Rainforest Alliance Thinks Outside The Bin


Rainforest Alliance Seal

Image Courtesy of Rainforest Alliance

At a local coffee house recently, I noticed a cute little green frog.  Not an actual frog (that would have been alarming beside my Mocha Latte), but a certification seal on a sign.  It accompanied the proud announcement that they served only “Rainforest Alliance Certified” coffee beans.

The frog looked familiar, I’ve seen it showing up in other areas and on product labels, so I did some research to find out it’s significance.  I was so happy that I did.  The frog is a seal that comes from The Rainforest Alliance, and it indicates that the contents of the package were grown on sustainably managed farms.  What does that have to do with recycling?  Everything!

Consumers around the globe recognize the little green frog as a symbol of environmental, social and economic sustainability.  This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Rainforest Alliance.  With an annual operating budget of $30 million and operations in 66 countries, they are a significant force for positive change, with a true global reach. The Rainforest Alliance (www.rainforest-alliance.org) is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to conserve biodiversity and ensure sustainable livelihoods by transforming land-use practices, business practices and consumer behavior.

The organization started with forest conservation in mind and moved into the agricultural industry, first with bananas.  Chiquita currently produces 85% of their bananas with the Rainforest Alliance Certified methods, even though they don’t market the seal on their products yet.

You can already find the little frog in many places, so be on the lookout for him, knowing your purchase is helping to promote good farming practices and protecting the rights and wellbeing of farm workers. The company helps workers transform the way they grow food, harvest wood and host travelers.  They make sure all workers are paid fair wages and have access to quality education and healthcare and no child labor is allowed.

The conservation methods used by the Rainforest Alliance include composting and recycling waste, and they help protect the forests and wildlife.  They established the Forest Stewardship Council, another symbol to look for (FSC) when buying wood products and paper products.  They are dedicated to conserving forests and logging in a responsible manner.  The Rainforest Alliance has set the standard for all corporations to follow, to insure a more sustainable future for our children.

You can already ‘follow the frog’ at a store near you, finding him on labels such as Lipton Tea, Newman’s Own Chocolate, Mars Cocoa and even on some cosmetics and cleaners. Caribou Coffee, WalMart, Target, Whole Foods, Sam’s Club, Costco, McDonalds, P.F. Chang’s, Goldman Sachs, The Waldorf Astoria, Holiday Inn, Marriott, SeaWorld, Hilton, Hyatt and others have incorporated Rainforest Alliance products.

Think of your shopping choices as enormous decisions.  Every time you choose a product, hotel or piece of furniture, you can help the recycling effort, protect rainforests, wildlife and riverbanks.  By making a conscious effort to follow the frog, you are making an immediate difference around the globe.


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Top Ten Recycling Tips from Think Outside The Bin

Think Outside The Bin book coverTHINK OUTSIDE THE BIN

“Think Outside The Bin:  Discard your common household items, help your neighbor, help your earth” was written with a vision of making a difference in America’s homes and landfills.  In celebration of our success, we offer you The Best Recycling Tips of 2011, our top picks and posts for the year:

10.  Top 5 Benefits of Social Recycling

9.  Cosmetic Database will convince you to recycle toxic products

8.  Get Organized Month gift for you

7.  The sights and smells of a landfill

6.  Don’t laugh, dentures can be donated!

5.  Crocs Cares about recycling – Our #1 clicked link was for recycling Crocs!

4.  Landfill statistics and Zero Waste America

3.  21 Ways to Recycle Medicine Bottles

2.  A sea of plastic: More plastic than plankton in our ocean

And the Ball Drops…

1.  Our #1 Post viewed by over 500 people in one day was:  Landfill Statistics in the U.S… Staggering.

Happy New Year…and thank you for your support and for your willingness to Think Outside The Bin this year!

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Think Outside The Bin 2011 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Syndey Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 22,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 8 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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New Year’s Resolution to Recycle More

New Year's Resolution to recycle moreStart a Recycling Revolution in 2012!

Some resolutions to consider:

  • Resolve to begin recycling if you don’t already. You can start small. This site provides a wealth of information about getting your recycling efforts off the ground.
  • If you already recycle, step it up a notch. If your curbside recycling service doesn’t accept a particular item (like glass or cardboard), resolve to begin taking that item to the drop off facility in your area.
  • Resolve to purchase more products packaged with post consumer recycled materials. The higher the percentage listed on the package, the better.
  • Resolve to purchase more items made from recycled materials. Paper towels, toilet paper, napkins, and many other paper products fall into this category.
  • Resolve to purchase more items in bulk, thus reducing packaging waste.
  • Resolve to create at least one creative craft using something you might otherwise throw away. This is fun, gets your creative juices flowing, can reduce stress, and is a great way to spend some quality time with your family.


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Gift Card “Recycling”: Oprah and Forbes like Plastic Jungle

PLASTIC JUNGLEGift cards in cross pattern

Plastic Jungle helps you buy, sell or exchange gift cards and get cash for cards you don’t want.  When you receive a gift card you don’t want, get cash for it or buy another retailer’s gift card, easily and online in moments at Plastic Jungle.  Plastic Jungle has over 16,000 Facebook Fans and has been seen in The Oprah Magazine, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Fox Business, Forbes, TechCrunch, NBC and The New York Times.


Think Outside The Bin Resources for Gift Cards

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Donation Valuation Guides for End of Year Giving

Out with the old, in with the new stuffOut with the old, in with the new. The last week of the year is a busy time for Goodwill, Salvation Army and other organizations that collect donations of clothing, household items, electronics and more.

“The joy of giving is indeed a pleasure, especially when you get rid of something you don’t want.” -Frank Butler and Frank Cavett, “Going My Way”

Maximize the amount of your anticipated tax refund in the Spring by making an itemized list NOW of everything you donate before the end of the year. Check out this Think Outside The Bin post with several donation valuation guides for you:


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Government Tax Incentives for Going Green

GE RefrigeratorAs the end of the year approaches, think outside the bin and reflect…have you taken steps this year to make a difference in your environment? Celebrate your accomplishments and think forward to the next upgrades you plan to make in energy efficient appliances, home improvements or other areas that will save you money and save energy.

The U.S. Government is rewarding us, in tax incentives, for ‘going green’ but many of their programs expire at the end of 2011.  Read all about these soon-to-expire incentives in Tracy’s December 2011 column (In H.O.P.E.), In Honor of Planet Earth.


When you upgrade and need to recycle your old appliances, doors, windows, etc. check out our previous post ideas:

Donate Appliances

Rebates Offered to Recycle Appliances

Donate Building Materials

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Buy My Tronics Makes an Impact in eWaste


Cash for your electronics has never been easier!  Check out Buy My Tronics for an online recycling option for your electronic item.  Submit your item and get the value of it before deciding to sell it, then send it to Buy My Tronics and they will put the money into your PayPal account once it is received and the condition is verified.

Buymytronics.com has received favorable press from MSNBC, CNN and PC World:

Watch the MSNBC video about how Buy My Tronics works:




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Landfill Laws Changing E-waste Disposal

TVs can no longer go in the landfillComputers, cell phones, televisions, printers, copiers and other electronics have been banned from landfills in 17 states throughout the U.S.  Seven of these bans took place in 2011 and 2 more take effect soon (Illinois in January 2012 and Pennsylvania in 2013). Electronics contain mercury, cadmium, lead and other hazardous materials and leach into the ground, so they should always be recycled; however, only 25% of electronics were recycled in 2009, according to USA Today (December 19, 2011).  The changes in laws are helping to encourage all of us, and an example is found in North Carolina’s e-waste recycling program, which has seen a doubling of electronic recycling in the last year!

Look at the list of eCycling Partners, manufacturers and retailers, like Best Buy, HHGregg, Sony and Panasonic to see where they stand in their partnership with EPA and programs that are making a difference today and will set the standard for the future.


Plug-In partners demonstrate leadership and social responsibility by offering individuals opportunities to protect the environment by safely reusing and recycling consumer electronics.

Since the program began in 2003, Plug-In To eCycling partners have recycled more than 360 million pounds of electronics, including televisions, computers and cell phones. View highlights of each partner’s 2009 accomplishments.

All Plug-In To eCycling partners* have committed to:

  • Supporting an electronics reuse or recycling program available to household consumers;
  • Educating consumers about their program; and
  • Safely managing the electronics they collect by ensuring that the electronics refurbishers and recyclers they use follow the Guidelines for Materials Management.

Think Outside The Bin resources for recycling electronics:

Resources for E-waste disposal

Easy Cash for Your Gadgets

Electronics can be Recycled for Cash

Posted in Cell phones, Computers, E-waste, Electronics, Landfill statistics, Televisions, Think Outside The Bin | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Christmas Tree Recycling

Recycle live Christmas trees after the holidaysAccording to the Environmental Protection Agency, almost 33 million live Christmas trees are sold each year in North America. After Christmas, look for ways to recycle real Christmas trees instead of sending them to the landfill. Communities across the country organize drop-off locations for collecting trees that are later turned into mulch for hiking trails, tree fences to protect coastal wetlands, and habitats for wildlife. Find recycling centers for Christmas trees by going to Earth 911 to find a location close to your home.

*Remember to remove the stand, all lights, garland, tinsel, and decorations before recycling.

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