Bamboo: Why you need it in your kitchen, and six ways to get it there

Bamboo, that renewable, quick-growing wood that’s really a grass, has been expanding across product lines, turning up on floors, in furniture, and towels. But let’s get back to where we started: Bamboo works great in the kitchen. Remember those bamboo salad bowls? They’re still around, but there are many more ways attractive, durable bamboo is being tapped for kitchen ware.

Green weddings — following the aisle less traveled

Molly Earley Callahan didn’t set out to have a green wedding. She just wanted a casual but memorable affair, a special day filled with light and color, and happy relaxed guests.
Like all brides, she wanted good memories for herself and her groom, Dan Callahan, the wedding party and guests. She also didn’t want anyone to “break the bank” trying to dress for the day.

The reuse files: You used what for a flower pot?

As we get ready for the spring garden, there’s plenty to do. We need to weed, compost and ready the beds. Inside, we’ve got seedlings we’re nursing along.
Yesterday, we began casting about for containers both for the larger seedlings and for herbs we may grow outside, which reminded me that we’ve seen a lot of cool re-purposing of containers for plants.
Here an old wash basin has been appropriated. We saw this outside an antique shop in the Midwest while on vacation last summer.

The future’s so bright: A guide to the new efficient light bulbs

With the stricter light bulb standards beginning their phase-in this month, consumers will find many illuminating ways to cut their electricity use.

LEDs (Photo: DOE)use.


The new, energy-saving bulbs are the result of a 2007 mandate passed by Congress and signed by George W. Bush that light bulbs be made 25 percent more efficient. That has resulted in a renaissance of new bulbs that meet and exceed this threshold, a technology change that was already underway in 2007 and welcomed by the lighting industry and energy conservationists.

Don’t let your e-waste cause a holiday hangover

This holiday season millions of people will be surprised by their loved ones with new smart phones, game consoles, lap tops, DVRs and televisions and a gazillion other electronic gadgets.
Americans, especially, who bought $11.4 million in electronics just over the Black Friday weekend, are hopelessly in like with their computerized convenience items, gaming equipment and ever-expanding retinue of TVs.
But with the joy of ringing in the new, comes a new responsibility to not trash the old – especially when it comes to electronics.

7 top green residential buildings in the U.S.

Forgotten about green building during the economic swoon of the last two years? Rising energy costs and static incomes make it more important than ever as consumers look for added value and long-term energy savings.

Check out these top green residential projects from across the U.S., which demonstrate that green living is no longer just for the wealthy few.


1 – Postgreen’s 100K House in South Philly sets the mark for in-city affordability

Postgreen, a sustainable building and design company, wanted to address a demographic that was not being served in Philadelphia: Urban dwellers who want to live in a green property, but do not want to move to the suburbs or spend the money, typically $500,000 and up, for most builder’s green creations.

So the team set out to build its inaugural projects, the $100K and $120K infill homes in the sleekest, greenest, low-waste designs they could muster, while resisting the “bells and whistles” that drive prices up. They wanted the 100K home to come in at a building cost under $100 per square foot, so they had to work extra hard at efficiencies in all aspects of construction. The result: Two two-story loft homes with two bedrooms each priced at between $200,000 and $250,000, both on commute-free city lots, walking distance to subway and bus stops.

Indoor plants lower formaldehyde levels

By John DeFore
Green Right Now

The sickening effects of atmospheric formaldehyde may have become a hot topic thanks to FEMA trailers after Hurricane Katrina, but the problem is hardly limited to mobile homes. Formaldehyde and other volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are a widespread health concern introduced to buildings through industrial textiles like carpeting and by materials, like plywood, that use certain adhesives.

That doesn’t mean we have to accept living in toxic rooms. Researchers in Korea have measured the extent to which household plants can clean the air, and their discoveries are encouraging.

Green Depot founder says green consumers are savvy buyers

By Barbara Kessler
Green Right Now

Who are green consumers? And what do they want?

These are two questions being hashed about by marketers and businesses around the country as Americans become increasingly conscious of wanting products that are cleaner, less-toxic, verifiably sourced, responsibly made, and reasonable in the bargain.

Green consumers, it appears, do come in peace. And while they might not speak green. They’re willing to learn. That’s what Sarah Beatty has concluded after a few, fast and furious years in the green building and living supply business. She’s the founder and president of Green Depot stores, which is opening its seventh store this month after less than five years in the business.

Help for confused consumers of CFLs (and other bright ideas)

By Barbara Kessler
Green Right Now

Confused about light bulbs? There’s a dizzying array on the market, not just at Home Depot and Lowe’s and online at 1000Bulbs.com, but at many home supply stores.

For any given lighting job, you may find yourself confronted with several types of bulbs that could work — CFLs (compact fluorescent bulbs), a halogen or two or ten, and some of those ongoing, but supposedly outgoing, incandescents. Conversely, for specific needs, like say the flame-shaped bulbs you need for your chandelier, you might find the choices wanting, perhaps there’s an incandescent available, but not an EnergyStar CFL.

DEET-Free Bug Repellents

By Michele Chan Santos

Check the label before burts-bees-herbal-insect-repellent-rei.jpgyou spray insect repellent on your kids this summer, and you may find that many insect repellents marketed for families and children contain DEET. Although the American Academy of Pediatrics has approved the use of DEET on children, the Academy recommends only applying these products once a day, and not on children younger than 2. So here’s our list of less toxic bug repellents:

Target, Barneys And Organic Couture

By Barbara Kessler It’s eco-friendly, economical and it’s debuting at …. Barneys. Yes, strangely, Target’s new Rogan Gregory-designed line of organic clothing is having a sneak peek on Madison Avenue and Wilshire Boulevard before heading to Main Street later this...

Organic Beauty Supplies Hit The Bulls-eye

By Barbara Kessler Target’s expanded offerings of natural and organic personal products should be available in most stores this month as the chain makes room on its shelves for a variety of shampoos, skin creams and sun care products that use botanicals, herbs,...

Clothing Recycling Goes Upscale

Salvation Army watch out! Barneys New York is moving into the used clothing collection space. Starting next week, April 13-27, the upscale clothier will be gathering old T-shirts – that’s right, your old T-shirts – to be “re-fashioned” by the ecologically minded...

Deepen Your Skin Knowledge

As we get ready for winter, skin care is critical. We must have moisturizer and moisturizing cleansers. They don’t have to be expensive or exotic. But we’d like to think they’re effective and safe. So how to make sure what you’re slathering on your face won’t come...

Organic Cotton Gets Dressed Up

By Barbara Kessler Organic cotton clothing used to come in a variety of styles: There were men’s t-shirts, women’s t-shirts, teen t’s and also, well… a few more t-shirts. But that is changing. These days organic cotton is breaking out of its...