Party Time! Here Are Some Eco Friendly Party Ideas

Eco-friendly party ideas
CC flickr photo courtesy of JAGwired

You can carry over your eco-friendly living ideas into any type of party — from lavish holiday dinners to children’s birthday parties. With just a little planning, you can find green solutions to almost any party need. Here are a few tips to help you get started planning your next big event.

Don’t use Throwaways

Throwaway plates and cups make clean up easier, but are hard on the environment. If you must use throwaways, choose paper over Styrofoam, and look for ones that are made from recycled materials and are BPA-free.

Better yet, buy reusable plates and platters that you only use for these special occasions. There is even compostable bamboo dishes for parties. Use it over and over again, and then when you can use it no more, you can throw it in your own compost pile and make use of it in your yard and garden. With the help of friends and family, dishes can be washed quickly.

It can be more difficult with utensils if you don’t have enough of your everyday silverware for a party. Look for spoons, forks and knives made from recycled materials, and then when the party’s over wash them and put them away for the next party instead of pitching them. Choosing utensils made of wood, bamboo, corn or even potatoes will make a great conversation starters, and help you spread the word about the positive methods for conservation.

Eco-Friendly Hotels: What to Look For

Eco-Friendly Hotel
Orchard Garden Hotel - CC flickr photo by DoNotLick

Choosing an eco-friendly hotel when you travel is a natural extension of your environmental commitment at home. Whether you incorporate eco-friendly products into your life because they are healthier for you and your family, because you are concerned for the environment, or both, supporting green hotels just makes sense.

What Makes a Hotel Eco-Friendly?

At first thought, you may wonder what kinds of things to look for when choosing the best eco-friendly hotels. Ideally, eco-friendly hotels should use some form of sustainable energy, such as solar, wind or hydro-power for at least some of their needs. This can be difficult for older hotels that are converting to an eco-friendly establishment. But even older hotels can use energy-conscious methods such as low-energy light bulbs.

An environmentally conscious hotel should incorporate recycling and water conservation into their program. One way hotels can conserve resources is to only change the sheets and towels in your suite when you request it. This cuts down on water and energy usage.

Why Buy an Electric Car? 7 Reasons to Consider

 

Nissan Leaf electric car
CC Flickr photo of a Nissan Leaf courtesy of mah-japan.

There’s a lot of hype about the green reasons to drive electric cars, as well as the debate between upfront cost and eventual savings. While social responsibility and reducing your carbon footprint is clear reasoning for some, practical logic makes better sense to others. If you are considering joining the electric vehicle conversation, here are a few smart starter tips from an EV driver.

Forget Oil Strikes and Prices

Unlike gasoline-powered vehicles, your daily commute isn’t effected by oil strikes or high gas prices if you are driving an electric automobile. You won’t spend another dime at the fuel pump, and forget about funding oil corporations in countries overseas. The fluctuating costs other people deal with aren’t any of your concern, and gas stations and convenience stores are just a faint memory.

Drive Despite a Natural Disaster

When Hurricane Sandy struck, havoc began for New York and New Jersey drivers. The gasoline supply ran low, power failures disabled gas pumps and trucks had trouble bringing any fuel in for a long time. Electric car drivers, though, were left “unfazed,” reports The New York Times. Instead of charging up at home, electric vehicle owners juiced up at public charging stations in unaffected areas close to home.

Low to No Maintenance

Forget about air filters, oil changes, spark plug replacements and broken fan belts because electric cars don’t have them. Even the brakes last longer than conventional vehicles on electric cars, according to Discovery.com, because of the regenerative braking technique that they use. Instead of applying mechanical friction, the car reverses the electric motor to slow down, meaning less wear and tear. Though lithium-ion batteries do lose capacity over time, Phoenix Nissan and Chevy dealers have enough confidence in their battery technology to offer extensive warranties for the LEAF and Volt batteries.

They’re Within Your Range

Critics are quick to point out the limited driving range of an electric car compared to conventional gas-powered vehicles, causing “range anxiety.” But consider this: the average American travels about 20 to 40 miles a day, according to bts.gov. Most new generation electric cars boast 100 miles per charge. With all of the perks, benefits and incentives that come with driving a fully electric car, range confidence is high on the list. And let’s face it, most families are two car households anyway. If one of the vehicles is electric and the other is not, then the driving range issue is practically non-existent.

Boost the Local Economy

Dependence on foreign oil puts the U.S. in a difficult situation. Using electricity, on the other hand, can boost the local economy. Home grown, so to speak, electricity in America comes from burning coal and natural gas, and is also being generated through renewable sources such as wind. Power plants have sophisticated emissions systems in place, so the power that comes from a power plant will generally be drastically cleaner than creating the power with an individual internal combustion engine when it comes to affecting local air quality.

Fill Up at Home

In less time than it takes for you to get your beauty sleep, your EV can obtain a full charge in the comfort of your own garage. Using a professionally installed home charging dock, electric cars receive juice from a 240v current wired straight from your electrical panel. Nothing beats waking up each morning to a full “tank.”

Incentives and Perks

Federal and local governments are backing electric cars, offering tax rebates and other incentives to electric car drivers. If driving electric didn’t already look attractive, it does now. Expect to not only get a rebate at time of purchase, but also perks like free parking, reduced registration fees and HOV-lane privileges.

See our list of electric cars available in the USA for 2013.

Do you drive an electric car? Did you consider an electric car and buy something else instead? Leave a comment!