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Low-Waste Kitchen Hacks for Busy People

Living a fast-paced lifestyle is a convenience we have grown increasingly comfortable in, but like everything else, such comfort comes at a cost. The price we are paying for convenience is a considerable one.

Our convenient lifestyle that accommodates our need always to be on-the-go comes at the cost of the environment, which is why, I wanted to share with you some simple methods that I try to use, to keep with my eco-friendly values while maintaining that sense of convenience daily.

I live a lifestyle vibrant with entropy. No two days ever look the same. I need a structure in place to help me function properly, even to be able to perform the most basic of tasks like, eat, or maintain some level of sanity. I am sharing with you today just a few of the things that really help me and hopefully help you as well.

Make your own drink!
Who doesn’t love a warm/cold drink in the morning? Having tea or coffee every morning is something we all look forward, too, it gets our day going. Unfortunately, on the busiest of days we can be tempted to get one at a shop, but making your own, at-home drink could make all the difference for the environment since most of these shop cups are not recyclable or compostable. Every day millions of us around the world buy these cups and dispose of them. When a single person buys one cup of coffee every day, it builds up the numbers landing in the trash.

Try to make your own, help the environment and of course, hence, help yourself!

I’m a big believer that your morning routine starts the evening before. Every night I set out my coffee needs (cup and top) and have the water ready in the fridge. I have my coffee already ground and store it for use in the morning. When the morning arises, I can quickly put it together while I am getting ready. I then put it in my thermos, and I am prepared to go. It’s quick, and it’s easy, and you don’t have to think about it.

I stopped going out for coffee in the morning when I realized it just wasn’t any faster. You’re probably not saving any time by making a 20-minute trip and waiting in line to get a coffee. It’s that extra step that will help you maintain your convenient lifestyle without having to give up your eco-friendly values.

Freezing prep for your meals
I love freezer meals. I measure it out so that one mason jar is enough food for one person. I can layer the rice on top of the beans and then add a sauce or vegetables. You can let them thaw overnight, and then you can throw it in your bag on your way to out or for a convenient meal.

You can heat the glass, but you have to remove the lid off the mason jar and put it in the microwave.

You can also save most of your glass jars and use them for this purpose. When you freeze something in a glass jar, make sure there is enough space between the liquid and the top since liquids expand on solidifying. When you heat up your to go meal, make sure to let it thaw and defrost naturally or the glass will be shattered and can cause harm, not to mention it is a pain to clean!

Yes, I know this from experience!

You can freeze individual serving sizes of things like hummus in little containers and just let them thaw in your bag when you head out. By the time you are ready to eat it, it is prepared!

Please remember, if you have plastic containers, it’s OK to use them to freeze. Just make sure that they are safe to be microwaved. Some plastics leak toxins into your food and your body.

Mason Jackets!
The condensation on the outside of the glass was causing a mess in my bag. The jar also can be sweltering and hard to touch with your hands if it is heated. I’ve been grateful for how convenient jackets are for my needs!

I love them, and they’re brilliant. The jackets come in a variety of different materials like silicone or cloth. You wrap them around your mason jars, they protect them from getting broken, and they protect your hands when you hold it.

It takes away a little bit of the stress during the day because I don’t have to worry about these small, simple things. I can go about my day without having to worry if the mason jar’s broken and caused a disaster in my bag.

Pre-chopped frozen veggies
Chop those vegetables up, put them in a container and fill it with water then pop them in the fridge. Not only do your veggies remain fresh and crispy, you always have a healthy snack at hand. Just think of eating crisper carrots and celery with your thawed hummus throughout the day. It’s like you went to the store on days you don’t have time to stop, and it requires less packaging.

It works wonders. The best part is that you could do this with almost any product, It’s comfortable, convenient, and helping maintain a cleaner Earth.

The multipurpose ice-cube tray
You can use the ice trays as measuring devices to measure the individual sizes of things like lemon juice or vegetable broth. You can put them in the ice tray, and then after they’re frozen, you put them in a jar, You’ll end up with frozen individual-sized servings in bulk quantities.

You could do the same with silicone muffin or cupcake pans for more significant portions.

You can also use your ice-cube tray to make homemade candy and other treats! One easy recipe is, buy chocolate chips, melt them down, put a little in the bottom of the tray and then add nut butter or fruit, top with a bit more chocolate, and you have package-free butter cups and bonbons.

Be creative
Instead of buying unique products that are marketed with “eco-friendly” agenda, you can use those everyday things lying around your house. For instance, instead of putting the leftover in zip locks or unique wraps or containers, just put the food in a bowl and close it with a plate. Alternatively, cut old fuzzy socks for jar jackets or you could even a knit or crochet. It’s effortless to make one of those jar sleeves and a great way to use up scrap yarn and recycle old clothing.

BONUS HACKS:
Here are a few simple tips that could help you along the way:

  • Prep your food for the week on Sunday nights, you could be watching Netflix or listening to some music.
  • Also, try storing herbs, green onions, celery, etc. upright in a few inches of water to retain its crispness.
  • Lastly, the plastic bins with screw-on lids are GREAT to reuse for things you buy in bulk and for art supplies like crayons or markers.

I hope these tips and hacks prove useful to you. They are effortless to execute and efficient. However, this might not work for all of you. You may need to be slightly altered your practices from time to time as life gets in the way. Just remember to be a little creative and find different styles and structures to have a more eco-friendly lifestyle.

Let me know some tips that have helped you spare more time in the morning or in life, just leave a comment below.

Also, check out my Amazon Associate Store if you need some inspiration for your journey. Here it is: https://amzn.to/2YJdfbn

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Plastic Straws, What’s the Hype and Why?

Starbucks says by 2020 it will eliminate plastic straws, turning to biodegradable straws and a newly designed lid. These new lids are made from polypropylene that can be recycled. The issue I see is would this not produce more plastic into the environment? Like the idea of reducing plastic straws, it is a thought, it is an action, it is a conversation to the bigger picture of conserving our environment.

So why are plastic straws bad for the environment?

Society has an over-reliance on single-use plastics, and the fact is that a lot of the stuff is ending up in our marine environment.

In one 2017 international coastal cleanup, 643,000 plastic straws were picked up around beaches and waterways all over the world. Straws only make up a fraction of our plastic waste. However, it is the easiest thing we can change now. It opens the door to understanding the impact of plastic, and it impacts on the environment.

All plastics ultimately sort of break down and fracture into smaller and smaller bits of plastic as a result of being tossed around by the waves, and the sunlight basically makes the plastic brittle. It creates what we call microplastics.

Microplastics are found on everything from the forage fish that are at the base of the food web up through the kinds of fish that we end up putting on our dinner plate.

Americans use an average of 1.6 straws per person per day that translates into 7.5 billion straws year. By the year 2050, there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean. It takes 500 years for a single straw to decompose. In that time the plastic could potentially leak pollutants into the soil and water. Every year an estimated 8 million metric tons of plastic go into our oceans, and it’s harming wildlife.

We need to be more thoughtful about how we use plastic. For starters pay closer attention to your personal practices. Get into the habit of carrying your own cup, fork, bag, and straw. That’s what I have in my bag at all times.

Decisions to make environmental friendly items or not use environmentally harmful pieces can make a positive impact. So, though the one straw may not make a real impact, the decision you make to not to use straws will change the awareness to the environment and how much a carbon footprint you leave behind.

Resources:
Business Insider, “Why Plastic Sucks,” https://www.businessinsider.com/why-plastic-straws-suck-ocean-pollution-sea-turtle-starbucks-2018-7

Ocean Conservatory: https://oceanconservancy.org/trash-free-seas/international-coastal-cleanup/volunteer/

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Sustainable Fashion: Beginner’s Thoughts and Guide

My actions alone will not change the world. However, I like to think that it can influence someone to make a decision to help in the sustainability of the environment. If I start to make small changes, it’s like a revolution to my habits and ideas of the world.

As I mentioned in a previous post, fast fashion is currently the second biggest cause of pollution. Unmistakably, from the manufacturers of fabrics into the consumer’s closets, there is a responsibility to think about how we buy and dispose of clothes. I think it’s time for people to take action in their own lives we could all make little changes. There is no easy answer, so there is no way to be perfect. We just need to make small changes. If we all made little changes, it really would make a significant impact on the planet and our wallets.

Fast fashion is the production of an exorbitantly huge amount of garments. Fast fashion has to be a fashion no. It’s about looking at what we have and how to use it to create our own style in individuality. We have to think about what already exists. Some pieces have already been made that we can continue to enjoy healthily.

It’s about becoming smarter in your choices. It’s about thinking of the greater good and interweaving your mark, your style, your lesson while decreasing your dirty carbon footprint on the planet. It’s about buying kinder clothes that represent the people who created them, cut the fabric, sewed them together and then lands on you. The piece of item has a story, and the energy that comes from kinder pieces feels better than one created in a harsh environment to wear for a season or two.

  • I think about how can I look after that item more sustainably since I became wiser to the destruction of the fashion industry:
  • It’s refurbishing and mending a piece to give that item like a new lease of life.
  • It’s washing it at a cooler temperature is because of the majority of the energy the washing machines uses is just on heating the water.
  • It’s about recycling, regifting, or selling the clothes you no longer need or use.
  • It’s about thrifting instead of buying fast fashion. Try your best to keep it from hitting the landfills.

It’s about finding your style and not what the fashion industry tells you what’s in season. It’s an anyone fashion type world, and it’s here to make you feel good.

Through the search for ease and convenience, we’ve kind of lost that sense of human instinct which guides us to our creativity. Take something that’s already in existence and change it to make something new. The small steps you take now could lead to a better world and more sustainable life and can bring us back to the ebb and flow of creativity to survive. It’s already started, but you can join when you are ready. The earth and life on it will be grateful for your participation.

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Fast Fashion – The Horror Story

So, on my decluttering journey, I realized that I owned a heck of a lot of clothes, half the items I never really wore and kept because I didn’t want to admit that I wasted many. As I continued with my journey, I wondered what happens to the clothes we donate, discard or don’t buy.

The fashion industry is putting too much product out there, millions of ton of clothes end up in landfill every year—it’s one of the fastest-growing categories of consumption in our society. Termed, “fast fashion” allows consumers to purchase extra, but consumers are wearing these fashion pieces less often and disposing of them at an abnormal rate. How can the fashion industry proceed to produce while not approaching the environmental requirement for people to purchase fewer clothes?

If you don’t believe me, here are some facts:

  • In 2015, the world produced roughly 155,000 square miles of fabric (about the size of California)
  • 80 billion items are manufactured every year
  • Globally, sorting plants like this only deal with around 25% of discarded clothes
  • On average only 20% of clothes are worn on a regular basis
  • Every year, we send about 85% of the textiles we purchase to landfill
  • The artificial fibers often preferred by fast fashion brands, such as polyester, nylon, and acrylic, are primarily plastic made from petroleum. This indicates that your discarded clothes could take up to a thousand years to biodegrade.
  • Fast fashion accounts for 10% of the planet’s greenhouse production
  • Each year 1.3 trillion gallons of water is used for fabric dyeing alone
  • Fast fashion is in second place as the dirtiest and most pollutant industry after oil
  • The US consumes about 1.2 million tons of clothing waste which is equal to 15 percent of the clothing sales in the country
  • On average, the global water footprint US is enough to fill over 1,200 bathtubs per household
  • The number of garments produced globally exceeded 100 billion for the first time in 2014
  • Over 50% of workers within the fashion industry are not paid the minimum wage in countries like India and the Philippines. Most workers are slaves or work in sweatshops and have very little human rights
  • Approximately 300 million people who produce cotton are still living in poverty

There is so much out there the support that fast fashion is horrible for the environment, yet we pretend that it isn’t a real problem. What can we do to help lessen the burden on the environment? It’s straightforward, here is what I suggest below:

  • Recycle or repurpose your old clothing
  • Choose quality over quantity—avoid cheap garments made from synthetic fabrics
  • Participate in clothes swap events, or exchange old clothing with friends and family
  • Spread the word about Fast Fashion impact on the environment
  • Simply do not buy from brands that participate in harming the environment or human rights
  • There is nothing wrong with thrifting for clothes, and you will save money too!

I hope you found this article insightful. If you have any suggestions or facts to add, please add them to the comments below.

References and Resources:

Fast fashion: How to make clothes last longer and save the planet (https://www.bbc.com/news/newsbeat-47292087)
Fast Fas is harming the earth, MPs say (https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-45745242)
What Is Fast Fashion? (https://www.thegoodtrade.com/features/what-is-fast-fashion)
Fast Fashion Is Creating an Environmental Crisis (https://www.newsweek.com/2016/09/09/old-clothes-fashion-waste-crisis-494824.html)
By the Numbers: The Economic, Social and Environmental Impacts of “Fast Fashion” (https://www.wri.org/blog/2019/01/numbers-economic-social-and-environmental-impacts-fast-fashion)

#ecofashion #sustainable #style #fbloggers #sustainablefashion #sustainability #ecofriendlyn #sustainablity #fashion #ethicalfashion #fastfashion

Two Impactful Goals for 2019

Can you believe it?

2019 in less than a week away!

This year, was a pretty good year for me as I learned to change many of the habits that have held me back. With 2019 right around the corner, everyone is thinking about their New Year’s resolutions. I am seeing it on social media and even on the local news. No matter what you envision for next year, you probably have a few significant lifestyle changes in mind.

One of the things that I am passionate about is the environment. Climate change looks pretty scary when you read about it, and I for one started to take small steps to reduce my carbon footprint in this beautiful word. I have a daughter, and one of the best things that I can do for her is to give her skills to help salvage our environment.

One capsule I am trying to organize is my “Go Green” way of life. Last year, I reduced the amount of stuff I was buying, starting to composting and reused anything that could before discarding or recycling it. I also tried my best to buy things that were recyclable or biodegradable. I want 2019 to be more of the same only adding to my efforts to have a cleaner environment.

There is always something you can do to make the planet a better place.

To help you on your quest to be a little sustainable, I am going to share with you two environmentally sustainable resolutions I am committed to in 2019.

Stop Buying Fast Fashion

Fast fashion Is literally ruining our planet. Stores like H&M, Target, Zara, and Topshop participate in an industry known as fast fashion. Unfortunately, this creates an outrageously easy way of throwing out clothes that are cheaply made or just not in style for the new season. Throwing out clothes is the second most wasteful habit. The fashion products that we consume take up much as much of the landfills as other waste materials, like plastic. Some fast-fashion companies even participate in practices that are unethical to their workers.

Don’t get me wrong, I buy from these stores. It’s a great way to get an item you need for cheap or to fulfill a need or want. In 2018, I reduce my need to spend as I felt I had everything I needed. After watching some documentaries and reading some books, I realized how much I was hurting the environment. This scared me to take action. It has taken me a year to commit to not buying fast fashion. I had to find a system that worked for me. Starting in 2019, I will no longer buy from fast-fashion retail chains.

First, disclaimer, do not throw away your clothes if you have the use for them. They are suiting you well. The point of being sustainable is to be resourceful with what you have in your closet. However, if you have too much and you are just not wearing them. Please consider selling, giving them away or donating your clothes.

Second, buy second-hand. I live in NYC, so I know which stores have the best deals and the best clothes for me. Generally, you can find a shirt and pants for a few dollars that you may actually want to wear. I always make a list of the things I need and try to find places that can give me the best price. By making this habit, it creates a buffer from the time I want it to the time you buy it. Sometimes, I may find that I actually didn’t need the item anyway.

Finally, few fashion labels use sustainable materials and eco-friendly production practices, some of these companies include Everlane, People Tree, Reformation, and Eileen Fisher. Although these brands and others similar are more expensive than those in the fast fashion, we need to understand that saving up to purchase is sometimes worth the higher price. Some of these companies have durable clothing so the item will last you a long time, this gives you more bang for your buck. It also creates a buffer to provide you with the time to understand whether or not you actually need the item.

Limit The Use of Plastic

In an article on the National Geographic website, it stated that “a whopping 91% of plastic isn’t recycled.”

It takes plastic 400 years to degrade, so most of it still exists in some form. This is scary when you think about it, I mean, where is all of the 8.3 billion metric tons of plastic waste go? In 2015, it was estimated that every year about 8 million metric tons of plastic end up in the oceans. This dumpage, in turn, affects wildlife, the coast, and ecosystems.

The goal for 2019 is to reduce my disposables consumption. A few easy ways that I am going to practice is to reduce the amount of waste by not using single-use plastic straws, grocery bags, to-go coffee cups, and plastic water bottles.

Reminder, this also took some time to get to this point in my sustainability lifestyle journey. I didn’t want to throw out what I had without using it first. I also had to get comfortable with asking stores to not give me a plastic bag for my sandwich or using my portable coffee cup instead of their throw away cup. Habits don’t form overnight, so if you are interested in doing this, I would say, take your time and do your research. The more you know, the better you will be at actively participating. Also, doing ger discourage if you can’t master this practice. Just trying each time in each moment is more than what others are currently doing.

So, what am I going to use to help reduce my likely hold of using these easily disposable items?

I made a kit. It is small enough to carry with me and to store or to take the items that I know I will be using for the day.

Here are the items in my kit:
1. a reusable shopping bag
2. a small reusable sandwich bag
3. a reusable water bottle
4. a reusable straw
5. a reusable coffee mug
6. a reusable hand towel

You can get all these things in many thrift stores. If you absolutely cannot find it, most of these can be found on Amazon or at your local store.

I do make it a point to carry this kit with me so I can avoid temptations of convenience. If I can avoid using these disposable items in my daily life, I know I can make a difference in the environment. It also makes a statement to the people who are around you. This means that customers, sellers, and your friends and family who see you using these reusable items may spark a conversation or give them permission to do the same.

I’m personally enthusiastic about the new year. I do think that the more we progress, the more progress we will see. I see it in my personal life. My small steps in change have become more significant, and these two goals of sustainability will have a positive impact on the environment.

Please remember to keep it simple and make an effort to sustain your practice in the long term. It takes hours of repetition to change old habits and ideas. Let me know if you have any advice on sustainability and what you are or will be doing to better your impact on the environment in 2019.

Thanks for reading!

Here are some more sites that you might be interested it reading:

Planet of Plastic? https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/07/plastic-produced-recycling-waste-ocean-trash-debris-environment/

35 Fair Trade & Ethical Clothing Brands Betting Against Fast Fashion https://www.thegoodtrade.com/features/fair-trade-clothing

Embrace These 5 Sustainable New Year’s Resolutions For A Greener 2019 https://www.peacefuldumpling.com/5-sustainable-new-years-resolutions

Why fast fashion needs to slow down https://www.unenvironment.org/news-and-stories/blog-post/why-fast-fashion-needs-slow-down

#organic #ocean #conservation #energy #handmade #architecture #plastic #instagood #sdg #bethechange #reduce #globalwarming #climateaction #natural #reducereuserecycle #food #future #noplastic #health #upcycle #agriculture #technology #entrepreneur #ecology #zerowasteliving #climate #water #ecofashion #greenliving