Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Happy Green Year!

Happy 2010!

As I reflect back on 2009, I see that it was a year of keeping up with changes that I had already made and finding new ways to do even more to lessen my carbon footprint. But mostly, it was a year of...


John and I came across a gadget at the Go Green Expo. It's made by a company called Soda Stream. The contraption comes with refillable liter bottles and we make our own seltzer! We've saved money and our recycling bin has significantly decreased because we're not going through tons of plastic bottles.


Participating in the beach clean-up and the march across the Brooklyn Bridge (350.org and Greenpeace call for action on global warming) with my close friend Jen made me feel like I was really helping to make a difference. I was no longer just talking about what I should do but I was practicing what I preach.


I had the opportunity to meet one of the greatest environmentalists of our time. The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) sponsored “An Evening with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.” at New York City’s Town Hall. He was both amazing and inspirational.


I noticed how many cardboard sleeves we use on our takeout coffee cups. I’ve been recycling them, but I thought there’s got to be a way to reuse them. So I asked everyone I knew to save them for me. I sat down one night and wove them into a Christmas wreath. In a similar spirit, I wrapped John’s presents in Whole Foods paper grocery bags and used the handles as “ribbons.”

Full Green Ahead
This past year I have definitely outed some bad, praised some good and definitely seen some ugly! But most of all, I have learned so much from all of your comments. I want to thank you for taking time out of your busy days to read about my adventures in going green and staying green.

I wish you a very green 2010!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Plastic Around the Christmas Tree

The other day I was waiting for the bus and watching the cars drive by. One car sped past me carrying a Christmas tree on its roof. The tree was tied to the roof of the car by...plastic wrap!!!

I stared in dismay. I'm sure my mouth was hanging open. What happened to good old-fashioned reusable rope?

In NYC, you don't go to a tree farm to get your tree. You go to the street corner. There's practically a tree stand at every one of them. Why on earth these people needed to drive to pick up a tree is beyond me. Of course I could add that the cost of driving the car to pick up the tree and drive it home didn't add to our air quality.

The next day, John and I went to get our Christmas tree. (Yes...we have a live one. Check out why below!)

I was so proud that we weren't going to be using any plastic wrap. We picked out the perfect one and proudly brought it over to the tree guy.

He took the tree from us and fed it through this round contraption. He was just going to saw some of the trunk off. While he was at it, he shaved some of the branches off too which I quickly picked up and later turned into a wreath.

When the trimming was done, he fed it through the rest of the gizmo. Only the tree came out a lot thinner. I realized that when he fed it through, the gizmo contraption wrapped the tree in a plastic netting for easy transport.

NO! I was no better than the saran wrapped car! As I realized this, he asked if I was interested in purchasing a plastic bag to wrap the tree in when we were finished!

In slow motion I mouthed the words "No thank you." I composed myself and told him that if New Yorkers leave their UNWRAPPED trees on the sidewalk the week after Christmas, the City collects them and turns them into mulch for all of the parks! But not enough people know this and are suckered into a neat and tidy tree clean up.

We carried the tree home. Actually, John carried the tree home and I'm pretty sure he was thankful that it was wrapped in plastic netting. The sidewalks are very narrow and he was barely escaping clobbering someone with the trunk. For me, I would've rather knocked someone out. Ok. Maybe not. But still, you get my point. It made me think though of all its sisters and brothers that would soon be wrapped in plastic.

We got the tree up the 6 flights of stairs and quickly into a warm, sugary stand full of water. And then I had to operate...carefully removing the plastic netting. When the surgery was over and some pine needles lost, I held the bundle of plastic up to John who felt bad. "Next year we'll know" he said.

I threw it away and decided to move on to my decorating, quickly stringing the LED lights and my favorite ornaments.

It's a beautiful little tree. And at least I know that at the end of the season, after its provided us with much love and beauty, mine will be turned into mulch for the parks.

For those of you interested, here is why fake trees are horrible for the environment:

First, most of them are made in China so the fact that they have to travel so far to reach your living room is a carbon dioxide disaster.

Second, they are made of PVC which is a type of plastic. Plastic is a petroleum based product. And they use lead to make the PVC.

Finally, you can't recycle a fake tree so it ends up in a landfill.

Live trees absorb carbon dioxide, have no harmful chemicals and can biodegrade or be recycled into mulch for our gardens.

Check out the
National Christmas Tree Association's website for more information about your Christmas Tree.