I’ve been trying to create ways to reduce my own eco footprint, and to tell you the truth, it doesn’t come naturally to me.
In part, this new journey has begun because my followers have helped me see that it was time. While initially I felt defensive, it also really ignited my journey and helped me realize: “If not us, then who? And if not now, then when?” Of course I want to make this a fun adventure, and you have met me with such enthusiasm and encouragement, so thank you for that. I like the way we are accepting each other where we are, while helping each other reach the next phase.
I admit that I’m beginning with small steps, like eliminating paper towels and using cloth tea towels for almost everything, I’m working on being more water concious including, reusing my vegetable and pasta water to water my plants. I’ve discovered Colony Co reusable bags…and I’m replacing all of my plastic bags with cloth bags, both at home and at the grocery store. Some of my favorite ideas are repurposing leftovers, buying local, in season and organic produce and using and reusing glass jars. You can even start with something as simple as turning off the water when you brush your teeth.
I also wanted to share a page that I really admire, Heidi Violet @zerowastechica. I am really inspired by the way that she is quietly and humbly sharing what she knows from a place of inclusiveness as opposed to a place of judgement. She is definitely a person making a difference in the world and I wanted to include her ideas and share her page. Heidi’s philosophy is to live with intention…we don’t inherit the earth from our ancestors but we borrow it from our children. She is an advocate for DIY, alternative and zero waste aspirational living. She incorporates traditions from her Mexican heritage to the intentional living tips, support and guidance she offers anyone in pursuit of a greener lifestyle. She shared her favorite tips about how to minimize waste in the kitchen with me:
“The easiest way to minimize waste for me has been to save — save vegetable scraps (like the peels and ends of carrot, onion, potato, garlic, celery, corn cob, wilted herbs, etc.) in a paper bag or container in the freezer to later turn into vegetable stock. Save the peels of all your citrus (oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit, etc.) the same way to later turn into an all-purpose cleaner for your home. When you bake that apple pie save your peels and cores (the same way, bless you freezer!) to later turn into apple scrap vinegar that can be used for cooking or hair rinsing. Pasta water can be saved to add to soups, sauces and beans for extra flavor and thickening. When you wash your produce have a container in the sink catching all the water for your ornamental plants. If you make your own plant milk (almonds, cashews, oat, etc.) save the pulp for cookies, granola or crackers. Cutting strawberries for a snack? Save the tops for a nutritious smoothie. Cucumber butts love to flavor water. The easiest way to minimize waste in the kitchen, is to save.”
Below are some of my favorite items that are helping me on my journey to reduce my footprint along with some follower favorites too! Even if this all feels overwhelming, you can start with a single step. Click here for some ideas on how to start your journey to reduce your eco footprint. If you have suggestions that you would like to share, feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org.
This durable bag is made from heavy duty waxed canvas – stain resistant and easy to clean. The design was inspired by a standard brown paper grocery bag and has high quality stitching and seam work that make it strong and built to last. It’s also biodegradable and vegan friendly – free of any synthetic or plastic based materials and free of animal based materials such as leather or beeswax. Dimensions: 17 x 12 x 7 inches
The lunch bag is made from the same great heavy duty as the grocery bag, so it’s built to last. The simple design is highly functional – no buckles or zippers, waxed canvas rolls down and stays put. Use for lunch or to carry all kinds of items. Great as a small grocery bag too, for those quick trips to the store for one or two items. It’s also biodegradable and vegan friendly – free of any synthetic or plastic based materials and free of animal based materials such as leather or beeswax. It’s now available 5 fun colors. Dimensions: 14 x 8 x 5 inches
These bags are called “produce bags” but there are so many more ways to use them. Travel, organize your suitcase, use as a toiletry bag, in a tote or purse, carry small sports equipment. Use when shopping for anything…clothes, shoes and of course your produce and groceries and store all kinds of food and other household items. Made of natural, unbleached cotton, these bags are polyester and nylon free as well as biodegradable. These bags have a tightly woven mesh, double stitched seams and a stainless steel cord lock on the drawstring, so they are built to last. The TARE weight is clearly labeled on each bag so a store cashier can easily deduct the weight when ringing up foods. 10 piece multi pack contains: 3 Large (17 x 11 inches), 4 Medium (13 x 11), 3 Small (8 x 11).
Just like the produce bags, these bags have multiple functions. The tighter mesh means you can carry and store smaller items. They were designed to be perfect for shopping in bulk bins for foods like nuts, granola, grains and seeds. Made of natural, durable, unbleached cotton the bags are machine washable and dryable (on lower heat to avoid shrink). The TARE weight is clearly labeled on each bag so a store cashier can easily deduct he weight when ringing up foods. The six piece pack contains: 2 Large (15 x 12 inches) 2 Medium (12 x 10) 2 Small (10 x 8)
The combination pack gets you started on the road to being plastic free! Package contains 10 bags: Six mesh Reusable Produce Bags: 2 Large (17 x 11 inches) 2 Medium (13 x 11) 2 Small (8 x 11) | Four muslin Reusable Bulk Bin Bags: 1 Large (15 x 12 inches) 2 Medium (12 x 10) 1 Small (10 x 8)
The Swag Reusable produce bags
The Swag is a great option for those wanting to keep produce fresh longer, giving them more time to use what they buy and cutting down on food waste. Made from three different layers of 100% natural unseeded, unbleached cotton, the Swag is machine washable and will last for years. No more plastic bags while shopping, use the grocery shopping bag to carry fruits and vegetables. The Swag works by creating an environment of fresh air and added humidity. It can be used wet or dry in or out of the refrigerator. You can find most sizes on Amazon and bundle packages at The Swag website.
- Long – For longer vegetables like celery, spinach, leeks.
- Large – Great for storing bigger items.
- Small – Perfect for a bunch of herbs or smaller leafy greens.
Stasher bags were created out of one mom’s desire to reduce plastic waste while keeping food fresh and safe for consumption. Made of 100% pure platinum grade silicone (which is derived from natural silica and oxygen, like glass), Stasher bags can be used and reused in a variety of ways! Food storage, sous vide cooking, packing lunches and snacks as well as airtight storage of toiletry items for travel or any way you would use a ziploc bag. The bags are free of fillers or petroleum-based products so no BPA, BPS, lead, latex, or phthalates. While there are differing opinions about substituting silicone for plastic in the zero waste community, these bags are just one option to reducing plastic consumption.
I am totally loving my stainless steel straws! I’m using them every day in my iced tea…and it’s been a really easy step in eliminating disposable plastic straws.
Using cloth napkins are not only an easy way to reduce disposable paper napkin use, but a beautiful one. My cabinet is full of colorful and festive napkins that I love!
You know that I use these jars to store everything…and of course to send friends home with leftovers. Reusable again and again!
A natural alternative to plastic wrap. These wraps are washable, reusable and compostable and made from sustainable and organic materials.
A great non stick alternative to parchment paper and cooking spray. Easy to use and makes clean up easy too! BPA free and non toxic.
So many aspiring “zero waste-rs” never leave home without their sustainable, reusable flatware/cutlery. There are many options out there…this kit by Bambaw is one of the coolest.
Part of @zerowastechica’s basic equipment for waste reduction are coffee brewing and drinking accessories. And guess what? Used coffee grounds make amazing compost for your garden!!
Make great hot brewed coffee, made from organic, sustainable cotton – easy clean up and long lasting.
A perfect kit for making smooth cold brew at home.
If you like your coffee to go….a reusable coffee tumbler is a must (good “for here” too) Insulated to keep your coffee hot (or cold!).
Durable, long lasting, free of BPA and harmful toxins. Insulated to keep your water cold for up to 24 hours!
If you prefer a glass bottle….this is a winner!
These phone cases protect your smart phone while reducing land fill!