9 Tips for Zero Waste Entertaining this Summer

Six Wild Retreats to Get Closer to Mother Nature

Summer Tablescapes Get an Upgrade with 100% Compostable Napkins

4 Foods That'll Re-Grow from Kitchen Scraps

How Your Roof Affects the Environment: Know Before You Buy

Using Coffee Grounds in Your Garden

nature conserve

9 Tips for Zero Waste Entertaining this Summer

Summer is the season for outdoor entertaining. Unfortunately, this can result in excessive amounts of waste, as many hosts set out piles of Styrofoam plates, plastic cutlery, and plastic cups in order to reduce the amount of cleanup and broken glasses in the backyard. It might be convenient and easy to entertain in this way, but it’s unsustainable.

Consider the following zero-waste options when planning your next party. It does take more effort to use reusable items – you have to wash and store them till next time – but there won’t be a plastic garbage bag full of trash at the end of the night, which is a pretty great feeling. Reusable items add a touch of class and decoration to a party, making it more memorable for your guests. Here are some ideas:

1. Use a cloth tablecloth or placemats instead of a plastic table cover.
There’s something about a tablecloth that makes any dinner look stylish and beautiful. Wash, hang dry, and iron soon after use, and it will last for many years. For something even simpler, try colourful placements made of natural fibres.
Ten Thousand Villages sells gorgeous fair-trade tablecloths and placemats.

2. Reusable plates are a necessity.
Buy a second set of cheap ceramic plates at a thrift store that you won’t worry about breaking, or pick up a set of enamel tin picnic dishes. If you’re really stressed about having to wash all those dishes, check out VerTerra’s compostable plates made of pressed leaves and water.

If you have a large crowd to feed, consider renting plates from a local church or community center. Some places might even take the dishes back dirty, for a fee. You could set up an outdoor washing station where guests wash their own plate, which makes a huge difference in the amount of cleanup, or ask guests to bring their own reusable dishes.

3. Use cloth napkins, which add decorative accents to a table.
It does mean extra laundry, but these will last for years. Plus, they’re much more absorbent and generally useful than grabbing a handful of paper napkins to wipe up a mess. Buy them anywhere (it’s best to stick with 100% cotton, which is most durable), or repurpose old fabric to make your own. Etsy has some attractive handmade options.

4. Ditch the disposable straws and try some reusable ones.
Did you know that 500 million plastic straws are tossed daily in the U.S.? Here's a much better option. Simply Straws makes these cool straws with borosilicate glass, which is tough and resistant to thermal stress, making them great for cold and hot beverages. They come in 3 sizes, and you have the option of bent or straight. The company guarantees 100% satisfaction and will replace broken ones.

5. Serve iced juice or water in a large communal dispenser.
Not only is it practical and elegant, but it also eliminates the need for a cooler full of dripping wet plastic water bottles or soda cans.

6. Serve drinks in small glass canning jars, which adds a rustic touch.
Write guests’ names on the side in permanent marker, or tie a ribbon around to differentiate. If you want to invest in something permanent, go with non-breakable stainless steel. You can get pint cups from Klean Kanteen, and stemmed wine glasses from Eco-Friendly Cookware.

7. Provide reusable cutlery.
Not only is it eco-friendly, it also much more pleasant to eat with sturdy cutlery; cutting food on a Styrofoam plate with a flimsy plastic knife is very frustrating. Visit the thrift store for an extra set, if you’re don’t want to use your own. Another option is to buy wooden or bamboo sets of cutlery, which are great for travelling and camping. Verterra also sells compostable wooden cutlery that supposedly breaks down in two months.

8. Buy alcoholic beverages from local wineries and brewers.
Some wineries offer wine-on-tap and let you fill your own bottles, which is an excellent zero waste option. Use old wine bottles or buy some of these pretty glass bottles with ceramic lids. If not, be sure to return empties for a refund and reuse.

9. Metal skewers are useful and versatile.
Use long ones for grilling vegetables and meat. You won’t have to soak them ahead of time or deal with splinters in your food. Use little metal skewers instead of toothpicks to serve finger foods; wash and reuse.

Source:  Treehugger.com


Six Wild Retreats to Get Closer to Mother Nature

Booking.com, the global leader in connecting travelers with the most incredible places to stay, is presenting some of the world's most beautiful places to visit in the heart of nature across the globe.  Based on thousands of endorsements from previous travelers for the best places in the world for wildlife, these six destinations are perfect to marvel the beauty of nature and relax.

Halls Gap, Australia
Halls Gap is located in Victoria, Australia and is the gateway into Grampians National Park. Celebrate Earth Day by exploring the local eco-systems and learn about the diverse array of native plants and animals, some of which are unique to the area. 

Bordering with the Grampians National Park, the eco-friendly Boroka Downs is an adult-only retreat that offers bungalows with a fireplace and BBQ facilities. A hiking backpack containing binoculars, maps and wildlife reference books is provided to all guests.

Drake Bay, Costa Rica
With its tropical climate and outstanding flora and fauna, Drake Bay in Costa Rica is an explorer's dreamland and an ideal destination to educate yourself on the world's wildlife.

Set on Drake Bay, the Copa De Arbol Beach & Rainforest Resort is an eco-friendly resort accessible by boat. This beautiful gem has a jungle setting surrounded by wildlife and tropical plants. Each cabin is constructed from recycled teak, cypress and Melina wood and features a terrace looking at the surrounding rainforest.

Yellowstone National Park, Montana, United States of America
With nearly 3,500 square miles of wilderness, the world's first national park has a greater number of wild animals living there than anywhere else in the 48 contiguous states.

Situated on the north entrance of Yellowstone National Park and just 90-meters away from the Yellowstone River, the Dreamcatcher Tipi Hotel offers luxurious tipis overlooking the mountains. Each tent features organic bath products and is decorated with beautiful rugs and chandeliers. Rafting, fishing and hiking are only a few of the activities travelers can enjoy during their stay.

Welgevonden Game Reserve, South Africa
The rich and diverse Waterberg region offers an amazing variety of unspoiled, natural habitats with the savanna areas consisting of rolling grasslands and a semi-evergreen forest.

Located inside the Welgevonden Game Reserve, the Clifftop Exclusive Safari Hideaway features beautiful suites with private terraces surrounded by lush plants and organizes elephant safaris and horse riding trips. All suites are decorated with hand-made organic fabrics and guests can enjoy the beautiful views over Welgevonden Game Reserve and Sterkstroom River from their bathtub.

Estosadok, Russia
Estosadok is mountain village surrounded by the beautiful Russian wilderness, including some of the most unique and diverse flora and fauna in the world.

Set 100-metres away from Rosa Khutor Ski Complex, the Cultural and Ethnographic Centre Moya Rossiya Hotel is composed of 11 unique buildings representing different regions of Russia. Mainly endorsed for wildlife, downhill skiing and relaxation, the family friendly destination of Estosadok is a perfect choice for travelers who want to experience a beautiful alpine scenery.

Imatra, Finland
With Finland's remote north-eastern European location comes flora and fauna as varied and exclusive as the location. It's a great location for unplugging and appreciating the wild natural wonders this part of the world has to offer.

Situated near the Kruununpuisto Park, the oldest nature park in Finland, the Rantasipi Imatran Valtionhotelli is set in an elegant castle by the River Vuoksi. Nature lovers can visit the magnificent Imatrankoski rapids, which are considered to be part of the National landscapes of Finland, enjoy a cruise on the River Vuoksi, or discover the islands on Lake Saimaa.

Visit Booking.com for info on these and other great vacation destinations.


Summer Tablescapes Get an Upgrade with 100% Compostable Napkins

Elevate your dining experience with Swiss designed luxury disposable napkins, made in 100% compostable bamboo.

From evenings spent dining al fresco to last minute afternoon barbecues, The Napkins makes it easy to turn any summer soiree into a high-class affair.

The Napkins is the creator of the original, single use premium napkin that looks and feels like textile. Designed in Switzerland and produced in Italy, they are finally available in the US in a series of carefully curated collections.

Their offerings are an effortless way to add a pop of color and elegant design detail to summer luaus, intimate affairs, and birthdays.

Best of all, when the party is through cleanup is a breeze—their Pure Bamboo line can even go straight to the green bin.

Pure Bamboo:

  • Eco-friendly bamboo fibers are highly sustainable and silky soft to the touch
  • 100% Compostable
  • Available in Natural White for effortless styling, as well as three new designs
  • Each pack contains between 12-18 napkins (depending on the style) and sells for between $10.00 and $14.00 at https://thenapkinsus.com/

4 Foods That'll Re-Grow from Kitchen Scraps

You recycle your bottles and newspapers, you upcycle thrift store finds into decor treasures, and you reuse all your plastic bags. But do you upcycle your food scraps?  We’re not talking compost here, we’re talking re-growing food from scraps you might have tossed.  Turns out, several odds and ends you might have tossed can be re-grown into more food!  Here’s a great list compiled by the folks at Organic Authority.

When your recipe only calls for the green part of the scallions, don’t toss the white end with the roots. Stick it in a glass jar with a little water and the greens will grow back. You can just snip off what you need as you go. This also works with leeks.

This delicious, aromatic herb is really just a grass and will grow well in a pot in a sunny spot. Take the root ends (after you’ve used the rest in a recipe) and put in a jar of water in a sunny spot. After a week or so, you’ll start to see roots appearing. Once the roots look healthy, transplant your lemongrass to a pot and let it grow. You can start harvesting when the stalks get to be a foot or more tall.

The next time you’re chopping a bunch of celery, save the root end! Place itin a shallow bowl of water, and after a few days, you should start to see roots and new leaves appear. As soon as you see these, you can plant the celery—leaving the leaves just above the soil.  The plant will continue to grow, and soon you’ll have a whole new head of celery!

Did you know that ginger makes a beautiful (and useful) houseplant? If you’ve got a piece of fresh ginger going spare in your fridge, you can plant it in potting soil. Ginger is a root, and before long, you’ll notice a lovely plant sprouting from it. Once the plant is big enough, you can actually pull it up, whack off a piece of the root, and replant it whenever you need fresh ginger—or just enjoy your culinary houseplant.

Organic Authority is a trusted ally and the web‘s leading resource for all things… delicious and organic! Come chill in their kitchen as they test-drive tried-and-true mouthwatering recipes and chat about the organic lifestyle. From the most mojo-rific of foods, juicy of spirits to your eco chic entertaining table, energetic health and the most scrumptiously delicious beauty, they’ve made it their job and passion to cover organics from the inside out, the outside in and all the way around. At OrganicAuthority you‘ll discover how to grow your first apartment herb garden, how to host a summer BBQ your friends will rave about for seasons to come, which natural deodorants actually work, and so much more. www.organicauthority.com

How Your Roof Affects the Environment:
Know Before You Buy

According to industry data, roughly 7 million U.S. homeowners replace their roof each year and many are looking for new 'green', energy-saving options.

Traditional asphalt shingles are a petroleum product and require replacement every 15-20 years (or sooner), resulting in about 20 billion pounds of asphalt shingles ending up in U.S. landfills every year according to the EPA.  Asphalt shingles also increase dependency on fossil fuels.

Metal roofs are considered a sustainable option because they are made of at least 25 percent recycled materials and are 100 percent recyclable. Old refrigerators, dishwashers, automobiles, and even aluminum cans can be recycled into a high quality metal roof - with long term warranties, often 50 years or more.

Here’s valuable information from the Metal Roofing Alliance about eco-friendly metal roofs:

  1. Modern metal roofs have rust-proof coatings and are available in a wide range of styles to fit any neighborhood.  Many resemble traditional roofing materials such as tile or shake with the added benefit of sustainability.

  2. Steel products can be recycled repeatedly without loss of strength. When you buy steel, you're always buying recycled.

  3. For homeowners looking to be aggressive with green living initiatives, metal roofs serve as an excellent platform for photovoltaic systems, solar panels, or harvesting rainwater for reuse/irrigation.

  4. A metal roof has the ability to reduce both cooling and heating energy use, saving homeowners up to 25% in utility bills.

  5. Metal roofs are significantly lighter than other roofing products. A metal roof can often be installed directly over asphalt shingles, reducing landfill waste. 

To learn more about quality metal roofing, visit the nonprofit Metal Roofing Alliance at www.MetalRoofing.com.


Using Coffee Grounds in Your Garden

Coffee grounds are an excellent garden helper when directly applied or used in compost. They have a 20 to 1 ratio of nitrogen to carbon, which makes them ideal for helping grow plants such as tomatoes. Here are a few ways to use them in your garden.

Add to the compost. Coffee grounds are able to speed up the decomposing process in compost. Add two teaspoons of lime for every 5 kilograms of coffee grounds. Don't use more than a quarter of the heap as coffee grounds and keep the size of the heap small.

Add grounds to plants that need a pH between 3.0 and 5.0. The addition of coffee grounds to hydrangeas is good for blue blooms. Blueberries, cranberries, and citrus fruits also like coffee added to their soil. Other coffee-loving plants include camellias, gardenias, rhododendrons, and vireyas.

When adding coffee grounds directly to your garden as a mulch and soil conditioner, add a pinch of lime. This ensures that the pH is adequately balanced.

Coffee grounds can also be used to deter pests. Slugs and snails are not fond of coffee grounds sprinkled around plants.

Source:  www.wikihow.com