Category Archives: compost

A Green Halloween

This Word by, Emily Holden

Break with consumer tradition this month by celebrating the holidays in healthy and sustainable ways.  In honor of Columbus Day, celebrated yesterday across the nation, we at OMPP are keeping the spirit of exploration alive by discovering new and environmentally friendly ways to have fun over the holidays.

Halloween is almost here! Have you started planning your eco-friendly entertainment? I know that it is weeks away, but celebrating traditional holidays in unusual ways requires some preparation. It’s worth it for you and the environment! Halloween is in the running for one of the most excessive and unsustainable holidays, with consumers spending millions of dollars on candy and often unsustainable, non-biodegradable products that will only be used once. One of the best ways to save money and become a smarter consumer is to plan your purchases ahead of time to avoid buying unnecessary items. Necessity is the mother of invention and Mother Nature needs us to be creative!

Start thinking about ways to make this Halloween…green. By preparing for this exciting day in advance, you can find clever ways to make this Halloween fun for everyone without creating excess waste. To get you started, here are a few ideas for “green” Halloween costumes and goodies.

First of all, think about the costume that you or your children will wear. Be it a witch, goblin, or a Lady Gaga costume, you can easily find ways to use recycled fabrics and materials to create your outfit. Search local thrift stores for used costumes or reusable fabrics to save money and turn old materials into original creations. For a few ideas, see these homemade costumes that range from the human Etch A Sketch, to a handmade crocodile and more unusual costumes.

Also, consider household items that you can turn into costume accessories. Get crafty with the kids by using recycled plastic products, and old arts and crafts material to create Halloween decorations. Use costumes from previous years or trade with friends. For costume swaps in your area, check out greenhalloween.org. Although the swap in Houston appears to be “private,” this is the perfect opportunity for you to arrange your own swap among friends and neighbors. If that seems like too much work, try the site’s online swap. Use your imagination and have fun being so resourceful and clever!

If you’re going to carve pumpkins, why not use the whole thing? Consider turning your jack-o’-lantern leftovers into delicious homemade pumpkin pie and roasted pumpkin seeds. If you’ve never made pumpkin pie from scratch, here’s a great recipe. Also, once your jack-o’-lantern’s sinister grin turns into a soggy scowl and the flies begin to swar­­m your front doorstep you may think it’s time to finally toss it into the trash. But here’s a better idea. Compost it! If you’re not an active composter, but want to learn more about it, take a look at our previous post, or COMpost if you will, that explains the composting process. Speaking of delicious pumpkin treats, be on the lookout for OMPP’s pumpkin pie, during our fall menu…

Don’t forget about snacks and candy to hand out this Halloween! NatureMoms is a great source for healthy and homemade ideas.

These are just a few ideas to fit you October festivities into a sustainable lifestyle, but there are an infinite number of ways to celebrate in eco – conscious ways! Let your conscience and creativity be your guide this month and bravely start your journey towards a sustainable lifestyle.

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Everything is Plastic in 2010, Even the Oceans!

The picture here is the North Pacific Gyre. A gyre is explained as any large system of rotating ocean currents, particularly those involved with large wind movements. Everything moves slowly in a gyre because of weather systems that work to reduce ocean circulation. The North Pacific Gyre sprawls across most of the northern Pacific Ocean and is currently spinning clockwise a huge collection, twice the size of Texas, of plastic, glass and other human trash.

Some of this trash, about 80%, floats out to sea from the continents, where many carelessly throw their soda cans and plastic bottles out car windows. About 20% of the debris collects from fishing boats, cruise ships, and other ocean dwellers, whether intentionally dumped or blown off board by wind. Most debris consists of small plastic confetti-like particles suspended at or just below the surface, with larger pieces floating around in the mix as well.

Finally, in April 2008 Richard Sundance Owen, a building contractor and scuba dive instructor, formed the Environmental Cleanup Coalition to address the issue of North Pacific pollution. Not only does the ECC work to remove plastic debris from our oceans, but strives to remove persistent chemicals and other organic pollutants from the water. Some other groups combating this huge garbage patch are the JUNK Raft, Project Kaisei, the SEAPLEX expedition. You go groups!

So, all this talk about plastic debris in the ocean is old news. But listen, this trash effects our lives more than we realize! The small pieces of plastic, (*shutter*) styrofoam, and other non-biodegradeables is the perfect size for marine life consumption. Much of this plastic absorbs toxic chemicals in our polluted oceans that then end up in the bellies of aquatic birds (their chicks), sea turtles, and even jelly fish and smaller fish. This means that not only is our trash, again, harming the world’s wildlife, but the chemical-absorbed trash is being digested by sea food-eating humans.

When we at OMPP heard about this polluted gyre, we felt disheartened and a little hopeless – which just fueled our motivation for better sustainability practices. We hope everyone learns about the effects of pollution in the gyre and around the world; We need to stop trash! Pollution comes full circle: Trash from our hands to the land – the oceans – the wildlife – back to our own digestive systems. Remember this; Some may see recycling and composting as a burden…but what do you think about that toxic, double TX-size pollution circle floating just west of our land mass?

For more information visit: http://bit.ly/25m0Yy and http://bit.ly/kl07w

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Filed under biodegradable, compost, Go Green, Green, oh my pocket pies, recycle, sustainable