James Uhrich

It’s hard finding a niche for the cradle to cradle approach to everything and avoid the unending "just throw it away" syndrome. The good news is I keep finding amazing examples of people using recycled materials in new construction. The photo above shows the Furbish Co. workstation dividers at the Lucky’s warehouse. Each section was built from recycled hollow core doors and painted with reclaimed house paint from the Loading Dock . Designed and constructed by James Uhrich and other Furbish employees, they are a beautiful addition to this already exceptionally green company. There are also many other projects which follow this same idea, including a conference table being built using old bowling balls as feet for mobility so that office space can be better utilized.

After I wrote a post about my discovery and use of urbanite for fencing posts and in a backyard bench construction, I was informed that our volunteer Debbie Smith was getting rid of some and found the perfect person to receive it. Polly Bart, owner of Greenbuilders, Inc , used Deb’s gift of concrete in a retaining wall at her home in Maryland. The photo on the left is the demolished concrete patio in Deb’s backyard. On the right, the new urbanite wall reveals the creative potential of this abundant material.

Click continue on to see a photo and read more about where to take your stuff. Continued

Watch Junk Mail Disappear with Vermicomposting

Having a vermicomposting system in your home might sound scary at first, what with all those worms, but I can assure you this experience has taught me that working in tandem with nature can provide a profound understanding of sustainability and inherent life cycles. For example, all over the U.S. our soil is degrading at alarming speed through monocultures and pesticides, which is stripping the soil of hundreds — if not thousands — of years’ worth of nutrient-rich support for healthy plentiful growth.

Leaves, for example, have always been a source of food for soil and every year we deprive that soil of its regenerating power by bagging leaves and hauling them elsewhere. Soil regenerates itself through the decomposition of mico-bacteria and with a lot of help from various species of worms. It was Darwin who discovered the amazing power of worms to bury and till the earth, which is also one reason that the deeper archaeologists dig, the older their findings.

We must start thinking of better ways of disposing of our waste, ways that give back in order to continue receiving. Vermicomposting is one way to get started. I made this video to engage people to take note of the values of life cycle systems. Worms will not only eat your food scrapes and leaves, but also your junk mail and holiday wrapping paper. Once decomposition is complete you’ll have rich black soil to use in your flower beds.

If you have any more questions about vermicomposting, please email us at or start a discussion thread on our social networking site. (goNetwork button)

Be sure to subscribe to our newsletter and check back soon. I will be posting updates on this subject.

Don’t Throw Away, There is No Away

photo: Curtis Palmer
Here is a staggering thought. According to the EPA, in 2005, only 345,000 to 379,000 tons of electronics were recycled out of approximately 1.9 to 2.2 million tons of unwanted electronics. This means that a huge percentage is going to the landfill which will eventually contaminate ground water. There are a whole host of ways to recycle every electronic you have with local, national and international resources. Here in Baltimore my top choice is dropping off your unwanted tech products to CDM-eCycling . I wrote a post about them a couple months ago and I can tell you without a doubt they provide a service that is improving the environment, and helping the local economy. If you find it hard to make the trip over to Washington Blvd. please contact us at I will accept anything that will fit in my Honda Civic and make the trip for you. I have been inspired to do this by seeing Jennifer Baichwal documentary about Edward Burtynsky work called Manufactured Landscapes and reading and watching videos about the struggles of many Chinese that have our e-waste dumped on their soil and sorted under absolutely horrendous conditions. It’s a cycle of production that is destroying the cycle of life. Please, find a responsible e-waste recycler in your state here or visit Basel Action Newtwork website. "BAN is the world’s only organization focused on confronting the global environmental injustice and economic inefficiency of toxic trade and its devastating impacts."

Other things you can do:

1. Find out what companies have a take back program here.

2. Get payed for your electronics by this guy in Denver, CO at

3. U.S. Staples store will charge you $10, to recycle your used computers, monitors, laptops, and desktop printers, faxes and all–in–ones. Smaller computer accessories such as keyboards, mice, and speakers are accepted at no charge. In addition, you can recycle batteries, PDAs, pagers, digital cameras, and chargers. They will give you $3 in a gift certificate toward new ink for certain ink cartridges. Others, they will just recycle for free.

4. Check back soon for more information

Poster Restoration

photo by: alyssa

The Poster Restoration Company has been specializing in archival canvas mounting and paper restoration of vintage, prints, posters and lobby cards for over 20 years. Owner Sei Peterson, a musician and artist in his own right, is a master of his craft and employs a talented team of graduates from the Maryland Institute College of Art . Located just blocks from Penn Station and the Charles Theater .

Chesapeake Habitat for Humanity

photo courtesy of: CHH
Chesapeake Habitat for Humanity is a “non-profit housing organization that works in partnership with families in need of housing to build simple, decent and affordable homes. Houses are sold to qualified homebuyers at no profit through no-interest mortgage loans.” CHHumanity has completed more than 120 homes and has housed more than 300 families. There are job opportunities, internships and school programs to help any person at any age get involved and be a part of strengthening all Baltimore communities. You can also help by donating recycled building supplies or buying goods for your own home improvement project from the ReStore . 100% of purchases go toward the next Chesapeake Habitat for Humanity project.

Are You Looking for Unique, Repurposed Gift Items? Rebound Designs Has the Answer.

photo by: alyssa
Rebound Designs are purses handmade from the reuse of old hardcover books, most of which predate 1970. The selection I saw at a recent craft show included textbooks, D-I-Y Manuals, Little Women and Shakespeare, offering a variety of colors and designs for that popular vintage look. Have an old book you’d like turned into a bag? Creator, Caitlin Phillips is happy to take requests. Wonder what she does with the pages of each book? Well, most are beyond repair, but are sitting in her attic waiting for anyone else’s creative reuse idea…hint, hint. On occasion she finds someone to rebind them and they’re donated for further reading. She’s also happy to send you the pages with your purchase. I saw a great use for old book pages when I was at the Hamilton Tavern. The women’s bathroom has a famous female writer theme. Half the wall is covered in pages from old Jane Eyre novels. It’s quite beautiful and you’re still able to read the words. I never liked sitting down with a dusty moisture-wrinkled magazine or old newspaper while on the “john” anyway, te, he.