Tag Archives: disposables


27 Feb


To close off the month of February and our theme of disposables, we wanted to leave you with a reflection on habits.  Many of us have great intentions of living with less waste however when we are confronted with a challenge it is difficult to live out our ideals.  In those moments we are more likely to make decisions based on our defaults, our habits – what we’ve always done or what seems most convenient.

One aspect to developing a life with less waste is to make a habit of reducing the number of disposable products we depend on.  Cultivating environmentally sustainable habits promotes new skills, resiliency, and reduces waste.

Susan Pokorny of pure home and body offers this reflection,

Ok, before I even begin this article, I’d like to set the record straight. I do not claim to be the Queen of Green. I’ve used plenty of disposable products: paper plates, baby wipes, utensils, and more. I even have a box of plastic straws in my cupboard… Just like you, I’m navigating through this process and trying to consume and throw out less. I’ve had seasons in my life where I’ve relied on disposables more than others, now much less than I used to.



Our culture is a disposable one, it’s convenient, and we are busy. The other weekend I saw The Lorax with one of my kids. It was colorful and lively and I was inspired. One thing that struck me was the “plastic world”. There was no grass, the trees were plastic and had to be blown up, not unlike those holiday yard displays. As I watched, I thought that we are not far from that.

What is our world made of?  Our society in general relies on a lot of man-made, synthetic, disposable, one-time use things: diapers, plates, wrapping paper, snack and food storage bags, water bottles, coffee machine singles, you name it, it’s probably been made into a single-use-plastic-synthetic-version.

We have too many choices   When something breaks, we change our minds, or we just tire of it, it can be easy to find a replacement. I’m going to sound old by saying this, but things just aren’t made the way they used to be. I could spend hours telling you about plastic toys for the kids that didn’t even hold up for an hour after they’ve begun to play with them. Yet, I still have some silk scarves all the kids have played with for 15 years.  They’ve been fashioned into skirts, ropes, gift wrappings, and most recently superhero capes. My point in all this is in our disposable world we do have many long lasting alternatives. Sometimes it just takes a little longer to find, but it’s worth the effort.
Read the full post here.

Check back to our posts in 2011 & 2012 for lots of ideas on how to reduce the number of disposable products you depend on.
Any new eco-habits you’re developing?  Leave us a comment and tell us about them!


Disposable Fashion? Try Reusable Fashion

12 Feb

When I think of one thing that I unnecessarily consume of in excess amounts of it is clothing. As a girl I take pride in how I look and find joy in dressing well and challenging my creativity through my closet. I suppose this isn’t necessarily wrong, but since coming to college I have tried to explore different ways to keep my closet fresh without spending extra money or feeding consumer culture. The reality is that most people (especially women) get sick of their clothes before they grow out of them, or have worn them out. I mean, I have clothes in my closet still that I bought in grade 9 (so 7 years ago) that still fit me, but I always think I will want to wear again some day so I keep them.

I am going to suggest some ways to rotate your closet without spending lots of extra money Imageand consuming more! Also, there are other benefits with these options such as having fun, building community and blessing others.

One tradition we have adopted at the college I attend is doing a “Dorm Sale” every winter. This has been such a neat way to bring girls in our dorm together and to raise money for local organizations. The male dorm also participates, and we have students go through their closets and bring anything they no longer need or want to a designated area in our dorm. For about a month we have this set up and for $2 we can buy anything from the sale. It has been really freeing for me to see clothes I have neglected in my closet for a long time be worn proudly by other girls who make my “old” into something “new”. As we have done this event it has really challenged us to really take a look at the clothes we own and reevaluate if it is necessary to have as much as we do. At the end of the month the clothing that is not sold in dorm is donated to a local ministry in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan called the Bridge on 20th.

The Clothing Exchange in Australia is a clothing swap service that holds events where people Imagecome with up to 6 garments of clothing and leave with up to 6 garments of clothing in exchange. People buy tickets to these events and can attend to down size their closet and/or find some new items for free while getting rid or something old! Just like our dorm sale events, the left over clothing is donated to the Red Cross or another local charity.

The Clothing Exchange is building a sustainable fashion community, bringing like-minded people together and working positively towards the future of a greener world. The swaps are run by devoted little teams across Australia who host events with the intention to swap towards a greener future through the fun of swapping.

Another alternative to clothing exchange is bringing your clothes to your local Plato’s Closet. Here they will go through your clothing and take what they would like to sell and give you either money or store credit for what you have brought in. I have become somewhat ritualistic with bringing clothing, purses, jewelry and other accessories to Plato’s Closet on a regular basis that have been sitting around my house for too many years.

I cannot think of a better way to get rid of my clothes I do not appreciate as much anymore. This way someone else can appreciate what I don’t. Do you participate in any clothing swaps? Tell us what your look like and what your ideas for clothing exchanges are!

Plan a clothing exchange for your next get together with your friends. It’s like going shopping for free- you really can’t lose! (and you’re putting your foot down in the midst of our consumer culture) Go to it!

Easy Alternatives to Everyday Disposables

23 Feb

Seeing as today (Ash Wednesday) is the first day of lent and people all over the world are fasting from their own vices, we thought it would be appropriate to bring up another ‘bad habit’ to change…  Here is a list of common single-use items that are thrown away by the bag full and yet have fairly easy to find, long-lasting alternatives (taken from the good human):
Instead of…

  • Single use ballpoint pens, buy refillable pens.
  • Disposable razors and/or razor cartridges, try a straight razor…or just stop shaving your face.
  • A paper coffee cup, get yourself a reusable coffee mug or thermos.
  • Regular batteries, buy rechargeable ones and a charger.
  • Buying bottled water, get your own reusable bottle and never pay for plastic bottles again.
  • Disposable diapers, look into using unbleached cloth ones.
  • Using plastic wrap at home, get yourself some resealable glass containers.
  • Plastic straws, get your own glass one at GlassDharma.
  • Single-use sponges, buy some washable sponges – they are washing machine friendly.
  • Virgin plastic garbage bags, find ones made from recycled plastic.
  • Plastic utensils on a picnic, bring your metal ones from home.
  • Paper towels, buy some dish rags and keep them handy in a drawer.
  • Tissues, try out a handkerchief!
  • Paper or plastic, bring your own bag when you go shopping.
  • Using the produce bags, just put the produce in your cart. You’re gonna wash it before you eat it anyway!
  • Using plastic bags for bulk purchases, bring your own reusable container. The store will weigh it for you to get the tare weight (the weight of the empty container) before you use it.
  • Using paper coffee filters that get thrown away, get yourself a gold filter that you can wash each day.

Could you make a switch (or 2 or 7?) and shrink the number of garbage bags you put out every month?  If you haven’t already adopted a fast or challenge for this lent season, consider a fast from single-use products…

Plastic’s Days are Numbered

15 Feb

Looking back to our posts focused on disposables of the past we’ve covered event planning, plastic bottles, foam poison and introduced you to Janna who didn’t buy anything made in China for a year…

Today we are writing about the #s 1-7 which label every recyclable plastic and represents the chemical resin it is made from – these plastics are not intended to be single-use disposables but the numbers are often misunderstood and tossed in the garbage instead of sent to a recycling depot…

Sometimes it seems like modern America is one colossal plastic palace. The versatile material is in our cars, toys, packaging, clothing, home goods, food utensils, medical devices and so much more. It is also littering our streets, clogging our waterways and choking marine life. Many plastics can be readily recycled, but how do consumers make sense of all the different types and rules? (The Daily Green)

#1 Plastics PET or PETE (soft drinks, water bottles, mouthwash, etc)
Recycling:Picked up through most curbside recycling programs.

#2 Plastics  HDPE (milk jugs, household cleaners, shampoo bottles, etc)
Recycling:Picked up through most curbside recycling programs, although some allow only those containers with necks.

#3 Plastics  V (Vinyl) or PVC (detergent bottles, cooking oils, clear food packaging, etc)
Recycling: Rarely recycled; accepted by some plastic lumber makers.

#4 Plastics  LDPE (squeezable bottles, bread, frozen food, shopping bags, carpet, etc)
Recycling: LDPE is not often recycled through curbside programs, but some communities will accept it. Plastic shopping bags can be returned to many stores for recycling.

#5 Plastics  PP-polypropylene (yogurt containers, syrup/ketchup bottles, straws, caps, etc)
Recycling: Number 5 plastics can be recycled through some curbside programs.

#6 Plastics  PS-polystyrene (disposable plates/cups, meat trays, egg cartons, take-away containers, etc)
Recycling: Number 6 plastics can be recycled through some curbside programs.

#7 Plastics  Miscellaneous (3-5 gallon water bottles, sunglasses, DVDs, ipod cases, nylon, etc)
Recycling: Number 7 plastics have traditionally not been recycled, though some curbside programs now take them.

For more info visit the Daily Green or Green Guide for helpful tips on managing your plastic use…

Now that you know a little more about your plastics, stay away from #s  3, 4, 6, & 7  which are more difficult to recycle or stay away from plastic entirely and stick with glass!

The 2nd life of plastic bottles

1 Feb

Welcome to February – our theme this month is on disposables and we’ll be focusing on some impressive options. Today we wanted to highlight a few alternative uses for plastic bottles – a very popular item in our garbage cans…

Garbage disposal is a problem everywhere in our Insta-Life society. There are things we simply can’t throw away (the radioactive stuff), things we shouldn’t throw away (the toxic stuff), and lots of stuff we probably should never have made or purchased in the first place. No worries for us because we can just toss our trash away, out of sight and out of mind, while we go about the business of accruing more stuff we don’t really need…right? Wrong. Sadly, we cannot mindlessly toss the trash out of reality, because trash doesn’t magically disappear after it’s been picked up by the collectors.

Our gigantic garbage pits are full to overflowing, mostly with leftover building materials, disposable diapers, and appliances. In the developed countries of the world, each human uses an average 200 pounds of plastic annually. While a tiny amount of the garbage is recycled into durable goods, about half the plastic we produce ends up in the landfills, and the rest of it becomes lost in the environment and ultimately washes out to the sea, to become trapped in a swelling, swirling limbo of heavily polluted ocean gyres, negatively affecting ocean health and, ultimately, every person and being on the entire earth. (Lisa McBride and Paul Richard Harris, Axis of Logic)

So what else can you do with your plastic??  Check out these incredibly creative creations:

Click here or here for more ideas of things you can do with old plastic bottles…
With all these ideas we can surely Reduce, Reuse, Re-purpose and Recycle our plastic and keep it out of the landfills, oceans and parks!!