April 2014 - Our Daily Green

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The high price of cheap chicken (reprint from OtherWords)

New rules could make slaughterhouses more dangerous for workers while increasing risks for consumers.

Jill Richardson
If you want to buy a fresh, whole chicken at the store, it'll run you about$1.54 per pound. But if I buy it from my local farmer, it costs $5 per pound. I live in an expensive part of the country — California — but even the farm I visited last year in rural New Hampshire sold its birds for $4 per pound.
Why the difference?
super cheap chicken
There are several reasons why chicken from an organic farmer costs double or triple what you'd pay in a store. One is that the farmer might raise a slower-growing breed of chicken, instead of the standard industrial variety that can go from hatching to slaughter in six weeks or less. And then, of course, there are economies of scale. But another reason is the cost of slaughter itself.
My farmer, a man named Curtis, processes his chickens himself. It’s a laborious task — not one I'd ever want to participate in. Quite frankly, my desire to eat chicken is just not greater than my unwillingness to pluck and gut a chicken.
And Curtis actually has it easy. He sells you the whole chicken, not a boneless, skinless chicken breast, individually wrapped like you get at the store. Once the whole bird is plucked, his job is pretty much done.
So how does the poultry industry take the average chicken from egg to boneless, skinless plastic-wrapped chicken breast in your supermarket freezer for such a low price?
Sadly, the answer is where worker safety, animal welfare, and food safety come together in a big, ugly mess.
Poultry plants achieve such low prices by hiring low-wage workers, often immigrants, who slaughter as many as 140 birds per minute. The birds are so standardized that some of the work is fully mechanized. Yet humans still do what the machines can’t in large modern poultry slaughterhouses.
Case in point: A machine kills most of the birds — but it misses some of them. Once dead, the chickens’ next stop is a bath in scalding water. And sending a live chicken into scalding water is not cool. So a worker stands at the ready, attempting to quickly kill every bird the machine misses. Of course, sometimes that human being misses a bird too.
Each worker does a repetitive motion over and over, all day long, many times a minute. Think of Lucy and Ethel on the assembly line in the classic I Love Lucy episode. Only it’s not chocolate. And they aren't putting the product zipping by them in their mouths.
Jobs like these that require repetitive movements and awkward postures often hurt workers’ wrists, elbows, fingers, hands, necks, and backs. The workers develop a wide range of conditions known either as occupational overuse syndrome or repetitive strain injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome and tendinitis.
In fact, the Southern Poverty Law Center found that nearly three-quarters of poultry workers interviewed suffered some kind of work-related injury or illness.
These are debilitating injuries. They can take months to heal, and the leading prescription is rest. Most slaughterhouse workers must choose between making their health conditions worse day after day or risk getting fired.
The speed at which they work, often wielding extremely sharp knives, plays a role in these injuries. And mistakes can result in more than just injuries. They can also harm food safety.
Better regulations could make things better. So what’s the government doing?
The wrong thing. New USDA regulations will allow poultry plants to increase line speeds from 140 to 175 chickens per minute. Over 100 organizations have signed a letter to President Barack Obama asking him to oppose this move, and 68 members of Congress want to stop it.
Cheap chicken is nice. If it increases human and animal suffering while ramping up food safety risks, then it’s not worth the consumer savings. Washington should reject any new rules that will make a bad situation worse and start trying to do something to boost workplace safety in slaughterhouses.
OtherWords columnist Jill Richardson is the author of Recipe for America: Why Our Food System Is Broken and What We Can Do to Fix It. OtherWords.org

Creative CommonsExcept where otherwise noted, content from OtherWords is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative 3.0 License.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Twenty cities leading rooftop solar revolution (from repost.us)

20 Cities Leading Rooftop Solar Revolution (via Clean Technica)
Reviewing Environment California’s Report: “Shining Cities:  At the Forefront of America’s Solar Energy Revolution” Originally published in the ECOreport. America’s solar capacity has tripled during the past two years. Rooftop solar has…

Friday, April 25, 2014

Recycling behaviors at home (infographic)

The fourth R of green: repairing

Today's blog has been brought to you by a sponsor.

One of the most important skills a green-minded consumer can learn is what we sometimes call "the 4th R", repair. While environmentalist stress the "3 Rs of Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle", repair is an oft overlooked way of extending the life of an item and keeping it out of the landfill.

When Mr. Daily Green and I were dating, I gave him a toaster as an apartment warming gift. That toaster, purchased in 1988 is still operational today, after several repairs, including a heating element and new cord. It's a source of pride for him to fix things rather than throw them away and fixing things isn't difficult with a few decent tools and skills.

Besides having the right tools for the job, it's important to be able to access and use them in a reasonable and efficient way. You'll need a great toolbox. You can click here to take a look at many different types of toolboxes. Chances are you'll need at least one or two toolboxes to keep all of your supplies and tools organized. If you plan to travel frequently or you do a lot of handiwork for friends and relatives, you'll need both a permanent and a portable toolbox. This will make traveling and on-the-go fixes easier than ever. Make sure that you examine all of your options and choices before you purchase a toolbox. You'll also want to get something sturdy that you know will last for many years to come.

It's also important to get a good table for your garage. Even if you aren't handy or good with tools, you can use your table for storing boxes, sorting things, placing important items, or even just putting your groceries down before you haul them inside. If you are a handy person, you'll enjoy being able to use your table to work on projects, clean items, and build new things. Your table should be long enough to conquer difficult tasks without taking up too much space.

Click here to learn more about several Made in the USA storage options for your repair projects. 

Earn extra $10 from Gazelle on trade-ins

This post contains affiliate links and Our Daily Green will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on the links.

Our Daily Green first wrote about Gazelle in 2009, after seeing an eye-opening report on the toxicity of discarded electronic devices. We were thrilled to discover a company that is buying back and responsibly recycling old electronics. In an age where electronics seem obsolete within months of buying, Gazelle offers a solution that adds green to your wallet as well as keeping the planet more safe. 

photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
The New Samsung Galaxy S5 is Out! Earn $10 Extra on $50+ Trade-Ins at Gazelle... Ends 4/30!The Samsung Galaxy S5 is rumored to be a fan favorite with a faster camera, amazing screen, better battery (not to mention the cool heart rate monitor and fingerprint scanner) and a clear contender for your pocket in 2014. Considering an upgrade? What will you do with your old phone?

For only a few more days, Gazelle is giving an extra $10 on devices traded in valuing $50 or more. This deal comes at a perfect time since the latest upgrades scheduled for multiple smartphones (Galaxy S5, Sony Xperia Z2, LG G3, etc.) are hitting the market now. Gazelle offers trade-ins for everything from smartphones to laptops to tablets.... the list goes on, so go trade in something old and get some extra cash to buy something new. But you had better hurry, because this deal only lasts until April 30th! 

If you're looking to upgrade your electronic devices or have recently upgraded, you can contact Gazelle to trade in your older device. Gazelle pays consumers for used smartphones, and other electronic devices – helping them upgrade faster or put some extra money in their pockets. All while doing some good for the planet by finding homes for the devices they no longer need.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

#FitTeaDetox: "Give us a few weeks and we'll give you a new waistline" (sponsored product review)

Like many consumers who could stand to lose a few pounds, I was intrigued when I was contacted to review FitTea. Who wouldn't love a great way to sip your way to thin? 

Late in March, I received my package from FitTea, which contained a bag of tea, a bottle of capsules and a reusable water bottle. Admittedly, I was skeptical, but I also love my tea and FitTea is made of all natural ingredients, including organic green tea, rooibos, ginger and pomegranate. 

I need to write an honest review. My honest review is simple. I like FitTea. I think if it helps with weight loss it's because the users are  committed  in ways that go above and beyond enjoying a tasty tea. They are also exercising and watching the rest of their diet. 

That said, I don't believe that any product "by itself" makes any person lose weight. I do believe that FitTea was a nice alternative to the water I'd normally choose. It makes me happy that folks make healthier choices that include buying FitTea online as a beverageMy suggestion is that if you're looking for a tasty calorie free alternative to water that your body may respond well to FitTea. It's smooth tasting and loaded with anti-oxidants. Many folks have had tremendous success with FitTea. If you'd like to see what other people think about FitTea and their results, click the link to learn more. FitTea also offers a caffeine-free alternative. The ingredients are Holy basil (Tulsi) spearmint, rosehips, lemon myrtle and linden blossoms. 

If you're looking for a delicious and calorie free way to supplement your weight loss plan, FitTea is tasty and organic. It is prepared by placing one teaspoon in a strainer for 3-5 minutes. It may be served hot or iced. The stevia leaves bring a natural sweetness to the tea. 

Oolong wu yi, rooibos, green tea, guarana have all been cited as weight loss herbs. While this product has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and it is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness, the ingredients in the tea are natural and safe. They may help some folks lose weight or burn fat. We did not have that experience, but it did not detract from our enjoyment of the tea. 

Our Daily Green has been compensated for this review. Regardless, we always try to inform our readers to our best ability. 

Monday, April 14, 2014

The coolest and hottest thermostat ever (Honeywell review and giveaway)

And do we mean ever! This thermostat will keep you cool or warm whenever you need it.

Our Daily Green was contacted over the winter to test out the latest product from Honeywell. We received a Wi-Fi Color Touchscreen Programmable Thermostat (retail value: $200+), and installed it in our home.

Immediately, we were impressed by the interface. From a purely aesthetic view, you can actually choose the color of the screen to match your decor. But beyond that, the precision programming options are incredible. From a daily option based on when someone is in the home, this thermostat is simple and straightforward.

But beyond all the immediate benefits, is the amazing smart phone APP and remote benefits.

Imagine heading out for the day and forgetting to reprogram your thermostat to know the house would be empty. Why heat a house that nobody is in?

Honeywell's APP solves that problem. Within seconds, you can pull up an APP to turn off or lower your furnace/air until you will be back in the house. Remotely. Yes, you can adjust the thermostat without even being in the house.

The instructions are clear and concise; we've included a photo journey of our installation:
Ease of installation is an important factor: clearly labeled wires and easy to follow instructions result in a painless and accurate installation. Simply remove each wire as instructed, re-label and reinsert.

WiFi Thermostat

Like a kid with a new toy, we've been testing our new thermostat whenever we head out and about. We've paused, lowered, stopped and restarted it to see how well we can control it from afar. No difficulties to report and truly, we can imagine tremendous savings. Picture this: You no longer have to heat or cool a home where nobody is in the home. You can adjust the temperature so that when you are home, it's a comfortable temperature. 

Honeywell WiFi Thermostat considers today's homeowner and today's issues. It's the right thermostat for our times. 

We are honored to offer one free Honeywell WiFi Thermostat to give away to one of Our Daily Green's readers. (follow link to see if your home is compatible). 

What's in it for us? Well, this is the disclosure part, we received our thermostat free of charge. We are excited about it and want to share it with you. To qualify for our giveaway, we are inviting you to tell your friends about Honeywell and Our Daily Green. We work hard to bring you the latest and most relevant news in the world of energy savings and green living. We want you to tell your friends how you heard about our giveaway. 

To enter, please post about the giveaway somewhere on social media, either Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.

Include a link to this post as well as a mention of #Honeywell and #OurDailyGreen. Leave a comment on this post with the link to your entry.

Good Luck!

Thermostat APP
Honeywell Wi-Fi Color Touchscreen
Programmable Thermostat

One entry per person, accepting entries up until April 27th, midnight EST. To qualify, you must comment and include a link of your shared post. 


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Zabada clean is natural, safe, and effective (product review)

In January, Our Daily Green received a cleaning kit from Zabada clean to test and review for our readers. Not only did we receive the merchandise, I also had the opportunity to talk to the company founder, Damian Pike, from Australia, where Zabada is a household name under the label ENJO.

Our Daily Green's communication with Zabada began when they were preparing their US product launch. Though we were unable to attend (it was in California, we're in Ohio), they took great care in sharing information about their product and how it would revolutionize the way we clean in the United States.

As Americans are starting to learn more and more that killing bacteria only makes it more resistant, we need to rethink what it means to clean our homes. The Zabada cleaning system is a household staple under the name ENJO in 20% of the Australian households.

In their San Francisco launch, Zabata proved that chemicals are not necessary for a clean surface, water and good fibers are.

From the press release:
Zabada’s environmental thought leaders toured San Francisco this week, demonstrating how the company’s microfiber cloths (when combined with water) decrease bacteria levels from household areas such as kitchens, bathrooms and floors. The science of this process is proved by using a bacteria monitoring device called a Lumitester to measure bacteria levels on a surface before and after cleaning with Zabada. Bloggers, high end restaurateurs and eco-friendly activists marveled at the demonstrations, where the Lumitester’s speedy measurements showed that Zabada’s microfiber products removed exponentially more bacteria than leading household chemical cleaners, including those claiming to be “environmentally friendly.”
Zabada Clean
enter referral code 4389

We actually meant to clean our house and post this review sooner than April, (much to Our Daily Green family's chagrin), but now that we've used Zabada, we're believers! You can clean with water and their tools.

We especially love the cleaning mitt pictured in the photo to the right. It did a fantastic job on our bathroom mirror and glass shower doors. See the video below for a demonstration of the product. Add water, wipe and dry. It's that simple.  Think about how many paper towels that will save!

For tougher cleaning problems, as pictured below, we asked Zabada about hard water stains. As you can see from the door of our front loading washing machine, we had a tremendous calcium buildup. We took photos before, during, and after cleaning with their Calcium Dissolver. We used the same product in our sinks but the images were not as easy to demonstrate how effective the product was.




If the photos or my willingness to share the crud inside my washing machine door, for the sake of a review, haven't convinced you, try it for yourself. Check out the different ways Zabada can make your house sparkle without chemicals.

disclaimer: Our Daily Green received the bathroom cleaning system and the calcium dissolver in exchange for this review. Our opinions remain our own. Our opinion will always remain, cleaning isn't fun. But at least with Zabada, it's safe and effective.