Umbra Fisk

Ask Umbra®

Advice for Living Green

Yours is to wonder why, hers is to answer (or try). Send your green-living questions to Umbra.

For even more green goodness, you can follow Umbra on Twitter (@AskUmbra) or become a fan on Facebook.

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


Can I just dump old beauty products down the drain?

Oh, what to do with all those old shampoos? Umbra knows, and soon you shall too.


Is it safe to drink water out of plastic pipes?

A reader wonders about copper pipes vs. PEX. Umbra plumbs the options.


How can I keep my cat’s fur from coating my house?

A reader is tired of lint rollers and cat fur. Umbra sheds light.


What’s my greenest tea option?

A reader wonders if there's such thing as recyclable tea packaging. Umbra strains for an answer.


How do I fend off freezer burn without using plastic?

A reader says she can't keep it out -- heaven knows she's tried. Umbra says the cold never bothered those berries anyway.


Please save my favorite Christmas cookies, reader begs

A reader is hard pressed to find a sustainable cookie maker. Umbra excels at pizzelles.


Help! My neighbor is gassing me out with her dryer sheets!

A reader wonders how to convince her neighbor to stop using toxic dryer sheets. Umbra suggests stopping by and shooting the sea breeze.


Are my faux fingernails full of toxins?

A reader frets that her nail wraps might make her sick. Umbra goes in search of the manicure.


Can I justify a fake Christmas tree?

A reader wants the greenest artificial Christmas tree possible. Umbra gets real.