It's no wonder that so many people have taken up hang drying laundry again. Personally, I have a romanticized vision of it. The way the clothes billow in the breeze along with the smell of fresh air and sunshine infused into my clothes, not to mention the general feeling of doing things naturally, sends me into my happy place.
We are all guilty of buying or making our beloved reusable bags, and then at one point or another, we go into the store, and forget them.
If you're anything like me, you feel so incredibly guilty about this, that you've had them put YOUR ENTIRE GROCERY CART FULL back into the cart for you to take out to your car, sans bags. This might have happened so many times you don't even mind the looks anymore.
Okay, if you're trying to morph into a zero-waste kitchen, it takes a lot of work to get there. The first step is to reduce the food waste you are creating & try to incorporate more whole foods. Once you have a good selection of whole-food-based recipes, you can work diligently to reduce your packaged food consumption. This is the best method for incorporating the zero waste lifestyle into busy families.
So I've crafted these 5 easy and applicable tips using food scraps you would normally compost or toss.
Some time not so long ago, horrible news broke out about dog treats from China killing dogs. It became such a problem that Petco, one of the major pet supply stores in the U.S. pulled anything on their shelf that came from China.
I've got two dogs. They are my family. I would be devastated if this happened to them, or any of the dogs in families I know for that matter.
But, luckily, I make all my dogs treats, and it's incredibly easy so I'm going to share the secret:
Guest blog post from the oh so talented, crazy smart, and deeply green Molly N.
I’ve always had a pretty simple routine for dealing with my appearance. In high school and college, I factored in time and cost when making decisions about the products to use, but it hasn’t been until recently that I started factoring in the bigger picture, namely friendliness to the environment. I had always accepted that these items would be my exception to living a sustainable lifestyle, but, to my delight, I’ve discovered that just a few choices can drastically make a difference.
Some may be wondering why we sell so many biodegradable options and less recyclable, reusable options. We're looking into a lot of reusable (non-biodegradable) products, but have yet to find the ones we really love which encompass all the facets of sustainability we prefer.
But here's the thing. If something is reusable, fantastic, but it still has an end of life somewhere. This is why even reusable plastic bottles are not really that sustainable, because most likely they'll still end up thrown away once their usefulness runs out or they get moldy. Some may be recyclable but plastic recycling is generally "downcycling" as once it's remelted it's of lesser quality. At some point it's no longer recyclable.
If something comes in a refillable container, that's wonderful as well! But one of the things we think about is what kind of packaging the refills come in. If we find a great glass or metal container and the refills come in a biodegradable paper tube, we will be so excited we'll be all over that with a quickness.
For now, we will continue to provide awesome biodegradable options, and hopefully some sustainable reusable options in the future!
Tell us what you would like to see us carry in the comments below! We want to provide the products you want and while we get super excited about the things we carry, we are honored to have your input!
As green living and sustainability become not only more popular, but also more necessary, the age of composting seems imminent. I’ve been a fan of composting all throughout my time in college. But, as is normal in your early-twenties, I always had small, rented spaces and roommates who, like myself, were busy and on a budget. I was content with encouraging recycling, and did not push any of my cohabitants any further into the world of sustainability.
Now, though, I am living with someone who is also interested in creating less trash. We both have consistent schedules and want to invest in our living space. As soon as our move-in date approached, we were researching the composting process and it became clear that our apartment would pose a problem. With a six-foot long patio, no green space of our own and our agreement on the lease to not upset any surrounding soil, a typical compost pile seemed impossible.
Through online reviews and articles on DIY composting, I decided to purchase an indoor kit, which included the following:
1. One five-gallon, air-tight bin to collect scraps. The bin is (unfortunately) plastic, but is light and easy to carry and clean. It includes a spigot, a lid and a
handle for transportation.
2. A plastic strainer to set inside the bin before adding food scraps, so that the bottom of the bin collects moisture. A spigot at the base of the bin lets me
drain it every few days for compost tea.
3. A bag of microbes to add to the waste, a handful at a time, to aid in fermentation and decomposition. They replace the worms that are used in
vermicomposting, which seem to attract flies and other small pests, a deal breaker for most apartment dwellers.
Indoor composters are advertised as smaller containers that block odors and insects. These bins utilize microbes that pickle the soil in a matter of weeks, meaning that the compost must be transported outdoors to another container, or buried beneath finished soil before being used in gardens or planters.
While composting systems are not commonly seen in stores yet (as I experienced first-hand), they are offered through many online stores, and a small, indoor compost bin and microbes can cost around fifty dollars. With that convenience, composting is no longer just for your neighbor with all the sunhats.
I'm always looking for ways to create less food waste. Sometimes it's as easy consuming less and others are more tricky. For instance, when I make homemade tomato sauce, the first step is to basically blanch and peel the tomatoes. Sure, you can compost the skins, but what if you could do more with it? Well turns out you can! I recently found this recipe for dried tomato skin salt. I'm super excited because I also just happen to have made tomato sauce in the toaster oven, and had all the skins leftover! Sometimes, until I can figure out what to do with something, I freeze it, which is exactly what I did here. I've got a bunch of tomato skins in the freezer, that I'm taking out to make this tomato skin salt.
I had this thought the other day about our grandparents and their parents before them. My mother's mother knew how to grow almost all her own food, and forage for the rest of it. She had to as they were very poor. She grew up in a time where excess was something only the wealthy had, so she knew how to save and reuse everything, and do almost anything herself, manually. And she wasn't alone, the majority of people at that time, had the same skills.
Nowadays, those skills are more of a rarity. While there's definitely an uptick in people who are recouping those skills, the vast majority of the population, is operating in a different trade off.
It seems like all of life today is a trade of time vs money. Back then, they didn't have a lot of money, so a lot of time was necessary to complete tasks. But in our quest to make our lives ever more comfortable, we've reversed the trade. Now, we've traded money for the time. Many labor-intensive activities aren't worth our time, so we throw our money at it to get it done. This, in my opinion, is why so many households can no longer operate on a single income. A family of 3 literally, it seems, can't live on $40,000/year unless they strategically do so. Before, it was normal to live on less than that, even when you factor inflation.
Part of the reason this happened was that women were at home raising the children and manually doing many of the household chores, while men earned the money. But then women, and for good reason, really made an effort to join the workforce. This is wonderful. But that left the same chores to be done around the house, only now, there wasn't anyone to do it. So enters technology to make it easier and faster.
The item I'm talking about for the purpose of this post is washers and dryers. We are trading the money for the time. In the old days, the washer was a basin, with a manual crank and wringer.
Other than purchasing the basin, it ran on human energy. If you go back even farther, no basin, just the river or lake. Nowadays, we only have to press a button. We pay for the washer, pay for the dryer, and then pay the electricity and water companies for every single time we use it. And because we have this awesome machine, there's no limit to the amount of stuff we can have now because all we have to do it load it and press a button. Amazing.
But what is this trade really worth? Okay, maybe less time spent doing that since both parents work, means more time spent with the kids. But why are we living just to pay for our stuff? And how much time does it really take to do it manually?
So I'm experimenting. For the last month, I've been hang drying all my laundry, then tossing it in the dryer for a 10min fluff. I've started with just the hang drying until I can get my hands on a manual old fashioned (still working) washing machine :) I'm experimenting with 2 things here. The first is our energy bill. It's summer so the electricity from the AC (and our poorly insulated house) skyrockets in summer. I want to see if we can get any savings from not using our electric dryer as much. The second is time. It really doesn't take long to go out back and hang up the clothes. Like 5 min. Then the sun dries them, and 5 more min bringing them inside. As you can see by the picture, I don't have a crazy big expansive yard. It's a tiny fenced in area. If I can do it, anyone should be able to.
What I've noticed so far-
ALL MY WHITE TOWELS NO LONGER HAVE THE MILDEW SMELL! I've been trying to get that smell out for FOREVER! I've used bleach, vinegar, specialty products, etc. I've heard the sun disinfects, and maybe that's true. They smell amazing.
The time taken to hang them and bring them inside is not a biggie at all.
I need more drying space.
Sheets come out softer.
I actually enjoy that it makes me go outside during the day.
Normally, I would dread it in this heat, but it's a nice break for me, and the sunshine is beautiful. You forget how the outdoors makes you feel as you get older. As a kid, I spent all my time outside, but the older I get, it seems the more I spend time inside, because it just so happens everything I have to do for work is inside.
Electricity Bill Update:
Wow! My electricity bill was a full $100 cheaper in comparison to the same month last year. That is amazing. And an expense completely worth the effort.
Go grab your clothespins and get to hang drying outside for your family and planet!
When it comes to saving leftovers, there are many things that are overlooked. For example, the last random ounce of coffee from the pot that never seems to make it into someone's mug in the morning. That last bit of coffee is usable! So here's what you can do instead of pouring it down the sink.
1) Remember to turn the pot off, or set it aside so the remaining coffee doesn't burn
2) Once the pot is cooled, pour the remaining coffee into an ice cube tray
3) Put it in the freezer
4) Now any day, any time you can enjoy an iced coffee ready to go!
Did you know that putting used coffee grounds into your soil helps replenish nitrates and other minerals? Take those grounds right out back and nourish the dirt! Here's a great link explaining it!