DIY with US: Floating Pool Cooler

3

Summer fun is upon us!!!!! One tempting option is lounging in your pool (or a friend’s for that matter). Hopefully, you apply sunscreen and remember to stay hydrated, if you forget, no worries, we’ve got you covered! If you’re looking for a great way to ~chill~ while keeping cool give our DIY floating pool cooler a try. In the name of reusing, we’re going to make a floating pool cooler out of our 10 gallon ECOstorageTM standard container. What’s unique about this cooler is that you can use it for storing your pool items during the off season, but even better, you can use it to keep some drinks on ice in arm’s reach for pool time!

There’s no need to interrupt a lazy day catching rays. Stay hydrated by keeping a drink on hand. Follow these steps below to see how you can make your own floating cooler!

What you’ll need:
1 10 Gallon Bin
2 Pool Noodles
Scissors
Utility knife

Step 1: Jump on Amazon and purchase one of our containers from our ECOstorageTM line! If you’re reusing you may as well be eco-friendly at the same time! Purchase and/or gather all your needed items on the list so you can get started.
*We will be using our 10 gallon ECOstorageTM container.

Step 2: Measure your pool noodles to the size of each of the sides of the bins.

Step 3: Cut all 4 to fit the noodles to your measurements.

Step 4: Use your utility knife to slice the entire length on the long side of each end of the noodle and spread the sliced end to open.

Step 5: Once it’s open, slide the noodle onto the lip of the bin. Repeat the same step for all 3 additional sides.

Step 6: Now you’re ready to toss in the ice and desired drinks and enjoy!

DIY with Us: Cat Condo

3

How can you show your furry friend some lovin’ without breaking the bank? Build them their very own Cat Castle, well in reality a condo, but what do they know?! Retail cat condos are expensive, ranging from $30 to an upward of $150, so save some money and make your own at home. This DELUXE kitty condo is cool and cozy, and you can choose to customize it however you please, making it one of a kind! We will show you how to spruce it up by accessorizing with blankets, faux grass and toys for your cat(s) to enjoy!

Follow these steps below to learn how you can upgrade your cat’s new pad.

What you’ll need:
3 bins
drill
utility knife
Multiple screws 1-1/4” length, washers and nuts to fit
(the number of them will vary dependent on your selected configuration)

Step 1: Head to your local retailer or jump on Amazon and purchase containers from our ECOstorageTM line! If you’re repurposing you may as well be eco-friendly at the same time! Purchase and/or gather all your needed items on the list so you can get started.
*We will be using our 10 gallon, 18 gallon and 32 gallon ECOstorageTM containers.

Step 2: You can determine your own layout and choose which bins to purchase, or follow our design! Drill as many holes that you feel are necessary to create a stabilized environment for your pet. We will be drilling 11 holes. The number of screws, washers and bolts will vary depending on both the layout that you choose to create, and the necessary stability of the house based on your cats size.

Step 3: Align all of the holes you drilled so far. To begin screwing the bins together, you will put a washer through the screw, and put the screws in the lid. We recommend screws in the downward position so that the access isn’t fast up where your cat will be climbing and playing. Then you will secure the bins by using the nuts on the other side of the lid to secure them together.

Step 4: Cut the recessed area of the bins out to create entry and exit points, as well as tunnels for the cats between bins. You can choose to create as many or few as you’d like.

Step 4 5: Snap the bins back onto the stabilized and screwed together lids.

Step 6: Accessorize and make the condo comfortable with blankets, faux grass, toys and whatever your cat’s favorite things may be! And VOILA! Hello MTV and welcome to my (cat’s) Crib!

DIY with Us: Toy or Craft Box On Wheels

3

Check out this perfect mobile toy or craft bin turned table for your toddler. This definitely a one-of-a-kind all in one must have! This is such a great option when you’re looking to add style and practicality to either your child’s room or even one of yours! The flip lid allows for easy accessibility and the plexi glass top can act as a mobile table with storage below. It is so convenient to have a rolling play area or craft station anywhere in your home!

This is a DIY you don’t want to miss out on, check out how to make your own below!

What you will need:
ECOstorageTM flip lid bin
Hot glue gun
Glue sticks
Jute (length will vary dependent on thickness of desired rope)
Plexi glass
Scissors
Measuring tape
Drill
4 caster wheels
Decorations of choice (we used a white wooden letter and artificial flowers)

Step 1: Head to your local retailer or jump online and purchase one of our containers from our ECOstorageTM line! We will be using our 12 gallon Flip Lid ECOstorageTM container.

Step 2: Gather/purchase all of your crafting supplies and decorations

Step 3: Take your jute, or desired rope-like material and tie the very end in a knot. With your glue gun apply an ample amount of glue to the knot and put it at the bottom of the bin.

Step 4: Wrap the jute around the outside of the bin and glue each row close together to ensure bin isn’t exposed through the layers. Repeat this step until you reach the lip of the bin.

Step 5: Next it’s time to decorate! You can be as creative as you like! Make it your own!!!!!

Step 6: Next flip your container over. On the bottom there are four faint circles near each corner – you can use these as a guide to drill holes for the casters.

Step 7: Drill 4 holes to fit the size casters purchased (fasten them if necessary, ours can be hammered into place).

Step 8: Finally, place plexi glass on the lid of the bin so it can be used as a mobile table or mini workstation.
*Note: Plexi glass can be purchased and precut to your dimensions at most big box retailers.

How to live more sustainably in 2020

6
ECOlife

Original Post Credit to: Ideas for Us
https://ideasforus.org/20-ways-to-be-more-sustainable-in-2020/

Posted on November 25, 2019 | By Trina Ryan

*This blog was co-written with Caroline Chomanics, IDEAS For Us chief administration officer and Fleet Farming program manager.

We are beginning a new decade in 2020! Unlike most New Year’s resolutions, these don’t require you to break a sweat at the gym or reorganize your closets, Marie Kondo style. As 2019 comes to an end, it’s time to start thinking about the environment. While chucking your plastic water bottles into a recycling bin helps, there’s more you can do to take part in the green movement. Here is a list of 20 ways to be more sustainable in 2020.

ENERGY

1. Change all of your light bulbs to LED: Take a moment today to make sure your home is using all LED light bulbs. LEDs typically use about 75% less energy than traditional incandescents and can last at least 35 times longer. This may seem incidental in helping people transition to clean energy. But at least it’s a solution that’s bright!

2. Plug large electronics into a smart power strip: Did you know you have an unseen menace lurking in your home, stealing electricity and spiking your power bills? “Phantom loads,” or energy vampires, as they’re appropriately called, refer to the electricity an appliance or a device consumes even when it’s not in use. Leaving unused devices plugged into outlets can cost you, on average, up to $200 more per month in electricity. Smart power strips shut off the power to your electronics when you’re not using them, saving you the hassle of having to remember to unplug your devices each time. This is a smart way of using less energy at home, while also saving money.

3. Get an energy audit: This is an audit you’ll look forward to–and it will save you money in the long run! Energy audits tell you how much energy your home or business is losing and provide cost-efficient, sustainable solutions. Other benefits include reducing environmental damage and pollution, lowering energy bills and extending the lifespan of your current energy systems. For a local resource, try Absolute Sustainability, an energy consulting agency that helps residences and businesses reduce unnecessary energy use while improving the quality of existing energy output. 

4. Check all weatherproofing on windows: Energy can easily be lost with the gaps and spaces between doors and windows. This has a major environmental cost in 70% of greenhouse gases that can be attributed to the energy usage of buildings. Grab some caulking and weather stripping to help prevent energy loss of your home or business.

WATER

5. Switch to reusable water bottles: Despite recent images of oceans brimming with plastics and marine life washed ashore, Americans still use an average of 50 billion plastic water bottles a year. And while recycling has become part of a modern lifestyle, an unsettling fact remains: 91% of plastic is not recycled. Switching to reusable water bottles such as a mason jar or an ethically made product is an easy way to eliminate your use of plastics. And like most sustainable options, it will save money.

6. Install a low-flow showerhead or a shower timer: It’s no surprise that showers can be a major source of in-home water consumption. According to the Alliance for Water Efficiency, “The average American shower … lasts for 8.2 minutes at an average flow rate of 2.1 gallons per minute.” You can help conserve water by taking shorter showers (five minutes, tops), using a timer to keep you on time. Another option: You can install a low-flow showerhead.

7. Install a toilet buddy: Many of us don’t want to think about all the times we flush in a day, all the water we’re wasting when there’s an increasingly dwindling supply. Sewage often gets short shrift in discussions about water conservation. And while flushing is, well, necessary, there are ways to eliminate water-wasting problems that could be coming from your toilet. For instance, your toilet could be outdated. Older toilets use up to three to seven gallons more per flush. Most toilets have a date stamped either inside or on the back wall of the tank. If your toilet is more than 20 years old, it’s time for a new one. But if this is an expensive option, toilet buddies can help with reducing high-flush volume. A DIY alternative is to pour water down the toilet to cut down on excessive flushing.

FOOD

8. Compost your food and yard waste: Composting at home is easy! All you need is a container for your freezer to place food scraps during the week and a composting area outside for excess food scraps when the bin fills up. Your composting area can be a hole where you regularly till the compost, a composter product or even a worm bin in your apartment.

9. Grow your own herbs: Growing your own food is one of the biggest ways to become more sustainable. Novices to the world of food-growing can begin with garden herbs. These lovely food accents not only add a welcome burst of flavor to any meal, but fill your home with an array of lush, earthy scents. The five easiest herbs to start with (depending on your climate) are basil, oregano, thyme, mint and parsley. These can be grown in pots with six hours of bright sunlight, and only need watered a few times a week. For more info on growing herbs in your home, check out this blog by Cooking Light.

10. Shop at your local farmers market: Farmers markets are popping up everywhere. And for good reason. They’re a great way to while away a sunny afternoon. Shopping local also supports community growers and small business economies. Locally, we recommend stopping by the Audubon Park Community Farmers Market for your weekly produce. While there, peruse the works of local artisans and other unique vendors. But make sure you bring a reusable bag!

11. Zero waste your food shopping: As the name implies, zero-waste sends nothing unnecessary or deemed recyclable, to landfills. A refrain of the zero-waste philosophy is reuse, reuse, reuse! Bulk stores or bulk sections are boons for those looking to shop zero waste. Bring your own bag or container to the grocery store, and before stocking up on dry goods, ask for the “tare,” to see how much your container weighs when empty. Also, opt for purchasing tin cans or paper-wrapped items rather than items with plastic packaging. According to the United Nations, “nearly 50% of the plastic waste generated globally in 2015 was from the packaging.” To learn more about shopping zero waste, see our blog.

Waste

12. Follow the protocols of proper recycling: Let’s make 2020 a year of proper recycling. A good rule of thumb is the following recycling guide:

  • Plastic can usually be recycled in the mixed recyclables section if they are numbered 1 through 7 on the packaging.
  • Cardboard and white paper can be recycled in the paper section.
  • Caps, paper with wax, plastic bags, plastic film, and Styrofoam should not be placed in recycling bins.
  • Food must be washed off items before being recycled.

Most cities will also have the details of how to recycle within their area. For instance, here’s the link for the city of Orlando’s recycling standards: https://www.orlando.gov/Trash-Recycling/What-Goes-Where

13. Deny all plastic bags: Plastic is old news! Stock up on reusable bags and conveniently place them in your car, in your purse, at work, and at home. You’ll never have an excuse to use another plastic bag in 2020. Have you ever heard someone say, “Well, I use them for dog poop bags”? Yes, we even recommend using biodegradable to-go poop bags, like these.

14. Shop at thrift stores: News flash: Shopping secondhand is cool! Rather than contribute to waste production by shopping new, go to your local thrift store for clothing, furniture, decor and housewares. This is an excellent way of reusing items in your own community and switching to a more sustainable lifestyle.

15. Purchase one year’s worth of bamboo toothbrushes in compostable packaging: Plastic toothbrushes take over 400 years to decompose. That’s why bamboo toothbrushes are the perfect alternative: They are 100% biodegradable and antimicrobial–which means they don’t harbor nasty bacteria. You can purchase them in compostable packaging and buy in bulk for the whole year. If you think using an electric toothbrush gets you off the hook, you’re wrong. Electric toothbrushes use electricity and require batteries that, when dumped in landfills, leak battery acid into waterways and oceans.

16. Switch from paper towels to reusable rags: One of the easiest ways to be more sustainable in 2020 is to replace paper towels with recycled cloths. Just as plastic chokes waterways, unrecyclable paper produces unnecessary waste in landfills. In a pinch, it’s easy to grab a paper towel to clean up a spill. But think about the number of paper towels discarded each year, with every household on the planet. According to the Paperless Project, it’s 254 million tons. Besides, reusable cloths can do the job faster, by soaking up more liquid with less material and waste. Check out this plant-based company for sustainable cleaning tools.

17. Purchase recycled toilet paper: Here’s an astounding fact: We flush the equivalent of 270,000 trees down the drain each day, and nearly 10% of that is attributable to toilet paper.  Recycled toilet paper can be a sustainable game-changer. Check out this company called Who Gives a Crap, which offers recycled toilet paper and “forest-friendly” tissues and paper towels.

ECOLOGY

18. Put up a native birdseed bird feeder: Bringing nature closer to work or home is easy with a bird feeder. Make sure to purchase only native birdseed (with no sugared or dried fruit) for a way to support the beautiful birds in your neighborhood.

19. Install a solitary beehive: Bees need our help! Solitary beehives are man-made “insect hotels” that act as a place for pollinating species to take residence. They can add habitat to your yard, in an easy and beautiful way.

20. Plant native plants: When deciding what you can do to save the ecosystems in your area, the answer is simple: Grow native plants! Supporting local wildlife is the key to regenerating our ecosystems. Look into the native wildflowers, trees, shrubs, and vines suitable to your environment, to create habitat in your own home or office. Live in Florida? Here is a helpful resource for finding native plants.

Sources:

https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/save-electricity-and-fuel/lighting-choices-save-you-money/led-lighting

https://www.energy.gov/eere/articles/warding-energy-vampires-and-phantom-loads

https://www.energysage.com/energy-efficiency/101/ways-to-save-energy/

https://help.leonardo-energy.org/hc/en-us/articles/203523352-What-are-the-benefits-of-doing-an-energy-audit-

https://www.worldgbc.org/sites/default/files/UNEP%20188_GABC_en%20%28web%29.pdf

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/news/2017/07/plastic-produced-recycling-waste-ocean-trash-debris-environment/

https://www.home-water-works.org/indoor-use/showers#:~:targetText=In%20an%20average%20home%2C%20showers,gpm)%20(7.9%20lpm).

https://www.oakcreekplumbing.com/is-your-toilet-wasting-water

https://www.cookinglight.com/healthy-living/green-living/how-to-start-your-own-herb-garden

https://wedocs.unep.org/bitstream/handle/20.500.11822/25496/singleUsePlastic_sustainability.pdf?isAllowed=y&sequence=1

https://www.orlando.gov/Trash-Recycling/What-Goes-Where

https://www.bambrushes.com/blogs/news/7-ways-your-plastic-toothbrush-is-evil#:~:targetText=5)%20Plastic%20toothbrushes%20take%20over,more%20damage%20to%20the%20environment.

https://blog.nationalgeographic.org/2010/04/16/toilet-paper-wipes-out-27000-trees-a-day/

http://floridayards.org/fyplants/

Recycling 101:

2

Original Post Credit: https://recyclingpartnership.org/recycling-101/
The Recycling Partnership

Top 10 Recycling Myths &
How to Avoid Their Traps

MYTH #1: Recycling is hard.
No, it isn’t! Recycling is as easy as throwing something in the trash. Arm yourself with the list of what is accepted in your program and pair your trash cans with recycling containers. Place them side by side for success!

MYTH #2: Recyclables need to be washed, which wastes water.
Don’t waste water! Recyclables only need to be emptied. Rinse quickly only if soiled.

MYTH #3: OK – but what about the transportation. Doesn’t it take more energy to drive recyclables around?
Even with transportation, recycling saves energy! But there’s more – recycling also reduces the creation of greenhouse gases, generates US jobs, and saves natural resources. When shopping, look for items made with recycled content to make the biggest energy-saving impacts!

MYTH #4: Recycling is so 1990.
You might be surprised to find that only half of Americans can recycle at home as easily as they can throw something away. The Recycling Partnership is working hard to make recycling a reality for all.

MYTH #5: Pizza boxes are not recyclable.
Pizza boxes are recyclable, crusts and grease stains are not! Make sure to remove crusts and scrape cheese off the inside of the box before recycling. If the box is greasy, chances are that it can’t be recycled.

MYTH #6: If something has the recycling arrows on it, it’s recyclable, right?
No — not always. Those little arrows refer to the type of plastic the items were made from, not how recyclable they are. But most communities can recycle plastic bottles and containers. You just need to check with your local program. Please recycle plastic bags at your local retailer — not in your recycling bin.

MYTH #7: If you put the cap on a bottle it isn’t recyclable.
Keep that cap on! Unless your local recycling program has a different stance, the plastics recyclers out there want to recycle all they can — caps included! 

MYTH #8: Compostable items can be recycled, right?
No! Composting and recycling happen in different ways. Food waste and compostable serviceware CANNOT be recycled. Compost collection is not readily accessible to most people, but many municipalities offer support for backyard composting. 

MYTH #9: Bag your recyclables.
Leave your recycling loose and free! Unless you are instructed to by your community, never place bagged recyclables inside your cart or bins. If you collect your recyclables in a plastic bag, remove them from the bag before placing them in your bin. Return plastic bags to retail stores only.

MYTH #10: I thought I saw the garbage truck pick up my recycling.
Maybe. Sometimes communities use the same trucks for all collection, which can be confusing to residents. Don’t worry, your recyclables are taken to a sorting facility where they are separated and baled to sell back to manufacturers.

What are the benefits of recycling?

There are a lot of reasons to recycle and it’s an easy way to make a difference every day. Recyclables hold the power to become new packages and products. Recycling happens community by community, and most communities have subtle differences in what they accept for recycling. Find out what your local recycling program accepts – at the curb, drop-off, donation, and elsewhere.

DIY with Us: Cat Liter Box

2
ECOlife Blog

Give your feline friend(s) some privacy while they’re doing their business. With this project you can reuse an old storage bin, or get an eco-friendly one to make your own litter box! This DIY box is more convenient than most basic litter boxes because of its unique features. Its snap on lid makes for easy removal to clean out the box, having a cover can also help contain unwanted odors, great stackability options if you need to store something on top of the bin, and dual entry for your pet!

In just a few simple steps you can customize your cat’s porcelain (or in this case, plastic) throne, so check it out below it’s as easy as 1-2-3!

ECOlife Blog DIY Cat Litter Box

What you will need:
1-18 gallon bin
 Marker
Utility Knife

ECOlife Blog DIY Cat Litter Box Step 1

Step 1: Head to your local retailer or jump online and purchase one of our containers from our ECOstorage line! We will be using our 18 gallon ECOstorage container in blue.

ECOlife Blog DIY Cat Litter Box Step 2

Step 2: Take your sharpie and outline the recessed areas on the bins on one or two sides (for additional access) of the storage container that you want to cut out.

ECOlife Blog DIY Cat Litter Box Step 3&4

Step 3: Cut out the sides, following the outline for guidance.

ECOlife Blog DIY Cat Litter Box Step 5

Step 4: Set up litter box as you normally would, place it in your desired location and you’re ready to go!
*Pro tip: place a rug in front of the litter box for your cat to wipe its paws on the way out!

Our commitment to sustainability.

2

Single use plastics are the biggest contributor to pollution. We use them one time and throw them out, they account for 50% of the U.S.’s overall plastic usage. These include straws, grocery bags, bottles and caps just to name a few. There are 78 million tons of plastic packaging produced per year, and of that 38% ends up in our oceans annually. As of now, that is the equivalent of dumping one garbage truck of plastic into the ocean Every. Single. Minute. That staggering number is only going to increase as time goes on. Environmentalists are estimating that by 2030 plastic pollution will total two garbage trucks per minute, and by 2050 will be four garbage trucks per minute. By the year 2050 there will be more plastic in our oceans than fish! We refuse to just sit by and let that happen.

Source: Cronin, Aisling Maria. “There Will Be More Plastic in the Oceans Than Fish by 2050 – Here’s How You Can Help!” One Green Planet, One Green Planet, 16 July 2017, www.onegreenplanet.org/environment/there-will-be-more-plastic-than-fish-in-the-oceans/.

“Facts . About Plastic . Help – Plastic Oceans Foundation.” Plastic Oceans International, plasticoceans.org/the-facts/.

There is no planet B

Here is why we are different:
Our ECOstorageTM line is made from up to 99% recycled materials. All of our products have to pass our high quality standards on the production line. When those standards are not met, we regrind the container and use that plastic to create our bins in the ECOstorageTM line. Our manufacturing plant recycles over 98% of our own plastic right from the factory itself – resulting in as little waste as possible. We also purchase recycled resin from outside sources preventing even more plastic from ending up in landfills or oceans. That is just one way we are giving a second life to plastics. In an effort to help save our planet we are committed to using over 15 million pounds of recycled plastic annually already. We strive to try and reach even higher amounts each year!

Skip out on single use plastics, and together we can take a stand in purchasing recycled products to invest in our future and save our planet at the same time. Another step in doing our part to this amazing initiative is we are trying to REDUCE, REUSE and RECYCLE. Take your first step towards a more sustainable lifestyle with us! That said, we are excited to DIY with our ECOstorageTM container line. The goal is to find more eco-friendly practices that could bring new life uses to these plastic storage bins.

Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.