Over Coffee...Current
Mugging...Over Coffee

[All blog links open
in new windows.]

Behind the Counter
30-something happily married, childfree, 4 cats, writer, vegetarian, animal lover, activist, lover of music, film, books, art, theater, and most things retro and kitschy, collector of fonts, photos, and toys...day job

Are you a Friend?

Fresh Brews
Lunch in a Box
The Daily Green
No Impact Man
Vegan Feast Kitchen
A Veggie Venture

Baking Sheet
Canadian Content
Cute Overload
The Daily Kitten
Fat Free Vegan
ljc blog
Vegan Lunchbox

Percolator (Podcasts)
The pot is empty...

Anything but ordinary
Critter Lover
Schmoo Blog
Speed Vegan
Ministry of Minor Perfidy

Raving Atheist

Legacy of Suffering Blog
Stop House Slaughter
Veg Blog
Vegan Porn
Blog Action Day

Local Blends
Coming soon to a coffeeblog near you

Mugging...Over Coffee
Capture this Photography
Partial Sight
See the full list

By the Pound
Coffee Geek
Coffee Kid Blog
Coffee Review
Coffee Science
Coffee Universe
It's All About Coffee!
Nat'l Geographic: Coffee

Buy the Pound
Caribou Coffee
Java Xpress
We Be Java

Daily Grind
Google News
Yahoo! News

Cat Bloggers
<- # blogs & pets ? ->
<- # pawed ? ->

Blogroll Me!

The 'Tip' Jar
Causes to Support
America's Blood Centers
American Red Cross
ASAP Cat Rescue
Barrow Co Shelter
Best Friends
Farm Sanctuary
Fund for Animals
One Day's Pay

Detailed List of Charities

G.I. Joe
Command Post
Sgt. Stryker's
Sgt Hook
Home Front

Supporting G.I. Joe/Jane
Operation Gratitude
Operation Give
Operation Military Pride
Operation Uplink
Patriotic Pets
Treats for Troops
Books for Soldiers

Back of the Napkin
Get Active & Write

Paying the Tab

Rose Logo

Search Now:
Amazon Logo

The Grounds
page is Powered By Blogger. Isn't yours?

Weblog Commenting by HaloScan.com


As of Feb 9, 2003

Thanks for joining me Over Coffee
A writer by passion and profession, I've been writing since I was old enough to know how, so establishing a weblog seemed a natural progression. By adding a blog to my site, I can speak about my passions and life, share my writing, art and photos, and comment on current events.

The American Red Cross

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Heroes Welcome

I’ve heard the word “hero” defined as “ordinary people doing extraordinary things.” That’s a nice thought because it means that any one person on any given day can be a HERO.

The person who gives blood, learns first aid and CPR or volunteers their time and their skills to help the planet, their fellow man or man’s best friend. It is the person who talks the talk and walks the walk.

So, while I like that definition of hero, I have to say that it isn’t 100-percent accurate. You see, to me, any time anyone gives of themselves -- sharing their time, money, energy and, yes, even their blood and sweat -- they cease to be ordinary.

Walking the Walk

Speaking of which, I have an extraordinary new friend in my life...a colleague named Tiffany. Tiffany lost her grandmother to breast cancer. To celebrate her grandmother's life, Tiffany has decided to take steps (many, many steps) to help others from this disease. This coming August she is participating in the "The 3-Day," a 60-mile walk over three days to raise money for breast cancer research and treatment.

I'd like to invite you, dear reader, to consider contributing to Tiffany's fundraising campaign. You, too, can be a hero! True, you don't know her. But, then again, she doesn't know the women who will benefit from her contribution either -- that's part of the fun!

Links from this Post

Labels: , , , ,

Monday, October 15, 2007

Blog Action Day: Breakfast, Lunch and Yikes!

My husband and I have been marveling at the volume of trash we see put out on neighborhood curbs on garbage day. We love that our new hometown, Cleveland Heights, has a nearly all-inclusive recycling program and its CURBSIDE.

It seems sad to see how many of our neighbors have not yet jumped on the green bandwagon and aren't taking advantage of curbside pick-up of recyclables. Of course, they're not alone. Just look at the statistics.

Yikes, Just Yikes

In the United States alone:
  • The average person creates 4.39 pounds of trash per day.

  • People throw away 2.5 million plastic bottles every hour.

  • People toss out enough paper and plastic cups, forks and spoons every year to circle the equator 300 times.

  • The average office worker goes through around 500 disposable cups every year.

  • Nearly 44 million workers purchase or eat lunch out every weekday.

  • The amount of glass bottles people throw away every two weeks would have filled both World Trade Center towers.

  • People throw away enough aluminum cans to rebuild our commercial air fleet every three months, and enough iron and steel to supply all U.S. automakers every day.

  • Throwing away one aluminum can wastes as much energy as if that can were 1/2 full of gasoline.

  • A school-age child using a disposable lunch generates 4-8 ounces of waste a day or 67 (to nearly 100) pounds of waste per school year.

    SOURCES: Clean Air Council | Waste Reduction & Recycling Program, Waste-Free Lunches and San Mateo County RecycleWorks

When we lived in an apartment, the recycling bins were always full of mixed-trash because no one seemed to try or care about recycling. Now, as homeowners in this town, we delight in recycling all of our...well, recyclables.  I grin at seeing my recycling bags outnumbering my garbage bags.

Even as pleased as I am to be recycling all these plastic containers, cans, cardboard, paper, etc., I know that we could be doing better. I'm pretty good at re-using things, and our city's program helps us with the recycling. Now it's time to work on the reducing.  By not buying or using so many "things" in the first place, we can further minimize our "footprint."

Take My Morning Coffee...No Wait, Please Don't!

Did you see how many disposable cups workers go through in a year?!  It makes sense -- 5 days a week, assuming 50 work weeks a year and one to two coffees (tea, soda pop, etc.) a day...that would be 250 to 500 cups. That's not even counting the heat sleeves, lids and stirring sticks (or when you get two cups together because the beverage is too hot). Jinkies! That's a lot of waste.

We do try to recycle the plastic cups our iced coffee beverages come in, but the paper ones get trashed -- every day. I decided to buy a Starbucks’ insulated "tumbler" for both my husband and for myself. Now we've reduced, nearly eliminated, our paper cup usage - just like that. I like these because, unlike some travel mugs, they have a screw top lid that just seems to work better for me. Plus, we know it is just the right size for our grande coffees. As an added bonus, Starbucks gives a 10-cent discount for using a travel mug.

Of course, you don't need to this mug or even patronize this coffee merchant, but just image how much waste you could eliminate by using a re-usable container for your daily beverage of choice.

Let's Do Lunch...Right

Bento-style LunchPacking your lunch can help your waistline as well as your wallet. Besides, when you're a vegetarian, it can be especially challenging to find fast, healthy and interesting foods close to work in a lunch hour. While my husband and I gladly carry back home to our recycling bin the plastic containers and cardboard boxes our food comes in, I decided that we could be doing even better if we cut back on packaged foods - particularly individual/single-serving sizes - and reduced the number of plastic baggies we used when packing lunches.

In looking for new ways to pack even healthier and more interesting lunches and snacks, I gathered inspiration for interesting, healthful lunches and snacks from bloggers like Jennifer over at the Vegan Lunchbox and Biggie over at Lunch in a Box along with others who are embracing the Japanese "bento box" for making compact, fun lunches.

From the Vegan Lunchbox site, I found a link to learn more about waste-free lunches, which furthered my education on the value of reducing lunch waste and the cost (to the planet and your wallet) for "disposable" lunches. While the site focuses on school/children's lunches, the information is easily extrapolated. Take a look for yourself and just imagine what those statistics mean in relation to the average adult and grown up mid-day meal away from home, which is needed 50-52 weeks a year, compared to the 36-week school year.

Gradually I am changing my packing and our eating habits by selecting re-usable containers for entrees, sides and snacks rather than relying on plastic bags and individually packaged food products. I may not be able to do so 100 percent of the time, but every little bit helps. Another fringe benefit to containers over plastic bags is that chips, crackers and pretzels don't get as easily broken. I've even been having some fun using some of the Americanized bento-style lunch ideas.

In addition to helping the environment, buying fewer bags as well as purchasing items in bulk to create your own "single-service" puddings, fruit cups, yogurts, etc., tends to be a lot cheaper - so they're good for our wallets too!

Here are some of my favorite hints/tips for reducing, recycling or re-using related to carrying your lunch:

  • Take fresh fruit - it comes in its own natural, biodegradable wrappers, and most "wrappers" are even edible! (The skins and peels that aren't can be put in a composter, but that's for another post.)

  • Re-use cleaned plastic single-serving containers from pudding or fruit cups to separate non-spillable foods in larger containers.

  • Purchase silicone cupcake liners; they're great for baking AND make great dividers in a larger container if you need to keep items separate until lunch time.

  • Cook extra portions of your favorite foods during the week or do a little extra cooking on weekends to make your own frozen lunch entrees. Use re-usable containers that are freezer safe.

  • Select aluminum cans or glass bottles over plastic whenever possible for lunches. While all three can be recycled, plastic is more difficult to recycle and cannot be used to make new food-grade plastic containers while glass and aluminum can be.

  • Take home and re-use plastic containers, single-servings cups and bottles as many times as possible before recycling them (see previous bullet point).

Recycling Works!

Maybe you're asking yourself if it is worth it, and wondering weather recycling really works.The good news is that, yes, recycling does work:
  • Recycling an aluminum soda can saves 96% of the energy used to make a can from ore, and produces 95% less air pollution and 97% less water pollution.

  • Sixty percent of the world's lead supply comes from recycled batteries.

  • Recycling one ton of cardboard saves over 9 cubic yards of landfill space.

  • One ton of paper from recycled pulp saves:

    • 17 trees
    • 3 cubic yards of landfill space
    • 7,000 gallons of water
    • 4,200 kilowatt hours (enough to heat your home for half year)
    • 390 gallons of oil, and
    • prevents 60 pounds of air pollutants.

  • Producing recycled white paper creates:

    • 74% less air pollutants,
    • 35% less water pollutants, and
    • 75% less process energy than producing paper from virgin fibers.

    SOURCE: Clean Air Council | Waste Reduction & Recycling Program

Think about the statistics of how much one person wastes in a day, and then consider how easy and small some of these changes are for reducing, re-using and recycling. If each of us makes small changes, we can make a heck of difference just on our own.

For more environmental blogging, check out the Blog Action Day.


What Am I Watching and Reading?
Available for purchase from Amazon.com

Book and magazine list coming soon!