Change is coming.

Hi again.

I haven’t posted anything for a bit for the same reason I started this site: I’m intimidated by the info out there about climate change. I’m frustrated with people in places of power doing nothing and actively fighting against efforts to fight climate change. For what? Money? What good is money when the planet under our feet is no longer viable for human life?

I’m overwhelmed by all the micro stories I see of animals brutalized by plastics. Let alone what’s happening on a macro scale with shifting weather patterns etc.  And I look up from my phone and am surrounded by plastics in my home and I get sad for being part of the problem. I know I’m making changes and switches but this part right now is very hard to live in. 

I read recently (on the internet so with a grain of salt but I like it) that the first thought you have is based on how you were conditioned. The follow up thought to that is who you actually are. I like it because that’s been my life recently but it’s also an exhausting way to live with an internal battle between your conditioning and your self. It almost reminds me of the YA novel The Host. (Yes by the twilight author and yes it was made into a movie that I couldn’t watch because I liked the book too much)

Humans have forever changed the trajectory of the earth’s life cycle. Now, I hope that humans at large can find ways to stem the tide of these changes so that we don’t experience great devastation and that our future generations can live fully. 

Change is unavoidable on the planet level but also in our own daily lives. Change is our only constant. As we continue to gain experiences and increase our knowledge of the world, we as individuals change everyday. Our surroundings and actions changes too. Most of these changes are slow and imperceptible but some are more actively changed. 

Remember when bringing your own bags to the grocery store was new? Or when you used to get Starbucks in single use cups without blinking an eye? Or when you were 13 and wouldn’t leave the house period unless you had swathes of blue eye shadow on your eyes and/or swipes of glitter on your cheeks? (No? Just me on that last one? Cool cool)

Our animal brains fear the unknown- evolutionarily that’s how we’re still here. But the kicker is that everything is an unknown. We calm ourselves with experience and information and call it “routine” but everyday and every action no matter how many times you’ve done it before is a gamble. I’m not trying to freak you out. My point is that we as humans don’t like to think about and anticipate change and the paradox is that without change we couldn’t be where we are in this moment. Or the next moment.

The human brain has a great capacity to create its own blind spots. We all actively don’t think about any variety of things that make us uncomfortable. And that’s so critical for a lot of horrific things. Unfortunately this tactic is being used too well when it comes to climate change. We assume that someone else will make it better because we can’t imagine life as we know it changing. There isn’t a problem (in most people daily lives at least) to react to yet so why bother right?

And for those of us who have removed their blinders around climate change and recognize the need to make changes to stem this tide are overwhelmed by the atrocities they see. I want to crawl back into my safe blind hole where everything is fine because someone else will fix it. But I can’t. Not for too long at least. So I find small ways to makes changes in my own life. And I daydream about posts to share here but don’t work on them because that’s been too much ‘to do’ on top of my own personal stuff. But I’m here now and hope this resonates with at least one person.

I wrote this in one go and could change it but I’ll leave it here as is.

Guide to a Sustainable Daily Life: 5 Zero Waste Mantras

When you haven’t been raised in a zero waste household, it can be an overhaul to your thought processes to focus on reducing your waste. So many everyday seemingly innocuous tasks create more waste than you might think.

I am still learning and transitioning my own home and am lucky that my husband aka forever-housemate-person is open to this massive perspective shift.

These 5 “mantras” aren’t perfect or a complete sense of zero waste living but they represent the conversations I have regularly with myself these days in an attempt to continually shift my buying habits towards reducing my waste whenever possible, one product at a time.

1. Use What You Have:

I fall on both sides of the spectrum on this one. I love to shop and enjoy finding exactly the thing I want- whether it’s a sweater or a kitchen appliance. BUT I also collect art supplies and have an office and garage well filled with craft/art supplies just waiting to be put to use. And even with those stores of supplies I still find ways to “need” different supplies because I love to shop.

Using what you have may seem less fun than buying a shiny new thing- it certainly does sometimes to me.

I actively choose to think of the things I already have as the puzzle pieces for creative solutions.

In the transition to a zero waste life, as much as I understand the urge, please don’t marie kondo the plastic in your house just because it doesn’t spark joy- because where will it go then? Use up the beauty products and food stuffs that are in their plastic packaging while searching for zero waste replacement options.

But as you do go through your belongings and want to get rid of stuff, consider selling the usable items instead of blindly donating (unless you know for a fact that they will get used and not trashed by the place you’re donating to).

If mantra 1 doesn’t apply then mantras 2 and 3 help inform any purchases:

2. The Life Cycle of Things

Be aware of how the product and package are made, where and what will happen to it when you’re done with it:

  1. What did it take for the [item or packaging] to be created?
  2. What did it take for the [item] to get to me?
  3. How long will I use the [item or packaging]?
  4. Where will it go when I’m done with the [item or packaging]?
  5. How long until the [item or packaging] no longer exists?

The BEST feeling is when you’re shopping local and zero waste. You meet a need with minimal impact to the planet.

Bulk food buying is an upcoming post and it’s my current obsession within this mantra.

3. Consumer Power

You are a consumer. You matter. How you spend your money matters.

The sooner we all understand this and stop blindly following marketing strategies taking our money, the better for Mother Earth and our future generations.

We’re already seeing a pendulum slowly swing towards zero waste in stores and in government. The goal now is to continue and strengthen this momentum with our dollars.

If we all don’t buy a thing then it won’t exist for much longer- on the market at least. If it’s plastic it will technically live longer than any of us…

Ideas to consider just in the realm of food (my fave):

  • cook more
  • buy in bulk
  • take away from restaurants with eco friendly packaging
  • support local businesses

Actions speak louder than words. You’re saying with your money that the planet matters to you and you’re conscious of your personal impact and the collective impact of our society on the planet.

4. Be Prepared

Being prepared when possible is all anyone can ask for. There will be occasions when you have no other choice than to use a plastic straw or a starbucks single use coffee cup or a plastic grocery bag because being prepared wasn’t an option. That is ok.

The issue that needs to be remedied is that these “in case of emergency” single-use solutions have become the norm. On the whole, our society has become dependent on them on a regular basis. This has to stop before we all literally drown in our own trash piles.

These days on the go:

  • I always have my own water bottle
    • and bring an empty hot beverage cup just in case I want something while I’m out.
  • I try to food shop once a week and bring my bags, produce bags, and bulk jars.
  • I bring my own lunch to work.
  • I ask for no straw in restaurants
    • and refuse plastic utensils with takeaway.
    • (If I still receive the utensils I keep them just in case- or maybe for a future art project. I don’t throw them out.)

I plan to level-up in the near future by carrying a go-bag of reusable items:

  • cup with lid
  • straw
  • utensils
  • napkins
  • take away containers
  • produce bag
  • grocery bag

5. Upcycle the Waste You Create

This is some next level stuff and my newest concept/mantra.

When I throw something away I depressingly imagine it for a fleeting moment in a landfill or in the ocean. So instead of despairing, I’ve started to consider what I could do with it instead of throwing it in the garbage.

A simple solution I’ve found for my frozen fruit needs: a local company sells their frozen fruit in clear ziploc bags that I now keep, wash and reuse repeatedly instead of buying new gallon sized ziploc bags.

A more involved solution I’ve found are eco-bricks. Have you heard of eco bricks? They are on my list to try and would love to have someone help me get into it for a future post:

Remember: transition to a zero waste lifestyle takes time. Take this one day and one product at a time. Making the effort is more important than getting it perfect.

In the news: U.S. Cities are Burning Recyclables

Further reason for sustainable daily life choices

Original article: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/china-recycling-ban-pollution_n_5c6ef4f9e4b0e2f4d8a3e2d5

This is one of those articles that makes me feel helpless- and one that I probably wouldn’t finish reading except that I now have this site and want to encourage myself and others to really face facts.

What happens to your household’s waste after it’s picked up from the curb? Out of sight out of mind for you right? It’s time for us all to think about those responsible for cleaning up after us. Turns out, maybe not the best choices are being made at this level.

Did you even know that we were shipping our recycling to China? WTF? No wonder there’s a garbage patch in the freaking ocean.

I originally pasted a bunch of quotes from the article but really you should just take the time to read it for yourself- from in between your fingers like a horror movie was my preferred method.

These are just a few of the quotes I pulled and my quick commentary:

The [U.S] generates more than 250m tons of waste a year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), with about a third of this recycled and composted.

That’s an unfathomable number, like number of deaths in war but we can all agree it’s too much- where does it go? Think of the waste generated just in the years you’ve been alive and where it could be now.

There isn’t much of a domestic market for U.S. recyclables — materials such as steel or high-density plastics can be sold on but much of the rest holds little more value than rubbish…


Is this a market waiting to be tapped? How would one even start to find uses for recycled materials that are currently considered little more than trash?

Covanta and its critics agree that the whole recycling system in the U.S. will need to be overhauled to avoid further environmental damage. Just 9% of plastic is recycled in the US, with campaigns to push up recycling rates obscuring broader concerns about the environmental impact of mass consumption, whether derived from recycled materials or not.

This is the first valid reason I’ve seen to run for local government, to be a part of that conversation/overhaul.

Overall, this article has confirmed my worry that my recycle can is little more than a second trash can that makes me feel less guilty when I throw something in it.

Most importantly: let’s not be discouraged by news like this. Let’s turn that frown upside down and use it as a sustainable fuel (hehe) to motivate our continued efforts towards eco-friendly living.

It’s time for the Petrichors Army (that’s you reading this and me writing this) to take a consumer’s stand against single use items, even if they are “recyclable.”

Every human on Earth must reduce their waste in the near future or we will all drown in it one way or another. We need to help each other to find ways of not generating as much waste, together.

I have many topics in the pipeline about “zero waste” living that I look forward to sharing. I found this article in the past week and thought it was worth sharing immediately.

Send me other depressing articles like this and/or your current favorite zero waste find.

4 Petrichors-Approved Online Stores

I enjoy shopping. Retail therapy is real for me. This does not jive with the zero waste principle to use what you have or go without. I also am a home-body and appreciate online shopping for it’s convenience and variety of options. This mixed bag of priorities has led me to find these eco-friendly online shops.

You can read all about their awesome missions on their own sites- I’ll attempt to keep this post boiled down to why I love them in particular because #notspon #iwish

Please add your faves in the comments!

1. thredUP.com

“Secondhand clothes. Firsthand fun.”

Use this link to get $10 off your first purchase (and I’ll get $10 too after your first purchase!) http://www.thredup.com/r/6VIECY

For the past year, thredUP has been my first stop for women’s clothes, shoes and accessories. They also have a kids section but I haven’t had occasion to shop it yet- have you checked it out?

The thredUP mobile app is great for window shopping- browsing just for the thrill of the hunt without buying now. On the app and on desktop, they have awesome features: favorite-ing items, saving of and filtering by “my sizes,” and the option to filter by warehouse location closest to you (for faster shipping and reduced carbon footprint).

My favorite feature is that your cart is good for 24 hours! These are one of a kind pieces being sold online so it’s awesome that you can hold onto an item for up to 24 hours in your cart if you need to think about it.

Not only do you save money by shopping secondhand but these gently used clothes are being given a second life. The nature of secondhand shopping is that one of kind items are added regularly and when they’re gone, they’re gone so it pays to check in often.

I personally feel slightly less bad for buying fast-fashion second-hand because my money isn’t going to the fast-fashion company. I’m not in a place to invest in all ethically made fashion so this is a nice alternative for right now.

One downside to thredUP in this amazon-prime-era is that the shipping does take some time (2-3 weeks?), so plan ahead when possible.

I hope a men’s section is in the works. Although, my husband previously has mentioned an issue with wearing second-hand clothes. Does anyone in your family have that hesitation too?

2. Lushusa.com

Lush is doing everything right by me:

  • Their products work well and are made of natural ingredients,
  • their packaging is either naked, reusable or recyclable,
  • their customer service is on point,
  • and they’re the poster child for being a successful corporation with a conscience.
  • Oh and they accept returns if you don’t like their product,
  • and have a phenomenal social media presence.

For first time users I highly recommend going to a storefront if possible, to get the full customer experience to test out their products. I’m not usually one for accepting in-store demos BUT I’ve always had positive and enthusiastic experiences with lush sales associates. They are knowledgeable, friendly, and not pushy about making a sale.

The best part is that once you find what works for you and/or feel comfortable trying similar products then their online shop is a breeze, has quick shipping AND ships with eco-friendly packaging.

My next purchase will be in-store because I have 5 empty containers to return (for them to reuse!) in exchange for a free fresh face mask and I am PUMPED.

3. ImperfectProduce.com

Ugly produce to your door at a discount. Available in CA, OR, WA, IL, IN, WI, TX, MD and VA.

Firstly, use my code for $10 off your first box (and I get $10 off if you do): http://imprfct.us/lcbfH

Secondly, check out their website for GREAT information about the awesome-ness that they’re doing to capture and re-distribute fruits and veg that don’t meet grocery store beauty standards and/or are surplus.

My main takeaways from using Imperfect Produce are:

  • saving the resources used to produce this produce,
  • severe discounts on quality product,
  • and it’s a mini challenge every week to meal plan around what arrives in the box.

My experience recently with customizing my box each week is that it’s hit or miss- my educated guess is that they do their best with everyone’s customization requests but they’re growing so fast as a company the demand is greater than their limited quantities. Additionally, in the 7 ish months I’ve been using their services, I’ve only had one or 2 items be beyond ripe when they arrived which is a pretty great average.

I have the “medium all veggie” box and usually spend $13-18/box/week for Joe and I. Depending on my resulting meal plan I then need 0-4 additional veggies from the grocery store. This box price includes mostly organic produce too. Even though I start with all veggies I’ve been adding fruit when I customize.

And I may be a little biased towards their work because they published my recipe over the holidays in their All Sides Welcome free e-cookbook: http://allsides.imperfectproduce.com/

4. UnitedByBlue.com

“Responsible Durable Goods” for every item purchased, 1 pound of trash is removed from the ocean.

I discovered this wonderful site through their collaboration with Lonely Whale (the Strawless in Seattle folks). United By Blue brands themselves as an outdoorsy type of shop but as a couch potato myself, I have still found a number of items worth purchasing on their site.

  • They have clothing options in eco-conscious fabrics like hemp,
  • everything I’ve purchased has been top notch quality,
  • and I just really respond to their aesthetics
  • as well as their mission to remove trash from the ocean.

So what do you think? What details about these shops did I miss that you want to know?

5 questions for you

let’s get to know each other! add yours answers to mine in the comments section below.

  1. what zero waste efforts do you make in your home that you use on a daily basis (kitchen, bathroom, office, on the go)?
  2. what do you want to improve in your daily life towards zero waste in the next year?
  3. why is zero waste living important to you?
  4. what eco-documentary do you recommend for people to watch?
  5. how often do you eat home cooked food?

These are not questions for judgement. Perfection is not the goal. We all have ways we want to improve, always.

(life is the journey not the destination right?)

What questions do you have?

6 recent huffpost articles on plastic

It’s time to share! I constantly find content, mostly on the internet, that I simultaneously can’t believe and need to share as much as possible.

Click the links, read the madness, then come back and tell me all your thoughts!

Big Business Wants You To Think It’s Fixing The Plastic Crisis. Don’t Buy It.

Businesses that make single-use items need to think about what happens to their products when they’ve reached the end of their lives, said Dune Ives, the head of the environmental nonprofit Lonely Whale Foundation.

Fawning Over ‘Fiji Water Girl’ Ignores The Evils Of Bottled Water

There’s nothing particularly special about bottled water from Fiji, you must know. “The only really unique thing about Fiji is its distance,” said Gleick, adding that the company has “one of the largest carbon footprints in the world” among water bottle companies.

People Are Living Inside Landfills As The World Drowns In Its Own Trash

Trash pickers who hike into the landfill spend their days in the tropical heat combing through broken glass, medical waste, rotting food and graying plastic bags. They look for valuables, raw materials and recyclables to exchange for cash.

Sarah Jeanne-Roey via Huffington Post

A Huge Mystery About Ocean Plastics Remains Unsolved

While it is unclear how much of the plastics have turned into gases and how much of those gases escape to the atmosphere or stay sequestered in the oceans, this could constitute a significant but unmeasured source of greenhouse gas emissions, she said.

Humans Are Pooping Plastic, And No One’s Certain How Bad That Is

All eight volunteers were found to have particles of most of the nine most common classes of plastics, including polypropylene and PET.

3 wooden shelves with matching sealed glass jars of food stuffs
Natural Weigh via huffington post

We Live In A World Full Of Plastic, And People Are Sick Of It.

Until consumers started to campaign loudly, food, drink and other heavy plastic-using businesses took little responsibility for single-use plastic waste, expecting urban collection services and a small recycling market to clean up the litter and dispose of their products.  

Are there even words to describe this world we live in? There are so many thoughts, what’s your biggest take away?