Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Recycling Organics

Since I became more diligent about my household recycling habits, the items that were still being tossed in the trash seemed extra important. Particularly when it came to food scraps. I'd long thought about starting a compost pile or a vermiculture. I couldn't get past my girly squeamishness to keep a box of worms and because I live in a townhome where the lawn service takes all my important "greens" and "browns" away from me, I didn't think I'd be able to make good compost.

That's why I'm so excited to see that Hennepin County is going to expand their Organic Recycling program to include parts of Minneapolis.

Residential organic recycling info

Organics Composting for Businesses in Hennepin County

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Bike Rights

Biking can be a great commuting option but sharing the road with vehicles is not necessarily for the faint of heart. Fueled by a near miss last week and a confrontation today...

Rules regarding bicycling in Minnesota can be confusing because they represent an amalgam of the rights and responsibilities of both motorcycles and pedestrians. To clarify some of these often confused items, below is a checklist of things I’ve encountered as a cyclist. This information is gathered from, Minnesota Statute 169: Operation of bicycle; Minnesota Passing Law; and Minnesota Pedestrian Law.

• To ride in a traffic lane, not the shoulder, even when there is a bike path present
• To be left no less than three feet clearance when being passed by a motor vehicle
• To have the right-of-way at crosswalks when riding on the sidewalk
• To park at bike racks and sign posts
• To have a bike lane respected as if it were another lane of traffic


• Obey traffic laws
• Yield to pedestrians
• To give an audible signal when passing pedestrians on a crosswalk
• To ride where cars can see you, even if that means riding far away from the right

The most confusion seems to stem from where cyclists are allowed to ride. I’ve been told to get off the street and get off the sidewalk. While it’s generally safer to ride in the street (more so than a bike lane even) it is acceptable and legal to do both.

Bicycles can ride on the street,
to the right, except:
• When passing
• When turning left
• When reasonably necessary to avoid hazards

Bicycles can ride on the sidewalk,
• When in a business district – which is defined as having more than half the block occupied by businesses.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Define surplus?

'It is certainly a vintage vehicle. And now Prince Charles' beloved 1970 Aston Martin DB6 is running on vintage too,'' according to a recent article in ''A nice little white from a vineyard in Wiltshire, to be precise.'''

As part of cutting his carbon footprint, the prince has converted the 38-year-old classic car - a 21st birthday present from the Queen - to run on 100 per cent bioethanol fuel distilled from surplus British wine.

"The car - which is kept at Highgrove and clocks up just 300 miles a year - averages ten miles a gallon, the equivalent of 4.5 bottles of wine for every mile."

Personally, I'd rather stay in one place with 4.5 bottles of wine. Call me a soak if you must.

I'd much rather sacrifice a bushel of precious, power-packed soy beans than an ounce of vino. Soy beans can be brewed to form biodiesel in as little as nine months, and is a product that can help reduce our dependence on foreign oil, stimulate the local economy, and is significantly more environmentally friendly than traditional petroleum.

As of September 29, 2005, all diesel retailers in the State of Minnesota began offering 2 percent biodiesel. The Minnesota Soybean Growers Association also has some great information on their website regarding the creation and use of soy-based biodiesel as well as a list of retailers who offer a higher blends at the pump.