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Voting for the Small Business Grant is live!  After you vote, please consider doing one or more of the following to help us get out the vote.

1) Send a quick email to friends and family asking for their vote.  Suggested text:

A business I support, BayingHound.com, is a finalist in the Intuit Small Business Grant Competition.  They want their green business to grow, and the grand prize grant of $25,000 will allow them to do just that.  BayingHound.com has prepared a video to share their story.   Will you take a few minutes to view their video and vote at http://community.intuit.com/contests/dFOX2GyhGqllvkab8P4pmk by clicking the blue funny, useful, and inspiring icons?  Thanks!

2) Grab our button.  If you have a blog or website, we invite you to grab our voting button pictured below by copying the html below to your site sidebar or blog post.

3) Post a paper flyer at your local community center, grocery store, etc.  Email me with your address and I will send you a few flyers, business cards, and maybe a special gift.

4) Post a link to the voting page ( http://community.intuit.com/contests/dFOX2GyhGqllvkab8P4pmk ) to your facebook, twitter, or other social media account.  Sample tweet:
Please help a green store grow! Vote for http://www.BayingHound.com in the Intuit Grant Competition. http://tinyurl.com/vote-hound
5) Leave a comment and let us know what you are doing.  Thank you so much!!

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Voting in the Intuit Small Business Grant Competition is finally live!

Here’s how to vote:

1) Go to http://community.intuit.com/contests/dFOX2GyhGqllvkab8P4pmk

2) Watch our video (or not – we are clearly not videographers)

3) Click on one of the blue icons (funny, useful, or inspiring)

4) A registration screen will pop up.  Enter your email address and a password.

5) The site will record your vote.

6) Click on the other two blue icons to give us two more votes.

7) Leave a comment if you wish.  Comments are not recorded as votes, but they might sway other viewers and we love to read what you think.

Please email me with any questions or problems.

Thank you so much for your support!! If you want ideas to help us spread the word, read here how to help us get out the vote.

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As you all know we sell water bottles.  Our preferred material for water bottles is stainless steel.  It is very durable, relatively light and doesn’t impart taste to the bottle’s contents.  Oh yes, and of course it doesn’t rust.

Rachel and I were discussing stainless steel the other day and reflecting on some of the misunderstandings or lack of knowledge people have concerning this material.  Suddenly, out of the blue, I remembered I have a degree in Material Science Engineering!  We both thought it would be a great idea for me to write a simple guide to stainless steel for our customers and fans.

First off, what is steel?  Steel at its most basic is simply an alloy of iron and no more than about 2% Carbon.  Man first started imparting carbon into iron after discovering iron alone was too soft to be very useful.  Traditionally, carbon was added at the blacksmith’s forge by the use of coal for a fuel (high carbon content).  Over the years methods have changed, but at its base, steel is simply iron and carbon.

Stainless steel gets more complex, but is still fairly straight-forward.  One drawback of regular carbon steel is that it rusts.  To help solve this problem, simply remove some iron from your iron-carbon alloy, and add chromium in its place (at least 11%, maybe more).  Voila! You have just created stainless steel! Congratulations, you can now leave your knife out in the rain and it probably won’t be a rusted mess in the morning.  Or, you could make a drinking container from this wonderful metal and it would hold water, OJ, beer, wine, or milk without any nasty corrosion forming.  While it is very corrosion resistant, you should note that the name is stainless not stainfree.  In the wrong environment, stainless steel can still corrode; we’ll touch on this more shortly.

Looking up from underneath the sculpture.  Courtesy of Leonard Krashoc.

Looking up from underneath the sculpture. Courtesy of Leonard Krashoc.

So what kind of stainless steel should you look for as a consumer?  For general household or personal use, most any stainless steel will be perfectly fine.  But wait, you must have seen all the products touting 18/8 stainless steel or surgical grade stainless steel.  What does it all mean?  Mostly it is just marketing hype.  The home environment is simply not harsh enough to warrant most all of the fancier grades of stainless steels.  Stainless steels alloys are available in all sorts of exotic configurations with the addition of elements from Vanadium to Titanium.  If you see something like 18/8 referring to stainless steel this is the accepted shorthand that indicates the alloy has 18% chromium and 8% nickel.  Likewise 18/10 is 18% chromium and 10% nickel.

What is surgical grade stainless steel?  Usually the only difference from a normal grade is the addition of Molybdenum (about 2-3%) for added resistance to marine environments – salt water.  It is called surgical grade because it is widely used in medical fields due to the requirement that alloys resist the very corrosive chloride-rich (salty) environment that is the human body.

Our bottles are all 18/8 or surgical grade stainless steel which means they will stand up to just about anything you can put in them.  The important point to remember is that as long as your bottles, forks, knives spoons or straws (coming soon) are made from some grade of stainless steel, they will be just fine for your personal use.

I hope this helps explain what stainless steel is and what the marketing hype actually means.  Shoot me an email if you still have some un-answered questions.

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Congratulations to one of our best selling manufacturers, Klean Kanteen!  They just won the Ocean Heroes award from the Ocean Day organization.

From their press release:

“Klean Kanteen, the original maker of lightweight stainless steel water bottles, was honored last Wednesday at the California Ocean’s Day Reception in Sacramento, hosted by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Surfrider Foundation, and the Ocean Conservancy, among others.

The Oceans Day Steering Committee honors one legislator, one government administrator, and one business annually, each of which has demonstrated leadership and significant action to address our oceans’ problems.

According to Leila Monroe, Oceans Policy Analyst for the NRDC, “Klean Kanteen’s products provide great alternative to the use of plastic bottles, which contribute significantly to the problem of marine debris and have many health and other environmental implications. Additionally, we applaud Klean Kanteen’s efforts to improve the entire production cycle and its efforts to spread education on important environmental issues.”

California Lieutenant Governor John Garamendi also presented Jeff Cresswell, co-owner of Klean Kanteen with a special award of recognition from his office for the role Klean Kanteen has played in curbing pollution.

These awards are the most recent in a series of major environmental accolades and initiatives for the company. The brand recently became a member of the Conservation Alliance, joining over 160 member companies and a history of almost 7 million dollars in contributions to conservation efforts since the organization’s inception in 1989.

“Klean Kanteen has played a part in local and regional conservation efforts here in California for some time,” Cresswell stated. “But joining the Conservation Alliance allows us to be a part of a larger conservation effort nationwide and is a great new addition to our family of environmental partners.”

In 2008, Klean Kanteen became a member of 1% For The Planet, as well as donating 20% of Fall profits of its pink “renewal” bottle to the Breast Cancer Fund. The brand also partners with NatureBridge, Take Back the Tap, the Yosemite Institute, and many others.”

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Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., and Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. introduced bills this week to prohibit bisphenol-a (BPA) in products for children and infants.

We have passed along information about the risks of BPA for over two years now via this blog.  Canada has already banned BPA in many products.

We encourage you to take a moment and ask your representatives to vote for this bill!

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HUGE Clearance

Visit the clearance corner for some great deals on earth friendly goods.

savegreenbegreen1

We need to clear space for spring gear and have marked down Ibex winter wool, Green guru gear messenger bags and more!

Shop now to get the best selection. 🙂

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I am about to move our blogger blog over here.  Just testing some links first with this post.

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Day Seven:
Looking for something unique to stuff in a stocking? Try Guyot Designs squishy bowls. These compact silicone bowls easily fit in the toe of a stocking, pocket of a purse, or bottom of a backpack. Pull them out and they snap back into shape! Eat or drink from them. These cool bowls are also dishwasher and freezer safe. $14.95/set of one bowl and one cup. Also available in travel shot size, $6.95 for two.

Tip of the Day: Pets add value to our lives and of course we want to express our affection for them as well. Our dogs have stockings hanging on the mantle waiting to be filled. Squishy Bowls are a fun food dish. If you are looking for a collar or coat, we love Annie’s Sweatshop. Annie makes quality durable dog gear from recycled and reclaimed material.


If buying new toys isn’t in your budget, maybe your beasts would enjoy a handmade batch of treats? Here’s our recipe for dog cookies, from MacPherson’s K-9 Cookbook:
3 cupes whole wheat flour
2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup shredded cheese
1 egg, beaten
1 cup milk

1. In large mixing bowl, combine flour and garlic powder.
2. Make a well in the flour mixture and gradually stir in vegtable oil, cheese, beaten egg, and milk until well blended.
3. Knead dough on a floured surface, about 3-4 minutes.
4. Roll dough to 1/2 inch thickness.
5. Cut with cookie cutter, or into squares, and place on lightly greased baking sheet.
6. Back for 25 minutes at 400 deg F
7. Cool on a rack and store at room temperature with a container with a loose-fitting lid.

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On Day 4 of our ongoing 12 Days of Green Gifts and Tip series, we’re focusing on children.
Growing kids are more susceptible to chemicals in their environment than adults, making it even more important to reduce exposure to toxins when possible. To help children stay hydrated without spills or toxins, we recommend the BPA free 12 ounce Klean Kanteen bottle with a sippy or sports top. Our 3 year old daughter prefers the sports top on her “shiny bottle” aka a stainless steel Klean Kanteen. $14.55/12 ounce with sports top, $18.55/12 ounce with sippy, additional $2 for color.

If you have a child, here’s a great tip for gift tags: Cut holiday shapes out of your child’s old drawings, scribbles, or paintings. If you don’t love the idea of cutting all those shapes, borrow or buy a scrapbooking tag punch. Simply write your to and from in a contrasting color and you have a re-used unique gift tag!

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Why not add some wool to your holiday gifts? Ibex merino wool is super soft, breathable, and sustainably harvested. Buy the renzo beanie pictured above for $32.99, wool glove liners for $23.99, or wool underwear for $22.50 (Women’s) / $28.00 (Men’s) as stocking stuffers.

For the athletic person on your list, give a Shak Jersey they are sure to love. Shaks are getting rave reviews! Men’s full zip $145.00, Men’s pullover $125, Women’s full zip $140, Women’s pullover $125.

Tip of the day: Take a trip to the farmer’s market. You might be surprised at the local flavors you could add to your holiday table. Here in Ohio, I will be able to get local potatos, salad greens, mushrooms, squash and meat at a minimum.

Don’t know where to find local farmers? Check out www.localharvest.org! It has a database of small farms searchable by food type and zipcode. Happy Eating!

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