green new deal

Plastic Free July - Day 19: Composting!

Why the exclamation point? Because I love composting!

This is a totally new concept to me since last year. When I started down this Plastic Free July path, I learned about everything I could. I quickly realized how ridiculous it is that we (Americans) are throwing our compostable goods into landfills where they can’t properly decompose back into the earth as they are meant to be. Plus, these compostable items are taking up even more space in those landfills.

But how does a city apartment living person compost?

Well, moving to Boston it has actually become much easier! Cambridge, like Santa Monica, has it’s own city composting with green bins. Unfortunately the cities I have actually lived in - LA and Boston - don’t offer this service yet. But Boston has quite a few options like Bootstrap Compost (which has an associated fee), Project Oscar (which is free and where I was dropping off my compost for the first few months of the year), or you can do what I currently do: Drop your compost into your local Whole Foods compost bin. For me, this is the most convenient because I live just a block from the SoWa Whole Foods, so I just walk my compost over when my bag is full.

Ok, but how do you store your compost? I bought this super cute little container which I quickly learned is best kept in the freezer (if you aren’t able to drop off your compost scraps every day) Even though it’s great at blocking the smell of the rotting food, I found when I would drop my scraps off at the end of the week (In LA, I did so at the Motor Avenue farmers market) that everything would be totally moldy, which is just gross.

Ok, so since I’m a bit lazy with this, I now have an old Forever 21 plastic bag (repurpose and reuse, what’s up?!) that lives in my freezers and holds a few weeks worth of food scraps, paper towels, egg crates, and the like. When it’s full, I take it to the Whole Foods or Project Oscar drop. My little compost bin is now used for the “good scraps” like cucumber and onion skins, potato skins, and other ends of veggies so that when it is full, I make broth!

So, don’t you think it’s time your started composting? Give it a try and let me know how it goes!

Plastic Free July - Day 18: Goodbye Fast Fashion

This is a new one to me over the past 6-9 months. It’s not cheap, the research can be tricky, but it is a way to simplify your life and do something better for the planet and people working in the clothing industry. I’m talking about investing in your attire instead of buying cheaply made crap that you might wear once before throwing it out. I’m also talking about purchasing from companies that produce their goods in sustainable ways, have appropriate work environments and wages for their laborers, and who aren’t making attire that is meant to be thrown out each season.

This article has been really helpful to me, in fact, since I found it a few months ago, I haven’t removed it from my open tabs yet so I can keep referring back to it any time I need to add something to my wardrobe.

Another thing that you might not be aware of yet is that a lot of clothing being made is made with plastic. That’s where this really fits into Plastic Free July. Polyester, Nylon, Acetate - these are all man-made plastics that will be on our earth for the foreseeable future. Even if you where that piece of clothing till the day you die - the fibers that are rubbing off with every wear, every wash, are getting into our oceans and causing harm to our marine life. The best thing you can start doing right now is to stop buying clothing that isn’t 100% natural materials. Cotton, Linen, Silk. These are your new friends.

Sometimes the sacrifices I have to make are challenging. I don’t love the idea of leather because I don’t eat cows, so I feel I shouldn’t be wearing them. However, I try to research the leather in my shoes before I purchase it and have found in most cases, it is a better deal for the earth than buying vegan leathers that are made of plastic.

Check out good on you (they also have an app) to see what brands are doing well.

I’d love to know what brands you are wearing and what your feeling about Slow vs Fast Fashion are, so leave a comment below!



Plastic Free July - Day 17: Plastic Baggies? Nope.

Are you still using plastic baggies for snacks for your kiddos, grab and go lunches, and/or leftovers in the fridge or freezer?

Stop it, right now! You don’t need no plastic baggies!

I’ve already talked about plastic wrap and this goes hand in hand with that. The same brands make bags and there are also cute cloth bags with Velcro or ties that you just throw in the washer and dryer. If you are a DIYer, you can even make your own! (when you do, feel free to send me some - I’m not a DIY person, but I love the look and feel of it!)

Pyrex can be your best friend - though I do realize that the lids are made of plastic, so better yet, get all stainless. Basically. there are 100+ things on the market that can replace you one time use plastic baggie habit. So if you don’t already have something in mind, I’m giving you a few suggestions below.


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 15: Better Solutions for Dog Poop

Sir Napoleon Bone

Sir Napoleon Bone

“Ewww, gross! She’s talking about poop!”

You must not be a dog owner.

Dog poop is an every day problem, and if you live in a city without a yard, it’s a problem that you HAVE to use plastic for, or else you are the rude person who leaves their dog’s poop all over the grass and/or sidewalk. I’m looking at you Steve! I know it was you and your giant mastiff. Pick it the fuck up, you jerk!

Let year was my first time doing Plastic Free July and I read EVERYTHING I could find about living a plastic free and zero waste lifestyle. I did it all for the whole month and have been doing my best to reduce my waste, my carbon footprint, and my use of plastic ever since. I tell others about it and try to get my husband and friends be conscientious about it.

And then there is Napoleon, cute as he is. And his 2x a day pooping habit.

This is the plastic that will remain in my life and I feel so bad about it, but researching more and more, there doesn’t seem to be another viable option at this time.

Because you see, there ARE biodegradable poop bags. “So Taryn, why aren’t you using those? Sounds like a great idea - no more plastic!” Ah, there’s the rub. You see, in my research I discovered that IF and WHEN these “biodegradable” bags are thrown into typical landfills (they always are) they will not biodegrade. Just like those cool compostable forks and plates and whatever else “sustainable” companies are trying to sell you. You see, in order for these elements to actual degrade/compost, they need proper turning and oxygen and a whole bunch of other fun scientific stuff. Treehugger.com says it best:

“Biodegradable plastics typically consist of starch or fiber-based polymers, using corn, potatoes, or soy as raw materials. They are biodegradable according to a standardized test method in which materials are tended in a moist, warm, and aerobic environment. If they break down 60% or more in 180 days, they pass. But these test conditions in no way represent the end life of most single use plastics. In litter or landfills, this plastic stays around for a long time.

Moreover, because the polymers in more biodegradable plastics lack the same strength as conventional plastics, it actually requires more of the stuff to serve the same purpose. For example, if a supplier wants to ensure the groceries don't break their bag, they need to produce bags with thicker walls.”  Here’s a scientific paper about these types of biodegradable and compostable plastics.  

So…what’s a dog parent to do? This Rover article has some ideas and shares some brands that meet the criteria for breaking down - but again, only if properly disposed of!!

This is one where my takeaway is just to be more diligent and understanding that just because the packaging says that it is earth friendly and it claims to be compostable, doesn’t mean that it is.

So for now, I am throwing around 2 plastic bags full of little dog poop into the garbage everyday. I want a better solution, but I also can’t have it take up a ton of extra time or mean that I’m bringing Napoleon’s poop into my home.

I’d love to hear how others are combating this issue! Let me know in the comments.



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 12: Offset your carbon emissions

bone collective studio | plastic free July | offset your carbon emissions

Ok, so now that we are almost 3 weeks into this challenge, let’s talk about some other environmentally conscious things you can start doing now to help offset your carbon footprint. The first being just that: for everything negative that you are doing to the environment (flying, driving, working for a bad company, etc) you can buy carbon offsets. It goes without saying that your first line of defense should always be not to do the bad thing in the first place. But if you don’t live in an urban center where public transit is an option and you have to drive - drive the cleanest car you can afford, and then pay for the rest in carbon offsets.

If you are like me and you are a traveler and can’t begin to think about not flying ever again (how can we ever do this?!) Or also like me, you fly for business. Offset your carbon emissions!

I’ve started using https://www.myclimate.org/ but there are others.

https://www.conserve-energy-future.com/best-popular-us-carbon-offset-providers.php


To start, you can use this calculator to figure out how you are doing: www.carbonfootprint.com/calculator



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 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.