Posts filed under ‘Sustainability’

Green Washing, not greenwashing.

Cleaning products

I recently went on a shopping spree in Soho. No, not for clothes, but for green cleaning products.

Green Depot began as a supplier of green building materials- think insulation, paint, tiles. Their success in the building world coincided with a rise in public awareness and interest, and they recently took the plunge into the consumer world. Green Depot’s store on the Bowery showcases all things to do with “living,” from building materials to gardening supplies and lighting options. They have a “filter” system that evaluates the environmental impact of their products, so as to “squarely address greenwashing.” With the curator of all things natural and organic (Whole Foods) just down the street, it certainly feels like Green Depot is angling for the position in the world of green.

For me, the jewel in the Green Depot crown is their cleaning agent refill bar.

Soap bar

Anyone can bring a bottle in and have it refilled with glass/tub & tile/all purpose cleaner or dish soap. Eager to give it a try, I crossed town with 3 empty bottles (method, Listerine & Envirostep) in hand. The stuff is literally on tap, and several pumps later, the friendly barista (soaptender?) had filled the bottles and taped on new labels. The cost? 12 cents an ounce, which works out to be less than a new bottle.

In addition to the modest cost savings, that’s three less plastic bottles for me to chuck in a landfill. (I’ve been haunted about my plastic footprint since watching “Garbage Island.”  It’s a problem.)

Is it reasonable to think that everyone is going to schlep around with empty bottles in their purse? Maybe not. But response has been very positive, and one hopes that it might provoke major players such as P&G and Unilever to acknowledge that consumers are beginning to care enough to go a little extra distance– and that there is opportunity to meet us halfway. I personally would be delighted if my supermarket had a refill station for everything from shampoo to cooking oil. –Kat


August 17, 2009 at 5:49 pm

3 Years, 3 Months, 8 Days.

highlineopening2That is how long we have gazed out of our window at the High Line, dreaming of the day when we might have morning meetings amidst greenery.

IT’S OPEN. Once forlorn, it is now resplendent, and we had a chance to take a stroll on the park’s opening day yesterday. The pictures speak for themselves, but in a nutshell, we thought it was fabulous and well worth the wait.

Huge congratulations go to Joshua David and Richard Hammond, who conceived the idea and formed Friends of the High Line in 1999. Designed by Field Operations (Jame’s Corner’s landscaping design firm) and Diller Scofidio+Renfro, beautiful renderings of the High Line have graced the pages of NY publications for years. Since then, budgets have been slashed and snazzy features have been sacrificed. Nevertheless, the creative juices kept flowing, and there are many elements (undulating and pronged paving, oversized rolling lounge chairs, water features, plants you have never seen before) that will surprise and delight. We particularly love the re-introduction of wild grasses that were found on the High Line when it was deserted.

Come and see for yourself! –Kat

June 9, 2009 at 1:59 pm

High Line Update #5: Blooms!

High Line SpringSpring is in the air and purple patches have blossomed on the High Line. Katie from Friends of the High Line tells us that these are “Rhapsody in Blue” flowers, from the Salvia family. While we’re enjoying our office view, we can’t wait to admire them up close, and eagerly await the official opening, rumored to be some time in June. As always, daily updates are available on the official High Line blog. –Kat

May 12, 2009 at 11:21 am Leave a comment

High Line Update #4: On The Fence


Last week, my colleagues and I noticed the addition of an oddly imposing structure atop the High Line. Upon closer inspection, it appears that workers have installed a security fence on the section directly above 20th Street. While I couldn’t find any information addressing the fence specifically, the High Line’s website informed me that, “the first section of the High Line (Gansevoort Street to 20th Street) is currently on budget, and is projected to open in the spring of 2009.” Using my cunning deductive abilities, I’ve concluded that this is a temporary border fence to keep this spring’s visitors from stumbling onto the construction of the second section.

Other progress since our last update includes new park benches (one is pictured above, covered for winter) and, in the background, the emergent shell of Cary Tamarkin’s 456 West 19th St. building. We’ll be sure to update you with any new progress!


Previous High Line updates: #3 – At Last Grass, #2 – High Line Sunshine, #1 – Our Dependence On Foreign Soil

February 3, 2009 at 3:39 pm Leave a comment

The Amazing Year That Was

Obama crowd

2008 was an unforgettable year for us at People Are Amazing. Aside from Kat getting married, and me getting typhus, we launched this very blog and (despite our best efforts), it is still up and running! Since then, we’ve been privileged to interview a number of amazing people from Kalliopi Kohas, owner of Greek pine sap purveyor Mastiha to Tony Dusko, 5th grade teacher by day, whimsical web animator by night. A personal highpoint was hearing the wise words of 90 year-old Dave Crawford on growing up during the Great Depression and how best to navigate a crumbling economy.

But the recession didn’t keep us from visiting some intriguing places. John took a trip to Brooklyn’s own Fine and Raw for a taste of artisanal, dairy/sugar/preservative-free chocolate. He brought back some perishable, refrigerated samples and we made sure they never reached room temperature! Kat found herself in the Mid-West wandering the aisles of Cincinatti’s own supermarket/amusement park Jungle Jim’s. Food, it seems, is a minor obsession at P.A.A.. Kat’s post about local panini-makers S’Wich found its way onto foodie blog Eater in May. I wrote about an awful new bottled tap water I came across at a bodega; in turn, that company curiously linked to our post, “Tap’NY Must Think You’re Stupid,” in their press section.

Surprisingly, our most popular post ended up being about a miscolored canine. In early May, I was experimenting with ways to boost traffic and I noticed that the search term “green puppy” was “volcanic” in popularity on Google Trends. Apparently, a Labrador with a pea-colored coat had been born in New Orleans and really people wanted to see the pictures. I posted the two images available at the time, unaware that moments later the popular site Buzzfeed would link to our post. Within a matter of minutes, we had thousands of viewers visiting our humble little blog. Thus, the “Green Puppy Effect” was born.

Obviously, you never quite know where a year will take you. This time last year, People Are Amazing didn’t even exist. But between blogging about diabetic rappers and Colorado grease thieves, we were thrilled to ride the ups and downs of 2008. Luckily for us, amazing things are always on the horizon and 2009 is sure to provide hearty fodder for the blog. Happy New Year and thanks for reading!

— Johnny

January 12, 2009 at 3:12 pm Leave a comment

High Line Update #3: At Last, Grass!

For the past couple weeks, workers on the High Line have been getting their hands dirty, carefully adding an even layer of soil to the tracks. And as fun as it’s been to look at, all brown and flat and whatnot, we felt something was missing. But today, much to our Monday morning merriment, the High Line received its very first plant delivery! We’ll track this ongoing development with green glee and post some pictures once the workers get gardening!

Click through for a couple more pics. Also, the High Line blog posted some great pictures too.


September 8, 2008 at 2:26 pm 1 comment

High Line Update #2: High Line Sunshine

What a beautiful day for a High Line snapshot! Since our last update, the little men in hardhats got their hands seriously dirty. The soil surrounding the tracks has been leveled out and a temporary plywood path has been laid down. Won’t it be nice when we can spend days like this strolling down an elevated wonderland? — Johnny

P.S. Kat has just informed me that tonight is “Weenie Wednesday” at The Half King on 23rd St. So if you’re in the neighborhood, take advantage of the free piggies in blankets : )

August 20, 2008 at 4:40 pm 2 comments

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