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Living With Less Stuff

July 4th, 2013 • By: happy Live Green, Uncategorized, Waste Reduction Week

 

 

A recent article published in the New York Times, “Living With Less. A Lot Less” talked about how one man became so overcome with acquiring more and more things he eventually became ‘numb’ to what he was even purchasing. The things that used to excite him, like the latest gadgets to expensive cars, no longer had the same effect. The stress had become so much that he eventually came to the point where he just had to get rid of it all. Now he lives in a 420 square foot apartment, owns six shirts, and sleeps in a bed that folds down from the wall. And he’s never been happier, saying “My space is small. My life is big.”

From television to magazines, Twitter to YouTube, we’re told that ‘things’ will make us happier, smarter, better looking, and more valued as human beings. In reality it does just the opposite. Like the article said, we get so lost in the cycle of working and buying, that we lose track of what’s really important.

And it’s starting at a young age. We now see toddlers with iPads, 8 years olds asking for cell phones, and playrooms stuffed with enough toys to fill a store. So how do we break the pattern and teach our kids to consume less and live more? 

living with less stuff

The first step: turn off technology. This includes you as well! No cell phones, no handheld devices, no video games. Plug out and plug into what’s going on around you. The hot summer weather means it’s the perfect time to head outdoors and take advantage of Mother Nature. It doesn’t have to be expensive or mean you have to travel hours somewhere, just take a walk around the neighbourhood, or find a local park and spend an hour letting loose.

Get involved in sports and community events. Visit your local city website to see all of the events, camps, and workshops your kids can attend this summer. They’ll be able to develop life skills like team building as well as meet other kids in the community.

Back to basics. Make TV and video games a special time, or ‘treat’ for the kids to use. Put a limit on how long they can spend online. And if they’re not using it, neither should you. Play a board game, read books, and make dinner or bake cookies together. It’s simple, but it will zone them out of ‘stuff’ and into quality time spent with the family.

Clear it out. Get rid of the clutter. Make it a family project to remove as many things you don’t need or use. A simple rule is if you haven’t used, seen, or done anything with it in the past year, it’s time to throw it out. Come by our drop-off facility and recycle the goods, we’re open 7 days a week. You’ll be amazed at how many things you can actually recycle, like old appliances, computers, batteries and even light fixtures. Check out the full list on our website, or contact us on Twitter and Facebook and we’ll be Happy help you out.

What are your tips for having less, and living more?

 

Green Tips to Stay Cool This Summer

June 20th, 2013 • By: happy Eco Tips, Energy Saving Tips, Live Green, Uncategorized

 

 

Stay Cool This Summer

Meteorologists are predicting record-breaking heat this summer in Metro Vancouver. While this is good news for ice cream companies, it’s bad news for homeowners. Sticking to your leather furniture or lying awake because it’s simply too hot to sleep aren’t exactly your ideas of summer fun.  In the depths of July and August, you may be wishing you had splurged on that central air conditioning unit, but these devices are costly to our environment. They use a lot of energy, emit more pollutants into the air, and will only increase your hydro bills.  

There are plenty of green ways to beat the heat without beating up our planet, so here are Happy Stan’s green tips to stay cool this summer.

  • Use awnings, which can reduce solar heat gain by as much as 65%
  • Delay heat-generating activities like dishwashing until evening on hot days, or better yet do these by hand. Also, use a clothes line and air-dry your laundry. No fabric softener can compete with the smell of clothing dried by the sun!
  • Plant trees around the house to naturally shade you from the sun (plus they clean the air!)
  • Install white window shades or mini-blinds. Mini-blinds can reduce solar heat gain by 40-50%
  • Get a ceiling fan. These operate at a fraction of what central and window air-conditioning units require. Just remember to turn them off once you leave the room to conserve energy
  • Install shutters
  • Stick to the barbecue. Incase you needed another excuse to hit the grill, avoid cooking hot foods indoors as it will only emit more heat and cause temperatures to rise.
  • Take cold showers. If you’ve been exercising outside or you just need to cool down fast, hop in the shower for a quick rinse.

Have some more tips to cool down? Tweet us or post them on our Facebook page!

Be an Eco-Globetrotter: Take Green Vacations!

June 12th, 2013 • By: happy Eco Tips, Live Green, Uncategorized

 

 

 

With the school season almost over, many families are planning for a much-deserved getaway. But travelling doesn’t mean you should take a vacation from living green,as there are plenty of options for you to keep the planet and your family happy. Check out some of the green vacations the Happy Stan’s team came up with:

Hotel Green. With a little searching, you can find amazing green hotels and resorts around the world.

green vacations

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort, Fiji – Named Australasia’s Leading Green Hotel by the 2012 World Travel Awards

green vacations

Ç?ra?an Palace Kempinski, Istanbul – A former Ottoman Palace on the shores of Istanbul”s beautiful Bosphorous Strait turned into a five star green hotel.

green vacations

Crosby Street Hotel is an eco-friendly option in the trendy SoHo neighborhood.

Explore the City minus the car. By exploring your destination by bike or on foot, you’ll be able to see and experience the culture. You’ll also see things that you may have missed by car. For those that are not within walking distance, use the local public transportation system to reduce your carbon footprint. Another bonus? You won’t have to worry about finding parking or paying for the rental, gas, and insurance.

Pack light and Wash Less. Opt not to have your hotel linens and towels laundered daily wherever you stay. This will save both water and energy. And when it comes to packing, light is always better.

Go local. You don’t always have to travel far to find beauty in this world. Explore your own backyard by hiking the Chief, exploring Vancouver Island, or camping in the Okanagan.

Buy local Souvenirs. Instead of walking into large chain souvenir shops, buy local goods when you travel. Not only will you be supporting local artists, you’ll have something more meaningful than something mass-produced. 

How do you plan on spending your summer vacation? Tell Stan on Twitter and Facebook, he’d love to hear it! 

Pedal Power: It’s Bike to Work Week!

May 29th, 2013 • By: happy Current Events, Uncategorized

 

 

bike to work week

It’s Bike to Work Week in Metro Vancouver! Don’t burn fossils fuels, burn calories by swapping four wheels for two. If you’re apprehensive to make the switch, we’ve got some pointers to help you commute safely and efficiently.

Scope Your Route. Before hitting the road, investigate the best bike routes. Find out where there are designated bike lanes for an easy commute.

Make sure you’re equipped. Helmet, reflectors, bike lights, bells, and bright clothing are all essentials you need to have before you hit the pedals.

Know your hand signals! You have to be able to communicate with other cars, bikes, and pedestrians on the road. Here’s a quick reminder:

handsignals

 It’s going to be a wet week, so grab yourself some cycling glasses that have orange or yellow lenses to keep the rain out your eyes.

Do not, we repeat, do NOT have your earphones plugged in. We like a good tune just as much as the next person, but if you can’t hear your surroundings, you could be compromising your safety and the safety of others around you.

If making time for the gym is an impossible task, keep in mind that the average person loses 13 pounds in their first year of biking to work. So this is a great alternative to staying active while also soaking up that important Vitamin D.

Think buying a bike is a little too pricey? Check out Craigslist, Kijiji, garage sales, or simply send an email out to your friends and family that you’re looking for a bike. You’ll be surprised how easy and affordable it is to start pedaling. Or if you have a bike that’s been ‘retired’, drop it off to us and we’ll recycle it!

Do you bike to work? Tweet us or tell us on our Facebook page!

Give Your Mom the Gift of Green for Mother’s Day

May 9th, 2013 • By: happy Current Events, Live Green, Uncategorized

 

  

 

Sure, you could give mom the usual gifts like flowers and perfume for Mother’s Day. But what about giving her something that’s more meaningful? You don’t need to spend an arm and leg. In fact, the best gifts of all often don’t cost very much. So this Mother’s Day, give her the gift of green and show her (and Mother Earth!) how much you care. 

Mother's Day green ideas

We polled the Happy Stan team and asked what they’ll be giving their Mom’s this year. Most of these won’t break the bank, plus they have low-impacts on the environment.

Breakfast in bed. Start cracking those eggs! What Mom wouldn’t love to wake up to a warm breakfast? After you’ve finished cooking, make sure to compost the leftovers. Try this recipe for a Pear Frittata with Feta and Honey.

Mother's Day

Jewelry made from a local artist

 

Plants and herbs for the garden

Bike ride along the Trabouley Trail


Cleaning up the basement and washing the cars (if you have junk to throw away,
drop it off to us!)

A new tote bag to carry everything from groceries to gym gear made from recycled cotton

Show your mom some green love, she deserves it. To all the Mom’s out there, Happy Mother’s Day from Happy Stan’s! 

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Recycling Drop Off Location
1603 Langan Ave., Port Coquitlam, BC

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