Sustainability is about ecology, economy and equity.- Ralph Bicknese

California and Plastic Bag Use

plastic-bag-in-tree-600x400Lawmakers in California are currently trying to pass a statewide ban on plastic bags-you know, those things that you see drifting through the streets from time to time on the whim of the wind, kind of like urban tumbleweeds? Thin plastic bags have been banned in Seattle since July 1st, 2012, yet they still seem to exist here and there, and thicker, more durable versions are available in grocery stores. The argument against plastic bags is a strong one given their tendency to end up in landfills or amongst the feet of sidewalk travelers after a singe use, and of course, it would be nice if we could cut down on the very production of plastic.. Those who protest the movement against plastic bags cite their potential to be reused on the next trip to the store or reused as trash bags, saving the consumer from needing to purchase the latter. Continue reading

Creative and Fun ways to Holiday Sustainably

ron swanson marshThe other day I wrote about sustainable gift-giving, but of course, a lot more goes into holiday prep than presents. Decorations are something that we look forward to throughout the year; nutcrackers, lights, tinsel, scented pinecones, all that jazz. Going to the store for holiday supplies seems like the automatic action, the given, the call of consumerism. But if we get a little creative, we can make our own decor, saving money and reusing what we might have otherwise thrown out. Below are a few tips that might jump start your holiday innovation. Continue reading

Sustainable Gift Giving

ecoGiftWrapThe holidays can bring a lot of excess waste with them, waste that we think little of while caught up in the season’s good cheer. There are small things we can do, however, in an effort to go about our merriment in a more sustainable way. On the subject of gift-giving, it’s possible to spread a double-dose of goodwill by making people happy while keeping the environment in mind. For instance, if you’re shipping a lot of presents, try to send them off early, before you need to rely on last-minute air delivery, which burns bookoo fossil fuels and releases more CO2 than other modes of transportation. Continue reading

Dealing with Holiday Consumerism

Christmas-Shopping-Fever-2An unfortunate addition to the warmth of the holiday season is the spirit of consumerism. Accompanying goodwill and hot chocolate and round-the-clock Bing Crosby is the increased desire to shop, one that I do not claim innocence from. For me and likely most, it isn’t only about the material goods; it’s about the activity itself, the buzz and lights and rush of it all. It’s something that we all know to some degree in the back of our minds but often choose to ignore; this seasonal shopping order has us right where it wants us.

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Put a Bird On It!

ImageSpark your creativity (and save your cash) by buying clothes, cloth bags, and other items from secondhand shops and decorating them yourself.

Secondhand stores provide many unique and affordable finds, and luckily for us Seattle has many such places to shop. And the best way to enjoy them is to turn old old items into new craft projects. Secondhand places are also bursting with materials to convert back into their raw state for projects. No one will care if you buy a $5 quilt and cut it up for cloth!

For you knitters, recycle yarn by unraveling old or secondhand sweaters and remaking it anew.

Thrift stores also offer discounted books, kitchen supplies, CD’s, and fun accessories.

And remember to bring your own shopping bag; some thrift stores don’t offer bags or baskets to place your items in while you browse.

Share your top thrift store find in the comments.