environment

Plastic Free July - Day 14: Go Meatless

bone collective studio | plastic free July | meatless mondays

If you are a meat eater and you haven’t heard of meatless Mondays, this one is for you. According to this article from Scientific American, beef and lamb production and distribution is responsible for 10-40 times the amount of greenhouse gases than typical vegetables and grains. This is because livestock is fed corn, soybean, and other grains that use large amounts of fertilizer, fuel, pesticides, water and land.

I’m not going to try to convince you to give up meat entirely. I haven’t been able to convince my husband or any family (except my super cool niece!) But - simply by forgoing meat for one day a week, you are helping. Love meat? There are so many great alternatives, like Beyond Meat, Impossible Burger, Gardein chicken tenders that taste just like McNuggets and many more.

bone collective studio | plastic free July | meatless mondays

Side note: I became pescatarian in 2007. The world of fresh, exciting vegetables and dishes has not even begun to open up to you until you get rid of meat from your plate. There are gorgeous and delicious vegetables that you can do so much with. If you are up for a new adventure, start cooking meat free. Here are my absolute must have cookbooks.

If, like me, you are already not eating meat. Great job! Now how about dairy and eggs? These are made from animals, and if you’ve ever driven up the 5 freeway from LA to SF, you know the stink. It’s beyond sad what those dairy cows have to go through, that’s no life to live. But it’s also terrible for the environment. By not buying or eating dairy, you help curb that. There are plenty of dairy alternatives, and hey, plant based eating is better for your health, so it’s a win win!

Challenge yourself and give meatless Mondays a try, every little bit helps. And for the rest of the time, purchase your meat and dairy from local, sustainable sources. You will pay more, and in the end, that will make you purchase less and the more of us that make these small changes together, the quicker the policies will change. That’s what we are really after here.





Plastic Free July - Day 13: Buy cleaner energy

A few years ago now I learned about this amazing company, Arcadia Power. I don’t recall how it came on my radar, but I instantly signed up.

Here’s the simple version of what they do: The handle your utility bill and by doing so, find you renewable resources near you, buy carbon offsets for your energy usage on your behalf, invest into wind and solar for your power usage, AND actively look for lower rates to get you the best deal on your electrical usage.

I mean, come on, how could you not sign up for this?!

Another super cool thing they do is helpful for us renters out there - you can buy into a community solar panel. I bought into one and it’s so cool to see a little bit of savings each month and to remember that I have a solar panel out there (in DC, as it turns out). Also, I moved from LA to Boston - the process is SUPER easy to move your account with Arcadia, and I can always go back and look at my bills from my place in LA too to compare energy usage and such.

I’m going to share some screen shots with you so you can see how awesome Arcadia Power is. Use my links to start your account so I can get that referral discount! I promise I don’t share anything I’m not 100% passionate about and totally behind. I am completely obsessed with Arcadia Power and tell my friends about it whenever possible. Not that energy usage comes up often - so I’m super happy to finally have put this into writing.

This is my bill from June

This is my bill from June

This is the solar project I’ve invested in!

This is the solar project I’ve invested in!

I’m so happy to share more about this to anyone who wants to ask my any and all questions. I hope you join Arcadia and help bring our country into the renewable energy future!

This is my wind energy report

This is my wind energy report



Plastic Free July - Day 11: Get a biodegradable toothbrush

What in the heck does it mean to be a biodegradable toothbrush?

bone collective studio | plastic free July | compostable toothbrush

Like everything else, it means that it’s made of natural materials that came from the earth, not manufacturer by humans. Therefore, it will eventually degrade back to the earth instead of sitting in a landfill for thousands of years, or worse - floating in the ocean making our marine life sick.

You also want to be careful when looking at brands that claim to be compostable and/or biodegradable because I’m seeing so many that make this claim but their bristles are nylon!

Remember, we are supposed to swap toothbrushes every 3 months - that means if you stick to the typical plastic, you alone are putting 4 toothbrushes into the landfill every year.

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There is Preserve, who uses recycled plastic and accepts the toothbrushes back to recycle. But remember your R’s: Refuse, Reuse, Reduce, Repurpose, and finally - Recycle. Recycle is the last thing you should do if there are no other alternatives. Luckily, there are, so sorry Preserve, I choose to Reduce over Recycle in this case.

This is something I only just switched to and I’m still working through brands as I just went to Whole Foods to start and bought the bamboo toothbrush they had there. I don’t love how big the brush is in my small mouth, so I am looking for something with better proportions for me. But natural wood toothbrushes are everywhere these days, so look and you will find! I’d love to hear from you what is working well for you.

Plastic Free July - Day 16: Drink from glass

bone collective studio | plastic free July | drink from glass

I’ll begin by admitting that this is not the easiest thing to remember. I was diligent all last July and I always had my glass jar with me in my giant tote bag, along with the already mentioned glass straws, bamboo utensils, etc. But now I often find myself out and about with nothing - I haven’t carried my giant tote with me since moving the Boston. It’s freeing, but it also means I don’t have my things that help me stay plastic free.

But - this is one of the best things you can do in the summer when you know you’ll be buying iced drinks - like tea, coffee, or smoothies. I personally use the jars leftover after I’ve finished my coconut oil from Trader Joes.

Plastic Free July - Day 10: Reusable coffee cups

Let’s Talk Coffee and Tea and Juice and whatever.

This is NOT what you want

This is NOT what you want

No doubt you realize that the lid on your take away coffee cup is plastic and not easily recyclable. Maybe, like me, you stop taking the lid, walking extremely slowly trying so hard not to spill your precious hot drink all over yourself. Once it finally gets low enough in the cup, you gratefully pick up your cadence a bit.

But did you also know that most likely the cup itself is not compostable or recyclable? Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but that cup is most likely lined with plastic.

Yes, seriously.

So it’s going straight to the landfill and not doing anything good for our planet. I did just read that Starbucks is beginning to try out recyclable and compostable cups, but we shouldn’t count on that, we should be bringing our own!

That’s why you should get your own reusable coffee cup! My Byta has such cute options. However, it’s likely that you already have one (or two, or ten) lying around your house. So the best thing you can do it to use one you already have rather than purchasing something new. Trust me, when I started seeing my friends with their My Byta’s I almost bought one, but I’m still using my bright green one I bought at Target years ago - even though I don’t think it’s the cutest and I don’t love that it’s made of plastic (recycled plastic, but still) It was the best option because now I’ve kept that (likely non-recyclable) coffee cup out of the landfill and I use it all the time.


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Maybe you saw this on my instagram story last week? I was at Render Coffee in Boston and like many other coffee shops, they don’t have “for here” glasses for cold drinks - only for hot. So even though I was dining in, I had them fill my green thermos with my cold drink.

That brings me to my final thought: Have your coffee or tea at the cafe! I understand we don’t all have the luxury of time to do that, but when you do, go for that option.

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If, like me, you have a hard time remembering to bring your reusable cup, my tip is to have a go bag at the ready next to you door or to keep it in your car. I like to use Plastic Free July as a time to reset and set these habits in place, and I find that it makes sticking true to them the rest of the year much easier to maintain.

Plastic Free July - Day 09: Just Say No to Straws

bone collective studio_plastic free July_reusable straws

What’s the big deal?

You might have already heard about this one: single-use plastic straws are beginning to be restricted and banned all over the country.

When this slowly started happening in Los Angeles last year, I didn’t think this was a big deal on me, since I don’t drink sodas. Until I realized my daily iced tea or iced latte from Coffee Bean would be more difficult to drink on the go. Thanks again to Plastic Free July last year, I bought my first glass straws.

Metal or Glass?

A lot of people prefer metal straws - go for whatever you like! As I write this, I’m sitting in The Wing, sipping an iced London Fog through a metal straw.

People often ask me about being scared drinking through a glass straw. Don’t worry, they won’t break in your mouth! They are very durable, thick glass, and not at all scary. I’m personally not into the metal because it gets too cold for my lips. Plus, the glass straws from Simply Straws, where I purchased mine, come in all sorts of fun colors and in their own little fabric case and include a brush to more easily clean them, even on the go!

 
Simply Straws just launched this frosted collection and I am obsessed with it!

Simply Straws just launched this frosted collection and I am obsessed with it!

 

On the Go

I’m a big fan for purchasing one that comes in a carrying case as you are more likely to remember to keep it in your backpack or purse. Or maybe you are often on the go in your car with your kids. If so, get one for each member of the family and keep them in your glove box. Check out the one below I found on Amazon with cute little bamboo carrying cases!

Always Paper over Plastic

Of course, you may find yourself at a bar, sipping a cocktail through a paper straw. That’s ok too! Paper is a great, compostable alternative to plastic if you must. There are also some hipster bars using actual straw straws which is just super cool. Or go without a straw! Whatever you do, being conscious of not using one time use plastic straws is a great start.

Plastic Free July - Day 08: Did you think about your dental floss?

Flossing, when done as your dentist recommends (and we all know that we are all following THAT standard, wink wink) produces an absurd amount of plastic that is rarely making it into recycling facilities. According to Dental Lace’s website, if everyone in the U.S. flosses their teeth according to ADA recommendations, every year our empty containers alone would fill a landfill the size of a football field that’s 6 stories high.

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I found this out last year during my first Plastic Free July and I’ve since switched to Dental Lace. I love it! It’s tiny and cute. The glass container will last forever - or until you break it AND floss itself is biodegradable. It’s a total win win. AND they just launched a vegan floss (not made of silk) that is plastic free and compostable.

‘Scuse me while I go stock up!

Plastic Free July - Day 07: Tote Bags for everything

Don’t forget your tote bags!

bone collective studio_plastic free July_tote bags

God knows you have at least 20 cloth tote bags or other various grocery bags lying around. Do yourself a favor now and put them all together in one place that you won’t forget when you are headed to the: 1. grocery store. 2. Target (or other big box store) 3. Pharmacy 4. Farmer’s Market

I’ve been lucky to live in two cities where plastic bags are outlawed. In 2009, right after moving to LA, they passed a law outlawing plastic bags at grocery stores (which doesn’t mean that retail stores and pharmacies didn’t still have them, FYI) Then, wouldn’t you know it: the day I moved to Boston, a law there went into effect banning plastic bags and charging a fee for paper bags.

Of course you already know that I always carry my re-usable bags with me. Here’s where I keep them and how I don’t forget:

  1. I have my farmer’s market bag all packed up with an extra tote bag inside the wide tote bag as well as all of my cloth produce bags. This is stored in my coat closet so I will grab it on my way out the door. In LA, we never had a coat closet (didn’t need one!) so I kept these in a console next to the door and when I was lazy, just sitting on the floor right next to the door

  2. Keep a ton of bags in the back seat or trunk of your car. That way, if you happen to shop while you are out when you didn’t expect to, your bags are already there! This is also the main place to keep your bags if you always drive to the grocery store and farmers market.

  3. Fold up a small tote bag and keep it in your purse or backpack. That way when you find yourself out and about and you decide to make a purchase, you can just whip out your tote bag to hold it in!

I’m going to be totally true to myself here and skip the affiliate links for totes that I think are ‘cute’

Here’s why: You don’t need your tote bags to be cute! These things should be functional and honestly, if you don’t have a million of them already from events, public radio, races, etc. Then take this as a notice that you should start going to more local events - like craft fairs and such. Or maybe sign up for that 5k you have been thinking about doing for some time now. Or donate to KCRW…you know they won’t shut up about it during their pledge drives. But if none of these things sounds good to you, go ahead and buy whatever tote you that speaks to you. I like to buy them sometimes when I travel. My favorite is the one I got from the Barcelona Pavilion with Mies van Der Rohe’s words “Less is More.”