Happiness Has a New Address – Dulse & Rugosa
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    Planting a Tea Garden

    Planting a Tea Garden

    In Maine, the ground is covered with a few inches of icy, crusted snow, so that means it's time to start dreaming of spring and gardening.  As I travel on my own zero waste, plastic free journey I find taking small steps works best.  Once I "master" one goal I know I am ready to move to a new one.  Making my own herb tea has been one of my goals.

    I drink a lot of herbal tea and last month I started making my own tea with herbs I grew last summer.  It's taken me awhile to get to this step and I'm not exactly sure why- but I suspect convenience.  That's the main reason there is so much plastic in our modern lives- we are busy and anything to save time is attractive.  And my mornings are busy and popping a tea bag into my tea container saves me about maybe 3-5 seconds.  Sometimes it's not really the actual time saved, it's the idea of convenience.  

    I knew I wanted to make tea last summer so I planted herbs found in my daily teabags- chamomile and lavender being my two favorites. But there are so many easy to grow herbs that are wonderful additions to your tea blend.   All the mints, Lemon Balm, Pineapple Sage, Lemon Verbena, and the petals and hips of roses.

    I planted Lavender plants a few years ago and even here in Maine it is a hardy perennial- I just cover the plants after the Xmas holidays with evergreen boughs from left over Xmas trees.  This helps protect them from the extreme changes in weather especially if we don't have a lot of snow.   Lavender is easy to harvest, simply cut the flowers right before full bloom.  I like to leave a few inches of stem so I can tie into bunches and hang upside down.  Cutting lavender is a lovely, relaxing chore.

    Chamomile I start by seed right in the garden.  It can be a bit fussy to germinate especially if it's dry because it likes a bit of moisture.  Last summer I seeded chamomile at least three times and finally in late summer it took off.  The great thing is once planted it easily reseeds- so this summer I should have a great harvest with very little effort.  Chamomile is slower to harvest than Lavender, I tend to pinch the flower buds sitting on a low stool.  It's also messy to dry as it creates a fine yellow dust.  I use flat wicker baskets and next summer I'm going to remember to place a cloth underneath to save on clean up time.  

    Any herb that has a stem I cut and bunch with thread and hang upside down to dry.  I also invested in a hanging drier which fits in a doorway.  I love my drying rack as I can dry lots of herbs in very little space.  To preserve your herbs store in an airtight jar or container.

    During the growing season you can use herbs fresh to make tea and later in the year you'll have lots of fun making blends.  I use a teapot with a mesh insert.  I'm saving money, people love the fresh smell of my tea and it's been an easy way for me to reduce my trash and save money.

     

    De-tangle- Naturally

    De-tangle- Naturally

    Switching to natural hair care products can be a bit like Goldilocks finding the perfect chair.  Traditional hair care products offer convenience, low prices, artificial colors, fragrances and chemicals.    At Dulse & Rugosa we make our hair products in small batches by hand with natural ingredients that are good for you and our environment.

    We have gotten feedback from customers asking about ways to de-tangle naturally.  Many of our customers are committed to our products because they want to be environmentally responsible.  The switch to our Seaweed Shampoo bars means they eliminate one type of plastic bottle from their life.  Kim, a science teacher told us this-

    "I'm a marine science teacher walking the walk and have been encouraging my students to take the next step from beach cleaning on our field trips to joining my plastic free buddies and giving up plastic whenever possible.  So far, the only shampoo bars I've found have left me super clean but still in need of a detangler/conditioner and those are in plastic containers."

    We definitely have some tips to help you have great hair naturally and reduce your plastic consumption.

    #1- Keep your hair trimmed, blunt ends ward off tangles.  I can honestly tell you this is a simple but powerful step.  I hadn't trimmed my hair in ages and when I finally went to the hairdresser I felt like I lost 10 pounds and my hair felt so light and free. Plus it looked fantastic.Keep your hair trimmed, tangles hate blunt ends.

     

    #2-  Find the right hair tool- brush or comb.  For many a wide tooth comb works however for my curly hair I like the "Wet n' Dry" brush with really soft bristles.

    #3-  Take the time to detangle before you shampoo.  If your hair has lots of tangles make an invisible ponytail with your hand so you can brush without pulling.  Also brush from the bottom first.

    #4-  Use an apple cider vinegar rinse.  Vinegar isn't a "conditioner" but it does keep your hair at the proper pH level, especially important if you are using a shampoo bar. An added benefit is a vinegar rinse adds luster and shine and can help clarify your hair.  Our Herbal Vinegar Rinse is also infused with beneficial botanicals including rose petals, calendula petals and chamomile buds.

     #5-  Detangle right in the shower, this is another reason I love my "Wet n' Dry" brush.  After my vinegar rinse I add a bit of our Restorative Hair Oil and brush through my locks and rinse right before I hop out of the shower.  This really keeps my hair tangle free without using any conventional hair products packed in plastic bottles.  Our Restorative Hair Oil is a blend of oil designed for beautiful hair and stimulated hair growth.  By far the most amazing oil in our blend is broccoli seed oil!  Broccoli seed oil is one of the only natural oils out there that can leave your hair smooth and shiny, what we can "silicone slip", without any nasty petrochemicals.  If you've read this far into our blog try our Restorative Hair Oil with $3.00 off.  Normally priced at $18 with the coupon code "broccoli" you'll get to try this amazing oil for only $15. Discover the secret of broccoli oil for your hair.  

    My final piece of advice is to "be like Goldilocks".  If it's not right, change it up and experiment.  Everyone is unique and so should our hair care routine.   

     

    Top 6 Eсо-frіеndlу and Recyclable Subѕtіtutеѕ fоr Plаѕtіс

    Top 6 Eсо-frіеndlу and Recyclable Subѕtіtutеѕ fоr Plаѕtіс

    A guest blog that unpacks different materials to help you make sustainable purchasing choices.

    Plаѕtісѕ аrе durable and flexible, but theyаrе mаdе from heated carbon and other mаtеrіаlѕ that аrе not gооd fоr the environment. Thеу аrе non-biodegradable and cannot bе recycled аѕ wеll. Although рlаѕtісѕ аrе inseparable in our daily lives and wе cannot іmаgіnе living without іt, there аrеenvironmentally friendly alternatives that wе can uѕе tо аt lеаѕt lеѕѕеn іtѕ nеgаtіvе іmрасt on Earth. You can spread awareness of these eco-friendly substitutes of plastic by wearing T-shirts on which substitute elements are printed, and if you are looking forward to buying these shirts, you can explore them on SunFrog.

  • Glass
  • Unlіkе рlаѕtіс, thіѕ material іѕ mаdе оf ѕаnd. Glass іѕ a renewable mаtеrіаl thаt соmеѕ wіthоut аnу hаrmful сhеmісаlѕ. Glass саn аlѕо bе easily recycled. Due tо thеѕе rеаѕоnѕ, іt is gаіnіng popularity over рlаѕtіс when іt comes tо mаnufасturіng bоttlеѕ, jаrѕ, mugs, utеnѕіlѕ, etc. You mау nоt оnlу throw your glаѕѕ bоttlеѕ fоr rесусlіng purposes, but mау аlѕо rеuѕе them fоr ѕtоrаgе. It dоеѕ nоt cause any rеасtіоn wіth уоur fооd оr bоdу. Thuѕ, thіѕ lіghtwеіght mаtеrіаl is a grеаt grееn аltеrnаtіvе tо plastic.

  • Metal
  • Plаѕtіс is largely uѕеd іn many thіngѕ lіkе vеhісlеѕ tо mаkе structural еlеmеntѕ. In fact, this could bе replaced by making metallic elements that аrе safer for our еnvіrоnmеnt. Stееl аnd some other mеtаlѕ are рrоduсеd uѕіng mіnеd оrеѕ collected frоm under thе grоund. Sоmе mеtаlѕ аrе also produced аѕ a rеѕult оf the recycling process. Thuѕ, you may safely uѕе thеѕе mеtаlѕ tо create a variety оf рrоduсtѕ сurrеntlу mаdе out of рlаѕtіс.

  • Lіԛuіd Wооd
  • Lіԛuіd wood is рrоduсеd from byproducts rеlеаѕеd by рареr mіllѕ аnd holds a grеаt future fоr bеіng thе new bіороlуmеr оr bioplastic. If уоu feel thе material сrеаtеd by liquid wооd, then уоu wouldn’t notice a difference between thе two аnd thе оnlу mаjоr dіffеrеnсе bеіng thаt lіԛuіd wood іѕ 100% biodegradable. In order tо mаkе biopolymers, you wоuld nееd tо mix lіgnіn (а bурrоduсt оf рареr mіllѕ) wіth water and then еxроѕе іt tо a hіgh рrеѕѕurе аnd tеmреrаturе tо рrоduсе a composite material that саn еаѕіlу bе mоldеd juѕt lіkе plastic.

  • PHB Bio соmроѕіtеѕ
  • PHB biocomposite is a material thаt іѕ made frоm bacteria аnd іѕ grаduаllу еmеrgіng as the nеw and perfect bіоdеgrаdаblе foil. Thіѕ mаtеrіаl is bаѕісаllу the mоdіfіеd version оf PHM (polyhydroxybutyrate) whісh іѕ produced bу thе nаturаl fermentation of vаrіоuѕ kinds оf bасtеrіа and has a сlоѕе rеѕеmblаnсе to thе man-made ѕуnthеtіс роlурrоруlеnе. Thіѕ bіоdеgrаdаblе material іѕ less flexible than рlаѕtіс, hоwеvеr іt has a grеаt ѕсоре for being used іn bіоmеdісаl, packaging аnd agricultural іnduѕtrіеѕ.

  • PLA Polyesters
  • Producing рlаѕtіс from рrосеѕѕеd соrn mау ѕееm lіkе a ріре drеаm, but іt'ѕ hарреnіng every dау. Pоlуlасtіс асіd, or PLA, іѕ аnоthеr aliphatic роlуеѕtеr аnd оnе thаt саn bе mаdе frоm lасtіс асіd, which іѕ produced via starch fermentation durіng соrn wet mіllіng. Althоugh most often generated from corn, PLA саn bе mаdе frоm whеаt оr ѕugаrсаnе as well.

    PLA bоаѕtѕ the rigidity tо rерlасе polystyrene and PET, but іt hаѕ аn еdgе over the rеаl thing: It dесоmроѕеѕ within 47 dауѕ іn and industrial composting ѕіtе, wоn't emit toxic fumes when burned and manufacturing thеm uѕеѕ 20 tо 50 percent lеѕѕ fossil fuеlѕ thаn petroleum-based рlаѕtіс. Oftеn, соmраnіеѕ blеnd PLA wіth ѕtаrсh tо reduce соѕt and increase іtѕ bіоdеgrаdаbіlіtу. It is ореn to nеw packaging аррlісаtіоnѕ fоr grееn plastic, аutоmоtіvе parts, and соffее cups. 

  • Starch-based Polymers
  • Aѕ a tоtаllу bіоdеgrаdаblе, low-cost, rеnеwаblе and nаturаl polymer, starch hаѕ bееn receiving lоtѕ оf attention fоr developing sustainable materials lаtеlу. Whеn іt comes tо rерlасіng рlаѕtіс, however, starch саn't сut thе muѕtаrd; іtѕ poor mесhаnісаl рrореrtіеѕ mеаn іt hаѕ limited use for thе ѕturdу рrоduсtѕ thаt plastics gеnеrаtе.

    Whаt оnе оf the hottest trеndѕ іn bіоdеgrаdаblе plastic dеvеlорmеnt саn do is mаkе polymer composites more bіоdеgrаdаblе. Yоu nаmе іt, аnd ѕtаrсh has probably bееn combined wіth it, аlbеіt wіth vаrуіng dеgrееѕ оf ѕuссеѕѕ.

    This guest post is written by Joe Cole, he works at Coupon Goo.

    Easy Tips To Help You Go Plastic Free and Zero Waste

    Easy Tips To Help You Go Plastic Free and Zero Waste

    2017 is the year to begin your plastic free journey.  New Year resolutions can be tough, for me it helps if they are structured for success.  Small steps work best.  I don’t recommend giving up plastic “cold turkey”- that’s guaranteed to be frustrating.  Instead each month or so, give up one type of single use plastic and before you know it you’ll be a Zero Waste Warrior.

    Plastic free is all about limiting your use of plastic to essentials and eliminating single use plastic.  Single use plastic is plastic that is used once and then discarded- straws, coffee cups, drink lids, water bottles, grocery bags……….  Zero waste is a philosophy that focuses on rethinking how we live in order to produce as little waste as possible.

     Here are more than 12 steps that you can take to help you on your plastic free journey.  Mix them up, start with one that is easy for you and save the harder ones for later.  I guarantee by this time next year, you will be proud of your new habits and view purchases entirely differently.

    1. Educate yourself.  The more you know, the more motivated and committed you will be to keep your resolutions to be plastic free and zero waste.
    2. Give up plastic grocery bags.  Bring your own and if you forget only buy enough to carry easily in your hand.  I find it helpful to keep a lightweight bag in my purse.
    3. Reusable bags for ALL purchases.  Once you master reusable grocery bags make it a policy to not use any plastic bags for any purchase.  It's easy once you get started.
    4. Switch to reusable coffee cups.  When my life is routine this is easy, when it gets chaotic it's quite a challenge.  One tip is to buy more than one reusable cup , that way if one is dirty or lost in the car you can still enjoy a coffee.
    5. Stop buying plastic water bottles.  The first thing you have to do is buy a reusable water container and carry it where ever you go- including airports.
    6. Buy in bulk.  This is a critical step in moving towards zero waste.  Instead of buying 6 small yogurt containers for the week, buy one large.  Before you know it you'll be investigating local farms that sell yogurt in reusable jars.
    7. Plastic Free Produce.  Produce does not need to be wrapped in plastic and often produce is over packaged.  I found I needed to support a few stores in order to buy all my produce plastic free and to invest and make some reusable produce/bulk bags.  My habits have changed- and yes it does take a bit longer to make a salad than simply opening a plastic package.
    8. Replace paper napkins and towels with cloth.  Your one time purchase of napkins will last for years.  Using washable cloths for most clean up jobs and saving paper towels for big messes will help you cut down on waste.
    9. Rethink soap, shampoos and other personal care items.  The personal care aisle in a grocery store is loaded with plastic packaging.  Instead of a plastic bottle of liquid soap switch to a bar.  Try a shampoo bar instead of a plastic bottle of shampoo and conditioner.
    10. Invest in reusable food containers.  Pack lunches, picnics and when ordering take away bring your own container.  Sure you might wait a few minutes but it's a great chance to catch up on your social media while you wait.
    11. Switch to bamboo toothbrushes.  Remember plastic never biodegrades because it's not part of Mother Nature's food chain.
    12. Give up disposable razors.  Invest in a razor that will last a life time.
    13. Switch to glass or metal containers for food storage.  When your plastic food storage containers wear out switch to glass or metal.  But wait for them to wear out, it's wasteful to simply throw something away.  Use it up first and then take it to be recycled.
    14. Replace plastic wrap and aluminum foil with beeswax or cloth.  I often wrap a tea towel around my serving bowl before putting in the fridge.  You could also invest in a few glass containers with lids.  Glass really helps keep track of your food 'cause you can see what you're saving. 
    15. Compost.  Composting your food really helps cut down on unnecessary waste.
    16. Pick up trash.  There's nothing like picking up a bit of trash to firm your resolve to be plastic free and to embrace the zero waste philosophy.
    17. Finally, make purchasing decisions based on packaging.  Whenever possible purchase items with less packaging.  Support businesses that are working on reducing waste.  Shop local, shop small.

    Have a Holly, Trash Free Holiday and a Plastic Free New Year

    Have a Holly, Trash Free Holiday and a Plastic Free New Year

    Since World Ocean Day back in June I have worked hard to reduce my footprint both in my personal life and in business.  The holiday season brings special challenges.  Part has to do with memories, I was talking with a friend recently about gift wrapping.  She said, "I love to wrap gifts, it's part of my Christmas season."  But- how we choose to wrap makes a big difference.  Elaborate, non biodegradable gift wraps leave a lasting footprint.  To help you have a trash free holiday I've listed 15 ways to hopefully get that holiday glow without the trash.

    #1   Buy Well- Choose Less  When shopping for gifts, resist the impulse to buy a cute but useless item that will not linger after the holiday.  Check out how items are packaged.  My daughter loves gummy bears- I can buy a cute plastic package of bears, a reusable bear mason jar filled with gummies or take a cloth bag to the candy shop on Main Street.  What's important to remember is you have choices.

    #2   Shop small, shop local.  Supporting small, indies businesses lets your money continue to work long after you've spent it.  You can find companies that support your values and are working hard to reduce their business footprint.  

    #3   Even if you have decided to limit your holiday purchases or to make donations to worthy causes help out indie business by supporting them in other ways- especially on social media. Our blog post Make Your Money Count and Use Less Plastic  gives practical tips.

    #4   Purchase lasting gifts that help reduce everyday waste.  Reusable coffee mugs, bamboo straws, shopping bags, produce bags, shampoo bars and bamboo toothbrushes.

    #5   Wrap your gifts in cloth, brown paper lunch bags, newspaper or tissue paper made from recycled paper.  Easy to recycle or compost.

    #6   Give the gifts of plants.  Paperwhite bulbs are especially lovely during the winter months.

    Plants are lasting gifts

    Amaryllis bulbs create a splash of color and I plant mine out in the garden every summer so many of my bulbs are 4 years old and going strong.  A seed sprouting jar is a low waste way to have fresh tasty greens in salads and sandwiches all winter long. 

    #7   Gift certificates make in possible for folks to get just what they need or want and if they are from small, indie businesses the good keeps going.

    #8   Donations are a great way to spread the love.  Choose your favorite organizations and let them start the New Year ready to get important work done.

    #9   Give the gift of an experience.  Every year I treat my family to New Year's Day brunch at our local farm to table restaurant.  I love starting the New Year in a bustling restaurant with a Passionfruit Margarita, a basket of home baked breads and the lively conversations of my loved ones.

    #10 Look around the house for items to regift.  Sometimes regifting has a tacky connotation but it's a perfect way to reduce and reuse.  While cleaning recently I found a huge stash of yarn bits.  Someone will be happily knitting all winter long.

    #11  While you are rummaging for regifts, clean out the closets and pass useful used items to the appropriate charities.

    #12  Give the gift of clean and get outside and pick up some trash.  Believe me- it's everywhere.  Check out the organization Just Grab Bits .  I especially love their Instagram page- it's a bittersweet trashy tour around the world.

    Give the gift of clean- get outside and pick up litter.

    #13  Decorate with natural materials including evergreen, pine cones and berries.  If you are buying decorations make sure they are well made and will be used and loved for many years.  Completely avoid balloons, "they kill wildlife, pollute the earth and waste helium".  Check out Balloons Blow- Don't Let Them Go for more information.

    #14  Give a subscription.  Fact checking is expensive and subscriptions show support and help attract advertisers.  

    My final tip is the one I've had the most fun with.  I want to help people make the transition to plastic free as easy as possible.  Two areas I struggle with are single use coffee cups and plastic free produce.  I have started "Random Acts of Awareness". I purchase reusable mugs from my favorite coffee shops (helping to keep it local) and then leave them on the counter for someone ordering a take away coffee in a single use cup.

    Give the gift of reusable.

     

     I'm almost ready to do the same thing with some homemade produce bags.  Over the Thanksgiving holiday I cut up an old sheet and put together a bunch of cloth produce bags.  They are almost ready to be donated to shoppers reaching for a plastic bag in the produce department.  Learn more about the plastic free produce movement by visiting Australian Anita Horn's Facebook page.   

    Happy Trash Free Holidays!