Posted on

CHALLENGE DAY 12

Coffee Klatch – Bring Your Own Mug and Linger

kaf·fee·klatsch
ˈkafāˌklaCH/
noun
noun: kaffeeklatsch; plural noun: kaffeeklatsches
1.  an informal social gathering at which coffee is served.
Today’s challenge is to have coffee (or tea) with someone at home or at a cafe and make a mindful connection with them.  OR, have a coffee date with yourself.  Can you make a new friend?
Whichever you choose, be sure to bring your own mug or ask for a “for here” mug so there isn’t any waste.
Most of my meetings these days happen over cups of a hot drink – coffee or tea.  Because we are involved in the same activity, it creates a space for connection and communication.
In the spirit of Mindfulness, you can be Mindful in the way you enjoy your cuppa.  Sit with your cup of warm beverage.  Observe the steam rising from it.  Observe the color.  Make these observations as though you are an alien or a child and have never seen coffee or tea before this moment.  Smell the aroma.  What do you notice?  Feel the warmth of the mug with your hands.  Do you like milk or sugar, honey or lemon?  Each of these changes the original beverage.  I like my coffee with almond milk and agave nectar and for the color to be a beautiful caramel tan color.
Can we settle in to these moments and let them be little gifts to ourselves?
We are nearly halfway through this challenge and today is about taking some time for ourselves.
Please follow and like us:
Posted on

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

Please follow and like us:
Posted on

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)

Please follow and like us:
Posted on

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.

Please follow and like us:
Posted on

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!

 

Please follow and like us:
Posted on

CHALLENGE DAY 7

Is there something in your mailbox EVERY day?  80% of what’s in there is probably junk.  Did you know that you can get removed from many of the marketing lists and reduce your junk mail significantly?

Today’s challenge is to

Reduce Junk Mail

you can greatly reduce the amount of mail you

receive by completing a junk mail reduction

form and opting out of consumer programs

and go electronic with your periodicals!

There’s nothing like holding a beautiful copy of National Geographic or a home design magazine and relishing in the beautiful photographs.  So, if you have a magazine that you receive that brings you joy, that is absolutely part of being mindful to yourself.  And, sometimes you just need a paper copy of The Reader’s Digest (if you know what I mean).

However, for your daily news sources, newsletters, bank statements and bills, you can usually go paperless and sign up for electronic versions of these and then read them on your computer, tablet or phone.  Often, they are easier to find when they are electronically saved to your computer where you can sort and search for them.

Here are some ways to reduce junk mail.  This challenge should take about 10-20 minutes for the general opt-out and up to a couple hours if you choose to go with electronic versions of your more specific mailings.

After your morning coffee or tea, take a few minutes to go to this web site:

https://dmachoice.thedma.org/register.php

This site charges $2, but you are off the mailing lists for 10 years.

(You can also reduce the number of unsolicited e-mails and telephone calls you receive through this site).

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Type in your details and get removed from many of the consumer credit reporting lists.

http://www.optoutprescreen.com

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

…and take it further to get off several smaller list brokers lists:

https://www.valpak.com/coupons/show/mailinglistsuppression

https://www.redplum.com/tools/redplum-postal-addremove.html

https://www.redplum.com/tools/redplum-postal-addremove.html

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Send an e-mail to abacusoptout@epsilon.com

with the Subject Line “REMOVE” and type

your name (including middle initial) and

address (including former address if you’ve moved in the past six months)

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

And, finally if you still receive them, you can stop receiving the Yellow and White Pages: https://www.yellowpagesoptout.com/

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

For bonus points, go electronic (where available) with your bank statements, regular bills (like water, mortgage, energy, etc.).  You can e-file taxes (in many cases).  (This may take a while as you will have to research each of your utilities, banks, doctors, etc.).

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Super advanced level (okay, this is simply more tedious), sometimes you have to call the periodical’s or catalog’s customer service line and request to be removed from their mailing list.

That’s less in the recycle bin, less in the landfill and less clutter in your home.

What’s left should be mostly beautiful magazines, post cards from far off places, letters and card from friends and family.

Good luck!  You’ve got this!

 

Please follow and like us:
Posted on

To Compost or not to Compost?

I don’t know about you, but I cannot stand the smell of a stinky garbage bin.  All that rotting food gives off such a nasty stench.

One easy way we’ve lowered  our family’s carbon footprint is to start composting. And, as an added benefit, we no longer have the smelly trash issue.

I was shocked to learn that 1/3 of what goes to landfills is compostable.  Have you thought of reducing the amount of waste your household contributes to the landfill? Landfills emit methane as well as Carbon Dioxide and other gasses*.  Methane is a gas that is 20+ times more damaging to the Ozone Layer and traps up to 100 times more heat over a 5-year period than Carbon Dioxide (CO2).

Some cities, like our city of Denver,  have composting programs, which is a great option if you are not a gardener or if you rent an apartment or condo where composting is not allowed. You can reduce your trips to the dumpster and reduce your contribution to the landfill.

If you have your own property or rent in a property that has a community garden or landscaping, you can have your own compost!  Even if you live in an apartment, you can (usually) still have a worm farm.

Our family has been composting since 2000.   I can tell you that I do not miss having to go to the garden center and buy heavy, bagged-in-non-biodegradable-plastic bags.  Putting peelings and such in our kitchen collector bucket is a very natural action now and taking it out to the compost bin in the alley is just “something I do” as I head out for the day.

One of SustainableThree.com’s offerings is helping with compost start-up. After a brief interview, I can help you find a composter in your budget and a collection bucket for your kitchen. Then, it’s just a matter of collecting the right materials and giving it a weekly or bi-weekly stir. We set up the composter and get your composter cooking. If you want to learn the setup process, we can work together. Or, I can set it up and give quick instructions on how to maintain it. Once it’s set up, keeping it going is easy – just feed it and stir it regularly.

Building a Compost Bin

Building a Composter is Easy

*Methane and carbon dioxide make up 90 to 98% of landfill gas. The remaining 2 to 10% includes nitrogen, oxygen, ammonia, sulfides, hydrogen and various other gases. Landfill gases are produced when bacteria break down organic waste. (Source: https://www.health.ny.gov/environmental/outdoors/air/landfill_gas.htm)

I like to keep things simple (easy as 1-2-3), but if you want  more detailed information on composting, here are some resources:

http://eartheasy.com/grow_compost.html

https://www.theodysseyonline.com/panning-black-gold

earth911.com/home-garden/composting-how/

onegreenplanet.org/lifestyle/basic-composting-secrets/

planetnatural.com/composting-101/

Compost=Black Gold

Black Gold

Please follow and like us:
Posted on

Food as Fuel – Green Smoothies

“I will not eat them, Sam I am!”**

Have you ever said that you hate green vegetables?  Or, vegetables in general?  My kids have had this challenge.  It’s just a color like red, purple, blue or brown.  Green food has gotten a bad rap over the years.  But, the fact is, we should be eating mostly vegetables in all colors of the rainbow.

The great news is that thanks to the invention of the blender and some incredible creativity on the part of those who thought to put green veggies in with fruit, fruit juices, yogurt and such, you can ingest your veggies with ease and best of all – it tastes delicious!

Enter the green smoothie.  It may not look like something you want to drink and it certainly won’t taste like a chocolate shake, but you can learn to love it!

A green smoothie consists of:

*two to three (or more) types of fruit

*a cup or two of green vegetable (spinach, kale, collard greens and such)

*liquid (water, milk, almond milk, coconut water, etc.)

*optionally, a “boost” (protein powder, almond flour, chia seeds, peanut butter, etc.)

Blend and serve.  Too easy!

My biggest inspirations have come from the following cookbooks:

Deceptively Delicious by, Jessica Seinfeld (the comedian’s wife)

http://www.doitdelicious.com/cookbooks/deceptively_delicious

Nourishing Meals by, Alissa Segersten & Tom Malteerre, MS, CN

http://www.nourishingmeals.com/

Simple Green Smoothies by, Jen Hansard & Jadah Sellner

You can sustain your health easily with one nutrition-packed “perfect food” green smoothie every day.  To make it easier, you can prepare the ingredients in the single serve blender cup or a Mason (or similar) jar.  Just put the ingredients in – all except the liquid and refrigerate (for up to a week).  When you are ready to make your smoothie, pour in the liquid (water, coconut water, almond milk or other dairy-free milk, or milk) and blend.  Too easy!

 

**From Dr. Seuss’ “Green Eggs & Ham”
Please follow and like us:
Posted on

Litter, Litter on the Ground…

Post Halloween candy wrappers are scattered on the ground about this time of year.  On the walk to my daughter’s school, I frequently see plastic sandwich baggies or granola bar wrappers.  (Funny, because I thought we ended littering in the 1980’s).  I usually pick them up, but sometimes it becomes an overwhelming task because there seems to be no end to it.  I have taught my children that they should pick up litter and put it in its proper place (the recycle bin if it’s recyclable, the garbage if it’s not).  But, once I (or they) pick up the litter, it is our responsibility to take care of it.

What does litter have to do with sustainable living?

Well, beyond the pure aesthetics, it can contaminate soil and water.  Especially if it seeps into the water table as well as clog storm drains and cause flooding.

On land, litter can smother plants, start fires and harm or kill animals. It also attracts rats and harmful bacteria.  On roadways, it can cause automobile accidents and injuries.  Like when people throw cans (or their fast-food restaurant waste) out their car window.  When litter (such as plastic straws and six-pack rings) end up in the ocean, it is devastating to marine life. Cigarette butts are terribly toxic.

Clean up efforts cost millions of dollars – so taxpayers are ultimately affected by litter in one form or another.  In a landmark study by Keep America Beautiful found that 85% of littering is attributed to individuals.

For our own part, we can be responsible about our own waste.  And…as you are walking around  – whether it be a parking lot, sidewalk, beach or mountain trail – pick up litter you see and dispose of it properly.  We can carry around biodegradable bags in our pockets or purses or backpacks and collect items in them until we can get it to a proper receptacle.  We’ll feel better for having done something good and the world will be a more beautiful place.

For more information on this topic, see these links:

http://education.seattlepi.com/littering-affect-environment-6802.html

http://www.sustainablebrands.com/news_and_views/behavior_change/case-study-how-we-changed-behavior-littering

Take Action!

Keep America Beautiful has heaps of research about littering, but also ways you can get involved:

https://www.kab.org/resources/end-littering

Please follow and like us:
Posted on

Food as Fuel

You’re probably thinking this is a blog post about bio-diesel.  Well, it’s not…not this time, at least.  A good friend of mine who is busy and travels for work a lot recently challenged me to take on “Food as Fuel”.  The challenge is to create a meal plan of sorts such that said friend can eat 80% food as fuel and 20% food as a social activity.  Because my friend travels so much, I can only really assist with the home times.

I have always loved food.  My mother tells me that I ate green onions in my high chair.  I have always eaten my veggies without being told to and I have been vegetarian.  I took a nutrition class in college and was a weight loss counselor for a time.  I am passionate about food.

Not everyone loves eating their greens, which is why I think the green smoothie was invented…to mask the taste and texture of spinach, kale, collard greens and other green foods that some people don’t like in their most natural state.

I have started a quest to analyze daily recommended nutrition and come up with solutions that make life easier and maintaining our health more sustainable.  My quest, potentially much to my family’s chagrin, will include making easy “fast food” that fuels us and nourishes us.  I will include investigation in to the “Dirty Dozen” and the “Clean Fifteen” as well as when organic is important in general.

Solutions will include not only green smoothies, but also mason jar salads, mason jar pancake mix and burgers made up of so many foods, they may very well be all you need on your plate.

Suggestions are welcome, so feel free to comment!

Please follow and like us: