Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Enjoy this guest blog from Betty's friend, Sheffield...

Over the past few years, UVA students from various fraternities and sororities have tried through various organizations to promote recycling after fraternity parties. I was involved in a Student Council task force in 2009 before we realized that two other groups simultaneously attempting to solve the same problem. At last, the student organization Greek Recycling has finally succeeded in promoting recycling in the fraternity houses after parties.

“We picked up around 5000 pounds last fall which we considered to be a big success for our first semester of picking up. Our goal for this semester is 8000 pounds and I think we can easily attain that,” said Robert Chapman, the 3rd year Engineer and new Greek Recycling leader.

Chapman, who was also elected on Thursday night as the new chair of the Inter-fraternity Council’s Sustainability efforts, has really worked hard to get this group up and running.

“With most of the original members graduating last year, Robert quickly filled their shoes and led to the quick growth of the group,” said Peter Simasek, a 4th year in the Commerce School and one of the founders of Greek Recycling. The organization has come far in the past few years and built great momentum.

NBC 29 story on Greek Recycling: http://www.nbc29.com/global/category.asp?c=175568&clipId=5587891&topVideoCatNo=82958&autoStart=true

“It’s a great group to be involved in and a good way to make a very real difference in our Charlottesville community and especially in this rugby road area,” says Chapman.

-Sheffield Hale

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Using good scents

Enjoy this month's article in Abode magazine reprinted here...

I strolled into the office yesterday and my nose was met with the powerful scent of my co-workers’ new cinnamon plug-in air freshener. The scent may be enticing, but many don’t realize that commercially sold air fragrances in aerosols, powders, and foams are unnecessary and sometimes polluting to indoor air quality. Phthalates as well as a plethora of other irritants can be released, not to mention toxic volatile organic compounds (VOCs), causing headaches or worse with people sensitive to allergens.

If you’re using air fresheners, ask yourself, what is your intention—to mask an odor or add a scent? If it’s the former, can you eliminate the offending odor? Does your trash can need cleaning or your bathroom need scrubbing? When was the last time the dog was bathed? Preventatively, sprinkling baking soda at the bottom of your trash cans and on the floor before vacuuming really helps.

Now let’s talk about adding scents naturally. Soy or beeswax candles scented with essential oils are great alternatives to the petroleum variety. Rather than burning incense (the smoke is harmful in large quantities), boil cinnamon sticks and cloves in a pan of H20. Can you get creative by making your own potpourri of dried flowers and spices? Lavender is one of my favorites. I keep a bag of cedar chips from a diseased cedar in my linen drawer. A rosemary plant in your kitchen can double as cooking ingredient.

Finally, bamboo sticks dipped in your favorite pure essential oil (try eucalyptus, lemon, or tea tree) look and smell nice.