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Upcycling furniture is green and a great way to save money! On top of that, you’ll get to decorate your house in a completely unique way. Remember before you pay full price at a mass retailer to take a closer look at what you have around the house or what’s at your local estate sale or thrift store for some great finds – we think you’ll be happy you did.

6 Ways to Upcycle Your Furniture {The Dirt on Green}

Folding Chair Do-Over – Design for Mankind

Don’t throw out the rusty or scratched folding chairs hiding in embarrassment in your garage – remake them! A simple coat of paint and little bit of scrap fabric will make those sad seats festive again and save you big bucks over buying all new ones.

6 Ways to Upcycle Your Furniture {The Dirt on Green}

Sewing Table into Cooler and Drink Table – Sweet C’s Designs

Turn a forgotten, old sewing table (or other random table you have shoved in the back of your storage unit) into a super functional serving table! The best part of this creative upcycle? The storage space turned into an ultra-chic drink cooler.

6 Ways to Upcycle Your Furniture {The Dirt on Green}

Upcycled Spice Rack – The Speckled Dog

Your old spice rack can be used for countless repurposes! Something as simple as a coat of paint can turn this once-useless item into a great piece to organize anything from nail polish to books in any room of your home.

6 Ways to Upcycle Your Furniture {The Dirt on Green}

Stockade Fence into Plant Shelf – My {Re}purposed Life

Found wood and old fencing can be turned into a seriously shabby-chic plant stand for your backyard for almost nothing. Embrace the rustic and leave it all-natural or give it a fresh coat of paint for a more updated look.

6 Ways to Upcycle Your Furniture {The Dirt on Green}

Beautiful, Colorful Chandeliers – Addicted 2 Decorating

Breathe life into old chandelier fixtures with a couple of coats of paint in a fun color! This simple upcycle can be done in a free afternoon and refresh your whole room quickly and easily. And don’t forget to make that newly painted lighting fixture energy efficient with money saving light bulbs!

6 Ways to Upcycle Your Furniture {The Dirt on Green}

Coffee Table into Diamond Tufted Bench – Home Coming

Refresh that unused coffee table in the attic and give yourself some extra seating with this beautiful bench upcycle! And who doesn’t need more seating? Put it away when you don’t need it and pull it out when you do, this simple project is a great addition for any home.

—The EnergyEarth Team

© 2013 Energy Earth LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Does Green Need to Cost More?

December 3rd, 2013 | Posted by EnergyEarth in Green Tips - (0 Comments)

Does Green Need to Cost More? {The Dirt on Green}

No, It Doesn’t.

Too often going green is thought of as a choice made by only hippies or the wealthy. The good news is that going green doesn’t mean you have to drive a hybrid car or shop at a fancy health food store in your organic cotton, fair trade Recycle or Bust! t-shirt.

Think for a moment about the original green advocates: your grandparents or great grandparents. Living in the shadow of the Great Depression, they were incredibly frugal – which coincided perfectly with green.  So many of the things they did to save water, electricity and money make great lessons for us today.

Change a Few Habits and Think Long Term

The key is to recycle, reuse, upcycle and reduce waste in every area of your life – not just your plastic bottles and junk mail. There are plenty of free and inexpensive ways to go green all around you.

Does Green Need to Cost More? {The Dirt on Green}

Save: Water

The least expensive way to reduce water consumption is through better habits!

–          Don’t let it run!

–          Stop leaks

–          Don’t over water gardens and lawns

–          Use less hot water

–          Find out where your water comes from

A small investment in a few simple devices will save you in the long term.

–          Faucet aerators

–          Low flow shower heads

–          Rain barrels (see our previous article about how much they can save you!)

Does Green Need to Cost More? {The Dirt on Green}

Save: Electricity

The best way to use less electricity is by changing your habits!

–          Turn off your lights when they’re not in use

–          Turn off devices when not in use

–          Adjust your thermostat

Plus, get a few helpful devices. A small investment upfront will save you in the long term.

–          Motion control light switches

–          Energy efficient lighting

–          Smart power switches

–          Improve insulation

–          Programmable thermostats

Does Green Need to Cost More? {The Dirt on Green}

Save: Upcycling

–          Reuse old clothes

–          Find new purposes for forgotten items

–          Donate unwanted items to a local charity

Does Green Need to Cost More? {The Dirt on Green}

Save: Real Estate

Green building doesn’t need to cost more.

–          Going green actually increases real estate value

–          ENERGY STAR® certification can increase your home’s market value

Does Green Need to Cost More? {The Dirt on Green}

More Ways to Save

–          Grow some of your own food

–          Hang dry your clothes

–          Make your own green cleaning products

–          Drink your tap water instead of buying bottles

–          Increase your fuel efficiency

What’s your favorite way to save? Tell us in the comments!

—The EnergyEarth Team

© 2013 Energy Earth LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Why is Recycling CFLs Important?

Recycling compact fluorescent light bulbs prevents the release of mercury into the environment. CFLs and other fluorescent bulbs can break when thrown into a dumpster, garbage can or landfill.

On top of that, almost all of the materials in CFLs can be reused, including the glass, metals and other materials that make up fluorescent lights.

How Do I Recycle My Old CFL Bulbs? {The Dirt on Green}

Recycling CFLs is not only better for the environment, some state and local jurisdictions require it. Simply contact your local waste collection agency to find out if you live in a city, county or state that requires you to recycle fluorescent bulbs. While we don’t have an exhaustive list, we do know that the following states prohibit mercury-containing light bulbs from being thrown in the trash:

Where and How Can I Recycle CFLs?

How Do I Recycle My Old CFL Bulbs? {The Dirt on Green}

Make an Informed Decision.

Mail-back services are the easiest choice to make when recycling CFLs. Prepaid boxes from Veolia work all of the time, every time and can be mailed back any time, whenever you’re ready.

Visit Earth911 to find collection schedules or drop-off locations in your area. When making your decision about what choice is best for you, note that waste collection agencies:

  • Are usually free, while some charge a fee to handle hazardous materials
  • Sometimes collect household hazardous materials only once or twice a year
  • May also collect paints, pesticides, cleaning supplies or batteries
  • Usually accept waste from residents only – not small businesses

Many hardware supply stores and other retailers offer in-store recycling. Make sure you check directly with the store before you go; not all stores in regional or nationwide chains may be equipped to recycle.

—The EnergyEarth Team

© 2013 Energy Earth LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Sources:

http://www2.epa.gov/cfl/recycling-and-disposal-after-cfl-burns-out#important

http://www2.epa.gov/cfl/recycling-and-disposal-after-cfl-burns-out#whererecycle

Don’t be scared of being green during the spookiest holiday of the year! We have the tips you need to stay sustainable and save money this Halloween.

Ghouls, Ghosts and Green! 5 Ways to Make Your Halloween Eco-Friendly

DIY Halloween Costume Ideas – Spoonful

Make your own costumes at home for the cutest, greenest disguises this year – no matter if you have a lot of time or just a little, there are great DIY options for every member of the family. If you simply don’t have a crafty bone in your body, try swapping costumes with friends, family and other members of your community for a fun and free option year after year!

Ghouls, Ghosts and Green! 5 Ways to Make Your Halloween Eco-Friendly

Use the Whole Pumpkin – 30 Pounds of Apples

Whether you’re making a pumpkin pie or carving a jack-o-lantern for the front porch, you can reduce food waste by using the whole pumpkin – inside and out. If you haven’t tried them before, roasted pumpkin seeds are healthy, delicious and wonderfully simple to make. Try this classic recipe or get creative and make up your own!

Ghouls, Ghosts and Green! 5 Ways to Make Your Halloween Eco-Friendly

Light the Way Efficiently —EnergyEarth

Be sure to bring along extra light while trick-or-treating. Choose LED flashlights and rechargeable batteries for the brightness and reliability you need, and the savings and efficiency you want. If you’re passing out candy, light your pathway and porch with LED bulbs in your porch fixture and solar-powered lamps along your pathway for maximum savings.

Ghouls, Ghosts and Green! 5 Ways to Make Your Halloween Eco-Friendly

Decorate Naturally – Real Simple

Whether you prefer simple and elegant or fun and funky décor, try going all-natural for unbeatable savings and sustainability. Plus, nothing beats the fun and flexibility of making your own decorations from inexpensive or free finds from everywhere – the farm stand, the grocery store or your own backyard!

Ghouls, Ghosts and Green! 5 Ways to Make Your Halloween Eco-Friendly

Skip the Highly Processed Snacks and Treats – 100 Days of Real Food

Depending on your neighborhood or community, you may be able to make your own treats and wrap them in recyclable paper. If you don’t think the parents in your area will go for that, you can still make sure to hand out healthier (without high-fructose corn syrup, chemical coloring or artificial flavoring) pre-packaged treats in eco-friendly packaging. Try checking at your local Earth Fare, Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s for tasty, affordable options.

Have a safe, happy and sustainable Halloween!

—The EnergyEarth Team

© 2013 Energy Earth LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Don’t throw away those old, holey tshirts, jeans and sweaters – turn them into something new and useful! Upcycling old clothes saves money and helps the environment. What more reason do you need? Check out seven of our favorite DIYs below!

7 Ways to Repurpose Old Clothes - Tshirt Produce Bags {The Dirt on Green}

Easy Tshirt Produce Bag – Delia Creates

Everybody buys groceries. Make the trip a little greener with these easy, almost no-sew produce bags upcycled from old tshirts! You could even color-code them for the specific loads you intend to carry in them or grab a little fabric paint to spruce them up even more.

7 Ways to Repurpose Old Clothes - Boot Wallet {The Dirt on Green}

Old Cowboy Boot Wallet – Poppytalk

Even if the soles of your beloved leather boots and shoes have worn out, they can have new life! These easy, step-by-step photo instructions show how to turn otherwise useless old leather goods into a beautiful new wallet! You’ll even be able to pad it a little more with your extra savings.

7 Ways to Repurpose Old Clothes - Memory Quilt {The Dirt on Green}

Old Clothes Memory Quilt – Lil Blue Boo

Turn your beloved dresses or your kids’ too small clothes into a beautiful, new blanket full of memories from your family’s best days. You can even back it with an old blanket or sheet instead of buying new fabric. Make more memories with your newly made treasure!

7 Ways to Repurpose Old Clothes - Sweater Stockings {The Dirt on Green}

Christmas Stockings Made from Sweaters – Imperfect Homemaking

Good Christmas stockings can be hard to find. Turn a cozy old sweater into a truly personalized Christmas stocking in no time with this easy, DIY pattern for everyone from the sewing novice to the professional stitcher.

7 Ways to Repurpose Old Clothes - Sweater Mittens {The Dirt on Green}

Sew Your Own Sweater Mittens – A Beautiful Mess

Accidentally shrink your favorite sweater in the dryer? Instead of throwing it out, keep your fingers warm and cozy this winter without spending a dime with these upcycled mittens! A few simple snips and stitches will turn even your worst laundry mistake into something fun and useful again.

7 Ways to Repurpose Old Clothes - Tshirt Romper {The Dirt on Green}

Tshirt Baby Romper – The Seamery

Turn unwanted knit shirts into fun, personalized baby rompers for your baby or as a present for a baby shower. Turn too big hand-me-downs into something useful while helping the environment and saving money. Choose fun snaps on the shoulders or add a little extra stitching in a contrast color for a personalized touch.

7 Ways to Repurpose Old Clothes - Tshirt Headband {The Dirt on Green}

Braided 5 Strand Tshirt Headband – Make It & Love It

Keep yours and your little ones’ hair in check with this fun, money saving tshirt upcycle. A pair of scissors, a needle and thread, and a few extra minutes and you’ll have a whole new creation from an old, holey or stretched out tee! Staying green and looking good has never been so easy.

—The EnergyEarth Team

© 2013 Energy Earth LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Got a junk drawer? We do, too. Before you just dump everything in the trash can, turn those forgotten treasures into something new and useful!

Floppy Disk Planters | 5 Green Junk Drawer DIY Projects {The Dirt on Green]

Floppy Disk Planters – Brit + Co.

Turn old floppy disks into a fun and funky desk or table planter. These are fun to make, a great gift for your nerdy friends and 90s fanatics and add a cool burst of retro color.

Hanging K-Cup Planters | 5 Green Junk Drawer DIY Projects {The Dirt on Green]

Hanging K-Cup Planters – Earth911

Great for small spaces, this recycled vertical garden is a unique way to hang plants almost anywhere. Use empty K-Cups (or yogurt cups?) to decorate with plants in an office, kitchen or apartment window using minimal components to create a big visual impact.

Old T-Shirt Braided Rug | 5 Green Junk Drawer DIY Projects {The Dirt on Green]

Old T-Shirt Braided Rug – A Beautiful Mess

Super durable and recycled, this braided rug can be customized in any color scheme. While this may be one of the more time consuming projects we’ve seen, the end result is totally worth the effort.

Wine Cork Garden Labels | 5 Green Junk Drawer DIY Projects {The Dirt on Green]

Wine Cork Garden Labels – My Chic Life

Don’t waste money on expensive plant markers, make them from wine corks and bamboo skewers instead.  No more trying to remember which seeds are planted where; these are functional and keep the garden looking great.

Tin Table Numbers | 5 Green Junk Drawer DIY Projects {The Dirt on Green]

Tin Can Table Numbers – 100 Layer Cake

An excellent way to make cute, inexpensive decorations for your table, these recycled cans can be customized with numbers or other beautiful designs. Simply pop in an old tea light candle or a Dot-it light for gorgeous illumination.

—The EnergyEarth Team

© 2013 Energy Earth LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Whimsical Found Object Artwork by Terry Cannon {The Dirt on Green} Whimsical Found Object Artwork by Terry Cannon {The Dirt on Green} Whimsical Found Object Artwork by Terry Cannon {The Dirt on Green} Whimsical Found Object Artwork by Terry Cannon {The Dirt on Green} Whimsical Found Object Artwork by Terry Cannon {The Dirt on Green} Whimsical Found Object Artwork by Terry Cannon {The Dirt on Green}

 

 

We love local artists! Chattanooga artist and native Terry Cannon is a self-taught artist who began creating his whimsical images as a child. According to Cannon, his beautifully unique work reflects “gratitude in being a participant in the journey of life.”  He primarily utilizes acrylic and epoxy over thick layers of gesso, wood and found objects in his art. This original technique helps bring Cannon’s vibrant visionary images alive with color, texture and imagination.

Cannon’s life has come full circle, just as much of the material in his art. As a child he was constantly creating. As a teenager, he doubted the worth of his creative visions. “I began to tell myself I was wasting time painting and drawing, so I just quit.” Cannon then turned to alcohol and drugs, leading him through prison and living on the street until 1989, when Cannon almost died. From these experiences he has gained new perspectives in his art.

Cannon’s artwork can be found at his personal gallery, Loose Cannon Art Gallery, located just 2.5 miles from the EnergyEarth headquarters, as well as throughout Tennessee, Florida and across the country in public and private collections. For purchasing information, please contact the artist directly at cannonart@aol.com.

—The EnergyEarth Team

Images © Terry Cannon; everything else © 2013 Energy Earth LLC. All Rights Reserved.

We know this is what recycling feels like sometimes…

7 Tips to Make Recycling Easy! {The Dirt on Green}

via Doghouse Diaries

…but it doesn’t have to be that way! Trust us, we used to be overwhelmed by the daunting world of #647 plastic, recyclable paper products (what exactly is this mixed paper?) and steel vs. aluminum cans. Here are a few of our favorite tips to help you help the planet and your wallet.

  1. Curbside pickup or drop-off location? This handy recycling center locator helps you find where to drop off your recyclables and what kinds of materials each location accepts – just put in your zip code all the locations in your area. They even have an app for iPhone and Android!
  2. Plastic bottle caps are usually recyclable along with the bottle, and don’t worry about rinsing plastic or glass bottles before recycling.
  3. Although you can’t recycle the whole pizza box, tear off and recycle the top half, as long as it’s grease-free.
  4. Many recycling programs don’t accept paper cups because of the waxy lining, but don’t forget to recycle the cardboard sleeve.
  5. In addition to grocery bags, recycle dry cleaning, newspaper bags, plastic film on products like paper towels and bread bags.
  6. Keep bags for both trash and recycling in your car. Pre-sorting makes it easier to recycle on the go!
  7. Buy products made from recycled material. Recycling is the first step, the material is processed and the final step is up to you – keep recycled content products in demand!

—The EnergyEarth Team

© 2013 Energy Earth LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Gravity and Grace: Monumental Works by El Anatsui {The Dirt on Green}

Gravity and Grace: Monumental Works by El Anatsui {The Dirt on Green}

Gravity and Grace: Monumental Works by El Anatsui {The Dirt on Green}

Gravity and Grace: Monumental Works by El Anatsui {The Dirt on Green}

Gravity and Grace: Monumental Works by El Anatsui {The Dirt on Green}

Gravity and Grace: Monumental Works by El Anatsui {The Dirt on Green}

Gravity and Grace: Monumental Works by El Anatsui {The Dirt on Green}

Globally-renowned contemporary artist El Anatsui’s solo exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum features twelve monumental wall and floor sculptures made from recycled metal and wood. According to the museum’s website, Anatsui converts found materials into original sculptures combining aesthetic traditions from his birthplace in Ghana, his home in Nigeria and global abstraction.

The metal wall works are largely comprised of bottle caps from a distillery in Nsukka, Nigeria, pieced together to form colorful textured hangings in experimental new shapes. The materials’ nomadic history reflects the artist’s own background combined with African, European and American cultural influences through a new, yet distinctly African, medium.

See it now through August 4th only at the Brooklyn Museum. Admission is free to the public, but a donation is suggested to keep great art like this on display.

—The EnergyEarth Team

Photos ©Eva Blue (used with permission); everything else ©2013 Energy Earth LLC. All Rights Reserved.

We all know rechargeable batteries are better for the environment. But most of the time, it’s so much easier just to pick up a pack of the least expensive single-use batteries at the corner store when we need them. Did you know that rechargeable batteries cost significantly less overall and have a much lower environmental impact than disposable batteries? While they may cost a bit more initially, these energy saving accessories can be recharged and used hundreds of times, saving you money and helping you stay green with ease.

Why Use Rechargeable Batteries? {The Dirt on Green}

How do rechargeable batteries work?

Rechargeable batteries come in many sizes and types. Since we carry only rechargeable NiMH batteries, we’ll take a look at how they work specifically.

Rechargeable nickel-metal hydride batteries, or NiMH batteries, work in very much the same way its more common disposable counterpart does. However, NiMH batteries use a combination of nickel oxyhydroxide positive electrodes (NiOOH) and hydrogen-absorbing negative electrodes instead of cadmium or other, more harmful materials. A NiMH battery can have 2-3 times the capacity of cheaper batteries of the same capacity.

Why Use Rechargeable Batteries? {The Dirt on Green}

Rayovac Platinum AA Batteries

Why should you use them?

–          You’ll save money. Like we said, rechargeable batteries may cost more initially, but they can be reused hundreds of times and last for years, costing you significantly less overall.

–          You’ll help protect the environment. All batteries contain corrosive materials and heavy metals, even rechargeable ones. The fewer batteries produced and used, the fewer that get tossed.

–          You’ll conserve natural resources. Because rechargeable batteries can be used over and over, far fewer need to be manufactured.

–          You’ll reduce waste. Since you won’t be throwing away all those single-use batteries, they won’t end up in landfills or fill up your recycle bin nearly as quickly.

—The EnergyEarth Team

© 2013 Energy Earth LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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