Happiness Has a New Address – Tagged "Life Outdoors" – Dulse & Rugosa
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    Ideas for #OptOutside & Buy Nothing Day

    Ideas for #OptOutside & Buy Nothing Day

    Many years ago, when my family was the only year round family on remote Gotts Island I actually did "Black Friday."  Black Friday is literally going to a mall after Thanksgiving and buying stuff.  I believe it came about because I listened to a talk radio station out of Boston.  This is long before talk radio was so political, of course the station talked national and local politics but also covered many human interest stories, food, psychology.  For me, it was background conversation while I worked alone in my log cabin.  I'm sure I was influenced by all the ads for Black Friday- it seemed the thing to do.

     

    So we headed ashore- no easy task- involving boats and our car.  I have no idea what we bought.  Probably broccoli and other fresh vegetables.  It was crowded, we ate at a fast food joint and by the time we got home we were all cross and grumpy.  That's my one and only Black Friday adventure.

    This year, celebrate sustainably and slow down.  There is no need to pile the family in the car, deal with hordes of people to buy cheap stuff made in China.  There are so many other things to do.  

    #OptOutside was started by the outdoor gear company REI a few years ago.  They are closed for business the Friday after Thanksgiving.  REI's mission is to connect people with each other and nature instead of spending time shopping for bargains.  

    Another alternative to Black Friday is Buy Nothing Day.  This began in Canada to highlight overconsumption.  Instead of shopping the idea is to slow down and participate in a community event, get outside or even spend a bit of time doing what you love.  It's a perfect day for some self care. 

    Both #OptOutside and Buy Nothing Day are movements and philosophies.  We're a small business which depends on sales to survive.  We understand how complex the world and economies are.  We also knowing making choices about your purchases is a way to vote for the kind of economies and world you want. 

    9 Ideas for #OptOutside & Buy Nothing Day

    1.   Take a walk no matter what the weather is.  Bundle up, put on rain boots or rub in the sunscreen- just get outside.

    2.   While outside pick up trash.  There's nothing like picking up lots od single use plastic to help you make better buying choices.

    3.   Clean out a closet, cupboard or room and donate useable items to your local charity shop.

    4.   Write letters, postcards or call family and friends far away.

    5.   Make holiday cookies or gifts.

    6.   Read a book, play cards or do a puzzle.

    7.   Get some ART and visit a museum or gallery.

    8.   Dedicate some time to self care, give your self a facial, a hot soak in the tub or simply a bit of time doing whatever you love most.  

    9.   No matter how you spend the day- do an activity that nourishes you and helps your community and environment.

     

    Dogs Go Green

    Dogs Go Green

    Every month or so, once I've mastered my current zero waste/plastic free goal I start on a new one.  Usually it's a goal that's been on my mind for awhile but takes a bit to actually get into action.  Compostable dog poop bags have been on my list for awhile.  Tuffy, my girl poops at least twice a day and since we visit our local dog park almost daily that's a lot of plastic poop bags.

    Compostable Dog Poo Bag Review

     

    READ THE LABELS

    I first decided to try and buy compostable dog bags locally and visited our local pet store.  I asked the clerk for compostable bags and she looked at me blankly.  She did walk me over to the dog waste section and recommended a product that had "eco-friendly" on the label.  Well, the container the bags came in was packed in cardboard made from recycled paper but the bags were your ordinary plastic bags.  The product was more expensive than others because it was geared to a dog owner who was environmentally conscious and who most likely had forgotten their reading glasses.  You have to read the labels when shopping for eco-friendly products.  There is a tern called "green washing", it's labeling cleverly designed to make products look as environmentally responsible as possible.  If I hadn't carefully read the label I would have assumed that the bags- the item I wanted to purchase were eco-friendly.

    Compostable Dog Waste Bag Review

    IT'S COMPLICATED

    My next stop was the internet. There are quite a few choices on the market I wanted a smaller company, a plant based bag and one that could be composted at home.  bioDOGradable Dog Poop Bags fit the bill.  As I learned more I realized how complicated biodegradable bags are (not a big surprise).  On their FAQ page the question "Are these bags degradable/biodegradable?" was answered yes and no.  The bags are made from a material called "bioplastic" which is plant based- corn not fossil fuel based-plastic and when it breaks down it produces non-toxic byproducts such as humus.  The FTC has guidelines as well as California which has laws about the claims and marketing of what exactly is biodegradable.  The take away from this is consumers should be wary of products that claim to be 100% biodegradable.

    THE FINE ART OF COMPOSTING 

    There are two ways to dispose of your poop bags.  The best is home composting.  I'm lucky to have a large backyard so I'm adding my poop bags to my large pile of slow composting.  I'm not filling my food/garden waste compost bin with bags of poop.  The next choice to to find a facility with a biosolid composter, compost made from sewage sludge.  I would guess biosolids composter are few and far between.  Finally, simply putting you poo bags in the dog waste receptacles is an option- because at least the corn based bags will decompose.

    Compostable dog poo bags review

    WHAT ABOUT EXPENSE?

    So, with all the complications is it still worth using compostable poo bags?  In my opinion, yes.  Even when added to traditional landfills the bags will compost at the same rate as food waste, paper or lawn clippings.  It's not perfect but it is better than traditional plastic bags because in the end they will turn back into a natural material unlike plastic which simply hangs around forever.  Another benefit is the manufacturing process and lack of chemicals.  These particular bags are manufactured in India and I don't have any info about the actual factory.  Finally they are free from chemical dyes and additives.  

    The bags are more expensive.  One consumer change I've made is to buy better and buy less.  I'm definitely spending more on poo bags but the feeling of satisfaction I get from not adding plastic pollution to our planet is worth it.

    AND FINALLY

    My only complaint was the mailer my package arrived in.  I would have preferred a mailer without any plastic.  There was some extra packaging inside the package, everything was in one of their dog bags, it was wrapped in brown paper and I got a info card (which I turned into a sign) as well as a few free samples.

    Dulse & Rugosa has a bundle package right now, with every purchase of our Dog Shampoo Bar will include a sample biodogradable dog poo bag.

    And for the foreseeable future purchase of our Mama Earth Shower Shots will go directly to support Houston and possibly FLA SPCA.  

    Spring in Maine (Finally)

    Spring in Maine (Finally)

    Here in Maine, spring is sometimes really late coming.  For months now my Facebook feed has been full of flowers and green grass from my friends further south.  But after a week of rain, the sun finally came out and it feels like spring has arrived.  The first daffodils have unfolded, the forsythia is blooming, and the symphony of lawnmowers and chainsaws has begun.

    For us, the promise of spring started months and months ago, back when there were still snow drifts on the ground. We grow all the botanicals, flowers and herbs that go into our products but we also grow most of the veggies that we eat all season long and through the winter.  Back in February the first seeds were sown for this summer’s harvest.  Three trays of onions that steadily grew and grew as the days got longer and longer.  Four weeks ago we moved them to the outside greenhouse to make room for the trays of flowers, peppers, tomatoes, and herbs.  Our living room is filled with green, busting at the seams, as the plants grow.  In a few short weeks, once we are sure that the nighttime frost will not return, they will be carefully placed outside and the hard work of summer will begin.

    Seedlings ready to be transplanted

    This weekend we celebrated spring by transplanting or potting up the majority of our vegetables and flowers.  We cleared off the picnic table, mixed batches and batches of potting soil and rooted through the shed to find the right size pots for our precious babies.  As we worked together the barbecue was going in the background with the promise of an amazing dinner once the work was done.  One person worked, gently uprooting the small plant, while the other prepared its new home.  Once the plant was snugly tucked into its new abode we gently watered them before bringing them back inside.  Its still too cold here in Maine for some of tender plants that we grow to live outside…just yet.

    It’s a labor of love to grow these plants from seed all the way through till the end.  It would be much easier to just buy the tomatoes, the onions, the lavender, the thyme.  But that is not what we believe in here at Dulse & Rugosa.  We know that the tomatoes that you grow will taste better than any other.  In the depths of winter when we reach into the root cellar and pull out our onions, potatoes, and squash something magical happens.  Even though its winter a glimmer of summer shows through.  The same magic happens each time I go to make our shower shots or our seaweed shampoo bars.  I open the glass jar filled with rugosa rose petals and I am back on Gotts Island, next to the ocean reaching for the petals, avoiding the thorns, and breathing in the heavy scents of roses, salt, and the summer sun.

    Harvest of plenty  

    There is a magic in growing plants.  And each spring as the small, hard, dry seeds magically turn into bountiful flowers, succulent fruits and verdant vegetables I am reminded of how lucky I am to a part of this process.  I cherish spring for its power, magic and most of all the return of GREEN.  Spring has finally sprung here in Maine and we are sooo excited. 

    Calendula Flower