Webfinder: Green Living

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10 FREE Ways to Go Green provides practical green tips that can easily be introduced into your daily routine (Earth 911; site includes advertisements).

Ask Umbra provides answers to common questions such as: paper or plastic? cloth or disposable diapers? handwash dishes or use the dishwasher? buy organic food from far away, or non-organic food grown locally? and other common green dilemmas. (Grist Magazine)

EPA’s Household Carbon Footprint Calculator helps you estimate your household’s greenhouse gas emissions, then suggests actions you can take to lower your emissions while reducing your energy and waste disposal costs. You’ll find links to related resources at Greener Living page. (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency)

EWG’s Healthy Living Tips are aimed at helping you create a cleaner and greener home that is good for your family and the planet. Printable PDFs cover topics such as personal care products & household cleaners, pesticides, tap water, and more. (Environmental Working Group)

Green American Magazine shows you more ways to live better, save more, invest wisely, and make a difference (Green America).

Green Home Guide offers lots of practical advice on greening your home and yard. (U.S. Green Building Council)

Living Green [UPDATED LINK!] offers practical advice to help you prevent pollution, build healthier communities, and live a more sustainable life (Minnesota Pollution Control Agency; some information & resource links are specific to Minnesota).

Metro: Tools for Living includes good advice on green cleaning, waste reduction, natural gardening, pest control, and more (Metro Regional Government, Portland, OR; some information & resource links are specific to the Portland region).

Living Green isn’t out of Renters’ Reach suggests low-cost ways for apartment dwellers to be eco-friendly. (2010, Los Angeles Times / Washington Post; site includes advertisements).

Sustainable Living Handbook [NEW!] introduces the concept of sustainable living, identifying three key barriers to living sustainably in the United States: the time crunch, consumerism, and a disconnect from the spiritual and natural world. Presents activities to help you identify personal values and incorporate sustainable behaviors into everyday decision-making. A downloadable handbook in PDF (University of Florida Extension).

And be sure to check out our other Green Living Webfinders!

Links updated April 2018.

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Webfinder : Green Lawn & Garden

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Bug Review offers descriptions of some common home & garden insect pests, with photographs, habits, potential damage, and non-chemical control recommendations (University of Illinois). Pest Management in Homes, Gardens, Landscapes, and Turf includes guidelines for monitoring pests, and non-pesticide alternatives for managing pests – including birds, mammals, reptiles, deer, gophers, raccoons, etc. (University of California; some information is specific to California).

Composting for Kids [Link opens a PDF] has good basic instruction in the whys and hows of composting, for kids or adult beginners (Texas Agricultural Extension Service). See also Composting for the Homeowner (University of Illinois Extension) and Grasscycling and Composting Yard Waste (California Integrated Waste Management Board). The Middlesex County Division of Solid Waste Management sells compost bins to Middlesex County residents at a reduced price.

Cornell Home Gardening [NEW!] offers basic guides to growing vegetables or flowers, and flower garden design (Cornell University).  Brooklyn Botanic Gardens Gardening How-Tos is a collection of helpful articles on Sustainable Gardening, Composting, and related topics.

Garden for Wildlife shows how you can landscape your yard to attract birds, butterflies, and other wildlife (National Wildlife Federation). The Coevolution Institute offers free eco-regional Pollinator Planting Guides [UPDATED LINK!] to help you make your yard more friendly to birds, bees, butterflies, bats, beetles and other pollinators (non-profit organization). The Butterfly Site has helpful tips and links specifically for attracting butterflies to your garden (site includes advertisements).

Greenscaping [Link opens a PDF] explains how you can save time & money and protect the environment by changing your landscape to a GreenScape (2006, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency). Less Lawn also provides information and inspiration to help you create a more beautiful, low-maintenance, organic, and wildlife-friendly landscape (by author Evelyn J. Hadden). Landscape For Life “shows you how to work with nature in your garden, no matter where you live, whether you garden on a city or suburban lot, a 20–acre farm, or the common area of your condominium” (United States Botanic Garden Conservatory). See also Lawn Pesticide Fact Sheets & Safer Lawn Care (Beyond Pesticides coalition), Rain Gardens (Rutgers), and NJ Fertilizer Law: Answers for Homeowners (Rutgers)

Invasive Plants offers photos, videos, and information to help you identify invasive species in your lawn or garden, with links to additional resources. Also offers similar information on invasive animal and insect pests (USDA).

Tree Planting [Link opens a PDF] – Explains the basics of choosing, planting, and maintaining trees on your property (USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service). The SelecTree database will search for specific tree species to match the type of site and desired tree characteristics you specify (Cal Poly State University). And don’t forget to Call Before You Dig!

Water Conservation for Lawn & Landscape – Extensive information on water-conserving landscape design, suitable plant materials, mulch, irrigation, and related topics. (eXtension.org, a partnership of 74 universities in the U.S.)

Links updated April 2018.

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Webfinder: Green Shopping

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EPA’s Sustainable Marketplace aims at helping you choose safer, more environmentally-friendly, and often less costly products & services. (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency)

EWG’s Skin Deep is an online safety guide for cosmetics and personal care products, launched in 2004 to help people find safer products, with fewer ingredients that are hazardous or that haven’t been thoroughly tested. EWG also has similar guides for Household Cleaners, Food, and other products (Environmental Working Group)

Good Stuff is a ‘Behind-the-Scenes Guide to the Things We Buy’ with tips and facts you can use to start making more informed purchases that benefit your health and the environment. NOTE: Published in 2004, so some material may be outdated. (Worldwatch Institute, an independent research organization)

Green America’s Responsible Shopper [UPDATED LINK!] helps you ‘go green’ when buying a wide range of products & services. Green America also offers the Green Pages, a searchable directory of Green Products & Services [NEW!]. (Non-profit membership organization)

Mind the Store [NEW!] rates 30 major U.S. retailers on what they’re doing about toxic chemicals in everyday products.

NJ Recycled Products Resources [UPDATED LINK!] provides information about buying products made with recycled content (N.J. Department of Environmental Protection). See also Recycling NJ: Buy Recycled.

Sins of Greenwashing [UPDATED LINK!] teaches you how to spot false or misleading environmental claims on product labels and in advertisements (TerraChoice Group Inc., part of the Underwriters Laboratories). The Federal Trade Commission explains standards for Green Advertising Claims which are enforced by the FTC, and has additional useful information on Green Products.

ELECTRONICS: EPEAT® is a searchable database of greener electronics. “EPEAT®-registered products meet strict environmental criteria that address the full product lifecycle, from energy conservation and toxic materials to product longevity and end-of-life management. EPEAT-registered products offer a reduced environmental impact across their lifecycles.” (Green Electronics Council). See our E-Cycling links for information on recycling electronics.

FOOD: To find Places where you can buy or eat locally-grown food, use the Eat Well Guide website. To find farmers’ markets, see the National Farmers Market Directory. Click on the Eat Local map to find out what’s in season in your state at different times of the year (Natural Resources Defense Council). How to Read Meat and Dairy Labels defines common label terms such as Certified Organic; Free-Range, Pasture-Raised or Grass-Fed; Certified Humane; Hormone-Free, rBGH-Free, rBST-Free, or No Hormones Added; Dolphin-Safe; Natural; Grain-Fed; and similar terms (Humane Society of the United States). See also What is Organic? and Organic Labeling (USDA). To find information about sustainable fish & seafood, see Seafood Watch (Monterey Bay Aquarium) or EDF Seafood Selector (Environmental Defense Fund). For in-depth information on food labels, see Consumer Reports’ Greener Choices [NEW!].

GIFTS: So Kind Alternative Gift Registry makes it easier to give and receive non-material, homemade, second-hand, and environmentally-friendly gifts. The More Fun Less Stuff Gift Catalog [NEW!] [NOTE: You must provide a name & email address to download the catalog] offers hundreds of fun, low-cost, and non-material gift ideas. (Center for a New American Dream)

LIGHTING: Shopping for Light Bulbs explains the different types of light bulbs now available, and how you can choose the most efficient bulbs that meet your lighting needs.

Links updated April 2018.

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Webfinder : Recycling

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Recycling in South Plainfield provides information for local residents on drop-off and curbside pickup, including yard waste, textiles, motor oil, paint, tires, electronics and more. See also Middlesex County Recycling. The South Plainfield Public Library accepts empty ink and toner cartridges from computer printers or copiers. Our Where to Donate Goods page offers information on local, regional, and national organizations that can make good use of your used goods!

Recycling NJ and Earth 911 and Recycle Nation have lots of useful information on WHAT can & cannot be recycled (including The Great Pizza Box Recycling Mystery!), and on WHERE to recycle what. See also 21 Things You Didn’t Know You Can Recycle [UPDATED LINK!] (Green America). The Recycling Materials Index is an alphabetical list of product recycling information (N.J. Department of Environmental Protection). Close the loop by buying products with recycled content! See NJ Recycled Products Resources [UPDATED LINK!] and Recycling NJ: Buy Recycled. For basic advice to help you figure out whether a product or package is recyclable, see The Language of Recycling.

Reduce, Reuse, Prevent offers tips on reducing all kinds of waste: ‘When you avoid making garbage in the first place, you don’t have to worry about disposing of waste or recycling it later.’ Some info is specific to Minnesota (Minnesota Pollution Control Agency). Source Reduction provides advice and links on reducing yard waste, junk mail, disposables, holiday waste, and more (N.J. Department of Environmental Protection).

E-Cycling Central & related links gives you additional info about where and how to recycle electronic products.

LampRecycle.org tells you where you can recycle Compact Flourescent Light bulbs (CFLs). See also Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs (CFLs), which includes info on how to handle broken bulbs safely  (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency).

Proper Disposal of Medicines links explain where and how to get rid of old medications safely.

Links updated April 2018.

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