Calling All Creative Kids and Young Inventors...

TOMS Shoes Announces 3rd Annual One Day Without Shoes

15 Things You Thought You Couldn't Recycle

Air Therapy® Aromatherapeutic Air Purification Mist

Hands Up Not Handouts

10 Ways to Green Your Office

groovy mind

nature conserve

friendship bag

Calling All Creative Kids
and Yo
ung Inventors...

Transform items from the recycling bin into the next big thing and be on TV!

In celebration of the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, Design Squad is launching the nationwide 2010 Trash to Treasure competition on April 5th at Following the success of last year's inaugural Trash to Treasure contest, kids across the country ages 5-19 are once again challenged by PBS' Emmy® and Peabody Award-winning series to recycle, reuse and re-engineer everyday materials into new inventions. Three young innovators will win a trip to Boston to see their designs built and have the process chronicled for an upcoming episode of the engineering TV series.

According to Design Squad executive producer Marisa Wolsky, "This is an opportunity for kids to give a second life to an object they or their household would have otherwise discarded. We expect that this year's entries will run the gamut, from trying to fill a pressing societal need to offering something whimsical and fun."

The rules are simple. The invention should fit within one of the three categories: move things or people (Mobility), protect the environment (Environmental), or be used for indoor or outdoor play (Play). The invention also needs to be made of at least two repurposed materials (such as fabric, paper, plastic, small electronics, wheels, clamps, springs, batteries, hardware, wood, bike parts, string, rubber bands, cardboard, kitchen gadgets, etc.) Kids will be given online tools to sketch out their ideas or upload a photo. (Kids don't need to actually build their invention in order to enter.)

Last year's winner, Max Wallack, 13, inventor of the "Home Dome"—a temporary shelter for homeless people and disaster victims—gives this advice to this year's entrants, "identify a problem and then try to come up with a solution to it. Be prepared to make several attempts at designing before one design jumps out as the right one."

Three winners will be selected from this year's entrants to come to Boston to work side-by-side with the team at the award-winning global innovation design consultancy Continuum and see their idea come to life. At Continuum, their winning designs will be prototyped and the process will be chronicled by the team behind Design Squad. Their stories will be shared with a national audience on an upcoming episode of the Design Squad series and website Twenty-five finalists will have their ideas showcased on the series website. The nationwide contest is open for ages 5-19 and will launch online on April 5. Entries will be accepted through September 5, 2010 at

Visit the website for more information and for contest rules.



TOMS Shoes Announces 3rd Annual One Day Without Shoes
With every pair purchased, TOMS gives a new pair of
shoes to a child in need. One for One.

In an effort to bring attention to the impact a simple pair of shoes can have in a child’s life, TOMS Shoes announces its third annual One Day Without Shoes campaign that asks everyone worldwide to go barefoot on April 8th. Barefoot events around the world from Venice to Little Rock, Dubai to London have already been planned, with more in the works.

On April 8th communities and individuals will be spreading awareness about the importance of shoes in parts of the world where children’s feet are exposed to debilitating diseases. So many of the world’s children in developing countries grow up without shoes, having to walk miles to get food and water, medical help, and attend school (which often require shoes as uniform). A leading cause of disease in these areas is soil-based parasites.

One Day Without Shoes participants can pledge their commitment, join and organize events, and connect with likeminded participants online at The website will also provide an outlet for individuals to share their videos, photos, and experiences spending One Day Without Shoes. Every person who RSVPs for an event on will have the option to be entered to win a spot on a TOMS Shoe Drop (some limitations apply). Winner will be announced on May 10th. One Day Without Shoes t-shirts will be available for purchase from Threadless at starting March 22nd.

Blake Mycoskie, TOMS Shoes’ founder and Chief Shoe Giver, says, “A shoe company asking people to go barefoot? I know it’s odd, but we are so excited for people to once again join us in One Day Without Shoes. We ask people to go the day, part of the day, or even just a few minutes, barefoot, to experience what millions of children endure every day. Awareness and empathy are the catalysts of change.”

The problem is large but the solution is simple. Wearing shoes and basic hygiene can prevent both infection and disease due to unsafe roads and contaminated soil. By imagining a life barefoot, we can all contribute to the awareness of these conditions. Join TOMS Shoes on April 8th and walk barefoot to support One Day Without Shoes.

For more information visit: Watch video, click here.



15 Things You Thought You Couldn't Recycle

Sometimes recycling isn't just about taking something old, grinding it down into small particles, and creating something new.  Sometimes it is about repurposing, redistributing, and relinquishing items which we once held dear and for which we had great use.  Here's a list items that can be recycled, reused, and reinvented to yield a benefit to the planet and those in need.


Each year, millions of pairs of athletic shoes find their final resting place in landfills across the globe.  These sneakers contain valuable materials that could be re-used.  In 1990, blending creative imagination, some ingenious engineering and a persistent pursuit of the principles of sustainability, Nike created the Reuse-A-Shoe program.  Nike’s Reuse-A-Shoe program collects worn-out athletic shoes of any brand from special drop-off sites at Nike stores as well as special recycling programs and events nationwide and turns old athletic shoes into playground and athletic flooring.  Since 1990, Nike’s program has recycled more than 21 million pairs of athletic shoes to create more than 265 sport surfaces providing safe playgrounds for kids as part of their Let Me Play global community investment program.  For drop off sites in your area or to find out more about Nike’s recycling programs,visit

Rechargeable Batteries:

recycle boxThe Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation (RBRC) collects used rechargeable batteries at over 50,000 Call2Recycle® drop-off locations nationwide.  Started 1994, the RBRC has been committed to educating people about rechargeable battery and cell phone recycling.  By providing convenient drop-off sites across the U.S. and Canada, they have, to date, collected and recycled more than 42 million pounds of rechargeable batteries.  Retailers can enroll in the Call2Recycle program at  Consumers can keep rechargeable batteries from entering the solid waste stream in their community by finding local drop-off sites. Visit or call 1-877-2-RECYCLE to find out more.

Cell phones:

The national Call To Protect program enables people to retire their wireless phones in a manner that will help the environment and provide phones, with matching airtime, to domestic violence agencies. In addition, the funds generated through Call To Protect collections and other wireless industry programs have provided grants totaling over $10,000,000 to national organizations leading the campaign to end domestic violence.  To donate or request more info:


tire swingAccording to the EPA, you may be able to return surplus tires to either a tire retailer or a local recycling facility. Be sure to confirm that the facility accepts tires for recycling and check for quantity and size limitations. Some local municipalities will also periodically conduct "tire amnesty days" when local citizens can bring a limited number of tires to a drop-off site free of charge.  Curious about new uses for old tires?   The EPA website suggests that scrap tires may be cut, punched, and stamped into various rubber products after removal of the steel bead.  Products include floor mats, belts, gaskets, shoe soles, highway crash barriers, and boat bumpers on marine docks.  Or, for an afternoon of good old-fashioned fun, how about installing a tree swing in the backyard?  For more information and specific requirements and regulations for your area, contact your local solid waste management agency.


child glassesNew Eyes For The Needy purchases new eyeglasses for poor children and adults in the United States and recycles donated glasses for distribution to indigent people in developing nations worldwide. Over 4,400 social service agencies and 3,500 optical dispensers partner with New Eyes For The Needy to provide eyeglasses and sunglasses to less fortunate Americans.  Since 1932, they have brought improved vision and hope for a better future to more than 7,000,000 people in the U.S. and around the world.  Eyeglasses in good condition are also sent to medical missions and international charitable organizations for distribution to the poor in developing nations.  New Eyes for the Needy is a non-profit, non-sectarian volunteer organization.

Lions Clubs International is a network of 1.3 million men and women in over 200 countries and geographic areas who work together to answer the needs that challenge communities around the world. Known for their honorable work to end preventable blindness, Lions participate in a variety of projects important to their communities. Through their Lions Recycle For Sight program they have helped to conserve sight by providing usable eyeglasses to children and adults throughout the world. According to the Lions, “donated eyeglasses can help millions to experience corrected vision for the first time, enabling them to read, attend school, gain employment and take care of their families”.  The donated glasses are collected and then shipped to a regional Lions Eyeglass Recycling Center where they will be cleaned, categorized by prescription and prepared for distribution by Lions and other groups.  Eyeglass recycling is one of the Lions' most popular activities. Although the program was officially adopted by the association in 1994, Lions have been collecting glasses for more than 80 years.  Find out more at or contact your local Lions Club.

Computers & Electronics: 

Thousands of computers are taken out of service every year when consumers opt for new and improved models.  Many of these are still perfectly usable and could be passed along to nonprofit organizations, schools, and used by people with disabilities.  If you have a working computer that you would like to donate, please visit  This website is designed to provide a way for computer donors to locate and connect with local groups seeking computers.

Earlier this fall, RadioShack announced the launch of The RadioShack Online Trade-In Program which allows customers to exchange used, portable electronics for a RadioShack gift card.  Customers can visit the RadioShack Trade-In Program site to ascertain their product’s trade-in value.  If the value is acceptable, customers can mail their electronics (using prepaid shipping labels provided by RadioShack) and will receive a gift card within 10 to 14 days.  Check with your local RadioShack retailer or visit the RadioShack website for terms and conditions of this offer.

Many computer retailers like Apple, DELL, Gateway, Hewlett-Packard, Panasonic, SONY offer recycling and trade-in programs as well.  Many programs are free and some offer trade-in incentives toward the purchase of a new computer.  The programs vary by company.  To review the details of a company’s recycling program you can visit the website of the manufacturer or you can visit for a summary of some of the most popular recycling programs offered by the biggest manufacturers. offers a convenient, comprehensive set of services to help individuals and organizations reduce the expense and the environmental impact associated with obsolete technology. Specialized, convenient recycling programs are available for virtually all forms of techno trash.  Check for details and related fees at

Formal Dresses & Gowns:

formal Created in 2002, Operation Fairy Dust provides NYC high school girls in need with a formal dress for their senior prom. This gives them the ability to attend their prom with confidence, translating into an increased level of self-esteem. The prom is one of the largest social events of a teenager's high school years. This rite of passage is expensive, and although most teens hope to attend the event, they are often unable to meet the costs to participate. Operation Fairy Dust (OFD) helps these young women by offering them dresses, cosmetics, and accessories which have been donated to the group.  If you have a bridesmaid dress or formal dress hanging your closet, why not help make a young girls dream come true?  Operation Fairy Dust assists girl within New York City. To find out more about the NYC based group or to find a similar “sister program” in your area, visit

Gently Worn Business Attire: 

Dress for Success Worldwide is an international non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of women located in 85 cities across the U.S., Canada, the U.K., the Netherlands and New Zealand. Their mission is to promote the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a network of support and the career development tools to help women thrive in work and in life.  Since 1997, Dress for Success has served almost 450,000 women around the world. Each year they reach more than 40,000 women in their international network.  The professional clothing, employment retention programs and ongoing support that they provide symbolize their faith in every woman's ability to be self-sufficient and successful in her career. Find out how to donate at:

Towels:puppy towel 

Clean used towels and washable baby blankets can find great new uses at local animal shelters and rescues.  Many shelters welcome the donations putting them to use as bedding, comforting an animal in the medical department, or for drying a rescue animal after a bath.  Contact your local shelter to see if they are accepting donations.


Packing Peanuts:

The Plastic Loose Fill Council (PLFC) was founded in 1991 to develop, promote and implement the original use and subsequent recovery, reuse and recycling of polystyrene loose fill, commonly known as "packing peanuts."  The Peanut Hotline, 800-828-2214 and, is the national reuse program for plastic packing peanuts. Consumers can drop off their leftover plastic packing peanuts at Peanut Hotline collection sites. There are over 1,500 collection sites in the US.  You can search for a drop-off site in your area at

Videotapes & CDs:

Videotapes and CDs can make a great donation to senior centers, assisted living facilities, and homes for people with special needs.  Some schools and libraries may also accept donations.  Please call ahead and check with the individual facility before dropping a bag on their doorstep.  You can also find out about recycling VHS and CDs at



The home improvement project is over and you have some leftover paint.  While many of us will store the can in the garage for the anticipated touch up in a few years, it is more likely that the paint will not retain its quality and become unusable.  Instead, why not record the paint manufacturer and color identification number in a safe place and donate your unused paint?  Here are a few ideas for what you can do with your remaining paint.  Donate it to our local chapter of Habitat for Humanity, offer it to your high school’s drama department where it can be put to great use creating a stunning new set for the Spring musical, or check with your place of worship to see if there is a family in your community who might want to use it for a quick and inexpensive room makeover.  Empty steel paint cans are recyclable.  To recycle steel paint cans, they must be empty and all paint contents dried.  If you have a stack of old paint cans in the garage already, contact your local recycling coordinator for details on how best to handle this item for disposal.


The Steel Recycling Institute (SRI) is an industry association that promotes and sustains the recycling of all steel products. The SRI educates the solid waste industry, government, business and ultimately the consumer about the benefits of steel's infinite recycling cycle. According to their website, “recycling steel saves energy and natural resources.  In a year, the steel industry saves the equivalent energy to electrically power about 18 million households for a year”.  If you are replacing a working appliance due to a design renovation, look to local charities that might find a match for your item.  Non-working washing machines, water heaters, air conditioners, refrigerators, and dryers can all be recycled.  The Steel Alliance and the Steel Recycling Institute have teamed up to bring you the first searchable online database specifically designed to help us find locations that will recycle steel cans and appliances.  The easy-to-navigate database contains over 30,000 steel recycling locations, searchable by state and zip code.


garbage cans

Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE) is a joint industry-government effort to increase the amount of recycling and reuse of post-consumer carpet and reduce the amount of waste carpet going to landfills. CARE, which is funded and administered by the carpet industry, was established as a result of a Memorandum of Understanding for Carpet Stewardship (MOU), a national agreement signed by members of the carpet industry, representatives of government agencies at the federal, state and local levels, and non-governmental organizations.
The CARE website offers a great deal of information about the recycling and reuse of post-consumer carpet.  While some of it is quite technical, they offer sufficient answers to some very general questions, including what can I do with my used carpet (the site offers a map of carpet recovery centers across the country with contact information) and what products are made from recycled carpet (recycled content backing, composite lumber for decks, roofing shingles, railroad ties, automotive parts, and stepping stones).

Sports Equipment:

Has your son outgrown last year’s football gear?  Are you using your exercise equipment as a place to line-dry your favorite jeans?  Has your daughter decided she would rather play basketball this year instead of soccer?  Want to trade-up those golf clubs?  At Play It Again Sports® you can buy, sell and trade gently used sport equipment and gear.  Each franchise store is independently owned, to find a location, sell or trade equipment, visit



Air Therapy® Aromatherapeutic Air Purification Mist

While we all love our homes to smell good inside, many air fresheners contain toxic and carcinogenic chemicals. Mia Rose offers a natural way to freshen the air in your home and your car. The non-aerosol mist neutralizes all odors, and it's chemical-free, non-toxic, and safe for you and the environment. Each droplet contains active electrical ions (nature's own air cleaners) that attract, neutralize and continuously clean the air you breathe.

• USDA accepted - safe around food & restaurants
• Non-aerosol, aluminum cans
• OSHA compliant
• Cruelty-free
• Aromatherapeutic

Using essential oils and citrus zest, non-aerosol sprays from Mia Rose are a freshening way to rid your home or car of lingering odors with pleasant aromatherapy benefits! Available in odor eliminating scents like orange, key lime, and spearmint, you can spray safely around your family, clients, and pets. Learn more at



Hands Up Not Handouts

Women are the backbone of families and societies around the world. According to Hands Up Not Handouts (HUNHO) they perform 66% of all labor, produce 50% of the world’s food and bear 100% of children. However despite their vast contributions 70% of women live in poverty and own only 1% of the world's assets.

Hands Up Not Handouts is trying to change these statistics and with your support women artisans from developing countries will be able to translate their traditional handicrafts into high-quality and innovative products that can be marketed at a premium price, using the profits to support their families and communities.

You may have seen fashionable celebrities like Gwen Stefani, Rachel Bilson, Rihanna, and Kate Hudson rocking the stylish, hand-crafted wrap around bracelets, cuffs, and earrings and now you can have a chance to wear them too. For a small price you can help make a big change in the lives of woman around the country. The jewelry ranges in price from $40 - $50.

Created by the philanthropic Sager Family HUNHO implements programs that give impoverished woman opportunities to utilize their native skills and materials to make a difference in their lives long term. HUNHO is designed to empower women artisans to become business leaders within their communities by supporting the production and retail of unique handcrafts. All proceeds go back to the women, their families and communities, in order for them to be self-sustainable. The first two cooperatives launched by HUNHO to be featured on its e-commerce website (, are collections from Rwanda and Palestine. All products featured in the program, in addition to being perfect every day accessories serve as symbols of friendship, hope, and global connection aiding in bridging the cultural and economic divide.



-10 Ways to Green Your Office-


Q: How do you recycle in your office? Share your tips and ideas. Send them to