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Umbra on composting with worms

Dear Umbra, I recently moved into a studio apartment in an urban area. I used to compost in my backyard but don't have that option anymore. I looked into getting a worm bin to use inside my apartment, but the cheapest ones seem to run around $200 and don't hold very much. Can you recommend something for someone in a tight space, on a tight budget, that holds a lot of food scraps? Lauren L. St. Louis, Mo. Dearest Lauren, Red wiggler worms and their decompository companions make excellent compost, and a worm bin is pretty much the only choice …

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Poolin' around

Facebook app facilitates carpooling to the polls

Could a potential record number of voters tomorrow also mean massive CO2 emissions as people drive to the polls? Live Earth and carpool site Zimride sure hope not. They've partnered to make a Facebook app enabling people to find a ride in their area to their local polling spot. Their Carpool to the Polls application also offers a polling station locator and coordinated carpool for non-voting occasions. So if you can't walk, take public transportation, or vote absentee, you can simultaneously rock the vote and a stranger's Volkswagon.

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Economic woes lead to slower growth for organic market

The decade-long boom in sales of organic products in the U.S. may be coming to an end, thanks to the economic slowdown. The market is still growing, but at about 4 percent annually, not the 20 percent seen in recent years. It means hard times for Whole Foods and good times for McDonald's.

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video

The coming e-waste explosion

People should start paying attention to this: On February 17, 2009, television stations will throw the switch, and stop sending out analog TV signal in the United States. On that date, the millions of people who receive "over the air" TV signal (as opposed to cable or satellite subscribers) must have a TV capable of receiving digital signal, or their TVs will go dark. And what do we think consumers will do with hundreds of thousands of dead TVs? TakeBackMyTV.com

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Been down so long it looks like shop to me

Consumer spending going down, down, down

Consumer spending saw its biggest drop in four years in September. Too bad it takes a devastating economic crisis to get people to buy less sh*t.

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From Vacation to Vampires

Step off, beach Vacation then: waves, resorts, and stolen kisses. Vacation now: crime waves, last resorts, and stolen sand. Thanks, climate change! My bottle is a temple One million bottles of beer in the temple, one million bottles of beer ... Courtesy Siambaan.com Whatever floats your boot Look, a schwimmhausboot! Sure, it has zero emissions, a salvaged-wood exterior, and a green roof -- but really, we just wanted to say "schwimmhausboot. " Blade runner The grass is always greener ... when it's powering your PC. Fang you very much Happy Halloween! Send a Grist e-card to your best ghoul, dress …

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Starbucks will double its purchase of fair-trade coffee

Starbucks will buy 40 million pounds of fair-trade-certified coffee next year, doubling the hill of beans it bought this year and becoming the largest purchaser of fair-trade coffee in the world. The caffeine giant, though struggling financially and recognizing the price premium of sustainable bean-buying, has a goal of selling only "responsibly grown and ethically traded" coffee by 2015.

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GM sugar beet: Trick or treat?

Sugar from GM sugar beets will soon be unlabeled and widespread

The scariest thing next Halloween might not be the monsters, zombies or witches trolling our streets -- it might be the candy. Those colorful, tin-foil-wrapped Hershey's kisses and dark chocolate pumpkins could contain sugar extracted and processed from the roots of genetically modified sugar beets. Sugar in Halloween candy comes from several sources, including sugar beets. But this year, farmers are planting Monsanto's Roundup-Ready GM sugar beets for sale to food producers for the first time. This beet is genetically engineered to survive multiple, direct applications of the weed killer, Roundup, and its active ingredient, glyphosate. What's particularly appalling about …

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Random question of the day

Why don't refrigerators have hydraulic doors that close automatically?

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Recessionista style

Is slow fashion a new term for an old idea?

Photo: somethingstartedcrazy Move over, fashionistas. This fall, the recessionistas are taking over. With the economy unraveling like a Forever 21 sweater, terms like "recessionista" and "slow fashion" are popping up all over. Last month, a piece in Alabama's Press-Register proclaimed, "Fall fashion 2008: The year of the recessionista," and The New York Times devoted a recent style piece to the "recessionista" moniker, pronouncing it "A Label for a Pleather Economy." Trendsetters are advised to hold clothing swaps and shop at thrift stores to score clothes that are new to them, if not brand-new. Meanwhile, the admittedly small and elitist slow-fashion …

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