Guest Blogger: Shannon Albritton
WARNING: No hazmat suits, protective eyewear or gloves required to read this message
My very first thought when we launched our Green-Up Your Workplace Challenge here at Vermont Woods Studios was “I can’t wait to get those toxic cleaning products out of our bathroom!” There’s nothing worse than walking into a ‘freshly cleaned bathroom’ and needing to open the window to dissipate the smell of bleach and chemicals. I was quick to volunteer for the task of purchasing a new assortment of green cleaning products. Permission granted!
My personal aversion to the odor of chemical-based products aside, there are a variety of factors to consider when selecting cleaning products:
Important reasons to consider when going green with your clean:
- When toxic chemicals are sprayed, dumped, rinsed or washed the hazardous environmental effects are outstanding
- 6 billion pounds of chemicals are dumed into the environment each year
- Cancer, autism, birth defects, skin & respiratory sensitivies and asthma are on the rise without adequate explanation why
Possible environmental consequences of using chemical cleaning products:
- Air pollution
- Bioaccumulation of toxic substances in plants and animals
- Endocrine disruption in wildlife, which affects reproductive ability
- Ozone depletion
- Water pollution
And, if the above isn’t enough to convince you, consider the following warning label comparison:
Warning Label Clorox Clean-Up reads: Eye & Skin Irritant: Causes substantial but temporary eye injury. Do not get in eyes or on clothing. Wear protect eyewear (really?) Harmful if swallowed. For sensitive skin or prolonged use wear gloves. Avoid prolonged breathing of vapors and use in well ventilated areas. (Yeesh! – did they forget the hazmat suit?)
Warning Label Biokleen Bac-Out Bathroom Cleaner: Caution: In case of eye contact, flush eyes with cool water for 15 minutes. In case of ingestion, do not induce vomitting; drink plenty of water to dilute. (That was easy)
Have I convinced you yet? Here comes the reinforcement…
- Animal Testing – I’ll leave the gory details to your imagination but let’s face it, choosing products which use No Animal Testing and No Animal Ingredients should be a no-brainer in 2012. Store shelves provide a variety options and alternatives for friendlier choices that don’t include a science lab full of beagles testing your bathroom cleaner for skin allergies…
Products from earth-friendly companies like Biokleen (my personal favorite), Ecover, Seventh Generation offer a safe and comprehensive product line for cleaning your office and home. Many products are available in concentrated form which also helps keep our planet green. Less waste in plastic bottles and containers has a direct impact on our energy consumption and pollution from manufacturing. In many cases these concentrated products are very cost effective because you’re not paying for the bottle over and over again. I’ve been using Biokleen for years and strongly recommend them. Not only are their products safe and green they actually work and smell wonderful!
So, let’s recap: Choosing to green-up your workplace by replacing toxic cleaning products laden with harsh chemicals with green cleaning alternatives is my # 1 choice because it:
- Removes harsh chemicals from the air
- Keeps chemicals from leeching into our water systems and plants
- Prevents negative effects on the reproduction of our wildlife
- Keeps the air quality safe for myself, my coworkers & our customers
- No hazmat suit, protective eyewear or gloves required
- No Animal Testing or Animal Products
- Concentrated formulas save on waste and pollution
- Smells great – no artificial fragrances, colors or preservatives
Now head on over to the Vermont Woods Studios Virtual Green-Up Your Workplace Challenge and show your love for my #1 green-up tip. Be sure to share your green cleaning tips with the rest of us and tell us how you’re greening up your workplace too!
Warning: No animals, vegetables or minerals have been harmed in the making of this message
Earth Week seems like a good time to roll out Copeland Furniture's new collection of high end, eco-friendly solid wood dining chairs.
This one is Copeland's ultra minimalist (that's an oxymoron, isn't it?) Catalina Estelle chair in solid walnut wood. It brings you back to that mid century modern style of the 1950's with it's clean, simple lines and retro design.
All of Copeland's furniture is made right here in Vermont from sustainably harvested wood. Many Copeland items are available in FSC green-certified wood. You can read more about Copeland's green furniture and the many prestigious awards they have won for sustainability on our website.
Stay tuned for the roll out of additional brand new Copeland dining furniture pieces in the coming weeks. If you're looking for authentic green luxury you can't overlook Copeland. And their furniture is 100% American made. As we see all the big furniture companies talking about bringing their operations back to the USA from Asia due to global economics, it's good to know about Copeland Furniture– one of the few American furniture makers that stayed in the USA remaining true to their values of quality, sustainability and community throughout the mass exodus to China.
I did this a few times last week at Vermont Woods Studios and the results varied. I found that everyone who made lunch at home and brought it in to work, used re-usable containers. But on average, my co-workers order take-out about 1/week and that gets delivered in styrofoam containers.
So how do you think we're doing? How do we measure up with your co-workers? And does it really matter anyway?
I found some interesting food for thought on this topic: disposable lunches generate 67 pounds of waste per year/per person and that's for school kids (according to wastefreelunches.org). Since adults eat more and work more days, I'd guess you could probably double that for us.
So for Earth Day, how about persuading your co-workers to ditch the disposable, single-serve, gut-wads they're picking up at Seven Eleven and start packing re-usable lunch containers instead? Here are some ideas on what to pack, how to pack it and why it's good for the planet and your health!
Earth Day is just one week away, on Sunday Aprill 22, 2012. At Vermont Woods Studios we're encouraging our customers, craftspeople, vendors and friends to Green-up their Workplaces by instituting earth-friendly office policies like going paperless, recycling, using compact fluorescent lightbulbs, buying Energy Star rated equipment and so on.
You can celebrate Earth Day by virtually attending our Green-up Your Workplace Challenge on Facebook. It's just a click of your mouse and we'll plant a tree for each person who "attends" the event.
So here's today's Earth-friendly tip: get your office "green certified". It's easy- nothing too official but I think it's worth doing, if just for the insight you'll get as you think through your answers to the certification questions.
The process was developed by GreenLine Paper Company. There are 24 questions on your office energy use, building construction, office supplies, waste reduction/recycling and transportation, which will determine your score. It only takes 5 minutes to complete and it's a great (and Free) way to show the world that you are making an effort to be sustainable and environmentally conscientious. Check it out and let us know how you score!
I am ashamed to say that my home office decor is deplorable. You can see it in this video taken last year when I had 6 other people working in it with me.
I started looking for ideas at HGTV and was delighted to find they are showcasing over 125 home office design ideas submitted by homeowners and interior designers.
They've got modern home offices, eclectic home offices, traditional home offices, contemporary home offices, arts and crafts home offices, cottage home offices, tropical home offices, English country home offices, transitional home offices, mid-century modern and even Mediterranean home offices.
I hope they add a green home office project with all natural, all American made wooden office furniture: desks, file cabinets, credenza, occasional tables and chairs (maybe even using reclaimed, recycled barnwood). Then add in organic cotton rugs, draperies and upholstery, energy efficient electronics, light bulbs, light fixtures and maybe even FSC certified wood flooring. That would be a good project to post on Earth Day, HGTV. Just a suggestion.
If you had to give your workplace a grade for "greenliness" what would it be? Most people I've talked to say they at least have recycling containers at work. For paper that is. Not many have recycling for cans or plastic though. Not many have consistently emphasized programs for energy efficiency either (with a focus on turning computers and equipment off at night, turning lights out when not in use, replacing old incandescent bulbs with high-efficiency ones, etc.)
Come on now. It's 2012. We've had 42 Earth Days come and go since the first one in 1970. What seems to be the problem? Don't settle for a "D" on your report card.
At Vermont Woods Studios we're trying to help make this year's Earth Day (April 22, 2012) a little more successful in the workplace. Manjula and Dennis cooked up a "Green Up Your Workplace Challenge". It's a virtual Facebook event and we're asking you to attend. You can do so by liking us on our Facebook and then attending the "Green Up Your Workplace" event (a Facebook page where we'll post photos, links, stories, tips and advice for how to get an A in 'greenliness" for your workplace).
Give it a try! Our goal is to get 400 people to attend the "Green Up Your Workplace Challenge" between now and Earth Day and we're going to plant a tree for each person who attends. How about giving us a hand?
There are few things as satisfying as furnishing a new home, or choosing new furniture to update a home. The items we choose to make a place feel like a home do so by creating a feeling, and by reflecting our own unique style. Home is sanctuary. And the furniture options we have to choose from are almost limitless. However, furniture production is resource-intensive and can involve chemicals that are bad for your health. Seeking out eco-friendly furniture can be a great way to make a difference without any sacrifice of comfort or style.
We've been following Kent and Lars for awhile. They're experts on eco-friendly cars and green energy but they also take time out now and then to write things like Party Time! Here Are Some Eco Friendly Party Ideas and Eco-Friendly Hotels: What to Look For. Check them out!
Naturally, as wood furniture makers, we at Vermont Woods Studios Fine Furniture have to be concerned about forest conservation. It's the foundation of our company's viability.
Although our Green Mountain Forests in Vermont are healthy and sustainable we know that, from a global perspective deforestation is the Number 1 environmental problem on our planet today. Deforestation is a huge contributor to global warming, climate change, air pollution (carbon and other emissions from slash and burn practices), habitat loss, biodiversity loss, pollution of marine habitats (due to run-off from pesticides and fertilizers used to transform diverse forests into mono-cultured plantations) and more.
So at Vermont Woods Studios, we are working with The Nature Conservancy in support of their Plant A Billion Trees project. We plant one tree for every order we fulfill and we support many non-profits dedicated to forest conservation.
We appreciate your concern for the environment. When you buy wood furniture from us, you can rest assured that the forest where your furniture began it's life, will still be around for generations to come. As will your furniture!
There's still time to register for the best Green Build conference in Vermont, Better Buildings by Design, to be held at the Sheraton Conference Center in Burlington VT on Feb 8-9, 2012.
At Vermont Woods Studios Fine Furniture much of our work is with green architects, builders and home owners as they approach the final stages of their construction projects. We're always excited to see our natural, eco-friendly furniture installed in green homes that reflect the same environmental passions we've built our business on.
If you're thinking of building or renovating, you're sure to enjoy (and learn a lot at) this convivial gathering of green designers, builders, vendors, realtors and consultants. Here's 3 reasons why:
- This is the Northeast's premier sustainable design and construction conference, featuring interactive learning about building, durability, efficiency, and value. It hosts over 1000 attendees, 35 workshops and 50 exhibitors.
- If you're planning on building or retrofitting a green home or business in Vermont this is the best place to find out who's who in the zoo of local regional green home builders, service providers and consultants in the areas of thermal imaging, heat pumps, thermal biomass, performance monitoring, hydrothermal modeling, whole house monitoring, high performance hot water systems, solid state lighting or LEDs, deep energy retrofits, energy codes and more.
- Here you can find the best scoop on Self-Reliance, the 100% solar-powered home that took fourth place in the 2011 U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon in Washington, D.C. The Middlebury College green team of college students and faculty will explain how they looked to the past to reinvent the residential building of Vermont’s future, discussing everything from sustainable materials and modern technology to the economic realities of building a solar home.
Check out Stephen Mills' article about Vermont furniture in the Burlington Free Press today. It's really encouraging to get this kind of exposure from Vermont's largest newspaper.
Stephen focused on a lot of the concepts we've been developing and promoting right here at Vermont Woods Studios Fine Furniture, including the fact that Vermont truly is the Fine Furniture Capital of America and that Vermont furniture makers are the go to guys for authentically green, sustainable wood furniture.
Good job, Stephen! Thanks for spreading the good word.