What a long strange trip it's been lately with the Covid-19 virus, stay at home orders and a whole lot of stress.
But somehow life still goes on and it's the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. Our original plan was to do some trash picking up, a recycle drop off, community connections and prizes. Instead we are offering Earth Day Bingo.
Earth Day Bingo is fun, creative and you can win prizes while making connections. Plus you can help out small businesses. Each square is open ended and allows for creativity. Everyone's situation is different. At first, I had "take a walk" but realized not everyone was living the rural life. If you are in a city taking a walk is so different than my reality. We share big ideas and common feelings but each of us has our own reality.
There are nine squares to fill in. The center- Planet Earth is the free square.
The most important square is Be Registered to VOTE. Each state differs but don't wait if you are not registered. A great site for info is The Environmental Voter Project.
Donate- donate time, blood, money, items. There are so many community and grass root initiatives that it can be hard to choose. Here in Maine since the outbreak of Covid-19 and the lack of PPE safety equipement a drive was created to sew fabric masks for essential workers in retirement homes, public safety, grocery stores and more. Check out Sewing Masks for Maine.
Shop Small- this is more important now than ever. If you value community, innovation and just plain old spunk please use some of your purchasing power to support small businesses. Green America has a great blog about the power of voting with your money.
Plant Something- focus on a bit of green. Start some seedlings. Repot a house plant. Get some seeds sprouting in the kitchen.
Make Less Trash- This might be the hardest square to fill in during the quarantine because it's so limiting what you can purchase at the store for food. One big change for me was to shop from our local farm and buying my milk in glass jars.
Notice Nature- If you are stuck inside look out your window- chances are a bird is tweeting. If you are lucky enough to walk or hike safely be grateful- nature is a gift to treasure.
Repair or mend- clothes, furniture, a relationship..... Our recent blog The Joys of Slow Stitching has ideas for using a needle, sewing or knitting to help reduce Covid stress.
Share an Eco Tip- we'd love to hear about your experience with zero waste, being mindful, voting with your money and any tips or strategies to help make staying home a community and growing experience.
We are offering prizes! 3 in a row gives you a code for $5 off our website. You can only use the code one time per order. If you fill the cardin share with us to be entered into our Eco Extravaganza Bundle- cool stuff from our downeast shop which is currently closed.
Come on and play some bingo!
Going Zero Waste during any holiday is tricky but Halloween is especially challenging. The fun quickly turns into trash.
Here are some simple tricks to help reduce waste but don't procrastinate, DIY takes time.
- Organize a costume swap. Costumes are typically worn just a few times and not made of sturdy material. Extending the life of a costume keeps it out of the landfill.
- Use your imagination and the recycle bin for any cardboard based costumes.
- Visit a thrift store for inspiration. A prom dress can become a princess gown. A bathrobe a super hero cape.
- A glue gun will become your new BFF.
This is the easy part. Fall is the harvest season filled with natural beauty. Pumpkins, corn stalks, gourds. If you want a bit more, invest in quality items including wreaths, bunting and treat bags that can be used for years. My best advice is to have a Halloween box filled with reusable decorations, favorite books and most importantly memories.
TRICK OR TREATS
It's helpful to limit the number of houses you visit. Planning an after party can help with the transition. The after event can be a special video or family game with a big bowl of popcorn and fresh cider. Instead of playing "Old Maid" switch it up to a Halloween theme. Have your family make the cards together. A fun memory is to use old Halloween photos for the pairs. Yes, this takes time but if you have your Halloween box it's worth it and your deck can grow each year.
Simply refuse some items including all cheap plastic ones that have an interest span of seconds but a life span of centuries.
Pass out natural items. A bowl of polished stones, rocks or shells is exciting. Coloring sheets, puzzles or candy packaged in cardboard including Dots or boxes of raisins.
You need to start early for your DIY Zero Waste Halloween celebration. It takes time to collect materials and craft. You might also need time to set and manage your children's expectations.
Let's take the truly scary out of Halloween- the trash and still have fun.
Are you feeling a bit overwhelmed with your Zero Waste journey? The good news is there is a lot of advice out there. However that can also be the bad news- it can be a bit overwhelming.
In my opinion the most essential tool you need to begin, continue or refine your Zero Waste journey is your brain. Yes- your brain. Any advice you get needs to be filtered to fit your lifestyle. Not the lifestyle you imagine or are striving towards but how you actually live. The nitty gritty day to day life with home, work, family, pets, etc. Big ideas and goals need to be tailored and adjusted into achievable steps. When we are successful, we feel positive, motivated and more open to examining and refining life changes.
Your brain is also the most powerful tool in educating yourself in order to make informed choices. In our blog 19 for 2019- Tips for Going Zero, Tip #1 was-
- 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.
I wrote my first eco-conscious blog back in 2016. At the time, I was working on not using plastic grocery bags. I know! Now it seems quite ridiculous but back then if I remembered my reusable bags it was all well and good but if I forgot I would take plastic bags and feel guilty. Now I never use plastic grocery bags and my town has banned them. The most important change for me was making a conscious choice and then tweaking to make my choice a reality.
We all have a responsibility to do our own small bit to help reduce the amount of trash and plastic waste we create. The journey is an awakening if you open your heart and use your brain.
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.
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.
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.
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.