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Lights Out! Eco-Friendly Ideas for Outdoor Lighting

July 28th, 2014 • By: happy Eco Tips, Uncategorized

 

 

Now that we’re a month into summer, you’ve probably attended at least one party that was held outdoors, whether it was a wedding, birthday, or a neighbour’s BBQ.  Long days and warm summer nights mean that many parties can go late into the evening. If you’re planning your own outdoor party, or just wanting to create an outdoor oasis for yourself, here are two eco-friendly ideas to keep the festivities rolling.

 

Eco Candlight
Most people have candles lying around the house, but did you know the type of candle you burn could heavily impact the environment? Try using eco candles that are made using ingredients such as natural soybeans, which burn without pollutants, toxins, or carcinogens. They can even last 30-50% longer than a regular paraffin wax candle.

 eco lighting

 

Though they do tend to cost a couple dollars more than a regular candle, the fact that they last longer and won’t damage the environment make them definitely worth the price. Plus you can often reuse the container they come in!

 

Get Solar
If you’d prefer another option, try solar jars. Also referred to as sun jars, these cool containers store the sunshine it collects throughout the day and then reuses it to become a light at night. Inside the jar is a highly efficient solar cell, rechargeable battery, and LED lamp. The solar cell creates an electrical current, which allows the battery to be charged by the sun. They can be left in any weather conditions, and make the perfect garden lights. As seen in the image below, the solar jars come with different colors of LED lighting, so you can personalize the space the way you want it.

eco lighting

Lighting is an important factor to hosting a green party, so the next time you have an outdoor gathering, don’t forget to make it an eco-friendly one! After your summer party is over, bring all of your empty bottles and cans to us and we’ll recycle them. To see what else we collect, visit our website for full details.

Photo Source 1, Photo source 2 

School’s Out! Happy Stan’s Tips to Un-Plug This Summer

 

  

Now that school’s out, the big question for many parents is how to keep the kids busy — that doesn’t involve an iPad or a video game. In our electronically plugged-in world, it can seem impossible to remember how to spend our time without a screen in front of us. So we polled the Happy Stan Team to see what their favourite outdoor activities were growing up. Not only are these green, but these summer activities for kids are also free or cost relatively little, and above all, they’re fun!

1. Scavenger Hunt. Plant items around your backyard and give the kids a list of things they need to find. Not only will it get them outside, but it’ll also make them work together as a team.

2. Head to the Beach. Once the weather starts reaching higher temps, take the kids to the beach for a fun day of splashing around in the water and building sand castles. 

3. Paint. On rainy days, have them paint a picture on a canvas, or even rocks. When they’re done, put them around the borders of your garden; the kids will love that their work is put to use!

summer activities for kids

4. Berry Picking. Who doesn’t love berry picking (and eating!)? It’s a perfect activity for a day outside. Plus it shows kids where food comes from while supporting local farmers. Once the picking is done, choose your favourite berry recipes and cook them together.

summer activities for kids

5. Farmer’s Market. Take your child to a local farmer’s market and teach them about different fruits and vegetables. There is a ton throughout Metro Vancouver, including every Thursday in Port Coquitlam. Visit their website for more info.  

6. Bike the Seawall. Stanley Park has just been named the number one park in the world, so go enjoy it! Plan a day to ride around and stop for a picnic to take a break and enjoy the west coast scenery.Hopefully some of these ideas will help inspire you and your family to get away from their electronics and enjoy summer outside. After all, this season is the perfect time to enjoy our beautiful province!

summer activities for kids
What are you family’s favourite outdoor activities? Tell us on Facebook or tweet us!

 

 

 

Photo Source: Rock Art, Berry Picking, Bike Photo

Don’t Scrap Those Food Scraps!

June 11th, 2014 • By: happy Eco Tips, HSR Services, Live Green, Uncategorized

 

 

 

Broccoli leaves, onion skins, orange peels, melon rinds, squash seeds — the list goes on and on. All of these food scraps are normally composted and thrown away in the garbage. But what if we told you that these scraps actually have dense nutritional value which are not only edible, but delicious?

We often throw away the leaves on broccoli, celery, and cauliflower. However, broccoli leaves are carotenoids-rich, meaning your body converts them into Vitamin A, which helps to prevent cancer. Leaves from celery hold five times the amount of calcium and magnesium than the actual stalks, and cauliflower leaves have higher fiber content than the actual florets. Cook these leaves as you would normally with the eaten parts to reap all of the nutritional benefits.

food scraps

As for fruit skins, peels, and rinds, they’re actually more nutrient dense than their preferred sweet cores. Ensure you’ve properly scrubbed and cleaned the fruits’ skins first, and then whip them up in a smoothie with natural sweeteners like honey and agave to cut through the bitterness. Search for recipes online that show you how to reuse them in your favourite dishes, like a delicious melon rind soup.

Still not won over on eating food scraps? Don’t throw them out just quite yet, because many of them can be used as bird feed.

food scraps

The next time you’re whipping up an omelette for breakfast, rinse and crush your eggshells. They provide calcium and grit to aid in birds’ digestion. Birds also love seeds, stale cereal, and oats. If you have a few apples and bananas that are too bruised for your liking, include those in your feeder as well. They also eat cooked bacon rinds, beef fat trimmings and bone marrow (note that they can’t digest raw meat).

Although birds have difficulty digesting raw vegetables, peas, sweet corn and leftover mashed potatoes are safe for them to consume. Just remember to remove the skins first, and chop up your food scraps small enough for them to eat.

And speaking of birds…

food scraps

Like us on Facebook and tell us how you reduce your food consumption! 

Eco Home Renovations

May 26th, 2014 • By: happy DIY Projects, Eco Tips, Energy Saving Tips, Live Green

 

  

Summer is the most popular time for home renovations. Many use the warm summer months to update the kitchen, build a deck, or re-do the roof. If you’re considering selling your home, these addition will likely add value to your property. However, there’s another important aspect to consider that buyers look at: environmental sustainability.

So if you’re creating a summer project to-do list, consider adding these sustainable upgrades to your list:

Upgrade to Energy Efficient Appliances

eco home renovations

How many times a day do you and your family open the refrigerator? Every time you do so, it uses energy. If your fridge is looking like this one, it’s time to invest in an Energy-Star appliance. This will save energy and thus your money in the long run. In addition, BC Hydro has an Appliance Rebate program during the month of May, so hurry and start shopping!

When discarding your old appliances, skip the landfill and bring them to us! We recycle fridges, freezers, washers, dryers, ovens, and many other major appliances. Visit our website for the full list of what we accept.

Switch to A Low Flow Shower Head

eco home  renovations

Changing your showerhead is one of the simplest and easiest ways you can reduce your footprint for relatively low cost and labour. If you have a one-flow device, consider replacing it with a 4-6 spray setting showerhead. When you utilize the low flow setting you can control how much (or how little) water you need. This way you will conserve energy and water use.

Change Your Lighting

Lighting is a key feature to any room. Stock your current fixtures with CFL and LED bulbs to make your home more eco-friendly. Though they cost a little bit more than incandescent light bulbs, they pay off in the long run in terms of savings and longevity. Plus we accept them for recycling right here in our facility, which means you can reduce your footprint once they are no longer in use.   

If you are planning on doing some major renovations that involve demolition and construction, remember that we accept scrap wood, furniture, shelving, pallets, and other debris that you no longer want. Our drop-off facility is open 7 days a week, which means you can avoid the landfill and bring your debris to us to recycle.

If you’re wondering what other eco-upgrades you can do to your home, contact us on Facebook or tweet us, we’re always happy to help! And for more eco tips, follow us on Instagram.

 

Keep It Green for Mom and Mother Nature!

May 8th, 2014 • By: happy Uncategorized

 

 

Mother’s Day is just around the corner and flowers are the most popular gift for such an occasion. Sure, you can get local grown or fair trade flowers from the store, but chances are many of them have been treated with pesticides. Since the majority of flowers, like the popular roses, are shipped from another country, there is a large carbon footprint you will be contributing to by buying them.

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Why not try something different and more impressive this year? Plant your flowers instead! They’ll last longer (hello spring and summer!) and your mom will love the bonding time with you. Once the flowers have sprung, press them inside a heavy book (put those old phonebooks to use) and use them as a bookmark for your summer readings.

What about some good ol” quality time? Take her to the Port Coquitlam Mother’s Day Brunch at Kinder Café from 9:00am – 12:30pm, where you can enjoy great food and entertainment, as well as receive a goodie bag for your mom.

You could also get crafty and create a "coupon booklet". Each coupon has a service you will do for your Mom. For example, a 10-minute massage, doing the dishes, or vacuuming. You can find some great ideas and coupon booklet DIYs here. This is an idea we’re confident your Mom will love and won’t throw away!

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How are you planning on spending Mother’s Day? Share your green ideas with us on our Facebook page!

 

 

Photo Sources: Oneartsymama

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