CHALLENGE DAY 17

Thrift Store Shopping

Sustainable Fashion – Try out a Thrift Store!

Today’s challenge is to explore thrift shopping if you don’t already.  Check out a local thrift store and see what great selection they have for all sorts of items.

Some are better than others, so I would recommend doing your research.

Maybe start here:  Thrift Store Google Search

If you already thrift shop, good for you!  You can do one of the Optional Challenges today!!

(And, as always, if you can’t do the challenge of the day, you can do one of the Optional Challenges)

 

One of the greenest things you can do is reuse.  The clothing industry is incredibly wasteful as people have become more and more trained to essentially throw away their clothes.  (Where previous generations would fix, mend, re-purpose, or hand-down clothing).  Last spring I had the pleasure of interviewing a fashion designer who gave me all sorts of great tips on more green clothing shopping.  (That will be in an upcoming blog post).  But, the best piece of advice she gave me was to thrift shop for clothes.  After you shop and ask around, you will find your favorite stores.  Junior League, Salvation Army, Goodwill, ARC, and many more have lots of options in a variety of scales.  Consignment shops are another option.  Often, you can find high fashion brands – sometimes with the tags still on!

 

Check out Patrice J. Williams’ blog and book!

Looking Fly on a Dime

Here are some other thrift store shopping resources to help you get started (and save money!):

Here’s a fun video:

31 Best Thrift Tips

More helpful tips!:

29 Tips to Rock Thrift Store Shopping

 

8 Thrift Store Shopping Do’s and Don’ts

 

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CHALLENGE DAY 16

Go Green with your Products!

https://www.ewg.org/guides/cleaners#.WtWL7ojwaUk

 

Today’s challenge is to go green with your products! This has many elements.

One way is to purchase more ecologically friendly products using Environmental Working Group’s web site or

Try Buycott or Think Dirty apps as a guide

&/OR

try using more natural everyday household items

(like coconut oil instead of body lotion,

baking soda and lemon juice or vinegar for cleaning, etc.).

I’m not saying to go replace all your current cleaners right now, but maybe spend 10 minutes going to ewg.org’s web site and investigate a few of your more frequently used products.  Make a plan to swap those out for more eco-friendly choices.  Or, maybe try natural products like baking soda (scrub) and lemon juice or vinegar (disinfect & shine) to clean your sink or tub next time.  You may be surprised!  Thieves Oil works great for antibacterial cleaning.  A combination of clove, peppermint and tea tree essential oils mixed with 3/4 water ant 1/4 witch hazel in a spray bottle works wonders on floors (and yoga mats) for antifungal, antimicrobial and antibacterial cleaning.

Here is a web site you can check out for other recipes for D.I.Y. cleaners:

41 Best Homemade Cleaner Recipes

Or, maybe your activity today is to install

one of the apps mentioned and check out a few items in your home or at the store.

 

For more on how to swap out your cleaning products for less toxic ones,

you can also dig deeper and read my blog post “Taming the Toxins in Your Home”.

 

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CHALLENGE DAY 15

Today’s challenge is to start composting – or at least look into it.

Part 1 of this challenge  – instead of putting your peelings and other food waste in the bin, save it for this one day and see how much you would divert from the landfill, then consider starting composting at home or with your city’s composting program (where available).

Maybe keep the peelings and such in a bag throughout the day and then weigh the bag at the end of the day.  Take a photo of it and share it on social media.  Then, if you multiply that times 365 that’s how much your household is contributing to the landfill each year.

Part 2 of this challenge is to actually start composting. If you have five to 10 minutes today, research what it would take to start composting.  So much of what ends up in the landfill is wasted food.  Something like 40% of food in America is thrown away.  Composting not only diverts food from going to the landfill, it also nourishes the soil making it healthier for growing more healthy food and the cycle continues.  So, you can find out if your city has a composting program.  Or, if you have the ability and space to have compost in your own yard and start a garden this summer, this is a good time to get it started.  Feel overwhelmed by the idea of starting your own compost?  SustainableThree.com offers consulting services for this very thing.

 

If you already compost, congratulations! 

You can either take the day off or do one of the Optional Challenges today! 

Thank you for reducing your waste!

 

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CHALLENGE DAY 14

Create a Car Kit!

Today’s challenge is to set up a car kit to make zero waste shopping and such easier.

It could be as simple as:

a cardboard box,

a reusable coffee mug,

reusable drink bottle,

reusable straws and cutlery,

cloth napkins,

A to-go/take-away kit

a few Mason jars,

mesh bags for shopping

for produce and such,

and 5-10 reusable shopping bags.

We found this great suggestion on Instagram, but you can do any format that works for you:

View this post on Instagram

CAR KIT: being prepared is probably my biggest trick to maintaining as zero waste as possible. while I keep my reusable bags by the front door so I can remember them before shopping trips, I also have a mini kit in my car in case of emergency. reusable canvas tote, burlap sack, three produce bags, two mini cloth bags, one large and one small jar, a tiny jar, reusable coffee cup, measuring cup, spork, bottle opener, cloth napkin, little cardboard roll with yarn, twine and rubber bands. How do you prepare for ZW emergencies on the go? . . KIT DE COCHE: estar preparado es probablemente mi mayor truco para mantener cero desechos como sea posible. mientras guardo mis bolsas reutilizables por la puerta de entrada para que recuerda antes de ir de compras, también tengo un mini kit en mi automóvil en caso de emergencia. bolsa de lona reutilizable, saco de arpillera, tres bolsas de tela, dos bolsas de tela mini, un frasco grande y otro pequeño, un frasco chiquitito, taza de café reutilizable, taza medidora, spork, abrebotellas, servilleta de tela, rollo de cartón con hilo y bandas de goma. ¿Cómo te preparas para las emergencias de acero basura? . #goinggreen #ecofriendly #ditchplastic #incaseofemergency #zerowastehome #reusables #zerowaste #nontoxicliving #sustainableliving #lifewithoutplastic #goingzerowaste #vidasimple #basuracero #residuocero #ecologico #cerodesperdicio #fueraquimicos #ceroresiduo #natural #encasodeemergencia #sindesperdicio #sostenible #productosnaturales #vidanatural #cerobasura

A post shared by Heidi Violet (@zerowastechica) on

…from ZeroWasteChica (Instagram)

This is a really great break-down:

https://www.tinyyellowbungalow.com/zero-waste-on-the-go-kit/

(see this blog featured image)

 

And, here is a great solution for your purse, back pack or carrier bag:

Photo: BeZero.org

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CHALLENGE DAY 11

Just Bike It!

Today’s challenge is to take your bicycle to go somewhere:  to work, school, a meeting, class, the store, coffee or a meal.

That’s it.

Just see if you can break the car habit.

It doesn’t matter how far you take it.

Oh, and please wear your helmet*.

Don’t have a bicycle?  There are many options around that allow for you to rent a bicycle.

Here are some:

Lime Bike

B-Cycle

Ford GoBike (in the Bay area)

Zagster

BikeShare

If you have a bicycle and it needs to be tuned up, maybe take time today to make an appointment to get it tuned up or tune it up yourself.

If this challenge doesn’t work for you today, please do one of the Optional Challenges today.

 

*Safety First!  Please wear a proper bicycle helmet and use a bell or indicate your presence to pedestrians and other cyclists on the road by saying “on your left”.  Bells, and lights are important, too.

#JustSayNoToHeadInjuries

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CHALLENGE DAY 10

Tare It Up!

Packaging…one of the most tedious items to eliminate from our daily lives.  But there’s hope as, more and more, you can bring in your own containers to select stores and get what you’re paying for without having to dispose of/recycle the packaging.  Ironically, my parents generation did this anyway with milk and soda bottles.  They were taught to throw things away.  Now, we can teach ourselves, and the younger generation, to reuse…and save money in the process.

When you buy in bulk, you can not only eliminate packaging, but help your food shopping budget dramatically.  Think 1/3 of the cost, for the same product.

Today’s challenge is to try TARE* shopping.

  1. Find a clean, dry, wide-mouthed container in your home.  (I like to use Mason jars, but Tupperware or other upcycled containers work well too).
  2. If you have a kitchen scale, weigh the empty container (and lid).  Write that weight (pounds and ounces or grams) on the container on a piece of tape with permanent marker.  (If you don’t have a kitchen scale, the store can weigh the empty container for you).
  3. Go to a store that sells in bulk (Natural Grocers, Whole Foods Market, Sprouts, (some) King Soopers (Kroger family), etc….
  4. While at the store, fill your container with the bulk product you are purchasing.
  5. Write down the PLU code – on the piece of tape, a piece of paper (or put it in your phone).
  6. Check out.  Sometimes the cashier doesn’t know how to deal with tare, so here’s where you need to practice some mindful breathing and smile while they (may have to) get a manager to help.

The easiest to try this with is probably coffee as more stores have coffee in bulk.  This may be a very new thing for you to do, so don’t make it harder on yourself than necessary.  Items that frequently come in bulk are seeds, rices, grains, cereals, oats, nuts, etc.  But you can also get nut butters, candy, dried fruit, and much more.

I see this as a process.  People (especially retail stores) are not used to thinking in zero waste terms.  So, you can consider yourself part of the package-free revolution!

If this challenge doesn’t work for you today, do one of the Optional Activities and try it another time when it works with your schedule.

See this side blog about Zero Market for inspiration

*Tare weight /ˈtɛər/, sometimes called unladen weight, is the weight of an empty vehicle or container. By subtracting it from the gross weight (laden weight), the weight of the goods carried (the net weight) may be determined. (Wikipedia)

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Zero Market

I live in Denver, Colorado and there is a fantastic new store called “Zero Market” here.  It’s located in a re-purposed airport building near where I live.  They have lotions, laundry soap, shampoo, shaving cream, toothpaste, tea, essential oils, cleaners, and so much more that people can buy using their own containers.

You can also buy reusable containers here.  They have stainless steel containers and reusable cutlery for waste-free lunches.  For your plastic-bag-free shopping, they have mesh and cotton produce bags.  They have reusable straws, coffee cups, drink bottles, shopping bags, bamboo toothbrushes and much more.

If you’ve taken on the #SustainableThree #WasteNotWantNot2018 DAY 10 challenge of trying buying in bulk using TARE weighted containers, you know it’s a learning process.  Sometimes the learning process is occurring for the cashier at the supermarket who is not used to dealing with TARE/bulk weighing process and ringing up of net weight products. 

Sometimes the learning is for us who have grown up throwing away or recycling packaging for items like cereal, flour, rice, coffee, tea, laundry detergent, shampoo, toothpaste and such.  Knowing that everything goes somewhere and all that packaging either ends up in a landfill or using more fossil fuel energy to be recycled, it can feel really good to shop in bulk.

Zero Market is a store where they’ve fully embraced shopping in bulk and are passionate about reducing packaging.  It’s truly a treat to shop here.

 

Owned by Lyndsey and Jesse Manderson, this store is a pleasure to explore.  Their passion for the planet radiates from the shelves…and their smiling faces.

An ideal field trip might be to put several Mason jars (Mason jars have a standard weight, so no need to pre-weigh and label before going to the store) into a reusable bag in a backpack or bicycle basket and go Zero Market shopping.  On a beautiful day, it would mean fresh air, sunshine, exercise and a conscience cleansing shopping trip.  You could have a coffee at the nearby Logan House cafe while there.  Then, cycle home and put away your items.

I’ve included some photos for inspiration.

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CHALLENGE DAY 9

Today’s challenge is super easy!

“Do you ever feel like a plastic bag
Drifting though the wind
Wanting to start again?”

 (from Katy Perry’s “Firework”)

The ultimate tragedy of this song lyric is that plastic never (okay, basically never*) biodegrades.

Here’s the challenge:

  1. Start a system for plastic bag recycling
  2. Start using reusable shopping bags if you don’t already

Plastic Bag Recycling:

Plastic bag recycling goes WAY beyond just your supermarket shopping bags.  Part 1 of today’s challenge is to start a system in your home for collecting your plastic bags (grocery bags, resealing bags (like Ziploc®), cereal liners, plastic wrap around products (like canned foods and water bottles bought in bulk, frozen food bags, etc.).  In our home, we have a large plastic bag hanging from a hook in the pantry (which I have usually grabbed from the trash can in  our yoga studio that has their gym towels laundered by a service that delivers the clean towels in a plastic bag).  As I have plastic bags to recycle, I add them to that larger bag.  When it is full, I take the load (when I’m going there anyway) to @Target for recycling.  Here’s a great article on Target’s recycling program.

Some supermarkets have drop off sites for recycling (like @WholeFoods).  I was disappointed to hear that our local supermarkets would not give a straight answer as to where the bags go for recycling and heard from a former store employee that the bags are just thrown in the dumpster.  SO, I am vouching for @Target in particular because they have a verified recycling program.

Part 2 of today’s challenge is to start using reusable shopping bags if you don’t already.  Most stores sell them near the check-out…it’s free advertising for them, so it’s a win-win.  You can also buy them super inexpensively on-line:

Budget Promotional Tote Bags / Cheap Tote Bags – NTB10

Have a business?  You can get reusable bags with your logo on them super cheap!:

http://www.tsireusablebags.com/

https://www.discountmugs.com/category/reusable-grocery-bags/

But, you can also find super stylish ones like these at more boutique stores and online:

ChicoBag

Baggu

EcoBags

Put several in your car

Attach a couple to your bicycle

Carry one or two in your purse or backpack

Sometimes you’re stuck without enough bags for the amount of your purchases.  In that case, ask for paper.  It’s compostable, recyclable and is reusable as a shopping bag, it makes great book covers, lining for pet cages and more.

 

*Plastic takes up to 1000 years to decompose.

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CHALLENGE DAY 8

Try a “Combat Shower”!

Showers are typically the third largest water use after toilets and clothes washers. The average American shower uses 17.2 gallons (65.1 liters) and lasts for 8.2 minutes at average flow rate of 2.1 gallons per minute (gpm) (7.9 lpm).

Today’s challenge is to start taking “Combat Showers” when you shower.  Here’s how….

Combat Shower Directions

Get in

Turn on the water

Get wet

Turn off the water

Get soapy – head to toe

Turn on the water

Get rinsed

Turn off the water

Get out

 

“That is all [for today]…DISMISSED!”

Turning off the water while you get soapy (and shave) saves thousands of gallons a year!

If it takes a while for hot water to reach the tap, you can collect the water in a bucket in the shower and then pour it on plants adding to your water saving.

For a more detailed description, look here:

How to Take a Navy Shower

Here are some more ways you can save water in the shower:

Use Water Saving Shower Heads

Calculate Your Water Usage!

 

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To Dishwasher or Not?

A little boy unloading a dishwasher

In 2000, I did something not most people do. I read my dishwasher’s user manual…cover to cover. I wouldn’t have thought that doing that would have such an impact on my life, but it did. I learned how to properly load a dishwasher and learned it so well, I can load any dishwasher now and pack it to the gills and the dishes (pretty much, mostly) always come clean. It saves time, water, energy and detergent to have this important skill.

The most important thing to know is that you do not need to clean your dishes before you put them in the dishwasher. If you’re trying to be more green, this is simply wasteful. Most dishwashers today are energy efficient and designed to save water. They are also very efficient at cleaning dishes – if you know how to load the machine.

Having said all that, I learned it is important to get STARCH and EGG off dishes before putting them in the dishwasher. So, scraping rice, bread crumbs, pasta and such off before putting dishes in the machine helps. Also, rinsing egg yolk off with cold water is important so it doesn’t get cooked on by the machine. Just a quick rinse gets most pasta, egg and tomato sauces off to the point that the energy and water efficient machine can take it from there.

Then, if dishes are loaded so the water can get to them, they come clean. So, the art is in the loading. Dishwasher user manuals come with a diagram, but the gist is…load glasses, bowls, etc. face down towards the sprayers. More dirty dishes should be near the middle of the spray jet fan. Glasses and dishwasher-safe plastics should be on the top rack and plates, cutting boards, pots and pans should be on the bottom.

As for detergent, Trader Joe’s dishwasher tabs get a good rating on EWG.org’s web site and do a good job. Seventh Generation’s powdered dishwasher detergent works well. You don’t need super strong detergents to get the dishes clean.

Here are more suggestions on detergents from EWG’s web site:

http://www.ewg.org/enviroblog/2012/12/greener-holiday-dishwashing-ewg

Two ways to save extra energy are to run the “eco/light” cycle and skip the heated dry.

If you want to get into the nitty-gritty details about how much water and energy is used, I’d recommend reading this article:

http://www.treehugger.com/kitchen-design/built-in-dishwashers-vs-hand-washing-which-is-greener.html

Except that she’s using Cascade and Rinse-Aid products, I find this video helpful:

http://lifehacker.com/the-proper-way-to-load-your-dishwasher-for-the-cleanest-1284209586

The tip about running the water to hot and the disposer (to clear the drain) before starting the dishwasher is a great tip which I do because it helps the dishwasher do a better job. I disagree with her about sharp knives. I put them in the top rack, sharp side down and they come clean and don’t get damaged.

Some say to hand wash dishes to improve immunity. It can also be meditative to wash dishes by hand. Personally, I do a bit of a hybrid as there are always dishes that need to be washed by hand…like delicate glasses and some pans that simply do not fit once the dishwasher is loaded.

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