Green digest // Green and practical

Green and practical

LYNDALE — Mindful Momma blogger and Lyndale resident Micaela Preston recently released a new book filled with practical tips for those seeking a greener lifestyle.

Preston said she wrote “Practically Green: Your Guide to EcoFriendly Decision Making” to help readers take the stress out of making greener choices.

“My goal with the book was to take the topic of green and healthy living and make it inspiring rather than intimidating to people,” she said.
In six chapters, Preston covers topics like greener clothes and accessories, cleaning, eating and bath and body care. The book includes more than 30 do-it-yourself projects, including instructions for repurposing old clothes and recipes for earth-friendly household cleaners.

Preston said the book reflected the kind of balance she sought in her own life, between being as green as possible and dealing with the day-to-day realities of raising two children.

“There’s no way to do it all, and you can get stressed-out if you try to do everything the perfect green way,” she said. “… You’re faced with so many constraints, especially when you have a family.”

Moms and dads on the run might appreciate Preston’s copy-and-clip guides. Designed to fit in a purse or wallet for easy reference on shopping trips, the guides list chemicals to avoid in bath products, for example, and decode the meanings of “organic,” “natural” and other terms found on food labels.

Preston started her blog, mindfulmomma.typepad.com, focused on green and healthy family life about three years ago. She snagged a publishing deal through her online writing and spent about a year working on “Practically Green.”

While followers of Mindful Momma probably will appreciate “Practically Green,” Preston said her book was written for a wider audience than just parents.

The book is available locally at Magers & Quinn Booksellers and Borders locations, as well as all the usual online booksellers.

Beers for bikes

Tour de Fat, New Belgium Brewing’s annual multi-city bicycle rally, raised about $8,300 during its July 18 stop in Minneapolis, the Fort Collins, Colo.-based brewer reported Dec. 3.

In total, the tour raised more than $276,000 for bicycle advocacy groups during stops in 11 cities over the summer and fall. Tour de Fat set off July 11 from Chicago and ended Oct. 17 in Austin, Texas, attracting more than 55,000 bicycle enthusiasts, Fat Tire reported.

The tour attracted about 1,800 people to Parade Athletic Fields during its first-ever stop in Minneapolis. Admission to the event — which included a costumed bicycle parade and riding contests — was free, with the proceeds from beer and merchandise sales going to organizations that promote bicycle riding and environmental stewardship.

The tour’s name riffs on the world’s best-known bicycle race, the Tour de France, and New Belgium’s flagship product, Fat Tire Amber Ale. Over the past decade, the tour has raised a total of more than $1.25 million.
Holiday light recycling

’Tis the season to hang holiday lights and, typically, to discover one or two strands of bulbs have used up their twinkle.

Now, there’s an alternative to throwing burnt out strings of holiday lights in the trash. A new, free program called Recycle Your Holidays is collecting holiday lights and old electrical cords of all kinds for recycling.

Sponsored by the Recycling Association of Minnesota, the program has collection sites scattered across the metro area. Southwest residents can find a box at the Tangletown neighborhood Snyders Drug, 4626 Nicollet Ave. S., where they’ll get a coupon good for $5 off any $20 purchase.

Other boxes were located outside the WCCO building at the corner of 11th Street and Nicollet Avenue and along Nicollet Mall during the Target Holidazzle Parade. Hennepin County drop-off recycling sites are collecting lights, too.

PPL Industries, a Minneapolis adult work program, collects and recycles the lights. To find a full list of metro-area drop off sites, visit recycleminnesota.org.

Local businesses sponsor bike share kiosks

Eleven new sponsors signed on in November to support the city’s new bike share program set to debut next spring.

Nice Ride Minnesota, the nonprofit organized to run the program, reported the new bike share kiosk sponsors included Augsburg College, Grant Thornton, Abbott Northwestern Hospital, Dorsey & Whitney, Seward Co-op, Wedge Community Co-op, Equal Exchange, Peace Coffee, Birchwood Café, Dero Bike Rack Company and Aveda. Those sponsors joined Blue Cross and Blue Shield which, as a major sponsor of the program, pledged $1 million over five years in September.

About 1,000 bikes will be available for rental at 80 self-service kiosks beginning in May.

Nice Ride Minnesota posted a map with potential locations on their website, niceridemn.com.