Our $3.50: Local gift ideas that’ll earn you major points

Our $3.50Buying local holiday gifts is the way to go. I don’t need to tell you why when there’s an awesome info-graphic that’ll do it for me. That info-graphic is posted at the bottom of this post, which is guaranteed to make you a gift-giving superhero. I’ll sort it by the following topic areas: Food, Household/Decorative/Art, Experiences, etc.

Ready, set…GO!

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Our $3.50: The dirt on compost bins

Our $3.50We don’t sell compost bins over here at the Ecology Center, but we get a fair number of questions about them. I’m a huge fan of composting. I’d buy one of these if it weren’t so wasteful:

I Love Compost Mesh Hats
I Love Compost Mesh Hats by ilovemyshirt
Create a one-of-a-kind custom caps online at Zazzle.

I love that it’s so efficient, easy and good for my soil. Since I’m the kind of person who walks around my neighborhood lamenting that more people don’t have compost bins in their yards, I thought I’d share what I learned while shopping for — and using — mine. I also have experience with worm bins, but I won’t get into that here.

There are two main options for outdoor composting: bins and tumblers. I’ll start with those and then talk about what you’ll want inside your house.

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Our $3.50: The results (that) are in…

Our $3.50Last time, we went over a few prominent eco-labeling and rating systems for electronics. To review, those were: EPEAT, Energy Star, and Healthy Stuff. We look to these systems to easily compare energy efficiency, ease of recycling, and presence of hazardous chemicals in products, so that we, the consumers, can make better informed choices. In this episode, we’ll continue with the theme of computers, and see which ones have already earned a green light.

Method: The procedure here was pretty simple. I used the lists for the latest computers reveiwed on CNET, like Best Laptops and Best Desktops. Then I combed through the EPEAT database to see the results for each product. EPEAT scores (in parentheses) are out of a total possible 27 points, but the highest actually awarded so far is about 23.

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Our $3.50: Green Rating Systems for Electronics

Shopping season is upon us! And we’re starting a brand new segment for the eco-shopper, entitled¬†Our $3.50.

Consequences of E-waste

Consequences of E-waste (Time.com CHIEN-MIN CHUNG / REPORTAGE BY GETTY)

Windows 8 was released last Friday with a plethora of new tablets, laptops, and tabtops. Apple just announced the new iPad Mini and iPad 4. Of course, there’s no better time to get your teenager that new smartphone she’s been raving/whining about. We’re counting down the days till Black Friday sales. But our obsession with new gadgets is doing unprecedented harm to our environment, our society, and our health. So what can we do about it at the consumer level?

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