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      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 a few years ago 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 wrap leaves a lasting footprint.  To help you have a trash free holiday I've listed 14 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!



      Seaweed Shampoo Bars- Great Hair, Clean Oceans

      Seaweed Shampoo Bars- Great Hair, Clean Oceans

      "What would happen if 10,000 people decided to reduce their trash impact for one month? We could reduce the trash on Earth by over 1 million pounds." 

      If you are looking for a way to reduce your plastic consumption our Maine seaweed rich shampoo bars are the way to go. Our shampoo bars are a natural way to clean and condition your hair.  

      Great hair, clean oceans, no plastic

      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 “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. The chemical laden shampoo didn't help my scalp and gave me super horrible looking hair. By chance and desperation I began experimenting with different natural ingredients. Adding seaweed to my hair care routine brought me natural and lasting relief.

      The most 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.

      Dulse & Rugosa's Maine Seaweed Shampoo Bars

      We make three shampoo bars blends.  All are seaweed rich, the difference is the blends of oils.  

      Lovely Rita Super Conditioning:  Some hair needs more moisture and we should know since we both have SUPER curly hair. Our Lovely Rita Bar contains coconut and castor oil which help creating  superior thick lather but also condition those pesky locks. Olive oil and rose hip oil leave your hair shiny and soft.

      Sweet Melissa Gentle and Mild: If your hair is straight and needs less moisture our Sweet Melissa bar is for you.  Your hair needs protein and a blend of oils that moisturize without being too heavy.  Our shampoo bars harness the power of sugar kelp to pump up the protein which is what your hair craves.  

      Men's Shampoo Bar:  Our Seaweed Shampoo Bar specially packaged just for men.  The power of seaweed can help tame an itchy scalp or full beard and designed to be used anywhere including rivers and streams. 

      Thanks to the ocean conservancy for the opening quote.  Check them out.

      Make Your Money Count and Use Less Plastic

      Make Your Money Count and Use Less Plastic

      Last year, I took a business development course and the guru wanted us to find our customer's pain points.  I talked about our Maine Seaweed shampoo bars and how I believed they would appeal to anyone who loved the ocean and is concerned about the plague of plastic.  Our shampoo bars are a plastic free alternative to hair products packed in plastic bottles.  I got a gigantic "pshaw".  

      Shampoo bars for great hair with no plastic.

      About a week later I was in the grocery debating which peppers to buy.  I wasn't looking at the price as much as the packaging.  I bought my usual only to discover at home that an extra plastic nest had been added.  I thought to myself, "Won't buy these again" and made a purchasing decision based on plastic packaging".  And remember- this was a year ago, I've come a long way and now don't purchase produce wrapped in plastic.

      This quick vignette is to illustrate how your hard earned dollars can make a difference.  You can still eat great food, have lovely hair and enjoy an afternoon latte without creating a mountain of waste.  It does take a bit more organization and thought.  And be prepared to move two steps forward and one step back but stay on the plastic free  journey.  Choose an area to go plastic free every month or so.  Master one and pick a new goal.  Buy a few reusable grocery and produce totes. Try a shampoo bars.  Carry around a coffee cup for your afternoon fix.  Head outside to your favorite nature spot and pick up the trash.

      Think about packaging when making purchases.

      Even if you never become completely zero-waste you'll be amazed at how far you can go! 



      Plastic Free Journey- Doing Your Little Bit of Good

      Plastic Free Journey- Doing Your Little Bit of Good

      Do your little bit of good quote by Desmond Tutu

      At Dulse & Rugosa, our little bit of good is to switch our packaging to be as plastic free as possible.  Some of our products have always been there.  Our Maine Seaweed Shampoo bars are simply packaged in tissue paper that is made from recycled paper products.  The "plastic" bags we use for other products are actually biodegradable cellophane bags made from wood cellulose fibers sourced exclusively with sustainable forestry principles.  Our Shower Shots are packaged in these cool non-plastic bags.  They truly are a happy hour for your shower and the happy continues with compostable packaging.   

      Dulse & Rugosa is moving towards plastic free packaging.

      But the truth is a lot of our packaging has been cheap plastic jars.  There's a reason for this- cheap.  When you're a small business starting out your focus is on getting people to try your products.  There is a BIG difference between eco packaging and plastic in terms of price per container.  Plastic is so much cheaper- I know this because as a consumer I find myself standing in the grocery store comparing the price of items based on their packaging.   We've been going through the same process as a business.

      One of the biggest changes we've made is with our popular Island Face Scrub.  Our $5.00 trial packs were packaged in a plastic/foil pouch.  Now they are repackaged in a kraft/plastic pouch combo.
       There still is some plastic but it's a lot less.  The same is true for our larger size.  We've replace the plastic jar and lid with the kraft/plastic pouch.  It's much less packaging and that's good for the environment.

      We're using less plastic in our Island Face Scrub. That's our little bit of good.  What's your's?

      Back to School Means More Trash- Tips to Help You Zero Waste the Transition

      Back to School Means More Trash- Tips to Help You Zero Waste the Transition

      I've put off writing about reducing plastic consumption and kids because it's so complicated.  Mostly because I've found in my grown up/no kids life that it takes quite a bit of planning and organization to reduce my plastic use.  I travel a lot to markets and on my occasional overnights I find I do great the first day but the next day is a challenge.  I'm tired, hungry, don't know the area and that's when I consume more products packed in plastic.

      When my daughter Carly was young, I lived year round on a remote Maine island.  We were homesteaders, growing our own food and I worked from home.  I didn't have to organize backpacks, lunch boxes, snacks and extra clothes- not to mention homework, books and a few toys for the car.  And that's not even taking into account winter- with boots, hats, etc.  Our life's are filled with busy and "hurry-up" which is why plastic is so popular- it's convenience.  But because we have kids and grandkids and we want them to have a lovely future we each need to make small steps towards living a plastic free life.

      Check out our tips for less trash with the back to school routine.

      The first thing you have to do is pick an area to focus on and the lunch box is a great place to start.  One of my favorite places to shop for reusable containers is Reuseit.   Especially if you are on a budget, you need to start small and keep adding because you want to buy high quality items that will last.  It's counterproductive to buy flimsy containers that won't last- it's a waste of money and makes trash.  


      Start with a good, rather large lunch container.  I find in general, when you use reusable containers you need more room.  You might want to pack a couple of containers- one for lunch and one for snacks.  When you decide to replace plastic bags- there's a new product on the market, silicone reusable bags.  The bags are dishwasher and microwave safe but they are pricy.  One bag cost around $12.00- but will last and last.  Another great container in my opinion is the reusable juice box.  According to Reuseit, "juice boxes are one of the most wasteful parts of lunchtime".  A single box takes over " 300 years to decompose and nearly 4 billion are consumed annually."  At $9.95 per single box these are do-able, especially if you normally buy at least 8 juice pouches a week.  If juices are not on sale it will cost you around $5.00 per week.  Over the year you'll be spending over 250 dollars on single use juice boxes.  You can buy a lot of reusable juice boxes for that amount.  And you do need to buy more than one.  We're talking kids here- so one in the lunch box, one in the snack bag, one for the car, one left at school and one under the bed.  

      Raising kids is complicated, reducing your plastic consumption is complicated.  The reason we change is For The Future.