Thoughts, Musings and News
Reduce the waste by making your own. A few years ago, I started taking a solid look at what we use most in the kitchen. Turns out we are addicted to nut milk and nut butter.
Looking at health instead of waste made it easy to ignore the impact my food preferences were having on the environment. Buying the "healthier option" aka non-dairy milk seemed better, after all, I wasn't buying those big plastic jugs. Unfortunately, those cartons that nut milk come in are NOT recyclable, so really; what difference is there?
So, upon reflection of how I could better "balance" the healthy choice with my care of the environment, I knew the best option was to make nut milk at home. I could easily use a glass jar and refill it - forever...never having to throw away another carton.
BUT -- could I really do it?
Make my own milk, every week!
At the time we were going through 2 -3 cartons a week. That seemed like a lot of work I was going to have to do to keep up without nutty addiction.
Instead of over thinking it, I ordered a "nut bag".
Yes, it's called a"nut bag" and each time I told my husband about my conceived efforts, he giggled.
I'm not sure if he was laughing at me or the thought of me using a nut bag regularly. First, I had to explain what a nut bag was and that it would not come between us! LOL
I used that nut bag for years...and many times I hated it!
Honestly, I didn't need MORE to do in my life, I needed my life to be easier BUT also I didn't want my habits to cause more harm to the environment aka waste.
I already had wrist issues and squeezing that nut bag several times a week grew old REALLY QUICK!
Soon, hubby started helping out. I would soak and blend the nuts and he would squeeze.
The end result is we were doing something together, as little as it was, togetherness breeds conversation and laughter which leads to closeness.
I won't say the nut bag brought us closer together, we've always had a great relationship - it did bring out new conversations.
We talked about our food habits and how we could improve them. We talked about making changes we could both live with and feel like it was good for us and the planet.
Hope you enjoyed this true story.
xo Angie Ringler
Imagine how difficult it is for you to go zero-waste at home. Now, think about all the items in a grocery store. Stores have much more of a variety of products, many more areas to consider when trying to reduce their waste.
Finally, a supermarket in the USA receives the Zero-Waste Designation from EPA.
Just announced, the Giant Food Store at 481 West Penn Ave. in Cleona, Pa., is the chain’s first store to attain U.S. Environmental Protection Agency zero-waste status. They still have waste but it’s what they do with the waste that matters. The EPA zero-waste designation signifies that 90% or more of the store’s total waste is being diverted from a landfill or incineration.
“There are a lot of little things we do that get the customers excited and help us drive down waste at the same time,” said Andrea Doygun, manager of the Giant store in Cleona, PA. “For example, we clean the empty frosting containers from the bakery as well as corn crates from produce and put them out for our customers to take them home and reuse them. Every little thing counts.”
Today, I write this article to help the store celebrate this milestone but also to help you.
Many times in the past, I have been asked about my laundry room routine. One main part I like to highlight is the “soaking bucket” I often use.
This bucket is super handy!
When I am ready to address the stain, I take the item out of the bucket, fill the bucket with warm water and add a few tablespoons of my Laundry Booster (aka oxygenated bleach), dropping the item back into the bucket to soak overnight. Usually I will pretreat a stain with a little of my laundry soap and then drop it in.
Oxygenated bleach works WAAAAY better the longer it can work. Most of us were introduced to oxygenated bleach as a laundry booster. Tossing a few tablespoons into the washing machine is ok, but it really doesn't allow the product to work as well as it could. Much like trading a $20.00 bill for a $5.00 bill. Not the best thing to do, although you still end up with cash. As with many natural products, the longer that ingredients are allowed to work, the better they work. an item can soak in the dissolved oxygenated bleach, the better the stain removal, whitening or brightening effect will be.
Most chain bakeries receive frosting/icing in 3-or-5 gallon buckets. Most will give you them for free and you simply rinse out all the leftover frosting at home. I was happy to see that Giant Food Store is rinsing them out before giving them away. I can tell you from my personal experience that blue icing is a bitch and takes forever to rinse out! I can only imagine what that blue icing does to the inside of my body when I eat it….uggghhhhh!
So, if you are looking to improve your laundry routine, simplify your stain removal process or give yourself a place to easily soak/whiten fabrics; the bucket is a must.
Pick one up today and tuck it in a convenient place in your laundry room. Mine sits wedged between the washer and the wall, eagerly awaiting dirty stuff.
Full Article at https://www.supermarketnews.com/sustainability/it-s-first-zero-waste-giant-food-stores
Thank you for reading this today! I highly recommend you share this electronic version (not printed copies) with everyone you know. The more people understand about “going zero-waste” and what it really means, the less single-use disposable waste would end up in our oceans and landfills. Please be sure to reference the sources and links to our website for more details on plastic-free alternatives to everyday living.
Thank you to all those people who inspire me everyday with their efforts to be zero-waste at home and in their journey through life. There are many people I admire and feel their advice is thoughtful and genuine (wish I could name them all!). There are four people I follow daily, read their entire posts, and usually find myself on their blog post or website for further details.
Follow these peeps on Instagram:
WHAT DOES ZERO-WASTE MEAN? Zero Waste means reducing the amount of waste we produce but more importantly it is about about not wasting resources in the first place.
The movement of Zero Waste (ZW) set out with a goal to reduce waste around the world, especially those items that are not being reused or recycled. Shifts in are being made towards waste-free in how we consume food and drinks, dressed ourselves and our pets, play outside, clean our bodies and homes and or even how we work.
WHAT IS THE GOAL? The goal is to AVOID unnecessary packaging! Because of our current systems of manufacturing, it is not ALWAYS possible to eliminate excessive packaging. Somethings are just out of our control, so a focus on AVOIDING unnecessary packaging when we can is the goal.
You may be familiar with Bea Johnson. She wrote the first in depth book presenting the zero-waste movement to the world. https://zerowastehome.com/about/book/ After several years and a lot of research, Bea reduced the excess waste her family produced over one year to fit into one mason jar!
Have you ever talked to your grandparents about their reuse habits? Ask them to share some stories and discover again how easily you can reduce buying more and wasting less. We could stand more of the mentality in today’s world.
THE SIDE EFFECT? Less waste in your life will enrich your life by giving you more time to experience new activities which can lead to a better quality of life. In this guide, you will learn lots of good tips and tricks.
LET’S GET STARTED!These steps are designed to be motivational for you and easy to implement.
Try these exercises to gain insight of the overall problem which can inspire you to make improvements.
1. Capture The Problem. If you are like most, you carry a smartphone everywhere Use it next time you are shopping.Snap pictures of products you use regularly and see how and what they are packaged in. You can even start in your own garage can and recycling bin for inspiration. Habits are ingrained in our purchases, and many times we don't even realize how toxic some packaging really is. Take a look at what packaging you are bringing into your home and learn what is made of and think of ways to avoid it.
2. Don’t Get Overwhelmed! Pick one item each week and work to replace that with a more eco-friendly - preferrably plastic-free or package free. Can you make it yourself? Is it available locally? Having a problem picking one item? Pick one room and start from there. For me, starting in the kitchen was easier.
3. Keep Motivated. Get on social media. The buddy system works great too - invite a friend to join you in this new adventure. There are plenty of great people sharing their journey - openly and without restrictions. Be sure to ask questions and share your good and bad moments. This is life. It won’t always be pretty and perfect.Follow the four people I listed above and they will definitely keep you motivated!!!
4. Make It Easy. Create a kit, just for you, that helps you meet your ZW goals. It is easier to avoid plastic packaging when you always have a ZW kit with you. In my car is a bag with mason jars, reusable cotton bags and a couple reusable take-out containers. I find it best when it’s always with me but if you are not always using the same vehicle, leave the bag near your front door, or a place you walk by every day. Planning your shopping trips in advance (even by an hour or two) can greatly increases your chances of success.
5. Keep Learning. Shameless plug right here-- join my newsletter and follow me on Instagram and Twitter. I like to share what I learn, share what I learn from others and provide solutions whenever possible.Check out like-minded ‘Meetup’ groups. Search Facebook for zero-waste groups and join one or two - not 10. There are lots of way so keep plugged in without feeling overwhelmed..
6. Track It. Do you want accountability? Write it down! When a doctor is trying to diagnose your issue, or if you are struggling to lose/gain weight; keeping a journal is generally a recommended part of the routine. Keep track of your progress. Write down the items you’ve replaced. Develop a system to figure out how much less is going into your recycling and trash bins. You may be very pleasantly surprised to see improvements in areas you did not expect. For example, I took on the challenge to not purchase store bought almond milk. My household was going through three cartons a week! It was not an area I thought of until I posed the question to myself - “What can I make that we use a lot of?” Turns our nut milks and nut butters are prized possessions on our home. I can happily tell you that I have been making almond milk at home over two years now. That is over 312 cartons NOT in the landfill!
Going zero-waste is a lifetime journey, not something you will master and finish this year. Take your time to enjoy the process. Will it be frustrating? Yes! Will you get mad and disappointed sometimes? Definitely! Will you be successful at zero-waste? For sure! All steps towards less packaging and plastic-free is beneficial to you, your family and the planet. So keep doing it, a little everyday; and you will be amazed at how far you come in just a few short months from now.
Let me know your struggles, pains and successes in using the 6 steps mentioned above. We are all in this together. It really does take a village to prosper, no one can do it alone.
Angie Ringler, founder