How to Recycle Even the Trickiest Items – Part II

Paint, thermostats, mattresses, electronics… now that you’ve added these to your recycling repertoire from last week’s post, we decided to give you yet another handy guide to getting rid of your tricky items the right way.

When we think about all that we consume (not even including food!) on a daily basis, it’s easy to realize that it truly adds up. A cup of coffee in the morning means you purchase not only the java, but a plastic cup. Driving to work consumes gas, and using your computer at work uses energy. While we can’t avoid many of these things (and shouldn’t really have to), making sure items that are typically thrown away are disposed of sustainably can make a huge difference… without much effort!

pills-1422509-640x480Expired Medicines
Aspirins, pills, and other pharmaceuticals tend to sit in cabinets for years. With no easy way to dispose of them, our old, unused pills take up space and create clutter. One safe way to dispose of drugs, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), is to crush them into tiny pieces, throw them into kitty litter or coffee grounds, seal them in a bag, and throw it in the trash. No flushing them down the drain, however; recent studies have shown that these drugs may be negatively affecting our waterways and harming marine life. The best option? Find a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) sponsored take-back collection event in your area to drop off old medicines safely and sustainably.

cell-phone-recyclingBatteries & Cell Phones
Call2Recycle, a non-profit dedicated to recycling rechargeable batteries and cell phones, has over 30,000 collection sites in the U.S. and Canada. You may find a drop-off location on their website. In 2012, they recycled 10 million pounds of batteries alone! They only recycle rechargeable batteries, not single-use, which tend to look the same. In order to sustainably dispose of single-use batteries, use this handy locator to find a collection site near you.

textile-recyclingTextiles
With clothing, the best place to start is to reuse: donating your lightly worn clothing and shoes to thrift shops, Goodwill, or the Salvation Army lends another life to the material… even better than recycling. If one of these options isn’t feasible, clothing, curtains, sheets, and other textiles can be recycled into everything from cleaning rags to carpet padding and insulation. Find an recycling collection center here.

What are you curious about recycling? We’d be happy to help! Let us know in the comments below, and we could feature your questions in a future blog post.

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Adventure On and Hike it Out

hiking-bootsWhere’s your favorite place to hike? From physical health benefits to stress relief and a chance to “unplug,” hiking may just be one of our favorite activities during any season. In the summer, it takes on a new vibe: soaking up the sun and heat, sweating it up to the top, and reveling in a sunshine-y view once you reach the summit.

No matter the season, it’s always important to be prepared for your hike. Whether you’re going for a few hours or a few days, being a little ahead of the game can make your time in the wilderness that much more enjoyable. So how can you best prepare (the stress-free way)?

  1. Pack the essentials. Sunscreen. Bug spray. Trail mix. Fruit. Dry socks. Great friends. A full water bottle. These are all absolute must-bring items for your next hiking trip. Even the best of us forget the essentials sometimes, so download your printable checklist here (depending on the length of the hike, you may not need all these things).
  1. Pick a great place, as wonderful surroundings make for superb hiking trips. Luckily, the U.S. is teeming with national parks to enjoy nature in all its glory. Not close enough to a national park? You may be near a state park instead. We also put this list together of the best fall hiking trails last year… but we can pretty much guarantee they’ll be beautiful in the summer, too.
  1. Get the right pair of hiking boots. A great hike starts with a great pair of shoes. There’s nothing worse than having wet, sore feet when you get to the top of your climb, only to have to come back down again. The best way to pick the right pair of shoes is to 1) know your hike and 2) know yourself. If you’re going for a multi-day hike, or even a short one where you could encounter some water, always go waterproof. Your feet will certainly thank you when you need to trudge through a small stream. Weak ankles? Be sure to get boots with a high ankle, that tie tight near the top, to support yourself. Some of our favorites? Check out our Outdoor Shop for the entire selection, or see some great picks below.

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What do you bring on a hike? What hiking boots do you swear by? 

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Gym Rules All Fitness Fanatics Should Know

gym-etiquetteHow often do you go to the gym? Whether you’re an every day kind of person or only once a week in the summertime, when you’re there, there are bound to be things that irk you. Everyone has their own pet peeves at the gym, just like everyone has their own unique workouts.

What’s important to remember though, is that we’re all in this together. Sure, someone may be blasting their music next to you, distracting you from your workout, but a positive attitude can change that from “ugh!” to “wow! I need to get that focused on my workouts!” Gyms can get awfully solitary very quickly, but we see the potential they have to bring people together around common goals!

So how can you stay off everyone’s pet peeve list, and foster great relationships with fellow gym-goers?

The #1 rule: the cleaner, the better
Winter, spring, summer, or fall, germs lurk during every season. While flus and colds may be most prevalent in the winter, the fact that its fall, summer, or spring is no excuse to skip on disinfecting your machines after use. Gyms are naturally a little gross; everyone’s always sweating, which is a good thing! However, it doesn’t make for the cleanest environment. It only takes a few seconds to clean off a machine or mat after you’re done, and believe us, it’s worth it. 

Give ample space
If you think this should go without saying, you’re obviously a person who is big on personal space. But don’t worry, so are we. Although we do understand that sometimes you don’t have a choice in a crowded gym (5pm gym-goers can certainly relate), giving space when you can is a courtesy. And if you’ve never thought about this before, you may be annoying someone with how close you’re getting to them without even knowing it! Rule of thumb? Offer people as much space as you can, always.

gym-etiquetteStay organized and put stuff back
Have you ever gone up to the kettlebells, barbells, or other weights and realized they’re out of order, or simply missing? Having to go search for the equipment you need can slow down your pace and concentration, which can be frustrating. That’s why, if you aren’t using something at the moment, be sure to put it back in its proper place. Chances are, someone else is looking for it.

Be considerate with noise
Having a loud conversation at the gym is comparable to having one at the movies: no one wants to hear loud chatter. Quick, quiet conversations are fine, but loud gabbing can be distracting to those trying to stay focused. The same for loud music: put your headphones in, and keep the tunes to a reasonable level. Everyone will (quietly) thank you.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help (and smile!)
Curious about a particular move someone’s doing? Have a question about how to use a certain machine? Ask! Yes, some people do go to the gym to be in their own world, and that’s fine… you can probably spot them by their concentrated gaze and loud headphones. But others are looking for camaraderie and friendship as much as you are. The gym doesn’t have to be a solitary endeavor; you may even meet your perfect workout buddy!

What are your gym pet peeves? Do any of these make your list?

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5 Key Ingredients for a Filling, Nutrition-Packed Smoothie

smoothie-ingredientsFrom Pinterest to food blogs everywhere, there is certainly no shortage of smoothie recipes to go around these days. And we understand why… the ability to throw a bunch of your favorite healthy foods into a blender, combine them into a meal, and go along with your day is a convenience we can’t live without. With endless combinations, smoothies are the perfect summer meal or snack, keeping you cool and refreshed while filling you up.

Well… not always. One complaint we’ve heard numerous times is that smoothies simply aren’t filling. And it makes sense, they are just liquid after all (a thick one, we’ll give them that), and many people simply stay fuller on solid food. It’s understandable, albeit disappointing.

There is a simple formula for making the most of your smoothies though, guaranteeing they’ll fill you up for hours.

smoothies

Without these three prime ingredients, chances are you’ll hear your stomach growling in no time. Luckily, there are a few particular foods that contain high quantities of these three necessities, five must-adds to your favorite concoctions.

smoothies Filled with tons of protein and healthy fats, almond, peanut, and a variety of other nut butters make a great addition to a delicious, filling smoothie. 

smoothiesThe king of creaminess and healthy fats, avocados are a must-add to your morning concoction… like we needed to tell you to eat more avocado? :)

Screen Shot 2015-07-15 at 9.11.14 PMThe easiest way to add healthy protein and richness to a smoothie, Greek yogurt is here to stay. Opt for plain flavors to keep down the sugar content. If you’re lactose-intolerant, try a great coconut or soy based yogurt… they’ll also do the trick!

smoothies You’ll hardly notice them, but seeds pack a powerful punch. Chia and flax seeds offer large amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, close to the amount you get from a piece of salmon. And sunflower seeds offer vitamins E and B-1, while giving your smoothie the density it needs to keep you fuller, longer.

smoothiesA good green smoothie is a beautiful thing, and tastes delicious. Adding hearty, thick greens – like kale, swiss chard, or collard greens – infuse your smoothie with vitamins and minerals while infusing the meal with thick, rich liquid gold.

What are your smoothie must-adds? Let us know in the comments below!

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How to Recycle Even the Trickiest Items

Many cities, towns, and organizations around the country have made a serious effort to increase recycling rates. From switching to single-stream recycling to doing outreach and education campaigns, many things have been done to make our world a little greener when it comes to decreasing waste. Plastic and cardboard are now thrown in a separate bin than the trash, picked up, and brought to recycling facilities to be made into something new.

But what about those tricky items, the ones that oftentimes aren’t picked up by conventional garbage haulers? How do we properly dispose of those?

Paint
When paint-recyclingyou decide to change up your home with a new paint job, you oftentimes end up with some extra paint that you don’t know what to do with. First of all, if you think there’s a chance you may use it for a touch-up in a few years, save it in your garage in the original container, fully sealed. If not, find somewhere to donate the old cans. Habitat for Humanity and Lowe’s accept donated paint for reuse. On to of this, PaintCare, an industry-funded non-profit, has drop-off locations for recycling in 9 states (find a drop-off location).

thermostat-2-1223788Thermostats
If you’ve replaced your old, mercury-containing thermostat with a newer digital one, throwing the old one in the garbage won’t do wonders for the environment. Mercury is toxic, and can leach from landfills into our waterways. Luckily, the Thermostat Recycling Corporation, a non-profit dedicated solely to recycling mercury thermostats, operates over 3,400 collection sites nationwide! Find a drop-off location near you.

Mattresses
mattress-recycling
Mattresses are bulky, large, and hard-to-manage, and many trash collectors won’t pick up those left on the street. Even if they do collect the mattress, these big items get thrown in landfills, and take up a lot of space. Additionally, the foam, wood, and metal inside a mattress can be recycled into new products, decreasing the need to create new materials from virgin resources. One option for recycling is Bye-Bye Mattress, a mattress collection organization run by the Mattress Recycling Council. As of now, they only operate in Connecticut, and are expanding to Rhode Island and California in 2016. Not in one of those states? Use Earth911’s Recycling Locator. 

Electronics
electronics-recycling
Computers, TVs, video game consoles… in this day and age, we go through electronics fairly quickly as technology rapidly evolves, and we don’t have anywhere to dispose of them. Most electronics – particularly older ones – contain toxins, ones that can harm our environment if these gadgets are simply thrown into the trash. Many governments and municipalities hold take-back collection days (in fact, the manufacturers are required to pay for these events in 23 states). Staples nationwide accept computers for recycling, and Best Buy accepts a variety of electronics, including TVs. Find out more about electronics recycling options here.

What are you curious about recycling? We’ll look into it for you, and will provide the info you need to stay green!

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Mimic the Wildflowers in Mint!

mint-in-bloom-shoes

Counterclockwise from bottom left:
Softinos Farren | Cushe Radiance Sandal | Fly London Yalu | El Naturalista Ikebana N133 | Sherpani Amelia EthosAhnu Karma Textile Vegan

There aren’t many colors that represent summer more than natural green. With everything in bloom, the sun illuminating the leaves, and plenty of time to enjoy the outdoors, being surrounded by mint, olives, emeralds, and jades is a huge part of what makes the warmer seasons so wonderful.

Luckily, even if you’re indoors most of the time, you don’t necessarily need to leave this hue behind… you can incorporate it into your shoes and accessories! A truly summery shade, this happy green color goes with your lighter summer neutrals, pastels, even giving the darker neutrals a fun, lighthearted pop.

No matter how green you want to go, from simple mint accents on neutral shoes and bags to full-on mint, there’s an accessory for every sense and style on the site this season. And, because it’s mid-summer, many of them are on sale! The majority of the shoes pictured above, in fact, are on sale… so you can even save a little green by buying a little green.

What are some of our other favorite mints?

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How How would you dress up mint shoes? We’d love to hear your outfit ideas!

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