Category Archives: Low Impact Living

If You Must Use Plastic Bags…

2008_04_01-plasticbag-1

I try to minimize the use of plastic bags, but since I freeze lots of local produce, I confess, I have plastic freezer bags around the house. I reuse every one of them, though, thanks to this nifty device. After I finish using frozen local produce, I wash the bag and put it on my plastic bag dryer to dry it. I then reuse the bag to freeze more produce.

Plastic bag dryers cost less than $20 each, so they’re easy on your wallet as well as the environment. Several retailers, including Gaiam, sell them, so compare prices before you buy.

Just Say NO to Ziplock! Carry Wrap-N-Mats & snackTAXIs

Wrap-N-Mat

Wrap-N-Mat

snackTAXIs

snackTAXIs

A couple of years ago, Eddy’s sister Kathy gave me Wrap-N-Mats and snackTAXIs for Christmas. I must say, they rank in my list of Top 5 Best Christmas Presents of All Time.

What are Wrap-N-Mats and snackTAXIs? They are basically reusable Ziplock bags. Wrap-N-Mat holds your sandwich and becomes your place mat when you eat. snackTAXI holds everything from chips to nuts to sugar snap peas. After you eat, you clean them, and they are ready for the next day.

So, if you’re like me and want to say NO to Ziplock, switch to Wrap-N-Mats and snackTAXIs!

For more information about Wrap-N-Mats, visit www.wrap-n-mat.com. For more information about snackTAXIs, visit www.snacktaxi.com.

Just Say NO to Plastic! Carry Reusable Produce & Bulk Item Bags

After watching the film No Impact Man and reading Colin Bevan’s book by the same title, I became inspired to make additional changes in my life to reduce my environmental footprint. I overcame my fear of biking on a busy street to get to work. I started carrying washcloths so that I wouldn’t have to use trees or energy to dry my hands. I also started carrying reusable produce and bulk item bags.

I can’t stand plastic bags, so I never use one to take home produce like apples and peppers. I must admit, though, some smaller items such as cherry tomatoes and mushrooms are more convenient in a bag. Some farmers at my market insist on bagging wet produce like lettuce and basil.

I’ve been thinking for some time on how to prevent plastic produce and bulk item bags from entering our house. That’s when I read about reusable produce and bulk item bags in the book No Impact Man. I knew I had to give them a try.

I bought the bags from several different vendors. Conclusion? They’re AWESOME!!! They work just like reusable grocery bags. You take them to farmers’ markets and stores, and you use them instead of plastic or paper bags to take home produce, grains, and bulk items. After you empty the contents, you throw the bags into your laundry hamper for washing and drying.

After testing bags made by several different vendors, my favorite so far are those made by ECOBAGS. ECOBAGS’ I Love Dirt bags are so lightweight that they add a minimum amount of weight when weighing them on a scale.

So, if you are like me and want to say NO to plastic and paper bags, give reusable produce and bulk item bags a try!

Just Say NO to Disposables! Carry To-Go Ware

My To-Go Ware. Photo Courtesy of Coastal Living.

My friend Ann and I had lunch the other day at Boulevard Bread Company. After we picked up our orders at the counter, we grabbed a table, sat, and pulled out To-Go Ware from our purses.

What’s To-Go Ware?

Disturbed by being served her ice cream “for-here” in “to-go” plastic, Stephanie Bernstein founded To-Go Ware in 2004 to encourage people to bring and use their own utensils when eating at a restaurant. To-Go Ware Utensil Set comes with flatware, chopsticks, and a holder made of recycled plastic. Her line of reusable cutlery is made of bamboo, which is highly durable and can be grown and harvested sustainably.

Eddy and I each have owned a set of To-Go Ware for the past several years. We love them! It feels great to prevent disposable utensils from being sent to landfill.

Wanna own a set or give one to someone special for Christmas? Head to Heifer Gift Shop inside Heifer Village.

For more information about To-Go Ware, visit the website, www.to-goware.com.

Tuesday To-Do: Presentation on Eco-Logical Communities at Nightbird Books

Wanna know why I love Fayetteville? Fayetteville is so determined to reduce its energy and water uses that it has created a community-wide initiative to encourage energy efficiency and water conservation.

Called the Eco-Logical Communities, the initiative currently boosts 650 households in Fayetteville and over 1,000 households in northwest Arkansas.

Don’t know about Eco-Logical Communities? Come to the presentation tonight at 7 p.m. at NightBird Books (205 Dickson Street) in Fayetteville. Topics covered will include:

  • Utility company programs to help homeowners make energy efficiency upgrades
  • Coupons, rebates and tax incentives for energy efficiency
  • Eco-Logical Communities and Fayetteville ’s environmental dashboard
  • Earth Aid and setting up personal dashboards to track energy and water conservation at home

The event is sponsored by the University of Arkansas Applied Sustainability Center and the Ozark Headwaters Group of the Sierra Club.

All are invited to attend! Help grow the Eco-Logical Communities in Fayetteville!

For more information, contact Michele Halsell at mhalsell@walton.uark.edu.

Entergy Arkansas Offering Choice Meters to Help Residents Monitor Electricty Use & Save Money

The November 28, 2010 edition of Arkansas Democrat Gazette has an article about Entergy Arkansas’ new program to help residential customers monitor their electricity use and possibly lower their monthly bills.

Unlike standard meters that show only the total kilowatt hours used, choice meters show four readings – total use, off-peak kilowatt hours, midpeak hours, and peak hours. Off-peak hours have lower rates than midpeak and peak hours. By switching from standard meters to choice meters, customers can see their electricity use during different hours and shift energy-intensive activities from higher-rate times to lower-rate times.

The program is offered to all customers. For more information, visit www.entergy-arkansas.com/choicemetering/ or call (800) 368-3749.

Happy Buy Nothing Day!

I’ve been celebrating Buy Nothing Day for about a decade and half, and this year is no different.

Founded by Canadian artist Ted Dave and subsequently promoted by Adbusters magazine, Buy Nothing Day is an international day of protest against consumerism. North Americans celebrate Buy Nothing Day today. The rest of the world celebrates it tomorrow.

Buy Nothing Day started in Vancouver in 1992. Today, people from over 65 nations celebrate the day.

I normally stay home on Buy Nothing Day, but this year, Eddy and I will be in Jasper, Arkansas, celebrating Thanksgiving with our friends. With the Ozarks so beautiful this time of the year, you can rest assured that there will be some hiking involved!

We can all go a day without buying things. Why not give Buy Nothing Day a try?