Saturday, April 13, 2019

We Are Not Alone - More Lessons from a Plastic-Free Lent

When I made my first serious attempt at avoiding plastic back in 2016, I ended up feeling discouraged and alone. The problem seemed too huge for me to try to address.  I eventually gave up and just stuck to my vegan diet, the things I had already been doing for years (shopping second hand, composting, recycling, etc.), and focused on limiting my bath and body purchases to cruelty-free.

That's how it goes sometimes when you are trying to adopt new habits. It can be two steps forward and five or more back! Sometimes the timing just isn't right or the infrastructure isn't in place to help you succeed.

It is depressing to know that the plastic problem didn't mysteriously go away of course, just because I chose not to look at it as much. But in the time that I stepped back from pursuing a more zero-waste lifestyle back then to today, I have found so much more attention being given to the problem.

Now I find that even if I am alone in my social circle of friends, I am most certainly NOT alone in my efforts and it is so, so encouraging.

If you do a search on Facebook for zero waste or low waste, you will find many groups of people and organizations that are very, very busy combating the problem.  I liked and followed a few of these groups and I am so thankful to receive updates in my news feed of positive changes being made or in the works. Not everything is positive, of course, but along with the news that is discouraging, there are stories of real change beginning to happen.

Did you know, by the way, that there are Buy Nothing groups already organized and up and running successfully on Facebook? There are many in the Twin Cities and there are groups all over the world who participate together in a sharing economy. Very Gospel-minded if you ask me! Unfortunately for me, there isn't one in my town just yet and I don't have the time at present to moderate a group like this, but oh, my how inspiring it is that people are just sharing things regularly and for free with their neighbors, enabling people to save money and use what is already available instead of needing to buy new.

Likewise, if you do a search on for zero waste or minimalism or environment or the like, you will find groups of like-minded individuals getting together to support one another and figure out ways to reduce our waste and get out from underneath ALL. OUR. STUFF.

If and when you begin to follow one of these groups or organizations, you will inevitably learn about more organizations addressing the same or similar areas of the problems the Creation is facing.

I don't know if Imperfect Produce would have shown up in my Facebook feed if I wasn't looking at other waste oriented groups, but I am so very thankful that they did!

All of this produce and more is from my first order. And to think: all of this gorgeous, completely perfect food was otherwise rejected and would have gone... where? Keeping all this food out of the waste stream and having it conveniently delivered to my door is a business model I can get behind. I am rooting for them and others like them.

I am learning so, SO much this Lenten season and attempting to be free of single-use plastic has had me thinking about things and experiencing new places and new ways of doing life that I hadn't considered before. It has been eye-opening, inspirational, exciting, and hopeful. Even when the problem remains incredibly daunting and I continue to wonder if we are doing too little too late, I remain amazed at innovative and passionate individuals who are moving forward with an eye toward reshaping our commerce from one that is a linear, waste-filled system that exploits the planet to one that is a circular, sustainable system that takes and uses only what it needs and which does the least harm.

I could write and write and write about what I have been learning, but I will save some of those discoveries for future posts. In the meantime, I will share a little review with you on some of the 40-day experiments I have been engaged in and tell you...

What Is Working and What Isn't Working... Yet:

The zero-wast pet things I've tried recently are going VERY well! I have had great success using newspaper and brown craft paper that was used as packing material in some boxes we received at the house for solid waste. There have been no problems with that at all, even on walks when I've had to carry the waste for a while. I just take enough newspaper and roll it up. It's actually quite convenient and even less conspicuous than a plastic bag.

I continue to fill and freeze Seiji's Kongs with his wet pet food and he is blissed out with that treat on a daily basis. Before Lent I'd purchased a few boxes of chicken broth to freeze in ice cubes for him and I continue to use what remains of that. But from now on I think I will just use my own vegan soup bullion that I make using herbs and spices from the bulk bins at the co-op. I know he'll find that just as tasty and since nutritional yeast is the base for my bouillon, it is a good source of protein and B vitamins.

One great score for me and exactly what I was looking for, was this square basket I nabbed at Goodwill one evening. I actually went in looking for this exact thing. The odds of finding exactly what you want at a thrift store the first time out are pretty slim, so I was thrilled!

I have put the basket in the trunk of one of our cars (I'm on the lookout for another basket for our other car) to hold all of the things I want for my low-waste shopping trips.

My Zero-Waste Shopping Kit

In it I have put:

  • shopping bags
  • bulk and produce bags
  • my new reusable coffee bags
  • jars for bulk bins
  • clothes pins to clip the bags that don't have drawstrings to avoid using twist ties

I need to put in the egg cartons that the co op lets you bring back to refill. I don't eat eggs, but the rest of my family does. And I'm going to pick up a black grease pencil, hopefully at TARE Market's grand opening next week. The pencil is erasable and will allow me to write the tare and bulk bin number directly on my jars, so I don't need to use a sticker.

You could obviously use a box or any other bin to keep in the back of your car. I just love the look of baskets and having something be pretty makes me want to use it all the more. 💖

Here's one that isn't working yet!

Oh, sad. I look like I've been in a fight. I purchased this mascara off of an Etsy shop. It's a homemade, zero-waste brand. I purchased two: one that is in a cake form in a little tin and another that is liquid. This is the cake form one and though I do not have greasy skin - far from it, I am quite dry - and I followed their directions for powdering my lashes before and after application to keep it from smudging and, well, as you can see, THAT hasn't worked!! I'm not giving up JUST yet. I do believe that there is a learning curve to some of these things and I'm willing to do things differently if I can figure out a way to get it to work. But I'm not willing to spend an inordinate amount of time working on applying mascara every morning, so we shall just have to see if I can figure out a way to get it to work. The reviews were pretty good on the Etsy seller site, so we could still be in the realm of user error!

That's all for today. Can you believe that Easter is just over one week away? I am looking forward to a hopefully SNOW-free Eastertide and beautiful day of celebration! Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, April 1, 2019

I'm Doing #The100DayProject

I am excited about and getting ready for #the100dayproject which begins tomorrow, April 2. I know I am repeating myself when I say that I try to participate in challenges and repeatedly fail. In fact, the only one I think I have actually completed is the Minimalist Game that I did in February.

So...maybe I'm on a roll, right? 🙄 And what's 100 days?

Well, it's July 11, actually. 😂

Ah, well. No harm in trying.

So, my project this year is going to be #100sketchbookdays

My parameters are wide; I just need to work in my sketchbook every day: beginning, middle, or end of a sketch. I don't need to complete it and I am not choosing what to sketch ahead of time.

I expect that if I do complete the challenge, my work will be in more than one sketchbook and I'm just fine with that. I am not looking to complete a standalone project that encapsulates the work I will do. Instead, I am in search of 3 things: speed, fluidity, and an emerging style.

This is a sketch of my younger daughter, Eve, with Seiji. I have already begun painting this with gouache and I have realized already that trying to paint people I know will be way too time consuming for my project. I feel much freer, artistically, painting strangers, because I let go of a desire for accuracy and instead let my inspiration take the lead.

I'll be sharing some of my progress here. Daily updates will be on my Instagram:
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