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.

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

Umbra on recycling tapes and videos

Dear Umbra, What to do? I’m a child of the late ’70s, and one of the last to remember what it was like to exchange a mix tape at age 15. Now I’m hitting my …

Umbra on recycling foil

Dear Umbra, Summertime grilling is in full swing at our house, but I am wondering what the ecological cost is of all that aluminum foil we’re using in place of our regular pots and pans. …

Umbra on CFL recycling

Dear Umbra, So what happens to compact fluorescent light bulbs in the hands of the “hazardous-waste people”? Is the mercury reclaimed and reused, or merely hidden “away” (wherever that is)? John GearLansing, Mich. Dearest John, …

Umbra on old clothes

Dear Umbra, I promise that I searched the archives before emailing you, so hopefully you haven’t already answered this question. I’m wondering about the best way to dispose of old clothes and shoes — the …

Umbra on moving

Dear Umbra, Is there such a thing as “green movers”? I want to transport furniture from L.A. to Seattle and wonder if any movers use biodiesel vehicles or something like that. Andy Luk Seattle, Wash. …

Umbra on shower curtains

Dear Umbra, You have successfully instilled the fear of all things vinyl in me. Now the big question is: with what do I replace my old vinyl shower curtain? We have a cotton one at …

Umbra on replacing light bulbs

Dear Umbra, I am reluctant to switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs because that means tossing out not only used-but-still-working incandescent bulbs, but also the brand-new bulbs I have waiting in the closet. Is it …

Umbra on farmers’ markets and food stamps

Dear Umbra, Do organic grocers take food stamps? Do farmers’ markets? If not, what do ecologically/health-minded people on fixed incomes do? David Burch South Bend, Ind. Dearest David, Did you know that in many states …

Umbra on personal fans

Dear Umbra, So the weather is turning hot again. I got my electric fans out of the closet. On the back of these, there are no indications of what amount of electricity they use. Could …