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Public Green Blog

The Future of Food

futureoffoodHow much do you know about what you’re eating?  Do you worry about GMO  labeling and safety?  Check out these informative and entertaining documentaries on DVD for answers to your questions. Please see the Reference Desk for more information.

By julie collins on February 24, 2014 Categories: Consumer Choices, Food Choices

Community Sponsored Agriculture

If you have ever considered joining a CSA, now is a great time to sign up and ensure your spot for the 2014 season.  CSAs are generally run by local independent farms.  Your investment in the farm is paid back in the form of weekly or bi-weekly baskets of locally grown fruits and vegetables.  You can expect to prepay a set amount for the season and you will receive a share of the farm’s produce on a set schedule throughout the late Spring, Summer and early Fall.  This is a great way to receive an assortment of fruits and vegetables (and some CSAs also offer eggs, dairy products and meat for an additional fee.)  There are many websites such as whole livingthe Kitchn and Pinterest that are chock full of ideas on how to use your bounty.  If you want to ease into joining a CSA, buy a half share, which costs less and will consist of a smaller box once a week or a full size box every two weeks.  Local Harvest is a good site to use to find the perfect CSA for you.  Simply enter your zip code to find a list of CSA farms, as well as pickup dates and locations.  Stop in the library to check out some books on the subject, including The Locavore Way by Amy Colter, The Sustainable Kitchen by Stu Stein, and Gaining Ground : a Story of Farmer’s Markets, Local Food and Saving the Family Farm by Forrest Pritchard.

By mreynolds on February 18, 2014 Categories: Community, Consumer Choices, Food Choices

Holiday Lights Recycling at Home Depot

Ends on Sunday November 17!  

Bring in your working or non-working incandescent holiday lights into Home Depot between November 7-17 for safe recycling, and receive a $3, $4 or $5 off coupon on energy star LED lights.  More details.

By julie collins on November 12, 2013 Categories: Consumer Choices, Energy, Holidays, Home Decorating, Recycling

Chemical Free Home Landscaping

See below for links to materials related to the May 13 program: “Chemical-Free Home Landscaping,” presented by Sarah Neville from the Midwest Pesticide Action Center.

ChemicalFreeLawnCare –this is the powerpoint she presented.






By julie collins on May 15, 2013 Categories: Consumer Choices, Gardening, Home Improvement, Landscaping

Eco-friendly Kitchen Tips from the Food Network

The Food Network has 10 Eco Friendly Kitchen Tips on their website.  Here are just a few ideas that offer some very simple ideas to help make a difference.  
Keep an eye on the “9.”
If the numbered stickers on fruits and veggies start with the #9, that means your produce is organic and free of pesticides.
B.Y.O.B. – “bring your own bag.”
More and more supermarkets are selling reuseable shopping bags.  Take advantage of this option and stop using plastic bags whenever possible. 
Grill it!
You can reduce the cost of Air Conditioning bills by grilling outdoors.  An outdoor grill not only takes less energy than your stove but also helps keep heat out of the house.
Chill out.
Another way to save cooling and electicity costs is to fill empty space in your refrigerator or freezer with crumpled newspapers or full water bottles.

 To see the entire list  go to the Food Network: 10 Eco Friendly Kitchen Tips


By julie collins on May 10, 2013 Categories: Consumer Choices

A Green Idea for the New Year

Would you like to get less junk mail and get a fresh start on the New Year?  According to the Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County (SWANCC): “The average American receives 41 pounds of junk mail per year, of which 44% ends up in a landfill. There are environmental and monetary costs to create, transport, sort, process, manufacture and dispose of these materials.”

Take a look at this link on the SWANCC website.  This will provide you with information on removing  your name from many lists to eliminate junk mail from things like; charities and non-profit organizations, flyers and advertising supplements, and everyone’s favorite the pre-approved credit card offers,  just to name a few.  Give it a try and start reducing that paper from your mailbox.

By julie collins on January 31, 2013 Categories: Consumer Choices, Recycling

Eliminate/Reduce Paper Waste this Holiday Week

Do you still have gifts to wrap before the holidays?

Before buying anymore gift wrap, consider some alternatives that are more environmentally friendly:
*Giving clothes or blankets as a gift? Consider also using these items to wrap gifts for the same person.
*Reuse paperbags to wrap gifts. You can even make the brown paper more festive by drawing on it.
*Place gifts in a reuseable shopping bag, so the bag becomes part of the gift.
*Reuse comics as wrapping or newspaper to protect breakable items.
*Sew your own gift bags using left over fabric scraps and let the receiver keep the bag as part of their gift.
*Use reuseable gift bags and encourage your giftees to reuse the bag as well.
*Use clean recycled aluminium foil to wrap gifts.
*Wrap gifts in old road maps.
*Ask friends and family members to try not to tear the wrapping paper so that it can be reused next year.
*Have large cans to recycle? Clean and dry them thoroughly, place gifts inside and cover with shredded paper, fabric or yarn scraps.
*Save the cards you receive and reuse them by cutting them apart and using the picture as a gift tag.

Want to do away with wrapping completely? Inform your friends and family that you will not be wrapping gifts in an effort to reduce your footprint. Use the money you save to upgrade their gift or donate the money to your choice of charity. Or purchase your gift online and have it sent directly to the recipient’s home.

By julie collins on December 20, 2012 Categories: Consumer Choices, Holidays, Recycling

Different Shades of “Green” Turkey

Organic turkeys are fed with grains grown without pesticides or chemical fertilizers (yum!).

Vegetarian-fed turkeys are fed strictly vegetarian diet. These birds cannot go outside on pasture since foraging for “bugs” is not considered a vegetarian diet.

Cage-free turkeys are not confined to cages, but do not necessarily have ready access to outside

“Free range” turkeys are not confined to cages, and have access to the outside, which doesn’t necessarily mean that they take advantage of this “free”-dom–turkeys can “free-range” on sand, dirt or even concrete.

Pastured turkeys are housed and/or ranged on pasture, with grass, legumes and insects comprising a significant portion of their diet. As such, they may or may not be “organic.”

Day range pastured turkeys are free to range outside in large rotating fenced pasture during the day, and are housed inside a permanent or semi-permanent coop at night, with an open floor (no cages). Local Harvest has a database of farms with these (and more) various turkey options.

By julie collins on November 16, 2012 Categories: Consumer Choices, Holidays

Arsenic in Rice

Results from recent studies measuring the level of arsenic in rice have  been reported by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Consumer Reports. Fairly high amounts were discovered: Consumer Reports declared the results “worrisome” and has recommended that consumer’s limit the amount of rice they eat. The FDA has not made any similiar recommendations, but they are continuing the study to get a larger sample size. Concerned consumers may wish to limit the amount of rice they eat as well as take measures to eliminate some of the arsenic in the cooking process. Two easy methods for reducing arsenic levels are rinsing the rice several times before cooking and cooking the rice in several cups of water and draining off the excess when the rice is finished cooking.

For more info:
Rice Arsenic Cooking Tips-Chicago Tribune
Arsenic in Rice-FDA
Arsenic in Your Food: Consumer Reports

By julie collins on October 3, 2012 Categories: Consumer Choices

Green Back to School Tips

School will be starting soon and it is a perfect time to think green.  Here are a few Back to School Tips:

•Be careful not overbuy your school supplies, first check and see what is left over from last year.
•Try buying pencils made from reclaimed wood!
•Recycled notebook paper is available at many of the large office and school supply stores.
•Get a reusable bottle for water and juice instead of purchasing plastic water bottles and juice boxes.
•Another reminder, avoid bringing lunch in a paper bag, use a reusable lunch bag, they come in all sorts of great designs now.
•Instead of purchasing those individual size bags of chips and cookies, buy the large bag and use reusable containers to put them in.  If you are absolutely addicted to plastic sandwich bags, they can be reused many times.
•Ask your college students to rent or buy used textbooks and of course sell them back at the end of the semester.
•Again for the college student, rent fridges and microwaves instead of purchasing them.

By julie collins on August 10, 2012 Categories: Consumer Choices