Compostable shoes!

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Hey guys,

Lately I’ve been working towards a new goal of mine, to have a completely natural wardrobe….or in other words, a wardrobe where my pieces (once dead) will be completely compostable! (Another post on my progress will be coming soon)

So far I’ve converted about 85% of my wardrobe to pieces made of natural fabrics such as cotton, wool, cashmere, and hemp. All of the pieces have been thrift finds, until now.

Reasons to thrift:

  1. The clothes are already in the waste stream, and I’m giving them a second life before they become garbage. So it’s eco-friendly 🙂
  2. Less waste as opposed to normal shopping, most things only leave with a small paper tag attached, so very little in the way of new trash.
  3. It’s cheap! Easy on my budget.
  4. And I find it fun to look for new uses for old things, and thrift store shopping can be fun….like a scavenger hunt lol.

So, as a result almost 95% of my wardrobe has been thrifted over the years. I just recently started replacing my old synthetic fabric pieces with natural ones….

Why?

  1. Natural fabric is so much better for your skin. I personally don’t itch in natural fabric but can’t stop itching if I happen to sweat in a synthetic fabric shirt.
  2. Along the same lines, natural fabric is just that…Natural…no plastic weaves or nasty man-made synthetic fabrics that pollute the world not only during production and disposal, but also when you wash them (google polyester water pollution). Cotton, hemp and the like have no such problems. (as a caveat cotton is produced most of the time with pesticides, but at least the end product is compostable and nowhere near as harmful as some of the synthetics)
  3. They breathe!
  4. Do I even need another reason?

Anyway, when I was looking into switching up my wardrobe I also wanted to look into shoes and undergarments, etc. And as most of you know it is incredibly difficult to find good shoes and undergarments at a thrift store, so I knew I would have to buy new. But when buying new I have strict standards and I wanted only the best quality made in the least harmful way possible. While researching I happened upon a small company based in Canada (Rawganique) that makes and sells their own clothing, bras, etc and since I decided to order a custom made 100% organic cotton bra from them…I figured I’d try out the shoes too.

Boy am I happy I did 🙂

Check them out….made of 100% hemp fabric and a 100% natural rubber sole, these babies are cute and eco-friendly…and pretty comfy too!DSC04084DSC04082

They came with a small amount of recyclable packaging (as I requested) and the only bit of plastic is from the tape they used to seal the package, the rest will go right into recycling 🙂

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The best part is that these babies will be able to go right into my compost bin….years from now….when they finally bite the dust. Until then, I’m going to enjoy them.

It’s hard to find companies and brands that meet my ethical standards while also being within my budget and fashionable as well, but Rawganique really knocked this one out of the park. I really like the company because they are chemical-free, sweatshop-free, and make everything with sustainable fabrics. They also do a lot of products custom made (like bras), so you’re guaranteed it will fit. They even had me measure my foot to make sure they were sending me the right size 🙂

(And for those of you wondering, NO I do not get paid to sponsor them in any way, this is simply a great review from a very satisfied customer)

Have any of you tried natural shoes? Or have anything made out of hemp? As always I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

Xo,

Candice

Defining your Green priorities (a.k.a. making shopping easier!)

Choices. They’re something we make every single day of our lives. What to wear, what to buy, what to eat, and what to do…

Sometimes those decisions are tougher than others, for instance when you go grocery shopping and are trying to both be healthy (by purchasing organic foods) and reduce plastic packaging. In a perfect world I’d be able to do both without a problem, but this isn’t a perfect world and sometimes a choice has to be made between purchasing organic potatoes in a plastic bag vs. conventional (read: pesticide infused) potatoes loose.WIN_20150609_173707

Decisions, decisions.

I’ve encountered these conundrums so many times that I’ve had to take a hard look at my priorities when it comes to food as well as other purchases.

What do you put first, the health of your body, or the health of the planet? The organic potatoes aren’t covered in pesticides, thereby better tasting and much better for my health…but they came wrapped in a plastic bag which isn’t so good for the planet. On the other hand I had conventional potatoes, loose, without plastic, but not as great for my health. Then there’s always the problems the pesticides and herbicides have had on the planet through runoff and poisoning the ground. Organic ones are produced sustainably and so don’t have that effect. But sometimes the miles they’ve traveled to get to my local store are more than conventional potatoes….can you see my dilemma?

Which would you choose?

I went with the organic ones even though they were wrapped in plastic.

Why?

For me it all comes down to my priorities. When I go shopping I ask myself a few things..

  1. How was this item made/grown?
  2. Will consuming it benefit me or hurt my health in any way?
  3. How is it packaged? If it is packaged, is the packaging sustainable?
  4. If it’s not the best packaging (which would be no packaging at all) and I still want to buy it, is the packaging easily reusable/recyclable?
  5. Considering all of the above, do I feel comfortable spending money (which is essentially casting a vote telling the producer to make more of said item) on the item in question?

Now from this list you can see a few things.

Firstly, my health and the health of the planet are my top priorities, but when I have to choose between the two of them, MY health comes first. I’m not saying the health of the planet is a secondary consideration, or unimportant, but when I have to make tough decisions my personal health tends to come first in my own priorities.

So, when I bought the potatoes I was mainly looking at my own health, but I also thought about how them being grown organically, thereby having a much better impact on the planet as opposed to conventionally grown potatoes, was probably enough to offset the environmental cost of one plastic bag and twist tie.

Honestly, when I looked at the bags I figured I could at least reuse it for dipping cat litter, but alas all of the bags had holes in them. So, unfortunately said bag went straight from the store into my measly trash can after removing the potatoes.

Was this the right decision?

Some may say no, that I should’ve avoided the plastic at all costs, and others may say I could’ve found a way around it by buying from a farmers market, etc. (unfortunately 1. Potatoes are not in season at the market, and 2. Most of the vendors at said market spray pesticides on their produce as well)

Anyway, for me it was the right decision, because I have defined my priorities when it comes to consuming and purchasing goods. Take a peek at the top 5…

  1. My health ALWAYS comes first. Period. Simply because I’m a firm believer that we are what we eat, and I would rather avoid the doctor’s office it at all possible. A healthy body is less prone to sickness and disease.
  2. Next is the planet. Now this and number one usually align pretty well, and sometimes it isn’t as black and white as it seems between thinking about shipping miles and packaging and ethical sourcing, etc. But I try my best to put the health and well-being of our lovely planet next on the list. Ex: No packaging is best, but Glass and metal are better than plastic, which is slightly better than Styrofoam, etc.
  3. Budget. Quite honestly some would argue this should be first, but I put it third. Not to say I ever go outside of my budget, but more wiggle things around WITHIN it. For example, I might forgo getting a jar of juice one week in lieu of purchasing the organic apples over the conventional ones, etc. An easy way to stay within your budget is to evaluate every purchase and decide if you really need said item.
  4. Supporting local stores/farmers. It’s best to try and buy locally for many reasons, but sometimes they don’t meet the three above priorities and that’s why they are number four on the list.
  5. When in doubt, make your own. Grow your own food if possible, make beauty products, etc.

This is my list, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it is a bit different from your own. Each one of us has to make the decisions about what is most important to us. It’s not a bad thing if your list is different from my own, just different 🙂

So when I do go shopping, either online or in a market or brick and mortar store, this is the list I go by to make my purchases. I always feel extra lucky if I can at least fulfill the first 3 priorities at the same time, but sometimes sacrifices will be made.

But having defined my list makes shopping much easier, as I now have a definitive ranking system to weigh my options with. So the next time I’m wavering between buying different soaps or pieces of fruit, I will be at ease with my decisions.

I’d love to hear about your lists of priorities when it comes to shopping! Are they similar? Different? What’s your number one priority?

XO

Candice

Cutting the cord of consumerism

Hi everyone,

So, now that the mad dash of the holiday weekend and Black Friday is over I have finally ventured out of my home and into a store. I had a few errands to do, and one of them took me to the dollar store.

I used to absolutely adore the dollar store…mainly because it was so cheap! But now, after becoming a minimalist and Zero-waster, my eyes are open where they weren’t before.

What I now see when I enter a dollar store:

Plastic….plastic…more plastic. Small cheap stuff that is excessively breakable. Junk…junk, and more junk. Unrecyclable stuff. Lots of chemicals and questionable products.

It just isn’t the same anymore.

I have finally cut the cord on my “consumerist” tendencies.

Now don’t get me wrong, I still buy food, pay my bills, etc. So I am consuming…I do need gas for my car, you know.

But the incessant shopping simply to shop and buying things because “oh, it’s cute. It’s on sale, I have a coupon. I could use it.” is over.

I used to go into stores (both brick and online) and just shop because I was bored, or because I needed more “bins” to organize my “stuff”.

Now I go in and see it for what it is. A large waste of time for most people.

I do buy things occasionally now, like second hand clothes from the salvation army. Or glass mason jars, bamboo toothbrushes, etc. But everything I buy now has to meet certain standards.

The Standards:

  1. The item must be without packaging, or in minimal plastic-free packaging.
  2. The item must not be made out of plastic itself.
  3. The item must be made of sustainable materials.
  4. The item must be made of natural materials, such as wool, cotton, glass, bamboo, etc. No blends or synthetic materials.
  5. It must be a good quality item that will last for years, not weeks.
  6. I have to know where the item came from, I try to make sure my purchases are Fair trade, and made in good conditions.
  7. The closer the item is made to home the better, cutting back on the fuels it takes to reach me or the store.
  8. The item has to serve a specific purpose that is useful to me.
  9. The item must be something that I will actually use.
  10. The item must be easy to recycle, up-cycle, etc when it has ended it’s life.
  11. The item has to bring me a significant amount of joy or convenience, preferably both.

Do you have any other standards for shopping?

My Minimalist Shopping Rules

Hi everyone, I’m sitting here this Black Friday taking it easy. Pajamas, television, blog post, that about sums up my plans for today.

I will say that I find it somewhat sad that people are so obsessed with Black Friday deals. Yesterday we said that we were thankful for everything we already have, and then today people go out and shop til they drop.

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How do they even manage to get out of bed so early in the morning? I don’t know about you, but I was in a Turkey-coma from about 7pm last night until 10am this morning.

Anywho, with all this shopping hype I thought I would share my strategies for shopping as a minimalist and aspiring zero-waster.

Here are my personal shopping rules:

  1. Never leave home without a shopping list. Especially when grocery shopping, that way you don’t forget anything, but it also cuts down on extraneous purchases that you didn’t really need in the first place.
  2. Always think about what you want to buy before you buy it. I usually see something I like, I take a picture of it…then I wait. I wait for at least a week, then I reevaluate if I really need/want the item. Most of the time I will come to my senses and realize that I don’t like it as much as I thought I did. But occasionally the wait reinforces my belief that I would really enjoy the item, either way I win. The wait only helps me really cement my decisions about purchasing items. I also think about how my purchase will effect the planet, what it is packaged in, and what the quality of the item is (whether or not it is made to last).
  3. Try to shop secondhand when you can. I don’t buy “new” clothes very often. Only when I absolutely need something and cannot find it secondhand anywhere. Most of the time I can find what I need at a secondhand shop, for a fraction of the cost. I actually found a few pairs of PJ bottoms recently for only a dollar a piece, compared to the $12-25 I would have paid to buy them new. 🙂
  4. Always compare prices. I usually check three or four different places to see what the average price is. It usually saves me a few bucks, especially since it is really easy to check prices online instead of having to drive to the store.
  5. The last rule…Always make sure that whatever you are spending your money on brings you joy 🙂 Buy things that you are going to love and use for years to come. Quality over quantity.

Baby-Step #21- Tips for eco-friendly shipping

We all shop online at some point, I know that I do when I can’t find a sustainable product on my local store shelves or at a second-hand shop. Online shopping can be difficult when you are trying to be environmentally conscious, especially since they tend to wrap packages in a ridiculous amount of plastic and cardboard. I am going to share a few tips and tricks that I have learned over the past months to minimize your shipping waste….

  1. When given the option, purchase things in your own country vs. overseas…this will minimize your overall carbon footprint, since the product will not have to travel as far to get to you.
  2. Check the option to ship all your items at once…if you are buying multiple items it is better to have them ship all at once to reduce waste, and you won’t have to deal with twice the amount of packaging.
  3. In the “comments for shipping” box.. specifically tell the company how you want the product shipped. I usually state “Please package in eco-friendly materials, preferably without plastic, thanks!”. If you don’t include the “without plastic”‘ part they will usually take the statement and use a recyclable plastic bag to package it. I recently purchased soap and shampoo from Chagrin Valley, and they were really amazing with their shipping. They packaged the soap in paper bags individually, then placed them in a cardboard shipping box with potato-starch packaging peanuts (which are completely compostable!) So the entire package was recyclable and biodegradable 🙂
  4. Haarzeep-Olive-Babassu-Chagrin-ValleyDon’t be afraid to contact a company…If a specific brand that I like does not use recyclable packaging, I will usually find their contact form and email them about it, especially if I do not know if it is recyclable ot not. The companies are usually excited to hear from their consumers about their product. If they tell me the pckaging is not recyclable at all I will tell them that I love their product but  unfortunately will not continue to purchase it since I do not agree with their packaging methods. The companies usually send my email to their packaging team, to let them know that customers are not satisfied with the product packaging.

These are some easy tips that I have learned by trial and error in my journey towards zero-waste, if you have any suggestions to add to the list, feel free to comment below!th (4)