Wednesday, June 6, 2012

New York City's Best Cleaning Service - New York Magazine & Daily Candy Choose Ms. Green-Clean & Other Press Highlights!

Nearly six years into the eco-friendly business venture, Ms. Green-Clean continues to be featured in New York City and national press, not only for our superior home and office cleaning services, but we are regularly consulted for expertise in all matters related to cleaning green and living sustainably. In 2008 New York Magazine chose MGC as "Best Cleaning Service" and just last month Daily Candy spotlighted Ms. Green-Clean in their flip book of New York City's best repair shops. Here are a few other highlights from our press page:

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Eco-friendly Valentine's Day Gift Ideas

The classic gifts for Valentine's Day are store-bought flowers, candies, cards and jewelry. Hoping not to sound the killjoy, I'd like to put a green-twist on the holiday giving this season by offering some suggestions for more eco-friendly gift ideas.
  • Give a gift certificate for a home cleaning!
  • Give a gift certificate for a professional massage.
  • Give a gift certificate for a class - art, yoga, music, etc...
  • Cook a special meal (try to use local grown and raised ingredients!)
  • Bake a confection - cake, cupcakes, pie, etc...
  • Write a poem for your sweetie.
  • Buy a book of love sonnets from your local used book store.
  • Make a handmade card from your paper recycling pile. Throw in some of that wrapping paper you save from gifts!
  • Frame a good photo of the two of you happy.
  • Plan a nature walk for the two of you at a local park or garden.
  • If you want to give chocolate make sure it's fair trade and sustainably harvested.
  • If you want to give a bottle of wine make it organic and from a local vineyard.
  • Instead of flowers why not a regionally native plant or tree for the yard!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Donna Keiko Ozawa's Wooden Chopstick Sculpture & 10 Ways To Re-Use Disposable Wooden Chopsticks


We can't all make as finely conceived art from our used wooden chopsticks as this short video shows Donna Keiko Ozawa does, but we can definitely give second and maybe even third lives to our wooden chopsticks, or refrain from accepting them at restaurants entirely.

When the idea for this entry occurred to me a few weeks ago after eating Japanese take-out I thought I'd write a cute little something on chopstick crafts. I was not aware how critical the implications for our environment take-out chopsticks are.

Ozawa reveals in this video an old statistic from 1994, that Japan used 150 million wooden disposable chopsticks PER DAY. When she searched further she found more recent figures. According to a 2007 statistic she quotes, China then was exporting 14 million trees worth of these utensils to Japan EVERY YEAR and that if they continue at this pace China will be deforested in 10 years. This is not accounting for chopsticks to other countries, only Japan. I was blown away. It made me think not only of chopsticks being wasted and forests degraded, but all the other little incidentals associated with our take-out culture -- sugar packets, plastic utensils and containers, paper and plastic bags, styrofoam containers, aluminum cans, plastic and glass bottles, etc...

Now don't get me wrong. I am by no means an extremist on the green-thinking spectrum, but these chopstick statistics are sobering and have made me more aware of how our seemingly small habits can snowball with catastrophic implications.

Here are 10 Ways To Re-use Your Disposable Wooden Chopsticks:
  1. Make a soap dish.
  2. Use as fire kindling.
  3. Make a chopstick wrapper bookmark.
  4. Use as plant markers or stakes in garden.
  5. Make a lampshade.
  6. Sand them and use as beginner knitting needles.
  7. Make cup coasters, placemats or trivets.
  8. Use to test oil temperature when deep frying.
  9. Sand and use as decorative hair sticks.
  10. Sand and paint to play pick up sticks.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Pendleton Eco-Wise Wool Easy-Care Washable Blanket

I've coveted Pendleton wool blankets for years, but only recently allowed myself to purchase one of the pricey bed covers when I realized it would be a quick and frugal fix to cold nights in our new house that is without insulation and wrapped in old siding and laden with air holes and old drafty windows, many of them broken.

The Regency wood burning stove insert we ordered before we moved in nearly 3 months ago still has not arrived or been installed into our fireplace (sigh). Insulation, hole-mending, new siding and windows will come within this first year of our tenure--should our coffers provide. But until all of the updating is complete winters will be chilly because I'm keeping our thermostat as close to 60 as we can bare in an effort to minimize our oil usage and bills. A thick wool cardigan has been my house uniform of choice this winter, and the temperatures, as you know, have not been very low. Even so, I've been known to sleep like a pioneer woman, a wool hat pulled down to my ears.

Back to the blanket, which possesses so many recommendable qualities. It's one of the few fine products made in the USA today. And the wool used in the entire Eco-Wise line of home products and clothes wear is, according to Pendleton, "created to leave the lightest impact on the earth. From the sheep to the shelf...it passes strict standards of sustainability and responsible environmental stewardship."

And if all this do-gooding doesn't do it for you, there is the fact that it's practical--warm and washable. It's also luxurious and soft to the touch, and in an array of colors and patterns it comes in there should be at least one to please everyone's tastes.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Composting, Envirocycle Compost Tumbler, Worm Bins & Vermi-composting

This weekend, more than 2 months after moving into our new house, I finally retrieved our envirocycle from our old Manhattan apartment building basement and found its new home in our backyard, so it seems an apt time to revisit the important topic of composting.

Most of us now know what a good thing for the earth and our health composting kitchen scraps and yard debris is, but many Americans still don't realize how fun, easy, satisfying, and un-smelly it really is.

I've written about this topic in the past, so in lieu of repeating myself I'll point you to my other entry on composting and the envirocycle, which I love. Of course, if you have the right situation you can also easily and cheaply build your own composting area. There is much information online to gather on how to do this, and perhaps in the future I'll write on it, as well.

There is also the very good option of vermi-composting, or letting red wriggler worms make short shrift of your scraps. Kids--and this adult--love watching this dynamic natural process; It's better than reality television! You can build your own worm bin for the task or purchase a ready-made one, like this great one.



photo by flickr member pretty poo eater

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Banana Bread Recipe - Use Your Bananas Before They Go Bad - Prevent Food Waste, An Environmental Issue

It's shameful and an environmental issue that America throws away nearly half of all its food, according to Jonathan Bloom.

Necessity IS the mother of invention! In an effort to not waste our food, I recently created this easy to make, delicious, moist confection -- a hybrid of several banana bread recipes I found online and in cookbooks -- in order to use most of a banana bunch before laying them to waste. *We don't have composting set up yet in our new home.

Makes 2 large loaves and serves many.

Ingredients:

  • 1 c. sugar
  • 2 c. (plus enough for pan) white whole wheat flour (I used King Arthur. White or a mix of regular whole wheat and white would work.)
  • 1 t. baking soda
  • 1 t. baking powder
  • 1 t. cinnamon
  • 1/2 t. cardamom
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 3 eggs
  • enough brandy to top off raisins
  • 3/4 c. oil (I used peanut. You can use canola or vegetable)
  • 2/3 c. sour cream (I had on hand a vegan sour cream. You can use dairy-based version or buttermilk.)
  • 1 c. raisins
  • 3 handfuls walnuts
  • 4 average to large ripe bananas

Directions:
  • Preheat oven to 350-degrees.
  • Measure raisins and add brandy enough to just cover them. Set aside and let soak at least 1/2 hour, more if you have the time.
  • Combine all dry ingredients, except the walnuts, in large mixing bowl.
  • Beat eggs, then mix all the wet ingredients, except the raisins and brandy, together in a separate mixing bowl.
  • Peel and hand-mash bananas, add to wet ingredients.
  • Combine these wet and dry ingredients into one bowl, mix well with rubber spatula or large spoon, making sure to scrape sides to incorporate all.
  • Mix in all the raisins and brandy.
  • Fold in walnuts.
  • Oil and flour 2 large metal bread baking pans, or if you have non-stick pans omit this step.
  • Split the batter evenly between the two pans.
  • Bake for an hour or until a tester toothpick or thin skewer removes clean after being inserted in its center.
  • Remove to cooling racks.
  • Slice and serve. It will go fast, but it freezes and thaws well. Before freezing wrap well with foil.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Marmoleum - Eco-friendly, Sustainable Flooring Options

The most sustainable option in flooring is clearly making use of what you have. But that's not always possible or desirable.

Once we removed the old, funky-textured linoleum, peeling asbestos tiles, and avocado green and royal blue 1970s carpeting, we were lucky to find good oak wood flooring throughout most of our new home, so we'll only have to sand, then finish them with a low- or no-voc wood floor sealer.

Our kitchen and bathrooms are exceptions to the warm oak flooring, so we considered other eco-friendly options and for the kitchen we settled on marmoleum by Forbo Flooring, a "green" version of linoleum. The tiles and wide strips are a composite of recycled materials, including wood, flour, and "tall oil," and renewable products, including jute, linseed oil, and pine rosin.

I like marmoleum in the kitchen for many reasons, not least of which is that it's easy to clean and is kind on the feet and body when you're standing and working there for long stretches. We also loved the wide color palette it's available in and that you can cut, mix and match tints to achieve some very fun, creative results.

There are many other eco-friendly flooring options, including bamboo, salvaged wood or tiles, concrete, recycled glass and ceramic tiles, recycled rubber, cork, renewable, natural fiber rugs and carpets, and others. Green- and aesthetic-wise, considerations are many when you shop for eco-friendly flooring. Not all the choices are equal when it comes to their environmental impact, so do your research and make the best choices you're able to make.



photo by baubilt.com
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