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If You Eat Meat and Dairy, Look For Brands With These Welfare Certifications

If You Eat Meat and Dairy, Look For Brands With These Welfare Certifications

Farm animal welfare is an important issue and hot-button topic in many circles. Thankfully, the way we farm animals in the United States has started to change and many farmers are looking for ways improve their standards. It’s so important to support these farmers. As […]

Sustainable Investing: Can Your 401K Save the World?

Sustainable Investing: Can Your 401K Save the World?

So you’ve thought about reducing your footprint on the environment – using less plastic, ditching the gas guzzler for a bike and buying food from sustainable farms. But what about your investments? Oh yeah, that 401K that you look at every once in a while, […]

Zero Waste October: Week 4

Zero Waste October: Week 4

The final week of Zero Waste October kept me on my toes. I learned a lot, and some of the things I did for the first time this week will stay with me for a lifetime. Here’s my recap.

I swapped paper napkins for cloth.

I love cloth napkins – they’re elegant and sophisticated. They’re also great for the environment. My collection includes mostly organic cotton and linen. They add a special touch to any place setting.

I bought a bamboo toothbrush.

Bamboo toothbrushes are compostable and therefore environmentally friendly. Millions of plastic toothbrushes pollute our oceans each year. Think about the number of toothbrushes you’ll use in a lifetime – two or three hundred? Believe it or not, switching to bamboo makes a big difference.

I bought 100% recycled toilet paper.

Thanks to the Zero Waste Challenge, I learned that if every US household used just one roll of 100% post-consumer recycled toilet paper per year, it would save 423,900 trees. That’s a ton! When you’re shopping, remember to also look for goods packaged in recycled paper.

I avoided to-go containers.

In my house we use Pyrex so the challenging part wasn’t reassessing how we store food at home, it was saying no to plastic when we were out to eat AND remembering to bring to-go containers with us for leftovers. We did it, though. And most establishments were happy to help us when we brought our own boxes.

I hand-washed the dishes and swapped my plastic-based sponges for compostable ones.

This saves a lot of water, even it you just do it once or twice a week. Also, most compostable sponges last a lot longer than plastic-based one which = money saved in the long run.

I got creative with Food scraps.

I used leftover onion skins, carrot peelings, and celery tops to make vegetable broth. I also made a delicious spicy pesto with carrot tops. But, the food-saving trick I’ll use the most is turning bruised apples into apple sauce.

I Green Cleaned.

I stayed away from common household cleaners made by companies that don’t disclose their ingredients. Instead, I used Mrs. Meyers Clean Day – for more information about their products read my blog post: Must Have Cleaning Products for Any Clean-living Home. Mrs. Meyers uses all natural ingredients and doesn’t test on animals – double win!!

I went to the thrift store.

Thrift stores are great places to find all sorts of items. I never know what I’m going to come across, but usually it’s something good. My favorite thing about thrift stores? They save energy and resources. Here’s what I found on my last trip:
  • A sterling silver frame perfect for any family photo
  • A set of monogramed napkins. We actually used these at our wedding in June (see picture above).
  • A small porcelain candy for special decoration

I got involved.

So can you. Here are some ideas:
  • Organize a beach clean-up day
  • Talk with your city council about environmentally friendly projects, maybe propose one of your own like a plastic straw ban or styrofoam ban
  • Teach others how to buy food zero waste style
  • Help others learn new DIY skills – grow your own food or compost at a community garden
Zero Waste October: Week 3

Zero Waste October: Week 3

This week, I applied the Zero Waste approach to Halloween – and it was great. I prepped for Halloween in the ‘greenest’ way possible. No nylon Halloween flags or plastic pumpkin candy bowls for me. This year, my Halloween decorations are real pumpkins and natural grasses. […]

Zero Waste October: Week 2

Zero Waste October: Week 2

Week 2 of the Zero Waste Challenge was a little more demanding, but now I feel better prepared to keep the Zero Waste lifestyle going – most of the time. Here’s what I did this week: I decluttered. To be honest, this was the most […]

Zero Waste October: Week 1

Zero Waste October: Week 1

Zero Waste October is upon us. For those of you who don’t know what Zero Waste October is, check out this blog post that explains everything. Here’s what I did to kick off the challenge.

I said no to straws.

This one was easy because I’m already in the habit. It’s estimated that nearly 500,000,000 straws are used briefly and tossed in the US every day. Most of them end up littering our streets and polluting our oceans. The good news? It’s easy to make a difference. Just say no to straws every chance you get.

I brought a reusable water bottle with me everywhere I went.

Again, this one was easy because I already use a Nalgene bottle like this one as well as a thermal Yeti coffee cup. Americans used nearly 50 billion water bottles last year, but only about 23% were recycled. That means 38 billion water bottles – from the US alone – made their way to landfills and oceans.

I ate Zero Waste snacks like fruits and vegetables.

I even made homemade RX bars. This super easy recipe makes eating delicious protein bars inexpensive and waste-free. FYI – food wrappers are the most common plastic pollutant out there.

I saved water by turning the faucet off every time I didn’t need a running stream.

This may sound obvious, but I even brushed my teeth in the shower. I ran the dishwasher once every other day, rather than every day, and I only washed clothes that were actually dirty.

I got outside!

Again, this one wasn’t too hard for me because I walk dogs in my spare time and run a lot of errands by foot. When I leave the house, I make sure all the lights and the heat/air are turned off. The more time I spend outside, the less I have to worry about my carbon footprint.

I picked up litter when I saw it and came home with a pretty hefty collection.

Here are some of the items I found:

  • Bottle caps
  • Straws
  • Food wrappers
  • Rubberbands
  • Bandaids (gross)
  • Torn pieces of plastic bags

I brought my leftovers home.

This is something most of do, but it’s worth mentioning that often our leftovers are enough for a whole other meal. Using leftovers reduces food waste and saves money.

That’s it! Pretty simple. Now, on to weeks two, three and four!