In case you haven’t heard, this Saturday is International Coastal
Clean-up Day, organized by the Ocean Conservancy. This year marks their 27th
anniversary of celebrating this initiative and they don’t look to be slowing
down anytime soon. In 2011, almost 600,000 volunteers worldwide collected more
than 9 million pounds of trash from our oceanic ecosystems. These trash items,
such as cigarette butts, plastic bottles and bags and food wrappers, are
responsible for polluting our waters and endangering our wildlife.
Vermont Woods Studios makes every effort we can to support initiatives
like that of The Ocean Conservancy. In many areas of our company, you can find examples of how we support the preservation of our environment. We donate to local and national
environmental organizations, we “green-up” our office space and we even sell
Our Polywood Outdoor Furniture is the perfect addition to
any green home. Made from more than 90% post-consumer recycled containers like
milk or detergent bottles, these pieces are constructed using a process that
makes them look and feel like real wood. That’s right. Durable, beautiful
furniture that doesn’t harm our environment and actually helps to keep plastic
out of our oceans. How much better can you get?
Here in the office, we decorate our “beach” area with
Polywood and enjoy it all year long. We also have BIG plans for Polywood at our
new Stonehurst home. Because that’s the thing about Vermont Woods Studios:
While we are a fine, hardwood furniture company, VWS is built on sustainability
and on protecting our environment.
This weekend, make plans to do something to support our
oceans. Find a beach clean-up site near you, start or improve a recycling
resolution in your home or office, or relax in a luxurious Polywood Adirondack
Chair. However you choose to help, you’ll be glad you did!
Loryn Dion is a Marketing Assistant at Vermont Woods Studios, an online furniture gallery which showcases Vermont's finest wood furniture. Follow our blog to learn about Vermont fine furniture, Vermont happenings, our mission, and our team.
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
Here's Manjula, Shannon and Douglas at our last Vermont Woods Studios staff meeting. I'm happy to note they all have re-usable water bottles in hand (although they're all making fun of me for taking a picture of it).
Anyway, as part of our Earth Day Green Up Your Workplace Challenge, we're trying to persuade you to bring a re-usable water bottle to work instead of buying drinks at the vending machine.
Here's a couple reasons why:
- This year more than 25 billion disposable, single use plastic water bottles will be sold in the United States alone (that's 2 million every 5 minutes!) and more than 80 percent of those will end up being disposed of rather than being recycled
- Over 1.5 million barrels of oil were used to make thees plastic bottles-–and that doesn’t include the petroleum used to transport them. That’s enough petroleum to power 100,000 automobiles for a year! (Dave Chameides discusses these and more reasons to give up reusable bottles at Care2.com)
So even though we can transform disposable, single-use plastic bottles into beautiful Polywood outdoor furniture like the recycled plastic Adirondack chairs we're sitting in here, there are still 22 billion bottles that end up in landfills or polluting our oceans every year. Check out this video on ocean plastic pollution to learn more. Then be sure to attend (virtually, of course– it only takes a mouse click) our Green-Up Your Workplace Challenge on Facebook and see if you can persuade your co-workers to give up disposable plastic bottle for good!
Since we've been offering our new line of recycled plastic outdoor furniture, I've been learning more about plastics pollution and trying to figure out how Vermont Woods Studios Furniture can help reduce it.
I came across a list of Top 10 Ways to Go Plastic Free in– where else– the Plastic Free Times. Here are 5 of those ideas:
* BYOBottle- bring a stainless steel water bottle instead of drinking water out of disposable plastic bottles
* BYOBag- bring your own reusable bag to the grocery store
* Bring Back the Milkman- glass-bottled milk is now available in most grocery stores, including Trader Joe's
* Say No to Straws- who really needs one anyway?
* Use wax paper instead of saran wrap or better yet, use glass food storage containers
Lot's more tips are available in the Plastic Free times. Check it out.
I have to note also that for each of our recycled plastic outdoor chairs, an average of 500 milk jugs are taken out of the waste stream!