Archive for the Minimalism Category

15 Easy Ways to Cut Consumption

Found this over at Green Planet, some great ideas.  Many of us are already doing things in our lives to reduce our impact, but you  might still learn something 🙂

Reprinted: Green Planet 9/09 Sara Novak

Consumption costs us money and the more simply we choose to live the more money we can save. The thing is, no matter how eco-friendly the products that we buy may be, they still come with packaging, they still take energy to make, and they are nearly always still trucked from somewhere. My biggest/most obvious eco-friendly tip of the year is consuming less (energy, water, “stuff,”) is better for the planet.

Easy ways to cut your consumption:

1. Bring a reusable bag wherever you go. Excess bags just add to the landfill and you don’t need them in the first place. There’s no reason not to do this. Try an easy Chico bag you can carry with you.

2. Ditch the processed food. It takes unnecessary energy to produce it, as well as tons of packaging.

3. Make your own cleaning products. Cleaning products (even eco-friendly varieties) often come in plastic bottles and they are trucked in from who knows where wasting tons of fossil fuels.

4. Calculate your water footprint. How can you know where you need to cut water usage if you don’t know how much you’re using and where you’re using it?

5. Don’t drink milk. Livestock consumes much of the land on the planet, whether for meat or dairy, and creates literally tons and tons of pollution, estimates are in the 1/5th of all greenhouse gases range.

6. Wear less makeup. Using less makeup will save us on resources and money.

7. Drink less bottled water, try to drink none. The U.S. sends two million tons of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottled water packaging to the landfill each year. Just drink the tap.

8. Wash your clothes in cold water. About 90 percent of the energy used for washing clothes is for heating the water.

9. Pass up the fast food joint, bring your own grub. Let me count the reasons why. There’s the immense shipping programs emitting harmful gases, the millions of tons of waste generated annually, and not to mention the total lack of nutritional value in fast food restaurant’s most popular menu items.

10. Skip Starbucks and brew your own coffee. Once we factor in the cost of the gourmet coffee and the cost of driving there, each time we brew a cup at home, we save about the equivalent of a gallon of gas.

11. Shut down your PC. If every American worker remembers to turn off their computer at night, the nation’s companies would prevent the release of 39,452 tons of carbon-dioxide emissions, save $4.7 million in utility costs, and reduce energy consumption by 54.3 million kilowatt-hours per day.

12. Skip the store bought cereal and make your own granola instead. Cereal usually comes in a plastic bag within a cardboard box that all gets thrown away at least once a week if not more.

13. Become a weekday vegetarian. By cutting meat out of your diet entirely you save 5,000 lbs of carbon emissions per year, so even reducing your meat intake to two out of seven days will still make a big difference.

14. Grow some of your own food. This way you don’t have to buy it and it’s about as local as possible.

15. Add insulation to your attic. The Rocky Mountain Institute estimates it will save you 2,142 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions–through the heat your home retains in winter and doesn’t gain in the summer–and hundreds of dollars in lower energy bills.

Leaf Plates

leafplates

I saw these a long while ago at a Eco convention and really like not only the idea, but the look.  Verterra is a company that makes plates from dead leaves that are collected, washed, formed, heated and then sold as plates.   The line includes bowls, plants, party trays, one time use items etc.  Here is what they say:

Our production process is simple and transparent: After collecting fallen leaves that would normally be burned, we apply steam, heat and pressure to transform the leaves into durable products that will naturally compost in 2 months.
VerTerra products are made in South Asia, where our employees receive fair wages in safe working conditions and are provided access to health care.
leafplates2
They sell different sets such as a sampler which includes the below for $25.  Aparently people who have these will handwash these plates and can use the over and over.  It is not Dishwasher safe as the company uses no resins, epoxies, other chemicals.  These are 100% biodegradable. Check them out here
$25 set:
– (2) 4”x4”Party Perfect Square Plates
– (2) 6”x6” Party Perfect Square Plates
– (2) 8”x8” Party Perfect Square Plates
– (1) 10”x10” Party Perfect Square Plates
– (2) 3.5” Party Perfect Round Bowls
– (2) 6”x8” Party Perfect Rectangular Bowls
– (1) 8”x8” Party Perfect Square Bowls
– (2) 7”x8.5” Party Perfect Trays/Lunch Plate

Algae: Green Gold?

There has been allot of buzz today about Algae being used as a substitute for fossil fuels.  There has been allot of talk of this for many years but it has recently ramped up its efforts.  Exxon Mobile this year invested 600 BILLION dollars into Algae, that should tell you something about how confident they are in oil being around for the long term.  Its sickening to think what Exxon spends on its pet projects is over half of our national budget.  Here is a great video about how Algae production and use is a viable alternative.

ScreenHunter_03 Sep. 09 16.50

What Office?

What is the best way to create a low impact office? To not have one! I have found several people that have done just that.

First lets meet Isobella Jade. She is a the new face of modeling: model, marketer, promoter, manager, make up artist all in one.   She has used the Apple store in NYC to write an entire memoir from start to finish. She setup and launched her own website, blog, and online portfolio by using the computers in the Apple store for free! Here is a video about her life as a the 5′ 4″ model / entrepreneur.

To find out more about how she works in the Apple store here is a great interview with her from Mental_Floss

Out next person is Nicholi. He is 12. What on earth does a 12 year old need an office for? Funny you should ask. Nicholi has shot numerous youtube videos right in the Apple store with their computers. He doesn’t own his own computer so he was forced to spread his creativeness through creative means. What is more impressive is that his videos and story ended up getting him spots on TV.

There are some of you out there that are asking, well I don’t live in NYC or near an apple store. Well you are not alone. David Lee King blogs about Libraries (I love how on the internet you can find people jazzed up about everything!) . In his post he discusses how Libraries are becoming the new office. With computers, wifi, fax machines, copy machines and a slew of research materials its no wonder these are hot spots for entrepreneurs. You don’t have to pay for lighting, heating, cooling. You don’t have to take time to clean the bathrooms, fix a leaky roof, etc.

Today libraries have come a long way. Many of them have conference rooms, food and coffee shops. Public transportation almost always has a stop at the libraries. The down side is that you have to walk outside to use the phone, but I will tell you that more and more things are just going to email; I rarely pick up the phone.   In addition to entrepreneurs using libraries, homeless use these resources to find jobs, find information about services for poor and homeless, stay in contact with family and friends.

coop office

Finally you have you shared office space Co-op’s which are basically non-profit business that have space, resources, materials, and sometimes a secretary for patrons. Co Work Chicago is a rental office, where individuals will rent a desk and work along side of others who just need office space. They each run their own business, but from the same space. A few times a week they all sit down for lunch, which is locally sourced. Rates run $20 per day, $90 per week and $300 a month, not bad! Their services are “T-1 Internet Connection, Kitchen & Bathroom, Furnished with Desk, Security Camera, Office Dog (included), Close to CTA & Downtown, Flexible Lease, and Most Importantly Good People. ”
Check out this great article about it and their website.