Tag Archives: made right here

Ethical Fashion and I – an interview by Tomorrow Living

Last week I was lucky and honored, to be part of an amazing Ethical Fashion Profiles Series on the eco-blog Tomorrow Living!

Just like me, Aimee, the voice behind Tomorrow Living, is blogging all things eco, ethical, conscious and awesome. She decided this spring to showcase some of her favorite ethical fashion bloggers, instagrammers and fashionistas from all walks of life to demonstrate the sheer variety of “Ethical Fashion” that is out there, because conscious, green fashion is as diverse as the people who choose to wear it.

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This is me, straight from the office, in made in USA jeans and flats.

Aimee asked me some very good questions for the interview, like “What inspired you to start your blog?”, “What are your favorite ethical brands at the moment?” and “What has been the most eye opening thing about buying local, US made products?”

I was also asked what my top tip for more conscious, green and sustainable living is. That is such a relevant and great question to ask any eco-blogger! I have to share my answer here too, because I think it came out really well:

For more conscious living, the thing to do is to take a long, hard look at how you live, what you eat, what you buy and then try to answer the question of why you choose what you choose. That may sound like a difficult thing to do, but I think all change has to start with self-awareness. People tend to have a perception of themselves as “sort of green” and they honestly believe that to be true, all while eating a cheeseburger and drinking soda from a disposable Styrofoam cup after another quick shopping trip (in their SUV) to Wal-Mart & the Gap.

That said, my tip would be to sign up to follow a few eco-blogs, get a vegan recipe app (“Forks over Knives” is great!) and to follow a few zero waste instagram accounts. It’s a great way to be inspired to make better choices, create awareness and to get the latest updates on cool, ethical products, without having to do any research yourself!

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Hand-me-down earrings, old scarf and my most beloved shirt.

Another part of the deal was that I got to pick one of my favorite outfits to show off and explain why I love it and how it represents ethical and sustainable fashion.

Want to read the rest? Head on over to Tomorrow Living to read the whole interview and get all the details of my favorite outfit and why I chose it! :)

PS. You might want to check out the first post in the series too, which featured Sarah of Plum and Plaid, who is all about second-hand finds, hand-me-downs, upcycling and spectacular vintage treasures. I’ve been following her blog for a while and I was excited to read more about her and her thrifting genius! :)

Pictures by  Shutterluv by Ashley.

Here’s the Link to Tomorrow Living’s interview about made right (here).

Zero waste trip: Minimizing trash on the (business) go

I don’t consider myself a frequent flyer of any sorts. I avoid flying if I can; it’s boring, time consuming and adds to my carbon footprint, but sometimes duty calls.

In order to make the best out of a recent business trip and not just co2 compensate (which I always do at Stand for Trees – 1 ton per 1 domestic flight) I decided to attempt a zero waste trip.

Only about 56 hours of trip-time to handle, I figured this would be a great little zero waste outing. It’s a gamble on business trips because you cannot pick the restaurants or activities yourself, so it can be a waste trap, thus an exciting challenge. I brought these items with me, to help me out:

With my travel buddy in the terminal - ready to do this!
With my travel buddy in the terminal – ready to do this!

It started well, got my boarding pass on my phone and checked in at the parking garage with my credit card. Peets coffee in the terminal filled both my bottle with water and my mug with coffee. I did get a bran-muffin, which was baked inside of a paper type form. I took it with me on the plane, hoping to find a compost in LA.

I asked for my bottle to be filled with water once in air, and guess how they did that? By emptying a 12 oz aluminum can into it. What! Rumor has it that Southwest recycles, but I am not sure. I always see them throwing everything in the same trash bag. I decided to take the can with me so I could recycle it in the terminal. (Metal takes less energy than plastic to recycle, and can be recycled unlimited times, so at least not the worst material that could happen.)

From that point on, I was on a roll! Lucky for me, during the two dinners and one lunch I ate with my colleagues (all had good vegan or vegetarian options), I only “produced” one paper napkin of waste (wrapped around the utensils – no choice).

When it comes to hotels, I realized that if you take the time to consider your options carefully before you book, you can make your low waste life easier by staying at a place that serves breakfast instead of the classic continental (wasteful) breakfast buffet. I lucked out again as my manager had decided we should stay at the Hilton Garden Inn, where they served breakfast on porcelain and offered bulk coffee, juice in glass jars and made-to-order food. Of course I had to skip yogurt and individually wrapped baked goods, which wouldn’t have been great choices anyway – dairy and sugar – so no loss!

Another hotel-tip would be to use the “Do not disturb sign” at all times! It saves energy, cleaning supplies, time for the crew, water and trash bags. Easy!

I've had this "ziplock replacer" for my liquids for 7 years. Now that's reusing.
I’ve had this “ziplock replacer” for my liquids for 7 years. Now that’s reusing.

I kept my bottle with me at all times and filled the mug with coffee in the hotel lobby. When my colleagues wanted Starbucks, I opted for ice tea in my water bottle. I also stopped at a gas station and filled it with water from a soda machine while on the road.

The trip was going so well, but took a sour turn at LAX airport, where I couldn’t find a single proper restaurant and all the food came pre-packaged or was served on paper plates! (I panicked a bit when I saw apples wrapped in plastic. Yuck.) I had to rely on coffee to fill me up (Starbucks in my to-go mug) and a banana. There were no compost bins in the terminal and the banana was non-organic but I thought it was better than something processed and plastic-wrapped.

Despite the LAX despair, this trip turned out to be a fun zero waste adventure! It totaled only 1 paper napkin, a banana peel, one muffin form and some receipts (needed for my company to cover my expenses anyway) for the whole trip. This was despite trying really hard to produce zero waste.

It is truly astounding how much our society promotes waste and one time packaging! Gross!

Bringing your own water bottle and to-go mug on trips in the United States (as everyone is so nice letting you fill up with free water here) is super easy, convenient, cost effective and saves so many one-time-use cups and bottles! Next time I’ll pack some emergency nuts and fruits – just incase another LAX situation happens.

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Two heroes in the middle, surrounded by the one-time-use losers

You don’t have to be a zero waste hero to make a positive trash impact! Every small change you make matters. Saving straws and cups when you’re out and about, never buying bottled water, always opting for carton instead of plastic (eggs, milk, juice, rice, pasta etc.) and bringing bags (also for produce) to the grocery store is a great start to help reduce plastic waste. The average American uses 300 to 700 one-time-use plastic bags per year! You don’t have to be part of those statistics. Take control of your environmental impact.

As for the WHY in all of this. I read lots of zero waste blogs and I am trying to live low waste. There is simply no excuse for single-use plastic. Our oceans are full of it, animals die with it in their tummies, BPA found in it is hormone-disrupting, it’s made from non-renewable fossil fuel (again you are making the fossil guys richer by buying) and practically never degrades.

Here are some good pictures from The Two Hands Project, to inspire you to go reusable!

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Read more here about how they encourage everyone to “take 30 Minutes and two hands to clean up YOUR world anytime, anywhere” to deal with the plastic pollution. Love that idea!

Read up on Zero Waste and find blogs here, at the Zero Waste Bloggers Network.

In a world of apps; my memories are still handwritten

I bet you didn’t know that USA organizers, calendars and day-planners are made in China – did you?

As an eco-girl I should be using some kind of “app-planner”, but I just don’t want to! I love lying in bed before sleep, writing some notes on what happened to me during the day, without the glare of a screen. My planners never end up in landfill though, I keep them all, and sometimes I go back and remember a random Wednesday from two years ago; maybe we saw a movie, went swimming or had delicious spaghetti.

plannerThat being said, the paper industry is a big polluter. You can read all about it on Wikipedia, it does not paint a pretty picture.

USA has hundreds of paper mills… yet we can’t seem to find the resources among the 100,000,000’s of tons of paper and paperboard they produce to make planners? I guess not; since all of the planners I saw at Barnes & Noble, except two, were made in China. The two best options were bound here, but the paper may still be imported! How can that be a better business case than using paper made here? – I wonder.

My choice was between Quo Vadis and Gallery Leather; both bound in USA. I picked Gallery Leather since the size was just right, had a weekly planner (best layout for me) and there was one in salmon color screaming my name (Hubby said “oh, that’s soo you!”). Researching it more, Quo Vadis would have been a better eco-choice as they are committed to materials from certified sustainable forests, no bleaching, water recycling, 100% controlled sourcing – to name a few environmental initiatives they have taken. At least the leather cover of my planner is handcrafted in Maine, I like that.

At the end of day, a planner can be made “here”, but with like many other paper products; hardly ever made “right”…

I still enjoy my planners! The little things you do every day are the things to cherish down the line; it’s nice to have a place to keep them, handwritten.

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It’s about time you reduce your (merchandise) calorie intake

As of Sunday January 4th I’ve completed my first year of my “not made in China challenge”. And with that, this one year commitment has officially made me consider this my new lifestyle.

Still, living a not made in China life is like being on a constant diet, you always have to consider your options and read tags. There’s no getting around that.

Let’s say Chinese goods are like carbs… People will tell you; “Not all carbs are bad!” “Carbs won’t hurt you.” They’ll say that they manage to lead a healthy lifestyle while including carbs. Still, cutting out carbs completely, seem to help people get healthier and reduce their overall calorie intake. They may spend more money on healthier choices but their overall grocery bill stays the same, since all sugary, carby things (read cookies, candy, soda, cereal) actually add up quick! We can all live without such foods – so why spend the money?

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Not made in China is a diet that has reduced my overall consumption drastically.

There are many want-to-have-products without a domestic or not made in China alternative. It’s unfortunate, for me, but ultimately that means zero merchandise-calorie intake. Yes, I may spend more on one specific item than what a China-shopper would spend, but add up all my spending and it’s nowhere near what I spent the year before (the challenge).

It’s like I’m buying the fruits and veggies of merchandise, the stuff that’s really nutritious for our country; supporting small businesses, US entrepreneurs and locally made products. And the fact that very often these local products are organic or eco friendly, well that’s just a bonus.

Nothing or no one will convince me to change my view on this!

Enjoy the blog in 2015!! Let’s all shop local and reduce our footprint!