Be Well Philly Gift Guide: 5 Awesome Holiday Gifts for Earth Lovers

EARTH LOVERS

We care about the Earth’s health as much as we care about yours here on Be Well Philly. After all, what good is taking care of yourself if the environment around you is anything but healthy? So if you want to show Mother Earth as much love as your gift recipients this year, consider doing some of your shopping with the help of this gift guide, tailor-made for Earth lovers.

Of course, here in Philly when you have a question about the environment, the only place to turn is to Green Philly. That’s why we asked its co-founder and editor-in-chief, Julie Hancher, to share her picks for eco-friendly gifts for the holiday season. Check out her creative ideas below.

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Edible Bugs and Food Trucks at Greenfest

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The 9th annual Greenfest Philly will be held this Sunday, September 7th, at Headhouse Square, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The region’s largest environmental festival, Greenfest will include eco-friendly options to munch and sip on. Among the highlights are a sustainably brewed beer garden, organic drinks, natural foods from food trucks and restaurants, plus edible bug treats.

If you’re adventurous enough to try an insect, EDIBL (Environmental Discourses on the Ingestion of Bugs League) has supplied a few options to suit your palate. Past edible bug creations included a Honey and Cheese cracker, chocolate coating and fresh cucumber with crickets and/or mealworms. EDIBL will even provide caloric values and further nutritional information for each of their bug snacks.

The festival will also feature live music, fun family activities, a rock-climbing wall, free demos and handmade green shopping. Music performances begin at 11 a.m. and run until 3:30 p.m.

Bug-free food options »

Talking Dirt: Where to Compost in Philly

Shutterstock

Shutterstock

A few months ago, my cousin was visiting from Seattle when I noticed her circling around my kitchen with her leftover lunch scraps, clearly looking for something. Just as I was about to ask her what she was searching for, she asked, “Do you guys have a compost bin?” I shook my head and she said, “Oh, everyone composts in Seattle.” There, the government collects residents’ compost—stuff like egg shells, food scraps and yard leaves—weekly, along with recyclables and garbage, making the eco-friendly waste-management option super accessible.

Here in Philly, we might not have the luxury of putting our compost out with the garbage on trash night, but there are a few local composting businesses that make reducing your carbon footprint pretty darn simple. Here, four local spots that collect your food scraps so they don’t end up in a landfill.

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Green Day: Easy Ways to Make Your Home Eco-Friendly

INSIDE EDITION: Make Your Home Eco-Friendly and Energy Efficient

With Earth Day just around the corner (April 22), it’s time to evaluate how green and energy efficient your home is. Simple changes can be friendly to both the environment and your wallet. Here are a few big and small ways to make your home eco-friendly.

1. Improve your home’s energy efficiency by sealing any leaks or cracks. If you have an older home, check to see that it’s insulated properly. If it isn’t, look for eco-friendly insulation that can be blown in to walls through small holes instead of ones that require complete wall demolition.

2. Install Energy Star appliances, which use 10 to 50 percent less energy and water than standard models. Also, consider how you use your appliances. Don’t run the dishwasher unless it’s full, and if you have a small laundry load, consider air drying it.

A unit Leed-certified Pembroke North in Wayne.

A unit Leed-certified Pembroke North in Wayne.

3. About half of your home energy use goes to heating and cooling—making some easy changes can help your wallet and the environment. Install a programmable thermostat to better control temperatures whether you’re home or not—68 degrees or lower is a good baseline in the winter, 78 in the warmer months. Reduce the need for air conditioning in summer months by keeping rooms dark, shades low and ceiling fans on.

4. Swap out incandescent bulbs with energy-saving compact fluorescent bulbs. They may cost a little more upfront, but they’ll save you in the end on your electric bill—and they last up to 10 times longer.

5. Conserve water by installing low-flow shower heads, faucet aerators and low-flow toilets, which only use 1.6 gallons of water per flush (standard toilets use 3.5 gallons). If you need a new water heater, opt for a high-efficiency one. Heating water constitutes 15 percent of your home’s energy use, according to Energy Star, and newer, energy-efficient models use 10 to 50 percent less energy.

For more tips on improving your homes eco-friendly quotient, visit EPA.gov.