How Much Water is Used in One Latte?

February 18th, 2009 Posted in eco footprint, food, paper, water | No Comments » Make sure you like EcoJoes on Facebook to stay updated on green ways to save money and help the environment. Just click the "like" button below. Muchas gracias!

You know those lil’ paper cups of latte that you get from coffee shops? Think about how many people get one of those lattes every day. How much water does that take?

Welp, it turns out that to make each cup o’ latte, it takes 200 liters of water. That’s over 50 gallons of water for each latte!! Hot dang!

Besides just the water you see, lots of water is also used for the coffee production, milk, disposable cup and sleeve, lid, and sugar. Check out this here video from WWF for more information…

Homemade Paper – Ultimate Paper Recycling

January 20th, 2009 Posted in paper, projects, recycle | 3 Comments » Make sure you like EcoJoes on Facebook to stay updated on green ways to save money and help the environment. Just click the "like" button below. Muchas gracias!

“Paper… pure paper!” I think that crazy guy in the epic film “Waterworld” said it best when he uttered those immortal lines about paper. But how can the people in “Waterworld” make paper when there ain’t no trees? Easy. They recycle paper, and now you can to. Here’s how to recycle paper into homemade paper.

First, you gots to make your paper frame. Use some leftover wood and make a rectangle; whatever size this frame is is the size your homemade paper shall be.
Wooden paper frame
Staple some old window screen across the frame, stretching it tightly. There, your frame be done. Now you’re ready to make you some homemade paper, hot dang!

First, get a bunch of scrap paper (some call it scratch paper, whatever floats your boat). Also, feel free to add some of the following:

  • newspaper
  • lint
  • toilet paper (gently used)….. just kidding on that one!!
  • paper bags

Remember, whatever you put in will affect the color and texture of your finished paper, so for the love of Pete, be careful in selecting your ingredients for your homemade paper.

Tear up the paper into lil’ pieces.
Noche with his shredded paper
Put the torn-up paper into a blender, filling it about halfway. Fill the rest of the blender with warm water.
Blend the mess out of that paper, starting with short burts, and finishing with a 20-second blend that purees the paper into a pulpy soup.
Why does it taste so bad?
Do this about three times, each time pouring the blended paper soup into a basin or tote.

Afterward, put in some more warm water, filling the basin about halfway. Add about two tablespoons of corn starch, too.

Stir the pulp around, then dip your wood frame into the pulp all the way to the bottom. Slowly raise it up, keeping it level. Your screen should be covered with pulp now.
Let it dry somewhere. Once the frame stops dripping, sort of peel the paper around the edges.
Next, gently peel the very wet paper away from the frame. Slap that bad boy on some felt. Fun fact: I got my felt for 20 cents, and it’s made from recycled plastic. Ta-dow.
Wet homemade paper on recycled felt
Use a sponge and try to squish excess water out. Once you’ve done that, let it dry on the felt.
Bash that water out

Let all the paper completely dry on the felt or some newspaper.

Voila, recycling old useless paper into new homemade paper is just that easy. If you want to get fancy (and these days, who doesn’t?), try embedding some crazy mess in your paper (feathers, leaves, pictures cut out of a newspaper). Your friends will be TOO jealous of your customized paper, maybe even jealous enough… to kill?

How to Stop Getting Phone Books: No More Unwanted Yellow Pages

August 21st, 2008 Posted in green business, paper | No Comments » Make sure you like EcoJoes on Facebook to stay updated on green ways to save money and help the environment. Just click the "like" button below. Muchas gracias!

Unwanted and Unloved
Way back in the day, I wrote something about how to stop getting phone books. Welp, it turns out that what I wrote only works for some people. But what to do about the hundreds of millions of unwanted phone books that are made, delivered, and immediately recycled (or thrown away) each year?

It turns out that a student in Missouri started a website with the aim of mimicking the Do Not Call list, only instead of Do Not Call, it’d be Do Not Deliver Phonebooks. So if you want to help save energy, time, trees, and cut down on unwanted phone books, just


If you don’t think that phone books are all that bad, then por favor consider these “fun facts,” brought to you by YellowPagesGoesGreen:

To produce 500 million books [annually]:

* 19 million trees need to be harvested
* 1.6 billion pounds of paper are wasted
* 7.2 million barrels of oil are misspent in their processing (not including the wasted gas used for their delivery to your doorstep)
* 268,000 cubic yards of landfill are taken up
* 3.2 billion kilowatt hours of electricity are squandered

Gadzooks, that’s a lot o’ resources! Do your part to help out good ol’ Mother Earth (and yourself), and sign up to stop getting unwanted phone books today.

Gracias to Tony for telling me about this site.

No More Credit Card Offers

February 18th, 2008 Posted in paper, plastic | No Comments » Make sure you like EcoJoes on Facebook to stay updated on green ways to save money and help the environment. Just click the "like" button below. Muchas gracias!

Credit card offers are no fun. A bunch of paper gets wasted, lots o’ gas is burned to deliver the credit card offers, and then they just fill up your mail box.

Well I say “No mas”. Here is how to stop getting credit card offers:

Go to Opt Out Pre-Screen and fill out the short form, or call 1-888-5-OPTOUT.

I was worried it was a scam, but it turns out that even the good ol’ government recommends this site.  So I went ahead and filled out the form (I left my SSN blank, just in case), and am now several months away from being free of credit card offers.  Hallelujah.

P.S.  You can also opt out of getting phone books here.

Paper Cups Versus Styrofoam Cups: Surprise Winner

February 12th, 2008 Posted in food, green business, paper, recycle, styrofoam | 6 Comments » Make sure you like EcoJoes on Facebook to stay updated on green ways to save money and help the environment. Just click the "like" button below. Muchas gracias!

This is on the front page of, por favor go and vote for it!
One more drop…Lil’ story; there’s a coffee place near here called Cup A Joe, which has some good coffee and a really nice atmosphere that reminds me of good ol’ Asheville. I’ve been there many-a-time, since they have two locations around NC State.

Anyhoo, last week, mi jefe wondered aloud why Cup A Joe uses styrofoam cups instead of paper. I was like dang, I don’t know. So I wrote them an email asking if they’d considered using paper cups, and asking how they could use styrofoam cups when they knew it made Captain Planet weep green tears. I got a quick reply which showed that they had indeed thought of “green” issues when making their business decisions:

Paper Cups Cause More Trash than Styrofoam Cups

It turns out that when Cup A Joe used paper cups, “almost 100% of [their] customers demand[ed] the added cardboard sleeve”, which the styrofoam cups do not require.

Also as well additionally, it turns out styrofoam is an excellent material for recycling. Here’s what Cup A Joe had to say: “We recycle a large percentage of the cups. Many customers return their used cups for that purpose. It is a small expense for us, but worth it.”

Paper Cups Don’t Biodegrade

Well, they do eventually (as does anything, eventually), but it takes much more time than I’d thought for a paper cup to biodegrade. The gubmint says, “Modern landfills are designed to inhibit degradation so that toxic wastes do not seep into the surrounding soil and groundwater. The paper cup will still be a paper cup 20 years from now.”

Green cafe…Paper Cups Use More Raw Materials and Energy Than Styrofoam (And Cost More)

This was a surprise to me.

“A study by Canadian scientist Martin Hocking shows that making a paper cup uses as much petroleum or natural gas as a polystyrene cup. Plus, the paper cup uses wood pulp. The Canadian study said, ‘The paper cup consumes 12 times as much steam, 36 times as much electricity, and twice as much cooling water as the plastic cup.’ And because the paper cup uses more raw materials and energy, it also costs 2.5 times more than the plastic cup.”

Reusable Cups Are The Way To Go

Final thoughts from Cup A Joe:

“Finally, we have always tried to provide an atmosphere and a level of service that sort of induces folks to sit down and enjoy their coffee in our shops. My guess is that we do more ‘eat-in’ business than all of the Starbucks in Raleigh put together. This sort of business means our people have to hustle to keep up with washing dishes, but also that neither paper, nor cardboard, not styro is needed to consume the coffee. Anyway, hope this helps. And thanks for asking. Frankly, we are surprised that more people don’t ask.”

There you have it. A good eco-friendly reason to (if you must use disposable cups) use styrofoam cups instead of paper cups. It sounded crazy to me at first, but after reading about it, I realized it was crazy like a fox.

How to Stop Phone Book Delivery in 4 Minutes

February 5th, 2008 Posted in green living, paper | 4 Comments » Make sure you like EcoJoes on Facebook to stay updated on green ways to save money and help the environment. Just click the "like" button below. Muchas gracias!

Phone books fo’everA couple weeks ago I came home and saw a phone book sitting in front of my front door. This has happened many times in the past. As usual, I put it right in the recycling bin, slowly shaking my head as I pondered why they keep sending phone books out to people when most people never even open them. It’s a big waste of paper and precious ink, not to mention the gas it takes to deliver phone books nationwide each year. So I did a lil’ research, and found out how to stop phone book delivery once and for all…

Call 1-(877)-243-8339

I just called this number to test it out, and within about 4 minutes I had opted out of getting phone books. The person on the phone was friendly and helpful, although a bit confused at first (she thought I wanted to get MORE phone books delivered to my house). So call that number, and in less than 4 minutes, you won’t have to worry about getting any more phone books. Huzzah.

P.S. To see where to recycle your old phone books, go HERE and optically scan the provided information.

P.P.S. Here’s a funny prank done by some hoodlums with phone books.

How to Save Energy (And Money) in the Work Place

January 28th, 2008 Posted in energy conservation, paper, reusing, save money, work | No Comments » Make sure you like EcoJoes on Facebook to stay updated on green ways to save money and help the environment. Just click the "like" button below. Muchas gracias!

Work. Can’t live with it, can’t live without it. Am I right, people? Welp, until you hit it rich with a lottery ticket (or by making millions off your green contraption), work will probably be a big part of your life. As long as you’re going to be there, you may as well try to “keep it green”, as the youngsters like to say.

paper-stack-is-back-jack.jpgReuse Paper at Work

Do you know how much printer paper is used every single day by offices world-wide? A lot. That’s how much. But here’s a simple tip: when someone prints something, it leaves one side of paper blank. At my work, we put paper like this in a scrap bin next to the printer. If you’re printing something that doesn’t need to look “official”, print it on the blank side of the used paper. Voila, paper use cut in half.

light-switch.jpgTurn Off Them Lights

Too often in today’s work-a-day hustle n’ bustle world, people leave their lights on at work when they leave to get a few fitful hours of rest at home. A simple flip of a switch can save 15 hours’ worth of light-energy a day, slashing your electric bill like a serial killer.

Hoo doggies, it’s hotGo Easy on the Thermostat

Try to use your air conditioner and heater sparingly. Oftentimes, there are other ways to regulate the temperature of your office. At my work here, when it’s hot inside, we can usually cool off the building by opening some windows. If it’s cold, use a low temperature setting on the thermostat. Try to use the AC and central heating as little as possible (but do use them if the temperature is unbearable).

There are three simple ways to save energy and money in the workplace. If every company would follow these three, simple steps, just think how much money (and energy and paper) could be saved. So please, print out this here list, and tape it to the water cooler immediately. By doing so, you will have done your lil’ part in saving the Earth.