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Spring Break!!

April 21st, 2012 · environmental awareness

 

 

Grand Canyon

My family and I had the pleasure of visiting the Grand Canyon this past week and it was amazing.  I was lucky enough to grow up overseas and had the privilege of traveling all over Europe, but I always felt like I missed out when it came to “the Great American Road Trip”.  You know, the one you see in the movies where the family is piled in the back of a station wagon, staying in motels, and heading to a National Park.  I was happy to share this slice of Americana with my children (sans station wagon) as they won’t be doing any extensive travel in Europe anytime soon! 

When President Roosevelt spoke at the Grand Canyon in 1903, he said, “…Keep it for your children, your children’s children, and for all who come after you, as one of the great sights which every American … should see.”  While the purpose of the park is to be visited and appreciated by as many as possible, the canyon’s ecosystem pays a heavy price. Hiking through the high desert is thirsty work and thirty percent of the park’s litter each year was made up of plastic bottles.  Two months ago they completely banned the sale of these single use containers and have substituted them with water refill stations throughout the canyon.  It’s these small steps that we make that will keep the Grand Canyon, as well as our other National Treasures places of beauty that someday my children will take their children to see.  Hopefully their kids won’t argue in the backseat as much as mine did!

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Drowning in Packaging

December 7th, 2011 · environmental awareness, Uncategorized, useful tips

 

This is the first Christmas I think I can say I bought more gifts online than in brick and mortar stores.  While this is great with regard to the carbon footprint of driving around making purchases, however the packaging is just crazy.  Add to it the fact that all the family members coming to visit for the holidays are having their purchases shipped to my house  rather than carrying them on the plane, and my house is becoming a daily stop on the UPS route!  Yesterday a pair of “light up shoelaces” that my mom purchased for my son (ssshhhh) came in a box large enough to carry a pair of boots!

In response to a growing demand for less packaging, more sustainable packaging and packaging that can be easily reused or recycled, companies like UPS and Amazon have started offering greener packaging choices.  They are including items made from materials that are recyclable and shipping containers that more closely match the size of what is being shipped (could have used this for the shoe laces!)  According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, packaging constitutes 1/3 of all the materials found in municipal solid waste.

 Next time you shop online, check to see if there are green or eco-friendly packaging choices available.  If you have ever ordered from ReUsies you will notice that we package minimally.  Frequently in the “comments” section of our order forms we have instructions from customers to “not include any extra packaging or promotional materials”, I think I will try to make that a part of future online purchases that I make, encourage you to do the same!

Don’t for get to take advantage of our “4ormore” free shipping sale, ReUsies make great functional giftwrap, hostess gifts, and stocking stuffers!

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Give Those Costumes a Second Life!

October 4th, 2011 · environmental awareness, other events, useful tips

Now this is a trend I can get behind!  It seems that National Costume Swap Day, the brainchild of Seattle’s own  Green Halloween is catching on around the country, last year when I blogged about this there were approximately 65 swap sites and I just looked at the list and there are over 150 sites this year in the US and Canada. 

I’d also like to mention ThredUP, a swapping website for moms.  Their Halloween Costume Swap is running right now through Ocotber 22nd and to participate  you can , browse thousands of Halloween boxes listed by moms across the country.  You can pick a box for only $5 and then list a box with your child’s outgrown Halloween costume, when another mom picks your Halloween box, send it for free! 

Everybody buying a new costume to wear for one night and then toss seems like such a huge waste, there’s a lot of money and landfill space to be saved this year! 

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Back to School Shopping…Right Up There With Christmas!

August 16th, 2011 · environmental awareness, useful tips

 Did you know that, according to a recent National Retail Federation consumer survey, total back-to-school spending by families with children in grades K-12 is expected to reach $22.8 billion!  It is considered the second biggest consumer spending event for retailers behind the winter holidays.   I am not suggesting we send our kids back to school with a bunch of old pencil stubs and last year’s binder with the broken spine, but by purchasing gently used clothing, goods made with recycled materials, and focusing new purchases on reusable items, we can save money and reduce waste.

Our friends at CleanScapes put together this great list of resources to help those heading back to school reduce waste and save money.  I am not one to re-create the wheel so I thank them for what I am about to pass on….

 Clothing. Let the treasure hunt begin! Shop first at home – is there anything that can be used again from last year’s school days? Organize a clothing swap event with friends and trade old favorites.

Another way to help conserve resources is by supporting the second-hand marketplace. For both vintage and modern styles, the sky is the limit on what you might find at second-hand stores, garage sales and on websites like Craigs List, Ebay and Freecycle. 

Supplies. Start with what you already have and reuse as much as you can. For a new look, add flair to last year’s backpack, binder, lunchbox or folder with doodle art, stickers, decoupage projects and permanent markers. You can also organize a supply swap or decoration party with friends.

For all other ‘new’ supplies,  everything you need for class has an eco-alternative: book bags, binders, paper, pens, pencils, staple-free staplers, non-toxic glue.

If you can’t find something made from recycled products, consider sustainable sources like bamboo.

Litterless Lunch.  It’s easy to be waste-free at lunchtime with reusable lunch boxes, snack bags and BPA-free water bottles.

Eat for success and reduce packaging waste by packing lunches with food from local producers.

Heels and wheels. Your mode of transportation has a direct impact on your carbon footprint. If you live close to school, be a ‘tread’-setter and skip the car. Walk, bike, bus, skate or organize a carpool with friends!

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Where Is It All Coming From? Now We Know!

June 22nd, 2011 · environmental awareness

disposables polluting our beaches

Thanks for the shout out TreeHugger!  This interesting article hilights a recent study, the first of its kind, that actually identifies the culprits behind much of the trash found around the SanFrancisco Bay area.  This study found that close to 20% of the trash collected in this area came from the “pillars of our disposable culture:  McDonald’s, Burger King, 7-Eleven, Starbucks, Wendy’s, Taco Bell andWalgreens. Of the unbranded trash, the majority of it was more evidence of disposable lifestyle, from snack wrappers to paper napkins. In fact, 68% of unbranded trash was used for food and beverage packaging”. 

I can attest to this first hand!  Last year I did a blog post  about collecting trash up and down a country road leading to our cabin.  Every weekend I walk the same stretch with a garbage bag, and I would estimate even higher, closer to 75% of the garbage that I pick up is comprised of cans, bottles, and fast food packaging.

The importance of the findings in SanFrancisco are that they give cities an idea of what companies they need to work with to reduce trash, “…it would be less expensive to target the fast food chains and stores that are giving away disposable cutlery in excess, and making small changes like asking a customer if they want a fork or handing over just one napkin would make a big difference.” 

The article in TreeHugger also mentions that this study is “…a boon to companies like T0-Go Ware and Reusies, which offer reusable alternatives for disposable cutlery and baggies”.

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Groupon!

June 8th, 2011 · other events

Wow, we’ve been busy lately fulfilling orders thanks to our Groupon runs in San Diego, Los Angelas, San Francisco, and Boston, we’ve sold out in all markets!  Guess we should have guessed the power of that medium.  We’d like to extend an offical “Thank You” to all of our new customers, just think of all the baggie waste we are saving!

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New Styles and New Partners!

May 12th, 2011 · other events

It’s been a few years now that we have been in business and we really haven’t changed much about our bags (why mess with a good thing right??) so when we started kicking around the idea of making a change to the construction of our product, it wasn’t a decision we came to easily.  That being said, I’m proud to introduce our new line of ReUsies that have a bias tape edge rather than a surged stitch.  For those of you that aren’t sewers (myself included) that just means the way that we finish off the edge of the bag is different now, and the new way should be more durable.  We were noticing that the stitching on our own ReUsies would frequently snag on the velcro.  The bags were still functional, they just started looking a little more ‘ratty’ than we liked, no longer a problem with our new bags.  Here are just a few of our cute new styles, be sure to check out our site to see them all!

new patterns

I am also excited to introduce our newest partners in business, the Northwest Center!  We’ve been a little busy here at ReUsies lately and have been looking for someone to help us fulfill our orders and we were lucky enough to find someone in our own backyards.  The Northwest Center is a non-profit organization thats’ mission is to “promote the growth, development, and independence of people with disabilities though programs of education, rehabilitation, and work opportunity”.  We’re looking forward to a long and mutually beneficial relationship.  On our side it will free up some of the time we spend packing orders and on their side we hope that partnering with us will provide some great job training for their workers and open doors to future opportunities.

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The Newest Use for Plastic Water Bottles…

April 29th, 2011 · useful tips

You can find just about anything on YouTube these days.  Last week my children had a “wacky hair day” at their school and my daughter had her mind set on making her long hair stand straight up.  I searched online for “how to make your hair stand up” and came across a video on YouTube.  The girl in the video bent over at the waist and stuck a plastic water bottle on her head, secured her hair around it and ….voila!  And we thought plastic water bottles were just garbage:)  Check out my daughter’s Troll Doll Hair (and fake pout) and my son with his Faux Hawk…..

Troll Doll & Faux Hawk

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Right Next to the Recycling Bin!

April 13th, 2011 · environmental awareness, other events, useful tips

This month our heads and hearts are in Japan, we are so saddened by the images we see on TV and the stories we read, this earth we share has shaken the foundations of so many lives.  Living in Seattle we were even warned that our coastlines could anticipate a tsunami of some magnitude.  This far away event in Japan reached all the way into our world, driving home the fact that we are all connected. 

Amidst all of this bad news, we found this amazing story of a Japanese business man that has invented a machine that turns the plastic that we can’t seem to wean ourselves from, back into the oil that it was made from!  Take a minute to watch this video, can’t you just imagine a world where every household had one of these under the kitchen sink, right next to the garbage and recycling bins!

                               Plastic into Oil
                                   Plastic Into Oil – Wow! 

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April is Earth Month!

April 4th, 2011 · environmental awareness, useful tips

 

 We all make choices every day that have an impact on our environment, the conservation of our natural resources and demand we put on our planet.  Recently many “impact calculators” have been created to measure everything from your carbon footprint to the impacts your food choices make.   These calculators help us identify areas of success and areas of improvement.  This morning I received a great list of calculators from our friends at CleanScapes.  To kickoff Earth Month I encourage you to check one or two out and see what you can do to make a difference!

King County EcoConsumer Waste Calculator


Water Footprint Calculator

Low Carbon Diet Calculator

 
 

Greenhouse Gas Calculator

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