January 2009


Hello AP Gang!

Organic Fair Trade 'Fight Global' TeeWhat better way to kick off a New Year than with a fabulous store-wide sale! Find discounts up to 30%off on everything from our popular sneaker line, to our organic t-shirts, to our new organic cotton handbags. But act fast, stocks are running low and we don’t expect much to last very long.Organic Fair Trade 'Declare' Tee

Make sure to definitely check out our organic cotton winter accessories! Now 20% off,once these items are gone, they’ll be gone until next year! So get ‘em while you can, and sport ‘em until spring comes.

And to help sweeten the deal a bit further, for a limited time we’re offering free domestic shipping on all orders over $75 (down from $100)!  

Happy Shopping! 
The AP Team

button_red_signpetition1

More and more bad news keeps coming out about the state of our economy. With fourth quarter retail sales low, real estate continuing to plummet, and job loss at its highest since the last recession in 1993. This news may be staggering but don’t let it get you down! Let it mobilize you! Sign the petition to push this package through Congress today!

08obama2-500On January 8th, President Elect Obama urged Congress to push forth is economic stimulus plan. This plan is not just money being thrown at a problem. It has real hope for a move to the green economy. Some of the details of this plan include, doubling the production of alternative energy in the next 3 years, having medical records go electronic: saving energy and jobs, modernizing and weatherizing 75% of federal buildings, improve energy efficiency in millions of homes, updating thousands of schools, colleges, and universities, investing in science and technology, and creating millions of new GREEN JOBS! 

This stimulus package may get out economy back on its feet and its no question it will create a shift in our current economic practices. The only problem now is getting Congress to act! Obama had hoped the bill would be sitting on his new desk ready to sign on January 20th, but it looks unlikely at this point. Of course conservatives and lobbyists for big energy are attacking the bill. Some conservatives in Congress want to see tax breaks rather than investment. Which may seem like a great idea, but their current plan has breaks for the super rich and hardly benefits the middle and working classes. The lobbyists for big energy are trying to stop the bill from passing in order to stop green energy and jobs from being created!

Never worry though, because YOU can take action! MoveOn.org has created a petition to urge Congress members not to listen to lobbyists and to take action on this package. The petition states: “Congress should quickly pass Obama’s plan to invest in clean energy, green jobs, health care, and relief for struggling states. No more tax cuts for the rich.”

button_red_signpetition2So please if you believe in a shift to a green economy or hope to help our US economy, take the few seconds to sign the petition! Its a quick and easy way to be involved in your country’s actions. Because our responsibilities as citizens doesn’t stop on election day! We all took a second to sign, so we are urging you to do the same. PLEASE SIGN! And if you want to be involved even more, organize an event in your area or re-post this on your blogs or social sites!

If you’re like us, you have more than one gift from the holidays that doesn’t quite make the list of things you actually want, need or can use. In past years, we’re sure you felt too guilty to discard these lonely unwanted items (either for the unnecessary harm on the environment or the hurt feelings of the person who gave it to you). So instead, the useless crap is tossed into a pile or tucked into a storage bin of other useless clutter that you’re not quite sure what to do with.

Well, with green lifestyles pushing the envelope of tradition these days, there are plenty of new and inventive ways you can rid yourself of excess stuff and old holiday habits in an environmentally-friendly manner. In fact, when broadening the definition of “recycling” from simply tossing the item into a blue bin that your city then sweeps away into the unknown to a much more fitting definition of ‘re-purposing, re-distributing, and re-inventing’, you may actually have some fun getting rid of your stuff all while making a positive impact on our earth.  And don’t forget the popular but hush-hush form of recylcing: regifting!  The gift that lets your useless crap live on forever as someone else’s!

CHRISTMAS TREES & DECORATIONS:

This holiday season, more and more companies and cities are providing options for how to properly discard your Christmas tree.  If you live in New York City, simply leave your tree on the curb and the city will turn the tree into mulch for the extensive public park system.  In addition to mulch, Christmas trees can actually be re-purposed into many eco-friendly uses such as erosion control, soil stabilization and creating habitats for wildlife.  Check out Earth 911 for more treecycling ideas and options near you.  If you’ve purchased a potted Christmas tree from a nursery or garden center, try replanting it on your property or donating it to your local parks department for replanting.

Also, if you are in need of new lights, make sure to check out Holiday LEDs, a Christmas lights company.  If you send them your old lights, they’ll recycle them for you and give you a coupon for 15% off the purchase of a set of new, energy-efficient LED lights (although we only really encourage this if you NEED new lights…remember discarding the old unnecessarily is all a part of our consumption problem).

Act a little crafty and cut up your old holiday cards to make new gift tags for next year.  A fun and easy way to keep the cards out of the trash and some money in your wallet.  And as for those old decorations, always remember that someone’s trash is someone else’s treasure and donate your unwanted decorations or send them to a consignment shop.  This is actually a great tip for all of your unwanted items, so try to make a habit of donating anything and everything you can before trashing.

CELL PHONES:

The national Call To Protect program enables people to retire their wireless phones in a manner that will help the environment and provide phones, with matching airtime, to domestic violence agencies. In addition, the funds generated through Call To Protect collections and other wireless industry programs have provided grants totaling over $10,000,000 to national organizations leading the campaign to end domestic violence.  Keep a look-out at your local bank, pharmacy or store as many have drop-off boxes for old cell phones in their entryways.

TIRES:

According to the EPA, you may be able to return surplus tires to either a tire retailer or a local recycling facility. Be sure to confirm that the facility accepts tires for recycling and check for quantity and size limitations. Some local municipalities will also periodically conduct “tire amnesty days” when local citizens can bring a limited number of tires to a drop-off site free of charge.  Curious about new uses for old tires?   The EPA website suggests that scrap tires may be cut, punched, and stamped into various rubber products after removal of the steel bead.  Products include floor mats, belts, gaskets, shoe soles, highway crash barriers, and boat bumpers on marine docks.  Or, for an afternoon of good old-fashioned fun, how about installing a tree swing in the backyard?  For more information and specific requirements and regulations for your area, contact your local solid waste management agency.

EYEGLASSES:

New Eyes For The Needy purchases new eyeglasses for poor children and adults in the United States and recycles donated glasses for distribution to indigent people in developing nations worldwide. Over 4,400 social service agencies and 3,500 optical dispensers partner with New Eyes For The Needy to provide eyeglasses and sunglasses to less fortunate Americans.  Since 1932, they have brought improved vision and hope for a better future to more than 7,000,000 people in the U.S. and around the world.  Eyeglasses in good condition are also sent to medical missions and international charitable organizations for distribution to the poor in developing nations.  New Eyes for the Needy is a non-profit, non-sectarian volunteer organization.

CLOTHING:

As we mentioned before, donating your old clothes is a great way to keep fabrics out of landfills and the less fortunate fashionable.  If you have an old gown, bridesmaid dress that you never will wear again, or formal dress, make sure to support Operation Fairy Dust, a New York-based non-profit that provides free prom dresses to high school girls who can’t afford to buy their own.  Created in 2002, Operation Fairy Dust has helped countless numbers of girls look beautiful and confident on the most important night of their young lives (and inadvertently has helped our environment!).

If you have gently-worn business clothes that sit in your closet collecting dust, check out Dress for Success.  An international non-profit organization, their mission is to promote the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a network of support and the career development tools to help women thrive in work and in life.  Since 1997, Dress for Success has served almost 450,000 women around the world. Each year they reach more than 40,000 women in their international network.  The professional clothing, employment retention programs and ongoing support that they provide symbolize their faith in every woman’s ability to be self-sufficient and successful in her career.

TOWELS:

Clean used towels and washable baby blankets can find great new uses at local animal shelters and rescues.  Many shelters welcome the donations putting them to use as bedding, comforting an animal in the medical department, or for drying a rescue animal after a bath.  Contact your local shelter or the ASPCA to see if they are accepting donations.

VIDEOTAPES & CDS:

With the advance of digital music, DVD’s and now Blue Ray, it’s difficult to keep your old VHS tapes and bulky CD’s lying around when you barely open the case anymore.  Videotapes and CDs are actually a great donation to senior centers, assisted living facilities, and homes for people with special needs.  Some schools and libraries may also accept donations.  Please call ahead and check with the individual facility before dropping a bag on their doorstep.

SPORTS EQUIPMENT:

Again, donate, donate, donate!  Or check out Play It Again Sports, a franchise retail operation with hundreds of locations across the country that lets you buy, sell or trade used sporting gear and equipment.

COMPUTERS & ELECTRONICS:

Thousands of computers, televisions, and other electronics are taken out of service every year when consumers opt for new and improved models (we’re all guilty!).  Many of these, if not most, are still in perfectly usable condition and could be passed along to nonprofit organizations, schools, or used by people with disabilities.  Share The Technology is a website designed to provide a way for computer donors to connect with individuals or groups seeking used computers. Craigslist and FreeCycle can also help you find a new loving home for your old electronics.

Earlier this fall, RadioShack announced the launch of The RadioShack Online Trade-In Program which allows customers to exchange used, portable electronics for a RadioShack gift card.  First, you’ll get a quote for the product’s trade-in value. If the value is acceptable, you can then mail your electronics (using prepaid shipping labels provided by RadioShack) who will take care of recycling or repurposing the item.

Finally, Green Disk offers a convenient, comprehensive set of services to help individuals and organizations reduce the expense and the environmental impact associated with obsolete technology.  Specialized, convenient recycling programs are available for virtually all forms of “techno trash”.

So now that you have tons of great ideas on how to get your unwanted trash on its way to a beautiful, re-purposed life, make a resolution to clean out the house and start recycling in more ways than one!

With reports issued today that the US economy is going to get much worse this year and even into 2010, the news and media paints a chilling picture for the New Year. While most of us might react with uncertainty and worry, there is one sector of the economy that remains hopeful: the Green Economy. Many Greenies are seeing this downturn as an opportunity to change and re shape the American economy. For example, with the American auto industry failing, it is an amazing chance for them to focus on electric, hybrid, and other new eco-friendly technologies. In fact a shift such as this could retool the entire industry.

The GreenBiz published a great article recently about Green economists optimistic view of 2009. It pushes the idea that many businesses are continuing green changes, yet  everyone is pulling in the reins on spending rather than expanding. Still as we mentioned above, this recession is a chance to incorporate real changes to business. The GreenBiz Blog has also announced they plan on featuring articles related to the recession. So keep up with the green take on the recession on their blog as well as ours!

Co-op America has now officially changed over to Green America and they have suggested a few ideas on how green can change the economy. Check out their recently published 7 Fixes from the Green Economy. Within this article, ecomomy240w1they focus on suggestions to revamping and saving the American economy. There are several suggestions we’ve heard before like creating new green jobs and supporting local and fair trade. But there are also some inventive new ideas such as instituting Clean Energy Victory Bonds similar to those instituted in World War II and Community investing. These are the types of articles that need to be pushed forth during these trying times. While the mainstream media pushes fear and negativity, the green world is suggesting real ideas and a focus on the positive. After all the best way to jump start the economy is all in the perception.

You may be wondering with all this talk about recession and economic changes, how will you survive? Green America once again published some great little tips on how to save money during these trying times: 4 Ways to Save Money! The tips they offer are: Cooperative Meals, Build a Community of your Neighbors and Pool Resources, Carpool with friends or neighbors, and Barter and Trade for your needs. While these are great ideas to keep money in your pocket, they aren’t the exact answer to our country’s economic woes as a whole. Green America plans on focusing on saving money through being green in 2009. So pay attention for more great saving ideas!

So remember even if the news won’t let you forget we are in a troubling economy, try to keep your heads up and focus on the new economy coming our way. Keep putting pressure on our politicians to promote a green economy through organizations like Power Vote and Green Jobs Now. Or keep the green economy in the public sphere, by posting on your blogs, Myspace, and Facebook. The more we talk about the ideas for a change in our economy, the better chance we have of accomplishing it!

Happy New Year from all of us at AP! 2008 was a long and transitional year for most of us. In this country we have seen positive changes and some tragic events. Yet we have to keep our heads up even in economic turmoil and look towards the next year. Hopefully 2009 will be a prosperous and healing time for all of us. We at AP want to wish everyone a Happy New Year and would like to make some quick suggestions for New Year’s Resolutions this coming year. The following list is our 2009 New Year’s Resolutions; which we all plan to implelement into our lives as much as possible. “Should old acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind…”

1) Support Fair Trade: In the next year, we hope more and more people will support fair trade. There are easy changes in your life to do so. Make sure several products that are easy to buy fair trade are done. Such as coffee, tea, chocolate, and even vanilla. These products can be found fair trade in most grocery store chains, as well as in local stores. But on top of that make a conscious effort to incomporate more fair trade items into your life such as clothing and jewlery and even wine! If you are unsure of where to purchase such items, check out the FTF’s list of fair trade stores or even our own AP site.

2) Buy Organic: Whenever possible we at AP buy organic produce and other items, including clothing! Not only is organic items good for your body, but they are great for the environment. Check out your local grocery store, co-op, or farmer’s market for organic produce. Pay attention for other organic products such as clothing, vanilla, chocolate, and coffee!

3) Eat Less Meat OR Go Vegetarian/Vegan: Eating meat is very very harmful to the environment, as well as to one’s health. This year think about switching to a meat free diet or at least significantly cutting back on your meat intake. If you have trouble letting meat go, please try to eat only organic, free range, and local farms. As these types of farms tend to have less harmful effects. If you would like to know more about switching to a vegetarian or vegan diet, check out Go Veg.com or order one of their starter kits.

4) Support Local: Supporting your local businesses and farms is not only great for your community but it cuts down on energy used in shipping items from all over the world. Check out your local farmer’s markets and coops for great locally grown produce. And every city, town, and neighborhood in the country has thousands of small and local cafes, restaurants, and clothing stores.

5) Small Eco Choices: Make a commitment to make small green changes in your daily life. Some easy ones are changing all your light bulbs over to energy efficient ones (it saves you money too!), using eco friendly cleaning products, and recycling! You can also choose to car pool, use public transit, walk, or bike to work. These choices may seem small, but they have a large impact on the world around us. If each person cut back on the little things, we could use less energy together!

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