Alabama Sawyer’s Not So Secret Diary
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
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.
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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.
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)
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:
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!
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
So you want to start composting? The good news is that it’s super easy and rewarding to build a pallet composting bin from scratch. Follow these step by step instructions to get started:
- Find a place in your yard to build the pile. At the very least pick a level spot that’s 3’ x 3’. Keep in mind the placement of your bin, do you want it to be easily visible or do you want it tucked away behind a tree so it can’t be spotted?
- You’ll need four pallets of the same size. If you’re looking to spend as little money as possible, I’d suggest embracing your inner raccoon by digging around in an alleyway, or asking a local business for their discarded pallets. Maybe a nearby shopping center will be kind enough to give you some for free when you ask nicely. Consider what you’ll find in the dumpster of a small business.
Another approach is the internet. Keep an eye on Craigslist’s “free” category under the “On Sale” items.
- Now that you have your pallets, it’s time to build the bin itself. Stand up three of the pallets and screw the edges together, these will be the sides and back of the bin.
- Then, cut your fourth pallet in half and attach it to the bin so there’s a side that’s shorter than the walls and the back. This will be the door. If you want to be able to open and close it like a regular door then attach the door to one side using hinges and tie the other side to the wall to ensure it stays closed.
Another option would be using a latch to keep the door closed so you don’t have to untie & tie a rope every single time you want to open the door. If you did everything correctly, then you should end up with something similar to the bin in the image below:
Doesn’t really get much easier than that, huh? Once you’ve collected all your materials, it should only take ten to twenty minutes to build one of these things.
Keep in mind that you'll need to store the compost somewhere before moving it in 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.
And what if you don't have a backyard? Luckily enough, you can still compost. Plenty of cities offer a municipal composting program. If you're itching to know whether or not your city offers one, a quick google search should tell you everything you need to know.
Good luck and happy composting!