Recycled Hotel Soaps

I recently came across an article about an organization called the Global Soap Project.  I found it noteworthy and thought I would share their vision with my readers.  It was started by a Ugandan humanitarian and social entrepreneur Derreck Kayongo during his first stay in a U.S. hotel in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the early 1990s.

“We have more than two million kids that die every year to lower respiratory diseases like diarrhea,” says Kayongo. “If you are able to put a bar of soap in every child’s hand, you are able to reduce infectious diseases like diarrhea and things like typhoid and cholera by 40%.

Kayongo says an estimated 2.6 million bars of soap are discarded every day from hotels in the United States .  So far, some 300 hotels across the United States have joined the Global Soap Project, enabling them to reprocess thousands of bars of soap and ship them to 18 developing countries.  And, in case you’re wondering, you should know the recycled soap is only released for shipment once a sample is tested for pathogens and deemed safe by a third-party laboratory.

Among those 300 hotels is Hilton Worldwide, who in addition to collecting and contributing used soap bars from its hotels, also committed to investing $1.3 Million over 3-years as well as their operational expertise to help the Global Soap Project expand further.

Based in Atlanta, Kayongo started the Global Soap Project in 2009, he originally re-cycled the soap into new bars in his basement.   Today, he runs the Global Soap Project from a warehouse in Atlanta, with the help of volunteers from all across the United States, determined to improve the quality of lives in the developing world.

He says his goal for this year is to make a million bars of soap.  “If you want to do big things and you want to bring big change then you have to be able to give in a big way,” he says.

“So I say ‘travel, use the soap’ because that soap goes eventually to help refugees, orphans. This is not about Africa per se, it’s about the collective good as humans to solve problems and that’s what we are trying to do.”

The cause has also inspired individuals to get involved and contribute to the Global Soap Project efforts.   Maren Johnson, a teenager in South Dakota, heard about it from her mother and began efforts to collect soap from South Dakota hotels.  She is collaborating with the Minnesota Chapter of the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI) to centralize collection and shipping of soap to Atlanta for all participating properties in the midwest.  Marie Labropoulos, owner of the Kalliste Soap Shop in Scarsdale, NY, held a fund-raiser when she heard of Global Soap Project.

Check out their website to get more information, volunteer or make donations.




Home Made Energy Made Easy

Home Made Energy Made Easy

Turn your home into a green house and start saving money!

Do you dread when the energy bills come?  Do you think you’re being held hostage by your power company?  In many ways you are but that doesn’t mean you can’t become proactive and do something about it. More and more people across the country are discovering alternative home made energy sources.  Going green has never been easier!

There are many simple and cost effective steps you can take right now to improve your energy costs.  Turning off lights sounds simple but you’d be amazed at how many people leave lights burning in empty rooms.  You should also consider swapping out to more energy efficient light bulbs.  And check the insulation around your doors and windows.  A few properly placed weather strips will go a long way towards insuring that your home heating isn’t literally going out the window.

Beyond those simple steps to conserve energy, you can now consider harnessing the power of solar and wind energy to power your house.  This isn’t as complicated or as expensive as you may think. There a numerous companies who have gotten into the home made energy business.  They’ve developed a wide range of solar panel kits available for the home user. Simple solar panels can be installed on a roof or backyard that can provide abundant sources of energy.  So much energy, in fact, that you may even be able to sell some back to your local power company.

If you live in an apartment, you might be able to set up a small solar panel or wind turbine on a balcony.  Although these smaller units might not be able to power your entire living space, they can help keep appliances running which will still cut down on your power bills.

With a little research you’ll even discover that there are many government programs standing by to help you utilize home made energy. Tax credits and low interest loans and grants are available for qualified home owners. Don’t let another winter season come and go without taking the opportunity to slash your power bills and put home made energy to work for you!

Making Progress on Plastic Recycling!

Reversing the Process of Making Plastic Out of Oil

In a story posted by the New York Times today, a process is being developed that can turn plastic into oil.  The process involves cooking discarded plastic into a gas, then converting that gas into soup of hydrocarbons which is then converted into diesel, jet fuel, or other usable products.

The prototype has been under development for about 18-months and a commercial system should be ready in about 9-months.  The system can turn 40,000 pounds of plastic into 130 barrels of oil a day, or a gallon of gas can be squeezed out of seven to 10 pounds of plastic, according to Bob Schwarz, Agilyx’s chief financial officer.

Two trillion pounds of plastic now sit in landfills in the United States, accounting for around 25 percent of the nation’s total plastic volume.

Reclaiming Carpets, Expired Pharmaceuticals, Rubber, and even Sewage

From the same article in the New York Times:

Other novel start-ups in resource recovery include Modular Carpet Recycling, which can extract commercially viable nylon from old carpet, and Lehigh Technologies, which has retrofitted a mill for grinding expired pharmaceuticals to recycle rubber.

Ostara Nutrient Recovery Technologies, meanwhile, makes Crystal Green. It’s not a powdered drink mix, but a fertilizer produced with phosphorus extracted from municipal sewage streams.”

Recycled Hard Plastic Into Bridges, Highway Sound Barriers, and Railroad Ties

In a related story also in the New York Times, the nation recycles only 27.5 percent of its hard plastic bottle waste, versus 71 percent of its newspapers and 67 percent of its steel cans, according to the Environmental Protection Agency’s 2010 figures.

Now comes Axion International, a New Jersey-based company founded in 2007 that has developed a process to make a building material that is strong enough to supplant steel and concrete but is made out of discarded laundry detergent containers and milk cartons. The material, a plastic polymer that is essentially a mix of shredded heavy plastics and a bit of fiberglass, was developed by Thomas Nosker, a professor of engineering at Rutgers.”

But Mr. Silverman, [Axion’s president and chief executive], is already exploring other uses for his product, including building sound barriers along highways, which are usually constructed from concrete, and I-beams. The product costs a little less than steel and concrete in most cases, he said.

It is twice as expensive to make railroad ties from plastic as hardwood, but there are dividends. Hardwood trees are not felled, and the plastics are impervious to bugs and water. And they will last a very long time — just as they do in the nation’s choked landfills.”

It is heartening to see progress being made to recycle materials that would otherwise end up in a landfill.  Communities across America are already running out of places to bury their trash and the amount of trash continues to escalate.  So, anything that can be done to reduce the volume or trash, not to mention reduce the need to use valuable natural resources, is a good thing and should be encouraged.

While the continuing rise in consumer prices for everything from gas to food makes it difficult on everyone’s pocketbooks, one benefit is that as prices rise, the cost/benefit ratio of recycling becomes more and more attractive.

Going Green Ideas

What It Means When You’re “Going Green”!


If you think that “going green” means adding the word “organic” to everything on your shopping list, then you’ll likely save the planet while spending yourself into the poor-house. Separating the bull from the organic fertilizer doesn’t have to be an expensive process, and in fact the idea of “saving” is the core of the Green movement.

That’s why I put this site together – people need “Going green ideas” that aren’t just good for the planet, but good for their bank account. I haven’t limited this to just ideas that help you save on your power-bill either. I’ve also included ways you can MAKE money while keeping the planet green and vibrant for ourselves and our children. You don’t have to be a greedy corporate polluter to make money – you just have to be smart in the choices that you make.

Like the stock-market. What? You thought that “making money” by going green meant carrying around a hemp-bag as you patrol the streets for aluminum cans? Making money isn’t trading hours of your time for nickels and dimes. Making money means earning thousands of dollars on a carbon-credit trade, or selling energy back to the power company at the same rate you’d buy it at. If you thought going green ideas were just for hippies, then let me be the first to tell you Starshine, you are limiting the ways that you can help the planet AND yourself.

For more information, visit the links on this page and learn going green ideas that will save the planet and your bank account at the same time!

Rechargeable Batteries Are A Better Choice

Why Rechargeable Batteries Are A Better Choice!

While many may argue that convenience is a reason to use disposable batteries, using rechargeables is generally a better choice.  Here are some reasons why.

  • Disposable batteries contain toxic heavy metals.  There is no way to remove these metals safely, so when you throw away a disposable battery, it ends up in the landfill with all its toxins with it.  Batteries do not biodegrade very easily.
  • The sheer quantity of disposable batteries that end up in landfills is staggering.  Literally tons of them are thrown away each year.  Although recycling programs for disposable batteries are in place in some areas, such programs are few and far between. And not everyone uses them even if they are locally available.
  • Rechargeable batteries contain toxic metals as well, but they can be recycled more easily.  The Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation has a program called Call2Recycle, and this is a fairly widespread program. Some major retailers participate, providing drop-off points for consumers.
  • Rechargeable batteries also have a much longer life before being recycled.  In fact, they average anywhere from 500 to 1000 charges before they wear out, and that’s more than a year’s worth of use.
  • Rechargeable batteries generally come in the same sizes and varieties as disposables.  And as the popularity of rechargeables grows, the number of varieties is increasing.
  • The charger for reusable batteries is small and easy to carry, and often has a hook-up that enables it to receive power from your car (via the cigarette lighter).  You will save money when using rechargeables.  Yes, the batteries themselves are more expensive, and then there’s the cost of the charger.  But the charger only has to be purchased once and the batteries themselves only rarely. Ultimately, the savings add up.  After all, the average household goes through 100 disposable batteries a year.  That’s quite a lot of money.  But you will only have to buy new rechargeable batteries once every 12-18 months or so.
  • Rechargeable batteries hold a charge for a long time, making them a good choice for power-hungry electronic devices like digital cameras.

Using rechargeable batteries is better for the planet.

And you’ll find they save you money in the long run and provide enough “juice” for any portable device.

The Greenhouse Effect…Make a Difference?

The Greenhouse Effect…You Can Make A Difference!

Every time there’s a bad blizzard, an outbreak of tornadoes, or a worse than average hurricane season, all fingers point the blame to the “greenhouse effect”.

Of course, you already know that this refers to the warming of our planet resulting from changes to the composition of our atmosphere.  While there are still those who maintain that the warming of the planet is nothing more than the normal weather cycle that planet Earth goes through, most agree that our own activities, most significantly the burning of fossil fuels, are a major contributor to this effect.

The predicted consequences are quite severe, including major changes in climate which will have impact on food production and rising sea levels which will submerge coastal and other low lying communities.

What you may not be aware of are the facts we have discovered about our near neighbor, the planet Venus. Venus has what has been described as having a runaway greenhouse effect resulting in surface temperatures near 8000F.  I don’t know about you, but I get uncomfortable when it gets over 90F, so that is a little too hot for me.

The usual villains in the greenhouse scenario are gases such as carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide has the unusual habit of absorbing infra-red radiation. Infra-red radiation for those of you less scientifically minded is actually heat radiating away from a warm object.

During the day, sunlight warms the earth and during the night the Earth cools by radiating heat into space in the form of infra-red radiation. Carbon dioxide, and to a lesser extent other gases, as well as water vapor, absorb this radiation reducing the amount that exit out into space, and thus affecting the natural cooling effect.

While alarmists often make it sound like we would be safer if we had no greenhouse effect at all, we do not want that either. There is a large amount of water vapor in the atmosphere at any time which is why we have rain. The presence of water vapor as a heat absorbing gas keeps the Earth comfortably warm. Without this warmth, the planet would freeze and life as we know it would not be possible. We therefore do need some greenhouse effect, just not too much.

So, as you can see, it is a fine balancing act that must be maintained for us to be comfortable.  The more you think of the wide ranging temperatures found throughout the universe and the relatively narrow temperature range that living things on Earth require to survive, the more you have to be in awe of what an amazing set of circumstances exist and how important it is that we maintain that balance in nature.

Every little thing we can do as individuals makes a difference when collectively viewed.  Start small, by replacing your burned out incandescent light-bulbs with fluorescent bulbs.  Not only will you reduce your electric usage by 60%, you’ll also save money on your electric bill to offset the higher cost of the bulb and more.

By making  just a few changes to reduce our individual carbon footprint, we are an example.  By getting a lot of us to reduce our carbon footprints, we can make a difference in the overall greenhouse effect and help reduce the stress we put mother nature under.

How Going Green Can Save You Money

Examples Of How Going Green Saves You Money

There are many examples of how going green saves you money. Kermit the Frog was wrong – it IS easy being green, and it saves you money at the same time. As the planet faces a period of warming where our actions are believed to be the prime cause, it makes sense to seek out examples of how going green saves you money and act on them.

Start Small

Sometimes, we get caught up in seeking out those big changes that get all the headlines.  Electric cars or hybrids, solar heating, wind powered electric generators and such are all great ways to go green, but take a bigger commitment than most people are comfortable making.  But, if we stop and look around and the little things that we can do on a daily basis…simple things that take little to no effort, but that can still make a difference.  Remember, little things add up, especially if a lot of people participate.

That cell phone charger that stays plugged in, the DVD player that waits for the occasional playing, and the TV that sits on standby all night, these are prime examples of how going green saves you money – if you unplug them, that is. For even if the items are not working, they are consuming energy!  Don’t want to run around plugging and unplugging multiple items?  Plugging several of these items into a power strip is a convenient way to “unplug” multiple components at once.

Another of the prime examples of how going green saves you money is switching from bottled water to filtered tap water. The average family spends some $1,400 a year on bottled water. And the worst part is that 95% of the plastic bottles are not recycled!  For less than $100 you could get a high quality staged water filter to make your tap water perfect.  Even if you’re one of those who does recycle your plastic bottles, its still a better idea to use a filter and reusable bottles.

Save While Getting Around

Examples of how going green saves you money are everywhere. Do you drive as fast as the law allows? You shouldn’t. Car engines perform most efficiently at around 55 miles an hour.  You will save money and help the planet too.  Okay, so you don’t want to be plodding along infuriating all the driver’s around you on the Interstate, but you might even enjoy the trip more if you stayed off the Interstate.

You might be surprised if you knew how many people drive around with under-inflated tires.  It takes less than a minute to check the air pressure in your car tires, once a week.  Its also a good idea to check your tire pressure when the weather turns cooler.  My daughter and her husband have a car that features a low-tire-pressure warning light and it surprised them when it came on in the morning and then shut itself off several minutes into their drive to work.  Driving warms the tires enough to increase the tire pressure above the minimum for the warning light.  And, this was in early fall, when the morning temperatures were probably just 20 degrees F less than they had been during the summer.

By keeping your tires properly inflated, you not only will save on gas (by reducing the rolling resistance), but you will also lengthen the life of the tire.  Severely under-inflated tires are also very dangerous and can cause an accident.  I actually witnessed such an incident a few years ago.   A lady passed me going in the opposite direction and I noticed that one of her tires was badly under-inflated.  As I looked in my rear-view mirror, she swerved to avoid something in the road and that tire blew and she lost control and ended up with the front end of her car in a ditch.  Fortunately, nobody got hurt, but it could have been much, much worse.

You could always use a bicycle to travel around town. Or you could simply walk for those short trips. You won’t be pouring hydrocarbons into the atmosphere, warming the planet, you will save money, and you will get some good exercise at the same time. Walking and cycling when you can are excellent examples of how going green saves you money.  And, with gas prices hovering in the mid-$3/gallon range, you can see how this all adds up.

Saving Money Around The House

Replacing your gas lawn mower and weed whackers with an electric model not only saves you money on gas, but eliminates the mess of spilled gas and the smell on your hands.  No more tune-ups and hard starting annoyances, two more supplemental benefits of conserving.

Some 65 million newspapers are printed every day in the US. Some 70% of them will not be recycled. What a waste of trees! You can do your bit to help, and read whatever news you want to read at the same time simply by going online. Very few newspapers don’t have an online presence these days, so save some money and read from the web pages.

The same goes for magazines.  More and more are being offered online, as an option to having a physical magazine mailed to you monthly.  And, frequently, the electronic versions are offered at a reduced rate over the print versions.  For example, Hawaii Magazine costs $20 for a year’s subscription, but you can subscribe to their online version for just $10 a year.

Do you want more example of how going green saves you money? They are all around you. Just look and you certainly will find them.