Close the Loop

International Recycling Symbol 32px|alt=W3C|li...
International Recycling Symbol 32px|alt=W3C|link=✓ The source code of this SVG is valid. Category:Valid SVG (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The three arrows in the symbol represent the three main stages in recycling.

The first arrow represents the first stage of recycling – collection and sorting the various recyclable materials, to prepare them for processing.

The second arrow represents the second stage of recycling – processing the recyclable materials into raw materials and using these raw materials for manufacturing new products.

The third arrow in the symbol represents the third and final stage of the recycling process – the sale and purchase of products created using recycled materials.


The three arrows form a closed loop, illustrating how the three main stages contribute and reinforce one another in the recycling process. The closed loop also means that should any of the stages in the recycling process be ineffective, the sustainability of the entire recycling effort would be affected.

1) Collect ~ recycle our waste
2) Manufacture ~ make something new out of it
3) Purchase ~ buy recycled.

Superior Views-A Northern Shrike

It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade. ~Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

Frozen ice sheets cover the lake, and wind-blown snow covers the landscape.  The pileated woodpeckers, juvenile eagles and chickadees and long daylight bring joy.  Snow falls,  melting, and icy walking are almost an everyday cycle068

Attacking a chickadee a Northern  Shrike is stunned as he bangs into a window.  Our first great view of a shrike!064

Real spring is still weeks away, but enjoy a March sunset over the lake071

Earth Hour, 8:30 PM, Saturday


Dare the World to Save the Planet

Disconnect for one hour!!

Saturday March 23 at 8:30 p.m. your local location

Earth Hour is a simple idea that quickly turned into a global phenomenon. Hundreds of millions of people around the world turn off their lights for one hour on the same night, to focus on the one thing that unites us all—our planet.

It is easy to forget how much we depend on the planet for so many things like food, fuel, water and fresh air and that the actions we take—from the energy we use to the food we buy—have an effect on the world. Earth Hour is our chance to make and show our commitment to protect our planet not just for one hour a year, but every day.

Our Migrating Monarchs

Wild for Monarchs (WFM)     From Wild Ones:

On March 11,  Monarch Watch reported that the first faded female Monarch deposited her eggs on a milkweed plant in  Port Lavaca, TX.  “She looked almost transparent with tatter from her long journey.”

“As predicted, it is the lowest population ever recorded at 1.19 hectares.”  Click here for a NY Times article    “The American Midwest’s corn belt is a critical feeding ground for monarchs, which once found a ready source of milkweed growing between the rows of millions of acres of soybean and corn. But the ubiquitous use of herbicide-tolerant crops has enabled farmers to wipe out the milkweed, and with it much of the butterflies’ food supply.”  This is where  Wild Ones members can lend a hand and this is what we will try to help you do through our Wild for Monarchs campaign.

Breast Cancer in Young Women: Use Less Chemicals

Upsetting News about Breast Cancer:


How can You Reduce your use of Chemicals? I know I am naïve, but I think it is the government’s job to protect us from harmful chemicals. Unfortunately there is little reliable research on most of the chemicals we put on our skin, hair and mouths. After reading the book Ecoholic by Adria Vasil, I wondered why I would put chemicals on my body when I never put chemicals on my yard or plants? I went to my local coop to research organic beauty products. Choices for organic body products are not huge, and they are expensive, but this is the only body you have and this should be a priority. Deodorant has some harmful chemicals, and I would start with a chemical free deodorant.


Next, I would purchase an organic or a scent free body lotion, and then research the ingredients in other products you use. Part of the mission of this website is to encourage the use of less chemicals, and I hope the list below will help you make smarter cosmetic choices and have a healthier life in 2013. As with everything we purchase, it is always important to read the labels and purchase low carbon impact products( buy local and non-toxic.) Good Luck and remember to recycle all containers when you are finished. Environmental writer, Adria Vasil has 15 chemicals to avoid in our personal body products:  Her list follows:

1. BHA and BHT 2. DEA/MEA/TEA: (diethanolamine): 3. Formaldehyde-releasing preservatives: 4. Oxybenzone (BP-3/ benzophenone) and octinoxate (octyl methoxycinnamate) 5. Palm oil: unless it’s fair trade/organic 6. Parabens: 7. Parfum/fragrance: 8. PEGs: 9. Petrolatum/paraffin/mineral oil/petroleum distillates: 10. PPD In all permanent hair dyes. 11. Phthalates: 12. Retinyl palmitate: 13. Siloxanes: 14. Sodium laureth sulphate: 15. Triclosan/triclocarban:

The source:

Look up unfamiliar terms at

Refuse Plastic

Refuse Plastic Bags       

Each year, Americans throw away some 100 billion polyethylene plastic bags. Only 0.6 percent of bags are recycled.  From Worldwatch                            

Remember your reusable bags
Remember your reusable bags

While standing in line to check out with my groceries an outspoken woman caught my attention.  She was complaining, “All the chemicals in our environment are going to kill us!”  I was pleased with her passion until she loaded her groceries into 10 bags of plastic.  What is wrong with this picture? Plastic bags are one of the most harmful things to our environment.  They litter our landscapes, clog waterways, and kill birds and mammals. Thousands of marine mammals die each year after swallowing or choking on discarded plastic bags.  Plastic takes many years to break down, and only a small percentage of them are recycled.  As they spend thousands of years in the landfill they continue to leach out harmful chemicals into the environment.  Because of all these negative consequences, how could anyone forget their reusable bags when they go shopping?

How can we cut down on plastic bags?

*Always bring your washable reusable bag shopping, and refuse plastic bags.

*Bring refillable containers and cloth mesh bags for your purchases.

*My coops have brown paper type lunch sack bags which I always choose, and then compost. Regular grocery stores let me bring paper sacks for bulk and produce.  I know this might seem extreme, but not using plastic bags makes me feel great!

Reuse plastic bags if possible and always recycle them .  Many grocery stores have recycling collection containers for plastic bags. Plastic bags should be dry and clean to recycle, and cut off the zip-lock edge.  I turn them inside out and dry in my laundry tub before recycling.

Below is a very sad video on how fatal plastic is to birds:

Dangers of Plastic (Environmental Hazards)

Recipe for my Non-Toxic Cleaner

This is my Non-Toxic, All-Purpose Cleaning Recipe. I use this to clean sinks, wash floors, and for most of my cleaning needs.

Place the following in a heavy duty spray bottle:

3 1/2 Cups warm water,

¼ Cup vinegar,

essential oils lavender, lemon and sweet orange
essential oils lavender, lemon and sweet orange (Photo credit: How to be Sustainable)

2 tsp Borax,

2 drops lemon essential oil. This is optional-Adds scent. Purchase at Whole Foods or some grocery coops.

Gently mix together

Finally, add ¼ Cup of  7thGeneration dish soap or other dish soap

Synthetic chemicals in everyday products are likely to be at least the partial cause of a global surge in birth deformities, hormonal cancers and psychiatric diseases, a United Nations-sponsored research team reported on Tuesday.

These endocrine-disrupting chemicals or EDCs may also be linked to a decline in the human sperm count and female fertility, to an increase in once-rare childhood cancers and to the disappearance of some animal species, they said.

Valentines Day Chocolate Pie

005Happy Valentines

My healthy  “no waste” and “chemical free” Chocolate Pie

Chocolate Pie for Valentine’s Day

Use organic ingredients to be chemical free, and bring reusable containers to your local coop to purchase ingredients in bulk.


2 cups shelled walnuts

9 seeded dates

Process in a food processor and press into a reusable glass pie plate


2 ½ to 3 avocados

4 T Cacao

3 T Agave

2 T Coconut oil

Blend the filling ingredients in a food processor or blender, and smooth on top of the crust.  Cool before serving.  Store in the refrigerator, and serve with strawberries or blueberries.

Don’t Purchase Products with Triclosan

English: Lake Harriet and Minneapolis

For those of us who love our lakes and care about clean water:  You should be paying attention to the recent debate about Triclosan.

What is Triclosan?  It is an antibacterial used in hand wash and soaps and some other products.  For some time it has been recommended not to purchase products using this Triclosan because it can lead to antibiotic resistance. A recent study by the University of Minnesota and the Science Museum of Minnesota has shown that Triclosan is converting to harmful toxins in our Minnesota lakes as well as Lake Superior.

How do you find if a product has Triclosan?  Always read the ingredients in the products you purchase, Triclosan will be listed as an active ingredient on the product label.

How do we dispose of Triclosan?  According to the Minnesota Pollution Control (PCA), “Do not put Triclosan down the drain or toilet!”  At the present time their advice is to throw Triclosan products in the trash.  In the future they hope to have a better plan to dispose of them.  The best is NOT to purchase any product with Triclosan.  “Consumer avoidance can be more powerful than any legislation!” says the Minnesota PCA.

From the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH)

  • MDH recommends against using products containing triclosan at home. Using products with triclosan offers little or no  benefit, and may contribute to the development of bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics.
  • Use products without triclosan to reduce your exposure and environmental impact. Most products advertised as “antibacterial” contain triclosan. Check product labels to see if triclosan is listed as an ingredient.
  • Lake Superior in winter
    Lake Superior in winter

January on Lake Superior

Superior Views, January, 2013

“I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says “Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.”
Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass


Downy and Hairy woodpeckers devour the suet, and happy Black-capped chickadees are everywhere and there is an invasion of red poles.

Downy Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Black-capped Chickadee
Black-capped Chickadee
Common Red-Poles
Common Red-Poles

Lake ice is solid out about 200 feet from shore, then open water with floating chunks of ice. A coyote paces back and forth looking for something to eat on this life threatening white surface.