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now, been proportionally higher than the fuel savings buyers realize in the first few years of ownership. But here’s the bonus: Toyota is introducing the 2008 Camry Hybrid at a base price that’s only $200 more than a similarly equipped XLE. That, as we’re all too painfully aware, can be the price of a couple of weeks’ worth of gas these days. Can the automaker that sold the world more than a million Priuses pass their hybrid magic on to an already fabulous product like the Camry? I say yes. Pros Great gas mileage, good passing power, attractive instrumentation, and a rockin’ stereo system. Cons A loss of trunk space because of battery placement, and the four-cylinder engine is quite loud under strain. Verdict Considering the negligible price premium and enhanced performance, you have officially run out of excuses. toyota.com

Green, Greener, Greenest with Lori Bongiorno

Is it worth it to drink eco-friendly brews, and what are my options? —Silas L, Brooklyn, NY

—Stuart Schwartzapfel

Conventional beer production can be tough on the environment, so it’s definitely worth it to seek out alternatives. A cocktail of highly polluting chemicals are used to grow barley and hops, beer’s primary ingredients. Shipping the full bottles or cans around the world also consumes fossil fuels. Luckily, there are some widely available sustainable options. Here are my Green, Greener, Greenest ideas for summertime sipping.

Green Buying local reduces the amount

best of the rest

Rain Barrels It’s all right to be a pig when you’re gulping rainwater, espe­cially if you’ve got a slim silhouette. The long, lean Rainwater Hog (71 x 20 inches), from Design Within Reach, catches a full load and fits flat against the side of your house. One tank holds 47 gallons, and because it’s only nine inches deep, children can’t fall in. Its modular design permits more units to be added anytime. Made of recyclable polyethylene plastic and shipped without packaging, this tall drink of water also saves waste. $650, dwr.com

of fossil fuels used to ship beer and supports nearby businesses. Microbreweries have become much more common over the years, so you’re likely to have some options in your area. To find one nearby, visit Beer Advocate’s website, beeradvocate.com. Also, always recycle bottles and cans, and if you’re having a large enough party, consider going for a keg and reusable cups to cut down on waste.

Greener Buy beer from a brewery that follows sustainable practices. Brooklyn Brewery, for example, donates its used grains to farmers who use it for feed. New Belgium Brewery in Colorado is built sustainably and powered 70 percent by wind and 30 percent by methane gas created with the aid of its beer waste. Organic beer is one of the fastest growing categories of organic beverages, and as demand grows, larger players like Anheuser-Busch are jumping into the market. There’s been some controversy over organic beer be-

cause the USDA allows producers to use conventionally grown hops if they can’t find organic versions, so it’s best to ask a brewer what they use.

Greenest Brew your own organic beer. You’ll save money and help the planet by cutting down on things like packaging and fossil fuels used for shipping and in-store refrigeration. Get educated on all the nuances of brewing at beeradvocate.com. You can shop for sup­plies like bottles, caps, and brew kettles at Seven Bridges Cooperative (breworganic.com). Finally, learn how to toast in 30 different languages at language museum.org. My favorite? Laissez les bons temps rouler! Lori Bongiorno is the author of Green, Greener, Greenest: A Practical Guide to Making Eco-Smart Choices a Part of Your Life (Perigree Trade Paperback Original). Ask Lori a question about living green at greengreenergreenest@plentymag.com.

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Plenty Magazine Issue 23 Aug/Sept 2008  

beyond the bulb> the best Ideas In green desIgn krIstIn gore kIlls her laWn | saIlIng greece | gossIp gIrl’s eco star

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