Happiness Has a New Address – Tagged "Tips for reducing waste" – Page 2 – Dulse & Rugosa
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    Trash Free Trick or Treating

    Trash Free Trick or Treating

    Halloween is coming.  I actually love this holiday especially when I was teaching.  It's an opportunity to celebrate the season, indulge in goodies and a chance to dress up and pretend. 

    The problem with all holidays is our enjoyment creates mountains of trash- bags of candy, plastic decorations and tiny toys make a lot of trash.

    Here are some ideas to help you put the green into trick or treat bags.  

    green halloween

    Plastic free candy is a challenge, look for candy wrapped in foil or paper or cardboard boxes.  They will be bulk packed in plastic but it is better than handing out plastic wrapped candy.

    It's easier to skip the candy and pass out other sorts of treats.  My favorite idea is a bowl of nature items including shells, sea glass, acorns and stones.  If you live in the city this would be a real novelty for some kids.

    green halloween

    Paper straws are a great treat to help raise awareness about the problems of plastic.  Amazon sells boxes of 150-300 and depending on your street a single box could last a few years.  

    Sidewalk chalk, tiny cookie cutters, pencils, erasers, bandages, magnets, coloring books or printed coloring sheets, remelted crayons all are lower waste treats and last quite a bit longer than candy.

    green halloween

     

    You can also buy an activity card set and hand out one card per child.  Your local bookstore or toy shop will have a selection.  Expect to pay around $10-12 for a deck of 50 cards.

    The website Teachers Pay Teachers has some different printables including Halloween Yoga cards and Halloween PE.   Download to make cute books, printable bookmarks are another option.  The downloads cost between $3-5 making these a fun and cheap treat.

    The materials to make a craft are also nice treats.  Friendship bracelets made from embroidery thread are a calming way to end the Halloween frenzy.  You can make a kit for each trick or treater and include directions.  Here is a link-DIY Printable Friendship Bracelet .

    I hope this blogs helps you think about ways to celebrate without making lots of extra trash.  Handing out an eco item can help raise awareness about our planet.  Let's all work to make Halloween more green.

    green halloween

     

     

    Sustainable Gift Guide for Unique Personalities

    Sustainable Gift Guide for Unique Personalities

    The winter solstice is fast approaching, many of us have had our first snowfall and with all the cheerful twinkle lights it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. We have lots of sustainable gifts and stocking stuffers for family and friends.  Our holiday gift guide has suggestions for all the unique personalities in your life.

    The Mermaid-  Always be yourself unless you can be a mermaid
    Keep your locks looking their best with our Seaweed Shampoo Bar, Herbal Hair Vinegar and a nourishing hair oil.

    The Sailor- I need Vitamin Sea
    a Cruising Bar with a rust proof tin will let your sailor travel the seas plastic free.

    The Bearded Guy-a beard is a gift you give your face
    Give some beard love this holiday season with our Beard and Scalp Oil.

    The Comedian- laugh and the world laughs with you
    Give the power of seaweed with a bar of Weed n' Shrooms soap or Seaweed it’s Legal Canva Bag


    The Bathing Beauty- happiness is taking a long bath 
    Make every bath extra special with our Hot Island Bath Tea or Bath Effervescents. 


    The Stressed Mom- stressed is dessert spelt backwards
    When mom has had too much it's our botanical perfumes to the rescue.

    The Tattoo Artist- it's always a good day for a tattoo
    Keep skin art looking good with our all natural, chemical free soothing Tattoo Butter.

    The Vegan- be kind to every kind
    Pure and natural vegan butter.

    The Gardner- to plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow
    Give the gift of flowers and soft skin with our gentle Gardeners Scrub.

    Sleeping Beauty-  prioritizing good sleep is good self love
    Bring on the Zzzz's with our balm or roll on. 


    And finally the stockings were hung by the fire with care
    Place our shower shots on the floor of your shower and let the fun begin.  Aromatherapy for every mood.  

     

     

     

     

    Easy Peasy Soup Stock

    Easy Peasy Soup Stock

    My daughter Carly and I were talking about "garden guilt" recently.  That's when you have more produce than you can eat and not a lot of time to can or freeze all your garden goodies.  If you have a crock pot here is an easy technique for turning an abundance of garden produce into a tasty yummy stock that you can freeze and enjoy summer's bounty on a cold winter day.

    Easy Peasy Soup Stock made with tough garden vegetables.

    If the garden gives you tough green beans make a stock.  You can use basically anything to make your stock.  I like to start with a nice chunk of kelp.  Kelp is a wonderful seaweed that adds depth and flavor to cooked dishes especially stocks, soups and beans.  The rich flavor that seaweeds add to foods is known as umami.  It's the Japanese word for the fifth taste sensation. Umami is a great substitute for meats in your stock.  Another way to boost the umami flavor is to use dried mushrooms.  There's no hard and fast rule for making this broth and it will be different each time you make it- it all depends on what's available in your garden and farm market.  For more information about cooking and enjoying sea vegetables check out the cookbook Sea Vegetable Celebration.

    DIY Garden Stock

    The next step is to load your crockpot up with vegetables, onions, beans, tomatoes, squash, carrots, greens, whatever you have an abundance of including bunches of herbs.  This is a perfect opportunity to use older and tough vegetables including clean skins.  Turn the crock pot on and let it simmer away for hours.  I like to cook mine over night, the house is cooler and you wake up to a lovely savory smell.

    When everything is cooked, strain the stock.  You can stop here and freeze a soup base or you can use gorgeous, lovely vegetables and make a soup.  For this step I like to use the best veggies I can.  Tender and sweet.  I'll put onions and carrots in to simmer until tender and will lightly simmer other veggies including corn, beans, peas, chopped greens and herbs.  I freeze my vegetable soup without any grains, pasta or rice.  It takes up less room and I can quickly cook up my choice of starch to add to my soup before serving.

    It's not a lot of actual work making the stock, it takes awhile for the broth to simmer and then simply pop into your choice of containers and freeze.

     

     

    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.  

    Zero Waste Back to School Tips

    Zero Waste Back to School Tips

    Shop Zero Waste for Back to School

    Back to School Season means shopping.  It's a tradition to start the school year with brand new clothing, backpack and school supplies.  The truth is many purchases are unnecessary, expensive and create loads of trash.  Save money and save the planet with some simple tips to help you go Zero Waste.

    Let's start with clothing.  The first day of school is exciting and everyone wants to look their best for the photos but... " fashion is the second dirtiest industry in the world, second only to oil."  This was a statement made by clothing designer Eileen Fisher in an EcoWatch blog post. There are a lot of issues involved- raw materials, production, distribution and finally disposal of used clothing. One strong philosophy of zero waste is to buy quality that will last.  When purchasing new clothing buy garments that are fashionable and well constructed.  When your child outgrows their clothing pass it along to a friend, neighbor, resell or charity shop.  Shopping at consignment boutiques and charity shops is both budget and eco friendly.  The problem with buying trendy and cheap clothing is they rarely last through multiple washing and the abundance of cheap, worn out clothing is literally clogging up our earth.  For more info on this serious topic check out 1 Million Women's Fast Fashion blog.

    Zero Waste Back to School

    Next the backpack.  Buy the sturdiest backpack you can find, either at a resell shop or from a good quality outfitter- think L L Bean, Land's End, Jansport.  Look for a company that has a genuine guarantee.   While the initial purchase will be pricier than a discount backpack, you want a backpack that will last for years.  But you can't buy a large backpack for your child to grow into because to be comfortable it needs to fit properly.  The perfect fit is below the shoulder blades and ending right around the waist.  This means a backpack or bag for the preschool years, one for primary and perhaps another larger one for the elementary years.  Any big growth spurt means time to buy another back pack.  That's why it's so important to buy quality- your outgrown backpack will be perfect for another student.  Another tip is to launder the backpack regularly.  It's best to turn the backpack inside out before putting into the washing machine.  Of course, as time goes on it will show signs of wear but keeping it clean will extend the life and appeal to the next owner.  You can add a bit of excitement each school year by applying patches, cool pins or zipper pulls.

    I also recommend purchasing a good quality water bottle.  In fact depending on the age of your child you might have to buy more than one.  Hydrating keeps us at  our physical and mental best.  You might need a water bottle for the lunch box, one to stay at school and one to keep in the backpack.  Again, it's quality over price.  Avoid cheap plastic water bottles that contain nasty toxins.  You want a water bottle that is leak proof, insulated, non-toxic and dishwasher safe.     

    clean around the house first for school supplies.

    For school supplies start with a hunt around your house.  I know I have drawers, tins and cups full of all kind of writing supplies.  I think it's fair to say to our kids that before we buy new we're going to use up what we have.  It's a good life style policy to instill as early as possible.  You might even donate a box of found supplies to your child's classroom.  When walking down the back to school aisles look for paper products that contain some percentage of recycled paper. Purchase from companies that are working for a better future.  Crayola has an easy four simple steps marker recycling program called colorcycle.

    There are many other ways to be more green when going back to school including lunches which is the subject of another blog.