Monday, March 10, 2014

Happy St. Re-Patrick-Cycle-Mania Day!

It's that time of year again, Wolverines...the time when your two favorite events coincide... it's a green squared's...
 St. Patrick's Day AND Recyclemania!!! 
Here are a few tips to make your St. Re-Patrick-Cycle-Mania Day even greener!

1. Share, swap, and get thrifty!
That all-green window display at American Apparel sure is tempting, but you'll save some green in your wallet, go green for the environment, and end up with a more original St. Paddy's Day outfit by sharing clothes with friends or checking out secondhand stores.
  • Try organizing a pre-St. Paddy's Day clothing swap with friends. You know what they say... one friend's trash is another friend's treasure!
  • Hit up Salvation Army, Value World, or the vintage stores on State Street. You might just get lucky!
2. Save the beads!!!
Got some old Mardi Gras beads lying around? These beads are not recyclable and often end up as litter or landfill, so make sure to hang onto them over the years. The green ones make fantastic St. Paddy's Day accessories!

Last year, Ann Arbor's Ecology Center tested Mardi Gras beads and found that they contained lead, bromine, arsenic, and other hazardous chemicals. Jeff Gearhart of the Ecology Center recommends that wearers of these beads avoid putting the beads in their mouths, wash their hands after handling, and make sure to reuse the beads rather than leaving them on roadways and sidewalks where chemicals could leach into the environment.

3. Green eats, green drinks
Having a St. Paddy's Day shindig? Planning to serve some green food or drink? It turns out artificial green food dye isn't so "green" after all. A study by the Center for Science in the Public Interest shows that artificial food coloring known as FD&C Green No. 3 and Fast Green CFC is derived from petroleum, contains coal tar, and has been associated with increased risk of certain cancers and hyperactivity in children. As an alternative, try serving foods that are naturally green, like kale, bell peppers, avocado, kiwi, or cucumbers. Smoothies, anyone?? If you've just got to have your green cupcakes and green beverage, try using a naturally-derived food dye instead. These can be found at health food stores or, if you're feeling ambitious, here are directions for DIY natural food dyes!

Another important thing to remember at your St. Paddy's Day party-- whether your cups are green or classic red, all plastic cups (i.e. Solo brand) can be recycled! Make sure to clean up your cups and recycle responsibly. Even better-- have guests bring their own reusable cups or mason jars so that everyone can show off their naturally-dyed green beverage!

Happy St. Re-Patrick-Cycle-Mania Day, everyone!