Friday, April 22, 2011

Earth Day = Spring Cleaning

It's Earth Day, which means you'll probably be reading about simple ways to "go green" all afternoon. It's true that the small changes we make can have a big impact on the health of our planet. For example, take shorter showers to conserve water, eat local and organic to reduce our use of oil and pesticides, wash your clothes in cold water instead of hot to save energy. All of these things are important and make an impact. I try to do all these (and more) year round.

I'm not a collector at heart, but there are some things I can't simply toss in the trash. Cork from wine and champagne bottles are, or should I say were, my ongoing pet project. I had corks piling up in ice buckets, boxes and bags, "Oh! Don't throw that away, I'm going to do something with it," was my often repeated mumble. My family, knowing that once I get something into my head, knows its not going to go away and shrewdly decided to let the topic pass.


You might have heard something about the (beautiful!) cork flooring we installed last year in our eco-showroom at California Baby headquarters in Los Angeles.


By now, it can safely be assumed that I LOVE cork floors, which is why I envisioned my used beverage corks being recycled into soft and comfy eco-friendly flooring. The cork we chose for our showroom is harvested from the cork tree by stripping the outer bark, which is done without harming the tree, so it's a wonderfully sustainable material. The process of turning the bark into cork for flooring is also very green and low-impact. Cork pieces are cured, boiled and then pressed and even scraps from this process can be collected and reused so there's very little waste.
Not planning on getting new flooring anytime soon? Well, you can still make a difference and do what I did: recycle your wine bottle corks by sending them to The Cork Forest Conservation Alliance, which runs Cork ReHarvest, a recycling program that saves wine corks from the landfill and sends them to businesses that repurpose them into things like cork flooring. Visit www.corkforest.org for more information about how to recycle your corks.

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