Sunday, April 22, 2012

Happy Earth Day!

I've been following a wonderful blog for a while. I've been getting the emails for Whispering Earth since the end of last summer when I was trying to find something to do with the melisse I'm growing. This blogger has a few options. I love her posts. Based in England, she uses herbs from her garden to make tinctures, creams and healing salves. It seems everyday is earth day for her. This year she hosted a blog party. Her latest entry lists all of the bloggers who participated in her party. You can check it out here - or to the right on the blog roll. There is some wonderful reading to be had!

Inspired by the blog party I thought I'd post my own Earth Day post. It's on a slightly different vein though...a little bit rant-ish.

This morning I woke up early and went to Trader Joe's. I needed a new toothbrush and so I grabbed one quickly while heading for the coconut water. It wasn't until I got home I realized that I had picked up something awesome!This toothbrush comes in a package that is a mailing envelope. You can mail your toothbrush back to the company for recycling! Isn't that fabulous? Oh - and did you see? The envelope is made from recycled yogurt cups! And no - I don't think they just sanitize, repackage, and resell the toothbrush. Ahem. But I do wonder if I can just throw this in a mail box or if I need to take it to the post office... I'm sure a tooth brush is under 13oz? I was really thrilled about this because it was the second item I encountered this week that is trying to be more friendly to our little earth.

Sprint rolled out it's new billing envelope. My cell phone bill came last month with a lot of warnings and "heads-ups!" that my next envelope would also be the return envelope.
They weren't lying!
Here's this month's bill. Front: Back:
And after following the directions - the inside!
I love it! I know this is nothing new. Neflix was absolute genius at coming up with an envelope that could be used to send and return the dvd rental all-in-one several years ago. But my question is this: why is it taking other companies so long to design similar possibilities? I love the easy of popping the dvd in the envelope and throwing it into a mail box. Same with the tooth brush. And truth be told, I'd even be happy to take the package to the post office and drop it off there. It won't cost me a penny (pre-paid envelopes rock) and I don't have to figure out where to mail it to. Easy-peasy!

This all being said, my biggest conundrum for some time has been these stupid Pur water filters. For those of you unfamiliar with this product, you get this little Britta-filter-type thing for your faucet and your water is immediately filtered. The water in the Philadelphia area is a little bit suspect so water filtration of some kind is a necessity. But they are made of heavy plastic. I use mine far longer than I should because I feel so guilty about replacing the filter - and throwing the old one out. There is no recycling indicator anywhere on the filter. I've had big plans to save them up and then mail them to the Pur company and say "Hey - fix this!" But so far that hasn't happened. But the excitement of the above two mailing possibilities made me re-visit my conundrum.

I examined the box thoroghly today and it actually says: "RECYCLABLE" in tiny writing. Then in even teenier tinier writing; RECYCLING PROGRAMS FOR THIS PACKAGE MAY NOT EXIST IN YOUR AREA. Ah-huh. What exactly does that mean? Where DO they exist? And do they mean the product? Do they mean the package the product came in? This pronouncement is right under the text about their program for safe drinking water for children. ??? Talk about mixed messages.

Further investigation reveals this is a Proctor & Gamble product. This information was found on the very bottom of the package in the tiniest writing of all. Sigh. If you go to P&G's website (mind you, Pur has its own website) you find the web page actually has a tab for sustainability. There it states P&G's goals:

Our Long-Term Environmental Sustainability Vision

Our Vision, announced in 2010 includes:
  • Powering our plants with 100% renewable energy
  • Using 100% renewable or recycled materials in all products and packaging
  • Having zero consumer or manufacturing waste going to landfills
  • Designing products that delight consumers while maximizing the conservation of resources
Did you see that?
Having zero consumer or manufacturing waste going to landfills
There it is - 3rd point down. Here it is 2012...not doing too well on their goal are they?

I think at this point there is no excuse for this kind of nonsense. It would be so easy for the product package to turn into the mailing package. And as I said - I for one, would be happy to mail it at the post office. I would even be happy to pay the few dollars more for this product that has the easiest possibility for recycling over another product. Proctor & Gamble? - Get it together!

I'm sure P&G will not be looking at my little blog. So stay tuned - I will be sending all of my used filters to them with something close to this blog post. I'll let you know what happens.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Happy Holiday - whatever it might be....

Happy Spring and whatever holiday you happen to celebrate. Spring is still in full force here in Philadelphia. The tree in front of my house has bloomed completely now and in four years has become a beautiful little spectacle.
I don't know what kind of tree it is though, it gets very tiny fruits on it by the fall. I thought it was a crab apple tree. But maybe I'm wrong. I was visiting a friend in the "burbs" yesterday and her crab apple tree has very different blooms on it. Maybe hers is a different variety. There's the tree peeping over the hedge when I stand on my porch. I can also see it when I look out the front windows on the second floor. Unfortunately, last spring and this, I seem to have developed allergies! Ugh. They are awful. I wake up in the middle of the night and can't breath. I spent the afternoon in the garden and all dust I stirred up did anything but help the situation. Thank goodness for my Puffs Plus tissues with the Vicks in them. If you don't know these - they are amazing. They are soft enough so that your shnoz does not get raw, but they also have eucalyptus scent in them and momentarily clear your sinus so you can breath for a second. Ah - love them!

My garden is looking lovely. All of my hard work over the last two years moving violets out of the lawn to the edges of the garden is paying off. I have hedges of them.
I've collected several recipes to do something with violets but I can't bring myself to pick them. I'd have to pick every last one of them for any success with any of the recipes and I just can't bring myself to remove all the pretty flowers. Even though I have oodles of other ones:

Here's probably my favorite tulip at the moment:
This little lavender beauty is the last of the first tulips I planted. Unfortunately everyone else loves them too; squirrels, aphids - you name it.
These didn't do very well last year, but it's nice to see them up this year.

And my lions, as I like to think of them. These are rather large tulips and they are like Old Faithful - they come every year. It's nice - like old friends.

I had a nice surprise on Friday. Andrew must have been bored. He came and started putting the new cedar decking down on the porch. It looks very nice! I'm thrilled. He's also having several columns turned, it seems we are waiting for those. Then he can move along.
I also need Wally to come back and do the ceiling on the first floor. sigh. Someday everything will be nice and clean and finished!

Jacques was very happy to help me in the yard today. There are fabulous places for dust baths at the moment. So instead of the elegant black that his fur usually is, he has taken on this dusty quality. He seems rather proud of it.
I stopped yesterday at our local organic nursery for compost so that I can plant things tomorrow. They recommended that I get my soil tested. And since they weren't the first with that suggestion, I thought it might be time to do that. I followed the instructions, pulled samples, and spread them out on sheets of paper to dry. Now, there is an entire table to be sitting on - why exactly do we need to sit on the dirt samples?
Next to Jacques on the table are the ramps I brought home from Western Massachusetts. Ramps are wild leeks. They taste like onions or garlic but are much smaller than commercial leeks. They grow as far south as North Carolina so bringing them back to Pennsylvania isn't going to wreck the eco system. I visited my friend Melanie last weekend for the wedding of a mutual friend. The morning I left we went hiking in her "back yard" for the ramps which grow on a lovely sunny hillside about a mile in. She made the most delicious scrambled eggs with them. I brought enough home to use in a risotto and still have some left over to plant. We'll see if they take. The ramps are the longer leafy things on the right. Not the violets.

Other delightful things are happening in my yard as well. The blueberries are blooming, and my coworker Matt came and put a beehive in my yard. You can see it here in the green box.
It's kind of exciting to have this humming little hive back there. Or as he put it, 12,000 of my newest neighbors.
They are pretty decent neighbors. They mind their own business and are very busy.
I was hoping to get to this project today as well, but it just didn't happen. The allergies were too much. But I have some lettuces, collard greens, yellow pepper, and herbs. Thyme, basil, and Parsley. All to be planted tomorrow. I also bought some organic leaf compost to put over everything. I should also separate the worm compost. Ugh - what an un-delightful job I am not looking forward to.