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85 Green Tips & Tricks – Happy Earth Day

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Happy 50th Earth Day Everyone!

As avid recyclers we are constantly looking for new ways to reduce our carbon footprint.  Over the years, we’ve come up with quite a few tips and tricks we believe help save this beautiful ball we call Earth.  We figured Earth Day was a perfect time to share our discoveries.  Some of these are obvious, some not so much.

We don’t expect you to pick up all of these habits.  But if you pick up a few green habits like these here and there you increase your positive impact!

Please let us know what YOU do to reduce your footprint on a daily basis.

  1. #2 Buy Eco-Conscious Clothing

    Learn Your Local Recycling Regulations – Make sure you know what you can and cannot recycle per your town/city regulations.

  2. Buy Eco-Conscious Clothing – There is a small but passionate group of us out there making clothing that not only is not bad for the environment – we’re helping it!  Show your support if you can.
  3. Make Your Own Veggie/Chicken Stock — Save up your veggies scraps or chicken bones in the freezer.  Once you have enough, simply boil them in water for a few hours, drain and voila – you’ve got stock!  Not only will you reduce packaging, but you’ll save some cash in the process.
  4. Switch to Cloth Napkins – Do this and instantly became a little classier.  Plus, with washable napkins you’ll never run out again.
  5. Borrow/Rent Fancy Clothing – No need to spend tons on a dress you’ll only wear once!  Borrow a dress from a friend or rent one for that fabulous night out.
  6. Dryer Balls – Use dryer balls to dry your clothes faster – get fancy add a lovely scent.  We love adding lavender.
  7. Ditch the Trash Bag for Recyclables – Honestly, you’re helping the recycling plant while doing this one as well.
  8. Buy Local – Think of all the fossil fuels that are used to bring a banana to your home.  Shopping local helps your reduce fossil fuel usage all while supporting your local community commerce.
  9. Hang Dry Your Clothes – A dryer is great and all but so is the Sun!

    #9 Hang Dry Clothing

  10. Think About What You Print – Do you really need that printout of directions or can you just use your phone?  The trees will thank you.
  11. Get Rid of the Ziplock Bags – TUPPERWARE IS AMAZING!  You can put anything in it!  Next time you reach for that little baggie, try Tupperware.  Once you’re in the habit you never go back (plus it saves you $$)
  12. Save the Cooking Water for Your Plants – Plants love water of all kinds!  They don’t care if you boiled some pasta in there, just make sure the water cools down before watering your houseplants.
  13. Use a Travel Mug – This helps in so many ways!  Your local coffee shop saves a money little on cups, you reduce your waste AND you’ll always know which coffee is yours.
  14.  Donate Old Appliances – You may be done with your blender, but it may be someone’s next kitchen treasure!  Find ethical donation centers near you and donate when you can.
  15. Go to the Carwash – This one may surprise you, but carwashes actually use LESS water than washing your ride at home.
  16. Go Paperless – Make your bills paperless and think of all the trees you’re saving.  You’re a hero!
  17. Don’t Use the Plastic Bags for Veggies/Fruits – Your Grandma did not put every vegetable in a separate bag and she survived.  Trust us, loose veggies & fruits are just as good as bagged ones
  18. Get a Bamboo Toothbrush – Everyone replaces their toothbrush multiple times a year.  Bamboo toothbrushes are biodegradable.  Make the switch and make a difference.
  19. #19 Bike to Work

    Bike to work — Not only are you saving gas, you’re getting your workout in!

  20. Recycle your Plastic Bags – Most grocery stores have a small bin at the entrance for you to recycle your bags.
  21. Donate Your Clothing – Don’t throw those clothes away.  There are many options of how to donate your old duds – find what works for you.
  22. Place Online Orders All at Once – Need a couple of things from your favorite online retailer?  Make a list and place the order all at once, this saves of shipping waste!
  23. Fix Your Leaky Faucet – Those little droplets add up.  A quick home improvement job will save gallons of water over the years.
  24. Plant and Herb & Veggie Garden – Growing your own food reduces packaging waste as well as fossil fuel usage – there’s no need to truck these veggies!
  25. Be Aware of Your Impact – simply being aware the impact you’re having on this earth helps you make the right eco-friendly decisions on a daily basis.  It makes a different.
  26. Reuse Packaging to Create Arts & Crafts with the Kiddos – Egg containers make great caterpillars – Boxes make great forts – Get creative.
  27. Print Double-Sided – This one change cuts your paper usage in half!
  28. Consider Refurbished Electronics – Help reduce global E-waste!  Refurbished products keep computers out of landfill – plus you can save some money. (This blog post is brought to you by a refurbished MacBook Pro & refurbished Acer Monitor 🙃)
  29. Go Microbead-less – Avoid face and body washes with microbeads.  These tiny plastic particles get into our ocean creatures’ bellies.
  30. Propagate Plants – Take a prop from a friend rather than buying a new one at the store.  Save money and packaging.

    #30 Prop for Friends

  31. DIY Green Cleaner – Make your own cleaning products with common household items.  You’ll save on packaging and money. Bonus: you’ll spread fewer chemicals in your home.
  32. Love the Tap – Tap water (in most places) is your best friend!  No need for those cumbersome plastic bottles.
  33. Eat Whole Fruit – It’s fresher and reduces packaging.
  34. Water Your Lawn Less – Try increasing the number of days between waterings.  If you’re remodeling your backyard, consider using native and drought resistant plants.
  35. Online Subscriptions – Switch that magazine or newspaper subscription to an online order.  Save those trees!
  36. You’ve Got a Dishwasher – Use It! – Dishwasher actually SAVE WATER compared to hand washing.  If you run only when full you’ll be sure to save water.
  37. Fix It! – If a gadget breaks, either get it fixed by a profession or try fixing it yourself before ordering a replacement.  You’ll be shocked what you can fix with YouTube!
  38. Reusable Water Bottles – Invest in a few – you may even find yourself drinking more water.
  39. Ditch the Doggie Bag – Bring your own tupperware for leftovers at restaurants.  You’ll be a trendsetter.
  40. LED Bulbs – Switch out your incandescent bulbs for more energy efficient LED lightbulbs.
  41. Run! – Why drive to the gym? Save the fuel and either bike or run to the gym or maybe even try a home workout.
  42. Put a Patch on It – Did your favorite article of clothing get a stain or hole.  Don’t fear, patches are here!  Give your clothes a new do with a beautiful patch.

    #42 Put A Patch On It!

  43. Scrap Paper – We all have those random notes, unimportant lists – scrap paper is perfect for these.
  44. Be One with the Toaster Oven – These bad boys use very little energy.  They’re a great option for reheating or even baking smaller meals.
  45. Insulate Your Home Properly – This one will save you money and aggravation for years to come. Keep that heat in.
  46. Remove the Junk in the Trunk – Don’t waste gas by lugging around a trunk o’ junk!
  47. Get an E-reader – These devices save on trees and clutter.
  48. Consider Solar – The sun is powerful – let’s utilize it.
  49. Don’t Copy, Scan – No need to fill your house with photocopies these days.  Scan those items to a hard drive and safe even more trees.
  50. Buy Used & Remade Items – One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.
  51. Get a Real Christmas Tree – Fake trees are made of all sorts of bad plastics and they’re almost all shipped from overseas.  Cutting your own tree IS eco-friendly.
  52. Build a Rain Collection Barrel – Rain barrels are great for watering plants, washing carts etc.
  53. Get Creative with Wrapping Paper – Newspapers, magazines, decorate a paper bag.  There are all sorts of ways to avoid wasteful wrapping paper.
  54. Wash Your Clothes in Cold Water – This still gets your clothes clean while saving energy.
  55. Invest in a Popcorn Popper – Get rid of all that packaging and go old school with a popcorn popper.
  56. Carpool – This one is an oldie but goodie.
  57. Freeze / Dehydrate Older Fruits & Veggies – No need to toss those over ripe apples.  Make a tasty snack for later by either freezing or dehydrating them.
  58. Donate Unwanted Pet Supplies to Local Animal Shelters – Help those puppies, kitties, bunnies all the animals!

    #58 Donate Pet Supplies to Animal Shelters

  59. Combine Errands – Reduce your errand runs to once per week and reduce your fuel usage.
  60. Turn Off the Lights – When you leave an empty room PLEASE turn off the lights.
  61. Check the Cap – Many caps on food and other containers are recyclable these days.  Make sure you’re looking for that triangle.
  62. Cook from Scratch – You’ll save on packaging plus it’ll taste better!
  63. Compost – Many cities offer composting – find out if yours does.  If not, it’s easy to build a little composting station in your backyard too.
  64. Get Lunch Tupperware – No need for plastic baggies if you have a simple lunch container.
  65. Consider a Local Vacation – There are amazing places all over the world – try finding a fun “no-fly” vacation near you and cutback on fuel usage.
  66.  Plan Your Meals – Meal planning reduces trips to the grocery store – you’ll reduce your fuel, packaging and money.
  67. Donate Bubble Wrap – Find a local business who can reuse your bubble wrap and other packing materials.
  68. Get a High Efficiency Washer & Dryer – Save on energy and water.
  69. Know What Your City Offers – Many cities offer special seasonal recycling – check to see if your city has leaf, Christmas tree or pumpkin disposal sites.
  70. Borrow Don’t Buy – Are you only going to use that crowbar once?  Ask a friend or neighbor if you could borrow their rather than running to the store.  Less stuff is better – trust us.
  71. Craft with Scraps – Don’t under-estimate your scraps – you can make fun things big and small with them.

    #71 Craft with Scraps

  72. Reduce Your Shower Time – This trick saves water while giving you healthier skin.
  73. Don’t Be Afraid of the Ugly Fruits & Veggies – They taste just the same, help keep food out of landfills.
  74. Avoid Fast Fashion – Do a little research into the companies you’re wearing.  Are they helping or hurting the environment?  Fast Fashion companies contribute to the 3rd most pollutive industry in the world.
  75. Shop at Container Free Stores – If you’re lucky enough to have a container free store near you try and support them when possible.
  76. Refuse the Straw – If you must have a straw, invest in a steel straw and bring your own.  We don’t need any more plastic straws in the oceans.
  77. Reuse your Ziplock & Plastic Bags – Rolls, breads, bagels – they usually come in a plastic bag.  Don’t be afraid to reuse that bag to store other food items.  Ziplock bags can also be reused 🙂
  78. Turn of the Sink – When brushing your teeth or washing your face.  Save it for when we really need it.
  79. Know Your Numbers – Different places accept different numbers when it comes to recycling.  Make sure you know everything that can be accepted.
  80. Cook with Residual Heat – Turning off your oven a little early won’t affect your meal but it will lower your energy bill.
  81. Buy Less – It is as simple as it sounds.  The less we buy, the less stuff there will be in this world.  That means less waste down the line.  Try buying less – it’s not too hard.
  82. Avoid Single Serving Foods – Single serve products create much more waste and are typically more expensive.
  83. Get Rechargeable Batteries – Dead batteries are so bad for the environment, invest in reusable ones and stop throwing away dead batteries for good.
  84. Cut Back on Meat – If you eat just a little less meat per week, you’re helping the environment.
  85. Wash Clothes Less – You can re-wear that top, trust us.  Not only will this reduce your laundry, but your clothes will last longer.

NPR’s Fresh Air Episode about Waste & Recycling

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Terry Gross continues to show up with Fresh Air’s Episode: ‘Waste’ Exampines the Global and Local Afterlife of Recyclables

Environmental scientist Kate O’Neill discusses recycling and the global politics of waste. “Once you throw something away, you’ve got to think about where’s it going to go next,” she says.

O’Neill brings up great points such as

Do you know where your recycling or waste is going?

Are you aware of which plastics are easiest to recycle?  (Psstt — #1 and #2 recyclables are the easiest plastics to recycle if cleaned correctly)

China’s no longer imporing our recyclables — now what?!

We learn a bunch of new important information in this interview — for example the easiest plastics to recycle — who knew?!  This conversation drives us to be better consumers, recyclers, and humans.  The fact that 95% of Ghana’s e-waste is repurposed, repaired recycled etc. is motivating!  We will continue to strive to repurpose what we can and limit our waste.  Listen to this episode and inspired to pay a little closer attention.

Listen to Fresh Air’s Episode: Waste…

BBC speaks the truth behind the fashion industry

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Did you catch that?  Each year, over 100 BILLION items of clothing are produced globally.  3 out of 5 items end up in a landfill within 12 months.  That’s approximately 60 BILLION items of clothing that go in the trash after just a year from the initial purchase.  What a waste!

BBC Earth has done an incredible job of revelling the truth behind the pollution and effect the fashion industry has on our planet.  The industry’s habit for fast fashion has pushed many animals close to exstinction and has polluted our air and water.

This reminds us that we not only need a healthy planet for our survival but for our everyday inspiraiton.  Where would the fashion, technology, design, you name it industry be without the influence and knowledge aquired from nature?

We can make a change!  When you purchase an Elisabethan piece you are making a choice to support a healthy planet – and you get a flattering piece out of it too 😉

Elisabethan stands with BBC Earth and their mission to combat fast fashion.  We are happy to take the #SustainableMe pledge….will you join us?

I(we) pledge to…

Consider every purchase

Avoid fast fashion

Buy quality and consume less

Recycle and repurpose my clothes

Repair my clothing and footwear

6 Ways to Make Your Halloween Green

By | Blog, Sustainability

There’s no question, Halloween is one of the highlights of Fall.  Take a spooky fall evening, add sweets and top it with creative costumes and you’ve got a great holiday.  Unfortunately, you also have a day that produces a bunch of waste (food/candy wrappers, low-quality costumes, accessories, plastic bags, etc).  That’s why Elisabethan wants to offer a few tips on how to make your Halloween green!

 

Go Oldschool – Use a Pillowcase

There’s no need for your little goblins and ghosts to use plastic to collect candy – go oldschool and use a pillowcase.  There are also plenty of other options – tote bags, backpacks, reusable grocery bags, lunchboxes all work great too.  Take it to the next level and make your own.

 

Give Out Eco-Friendly Candies

Sweets and treats are a big part of Halloween – but with them often come excessive wrappers.  Chose to distribute candies from a company that gives back to planet Earth.  Here are a few that have less of an impact than your typical individually wrapped treats:  YumEarth (Sustainable Packaging), Go Organic Fruit Chews (Compostable Packaging), or Glee Gum (Partners to plant trees).

 

Save the Seeds!

Pumpkin Seeds are a delicious and a nutritional powerhouse!  Make them salty or sweet, you can’t go wrong when you cook your pumpkin seeds.  There are plenty of recipes.

 

Get Creative and Make Your Own Costumes!

We all know the best costumes are homemade.  Take some time, get creative and make a costume from clothing you either already have, borrowed from a friend or got at a resale clothing store.  By making your own costume, rather than buying a generic costume (you may never wear again), not only do you help the environment but you’re not limited to what’s in stock.  Don’t forget – homemade costumes always win the costume contests!

 

Bundle Up and Take a Walk

Trick-or-treating isn’t an errand, so don’t treat it like one!  Bundle up yourself and your crew and hit the pavement, enjoy the night while strolling around the neighborhood with your family.  Walking instead of driving to trick-or-trick is a BIG way you can make your Halloween greener.  And let’s be honest, the candy isn’t just for the kiddos – walking is a great way to get a little extra exercise for those extra calories.

 

Compost Your Jack-o-Lantern

Make the most of your jack-o-lantern by adding it to your compost.  Pumpkins compost quickly and will create fertile soil for next year.  Remember it’s important to remove the seeds and smash the pumpkin into multiple pieces – this part is fun!

**Make sure you DO NOT compost pumpkins with toxic or plastic decorations (Paint, glitter etc.)**

If you don’t have a compost bin, simply dig a hole in your garden bed or yard, place the pumpkin in hole, and cover with dirt.  If you do not have a yard, most communities have dropoff locations after the holiday.

Thanks for taking the time to make your Halloween more sustainable.  Have a fun and safe Halloween!  Boo!

10 Things You Didn’t Know You Can Recycle

By | Blog, Sustainability, Uncategorized

Happy Earth Day!  At Elisabethan, we try to live every day like it’s Earth Day and we wanted to tell you about items you probably didn’t even know you could recycle.  Not only that, we wanted to teach you HOW to recycle these items.

1. Athletic Shoes

There are plenty of organizations that take athletic shoe donations.  MORE accepts gently worn shoes.  The shoes are then sold in major metro areas to vendors who in turn create jobs and help improve the quality of life in cities. The proceeds from the sale of the shoes provides training and tools to the poorest rural farmers.  Soles4Souls is another organization that takes shoe donations.  Their mission is to create sustainable jobs and provide relief through the distribution of shoes and clothing around the world.

2. Holiday Lights

Those holiday lights sure look pretty but they don’t last forever – what should you do with them once they finally kick the dust?  Donate them to HolidayLEDS, who recycles your lights and even sends you a 15% off coupon.

3. Bras

Yes, we said bras, you can recycle bras!  The Bra Recyclers is leading bra recycling company that has partnered with Ambassadors around the world to recycle over 1 million bras and support over 80 non profit organizations.  Their purpose is to ignite a ‘Bra-volution’ to decrease the number of bras entering our landfills, while providing substantial social benefits to women and girls in need.

4. Batteries

Batteries contain heavy metals which can poison the soil and water in landfills.  You’re able to recycle batteries by mail with BatterySolutions.  Or stop at stores such as Ikea and Staples which have recycling programs for batteries and other items like ink cartridges and more.

5. Eyeglasses

In just about any home, one can find a pair of eyeglasses that are no longer being used. That same pair of eyeglasses can change another person’s life.  Lions Club accepts donations of glasses of all types.  These glasses are then cleaned, sorted and distributed to people in need in low and middle income communities where they will have the greatest impact.

6. Greeting Cards

Everyone loves getting a greeting card and St. Jude’s Ranch for Children has made them eco-friendly.  St. Jude’s Ranch for Children recycles your used greeting cards and creates new holiday and all-occasion greeting cards. Recycled cards are sold to support our programs and services for abused, neglected and homeless children, young adults and families.

7. Keys

Each year In the United States alone, millions of keys become lost or obsolete and are then thrown away.  The Key For Hope Foundation is a non-profit organization that collects such keys are weighed and sold recycling centers as scrap metal.  The profits are used to fill the food pantries and help the hungry. It doesn’t have to stop at keys! Other metals that can be scrapped can be donated as well, such as lock systems, copper, and all other metal items.

8. Sporting Equipment

Kids outgrow sporting goods so quickly it’s hard to keep up.  There are various places that accept sporting equipment and put it back out into the athletic world, one of which is Play It Again Sports.  In fact, Play It Again Sports will buy or trade equipment with you.

9. Packaging Materials

Packaging materials are often necessary but once they’ve done their job they seem like a waste.  Well waste no more!  There are various ways to recycle packaging materials the Plastic Loose Fill Council and the EPS Industry Alliance are great resources to find recycling locations.  Another option is to reach out to small business owners to see if they could reuse your packing peanuts.

10. Crayons

The National Crayon Recycle Program takes unwanted, rejected, broken crayons to a better place, where they will be recycled into new crayons!  This “recycling” education, community service has made it possible to stop more than 112,000 pounds of unwanted crayons from going into landfills with the help from schools, organization educators and kids across this country.