43

Do eco-friendlier mattress choices exist?

My boyfriend and I are looking to buy a new mattress in a couple of months and we wondered if there were any environmentally-friendly options.

I suppose a follow-up question is if there is anything we should know about disposing the old one! Since your website has inspired us to make more conscious decisions about our lifestyles I was hoping you would be able to offer some input.

31

For Sale By Owner: A secluded hand-built house with a spring-fed pool. Will trade.

My friend Rachel spends a lot of time fantasizing about houses. And stalking houses. She sent me this week's Offbeat Real Estate dreamboat: an "artistic" house in Idaho, now up for sale or trade. It's off the grid, a 1/2 mile from the road, and three floors on 12 acres — with the middle floor set up as a tile cutting/stained glass studio, it's perfect for someone who needs to get away and work for a while.

Imagining yourself in this home takes some work — the owner has a love of using flash and therefore, taking really unappealing photos. It's okay. I'll help you fantasize.

35

The home that produces almost zero trash and looks like a catalogue photo set

When I think of the type of home that might be a "zero waste" home — where occupants strive to eliminate the everyday disposables that seem sometimes to be inseparable from living — I guess I think of a home far from civilization. Maybe something handbuilt. The zero waste home in my imagination looks a lot like the permaculture-loving straw bale home we featured in April 2011. It's woodsy, it's cozy, it's clearly inhabited by hippies.

Well, finding The Zero Waste Home blog goes to show me that assuming and stereotyping are no good.

10

Drink local for Fluid Friday: take the water from your tap instead of buying it in stores

More than half of all Americans drink bottled water; about a third of the public consumes it regularly. Sales have tripled in the past 10 years, to about $4 billion a year. This sales bonanza has been fueled by ubiquitous ads picturing towering mountains, pristine glaciers, and crystal-clear springs nestled in untouched forests yielding absolutely pure water.

But does bottled water live up to the hype and, more importantly, is it worth the waste?