Alabama Sawyer’s Not So Secret Diary

1stdibs Aberdeen About Us AIA AK Jewelry AL Businesses AL.com alabama Alabama Sawyer alasaw Amanda Loper American Institute of Architects American Society of Interior Designers apps apps for nature lovers April ASID astronomy best of Biophilia Biophilic Design Birmingham Birmingham Businesses Birmingham Museum of Art Birmingham Organizations Birmingham Zoo blog board oil Boston botany Bromberg's Buffalo Rock built in shelving butcher blocks candles Captain America carbon carbon sequestration Christmas cider vinegar cities city city composting programs classic clever tips + tricks Cliff coasters cocktail cubes coffee shop compost compost pile composting composting programs concentration conference contest corner shelving creative writing Crying Indian PSA custom table height cutting board cutting board oil David Baker Architects decomposition Dering Hall differences in dish soap DIY Earth Earth Day Earth Overshoot Day Earthrise ECam and Co. eco friendly entertainment environmental environmental glossary environmental holiday Famous in AL favorites fixed bracket shelving floating shelving focus Fossil Fools Day fruit fly fruit fly trap gas tax gift gift guide glass recycling glossary Golden Rule Barbecue Goop Goop Exclusive goopGIFT green burial Gulf State Park Gulf State Park shipment Gumption handmade health benefits Hemlock Miyake Bench history of AL holiday holiday gift guide holidays how to how to guide how to polish wood furniture ice bucket instructional guide interior design Interior Designer International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict interview jar Keep America Beautiful kitchen knife holder Lanett Credenza Leigh Leigh Spencer link list longest running Made South magnolia MAKEbhm Michael Bruno Milwaukee mineral oil miyake miyake bench Montpelier movies municipal compost program NASA National Endangered Species Day National Recycling Day natural burial nature nature lovers New York Times news Noaway Counter Top Compost Bin oiling a cutting board orchard table Pale Blue Dot pallet pallet compost pile pecan PeeWee Herman personal story Petite Noaway Counter Top Compost Bin photography plants plastic wrap podcast pop up shop PSA public service announcement recycle recycling Red Mountain Park red oak Remodelista round sunrise table science shelving shipment Sloss Furnace smart phones soap software South Jordan Spiderman Spring Break 2019 sputnik table standard table height sustainable sweepstakes table height table top The Blue Marble The Boogie Tom Ford tray Trilogy Leather urban wood utensil holder walnut walnut wine rack WBHM weedkiller white oak white oak host stand Wide Plank on Legacy Base Wide Plank Table on Sunrise Base wine rack Wine X Wine Rack wood wood furniture wood furniture polish wood polish wood scented wooden cutting board Workshops Inc

Standard Table Heights

May 01, 2019

Standard Table Heights

There are standard table top heights, then there are custom table heights. The height of a custom table will vary depending on table function, user height, chair height, and several other factors. This blog post aims to explore how you might pick a custom table height - and then give a list of standard table heights. 

How Do I Measure Table Height?

Before we get into the nitty gritty, let's discuss how to measure table height in the first place. According to a Parotas blog post, "Standard table height measurements are taken from the floor to the top of the table or counter. This means you need to consider a lower chair height if you have a thick table top or overhanging counter." (Source: Parotas, "A Guide To Standard Table & Chair Heights")

Chair Height

Speaking of chairs, we'd advise a table height that allows for adequate leg room and space to slide the chair underneath the table. Generally, chair heights range from 17-19 inches. We recommend at least 10 inches between chair seat and table top. These discussions should beg the question, 'how do I measure the height of a chair?'

According to the Parotas blog post, "Standard chair heights are measured from the chair legs to the top of the seat surface. You do not include the height of the chair back or armrests in your measurements, unless you plan to slide chairs fully under the table or counter. If you are choosing chairs with armrests, allow around 7 inches (18cm) between the armrest and the underside of your table" (Source: Parotas, "A Guide To Standard Table & Chair Heights")

Elbow space is another important consideration that's very similar to the need for adequate leg room. No one likes using a table that's too tall to rest your elbows on. On the other hand, no one likes jamming their legs under a table because it's way too small. 

User Height

This is a pretty big consideration honestly. How tall or short are the users? If the users are really tall, consider a taller than average table top. The same goes for shorter users, who may require a shorter than average table height. These questions should definitely factor into the process of picking a table height. 

Basically, planning is your best friend when it comes to choosing a custom table height.

Standard Table Top Heights

That said, here are the standard heights of dining tables, counters, coffee tables, and bar tables. Big thanks to Leigh for making the graphics! (Please note: each of the pieces you see below is an Alabama Sawyer table. Find one on our website.)

Wide Plank on Legacy Base | Alabama Sawyer

Lanett Credenza | Alabama Sawyer

Orchard Table in Red Oak | Alabama Sawyer

Wide Plank Table on Sunrise Base | Alabama Sawyer

 

SOURCES

“Empty Table.” PublicDomainPictures.net, www.publicdomainpictures.net/en/view-image.php?image=271485&picture=empty-table.

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Why is it hard to recycle glass in AL?

April 29, 2019

Why is it hard to recycle glass in AL?

Why is it so difficult to find places in Alabama that will recycle glass? I’m definitely not the first person to ask. On the r/Birmingham subreddit, one user asks, “Every recycling plant in Birmingham that I've heard of doesn't seem to accept glass for some reason. I think it's simply because they don't have enough room for it?” A few comments pointed out the high expense associated with glass recycling, all for a non existent market. Similarly, The Alabama Environmental Council writes, “Glass is very difficult to recycle in Alabama due to a lack of end-users and processors.

Alabama Environmental Council | Glass 

That raises the question, where can I recycle glass in Alabama? Thankfully, The Alabama Environmental Council has the answers you need. Well, maybe not all the answers. None of this really addresses why Alabama lacks a good glass recycling program, and why some cities like Santa Monica have excellent glass recycling programs. Speaking of Santa Monica’s glass recycling program, it’s awesome. Seriously. Read more about SM’s recycling collection program, and consider how you could start your own glass recycling business.  

 

SOURCES

Reddit | Where to recycle glass?

MaxPixel.net | Recycling Bottle Jars Bottles Recycle Glass

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The Black Marble

April 22, 2019

3 Amazing NASA Photos of Earth

Due to US copyright laws, NASA photographs actually belong in the public domain. Who knew? I figured I’d take advantage of that to discuss some of the most amazing photos NASA has ever taken of our planet. A quick note about the series of bolded numbers and letters following the title of each photo in this post: that is the official NASA designation for that image.

 

The Blue Marble (AS17-148-22727)

1. The Blue Marble (AS17-148-22727)

This is easily the most famous photo NASA has ever taken, and it’s probably the most widely reproduced and distributed. It was taken December 7, 1972 by someone on the Apollo 17 flight, although evidence suggests that Jack Schmitt was the photographer. Interestingly enough, it was an unscheduled & unplanned photo, which makes the image something of a ‘stolen moment’. If you think The Blue Marble is beautiful, you might be interested in the subsequent Blue Marble images. (Source: Wikipedia, "The Blue Marble)

 

Earthrise (AS08-14-2383)

2. Earthrise (AS08-14-2383)

This spectacular image has been described as, "the most influential environmental photograph ever taken." It was taken December 24, 1968 by William Anders on the Apollo 8 mission. Like The Blue Marble, Earthrise was actually unplanned according to a transcript from the conversation that occurred when the photo was taken:

"Anders: Oh my God! Look at that picture over there! There's the Earth coming up. Wow, that's pretty.
Borman: Hey, don't take that, it's not scheduled. (joking)
Anders: (laughs) You got a color film, Jim? Hand me that roll of color quick, would you...
Lovell: Oh man, that's great!" (Source: Wikipedia, "Earthrise")

 

Pale Blue Dot

 3. Pale Blue Dot

What makes Pale Blue Dot special is the almost barely perceivable Earth sitting in the middle of a sun beam. Earth is so small that it takes up less than a pixel in the entire image. Talk about putting things in perspective. It was taken February 14, 1990 by the Voyager 1 space probe at the request of astronomer Carl Sagan. (Source: Wikipedia, "Pale Blue Dot")

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Eco Friendly Ways to Save Money

April 15, 2019

Eco Friendly Ways to Save Money

Usually the big misconception about going eco friendly is it requires gratuitous time and money to accomplish. Let’s put that misconception to rest, and talk about all of the easy ways to make your existence on this planet more cost effective and eco friendly.


Carpool: This is a good way to cut down on gas expenses and reduce your carbon footprint. Better yet, start biking everywhere. It’s obviously not an optimal solution for everyone - some places just don’t have the infrastructure to implement or maintain safe + usable bike paths.


No Disposable Kitchenware: Consider purchasing cloth napkins, reusable dishes + silverware, metal straws, ect… All of the disposable products that you have to keep buying week after week add up to a lot AND will eventually go to a landfill.


Cook For You: No dining out or buying those premade meals. Making the food yourself is a great way to save money without supporting restaurants whose practices are less than ideal for the environment. And what better way to cook for you than by maintaining your own garden? I understand that not everyone has the time to care for a garden, but it doesn’t have to be anything fancy, even growing your own basil can cut down on shopping expenses.


Compost: Why not? Especially if you’re caring for a garden. Composting is a great way to reduce your production of food waste while simultaneously reducing your need to purchase fertilizer. While you’re at it, take a look at our beautiful Noaway Counter Top Compost Bin.


Go Vegetarian: Going vegetarian pairs nicely with the gardening and composting tips mentioned above. You probably already know this, but the meat industry produces huge amounts of pollution. Moreover, by cutting meat out of your diet, you can greatly reduce the amount of money spent on food.

Sources & Further Reading

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Clever Eco Hints for Coffee Shops

April 08, 2019

Clever Eco Hints for Coffee Shops

My boss recently visited the The Red Cat Coffee House, and was so impressed by their clever use of uncooked spaghetti coffee stirrers, she requested I write a blog post pertaining to different eco-friendly hints for coffee shops. Here are some of the tips I came across:  

 Uncooked spaghetti coffee stirrers: Well, what were you expecting? Of course I'm going to include the example that prompted this blog post to be written. And c'mon. If you haven't been to The Red Cat, go ahead. Treat yourself. Another option if you don't want to use uncooked spaghetti is reusable metal spoons. 

 Go Green: This might seem obvious, but you can boost sales by "going green" since there is a large consumer base that loves that type of thing. Ensure your coffee is organic, fair trade, and shade grown. What does shade grown have to do with it? Shade grown coffee just means that the coffee was grown in the shade of nearby plants and trees. This method of raising coffee promotes a healthy ecosystem.

Flickr: "Sustainability poster- Fair trade"

 Offer discounts: Give customers that bring in their own mugs a discount so you don't use as many disposable cups that will eventually be sent to a landfill. Or don't use disposable cups at all, just have reusable cups and mugs.

There are plenty of other eco- friendly tips and tricks you can use to make your coffee shop sustainable. Read about them here

SOURCES

Greener Ideal: "How to Make Your Coffee Shop More Sustainable"

The Red Cat

Pixabay: Spaghetti 

Wikipedia Commons: "A small cup of coffee"

Flickr: "Sustainability poster- Fair trade"

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3 Ways to Celebrate 'Keep America Beautiful' Month

April 01, 2019

3 Ways to Celebrate 'Keep America Beautiful' Month

April is 'Keep America Beautiful' month! One excellent way to celebrate would be to participate in the trash tag challenge (which seems to be declining in popularity and relevance unfortunately.) What's the trash tag challenge you ask? On Reddit and Twitter, users have been taking 'before' pictures of areas filled with litter; and 'after' pictures of all the litter collected into trash bags. I love the trash tag challenge because it's a viral trend that benefits the environment.

Another way to participate would be to get your workplace involved in 'Recycling at Work'. This voluntary national effort is dedicated to increasing recycling in the workplace. That's a pretty noble cause, isn't it?

Of course the trash tag challenge and the 'Recycling at Work' effort aren't the only ways to participate in 'Keep America Beautiful' month. Planting and maintaining a garden is another great way to celebrate.

 

 

A woman enjoying gardening outdoors - Free Stock Photo

 

Since we're on the topic of gardening, composting for your garden is incredibly resourceful and will greatly help in your gardening adventures. If you need tips getting started, read our blog post on building a pallet backyard compost bin. What's more, this FineGardening article will give you all the information you need to start composting. Keep in mind that you'll need to store the compost somewhere before moving it to your backyard pile, so feel free to check out our beautiful Noaway Counter Top Compost Bin. These expertly crafted bins come in magnolia, walnut, and sapwood made using timber sourced almost entirely from the urban forests of Alabama.  

 

Sources & Further Reading

Olive, Jim. “STUDENTS PICK UP TRASH ALONG ROADSIDE.” Wikipedia Commons, Source U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, 9 Oct. 2011, commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:STUDENTS_PICK_UP_TRASH_ALONG_ROADSIDE_-_NARA_-_543927.jpg.

Asarch, Steven. “Viral #TrashTag Movement Wants to Make the World a Cleaner Place.” Newsweek, 11 Mar. 2019, www.newsweek.com/trashtag-trash-tag-challenge-twitter-reddit-1359221.

“Keep America Beautiful.” Keep America Beautiful, 6 Feb. 2019, www.kab.org/?gclid=CjwKCAjwm-fkBRBBEiwA966fZBtWrzdMQqR5QoLIeuoiKKZsJAIaZEVuJxcy9PgYPZgVFWqIDLBUshoCiLYQAvD_BwE.

“Get Started in Composting.” FineGardening, 25 Apr. 2014, www.finegardening.com/article/get-started-in-composting.

“Take the Pledge Andearn Recognition For.” RecyclingWork RSS, recyclingatwork.org/.

“A Woman Enjoying Gardening Outdoors.” Freestockphotos.biz, www.freestockphotos.biz/stockphoto/16337.

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Our 5 Most Popular Species of Wood

April 01, 2019

Our 5 Most Popular Species of Wood

Walnut

The dark brown wood is strong with a handsome grain and polishes easily. Rich, flavorful nuts taste delicious fresh and retain their flavor and texture during cooking. They belong to the same family as hickories and pecans. 

Walnut trees are monoecious, meaning they can self-pollinate. However, walnut groves are best for nut production. It's no wonder that walnut is one of our most in demand species of wood, just look at some of the walnut products we offer:

 

Small Walnut Breakfast in Bed Tray | Alabama Sawyer

Small Walnut Breakfast in Bed Tray | Alabama Sawyer

 

Walnut Utensil Holder | Alabama Sawyer

Walnut Utensil Holder | Alabama Sawyer

 

Live Edge Walnut Knife Holder | Alabama Sawyer

Live Edge Walnut Knife Holder | Alabama Sawyer

 

Magnolia

Named after French botanist Pierre Magnol, the magnolia tree belongs to the Magnoliaceae family. This type of tree isn't just old, it's ancient. It appeared before bees did and many Magnolia trees are known to survive for 100+ years.

Mississippi and Louisiana share the Magnolia as the official state flower. Speaking of which, Magnolia flowers can be pink, green, white, purple, or yellow. Here are a couple Magnolia products we offer:

 

Petite Noaway Compost Bin in Magnolia with White Oil | Alabama Sawyer Petite Noaway Compost Bin in Magnolia with Blue Oil | Alabama Sawyer

Petite Magnolia Noaway Compost Bins with White Oil (left) and Blue Oil (right) | Alabama Sawyer

 

Both Sizes of Breakfast in Bed Trays | Alabama Sawyer

Large and Small Breakfast in Bed Trays in Magnolia | Alabama Sawyer

 

White Oak

Also known by its Latin name Quercus alba, some white oak trees have lived up to 450 years. Despite the name 'white oak', these trees usually don't have white bark since they are instead named for the color of the finished wood. White oaks have certain characteristics that make it resistant to water and rot. These characteristics make it ideal to be used to make wine and whiskey barrels that resist leakage.

It is used in construction, shipbuilding, architecture, and more. White Oak has also been used extensively to build Japanese martial arts weaponry due to its density and strength. It's no wonder that White Oak is such a popular species of wood. Here are some of our White Oak products:

 

WineX Wine Rack

White Oak WineX Wine Rack | Alabama Sawyer

 

White Oak Ice Bucket

White Oak Ice Bucket | Alabama Sawyer

 

White Oak Round Sunrise Table | Alabama Sawyer

White Oak Round Sunrise Table | Alabama Sawyer

 

Pecan

The name “Pecan” is a Native American word that was used to describe nuts requiring a stone to crack. It is a species of Hickory, native to Mexico and the Southern United States. Pecans are not actually considered a nut, but instead are a fruit surrounded by a husk with a stone pit in the center, which is the part you eat. The state tree of Texas, it can live to be anywhere between 300 - 1000 years old. See some of our Pecan pieces below:

 

Pecan Table Top | Alabama Sawyer

Pecan Table Top | Alabama Sawyer

 

Pecan Counter Top

Pecan Counter Top | Alabama Sawyer

 

Red Oak

Also known as Spanish Oak, its name comes from the red hairs on its twigs. Southern Red Oak is a durable shade tree which reaches 60 to 80 feet high. See some of our gorgeous Red Oak products below:

 

Red Oak Orchard Table | Alabama Sawyer

Red Oak Orchard Table | Alabama Sawyer

 

Red Oak Miyake Bench | Alabama Sawyer

Red Oak Miyake Bench | Alabama Sawyer

 

Sources & Further Reading

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5 Environmental Holidays

April 01, 2019

5 Environmental Holidays

Most people reading this will know about and love Earth Day, so you’re probably aware that it’s celebrated around the globe every April 22nd. What you might not know is that peace activist John McConnell created Earth Day and its unofficial flag (see the featured image above.) 

But Earth Day isn’t the only environmentally oriented holiday, meaning April 22nd isn’t the only time to celebrate our planet. In fact, ‘celebrate’ might not even be the best word here since you can celebrate the Earth all you want, but at the end of the day the Earth should benefit from those celebrations. Instead, I think that ‘honor’ is better suited for our purposes. Read on to learn about 5 non Earth Day environmental holidays to honor our planet:

Fossil Fools Day: This holiday gets extra points for cleverly referencing April Fools Day by taking place on April 1st while the name is a play on the words ‘fossil fuels’ + ‘April Fools Day’.

Clever name aside, Fossil Fools Day (FFD) began in 2004 across the US and Canada as an environmental demonstration day. Now FFD is celebrated in many different cities all over the world with events intended to promote education regarding alternative energy sources, environmental justice, effective legislation, and corporate responsibility to the environment (Source: Wikipedia).

Earth Overshoot Day: You better get your passport ready, ‘cause you’re about to go on a guilt trip with this one. Nah, just kidding. Earth Overshoot Day (EOD) will, however, stir your inner eco-activist when you learn what it’s about. The EOD’s website put it best, “Earth Overshoot Day marks the date when we (all of humanity) have used more from nature than our planet can renew in the entire year. In 2018, it fell on August 1. We are using 1.7 Earths. We use more ecological resources and services than nature can regenerate through overfishing, overharvesting forests, and emitting more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than ecosystems can absorb” (Source: Overshootday.org).

That’s upsetting. So what does Earth Overshoot Day do to ameliorate that? More importantly, how can I help? The website then goes on to explain (with some excellent resources), that it is possible to improve sustainability in the areas of, “food, cities, population, and energy to #MoveTheDate” (Source: Overshootday.org). There it is, the ultimate goal of EOD is to #MoveTheDate, and the website gives a number of ways to achieve that.

International Day For Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict: In 2001, the UN declared that November 6th would be the International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict, which I'm going to be referring to using the acronym IDPEEWAC.

The UN created IDPEEWAC to acknowledge the great damage that tends to come to the environment during wartime, and seeks to minimize it by implementing its own list of Sustainable Development Goals, which you can read more about by following the link to the UN's web page about the holiday (Source: UN.org).

National Recycling Day: You can probably guess just from its name what this holiday revolves around. National Recycling Day (NRD) falls on November 15th, and aims to persuade people into buying recycled goods and encourages people to recycle as much as possible.

However, it's not just about buying recycled products or using your recycling bin (although both of those things are important.) If you want to really dig your heels into it, then consider participating at a local event aimed at promoting the NRD and its goals (Source: NationalToday.com)

National Endangered Species Day: The holiday is held on the third day in May every year. I know what you're thinking, "Well, I'm not actively setting polar bears on fire OR stomping bees. How could I even help?" One way would be to donate money or participate in events for the National Wildlife Federation.

You also have the option to discuss the National Endangered Species day on social media with the '#ESDay', or even sign a petition. Oh, and if you come across an endangered specie? Try not to wreck its habitat (Source: NWF.org).

 

African Wild Dog

African Wild Dog (Source: Pixabay.com).

SOURCES:

Popular Science: “10 Environmental Holidays That Are Cooler Than Earth Day”

Wikipedia: “John McConnell”

Wikipedia: “Earth Day”

Wikipedia: “Fossil Fools Day”

Wikipedia: “Earth Overshoot Day”

Earth Overshoot Day home page

Wikipedia: "International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict"

UN.org: "International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of 

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5 Birmingham Associations & Organizations We Love

March 26, 2019

5 Birmingham Associations & Organizations We Love

1) If you've never listened to 90.3 WBHM, then you're really missing out. They deliver high quality news broadcasting on topics ranging from the arts to science & technology. We love supporting them, even if that support goes out in the form of simply tuning in and paying attention. But we also like to give them money, and you should too.


 

2) According to its description on Google, Red Mountain Park is a "1,500-acre park with 15 miles of scenic trails, historic mines, zip lines, tree house & a dog park." Speaking of hiking, there's nothing better than hiking a Red Mountain trail with loved ones. For me "loved ones" refers to my framed picture of Frances McDormand bench pressing a grizzly bear.

 

Red Mountain Park Trail Map

 

3) The first time I visited the Birmingham Zoo, I got to bottle feed a koala. Then I got pooped on by some birds at the Aviary. Needless to say it was the best day of my life. On a completely different note, Alabama Sawyer has made a bunch of different stools for the Birmingham Zoo, so be sure to check them out the next time you visit!

 

Birmingham Zoo

 

4) The Birmingham Museum of Art is a great place to visit if you get the chanceI know I know. You might hate museums because you think they're boring. That was my position on museums before I ever visited one, the BMA being the first. Honestly, they've had some pretty great exhibits and pieces on display over the years. And I'm not just saying that because they've exhibited some of our furniture before. No, I've liked visiting the BMA long before I started working here. 

 

 

5) Here is a description of Workshops, Inc. taken directly from their website, "Workshops, Inc. provides outsourcing solutions for local businesses. All outsourced handwork is completed by people with disabilities and other barriers to employment who are striving for their highest vocational potential." We've worked with Workshops, Inc. in the past, and would love to work with them again. 

 

 

Sources & Further Reading

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What NOT to Compost

March 18, 2019

What NOT to Compost

Composting is a great way to generate fertilizer for your garden. That said - ensure you’re not composting materials that shouldn’t be composted.

  • Dog + Cat Poop
  • Vegetarian animal poop = perfect to compost; feel free to use rabbit, chicken, horse, and cow poop. The rule of thumb is that manure from vegetarian animals is acceptable while manure from carnivorous animals is not. Meaning no contributions from Mr. Whiskers.

    A Hungry Bunch taken from the Library of Congress.

    Inorganic Materials + Diseased Plants + Cooking Oil
    This should be obvious, but anything that’s glass, metal, or plastic isn’t going to break down in a compost pile. Additionally, treated lumber or sawdust from treated lumber shouldn’t be composted. As far as diseased plants go, think about it. Do you really want to raise plants using compost from a diseased plant? Probably not. And cooking oil? It’s hard to break down cooking oil and will eventually attract pests. Cooking oil actually slows down the decomposition process, so you’re better off disposing of it some other way.

    Meat + Dairy Products
    Technically you can compost meats, but doing so will give your compost pile seriously bad odor. Additionally, don’t be surprised when your pile becomes the most popular eatery for our friend the squirrel, or his friend the raccoon. You should avoid composting dairy products for the same reasons you avoid composting meat. Smelliness + uninvited critters.

      
    Lunch Hour! (left) and Typical Cows (right) both taken from the Library of Congress.

    Glossy Paper
    This includes magazines, business cards with a shiny finish, catalogs, wrapping paper, etc… Usually this type of paper has been chemically treated. Interestingly enough the Alabama Sawyer business card would be fine to compost since it doesn't have that shiny finish. 

    "Look at that subtle off-white coloring. The tasteful thickness of it. Oh my God, it even has a watermark!" 

    Since we're on the topic of compost, feel free to check out our Petite Noaway Counter Top Compost Bin

     

    sources

    https://balconygardenweb.com/things-you-cant-compost-what-not-to-compost/
    https://www.smallfootprintfamily.com/10-things-you-should-not-put-in-a-compost-pile

    https://www.loc.gov/item/thc1995003748/PP/ (glass bottle image taken from the library of congress)

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    Alabama Sawyer's wooden credenza

    March 04, 2019

    Health Benefits of Wood Furniture

    Did you know that spending time around wooden furniture can benefit your health? Here are some of the ways:

    • It improves your emotional state
    • It increases your cognitive ability
    • It reduces your stress levels
    • It improves air quality through humidity moderation
    • It stores carbon long term - thus fighting climate change

    You might be wondering how wooden furniture can benefit a person’s health. Research does tell us that being around wood furniture produces similar health effects to spending time in nature. Moreover wood tends to elicit feelings of warmth, comfort, and relaxation. Regardless of its effects, wood has a pleasing look that helps you feel more connected to nature, and at the end of the day, who doesn't love that? 

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    How to be Eco Friendly in the Kitchen

    February 26, 2019

    How to be Eco Friendly in the Kitchen

    At Alabama Sawyer, we want you to be as environmentally friendly as possible. Here are some tips on how to be more eco friendly in the kitchen and around the house:

     

  • Make your own cleaner: This one is particularly rewarding because you get to clean with your own efforts to be more eco conscious. What you’ll need: vinegar, baking soda, lemon, water, dish soap, spray bottle, bowl, sponge, scrub brush, and measuring spoons. For an all purpose cleaner you’ll want to put 1 teaspoon baking soda, ½ teaspoon of dish soap, and 2 tablespoons vinegar into the spray bottle. Shake it up, then fill with warm water and shake again.
  • Select non toxic paints: Thinking about repainting? Be sure to purchase paints low in volatile organic compounds. It’s better for you and the environment.
  • Recycle & Compost: All you need for this step is a recycling bin and a composting bin. For more information on creating your own backyard pallet compost pile, feel free to check out our blog post titled "How to Build a Pallet Compost Pile".
  • Purchase energy efficient appliances: If you’re in the market for any new kitchen appliances, look into energy efficient ones.
  • Eat organic & local: Kind of a no brainer but still worth mentioning.
  • Lighting: Replace incandescent bulbs with the more energy efficient LED’s, and only use those when natural lighting is inadequate. For more info, check out this excellent infographic:
  •  

     



     

     



    Sources:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/03/02/AR2010030202932.html

    https://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/8-ways-to-go-green-in-your-kitchen

    https://www.hgtv.com/design-blog/design/make-your-kitchen-greener

    https://www.apartmenttherapy.com/how-to-make-your-own-kitchen-c-108759

    Featured image of the woman in the green jumpsuit taken from the Internet Archive: https://archive.org/  

    Link to BD Food Safety Infographic: https://www.slideshare.net/bdsafety18/kitchen-cleaning-tips%20  

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    5 Classic Birmingham Businesses

    February 25, 2019

    5 Classic Birmingham Businesses

    Alabama Sawyer is practically a toddler compared to some of the more classic Birmingham businesses. In their honor, here are some of our favorite companies that have been in Birmingham for quite some time.


    1. Trilogy Leather: a leather repair & craft shop established in the 70’s by Sam Sicola and brothers Tony + Salvatore Pardi. They offer a wide variety of products from crocodile + gator hide belts to handbags and briefcases. According to their website, “the name Trilogy was chosen to signify the 3 of them.”

    Sam, Tony, and Salvatore - image taken from the Trilogy Leather website


    1. Buffalo Rock Co.: Founded in 1901 by the Lee family as an independent Pepsi bottler, Buffalo Rock even created its own grape flavored beverage in the early 80’s called Grapico. According to their website, “The mission of the Buffalo Rock Company is to be the premier provider of beverages and food products. We have 10 divisions inclusive of 2,100 employee-partners who are committed to this mission.”

    Image take from Buffalo Rock’s website


    1. Bromberg & Co. Jewelers: This family owned jewelers founded by Frederick Bromberg has been around since 1836, and has been providing its customers with the highest attention to detail in jewelry making ever since.

    1. Davis Architects: Founded in 1912, Davis Architects is the oldest still running architectural firm in Alabama. They even employed the first registered female architect in the state. According to their website, they prefer to take a client centered approach to architecture. Some of their work includes the Birmingham Crossplex, the College of Health Sciences at Samford University, the Center for the Arts at Montevallo University, ect... One of their quotes? “Every problem has a solution. As optimistic as it may sound, it is the driving force behind our work. Great design starts here.”

    Image taken from the Davis Architect website


    1. Golden Rule Barbecue: Opened in 1891, Golden Rule is the oldest continuously running restaurant in the state of Alabama.

    Image taken directly from Golden Rule’s website


    There are a lot that I didn’t mention here, so take a look at this AL.com article that I drew from to learn more about some of the longest running businesses in Alabama.


    Sources

    AL.com article: “These Alabama businesses have operated 100 years or more”

    Buffalo Rock Company Wikipedia article: “Buffalo Rock”

    Trilogy Leather website

    Buffalo Rock “About Us” website

    Bromberg’s Website

    Tommy Daspit photography website

    Golden Rule Barbecue “About” page

    Golden Rule Barbecue website

    Read more →

    4 Types of Shelving Systems

    February 18, 2019

    4 Types of Shelving Systems

    The fixed bracket shelving system is also referred to as suspension shelving. Brackets may come in wood or metal and are attached directly to the wall. They typically use a series of pins that will vary in size. You'll most likely find a fixed bracket shelving system in a home interior.

    These are simple and easily fitted into the nooks and small spaces of a home. Simply put, a built in shelving system is a piece of wood placed in an opening in a wall. Can be suspended in a variety of different ways.

    This type of shelving system has internal non-visible brackets that attaches it to a wall. Basically, it looks like it’s floating when it really isn’t.

    This type of shelving system is pretty clever if you ask us. Corner shelving systems come in a range of fun styles that make your life easier by maximizing space. Can be wall mounted or placed on the floor.

    Read more →

    Things You Didn't Know You Could Compost

    January 28, 2019

    Things You Didn't Know You Could Compost

    If you’re at all interested in gardening and composting, then check out our Noaway Counter Top Compost Bin, and read on to learn about composting materials you might not have known about: 

    • Tea bags + Tea Leaves
    • Coffee Grounds + Coffee Filters
    • Egg Shells
    • Banana Peels 
    • Veggie Scraps 
    • Stale Cereal 
    • Damp Paper Towels 
    • Burnt Toast
    • Wine Corks
    • Old Tofu
    • Seaweed
    • Lint
    • Hair
    • Nail Clippings
    • You 

    No, you didn’t misread that last one. I know confronting your mortality isn’t exactly fun, but if environmentalism is important to you then consider a green burial. According to Wikipedia a green or natural burial is, “interment of the body of a dead person in the soil in a manner that does not inhibit decomposition but allows the body to recycle naturally. It is an alternative to other contemporary Western burial methods and funerary customs.”


    There are several reasons one might consider a green burial over a traditional Western one, one is lowered cost, and another is environmental friendliness due to the absence of embalming fluids. That said, only you can decide what to do with your body after you’re gone.

     


    Sources:

    https://www.onecrazyhouse.com/30-things-you-can-compost/

    Images taken from the Internet Archive, and this website on green burials.

    Featured image Man playing chess with grim reaper taken from the Library of Congress. 

    Read more →

    Interior Design Considerations that Facilitate Focus

    January 25, 2019

    Interior Design Considerations that Facilitate Focus

    First thing's first. Let's talk about the psychology of color, specifically the colors that tend to facilitate focus & concentration. Green tends to promote concentration and focus while also playing into aspects of biophilic design. Blue is incredibly calming, which means using it in your office or home would promote calm and aid concentration.

    Read more about color psychology here. Now, on to actual design elements. One important consideration is space. Do you want the area to be more open to encourage collaborative discussion, or closed off to ensure individual work gets done?

    According to InteriorArchitects.com - in open office spaces "employees experience more uncontrolled interactions, higher levels of stress, and lower levels of concentration and motivation." Clearly there is a need for balance between collaboration and individual work that promotes concentration and productivity. Consider creating "focus areas" - places where people can work independently, and make the rest of the space more open to encourage collaboration and effective group work. 

    Another possibility is to set up the space similar to a library layout, that is, long conference tables (see image below) that serve as collaborative meeting spaces, (but don't have to if an employee would prefer to work individually.)

    Live Edge Claro Walnut Conference Table With AV Equipment Installed

    Alabama Sawyer Furniture

    There are a ton of different ways to approach the maximization of concentration and focus in interior design elements, and these are just a few, so be sure to check out our sources and further reading section!

    Sources & Further Reading

    Source: Curbed

    Source: Focus on Focus | Interior Architect 

    Read more →

    Movies for Nature Lovers

    January 21, 2019

    Movies for Nature Lovers

    Consider yourself an outdoorsy nature lover? You’re in luck, because I have some movies that will make you feel right at home. Here are some of the best movies to entertain nature lovers:

    Wild



    Have you ever felt the urge to check out and go camping for a while? Then Wild will probably speak to you in a really personal way. Reese Witherspoon stars in this drama about a woman who hikes the Pacific Crest Trail following a string of personal tragedies.

    Erin Brockovich



    Hate the way certain companies harm the environment in the name of making money? Then you’ll like Erin Brockovich. Julia Robert stars in this drama about a woman who stands up to a gas company whose unhealthy practices lead to increased rates of lymphoma among the locals.

    Into the Wild



    The 2007 drama Into the Wild speaks to the desire to leave our cozy lives in favor of roughing it out in nature. We follow the story of Christopher McCandless as he hitchhikes through the Alaskan wilderness.

    Wall-E



    Wall-E urges us to consider the ramifications of human harm on the environment. What type of world might we find ourselves in if we continue to destroy its delicate ecology? Will it even be inhabitable?

    Microcosmos



    Microcosmos is a  documentary that captures the tiny world of several different species of insects and how they interact. It allows us a glimpse at something we don’t normally get to see up close and personal.

     

    Planet Earth



    BBC’s nature documentary Planet Earth is an impressive feat of cinematography with an extremely wide scope. Each of the seven episodes explores a different biome.

    Princess Mononoke




    Studio Ghibil’s Princess Mononoke is a nuanced environmentalist tale that explores the ways in which corporate greed can contribute to ecological destruction. 

     

    One good way to enjoy these movies is surrounded by expertly crafted wood furniture, especially since our timber comes directly from the urban forests of Alabama. 

     

    Image Sources:

    https://doorofperception.com/2013/12/microcosmos-le-peuple-de-lherbe/ 

    https://www.aceshowbiz.com/movie/wild/photo.html 

    http://environmentalissues123.yolasite.com/erin-brockovich-movie-review.php 

    https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0758758/mediaindex

    http://pixar.wikia.com/wiki/File:WALL-E-City-at-Sunset-web.jpg

    https://www.gateshousings.com/filmology-view/planet-earth/

    https://nwfilm.org/films/princess-mononoke/

    Read more →

    Candles + Soaps that Smell Like Wood

    January 14, 2019

    Candles + Soaps that Smell Like Wood

    In case it wasn’t obvious, we love all different types of wood products here at Alabama Sawyer. Especially the ones that make you and your living space smell like a forest. Speaking of which, here are some of our favorite wood scented candles + soaps.

    • This pine and lavender scented soap comes from the local Left Hand Soap Co. The 2 oz option is $2.75, the 8 oz option is $7.25, and the 2 lb option is $25.   
    • This smokey Log Haus candle has a tobacco leaf base with “notes of charred birch and cedar” for $34
    • For only $10, what’s not to love about this Lumberjack Sawdust Scented soap described on its own website as, “created to capture the essence of the lumberjack lifestyle and the scent of fresh cut wood.” 
    • These lovely Pine Tree of Light Candles bring together visual beauty and the appeasing smell of cedar + pine. The smaller option is $38 while the larger option is $72.

    However, nothing can beat the smell of actual wood furniture, so be sure to check out our website for a variety of products made using timber sourced entirely from the urban forests of Alabama.  

    SOURCES

    Featured image taken from Mountain Man Soap.com

    Read more →

    Cities with Great Composting Programs

    January 10, 2019

    Cities with Great Composting Programs

    Composting is a simple and easy way to be more eco- conscious, but did you know there are different ways to get involved? One is to participate in a city composting program. Read on to learn about just a few of the cities that offer various compost services and programs. Please note that the information below comes from this Modern Farmer article titled "7 Cities with Awesome Independent Composting Programs". 

    Milwaukee (Wisconsin), The company Compost Crusader will help you plan an event that produces little to no waste. What makes the company truly great is that, "the company provides supplies and removes food scraps, which it incorporates into the compost it makes from residential and commercial pickups." What I'm trying to get at is that Compost Crusader will pick up compost from your home or place of work.

    Boston (Massachusetts), Bootstrap Compost will haul your food waste (if you are subscribed to their services) to several local farms where they are used to grow crops. However, its subscribers do get an allotment of compost for their own personal use, which I think is an excellent way to encourage participation in the program itself.

    Aberdeen (Maryland), The wonderful Veteran Compost company "employs former military servicemen to bring food waste from residences, businesses, and schools in the D.C.-metro area to the firm’s wind-powered farm, where the refuse gets turned into organic compost available for purchase online." We love their practice of hiring veterans, especially when they are hired to do such important work. 

    Montpelier (Vermont), Vermont Compost will take your leftover food waste materials but you must drop them off in a bin at the end of the company's driveway. Basically, it's a little easier if you're always forgetting to put out your compost bin since you get to decide when to dispose of your food waste. 

    South Jordan (Utah), EcoScraps is a company that "recycles organic matter from stores and restaurants, converting it into compost, fertilizer, and potting soil, all sold nationally." If you run a store or restaurant in the South Jordan area of Utah, then I would encourage you to consider using the services provided by EcoScraps. 

    And if you're looking for an elegantly designed kitchen compost bin, feel free to check out our Noaway Counter Top Compost Bin or our Petite Noaway Counter Top Compost Bin.

    Noaway Counter Top Compost Bin

    Sources & Further Reading

    "7 Cities with Awesome Independent Composting Programs" article (please note that all of the information presented in this blog post came from the above article)

    Compost Crusader home page

    Bootstrap Compost home page

    Veteran Compost home page

    Vermont Compost home page

    EcoScraps home page

    Image taken from the Library of Congress

    Read more →

    Environmental Glossary

    January 07, 2019

    Environmental Glossary

    -A-


    Abatement: Reducing the degree of or completely eliminating pollution.


    Acid: A corrosive solution with a Ph of less than 7.


    Advisory Level: The level at which an environmental agency suggests that it is potentially harmful to be exposed to a certain contaminant.


    Air Pollution: Air is made up of a number of gases, mostly nitrogen and oxygen and, in smaller amounts, water vapor, carbon dioxide and argon and other trace gases. Air pollution occurs when harmful chemicals and particles are emitted to the air – due to human activity or natural forces – at a concentration that interferes with human health or welfare or that harms the environment in other ways.


    Air Quality: A measure of the level of pollution in the air.


    Alternative Energy Sources: Energy that does NOT come from fossil fuels (windmills, solar panels, ect...)


    Amenities: Benefits of a property, such as nearby playgrounds, swimming pools, community centers or parks.


    Atmosphere: The mass of air surrounding Earth.


    -B-


    Backyard burning: An illegal method of getting rid of household waste, possibly in an attempt to save on bin charges, that releases levels of pollutants into the air, so harming air quality and risking the health of those burning the waste and of their neighbors.


    BER: Short for Building Energy Rating, which says how much energy a home needs for heating, lighting and hot water. Homes are placed on a scale from A to G. A-rated homes need the least amount of energy while G-rated need the most. Since 1 January 2009, all homes being sold or rented must have a BER certificate. BER ratings are carried out by BER Assessors registered with the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland.


    Biodegradable waste: Organic waste, typically coming from plant or animal sources (for example food scraps and paper), which other living organisms can break down.


    Biodiversity: A short form of the phrase ‘biological diversity’, which means the variety of life on this planet and how it interacts within habitats and ecosystems. Biodiversity covers all plants, animals and microorganisms on land and in water. See also ecosystem, habitat and organism.


    Bioenergy: All types of energy derived from biomass, including biofuels.


    Biofuels: Liquid transport fuels made from biomass.


    Biomass: A source of fuel made from living and recently-dead plant materials such as wood, leaves and the biodegradable part of industrial and municipal waste.


    Biosphere: The portion of Earth and its atmosphere that can support life (Source: US EPA)


    Black bin (grey bin): A wheelie bin used in certain local authorities to collect waste that cannot be recycled or composted.


    Bring bank: A place where you can bring materials for recycling, for example glass, newspapers, heavy cardboard and textiles. See also recycling center and civic amenity site.


    Brown bin: A wheelie bin used in some local authorities to collect organic waste such as food and light garden waste (for example grass cuttings).


    Bye-law:  A rule made by a local authority to govern activities within the area it controls. Examples include bye-laws covering waste disposal, traffic or public events or signs.


    -C-


    Carbon count:  A measure of the amount of carbon dioxide you produce through your lifestyle every day, for example through driving or using electrical appliances and lighting.


    Carbon credit: A unit of carbon dioxide bought to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. See carbon offset.


    Carbon dioxide (CO2): A colorless gas that is naturally produced from animals and people in exhaled air and the decay of plants. It is removed from the atmosphere by photosynthesis in plants and by dissolving in water, especially on the surface of oceans. The use of fossil fuels for energy is increasing the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which is believed to contribute to global warming. See also greenhouse gases and photosynthesis.


    Carbon emissions: In the context of climate change, carbon dioxide released when substances, especially oil, gas, and coal, are burned by vehicles and planes, by factories and by homes.


    Carbon footprint: A measure of the impact our activities have on the environment, especially climate change, often reported as the units of tonnes (or kg) of carbon dioxide each of us produces over a given period of time.


    Carbon monoxide: A highly poisonous, odorless, tasteless and colorless gas that is formed when carbon material burns without enough oxygen. Carbon monoxide is toxic when inhaled because it combines with your blood and prevents oxygen from getting to your organs. If a person is exposed to carbon monoxide over a period, it can cause illness and even death. Carbon Monoxide has no smell, taste or color. This is why it is sometimes called the “Silent Killer”. The most common causes of carbon monoxide poisoning in the home are house fires, faulty heating appliances such as boilers, blocked chimney or flues, and rooms not properly ventilated. Carbon Monoxide alarms can be used as a backup to provide a warning to householders in the event of a dangerous build up of carbon monoxide.


    Carbon neutral: A situation that arises when the amount of carbon dioxide released into the air equals the amount of carbon dioxide removed from the air, for example by planting trees, or the amount saved by using renewable energy sources to produce the same amount of energy. See also renewable energy.


    Carbon offset: A unit, equal to one ton of carbon dioxide, that individuals, companies or governments buy to reduce short-term and long-term emissions of greenhouse gases. The payment usually funds projects that generate energy from renewable sources such as wind or flowing water. Individuals can choose whether to buy an offset (for example to compensate for air travel), but governments and large industries are sometimes required to buy them to meet international targets aimed at reducing greenhouse gases.


    Carbon tax: A tax on fuels according to their carbon content, which aims to encourage people and businesses to use fuels with less carbon and reduce the amount of energy they use.


    Carpooling: Sharing a car to a destination to reduce fuel use, pollution and travel costs.


    CFCs: Short for ‘chloroflurocarbons’, which are chemicals used in manufacturing and, in the past, in aerosol cans and refrigerators, which can damage the ozone layer.


    CFL bulbs: Short for ‘compact fluorescent lamp’ bulbs, which are light bulbs that use a fraction of the energy of traditional filament bulbs and last up to five times longer. CFL bulbs will completely replace filament bulbs in Ireland by 1 September 2012.


    ‘Change’ campaign: The Government’s campaign to change how people in Ireland think about climate change and encourage us to change how we behave. It includes a website, www.change.ie, which has carbon calculators that can calculate the carbon footprint of individuals, businesses and local authorities.


    Civic amenity site: A public or private facility that accepts recyclable and non-recyclable materials such as garden and household waste and certain hazardous wastes such as paints, batteries and electrical and electronic devices. See also bring bank, recycling center and WEEE.


    Climate: The pattern of weather in a particular region over a set period of time, usually 30 years. The pattern is affected by the amount of rain or snowfall, average temperatures throughout the year, humidity, wind speeds and so on. Ireland has a temperate climate, in which it doesn’t get too hot or too cold.


    Climate change: A change in the climate of a region over time due to natural forces or human activity. In the context of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, it is the change in climate caused by higher levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere due to human activities as well as natural climate changes. See also global warming, and UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.


    Compost: A rich soil-like material produced from decayed plants and other organic matter, such as food and animal waste, that decomposes (breaks down) naturally. Most food waste can be put into compost, but you should not include meat, bones, cheese, cooking oils and fish. These may take a long time to break down and attract unwanted pests.


    Compostable: Material from plants or animals that can be used to create compost because it will decompose naturally over time.


    Composting: The process of deliberately allowing food, garden and other suitable organic wastes to break down naturally over time to produce compost.


    Conservation: Preserving or protecting animals and resources such as minerals, water and plants through planned action (such as breeding endangered species) or non-action (such as not letting taps run unnecessarily).


    Cryptosporidium: A tiny parasite that can infect people if it is present in drinking water.


    -D-


    Deforestation: The reduction of trees in a wood or forest due to natural forces or human activity such as burning or logging.


    Development plan: A public plan that sets out the development objectives and policies of a local authority for its area. It covers a six-year period and states the local authority’s goals for a range of areas such as maintaining and improving roads and parks, preserving and enhancing amenities (such as playgrounds or swimming pools), zoning land for homes, businesses, factories and farming and providing services and facilities such as waste disposal and sewerage. Members of the public have opportunities to make submissions on the plan before it is agreed.


    Dioxins: Highly toxic chemicals that can be formed in small amounts from forest fires or volcanoes but more often are produced unintentionally from industrial activities and from incinerating waste and burning fossil fuels.


    Disposal, dispose of: Getting rid of waste by discarding it into a bin and, when it is collected, by incinerating it or sending it to landfill.


    Domestic charges: Fees paid to local authorities for providing services such as collecting domestic waste.


    Domestic waste: Waste produced within the home, including garden waste. See also household waste.


    Draught proofing: A way to stop heat from escaping a home, for example by sealing window frames and using draught excluders under doors.


    Dumping: Disposing of waste illegally by not using bins or official recycling centers, civic amenity sites or landfills.


    -E-


    Ecosystem: A community of organisms that depend on each other and the environment they inhabit.


    Ecotourism: Small-scale tourism in fragile and protected areas that aims to have a low impact on the environment, benefit local communities and enable tourists to learn more about the natural and cultural history of the place. See also sustainable tourism.


    Effluent: Liquid wastes such as sewage and liquid waste from industries.


    Electric vehicle: A vehicle that is driven by an electric motor or battery and is generally less noisy and less polluting than common combustion engine vehicles.


    Emissions: In the context of the atmosphere, gases or particles released into the air that can contribute to global warming or poor air quality.


    Emissions projections: Forecast of emissions into the future taking into account current and future economic and policy developments


    Emissions Trading Allowance: Permission to emit to the atmosphere, one tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent, during a specific trading period. The allowance is only valid for the purpose of the Directive and can only be transferred in accordance with the Directive.

    End-of-life vehicle: A vehicle such as a car or small van that is scrapped and sent for recycling.


    Energy efficiency: Actions to save fuels, for example better building design, changing production processes, developing better transport policies, using better road vehicles and using insulation and double glazing in homes.


    Energy rating: A rating given to electrical appliances such as ovens, washing machines, dishwashers and refrigerators according to how much energy they use. Ratings are on a scale from A to G, with A-rated appliances using the least energy and G-rated needing the most. The less energy an appliance uses, the better it is for the environment and the more you will save on your bill.


    Energy Star®: A voluntary international label that identifies appliances that meet certain standards of energy efficiency. Within the European Union, the label relates to office equipment such as computers and photocopiers.


    Environmental impact statement: A statement about the expected effects on the environment of a proposed project or development such as a new road or waste water treatment plant, including how any severe effects on the environment will be addressed.


    -F-


    Flora and fauna: The plants and animals that are native to a particular area or period of time.


    Fossil fuels: Fuels – such as coal, gas, peat and oil – that are formed in the ground over a long time from dead plants and animals and are used up once they are burned for energy.


    Fuel poverty: Being unable to heat a home to a safe and comfortable level because of low household income or having to spend more than 10% of household income to heat a home to a comfortable level because the home is not energy efficient.


    -G-


    Global warming: The gradual increase in temperature of the Earth’s surface caused by human activities that cause high levels of carbon dioxide and other gases to be released into the air.


    Green bin: A wheelie bin used in certain local authorities to collect dry cardboard, paper, tins and other recyclable waste, including certain plastics.


    Green design: A design, usually of a building, that includes environmentally-friendly features such as solar panels, skylights or recycled building materials.


    Greener Homes Scheme: A system run by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEI) to provide grants to homeowners who intend to install in their existing homes a new renewable energy heating system, for example heat  pumps, solar panels or wood chip or pellet boilers. For more information, visit the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland.


    Greenhouse effect: The warming of the Earth’s atmosphere caused by increasing levels of gases, such as water vapor and carbon dioxide. These gases absorb radiation emitted naturally from the ground, so slowing down the loss of energy from Earth. The greenhouse effect has always existed; without it, Earth would be too cold for plants, animals and people to survive. But because of the increase in greenhouse gas emissions in recent years, the greenhouse effect is a lot stronger, so leading to global warming. See also global warming, greenhouse gases and radiation.


    Greenhouse gases: Gases such as carbon dioxide and methane, which tend to trap heat radiating from the Earth’s surface, so causing warming in the lower atmosphere. The major greenhouse gases that cause climate change are carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (NO2). See also greenhouse effect and global warming.


    Ground water: Water that collects or flows underground in the small spaces in soil and rock. It might be a source of water for springs and wells and then used for drinking water.


    -H-


    Habitat: The area occupied by a community or species (group of animals or plants), such as a forest floor, desert or sea shore.


    Hazardous waste: Waste that poses a risk to human health or the environment and needs to be handled and disposed of carefully. Examples include oil-based paints, car batteries, weed killers, bleach and waste electrical and electronic devices.


    Home Energy Saving Scheme: A scheme operated by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland to provide grants to certain homeowners to improve the energy efficiency of their home. For more information, see the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland or lo-call 1850 927 000.


    Household waste: Waste that contains paper, cardboard, textiles (for example fabric or carpet), timber, food, garden clippings, glass, plastic and other manufactured materials.


    -I-


    Incinerator: A furnace that is designed to burn waste at very high temperatures under controlled conditions and is licensed by national regulatory authorities. Most modern and efficient incinerator generate heat and energy from burning waste.


    Insulation: Material such as foam or glass wool that is used in homes and other buildings to prevent heat loss, reduce noise and improve comfort.


    -J-


    no terms starting with the letter J


    -K-


    Kyoto Protocol, Kyoto agreement: An international agreement signed in Japan in 1997, attached to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Under the agreement, which has been in force in Ireland since 2005, industrialized countries promised to reduce their combined greenhouse gas emissions to at least 5 percent below 1990 levels over the period 2008-2012.  See also UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.


    -L-


    Landfill: A site that is specially designed to dispose of waste and operates with a licence granted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA reviews licences and, with local authorities, monitors landfills around the country for emissions.


    Litter: Waste that is thrown away carelessly, mainly made up of plastic, metal, glass, paper or food. Common examples are chewing gum and cigarette butts.


    -M-


    MBT: Short for ‘mechanical biological treatment’, which is a way of sorting and treating waste. The waste is first sorted mechanically into materials that can and cannot be recycled. Any waste that can be recycled is then broken down biologically, often through composting, while the rest is usually sent to landfill.  See also composting.


    Mulch: Leaves, straw or compost used to cover growing plants to protect them from the wind or cold.


    Municipal waste: Waste produced in urban areas, mainly made up of household waste but also some small commercial waste that is similar to household waste.


    -N-


    Noise pollution: Noises that disturb the environment and people’s ability to enjoy it, for example continually sounding house alarms, loud music, air conditioning or other electrical units and aircraft or motor engines.


    NPWS: Short for National Parks and Wildlife Service, which works under the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government to manage and maintain State-owned national parks and nature reserves and protect and preserve Ireland’s native animals and plants.


    NSS: Short for National Spatial Strategy, which is the Government’s 20-year plan to balance population growth and social and economic development between different regions in Ireland. By matching where people work more closely to where they live, the strategy aims to improve people’s quality of life and sense of community, enhance local investment and create a better environment.


    Noxious gases: Poisonous gases that can harm people and the environment. Some gases have a strong smell, for example sulfur dioxide and methane, while others, such as carbon monoxide, do not have any smell at all.


    -O-


    Oil spill: The harmful release of oil into the environment, usually through water, which is very difficult to clean up and often kills birds, fish and other wildlife.


    Organic food: Plants and animals that are grown or reared without the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides or hormones.


    Organic: In this guide, matter from living, or once-living, things.


    Organism: Any living thing, from bacteria and fungi through to insects, plants, animals and humans.


    Ozone layer: The thin protective layer of gas 10 to 50 km above the Earth that acts as a filter for ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun. High UV levels can lead to skin cancer and cataracts and affect the growth of plants.


    -P-


    Particulate matter: Fine solid or liquid particles that pollute the air and are added to the atmosphere by natural and man-made processes at the Earth’s surface. Examples of particulate matter include dust, smoke, soot, pollen and soil particles.


    Pay by weight: A system in which the amount you pay for bin collections depends on the amount of waste you throw away. The more waste you reduce, reuse, recycle or compost, the less you pay for waste disposal.


    Pesticides: A general term for any chemicals that are used to kill weeds, fungi, insects or other pests.


    Permits: In the context of waste, certificates or other documents granted by local authorities to private companies to collect and manage waste or to operate waste management facilities such as recycling centers.


    Planning permission: Permission granted by a local authority for new buildings or for extensions, once nobody objects to the plans.


    Plastic bag levy: An environmental tax that customers must pay when they accept a plastic or laminated bag from a retailer. There is no tax on small bags, such as those for fresh meat or loose fruit and vegetables. Money raised from the tax is put into a special fund that is used to protect the environment.


    Post-consumer waste: Waste collected after a consumer has disposed of it, for example sweet wrappers or packaging from small electronic goods such as mobile phones or MP3 players.


    -Q-


    no terms starting with the letter Q


    -R-


    Radiation: A form of energy that is transmitted in waves, rays or particles from a natural source, such as the sun and the ground, or an artificial source, such as an x-ray machine. Radiation can be ionising or non-ionising. Ionising radiation includes ultraviolet rays, radon gas and X-rays. Too much exposure to ionising radiation can be harmful, leading to increased risk of cancer. Non-ionising radiation includes visible light, radio waves and microwaves. This type of radiation is less risky to health because it contains less energy, but it can still be harmful at high levels for a long time.


    Radioactive: A material is said to be radioactive if it emits radiation.


    Radon: A common radioactive gas emitted from ordinary soils and rock. Radon has no smell, taste or color and can seep into homes, building up to dangerous levels if there is not enough ventilation. Being exposed to high levels of radon gas over a long period of time increases the risk of developing lung cancer.  For more information on how to check radon levels see our radiation section.


    Recycle: To break waste items down into their raw materials, which are then used to re-make the original item or make new items.


    Reforestation: The process of planting trees in forest lands to replace those that have been cut down.


    Refuse: Another name for waste.


    Renewable energy: Energy from renewable resources such as wind power, solar energy or biomass.


    Renewable resource: A resource that can be used again and again without reducing its supply because it is constantly topped up, for example wind or sun rays.


    Reuse: To use an item more than once for the same purpose, which helps save money, time, energy and resources.


    River basin: The portion of land drained by a river and the streams that flow into it. The quality of a river basin affects the quality of water, so efforts to protect and improve water quality must often include plans for managing river basins.


    -S-


    Sewage: Liquid wastes from communities, which may be a mixture of domestic effluent from homes and liquid waste from industry.


    Smog: Air pollution consisting of smoke and fog, which occurs in large urban and industrial areas and is mainly caused by the action of sunlight on burned fuels, mostly from car exhausts. Smog can cause eye irritations and breathing problems and damage plant life.


    Smokeless fuel: Solid fuel, such as charcoal, that does not release smoke when it is burned.


    Solar panel: A panel fixed to the roof of a building that uses special cells to collect energy from the sun and convert it to electricity to heat the building and/or power the lights, appliances or equipment.


    Standing charges: Fixed fees that must be paid for a certain period, often a year, to continue receiving a service.  Examples include standing charges for bin collections or gas supply. Other charges may apply depending on the use of the service over a given period of time.


    Surface water: Water that is collected on the ground or in a stream, river, lake, wetland or ocean.


    Sustainable development: Development using land or energy sources in a way that meets the needs of people today without reducing the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.


    Sustainable tourism: A form of tourism that meets the needs of current tourists and host communities while protecting and enhancing tourism for the future by balancing economic and social needs with a respect for different cultures and the environment. See also ecotourism.


    -T-


    Toxic: Poisonous or harmful to the body (ecotoxic relates to damage to the environment).


    Toxin: A poisonous substance that can either be natural (produced by plants, animals or bacteria) or manufactured.


    Traffic calming, traffic management: Policies, rules or actions by a local authority designed to reduce traffic speed or limit the amount of traffic in an area at certain times of day.


    Tidy towns: An annual competition run by the Department for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government to reward large and small towns around the country for their efforts to maintain and improve their area. Towns can choose whether to take part and are given marks under a number of headings, such as landscaping, litter control, roads and footpaths, wildlife and natural amenities and residential areas.


    -U-


    Utility (public): A company that provides the public with essentials such as electricity or water.


    UN Framework Convention on Climate Change: An international treaty joined by 192 countries that has the goal of preventing ‘dangerous’ human interference with the climate system and sets general rules for tackling climate change.


    UNESCO World Heritage Site:  A natural or man-made site that has outstanding universal value and meets at least one of 10 conditions decided by UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation. Ireland has two World Heritage Sites: the pre-historic sites of Newgrange, Knowth and Dowth in Co. Meath and Skellig Michael, a religious settlement from the 7 th century off the coast of Co. Cork.


    -V-


    Ventilation: the movement of air between the inside and outside of a building usually through windows, doors and air vents built into the building’s walls or ceilings.


    -W-


    Warmer Homes Scheme: A scheme, run by Sustainable Energy Ireland, that aims to improve the energy efficiency of private owned or rented homes occupied by low income households. The scheme trains and offers grants to community organisations to carry out work such as attic insulation, draught proofing, installing lagging jackets and so on. For more information, see the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland.


    Waste management: The management of waste collection, handling, processing, storage and transport from where it is produced to where it is finally disposed. See waste prevention.


    Waste prevention: An aspect of waste management that involves reducing the amount of waste we produce and minimizing the potential harm to human health or the environment from packaging or ingredients in products.


    Water vapor: Water in its gas form – instead of liquid or solid (ice).


    WEEE: Short for Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE), which are any unwanted devices with a plug or battery – from a remote control or digital camera to a vacuum cleaner or fridge freezer. These devices must be disposed of carefully to avoid damage to the environment. To get rid of an unwanted device, you can bring it to a civic amenity site or leave it with a retailer when you are buying a new device. All WEEE left in retail outlets and civic amenity sites are collected for recycling.


    Wind energy: Energy harnessed from the wind at wind farms and converted to power.  See also wind turbine.


    Wind turbine: An engine or machine, usually mounted on a tower, that captures the force of the wind and converts it to electricity.


    -X-


    no terms starting with the letter X


    -Y-


    no terms starting with the letter Y


    -Z-


    Zero emissions: An engine, motor or other energy source that does not produce any gas or release any harmful gases directly into the environment.

     

    Please note, the above terms come directly from the EPA’s Environmental Glossary, and the California Department of Toxic Substances Control’s environmental glossary. I took the image from the Internet Archive.

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    Public Service Announcements We Wish Would Make a Comeback

    December 31, 2018

    Public Service Announcements We Wish Would Make a Comeback

    Public Services Announcements have gotten slicker and more refined over the years. Some didn’t make a big impact and some were really professional and moving. Dumb Ways to Die is a good example of one of the better ones we’ve seen in the last ten years. But we want to look a little further back than that. Here is a list of some of the older Public Service Announcements we’d like to make a come back:


    1. Crying Indian Commercial; this famous 70’s PSA placed the onus + blame on the American people to clean up and prevent littering. As much as I want to see more anti littering advertisements, I’d like to see this ad brought back a little more tastefully. Keep in mind this PSA was paid for by a corporation that was trying to deflect attention away from their own harmful ecological practices.
    2. Pee Wee Herman Crack Cocaine; This PSA managed to awkwardly embrace a serious & unnervingly goofy tone by choosing Pee Wee Herman as its spokesman. And that’s why we love it.
    3. Spider Man Wants You to Eat Healthy; Did you know that bananas can be used as form of currency if you’re out to pay Spider Man for saving the city? This PSA was meant to promote healthy eating to a younger audience. If you ask us, this could rival the Michelle Obama veggie campaign.
    4. Captain America on Energy Conservation; This PSA features Captain America encouraging viewers to save energy by turning off the lights, or closing the front door, and reminding you to keep the fridge closed! As far as public service announcements go, the ones with superheros will always be a treasure trove of awkward fun.

    Goofiness aside, I want to discuss our number one pick for a moment. The main reason The Crying Indian PSA makes the top of the list is simple, it was highly effective. Effective environmental public services announcements are even more important today than they were in the 70’s. The reason I’d even make a claim like that is because we only have until 2030 to reverse the damage of man made climate change. What will you do to help?


    Thumbnail image taken from this source: https://www.rollingstone.com/culture/culture-lists/12-most-bizarre-anti-drug-psas-of-the-1980s-194661/pee-wee-herman-says-crack-isnt-cool-194713/

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    Five Excellent Interior Design Blogs

    December 21, 2018

    Five Excellent Interior Design Blogs

    Remodelista


    The name of the website says it all. A trendy interior design blog that will provide you with all the latest tips and tricks you’ll need to remodel your house. The homepage has several useful links, some of which are labeled, “Remodeling 101”, “Get Inspired”, “Design Travel”, and more for your reading pleasure. Not to mention the sleek and minimal web design. Image taken from Remodelista’s website.

    Remodelista Screen Capture

     

    Amber Interiors


    Taken directly from the Amber Interiors website: “Amber Interiors Design Studio is a full-service interior design firm based in Los Angeles, California, founded by Amber Lewis. We serve clients worldwide with services ranging from interior design, interior architecture to furniture design.” If you take a look at some of their projects, you’ll see some lovely interiors. Image taken directly from Amber Interiors website.

    Amber Interiors Website

     

    Coco Kelley


    This lifestyle blog has a bunch of different sections dedicated to interiors, travel, entertainment, and DIY. Their slogan? “LIFE IS IN THE DETAILS. STYLE ACCORDINGLY.” According to their website, Coco Kelley was, “Founded by Cassandra LaValle, Coco Kelley is a lifestyle brand devoted to fresh takes on the classics.” Image taken directly from the CocoKelley website.

    Coco Kelley Website

     

    EyeSwoon


    EyeSwoon is one of those blogs that gives a range of knowledge on a variety of topics like food, design, and living. The easy to navigate page layout + web design are just a bonus when you consider how attractive the site really is. According to their website EyeSwoon is, ”Your destination for creativity, inspired by a passion for great food, entertaining & design and dedicated to lovers of beauty everywhere. Come swoon with me as I cook & create, showing you the simple tips and tricks that make every day swoon-worthy.” Image taken from the EyeSwoon website.

    EyeSwoon Website

     

    Apartment 34


    Like several other blogs on this list, Apartment 34 covers multiple areas including decor, fashion, beauty, travel, ect… According to their “About” page, “Apartment 34 offers inspiring tips and ideas for an intentional approach to modern living. We share sophisticated décor, style, cooking, travel, entertaining – all the good stuff that helps elevate daily life.” Image taken from the Apartment 34 website.

    Apartment 42 Website


    SOURCES:

    MYDOMAINE blog: https://www.mydomaine.com/decorating-blogs

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    walnut bed trays

    December 03, 2018

    Alasaw’s 2018 Holiday Gift Guide: All Things Walnut

    Walnut Wood Monitor Riser

    Let's face it, we use computers a lot. Some of us have to use them for our jobs. However, studies tell us that continuously looking down at a computer isn’t great for the spine - especially when the top of the screen should be closer to eye level. Consider giving this walnut Wood Monitor Riser from MaderacraftHandmade on Etsy:walnut computer riser

     

    ALASAW's Walnut Rounds

    Our attractive rounds give you the opportunity to take home a piece of Alabama’s urban forest. Display your favorite piece of jewelry or your prettiest candle; they make excellent seasonal gifts!

    walnut rounds

     

    Live Edge Walnut Bath Caddy 

    Do you know someone that likes to read or eat in the bath? Maybe you're friends with one of those careless individuals that's always dropping their phone in the bath. This live edge walnut bath caddy from Redhead Woods on Etsy is perfect for that person.

    walnut bath caddy

    Noaway Countertop Compost Bin (in walnut)

    Friends with a gardener that's really into composting? Give them one of our artful walnut Noaway Countertop Compost Bins. If you want to go above and beyond, do them the kindness of building a pallet compost pile in their backyard so they don’t have to. It's super easy, and if you're lucky, it's free. 

    Walnut Noaway Compost Bin

    Nixie Tube Clock

    Know who’ll love this Nixie Tube Clock in walnut? A huge nerd, that’s who. Get this from Past Indicator on Etsy for the huge nerd in your life. If they're a hardcore nerd, then include supplemental reading on how the Nixie Tube operates

    walnut Nixie tube clock

    Backgammon Board

    This walnut Backgammon board from HelenaWoodArt on Etsy is great to play at family gatherings, so give this to someone you’re living with to liven up said family gathering. What I'm saying is that this is a holiday gift that could benefit the giver as well. See where I'm going with this?

    walnut

    Walnut Bed Trays

    Our expertly crafted walnut bed trays are perfect for lazy Sunday mornings with a good book and warm tea. Give these trays to someone who appreciates those lazy Sunday mornings. Even better, give them this tray and bring them breakfast on it as part of the gift. They'll appreciate the gesture. 

    walnut bed trays

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    Wide Plank Table on Legacy Base

    December 03, 2018

    An Intern's Five Favorite Alabama Sawyer Products

    I know what you’re thinking, “why should I care about some stinky college intern’s opinion?” To be honest, you probably shouldn’t. Not about most things anyway. But hear me out, I’ve spent a lot of time exploring Alabama Sawyer’s website, and it isn’t lost on me just how high quality our products are. So without further ado, here is a list of my five favorite Alabama Sawyer products:


    Coasters
    There are four different coaster designs based on variations of the Alabama Sawyer logo. What does the logo mean, is it supposed to be abstract? I think it looks like a tree, but who knows. The reason these coasters made the list is simple: the logo is awesome. Having guests over? Use these coasters and see what type of discussion they spark.

    Alabama Sawyer Coasters

    WineX Wine Rack
    In typical college student fashion, I like to let people know that I drink- but try not to be annoying about it. The best way to achieve that is by classily displaying my wine selection for all to see. It’s more than that though, the minimalist design really appeals to my taste, while easy storage & assembly is just a bonus.
    Alabama Sawyer Wine X Wine Rack

    Sputnik Tables
    These cute little things are great. This picture reminds me of the dodo birds from Ice Age forming ranks to protect the last watermelon. And with a spacey name like Sputnik, what’s not to love?
    Alabama Sawyer Sputnik

    Cocktail Cubes with Brass Details
    I’m redecorating my room and discovered a fair amount of stuff that would look nice if I had a proper way to display it. The problem is I lack the storage space for all my trinkets, which is where these cocktail cubes come into play. One I use to display my nail polish collection, another I use for movies.

    Alabama Sawyer Cocktail Cubes with Brass Details

     

    Wide Plank Table on Legacy Base

    What can I say. I like minimalism, and this fits the bill. The live edge white oak iteration of this table is especially appealing because of its rustic vibe. Imagine sitting down at this table with your family or spouse after a long day at work.

    Alabama Sawyer Wide Plank Base on Legacy Base

    Feel free to email us or make a FB post explaining your favorite Alabama Sawyer products (be sure to tag us!) We love hearing from you guys!

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