Supplies and Materials Needed to Make Your Own Eco-Friendly Jewelry

A lot of us have probably had an experience where we’ve found ourselves admiring someone’s earrings or necklace so much that we couldn’t help but ask where they got them from. To our surprise, the jewelry wasn’t purchased at a store. It was made by hand.

And for those of us who like to figure out how to do things for ourselves, we may have thought, “I bet if I really tried, I could make my own jewelry too.” Especially once we start to factor in how much we have paid for jewelry in the past and how “green” we have become, as it relates to the environment, over the years.

If this is your story, and you want to try a hand at making some eco-friendly jewelry (jewelry that did not further damage the earth/environment in order to be made), but you’re not sure where to begin, these five steps will point you into the right direction.

Take some lessons. Although there are a lot of people who have learned how to make jewelry through trial-and-error, it can never hurt to take some lessons. You may want to call around to local craft stores to see if they have any leads. You can also check out some websites online that offer classes including JewelryLessons.com, How-to-Make-Jewelry.com and How-to-Make-Beaded-Jewelry.com. And, there are DIY (Do It Yourself) videos for making all kinds of jewelry on YouTube.com.

Read up on eco-friendly gems and metals. You might be surprised to know that the kinds of eco-friendly gemstones that you can buy are pretty vast. They range from everything to conflict-free diamonds and (aqua) farm-raised cultured pearls to synthetic gemstones, recycled glass beads and recycled aluminum. It takes a bit of time to do the research on the kinds of gems and metals you can use that will truly make your bracelet or ring an eco-friendly one_, but it’s worth the effort to look the information up.

Find some used materials. Remember that one of the best things that you can do for the “go green movement” is to use recycled items. Whether it’s vintage jewelry from an estate sale or costume jewelry that you found at a thrift store or yard sale, one way to “make” eco-friendly jewelry is to simply “upgrade” a piece that already exists. You can turn a pocket watch into a wristwatch (just make sure to get a watch battery replacement) or take the gems from a pair of earrings and transfer them into a ring.

Don’t forget the jewelry-making tools. If you plan on making jewelry from scratch, you will definitely need the following tools: a pair of roundnose pliers, longnose pliers and flatnose pliers. You can find eco-friendly ones at Pendaflex.com. Rapid is also a company that carries “green” pliers too.

Ask for more information. When it comes to picking up your jewelry supplies and materials at a local craft store like Joanne’s or Hobby Lobby, another way that you can support the environment is to ask them about the manufacturers that have a reputation for being eco-friendly. They should be able to assist you with purchasing faux gems, metals and tools that will be easy for you to use while being good for the environment too.

Being Green and Frugal

Sustainable living is a lifestyle that minimizes the use of the earth’s resources as well as personal expenditures. This includes being ecologically aware in personal consumption and making economical choices in spending habits.

Sustainable living is based on simple principles you can incorporate into your current lifestyle. Developing habits that will decrease your expenditures and make a smaller ecological footprint is easy when done gradually.

Reduce

Using less affects you both financially and ecologically. Reusable grocery bags and refillable containers for commercial products reduce the amount of plastic waste produced. Reusable plastic storage containers for sandwiches and lunch snacks reduce the number of plastic bags you purchase and throw away.

Plan driving routes to combine errands, and reduce the number of trips you make and miles driven. This cuts down on fuel consumption and wear on your car, as well as extending time between oil changes and other scheduled maintenance.

Eliminate waste in food purchases. Buy only what you will use. If you find yourself regularly purging spoiled food from the refrigerator, you are buying more than you can reasonably consume.

Reduce the amount of disposable paper products you use. Paper towels and napkins can be replaced with cleaning cloths and cotton napkins, which can be washed with other loads of laundry and reused.

Reuse

Before running to the store to make a purchase, check to see if you already own something that is an appropriate substitute. Reusing wrapping paper and bows is a common practice, but many household items can be reused or repurposed.

If you print a lot from your computer, consider reusing the backside of paper that you normally throw away. Kids can use it for drawing and coloring, or you can cut it into smaller pieces for scratch paper. Buy refillable ink cartridges for your printer and use inexpensive refill ink to extend the use of the cartridges.

Before buying new home décor items, think about the pieces you already own. Moving furniture to a new room or changing the location of paintings and wall hangings can give a fresh look without additional purchases.

If you don’t find what you need at home, consider shopping for used items. Many shops and websites sell used video games, DVD movies, books and other specialty items. Thrift shops and second hand stores carry clothing, toys, furniture and kitchen goods. Items from these stores typically cost less and may be better quality than similar items in discount stores.

Recycle

You may already recycle newspapers and plastic with the garbage service in your community, but there are many other ways to recycle.

Donate or sell your unwanted items. Your donations may be charitable deductions, and selling unused items adds a little to your income.

For your yard and garden, there are ways to save money and contribute to the ecology. Build a compost system to provide nutrition for your plants and garden. It is a simple idea that costs little in time and effort. Add a rain barrel to a downspout to provide water for gardening and plantings. This reduces the amount of water you use and will decrease your sewer bill. Some communities also provide storm-water credits for residential water containment systems.

Re-evaluating what is essential and what is superfluous in your life is a step toward sustainable living. Eco-conscious living is a step in doing your part to preserve our natural environment. Both are worth doing for yourself and our planet.

About the Author

This article comes from Nisha representing freestuff.co.uk – with the latest free stuff, competitions, deals, and games.

Feel guilty for using plastic grocery bags hung on a kitchen doorknob to collect recyclables, and then having to toss it out when it becomes dirty or wet from the contents? Flings® Pop-Up Trash and Recycle Bins now offers an awesome Home Recycle version that is small enough to be kept underneath the kitchen sink, or tucked out of the way in the corner of the kitchen. This award-winning, brilliant household recycling bin is just plain smart – “Mom” loves that the bin can be popped open in an instant, ready to be utilized at the next gathering. Plus, the bins are available in a wide range of patterns to fit the theme of your party or suit your personal style.

Flings® Home Recycle Bins are extremely convenient, portable containers that snap open accordion-style to form a stable, decorative bin for trash or recycling. Flings Bins were designed to make it easier to keep recycling and trash separate in a wide variety of locations and to promote the recycling of items such as bottles and cans. You will no longer be propping up a trash bag in the corner to collect cans and glass bottles at your summer BBQ! Plus, each Flings® Home Recycle Bin can be reused – simply empty the contents into your main recycle bin and the smaller Home Recycle Bin is ready for use again.

Each Flings® reuse saves 60 cans or bottles from the landfill, and minimizes environmental impact. The new Flings® Home Recycle Bin is a smaller 6.5 gallon size when open — as compared to 13 gallons for original Flings Bins. The new Home Recycle Bins can fit under the counter or discretely in a corner, will hold up to 30 cans or bottles, and can be used multiple times before having to be thrown out.

The Home Recycle Bins product line will be available at a growing number of stores nationally as well as online at www.flingsbins.com with a three-pack carton retailing for approximately $5.99.

For more information about the Flings® Home Recycle Bin, please visit FlingsBins.com.

*Company generously provided samples and images for this piece.*

How to Teach Your Child About the Importance of Recycling

Kids are, by their very nature, full of questions. “Mom, why does it rain?” “Mom, how does this work?” “Mom, what is this, that, or the other…?”

Although you may not have all of the answers, it’s a great feeling when you explain something to them in a way they can understand – particularly if it’s a complicated question! (We’re thinking, “Why is the sky blue?”)

With that in mind, teaching them about the environment and the importance of recycling is top of any green mom’s agenda, so Enviroco has put together 5 simple ways you can teach your child about the importance of recycling. Before you know it they’ll love the environment just as much as you!

#1 – Waste not, want not

The first step towards teaching your child about the importance of recycling is making it easy for them to understand. Food is a great example. When they sit down to eat, ask them about how much energy has gone into making their food. You can do this in a number of ways.

Where did the food come from? If they say the supermarket, ask them how it got there. Get them them to think about what they are eating and where it came from.

What are they eating? If it comes in a box or packaging, get them to think about what it’s made of. Tell them about how plastic is made and the damage it does.

How much did they eat? If they leave lots on their plate, ask them to think about how where it goes after it’s put in the trashcan…

Finally, if there are leftovers (and with kids there are bound to be) teach them that using up leftovers to create meals is better for the environment (and your bank balance!). If they can see that waste is wasteful with something they can understand, like food, the battle is nearly won.

#2 – Explaining

Explaining greenhouse gases and the build-up of carbon dioxide is certainly a difficult. However, you can go some way towards making them think about it by explaining it in a way they can understand.

Ask them to tell you how they feel when they have been running in the sun. If they say hot and uncomfortable, tell them that’s because they”ve been breathing out a gas called carbon dioxide. But while they can drink water and cool down, the earth can’t do that. The only thing that cools down the earth are green trees. If we cut down trees we stop the earth from getting cool after a day in the sun.

With any luck you’ll see their eyes light up.

#3 – Create fun games

You can help your kids understand recycling by creating a fun games out of it. If they can see that their waste have everyday uses, they’ll be more likely to think before they throw…

Leftover paper makes excellent craft materials – they’ll be more likely to use scrap paper in future

Buy a magnet and get them to find the aluminum cans – if they know aluminum is worth something, they won’t be so quick to throw it away

Make a special compost heap for them to cultivate new plants with eggshells, teabags and banana peel – they’ll learn to love nature

A water-butt in the yard to collect rainwater for watering their new plants shows them they don’t need to always use the tap

If you make it simple for them to see that by throwing something away they lose it for good they’ll be more likely to think before they head to your trashcan.

#4 – Money money money

If you’ve got lots of rooms in your home, your kids are probably little terrors when it comes to leaving lights on, TVs on standby, taps running or windows open.

Explaining where gas and electricity comes from is tricky, so you need to make them think about it in a way they can relate to. Tell them that the longer a light is left on for, the more you will have to pay, come the end of the month. If you have less money you won’t be able to afford things like that new computer game or camping trip. Whatever it is they love, you can be sure that they’ll be more receptive to changing their bad habits.

#5 – Get them online

Your kids are probably more clued-up about how to use the computer than you are. The good news is that there are a whole range of sites out there with fun and interactive games for them to play which will broaden their knowledge of the importance of caring for the environment. Some of the best ones include:

Recycle Roundup on National Geographic Kids
Ollie’s World
Meet The Greens
MyGarbology

So there you have it – five easy ways you can get your kids clued up about the importance of recycling. It doesn’t take much effort, but you can be sure that if they start thinking about their effect on the environment you’ll have set them up for life.

Getting Creative With Your Recycled Plastic Bottles

Around 1500 plastic bottles end up in landfills or in the ocean every minute of every day. It takes approximately 700 years for a plastic bottle to decompose and may take up to 1000 years to decompose completely. Research suggests that the average family gets through 168 plastic bottles every year. It goes without saying that you should never throw your plastic bottles in the garbage along with your other household waste. You should always either recycle them or try and use them for another purpose.

If you have children you probably have a rainy day cupboard where you store egg cartons, cereal boxes etc so that you can surprise your kids with a craft day. From now on you should start storing some of the plastic bottles which you would normally have put to one side for recycling as there are a large number of fun things which you can do with plastic bottles.

Storage Jar

By cutting the middle from a large plastic bottle and keeping the top and bottom you can make the perfect storage jar. By making it a lollypop or candy jar you can get the kids involved in creating it. Once you have cut the bottle, simply rejoin the two parts with glue and conceal it with ribbon or lace.

Aquarium

For toddlers and babies you could try reusing a small plastic bottle to create an aquarium. Simply add a quarter of the bottle with oil (cooking oil or baby oil), add food coloring, glitter and some plastic fish and then add some water before securing the cap with some tape. Children love to stare at these portable aquariums and give them a good shake.

Get Planting

Buy some vegetable seeds and get your children to plant them into compost which has been placed in small plastic bottles which you have cut in half. Cut some larger plastic bottles in half and explain to your kids that they are going to cover their newly planted seeds with these bottle tops to give the plants warmth and to protect them from inclement weather.

Musical Instrument

For school holidays, try reusing a large plastic bottle and fill it with either sand or small gravel. Place a broom handle inside the hole and secure with tape. This makes an inexpensive noisy musical instrument which kids will adore. If you have the time you could make quite a few so that the kids can pretend that they are in a marching band. Who knew recycling could be such fun!

Bird House Fun

A fun thing to do when you are repurposing and reusing your plastic bottles is to make a bird house. Simply turn the bottle on its side and cut out a couple of windows and a door. Cover with waterproof material and suspend from a branch. You can have your children place nuts and seeds inside the house and then watch from the window to see how many different varieties of birds come to visit. As well as making use of your bottles you are also encouraging your children to take an interest in nature.

Other things which you could make when recycling plastic bottles are mobiles, wind chimes, models of cars and ships, a moneybox and jewelry. Just use your imagination and you will probably come up with many more ideas.

Statistics show that an alarming 80% of households never consider recycling their plastic bottles. This is just laziness and ignorance. Plastic bottles have a detrimental effect on wildlife by causing them to choke and die. They leach toxins into the oceans and threaten marine life and if they are sent to landfill they take hundreds of years to decompose. It is time to put a stop to this by recycling and using our brains. Instead of sticking your children in front of the TV, invite them to make interesting things with you from recyclable materials. By teaching people about recycling when they are young you will be shaping the way that they view the environment as they grow into adults.

About the Author

Mike Sorensen is a structural engineer and master cabinet maker and the author of an audio blog. He provides tips for soundproofing a room using environmentally-friendly sound production methods and generally tries to do good by Mother Earth.

*Image(s): FreeDigitalPhotos.net.*

Tips for Recycling Your Old Electronics

Take a moment to think about all of the electronic devices you use on a daily basis, from mobile gadgets like your smartphone, tablet, MP3 player, or handheld GPS to household items like the television, cable box, DVD player, stereo, and computer. There are many more, but these are a few of the most popular products found in the average modern household. Now think about how many millions (or even billions) of homes around the world use such devices. And finally, consider how often you replace these electronics with newer, better versions. You might replace your cell phone every couple of years, upgrade your computer every 5, and go for a flatter, lighter television every 5-10 years. And if the majority of households follow this pattern, you can only imagine the amount of e-waste leaving homes each year.

However, there is a solution that will keep these used products out of some landfill in China, where they will slowly decompose (or worse, get crushed and burned), spewing their hazardous contents into the atmosphere. In case you didn’t know, many electronics contain harmful heavy metals (like lead) and other poisonous materials (like mercury), which means it is actually illegal to throw them away in most places.

Luckily, there are programs in place to help you recycle your used electronics. If they are not in working order, your best bet is to get them to someone that can properly disassemble them to recycle their many parts. Many manufacturers will take back old products for recycling purposes, so you might want to start by contacting Sony, Apple, or whichever company made your device. Many retailers (like Best Buy and Staples) also have recycling programs, and most phone carriers will take back old handsets and refurbish them for donation (or at least dispose of them properly).

Otherwise you can simply call your waste disposal service to arrange for a special pickup. Unfortunately, many trash companies will charge you extra to haul away your hazardous materials, but you may save some money by inquiring about free pickup options. Some service providers offer one such service free each year to all customers while others host annual pickup or drop-off days that are free as a way to encourage recycling. Either way you may be able to pawn off these items without cost simply by asking (or waiting).

Of course, you might want to get something more out of the deal, and if you choose to sell or donate used electronics that are still working you might just come out ahead. Think about listing items on Craigslist or some other classified site, or simply wait until you host your annual garage sale to put them out. It might not net you enough money to upgrade to a better cable package or the best broadband service, but it could definitely put a few bucks in your pocket. And should you opt to donate these products to a charitable cause you should certainly get a receipt so you can write off the donation on your taxes.

Finding the Perfect Eco-Chic Beach Chair

Looking for a way to relax in the summer? How about a picnic trip to the beach? Grab your bathing suit, sunglasses, and suntan lotion as well as some picnic essentials. Even though you are heading to the beach, it is possible to use and think of supplies that you can find that will be eco-friendly. For example, find a beach chair that’s made out of recycled materials and remember to recycle your plastic bottles if you bring water to the beach!

Lightweight and Durable Beach Chairs

Consider finding a chair that is made of lightweight recycled materials with a durable frame so it folds up for easy portability. If the chair has a wide seat, multiple back positions, an integrated cup-holder in the right arm rest, and a pillow, you’ll have a relaxing time sitting in your new chair. A chair that folds up and has backpack straps will also be helpful because it will leave your hands free to carry your other picnic items! Not to mention it will be easier for you to hold everything as you walk to the recycling bin where you can recycle the materials that you brought to the beach, such as magazines that have been or plastic bottles.

Earth-Friendly Lounge Chair

If you’d rather work on your tan, find an earth-friendly lounge beach chair that’s perfect for you! It will be ideal if it comes fully-padded with an adjustable reclining backrest so you can stretch out your legs to avoid sand. The ideal beach mat will also be extremely portable. Find one that’s lightweight, has an adjustable shoulder strap, and a zippered pocket that’s large enough to hold magazines and personal objects such as a wallet or shirt. If the mat is made out of a durable frame, this will ensure that it is built to last.

Folding Chairs for a Beach Home

How about finding a sleek and stylish chair that will work right outside your home? If you live in California or another area that has beach homes, you may be fortunate enough to own one or to rent one at some point. When you do enjoy a beach home, invest in a chair, such as a folding low-back chair that’s made from recycled materials. The chair may look like it’s made of wood but it’s really made from sturdy recycled materials that are helping save the earth. You will enjoy relaxing on the chair while feeling good about your purchase. Plus if the chair is weather resistant, that’s even better.

So get ready to have a delightful picnic on the beach and find beach chairs and combers that are comfortable and extremely affordable. Carry all of your other beach picnicking items and strive to help preserve the earth. You’re already doing it by buying eco-friendly beach chairs that are comfy and chic.

About the Author

Paige One enjoys writing articles about interior design, traveling, fashion, and more. Find Picnic Baskets for your beach outings during the summer and have fun stocking up on the latest accessories!

How Students Can Stay Green in College

Although the spring semester is almost over, it’s never too late to start thinking up ways to make your life on campus a little better for the environment. In fact, with finals over you’ll have some time on your hands to plan for your eco-friendly return in the fall. You may not have access to all of the same amenities you enjoy at home (like your mom’s organic vegetable garden, solar panels, a pick-up recycling service, or your family’s electric car), but there is actually a lot you can do to reduce your carbon footprint on campus.

Here are just a few ways to employ the 3 Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle) while you’re working towards your own bright future.

1. Hike, bike, and bus. One of the easiest ways for most college students to save the environment along with a little money is to eschew the use of a personal vehicle. Yes, a car is a symbol of freedom and it can be quite convenient. But the truth is that most college students can’t really afford all of the expenses that come with a car anyway (insurance, registration, gas, parking, etc.). And whether you live on campus or nearby, you’re likely close enough that you rarely have use for a vehicle anyway. Plus, most campuses offer some kind of discount on bus passes, which are likely a lot less expensive than keeping a car in any case. By making the decision to non-op your car, leave it at home, and walk, bike, or ride the bus, you’ll make a big difference for both your budget and the environment.

2. Conserve. There are so many ways you can conserve, even when you don’t have access to low-flow toilets and alternative energy. For example, you can wait until you have a full load of laundry to run the washer and then use only cold water. You can get long-lasting, low-energy CFLs for your dorm room and use natural light as much as possible. And you can turn off the AC unit and electronics when you’re not in the room.

3. Recycle. Nearly every college campus has instituted some type of recycling program so that all you have to do is take the cans and bottles that build up in your room to a designated drop-box in order to ensure that they don’t clutter up the landfill. However, there are other ways to recycle, as well. For example, when getting rid of clothing of furniture you can donate to a charitable organization (like Goodwill), or if you’re dumping electronics that no longer work you can contact the local trash company about dropping off hazardous materials for free.

4. Ask for organics. The campus cafeteria may not offer organic or local options, but that doesn’t mean you can’t request them. With enough student signatures on a petition you can get the attention of the administration, and if you do the research and present them with locally-sourced, organic options and ways to save money on these items, you might actually do something good for your college and the Earth at the same time.

5. Start a community garden. If you simply can’t get the organic foods you want on campus, think about organizing a community garden. You don’t have to pursue an MSW online in order to help others in your community, and by starting such a project you can bring students together to do something that is good for them and the environment, as well as involving the campus in an outreach project that could have resounding positive ramifications.

Sustainable Play Items – the Green Way to Go!

Green and eco-friendly products are very common these days – there are so many products that make a ‘green’ or eco-friendly claim so that now we come to expect it on the shelves of our supermarkets, on websites or banks who claim to be ‘paperless.’

Have you ever thought about what your children play with and how these items may impact the environment?
Now that summer will be upon us soon, outdoor play is something we should start thinking about now and sustainability should be on our minds.

Some equipment does not last!

Unfortunately, a lot of consumer products we buy for our children are not built to last. Typically, these tend to be the cheaply made plastic toys that break or stop working properly. The sad fact is that usually the cheaper products, which are made of plastic, tend to be the ones that end up in landfills and aren’t biodegradable, so will sit there for many years to come.

What are the greener options?

There are two main things you can do to be more environmentally-friendly when buying play equipment, and in particular outdoor play equipment.

1. Buy to last. This can be a hard one as there are usually no guarantees. It also depends on how boisterous your children are. However, larger items like swings and climbing frames can come with a 10 year warranty – like Action Climbing Frames which can be bought at the Big Game Hunters climbing frame shop, Mad Fun and All Garden Fun, amongst others.

Wooden play items will on the whole have a longer life than many of their plastic counterparts. Apart from a longer life, the wood can be re-used if still in good condition once the play equipment is no longer used or needed and most importantly it will not fill up landfill, as it will eventually degrade.

2. Think about the materials they are made from. A lot of wood that goes into playhouses, climbing frames, tree houses and swings comes from sustainable wood sources. This means that the wood comes from somewhere where they are constantly planting new trees so the amount of trees does not diminish.

Look out for people reusing things to make new play items. Garden Games uses old tyres for its tyre swings, which uses up old tyres, which would otherwise have no use, and makes something fun for children to play on. Rubber does not biodegrade so they can fill up landfills just like plastics! Instead, by using them as swings, they are not sitting in landfills, and costs to the consumer have been reduced as the tires are being reused for this purpose.

About the Author

Written by Abbi Stewart, advisor and creator of play equipment for children at Big Game Hunter’s climbing frames shop at www.climbingframes.com.

With Earth Day right around the corner, A Lot to Say Inc. has compiled their top facts and tips in honor of Mother Earth. Celebrate your love of the planet by making small adjustments in your daily life to live a cleaner, greener existence!

Eco-Cool Facts for Earth Day

  • Love the Planet, lose the plastic. Only 3% of plastic is being recycled. The rest winds up buried in landfills which can take 200-400 years to degrade.
  • Fuel your tank with the lowest grade octane allowed and save over 3 billion dollars a year – enough to buy more than 100,000 hybrid cars.
  • Peace on Earth has to start with the Earth. If this very minute every one of us changed the way we drive, eat, heat our homes and carry our groceries, we would still only have 7 years to reverse the damage that has been done. Bottom line, if we dont give peace a chance, our planet doesnt have one either.
  • Tap into a greener planet by turning off the tap. Every two minutes you save on your shower can conserve more than ten gallons of water.
  • Ignite your engine with tires fully inflated and you can save as much as 1.6 gallons of gas per year.
  • Hot and getting hotter! Global warming has caused the average temperature in the Earth’s atmosphere to increase by 1 degree Fahrenheit.
  • Virgin plastic is what most shampoo and conditioner bottles are made out of. They add over 25% of waste in landfills.
  • Nuke your food in a clean microwave and you’ll be up to 4.8 times more energy efficient than using a traditional electric over.
  • Flush the toilet and you instantly use 1.6 gallons of water. 40% of all the drinking water supplied to homes is flushed down the toilet.