Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Vendors who care about the earth

This post will introduce you to the companies listed on our Special Offers Page. I am receiving no compensation for this post ... I simply want to introduce you to companies doing their best to operate in an earth-friendly manner.

Every few months, I like to take the opportunity to feature vendors who are making a difference in our world. They embrace environmental sustainability and make protecting the earth the main focus of their business model.

Let's meet them:


The Ultimate DIY Ebike Guide (an ebook) by Micah Toll
Micah Toll takes green transportation seriously. He discovered just how easy, and inexpensive, it is to build an ebike. Ebikes are perfect for those times when pedalling isn't enough power and a car is too much. "The Ultimate DIY Ebike Guide (an ebook)" offers readers everything they need to know to turn their bicycle into an efficient, Eco-friendly mode of transportation. Reduce Footprints readers can pick up their copy at a discount of 15% off the list price.

doTERRA - Essential Wellness Products


Essential oils are ... well ... essential in a "green" home. Some oils act as a natural disinfectant, perfect for removing mold and mildew. Others can be used in place of commercial air fresheners. They can enhance our moods and even repel bugs. doTERRA is giving readers a free sample.



Sometimes we may not "need" an item but it serves to make us happy.
Violet's Buds - Handmade Accessories For You & Your Little Flower
And happiness is important! Eco-friendly accessories for a little girl's hair can bring a smile to her face. Pretty "green" items for a home can help us feel content. And what woman doesn't feel a bit special when wearing a beautiful headband. The folks at Violet's Buds are offering us 20% off any purchase from their shop.


Paloma Pottery - Recycled Glass Products

Environmentally sound products can be both beautiful and functional. Paloma Pottery uses recycled glass to create items such as goblets, bowls, home furnishings, jewelry, and more. For a limited time, you can get 15% off your entire order.



La Francesca Eco-Resort
Vacations add vitality to our lives. More and more vacation spots are going "green". La Francesca resort is one such spot. Located along Ligurian Eastern Riviera, in a 15 hectares' protected area, La Francesca is a self-sufficient settlement. Eco-friendly accommodations offer visitors a chance to discover landscapes, scents and natural flavors. Reduce Footprints readers can get a discount of 5% to 15% off their stay in this unique resort.


Oz Fair Trade Pty Ltd, Ethical and Fair Trade Accessories, Homeware and Gifts
Using recycled products, natural dyes, and earth-safe materials is important. What if your purchase could not only protect the earth but protect the people who create the products as well? Oz Fair Trade Pty Ltd has a simple goal: to help artisans, living in extreme poverty, by providing a platform for their beautiful products. Get 15% off their Eco-Friendly product range.


The most Eco-friendly purchase is, of course, no purchase. But when we do buy a product, we have a great opportunity to support "green". There is power in our purchases.

When you choose to buy, I encourage you to support vendors who care about the earth. And, of course, check out our Special Offers Page for exclusive deals.



If you have an Eco-friendly product and would like a free listing on our Special Offers Page, please contact us at reducefootprints at gmail dot com.


Monday, July 28, 2014

Are there exceptions to green living?

Earlier this month, we asked if there are times when you ignore your green living rules. Here are the answers:

Survey Results


Are there exceptions to green living?

Individual Responses


  • When dealing with hospitals, which is what we do all to frequently,We are given plastic plates covered in cling film with plastic cups etc but we are not allowed to take in food and drink from home. Also all the medical gear and cloths are disposable. All tablets come in blister packs , in the EEC this or disposable weekly trays are all that are allowed. Also unfortunately we can not afford organic food but we try to grow as much as we can.
  • there are certain convenience items, like feminine products, that I refuse to give up. I try to make up for it by reducing my carbon footprint in other areas.
  • Peer pressure when I'm at an event
  • Traveling by plane I buy bottled water, but bring my own snacks. - Occasionally use compostable paper plates for large parties as water is a valuable resource in the PNW
  • I do take flights when we go for holidays
  • During home clearouts due to a death or during housemoves, things mostly gets binned rather than sorted for recycling or charity shops.
  • When I'm tired I get lazy with taking my bags into the grocery store and just use their plastic ones. Then when I'm feeling energized I take the plastic bags over the road to the kindergarten

Discussion


The results are interesting! I felt that three exceptions to living green presented themselves: 1) The use of Eco-UNfriendly items which are either mandated by laws and/or company policies or convenient, 2) air travel, and 3) emotions. Let's take a closer look.

Mandated and/or Convenience Items. Plastic is hard to avoid. Sometimes, we have no other choice but to use this material. For example, in my area the county mandates that recyclables be placed in a clear or blue plastic bag. Independent trash collectors require the same.

Convenience items can be much easier to deal with than green alternatives. Hygiene products are especially difficult because of the "ick" factor. Reusable toilet paper, menstruation products, diapers, and handkerchiefs fall into this category.

While our green ethics can be compromised in these areas, they do present us with an opportunity. Often, official policies can be changed when an individual suggests an appropriate solution. Thinking creatively can result in a method which removes the "ick" factor in using certain reusable products.

Air Travel. My family lives across the country from where I live.
Are there exceptions to green living?
Driving, taking a bus, or riding the train would be more environmentally friendly but it would also take more time ... time which, with work schedules, is limited. So, like many folks, I fly.

In addition to the fuel used, air travel generates a lot of waste. Refreshments are served in single-use containers, and things like pillows and earphones are wrapped in plastic.

To mitigate the large Eco-footprint of air travel, patrons can buy carbon offsets ... it's not ideal but it does help. Travelers can also bring their own refreshments, pillows, and earphones. Here's a tip for bringing reusable water bottles onto a plane ... carry it empty through the security checkpoint and fill it once you're at the gate.

Emotions. I had a recent conversation with a person who was having a last will & testament drawn up. The lawyer doing the paperwork suggested that nothing personal be left to beneficiaries because, in most cases, personal affects are tossed into the trash. In thinking about that, I wondered if the emotions of losing a loved one are too intense to deal with "stuff". It's often easier not to have to look at personal items.

Sometimes our emotions "jade" our commitments. That little voice in our head says that it's okay to ignore or bend the rules. It might be because we're tired or upset. Or maybe it just seems like too much effort.

We are, at times, our own worst enemy.

Battling our emotions is both the easiest and hardest problem to solve. I find that not allowing the negative possibility to enter my head is the easiest way to battle the "devil on my shoulder". I simply refuse to think about the options and take "green" action before I can talk myself into doing otherwise.

Writing down our Eco-rules can be helpful. We can remind ourselves to do the right thing during times when it would be easier to do the opposite.

Talking with a friend may reinforce our ideals. They may point out that, in the time it takes to think things through, we could have taken appropriate action.

Conclusion


If we take a serious look at the obstacles to maintaining our green living ideals, we'll see that they are, in most cases, a matter of choice. Yes, there are situations where it is impossible to be environmental ... where someone else dictates the rules. Typically, however, we simply choose to take the non-green route. Whether it's a matter of convenience, time, money, or emotions, we choose our path. And that offers us a wonderful opportunity to find ways to make the right choice.

Living green may not always be the easiest route ... but it is the one which offers us the greatest benefits.

When you face a tough environmental choice, how do you put green first?


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW) - Continue On

Welcome to Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW)!

Wondering how to live greener? You've come to the right place. Each week we challenge ourselves to try a new task ... or "amp up" something we're already doing. We raise our awareness, learn from each other and develop Eco-friendly skills which will improve our lives and protect our planet. Doing so together gives us power ... the power to Change The World!

If this is your first visit, please click HERE for information and a complete list of all the challenges we've taken on so far.

I am moving so there won't be a new CTWW activity this week.

Please continue with our current challenge:


This week, ban plastic bags. Carry a reusable bag, use a box, or simply carry items loose. Say NO to plastic bags and don't allow them into your home.
OR ...

If your home is plastic bag free, please refuse to buy anything which is packaged in plastic (I know ... it's truly a challenge ... but I have confidence in you).

OR ...

Look around your home for plastic items and then, research non-plastic alternatives. If you are ready to replace the item, please do. If not, make plans to do so when the time comes.


Until next time ...

WE'RE CHANGING THE WORLD ... ONE CHALLENGE AT A TIME!