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      Plastic Free Friday- DIY Salad Dressing

      Plastic Free Friday- DIY Salad Dressing

      The 3 R's

      Everyone knows the 3R’s- reduce, reuse and recycle but did you know the order of the R’s is important?  Reduce is the most planet friendly way to help our world and recycling is the least effective.

      Single Use Plastic   

      On a recent trip to the grocery store I checked out the salad dressing aisle.  My mind is on salads this month because it is easy, fun and tasty to eat lots of salad with all the wonderful veggies, fruits and flowers available.  There are a lot of single use plastic bottles sitting on the shelfs. By making your own salad dressing you can eliminate a lot of single use plastic bottles. 

      One of the reason there is so much plastic in our lives is convenience.  In our busy lives we often look for time savers and plastic is the way most time saving items are packaged.  Bottled salad dressing is so easy to use.  Open and pour.

      Why Not Make Your Own Salad Dressing?

      If you have 10 minutes and a glass of wine you can make a delicious and tasty salad dressing- and you’ve just eliminated a plastic bottle form the waste stream.  And since most store salad dressing contains unnecessary and unhealthy ingredients the quality of your salad will improve with a simple homemade vinaigrette.

      A basic vinaigrette recipe is ¼ acid to ½ to ¾ oil.  The fun part is deciding what acid and what oils.

      Acids are basically vinegars.  Choose from red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, white wine vinegar, cider vinegar, rice vinegar and fruit vinegars.

      Next pick an oil, you’re going to save quite a bit of money making your own salad dressing so splurge and buy a good quality oil.  The most popular is extra-virgin olive oil.  Other oils to try are Grapeseed, Canola and Nut oils.  The Nut oil works quite nicely with fruit vinegars.

      The Difference Between Glass and Plastic Bottles

      Remember when shopping for items look for oils and vinegars packaged in glass not plastic.  Here’s why- when glass is recycled it is turned back into glass.  It can be recycled over and over and it still turns into glass.  Plastic on the other hand can not be recycled into plastic bottles.  It can be turned into plastic carpet or plastic lumber but not a plastic bottle.  The term used to describe the reality of plastic recycling is “downcycling”.  

      Once you’ve decided on your choice of acid and vinegar you need to find a bottle for your dressing.  Hopefully, you’ll be using this bottle for many years so pick a wonderful jar.  You can go out and buy a new bottle but it’s more fun and earth friendly to find one you can reuse.  Maybe a trip to your favorite antique shop- there a a lot of fun ones here in Maine.    

      Making your own salad dressing is easy and helps you reduce your plastic consumption.

      No Plastic Bottle Salad Dressing Recipe

      ¼ cup acid- your choice ½-¾ cup oil

      1 teaspoon salt ½ teaspoon pepper

      2 teaspoons Dijon or other mustard (optional)

      First combine your acid, salt and mustard in a small bowl if you’re using a small mouth bottle or put in your wide mouth bottle and shake.  Add the oil slowly and continue to whisk or dump in the jar and shake, shake, shake.  Take a small taste?  Decide if you need more oil.  Store in fridge.

      I like narrow neck bottles because they are so pretty and to fit everything in use a small kitchen funnel.  Another advantage is it’s easy to pour the right amount on your salad.  But, a wide mouth jar makes it easier to mix and taste to see if the proportions are right.  The most important feature is choosing the bottle that brings you joy and looks great on your table.

      Plastic Free Friday- BYOB

      Everyone knows the 3R’s- reduce, reuse and recycle but did you know the order of the R’s is important?  Reduce is the most planet friendly way to help our world and recycling is the least effective. One of the easiest ways to cut down on your plastic use is to BYOB- Bring Your Own Bags.

      BYOB- Bring Your Own Bags to reduce your plastic consumption.

      It’s easiest to start with your groceries and takes just a bit of organization.  Keep your weekly grocery bags handy in the car, that way they are easy to get.  One of the hardest parts for me was the quick trip for just a few items.  Now, I always have a few bags in my purse.  To keep the bulk of the bags down I love Baggu bags.  Their standard shopping bag comes in tons of cute, bright prints.  Super sturdy- they can hold a lot of groceries but have snaps and a pouch for some true space savings.  For regular grocery trips I prefer flat bottomed canvas bags- this allows for bottles and jars to stay upright.  Almost everyone knows about the importance of BYOB- find the bags you like and make a pledge to yourself to give up single use plastic grocery bags.

      Once you’ve made the BYOB grocery bag commitment you will start to notice how abundant plastic is in grocery stores.  Remember, the first R is the most important- reduce.   Avoid products that are over packaged.  Once I was debating over which mix of peppers to buy.  I bought the brand I usually buy only to get home to find they had changed their packaging and added an extra plastic bit.  That was the last time I purchased that particular brand.

      Shopping at Farmer’s Markets is one way to help cut down your plastic.  In general, farmers don’t over package- they want you to see and smell their wonderful offerings.  Buying from bulk bins also helps.  When you have a choice between plastic or glass- choose glass.  Find wines that still use natural corks instead of plastic corks.  Make how a product is packaged one of your buying decisions.  

      It’s important to take a step- however tentative or small.  You’re going to forget and mess but once you begin your personal plastic free journey there will be no going back.  It’s worth the effort.  

      Here are some resources

      Chef Jude Blereau tips and thoughts

      Lather Up With Shampoo Bars

      Lather Up With Shampoo Bars

      Shampoo bars- good for you and the environment.

      Shampoo bars are a fabulous way to wash your hair and eliminate plastic bathroom clutter at the same time.  It's not just bathroom clutter we need to think about- it's also all the plastic we use, that keeps coming back to clog up our beautiful Earth.

      Both Carly and I have super curly, easy to frizz hair. In the past, we were hair product junkies. A large bottle of conditioner might last a week. I shampooed everyday due to my tendency to look like a deranged cartoon character with severe bed head.

      I also suffered from itchy scalp. I’ve battled flakey head since high school. At one point, it got really bad. I hoped my hairdresser wouldn’t notice-fat chance. He thought it was very “unusual”. I dreaded my next appointment. He suggested seeing a doctor. I knew exactly what the doctor would prescribe- a highly medicated/toxic/unnatural shampoo. I was right. Now, I had weird scalp and horrible looking hair. By chance and desperation I picked up a shampoo with seaweed as an ingredient. Viola, my itchy scalp improved.

      This experience got us thinking, researching and finally experimenting. Shampoo bars are super luxurious soap concoctions. We blend together oils with properties to benefit hair and scalp. Castor oil is super conditioning and makes a rich lather. Coconut oil penetrates, protects and adds shine. Sweet Almond oil works as a sealant and locks in moisture.. Olive oil packs a power punch and is not just for salads. Olive oil moisturizes, conditions, helps fight dandruff and improves hair strength.

      Another very important ingredient in our shampoo bars is seaweed. Seaweeds are the powerhouses of our shampoo bars. Kelp in particular contains essential nutrients to help hair grow. Seaweeds are super gentle cleaners and naturally hydrate. Plus seaweeds help control flaky scalps and can help promote hair growth.

      Shampoo bars work differently than conventional shampoos and conditioners. Be aware that it might take a week or two for your hair to adjust. You need to detox from product build up. I was a bit reluctant to try our shampoo bars, even though Carly had been using them and frankly raving about the results. Her hair was looking gorgeous but mine is a bit curlier. I was afraid to give up all my conditioners. Instead of conditioning after shampooing I spritz with a 1/2 cider vinegar to 1/2 water mix. This mildly acidic solution helps balance the Ph as shampoo bars tend to be more alkaline and helps make the hair follicle shine and lay flatter.

      Seaweeds can help an itchy scalp.

      I’ve been using shampoo bars for a few years now. I am super happy with my hair. A long time ago, I made peace with my curls. I decided I would stop trying to have straight hair. Now, I don’t even use conditioners. Plus, I’ve saved tons of money and we've reduced our plastic consumption. Shampoo bars are the way to go.

      Plastic Free Friday

      Plastic Free Friday

      World Ocean Day was June 8th and this year the theme was plastic.  “Healthy Oceans, Healthy Planets” encourages individuals and organizations across the planet to take action for preventing plastic pollution in our ocean.

      In a nutshell, here is what's happening- we as humans are simply becoming far too dependent on plastic.  Plastic is everywhere.  And as our lives get busier and busier, convenience is what we want and plastic is often the solution.

      Single use plastic is plastic used only one time.

      The problem is plastic is a material that is made to be durable.  Yet so much of the plastic we use is single use- think water bottles, grocery bags, coffee cups, lids and straws.  Single use plastic is the term used to describe this type of plastic.  It’s often used only one time.  And let’s be honest- this type of plastic has the least chance of actually being recycled.  For example, after a great movie, it’s easy to toss your popcorn, soda cup and straw right into the trash.  The result, in America we use about 30 million tons of plastic per year and only 8% gets recycled.  The rest is incinerated or simply allowed to settle on the Ear

      Plastic is made from oil.  17 million barrels of oil are used to make water bottles that are used only once.  It’s not healthy to reuse many plastic containers because you have no idea what chemicals have been added.  Chemicals like BPA can seriously affect our bodies.

      When plastic settles into the Earth it simply keeps breaking down into smaller and smaller pieces.  These pieces end up in the water system and finally dumped into our oceans.

      The reason World Ocean Day focused on plastic this year is because our oceans make our Earth livable for all creatures big and small, land or water.  We need healthy oceans for a healthy Earth no matter where one chooses to live.   And sadly, much of our single use plastic ends up floating in our oceans.  Sea creatures mistake plastic for food and this leads to all sorts of serious issues.

      Plastic is a common sight on beaches.

      Dulse and Rugosa is an island based business.  We harvest seaweeds from our shores.  We want clean oceans now and for future generations.  And if that is a bit inconvenient- tough.   

      Here are some great resources-