I love to live small and recently moved into a loft with my boyfriend in downtown Portland. We’ve been really trying to reduce our impact and lead healthier lives. Some things we do:
-Live in a LEED certified building–all of our appliances are high efficiency
-Live within walking distance to work and only use our car about once a week
-Got rid of our cable (we have more time and money!)
-Make our own cleaning products using vinegar, borax and Dr. Bronners. (we put our soap in foaming bottles–it makes it go a long way!)
-Buy local produce when we can as we are in walking distance to farmers market
-Try not to buy packaged food and when we do–reuse the containers to store food or grow plants
-Reuse bags for bulk products
-Use cloth napkins and towels instead of paper towels
-Don’t use garbage bags–use small bins instead
-Growing herbs, tomatoes, lettuce, strawberries on our patio
-lots of natural light so we don’t need to turn on lights during the day
-rarely eat out at restaurants
-Buy a lot of our furniture and some clothes secondhand
-Carefully consider new purchases
-Do not have microwave
Some Things we want to do:
-make our own laundry detergent
-Grow more foods and see what we can grow indoors during the colder months
-Eat less meat
-Drink less or no coffee (that’s a tough one for me!)
-Cut down even more on buying packaged foods
-Find natural or make my own good hair products (haven’t had much luck yet :/ )
-Use fewer and ALL natural beauty products
-Use less water
-Buy more local foods like meat and eggs (it gets pricey though!)
-Not take the elevator
We got rid of so much of our stuff and are trying hard not to replace with new stuff. I love being able to clean in a short time so we have more time to do fun things! I love not worrying about a ton of belongings and realized I only use a fraction of what I own anyways. We feel healthier by not eating packaged foods. Eating what’s in season has allowed us to try new recipes and has been really fun. I love our simple and small way of life 🙂
Eager to help others because good people are what makes the world go around.
Well I started a compost box outside but how to get the organics from the kitchen outside. Last summer we had a nice hatch of brown flies. Couldn’t keep it coming fast enough.
First there was the trader joes coffee can…
Then there was the can with the plastic sac… Yes I know the plastic sac of doom. The sacs would pile up outside next to the compost box.
Then there was that blue ceramic mix bowl that had that nasty crack in it.
Now we just fill the bowl and take it outside. Find a ceramic bowl at the thrift store if you don’t have one.
Nice cracked blue bowl. Skip the bag, just rinse.
I did a TV reality show 10 years ago where I took my family back to live in 1900 for 3 months. 24/7 living like my great grandparents. It was an amazing experience and now in 2010 I am still living like my Nana’s. I make all my own household cleaning products, my beauty and body care products and organic garden sprays. I have an organic garden with compost bins and a worm farm. Next on the list is chickens.
I op shop for clothes and furniture and have the most wonderful collection and each has a story. I make all my jewelery from buttons and the pieces are stunning. I support a local charity by being the op-shop face in their marketing – in the newspapers and life size on the side of a truck.
This lifestyle is creative and satisfying and I manage to fit it around working a 9-5 job. Now I am teaching others to live the same way, taking classes through my local city council and a recycling center.
I think I have the best of both era’s now and I love my life.Every day I try to pass it forward by teaching others how to make their lives richer by having less impact.
The biggest eater of time is simply “stuff”. The more stuff you own – and the fancier the stuff – the more time (and money – and so time to earn the money) is spent to get it, maintain it and dispose of it properly. Voluntary Simplicity is where it is at — IF you want time to enjoy life!
I support my local vendors but I also plant my own garden… my family consume the fruit and vegetables, plus have fun and… is a way to spend time together. 🙂
As a four kids mother, after the third child I realize de accumumations of toys, clothes and unuseful objets I was having. So I started to explain my kids that with birthday, christmas, easter, and other presents we were just wasting money (that I had to work for) and contributing with pollution. Even my seven year daughter understood and preferred family moments that objets. We really celebrate birthdays and christmas as special days, we are happay to live them and they stay in our memories longer that toys. This are not good news for productivness but we are learning to feel more in peace.
I gave up regular shampoo for the year!(hopefully for life!) I started washing my hair with Dr Bronner’s once a week at the beginning of the year- the transition was a bit rocky (I wore a lot of ponytails and scarves the first 3-5 weeks hah) During lent used nothing but water to rinse my hair. This experiment when really, really well actually! I was so surprised! As long as I blow dried it it looked fine. Now I’m washing my hair once every two weeks with Dr Bronners and i don’t even have to blow it dry for it to look good (I’m glad because hair dryers can be unnecessary use of energy) I’m noticing some dandruff however, so starting in May I’m going to try out an apple vinegar rinse! This is supposed to be good for your scalp I love not using shampoo Now I smell like my homemade soap with out any fake chemical fruity smells in my hair! No shampoo is liberating and it makes the showers shorter!
I am eating a lot less than I have ever… I am mostly on living foods… however do have the occasional brown rice, or stir fry. All vegetarian, no wheat, no dairy, only natural sugars.
Have a green smoothie everyday, and have come to the place where I want to learn how much it would take to grow enough greens to support my consumption of green smoothies… so I have began a garden inside, started a variety of greens and will see if I can’t support my smoothie habit.
I’ve written a piece on my blog above on my daily efforts to eliminate waste that require minimal effort and time. Here it is in the body of this text box (hyperlinks removed):
6 Ways to Go Green in Brooklyn and Manhattan
1. Compost food scraps at your local community garden or the Union Square Green Market
I don’t have any interest in composting at home so I prefer to save my food scraps and make a weekly drop at the Prospect Heights Community Farm, my local community garden in Brooklyn 2 blocks away. Here are 5 simple steps to get started:
– Find a community garden near you and ask them if they compost. The Lower Eastside Ecology Center’s booth at the Union Square Green Market is also a reliable option.
– Save 1 or 2 milk/juice cartons and place in your freezer within easy reach.
– Read this list of compostable items and keep it accessible.
– Start putting scraps in your compost carton! If you’re using a community garden, be sure to cut items in manageable sizes. It also helps save space for more scraps in your carton.
– (Optional) Become a fan of International Compost Awareness Week on Facebook!
2. Recycle un-recyclable plastics at Aveda, the Park Slope Food Coop or Whole Foods
New York City’s list of plastic recyclables does not include popular plastics such as yogurt containers, take-out containers, deli containers, Brita filters and caps & lids. Here are 3 places that pick up the slack:
– Rigid caps and lids sometimes noted with a #5 are recycled by Aveda at their Soho, Manhattan location. More information about what’s recyclable as well as school initiatives can be found here. You can also contact them for postage paid labels at 1.877.AVEDA09 or email@example.com.
– The Park Slope Food Coop in Brooklyn recycles #1, #5, #6 plastics as well as plastic bags 3 times each month. Collection times and requirements like washing and removing labels are found here.
– The Gimme 5 program at Whole Foods recycles #5 plastics as well as Brita filters. Participating Manhattan locations are listed here but sending via mail is also an option.
3. Recycle batteries and light bulbs at Ikea or Whole Foods
Neither company’s website lists any information but trust me! Click for Ikea and Whole Foods locations in Red Hook, Brooklyn and Manhattan, respectively.
4. Reuse and recycle plastic bags
I always opt for the bulk bin rather than pre-packaged items, saving not only the extra packaging itself but the waste created in manufacturing the package. Plus, this way I get to reuse my plastic bags. I keep a stash in my kitchen cabinet and grab them when I take my shopping bag. Same with produce.
When it comes time to retire plastic bags, I take them to a large retail store since NY State law requires these places to accept them.
5. Use a recycled/recyclable Preserve toothbrush
Preserve Products, the folks responsible for the Gimme 5 program, make recycled and recyclable toothbrushes. You can recycle at participating Manhattan Whole Foods locations or send via their mail-back-pack.
6. Send your old yoga mats to Recycle Your Mat
I’ve long been aware of Giam’s 50 Ways to Reuse Your Yoga Mat. But as I pare down my life with less things, I prefer Recycle Your Mat’s collection efforts for used yoga mats. You can either mail or drop off at a participating yoga studio. I’m taking mine to Mala Yoga in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn.
Are you inspired?
Pick one thing you can do from the list above and try it out for a month in honor of Earth Day. You’ll see how easy it is, especially living in a place like NYC where we pass by the many recycling hubs regularly. So take an extra minute to drop off that Brita filter, compost or plastic cap on your way to work, yoga, brunch, etc. Then, be sure to pat yourself on the back for creating no waste. And lastly, spread the word!