I’ll keep this one short and sweet.
Part of the reason disposables are so attractive to consumers is because they eliminate the need for cleaning. Great, cause I mean, who likes cleaning?
If you’re looking to make the leap to reusable items, please know that along with the item comes a lifestyle.
Wash your bags. Wash your cutlery. Wash your handkerchiefs. Wash your beeswax. Wash your containers. Wash everything.
Once I started on my journey, I realized that I was using more water than I had before so to even out my footprint, we went to a rain barrel building class in Alexandria to collect what would become runoff. I ended up giving the barrel to my sister and her husband because it didn’t work with our little rowhome but it’s a great option for people who want to water their lawns and gardens in a more sustainable manner.
We have a basement in our house that will flood in heavy rain so we invested in a dehumidifier. We collect the water from the dehumidifier and use that to water our garden. It helps me feel less guilty when I need to wash extra dishes or napkins.
We’re all just doing what we can. Over&Out
Starbucks has pledged to be plastic straw-free by 2020. I’ve heard it all to the familiar pessimistic beat of the 21st Century; “too little too late” “this win will distract people from the larger issue at hand” “straws don’t even make up that much plastic pollution, this accomplishes nothing” etc etc etc.
But I’m a sociologist, not an environmental scientist so I can’t remove the collective conscience from this conversation. This isn’t about Starbucks and their impact on the World. It’s about us. Starbucks has pledged to remove straws GLOBALLY by 2020. I hear people say that it won’t make a difference; they have plastic lids and plastic cups and will be producing more and more with plastic. I get their point. But these people who maintain this negative outlook are forgetting about the collective conscience. They are forgetting about how societal norms can be created. Yes, today it may just be straws. But tomorrow, someone who may not have grabbed a reusable mug on their way to work, might just grab one this time. This means that someone who wasn’t going to change their behavior on their own, has the support of a multi-billion dollar company. And that is no small feat.
Look at what we can do. When we make our voices heard. We work within the systems we are a part of and we change them from within. Never forget that the first and most important system we are a part of is ourselves, and change starts from within.
Thank you, Starbucks for reminding us that there’s more we can be doing. We can be grateful that we asked for a ban on straws in our restaurants and communities, and while Seattle may have listened, not many other cities have followed suit. But Starbucks did. They heard you and they said “if you care, we care too”.
What does a ban on straws mean for us? It means that Starbucks is challenging you by asking “you can talk the talk but will you walk the walk?” They said they’re game to play ball while we’re all patting each other on the back for winning a fight we didn’t even participate in. What this means is that big business is up for the challenge, but are you? This may be the final straw for them, but will it be the final straw for you?
This place is heaven on earth. Teachers. I may not be able to provide you the yearly salary you deserve or one that will afford you basic supplies like… pencils. BUT I can point you in the direction of this lovely reuse store. UPCYCLE is located in Old Town Alexandria and gives patrons access to a myriad of art supplies and gadgets that would have otherwise collected dust in a drawer or been thrown away. They are partners with ReUse Alexandria, a group that “unites Alexandria’s reuse community and markets Alexandria as a desirable destination for environmentally conscious visitors and residents.” Heck yeah they do! Read More
Uh what? You heard correctly, solar powered highway. I cannot stress enough how many creative thinkers and innovative engineers are coming together to accomplish amazing feats around the world. I want to make sure you hear about these positive steps toward a better future.
Zero Deaths. Zero Waste. Zero Carbon. Zero Impact.
That is the mission of The Ray which will cover an 18 mile stretch of Georgia’s I-85 highway corridor near West Point’s Visitor Center. Here are some engineering highlights of The Ray and how they plan to achieve their aforementioned mission taken from their website which you should all DEFINITELY check out!!!-
Before you hand over your credit card, ask if it’s possible to not print a customer receipt.
Before you order a drink, ask for no straw or cocktail napkin if possible.
Before your first item is swiped at the grocery store, ask for no bag.
“Just say no” and “refuse” waste sounds so negative. I want to change that. I understand that Refuse is one of the most important pillars of a zero waste lifestyle. But we can do better than that. These days I hear a lot of people talking about “self care”. I’m not really sure I’ve figured out what that means to me, or anyone else for that matter. But I’d like to think about “refuse” in similar terms as “self care”. So let’s refer to “refuse” as “preventative care”. Because when you take preventative measures in situations where you know you would like to refuse waste before the waste is created, then you take care of the person you’re engaging with. What I mean to say is that we shouldn’t be going around and refusing trash left and right. We should be walking around this world and taking preventative care of our fellow men, the people who help us at grocery stores or restaurants. We should help them understand us. Not only in our “what” but in our “why”. To go around and refuse straws once they have been placed on the table, while it may be following zero waste guidelines, doesn’t really follow my personal guideline of preventative care. If I forget to mention something to a waiter then of course I’ll cover my ass retroactively, but my point is that being prepared and aware of others and their actions is also a huge part of a zero waste lifestyle. No moment wasted. Use your moments wisely and help the people who are helping you… help you. Read More
Day 2 of Plastic Free July and I want to give you tangible solutions to your daily battles with single-use plastics.
Today, we talk plastic wrap and some really amazing alternatives. We use plastic wrap for all sorts of things; leftovers, leftovers… and mainly leftovers. I seriously cannot think of any other ways we use plastic wrap… Oh, I made a fruit fly trap with plastic wrap one time. Seriously comment below if you think of any other uses for plastic wrap.
Plastic wrap is made of low-density polyethylene (LDPE). Other products such as plastic shopping bags are made of the same material. Read More
I wrote this a year ago when I wasn’t sure how to put my emotions into action after Trump got elected. Today is the last day I will be 25 so I figured I would post this so I wouldn’t be lying in my poem.
When I was 5 the walls kept me safe, I was in
With my sisters and brother, inside we won’t sin
But truth be told no walls kept us silent
To explore and unearth, our appetite- resilient.
When I was 10 I used the walls for wall ball
My friends grew competitive while I? I grew tall
At 10 I was growing my lusts and desires
On the playground I learned, fighters never grow tired.
When I was 15 the walls kept me studying in school
It wouldn’t take long to decide this was cruel
At 16 the walls were a fence I would climb
To escape into freedom, the feeling- sublime.
When I was 20 the walls barred us from Jackson Avenue
In Memphis your privilege separated the “we” and the “you”
Safely tucked away on our one-acre plot
On the streets North and West, race wars were still fought.
I’m 25 now.
My president thinks a wall will protect us.
Let that digest.
It’s been 20 years since 5-year-old me deemed walls useless.
15 years since the walls challenged me at recess.
It’s been 10 years since in school I grew restless.
9 years since I learned no walls could deny me access.
It’s been 5 years since I found walls couldn’t impede social progress.
A grown man boasts of the walls “great” success
Doesn’t acknowledge that barriers speed up creative progress
His tactics aim to cause social distress
He underestimates the power his pupils possess.
I work in an office. I work from 9 am until 5 pm and I sit at a chair and look at a computer for most of the day. I bought myself a bouncy ball that I can use as a chair to feel more active at work. We’re all just doing what we can, right?
My office is made up of 8 people. We have a little kitchen and a conference room where important sports games will play for people to stop in on their way to get water from the little kitchen. On birthdays, the conference room transforms into a little kids birthday party, except its a bunch of adults, there are no presents or hats, and you wouldn’t be able to pick the birthday kid out of the bunch. I guess it’s really only similar in the sense that we use paper table cloths, paper plates, plastic utensils and paper cups. I find it a tad morbid that we celebrate another year older by watching an entire fork’s lifespan flash before our eyes. Seems a little like an “F U” to the fork. But alas, this is what we’ve done since childhood, so it makes sense that we carry the tradition into our places of work.
But not today, trashcan, not today. Today I turn 26 (well according to my office, technically I turn 26 tomorrow). I’ve done some of the math throughout my 26 years and it pretty much looks like this:
Here in the United States we are lucky enough to have unrestricted access to the internet (for the time being…) which means we can engage in global movements regardless of our seemingly isolated localities. Right now our government is in disarray and while I recognize that the environment is a priority of mine, I can’t help but notice we have bigger fish(-faced man babies) to fry.
A HUGE Shout Out to all the local and community groups out there fighting the good fight, you are needed now more than ever and we are forever grateful for your sacrifices!
One such community group is Plastic Free July. What started as a small group of citizens pledging to quit single-use plastics for a month in Perth, Australia has grown to include over 2 million people from over 159 countries! These pledges span from refusing single-use plastics like straws and bags, to quitting plastics all together. This group provides resources and support to people who have made the pledge through a frequent newsletter. The group encourages you to post pictures, tag them and include your friends on your plastic-free journey. They even provide literature and guidelines for people who are looking to host a community event! Read More
You guys remember when I was just posting about products that you could buy to start your zero waste journey? Good times, naive times, but good times. I guess somewhere in my research I forgot to read the first step to zero waste (I always did read the last paragraph first in textbooks… the intro is always a waste of time and I’m trying to cut out waste!): USE WHAT YOU HAVE!!
I didn’t go to my make-up bag and toss everything in the trash. I used it. And as I started to run low on mascara, I fiddled around with some homemade recipes.
I didn’t go to my closet and throw out clothes that weren’t made with sustainable practices (that would be practically everything for me up until this point…). I fixed my clothes; if they had holes in them I sewed patches and if a hem was loose I would mend it.
When my zero waste month started, I had bags of chips still on my pantry shelves. And heck, I ate them like there was no tomorrow. I caught myself trying not to finish a bag of chips because I didn’t want to be responsible for the trash. Literal crumbs were all that remained, yet I put it back on that shelf fastened with a chip clip falsely implying there were more salty morsels to be had. There were not. Read More