Reducing waste through upcycling, repurposing, refashioning and reloving.

Showing posts with label zero waste living. Show all posts
Showing posts with label zero waste living. Show all posts

Reusable Advent Calendar and DIY Holiday Cards

Season's greetings fab friends! I realize that it's a bit late to be sharing an idea for a reusable advent calendar, but hey... maybe it'll provide some last-minute inspiration for some of you! And the embroidered cards are super-easy to make, so it's not too late to try them.

In case you hadn't noticed, the theme this year is YARN. I wondered just how far I could stretch a single ball and I already have my answer: far! Nope, not spinning you a tall tale... everything you see below was done with one ball and I have plenty left to finish this year's batch of cards.

Up first: instructions for the cards. Scroll down for the advent calendar tutorial!  

March Upcycling Madness

This year I've been participating in Joanne Hawker's #MarchMeetTheMaker challenge on Instagram. As I write this post, the month is drawing to an end and the challenge is closing in on 453,000 posts!

Overall it's been an eye-popping, inspiring experience... but Day 11 was the biggest day for me. The challenge prompt that day: reducing waste. I spent the whole damn day on Instagram - no exaggeration. Not only did I interact with hundreds of new-to-me, waste-conscious makers, I ended the day truly pumped by the number of people who expressed concern about their packaging waste, noted that they're using clean energy, and pointed out that, outside of their businesses, they do everything they can to avoid single-use plastic etc.


Below are just a few of the makers who stood out. The big takeaway: if you don't already have enough reasons to support small, solopreneurs, here's another one. The stuff they bring into the world is not only made with care. It's made with a conscience.

What’s pearly white and green all over? Tom’s of Maine toothpaste!

Thank you Tom's of Maine for sponsoring this post.

When I committed to trimming my waste in 2016, I happily replaced my plastic toothbrush with one made from bamboo and started making my own deodorant. I did not, however, commit to DIY toothpaste - I’ve had too many issues with my mouth over the years. What I did, instead, was switch to Tom’s of Maine.

Why Tom’s? Because besides being a leading natural products company, they are committed to sustainable practices across the board. The Tom’s of Maine Stewardship Model guides every decision the company makes ensuring that ingredients, processing and packaging meet rigorous standards for being natural, sustainable and responsible. The company has published zero waste goals and all their packaging is recyclable through a partnership with TerraCycle or participating municipalities.

45 ways to make less trash.

At the beginning of 2016, I committed to trimming my waste. After years of using this blog to gently reinforce the message that mindless consumerism is a problem, I decided to take off the gloves. Inspired by the zero-waste movement, I joined Be Zero's #makelesstrash2016 challenge and declared my intention for the year: to trim my waste. Because we are literally consuming ourselves. And we need to wake up.

Thanks to the generous (and robust) zero-waste community I've become a part of, I'm reminded often to stop worrying about the word "zero". Zero waste is an industrial term being applied to a lifestyle. It refers to a circular-based economy where we design without waste as an end product. We don't yet have the infrastructure, laws, or consumer demand to move us from our current linear economy to something circular. Zero waste is a goal - the lifestyle is not to be taken literally. That's why we need to educate ourselves on materials, on resources, and on how we can give companies the incentive to make change. We have to simplify and become resourceful, thrifty, and community-centered again. We have to rethink the way we consume. And we have to make less trash.

What have I learned this year? That every small change matters. That avoiding plastic packaging is incredibly difficult. That avoiding single-use plastic is not nearly so difficult. And that putting my money - and my energy - where my values are is worth it.

Here are 45 tips, takeaways and learnings from 51 weeks of trimming my waste: 

Trimming my waste: Week 31 (refashion giveaway!)

Goals - Week 31:

  • Give away what I don't need
  • Say thanks for all the support I've been given
  • Encourage all of you to upcycle and relove! 

I'm 31 weeks into my challenge! I'm celebrating this milestone by giving away lovely books I don't need. Because I now have multiple copies of them.

Waste? Not! - Day 5 Trimming my waste ...

Enter the Trashy Crafter giveaway! Closes midnight 1/24

I'm moving next weekend. Not country, or city... just apartment. And I'm looking forward to it! I've moved a lot in my life and have found that it's always a good opportunity not only to purge and organize, but also change habits. This recent NY Times article by Prof Wendy Wood backs me up! 

"To create or change a habit, you have to think much more about altering your environment and patterns of living than work on steeling your mind, because behavior is very much a product of environment. That’s why it’s sometimes easiest to start or break a habit during a major transition. This may sound counterintuitive, but a new house, job or relationship breaks old patterns...” 

And what habits do I want to change? Well, I want to get a little closer to walking the walk of this blog. I love turning trash into fun or useful stuff. But I still produce too much of it. My recycling fills up too fast. I still buy too much prepackaged food. I have not yet tried to compost.  

As part of the Trashy Crafter giveaway, I've asked people to share their go-to ways of keeping stuff out of landfills. What I'm hearing is inspiring; so ... I'm going to try to take the next step. "Waste? Not!" will now be the title of a weekly post (possibly more often, but baby steps!). I'll share with you the steps I'm taking, the lessons I learn and the obstacles I face along the way. 

I'm going to draw on the wisdom of Bea Johnson (Zero Waste Home) and Lauren Singer (Trash is for Tossers)Bea Johnson's blog and book chronicle her family's transition to living a zero-waste life. For a quick overview of her 10 Tips for a Zero-Waste Household, read this! Lauren Singer, inspired by Bea, took on the challenge herself and the resulting blog is beautiful! Lauren has condensed her advice into two steps (read them here). She's also condensed her waste. Two years worth fit into a jar: 

Bea has a husband and children, is self-employed and lives in CA. Lauren is single in NYC and is launching her own company. I'm employed full-time, live in an apartment in Chicago and am responsible for one little girl who will start Kindergarten in the fall. Ro (my 4.5-yr old) recently made the following comment during an episode of Pocoyo: "instead of throwing all that stuff away, they could make something. Or they could take it apart to see how it works like I did with my clock!"

Truth be told, that little outburst from her is what is really driving me to try this. She's old enough to participate fully. She gets a huge kick out of making things herself. And she's just as delighted as I am by the transformation of junk into usable "items".

So here we go ... :)

Waste? Not! Day 2 - Trashy Crafter Giveaway

Welcome to Waste? Not! Day 2. This week I'm questioning the word "WASTE" and celebrating people and organizations who do the same. They see potential in the discarded. They use it to make something useful. Something beautiful. Something that reminds us that our definition of "disposable" has become dangerously distorted over time. Kicking us off: a giveaway from the wonderful Trashy Crafter. Kim was a guest blogger last summer. Very simply, she and her mom keep books out of landfills.