Blog Posts by Yahoo!Green

  • Recycle that Old TV

    vintage TVsvintage TVsBy Elizabeth Hurchalla

    If you recently upgraded to a big, new flat-screen, make sure you responsibly dispose of the old TV. Before you trash the old set for any reason, consider that many municipalities have banned TVs from landfills.

    And for good reason, since your old set contains up to eight pounds of lead, a poison that can cause nervous system damage. Lead is there to protect you from radiation while it's still in your TV, but when the TV is crushed in the garbage truck and then in the landfill, bad news: that lead is going to leach out.

    Unfortunately, you can't just drop off the TV at the local thrift store or recycling center and call it a day. Some charities don't accept used TVs anymore since the cost of disposing of broken sets is too high to offset the money they could make by selling working ones.

    And some unethical recycling firms charge substantial fees to recycle old sets and then just ship the old TVs overseas.

    You can't leave the old set sitting

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  • Greener Choices at the Gym

    Working out at the gymWorking out at the gymBy Trystan L. Bass

    Looking to get in shape by beach time and do it in an earth-friendly style too? That's easier than you might think.

    Step one: Replace the plastic water bottle with stainless-steel

    Plenty of sturdy, fashionable versions are available, and they should fit into the cup holders of your gym's elliptical machines.

    You've probably heard about the problems with plastic. To recap, the disposable bottles are wasteful, and packaged water is unregulated. Refill your own bottle from the tap to conserve resources.

    Step two: B.Y.O. towel

    Sure, many gyms offer fancy towel service. But when you bring your own from home, you control what kind of detergents are used to wash the towel, so you can choose more enviro-conscious, biodegradable brands. The Union of Concerned Scientists has a handy tip sheet about safer cleaning supplies.

    Plus, you don't need to bleach towels unnaturally white (let's face it, gyms only do that so you get the impression they're

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  • Picture a Greener Print

    By Trystan L. Bass

    Once the holidays are over and the decorations are packed away, all that's left are the memories ... and the photos. In fact, if you're like most of us, you probably have a year's worth of digital photos on your computer with oh-so-helpful names like PICT0027.jpg and IMG_3108.jpg.

    The dark days of winter are a good time to stay inside and organize those photos into albums so you can share them with family and friends. And you can do it in fun, creative, earth-friendly fashion too.

    Keeping digital pictures digital is green because you use almost no additional resources. Plus, many online photo albums are free of charge, depending on how many files you upload. Most sites have privacy options so you can choose who sees your photos. Some also provide printing for a fee.

    Yahoo! offers Flickr, and you can find various other services out there too.

    But even though we love the Internet here, at some point, you really want to put a photo in a frame on

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  • Last-minute DIY Gifts

    Bicycle-frame lunch bagBicycle-frame lunch bag

    By Trystan L. Bass

    The holiday clock is ticking down. The malls are jammed. Your wallet is feeling light. But you still have people on your gift list. Don't despair! If you have a couple hours, you can gather a few recycled materials, make one trip to a craft store or grocery store, and whip up something unique and stylish to give as gifts.

    Handmade gifts are often more eco-friendly because they require less packaging and plastics and produce less pollution when created. You can reuse materials, which reduces garbage. And, of course, handmade gifts are more personal than mass-produced junk from big-box retailers.

    Check out these nifty projects. Most don't require special skills or tools, and many use stuff that's probably sitting around your house.

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  • Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Green Christmas Tree?

    Family buying a Christmas treeFamily buying a Christmas treeBy Trystan L. Bass

    Nothing says "Christmas" like the smell of pine in your living room on a winter morning! But is that smell really "green" or is it bad for the planet? Is it more environmentally responsible to buy a fake tree and use it year after year? What about keeping a live tree for Christmas? Let's look at the options one by one.

    If you want a tree for the holiday, the experts at Grist and TreeHugger say it's actually better to buy a cut real Christmas tree than an artificial tree.

    Why? In a word, plastics. Fake trees are made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Producing this type of plastic creates a lot of pollution, and PVC is difficult to recycle.

    Plus, lead is commonly found in PVC. According to a report in the Journal of Environmental Health, lead levels are about a third higher in older artificial trees (ranging in age from from 7 to 17 years). Tests revealed lead levels that are significantly higher than the safe daily exposure level for children.

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  • Deck the Halls Greenly

    By Trystan L. Bass

    Christmas parties are filling the calendar, and New Year celebrations are soon to follow. You want the house to sparkle for your family and guests.

    Can you evoke a Norman Rockwell holiday while also playing nice with Mother Earth? You bet.

    The first stop for eco-friendly winter décor might be your front yard (or a local garden supply store). As the University of Arkansas, Division of Agriculture notes, evergreens come in a wide variety of colors. Gather up pine, cedar, spruce, fir, holly, boxwood, nandina, aucuba, and magnolia leaves and boughs. These make beautiful wreaths, swags, and centerpieces for use inside the house as well as outside.

    Fruits and vegetables are lovely, old-fashioned decorations on tables and trees. Care2 has instructions for easy, inexpensive candleholders made of oranges studded with cloves. These will look pretty and smell very Christmasy.

    The same page also has tips for stringing cranberry garlands and making pinecone

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  • Sustainable Plates for 20

    Dinner table by Zesmerelda / Flickr.Dinner table by Zesmerelda / Flickr.By Trystan L. Bass

    The entire clan is coming to your house for the holidays, and you only have dishes for six. Time to break out the paper and plastic plates? Or get fancy and hit the mall for new china place settings?

    How about a green choice: table settings that don't create a lot of trash, or require a lot of resources to produce.

    Two options for adding a little green to your table (and I'm not talking about that casserole topped with crunchy onions) are:

    Bambu Veneerware
    Available from many online sources, these disposable plates are made of organic bamboo, which is a fast growing, renewable, sustainable plant.

    The actual plates are biodegradable too. Stick them in your compost pile and they break down in four to six months (you can leave the food scraps on, so easier clean-up after the meal!).

    Bambu Veneerware comes in packs of eight and cost around $8 to $12. If you don't have time to order them on the Web, many Cost Plus World Market stores carry these

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  • Make Your Own Catalog Choices and Reduce Paper Waste

    By Molly McCall, Yahoo! Picks

    On Monday, L.L. Bean comes knocking. Tuesday, Pottery Barn slips through the door. Wednesday follows with Harry & David or Crate & Barrel or Whatever & Whatever.

    And on and on it goes, the daily deluge of mail order catalogs that are unsolicited-and often unwelcome. To this junk mail inundation, Catalog Choice says: Stop the madness!

    Sponsored by the non-profit group Ecology Center, Catalog Choice offers a free way to reduce the clutter in your mailbox and, hopefully, save a few trees, too.

    How? Easy.

    Create a profile on their site, scroll through the database of catalogs, and select the ones you no longer wish to receive. Catalog Choice takes it from there.

    Once you establish a profile, you can always go back and change your mind. Like if you really miss Victoria's Secret sneaking in to the house. The choice is yours.

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  • Go Meatless Just One Day a Week

    By Trystan L. Bass

    Most Americans love a burger, but we also know there can be too much of a good thing. Studies continually point out that eating a lot of meat leads to heart disease and cancer. Plus, worldwide livestock farming creates 18% of all greenhouse gas emissions -- that's a little bit more than the world's transportation emissions. But it's pretty easy to improve our health and the planet's and still enjoy our food.

    The Johns Hopkins School of Public Health suggests we go meatless on Mondays. Just one day a week without meat can reduce your consumption of saturated fat by 15% and reduce your chances of heart disease. Scientists estimate that if every American lowered meat consumption by just 20%, it would lower greenhouse gasses as much as if everyone in the country switched to driving Toyota Priuses (and think how much cheaper and easier eating less meat is!).

    The Meatless Monday website is chock full of tasty recipes and tips for making healthy meals based

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  • Top Seven Dirtiest Surfaces

    By Melissa Breyer, Care2

    Did someone say cold and flu season? Just as sniffling and sneezing is beginning to invade schools and offices across the land, a new series of tests in six major U.S. cities reveals the dirtiest surfaces Americans touch. The results, released by Kimberly-Clark Professional, show which surfaces are most likely to be highly contaminated, potentially exposing people to illness-causing bacteria.

    The testing was conducted by hygienists in busy locations in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, and Philadelphia. Using a device commonly used to monitor sanitary conditions in industry, hygienists tested the objects to measure levels of Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP). Everyday objects with an ATP reading of 300 or higher are considered to have a high risk for illness transmission. In all, more than 350 separate swabs were taken and analyzed.

    The percentage of public surfaces tested and found to have high levels of contamination (an ATP count of 300 or

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