ECO Gift Wraping

Gifts in reusable cloth bags
Gifts in reusable cloth bags

Day 13, of 31 days of less waste

Below ideas from Yogajournal.com

Have you ever waded knee-deep through the detritus of discarded paper, tissue, and ribbon after a gift-opening frenzy and thought, “What a waste”? Well, you’re right. According to Use Less Stuff, during the holiday season Americans throw away 25 percent more trash than usual—or 25 million tons of garbage. What’s more, many wrapping materials are not recyclable because they have a high metal content

6 Eco-Friendly Ways to Wrap Gifts

  • Furoshiki is a type of traditional Japanese wrapping using cloth. Take any square of cloth—a bandana, a scarf, or even a cut-up shirt or pair of jeans—lay it out in a diamond shape, and center the gift on it. Flip the southern corner of fabric up over the gift, tucking the cloth under if necessary, and bring the north corner over the top and let any extra material hang. Then tie the east and west corners at the top of the gift.
  • Decorate a paper bag with stencil or crayon.
  • Use an out-of-date map or some sheet music.
  • Recycle vintage containers, such as cigar, shoe, or hat boxes.
  • Incorporate environmentally friendly items, such as raffia, string, or strips of cotton or silk, in lieu of synthetic ribbon.
  • Use natural gift-box fillers, such as leaves, straw, pine needles, or shredded recycled paper scented with a few drops of essential oil.

My favorites for wrapping gifts are:

My husband's gift wrapping
My husband’s gift wrapping

** Use washable, reusable shopping bags as gift bags

** I reuse the gift bags from last year for this year’s gifts.

** Use light hand towels or cloth napkins.

** Use wrapping paper made of recycled materials

http://www.yogajournal.com

https://www.bridgingthegap.org/using-less-stuff/

Cut food waste day 12, Meatless Monday

My series, 31 days of less waste continues:

I love risoto
I love risotto

Clean out the Refrigerator Risotto
Food waste is a waste of energy. Growing shipping and packaging of products takes lots of energy. What are your ways to reduce food waste?
I have always been intimidated by risotto, but after my recent trip to Eastern Europe and many delicious meals, I knew I could become good at making risotto.
This is my vegan, Meatless Monday recipe. Serve with fruit, salad and a veggie patty. Top with whatever nuts you might have, the garnish of cheese will make it vegetarian, not vegan.

Clean out the Refrigerator Risotto
– 1 small onion or leftover onion
– 1 cup rice (I use brown, white rice is easier and faster)
– 2 cups of water or more
– 1 clove garlic (optional)
– vegetables or leftovers to use up (I used collard greens , parsley, celery, and carrots)
– 1 tsp. salt
– garnish with nuts (optional)
– oil for browning onions and veggies. I use olive or coconut.
Process:
Stir fry onion in oil until it starts to brown, add vegetables and continue to stir fry for few minutes, next add rice for about 3 minutes and salt. Throw in any other left overs. Next, I add about 1/2 cup of warm water, stirring every few minutes, and adding more warm water as the water is absorbed. When the rice is soft and creamy, it is ready to serve. About 30-35 minutes.
Easier method:
After the rice and vegetables are slightly browned add the 2 cups water and place in an oven dish in the oven @ 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Enjoy!

Erase Plastic Pollution

Do we want water that looks like this?
Do we want waterways that looks like this?

My series on less waste continues:

We can all do something about this tremendous influx of trash and I will be posting ideas for 31 days on how to reduce trash and waste:

Plastic, what an amazing and awful product at the same time.! It is cheap and it is light.  Unfortunately, it has become an enormous environmental problem.  Many lack the personal responsibility to get single-use plastic bottles and bags to the recycle bin.  Many developing nations I visit seem oblivious to it, except in tourist areas! Days 6 through 11 of #31daysofreducingwaste are going to focus on how we can have less plastic pollution.

So what is the problem with plastic? Many say the materials in plastic cause cancer. Plastic will never dissolve, but will break into thousands of pieces of litter. The plastic in the oceans will be here on earth for hundreds of years and it will be found in the intestines of many fish, turtles and birds.  Plastic creates a terrible waste and litter problem.  According to the http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/tag/plastic/   If left unchecked, there could be 250 million tons of plastic in the ocean by 2025 — about one pound of plastic for every three pounds of fish. We can’t let this happen.

Avoid plastic, fill your glass or metal bottles with liquid

Avoid plastic, fill your glass or metal bottles with liquid

** The best way to reduce plastic trash is NOT to drink bottled water. Bring a reusable water bottle to work, school, and for all your adventures.

**Avoid plastic bags. Always bring your reusable shopping bags.

Shopping bags made from recycled plasstic
Shop with reusable bags

** How can you avoid baggies?  I love these wpid-wp-1418350258136.jpegcompostable wax paper bags

** Reuse and recycle all plastic bags.

Please recycle plastic bags at grocery stores!
Please recycle plastic bags at grocery stores!

* Reduce packaging: Try to purchase items with no packaging or packaging that can be recycled.

 

 

** Never purchase items that contain microbeads :  https://health4earth.com/2014/07/16/what-products-contain-microbeads/

 

From Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day, household waste increases by more than 25%. Added food waste, shopping bags, packaging, wrapping paper, bows and ribbons all adds up to an additional 1 million tons a week to our landfills. (Source: EPA)

http://washburn.mpls.k12.mn.us/washburn_green_team_video.html  This is a great video made by my local high school students on reducing trash.

 

A Good Reason to Be Conservative

11703236_908335322566446_6098173936904503204_oIf everyone did just a bit, it could add up to a “whole lot!” Health4earth

My series, 31 Days of Less Waste continues:

Day 3 of 31 days of less waste. and another day of solidarity with the Paris Climate Summit.  Change and saving our planet starts with all of us! Today’s post is on driving conservatively.  Don’t waste gas, become an ECO driver!

What can we all do to reduce the emissions we put in the air we breathe?

  1. Drive less: I am fortunate to have good bus service, and can walk to shopping and many of my activities.  Our car often stays in the garage for weeks at a time. We even hauled our Thanksgiving turkey home on the bus!

2.  Car pool: Most cars have only one person. Not only is this boring, but it is   wasteful! You can change this. Make travel fun, offer rides to co-workers, classmates, and  others going to your events. Even one-day a week would make a difference!

3. Become an ECO driver:  Drive the speed limit and accelerate gently.

4. Maintain your car: Keep tires inflated, filters replaced, and make sure your automobile/truck aren’t emitting excess pollution.

http://www.earth911.com/living-well-being/new-drivers-adopt-eco-friendly-habits/

Fall Gardening is for the Birds

Dried up cone flowers are a gift to the birds but not to the human eye. I took this picture in July
Dried up cone flowers are a gift to the birds. I took this picture in July

As I write this the goldfinch are eating seeds from dried up purple cone flowers, and hummingbirds are still flitting around for nectar.  Below is an excellent article on fall gardening by writer Val Cunningham.  My suggestions follow.

“As they fly around your neighborhood, birds won’t be attracted by gardens with flower stalks cut neatly to the ground and plant debris raked up and removed.” V Cunningham .http://www.startribune.com/leaving-your-garden-a-little-untidy-this-winter-helps-birds/327498161/

My additional suggestions for fall gardening are:
*Pull out all the invasive and bad plants
*Plan for next year. What worked and what didn’t work? How can you add more native

Hummingbirds and bees love this red menardia nardia
Hummingbirds and bees love this red
menardia

plants ?  (My favorites are milkweed, Liatris, cone flowers, bee balm  hyssop, wild geranium and asters)
*Plan where you can add a rain garden next year to capture the rain from your house, driveway or yard. http://bluethumb.org/raingardens/

011Birds love driveways with seeds and leaves, but please keep our waterways clean by sweeping sidewalks, driveways and street from leaves and debris.

 

Nature Walks Are Good For Your Brain!

What flowers are blooming?
What flowers are blooming?

See the new research below, and get outside in a quiet place for a walk.

In the past several months, a bevy of studies have added to a growing literature on the mental and physical benefits of spending time outdoors. That includes recent research showing that short micro-breaks spent looking at a nature scene have a rejuvenating effect on the brain — boosting levels of attention — and also that kids who attend schools featuring more greenery fare better on cognitive tests.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2015/06/29/fixating-or-brooding-on-things-take-a-walk-in-the-woods-for-real/

Report back with what you see on your walk.  Friday I saw an owl and an indigo bunting.

Look for butterflies
Look for butterflies

Pick up One Piece of Trash a Day

This trash could end up in our lakes and oceans breaking into little pieces that last many years.
This trash could end up in our lakes and oceans breaking into little pieces that last many years.

#TalkingTrashTuesday

The snow has melted, the sun is shining, it is time to pick up litter from the winter. Carry a bag with you to pick up trash. It makes our world look SO much better, and it keeps trash from washing into our lakes, streams and oceans.

Pick up One Piece of Trash a Day  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Pick-up-One-Piece-of-Trash-a-Day/267910856667805?fref=nf

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/deborah-bassett/breaking-the-plastic-addi_b_781569.html

http://plasticpollutioncoalition.org/

A landmark new study shows there is 30 times more plastic entering our ocean than previously estimated. http://www.oceanconservancy.org/

Take 3  https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=867945456577550&fref=nf    Take 3 minutes to pick up trash and what do you find?