Happiness Has a New Address – Page 2 – Dulse & Rugosa
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    Essentials for Going Zero Waste

    Essentials for Going Zero Waste

    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-

    1. 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. 

     

    19 for 2019- Tips for Going Zero Waste

    19 for 2019- Tips for Going Zero Waste

    2019 is my fourth year of going zero waste consciously.  It's definitely been a journey and I take two steps forward and then one step back.  But that's OK, it's the consciousness and the journey that matter.   Small steps work best.  I don’t recommend giving up plastic “cold turkey”- that’s guaranteed to be frustrating. Instead each month or so, give up one type of single use plastic and before you know it you’ll be a Zero Waste Warrior.

    Plastic free is all about limiting your use of plastic to essentials and eliminating single use plastic.  Single use plastic is plastic that is used once and then discarded- straws, coffee cups, drink lids, water bottles, grocery bags……….  Zero waste is a philosophy that focuses on rethinking how we live in order to produce as little waste as possible.

    Here are 19 tips that you can take to help you on your plastic free journey.  Mix them up, start with one that is easy for you and save the harder ones for later.  I guarantee by this time next year, you will be proud of your new habits and view purchases entirely differently.

    1. 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.
    2. Give up plastic grocery bags.  Bring your own and if you forget only buy enough to carry easily in your hand.  I find it helpful to keep a lightweight bag in my purse.
    3. Reusable bags for ALL purchases.  Once you master reusable grocery bags make it a policy to not use any plastic bags for any purchase.  It's easy once you get started.
    4. Switch to reusable coffee cups.  When my life is routine this is easy, when it gets chaotic it's quite a challenge.  One tip is to buy more than one reusable cup , that way if one is dirty or lost in the car you can still enjoy a coffee.
    5. Stop buying plastic water bottles.  The first thing you have to do is buy a reusable water container and carry it where ever you go- including airports.
    6. Straws suck.  500 million straws are used EVERYDAY in the USA- holy moly that is a lot of straws.  Many of these straws end up as trash and because of their bright colors get mistaken for food by critters on land and sea.  Say "NO" to straws or purchase and use a reusable straw.
    7. Buy in bulk.  This is a critical step in moving towards zero waste.  Instead of buying 6 small yogurt containers for the week, buy one large.  Before you know it you'll be investigating local farms that sell yogurt in reusable jars.
    8. Plastic Free Produce.  Produce does not need to be wrapped in plastic and often produce is over packaged.  I found I needed to support a few stores in order to buy all my produce plastic free and to invest and make some reusable produce/bulk bags.  My habits have changed- and yes it does take a bit longer to make a salad than simply opening a plastic package.
    9. Replace paper napkins and towels with cloth.  Your one time purchase of napkins will last for years.  Using washable cloths for most clean up jobs and saving paper towels for big messes will help you cut down on waste.
    10. Rethink soap, shampoos and other personal care items.  The personal care aisle in a grocery store is loaded with plastic packaging.  Instead of a plastic bottle of liquid soap switch to a bar.  Try a shampoo bar instead of a plastic bottle of shampoo and conditioner.
    11. Zero in on Food Waste.  I've read that 40% of food produced never actually gets eaten and a lot of that food is in our fridges.  All the moldy leftovers and rotten produce adds up in our landfills.  Plus all the energy and packaging involved with foods.  Paying attention will save money and create less waste.   
    12. Invest in reusable food containers.  Pack lunches, picnics and when ordering take away bring your own container.  Sure you might wait a few minutes but it's a great chance to catch up on your social media while you wait.
    13. Switch to bamboo toothbrushes.  Remember plastic never biodegrades because it's not part of Mother Nature's food chain.
    14. Give up disposable razors.  Invest in a razor that will last a life time.
    15. Switch to glass or metal containers for food storage.  When your plastic food storage containers wear out switch to glass or metal.  But wait for them to wear out, it's wasteful to simply throw something away.  Use it up first and then take it to be recycled.
    16. Replace plastic wrap and aluminum foil with beeswax or cloth.  I often wrap a tea towel around my serving bowl before putting in the fridge.  You could also invest in a few glass containers with lids.  Glass really helps keep track of your food 'cause you can see what you're saving. 
    17. Compost.  Composting your food really helps cut down on unnecessary waste.
    18. Pick up trash.  There's nothing like picking up a bit of trash to firm your resolve to be plastic free and to embrace the zero waste philosophy.
    19. Finally, make purchasing decisions based on packaging.  Whenever possible purchase items with less packaging.  Support businesses that are working on reducing waste.  Shop local, shop small.
    My big 2019 goal is to value items more.  Part of our problem right now is things don't have much of a value.  This includes single-use items but also just about everything.  If we value our food more- we'll waste less.  If we think about our purchases- we'll buy better.  It's a mind shift for sure but ultimately it's valuing our planet and our place in the world. 

       

      Eco-Friendly Gift Wrapping

      Eco-Friendly Gift Wrapping

      Hopefully you have most of your holiday gifts or you have a plan.  Now you might be thinking about putting on some Christmas tunes and making cookies or wrapping presents.  I don't want to sound like the Grinch here but when it comes to celebrating we can be awful trashy.  From Thanksgiving to New Year in general we create about 25% more trash- that's way too much.   Be sure to save all gift bags and wrapping paper and reuse the next year.  Your "junk" drawer has a treasure trove of wrapping and decorating goodies.

       A few simple changes can make your holiday festive, thoughtful and eco-friendly.  When it comes to wrapping gifts try not to buy wrapping paper- I know it's pretty but it ends up in the landfill.  You can not recycle any paper that has glitter or is made from a metallic/foil base.  Our handy list should give you lots of fun, quick and inexpensive ideas.

      Wrapping Ideas

      -paper bags

      -newspaper

      -scraps of fabric

      -cloth napkin

      -reusable bags, grocery and produce

      -a scarf

      -dishcloth

      -hat, socks or mittens

      -plain tissue paper 

      -cardboard box

      -jars and tins

      You can decorate plain paper, boxes and jars to your hearts content.  It's a great family project.   Buy a set  of napkins- everyone needs a lunch box or car napkin for eating on the go.  One set can wrap quite a lot of gifts.

      Tying and Embelishing Ideas

      -check that junk drawer for odd bits 

      -twine

      -ribbon

      -scraps of fabric cut into strips

      -cords

      -clothspins

      -hair ties

      -cut up holiday cards

      -bits of evergreen

      -ornamnets

      -even old jewelry

      One of my favorite wrapping ideas was decorating my adult daughter's gifts with all the old school ornaments she had made over the years, many with photos.  It was so sentimental and sweet.

      Try your best when unwrapping gifts to go slow and fold and tuck away all the bits of paper, ribbon and bags.  Make sure everything is used more than one time.  If during the holidays your trash is not much more than an average week you've given the planet a tremendous gift.

      Cheers and happy sustainable holidays.

       

      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.

       

      Celebrate Sustainably

      Celebrate Sustainably

      As a child the holiday season didn't start until after Thanksgiving.  Now Halloween stuff starts appearing in stores in Aug and the holiday season begins sometime in Sept.  As a small business the purchases made for family and friends keep us in business.  I know you've heard this message before but please shop small, indie, women owned.....  Support the businesses that work hard with passion.

      And celebrate sustainability.  What does this mean?  The first step is to think about what you value during the holiday season.   What memories do you want to hold dear?  Work from there.   

      In order to add sustainability to your holiday you need to plan ahead and be organized.  Giving is not as simple as rushing to the mall and buying a bunch of stuff.  Which means I don't feel guilty writing this blog before Thanksgiving.

      Planning ahead is crucial if you want to make gifts.  Gift making is a holiday memory I hold dear.  Often this memory involves only me- it's an activity I do by myself.  I put on the music and craft away.  Think about organizing a crafty/gift making party especially for kids- this is a gift for kids and their busy parents.  Take the time to gather all your materials needed for your project.  It's so frustrating to wander around the house looking for one item or not doing your project because you don't want to go shopping. 

      A great idea is to stuff a sock with more lonely full of holes socks to make into a dog ball.  Here's the link from one of my favorite sites for sustainably 1 Million Women- Easy Dog Toys

      A shopping bag made from an old T-shirt is another easy project and the version from mommypotamus is no sew.  You do need to be able to tie knots.

      Both projects are easy, fun and sustainable.  

      A really great gift is the gift of experience.  An experience is simply an activity.  So many to choose from including movie tickets, dinner out, a day trip to a museum, a concert, ski pass.  The list goes on and on.

      I like to add reusable containers to my gift giving list.  Each year I pick one type of item and purchase for my loved ones.  One year travel mugs, another year reusable bags.  This year I'm hoping to make beeswax wraps for everyone.

      Give love.  Call your parents, sister or brother that you haven't talked to in awhile.

      Give plants.  One of my favorite gifts is to fill a bowl with pebbles and pop in some paper whites. The gift of green. 

      I hope this blog inspires you to think about how you want to celebrate the dark days with cheer and create less waste in the process.