Is going green driving you nuts?
Put down the conventional cashews and take a breath.
It's easy to feel like any little effort you make is just awash in the larger environmental picture. Aside from flying less, walking more, and learning to love a dirty car, here are a few smart, sexy, screwball ways to stay sane in the age of climate disruption.
Photos by the incredible Marjorie Salvaterra. This post is shared content with Model Environment.
I feel naked without my reusable bags. Luckily, I live in Los Angeles, a that city looked at the negative economic and environmental impacts associated with single use bags and axed those suckers from stores. Just in case I pop into CVS or Trader Joe’s while I’m out and about, I keep a small reusable bag in my purse at all times. I’ve collected bags from all over the United States, and they always make great conversation pieces in the checkout line.
Whip out your reusable bags for bulk items like beans (remember the slow cooker you got for Christmas last year?) and produce. My sister made me a set of drawstring bags from the remnants of other sewing projects. They don’t add to the weight of bulk products, and they help reduce the number of plastics in circulation.
In the Bedroom
Last night was amazing... those organic cotton sheets felt so good. Why? According to the Sustainable Cotton Project, conventional cotton farming uses about 25% of the world’s insecticides and more than 10% of the pesticides--it’s a terrifically dirty crop. You can rest better knowing that you’re not sleeping in a den of chemicals. For all the action in the bedroom that takes place when you’re not asleep, Greenpeace has some awesome tips for ecofriendly sexy times.
Hate to break it to you, but we all have skeletons in our closets... rayon, nylon, polyester. Hold an exorcism for your wardrobe by buying clothes made of sustainable materials or purchasing preowned clothing. If you’re a fashionista who needs the latest trends, check out these ecodesigners.
Look Good, Feel Good
Nothing beats eating fruits and veggies grown in your own backyard, but if you’re like me, your backyard consists of 12-square-feet of balcony in the middle of a giant city. Beautify your concrete heaven with a potted garden--perfect for raising your own tomatoes, basil, peppers, and more. Now I’m hungry for pizza.
Composting isn’t for everyone, but it can help your garden soar. Take something as simple as coffee grounds. Removing that alone from your landfill waste make a difference. There are even some cool looking countertop compost bins available so you can stay sleek while saving the planet, one apple core at a time. Check out these easy composting tips (and send me your homemade pizza recipes!).
The 3 Rs
Okay, okay--I’m probably the only person who plays this much with her recycling, but even you can use many of these materials again. Need a piece of cardboard to trace a pattern? Open up a used cereal box. Give a milk cartons a second life as a small planter for your home garden. Painting your next masterpiece? Mix and store your novel colors in plastic soda bottles. When you’re truly finished, rinse and drop ‘em back in the recycling bin. Learn your city's most up-to-date recycling rules here.
Reduce your recycling footprint by making your own “milk” or purchasing refillable bottles from your local dairy. Verse yourself in the minutiae of recycling from the EPA and note the ecological and economical benefits of recycling plastic, glass, and aluminum.
Without my furry felines Spanky and Wamba, I wouldn’t know who I am, and as the steward of what goes in and comes out of my kitties, I’ve been through my fair share of eco-dilemmas. First things first: you absolutely cannot leave your animal’s poo on the street/hiking path/neighbor’s yard. It’s a public health risk. Traditional kitty litter has sodium bentonite, a clay that clumps when wet. That may be convenient for scooping, but it’s no good for kitty’s body or the planet. Those clays are often strip-mined from mountains--a terribly destructive practice. And because those clay materials are already in their natural state, clumped cat litter that ends up in landfills accounts for about two million tons of trash per yet. Now that really stinks. There are a host of new earth friendly litter options on the market including recycled pine, newspapers, and corn. Find a litter that works best for you and your kitties.
The question remains: what do you do with the actual poo? Simple Ecology has a comprehensive post on what to do with doggy droppings (spoiler--it’s not using plastic bags and trashing them). As for kitties, because flushing isn’t an option, and “biodegradable” bags are arguable at best, just make sure that the bags are made from biobased plastics. Please check with your local Bureau of Sanitation to learn how it recommends disposing of animal waste. In short, there are no bonus points for pet care, but remember what Helen Keller said, “I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something.”
Plus, you got to see me scooping poop in an evening gown with salad tongs. That alone was worth the read, right?