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Green Purse Alerts!

Why My Purse is Green

Because I believe…

  • the fastest, most effective way to stop polluters is by pressuring them in the marketplace
  • women can be the world’s most powerful economic and environmental force if we intentionally shift our spending to the best green products and services
  • women have the power right now to solve many of our most serious environmental problems by using our green purses to make a difference
  • women must act – intentionally, collectively, and with the full force of our purse power behind us – if we hope to leave our children and grandchildren a better world.
  • January 19, 2010

    Can You Recycle Your Car?

    The North American International Auto Show is shining the spotlight on new cars. But what should you do with an old car you can't really re-sell? Before you contact the junk yard, consider this:

    Junked car Manufacturing a car creates pollution you probably never thought about. Extracting and transporting the raw materials that go into components like seats and the steering wheel generates twenty-nine tons of solid waste and 1,207 million cubic yards of air emissions. In fact, while the majority of pollution is generated by driving, a third is incurred in car manufacture. Disposing of tires, lead-acid batteries, air conditioners, upholstery, and other materials adds to the trash pile, reports Katie Alvord in Divorce Your Car: Ending the Love Affair with the Automobile. (Photo credit)

    Manufacturers are taking notice by increasing the amount of recycled materials they weave into new-car production:

    * Ford Motor Company integrated recycled material into the cloth seating of the 2008 Escape. If it expanded the program, InterfaceFABRIC, the materials supplier, estimates that Ford could save at least sixty thousand gallons of water, 1.8 million pounds of carbon dioxide equivalents, and the equivalent of more than 7 million kilowatt hours of electricity annually.

    * Mazda and Toyota recycled used bumpers to make components for new ones.

    * Cadillac's SRX uses 50 percent recycled tire rubber for its radiator side baffles, a process that in 2004 kept two thousand scrap tires out of landfills.

    * Both Honda and Toyota recycle the battery packs in their hybrids to capture everything from the precious metals to the plastics and the wiring. reports that Toyota even puts a phone number (for recycling information) on each battery and pays dealers two hundred dollars for each battery pack.

    * Ten percent of the plastic in a new Mini Cooper consists of recycled material.

    According to Ward's Motor Vehicle Facts and Figures, at least 84 percent of an average car's material content gets recycled; automotive recycling ranks as the sixteenth-largest industry in the United States. Recycling those vehicles provides enough steel to make nearly thirteen million cars, while also providing jobs for 46,000 people.

    You can keep the cycle going:

    Make sure to recycle your own motor oil. If you change the oil yourself, take it and the oil filter to a recycling center. If you have it changed, double-check that the service center recycles all used oil.

    Have your tires changed at a shop that recycles them. Recycled rubber may become asphalt, playground material, athletic track, furniture, or apparel (like purses and jewelry).

    Donate your car to a local non-profit. In my suburban Washington, D.C. community, organizations like  Good Will and the local public radio affiliate will pick up your car for free and repair it or recycle the parts, giving you a tax benefit when you do. Habitat for Humanity does the same.

    Close the loop. Remember that the best way to ensure that recycling works is to buy goods made from recycled materials. The soles of my Simple Shoes are made from recycled rubber tires. You can also find a variety of tools and garden gear made from recycled rubber, plastic and steel.   

    July 14, 2009

    Get an (Environmental) Move On!

    Moving kit  Moving from one home to another is not a low-impact activity. If you're relocating from one coast to the other, you could use as much as 120 pounds of cardboard and generate 5,000 pounds of climate-changing carbon dioxide. Even moving from one side of your state to another could have a 500-pound carbon impact, given the fuel burned by moving vans and the resources you use to pack up all your stuff. 

    How can you make you move more eco and less yecch?

    • Don't move what you don't need; to unload unnecessary stuff, donate to Goodwill or the Salvation Army; have a yard sale; freecycle.

    • Save newspapers in advance of your move to use as packing paper.

    • Pick up discarded boxes from local stores.

    • Pack things in suitcases or containers you are also moving to save space and reduce the number of throwaway boxes you use.

    • Use the right size truck. A too-larger truck wastes energy. A truck that's too small may need to make too many trips.

    • Recycle boxes and packing materials after you unpack.

    These environmentally-friendly packing materials will help make your move greener:

    • Recopack - from 100% recycled plastic boxes come in 3 sizes that can be rented for 14 days. They're delivered and picked up by a truck that runs on waste vegetable oils and bio-fuel and using dollies made from recycled soda cans
    o $299 for 100 boxes for 2 week period ($99 per extra week)
    o Zip-ties made from 100% recycled plastic eliminate need for packing tape

    Eco box • Ecobox - sells used boxes in various shapes and sizes; they also sell moving "kits" with enough boxes and tape to accommodate anything from a 1-bedroom apartment to a 4-bedroom house. 
    o No minimum order
    o Same day, low cost shipping

    Frogbox • FrogBox - British Columbia and Puget Sound, WA

    o  A lot like Recopack; just local to the Pacific Northwest

    Used cardboard boxes •
    o Sells all sizes of used boxes, though "brand new" packing tape and bubble wrap
    o Free shipping for any of its kits, ranging from a studio or dorm room to a 10 bedroom home or comparable office space


    • Green Wheels Van Lines
    o For personal, corporate, government/military, or international moves
    o Will deliver recycled packing materials to your door
    o Uses alternative energy 
    o Approved as a SmartWay Partner by the EPA
    • Green Movers USA
    o Aims to be a network of all moving companies that use eco-friendly practices
    o Awards movers one-four trees, depending on their efforts to reduce waste, save gas, and use alternative fuels

    Gogreen moving • Go Green Moving Co.
    o Based in southern California, uses bio-fuel in trucks
    o Provides rentable crates
    o Uses 100% recycled plastic moving pads

    NOTE: Green Van Lines claims it makes the world greener "one move at a time," but there's no evidence on its website that the company uses energy-efficient or alterntively fueled vehicles, or supplies its customers with recycled packing materials that minimize waste.

    Have you moved recently? Let us know what you did to make it eco.

    By Katie Kelleher

    July 02, 2009

    Recycling Electronics? Swipe Them Clean First

    Want to recycle your computer but worry about keeping your data confidential?

    Here's the fix has the only “web-deployable” software on the market.  For $23.95, you can download and use the software without bothering with disks or wasteful packaging.  

    WipeDrive is a disk-based system available on for around $36.

    Green Disk will do it for you for a fee, but you need to mail them your computer and other electronics.

    Recycle Computers Locally and On-Line

    Recycling computers is an environmental essential.  Most computer components -- including the monitor, keyboard, and hard drive -- contain heavy metals, like lead and cadmium, which can contaminate drinking water and wreak havoc on human health.Even if they didn't threaten our well-being, trashed computers and other electronics are the fastest growing sector of the waste steam. We're throwing way too many computers away.

    It doesn't need to be so. Many "broken" computers can be repaired to extend their life; even if the entire computer can't be saved, many parts can be recovered and re-used in another machine. My point: Don't trash your computer; recycle it. Here's how:


    Every year, the nonprofit citizen's group evaluates the efforts computer manufacturers are making to reduce the toxic chemicals in their products and increase recycling. Before you buy, review your options and pick the most environmentally friendly option that meets your computing needs.


     HP has a trade-in program that accepts products from any manufacturer and gives you cash back when you purchase a new HP.  Their recycling program accepts HP equipment for free, and other brands for a nominal fee. The company has earned the EPA SmartWay certification by reducing the fuel consumption, greenhouse gases and other air emissions of its surface transportation carriers.  Take note: HP has recently fallen on the Greenpeace Guide to Greener Electronics because the company says it will no longer honor a promise it  made to eliminate PVC and brominated flame retardants (BFRs) from their products by the end of 2009.

    Dell has partnered with Staples to accept Dell products for recycling at all their locations. Dell's exchange and trade-in program buys back old models of all types of electronics, regardless of manufacturer, and gives Dell gift cards to the customer in return.  Dell aims to reduce package size by 10% by 2012; achieve 75% curbside recyclability for packaging; and increase recycled content of laptop and desktop packaging 50%.  (I recently bought the Dell Studio Hybrid, which uses 80% less energy than a standard desktop hard drive and came in minimum packaging.) However, like HP, the company has backtracked on its commitment to eliminate PVC and BFRs in all products by the end of 2009.  In fact, Dell no longer has a timeline for eliminating these toxic substances - what's it waiting for?

    For any computer, search the corporate website for specific suggestions on how to recycle it.

    Best Buy - Rather than hassle with a computer company, go to your nearest Best Buy. Why? "We'll take just about anything electronic, including TVs, DVD players, computer monitors, cell phones and more. You can bring in up to two items a day, per household, and most things are absolutely free. However, there is a $10 charge for TVs 32" and under, CRTs, monitors and laptops — but we'll give you a $10 Best Buy gift card to offset that cost." That's a pretty good deal.

    Goodwill - Businesses and consumers can donate computers to Goodwill for recycling. Check with your local Goodwill office before dropping equipment off.,, and - These sites also enable you to sell, trade or donate your computer rather than toss it in the trash. enables you to find more local computer recycling locations.


    The National Cristina Foundation takes donated computers and matches them to charities, schools, and public agencies in need throughout the US and Canada.  


    Gazelle will pay you to recycle your e-waste.  Gazelle shows you how much your product is worth, sends you a box for free shipping, and upon receiving your product (assuming it is in proper condition), will mail you a check for its value.


    Apple is the only computer company among the top five that has freed its products of PVC and BFRs.  With the exception of PVC-free power cords, which they are working to certify, this is Apple’s greenest accomplishment.   Apple recycles electronics for all customers who purchase a new Apple or Mac product from any of their online or retail stores.  Once purchased, you receive a voucher for shipping any old electronic (regardless of brand) via FedEx.  Fewer restrictions apply to educational or business customers, and for those recycling iPods and cell phones, none of whom have to buy a new product as a prerequisite to their recycling.  There are no drop-off sites for e-recycling at any Apple stores.


    How about a little more info?

    Don't miss this additional information on the environmental impacts of electronics

    Here are ten ways to make your computer more energy efficient.

    Research by Katie Kelleher

    June 24, 2009

    Where Can You Recycle Cellphones? Everywhere.

    Cell phone Recycling cell phones is one of the easiest ways you can protect the planet.

    • Leave it behind when you buy a new phone. Sprint, Verizon,T-Mobile, AT&T, Nokia, and Motorola all participate in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s “Plug in to e-cycling” program and will accept any cell phone or PDA at any of their retail outlets.

    • Take it to Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Staples, Office Depot, or Radio Shack. Most outlets will have a box you can drop your phone in with absolutely no hassle.

    *  Send it to Collective Good, a company that refurbishes the phones, re-sells them, and shares the profits with the charity of your choice. Address:

    Collective Good International
    Include Charity Code
    Boulder, CO 80303-1350

    Why bother? Every week, 3 million cell phones are thrown away. More than 1 billion used mobile phones clutter our shelves, take up space in our drawers or worse – are decaying in landfills.

    Cell phones are constructed with a host of heavy metals - like antimony, arsenic, beryllium, cadmium, copper, lead, mercury, nickel and zinc – that can pollute ground water and potentially cause cancer. Recovering those metals for re-use keeps them out of the environment and makes them available for reuse in other electronics manufacturing.

    Have an APPLE I-Phone or IPOD you need to unload?   Apple’s Recycling Program provides prepaid mailing label you can download from the company website.

    Recycle used phone batteries, too. The Rechargeable Battery Recycling Coalition links to 50,000 locations, including Target, Lowe's Home Depot and Office Max. 

    Want more ways to recycle your phone? Here are 50, courtesy of VOIP.

    Research by Rachel Goglia

    EcoCentric Mom
    Everbuying led light
    Green by