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    Shopping Online Can Be A Greener Way To Shop

    Besides the fact that your shopkeeper's commute is carbon-footprint free (I work from home), there are many ways in which shopping at ModernTribe.com (or any online shop) could be more environmentally conserving than shopping at a "brick & mortar" store.

    1. Transport is pooled, saving on gas and emissions. Unless you walk to shop, one person driving to a store -- or multiple stores, perhaps -- is less efficient than using what Planet Green calls, "a well-organized carpool for your goods." Chances are the mail person, as well as Fed Ex and UPS are driving past your house everyday anyway.
    2. Less "security" plastic is needed. Besides being aggravating as all get out, the hard plastic security/display packaging you see on many goods is not necessary for us. Sometimes we can't get an item packaged differently, but other times we are able to buy items not packaged for "display" and therefore, better for the earth & your sanity.
    3. We have a warehouse instead of a store. Brick & mortar stores need to be lighted and air-conditioned with a low occupancy rate per square foot (lots of room, few things and people). Warehouses maximize storage and are bare-bones spaces... and in our case, is my basement -- which would be there, warehouse or not.

    Furthermore, we make other choices in how we run our business that are more environmentally friendly:

    • We pack our shipments in recyclable packaging and re-use packaging when we can. We pack mostly with corn-starch peanuts and paper in recyclable cardboard boxes. The packaging we can't reuse, we recycle including boxes and ink cartridges.
    • We strive for a paper-free office, conducting almost all of our business online -- banking, buying, bill paying (but this is mostly because no one here is willing to file).
    • Our gift boxes and wrap are made from partially recycled content and can be recycled after use too!

    We care about conservation like we know you do. Shalom, love, and happy Earth Day!

    How to Green Your Bar Mitzvah or Bat Mitzvah: 5 Tips

    Finally, going green is no longer a fringe mission but something most of us are trying to integrate into many aspects of our lives. Kate Harrison of Green Mitzvot shares with us how we can make even bar and bat mitzvah greener.

    By Kate Harrison, Green Bar Mitzvahs

    Protecting the earth has always been a Jewish value:

    God placed the human in the garden of Eden to serve and keep it.
    Genesis 2:15

    Here are five ways to make your Bar or Bat Mitzvah eco-friendly:

    1. Invitations: Come to My Green Bar Mitzvah!
    Instead of buying glossy-coated Bat Mitzvah invitations that can't be easily recycled, pick invitations made from post-consumer waste (PCW) or recycled cotton. Electronic Bar and Bat Mitzvah invitations are another green option because they eliminate waste entirely. A number of Web sites now offer Jewish-themed animated cards as well as online RSVP tracking.

    2. Decorations and Favors: Style Your Bar Mitzvah PartyKobo soy candles @ ModernTribe
    Whenever possible, skip one-time-use disposable items like balloons, streamers, and plastic tablecloths for your Bat Mitzvah party. Instead opt for items that can be reused or that are made from sustainable materials. If you want to use candles, pick candles made from soy or palm oil instead of non-renewable petroleum to lessen their environmental impact. Avoid giving plastic toys and trinkets as favors--give guests favors they can use. Popular green favors include tree seedlings, organic or fair trade chocolates, and donations to charity.

    3. Flowers: A Bat Mitzvah That Respects the Earth
    Many Bar Mitzvah families decorate the bimah and reception tables with cut flowers, but most of the flowers available in the United States are grown overseas using harsh chemical pesticides. A great way to decrease the carbon footprint of your event while protecting workers and the environment is to buy locally grown organic flowers. Search localharvest.org for a list of growers in your area and consult your florist about local, seasonal options. Ask your florist if he or she can recycle the flowers by donating them to a hospital or charity after your Bar Mitzvah. Potted plants are another great choice because they are reusable and make nice gifts for friends and family to take home at the end of the night. Plus, they fight global warming by removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

    4. Food:
    My Organic Bar Mitzvah
    Whether you are cooking yourself or having your Bat Mitzvah catered, try to include seasonal organic ingredients as much as possible. Many companies now offer kosher organic meat and poultry; you can find organic fruits, vegetables and baking supplies at most supermarkets. Choosing organic food grown in a sustainable manner not only reduces your impact on the earth, but also ensures the freshest, most delicious flavors. Don't forget to ask your caterer about composting and recycling options, and see if leftovers can be donated to a charity like Mazon, a Jewish organization that provides food for the hungry.

    Go Green necklace @ ModernTribe
    5. Gifts: Green Bat Mitzvah Gifts
    Before your Bar Mitzvah, let your friends and family know what you want by registering for gifts so you don't end up with things you will never use. Try to pick eco-friendly items made from sustainable, recycled, organic, or natural materials. When looking for Judaica, select Bat Mitzvah gifts from Israeli artists or those made from renewable resources.