The most anticipated holiday has come and gone, and now you are left with a dried out tree in your living room. It always seems a bit gloomy to throw out your dried up tree, that was once so decorated and brought holiday cheer!  Luckily, you don’t have to throw it out, like discarded wrapping paper.  There are some really creative and interesting ideas to reuse your Christmas tree! Of course, if you are completely exhausted from the season and are not looking forward to the clean up or any new projects,  you should check with your local city or county for appropriate ways to discard your tree. Or you can go to Earth 911 and type in “Christmas Trees” and your zip code to find out how your city’s recycling program works.  Just please don’t put it out with your regular trash or it might end up in the landfill, not quite the proper end to its noble service over the holidays.

If you are looking for a neat and interesting way to reuse that dried up decoration, we have compiled three really neat ways to do just that. Send off your lovely tree with well deserved style.

1) Return to Nature: It might seem a little harsh to chop up your cherished holiday decoration, however, it is a great way to return your tree to nature. You can do this one of two ways if you have a yard or fireplace. The first, is to turn your old tree into mulch for your garden. You can either chop it into little bits yourself or bring it to a store to have it run through a chipper. The mulch will help with soil erosion during the winter months and the fauna in the gardens will appreciate it! The other way to return your tree to nature is to chop it into logs and use as firewood. Fireplaces are a great way to heat your house in during to cold winter and a chopped tree will provide you with plenty of fuel!

2) Eat That Tree: You read that right! There is a new trend out to actually eat your Christmas tree! Chef René Redzepi suggests we use our trees in a number of dishes. He lists a ton of great uses in food such as drying the needles to make a spice and add it to cookie dough, rice, or even in main courses. He also suggests using the branches much like rosemary and thyme to add to any dish or making spruce butter! He stated a poignant argument for his reasoning: “Nature takes enormous time and effort to produce something that we use only briefly. Why don’t we make greater use of this living tree, as we make use of so many other kinds of plants on earth, by eating it?” We have to agree!

3) Make Arts & Crafts: Wood is a wonderful medium to create art with. When Christmas is over you will have an abundance of materials to make arts and crafts out of.  Plus, woodworking is a terrific way to pass the dull and cold winter months that lie ahead.  There are many creative things to make out of wood including coasters, candle holders, even ornaments for next year! You can get a head start on next years gifts, by simply reusing your Christmas tree.

After reading through these fun ways to reuse our Christmas tree, we are excited to try a few out! We, at the AP office are going to try a few of those recipe suggestions above and spruce up our winter meals. Pun definitely intended. What will you do with your Christmas Tree?


Halloween Tree Photo By H_EliseTrick or Treat?! It’s the phrase that is about to be on every child’s lips in a couple of weeks. Halloween is the time for dress up, self expression, scary stories, and of course delightful candy! Is there a way to indulge in this American holiday without going against your ethics? Yes there are ways to have a truly ethical Halloween! And we at AP have put together a sweet little guide to help you make sure your Halloween meets all socially conscious standards. Stay safe and Happy Halloween!! Mwahahaha

1) Costumes: Costumes sold on the mainstream market are often made of harsh materials such as cheap plastics and harmful dyes. Unfortunately, people often buy these costumes only to throw them out after one use. This is a very wasteful practice. The most Green way to make a costume is by making one! Going through yours and your friend’s closets is the best way to through together a costume (it saves you money too)! But if you can’t find exactly what you need for your outfit, try the local thrift stores. Thrift stores are teeming with great pieces perfect for nearly any costume. If thrifting just isn’t your thing there are a number of organic costumes for both adults and children. Please remember if you do purchase a costume from any source be sure and donate it once you are finished.

Jokerz Vegan Candy Bar by Go Max Go

Jokerz Vegan Candy Bar by Go Max Go

2) Vegan Treats: It is possible to hold to your Green and Vegan roots when handing out trick or treat candy. When you are choosing what candy you would like to hand out this year, keep in mind which candies are vegan. PETA has a nice list of mainstream candy which is vegan by default. Or if you would like to support vegan business, Go Max Go, based in Portland OR makes delicious all vegan candy bars styled much like your old favorites such as Almond Joy and 3 Musketeers. They are a new company but you can already find them in many health food stores. Pangea, the online vegan store also offers Halloween style goodies such as ghost marshmallows, Halloween themed cookies, and chocolate bites. All great ideas to hand out! Also, if you are feeling healthy you can always hand out packaged dried fruit or nuts. If you are throwing a get together, here are some terrific Halloween themed vegan recipes.

3) Fair Trade Chocolate: Fair Trade Chocolate is easy to come by these days and make great Halloween giveaways. In fact, October is Fair Trade Month, so what better way to end the month then to hand out Fair Trade Chocolates? Global Exchange has put together a great list of  Fair Trade chocolate companies such as Equal Exchange and Divine Chocolate. You can also find cute Halloween themed organic and Fair Trade chocolates. Global Exchange is also promoting Reverse Trick or Treating, where they have asked fair traders to hand out Fair Trade chocolate with information to houses they might be trick or treating at. Print out these informational cards and attach them to your Fair Trade chocolates! One quick tip, if you are Trick or Treating this year be sure to use a re-usable bag rather than plastics (a pillow case always does the job)!

4) Decorations: Halloween is an exciting time and most people celebrate by decorating their homes and businesses, whether it is for parties or just to be festive! Unfortunately, much like costumes many Halloween decorations are made of cheap plastic and are thrown out after one use. Once again a great place to find decorations is at a thrift store, plus they will save you money! You can also choose to decorate with natural decorations such as corn husks, straw, and pumpkins.  Another great activity is to create your own crafts using recycled materials such as the soda bottle pumpkin or the egg crate bat. Not only will this be Earth friendly but kid friendly as well! Also, when you are ready to choose that pumpkin to carve, be sure to go to a local and organic local pumpkin patch instead of purchasing an imported pumpkin from a main grocery store. A fun little activity would include a Fair Trade, Organic, Green, or Vegan themed Jack-O-Latern. Why not spread the word through pumpkins?!

5) Aftermath: On November 1st with the streets quiet, the clean up begins! Many of the costumes and decor for Halloween is tossed in the trash. Be sure to save your items to use again the following year or donate them to your local thrift store. Old Jack-o-lanterns, straw used for decor, and fallen leaves will letter the streets in early November. Be sure to either compost these items in your own composting or through your city if they provide it. If you are throwing a Halloween shindig, be sure you recycle all bottles and cans used.

Necessity is often said to be the mother of all invention, but is it perhaps also the driving force behind adaptability?

Reduce, Recycle, Reuse”, three little words that have become the battle cry of the Green-minded set, have been reinforced in recent times by the plain and simple necessity that comes with living through trying economic times. Over the past months, as stocks were plummeting and jobs were steadily disappearing, the amount of garbage produced by the normally consumer crazy American public was following suit. By some estimates, the amount of waste inundating our landfills has decreased by as much 30 percent.

Blue Marble (Planet Earth) Photo By woodleywonderworkBetween vanishing 401Ks and the dwindling job market it is hard for even the most optimistic among us to not feel a little hopeless on occasion. While living life in the lean lane does not necessarily mean grabbing a shovel and burying our family valuables in the backyard, it does mean that people are adjusting the way in which they live on the most fundamental of levels. People who may have never given much thought to where their abundance of belongings came from, let alone where it went to after they disposed of it, are now forced to consider the realties of our sometimes disposable society. Slowly but surely, frugality has birthed a new, more green minded nation.

Pre-recession you may have tossed that aging Milli-Vanilli poster out of the window of a moving Hummer. Post-recession you is much more considerate of the plight of mother earth, so you reuse that classic poster as lining for the cabinets in your kitchen! No worries, photos of this lip syncing duo will do nothing to tarnish the street cred of your dishware.

Pre-Recession you tossed that empty cola can in a river overflowing with salmon, while post-recession you rinses that can out and redeem it for the nickel deposit! Score! Both for your wallet and those cute fish!

Pre-Recession you would buy six motorcycles at a time, in an effort to let your friends know that you are in fact cooler than both James Dean and The Fonz combined. Post-recession you peruses pictures of the cast of Happy Days on the internet at your local library. Hey, it is a recession, not everything is gonna be unicorns, rainbows and Harleys!

Its Future is in our Hands - Live Earth Photo By aussiegallMother nature enthusiasts may have preferred for these considerations towards the environment to have been adopted by the masses for reasons other than frugality, but ultimately this new found environmentalism is good news for the planet. The more people who live conscientiously, for whatever reason, the better. Lessons learned out of necessity are hopefully not as disposable as the society in which we belong tends to be. When this recession becomes past sense (fingers firmly crossed), perhaps the newly learned, Earth healthy habits adopted by so many won’t soon be forgotten.

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