Category Archives: Ways To Be Green

Volunteer Events

UPDATE: Congratulations to our DonorsChoose gift card winner, Andrea Lisa Lopes!

And thank you to all who shared their volunteer experiences and ideas. It is great to hear that so many of our readers are involved in helping out their communities. It is truly inspiring!

This coming Sunday, the team here at is going to a volunteer event where we will help to clean up Cathedral Park in Portland, OR. Stay tuned for more details about our experience!

Cathedral Park - Portland, OR

We can't wait to help clean-up beautiful Cathedral Park! Photo Credit: iadk, Flicker

This got me thinking about the many benefits of summer volunteer events. You can get your whole family outside and actually enjoy the sunshine and warm weather. Additionally, if you pick the right volunteer event you can actually get yourself and your family some decent exercise. I know I was pretty sore after one of our previous volunteer events. Finally and perhaps most importantly, you are able to give back to the community!

We’d like to hear from you about summer volunteer event ideas that are great for the whole family. Or let us know about a previous volunteer event that you enjoyed. We’ll pick our favorite and the winner will get a $100 Donors Choose gift card!

Recycle Electronics for Cash

We love that you want to sell your books to us! It’s a winning situation all around: you clear space and get cash and we sell your books to others who want to read them.  Less waste is sent to our landfills as the lifecyle of each book is expanded. But have you ever thought about all of the other things lying around your house that you don’t need? What about those used electronics?

E-waste sculpture

This would also be a cool way to recycle your electronics. It might take a bit more time than selling them to Photo: Ross

Well now thanks to our friends at you can recycle your electronics for cash. BuyMyTronics is an electronics buyback company where you can sell your used electronics including iPods, iPads, smartphones and digital cameras. Check them out here and earn some cash for living green.

Sustainability Committee Year-End Wrap-Up

It has been nearly a year since the Cash4Books Sustainability Committee was formed, and our first year has been a great success. The committee is composed of five employees coming from several different departments throughout the company. While we have a wide range of perspectives and areas of focus on the committee, our main mission is to is to promote socially and environmentally sustainable practices at work.

There were several highlights for us in 2010. As a company, we logged over 110 hours of volunteer community outreach! We volunteered with the Children’s Book Bank, Tualatin Riverkeepers and the Oregon Food Bank. We were also happy to provide year-end donations to these organizations as a way of saying thanks for their hard work and dedication to their causes.

In July, we participated as a company in the Carefree Commuter Challenge. The CCC is a friendly competition between companies and organizations in the Portland, Oregon, metro region to see who has the most sustainable commuting habits. Over the course of the month we logged over 1,600 miles using sustainable transportation (defined as public transportation, carpooling, walking and biking). This saved over 65 gallons of gasoline, and prevented the release of 1,300 lbs of CO2 into the atmosphere.

Enhancing our recycling program and reducing waste was another area of emphasis for us. We improved the recycling area in our employee break room, and installed a peg board to eliminate the use of disposable cups. We expanded our recycling list to include items like CDs and batteries.  Additionally, we continued to reuse and recycle the boxes and packing materials that we receive from our customers who send us their books. Over the course of the year, we recycled 40 tons of material that would have otherwise ended up in the landfill.

To finish off the year, we installed lighting occupancy sensors in the employee break room and shipping area of our warehouse. These sensors are anticipated to result in a 5% reduction of our annual electricity consumption. Plus, its really cool to have the lights turn on automatically when you walk by the sensors.

Save trees by opting out of Yellow Pages

Most of us have experienced the plight of accumulating monstrous stacks of Yellow Page phone books. For me, they sit unused until I work up the energy to recycle them or turn them into nifty, little fire starters. I, like many others, wasn’t up to speed on the process of opting out from their delivery. In many cases the opt-out process was not an easy task: it turns out simply scaring away the delivery man was not a viable option for permanent removal from their delivery service. Yellow Book snapshot

For all of you who find yourself in my position, today is your day. The people at Yellow Pages discovered a cool little fad called the internet and decided to make an easy to use opt-out website that allows you to banish these books from your home for good.

A quick trip to will allow you to remove yourself from delivery for any and all Yellow Pages publications. The only question you leave the site with is what to do with all of that reclaimed space in your home.

Save yourself and some trees by opting out today.

Grubbin’ the Green Way: How to Dine Sustainably

If you are like me, you like to eat out…A LOT! More and more, I am seeing restaurants advertising local, sustainable food sources, and energy-saving practices on their menus. This got me thinking….how do you dine sustainably?

Below are just a few steps to pique your interest in eating environmentally.

1. An important first step in eating out responsibly is choosing a green restaurant.

The Green Restaurant Association is a great start! Through their website, you can locate local eateries that meet green certification standards. Over 300 restaurants in 30 states have met minimum standards in the following areas:

  • Water Efficiency
  • Waste Reduction and Recycling
  • Sustainable Furnishings and Building Materials
  • Sustainable Food
  • Energy
  • Disposables
  • Chemical and Pollution Reduction

In addition to sustainable restaurants, several guides exist to help you navigate your way to vegetarian, organic, and local dinner sources.

Happy Cow Compassionate Eating Guide

Local Harvest


2. Remember to eat local.

Try to support restaurants that rely on local farmers, farmers’ markets, and food co-ops to stock their pantries.

3. Be sure to order with a conscience.

Consult the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Guide before ordering seafood. The Monterey Bay Aquarium provides “best choices,” “good alternatives,” and those fish to “avoid” in order to help sustain wild, diverse, and healthy ocean ecosystems for the future.

EarthEasy also has a sustainable seafood list by type.

4. Make responsible water choices.

Only ask for a glass of water if you’ll actually drink it. If the meal is coming to an end, decline last minute fill-ups if you won’t be staying to finish them off.

5. When eating on the go…

Refuse extras like condiments or plastic utensils if taking your food home.  Or, if you know how much ketchup or napkins you’ll need, be specific and request just one or two. Be sure to reuse the bags and cups you get as many times as you can afterward.

6. Doggie Bag?

If you are really hard-core, bring your own reusable container for leftovers. Make doggie bags a thing of the past!

Just a side note – Throughout my childhood, when visiting the buffet, my grandma would hide plastic bags in her purse to bring home “leftovers.” Some may say she was ahead of her time sustainably. But the reality is that she was frugal. 🙂  I would politely remind her…although it doesn’t explicitly say, “All you can eat HERE,” it should be implied.