How The Greeting Card Trade Fuels Your Carbon Footprint

These days, there seems to be a celebration of some sort popping up every week. Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, birthdays, anniversaries, engagements… the list is endless. Each one of these special occasions needs to be marked and celebrated in style, and it’s unthinkable to imagine not acknowledging a special day through a great greetings card.

Sending cards show that you are thinking of the people you write to, and offer a really personal and thoughtful way of sharing in someone’s special occasion. The problem is, the tradition is not one which supports green behaviors, and many people are growing more and more aware of the environmental impact of sending cards.

Is it possible to be environmentally friendly and still send a card?
Until recently, the lack of consistently good quality recycled paper and board products meant that it was hard to be an environmentally friendly publisher. However, in recent years more board and envelope merchants have been adding quality recycled materials to their portfolios and the price of recycled board and paper has become more comparable to non-recycled. This means that it is easier than ever before to source ethical products in the greeting card industry, knowing that you are buying green recycled products which can then be recycled again to maintain a cycle of sustainability.

Paper mills are more environmentally-conscious than they have ever been before when it comes to their production processes, and the majority now develop boards that have been certified under the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) and the PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Classification). Both the schemes promote sustainable forest management, providing us with reassurance that paper products originate from well-managed forests or recycled sources.

Sourcing ethical greetings cards
There’s a small company in California called Two Piglets that designs and print greeting cards. All the cards are pressed using soy ink onto paper that is 30% post consumer recycled fiber. The scrap cards are shredded and used as packing materials, shipping cartons are re-used boxes from local retailers and even the presses are cleaned using ordinary vegetable oil. Two Piglets also sells invitations and in the future they’ll be making custom invitations. Order online or check out what stores carry them near you.

Switch to e-cards for a modern alternative to the traditional classics. There are a wealth of online card sites where you can select great designs, personalize them through the site and ping them off instantly. This saves forests, cuts down on the postage and carbon footprint associated with sending the cards and also helps you to remember birthdays and get something off on time! Check out sites such as Ecards or Blue Mountain for more information.

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Green Dating – Find Sustainable Love Online

Online dating has exploded over the last few years so it’s nice to see green alternatives popping up. Here, Jill Mytton writes about her site, Countryside Friends:

“With oil spills in the Gulf of Mexico and the exceptionally hot summer which has certainly reactivated the climate change debate, this week admittedly the rain has arrived, green issues and the environment have never been so high on the public agenda. So in the midst of all this serious environmental news what on earth is green dating?

“Well perhaps it isn’t just the environment we need to think about but also our relationships. Since the ‘free love’ ideals of the 1960’s the idea of meeting someone and sticking with them for life has largely been abondoned. I have experienced two marriages and divorces so I know how difficult finding a sustainable relationship can be and the havoc caused by relationship breakdowns.

Jill

“Being green isn’t just about recyling, using rainwater to flush your toilet or reducing your carbon footprint, it is about intelligent thinking in all aspects of your life. Let’s be honest we are in a mess. The planet is a rubbish dump we have created a plastic soup of debris floating in the Pacific ocean nearly twice the size of the United States. We have ravaged the rainforests and we have messed up our relationships. We cannot be totally blamed though, years of consumerism and ‘get rich quick!’ and damn the consequences meant everything was disposable even love.

“Perhaps the age of austerity won’t be all bad possibly frugal living and less stuff will make us appreciate the good things in life and think more about relationships and less about having more. Green dating is about caring, valuing, respecting other’s differences and showing dignity for another human being. Providing the service online helps you meet more people in an easy way without having to increase your carbon footprint, you can also take your time through e-mail or video contact to get to know your new friend slowly in an authentic way and see if their values and how they look at life match your thinking. By the time you meet you will already have a rapport on which to build a sustainable relationship. Green dating is the new way to find true love and make a difference so if you haven’t tried it upload your profile for free today and see if you can find sustainable love.”

Ecover Now On Facebook

I’m not the biggest Facebook user in the world, I can’t seem to work out whether it’s a good or a bad thing. And brands using it seems a bit strange as well but it makes more sense when something like Ecover gets together like-minded people to talk about the environment and related issues.

You can find the page here and there are a few interesting bits and bobs on there, not least a video featuring Natalie Imbruglia…

Ecover on Facebook

Dot Eco Top-Level Domain

I received a couple of emails about trying to establish a .eco top level domain name.

First Dot Eco, LLC is coordinating the establishment of a new .eco top level domain. Unlike most top level domains that are purely profit driven, over 50% of the profit generated by .eco domain registrations will be donated back to non-profit organizations to fund scientific initiatives that will help our environment.

Dot Eco is partnered with former Vice President Al Gore and his non-profit organization, The Alliance for Climate Protection and Sierra Club.

Second Green Cross International a global non-profit with national organisations in over 30 countries, has announced its intention to help support the launch of the .eco domain. However they seem to be supporting the The Big Room Inc. application for the .eco extension. This has been developed along with an international team of advisors and investors with deep roots in sustainability, environmental, and business communities.

So, all sounds good, just don’t ask me. You can visit Support Dot Eco and Dot Eco Info.

Natural Collection Launches Ooffoo.com

Online eco shop Natural Collection has launched a community-based website called Oofoo.

It’s hard to succinctly explain what the site is, so I’ll quote the company’s press release:
“We have decided to extend our offering to our customers by creating a new online community marketplace called ooffoo. Ooffoo is a place where like-minded thinkers can discuss, swap, inspire, blog, recycle, recommend, advertise and much more.”

ooffoo

It’s pretty new but there seems to be a lot on there and Life Goggles has even uploaded a few of its articles. Personally, I’ve found it a little tricky navigating around the site and classified adverts (which are free to sellers and buyers) seem to be mixed in with other articles. You have to navigate by tags (there are more than 500) or just enter a search term, but it’s early days and I hope that will improve, with around 200,000 visitors to its website every month, I’m sure it’ll be popular.

Green Link Love – Other Great Green Sites 6

We get a lot of emails each month over at Life Goggles, but I particularly link the ones from individuals (and some PR companies) that recommend certain sites that I can check out when I have time.

Shawn sent email about C02 stats which is a site that can make any website carbon neutral and shows visitors you’re environmentally friendly. You can see it installed at the bottom right of this site.

Life Goggles Green Link Love Logo

Green and Save was founded by a guy who built one of America’s most energy independent homes and in the process created the first Return on Investment calculations for over 50 green home remodeling projects. The site has lots of informative videos that use his home as an example to other homeowners. It also has a free carbon counter so individuals could better understand their impact, and an Eco Family Guide to help families live greener and healthier.

Svenn sent email about his sites Present Room and Gifts In Real Shops, both sites that aim to have a solution to unwanted gifts (=unwanted CO2 emissions).

Angelina sent email about Ecovian who are creating online green communities around major US cities that share info & reviews on local green resources & green businesses. For example, they have info on organic restaurants, eco-friendly & non-toxic baby stores, natural clothing stores, green bed & bath stores in about 8 major US cities so far.

SunRun, the solar power company, brings together their brightest minds for their new blog Sweet Solar Home. The blog is written by employees from SunRun, whose expertise lie in the fields of Solar Economics, Solar Technology, Solar Policy, Solar Industry News and Solar Home ownership.

Julie sent me an email about Green Hearted that is aimed at teachers, giving a primer on transformative education for sustainability – what you’ll need in order to green your classroom, your curriculum, your students’ learning, your school community, and your life’s work as a teacher.

Finally another shout to David over at The Good Human who is doing sterling work as always on his excellent blog.

You can read the previous editions of Green Link Love here: one, two, three, four and five.

X-Prize Crazy Idea Finalists

I previously wrote about the X-Prize Foundation who offered $25,000 to the craziest video idea to choose the idea that should be explored as the next $10m X PRIZE in Energy and the Environment.

The result may even have been announced by the time you read this, but it’s interesting to look at the three finalists videos:

Jonathan Dreher, from Cambridge, MA: “Energy X PRIZE: Reduce Home Energy Usage
A prize to reduce the home energy consumption of American communities.

Alan Silva, from Roy, UT: “The Energy Independence X PRIZE
A prize to develop energy-independent homes that exist completely off the grid.

Kyle Good, from Irvine, CA: “The Capacitor Challenge
A prize to develop a new storage medium, an “ultra-capacitor.”

Personally I think the last one is my favorite. How about you?