Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Greening Your Getaway

Summer is the perfect time for a weekend getaway, or an even longer vacation. It is a great time to refresh, revisit with friends and reconnect with your inner self and explore the world. Many of us take a vacation with our family or our friends just to get away for a little bit. Why not do so in a green, eco-friendly way? Rejuvenate yourself while being kind to the planet. When you go on vacation, don’t send your green habits on vacation also. Check out these tips for greening your getaway.
Getting from Here to There – Flying has the greatest environmental impact compared to trains and automobiles. When making arrangements, travel by land if possible and as an added bonus, land travel allows you to see where you’re going. If you do need to fly, combine trips and avoid stopovers and look into buying carbon offsets for your flight.
Watch What You Pack – Pack light. The more you pack, the heavier your bag (or bags) and the more jet fuel will be used (not to mention extra charges for checked baggage). Before you leave, do a little research to find out what the weather will be like at your destination and pack accordingly. Not all countries/destinations have sophisticated waste management or recycling facilities. Avoid disposable items and substitute biodegradable products in your toiletries case.
Home Goes on Vacation too – Before you leave, make a few changes at home to keep it safe, save energy and have a lower utility bill. Switch off all the lights, turn off and unplug electronics and appliances, turn down thermostat on your hot water heater and adequately adjust your home’s heating or cooling system. Suspend your newspaper subscription as well.
Going Paperless – In this digital age, utilize the Internet as much as you can for booking accommodations, travel and tours. Use your public library, friends and family to gather more information on your destination, rather than gathering brochures from travel agencies or buying new guide books. Once you are at your destination, take free maps and brochures only as necessary.
Eco-Accommodations – If you are able to, stay in places with specially designed vacation resorts, farm stays, and tours with green credentials and that are ecologically sustainable. Let housekeeping know you don’t need your sheets and towels changed every single day. Bring your own toiletries (those small free bottles waste a lot of packaging) and use reusable containers instead of travel size items. Turn of the A/C or heat when you leave the room, as well as the TV and lights, and unplug any appliances or chargers that aren’t in use.
While You Stay – Travel with a reusable water bottle and/or coffee mug.
Walk to and from places, or use public transportation if it is available. It is greener, and cheaper. When you’re shopping for souvenirs, do so safely. Purchase items that don’t exploit or deplete local wildlife and flora. Support local crafts people instead of purchasing plastic or touristy items that are most likely imported.

True Green Life in 100 Everyday Ways by Kim McKay and Jenny Bonnin
Ready, Set, Green by Graham Hill and Meaghan O’Neill

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Backyard Compost Bin Sale!

One Day Only! The Hamilton County Solid Waste Management District will be conducting a backyard compost bin sale THIS Saturday, May 8th from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at two locations:

Cincinnati State and Technical College
3520 Central Parkway
Cincinnati, OH 45223
(enter off Ludlow Ave.)

Princeton High School
11080 Chester Rd.
Cincinnati, OH 45246
(parking lot across from high school)

Available for sale will be The Earth Machine for $35 (retail value of $100); Compost Turners for $15 and Kitchen Scrap Pails for $7. The Earth Machine is easy, snap together assembly and can easily fit in any car for transport. It is made of recycled materials and has an 80 gallon capacity.

Expert composters will be on hand at both locations to answer any questions you might have about composting. The sale is available to Hamilton County residents only. First come, first served until quantities run out.

Composting is a GREAT way to go green and reduce your solid waste! Compost provides an excellent soil amendment for your garden and reduces your solid waste output by 30%!

Call the Hamilton County Yardwaste and Compost Hotline at 946-7755 or visit for more information.

Monday, April 26, 2010

40 Ways to wish Earth Day a Happy 40th!

Earth Day might be over, but read this to find out 40 ways to wish Earth Day a Happy 40th!

What else can we do to make Earth Day, Every Day?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy Earth Day!

"Take nothing but pictures. Leave nothing but footprints. Kill nothing but time." ~ Motto of the Baltimore Grotto, a caving society

"When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” ~ John Muir

"We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children."

Happy 40th Anniversary of Earth Day Everyone! How will YOU celebrate?

Some suggestions -
*start a compost pile
*make eco-art out of "trash"
*plant a tree
*plant a garden
*turn your TV off and get outside
*support locally owned businesses
*make your own dinner out of local, organic food
*spring clean your house with homemade cleaning products
*donate items you no longer need

Monday, March 29, 2010

OH Appliance Rebate

This came out on Thursday, March 25th. A great change to save energy, and money!

Rebates for the Ohio Energy Efficiency Appliance Rebate Program

Begins Friday, March 26

$10.4 Million Available in Rebates to Ohio Residential Consumers

COLUMBUS – Governor Ted Strickland and Ohio Department of Development Director Lisa Patt-McDaniel today announced the details of the Ohio Energy Efficiency Appliance Rebate Program, a program funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. .

Beginning at 8 a.m. tomorrow, March 26, Ohio consumers can reserve their rebate on a first-come, first-served basis for select ENERGY STAR® qualified appliances.

“This rebate program will stimulate our economy, save Ohioans money, and generate more awareness and use of sustainable appliances,” Strickland said. “Ohio families will benefit by lower electric bills and more energy efficient homes, and our appliance retailers and manufacturers will see a boost in production and sales.”

With more than 89,000 rebates available, Ohio consumers can reserve and redeem their rebate online at or by phone toll-free at (888) 686-8896 for the purchase of ENERGY STAR® qualified refrigerators, clothes washers, dishwashers, high efficiency gas heaters, and electric heat pump water heaters from Ohio retailers. Rebate amounts are $100 - $250, depending on the ENERGY STAR® qualified appliance purchased and only one appliance type per household is eligible. The Web site also provides direct links to the make and model numbers of ENERGY STAR® appliances eligible for a rebate.

Consumers must purchase their appliance and redeem their rebate within three days of the reservation and recycle their old appliance according to federal and Ohio laws. All required documentation, including the original sales receipt, must be mailed and postmarked no later than 30 days after the appliance purchase date. Rebate checks will be mailed in eight to ten weeks after receipt of the required documents.

“This federal stimulus program helps Ohio families shift to more sustainable appliances, and increases energy efficiency awareness in their homes,” Patt-McDaniel said. “We anticipate a high interest level so we encourage consumers to move quickly to take advantage of these savings and ask for your patience as we will work diligently to accommodate each request in a timely manner.”

The State of Ohio has partnered with appliance retailers and utilities statewide to market the program and provide accurate information directly to consumers. A list of nearly 500 partnering organizations and retailers is available on the program Web site. These entities have agreed to verify for consumers that their purchase of the ENERGY STAR® appliance complies with all program eligibility rules, to provide services to haul away and recycle consumers’ old appliances, and to supply consumers with the proper documentation to redeem their rebate.

Consumers may purchase from any Ohio retailer that sells the select ENERGY STAR® appliances, but are responsible to ensure their old appliance is properly recycled. Several options are available for consumers to recycle their old appliances, including utilizing any haul-away services provided by retailers, taking their appliance to a recycling facility, or recycling their appliance through their local community or utility program. A list of more than 50 recycling facilities is available on the program Web site. Consumers should collect proper documentation as proof of recycling.

The State of Ohio anticipates high consumer demand for this program and encourages consumers to reserve and redeem their rebate online at, which is the most efficient option to get a rebate quickly. For those who do not have Internet access, consumers may get their rebate by phone at (888) 686-8896 by following the instructions of the customer service representative. The following customer service hours have been extended for this program:

Monday – Friday 7 a.m. – Midnight (EST)

Saturday 8 a.m. – Midnight (EST)

Sunday 10 a.m. – Midnight (EST)

To learn more about the eligibility and other requirements of the Ohio Energy Efficiency Appliance Rebate Program, please visit: A detailed list of Frequently Asked Questions is also available on the Web site.

Working with our partners across business, state and local governments, academia, and the nonprofit sector, the Ohio Department of Development works to attract, create, grow, and retain businesses through competitive incentives and targeted investments. Engaged every day in marketing, deal-making, innovating, investing, and collaborating, the Ohio Department of Development works at the speed of business to accelerate and support the teamwork that is absolutely necessary for success by providing financial, informational, and technical assistance to those making an investment in Ohio’s future.

The Ohio Energy Resources works to grow the economy of the state by connecting companies and communities to financial and technical resources in order to deploy renewable energy technologies and energy efficiency.

Media contacts: Bethany Close at (614) 466-6619 or

the Communications and Marketing Office at (614) 466-2609

Friday, March 26, 2010

Tomorrow, March 27th, 2010, 8:30pm local time is official Earth Hour.

Join hundreds of millions of people, businesses and governments around the world as they come together to call for action on climate change and turn their lights off for one hour. This is a great way to demonstrate how focusing locally can make a global difference. Earth Hour is a global initiative started by World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to focus attention on climate change. Since its inception in 2007 in Sydney Australia, millions of people around the globe have participated every year. While Earth Hour represents a small moment in time, it serves as a reminder that each of us plays a role in protecting our environment. This also is a great opportunity to talk to our family and friends about energy conservation and what it means to our children and grand children.

In 2009, hundreds of millions of people in more than 4,000 cities in 87 countries on seven continents participated. In the U.S., 80 million Americans, 318 cities and eight states officially turned off their lights for Earth Hour including Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City and San Francisco. Iconic landmarks around the world went dark for Earth Hour, including the Las Vegas Strip, NY’s Brooklyn Bridge, the Empire State Building, UN headquarters, Golden Gate Bridge, Seattle’s Space Needle, the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, the Great Pyramids of Giza, Eiffel Tower, Big Ben, Sydney’s Opera House, and many more.

The movement symbolizes that by working together, each of us can make a positive impact in this fight, protecting our future and that of future generations. Ohio is an official Earth Hour state and will turn off the lights at the Governor’s residence for one hour. Cincinnati is a participating city.

Join in tomorrow night and be a part of this global movement! Turn your lights off from 8:30-9:30pm. Visit Earth Hour's website for more information.

Be green, save energy,


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Household Hazardous Waste

Spring is here! For many, that means spring cleaning time. In our house, we plan to open up the windows and clean every room from top to bottom. This includes clearing out cabinets, closets and drawers. With the new upgrades Daniel and I have been making to the house, we will probably have old paint, solvents, medicines and other waste that I would think twice about before throwing it in the trash. According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Recycling and Litter Prevention, the average home can accumulate as much as 100 pounds of hazardous waste. Luckily, there is a place to bring these items that will be disposed of properly! By getting rid of your household hazardous waste in an eco-friendly way, you are ensuring the safety of our waste haulers, avoiding accidental poisonings and preventing hazardous waste from being poured down the drain, which could eventually get into our clean water supply.

Residents of Hamilton County can take advantage of their Household Hazardous Drop-Off Program that runs from April 10-October 16, 2010. Participants much show proof of residency when dropping these items off.

Household hazardous waste can be dropped off at:
Clean Harbors
4879 Spring Grove Ave.
Cincinnati, OH 45232
Tuesdays - 2:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Saturdays - 9:00 am - 1:00 pm
Closed the following Saturdays: May 29, July 3, September 4

Acceptable items include:
  • Pesticides/Fertilizers
  • Solvents/Thinners
  • Lawn/Pool Chemicals
  • Cleaners
  • Household/Auto Batteries
  • Fire Extinguishers
  • Propane Tanks
  • Oil-based paint
  • Mercury
  • Fluorescent Bulbs
  • Driveway Sealer
  • Gasoline/Motor Oil
  • Antifreeze
  • Thermostats
Please note that latex paint is not accepted in this program. It is safe to throw away with regular trash as long as it is in solid form. Dry out the paint by mixing it with kitty litter, saw dust or sand and leave the lid off to show your waste hauler that it is dry.

Butler County Residents, your drop-off program will resume in June. Please visit Butler County Recycling and Solid Waste District for more information.

Do your part and dispose of these materials in an environmentally responsible way!

Monday, March 22, 2010

OH Appliance Rebate

Our homes make up 20% of the CO2 emissions throughout the United States. Help increase your energy efficiency. Beginning Friday, March 26, 2010, Ohio residents can be rewarded for the purchase of an ENERGY STAR appliance! By upgrading your appliances to ENERGY STAR, and recycling your old ones, you are saving a TON on energy bills! Rule of thumb, if your current appliance is 10 years or older, it is definitely time to upgrade to ENERGY STAR.

For more information, visit this website.

To learn more about saving energy, visit ENERGY STAR or Green Energy Ohio.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Buy Local

Another way in making small strides towards a sustainable lifestyle is by supporting your local and eco-friendly businesses. By doing so, you are supporting your community, as well as reducing carbon dioxide emissions from having to transport goods from place to place. I know many readers may not be from the area, but those that are from the Queen City, check out this Cincinnati Green Businesses map that showcases various local, and green, businesses throughout the tri-state area. Find out who in your area sells eco-friendly products, serves organic ingredients in their restaurants, and incorporates sustainable practices in their day to day operations.

Buy local! Go Green!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Phantom Power 101

The Basics:
When you turn off your television, computer, DVD player or other electronics, but leave them plugged in, they are still using power. "Phantom power", also known as "phantom loads" or "vampire power" is the energy that is being consumed by appliances when they are plugged in, but not turned on. In an average home, about 75% of all electricity is used to power home appliances while they are turned off.

What You Can Do:
Unplug your appliances and electronics when they are not in use (phone chargers, DVD players, computers, televisions, camera battery chargers, rechargeable battery chargers, even lamps). Use power strips with surge protectors to make it easy to "unplug" many appliances at once. You can do this both at home and at work.

How It Helps:
  • Saves money on your energy bills. Standby mode can cost the average American household as much as $50 (or more) per year.
  • Lowers emissions. If all phantom loads in U.S. homes were stopped, we could shut down 17 power plants.
  • Just by properly switching off electronics like your computer, television and CD player can decrease the more than 97 billion pounds of carbon dioxide produced by waste standby energy every year.
Unplugging your electronics, including lamps, when you aren't using them takes a little getting used to. Daniel and I started doing so last year, and we have saved a lot of energy. You do have to wait for a few minutes for the cable box to reset itself, but the difference we have seen in our energy bills is well worth it! Using power strips really helps. Not only do they have surge protectors in them to keep your electronics safe, but you can invest in different types including ones that have a main outlet so when you turn off your TV you can automatically turn off the cable, the DVD player, the Wii, etc., without having to turn off the power strip. Check out this Smart Strip as an example.

Be Green!

Bonnin, J. & McKay, K. (2009). True Green Home: 100 Inspirational Ideas for Creating a Green Environment at Home. Washington D.C.: National Geographic Society.

Hill, G. & O'Neill, M. (2008). Ready, Set, Green: Eight Weeks to Modern Eco-Living. New York: Villard Books.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Reycling Basics

Remember learning about the 3 R's way back when? Reduce, reuse, and recycle! Those three words are still just as important, if not more important, than they were years ago when we first started hearing them. Every day, the average American throws away 4.5 lbs of garbage. Add that up over the course of a week, a month, a year, and you have a whole heck of a lot of garbage. Believe it or not, residential waste makes up 55-65% of the municipal waste stream.Thankfully, this means that consumers and households can make a significant difference in reducing our everyday waste. What's one of the easiest ways to combat all this trash? Create less of it. You can do this by consuming less, reusing more, and of course, recycling.

It's getting easier and easier to recycle these days. Check out your local solid waste district to find out how and what specifically can be recycled in your county. In general, you can assume to recycle all paper, aluminum, glass and plastic bottles/jugs #1-7. These items can go directly in your curbside recycling bin, or in any drop off location throughout the city, without having to be sorted. Many area schools collect paper or aluminum cans, and receive a certain amount of money for the amount of paper or cans they collect. Help support your city schools while being environmentally responsible at the same time!

Recycling is a win win situation for all involved. Check out some of the benefits of recycling -
  • reduces the release of greenhouse gases
  • conserves energy
  • protects trees
  • saves natural resources
  • curbs landfill growth
  • creates jobs
Where Can I Recycle?
Visit your county’s solid waste management website to find out how and where to
recycle in your county.

Hamilton County
Butler County
Warren County
Clermont and Adams Counties

Boone, Campbell and Kenton
Campbell County

Dearborn County
Southeast Indiana Counties

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Welcome to "Go Green with Fia". Join me on my journey to uncovering the in's and out's of sustainable living. Learn new tips and trade secrets that will allow all of us to reduce our ecological footprint, and become better stewards of the environment.

Take the Ecological Footprint Survey to see how much of an impact you have on the Earth and its resources. If you have a small footprint, keep up the good work! Share with your family, friends and coworkers the small steps you have taken to lessen your impact. If you have a larger footprint, think about where you can start to slowly make changes in your life to reduce your footprint.

This blog will be dedicated to sharing with its readers basic information about going green, why its important, and the steps you can take towards a sustainable lifestyle. Many of you may already incorporate these steps into your everyday lives. Comment and share with us how these actions of benefited your lives. Share tips you might have about where to recycle, how to fashion a rain barrel, what to plant in your garden, where to find the latest energy saving appliances, etc.

Going green not only helps us conserve water, conserve energy and reduces our solid waste; it also keeps us healthy and saves us money.