About Us – Exciting Business Update!

Yveatte is now a certified Green Irene Eco-Consultant for the South Florida area. This means that we can offer more services and, specifically, can offer Green Business Bureau Certification with a verified audit.  We are very excited to be able to offer this to our clients in addition to our current Lean and Green offerings.  Please read on for more details…

We now offer Green Business Makeovers with Verified Green Business Bureau Certification to help businesses adopt and implement green practices. The tools and solutions we can show businesses through a personalized web portal will not only help them take their first steps to going green, but also show how to successfully reduce costs and waste. We will present a set of recommendations and concrete steps in areas like energy conservation, creating a toxic-free workplace, green purchasing strategies and sustainable travel and transportation. The business will enjoy the increased visibility and marketing advantage that comes with being part of our nationally recognized network of eco-friendly businesses. Not every business can be perfectly green, but every business can start the process.  We believe that there are many shades of green and many small steps implemented over time add up to great savings for both you and the planet!

We can now also help families and businesses implement proven green solutions and help lead them to a healthier, safer, and more sustainable lifestyle, along with saving them money!   We now offer a 60-to 90-minute Green Home Makeover. The steps we recommend and the products we offer, as well as referrals to specialists, can help save you energy and water. We can also help improve your indoor air quality, remove toxic chemicals from your home, reduce the waste you generate (which ends up in landfills) and improve the purity of the water your family drinks. By doing an inventory of your wasteful incandescent lighting, we can also show you how to save on your electric bill.

After we have finished the consultation, we will show you tips and products to make your home healthier. We can help you replace your wasteful incandescent bulbs, install low-flow shower heads, upgrade your thermostat and show you toxic-free cleaning options. There are many other green options we offer, which you can find in my online product catalog at www.greenirene.com/SimpleLeanandGreen.

Along with the Green Home Makeover and Green Business Makeover, you will receive an Ask Green Irene Membership. This extensive, green database allows you to research green questions that may arise after the initial Green Home Makeover and Green Business Makeover. It also allows you the ability to email questions to a Green Irene researcher for an answer to any green question not yet covered in the database.

I welcome you to visit my website at www.greenirene.com/SimpleLeanandGreen where you can find more information about our consulting services as well as look at the products we offer in the product catalog.  These products have been personally vetted and tested by the Green Irene Team, so if you are looking to green any part of your life, but don’t have the time to research green products, this is a great place for you to start!

I look forward to talking with you soon about steps you can take for a healthier, greener home and business!  Please contact me at Yveatte@simpleleanandgreen.com for more information.

 

Green Tip – Your Footprints

And I don’t mean the type of footprints you leave behind in the sand or the snow, depending on what part of the country you are in at the moment!

There are a few ways you can measure your footprint and your own impact on the earth.

One of my favorite footprint calculators is from the Global Footprint Network.  They measure your household’s impact in terms of how many planets it would take if everyone lived your lifestyle.  It is very interactive and visual.  Give it a try here.

You can also measure your footprint by how many tons of CO2 your lifestyle belches out in a year.  There are quite a few of these available.  The Nature Conservancy has one that you can check out here.

Ever wonder how much water is really takes to make that cup of Joe?  According to the Water Footprint Network the average amount of water it takes for you to get that caffeine fix averages worldwide at around 140 liters.  All products you purchase have a water footprint.  If you are interested in seeing how much that steak, piece of chicken or your favorite veggie needs water wise before it gets to your table, check out the Water Footprint Network site here.

Don’t get freaked out when you see how many planets you need, how much CO2 your lifestyle belches or how much water it really takes to grow that steak you had for dinner last night.  There are steps you can take to reduce your impact, some of which we have talked about already in previous posts.  Just be conscious of your actions and take small steps to lighten your load on the planet!  For example, have a meatless day once week, drink tea sometimes rather than coffee or try public transport or carpooling to get to work or an event once in a while.

 

Green Tip – E-Waste

You received a new computer, iPod or cell phone as a present for the holidays. Is your old device still sitting somewhere in your home because you don’t know how to properly dispose of it?  This is a common problem that I have come across time and time again.  You don’t want this stuff piling up and cluttering your house, but you also don’t want to send it to a landfill – what to do?  There are actually quite a few resources out there that can help.

Many retailers offer discounts periodically when you bring in your old device to be recycled.  I purchased a new printer last year from Office Depot and was able to bring in my very old printer, which they sent to be recycled at no cost and I received a discount on the new printer.  If you have some time before making a purchase, do your research on these programs.  Best Buy and Apple also offer trade-in and/or recycling services.  This, obviously, doesn’t mitigate your current pile of stuff, but there is help!

The following is a list of websites that have resources to help you find the appropriate recycling program for your e-waste.  You can also check your local municipal waste collection facility website to see if they have drop off locations for e-waste or have specific days when they pick up this type of trash.

Environmental Protection Agency:

http://www.epa.gov/osw/conserve/materials/ecycling/

Earth911:

http://earth911.com/

Yahoo:

http://green.yahoo.com/living-green/recycling-electronics.html;_ylt=AuXbxjoLDD_FIa4S4fLEYHaAV8cX

The following websites give you the opportunity to trade in your e-waste for cash.  Disclaimer: I have not personally used any of these sites, so cannot offer any advice on how they work.

Gazelle:

http://www.gazelle.com/

YouRenew:

http://www.yourenew.com/

Secure Trade In:

http://www.securetradein.com

The following website charges for its recycling services.   Unlike some of the other sites, they also take video and cassette tapes and is the only company I could find that recycles that sort of e-waste.  Got to throw in the disclaimer again, as I have not used their services yet.

Green Disk:

http://www.greendisk.com/

If you are feeling generous, there are programs out there where you can donate cell phones to soldiers, computers to local charities, etc.  Keep your eyes and ears open for events in your area if you are interested in donating.

Before you recycle anything, make sure your data is wiped clean from the device and for cell phones, take out your SIM card.

Happy Recycling!

 

Green Tip – Garbage

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average American produces about 4.4 pounds of garbage a day, or a total of 29 pounds per week and 1,600 pounds a year.

A landfill is basically a hole in the earth or mound on the earth where waste (garbage) is deposited.  Landfills are designed to keep the waste, including water related waste (leachate) from contaminating the surrounding environment.

There are two types of landfills:

  • Dry Tomb
  • Bioreactor

Both types of landfills produce leachate and methane gas as a result of decomposition.  The difference between them has to do with rate of decomposition.

Decomposition is the process by which organic material is broken down into simpler forms of matter. (Wikipedia).  In order for decomposition to take place water and air must be present.

In a dry tomb landfill or typical landfill, the garbage is dumped, compacted, covered and sealed by layers of earth or other matter.  Liquid is diverted – no water is allowed in and an airtight seal is created with the covering.  Decomposition is impeded – dramatically slowing the decay.  Leachate is collected and is contained in collection ponds and is treated like any other sewage/wastewater.  Methane gas is allowed to escape into the air (vented) or is burned off.

Bioreactors convert solid waste into usable energy (methane) by introducing fluids that accelerate decomposition.  A bioreactor landfill is constructed in such a way as to catch the leachate and recycle it through the garbage.  Bioreactors are sealed and the methane that is produced is channeled to a waste energy power facility.  The size of the solid waste is reduced from 10-30% – so more waste can be added.  If all landfills were bioreactors the methane could produce enough energy to power 3 million homes.

So, what can you do to decrease the amount of garbage going to landfills?

The easiest way to reduce your waste is to reduce your use.

Use refillable water bottles, cloth napkins, coffee mugs, reusable bags for your shopping.  Do you really need that new gadget, piece of furniture or clothing?  Squeeze the life out of the stuff you already have!

Repurpose items that are no longer usable in their current form.

Reuse empty glass jars to store food, use produce netting as scrubbing material, use old baking soda as a cleaner, use construction debris for new projects, use coffee grounds as plant fertilizer, freeze your table scraps and make a stew, melt bits of soap bars together for a new bar, make a yoga mat bag from old jeans.  Turn your trash into treasure!

Recycle when there is no other option.

Recycling allows items to be broken down into their basic components and be made into something else.  Much less energy is used to make items from recycled material.  This keeps waste out of the landfill.

Make some new choices about garbage:  choose to reduce, reuse and recycle.  Keep things out of the landfill and support the creation of bioreactor landfills.

 

Make less garbage!  Educate everyone in your household to be a reducer, reuser and recycler!

 

 

Green Tip – One Small Thing

Many of us have made our New Year’s resolutions (and broken some already).  Have you thought about one small thing you can do this year to make your life greener?  I started doing this a few years ago.

Last year, I installed a clothesline and air-dry most of my laundry.  Not only do I save on my electric bill, but I also get a little more exercise!  This year, I asked for a Soda Stream for Christmas (and got one).  I like to drink seltzer, but didn’t like lugging the bottles around and then throwing them all in the recycle bin.  This machine allows me to make my own seltzer in reusable bottles and I can return the CO2 cartridge when it is empty.

Here are some suggestions for some small things that you can do:

  • Cut down or eliminate using bottled water.
  • Use cleaning products that are concentrated and/or have fewer chemicals.
  • Recycle whenever you can.
  • Switch from shower gels/washes in a bottle to bar soap (less packaging).
  • Wash clothes in cold water whenever possible.
  • Don’t eat meat one day a week.

We believe in continuous improvement – many small steps taken over time lead to big results!  What small steps have you taken to make your life greener?  Please feel free to share yours in the comments below.

 

Green Tip of the Day: Thanksgiving Turkey – Gobble Green!

I came across an energy saving way to cook your holiday bird and just had to share.  This recipe cuts cooking time in half, which saves energy.  The less you have to run the oven the more you save!  Take a look at this recipe here.

Another way to green your Turkey Day is to buy a heritage turkey instead of the conventional.  Alternatively, look for a turkey that was raised organically without the nasty pesticides and drugs that are conventional birds are exposed to.  Also, try to buy some of your ingredients for side dishes from local markets or that were grown organically.

I wish you and yours a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Lean Tip of the Day – De-Clutter to Allow Orderly Flow

In Lean Methodology, eliminating waste through organizing your workplace (or home) is a key principle.  It allows work to flow by removing obstructions.  Another word for this is de-cluttering, and the primary lean technique for de-cluttering is called a 5S, which stands for Sort, Straighten, Scrub, Systemize and Sustain (or Standardize).  A 5S happens in 2 phases – the first is to get rid of the junk (in an orderly and complete fashion) and the second is to create a system where there is a place for everything and everything stays in its place.  The steps, simply defined, are as follows:

  1. Sort

Choose your place for the 5S and divide the items into 3 categories, stuff to keep, stuff to do something with and stuff to get rid of.  You can start small with just a drawer, a cabinet or a closet.  No need to do an entire room or building, but if you are trying to really visualize increased flow in an area this is a great way to set up for a clean start.  Start small to get used to the process.  Take everything out of the area you are working on and sort it in accordance with the above categories, keep items, what can be given away, sold or donated and what is going to trash.

2.  Straighten

Determine the place for everything and put it in its place.  Items that are used frequently should be easily available, and items that should be handy but not in the way.  Make it visual – use labels or other ways of making it clear what goes where.

3.  Scrub

Clean it.  Really really clean it.  Make your mother proud.

4.  Systemize

Create a system to maintain the area in this de-cluttered, clean and organized fashion.  Establish processes and schedules; even check lists, with assigned responsibility ensuring all of your sorting, straightening and scrubbing goes for naught.

5.  Sustain!

Ahhh – the most difficult of the S’s.  But do it!! – not only sustain the increased flow in the area you have de-cluttered, but also make the act of 5’sing a sustained process in your organization and part of a sustained continuous improvement mentality in your work place and life.

What is the point of this?  It is good to figure out what you have so that you don’t keep buying more .  Getting rid of things you no longer need creates space and allows you to function more efficiently.  Doing this could give you an opportunity to downsize your space, whether it is in your office (do you need all the storage) or at home (do you really need that extra bookshelf with all the knick-knacks and books you will never read again?).

So, what do you do with all the things you no longer have use for?  You could donate them, sell them on eBay or Craiglist, list them on Freecycle, give them away as gifts, or have a garage sale.

More on continuous improvement soon….

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