Green Guide to Plastics

I recently posted about bringing your own container for leftovers when eating out (which I still believe is very worthwhile) but I have also been dwelling on the what container to buy, use or reuse.  Some plastics can transmit chemicals into your food/drinks.

This Green Guide breaks down (no pun intended!) the seven types of plastics, you know that number on the bottom of the container. Generally it is #1, 2, 4, 5 that are safer  plastics but note that #1, 4 and 5 are often hard to find a place to recycle them.  #7 is miscellanious but those that are made with PLA are very safe and renewable – made from corn, potatoes, sugar cane, etc. and can be composted breaking down in less than 2 weeks.  Plastics #3, 6, 7 (all others besides the PLA items) should be avoided.

Green Dining Out

The Green Restaurant Association (GRA) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to create an ecologically sustainable restaurant industry. Using the collective powers of both restaurants, who want to be more environmentally sustainable and cost-effective, as well as the customers, who want to support these types of businesses, GRA created this organization and Web site:

Use the Web site to search for restaurants that are in various stages of becoming a certified green restaurant, which means they (1) use a comprehensive recycling system for all products that are accepted by local recycling companies; (2) are free of polystyrene foam (“Styrofoam”) products; (3) commit to completing four Environmental Steps per year of membership; (4) and at least one Environmental Step after joining.

You can also print the Suggestion Card off to leave with your bill at restaurants who are not part of GRA to educate them to the opportunity.  If you know someone that works in a restaurant there is a quiz to assess the environmental responsibility of the restaurant.  A library could also peruse the guide to endorsed products for ideas on tissue, cleaning products, hand dryers, etc.

If none of these restaurants are in your local area, think about checking some of these places out while traveling for events, conferences, or workshops. There are many in large cities especially NYC, Boston and several in California.

SLA to Honor “Knowledge to Go Green” Champions

(press release) Special Libraries Association (SLA) President Stephen Abram is accepting nominations through November 15, 2008 for a special Presidential Citation honoring “Knowledge to Go Green” Champions.  Recipients will be announced at the SLA Leadership Summit in January 2009, which is the start of SLA’s Go Green Initiative Year (read more about it in my previous post).  SLA Members or Units are eligible for the citation if they “have implemented green policies, or made significant changes to the manner in which business is conducted, with an eye toward reducing the impact on the environment.”  The nomination form is available on the SLA Awards Page for Presidential Citations.

Going Green With Your Computer

Check out this article on for tips on greening your computer – “Easy Ways to Go Green with Your Computer.” Here is the summary:

The article first discusses how to hibernate your computer (rather than putting it to “sleep”) saying this uses less power. If you use BitTorrent, download large files, or work remotely this might not be appealing but this article also discusses options such as setting your computer to shut down when the download is complete or using other programs like WinOFF (shuts down after set amount of time) or Wake-on-LAN’s (restart your computer remotely) Try Smart Sleep for MAC.

The second point in the article is on saving paper when printing, listing easy ideas like printing duplex, printing to PDF, preview before printing, and not just printing several copies of an email or Web page to share with others. Firefox offers a n extension Aardvark which helps you tweak your page to print only what you need and how you want it. The article also mentions GreenPrint (which I blogged about previously).

The third and forth points are on good energy use. Turn off any peripherals you don’t need at the time. Realize many peripherals draw power even when off if they are still plugged in the wall outlet, so either unplug, use a power strip and turn it off, or use a smart power strip (one that will monitor your PC’s power state and automatically shut down other peripherals). Also think about downloading a program such as LocalCooling (free!) to monitor and tweak your power usage.


I just discovered a Web site called It’s a FREE place where you can list, trade, swap, and choose books, DVDs, CDs, and video games. From reading the FAQs, it appears Swaptree really is free and easy. You add your items (UPC or ISBN), let their algorithm determine the trade, then print the mailing label (you dont pay for the mail costs either), and then choose what you want in return for the trade. Wonder if this is worth checking out for libraries? A great thing for a student worker or quality volunteer to look into for you. Perhaps you can get other items for you library in return (such as that CD or DVD the library once own that got scratched or lost by your customers?)

Earth Day 2008: Tuesday April 22

Earth Day is this Tuesday April 22. If your library is doing any Earth Day related event be sure to submit the information to the Earth Day Network Web site (you have to register to submit an event).  You can also find events that are in your local area – search by city or location.  Find more information on other events, donate to the cause, or discover other ways to be active  on the Earth Day Network Web site.

College Libraries: are you part of AASHE?

Find out if you institution is part of AASHE, the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. AASHE is a member organization open to all colleges and universities (in US and Canada) with a mission is to promote sustainability in all sectors of higher education. AASHE offers an online resource center, webinars, and other professional development opportunities (some are available to all and some to members only). Every two years they have a conference …  this year Nov 9-11, 2008 it will be held at the (LEED certified) Raleigh Convention Center, NC and there is still time to submit proposals for workshops, presentations and poster sessions!