a day in may

the first day of may was very picturesque here in columbus. today is starting off pretty grand as well. i like what you’re offering so far, may:

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our day included picnic in the park, my first load of laundry out on the line for the year, a prenatal meeting for my june clients, and popsicles and nail painting on the porch. that’s a lot of P activities and it wasn’t on purpose. can you tell darla talked me into letting her paint mine too?  i just had such a good time with her yesterday. it’s during these days that i say in my head “can we just always be this way? can she just stay with me and we’ll read books in the park and go on adventures and she won’t need school, we’ll learn together along the way?”  i guess we’ll find out the answers to those questions in their own time.

actually now that i’ve looked at it longer, sorry about that picture. it’s pretty gross. outdoor feet = funky feet.

may, i give you permission to let all days be just like may day.

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i’ll be posting a few more eco-friendly posts this week in honor of being in the running for Circle of Moms Top 25 Most Eco-Friendly Mom Blogs. If you would be so kind as to vote for me, click on through to the badge below. Thanks!

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what’s inside your zero waste grocery tote?

Welcome to another installment of zero waste home management. I am your host, Elaine Tucker. 

Today we’re taking a look inside my tote bag. I carry this tote every time we hit the grocery.

Step 1: get a tote to hold totes. 

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^^^ As you can see everything you need will still fit inside the tote bag that you already take with you. you take totes to the grocery, right? ^^^

Step 2: put this stuff in it.

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^^^ so here’s the stash laid out. Various containers, bags & my important erasable crayon ^^^

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^^^ so here we can see two other totes that fold up inside the original tote. in the top left hand corner we have lightweight, plastic containers that come in 3 sizes and fit inside one another nicely when empty. these are my bulk item containers. i’ve used the same ones for at least 6 months now with washings in between store trips.  i procured them at market district because that’s where i do most of my bulk shopping but whole foods also has a bag system if you’d rather go that route. I think the plastic containers are easiest and stack in a pantry nicely. You can also see my produce bags peeking out but we’re not ready for you yet, friends  ^^^

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^^^ now we are! fabric produce bags top right hand corner, a saved produce bag does just as well, a reusable plastic bag delegated to rice items since we buy a lot of that at one time and my saved coffee bag for the self-serve whole bean department ^^^

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^^^ my take-out containers center stage. these are used at the deli for meats and cheeses and occasionally for bulk pasta and OLIVES! Bottom left-hand corner is my refillable liquids container for olive or canola oil or balsamic vinegar. i also have a refillable honey bear that didn’t make it into the pic ^^^

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^^^ and this little guy is my secret weapon. it’s my erasable crayon pen so i can write the PLU #s on the top of each container. I’m often letting others borrow it as there is always a shortage of pens in the bulk items section. Any washable marker would do ^^^

are you thinking this looks like a lot of work? like any other habit, once you’re used to it, it doesn’t take much extra time at all. in fact, i save time in the grocery now because i’m not going into the center aisles. everything i need is in the perimeter.

the workability of this systems lies somewhere between turning the car around when you forget the totes and saying “yes, i’ll take paper” when you’ve run out of room in the totes and have some overflow. i’m dedicated enough to make the effort but flexible enough to let it go if i need to use a plastic produce bag every once in a while. plus, you only forget the tote 2 times at the most. after that it’s engrained in your memory FOREVER.

and i didn’t make all these changes at once. i started small and kept adding measures gradually. if you don’t think you can do all of these then focus on the ones you can. I started with the reusable totes and containers for the deli counter and it has progressed from there. it’s about progress not perfection. i personally believe it’s my job as a consumer to make sure i’m making ethical choices. a whole lot of throw away plastic is not ethical for me. so i’ve made progress where and when I can.

have i inspired you yet? please feel free to leave a comment if you do your own zero waste grocery shopping. if anyone has an idea that i’ve left out please leave it in that comment section.

a slightly eco-friendly easter

it was so long ago. why bring it up again now? well, i really like bragging about myself so i’m going to tell all of you how much better i was at saving the earth on easter than you were. in fact, the only person better at saving the earth than me on easter was JESUS.

i applied some zero waste principles to easter:

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1. non-individually wrapped easter candy in a jar. forgo the fake grass, tissue paper and other trimmings. the non-individually wrapped is important and i’m planning on using this jar system for future holidays requiring candy but buying the candy from the bulk section. i think this will also help curb the amount of candy bought and brought into the house.

2. a couple pre-loved, spring friendly articles of clothing from the re-sale shop. i’ve made the decision to only get darker shades for pants from now on due to the smudged knees, dirt and grass stains that every kid deserves the freedom to get.

3. pastel, pre-owned popsicle molds. say good-bye to popsicle wrappers, boxes and sticks. our first round of homemade ones included frozen fruit, cherry juice, avocado, a bit of broccoli, flax seed meal and a smidge of honey.

4. these little ladies and the sidewalk chalk were new. i saw them and thought “now those are some princesses that i can embrace in our household.”  i took a few loads of old toys and clothes to goodwill & resale shops while darla was gone.  darla doesn’t like when i do this so naturally i only do it while she is away. my plan for making it fly this time was a note left behind from e. bunny saying he took the old stuff and brought her a few small items as a thank you for passing her old stuff on. he stroked her ego a little bit commending her on what a great thing she did by giving it away. laying some groundwork as i go, folks. it worked like a charm.

i hope this gives some of you ideas for future holiday celebrations in your own homes. progress not perfection!

2012 waste reduction

People,

this is the time of year when everyone sends out their “best of 2012” lists. last year I reposted lots of my fave photos from the year. this year i want to do something different.

i just watched GasLand and now have a fire re-kindled in my heart to further our waste reduction efforts in the coming year. I know what it feels like to be a mother with all her resources tapped and dwindling. I feel I strongly want to examine ways I can reduce my consumption and maybe even replenish dear old Momma Earth.

I wanted to take a look back at some of the implementations from 2012 that has taken us down to less than one bag of trash a week:

bulk grocery shopping and moving towards a mostly produce based grocery list. not a lot of chips or crackers brought into this house anymore.

started using a compost bin.

clothesline drying laundry in the warm months.

Bikes were our main source of transportation May-October. Mike is still riding his everyday.

lineRuJu

Well, that completes the list of new things for the year. I’m always looking for ways to become more eco-friendly so if anyone has a tip let me know.