Now, this scarf is very special. Not only is the New York designer who made it committed to American manufacturing, but most garments Tabii Just offers is sewn from scrap fabrics. Yes! The most beautiful discarded yardage from American mills and designers that would otherwise end up in landfill (or maybe once in a blue moon be recycled/downcycled). A great way to reduce a garment’s carbon footprint!
Due to the fact that fabrics are “leftovers”, quantities of some styles are limited and the exact fabric content is not always known. The most common threads made locally are rayon, polyester and conventionally grown cotton, so one or more of those most likely. I actually shot Tabii an email and asked, and the owner replied that my scarf is some sort of rayon blend. The ball hem is “new” and made ethically by artisans in Mexico.
As we’re talking about a piece of clothing made from scrap material, the rayon’s biggest eco-issue in this case becomes the microfibers released when washing, but I don’t really wash my scarfs a whole lot ;)
Another way Tabii Just is focusing on zero waste is by making patterns and designs with minimal scrap and cut-outs. And of course, a scarf is actually the ultimate zero waste item since, well, it’s basically just a square of fabric!
I am super excited to spend colder fall and winter days in this scarf. Happy birthday to me indeed.
Days without washing my hair that is. Let me elaborate on this.
You know I don’t often blog about beauty products, since I am not very savvy in that department, however when I see and try something great and eco-friendly that I am super impressed with, of course y’all have got to know about it too.
So let’s talk about Attitude shampoo. I got it at Target, randomly, and it had me hooked immediately because it smells lovely AND my hair stays beautiful and fresh super long. How does washing it every four days sound? Yep. Four!
This is amazing to me because I have a lot of hair and it takes buckets of water and time to wash and rinse it; the fewer times a week I have to do it the better. Imagine the water savings! Because my hair stays clean so long, going through a bottle of shampoo takes quite a while too as you can imagine. Even though the bottle is made of HDPE #2 plastic, the easiest type to recycle, the fewer plastic bottles I use in a year the happier I am. Why? Well, “recycling” plastic actually means “down cycling” as the recycled plastic will become a lower grade product each time it’s recycled and eventually become useless. That’s why we should all avoid plastic products, even if we “recycle” them. (Yes, I’ve tried lots of plastic-free shampoos over the years, but nothing has worked like I want it to. I like shiny hair ;))
Made in Canada, Attitude Living’s shampoo has lots of eco benefits that I appreciate. Like the fact that it is made using 100% renewable energy, just like all Attitude products, and the company carbon compensates for their emissions by planting trees.
And that all ingredients are mineral- and/or plant-based, meaning completely vegan, worry free, natural and super safe. All products are hypo allergenic too. Cancer and rashes stay away!
I’ve only tried the volume and shine shampoo so far ($10) but I am definitely interested in trying more of their products. They’ve got cleaners, body washes, baby bath products, diapers made from cellulose, dishwasher pouches and more.
I love it when I find safe products in common places, like Target. It’s convenient, and important, to not have to buy everything eco-friendly online. I sure hope Target will offer more items from the Attitude product line in stores soon, just like they got the full line from the Honest company.
For now, at least my hair’s got the right attitude; shiny, eco and clean (I’m on day three ;)).
We’re mid-way through September, and although temperatures are cooling off, Houston still allows us to wear dresses. And that’s pretty lucky for me, considering I have a brand new one!
Have you heard of Via 74 before?
It’s an online shopping site with ONLY made in USA garments from which I got my new dress! The clothes are not only stitched together here, the actual fabrics are made in USA as well. Via 74 source from different trustworthy wholesellers and you don’t know exactly what the what the brand label will say (other than made in USA) until the garment shows up at your doorstep. This mix of sources adds up to quite a versatile collection.
For me, being not just a “support local” consumer but also an eco-woman, I always want to know the contents of the fabric too, and at Via 74 it’s listed loudly and clearly for each item.
That’s how I came to decide on exactly this dress (there are so many!) for myself. It’s made of 95% modal (and 5% spandex) which is an eco-friendly choice made from beech wood. There were lots of pretty dresses that I liked, but since they were made of polyester or rayon they weren’t for me. Transparency online is so awesome.
This dress was on sale for 3o-something dollars, but I ended up paying only 22 after rebates. And on top of that, shipping was free! What!
I’m very excited about this.
Via 74 is a member of the Made in America Movement; they are committed to American made goods and honest domestic sourcing. Check them out here (you won’t believe their colorful selection :)).
First, let me just get the obvious, in your face Tesla fact out of the way. Yes, by the time I’m halfway to my house, your growling V8 is still revving up to get you out of the parking lot. Hang in there buddy!
Now, let’s get down to Tesla Model S owning business. We get lots of questions about our car from people we know, but also from strangers in parking lots. Based on the questions we get most, I decided to compile a list of information and answers in this post!
Of course, I’m an eco-blogger and this is all written from my point of view based on personal experiences with this beautiful machine.
It’s not zero emissions, but it sure can be
On paper, our Tesla is zero emissions because all the money we spend on electricity goes to a 100% renewable energy provider, but in real life our carbon footprint per mile is around 50% of that of a comparable midsize gas-driven sedan.
See, In Texas the energy is made up by several different sectors; nuclear, coal, natural gas and about 10% wind power is pumped into the grid. Since we use the grid for power, a mix of those technologies fuels our car. That combined with the higher efficiency of the electric engine, adds up to us emitting about half the pollution that a single gasoline engine emits. As Texas moves more towards wind and away from coal, that number of course will improve (there’s hoping!).
In states like Oregon, Idaho and Washington which are mainly powered by hydropower, driving an EV (electric vehicle) is actually very close to zero emissions, so owning one there boosts the eco benefits. If you have your own solar panels, of course you’re emitting zero carbon per mile for real. (We are looking into it!)
Flipping off the oil companies feels SO good (every day)
Let’s face it. Filling up the car with gas is not an enjoyable moment. Not having to do so at all is amazing (and less germy).
Each time I drive by a gas station I feel pretty darn good about the fact that my car was fully loaded by the time I jumped into it in the morning. People seem worried about the 4-5 hour duration it takes to charge the car at home (from completely empty to full), but honestly, don’t most of us spend at least 7-8 hours in our homes at night? I know I do. And for the charge to take that long, the car must be running on empty. If you drive 40-50 miles in a day, the charge time is more like an hour.
Not giving my money to ExxonMobil or Chevron is also wondrous (every day). Like I wrote above, our electricity provider is 100% green, so that’s where our money goes now instead of going to oil giants.
Savings? About 30 dollars per month with our driving habits and electricity provider (and current low gas prices!).
You can charge your Tesla in a regular 110V/10A outlet, but in order to charge as fast as we do, you must have your house, or garage, wired with at least a 240V/40A outlet, a $700-$1000 one time cost. The higher the power, the faster the charge. (A certified electrician can tell you what is possible in your home.)
Do we ever forget to charge? Nah. Plugging in became habit right away. Do we forget to pull the charger out before a trip? No, the car won’t let us go.
Range anxiety is (pretty much) uncalled for
The furthest we’ve taken the Tesla so far is Waco, TX. A good 215 mile trip (one way) from Houston, ending in a town with six Tesla superchargers waiting for us. And with a 270 mile battery life, a trip like that isn’t an issue.
Here’s the thing. The Google maps system in the car is programmed to guide your travel so you stop and charge when you need to. Type in that you’re going to New York and the car will make a plan for your trip including which chargers you should stop at, and for how long to “fuel”. There is no risk of you running out of power, as long as you have half a brain and listen to the car’s needs.
Of course charging at the Tesla superchargers is free, so no need to save up for road trip gas money (just coffee money, unless you happen to find a café that offers that for free as well for Tesla owners, like the Collin Street Bakery chain in Texas).
Sure, charging may take 20 minutes instead of a gas stop that takes five, but on a road trip, it’s not that big of a deal. Take a break, have a snack (the chargers are often walking distance from other amenities) and frankly, we’ve been on one little road trip in six months. 99% of the time we stay in the Houston area, and 270 miles is more than enough to get us anywhere we want to go (or we could just charge at the superchargers here in Houston!)
No, we don’t miss the sound of a gas guzzling engine when we start the car, or accelerate. It does make a swishing sound, like a turbine starting, when you hit the pedal hard and it is quite awesome (and addictive). The silent cabin makes listening to music pure joy.
Speaking of which, it comes with internet radio (Slacker) and most of the radio stations in the world are accessible for live streaming, anytime, anywhere. There’s no extra charge for this radio awesomeness.
Service is not a problem and the software is constantly updating
At least it has not been for us. Living in a large city with several Tesla showrooms and service locations of course helps us feel confident and relaxed, if something was to happen the car would be picked up or serviced at the location as soon as a Tesla Ranger could make it there.
And what other car actually gets better with time? As you drive the Tesla it can learn your patterns in order to use energy more efficiently, share road knowledge with other Teslas and the software is automatically updated with the latest improvements as well (via wi-fi).
I don’t care what the news say, the Autopilot works and it rocks
Every time there’s a car accident involving a Tesla, news agencies are having a field day. Imagine if CNN reported each time a Ford or Chevy was involved in an accident! Of course corporate media have ties to oil industries and large car makers, and will report negatively on Tesla whenever they get a chance. They’re hating on Tesla like they were hating on Bernie Sanders. So be it. New ideas and inventions are a little scary for the conservative crowd.
The truth is the Tesla Model S and X are the safest cars on the road today, exceeding the five star crash ratings in every aspect and the AutoPilot (the car’s ability to steer and control speed itself) really works. It is super convenient, especially when I have to peel a banana. Like, who can do that with one hand?
Keep your hand on the wheel (as soon as you’re done with the banana!) and be observant of traffic and when the car beeps and tells you to take control, don’t ignore it and continue watching Harry Potter on your phone (the 17″ awesome touchscreen will not let you watch movies!). Again, listen to the car’s needs.
Needless to say, having a long-range electrical car is just like having any other car, just way more convenient with less pollution, gas pumping and noise. Even if I keep saying that electrical vehicles are the future, I admit our car doesn’t feel futuristic at all, it feels contemporary. And why wouldn’t it? Why should a car in 2016 look, drive and function like a car did ten years ago (or make that a hundred years ago)?
I believe in and passionately promote a future where all our cars are electric! That’s why our family made it a priority to lease one. It matters to us. A lot.
Not everyone will or can have a Tesla, but other than the much longer range and free charging, several benefits above apply to other electrical cars as well. As the Tesla Model 3 is released in 2017, with a $35,000 price tag, we’re one step closer to making long range, beautiful EVs accessible for the masses.
(Ps. Tesla is made right here in the States, boosting American ingenuity and providing thousands of jobs out west and in motor city. Thanks Elon Musk!)
Today is officially the last day of August and with that, I have completed TWO thirds of my “12 pieces – 12 months” challenge!
You know, I decided back in January to buy a maximum of one new item for myself per month for the entire year of 2016, in order to reduce my consumption and live more sustainably.
I wrote a similar update post after completing four months on the challenge, and now the time has come to share what I’ve been spending money on during our long, never ending, hotter than the sun, Texas summer.
In May, I went on a work trip to New York and found myself downtown browsing away at Century 21. And not only browsing for that matter, I bought a made in Italy sweater from what I assume is a fancy designer, since it cost me $199! I love this sweater even though it wasn’t my best ever eco-purchase. Judging by the price and origin, I do believe it is a sweatshop-free item.
In June, hubby came across a new brand of reusable water bottles while reading a magazine, and we got ourselves a couple of Liberty Bottleworks bottles. They’re made in Washington State from 100% recycled aluminum. One 24 oz bottle was $23.
In July,I decided it was time to gear up for fall with a new pair of Oka-B ballet flats. This time I got myself a black pair with a grey pendant. Made in Georgia, recyclable, zero waste, vegan shoes at their best! And of course, only $45. Woop!
In August, the time had finally come to get myself an adult coloring book. Nerdy or awesome, who cares, it has cats. Lots of cats. I got it at Barnes and Noble for $13.95 and it is printed in Canada. Judging by the time I spent coloring half a page, this book will last for a long time.
I am very happy with all these things!!
As you can see, the challenge is not just about clothes, bags, accessories and shoes, it’s also about other “nice to have” things, like books and bottles.
Four more months to go! Will I succeed? I am planning on it!
Nothing drives a “not made in China shopper” crazier than souvenirs and patriotic merchandise made in China. (That is if the shopper in question is not in China shopping for these things, but in for example Texas.)
At a recent shopping outing at HomeGoods (just browsing!), my friend and I ran into this:
Texas state pride – made in China.
First let me say this, there are things that people buy that kind of have to be imported, sometimes for very good reasons. One example I can think of right now is bamboo. Bamboo is a sustainably harvested plant, very often grown in China and East Asia. It’s durable in use, considered eco-friendly, but doesn’t grow here.
As for the Texas wall art, there is no excuse. Let’s take a second to note what it is made of, namely, some sort of wood, stain and white paint. Hmm, I’m pretty sure I’ve seen these materials in Texas before!
The sad thing is that some proud Texan will fall in love with this simple painting (not sure what to call it really), take it home, hang it and feel good about it. Probably never reading the tag that says made in China on the back.
So, shoppers, read the tag and refuse local pride made overseas!
And makers, if you’re gonna put a US flag or state on it, then please, make it here.
At the end of the day, this is why we need to stop trade agreements like the TPP, folks! What a waste it is to import items we already have (wood, stain, paint, cardboard) all while outsourcing labor and adding polluting transport to our oceans. It should never make economic sense to do so.
Read my take on the TPP (Transpacific Partnership) here and add your name to the petition to stop it here. Right now it looks like there won’t be a vote on the TPP this year, which is great (!), but we still need to campaign against it.
As the kids are gearing up for school, adults are gearing up for going in back to work after our summer vacations. Oh wait, some of us never left. Either way, fall is a great time to kick start some new, sustainable habits along with that new, hopefully better, fall wardrobe you’re about to show off.
Most of us spend just as much time at the office (or other workplace) as we do at home. Therefore, what environmentally friendly choices we make during working hours certainly matters!
Here are five easy ways to eco-boost your day at the office. EVERY day!
1. Ditch the disposables
Using disposable cups for office coffee and water is a nasty habit. There is absolutely no reason to add cups to landfill every day, because you’re too lazy to wash up. If your office has a dishwasher, all the better, if not, there is no shame in taking your cups home now and then to give them a deep clean. If you’re a stir stick fan, use that plastic piece of nonsense multiple times (or how does over 500 years in landfill before it degrades sound?).
Disposable water bottles don’t belong in the office either, since most offices have a water cooler you can use. And if not, ask your employer to invest in one (or maybe water filters for all kitchen faucets).
2. Be eco-smart about lunch
Lunch is the one meal a day that you get to control 100%. No boyfriend, wife, family or friends cooking for you or suggesting what’s for dinner. Use this opportunity to eat vegan meals, or at least put beef and dairy on the “forever forbidden lunch food” list. Avoid places that uses disposable dishes and cups.
Pack your lunch now and then too (in reusable containers) to save the car trip, napkins, unwanted straws, receipts and cash.
3. Trash belongs in the common area (not your office!)
If you have a personal trash can in your office or cubicle, ever notice how the trash bag is changed almost every night? Throw a banana peel in there and I guarantee you the cleaning crew will change the bag. This behavior wastes so much plastic! 100 employees, 220 workdays, that’s 22,000 (half empty) plastic bags going to landfill every year! Take your trash to a common area, like the kitchen. Bonus! You’re less likely to sit on your butt all day.
4. Turn that light off
Just because you aren’t footing the electricity bill doesn’t mean Mother Nature isn’t. Unless you’re working in a building powered 100% by solar panels – a turbine, coal plant or nuclear reactor somewhere is making energy for you. Turn off your office lights, bathroom lights, fans, heaters and electronics when you leave a space. Help your forgetful colleagues by turning off their lights too (hey, only when they’re not there!).
If you have access to the A/C thermostat, great, set it to a comfortable (higher) level to save the building electricity! Plus you and your colleagues don’t have to use personal space heaters (to warm those cold feet). [Reader tip!]
5. Reduce, reuse and recycle
80% of office waste is paper, so being mindful about paper use is key. Only print when you need to, use both sides of the paper and collect all paper for recycling. I bet your office has a secure shredder bin or recycle collection bin, and if not, encourage (hmm, more like demand) that your employer gets one. Help your colleagues remember to recycle by setting up local paper collection trays in your specific work area. If you see a piece of paper in a personal office trash can (see point 3) give the person the evil eye. It’s effective.
That’s my list! I do these things every day and I promise it’s so easy! We can all make a difference while we’re on the clock. Quite the win-win.
Do you have more ideas on how to maximize our eco-friendliness at work?! Leave me a comment :)
I’ve had this nagging feeling lately that I spend way too much time in front of or looking down at a screen. My eyes are tired and honestly, I’m a bit tired of endless updates (and Trump’s ugly mug).
Now, I’m not sure if it’s super nerdy or quite trendy, but I’ve wanted a so called “adult” coloring book ever since they first came out, and now seemed like the perfect time to get one to help me spend more time being creative and less time screen surfing.
“Mystical Cats in Secret Places”. That’s my new coloring book because yes, I love cats. Since I’ve spent many days drawing in the past, I already have lots of colored pencils I can use. (Digging them out at home I was happy to see they are all plastic free, made in Europe and non toxic.)
Speaking of books, have you ever flipped a book over at Barnes and Noble to see where it was actually printed?
Funny thing, or sad rather, many of them are made in China. You’ll find that being true for the majority of coloring books as well (kids and adult ones). Yes, we import English books written by American authors from China. It’s a mad world!
When it comes to printing, “made in China” is not only concerning due to the long transport and the outsourcing of jobs, the biggest issue is the environmental impact this business has on local eco systems.
See, it’s actually common for Chinese (and Indian) printers to do all their printing offshore. That means the books are made onboard ships that conveniently release all the excess tint and chemicals straight into the open sea*. It’s a great way for them to escape watchful eyes, avoid regulation and stay super competitive on pricing. In other words an eco disaster. So take a second and check the origin next time you’re book browsing.
Anyway, less screen time and plenty more mystical cats for me! I’m excited.
My sister suggested a long time ago that I write something about fabrics. She asked: When it comes to shopping planet-friendly, which fabrics should I go for?
Here’s what I’ve come up with, based on internet research, articles I’ve read and some personal eco ideas that make sense to me :)
Step 1: Go for natural fibers
Why? Because in thousands of years when we’re no longer here, the fabric will have degraded, posing little or no harm to the planet. A fabric made from a plant or tree is CO2 neutral, if done right. It absorbs carbon it as it grows, releases it as it is cut down and when a new tree grows up in its place, carbon is absorbed again.
Where? Well, cotton is everywhere you shop, while the Internet will most likely be your best bet for materials like hemp and modal. I see these fabrics more and more when I browse, often on eco-conscious shopping websites.
Whoa! Rayon is a common natural fiber used in all types of stretchy materials. It is made from wood pulp, but unfortunately due to the heavy chemical processing it takes to make the fabric, it is considered semi-syntethic (see step 2). Rayon is also worrisome as it is often linked to deforestation! There is no need to cut down our rainforests when we’ve got so many other natural choices.
Step 2: Poly-blends are the enemy
Why? Well, they’re made from oil (yuck!) and wearing plastic is not cool when you think about it. These fabrics do not biodegrade – ever. Recent studies have shown that polybased fabrics release up to 4,500 microscopic plastic fibers each time they’re washed, polluting our waterways and oceans. As fish ingest them, the fibers accumulate and act as a “sponge” for toxic material. (Eat that fish later, and you just ate plastic microfibers seasoned with toxins.)
Which?Polyesters, elastane, nylon and fleece. (Fleece being the worst microfiber polluter!)
Where? These fabrics are everywhere! Watch out!
Whoa! Recycled polyester has become popular lately, and although it has a lower initial environmental footprint, it still releases microfibers when washed, making it a bad eco-fabric. If you already own poly-blend/synthetic fiber clothing (which we all do) air out instead of washing as often as possible.
Step 3: Always look for sustainably-made fabrics
Why? Because the more eco-friendly – the better!
Which? Organic cotton is a great choice. Grown without pesticides and fertilizers, it’s safer than regular cotton for the farmers, the lands and the consumers. Modal is generally sourced from sustainably harvested beechwood trees. Hemp and bamboo are fast growing plants, and generally labeled very sustainable. All these fabrics are (95%+) recyclable.
How? Look for stamps (like Oeko-tex or GOTS) and descriptions of how the fabric’s material was grown and harvested. If the store includes a sustainability statement – that’s a good sign. And look for locally grown, domestic fabrics!
Where? Most likely you’ll find the most sustainable fabrics and clothes online, hopefully with details on where the fabric was sourced and how it was prepared (dyes, labor practices, etc.) too.
Step 4: Shop second hand
Why? Second hand shopping has a negligible environmental footprint compared to buying something new!
Which? Go for natural fibers again so washing is a weekly task not a weekly ocean polluter. If you are into wool or leather goods, second hand is the way to shop them! Both are materials with a heavy environmental footprint, especially leather with the toxic tanning practices, heavy chemical use and the questionable treatment of animals. If it’s already worn, your impact becomes minimal. Isn’t that awesome?
Where? At your local resale store, in your mom’s closet, or using online services like Thread Up. Vintage stores and markets are always fun too.
That’s it! Quite easy, right?!
Remember, clothes are “want to haves” not “need to haves” (most of the time) and any new garment you buy impacts the planet negatively even when it is made from, by definition, an eco-friendly fabric. Shop wisely my friends.