I am feeling especially rejuvenated and inspired this spring. Winter was a little rough and discouraging as last year ended, but after spending some time reading more about sustainability and listening to podcasts on related topics, I have a fresh view of the movement- inspired by the many prominent influencers and writers who are involved as well.
Waste and pollution are such overwhelming problems that it can be hard to always believe that things can truly improve. But, more and more people are joining the ranks of the sustainability community, and that helps me seek to improve as well. I’m already meeting my Zero-Waste goals for the year, and I’m feeling optimistic about exceeding all of them as well 🙂
One of my goals for 2019 was to get Howl back onto (at least) a 50% vegan diet- ideally with as little processing as possible. We were still buying grocery store meat-base dog food, but I was trying to make half of his meals a mixture of sweet potatoes, tofu or beans, and oatmeal. Unfortunately, Howl’s sporadic IBS symptoms showed me that it wasn’t enough.
I was hesitant to purchase vegan kibble on Amazon (which was the first listing to pop-up when I googled vegan kibble), but thankfully found that I could subscribe to V-dog kibble via their company website :). Free shipping, a 20% discount on my first order, and a small monthly discount for subscribing. It didn’t break the bank at all.
In addition, I also have been making Howl an occasional bowl of mashed sweet potatoes and pinto beans. His IBS isn’t gone, but is improving, and I’m thrilled for him to be eating a mostly vegan diet now. I still give him Lifeway brand kefir, but if anyone knows a vegan kefir that definitely has all of the same probiotics, I’d love to try it for him and myself.
~coconut flour, sprouted grain bread
Many people aren’t aware that wheat flour is not only usually devoid of nutrients after processing, but it’s manufacturing creates an enormous amount of waste. I learned about this as my husband does electrical work and spent some time on a job at a large flour mill.
Parts of the wheat kernels are discarded by the hundreds of pounds, the flour is bleached to whiten it, and thousands of pounds rot in the grain elevators due to a variety of reasons. To top it off, most wheat is GMO, and many varieties are packaged in plastic (even the organic ones).
Overall, traditional flour isn’t sustainable. I’ve been consistently making homemade bread for around 8 months now, but finally decided to permanently get away from wheat flour…unless I were to want to make my own from sprouted grains. I’ve tried to make sprouted grain bread twice now-with organic wheat kernels- and the second time was successful…enough XD Haha. I plan to practice spouting more with some free quinoa that I got. My hope is that I will master sprouting and be able to purchase all of my grains in bulk in order to prevent the upstream waste of flour-making.
In addition to this, I came across a local health food store putting all of their coconut flour on clearance, as they had chosen to eliminate their bulk bins (sad, I know). I was happy to purchase six pounds of coconut flour in order to keep it out of the landfill- and, I’m very excited to start making coconut flour bread this week with some bulk flax meal and some free xanthan gum. The cost was $3 for the flour, and should make enough bread for the next 6 months 😀
Another goal that I had listed for 2019 was to reduce my use of Uber and Lyft, and to walk and take the bus more. I’m pleased to report that I purchased an unlimited bus pass at the beginning of this month and have thoroughly enjoyed the savings- both in regards to money and pollution.
Photo by Alexandre Croussette on Unsplash
~shipping items sold online with reused shipping materials
I recently began selling some old clothing that had been stored at my mother’s house on Poshmark. However, I did NOT want to purchase any shipping sleeves- paper or plastic. Instead, I gathered some shipping materials from my recycling center! 🙂 Boxes and sleeves are always available there, and I’m so happy to extend their life cycle. Perhaps the people who buy my items will reuse them too!
~began gathering buckets for vermicompost- finally got enough!
I have dreamed of being able to compost for 2 years now. For a long time, I thought it couldn’t work in an apartment. But I learned about vermicomposting mid-2018 and have been very eager to try it. The only issue was: I didn’t feel good about purchasing any new plastic bins/buckets for it. I’ve been on the lookout for stacked buckets or tubs for a couple of months now, and I finally found the perfect thing: stackable cat litter buckets from the recycling center! 😀
I’ll be purchasing worms at a local bait shop- hopefully soon.
~repaired my “new” 1950’s sewing machine
Well, my awesome father-in-law did 🙂 The machine is actually perfect but the table needed screws tightened and a few other little things. Now, once I oil it, I’ve got an ultra high-quality sewing machine that will serve me much longer than many others could. Someday when the motor goes out, I even plan to rig a hand-crank or treadle peddle.
Also, now that I no longer will have to use my cheap portable Brother sewing machine for my personal sewing, I can travel with it to teach sewing classes!
Besides talking about the new sustainable things that I’m doing this year, I also wanted to talk about the things I’m NOT doing this year. One of the big goals I have: divert as much of my purchases towards small entrepreneurs, artisans, and craftsman as possible. I will spend the extra money. If we can’t afford to pay someone a decent wage for an item that we need, I can’t afford that item. Period.
When I need yarn, no more supporting multi-national corporations who barely pay the workers in their factories and abuse animals for the sake of wool and silk.
When I need housewares, no more Walmart or Target dishes, rugs, or even office supplies.
When I want some delicious sparkling water, no more Nestle Perrier.
When I need a “zero-waste” item, no Amazon. No Amazon EVER.
Brands & Stores I’m dedicated to boycotting…forever:
Walmart: Not going in there even for a single Pyrex container. I’m not sure where I will get my Pyrex, but I’ll find a better way. Even my local Kroger store would be preferable.
Amazon: I have always despised Amazon, but more so as I learn about the power that they and business like them have over communities. Governments give tax breaks to this giant corporation- a corporation built on the backs of underpaid workers all over the world. It’s disgusting, and I’m using every dollar I have to vote against them every chance I get. If I need sewing supplies, I’ll stick to Etsy shops that sell handmade sewing supplies or vintage ones.
Hobby Lobby: Yep, no more clearance bamboo and cotton yarn. I won’t support Michael’s or Joann anymore either, but Hobby Lobby is the one I dislike the most. A greedy capitalist corporation operating under the the disguise of Christianity. Not to mention their sexist healthcare plan. I will source all of my fabric secondhand or from Sarah’s Fabrics in Lawrence, Kansas 🙂 She sells a lovely variety of organic fabrics. I will source my yarn from spinners and dyers on Etsy, or secondhand on Ebay. I will source my thread from Etsy as well.
Nestle: No more Perrier. Nestle is an awful company with a history full of human rights abuses. My experience of Nestle goes deeper than some…my step father was given a feeding tube after radiation treatment went wrong and he could no longer swallow food. The hospital was at fault- and he was dependent on the Nestle tube feeding canned meals for the last few years of his life. This company is known most for the decades-old scandal regarding baby formula, but no one ever seems to talk about the fact that this company is selling “meals” (made of mostly water and corn syrup or brown rice syrup) through hospitals- which is doing NOTHING to improve the health of the unfortunate people who suffer from having to have a feeding tube. My substitute for Perrier will be Mountain Valley Sparkling Spring Water. Another advantage of this water is that is isn’t transported as far- it is bottled in Arkansas not France- so that reduces the carbon impact.
I’m new to selling on Etsy, but I have written a pattern for a great pair of crochet socks. I hope you’ll check it out 🙂 I’d love to have your support. Thank you for visiting my blog today!