Make Your Valentine’s Day Green Instead of Pink!

By: Willa Neale, KAB Intern

Looking for ways to spoil that special someone without having to compromise your environmentally friendly lifestyle? Here’s a guide to make this holiday as sustainable and enjoyable as possible.

The Gift
Finding the perfect present for a significant other is difficult on any occasion, but we have found some ideas that will really charm your loved one. Try one of these green gifts that you can feel good about giving, show someone how much you care, and reducing your impact on the environment.

Customize A Favorite Reusable Item
Purchasing something that can be used every day is a practical idea for the one you love. Getting travel mugs or water bottles with their name or favorite quote printed on them shows that you put thought into a gift that will be useful & customized to them. Embroidering initials or names onto reusable shopping bags is another inexpensive way to promote a green lifestyle.
Flowers
A Valentine’s Day classic, but with a new twist! Over 400 million dollars was spent in the US on cut flowers by couples wanting to show their love through bouquets of roses and carnations. Days later, these beautiful arrangements are tossed in the garbage without a second thought. Instead of buying into the cut-flower tradition, consider purchasing a potted flower or plant instead. Flowers such as “Just-add-ice” Orchids are low maintenance, but will brighten up a kitchen or office for months to come. You may also want to consider a small window sill herb garden or a few small succulent plants that everyone can enjoy. Flowers and plants could be a thoughtful present!

valentines-day-orchidImage found at http://www.justaddiceorchids.com/orchid-care-blog/topic/just-add-ice-orchids
Chocolate
You can even take your dedication to having a green Valentine’s Day to the next level by purchasing organic or free trade chocolate. It just isn’t Valentine’s Day without the chocolate, and many companies have been answering the call for an alternative choice. Visit Equal Exchange to learn more about your Free Trade options.
The Date
There are many ways to cut down on your waste and carbon footprint this Valentine’s Day while still enjoying your special date.

Skate, Walk, Hike or Ride a Bike Together
Akron weather is unpredictable, but there are still many outdoor options for you and your sweetheart to enjoy together this year. Bundle up and get some fresh air at one of Akron’s outdoor ice skating rinks or stroll the Towpath Trail on foot or bike. Enjoy a break from the indoors and get some fresh air together. Imagine the gas you’ll save and emissions you’ll reduce!

Cook a Meal Together
Instead of going out to eat, take some extra time making a meal together. You can make a day of it from meal planning, to hitting up the grocery store for those organic or local ingredients (don’t forget about indoor farmer’s markets during the winter!) to preparing the meal and finally, planning how to compost scraps or leftovers. Oh yeah, and eating the meal of course!  Being able to cook your own meal helps ensure you cook only what you will eat, reducing the amount waste you produce.
Don’t Forget!
Don’t forget to recycle your greeting cards, boxes, tissue paper and anything else you may have collected throughout the day. For a guide of what can and cannot be recycled in Akron visit http://www.akronohio.gov/cms/public_works/recycling/index.html

recycle v day

Image found at https://www.pinterest.com/planetpals/valentine-crafts-and-ideas/

Water, Climate and Health Equity Projects Awarded by Keep Akron Beautiful at Yearly Science Fair

by Cindy Pantea, KAB Staff/Member, Greenprint for Akron-The Summit of Sustainability Committee

It was a fantastic Saturday on January 30, as hundreds of students from Akron Public Schools (APS) showcased their newfound knowledge through research and scientific experimentation at the Science, Math and Technology (SMT) Expo held at North High School.

Keep Akron Beautiful/Greenprint for Akron once again had the pleasure being a sponsor judge for the event. This sponsorship allows our organization to send volunteer judges to select three winning projects within the particular criteria of our choosing. To be eligible for the KAB/Greenprint awards, the projects must fall within the Smart Goals from the 2009 Greenprint for Akron Sustainability Plan.

This is my second year for judging the event. Lending their expertise along with me were (Head Judge) Carl Safreed, P.E. of Canton City Health Department’s Air Pollution Control Division and Kevin Lockett of Lockett Media, who substitute teaches periodically for APS, serves on the KAB Board, and is a member of Greenprint for Akron-Summit of Sustainability Committee.

Winners of the Keep Akron Beautiful-Greenprint for Akron Awards

Students had amazing projects, which made it difficult to come to a final decision. After discussion, the judges awarded the three cash prizes of $250, $100, and $50, respectively, to:

Jackson Tankersley, a 10th grade student at National Inventors Hall of Fame (S.T.E.M. Learning), winner of $250, for his project: The Bactericidal Effect of Green Coconut Water on E. Coli-Contaminated Drinking Water.

green coconut water experimentUnder the instruction of Coach Hanna, Jackson chose to test the antibacterial properties of coconut water, from young green coconuts, to purify drinking water contaminated with E. coli. He did find success with his experiment in the amount of liquid he tested. Meanwhile the knowledge he gained throughout his research, as well as his graphs and overall neat appearance of his board, was impressive.

James Tassiello, a 7th grader from Miller South School for the Visual and Performing Arts, winner of $100, for his project: Will Water Level Rise From Heat?

global warming and salt water

Under the advisement of Coach Lattimer, James tested the effects of heat on salt versus unsalted water to determine if salt water rises from heat alone. The project was chosen by the 7th grader because of the focus of global warming, its effect on our oceans, and the possibility of losing coastal land due to rising waters. Another well put-together project.

Diamond Jones and Gabe Shope, an 11th and 12th grader, respectively, were the team from North High School sharing a $50 check for their project: Love Your Lunch
Space: A Sanitation Station for the Cafeteria

social sustainability science fair project

With support form Coach Dine, this dynamic duo tackled an in-school challenge that fell under the area of social sustainability. The project, actually in the area of engineering design, focused on health equity and general well-being of North HS students and staff. The team built a wooden box to hold hand cleaning materials and placed it within close proximity to litter containers. The placement of the box worked to create efficiency for students cleaning up after their lunch, tackling the problems of easy hand sanitizing and in-house litter.

These students were among a host of those with environment-related projects that showed excellent work. We invite you to visit the 60th Annual SMT Expo album on our Facebook page to view more respectable projects, ranging from natural alternate energy uses to insulating the ice caps.

Read about last year’s Keep Akron Beautiful/Greenprint for Akron SMT Expo winners:

CSO Runoff Projects Win Prizes From Greenprint Akron at APS SMT Expo