From record album to photo album (Day 121)…

June 29, 2007

photo album

After months of searching for an eco-friendly photo album and coming up with nothing but plastic-coated this and ugly papier-mâché that, I couldn’t believe my luck when I stumbled upon Re-cover, a company based out of Halifax, N.S., that takes old record albums — with the record still in the sleeve — and spirals them together with recycled paper to make photo albums and journals. Every one is unique; I chose the one above ’cause The Supremes are cool:

Re-cover also makes journals and notebooks made from similar materials, and all of them are geared towards different types of consumers, so whether you want a sexy address book or a cutesy photo album, chances are they’ll have it.

I’ve already started cutting and pasting all my 4 x 6 memories into my Supremes album, and they look great. While there’s authentic vinyl in the cover, there are no vinyl overlays, so I can write little notes around each picture. At $30, it’s a little pricey, but considering I’m not only helping the environment but adding to my record collection, I think it’s a steal.

I choo-choo-choose moo (Day 101)…

June 9, 2007


Whenever people ask for my card these days, it’s usually after I’ve been telling them about this website, so I always end up grabbing my boring National Post card, digging for a pen and then scrawling the URL on the back of it before handing it over.

I desperately needed wanted to get a new set of cards printed, ones that included this blog link, but I didn’t want to deplete the Boreal forest even further to do so (the irony would’ve be a little too painful).

Then a friend pointed me towards Moo, a company that lets you create personalized business cards that are about one-third the standard size. The paper used to manufacture them is sourced from sustainable forests and they come in a recyclable box with next to no packaging.

I suppose the most ecologically responsible thing to do would have been to make my own with soy-based ink and whatever post-consumer scrap I could find around the house. But these are so pretty!

Newspaper packages tied up without string (Day 33)…

April 2, 2007

newspaperI’ve bought all my gifts for this upcoming baby shower, the only thing I have left to get is wrapping paper. But the more I fuss about looking for 100% recycled unbleached organic gift wrap, the more I think, forget it — the greenest way to go is no wrapping paper at all. But then again, nothing says, “Here, take this, I’m sick of holding on to it,” than a handful of unwrapped presents.

So my solution is to wrap everything (from now, right through birthdays and next Christmas) with whatever two-dimensional stuff I can find around the house. Most likely, this will consist of pages from the National Post — if the recipient is lucky, it’ll be the Arts & Life section, so he or she can at least read one of my brilliantly irreverent film reviews after opening it (and then recycle the paper, of course). Obviously, there’ll be no ribbons or bows, either … unless I make them from mismatched bits of leftover yarn or used dental floss.

Photo courtesy of Antony Hare, one of the Post’s fabu illustrators, on Flickr

Pumpity pump pump (Day 23)…

March 23, 2007

EcoVert Windex

On the one hand, my mirrors have never been cleaner. On the other hand, I never knew I had so many freckles. The reason: I am enamoured with Ecover‘s glass and surface cleaner. Actually, it’s not even the cleaning solution itself — which is actually as good, if not better, than Windex — it’s the spray pump. This thing will make even the most passive pacifist trigger happy until their windows are invisible.

Seriously, it’s like firing a gun (and despite being Canadian, I know what that feels like — my family recently took a trip to Miami; ’nuff said). You just pull the handle gently, see, but then it suddenly takes off and kapow! A perfectly distributed mist wafts out, ready to be wiped off with the recycled paper towel or cloth rag of your choice.

From now on, though I may need to get more wrinkle cream, a couple face peels and some Clearasil, I’m sticking to a natural glass cleaner like this one — if only because it totally pumps me up.

I gave that movie four stars? (Day 17)…

March 17, 2007

Toilet Paper

Something about using recycled matter on, well, rather private places disconcerts me. I know, it’s pathetically squeamish — and in fact what’s probably more unsettling is the amount of bleach in most rolls of toilet paper — but all I can think is, “Am I going to be wiping myself with leftover Christmas greeting cards? Outdated issues of Maxim? The review I wrote months ago for Blood Diamond?” (Perhaps more importantly: How can I ensure that I wipe myself with the latest Family Circus?)

But I’m getting over it. I just bought the Whole Foods 365 brand of recycled toilet paper. It’s #1 on the NRDC’s list of environmentally friendly TP, comprised of over 80% post-consumer recycled fibres. Although the package declares it to be “soft and absorbent,” it’s not exactly cashmere — but it’s not like it gives you splinters either.

I think this is a switch I can tolerate. It may not be good enough for fluffy kittens and cartoon bears, but it’s good enough for me.

Green me up, Scotty (Day 1)…

March 1, 2007

paper towel

I know, paper towels don’t seem all that exciting. It’s not like I’m investing in solar panels and devoting myself full-time to eco-activism, but I need to take this whole green thing slowly. The fact is, I’m just not that hardcore.

Yes, I realize using old rags and tea towels — or even better, reclaimed wool that’s been knit into tea towels at a fair-trade establishment within 100 km of my apartment and shipped via bicycle — is surely the way to go when it comes to reducing landfill waste.

But the reality is, I like to wipe away dirt, bacteria and other icky business with something I can then put in the garbage instead of the washing machine, and subsequently ignore. Plus, my cat occasionally poops on the carpet, and whatever I use to pick it up I am most certainly NOT reusing or recycling in any way.

So paper towels it has to be. I’ve thought about using those Bounty Select-a-Size ones, which let you tear away smaller pieces. But after further mulling, and some drunken spilling, I’ve decided that for my first official green move, I’m switching to Cascades. This brand is made of 100% recycled, unbleached fibres, produced with 80% less water than the industry average and dried with natural gas (so it might have been more ecologically sound to dry it with wind power or something, but not bad).

So far, I’m happy with the product. It may not be as strong as those quilted picker-uppers, but then I’m not exactly going to be soaking them and then trying to carry large, heavy objects with them as the commercials so demonstrate with that ubiquitous blue liquid. Plus, I actually like the brown colour — it matches my fake hardwood floors.

I stole mine from the swag pile at the office, but if you’re in Toronto you can find them at Baldwin Naturals Organic Food Market. They retail for about $1.99 but prices may vary. The company, which has been around for some 40 years, also has a website (link above) with a list of retail outlets and other handy info.