Thank you for attending the 11th Annual Green Gifts Fair! We look forward to seeing you next year!

Are Compostable Products the Answer?

Eureka Recycling Compostable (sometimes called biodegradable) cups, plates, and utensils are emerging on the market as an alternative to disposable plastic items. Most are made from corn, sugarcane, or other plant material. You see them at events; restaurants, coffee shops and co-ops are offering compostable to-go containers; and you can …

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Bartering Services Taking Off in Twin Cities

Harvey Meyer Community Barter Network Bartering? I thought that was something people did in the old days. You know, like, “I’ll trade you this sack of potatoes if you help me put up a fence.” Or something like that. But I’ve been pleasantly surprised to discover bartering – primarily, exchanging …

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Buy Green but Beware of Greenwashing

Rachel Maloney Green is much more than a shade of healthy grass these days. The buzzword describes everything from hotels to gasoline. Like the widespread use of the word “organic” prior to USDA regulation, products labeled or referred to as “green” may not represent an item that is truly safe …

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Clear Your Clutter, Clear Your Head

Wanda Urbanska Simple Living TV Walk into a typical American home today, and what do you see? A family room entertainment center overflowing with DVDs, videogames, toys, books, magazines, catalogs and recreational equipment; a kitchen teaming with such paraphernalia as a cappuccino maker, margarita blender, cookbooks, grill. Check out the …

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Community Investing and You

Co-op America and the Social Investment Forum Foundation Reprinted with permission Everyone can be a community investor. It’s easy. For example, did you know that your checking account could help low income families buy affordable homes? Did you know that your IRA could help create jobs in impoverished communities? Community …

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Compassionate Consumerism

Lark Weller Institute for Social, Economic, and Ecological Sustainability Gandhi believed that “the greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” Sadly, everywhere we turn we see consumer products that have been tested on helpless animals. As many people struggle …

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Consumers – The Best Force for Change

Wendy Jedlicka Jedlicka Design, Ltd. Every few minutes, advertising reminds us we live in a market economy. Our buying choices have a direct impact on how industry shapes our world, and in the end, decides our collective fate. “Hold on, I’m just buying a soda, not running an oil tanker …

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Corporate Watch

Tara Wesely DIG Contributor In our consumer-driven culture, we vote with our dollars. Do you want to know that your purchase doesn’t perpetuate sweatshop labor? Do you wish you could buy a vehicle that better utilized available technology? Every purchase we make sends a message to Corporate America. Lets send …

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Cradle to Grave: The Life of Plastic Bags

ReuseIt.com Printed with permission from author Well over a billion single-use plastic bags are given out for free each day in the world. But as the old adage says, nothing comes for free. Here are some facts to illustrate the actual costs paid by our environment and society for the …

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Cultural Creatives “Driving Change”

LoAnn Hilde The Green Mercantile, Duluth We are entering an age where concern for health and the environment is driving consumers to affect change with their financial decisions. Green retailers and businesses are specially suited to serve the “Cultural Creative” consumer, a market comprising 50 million individuals, or 26% of …

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Eco Shopping Tips

Ami Voeltz Do It Green! Minnesota Did you know that each person in Minnesota generates about SIX POUNDS of garbage a day? Of that six pounds, one-third comes from packaging. While packaging is necessary for health and safety, it is sometimes excessive. Buying disposable, single-use products also contributes to this …

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Fashionable, Functional, and Light on the Earth: Green Clothing

Jessie Houlihan Do It Green! Minnesota Making clothing, like any other product, has an impact on the environment. In order to reduce the negative impact, buy reused clothing from thrift stores or good quality, long-lasting new products that are made from recycled content or unconventional fibers. Organic cotton or alternative …

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Furoshiki: A Type of Traditional Japanese Wrapping

Anna Axell Do It Green! Minnesota The origins of furoshiki (pronounced ‘fu-ro-shi-ki’) date back to the Nara period, 710-794 CE in Japan. Furoshiki was originally used to wrap clothes at the Todai temple in Nara, Japan. Furoshiki is now an essential tool in daily life in Japan and is often …

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Green Weddings: Celebrating Mindfully

Jessie Houlihan Do It Green! Minnesota A marriage ceremony and reception are among the most memorable celebrations in a person’s life. Traditionally, weddings evoke memories of lavish flowers, extravagant gowns, sparkling diamond engagement rings, elaborate meals, wedding favors, and guests from around the world. What most people don’t envision is …

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Making Your Dishwasher an Earth-Friendly Tool

Jeannie Piekos Bag-E-Wash You do not have to feel guilty about using a dishwasher. Many studies have proven that dishwashers are much more cost-effective and energy-efficient than washing dishes by hand.* Maximize your dishwasher’s environmental effectiveness with these helpful tips: Run your dishwasher when it is completely full. Do not …

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Myths & Truths

Eureka Recycling Doesn’t the symbol on the bottom of my plastic mean it’s recyclable?   Not necessarily! The little number enclosed in “chasing arrows” is actually a code stamped on by the plastics industry to indicate a base-resin number, not a recycling symbol. Resin codes range from #1 to #7, but there …

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Organics in the Personal Care Industry

Tim Kapsner Senior Research Scientist, Aveda At Aveda, we are often questioned about organics. “Why aren’t our products labeled organic? What does it take to label a product organic? What does organic mean to us?” The issue of organics is complex and has been a growing topic of discussion in …

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Own, Rent, Borrow and Repair

Sara Grochowski Do It Green! Minnesota Before the commercial revolution of the 19th century, the problem in the U.S. economy was often that of production. The transition away from agrarianism toward industrialization meant that the problem became that of consumption. According to some analysts, consumer spending represents two-thirds of the …

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Recycle Your Electronics

Did you know that most TVs and computer monitors contain two to eight pounds of toxic lead? Many electronics contain other toxic metals like mercury and cadmium, too. If any of these contaminants get into our rivers, streams, or lakes, they can harm our health and damage the environment. Most …

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Reduce Waste from Unwanted Junk Mail

Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Modified and reprinted with author’s permission Save time and paper. Although much junk mail, including catalogs, windowed envelopes and advertisements, can be recycled, it is a worthwhile effort to reduce this waste stream at its source. Nearly 32 pounds of paper and plastic go into the …

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Ten Things You Should Buy to Stop Waste & Save Money

Ten Things You SHOULD BUY to Stop Waste & Save Money 1. Reusable Shopping Bags: paper bags are made of virgin paper and plastic bags are not degradable2. Faucet Aerator: reduces the water flow by half 3. Rechargeable Batteries: batteries release heavy metals into the soil 4. Compact Fluorescent Light …

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The Fair Trade Movement – Coffee and Beyond

Wedge co-op newsletter Reprinted with permission From around the world, we hear heart-wrenching stories about mistreated and abused workers who earn meager wages. Or worse, we hear about millions of children sold into servitude or forced to work in unsafe conditions for pittance wages to contribute to their family’s survival. …

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The Quick and Dirty of Shopping “Green”

Sara Grochowski Do It Green! Minnesota Every choice consumers make, regardless of scale, impacts the environment. However, the buying process can be overwhelming, and it is best to start with the basics. Some important tips to remember are: • Avoid excess packaging• Buy products in recyclable containers• Buy reusable and …

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The Scoop on Cruelty-Free Products

Dallas Rising Animal Rights Coalition Given the inherent cruelties involved in animal testing, consumers are growing more conscious of their purchases. Unfortunately, cruelty free labeling is not always clear. Currently, there are no specific laws that regulate the labeling of products with regard to animal testing, so conscientious shoppers need …

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Two Green Seals of Approval in Minnesota

Kate Rime & Ami Voeltz Blue Sky Guide and Do It Green! Minnesota Knowing what products or services are truly environmentally preferable isn’t always easy. In today’s retail sector, we encounter “green” everywhere! As a Minnesotan, you can feel confident that there are two great resources available to you to …

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What are Cooperatives Anyway?

Steve Bodzin www.newvillage.net, reprinted by permission At the end of the 18th century, cooperatives began when people started creating organizations through which they could buy products as a group, without giving extra money to a commercial middleperson. For 200 years, cooperatives have been proving that democratically controlled businesses can meet …

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Zero Waste Event Planning Checklist

Ami Voeltz Do It Green! Minnesota Use this guide when planning any event from an office meeting to a large public event. To download this list online, visit doitgreen.org. Reducing Waste: Purge mailing lists to eliminate invalid addresses or duplicate mailings. Paper: Use backsides of paper for drafts, use paper …

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