Monthly Archives: January 2012

Alternatives to the big brands

So I know this is not exactly environmentally related, but I thought I would compare some big name products with substitutes from products that utilize less artificial ingredients.

Ritz vs. TJ’s Golden Rounds Crackers

They look the same, taste the same, so is there really a difference?

I compared boxes both 12 oz size, Ritz listed the serving as 16 g while TJ’s listed 30 g (9 crackers). TJ’s is a lot more realistic, really who only has 3 or 4 crackers? Ritz is trying to make you feel less guilty by making the serving size smaller than you would most likely be eating.

Nutritionally the TJ’s Golden Round Crackers are better they have a lot less sodium. Eating too much salt can increase your risk of stroke or cardiovascular disease, and cause high blood pressure.

Dorito’s vs. Kettle Brand Tia’s Chips

They are very similar, I can tell that the Tia’s are the healthier version of them. But after you have eaten a couple you get used to the more natural taste.

When comparing the Nacho Cheddar flavor the first thing that stands out to me is the fact that the Doritos have less calories, but they also have a lot more salt and they use artificial coloring while Tia’s uses paprika extract for coloring. Tia’s also uses organic yellow corn as the base for their product.

Cheetos vs. Trader Joe’s Baked Cheese Crunchies

Personally I like TJ’s Baked Cheese Crunchies better, there is something about Cheetos that just tastes so fake.

Cheetos have more calories then  Baked Cheese Crunchies and almost double the sodium. In addition Cheetos have more fat. That color orange that Cheetos is established from artificial food coloring


Now of course none of the foods are healthy but if you do want to treat yourself to a snack reach for the healthier version. I personally like the healthier versions better anyway. They have fewer ingredients and for the most part I know what all of them are, in comparison to the bigger named brands where I don’t know half the ingredients. I don’t think all the artificial foods are good for you, so I will often try to get the healthier brand.

Will you go and try one of these ‘healthier’ options? What is your opinion? Do they taste as good?

“The greatest wealth is health.”




TerraCycle Outsmart Waste

Recently my next door neighbors have started a brigade of terracycling through girl scouts. They collect items that normally will not be recycled or items that are hard-to-recycle through the terracycle program.  I thought this was a great idea and am hoping to be able to start a brigade when I go back to my spring semester at college.


Their purpose is to eliminate waste. They create collection opportunities and solutions for things that are normally sent to the landfill.

They turn these products into new products like backpacks, benches, and bags. They use the Upcycle idea, where they use the old product as is, to create a new product. They do not utilize as much energy as recycling.

In 2010 and 2011 this program has spread to all over the world including France, Germany, Sweden, Norway, Spain, and many other countries.

What Can You Do?

Find a location near you that is participating in Terracycle, or start your own brigade. If everyone could get some of their community involved with terracyling we could reduce the amount of waste that goes into the landfill.

Can you get your community to participate? Will you start a brigade in your own community? Any thoughts on Terracycle?

“We are not to throw away those things which can benefit our neighbor. Goods are called good because they can be used for good: they are instruments for good, in the hands of those who use them properly.”

~Clement of Alexandria

My Green Grinch Christmas Tree

Happy New Year Hope Your Holidays Were Happy

Sorry I have not been blogging for a while, I have been super busy with finals, and then the holidays. I got back home and had to do some major decorating. There were no rent a tree companies near me, so I was debating if I should get a real tree. Instead my mom and I decided to be inovative.

A Green Grinch Christmas Tree

Our next door neighbors have a big Sycamore tree and the wind had broken off several large branches. They let us take a couple to play with to see if we could find a way to make them into our Christmas tree.

We took the branches and put it in a pot securing it with bags of kitty litter and a couple of bricks we had laying around. Next we put on a string of clear lights, securing them with small pieces of wire. We had stacked two pots on top of each other to get it high enough and wrapped it in fake snow.  We searched through our ornaments to find a combination of silver and red christmas balls we thought were pleasing. We carefully arranged them onto the tree. We added the Grinch to the bottom of the tree because he seemed appropriate.

All of what was used on and around this tree was found around my house. I did not need to buy anything and it was all reused from previous Christmas decorations. I found it incredibly satisfying to have created it and everyone who visited me during the holiday season enjoyed the holiday spirit it created. I will be taking it down soon the branch will be put into green recycling bin, but I look forward to another Christmas Tree Challenge next year.

I challenge you next year to be creative with your christmas decorating, not only just with the tree but with other things also.  Although I know the majority of people will never change their Christmas trees to this extreme I think it’s important to note that holiday spirit is something you create not something you can purchase.

Do you think you can be creative with holiday decorations? What did you do this holiday to make a difference environmentally?

“I speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues.”

~Dr. Seuss