Archive for the Minimalism Category

The Greenest Consumer Is the Non-Consumer

We all have heard the phrase: “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” But have you ever really gave it some thought?  The progression of this saying is very important.recycle_world We must first Reduce what we consume and use.  To stem the problem we have to simply stop consuming so much.  We produce in a single day, the amount that 12 people from Bangladesh do in an entire year!  The average person in the US uses 120 gallons of water in a Day.

Reuse.  If we absolutely have to consume something, we try to extend its life and make its consumption count.  We make smart purchasing decision about how we can address our needs for the future, not just the immediate.

Recycle.  If we have had to consume something, then we should try to recycle it.  In college I used to get so mad when people would throw a can away in the trash bin at the end of the hall, which was right aside of recycle container.  Recycling is not the answer, reduction is, but if we must consume, it is our job to extend that products life and then dispose of it properly. Today’s post talks about how the best consumer is the non-consumer (for the environment, not big corps).

Bless the well-intentioned consumer. The biodegradable soap, the hemp backpack, the energy-efficient light bulbs—the end products of conscientious consumption—are becoming far more popular and make us feel better about ourselves. But how much better are these purchases for the Earth?

The economic collapse has devastated my household, my community and my industry. Perhaps, however, this is just what we need. As I send ‘hang in there’ balloons and sympathy cards like everyone else, wishing the economy a speedy recovery, somewhere deep—in a secret, sadistic place—I hope it’s not over yet.

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Life Inc.

I was sitting eating smores today and watching the Colbert Report, he had a really interesting guest today who was promoting his new book Life Inc.  Basically it is talking about how corporatisim extends to every aspect of our lives, how it drives consumerism and how our value is derived by the amount we consume.  This have obvious ties to the story of stuff (click here) and many other discussions I have had on this website.

Old Magazines Into Coasters

While I find coasters to be a hassle and I use the Bodum glasses which eliminates the need for them, there are many folks that use them.  In addition they make a great gift if you make them yourself.  So here is a quick way to reuse old magazine to make some fun coasters.

6-24-09coasters11. Tear out 6 magazine pages. Cut off the ragged edge on each, then cut each page in half lengthwise. I stacked them and cut them all at once with an X-acto knife and ruler. (To make a coaster with a finer weave, cut each of the half-page strips in half lengthwise again. And note that weaving will take you twice as long!)

2. Fold each strip in half lengthwise. Then fold the resulting piece in thirds, folding the cut edges inward first so they’re hidden inside. Now you have a long, thick strip. Fold it in half at the center. See steps pictured above. Repeat with each magazine sheet.

3. To start weaving, interlock two strips. This is the bottom left corner of your coaster.

4. Add another strip that wraps around the outside of the horizontal bottom strip.

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Lunch Bots

Recently there has been allot of hype when it comes to plastics and chemical leeching.  One prime example is Nalgene water bottles and how they used to contain BPA’s.  These days you hear about how fill in the blank causes cancer, by the end we find that the majority of things we use will be the death of us.

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I have always loved how in the olden days they used to package everything in great little metal tins, they were so durable, reusable and most often recyclable by today’s standards.  This might just be me, I have come to realize I have this odd addiction to containers, but that’s for another day.

Lunch Bots are basically Tupperware but made from 100% stainless steel, they are washable, recyclable, durable and look awesome!  While they can’t handle liquids like soup, they are good for just about everything else.  Combined these with a reusable lunch bag and your golden.  Buy them for around $15 each or a set of all 4 for $50 here

Stop Electrical Drain

By this point I think everyone and their mother know how elctronics when not in use still sap electricity.  Here is a little gadget for your TV or Computer to stop wating electricity in its tracks when not in use via unplugged:

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Reprint: unplugged Taryn July 10 2009

We try and turn off all the unneccesary power-suckers in a standard routine every time we leave the house. The lights go off, the computer goes into sleep mode and the TV, DVD player and cable box each get a shut-down with the remotes on the coffee table. But when you’re in a rush to get out the door, you just look for the light switch and the TV power button to get the house dark and quiet. All those other peripherals get forgotten! But what if the DVD player, cable box and surround sound system went off automatically whenever the TV did?

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