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Christmas trees have a predictable lifespan: After about five weeks, they kick the bucket (or the tree stand) . Often, the trees that inspire so much happiness end up in the trash. This year you may want to consider recycling. Ground into mulch and used as fertilizer, old trees help new ones grow.

Many local governments collect and recycle trees in early January. If you use a private trash service, call and ask to have your tree picked up. If you live in DC, set your tree out wherever your trash is usually collected between  January 2 and 19, and the Department of Public Works will recycle it for you. More details here.

If you miss the dates for local government pick up, you can buy a chipper from a hardware store and grind your own mulch. If that’s too pricey—chippers are priced as much as $500 at Home Depot—there are also commercial and government-run pickup sites. Plug your Zip code into the Earth911 Web site to find nearby tree-recycling services.

Posted at 09:12 AM/ET, 01/04/2008 | Permalink | Comments ()
A model eco-friendly home in Virginia By Mary Clare Glover

Check out these pictures of the second private home in Virginia to receive LEED certification, the national standard for high performance green buildings. The 753-square-foot house was built in the Shenandoah Valley by a Washington couple who wanted a weekend retreat in the mountains.

The home’s energy-efficient features include a green roof, which absorbs 70 percent of storm-water runoff, a geothermal heating system, and several energy-efficient appliances including a drawer refrigerator and convection microwave oven.

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Posted at 07:51 AM/ET, 08/23/2007 | Permalink | Comments ()

“The Green House” at the National Building Museum is an exhibit with a mission. Through photographs, drawings, and a life-size replica of an ecologically friendly home, the exhibit introduces visitors to the world of green design and architecture.

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Posted at 02:19 PM/ET, 05/14/2007 | Permalink | Comments ()

They’re eco-friendly, shapely, relatively cheap, and vanishing like a delicious Chinese take-out meal. They’re Kwytza (pronounced KWAI-DZA) Kraft’s lamps from Bryan Parks, an American who spent three years in Kunming, a city in the south of China. Fashioned from sanitized bamboo chopsticks used in restaurants in China, the lamps are a stylish addition to any home, green or not.

Parks, who owns a workshop in China, had the lamps made in a different Chinese workshop until he grew uncomfortable with labor practices there. Though he’s bringing production to his workshop and introducing a new line, he’s sold out of the original lamps.

A limited number are available from retailers. We headed online to see where we could scoop up the leftovers and fell in love with the clean, curvey look of the “Mey” lamp, pictured above. The cheapest “Mey” lamp we could find was at bluehouse, a Baltimore store with an online shop, where it goes for $29 plus shipping.  We also found it for $65 at the Art Institute of Chicago and for $68 at Green Home Environmental Designs.

Posted at 01:56 PM/ET, 05/14/2007 | Permalink | Comments ()