Posts Tagged 'eco-friendly'

Zero Waste Parenting: Back to School

As anyone with kids knows, parenthood isn’t always easy. Add in the decision of leading a zero waste lifestyle and it can seem next to impossible. However, being a zero waste parent is not as far-fetched as it might seem. We’ve tackled a few zero waste parenting ideas in the past. And yes, it can take a bit more effort at first, but the small steps you take now will set your children up for a brighter and cleaner future! With that in mind, let’s get into our next zero waste parenting adventure and head back to school!

Go green with your Back to School routine!

Back to School season instantly conjures up ideas of supply lists and packing school lunches. Those ideas are usually accompanied by images of wasteful wrapping, plastic cutlery and sandwich bags, and a graveyard of old school supplies buried in some closet. With a few quick swaps on your supply list and ditching those single use items, greening up your Back to School routine can be much simpler than you would ever imagine.

Reduce, Reuse, or Repair:

When reviewing your new classroom needs for your kids, our first suggestion when it comes to zero waste habits is to reduce, reuse, or repair first. Is that lunch box from last year still in good condition? Can the scissors from years past be utilized again? If supplies from previous years are still usable, you should definitely reuse them! Make your supplies stand the test of time by opting for more classic designs. If you have simple prints and colors for lunchboxes and backpacks, there is less need to replace them year after year. If you have some broken items previous, try to repair them before you replace!

While you may not be able to utilize last year’s supplies every time, there is still the option to invest in reusable supplies going forward. This is especially important when it comes to school lunches. With a few extra minutes a day, you can make every school lunch much more sustainable. Swapping any single use item is a simple rule of thumb – switch from plastic sandwich bags to beeswax wraps or reusable snack bags, opt for a reusable utensil option over plastic cutlery, and ditch your single use plastic water bottles and grab a refillable alternative!

Invest in reusable lunch time alternatives! Don’t forget your reusable lunch bag!

Lunch isn’t the only time you can find sustainable alternatives! Check out the Everlast Rocket Book, a smart notebook that allows you to catalog your notes online. Once you use the notebook, you’re able to upload your notes, effortlessly clean off the book, and reuse the same notebook over and over!

Repurpose, Donate, or Recycle:

When you’ve exhausted your ability to reduce your single use items, repair broken supplies, and reuse anything you can, our next zero waste step on the list is to repurpose, donate, or recycle. Thrift stores are always a great option for Back to School shopping. There is also ample opportunity to donate and recycle your kids’ old supplies. One of the best parts of going zero waste is finding all of the organizations that are trying to make it as easy as possible. Crayola runs a Colorcycle program collecting and recycling old Crayola markers. Old binders of any brand can be donated to Office Depot for a recycling program they’re running in partnership with TerraCycle. You can also save $2 on a new binder when you donate an old one!

Follow these 4 steps from Crayola’s website to be an Eco-Cool School!

There are plenty of ways to go green even during the Back to School madness. With a little extra time, this whole zero parenting thing isn’t really all that difficultwell, no more difficult than parenting in general.

Become a Zero Waste Family (Without Pulling Your Hair Out)

The idea of zero waste can seem overwhelming to many, and sometimes just convincing family and kids to pitch in can be enough to stop the most eager zero-waster in their tracks. We’re here to offer some tips and suggestions for getting the whole family on board for practicing (and enjoying) a zero waste life!

Grocery Shopping for the Family:

The key to embracing a zero waste lifestyle at home is as simple as preferring reusable items to disposables. The best place to start is at the store. Grocery stores are full of food that comes prepackaged in disposable wrappers and containers. Most of this packaging, including plastic produce and grocery bags, are considered “soft plastics” and cannot be recycled with other materials. By shopping in bulk and using reusable bags and jars, you are preventing this waste from entering your home in the first place. When you’re done shopping, try making a dish from scratch from the foods you bought and packing lunches for school and work with reusable containers and utensils.

Avoid disposable prepackaged foods. Pack your kid’s lunch with reusable items instead!

Toys, Clothes, and Everything Else that Ends Up on the Floor:

On the topic of shopping, a big culprit of waste can be compulsive buys- things we want in the moment but get minimal use out of before tossing them. This could be anything from clothing to toys to food. To prevent this, buy only what you need or know you are going to use. Yes, this includes all the toys and games your kids probably ask for. It may be tough at first, but encourage your kids to value and take care of what they have (this is a tough one, but we believe in you). When you do need something, use second-hand stores as your first stop to look. Similarly, instead of throwing away good items you no longer need or want, consider giving them a new life through donation.

Buy your toys second hand. When you’re done with them, donate them instead of tossing them!

Cleaning Up that Neverending Mess:

Anyone with children (and without) knows that messes are bound to happen, but they don’t have to set you back on your zero waste journey. To clean up spills or wash surfaces, opt for reusable cloths and DIY cleaning products instead of paper towels and store-bought chemical cleaners. Most DIY household cleaners only require a few ingredients, and chances are you already have most of them lying around! For example, an effective all-purpose cleaner can be made with white vinegar, baking soda, water, and essential oils.

Fill the Calendar with Zero Waste Family Fun:

It’s important to note that zero waste doesn’t have to be all about the stuff you have; it can also be about the things you do! A great way to get the whole family engaged is to have fun doing activities that let you spend time together without creating trash. Some options include visiting a park or beach, checking some books or movies out from the library, exploring a museum or aquarium, riding bikes, crafting using upcycled materials, and, of course, participating in an ILACSD cleanup! San Diego has an endless supply of places to explore, and by living zero waste you and your family can enjoy them while knowing that you are doing your part in keeping them clean and beautiful!

Participate in zero waste activities as a family. Join ILACSD for a cleanup and enjoy the outdoors while improving it!

Don’t forget, zero waste is a journey. You don’t get kicked out of the club if you slip up or struggle. With a family, this journey does take a little more effort, but your efforts will pay off for your kids. By following even a few of these tips, you’re helping leave the world much better off for your children (and eventually their children) to enjoy!

 

This article was authored by our Education Specialist, Alaine!

How to Stay Green on Your Summer Trip

It’s no secret that traveling is one of the best parts of summer, be it a trek over 2,700 miles away to NYC or just 2 miles to Mission Beach, it’s not a stretch to say that getting off the couch and soaking up some sun is on everyone’s to-do list. Unfortunately, when piecing together travel plans, green habits tend to turn a bit gray which is completely understandable. When thinking of sustainable travel, the first image that pops into many minds is one of a lone backpacker cooking a questionable meal on a solar powered burner outside of a ten-man tent. Lucky for us, the reality of green traveling is as easy as making small choices that lessen the impact we have on our destinations and the environments we cross to get there. Here are a few tips to consider to go green on your next summer trip.

Before Leaving

Any change starts at home and if you’re going on vacation for a few days anytime soon, be sure to minimize your home footprint as much as possible while you’ll be away. You can do this by following these few simple steps:

Adjust Your Thermostat

You’re going to be gone for a few days and if there are no pets or people, there is no reason to have the AC on full blast nor should the heat be on. Given we are in the midst of summer your thermostat should be set around 85º F (you could even turn it off if you want) so long as it doesn’t interfere with any temperature sensitive appliances like your refrigerator.

Unplug Electronics

We are constantly using electricity even when we don’t realize it. Any time an electronic device or appliance is plugged in, even if it’s not in use, it is still leeching electricity. That electricity being used is produced primarily through the burning of fossil fuels, 65% to be exact according to the US Energy and Information Administration. So before you go, don’t forget to unplug any gaming system, TV, laptop, toaster, or microwave that would otherwise be leeching power while you’re away.

What to Bring

Deciding what to pack for a trip is one of the most important phases of the pre-trip process. What you bring impacts your choices once you’re there, so why not set yourself up for sustainable success by keeping the following in mind during your packing.

Pack Your Own Reusable Shopping Bags

Simply roll one or two bags up and tuck them into your suitcase or backpack to cut down on the packaging you would otherwise throw away when shopping in a different city. This is also a helpful day bag option if you don’t want to haul all of your luggage around town!

Bring Your Own Reusable Water Bottle

One water bottle takes on average at least 450 years to degrade, and it takes about twice as much water to produce a plastic water bottle as the amount of water inside the bottle. Consider skipping the plastic bottle all together and invest in a durable bottle.

Bring Less, Pack Light

There are a plethora of benefits that come along with packing light, ranging from saving on baggage fees when flying to knowing what you have is what’s by your side. The biggest benefit, however, comes from the shrinking of your carbon footprint when you fly, the less you bring the less weight the airplane carries which lessens the planes fuel use and carbon emissions.

Choose Your Method of Travel Wisely

Let’s get this out the way now: walking is the most sustainable mode of transport we will ever have. Unfortunately, it often duals as one of the most impractical. When it comes to making sustainable travel decisions, the distance you’re traveling is the most important factor.

Local Trips

When heading out to the beach to meet up with friends consider taking the public transportation rather than your car. Not only will you save on gas, but you’ll also help improve local air quality which is often much worse in urban areas where traffic tends to suffer from congestion.

Another option (for those close enough) is to get the gang together and then bike to your destination.

Further Destinations

According to the UCSUSA, when traveling between 100 and 500 miles motor coaches and trains are the most effective form of travel leaving the smallest carbon footprints. On top of saving the environment from additional emissions, you also save yourself of a few bucks with the average Amtrak ticket ranging from $145-170, the average domestic flight ticket landing at $379, and bus services such as Greyhound being considerably cheaper than both.

Long Distances

Now when traveling overseas or cross-country, the practicality of green travel gets a little fuzzy. As much as we’d like to be green, it’s just not really feasible. In the cases you find yourself traveling by air, be sure to fly the most direct route to your destination and always fly coach. Though it may be cramped at times, the more people that can be seated on a plane helps lessen each individuals’ impact on the environment. Not only will this shorten your travel time, but it will also reduce your fuel consumption as your taking less total flights.

Once You’ve Arrived

Stay at a Green Hotel or with Family and Friends

If you’re not leaving the United States, check if the hotel you’re planning on staying at is LEED certified by the US Green Business Council, they judge on sustainability, efficiency, and quality of the way buildings are constructed, maintained and operated. If you are going overseas be sure to find out what that countries green hotel certification program is and what hotels are certified.

If you have any family or friends where you’re going, ask them if you can crash at their place for a few nights.

Keep Your Shopping Habits Local

When staying in a place far from home, we tend to cling to things we are familiar with, be it a certain kind of soap or a certain kind of food. Many of these things must be flown or shipped from overseas, which only contributes to greenhouse emissions. Every time you buy local you not only support the local economy but you also get a unique taste of the local culture and cuisine.

Rethink Souvenirs

For many of us, one of the best parts of traveling is the cool stuff we buy while out globetrotting. While the stuff we buy is cool to look at much of it ends up on a shelf collecting dust. When out shopping, ask yourself if you really need that little knick-knack or if a picture of it would suffice. If you still want to shop around, just follow the advice from above and stay local because who wants something made from assembly line a thousand miles away anyhow?

Getting Around

Though it may be easier to call up an Uber or taxi service to drive you around, the average vehicle still releases about 4.7 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year according to the EPA. As an alternative try renting a bike from either a bike shop or at an automated bike rental stand. Another option would be to take public transportation which reduces the amount of CO2 emitted per person or just walk, eliminating these emissions completely.

Remember that even if you just put to action one of the tips above you will be making a difference and be one step closer to traveling sustainably. Safe (green) travels!

Today’s blog was written by guest contributor, Jessica Lewis. Jessica is your every day, So-Cal based writer with an interest in the environment. 

Sustainable gift wrap solutions

Ani_team15Whether you’re looking for more creative and sustainable ways to wrap your gifts this year or you’ve simply ran out of wrapping paper, Ani, I Love A Clean San Diego’s Recycling Programs Manager, is here with a couple of quick, eco-friendly gift wrap solutions!

Did you know that food waste, shopping bags, wrapping paper, and ribbons all contribute to an additional 1 million tons of waste to our landfills? Here is a quick gift wrapping guide to limit the amount of waste that ends up in our landfills after the holiday season (and beyond):

Start early.  I reuse boxes from my online shopping, food packaging, tissue paper, gift bags and bubble wrap year round to avoid having to buy any additional gift wrapping materials; and it saves me some money as well!

Secret Santa 12.16 (8)

Community Programs Coordinator, Moriah, reused a paper grocery bag to wrap her gift and it looks great!

Consider wrapping gifts in fabric or newspaper. Unfortunately, festive wrapping paper usually ends up in the recycling bin and is often difficult to reuse. Give the gift of beautiful fabric or simply dig through your recycling bin to find paper to cover a gift.  I guarantee your gift will stand out from the rest!


Furoshiki is a type of traditional Japanese wrapping cloth

Skip the ribbon, skip the bow! These items are difficult to reuse and uncommon to keep. Check out Emily’s gift below!

Secret Santa 12.16 (9)

Education Manager, Emily, wrapped chocolates in a personalized reusable napkin.

All in all, try to hold on to gift wrapping items or opt out of using items that are hard to reuse and you’ll be on the path to creating less waste in no time! For recycling options, check out our one-stop database, www.WasteFreeSD.org

Happy Holidays from the ILACSD staff! Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest for other creative zero waste ideas!

 

The 7 Habits of Highly Eco-Friendly People

Emily M.It’s easy to get bogged down by the flood of information about eco-friendly practices and what you should be doing, or not doing, to protect the environment. Our Environmental Educator, Emily put together her top 7 habits that keep her passion for environment alive and well. Read on if you’re looking to rejuvenate your love for the environment and remind yourself why we do what we do.

  1. Remember your reusable bags. I know this is a Herculean task, but today is the day! As I tell myself frequently, “I can do hard things.” Channel your inner squirrel and stash bags everywhere – in your glove box, your purse, your top hat, your trunk, the stroller, the passenger’s side seat back pocket. Or, better yet, just get this song stuck in your head. I promise you’ll never forget again.Lincoln
  2. Set a new goal. Like any good relationship, you need to spice things up every now and again to keep your interest piqued. Go out for a nice dinner – and bring a reusable container for your leftovers. Or take a long walk on the beach – and collect any debris you find. For more ideas, check out this blog, which follows a woman’s adventures in zero waste.
  3. Keep a worm bin under your kitchen sink. Check out Amanda’s blog post about how to get started. You’ll reduce the organic waste you produce, have a bounty of natural fertilizer, and be a shoe-in for the Most Unique Pet award in the office superlative contest. Best of all, you can finally use those creative worm names you’ve been saving up on – Worm Gretzky, The Notorious D.I.G., and Dirts Bentley, for all you country lovers.Composting blog pic 2 (worms)
  4. Make it fun. Hold a household competition to see who can concoct the most creative way to conserve water. Litter your friends’ Facebook walls with environmental memes. Keep an eco-themed joke in your back pocket. (If you ever visit our office, I will gladly share one with you.) Enlist the help of Ryan Gosling. Humor yourself with creative green hashtags. My personal favorite: #brodoyoueventhriftMr T
  5. Share your passion. Fact: Most people don’t enjoy being lectured about how their habits are destroying our planet. Most people are, however, inclined to care about an issue when it’s important to someone they care about. Invite a friend to join you at a cleanup. Use your reusable produce bags with confidence, and be prepared to answer questions from friends and curious on-lookers. For my birthday, my sister-in-law gave me a purse made from recycled water bottles. She sought this out because she knows the three Rs are important to me. You may be surprised by how your actions and lifestyle encourage those around you.
  6. Pick up litter wherever you go. Earthshattering, I know, but the benefits of picking up litter are far-reaching. When you pick up someone else’s trash, you’re more likely to be responsible with your own trash. Other people notice when you choose to pick up the wrapper that 37 other people previously walked past. On more than one occasion, I’ve been thanked by a stranger who saw me remove a piece of litter. Removing litter inland helps reduce the amount that ends up in the ocean – and our animals. Besides, litter is still a major pollutant we find worldwide, which means every little bit helps.
  7. Kid PresidentRemember why you started caring in the first place. Even for the most devoted of us, aiming for a zero waste lifestyle can easily become overwhelming. However, history has proven that small, consistent actions lead to great results. You started recycling/biking to work/buying in bulk/living green because something made you care. Remind yourself of that initial spark. For me, it’s remembering my experiences working with children outdoors, and seeing how a connection to nature helps them feel confident, make new friends, and find peace during the tumults of growing up. So tape a Rachel Carson quote to your mirror. Cover your fridge with magnets of the sea creatures you’re devoted to. Head out to where you can truly see the stars and be reminded that yes, this earth is beautiful and absolutely worth working for. And remember, you’re doing a great job; keep up the good work!
Pegasus

Environmental Educator, Emily, teaching campers about the wonders of the outdoors, nature, and how to protect it.

Brittany’s Green Routine

Brittany green routine pic

Being environmentally-conscious doesn’t have to be confined to your blue bin. If you look closely, not so environmentally-friendly materials, such as micro-plastics, are hidden in everyday products. Follow Brittany’s Green Routine to learn how you can reduce waste, phase out hidden plastics and simplify your health and beauty routine! And check out our Pinterest boards for even more DIY inspiration!

 

routine definition

Routine (noun). – A sequence of actions regularly followed.

Everyone has routines and once you start, they are pretty hard to break. Since working at I Love A Clean San Diego, I’ve been inspired to be more eco-friendly in my day-to-day life, but I didn’t know where do start. Then I realized I could start by having what I now call my “green routine”. What is a green routine you might ask? A green routine is a type routine you create which benefits the environment. I realized I could save money while also being eco-friendly by creating some beauty products with ingredients I already have in my house.  For this week’s blog, I wanted to change it up and share some of my favorite DIY recipes I incorporate in my daily green routine!

Original-Lip-Scrub-with-textBrown Sugar & Honey Lip Scrub: Need to get rid of chapped lips? This is my favorite lip scrub

What you’ll need:

1 teaspoon of brown sugar

1 teaspoon of honey

Mix them together, lather your lips with the scrub, rinse with warm water, and pucker up! Your lips will feel moisturized, soft, and not to mention, this scrub is tasty!

Honey, Nutmeg, Cinnamon Face Mask: This mask is perfect for when you experience breakouts or are looking to brighten up your skin tone! You can use this has a spot treatment or as a mask. Honey is not only hydrating, but it helps soothe inflammation as well as fight against bacteria – that’s why it’s great for so many things! For sensitive skin I recommend leaving this on for 2-3 minutes.

What you’ll need:

cinnamon face mask

1 teaspoon of cinnamon, 1 teaspoon of nutmeg, 2 teaspoons of honey

Coconut Oil: Plain and simple, a jar of this does wonders and is extremely moisturizing.  Not only is this something I cook with but I use it for a variety of things which cuts down the number of products I use and minimizes the waste I create.

  • Skin Moisturizer: After a good (plastic-free) skin exfoliant, I take a dab to keep my skin smelling great and soft. A little goes a long way!
  • Hair treatments: I’m notorious for using heat products on my hair, so every once and a while I like to give my hair a little bit of love. After washing and conditioning my hair, I rub coconut oil through the ends of my hair to prevent breakage. You could also use coconut oil as a hair mask and rubbing the oil on your scalp helps with dandruff. I recommend keeping the oil in your hair for around ten minutes then rinsing.Coconut Oil
  • Lip moisturizer: Instead of using chapstick before bed, I use coconut oil, sometimes with a dab of honey, as a replacement. Be sure to pair it with the brown sugar lip scrub mentioned above!
  • Makeup remover: This is something I would normally spend a lot of money on. Instead, I take a small amount with my fingertips and rub it on the areas of my face until it melts. Then I take a wash cloth to wipe it off with warm water. That’s it!

And Guys, don’t worry, we have a recipe for you this year’s No Shave November too! This recipe sent to us by Alexandra Engel to help keep your beards fresh and clean. Blend together, rub through your beard, and rinse.

FullSizeRender (2)

A little beard oil goes a long way! *Flowers will not grow out of your beard after using this recipe.*

  • 3 fl. oz. Sweet Almond oil
  • 25 oz. Vitamin E oil
  • 25 oz. Argan oil
  • 30 drops Tea tree essential oil – prevents ingrown hairs and fights breakouts
  • 30 drops Rosemary essential oil – stimulates hair growth
  • ~20 drops Spruce essential oil (optional)
  • ~20 drops Pine essential oil (optional)
  • ~20 drops Cypress essential oil – astringent and antiseptic for oily skin.
  • ~20 drops Bergamot essential oil – antibiotic and deodorizing.

I hope you enjoy my favorite green routine recipes as much as I do. Not only are you saving green bills but you are also helping to keep the environment clean by eliminating micro plastics and cutting down on waste!  For more fun DIY beauty tips, crafts, and green living tips, be sure to check out I Love A Clean San Diego’s Pinterest boards

 

ILACSD Brides Dish Eco-Wedding Tips

Today’s blog comes from our recent newlyweds and bride-to-be on our staff, Natalie Roberts DeCarli, Emily Nelson, and soon to be Sarah Lott Buchholz. With so many people getting married or a part of a wedding this summer, we wanted to pass along our wedding planning knowledge to all of you! Read on to learn about how to plan a wedding with the earth in mind!  

Weddings – what a whirlwind of excitement, fun, and –  dare I say it – PLANNING. With so many choices and add-ons, it’s easy to overwhelm our brides, our wallets, and our landfills. Luckily, there’s a plethora of eco-conscious wedding tips. Here’s a few that are ILACSD bride tested and approved!

Emily Invite FrontFinal

ILACSD Environmental Educator, Emily and her now husband, Stan. Congrats, newlyweds!

Invitations & RSVPs: Evites and invitations made from recycled post-consumer material are definitely  the most environmentally friendly options. To go one step further, design your invitation as a timeless keepsake. Emily designed her invitation with that thought in mind; on one side there was a picture of the happy couple, and on the other side were the wedding details. That way, guests can display it in a frame or on their fridge along with other photos.

sarah's invitation - editted

Sarah created a custom profile and hyperlink to make RSVPs easy to manage and waste-free at rsvpify.com.

To manage RSVPs, Sarah found an easy to use online option called, rsvpify.com, where she created a customized profile and hyperlink for guests to access. Afterwards, she simply listed the hyperlink along with her phone number on the invitation instead of using mailed paper RSVPs. Plus, the website has a seating chart option. Time, money, and resources saved! 

emily's plates

Check out VerTerra plates! They are plates made from palm fronds that have already fallen to the ground.

Meal time! When in doubt, choose reusables.  Often times you pay a little extra, but in the long run, it’s the most eco-friendly option.

Eco alternative: Plates made from biodegradable materials instead of plastic! A great option that Emily found, called VerTerra plates, are plates made from palm fronds that have already fallen to the ground.

Bridal and wedding party accessories: Start by taking an inventory of what you already have. Emily found the perfect pair of heels to go with her wedding dress sitting in her closet! As for the wedding party, options like Union Station, make it easy for bridesmaids to rent a dress instead of purchasing one that they may never use again.

chalkboard exampleDécor: Tap into your networks! You never know who might have extra tables, easels, vases, etc. For example, Emily got silver dollar eucalyptus from a neighbor that has a tree in their backyard. Plus, at ILACSD, since several staff members are getting married in 2015, we plan on having an internal wedding décor exchange!

Avoid unnecessary printing: Chalk boards are great for wedding programs, menus, and seating charts, rather than printing items for each individual guest.  This not only saved our brides money on printing, but also greatly reduced paper usage at their weddings.  Plus, the chalk boards can be reused over and over again, for future parties and general home décor.

Nat-wedding-cropped

Natalie enjoying her big day!

Favors: “We wanted something practical, meaningful, and would appeal to all our guests. Our solution? Seed packets! We offered a variety of flowers and herbs, leaving the guests free to select what they are most likely to plant, and displayed them in a flower box.” – Emily, Environmental Educator

 “After attending many weddings that gave each guest their own personalized wedding favor, we had a collection of  favors that we really didn’t need.  When looking into favors, we couldn’t really think of anything we felt people of all ages would want or need, so we decided to skip favors all together.  Plus, they often cost a few hundred dollars for a large wedding, and involve a lot of packaging for each individual item.” -Natalie, Senior Director of Operations

Check out other great alternatives on our pinterest board!

Post wedding: There are a lot of ways to donate, sell, or lend various wedding décor for reuse. Several websites including:

Plus, you might earn some money back while giving these items another life rather than taking up space in a closet or garage.

Showering the Bride-to-Be, the WasteFreeSD Way!

Erika-teamToday’s blog comes from ILACSD Education Manager, Erika! With more than half of the ILACSD team either getting married or involved in a wedding this summer, it was a no-brainer to put together some eco-friendly party planning tips! Read on to learn more about how you can plan a zero waste bridal shower for the blushing bride in your life! 

Wedding season is quickly approaching. As people gear up for cocktails and bouquets, remember to ditch the disposables and choose eco-friendly alternatives. Here’s how I planned a zero waste bridal shower:

Last month, I threw my sister a bridal shower. We both live sustainably, so we tried to create a party which reflected our lifestyles. We focused on 4 aspects that most showers and for that matter, parties in general, include: invitations, decorations, food and favors.

Invitations: We decided on using evites rather than hard copies. There are many other similar online invitation options, including another staff favorite, Paperless PostIncluded were green tips:

bride to be evite

evite - bridal shower

Sending evites is great for the environment and it’s also a huge time-saver!

 

Other green options: Online invites aren’t your style? No problem! Try recycled content or seeded paper cards.

eco friendly invitation alternatives

If your heart is set on sending out hard copy invitations, check out some of these eco-friendly alternatives!

 

Decorations: We focused on decorating with items we already had, and only buying things that we would use again. We mainly used flowers and succulents in vases that we already had. For more cohesion, we bought burlap, cut them into strips to use as bows and accents. We also decorated with tons of framed pictures. With some of the pictures, I included text showing some of the grooms favorite things about the bride-to-be.

table setting - bridal shower

Use items you already have to reduce waste and save on expenses!

Food: We fixed a vegetarian brunch, which included, homemade granola, fruit from the local farmers market, and substituting mushrooms for chicken in an Asian fusion salad. Platters, plates, utensils, and napkins were all reusable.

erika - veggie brunch

Animal products account for California’s largest water use. Try some vegetarian recipes to help conserve water!

Eco tip: Animal products account for California’s largest water use. Try using meat as a side or going without!

Gifts: Guests went all out with reusable gift ideas! One gift was wrapped in a handmade blanket, one was in a basket, and others were wrapped in dish towels!

ditch the wrapping paper

No gift wrap = less waste and less cleanup!

Favors: We elected for making our own trail mix. Trail mix was bought in bulk using reusable jars and bulk bags. The mix was distributed into mason jars amounting to zero waste!

zero waste favors

There are tons of zero waste favor ideas! Find more on our Pinterest here!

Do you have other eco-friendly party planning tips? Share them in the comments below or on our social media networks: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

Be on the look out this June for our blog about eco-friendly wedding tips brought to you by our brides-to-be Natalie, Sarah and Emily!

 

Green Up Your Spring Cleaning!

Amanda, ILACSD Hotline ManagerAlthough the groundhog saw its shadow and predicted six more weeks of winter last month, it sure feels like spring has taken hold in San Diego! For today’s blog, Amanda, our Hotline Manager, has put together a variety of useful tips to help jumpstart your eco-friendly spring cleaning!

Some may argue that San Diego only has two seasons – summer and a slightly cooler and rainier version of summer. Nevertheless, it is officially spring! Along with visions of bunnies, tulips and warmer weather – you’ll probably think of (and dread!) spring cleaning when you hear the word “spring”.

Eco-friendly products are now more popular than ever, but how do you know if what you’re purchasing is really helping to protect the environment? The EPA is rolling out a new program this spring/summer, it is called the Safer Choice Label. These labels will not only help you choose products that are safer for our environment, they will also help you choose products that are safer for your family, children and pets. More information on the EPA’s program can be found here

Per the EPA  – “Only products that meet our Safer Choice Standard, which includes stringent human health and environmental criteria, are allowed to carry the label.”

If you aren’t able to find a product with the Safer Choice Label, there are a few things you can look for when choosing an eco-friendly cleaner on your own. Here is a list of harmful ingredients to avoid:

  • Phosphates and EDTA, or ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid
  • Butyl or 2-butoxyethanol and oxalatesgreen cleaning alternatives

In place of these harsh chemicals, look for sodium citrate, sodium bicarbonate alkyl polyglycoside, isopropanol and glycerol on the ingredients list.  For more information, check out this article from Washington Post!

If you have a little more time to invest, DIY cleaning products are great alternatives as well! You can make anything from glass cleaner to furniture polish to carpet cleaner with some basic products you may already have at home. You can clean your toilet bowl with vinegar and baking soda – yes, just like the volcanoes you made as a kid! Find more tips on our Pinterest board “Clean and Green” including this great Buzzfeed article about DIY household products!

After your house is spick and span, remember to repair, recycle, donate, reuse and/or properly dispose of the excess items, putting things in their place. If you need a refresher on what is considered trash, recyclable, and household hazardous waste turn to www.WasteFreeSD.org! Our database also has lots of information about donation and recycling centers to help you get rid of unwanted items!

Find this handy resource on wastefreesd.org!

Find this handy resource on WasteFreeSD.org!

 


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