ECO STUDIO
the best place on Earth for Sustainable Living & Eco Touring
Your Guide to the Chesapeake Bay Watershed . . .
Our Easiest Tips For Greener Living

 

Share your ideas by contacting us at info@ecostudio.info. Or, - A feed automatically captures them at the bottom of this page! 

 

ECO Studio lists 50+ conscious ways you can easily conserve water - Help us increase this list - email us at info@ecostudio.info - and we'll recognize you. At the end of 2013, we will ask our followers to select the best addition for an evening at our favorite local sustainable restaurant.

 

 

 

 

 

 

EVENT TIPS
#1: Use this natl/intl calendar of Days Observing Sustainability to - motivate your office to go Car-Free on Sept. 22 and plan other eco-themed events
#2: Ask your vendors for their "green credentials". Does the caterer use organic produce, have they been certified as a green caterer? Is the coffee fair trade? The more people who make such requests, the more vendors will obtain green credentials.
#3: Pick your venue wisely. Find a venue as close to the majority of your guests is key to reduce impact. Also, find a LEED certified building or one that has green elements, such as an organic garden or some green renovations. Your event can, in this way, also raise awareness of the work of the organization or business.
#4: Source locally. Almost anything can be sourced locally, but food and beverages should be your first place to start. A lot goes into trucking your favorite ale from across the country while there are plenty of excellent local microbreweries.
#5: Provide eco-friendly take-out containers for leftovers.
#6:  Don't just place one recycling bin, have several for each type of recyclable item.
#7:  Make sure all food items are tagged "seasonal", "organic", "sustainable seafood", etc. to raise consciousness of your guests. Include the producer's names so guests will support them after your event.
#8:  Watch the numbers. The biggest factor in the ecological impact of your event will be its size. The cold hard fact is that each person you invite means more miles and more waste. Of course, location of the event and organized transportation are also key.
#9:  Use recycled bottles (the french soda variety with resealable spring tops are the best) for water on the tables and bars. Allow guests to fill their own glasses with water.
#10: Put out a compost bin - be sure to indicate which foods can go in it (nothing cooked or oily)
#11:  Keep a collection of interesting bottles for flower vases - various sizes and color are nice! Reuse pretty wine or water bottles (particularly nice for outdoor dining), soak the bottles in with your dishes to remove the labels.
#12: Promote ride sharing or biking to event. Provide a shuttle or designate someone to pick up a group at the closest metro or bus stop. You could also send a map of Zip Car or bike sharing locations near your event. Encourage others to ride a bike by including a picture of yourself riding a bike on the invitation.
#13: Offer gifts of "conscience". They could include: seedlings or seed packets, locally made soaps, or homemade canned items that used farm market produce.
#14: Use herbs or seedlings as center pieces that guest can take home and plant.
#15: Send a electronic invitation through www.evite.com or www.paperlesspost.com/ They provide an automatic RSVP system as well! 
#16: Send a treeless or recycled paper invitation. Etsy has great handmade options. Some options include cards with seeds embedded.
#17:  Hire a vegetarian caterer for your next event. They will more often do their best to keep your event as green as compared to the non-recycable/non-reusable serving platters and utensils a traditional caterer might use. We include a list of D.C.-metro area vegetarian caterers under our Directory pages.
#18: Start a Halloween Costume Swap at your office, school or church
#19: Host a clothing drive at your event. After the event, deliver the items to your local Goodwill retail store. You will also save on the number of individual trips your guests would make to the retail store to drop off items.
#20 Use rental companies. Their tablecloths, chairs, tables and glasses will be used over and over again, and you can streamline your event needs without spending a fortune and needing f.
 #21 Special outfits. If you may not use the same outfit again, check out your local thrift store. Most have a broad collection of wedding dresses, tuxedos, suits and gowns.
 #22 Special touches. Build memories and moments into your event with special personal touches rather than decadence. Pictures, poems, drawings, uniqe product labels paired with homemade recipes ,or anecdotes go a long way.
 #23 Use a green gift registry for a wedding, birthday party or shower. Viva Terra and Gaiam and some good choices.
 #24 Offsetting the impact of the event. Channel some funds into positive projects by carefully picking on offset partner. Some partners provide offset calculators to help you determine how much to contribute. Your guests can also contribute. You might look into Terra Pass or Native Energy
 #25 Educate your guest. Build in some friendly educational moments about sustainability

#26: Large Event ManagementWith an expert understanding of all things zero waste, combined with a penchant for hauling compost, ZeroHero will help you pull off a brilliant event that effectively reuses its resources.

 

 

CHRISTMAS TIPS

#1:  Reuse wrapping paper to store ornaments
#2:  Replanting a live tree is the best way to go, but a cut tree that has given a few years to the environment is always better than what goes into a plastic tree...even if it lasts forever!  A healthy tree stores about 13 pounds of carbon annually -- or 2.6 tons per acre each year and provides habitat for critters. Artificial trees are the worst option. Most are made from nonrenewable petroleum byproducts. Most are imported from China, adding transportation and fossil fuel consumption to an already high environmental cost.
#3: Cut branches from a tree after the holiday are great for muddy spots in the yard or to start a mulched bed.
#4: Eco Wrap for sale by local producer at EARTH PRESENTS - recommendations for others include: www.livingchristmas.com
#5: Look in stores, EBAY or ETSY for VINTAGE gifts and ornaments
#6: Tree alternative: Decorate with wreaths, garlands or greenery boughs thinned from living trees. Harvest from your own backyard or plant some shrubs or trees that will provide the sort of greenery you like for decorating.
#7: Tree alternative: Make a tree. Some creative options include piling all of your books in the shape of a tree, using large house plants or shaping driftwood into a tree. The town of Provincetown, MA uses lobster crates and strings lights in between the wires. A house in Baltimore uses old hubcaps to create a 20' outdoor tree.
#8: Tree alternative: Take a year off and volunteer to help decorate a community tree or one in a nursing home or shelter.
#9: Tree alternative: Donate a living tree in honor of someone to a park, national forest or somewhere close to home.
#10: Tree alternative: Purchase a small rosemary "tree" which can be planted outside and provide fresh herbs all year round.
#11: Choose LED lights: LEDs are 90 percentmore efficient than conventional incandescent bulbs and last for thousands of hours. Plus, they are cool to the touch and pose less fire risk. www.inirgee.com sells replacement LED lights for incandescent screw-in sockets.
#12: Go with solar-powered holiday lights: .They cost about $40 for a strand of 50 lights, but cost nothing to operate. Try www.siliconsolar.com.
#13: Be a creative eco-wrapper: Wrap with old magazine that reflect someone's hobbies or interests. Buy a rubber stamp and decorate old paper shopping bags. http://wrapsacks.com/ is a reusable bag you can track as it gets passed on and on and on.
#14: Send green cards: Personally, I make an exception at Christmas to send a hand-written card to everyone on my list. I like the personable touch and it forces me to keep up on everyone's address. It's also too hard to distinguish between an actual electronic card and spam. I do buy hand-made cards made from recycled paper and soy inks. I also love receiving a card from one friend who cuts old cards to make new ones on blank cardstock. Try Bloomin' Flower Cards, Paporganics, or others. Electronic greeting cards have become much more sophisticated, such as http://www.jacquielawson.com
#15: Recycle your cards: Keep cards in a box with other supplies. Create new cards, gift tags, ornaments or wrap from them. I use the last cards I received from someone who passed away, and had spent the holidays with us, as a memorial to them on the tree. Placing a photograph of them in the card is also nice memorial.

 

 
 
 
 

 



FOOD & KITCHEN

#1: Buy glass Spice Jars with metal lids and then reuse them by poking holes in the top and filling them with salt and pepper for yourself or for an eco-friendly hostess gift (in addition to your bottle of wine).
#2: Eat at least one vegetarian meal per day. For vegetarian restaurant listings in the metropolitan DC area visit www.vegdc.com. If you'd rather stay at home and cook, for quick and easy vegetarian recipes visit www.VegRecipes.org. Alternately, take a vegetarian cooking class with www.healthylivinginc.org.
#3: Buy wine and water glasses at www.greenglass.com or www.vivaterra.com. They make wine glasses out of the tops of recycled wine glasses and water goblets out of the bottoms. When you hold them together, you'll see the complete original bottle.
#4: Take a couple canvas tote bags or backpack to the supermarket or other shopping trips and tell the cashier you won't be needing plastic or paper bags. Whole Foods gives you a 5 cent discount per bag. Trader Joe's enters your name into a weekly drawing for a $20 shopping certificate. www.ecobags.com is a good source to customize tote bags and to buy reusable bags for produce.
#5: Think of meat as a side dish or part of a larger dish to eat less meat. Great examples: lamb meatballs eaten with pita, hummous and fresh spinach and a little tahini paste; chicken or beef veggie kabobs (heavy on the veggies) served with cous cous and a peanut dipping sauce.
#6: Save the six-pack beverage holder to use as an outdoor dining condiment, utensil and napkin carrier. 
#7: Visit your neighborhood farmers market before heading to the supermarket. Buying locally eliminates a lot of packaging, transportation and (very likely) pesticides and other toxins.
#8: See ECO Studio's Restuarant pages on our HomePage and Eat out at the listed restaurants that use locally grown organic produce (and thank them for doing so!).
#9: Supplying orange juice takes 4 times more energy than providing fresh oranges and wastes a lot of the fruit. For the same amount of juice plus fiber and without all of the packaging and required refrigeration, eat whole fruit instead of drinking juice. Besides, unless you are drinking freshly squeezed juice, the carbohydrates and sugar count will continue to climb until the juice is consumed.
#10: When you've forgotten your resolution to stay or get svelte, indulge in Ben & Jerry's ice cream and help Lick Global Warming . This site helps engage you in letter writing campaigns to Congress and other elected officials.
 #11:  Reuse glass jars for storing your pantry items. It looks a lot less cluttered! Label the jars so that empty jar will serve as a quick reminder on your shopping day to buy more. Some small health food stores will allow you to use the jars to fill up your bulk items, weigh the jar beforehand and discount the weight at the scale; otherwise, reuse the plastic bags you use at the grocer for filling up on builk items.

#12: When using the oven, plan to cook two meals at once or make enough to plan leftovers for the next day.

#13: Cook one-pot meals such as soups - and make plenty for 2-3 days.
 
 
 
 
 

  

 

PERSONAL HABITS
#1: Wipe off your razor blade with a dry towel after using, it'll extend the life up to a year - it's the water that dulls the blades
#2:  Changing your default font to Century Gothic can save money on ink or toner and paper.
#3: Are you paying all of your bills electronically? Save paper, fuel, stamps and the costs of driving to the post office for more stamps.
#4: Take your dry cleaning to an organic dry cleaner.
#5: Invest in United Natural Foods (UNFI) www.unfi.com. Did you know they were just voted 1 of 12 companies to have the highest stock returns over the next 10 years?! They are the biggest natural foods distributor in the county (unfortunately, they've created a monopoly)
#6:  Ride your bike instead of using an electric exercise machine at the gym.  
#7: Get to know BiddingForGood.com. Bid on great prizes while helping non-profits at the same time.
#8: On your next vacation or business trip,go the route of ecotourism and sustainable tourism: find hotels - bed and breakfasts, resorts, motels, lodges, and inns - worldwide that are committed to the environment and greening of the hospitality industry.
#9: Wearing Flip-flops saves up to 3 wash loads of sweaty socks each year.
#10: Ask companies to ship your product in a used box rather than a brand new box.
#11: Take the pledge to Burn Calories Not Carbon by walking and biking more and driving less. Sign up at www.railstotrails.org/pledge.
#12: Wash laundry in cold water.
#13: Buy a wire clothes drying rack (IKEA has them for about $29). You might find it necessary to throw the clothes into the dryer for a 10-minute cycle before they are completely dry to get rid of lint. You'll still have that awesome fresh outdoors smell.
#14: Rather than recharging your cell phone or computer overnight, plug it in while you're preparing and eating dinner and washing dishes. Make it a ritual to unplug before dinner and definitely before going to bed. It really only takes an hour or two to recharge most devices.
#15: Get into the habit of unplugging all lights and electrical devices before going to bed...
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

HOME
 #1: Changing one incandescent lightbulb for a compact flourescent lightbulb (CFL) will save 150 pounds of carbon dioxide a year!
 #2-11:  Ten ECO Tips for remodeling Bathrooms & Kitchens
 #12: Lower your energy bill while extending the life of your roof by reflecting over 85% of the heat that hits it
 #13:  Use old clothes to stuff into pet beds or donate the clothes to a pet shelter for crate bedding.
 #14: Some of the best air-cleaning houseplants include spider plants, ivy and peace lilies. 
 #15: Do you use toilet paper or paper towels made of recycled paper?
 #16: Moving?...Be gentle in breaking down your moving boxes so you can put them (or any plastic crates) on the curb with a "Free to anyone moving. Please reuse!" sign. Alternately, ask around to your local businesses or at work to reuse copier paper boxes, shipping boxes, etc. for your own move. Also, UHaul has moving blankets made out of recycled denim to rent or buy...they make great picnic blankets.
 #17: Put all of your lights on dimmer switches.
 #18: Put a brick in your toilet tank, it'll require less water to fill up the tank.
 #19: Contact your utility company to buy wind power for your house or apartment for as little as an extra $5 a month. One of the best benefits of purchasing wind power is how easy it is to measure the positive environmental impact you are making on your utility bill. When you use wind power instead of electricity produced by burning fossil fuel, no pollution is released into the air.In 1997, U.S. power plants emitted 70% of the sulfur dioxide, 34% of carbon dioxide, 33% of nitrogen oxides, 28% of particulate matter and 23% of toxic heavy metals released into our nation's environment, mostly the air, in order to provide electricity for our homes, offices and organizations. Despite so-called clean coal and other filtering technologies, these numbers are getting worse not better.

 

GARDEN & YARD
#1: Save seeds from your garden plants to increase your garden next year and give them as Easter or Spring Equinox gifts to friends and family - use egg cartons (after dying your eggs) for sprouting the seeds in some soil and pretty up the carton lid with a collage of miscellaneous colorful scrap items.
 #2: "We sweep up the cat hair and throw it outside where the birds scoop it up for their nests." Lisa Thomsen Ribar
 #3: Preserve our local habitat by landscaping your home with native plants. This is a list of nurseries and catalogs that provide plants native to this area. http://www.vnps.org/nurslist.htm. This site offers the best searchable database for native plants in any area www.eNature.com/native_invasive/
 #4: Buy vegetable and herb seeds rather than seedlings, share with neighbors and friends and start an heirloom seeding coop of sorts. We shared 30 some seeds with neighbors and got back over 30 more heirloom seeds, doubling are garden's variety at no cost. We like www.seedsofchange.com seeds.
 #5: Use solar landscaping lighting outside or solar flood lights.
 #6: And, another use for those wine or water bottles: bury the neck end into about 4" of compacted dirt in your garden, one after another, and create a garden border with different colored bottles.
 #7:  Grasscycling - Just mow & go. Leaving grass clippings on the lawn is a lot more efficient than picking up and placing the clippings in paper bags for curbside collection (and think of the energy involved in that!). Fear thatch not: Improper watering (in the evening) or leaving materials that do not decompose quickly is what causes thatch - whereas grass clippings are 75-85% water; they decompose quickly and release valuable nutrients back into the soil while also reducing the need for watering. For proper grasscycling, follow these simple tips: Use a mulching mower (or extra sharp blades) that will cut the grass into finer pieces. Cut no more than one third of the length of the blade of grass at a time and maintain the grass at a height of two to three inches, depending on the type of grass. During the growing season, mow at least once a week when the grass is dry for better distribution – less clumping.
 
 
 

 

 

CLEANING
#1: Lemon-Mint Window Wash: Grease-cutting cleaner. Mix the following into a spray bottle: Juice from 1 lemon, 2 cups club soda, 1/2 tsp. peppermint essential oil, 1 tsp. cornstarch.
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Mission:  To connect people to the sustainable resources, initiatives, creativity and entrepreneurship throughout the Chesapeake Bay Watershed so that they can strengthen our  regional green ECOnomy and contribute to a healthier ECOlogy. 

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