Archive for the ‘Sustainability’ Category

How to Go – And Stay – Green During Your Next Vacation

The salty spray of ocean waves, open roads, the wind in your hair: summer vacation season is fast approaching!
If, like the Carolina Fibre team, you live in a state that makes traveling to various landscapes an easy feat, then you might only be planning on a brief road trip or two this season. But maybe you’ve decided to take a longer excursion that will keep you away from home for a while. Extended vacation time is great, but it can also make it seem more acceptable to let those green habits slide while you’re on that well-deserved break. Check out a few tips to help you stay on top of your green game even during your globe-trotting adventures!
Reusable water bottles
While we highly recommend having one of these on hand at home or work anyway, a reusable water bottle is especially handy for while you’re on the road (or in the air). And it’s not just to keep plastic out of landfills; over a lengthy trip, the cost of buying disposable water bottles every time you get thirsty can really add up! Bringing your own along saves you the trouble of repeat purchases, and keeps trash cans a few ounces of plastic lighter. So when you’re putting together a packing list, make sure you include a reusable water bottle – for both the environment’s sake, and your wallet’s.
Non-stop flights
Filling your car with fuel is one thing, but have you ever stopped to think about how much a plane uses just to get itself off the ground? By booking a non-stop flight, you can help conserve some of that valuable fuel! Just as it happens with cars, taking off and landing takes more energy than cruising along at high altitudes does. So, when you take a direct, non-stop flight instead of hopping onto multiple planes that have to start and stop, you’re actually helping to ensure that the minimal amount of fuel is being used for the duration of your trip. Plus, who doesn’t want to avoid layovers and the stress of making connecting flights?
Sustainable accommodations
Did you know that many hotels have adopted green policies to help cut down on the amount of waste that vacationers tend to accumulate? In fact, many of them will advertise these measures on their websites, so you can become familiar with them before you even arrive at your destination. When you’re looking into where you’d like to stay, keep an eye out for hotels and other accommodations that mention eco-friendly renovations they’ve recently completed, energy-saving methods, even sustainable products they like to use on-property.
Local products
While you’re away, we recommend soaking in as much of the local flavor as you possibly can! Not only is it a great way to experience a new place, but doing so can help cut down on the pollution and waste production in that region. It’s the same thing as being locally-centric when you’re at home; shopping and eating local products creates less demand for things that have to be driven or flown in, fewer instances of tossing materials like plastic from large manufacturers into trash cans instead of recycling bins.
Linens and things
You wouldn’t change your sheets and bath towels every day at home, so why do it on vacation? Request that your sheets and linens not be changed out every day to save on water and other resources expended during each load of laundry. Most hotels have some sort of system for housekeeping anyway, so it’s a simple matter of conveying your request in the right way.
There are tons of easy ways to give the planet its own sort of vacation while you’re off sightseeing and exploring new places. Stay tuned to our blog for more tips, and safe travels this summer!

How to Green Your Cityscapes with Urban Gardening

As breathtaking as a city skyline can be, it’s easy to find yourself missing greener landscapes in the view from your window. But there’s no reason for you to sacrifice the convenience and pace of living in an urban area – you can bring some natural beauty right to your home!
A popular trend among city-dwellers, urban gardening is a great way to green up your space without leaving the concrete jungle you know and love. And when you go about it the right way, you can have a whole other kind of wilderness to return to every day! So, if you call somewhere like our Triad region home, you might benefit from a few of our best urban gardening tips.
Location is everything
You probably heard something similar when you were first hunting for that perfect apartment, or the conveniently located townhouse. And it’s as true when it comes to your gardening plans as it was when you were looking for a place to live. Depending on what kind of space you have to work with, your urban garden is going to have to grow around your daily routine. So scope out your patio or balcony, but also consider keeping some of your plants indoors for a little glimpse of the natural world while you eat dinner, vacuum, or chill out with your favorite movie playing in the background.
There is one thing to be said for urban gardening that can’t always be applied to a traditional backyard setup; the world (or your apartment) is your playground. Depending on what plants you choose, you can make almost anything a container. Plus, you can get creative in terms of saving space by going vertical or hanging planters and baskets along balcony railings. Just check with your landlord or management company and get the all-clear first!
Pick your plants
If you’ve never tested out your green thumb before, this pointer is especially important! Not all plants like to grow in limited space, or indoors, and some require more maintenance than others. So, before you make any decisions about what you’re going to have growing in your urban oasis, we recommend hitting the books (or the internet).
You could go with a classic ficus plant, or you could use this venture as a way to branch out and try something new! If you have patio space, why not create a small herb garden? Not only is it easy to care for, but you can use those greens in some cooking experiments at home. Here are just a few we think are a great start to any small garden, or additions to your spice rack:

  • Thyme
  • Rosemary
  • Basil
  • Sage

Or, if you prefer take-out to wearing a chef’s apron, your low-maintenance greenery could include some more color in the form of resilient flower varieties:

  • Petunias
  • Daylilies
  • Zinnias
  • Coneflowers

Living in an urban area often requires compromise, but with a little creativity, you can still indulge in your favorite outdoor pastimes, like gardening. This spring, bring some color back into your life by embracing an urban gardening method that fits your home and lifestyle! And for more tips on living green, no matter where you put your feet up, stay tuned to Carolina Fibre’s blog.

Living Green: Buzz Words and Choosing Healthier Products

Grocery shopping gets complicated. You can’t walk up and down the aisles without finding at least five varieties of one product, each claiming to be the healthiest, highest quality, supercharged item out there. So which one is the best option for you and your family?
Maybe we should instead say that picking the right products for your budget can get more difficult than your weekly shopping trip actually warrants. Because even though it is easy to get lost in the endless debate between organic products versus all-natural ones (and just what are clean foods, anyway?), knowing what these hit terms and buzz words actually mean can help make the trip faster, easier, and much more beneficial to you and everyone else raiding your kitchen’s pantry.
At its core, the word “organic” refers to a product that hasn’t come into direct contact with pesticides, herbicides, or growth regulators. These are the kinds of items you might also find at your local farmers markets, where preservatives aren’t necessarily needed to keep food fresh before they sell. Organic farming does do a great job of reducing pollution as well as reduces the risk of having a reaction to added chemicals. The downside? These same products can also put a massive dent in a carefully outlined budget, so be sure to consider that as you shop.
So you’re less likely to see this term on any label in your regular grocery store, but if you decide to really get into some food science and questions of sustainable practices, it’s a good one to know. First coined by an Austrian philosopher, Rudolph Steiner, biodynamic practices combine a study of nature’s cycles and the ecosystem to produce a holistic version of organic farming. For your dinner table? All this means is that anything you purchase that has a label certifying it as having come from a certified biodynamic farm is going to have received premier time and attention throughout whatever process preps it for common consumption. The most common purchase you would probably make on this front would be a nice, aged wine. Again, these will usually be in a higher price range, so just plan to splurge if you’re sticking to that budget.
Another popular word in today’s markets across the board: all-natural. According to the USDA, foods with the word “natural” on the label simply don’t contain any artificial ingredients or preservatives, and are minimally processed. This doesn’t cover all of the other things that a certifiably organic product does, but these items are still much better for both you and the environment. The thing to remember about this particular term is that it tends to be a catch-all in the industry. There is no strict set of guidelines from any agency that dictates what does and does not specify a natural food product, so be sure to review the entire label before purchasing. There might be something that doesn’t fall under this umbrella that you don’t want your family to consume!
More often than not, additives in food exist to add color or flavor, or even to help preserve a product’s shelf life. And not all of these are bad; people have been using pickling and salting methods, both of which are technically additive processes, for years. Additives can end up in food at any time between production and when it lands on the shelf, but the long-term effects they can have on us aren’t always known. If you want to reduce the negative impact these substances can have on you and your family members, we recommend minimizing your consumption of overly processed foods.
You won’t always choose the healthiest selections over all of the junk food out there, but it doesn’t hurt to know what the labels say! And here at Carolina Fibre, we’re all about keeping you informed about your environment so you can work with us to make it greener. Stay tuned to our blog for more info on recycling, sustainable living, and more!

How to Green Your Super Bowl Party

This weekend, your television will probably be on, waiting for the kick-off and those famous commercials that even the non-fanatics look forward to watching every Super Bowl Sunday. You and your fellow spectators will break out the nachos, the hot wings, and the craft beer to snack on while you root for your favorite team.
In all of this excitement, the last thing that’s likely to be on your mind is how sustainable your party is! But there are plenty of ways you can plan a green event, and still ensure a great game day for you and your guests – no matter which team takes home the winning score.
Starting line-up
No matter what eats you decide to lay out on the table for everyone to nibble on during the game, there are always some local options to consider. If you want to put out a sustainable spread, hit up your neighborhood farmer’s markets and shops for the best variety you can find – extra points if it your items come in recyclable packaging! When you buy snacks and finger foods with this in mind, you’re actually helping to cut down on all the carbon emissions that would have been released into the atmosphere to transport those other selections over farther distances.
It seems so simple to just pick up some Styrofoam plates and cups for your Super Bowl shindig, but sometimes those disposable options aren’t the eco-friendliest ones on the shelf. When you’re stocking up, make sure you check the packaging for indications that your choices are recyclable. Not only will it save you time cleaning up, but you’ll be doing the planet a huge favor!
And there are two game day strategies to reducing your household’s waste; if you feel industrious enough to break out your cookware, we recommend using those same dishes for serving and storing wherever possible. Nothing says “touchdown” like not having to do the dishes right after the main event, right?
Game-winning plays
If you don’t have some sort of system in place at home already, you’ll definitely want to set up a recycling station for everyone to use that day. Even if all of your dishes and utensils are eco-friendly, you can bet that if some of them will end up in the general trash can rather than your recycling if you don’t have a clearly identified receptacle. Before anyone shows up for pre-game festivities, we suggest putting one front-and-center in your kitchen. Or, if you have a great program near your home, you might as well line up your separate bins and make it easier to keep materials in their proper place before your next pick-up.
Whether you’re a die-hard football fan or just in it for the fun, your game day party is perfect for reintegrating (or reinforcing) a solid recycling and sustainability plan in the home. For more tips to help you keep that momentum going throughout the year, stay tuned to Carolina Fibre’s blog. Or, follow us on Facebook and tell us all about how you make your environment a little greener each day!

Green Apps for Everyday Use: Apartment or Condo Living

Living in an apartment or a condo is a great way to immerse yourself in an urban neighborhood, or even to cut costs when you move in with a friend. But communal living styles also have their drawbacks; including sometimes turning a blind eye to your neighbor’s poor recycling habits.
But no matter where you live, there are always more methods for making your environment a little greener. Some residences may seem easier to manage than others, but the technological age has given us all an extra set of eyes to keep track of our in-home habits. So while you may have just moved into that apartment complex or condo community, it’s not too soon to jump on improving your sustainable routine!
As a commercial recycling company in the Greensboro area, Carolina Fibre doesn’t directly work with homes and families to cut down the impact they have on sustainability in their neighborhoods. But to help get you started on the right track, the staff has done a little research to find one of the most comprehensive green apps we’ve seen so far. By implementing this program in your home, you can begin monitoring your own carbon footprint and discover new ways to change your lifestyle, step by step.
With personalized tips that can help you save money on your daily purchases and reduce your carbon footprint, Oroeco is a stellar example of an app designed for green living. This particular program breaks it down by your habits, from what you use on a regular basis – including water and other resources – to the things that you buy and how they’re disposed of when you’re done with them – like clothes or processed foods.
You can even use the app to connect with others who are trying to live a healthier, eco-friendlier lifestyle. By registering in your area, you and your friends and neighbors can compare your impacts and even compete with one another for the title of Climate Champion!
As it learns about your habits and purchasing proclivities, Oroeco begins to build a profile for you, as well as provide you with an analysis of what areas of your daily life are leaving the greatest imprint on the planet. It then compiles suggestions and alternatives for how you could minimally change your typical spending patterns or activities to make better use of natural resources as well as spend smarter no matter where you shop.
While it may sound a bit invasive to report minor details of your personal life – such as how often you did your laundry or what sort of snacks you bought during your last grocery run – to an app that can compare your habits to those of other users in your area, Oroeco is also an effective way to let someone else plan ahead for you. By allowing the app an insider’s look at the way you live, you and your roommates or neighbors can get a head start on your New Year’s resolution to live more sustainably.
Need more tips for everyday recycling? Stay tuned to Carolina Fibre’s blog, where we outline everything from holiday-themed projects to news in the recycling industry.

Going Green with Your Furry Friends

When you think of recycling, or adopting more sustainable habits, what are the first steps to come to mind? Normally, we would think of recycling in the home, maybe in the kitchen or as a general communal system for the household.
But have you ever considered recycling with your pet? You may not realize it, but owning a dog or cat can be the golden opportunity to invest in some sustainable brands, or even try your own hand at making some of the items that you know you’ll use every day.
Since the pups here at Carolina Fibre are all about recycling and preserving the planet, we thought we’d share a few of our favorite methods for green living when you’re a devoted pet parent.
Why Recycle with Your Pet?
When it comes to the animal life, both in your home and out in the world around you, littering and general poor sustainability practices take their toll. The health of your pet often depends on the health of your home, even if your dog or cat is frequently outside. So, when you establish some green patterns in and around your home, you can give them a safe environment in which to exist. We often consider the health of fellow humans when we talk about the importance of recycling, but our animals are just as sensitive to the way we treat the planet.
Best Practices
If you’ve got a furry friend and want to know how best to cultivate a green environment, some of the best places to start are located in your pet’s favorite locations: the kitchen and the backyard! For this reason, we recommend initiating a home recycling program that revolves around meal times and play times, whenever those may be for you and your pet. This can mean storing pet food in reusable containers, making your own toys for your dog or your cat, and even finding innovative ways to reuse or recycle dishes and other pet essentials.
DIY Pet Supplies
From water bowls to pet collars, there are plenty of pet supplies that you can make yourself and still cut down on the amount of waste you dispose of on a regular basis. The best part is, your dog or your cat will thank you for the effort! Whether you decide to invest in some eco-friendly materials to craft your own toys for dog park excursions, or find new ways to green your kitchen and living areas so that your pet can benefit, you can expect to see a healthier, happier pet.
As we get closer to the start of a new year, do yourself and your pet a favor by looking into sustainable alternatives to your everyday routine! The staff here at Carolina Fibre have got plenty of tips to help you get started; stay tuned to our blog for more in the months to come.

Green Apps for Everyday Use: At Work

You’re there every week. Most people spend at least one meal-time on-location, or in its vicinity. And while it’s easy to complain about its constraints on your free time, at least it pays the bills, right?
You may not always be able to land your dream job, but there are definitely methods of making the work environment a happier, healthier place for you and your coworkers or employees. We recommend finding a way to get everyone on board with a recycling plan! It can be difficult to create a strategy that works for all of the staff, depending on your industry and the number of people you’ll need to accommodate. But with the help of Carolina Fibre’s consulting services, your company can get on a greener track in no time!
The question is, how do you get everyone to keep up with sustainable workplace practices? Before anyone has the chance to fall back on old habits, try introducing a managing app that will help keep all the employees – and yourself – in check. There are quite a few out there to help remind users about pick-up days and times, what is and isn’t recyclable, and even monitor group recycling efforts.
Our experts decided to give one of these apps a try and find out just how effective it was in helping businesses maintain a sustainable workflow, and My-waste was easy to use and could be customized to individual or group needs! While it’s advertised as the perfect household recycling tool, we found that its features were also easily adapted to the workplace, especially on an individualized employee level.
With reminders about pick-up locations and lists of what can be recycled based on a user’s postal code, it’s easier than ever for employers to set up an account and keep their teams informed as to what common office items can be recycled right from their place of business. Users can also access this data base and set personal reminders for waste disposal and recycling drop-off points to continue the green trend after quitting time!
Available on both iTunes and Android, My-waste is compatible with digital assistants like Amazon Alexa, meaning its users – you and your colleagues – have even more ways to monitor office-wide recycling initiatives through access to quick responses for all of your sustainability questions. Sticking to a greener strategy is easier than ever when you can carry helpful tools like this one at your fingertips: literally!
If you’re ready to implement a sustainable attitude at your place of business, the recycling consultants at Carolina Fibre are here to help! Just contact us to set up an appointment to talk about your office’s needs and capabilities, and we can help you get started. In the meantime, check out the My-waste app and see if it’s the right tool for you and your coworkers.

Falling into Better Habits

For most of us, the fall season introduces a well-earned reprieve from summer’s heat, not to mention a myriad of gorgeous natural colors, community-minded festivities, and the start of the holiday season!
With this potential for outdoor enjoyments on the horizon, it’s no wonder that kids and their parents in the U.S. can get on board with the fact that the month of October is officially named as International Walk to School Month. But this season presents all sorts of opportunities to reevaluate your habits and make sustainability a priority, even after the days grow shorter.
Getting in your steps
Walking to and from school is a good start for the kids, but putting one foot in front of the other isn’t just responsible and healthy for them! Don’t limit it to one month, or even special occasions like charting the perfect trick-or-treating route; if you live within a reasonable distance of where you work, make walking to the office a regular part of your routine. On beautiful fall mornings, or crisp, cool evenings, you’ll be glad you made the change.
Make a habit of reusing
One of the first things we think of with the onset of fall is the inevitable piles of colorful leaves that soon decorate the ground. And while they may seem like a nuisance for our landscaping enthusiasts, those leaves actually have quite a few uses even though they’ve parted ways with the trees. Rather than dispose of them via garbage pick-up, we recommend starting a compost system to help nourish your lawn and plants throughout the year. It’s easy once you have one going, and dead leaves make for perfect additions to the mix. You can even get your jack-o-lantern in on the process when Halloween is through!
Cleaning before spring
Spring cleaning might be a standby, but you can conduct a major overhaul in your home and work spaces any time of year! We suggest using this change of the seasons to clear out the cobwebs and ensure that your time in the summer sun didn’t leave you with plenty of recyclable items that didn’t make it to the appropriate pick-up locations. Additionally, this is a great time to put together donations for clothing drives by going through your closets as you transition from summer to fall attire.
Here at Carolina Fibre, we’re all about embracing a new season and using its unique qualities as ways to enhance our sustainability and recycling game! If you’d like to join us, you can keep an eye on our blog, or contact us directly for commercial recycling plans that fit your place of business.

Recycling Tips for the At-home Chef

We all have that friend or family member (or maybe this person is you!) that absolutely loves to cook. It doesn’t matter what style of dish it is, or how long the process takes; the at-home chef is eager and willing to give it a try.
But more often than not, cooking – whether experimental or just whipping up tried and true standbys – inspires messes of epic proportions in the kitchen. A lot of the products we then use to clean up those food splatters and accidental spills, even the rare case of broken glass or ceramic, are recyclable until they come into contact with food products. Then it gets harder for most recycling centers to properly break down those materials in order to reuse them. In addition to recycling all that you can, you and your culinary-minded friends could use a few neat ways we’ve found will help cut down on the waste you make while you cook!
Reusable containers
You’ve heard it before; keeping reusable containers around the kitchen can not only mean less plastic going into landfills, but also less hassle and cost for you. But eco-friendly receptacles for leftovers don’t have to end at Tupperware products. Many at-home cooks are also investing in glassware for storing their meals, and even find pieces that can be used in keeping entire dinners for more than one fresh and ready to be reheated at a later date. So go ahead, cook up a storm when the mood strikes – sustainable container options make it easier than ever for you to have fresh feasts at any time of day, and without putting further strain on the planet.
Washable cloths
Every chef’s least favorite part of cooking is the aftermath, but cleaning up is just a part of getting to make a mess while you create in the kitchen. Rather than reach for paper towels, try using some washable cloths for some of the more manageable mishaps. Paper towels are convenient for tossing in with the garbage, especially when messes consist of liquids and other more difficult to clean residues. But when your wreckage involves more dry goods, try using a cloth that you can add to your laundry basket and cut down the number of paper towels you go through; your planet and your wallet will thank you!
Clean-up sessions
Every chef is different; some prefer to clean as they go, while others would rather make their messes and worry about tidying up when the meal is finished. Whichever method you prefer when cooking at home, be sure to use resources like water and paper products sparingly. If you time your clean-up sessions to be the most effective and to consume fewer resources that may or may not be recyclable by the time you’re through with them, then you can save yourself extra effort as well as keep a sustainable pattern in your cooking routine.
Cooking can be a great communal experience, so why not get everyone on board with an eco-friendly system, too? If you’re willing to try a new recipe with off-the-wall ingredients, then using a few of these tips to make your kitchen a greener environment should be like cracking an egg. Stay tuned to our blog for more!