eco-friendly

Keeping Food From the Landfill: ’17 Totals So Far

We are now in the 8th month of the year! Yikes!

And once a month I have been putting my food scraps out by my front door to be picked up by Healthy Soil Compost.

compost bucket7

Before I put it on our stoop in the morning before pickup, I weigh my bucket with a hanging scale and mark down the weight in a spreadsheet (nerd status over here).

Here are the totals from the past few months:

January 15.5 lbs

February 17.22 lbs

March 12 lbs

April 18.74 lbs

May 8.8 lbs

June 20.44 lbs

July 22.84 lbs

So far this year we have diverted 187.66 pounds of organic waste from the landfill!

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Green Wedding Resources

As I go about this experience of planning a wedding, I have attempted to compile some information and resources for other ladies and gents who are taking in consideration the footprint of their big day.

Resources for Anyone Anywhere:

A Practical Wedding

This amazing website and book tell you basically everything you need to know. In true fashion, I ordered the book secondhand from Amazon for about $4 and devoured it in 3 days.

apw

via Amazon.com

APW is focused on creating a culture that supports laid-back, feminist weddings. All that stuff wedding media tells you that you have to have? We think you
don’t have to have it (unless you actually want it). And we don’t believe that all those things people tell you are tradition
s actually are traditional. -APW

Craigslist

I live for Craigslist for all of my furniture (I have several tabs open as I type this), so there is no reason not to turn to it for wedding materials. All you need to do is search wedding and there will be tons of results for local brides selling items they used only once. From crafty DIY materials to table runners and decorative pieces, wedding dresses & rings, Craigslist has it all.

craigslist

Thrift Stores

Are you pining for that mismatched vintage look? Head over to your local thrift stores to see what little pieces you can start collecting. For your tables, look for glassware, plates, platters, serving trays and cake stands. For decorations, look for old books, candlesticks, globes, and frames. Your purchase may also support a local charity!

Resources for those in the Chicago area:

Green Wedding Alliance

GWA is a group of eco-friendly vendors in the Chicagoland area. They put on great events like the Committed Wedding Event and the Great Wedding Recyclery.

green-wedding-alliance

Chicago’s Green Wedding Alliance connects a growing community of environmentally and socially responsible event vendors with the conscious consumer for mindful weddings, commitment ceremonies, and social events. The Alliance is a collaborative network of over 50 member vendors who strive to grow and inform their responsible business practices. -GWA

Do you have any other suggestions that I should be aware of? Let me know!

Committed to a Green Wedding

Yesterday, I got to be a super nerdy bride-to-be and attended the Green Wedding Alliance‘s Committed event, Chicago’s only eco-conscious wedding event.

gwa-committed-wedding-banner

I bought my tickets for the event approximately 3 days after getting engaged because I knew I wanted to be in a room surrounded by vendors who cared about the same stuff I did.

There was no need for embarrassment like the time I asked a reception venue if they would accommodate a composting service to come collect food scraps, or when I asked what can be done with any extra leftover food (answer: nothing, due to health code stuff).

At Committed, that’s all normal shop talk with these people. My people. I had the chance to meet the following:

  • Florists that use locally grown flowers and donate them after the event so others can also enjoy them
  • Caterers who use locally sourced ingredients
  • Vintage rental companies that use all vintage place settings
  • Planners who specialize in eco-friendly events
  • Local printers that use recycled paper from a supplier powered by wind power

SO COOL. Anyway, I am nowhere near picking any of these vendors. I still have to figure out where and when this wedding is going to be!

Introducing “Waste Not Want Not Wedding”

Over the weekend, I got engaged.

Holy Moly!

It has been a crazy whirlwind so far and I am finally feeling the weight of planning such an important life event.

I have been a bridesmaid 5 times already (it will be 6 in July), so I am no stranger to weddings.

bridesmaids

For my own wedding, I am excited to incorporate my eco-friendly lifestyle and chronicle all of it here for you.

However, I do feel that the wedding industry has gotten a little bit out of control (apologies to anyone who has opposite views of me on this topic).

For instance, the perceived need for all of these things:

  • engagement photos
  • engagement parties
  • wedding planners
  • save the dates
  • photo booths
  • over the top centerpieces  and flowers that get thrown out the next day
  • favors no one takes home
  • wedding hashtags #NO
  • matching bridal party shirts you will never wear again
  • “future Mrs. ____” apparel or items you will never wear after getting married

These are not necessities to getting married. Social media (specifically Pinterest) has lead us to believe we need all of these things for a successful and Pinterest-worthy wedding.

Last time I checked, the most important part is the act of getting married.

Going forward with wedding planning, this is what I want:

  • this to be easy
  • this to be simple
  • to avoid unnecessary costs
  • create the least amount of waste as possible
  • do what I can do myself
  • to use local services and goods
  • to use friend’s and family as much as possible

I want my wedding to be an event put together by people who are important to me.

Obviously, I understand as I go through this process, I may change my mind about everything. For now, though, this is my initial stance.

How do you feel about weddings these days? Do you think they can be quite wasteful?

Oddisay: The Eco-Friendly Etsy

Over the summer I had the opportunity to work with a start up called Oddisay as an expert sustainability consultant. Oddisay just officially launched as a sustainable goods marketplace. It is like Etsy, but with an eco-friendly  focus.

For instance, when you open a shop on Etsy (which I have done before), there is no vetting on the materials your product is made of. You could say it is made of local, organic, biodegradable hemp all you want, but you never have to actually prove anything.

On Oddisay, every product that is posted gets evaluated by 3 key qualities:

  1. What it is made of
  2. How it is designed
  3. How it is disposed

What It Is Made Of

Products on Oddisay must be made of sustainable materials that can be recycled, reused or reclaimed. Additionally, Oddisay strives to make sure that products are fairly sourced. It was described to my colleagues and I that everything in the product must be useful.

How It Is Designed

The design of products is especially important. Each product sold on Oddisay is designed to be easily recycled, reused, or reclaimed keeping in touch with the cradle to cradle mentality.

How It Is Disposed

No part of a product should end up in a landfill, therefore Oddisay products eliminate or minimize landfill waste through recycling, reuse, and responsible environmental design. There are even sellers that have a merchant buy back program!

Rating System

Additionally, products are evaluated against a rating system, earning either a standard, silver, or gold rating in the following categories:

  • Gentle Impact
  • Fair Trade
  • Efficient
  • Merchant Buy Back Program
  • Multi-Use
  • Modular
  • Recyclable
  • Sustainably Made
  • Compostable
  • Biodegradable
  • Smart Packaging
  • Renewable

Trusted Certifications

It doesn’t end with the rating system. Oddisay uses a large amount of trusted certifications when assessing its products. USDA Organic, FSC Certification, B Corp Certification, and Energy Star are just some examples you may be familiar with.

During my time with Oddisay, I did extensive research on biodegradable adhesives, inks, and dyes. Beforehand, I knew synthetic glue was not necessarily good, but I had no idea how much petroleum went into every synthetic adhesive. I learned more a bout glue than I ever thought I would need to know!

Overall, Oddisay is a pretty cool marketplace developed by people all around the world who care about what goes into the products we buy. So if you want to make a difference, you should check it out!