Umbra Fisk

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Advice for Living Green

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Umbra Fisk is Grist Research Associate II, Hardcover and Periodicals Unit, floors 2B-4B.


Is it OK to ship recyclables cross-country — if landfill is the alternative?

Sure, sending trash far away burns more carbon than recycling it locally. But recycling it far away still beats trashing it. Umbra sorts the tradeoffs.


Rechargeable batteries: Which are the most eco-friendly?

There are many ways to juice your gadgets without throwing away mountains of dead batteries. Umbra charges through the options.


When the Big One hits, here’s some of the gear you’re going to need

Disaster prep isn't a realm in which to get too obsessive about sustainability, but it makes all sorts of sense to stock your own kit, Umbra advises.


Balloon releases at college football games? Sack that custom

A reader wants to know how his college's customary balloon swarm affects the environment. Umbra offers a crash course.


The secret ingredient in your homemade jam may be coming from the lid

Sure, there's less BPA in use these days -- but, a reader asks Umbra, what about the plastics that replaced it in our cans and bottle tops?


What should you think about when buying essential oils?

It takes tons of plants to make those little phials of essential oils, so the "how" really matters. Umbra offers a guide for the oil-concerned.


Water cooler talk: Should our office ditch that big fat upside down jug?

Is that big jug a sensible way to achieve workday hydration? Or should we just be drinking from the tap? Umbra dives right in for an answer.


Does it matter if my salad greens come in a bag or a box?

If you just can't deal with washing your lettuce yourself, is it better to go for a plastic bag or a plastic box? Umbra has a clear answer.


What’s the best way to get rid of rats?

Umbra counsels a rat-ridden reader to forego the poisons, which tend to harm indiscriminately, and find better ways to remove a rodent.