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Archive for the ‘sustainability’ Category

I just received my Eco Ull from AYarnOutlet (who was very nice to work with and has a huge selection of yarns). I purchased 2 skeins of Natural and 2 skeins of Charcoal. It is even more beautiful than hoped! Amazingly soft, buoyant and substantial and I love the natural colors. They have a depth and texture unlike yarn that has been highly processed and dyed. Eco Ull is an eco friendly organic wool with no additives; like carbonization agents, chlorides, softeners, super-wash treatment or other chemicals. The sheep are raised and the wool is harvested in Germany, within the guidelines for ecological agriculture under the EU Regulation. It is certified by Skal International. The yarn is made only in the natural colors of the wool itself.

I also could not resist purchasing this skein of Ultra Alpaca. It is a blend of Alpaca and Peruvian Highland wool, in a beautiful shade of tuquoisey teal, which I love.

Can’t wait to get my hands into this!

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What is it:

The EcoEtsy team (of which I am happily a part of!) is putting on a non-profit, benefit auction in support of The Nature Conservancy. There will be 60 individual items, each of which are handmade and are eco friendly in some way – whether they be made from recycled, upcycled, repurposed, organic or otherwise eco friendly materials.

When is it:

Auction Start Date: October 20th, 2008
Auction End Date: October 30th, 2008

How to participate: Bids can be placed by sending an email to promo@ecoetsy.com with your bid amount. Regular updates will be posted here as well as here.

Get the full details of this event here.

Learn more about The Nature Conservancy and what this incredible organization is up to.

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We have a new co-op in town, which is an exciting addition after our longtime local healthfood store went out of business. I had a request recently for reusable produce and bulk bags, as a friend of mine who works there knows I like to sew. She saw a customer using a cloth bag for her produce and felt like something similar would be a nice addition to the store. This is what I have made up so far. The image above is my display.

The sizes range from about 4″ x 5″ for little things like spices and herbs, up to as large as a full size produce bag. They are made of natural cotton muslin, which is unbleached and undyed (with one made of recycled red calico cotton thrown in for fun). The muslin is a sturdy yet lightweight fabric. There is a cotton twill tape tie stitched into the seaming, so there is no need for those wasteful twisty ties either.

I look forward to washing a set for myself and putting them to use next shopping trip. No more digging around in the piles of used baggies and twisties! And when needed, I can simply throw them in the washer.

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Curbing Waste

I read an article this morning, at the Organic Consumers Association, that addressed the amount of worldwide food waste there is. It is absolutely shocking. It states that HALF of the food worldwide, is wasted after production. This happens during processing, in transport, while in storage and in people’s homes and at the table. With food waste there is also water waste, as huge amounts of water are used in the growing, processing and preparation of foods.

There has been quite a lot of coverage, in a number of news sources, about the impending food crisis. This article illustrates that this crisis is more a crisis of waste than a crisis of production.

“In the United States, for instance, as much as 30 percent of food, worth some US $48.3 billion, is thrown away. “That’s like leaving the tap running and pouring 40 trillion liters of water into the garbage can – enough water to meet the household needs of *500 million people,” says the report.

*that’s almost twice as many people as are in the entire US!!

In richer countries, such as the US and Europe, production is lower and waste is greater, putting strain on producing countries, who are also often poorer countries.

My mom was (and still is) a waste not kind of person. We stored and ate leftovers and she bought what we needed without unnecessary excesses. She also sponsored kids in poor nations, so it was not a foreign concept for me that there are others who are without the things we can take for granted. I remember in college,  I witnessed the very wealthy parents of a friend of mine shovel salmon steaks and heads of broccoli down into the garbage disposal after her kids had (not) finished their dinner. I could not believe it!! and yet, this goes on in many homes in many cities across the globe.

What we do in our homes can seem small and insignificant to the larger population, but consider curbing your waste as a simple and direct way of providing a better diet for the poor and enough food for growing populations…

There are a number of simple ways NOT to waste food.

~ Ask for a take-out box when you do not finish your meal at a restaurant.

~ Bring foods you know you will not use to your local food share or food bank – many towns have these, even the small town near where we live, and the food will be dispersed to hungry and homeless people quickly and efficiently.

~ Take advantage of your local farmer’s markets. Food will come home fresher and will be more likely to be eaten before spoiling. This also decreases, over time, the demand for overseas shipment of foods grown far far away and all the diesel burned to transport it.

~ Store your leftovers for a meal tomorrow.

~ Go through your cupboards, fridge and freezer and clear out what you know you will not use. Bring these to food share if they are still useful.

~ Follow up the above tip with this: Take a weekly or monthly look through your cupboards, fridge and freezer for what might be getting close to their date and plan your meals around them so they can be used before they spoil.

~ Buy foods in bulk so you are able to purchase in the quantities that work for you household.

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Through the years I have intentionally simplified my life down, on every level I can. In a society where excess is the norm, and in many cases encouraged, it is a sure challenge. Considering the critical state of the planet and all the creatures that live here, this may be the worthiest challenge I can think of.

I thought it would be interesting, both for myself and for whoever might stumble upon this, to list all the ways I can think of where we have reduced here in our home and in our lives – lightened up our impact and limited down our consumption. The idea is to inspire further efforts. The idea is to ultimately live harmoniously with the planet and everything that lives on it. I think it is important to act as though everything we do matters to the life of another living being – because it really, really does.

R E D U C I N G  it down, to a list…

  • We drive only 2-3 times a month
  • We only flush when needed (it is really less times a day than you might think!)
  • We eat whole foods rather than packaged foods where ever possible, which allows us to buy much of our food in bulk
  • We eat organically grown foods, almost only
  • We eat fruit instead of fruit juice
  • We buy bulk tea instead of tea bags (no need for box, tea bag package, tea bag, tag)
  • We are vegetarian (it is stunning, the ratio of resources used to resource output in the meat industry)
  • We have a water filtration system (no landfill filling plastic water bottles!)
  • We compost
  • We recycle everything we can
  • We reuse what packaging is suitable for things like shipping materials (those awful plastic blister packs make great padding!)
  • We shop at thrift stores almost exclusively. There are SO many useful things that people get rid of.
  • What we do not buy at the thrift store we buy from small organic businesses (Check out VitalBodies.com for a great selection of carefully chosen organic bedding, towels, water filtration and other such sustainable household items).
  • Our home is filled with natural materials and fibers, which means everything in it will biodegrade! Oh, how I love this!
  • We use biodegradable, non-toxic cleaners
  • We do not watch TV or movies (if you think about it, this really does fit on this list!)
  • We have a “bug cup” with which we take spiders, flies, moths, and other creatures that get into our home, back outside so they can find what they need (often moths cannot seem to make their way back out). Nothing is squashed, flicked or swatted in our house.
  • We bring our own cloth bags (some of which I made myself out of recycled fabrics) when we shop for food. Since we only shop once or twice a month, this requires a lot of bags! I forget every now and then and it is always stunningly A M A Z I N G how many bags just ONE TRIP OUT accumulates.
  • I will add to this list as I can…

We often talk about “the things of things of things…” when you have things, it usually requires more things to maintain, update, coordinate with, recycle, get rid of, transport, etc those things, if you know what I mean. Less truly becomes more, as there is more time and energy for more useful, progressive, healthy endeavors.

I would love to hear ideas about how others reduce and give back to the earth. Comments are sincerely welcome.

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I Love hemp. It is an amazing plant in almost any way you could think of. As a plant, it grows remarkably fast, making it highly sustainable. It is resistant to pests, which means it does not require pesticides for healthy growth. It is an incredibly versatile plant and all of it’s parts can be utilized. The seed is delicious, edible and highly nutritious. The oil is healing and moisturizing. The fiber can be applied to a multitude of uses from textiles (like the Blossom Bag and the BRING IT ALL messenger) and non-toxic diesel fuel to building materials. You could even build a house with hemp! It is a long staple fiber, which makes it strong and durable. It is also highly resistant to mildew and UV.

Blossom Bag in Chocolate Hemp

The Blossom Bag has been in high demand this week, so here is a peek at my available hemp fabric options, which you can feel free to request. (These options also apply to any of my bags). I hope to have the Blossom Bag made up and photographed in Natural and Sage sometime next week. The Natural and Sage are 100% hemp. The Chocolate is a blend of 55% organic cotton / 45% hemp.

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