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by Wendy Gabriel

I was recently reading through one of my favorite clothing/home/everything cool catalogues, Anthopologie, and saying to myself that I should just view their products online and save some trees. Then I discovered that they are one step ahead of me; they are using FutureMark Paper for their publications.

FutureMark Paper is setting the bar high for other paper mills wanting to provide a more sustainable product. They are the only company in North America making 90-100% recycled content magazine/catalog quality paper (everything else is 10-30% or from Europe), and, defying common wisdom, there is no premium on it compared to regular paper, and large market publications such as Everyday with Rachel Ray are confident enough of the quality to use it, along with Whole Foods, Walmart, and Anthropologie, among others.  

They are able to produce such a high quality recycled product because FutureMark Paper‘s factory is purpose built to accept recycled material. When the typical paper mill uses recycled materials it reduces their factory efficiency and costs more because they are set up to primarily process virgin fibers.

More reasons to love FutureMark Paper:

  • They divert more than 200 million pounds of waste paper from landfills annually.
  • By using reclaimed waste paper instead of virgin raw materials, they save over 2 million trees each year.
  • Compared to 0% recovered fiber content products, they reduce the amount of CO2 emitted into the air by over 150,000 tons each year.
  • Their world class deinking plant gently “washes” waste paper for reuse and collects the leftover ink, coatings and other solid residues for use as landscape cover.
  • Their clean-tech processes have reduced their VOC emissions by 90% over the past decade.
  • They minimize water consumption, saving over 800 million gallons of wastewater annually.*

* Environmental impact estimates were made using the Environmental Defense Fund Paper Calculator.

Want to feel better about reading your favorite magazine? Tell them to start using FutureMark Paper.

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by Wendy Gabriel

GREEN TIP: If you’re new to green living, there are a few simple tips you can incorporate right away to begin living sustainably.

10 Simple Tips for Green Living

1.  Reduce, reduce, reduce. Here are a few simple ways to reduce your impact and conserve our resources:

  • Turn off the tap water when brushing your teeth.
  • Take shorter showers.
  • Use cold water to wash clothes whenever possible.
  • Run your clothes washer and dishwasher only when they are full.
  • Drink filtered tap water instead of bottled water.
  • Regularly replace the filter on your Heating, Ventilating and Air-Conditioning (HVAC) system. Check furnace or heat pump filters once a month for blockages and replace them regularly. A dirty air filter can increase your energy costs and lead to early equipment failure.
  • Install a programmable thermostat in your home (and then actually program it).
  • Walk or bike instead of driving.
  • Turn off the lights when leaving a room.
  • Reuse envelopes and backsides of paper, print double-sided and purchase high recycled content paper.

2.  Buy local, organic produce. Food travels an average of 1,200 miles before it reaches your plate, so buy locally produced items to save energy and prevent emissions from going into the air.

3.  Recycle. By recycling materials such as aluminum cans, newspapers, and glass jars, you can save energy and landfill space, conserve natural resources, and also prevent pollution. is a wonderful resource for learning about recycling.

4.  Unplug electronics when they’re not in use. Many appliances continue to draw electricity when they’re turned off, releasing unnecessary pollutants into the air, and costing you unnecessary dollars.

5.  Use non-toxic laundry detergents to avoid harmful exposure to chemical detergents and water pollution.

6.  Properly dispose of hazardous waste. Electronics, compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs), certain batteries and other household hazardous wastes contain toxic materials so they should not be sent to landfills where they can pollute the surrounding land and water. A single computer monitor may contain 4 pounds of lead as well as other toxic heavy metals. For the City of Fargo, check out their site for information regarding hazardous waste.

7.  Buy recycled. Look for the words “post consumer” or “recycled” when shopping. There are over 4,500 recycled-content products available including paper towels, printer paper, note pads, packing boxes, sleeping bags, laundry detergent bottles, glass containers, nails, carpeting, trash cans, and trash bags. The amount of post consumer content can vary from a small percentage to 100 percent, so look for labels that indicate the highest percentage. (Source: US EPA)

8.  Compost. Compost your food scraps and yard clippings. This will keep them out of the landfill and provide you with mulch, soil amendment and potting soil.

9.  Buy reusable products. For example, washable utensils, tableware, cloth napkins, and dishcloths can be used many times.

10. Buy used products. Check out your local resale or consignment shops. Locally check out the Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch Thrift Store, Once Upon A Child and so on.

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

 Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)
The NRDC’s mission is to safeguard the Earth: its people, its plants and animals and the natural systems on which all life depends.

For more tips on how to reduce energy consumption visit

Editor’s Note: Each Wednesday My Green Side brings Simple Tips for Green Living to The Christopher Gabriel Program. We also highlight a favorite green site each week. You can stream the segment at approximately 1020am (CDT) every Wednesday at

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by Wendy Gabriel

GREEN TIP: Become familar with your local recycling policies and prepare your recycling accordingly.

As a recent transplant to the Fargo Moorhead area, I was surprised to discovered that nobody in our area recycles paperboard/boxboard (cereal boxes) so I decided I needed to take a look at what we can recycle.

City of Fargo offers free curbside recycling for residents along with 27 drop-off locations throughout Fargo for the collection of recyclables. Twelve of the sites have containers for all recyclables, including yard waste. accept aluminum cans and tin/metal cans. They cannot accept scrap metal, nails, tin foil, aerosol cans (if empty, throw out) or paint cans.

Cans, glass and plastic

They accept clear, brown and green glass bottles and jars. Blue glass containers can be placed with green glass. Labels do not need to be removed, however, please remove caps. We cannot accept ceramics, window glass, Pyrex, or standard light bulbs (fluorescent bulbs should be brought to the Household Hazardous Waste facility.)

They accept plastic bottles with a neck that have the #1 or #2 recycling symbol. Please empty, rinse and remove caps and rings before recycling. We cannot accept plastic containers #3 or higher, plastic bags, motor oil containers or vegetable oil bottles.

Corrugated cardboard

They accept corrugated cardboard boxes (with the wavy edge) and brown paper bags. Examples include mailing/shipping boxes, clean pizza box tops and some beverage boxes (most are not corrugated so check to be sure!).

They cannot accept used pizza boxes, wax-coated cardboard, soda cases, or boxboard (non-corrugated boxes such as cereal, shoe, and cigarette-type boxes).

Magazines and newspapers

They accept magazines and small catalogs with glossy pages.

They cannot accept catalogs with glued bindings, such as those from department stores or phone books (these are recycled in a special, short-term collection held each year).

They accept newspapers and shoppers (i.e. the Midweek) including their glossy inserts.

Source: City of Fargo

Shampoo/conditioner bottle caps

Aveda has a bottle cap recycling program. Bring your hard plastic caps to Aveda and they will use it to make new ones.

Plastic bags

We talked about plastic bags last week, Green Tip – Bring Your Own Bag. If you happen to find yourself with one, you can recycle it at most area grocery stores. Hornbacher’s, for example, has a plastic bag recycling bin as you enter the grocery store.

Getting back to those cereal boxes. I was initially frustrated that our area doesn’t recycle them but now I’m looking at it as an opportunity to reduce more waste. I’m going to buy bulk ingredients (in my own containers) and make my own granola.

Reducing our waste before it becomes recycling or landfill, is a goal we all work towards. What are some ways you reduce your waste?

My Green Side’s weekly web pick:

Valley Earth Week
Valley Earth Week is a committee made up of area citizens, members of non-profit organizations, businesses and agencies, the cities, community utilities and transit systems that aims to provide a gateway for companies and organizations to teach the Red River Valley about ways to live, work and play green.

Upcoming Event:

2010 Green Expo
Downtown Fargo Civic Center
Saturday, March 20, 2010 9:00 – 5:00 pm
Sunday, March 21, 2010 11:00 – 4:00 pm

The Valley Earth Week Green Expo is a great opportunity to learn about resources, services, and products that promote healthier, more ecologically sound lifestyles as well as educate attendees about the environmental impacts of consumer actions and choices currently in widespread use.

Editor’s Note: Each Wednesday My Green Side brings Simple Tips for Green Living to The Christopher Gabriel Program. We also highlight a favorite green site each week. You can stream the segment at approximately 1020am (CDT) every Wednesday at

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by Wendy Gabriel

The Christopher Gabriel Program is giving away a fabulous gift every week day from December 1st toThe Christopher Gabriel Program December 24th. THE JAMES DENTON/DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES GIVEAWAY IS TODAY (12/23/2009)! Donated by James Denton, My Green Side added a sweet treat (some organic chocolate), the prize is a fabulous The Christopher Gabriel Program canvas tote filled with some awesome Desperate Housewives memorabilia. LISTEN TO WIN FROM 9AM TO NOON CT!

GREEN TIP: As you settle in to enjoy the holidays with family and friends, remember to reuse and recycle. Merry Christmas!

Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s day, Americans throw away a million extra tons [900,000 metric tons] of garbage each week, including holiday wrapping and packaging, according to Robert Lilienfeld. Lilienfield is co-author of the book Use Less Stuff: Environmental Solutions for Who We Really Are.

So why not recycle holiday gift wrap? Lilienfield, who has published a newsletter on reducing waste since 1996, notes that if every family reused just 2 feet [0.6 meter] of holiday ribbon, the 38,000 miles [61,000 kilometers] of ribbon saved could tie a bow around the entire planet.

I found a fabulous tip at for making gift bows from recycled materials. Imagine, this years Christmas gift wrap can be next years gift bows.

On to the tree! Recycling fresh trees after Christmas can make a huge difference in reducing holiday waste. Instead of taking up space in the landfill, trees can be ground into wood chips, which can be used to mulch gardens or parks or to prevent erosion at a local watershed.

The National Christmas Tree Association, an organization which represents Christmas tree growers, has teamed up with Scottsdale, Arizona-based conservation group Earth 911 to point consumers in the right direction with their trees. On their site, you can enter your zip code to find the nearest of 3,800-plus spots nationwide that accept old trees.

Source: National Geographic

Christmas tree recycling for Fargo, North Dakota

Christmas trees can be recycled into wood chips. Trees are typically collected during the first full week of January on your garbage pickup day. Please place trees with your regular household garbage, not on snowbanks. Please remove all plastic bags and metal stands. Residents can also bring trees to the landfill, where they will be chipped into mulch. The landfill is open Monday—Saturday, 7:15 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Source: City of Fargo

Wendy’s weekly web pick:

Sierra Club
The Sierra Club’s goals are to help provide:

  • a safe and healthy community in which to live
  • smart energy solutions to combat global warming
  • an enduring legacy for America’s wild places

Since 1892, the Sierra Club has been working to protect communities, wild places, and the planet itself. We are the oldest, largest, and most influential grassroots environmental organization in the United States

A Sierra Club Holiday Survival Guide: How to Win Arguments and Influence People

Check out the amazing work your local chapter is doing!

Editor’s Note: Each Wednesday My Green Side brings Simple Tips for Green Living to The Christopher Gabriel Program. We also highlight a different favorite green site each week. You can stream the segment at approximately 1020am (Central) every Wednesday at


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By Wendy Gabriel

Good-bye 2007, you’ve been a great year.  A new baby made her on-time arrival at Gabriel Manor, another had a tail wind and came a bit early for my sister, we’ve all had life teach us new lessons and more than anything, we’ve had enough joy and laughter to fill up several years.

We’ve also had some low-lights . . . but that’s a blog for another time. 

Hello, 2008.  This year promises to be amazing, one that will be full of firsts.  Baby Greek Goddess’s first birthday.  Little Greek Goddess’s first skating lessons followed in short order by her first hockey class (she’s already tackled her first ballet and soccer classes).  My oldest niece will be the first of our 10 nieces and nephews to graduate high school.  Oh how time flies: I blinked and she went from wearing diapers to wearing Prada.

And so with the clock ticking down to 2008, it’s time for The Big Finish.  The grand finale to My Green Side, 2007.  For quite some time, I’ve been looking for a jumping-off point to leap into the new year; a light to follow, if you will, that will be something of a guidepost for the year to come.  As if on cue, I stumbled across a quote by Mother Teresa which really struck a cord . . . call it the sign in the road I was seeking:

“People are often unreasonable and self-centered.  Forgive them anyway.  If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives.  Be kind anyway.  If you are honest, people may cheat you.  Be honest anyway.  If you find happiness, people may be jealous.  Be happy anyway.  The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow.  Do good anyway.  Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough.  Give your best anyway.  For you see, in the end, it is between you and God.  It never was between you and them anyway.”

You might be wondering what the previous paragraph has to do with living green.  To me, living green is more than just Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.  It’s about living life in a way that benefits not only yourself and your family, but those around you.  It is about seeing the world, living in the world and improving the world in ways that leave a healthier blueprint for our children to follow, both physically and emotionally. 

Happy New Year!

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By Wendy Gabriel

GREEN TIP:  Bring Your Own Bag! 

Most anywhere you shop, stores are selling canvas bags designed to hold your groceries.  My husband brought home a couple from Byerly’s the other day (I was momentarily speechless!).  They’re great.  They fold into little flat squares so you can keep them under your car seat or other handy spots.  My Mom also found some for sale at Kowalski’s Market.  Kowalski’s also offers a nickel-per-bag refund if you reuse your paper or plastic shopping bags.  Lakewinds Natural Food Co-op has a similar incentive.   

Obviously, bringing your own bags is ideal but if you don’t, requesting a plastic bag results in less waste than paper bags.  This is basically because it takes less energy to produce and ship plastic bags.  According to the Institute of Lifecycle Environmental Assessment (ILEA), which is an environmental advocacy organization headquartered in Seattle, “two plastic bags use 13% less total energy to make than one paper bag.”  And “since plastic bags are normally much thinner and lighter than comparable paper bags, it would take at least seven 45-foot trucks of paper bags to deliver the quantity of bags contained in one 45-foot truckload of plastic bags.  Consequently, the use of plastic bags reduces road traffic, the resulting air pollution, and truck fuel consumption.” 

If you’re reusing plastic bags (good for you!) and wear and tear has rendered them ineffective, recycle them.  Plastic bags can’t be recycled through most cities’ recycling programs but if you’re in Minnesota, Twin Cities-based “It’s in the Bag” plastic bag recycling program has plenty of convenient drop sitesPlastic bags collected by “It’s in the Bag” are sorted by adults with developmental disabilities at Merrick Inc., a non-profit organization and then sent to Trex Company, a  Winchester, VA-based manufacturer.  Trex processes the bags to create construction materials used in decks and backyard patios.   According to The Trex Company, each Trex decking board (16-feet long, 2 x 6 inches) uses approximately 2,250 plastic bags. If you happen to be living outside of Minnesota . . .  

California, for example, requires all grocery stores to take back and recycle plastic grocery bags

In Wisconsin, at least in St. Croix County, Wal-Mart stores generally accept plastic bags for recycling.

In a perfect world we would all have a stash of hemp or organic cotton bags and we would bring them every time we went to the grocery store.

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By Wendy Gabriel

GREEN TIP:  When you wash your car, bring it to your local commercial car wash! 

Are you surprised?  I was!  I thought my eco-smug neighbor was doing the green thing every time he would painstakingly wash and wash and wash his car by hand.   

Here’s the dirt on doing it yourself:   

First, when you wash your car yourself, you use more water.  The International Carwash Association reports that commercial car washes use less than half the water that you’d use when you do it yourself.  So, according to one report, washing a car yourself uses around 80 to 140 gallons of water whereas a commercial car wash averages less than 45 gallons per car.  AND many commercial car washes recycle and reuse the water used to rinse the cars (you can’t do that at home).    

Secondly, the wastewater run-off you are creating goes directly into storm drains which sends the nasty water back into our lakes, rivers and streams.  In contrast, federal laws in the U.S. and Canada require commercial car washers to drain their wastewater into sewer systems.  So, their nasty water gets treated before it is sent back out into the world.

Do something green, go wash your car . . . at the carwash!

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