Archive for January, 2009

Recycled Glass is Limitless

photo: unknown
According to one source, the late 1960’s was the first time glass manufacturers established collection centers where people could return empty bottles, jars, and other types of glass containers. These were recycled by breaking up the glass and then melting it down with silica sand, limestone, and soda ash to make new containers. Recycling glass is 100% sustainable because it will not deteriorate with age or "down cycle", like with paper and plastic recycling. The Glass Packaging Institute , an excellent source for this topic states that, "recycling one glass bottle can save enough energy to power a 60-watt light bulb for four hours or a computer for 30 minutes."

WhollyTerra , located in Baltimore uses recycled glass to create visually engaging works with a play on light. Steve, the owner of WhollyTerra, isn’t limited to a window transom or picture frames but makes bowls, candle-holders and other outdoor ornaments, including bird houses. I recently found a happy customer and Baltimore resident here.

A sampling of sources for reclaimed, repurposed, and recycled glass items:

Maryland Mosaic is a full service supply company offering everything for mosaic tile work to the beginner and the experienced artist. They offer the Organiks line, which is a 100% recycled glass mosaic tile. This is great news for the East Coast! Until recently, the only source for this was out of  California.

The Green Glass Company is based in Weston, Wisconsin. They are the largest producer of reclaimed glassware in the world. Known best for their patented winebottle-to-glass, they also make vases, candle holders, and a clever coatrack. Their products are available in a number of Baltimore-area stores; check their store locator for up-to-date information.

You can even build a Buddhist Temple with glass bottles. The Wat Pa Maha Chedi Kaew temple, about 600 km (370 miles) northeast of Bangkok, is better known as "Wat Lan Kuad" or "Temple of Million Bottles."

Find other Bmore crafts at the Baltimore By Hand blog.

Comment and tell us your recycled glass ideas!
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16 Practical Tips for Saving Energy at Home

drawings by Alyssa Dennis

One of my favorite clients sent out long list of energy-saving tips after spending close to a year shaving her family’s energy use. Violaine Melancon is a musician who cares deeply about the environment and she got bitten by the energy efficiency bug. A good list is very satisfying, even if they have things you’re already doing, because that just makes you feel a bit smug. (Already doing! So in-the-know!)

A while back we wrote about this topic , aimed at reducing heating bills in winter. Here we present Violaine’s more comprehensive list, with links added by us for your convenience. Let us know what your experiences are with saving energy around your house.

1. Turn off lights! Use as little as you really need.

2. Change all the incandescent light bulbs you can to those funny-looking fluorescent ones.

3. Unplug appliances (washer, dryer, kitchen things like blender, toaster, hairdryer etc…) when not in use. This includes your cell-phone charger and any low-voltage lights that have those boxy AC adaptors on the plug end.

4. Turn off your computer when not in use and purchase a “smart strip" at SmartHomeUSA , which cuts the leaking current at the source. While you’re at it, purchase smart strips for the TV/DVD center and the sound system. All electronics still use a lot of power even when off. Continued

Why Free Range Eggs Are Better For You

The egg has been an important part of our diet for centuries. Hens have been domesticated in Europe since 600 B.C. and were probably first brought to the New World by Columbus in 1493. Offering 13 essential nutrients, it’s no wonder the egg has remained a staple for this long. According to Mother Earth News, hens raised in a pasture and on a plant-based diet produce eggs that have:
• 1/3 less cholesterol
• 1/4 less saturated fat
• 2/3 more vitamin A
• 2 times more omega-3 fatty acids
• 3 times more vitamin E
• 7 times more beta carotene

If you’re finding that free range organic eggs from the store just aren’t the right price, consider owning a few hens. The city allows up to three, as long as they are at least 20-25ft from any one resident. That’s perfect for any row home in Baltimore. I’ll be helping a neighbor build a chicken coop come spring, next to the Remington Village Green Community Garden . Check back in the next couple weeks for more hen info, progress on the coop design and other experiments!

Martin Luther King Day Musings

photo courtesy Parks & People Foundation

In honor of Martin Luther King Day and the upcoming Inauguration , the Baltimore Shambhala Center sent out some quotes as a contemplative conversation. I have chosen my five favorites and offer them to visitors of GOforChange. Each one reflects themes we have presented here and will continue to bring to you.

Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.
-Martin Luther King, Jr.

Van Jones takes up this theme so eloquently.

Our power comes not from suppressing others but uplifting them.
-Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche

Musicians celebrate the power of music to uplift us.

So peace and war start in the human heart. Whether that heart is open or whether that heart is closed has global implications.
-Pema Chödrön

Open your heart with gratitude for all that you have.

Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into friend.
-Martin Luther King, Jr.

Hafiz has it figured out.

If we want to help the world, we have to make a personal journey – we can’t simply theorize or speculate about our destination. So it is up to each of us individually to find the meaning of enlightened society and how it can be realized.
-Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche

Clarissa Pinkola Estes’ words of encouragement to all who make the journey.

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 .

GO: Where Change Agents Come for Inspiration

photo by Kristina McDanolds

On New Year’s Day, we received an email from our good friend, Michael Furbish, who owns the Furbish Company , a green builder whose work we have profiled recently . They are clear about their mission on their website: "Furbish Company designs, sells, installs, and maintains plant-based building systems. We view plants as living machines. Set up properly, they enhance building performance while providing aesthetic beauty." In other words, they are change agents.

In our first post for the New Year, I wanted to welcome our new visitors, and remind our regulars about our purpose here. Since Michael says it so well, I’ll just use his words:

"Your site is absolutely wonderful. Every time I visit, it is deeper and richer. My one regret is that I spend too little time enjoying this space. As you articulate so well, appreciating the empty space . In many ways, your site is just that. It is the space that invites thinking about what can be."

I love that – we not only create space to think about what can be, we highlight what is, already. There are so many businesses and organizations that are doing wonderful, thoughtful, meaningful work around here. We intend to continue presenting their great work. We are the go-to resource for change agents to learn about each other and to refuel on inspiration when they are feeling drained by the challenges of being on the cutting edge of change.

We will also post more often about general, universal themes. Julie’s work as a green design and sustainability consultant, as well as her involvement in the community, provides much material. Alyssa will write more about her urban gardening and DIY projects. As an artist, her hands-on creative urges are boundless!

So, sit back and enjoy. Subscribe to our RSS. Tell your friends, especially your change-agent friends. Find us on Facebook , Twitter , Flickr , and Virb .