Alabama Sawyer’s Not So Secret Diary
Did you hear the news? We recently started selling our very own beeswax wood polish!
In honor of such an event, here is a “how to” guide that will give you instructions on the simple steps needed to polish your wooden furniture using our ALASAW polish.
You’ll need to figure out what your wood piece is finished with in order to determine how exactly you’re going to polish it. If you’re at a loss and have no clue, read the manufacturer's manual. The different types of finish include varnish, wax, unsealed, or painted. “If your wood has a wax finish, stick with a wax polish. If your wood has an oil finish, stick with an oil polish.”
SUPPLIES YOU’LL NEED:
-cotton washrag (make sure it’s clean)
-buffing cloth (make sure it’s soft)
STEP ONE: Apply the wood polish directly onto the cotton washrag and begin wiping it into the wood in the direction of the grain (or with the grain). If you need to apply anymore polish then feel free to add another layer.
STEP TWO: Use your buffing cloth to remove any excess wood polish.
And that’s basically it. Easy enough, right? Click on the sources below for more detailed instructions and information.
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
- Nail Clippings
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.
Featured image Man playing chess with grim reaper taken from the Library of Congress.
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.)
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
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:
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.
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.
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 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 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.
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.
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.
“The biophilia hypothesis ... suggests that humans possess an innate tendency to seek connections with nature"
That’s all well and good, but how does biophilia relate to interior design? After all, the title of this blog suggests there’s a type of design related to biophilia. There is, and it’s called biophilic design. The idea is to reconnect people with nature through various design elements:
"Biophilic design is a concept used within the building industry to increase occupant connectivity to the natural environment through the use of direct nature, indirect nature, and space and place conditions. Used at both the building and city-scale, it is argued that this idea has health, environmental, and economic benefits for building occupants and urban environments, with little drawbacks."
Let's break that definition down a little, and discuss what is meant by direct and indirect nature.
Direct nature- Simply put, direct nature refers to potential physical contact with some sort of natural feature. This can mean taking advantage of natural lighting with skylights, or having a small fountain where people can sit and listen to the calming sounds of moving water.
The stream, plant life, and natural lighting are all examples of direct nature here
Although it may sound odd at first, finding a way to use animals to evoke nature can be achieved through aquariums and gardens. Obviously there are a ton of other ways in which nature can be directly evoked in biophilic design, read about those ways here.
Indirect nature- The use of indirect nature is much less involved than direct nature. To have an indirect experience of nature, there need only by contact with images/ depictions of nature. A beach painting over the fireplace, wood furniture, use of earth tones are all examples of indirect nature. Read more about indirect nature here.
Both the plant & the wooden table base would be considered use of indirect nature
To elaborate, indirect nature can involve the use of wooden furniture. Another reason to use wood furniture is the health benefits. That's right, different materials can actually be more harmful than others, especially in furniture where the user is constantly making contact with its surface.
Wood, however, tends to have less toxins than other materials, so you really don't have to worry about that. A piece of wood furniture that would really tie a biophilia inspired room together would be one of our Alabama Sawyer Lanett Credenza's (see image below.)
Basically, if you're interested in biophilic design, wood furniture is one of the easiest ways to incorporate it into the room. So go ahead, take a look at some of our other pieces as well - and consider this: all our wood comes from the urban forests of Alabama.
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.
- Bath & Body Works brings us a high intensity mahogany scented candle for $12.95
- 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.
Featured image taken from Mountain Man Soap.com
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
no terms starting with the letter J
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
no terms starting with the letter Q
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
no terms starting with the letter X
no terms starting with the letter Y
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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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/
We’ve had several customers ask what the difference is between our cutting board oil and our wood polish. In terms of price the board oil is $18 and the wood polish is $6. However, price isn’t the only difference between these two products.
Speaking broadly, there are different reasons for using oil or polish on your wooden furniture. Use oil on furniture that has an oil finish and polish on raw wood. That said, our board oil is really only suited for cutting boards, whereas our wood polish can be used for many types of wood furniture. Click to learn when it’s appropriate to use oil VS wood polish.
For those of you that don’t know, we recently received several large purchases from the kind folks over at Gulf State Park. If you’d like to know more about the shipment we're preparing or about Gulf State Park in general, read on!
Gulf State Park’s mission?
“To acquire and preserve natural areas; to develop, furnish, operate and maintain recreational facilities, and to extend the public’s knowledge of the state’s natural environment.”
Basically their mission is similar to the mission of most other state parks. Protect the environment and give people a nice place to hang out and connect with nature.
What does the shipment include?
As far as I can tell, the shipment includes a white oak hostess stand, several in progress tables, a hemlock miyake bench, and more:
White oak hostess stand
Hemlock Miyake Bench
Sputniks photo-bombing a stack of in progress live edge table tops
What will they use all of this for?
My sources tell me that Gulf State Park is going to use all of this as restaurant decor. Meaning at some point in the near future, if you visit Gulf State Park, you might get to see some Alabama Sawyer furniture. Pretty neat, huh?
Gulf State Park mission statement copied directly from their website.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
MYDOMAINE blog: https://www.mydomaine.com/decorating-blogs
Please note that “Famous in AL” is a series of blog posts on famous historical Alabama sites for the purpose of celebrating all of the culture and history that can be found in our own state.
Downtown Birmingham Alabama is home to the famous Alabama Theatre which hosts events ranging from movie screenings to concerts and much more. With beautiful architecture and décor; it won 2011's, "Building of the Year Award from the Alabama Architectural Foundation" ("About the Alabama".) To illustrate the Alabama Theatre’s importance to Birmingham, here is a brief history of the theatre:
Constructed in 1927 as a way to showcase Paramount movies, it was primarily used as a theatre for the following 55 years. Exceptions to this were The Miss Alabama Pageant and the Mickey Mouse Club, first held at the AL Theatre in 1933. MMC sponsored several different charity campaigns for the needy and closed down ten years after staring up. Additionally, the Alabama Theatre hosted the Miss Alabama Pageant from the mid 30's to the 60's. When Birmingham declined in the 60's and 70's, the Alabama underwent multiple changes in ownership. It had to be shut down a few times during that period, but was eventually bought by Birmingham Landmarks, Inc. in 1987 after a fundraiser saved it from ruin. In 1998 the theatre underwent major renovation/ restoration, and now looks like what we know it as today: ("About the Alabama".)
According to its website, the Alabama Theatre's 1998 renovation transformed it from its, "faded grandeur to a sparkling 1927 look with all the gold leaf paint either replaced or cleaned. In addition to the restoration, new carpet was installed in the ladies lounge and new drapes were installed on the stage and organ chambers" ("About the Alabama".) Since the theatre was built in the 20's, it’s home to a famous organ used during silent film screenings. The Mighty Wurlitzer (a fancy type of organ) is a famous relic, and according to the Alabama Theatre's website, the reason the building was spared from destruction. Interestingly enough, the organ is nick named Big Bertha ("About the Alabama".) Without Big Bertha the Alabama would have been demolished since the realtors, "refused to sell it separately. Undeterred, the group [Birmingham Landmarks, Inc.] continued to find support and ultimately raised enough funds to purchase not just the organ but the entire facility" ("About the Alabama".)
It’s a spectacular place, and if you’ve never been, I’d suggest you visit at least once in your life. Pictures really don't do it justice.
Consider yourself a nature lover? So do we - that's why we love learning about nature through different mediums of technology, specifically our smartphones. To be clear, there are a ton of different nature apps out there, but I want to look at just a few:
- iNaturalist- This app helps identify plant and animal life in your area, and connects you to communities of fellow nature lovers and scientists. Use the app to record your observations and document your findings. Available for free on iOS devices. Click here to learn more about iNaturalist.
- AllTrails- This app simply displays nearby hiking trails & routes. Use it to plan your next excursion into the wilderness. Available for free on iOS and Android devices. Click here to learn more.
- SkyView- This stargazing app allows you to point your phone at the sky and displays a wide variety of constellations, planets, stars, and more. The full version costs $1.99, while SkyView Lite is free. For iOS users only. Click here to learn more.
- NatureMelody- This app was made to emulate the sounds of nature. Designed to relax and soothe, this app offers its users plenty of different HQ sounds to aid your sleep or relaxation. Available for free on iOS devices. Click here to learn more.
photo pulled from the internet archive, learn more about it here
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.
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:
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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!
Holy alliteration Batman! Goofy title aside, I stand by the sentiment in the title itself. If you need gift ideas this Christmas, check out Goop’s website for advice. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, Goop is an online lifestyle blog & retail shop. They’re featuring an Alabama Sawyer walnut wine rack that can be found only on their website.
Screenshot taken from Goop’s website
Alternatively, they will be selling these walnut wine racks at any of their 3 pop up shops in Dallas, San Francisco, and Manhasset. Read on if you'd like to know the locations + hours of the three pop up shops- and see some gorgeous photos of the shops courtesy of Stephen Karlisch and Adrian Gaut.
What are you doing still reading this blog? Go to their website and read stuff. Or you could buy our walnut wine rack to satisfy even the pickiest of in laws this holiday season. But remember, it's a Goop exclusive. It won't be available forever.
STORE LOCATIONS + HOURS
The Americana Manhasset, 2100 A Northern Blvd. | Manhasset, NY 11030 | 516.570.0744 | Monday-Wednesday 10am-6pm, Thursday-Saturday 10am-7pm, Sunday 12pm-6pm⠀
70 Highland Park Village | Dallas, TX 75205 | 972.803.1660 | Monday-Saturday 10am-6pm, Sunday 12pm-5pm⠀
2241 Fillmore Street | San Francisco, CA 94115 | 415.872.9517 | Monday-Saturday 11am-7pm, Sunday 11am-6pm⠀
Dallas photos courtesy of Stephen Karlisch: @stephen_karlisch_photo on Instagram
San Francisco & Manhasset photos courtesy of Adrian Gaut: @a_gaut on Instagram
Ever feel like fruit flies are planning a full scale invasion on your kitchen? Have they already launched one? Ready the battlements, because here are some items you can use to make your very own fruit fly trap:
- a jar
- cider vinegar
- dish soap
- plastic wrap
First, pour a small amount of cider vinegar in the jar. Then add a few drops of dish soap. Finally, cover the jar with plastic wrap and poke a few holes in it. And that’s it! Once you’ve got the trap set up, you’ll start noticing more and more fruit flies getting caught in the concoction.
There are plenty of reasons not to use commercial weed killer. Maybe you have children and don’t want them to ingest any weed killer while playing in the garden. Perhaps you don’t like the idea of harsh chemicals leaching into a nearby water source. Maybe commercial weed killer is too expensive. Whatever the case may be, here are four eco friendly ways to get rid of weeds:
1) Pour boiling water on the weeds. This could take a few tries, but is probably the easiest method on here and doesn’t damage the surrounding soil.
2) Mix vodka and water to create a herbicide that dries the weeds out. Spray/ pour directly over the roots. Can be very damaging to any surrounding plants, so be careful with this one.
3) Cover smaller weeds in at least four layers of old newspapers to cut off their access to sunlight.
4) Lemon juice works great as a weed killer - and gets bonus points for not attracting ants. Simply pour some lemon juice in a spray bottle or a jar and you’re ready to go.
Oiling your wooden cutting board can greatly extend its life. You’ll want to oil it every time it dries out, and the frequency that your board dries out will change depending on how often you use it. In terms of effort this takes the same amount as shoe tying, so get ready:
- First thing you’ll need is an appropriate oil (click to see Alabama Sawyer's Cutting Board Oil.) Many people use mineral oil because it’s relatively cheap and easy to find at kitchen hardware stores.
- Evenly apply the oil by rubbing it into the board using a small piece of paper towel or a soft cloth.
- Let the oil soak in at least a few hours.
- Then use a dry paper towel to wipe away any excess oil. It shouldn’t feel sticky at all once you’ve finished.
And that’s basically it. If you haven’t already, take a look at some of our own cutting boards.
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!