Happiness Has a New Address – Page 2 – Dulse & Rugosa
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    BYOB- Cloth Bags are the Best

    BYOB- Cloth Bags are the Best

    My town recently banned plastic shopping bags.  YEAH!  I know some folks find it a bit inconvenient but in general when I'm shopping especially in the grocery store I feel it's accepted.  Partly because it's now the law.

    At checkout you have a choice.  You can bring your own bag.  You can purchase a #5 PP 100% recyclable bag for between 50 and 99 cents.  You can purchase a brown paper bag for 5 cents.  You can carry everything out in your hands or cart.

    The best and lowest waste choice is to bring your own reusable and washable bags.  Being able to wash your bags is important if you want your bags to last.  Clean bags also make your cashier happy.  That's why I recommend canvas or other types of cloth.  I have a lightweight but super sturdy bag I keep in my purse.  It takes up very little room, it's strong, easy to pop in the laundry and that way I always have a bag.

    Most folks opt for the plastic bags available right at checkout. Plastic #5 or  -Polypropylene (PP) is a thermoplastic polymer. It is strong, tough and can handle some moisture.  This plastic is used for kitchenware and containers.  While it might be tough I find it rips easily especially when you put in boxes with sharp edges. You can mend the bags with duct tape to make them last longer.  While they can handle some moisture you cannot put them in the washing machine so it's important to be a bit more mindful about keeping them clean. Use a damp sponge or cloth to wipe up food spills.  The problem with these #5 bags is how to actually recycle them.  I'm afraid most of them end up as trash because our local centers can't handle this type of plastic.  That's a real problem with these product, while strong they will not last as long or be as easy to clean as a cloth bag and then it can be very difficult to get recycled.  The toothbrush company Preserve has a mail in program and more info is here-https://www.preserve.eco/pages/how-to-recycle

    For me paper bags seem like a better choice because they are made from trees and can decompose.  These bags are not waste free however especially if only used one time.  They are bulky and tend to rip especially if wet.  When dumped in a landfill they need oxygen to break down so the process can take years.

    The best choice for both you and the planet is to invest in sturdy, well made, washable grocery bags that will last and last and last.  

     

     

     

    Mermaid Monday- Inspiration from the Sea

    Mermaid Monday- Inspiration from the Sea

    I've been wanting to do a "Mermaid Monday" blog series for awhile.  The idea behind it is steeped in my years as a primary teacher and thinking in terms of themes.  I know mermaids aren't real, neither are unicorns or the pot of gold at the bottom of the rainbow but.... we still need a bit of fantasy and inspiration in our lives.

     

    We are ALL Mermaid Queens. Step up to your crown. Walk a path so Earth-positive that you feel confident owning your queen-ness.

                                                   — KATE NELSON

    My first mermaid is The Plastic Free Mermaid.  What I admire about Kate Nelson is her integrity and strength.  I know her from following her on social media and she is willing to tell us the "inconvenient truth".  Her posts on plastic shopping bags and disposable diapers told the entire story of what happens to these products once we toss them in our trash bin.  I personally admire her straight forward, no nonsense, no BS take on environmental issues and especially the problems with plastic.  I struggle with this, I find it hard at times to speak my truth and when I do I find it even harder to be strong when criticized or even questioned.  That's one of the reason I admire this bada** mermaid.

    You can find out a lot more about Kate by visiting her website  I Quit Plastics.  Her blogs cover a wide variety of topics including the problems with plastic, DIY body care recipes, vegan recipes.  Plus she also does Mermaid Retreats and provides coaching to individuals and businesses.  

    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.