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If You’re Not Sure on the Dress, Don’t Buy It

smart eco-friendly shopping

Over the years I’ve found myself there again and again…

Standing in the dressing room in a new outfit I like. Well I kind-of like it. I’m like … 70% there. The internal dialogue is happening in waves, trying to talk myself into it and trying to talk myself out of it. I like it. But it’s a little bit… I don’t know. I just wish it was a little bit more…

Okay stop.

When I catch myself doing this it’s time to stop. I already have the answer, I’m not buying it.

Ladies you know it, I know it, we all know it. We buy something we’re kind of on the fence about, wear it maybe 3 times, and the other 362 days of the year it stares at us from the closet making us feel guilty for buying it and not wearing it. Maybe it was an awesome sale that felt good in the moment but we got it home and admitted it wasn’t our style at all. Maybe we bought it for a “what if” occasion… a completely fictional scenario like a party that didn’t exist yet or a beach trip that we had no intention of taking in the foreseeable future.

New rule: I value myself.  I value my money. I value making good use of the items in my life. Unless it’s something I’m in love with and feel amazing about then it’s not worthy.

Here’s the thing, items rarely “grow-on” us. Sure sometimes they do, sometimes they can. But most of the time I have found that if I acquire something and don’t really like it from the beginning, then the version of myself that has experienced more growth isn’t going to like it any more. Plus it’s even harder because it already has a negative energy around it, which can grow with the added time of staring at it. Even if there is a chance we may like/need/use something in the future, why risk it? Why sacrifice that amazing feeling of finding something perfect by instead opting for something that’s just sort of … eh.

We’re better than this and it’s time to prove it to ourselves. You’re worth it. Good luck out there <3

 

 

The Holiday Guide to Zero Waste Gift Giving: Conscious Shopping, Zero Waste Wrapping, and Minimalist Shipping

zero waste gift guide

Trying to keep to a zero waste lifestyle during the holidays can be challenging. Here are some zero waste tips to make your holiday gift giving a little more eco-friendly

When shopping for zero waste gifts

Consider the packaging

Looking at household waste post-holidays, the majority of it seems to be made up of packaging. It seems like so many gifts out there are more packaging than they are gift, and the packaging is only going to be thrown away. For example one common thing I used to give or receive for Christmas is a box of chocolates. Sure they are delicious (well except maybe one or two that are pretty nasty) but they come sitting in a plastic tray, with a padded sleeve on top, inside a cardboard glossy printed box, wrapped in cellophane, which you later wrap again with paper and/or garnish with a plastic bow.

The same can be said for so many other items. Children’s toys, cosmetics, “gift sets.” Most packaging is just a marketing strategy with no actual function. Always ask yourself “How much of this product is going to be in a landfill this time next year?”

gifts that are bad for the environment

 

Shop small and shop local

If you are buying a gift for someone nearby, make it something local. You will be supporting your local economy and your item won’t have to travel so far to get to you.

Re-gifting is totally okay!

After all sharing economy is all the rage right now. Always be thinking about what you have that someone else may like or need. Maybe you were given a scarf last year but you never wear scarves. If your best friend happens to love scarves then boom! What an awesome gift! Maybe you’ve already been given enough chocolate to last the year this holiday season – pay some of it forward. Don’t feel bad even for a second! You’re not doing anyone any favors by keeping something you don’t care for. That scarf is doing way more good on your friend’s body than on your shelf, and that chocolate is going to be way more tasty to someone if it’s their only candy bar of the season 🙂

Zero Waste Gift Ideas

Foods make great zero waste gift ideas

Yum! We all have to eat right?! Minimally packaged food or beverage items that you know the recipient will eat is a great idea, and can be very personal if you know it’s something they love.

food is a zero waste gift

Something handmade and functional

So many people end up with a pile of stuff after the holidays that they just won’t use. The items become more of a chore to get rid of than a gift, no matter what the intention was. Some functional homemade gift ideas are:

-Homemade soaps

-Baked goods

-Homemade lotions

-Handmade rnaments out of recycled or recycled items (if they have a tree and/or will utilize them)

-Homemade cosmetics

-Homemade pet treats

Zero waste gift certificates

E-gift certificates or actual gift certificates can be great and minimally wasteful. They physically create zero or very little waste. Plus, the recipient can redeem them for something they truly want and will use.

Consider a zero waste experience

Experiences are great zero waste ideas. Sites such as Groupon have great deals on all kinds of classes and experiences – everything from yoga classes, to massages, to comedy shows, to skydiving. They say your time is the most valuable thing you can give so creating an adventure together is sure to be a memorable gift!

experience gifts

 

Zero Waste Gift Wrapping Solutions:

Check yourself on wrapping supplies

Think of the ribbon and bows and wrapping paper and tape and gift bags and gift tags and wrapping paper tubes, and gift boxes that will all end up in a landfill this and every holiday season. I have easily witnessed three trash bags of wrapping paper be easily filled at one child’s birthday party alone. Multiply that by all of the households on your block. Now multiply that by every household in your city. Now… you get the idea.

Reuse old wrapping supplies

Reuse old gift bags you are given. Someone gives you a gift a bag and you just fold it up nicely to reuse it for someone else next time. Hop on board if you’re not doing this already. While you’re at it save bows and ribbon too and you will have a solid stash accumulated in no time. If we keep the cycle going there’s a chance you’ll never need to buy wrapping supplies again! $$$!

Think outside the box when it comes to wrapping presents

Look around the house for things you can reuse. For example brown paper bags can be stamped with ink or drawn on with markers (you don’t need to be an artist.. simple swirls or a nice quote will do!) Or cut brown paper bags apart and used as wrapping paper, much like you would a book cover. This provides a crafty, natural look that is appealing to men and women. Garnish with a sprig of greenery or even part of the present if possible

Ask yourself: Does my zero waste gift need to be wrapped?

Save yourself some trouble and some money. So many gifts don’t need to be wrapped. For example if you give a coworker something, just sneak it onto their desk when they’re not looking 🙂 I promise the surprise will be just as good!

eco-friendly gift ideas
Maybe this bottle of wine doesn’t need a sweater

Zero Waste Guide to Shipping Presents

Save boxes and mailing supplies you receive and ship your own items in them later

Shipping items to friends or family? In preparation, try to save the boxes and padded envelopes you receive packages in throughout the year. You can reuse these when you ship items next time. This way, you won’t get stuck struggling to find a box to fit your items last minute and you wont waste money buying packaging. Just make sure to cover or remove old shipping labels and barcodes to avoid confusion.

When shipping something, always choose the smallest box possible for your item

Sure it means less packaging, but that’s only part of it. Your packages are shipped on some sort of vehicle that requires fuel, whether it be a truck, plane, train, or boat. These vehicles can only fit so many boxes. If you are shipping boxes that are mostly filled with air or packaging material, it’s a waste of space in the vehicle. They could have fit more boxes, but instead need to make additional trips, thus using more fuel and increasing your carbon footprint.

Try not to ship heavy items

If you are stuck deciding between two gifts, and one is lighter, choose the lighter one. Heavier items are more expensive to ship and require more fuel to do so.

Last but not least… Just chill on the gift giving

The most zero-wast gift giving tip we can offer! Remember, you don’t have to give everyone or even anyone a gift. You show people you care about them all year long. Time spent with your loved ones making memories is the best gift ever so give yourself permission to just relax and enjoy the season 🙂

Better Halloween Candy: Ethical and Natural Halloween Candy Alternatives

Give Better, More Natural Candy this Halloween

For many kids, Halloween may be one of the only times of year to get candy, which is part of the magic of it. Luckily, you can have the treats and avoid the tricks in the ingredient lists. We’re thankful for these two companies for providing better and more natural Halloween candy!

UnReal

UnReal knows what is important. I feel like they should really be called “REAL” because their candies contain absolutely ZERO artificial ingredients and are non-gmo verified. Their chocolate is also fair-trade certified to ensure that their products are helping, not hurting communities and the planet. Besides being extremely ethical, their candy contains significantly less sugar and more fiber compared to other chocolate cups or candy coated chocolate products – a result of real ingredients!

unreal candy halloween
UnReal candy with REAL ingredients!

Something for everyone, UnReal candy is both vegan and sustainable sourced. Whether you’re gluten free or want to be prepared for gluten free trick-or-treaters, their peanut and almond butter cups are gluten free and delicious.

 

UnReal Candy
Dark chocolate peanut butter cups and chocolate candies made only with real ingredients – good all year round!

The candy coated chocolates are naturally dyed with real foods like beet juice, carrot juice, and red cabbage juice. Whether you mention that to the kidos is up to you – guaranteed they will never guess it! These are some of the best tastings chocolates out there. You can get them at Whole Foods, Ralphs, Kroger, Sprouts, and many other stores found on their website here.

 

Sjaak’s

A small family business and delicious quality candy. This ethical company supports fair trade practices and sustainable agriculture by using organic, non-GMO ingredients.

All of Sjaak’s organic chocolates are vegan, containing no animal products. This means they’re milk-free, butter-free, egg-free and gelatin-free!

If you’re a vegan who loves white chocolate, Sjaak’s has developed a special “Melk” chocolate that’s totally dairy free – and totally delicious! Check out their white Melk chocolate pops and their vegan organic dark chocolate bars, both in a super fun Halloween theme:

sjaaks candy

If you are looking to make a difference in the lives of children this Halloween, consider giving twice with Eli’s Earth Bars. All of the good stuff Sjaak’s offers PLUS they donate 5% of each sale to a non-profit children’s organization. Double win 🙂 You can find them on Sjaak’s website here.

 

spooky candy not spooky ingredients

 

Thank you Sjaak’s and Unreal for creating awesome natural Halloween candy and for sending us some samples to help write this article. We cannot wait to pass these along to some very lucky trick-or-treaters this Halloween!

Have you guys tried these awesome candy brands? Know some trick-or-treaters with dietary restrictions? Leave a comment on Facebook – we love to hear from you!

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Make Your Own Zero Waste Shredded Paper Cat Litter

Is it Possible to Go Zero Waste with Cat Waste?

Yes – It totally is! Here’s our experience making shredded paper cat litter.

Before we brought Bella home (her name is short for Portabella like the mushrooms and not a Twilight reference) we had some prepping to do. We were excited to have a new cat homie but we didn’t know how she would fit into our zero waste goals. We were trying to avoid plastics, packaging, and buying processed goods. Saving money was another goal. At first we thought it would be difficult, after all there are entire stores dedicated to pet stuff. Canned and bagged food, toys, medicines, oh and the poop! What are we going to do about POOP?

eco-friendly cat litter
What are eco-friendly alternatives to cat litter?

Traditionally people use cat litter right? Big Boxes or bags of sand-like stuff that you lug home from the store, let your cat poop in, scoop out, and throw away (often in plastic bags). Some cat litter contains artificial scents, some is made with silica crystals (that moisture absorbent stuff you find in little packets inside shoe boxes labeled with DO NOT EAT). Considering how heavy cat litter is and all of the fuel used to ship it to all of the homes and stores around the world, we decided traditional cat litter wasn’t really an eco-friendly option. We considered a zillion other options – everything from coffee grounds to sawdust. (Article with other eco-friendly cat litter alternatives coming soon!)

shredded paper cat litter

 

Does shredded paper really work for cat litter?

Honestly I had my doubts that it would work. Cats can be very particular about their litter boxes. When we first brought Bella home she was almost 2 years old and had always used regular kitty litter. We were given a box of cat litter when we got her, which we were happy to use initially to make sure she did not have an accident. We brought her home, showed her the litter box of regular cat litter under the bathroom sink, and thankfully she knew what to do. The second day came and went without a problem as well. Phew!

By the third day of having her we were ready to start trying the shredded paper approach. Looking for a smooth transition, we filled the box halfway with litter and topped it off with shredded paper. Our plan was to slowly wean her off of the litter over the course of a month or so until she was completely switched over to paper. However that plan was abandoned on day four when the Mr. (sick of sandy cat litter getting stuck to his feet every time he walked into the bathroom) decided to go all in, paper-only. Hesitant, on her fourth day home Bella was switched to all paper.

Ladies and gentlemen I am so, SOO happy to say we haven’t had an accident since!

Now will this work for all cats? I don’t know – but as a skeptic turned believer I totally recommend you give it a try !

Benefits of Shredded Paper as Kitty Litter

Recycled!!

Shredded paper litter takes something you were going to dispose of and gives it new life.

FREE Cat Litter!! $$

There is no buying anything, no shipping heavy cat litter to your door, and no last minute trips to the store if you run out

 

Differences between shredded paper and conventional cat litter:

With shredded paper, you won’t have grainy cat litter all over the floor.

Probably my favorite part! Sand between your toes is great at the beach but awful when it gets kicked out of a litter box. With the shredded paper method, you’ll occasionally get a few shreds of paper that is tracked out of the box, but those are MUCH easier to spot and clean up than tiny grains of sand.

zero waste kitty litter
Shredded paper kitty litter is easy to make – Just find scrap paper and run it through a shredder!

The smell is … different.

Okay real talk: If you use the shredded paper method it definitely smells more poopy and less cat-litter-y. I still haven’t found a way around this (besides keeping the litter box in the bathroom where poopy smells are expected) though baking soda in the box seems to help a little. You may want to keep this in mind if you won’t be home or won’t be able to change the box for longer periods of time.

The best way to avoid smell is to be on top of cleaning – which is good thing anyway. Cat boxes, no matter what type of litter you’re using, need to be cleaned regularly. If they’re too dirty cats will not use them. With traditional cat litter you do get odor masking benefits that you don’t get with shredded paper. The issue with that is, you may let the litter box go without changing longer than you really should. Have you ever walked into someones house (or your own house) and immediately smelled a litter box, while everyone already in the house seemed oblivious to it? It might not smell like poop, but it definitely smells at least like litter masking poop… which is pretty much as bad as poop. Kind of like when a human sprays an air freshener and it just smells like poop PLUS added chemicals …Maybe less poopy but extra confusing to your nose.

Best place for litter box
A mess-free storage spot for litter box: If you have a well-ventilated bathroom consider the litter box under the sink. Keep a towel over one door to prop it open

Where to get more paper for shredded paper cat litter:

You may find that you’re running low on paper at times. At home we get a little bit of junk mail, a few flyers, and 1 magazine/month addressed to the people who lived in our place before us. Because we unsubscribed to almost all paper mail, we found we didn’t have as much paper waste as we needed for shredded paper cat litter. (But hooray for less waste!) My other job, however, had quite a bit of paper waste. If you’re running low on scrap paper, check with work, friends, or neighbors. Unfortunately there is A LOT of paper waste in this world. Fortunately you can give it a second life making shredded paper cat litter!

Let us know if you end up trying it! Drop a comment on our Facebook Page and let us know how the shredded paper cat litter worked for you.

 

 

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Tips to be an Eco-Friendly College Student (And Save Money at the Same Time!)

"Tips

30 Tips to Be an Eco-Friendly College Student (And Save Money in the Process!)

  1. When it’s time to buy school supplies, opt for eco-friendly school supplies whenever possible. Staple-free stapler, paper tape instead of plastic, a high quality backpack that will last, recycled paper notebooks, you get the idea!
  2. Buy food and snacks in bulk. This will reduce packaging, save you trips to the store and save you money.
  3. Do textbooks right. Rent or buy used textbooks whenever possible. Choosing used textbooks is not only more affordable, but also means that the textbook will be reused for another year.
  4. Cover your textbooks to keep them nice. This will keep the resale value up as well and keep them in good shape for future students.
  5. Don’t buy bottled water. Instead, invest in a water pitcher with a filter and a reusable water bottle
  6. Keep plants in your dorm room. Studies have shown that plants are a natural air purifier and mood booster.

natural dorm decor7. Adjust the energy settings on your computer. Keep your screen saver dark, close your laptop when you leave the room, and turn your computer off when you’re not using it for a long period of time (wait, is that a thing in college?)

8. Opt for CFL bulbs rather than traditional ones. They last longer, are more energy efficient, and you’ll buy them less frequently

Be Body Healthy and Eco-Friendly

9. Take the stairs rather than the elevator in public buildings and dorms. Not only will you save energy, but help to avoid the “freshman 15” at the same time!eco-friendly and healthy10. Set your phone to airplane mode when you’re not using it. Driving? Walking to class? Actually trying to pay attention in class? (Good for you girl!) Airplane mode saves battery meaning less hunting for an outlet for a  mid-day charging session.

11. Commute using public transportation or walking whenever possible. One vehicle carrying many people is much better for the environment than everyone taking their own car. Many campuses have excellent public transportation options for students. If you live on campus and can walk to your classes, even better! Choose walking for the healthiest form of transportation. Plus, you’ll feel energized and alert when you get to class!

12. Plug your electronics like your cell phone charger, laptop, printer, etc. into a power strip and then flip the switch off whenever you leave the room.

13. If you have the option, turn assignments in online, rather than turning in hard copy. You’ll save paper, printer ink, and it’s one less thing you have to stress about bringing to class. Phew!

ecofriendly college advice

14.If you wear makeup and use disposable makeup wipes, switch to a reusable face cloth and makeup remover. Or, opt for biodegradable natural makeup wipes like these!

Eco-Friendly College Laundry Tips:

15. Hang dry your clothes in your dorm room. You’ll save money and energy!

16. Do a sniff test. Laundry in college is probably the last thing on your mind until you realize you’re out of clothes. Make sure to do a sniff test. Does that hoodie you wore for less than an hour really need to be washed? Can that drop of food on your sleeve be cleaned off easily with a towel and water in the sink? You’ll save yourself money and laundry-lugging trips to the laundromat. More fun less laundry!

17. Switch to Soap Nuts. Don’t carry around heavy liquid detergent or wasteful laundry pods. Soap nuts are lightweight and eco-friendly. You can also save money and reduce chemicals from dryer sheets by choosing wool dryer balls instead.

18. Keep all of your dirty laundry in one place. Don’t toss clothes around your room. Keep a single bag under your bed or in your closet. This will save you time and confusion about what is really clean and what is dirty – plus keep you from that overwhelmed feeling of how messy your room is!

Do note that many of these tips can be taken with you long after graduation!

19. Take awesome care of the items you do own. Don’t leave your headphones on the floor and run over them with your rolling desk chair. (Can you tell I’m speaking from experience?) Don’t wear brand new light colors pants walking to class on a rainy, muddy, day ::cries:: Treat all of your belongings like priceless treasures. Appreciate them. You’ll feel more fulfilled and you’ll have them for much longer.

20. Keep reusable utensils in your backpack. Include at least a fork, spoon, cloth napkin.This way if you grab food while our and about you won’t need to take plastic cutlery

avoid plastic forks
Avoid disposable utensils

21. Always carry a reusable take-out container in your bag. Restaurant meals are typically much larger than the recommended serving size. If you go out to eat, eat half of your meal and bring the other half home for tomorrow. Not only will you save a disposable container from hitting the trash, you’ll stretch your dollar by getting two meals out of one. Rebel tip: these containers can work in the dining hall too ::wink::

22. Get creative: Do not not NOT get hung up on “needing” overpriced dorm decor. My college had a giant poster “sale” every fall right after school started and every freshmen ended up with one of the 10 cliche college posters that everyone else had. (I guarantee you can think of at least one.) Create your own decor, a vision board goes a long way for inspiration. Also keep in mind that usually simple, minimalist decor is better for focus and less stress

23. Go paperless: with your address likely changing yearly in college, make it easier on yourself with paperless billing. Everything going to your e-mail inbox not only keeps things simple, but some companies actually offer you a discount if you enroll in paperless billing.

You can also cut down paper by using a wipe away dry erase board for studying, rather than flash cards

24. B.Y.O.B.C. Beverage container that is! Express yourself at parties in the land of the quintessential red Solo cup. Bringing your own beverage container to a party not only does the earth a favor, is a conversation starter, (“hey cute cup!”) but also keeps your drink safe and not in the wrong hands.

25. Make cleaning a breeze. Who has room for 100 different cleaners in their dorm or apartment? Keep it simple and opt for a single eco-friendly multi-purpose cleaner.

26. Keep it fresh! Air fresheners are a must when you have hundreds of students crammed into a dorm building. Skip the aerosol cans and chemical-filled air fresheners and opt for potpouri, or an essential oil diffuser. Switch up the essential oils for a natural variety of smells and health benefits.

Eco-Friendly College Tips for the Dining Hall

27. Go tray-free in the dining hall. Taking a tray every single time means an extra item that needs to be washed and sanitized in hot hot water every single time. Skip the tray, take only one cup, and fill your plate to the brim.

28. Be mindful of food waste. So you got the unlimited meal plan and the dining hall is your all-you-can-eat buffet. Keep in mind though that food waste is still waste, and that the gross pizza you tried last week and took only a bite of before tossing is probably going to be gross again this week. Sure, food decomposes easier than say a plastic cup, but someone needed to use water and energy to grow the food, harvest the food, transport the food, wash dishes used when preparing the food, use energy to cook the food, etc. Taking just what you will eat will help to decrease the tons and tons of food thrown away by college students each year.

29. Meatless Mondays! The meat industry produces a significant portion of greenhouse gases. By cutting out meat one day a week you’ll help reduces those gasses as well as your risk of heart disease and certain cancers

30. Remember your 3 R’s: Reduce, Reuse Recycle! Always keep them on your mind and eco-conscious decisions will soon be second nature to you ecogirl!reduce reuse recycle

Hope you loved this article! We know you’re going to have an awesome school year! Please show your love by liking us on Facebook or Instagram

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Making Waves: Emroce Swimwear

sustainable San Diego California
Welcome to San Diego California: a place where remembering to grab your swimsuit when you leave the house is as essential as your keys and wallet.

In the SoCal world where sun, sand, and surf is plentiful year round, the swimwear selection is pretty much endless. However if you’re looking for an ethical and sustainable bathing suit that values the waves as much as you do, you may find yourself in a bit of a pickle. Whether you’re shopping in stores or online, the eco-friendly swimwear options have been few and far between. Looking closely, many of the companies that do offer recycled swimwear pieces are also supplying disposable fast fashion or engaging in unethical employment practices. Others are charging upwards of hundreds of dollars per piece for a machine-sewn item that leaves abandoned scrap waste behind. We believe ethical swimwear should be uncomplicated and accessible to everyone. Where were all the eco-friendly swimwear options?

Enter Emroce to totally change the game.

Fashion designer Emma Churchill brings us everything we have been looking for in sustainable swimwear. The Deco Del Mar collection is created from ECONYL® 100% regenerated nylon fibre from fishnets and other nylon waste. Pre and post-consumer wastes such as nylon scraps, fishing nets and carpet fluff are collected and transformed to produce the perfect swimsuit material.

The extremely practical Sally and The Sea of Seamen Bikini Top can be worn in several different ways and was specifically designed for breastfeeding as one side can be let down at a time.

Truly making waves

With functionality and zero-waste principles at the forefront of each design, Emma has successfully created sustainable, 100% zero waste swimwear that is designed to last. Handmade with love in Italy, each suit that comes to fruition is cut from a tessellating pattern so that zero waste is created. Rather than snipping away, the designer carefully maps out the fabric so that interlocking shapes can be cut from it.  No leftover materials go to waste. This is the most important part of Emma’s design process. New styles and aesthetics are then left up to chance, a method that hasn’t let her down and has led to beautiful and unique creations that are as functional as they are lovely.

Surf-friendly Eco-Friendly Swimwear

A surfer’s dream, Deco Del Mar is extremely practical for any and all water sports. Specifically designed for the waves, each and every style offers comfort and flexibility. Whether you’re paddle boarding, surfing, or wakeboarding, you can feel confident that your suit won’t slip. The quick drying fabric and expert craftsmanship make for a high quality garment that’s built to last.

eco-friendly swimwear

 

Emroce eco-friendly swimwear offers everything that we have been looking for. Practical, long lasting, and ethical, we can enjoy a sustainable summer catching waves without worrying about doing them any harm. So thank you Emma, for encouraging ethical fashion and sustainability.

Find the Deco Del Mar Collection here. Starting at $43.14

 

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10 Tips for Greener Air Travel: Your Eco-Friendly Guide to Flying

10 Tips for Greener Air Travel

So it turns out lifting a super heavy metal contraption 35,000 feet into the air may not be the cleanest form of transportation. It also turns out that walking to Cabo may use up all of your vacation time. If you are taking a trip through the air, you can feel good about reducing your footprint, saving money, and having a more enjoyable flight with these 10 tips for greener air travel.

Guide to Eco-friendly air travel

Bring your own water bottle

Bringing your own reusable water bottle to the airport is a great way to save money and keep plastic bottles out of landfills. You can’t bring full water bottles through TSA but you can bring empty bottles in your carry on and fill them up after crossing through security. You’ll also avoid paying inflated prices for bottled airport water. Ca-ching!

Skip printing your boarding pass

Most airlines offer the option of downloading your boarding pass to your phone or accessing it through their app. Simply pull your boarding pass up on your phone and present it as you go through security and get on the plane as usual. (and **bonus** One less item to carry through security!)

Worried about bad cell phone service or the app crashing? Consider also taking a screenshot of your boarding pass (including the barcode) for extra peace of mind.

Pack a Snack in a Reusable Container

pack an airplane snack
We love Lifestyle Block Stainless Steel Squares for super versatile snack packing!

Who wants to pay high prices for a bag of chips or mediocre airport meal? Going along with the water bottle tip, bringing your own snacks from home in a reusable container is a great way to reduce packaging waste and save money. If you’re taking a longer trip, you may also be preventing food waste by packing food from home that would otherwise go bad while you’re gone!

Pack reusable utensils

To go along with your snack and water bottle, pack a reusable fork, spoon, and a cloth napkin.  You can use these on the plane and while out and about on your trip! Just leave the sharp knife at home to keep things less interesting when going through TSA.

Skip the plastic cup airplane plastic cup

If you do end up getting something from the beverage cart on the plane, ask the flight attendant if they can put your beverage in your reusable container, or ask if they can just give you the can or box your drink comes in, without the extra plastic cup on the side.

Pack light

The less you pack, the lighter the plane and the less energy it will take to fly that thing. Try to pack light or in only a carry-on if possible. It will be all the more enjoyable if you are able to avoid that baggage claim conveyer belt dash 🙂

Subscribe for our article on greener packing tips. Coming soon!

Take public or shared transportation to or from the airport.

Several people sharing one vehicle (bus, train, etc.) is way more efficient than everyone having individual cars on the road. You will also save money on airport parking (which can easily amount to hundreds of dollars)! $$$

Tips for greener air travel: Look for a non-stop flight

Significantly more jet fuel is used during take-off and landing than during flight. Opt for flying non-stop over a fight with one or (::cries::) two or three layovers. No option to fly non-stop? Choose the flight with the most direct route.

tips for greener air travel and an eco-friendly airplane trip

Have a layover? Turns out making it easier on yourself is better for the planet too!

Plane delays? Taxiing? Crowded terminals? Choosing a less congested airport is going to be a lot nicer for you as a traveler and you might just save some carbon dioxide emissions as well! Less-busy airports have less congestion, which means less idling time on the runway and the less likely your plane will be circling the airport overhead waiting for it’s turn to land. Ah how nice 🙂

Flying economy is classy

Here’s one more reason you can feel good not springing for that first class seat. First class seat takes up much more room than economy or coach seats. This means that more jet fuel is used per person on planes that have first class. Lower your carbon footprint (and save $) by opting for a plane that doesn’t offer first class seating and flies more people per square foot.

Bon Voyage Eco Girl!

Like our tips for greener air travel? Subscribe or catch us on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook for more eco-friendly travel tips!

XOXO Eco Girl

 

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Don’t Buy, Borrow – Save Money on DIY Projects and Summer Adventures

Save Money by Borrowing Rather than Buying

It’s officially gorgeous outside which means summer projects are in the works! Whether you’re pressure washing your home or hosting a huge barbecue for all of your friends, consider saving money and going green with the “Don’t Buy, Borrow” system.

don't buy, borrow

For items you won’t use often, consider renting the tools or supplies you need or borrowing them from a friend or neighbor. Not only are you going to save money, but you’ll prevent clutter that you won’t have to worry about later. You’ll also reduce your environmental impact because making and transporting new products (and their packaging) requires a lot of energy and resources. Maybe that $250 rototiller seems necessary now, but do you really want to look at that thing in your garage for the rest of the year?

A Few Examples of How “Don’t Buy, Borrow” Saves Money:

Purchasing a pressure washer: $179-$279
Renting a pressure washer : $40-$79
Savings: $139 – $199

Purchasing a ladder: $199
Renting the same or similar ladder of 1 day: $31
Savings: $168

Oh and don’t forget borrowing from a friend or neighbor: FREE!

 

Where Can I Rent Items Instead of Buying Them?

If you’re lucky enough to live in a town that has a tool library – that’s awesome! Otherwise, many places rent out items. The Home Depot or local hardware stores often rent big power tools, lawn equipment, floor finishing equipment, and more. It may be just what you need for your next house or yard project.

Working on your car? O’Reilly and Auto Zone have FREE loaner tools. Hardly ever go camping? Why not borrow a tent from a friend? Or an air mattress for when family visits? A suitcase for that trip you’re taking… tables and chairs for a party, camping or hiking gear, sports equipment, a bicycle… textbooks… strollers… You get the idea!

Sometimes it is totally worth purchasing of course and in that case just buy quality 🙂

If you found “Don’t Buy, Borrow” helpful and want to know more about saving money by going green be sure to subscribe to our e-mail list or get at us on Twitter Facebook or Instagram!

Know a good place to borrow from instead of buying? Have a suggestion for a topic you want us to cover? Contact Us – We love hearing from you!

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Zero-Waste Peanut Butter Banana Pancake Recipe

Super Easy, Healthy, Zero-Waste Peanut Butter Banana Pancake Recipe

Skip the bleached flour and over-processed pancake mixes – This zero-waste peanut butter banana pancake recipe is super easy to whip up and they’re a crowd favorite for all ages! Make them zero-waste by buying your oats from bulk bins and putting them in a bag from home. You can even make your own peanut butter! (Recipe coming soon)

Zero-waste peanut butter banana pancake recipe courtesy Allison K – Easthampton, MA

Zero Waste Peanut Butter Banana Panckaes

Estimated prep time:

Six minutes

 

Ingredients:

1 ripe banana (the more ripe the banana, the more “banana-y” they will taste!)

1 rounded tablespoon peanut butter

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 egg

1 cup rolled or instant oats*

⅓ teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)

flax (optional)

water

 

Directions:

Peel and mash the banana in a medium bowl. Add egg, cinnamon, vanilla, and peanut butter. Finally, add the oats. *Use rolled oats for a more hearty texture or instant oats for a smoother texture. Slowly add water in increments to create desired consistency. Pour in spoonfuls onto a heated, lightly oiled skillet. Cook each side until brown.

Good to note: If you’re used to conventional mixes or bleached flour, These pancakes will have a slightly darker color once cooked, which is normal. Add a little flax or other berries to make them even healthier or add chocolate morsels for a special treat. Top with pure maple syrup, berries, or honey.

 

How did they come out? We want to see your pics! Tag us on Instagram or Facebook & show us your breakfast!

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Easiest Zero Waste Tip for Beginners – Your First Tip to Get Started on Your Zero Waste Journey

The easiest zero waste tip that’s so simple it seems almost silly but it truly WORKS! If you are just starting out on your zero waste journey, here is one easy trick that will drastically cut down on your waste creation.

Ready for it?

Get a smaller trashcan.

easiest zero waste tip for beginners

So easy right? It’s pretty typical for American households to have a huge “kitchen size” trash can. Simply switching to a smaller one will not only make you more conscious of the waste you’re creating, but will also make you aware of what you’re throwing away. You’ll think twice about that polystyrene foam (Styrofoam) to-go cup or that unnecessarily packaged produce at the grocery store that takes up so much room in your trash can.

Yes, you will find yourself taking the trash out more frequently, but it will keep your home smelling awesome. Plus if you don’t like taking out the trash, you’ll think twice before making waste. You’ll also start to think about how some of the items you’re about to toss could be re-purposed, rather than thrown away.

Did you switch to a smaller trash can? What were your experiences? Share your trash-cutting tips on our Facebook page !

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