An idea worth spreading: Not buying new clothes was presented as a Ted Talk! Check out this video:
Here’s why designer Jessi Arrington shops at thrift stores and flea markets:
- To reduce her impact on our environment and her wallet.
- To meet all kinds of great people.
- To support a good cause.
- To dress in a unique way.
Jessi says “shopping at thrift stores is like a personal treasure hunt.”
So true! You never know what you’ll find.
Another great reason to buy used clothes… You don’t have to worry or wonder about how something will ‘wash up,’ because it’s already been through the ringer (or at least a washer).
Why do you like or dislike buying used clothes?
In the back of my mind, I’ve always known that gum wasn’t healthy. Not healthy for me or our environment. I noticed that gum wasn’t sold at ’natural’ grocery stores and the ingredients, well ah… they are suspect (i.e. polyvinyl acetate anyone?). All that said, I still chewed gum.
That is, until I read ’Chewing on Plastic? Yum!‘ back in January, and my gum buying days stopped. Wow!
The past few months I’ve been in many checkout lines, surrounded by gum, AND I’ve resisted the temptation. Yay! Once I bought some Peppermint lifesavers, but no gum.
Thanks to Beth Terry at My Plastic-free Life for inspiring me to kick my gum habit! I aspire to live a plastic-free life, and while I have a ways to go, reading blogs by plastic-free bloggers are great motivation for me.
Have you kicked the gum habit? Which alternatives do you like?
More about gum: Behind the label: Chewing gum
My 365 photo blog post for today:
I overheard the following comment in the locker room today:
“I like to shower here because of the unlimited towels.”
Unlimited towels? At the pool there are stacks and stacks of towels, but I never thought of the towels as being unlimited. This comment got me thinking about frugality. For me, frugality is not about clipping coupons or choosing the cheapest option (especially if the cheapest option is not built to last).
For me, frugality is my quest to consume less.
When I see a stack of towels, I take one because that’s all I need. I don’t think towels are unlimited. Instead, I think resources are limited and need to be conserved. I avoid using disposable products like paper cups and plastic bags at the pool, and I don’t take long showers. I’m not perfect, but I try to consume as little as possible.
However, now that I think about it (ah, this is good) the best choice is to bring my own towel to the pool. This way I can use my towel several times before it’s washed.
How about you? Are there places in your life where you can consume less?
A few years ago my daughters’ lunches consumed 4 or 5 plastic sandwich baggies times 2. That’s 10 baggies a day, 50 baggies a week, or 200 baggies per month. Yikes! My quest to consume less led me to the following plastic baggie alternatives.
- these handy washable bags are great for lunches. Cheese, popcorn, nuts, carrots… all fit nicely inside this bag. The inside is nylon and there are many fun patterns to choose from.
LunchBots – I use stainless steel sandwich boxes for messy sandwiches or anything I don’t want to have smushed.
Homemade bread with butter and chunks of cheese
I also reuse all plastic bags that find their way into our home. Every bag is given at least a second life. For example, I might use the plastic bread bag to store cheese. The plastic bag from cereal boxes can be reused for any number of things.
For my lunch I like to use a Pyrex container with a plastic or rubber lid. This makes microwaving super easy (sans the lid). For cold lunches, I’ve had my eye on a cool stainless stacking lunch box from To-Go Ware, but I haven’t pulled the trigger. For now, I’m good with what I’ve got.
Why avoid plastic baggies? Disposable baggies take hundreds of years to break down and when they do, chemicals are released into the soil. So why not go plastic-free?
How about you? What plastic sandwich bag alternatives do you use?
I went to a movie and was handed a plastic bag with 3D glasses. The glasses were nicer than the old cardboard variety, but I was mildly annoyed by the plastic bag. Why are plastic glasses wrapped in plastic?
After the movie, movie-goers can drop the glasses into a cardboard box for recycling. Recycling? Glasses that were worn once are melted down to make new glasses? Seems silly. After my conversation with the theatre staff went nowhere (was I really the first person to ask about the recycling?), I tried the Web.
The Internets revealed that every day some 700,000 Real-D glasses are shipped to a cleaning facility in LA where they’re sanitized, repackaged and shipped back to the theatres (not sure why this is called recycling, but perhaps reusing or washing doesn’t sound sexy?)
Some smaller companies handle the 3D glasses differently. Dolby, for example, has 3D glasses and they suggest that theatre owners buy something called a dishwasher. The glasses are washed onsite and reused. Simple.
I hope that more theatres will install dishwashers (and use compostable food containers).
In the meantime, I took my 3D glasses home to save for my next thrilling 3D experience (no shipping or repackaging needed).
Are 3D movies here to stay?
“There are hundreds of glasses, thousands of glasses, millions and billions and trillions of 3D glasses.”
Maybe I’m old school, but I like regular ol’ 2D. No special glasses required.
[Wiki sayz: Millions of Cats is the oldest American picture book still in print (1926).]
I’ve bought my share of used things the past few years, but never used shoes. Until now.
My daughter and I recently went on a quest for dress shoes. We went to our local used store and had a ton of fun (I almost felt like I owed the store a few bucks for the entertainment).
Entertainment? Sure. Trying on used shoes is fun. You don’t have to wait to see if they have your shoe size. Instead, any shoe you see is fair game. Stilettos. Clogs covered in beads. Biker boots. Ever wonder what it feels like to walk in someone else’s shoes? No need to wonder, you can find out instantly!
My daughter tried on nearly every size six shoe. Some she tried on seriously - as in “Mom can I get these.” And others she tried on just for fun (she knew stilettos were out).
We spent a good half hour trying on shoes. Naysayers might jump in and say that used shoes are not a good idea. Used shoes have molded to someone else’s tootsies and won’t fit your tootsies properly.
However, I’ve been thinking about getting a boot-like shoe and this one is quite nice.
Cost? 10 bucks.
My new used boots appear to be lightly worn, so hopefully they haven’t molded to someone else’s foot.
I’ve worn these boots three times and they’re comfortable (for a dress shoe).
Not sure I’m ready to buy used everyday shoes, but used dress shoes? Sure. I wear dress shoes infrequently and don’t feel compelled to spend big.
Buying used saves you money and saves resources (a win win).
Do you buy used? Used shoes anyone?
As many of you know, I’m a No Impact Man fangirl. I’ve read Colin Beavan’s book and participated in the No Impact Experiment with my family (miles are smaller by car).
This week I watched No Impact Man on DVD and was struck by this:
Lack of community has a negative effect on our environment.
Or said another way, when we feel disconnected from one another it’s easy to feel that our individual efforts don’t matter. Why limit our use of plastic? Plastic is everywhere. Why compost? Fruit flies are annoying. Disposable coffee cups are the norm, so why use a reusable cup?
Because (I believe) our actions have a ripple effect, affecting others in ways we can’t see.
Today I walked to the store with my daughter and along the way she spoke out against concrete. Yes, concrete. My nine year old, tree-hugging daughter dreams of a car-free world. When I hear her ideas I get excited and I wonder how many people will be affected by her passion for fewer cars.
Our individual efforts matter. Even when we don’t think they do.
What are you passionate about? Who will you inspire today?
Standing in front of an aisle dedicated to printer paper, I asked my daughter which printer paper we should buy. I read all our options: premium, copy, multi-purpose, laser jet, inkjet.
And she asked, “Is there recycled paper?”
A huge smile appeared on my face (and my heart grew three times larger – oh wait, that’s another story).
We searched for recycled printer paper. It wasn’t front and center, but it was available. Envirocopy™ paper. The price? 5.99 for 500 sheets, or one dollar less than the multi-purpose paper.
Wait a second! I thought I had to pay more for green products? Or do I?
Angela over at My Year Without Spending posed this same question today. “Is it more expensive to be green?“
What do you think? Is green expensive?
Or course the greenest choice is no paper (not buying new products), but no paper is a tough sell with school age children. If you’re interested in green frugality, check out these great blogs:
And of course this one. :)
Since starting my new job last April, I haven’t printed anything.
Everything I do is digital. I write, edit, and publish words online using my computer. Everything I need is in one place: on my beloved laptop. I love the simplicity of a paperless office.
Here are a few paper saving tips:
- Print or write on both sides of the paper. Save old printouts for reprinting or note taking.
- Before you click print, stop what you’re doing, drop to the floor and roll. While rolling, think do I really need to print this?
- If while rolling on the floor you decide you really need to print, use print preview so there are no surprises.
- Print just what you need and not the whole caboodle. Every page you don’t print counts.
- Take notes online with software like Evernote or OneNote.
- Go digital. Books, magazines, and newspapers are available online.
- Find something you want to read later? Bookmark it, add the page to your Favorites, or use Evernote.
- Buy recycled paper. Buying recycled products helps create a market for recycled paper.
If you follow these tips you’ll save money and trees.
How about you? How little can you print?
The toughest part of participating in the No Impact Experiment has definitely been Transportation Day. Today we didn’t drive our car to school, but instead used alternative transportation: our bikes. We rode in the rain (we live in Seattle after all). Uphill. With our school things on our backs.
One and half hours later, we arrived at school exhausted but happy. Our journey took much longer than we anticipated. My nine year old cruised up small hills without the aid of gears, but had to walk up the larger hills.
What did we learn from this experiment?
- Hills are hard
- Everything seems close when you drive
- Seven miles on our bikes was the equivalent of driving 90 miles (timewise anyway)
- Hills you hardly appreciate by car are mammoth by bike
- Rain pants and fenders are nice, but not required
When we arrived at school my girls were incredibly proud of their accomplishment. Our ride was the story and the adventure of the day. How much did we pay for our family fun? Nothing. How much carbon did we save? Unknown. How much money did we save? About 84 cents (14 miles at .06 per mile). What was the value of the experience? Priceless.
Later in the day when we drove our car, we were in total appreciation. Our car was so fast and so smooth, keeping us and our things warm and dry along our merry way.
Today my girls were a source of inspiration and joy for me; both were so determined to complete the ride. And they both made many fun comments like…
“I never knew I could get so hot and sweaty in the pouring rain.”
Have you ridden your bike to school or work? What did you learn?