Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Burt’s Bees Is A Zero Waste Company

This past summer the super cool company Burt’s Bees announced it was going zero waste.  They were always a company who cared about the planet (as evidenced by their commitment to natural based products) and recycled the basics -- paper, plastic, metal, glass -- but within just three short years their special task force of ECOBEES rendered their dumpsters useless.

So how on Earth did they do it?

Well it started out with six-bin waste-sorting stations being sprinkled all over their offices.  Employees were encouraged to sort it out and harness the responsibility of, well, being responsible!  In particular the company is most proud of the compost station as it has managed to keep 300 tons of material out of landfills over the past 31 months, since March 2008.

Not only have they managed to recycle or reuse the top four ‘basics’ items above, but they went that step further and now recycle every bit of their corrugated cardboard, chipboard, wood, shrink wrap and fiberboard too.

They created a way to give back to the Earth with the compost station.  In the break room employees are encouraged to grab a one time type use utensil -- they are 100% compostable and made from potatos (reusable too)!  They also found a way to extend the lifecycle of recycled waste other than as fertilizer or simply being melted down to create more of the same.    

At special waste-to-energy facilities, the items that can’t be utilized for other sources (ie. compost into soil) are used as fuel to power cement kilns.  Even after the items in question have been burned, the leftover ash is mixed in to make cinder blocks.

And oh yeah, they are also composting the waste residue left over at their water treatment facility.

The ECOBEES staged all manner of dumpster diving and bee-cycle swaps (Get it?  Bee-cycle instead of Freecycle?  Those Bees sure are a clever bunch!), and with their continued efforts who knows how far Burt’s Bees will be able to take their environmental awareness.

Thanks Burt’s Bees, it’s companies like yours that teach the rest of us that eco-responsibility can happen at work no matter how big or how small the staff or organization!  ♥love♥

Thanks to GLR friend Julie for sending over this story idea! 

Monday, September 13, 2010

Life Is Good!

This past weekend here in Canton, Massachusetts the well known lover of all dogs, Life Is Good, held their rockin’ good time festival and Matt and I were lucky enough to attend on Sunday.

The festival, held on the grounds of Prowse Farm, featured so much it would be almost impossible to list it all here but I’ll highlight the stuff we took part in and saw.

We started the day with the best part of all -- free parking! Parking was graciously donated by Reebok as their building was about a ten minute walk from the field and they had a parking garage which housed a healthy number of cars. Instead of waiting for a shuttle bus, Matt and I walked the distance to the field with our beach chairs, backpack (filled with towels, a roll of toilet paper, our Nalgene bottles and travel sized Scrabble) and a smile.

We arrived right on time to get set up to see Emily Elbert. Originally from Texas, Emily went to school right here in Boston at Berkley. We’ve seen her live before and couldn’t wait to catch her act on a much larger stage. The music she does is a nice mix of bluesy, jazzy, poppy, rock and her voice holds so much soul you’d never think it was coming from such a teeny girl. She rocked and even had an interpreter signing for the crowd!

From there we made our way to get some food from the local vendors and the prices were really reasonable which was a welcomed change from most festivals I’ve attended. We passed the Life Is Good merchandise tent on the way. Oh yeah, did I happen to mention that 100% of the proceeds from this event of LiG merch are being donated to the Life is Good Kids Foundation?


Next up for us was They Might Be Giants, one of Matt’s all time favorite acts. They have taken to doing lots of kids music in recent years but we’ve discovered that the jokes and chatting the guys do on stage in between the tunes is all for the grown ups. So, sans kids of our own, we hung out on the periphery and enjoyed the fun!  They made a funny reference to Woodstock when one of the John's came up to make an announcement and I even recognized a few tunes (Alphabet of Nations I think is one of them) from having taken our nephews to their show a few months back.

We had a bunch of idle time until the next act we were interested in seeing so it was time to mingle -- festival style!

We passed on taking part in the sporting events because we just like to walk around (and also because we both had a drink so safety first!). There was a rock climbing wall, Frisbee toss, bocce, tug-o-war and a whole slew of other fun stuff for all ages to take part in! On the way around we passed the Art for All Mural (pictured at the top of the post) and I was in love!

It consists of 1500 tiles that are hand painted in pre-determined colors/palates by selected volunteers and when it is all put together this 25’ high by 31’ wide canvas is a most impressive piece.

We made our way around to catch a little bit of Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars on the main stage (who were quite grooving, I danced my way across the field!) and then headed back to the smaller stage to watch OK Go and Brett Dennen.

We played a little Scrabble (I won which is pretty normal around here, I come from a long lineage of fierce Scrabble competitors!)

Took a few photos.

And then, I had a Say Anything moment with my favorite eco-conscious musician, the headliner that night, Jason Mraz. Just like Lloyd Dobler and Diane Court “shared a moment” in a mall food court in that movie, my moment with Jason was quite the exciting sighting for me. He passed by about ten feet away with, I think, his Joyologist Tricia but I wouldn’t swear to it. They were walking with a purpose and headed toward the main stage.

I nudged Matt and pointed Jason out but he didn’t catch on until the man himself had already passed by. Oh well, maybe one of these days I won’t be so shy and just approach the guy. I mean really, we have the planet in common at least even if nothing else right?

After Brett was wrapped up we had a lot of time before the next act we wanted to see, Jason, so we kind of milled about the place. We caught a slight snippet of Guster (good!) and Corinne Bailey Rae (very mellow) but when we got to the kid’s tent I was really happy we walked all the way down there.

We were lucky enough to see most of Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue and they were amazing! The name says it all, with Cajun, jazz and big band swing influence this act even got Matt dancing (a treasured moment to be sure!). These guys were supposed to open the main stage but had travel problems and couldn’t make it in for the 12:30 start. We were both really glad to have caught the act.

A little more wandering, people watching, throwing trash into the designated receptacles for compost, recycling and trash itself and claiming our spot to see the main stage from a vantage point a healthy distance away and we were ready for the main act.

Jason took the stage right on time and it was such a great performance we ended up heading closer toward the crowd so I could concert call a few friends, also fans of his.

Matt and I danced the entire set and it was a super fun show. Jason was opening his tour this month and I don’t know for sure but I think this was the first stop. He was full of energy and so was the huge crowd even when he performed a whole bunch of new music. At one point he tossed a piece of his cantaloupe into a guy’s mouth in the crowd then later invited the same guy (Joe) and another gal (Katie) up on stage to dance. Good times.

After the satisfying end to a day full of love, fun and music we walked back to the car, tired but happy to have had the experience and lucky enough to sit in zero traffic when leaving.

Thanks for such a great event Life is Good, the day was phenomenal and I can’t wait to hear how much you raised to support the Kids Foundation! ♥love♥

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Green Streets Day

On the last Friday of every month Portland, Maine rolls out the eco carpet to host Green Streets Day. ‘What is that?’ you may be asking. Well it is a locally launched movement staged by the town’s residents to think planet.

I love to hear when stuff like this is taking place in my own region of the country, way to go Portland!

Residents and tourists alike are asked to wear something green while they think up Greener ways to live their lives. Local businesses who support and commit to a more eco-conscious way of doing things are staffed and ready to answer all manner of questions.

Whether it is the one day a month you take public transportation or the 365th in a row you placed scraps into your back yard composter, there is something about an entire community coming together for one likeminded purpose that makes me smile.

Upcoming dates include:
September 24, 2010
October 29, 2010
November 26, 2010
December 31, 2010

If you’re in the Portland, Maine area I highly encourage you to check it out!

Thanks goes out to my Aunt for forwarding on this story!

Friday, September 10, 2010

And the Respite Comes to a Close

Good afternoon everyone! Wow, what a crazy summer it was around here -- from beach to BBQ, work to working out, birthdays to baby showers, road trips, writing, paint jobs and library visits there was barely a chance to breathe let alone gather up the steam to post!

In fact my personal blog, articles, query letters, well, everything really, took a major break for the glorious sunshine and hot weather here in Boston this summer. It really was worth it to give myself a slightly larger berth than I usually do to just chill.

But now we’re back toward fall temperatures and back to school for many so the pace around here slows to a crawl until the holidays. That sounds pretty nice to me! In fact, although I do sort of look forward to apple picking and foliage peeping, sadly right now I’m still stuck on wishing the upper 90’s back.

Call me crazy but I love the heat and humidity!

But that's what happens with fall and here it comes.  Anyway, with the cooler temps and walking on my treadmill instead of outside comes my need to keep busy so it seemed like no better time to revive the old blog here!

I have a pretty decent number of topics on belay right now so I should be posting more regularly, every other or every third day give or take. I can’t promise things will go back to daily again but since all of us have seriously busy lives these days I somehow imagine that will not be a tragedy.

So what’s coming up? Why, thanks for asking!

In a week or so I’m going to be running a giveaway so be sure to check for that. A couple cool reviews of awesome companies who are doing their best to make a difference, a festival review, some product reviews, maybe a few travel tips for foliage peepers to keep their footprint lower and a blogaversary post are also in the works!

Thanks for sticking it out over the posting drought this summer GLR-ers, looking forward to getting back to the fun this fall!