Less Stuff, More Experiences this Holiday Season

Day 330 – The holidays are a wonderful time of year. However, it’s also the time of year, where we produce the most waste. Between, the extra food, the wrapping paper and the need to make room for more stuff, we find ourselves tossing more in the trash.

I had an idea to help alleviate the amount of waste my family produced this holiday season by asking them to come up with gift ideas that involved more experiences than stuff. I even came up with a list to help inspire them.

A few of the suggestions included:

  1. The Movies
  2. Trampoline Park
  3. Escape Room
  4. Cooking Class
  5. A Play/Musical
  6. Golf Outing
  7. Nail Salon
  8. Sporting Event
  9. Museum Admission
  10. Amusement Park Pass

The kids used a website called So Kind Registry, to share their gift ideas with family. The site was created to encourages the giving of homemade gifts, charitable donations, secondhand
goods, experiences and more. My kids definitely need to work on the concept of less stuff and more fun, as I found items on the list along with a few experiences. The hope is that with each year, we can increase the requests for more experiences and less stuff.

Tomorrow, a cool way to protect your bike from the elements.

Dogs to the Rescue! Replanting Forests in Chile

Day 329 – It may be turkey day, but I wanted to talk about dogs today. I came across this story from 2018 and thought it was an amazing idea.

Back in 2017, forest fires devastated central Chile. Over 100 fires destroyed over a million acres of forest. People lost their lives and there was an estimated $333 million worth of damage.

The job to replant endless acres of forests seemed like a daunting endeavor. That is until three unusual workers took up the task. Six-year-old Das and her two daughters, Olivia and Summer are three Border Collies who have been trained to run through the damaged forests with special backpacks that release native plant seeds. Once they take root, these seeds will help regrow the destroyed area.” – weforum.org

Border Collies are an ideal breed for a job like this. They’re fast, intelligent and hard workers. Since they were bred to herd sheep, the likelihood of them running after other animals and causing injury, is very unlikely.

The dogs are able to spread around 20 pounds of seed over 18 miles in a day. Humans would only be able to cover a few miles each day.

These dogs don’t know it, but they are helping bring back a forest and allow wildlife to return.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tomorrow, avoiding more stuff this holiday season.

The Decomposition of Everyday Items

Day 328 – Most of us don’t give any thought about how long it takes for common items to decompose. We tend to toss things into the trash and never think about where it goes from there. Many everyday items are here to stay for a very long time.

Here are 20 items and the length of time it takes for them to decompose.

  1. Plastic bags – It can take up to 1,000 years to decompose.
  2. Cigarette butts – 10 years
  3. Plastic straws – 200 years
  4. Wet wipes – 100 years
  5. Plastic 6 pack holders – 450 years
  6. Tin cans – 50 years
  7. Tires – 2,000 years
  8. Nylon fishing net – 40 years
  9. Plastic bottles – 450 years
  10. Synthetic fibers – 100+ years
  11. Aluminum cans – 80-100 years
  12. Hairspray bottles – 200-500 years
  13. Shoes – 25-40 years
  14. Disposable diapers – 500 years
  15. Lumber – 10-15 years
  16. Batteries – 100 years
  17. Ink Cartridges – 450-1,000 years
  18. Glass – over a million years
  19. Aluminum Foil – never
  20. Styrofoam – never

We all need to think twice before we throw things away. We need to ask ourselves a few questions.

Can this be recycled? Items in bold print can be recycled.

Can this be reused?

Can I avoid using this item in the future?

We are running out of places to put our trash. We need to make changes now.

Tomorrow, dogs to the rescue.

MC Squares: Reusable Sticky Notes

Day 327 – I’m sure we have all used them at some point. Sticky notes have been around since 1977. They are very convenient and that sticky adhesive allows them to be placed pretty much anywhere. I never gave much thought about the amount of paper wasted every day due to the use of sticky notes. Thankfully, MC Squares has come up with a solution.

They have created reusable sticky notes.

  1. They can be reused 2,000 times.
  2. MC Squares will replace any reusable sticky note that doesn’t last for 2 years.
  3. They stick to shiny surfaces like magnets to metal.
  4. Stickies are sustainably made with wind power in the USA.

Besides keeping 2 billion notes from going into the trash, MC Squares has also planted over 50,000 trees.

MC Squares also has a wide variety of other reusable products, like calendars, charts and notepads.

Reusables are a huge piece to the sustainable puzzle.

Tomorrow, the decomposition of everyday items.

How Much Trash Does One Person Make in a Year?

Day 326 – An unlikely source, TitleMax, looked at some gross data to calculate what one person produces in garbage in one year by type of waste.

Here’s what they found.

  1. Mail – 23.06 pounds per person
  2. Toilet Paper & Paper Towels – 22.36 pounds per person
  3. Paper plates and cups – 8.22 pounds per person
  4. Cardboard boxes – 187.77 pounds per person
  5. Cartons – 34.97 pounds per person
  6. Glass beer and soft drink bottles – 12.74 pounds per person
  7. Other bottles and jars – 24.52 pounds per person
  8. Metal durable goods – 92.80 pounds per person
  9. Aluminum goods – 10.89 pounds per person
  10. Steel cans – 11.78 pounds per person
  11. Aluminum cans – 9.04 pounds per person
  12. Durable plastics – 72.99 pounds per person
  13. Plastic plates and cups – 6.75 pounds per person
  14. Plastic trash bags – 6.50 pounds per person
  15. Plastic bottles and jars – 17.77 pounds per person
  16. Plastic bags and wraps – 24.27 pounds per person
  17. Clothing and footwear – 70 pounds per person
  18. Food waste – 220.96 pounds per person
  19. Yard trimmings – 91.53 pounds per person
  20. Wood – 854.20 pounds per person

That’s a grand total of 1,803.12 pounds per person

We can help reduce our waste by refusing, recycling, reusing and composting items off the list.

Tomorrow, reusable sticky notes.

Too Much Seafood Going to Waste

Day 325 – It’s World Fisheries Day! The first World Fisheries Day was celebrated on November 21, 2015. The day is dedicated to highlighting the critical importance of healthy ocean ecosystems and to ensure sustainable stocks of fisheries in the world. 

So, today was the perfect day to write about the large amount of seafood that is wasted every year. It is estimated that every year, almost half the seafood supply in the United States is lost, amounting to nearly 500 million pounds of protein waste. Globally, we lose 110 billion pounds. Getting fish from the sea to the table takes many steps through the supply chain. With each step comes a great deal of waste. It is estimated that 17 to 22 percent of fish caught in the US are discarded before reaching port. On top of that, many fish spoil during transport. Even more goes to waste at the markets and once they reach households.

Thankfully, there are some companies trying to combat the waste. They’re making fish jerky, turning fish skin into wallets and coin purses, making bioplastics for fish packaging, and much more.

There are things you can do to reduce seafood waste:

  1. Choose seafood caught or farmed via environmentally sound methods.
  2. Don’t be afraid to purchase frozen seafood. 
  3. If possible, buy whole fish straight from the source.  
  4. Find uses for your leftover seafood. 

“If current trends in overfishing and ocean pollution continue, scientists estimate that we’ll run out of seafood by 2050. Reducing global seafood loss will not only cut down on waste and reduce the amount of discards dumped back into the ocean, it’ll help combat overfishing and hopefully maintain a protein-rich supply of seafood to nourish a growing global population.” – Sierra Club

Tomorrow, the amount of waste one person creates in a year.

Blankets That Keep You Warm and Help the Planet

Day 324 – With the cold weather upon us, it got me thinking about blankets. There is nothing better then a warm blanket to cozy up to during the winter months. I started looking for eco-friendly blankets. I found quite a few companies that offer organic cotton and even alpaca wool. When it comes to price these blankets were on the high end. As mentioned, I love a cozy blanket, but not for over $200.

As I continued looking, I came across Rumpl. Their mission is to introduce the world to better blankets. They also want to do that in a responsible and sustainable way.

Looking to the future responsibly means thinking sustainably. This means that we prioritize scaling our business responsibly with the “long-haul” in mind, never too fast or recklessly. We seek ways to reduce our impact on the planet by incorporating recycled materials in our products and leveraging transportation options that reduce our carbon footprint. And finally, when possible, we leverage our voice and our influence as a platform for social good.” – Rumpl

Here’s how they’re doing it:

  1. Whenever possible they use post-consumer recycled materials in their products. Through that effort they will have up-cycled millions of discarded plastic bottles since Fall 2019.
  2. From bottle to blanket. They use discarded plastic bottles and recycle them into the synthetic insulation and polyester that make up their best-selling products.
  3. Their synthetic insulation is made from recycled plastic bottles, and their natural down feathers are sourced humanely and ethically.
  4. Rumpl has been a member of 1% For the Planet since 2017 and are Climate Neutral Certified, meaning they offset the carbon emissions of their entire company. In 2021, they officially became a Certified B Corporation.
  5. They also support a number of local and grass root organizations.

If you’re looking for a blanket that will make you feel good inside and out, than Rumpl is exactly what you’re looking for.

Tomorrow, celebrating World Fisheries Day.

Keeping the Toilet Bowl Clean

Day 323 – Happy World Toilet Day! I thought it was the perfect day to talk about keeping your toilet bowl clean in an environmentally friendly way. On Day 21, I wrote about Blueland and their line of cleaning products. The people friendly ingredients are packaged in compostable bags. When the tablets are added to water in reusable bottles, various cleaning products are produced.

I was very excited when I heard Blueland added toilet bowl tablets to their product line. One tablet and a toilet brush and you have yourself a clean bowl. The Toilet Cleaner Set comes with a tin and 14 tablets. Refill tablets come in a compostable bag, so absolutely no waste.

Another great way to celebrate World Toilet Day is to help build toilets in countries where they are not available. Who Gives a Crap donates 50% of their profits to ensure everyone has access to clean water and a toilet within our lifetime. They offer toilet paper made from 100% recycled paper or bamboo. It is packaged in brightly colored paper, so there is no plastic to discard. We have been using Who Gives a Crap since January and LOVE this company so much!

The next time you are in the bathroom think about the 3.6 billion people living without access to safely managed sanitation. Poor sanitation contaminates drinking-water sources, rivers, beaches and food crops, spreading deadly diseases among the wider population. It’s a convenience we usually take for granted.

Tomorrow, eco-friendly blankets.

Vacuuming Carbon Dioxide from the Sky

Day 322 – A Swiss company, Climeworks, has designed a way to remove the carbon dioxide out of the air. The direct air capture devices capture the carbon dioxide which can then be turned into useful materials. The first plant was opened in Switzerland in 2017. They just opened their fifteenth plant this summer in Iceland.

The removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere is helping the environment in a few ways. First, by removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, it is decreasing greenhouse gases which contributes to global warming. Second, the captured carbon can be used for fuels and plastic. This prevents the need for more fossil carbon dioxide.

Another material produced from the captured carbon dioxide is cement.

Materials made from atmospheric carbon could be transformative for the construction and built environment sector, which together are responsible for an estimated 40 per cent of global emissions.” – Dezeen.com

Since buildings stand for a long time, long term carbon storage is possible.

Climeworks is not proposing to help decarbonize the global economy; instead, it is proposing to help defossilize it. This means leaving remaining fossil reserves in the ground to prevent new carbon emissions from entering the atmosphere.” – Dezeen.com

It has become very clear that we can not continue at the rate we are going when it comes to carbon emissions. Something needs to happen and it needs to happen now. Waiting another 30 years for countries to commit to zero carbon emissions is 30 years too long. Climeworks hasn’t come up with a solution to global warming, but they have found a key component in fighting the battle against a warming planet.

You can become a Climate Pioneer be helping remove carbon dioxide from the air. Start making your impact today!

Tomorrow, keeping the toilet clean.

What is a Green Restaurant?

Day 321 – On our road trip this summer, I noticed a sign on the window of the Grand Canyon Lodge’s restaurant. It got me thinking about what is involved in becoming a Green Restaurant.

Founded in 1990, The Green Restaurant Association, an international nonprofit organization, has pioneered the Green Restaurant® movement as the leading voice within the industry, encouraging restaurants to green their operations using transparent, science-based certification standards. With its turnkey certification system, the GRA has made it accessible for thousands of restaurants to become more environmentally sustainable in Energy, Water, Waste, Food, Chemicals, Disposables, & Building.” – Green Restaurant Association

The Green Restaurant Certification Standards include 8 categories:

  1. Water efficiency
  2. Waste reduction and recycling
  3. Sustainable durable goods and building materials
  4. Sustainable food
  5. Energy
  6. Reusables and environmentally preferable disposables
  7. Chemical and pollution reduction
  8. Transparency and education

If you want to find a Green Restaurant near you click HERE!

Green Restaurant Association also wants to educate the public. You can find more information about the following topics regarding restaurants and the environment.

  1. Energy
  2. Water
  3. Waste
  4. Disposables
  5. Chemicals
  6. Building
  7. Food

Whether if we’re eating at home or dining out, we should try to make sure our impact on the planet is not a negative one.

Tomorrow, vacuuming sky to clean up carbon emissions.