Posts Tagged ‘eco-friendly’

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By Christy Halvorson Ross

We are in a 24/7/365 battle globally and locally to reduce our carbon footprints, reverse climate change, and improve the health of the Earth.

There are so many ways to contribute on an individual level to a healthier planet…on the roads, in the grocery store, with your consumer habits, and your recycling practices. You can also make a huge impact on your environmental footprint in your own kitchen.  Read on to find out how.

  1. Reduce your food packaging

Shopping at farmer’s markets or being a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) member are the best ways to reduce your food packaging. If you bring your own bags to the farmer’s market, then there is zero packaging between the farmer picking the produce and you putting it in your refrigerator.

The DC area has a plethora of incredible farmer’s markets, many on the weekends and some during the week. Make visiting them your ritual!

With CSAs, you can support farmers directly by purchasing a share for a season or a year. Check out this great list of area CSA’s

As much as I love the produce at Trader Joe’s, I don’t love their food packaging. Many of their items have a cardboard base and then are wrapped in plastic. Whole Foods is a bit better with labels and twist ties on most of their produce.

Wherever you shop, make sure to bring your own produce bags.

If you are a fish or meat eater, you can also bring your own container to the deli/fish counter. Stash one in your bag and have it weighed before the food is put in. This is a great way to reduce your use of plastic.

2. Produce less food waste

Food waste is a big one in the kitchen. At Little Green, we love to come up with ways to use every little bit of the food you have. Following are a few fun tips that ensure you will never need to throw produce away.

  • Veggie stir fries

When the spinach and mushrooms that you had grand plans for begin to look like they may have a day of survival left, it’s time for a stir fry! Saute some onions and add just about any other thing you’ve got in your fridge. Throw in some sesame oil until it’s full of flavor and tender. You can always add coconut milk or hot sauce, and garnish with chopped nuts and cilantro or flat-leaf parsley.

  • Carrot-top pesto

Chop up those amazing carrot top greens from your farmer’s market carrots, and add them to the Cuisinart with pureed walnuts or almonds and some olive oil and salt for a delicious pesto. No recipe needed! Play with the flavors and textures.

  • Smoothies

Are those fresh berries about to go? Throw them in the freezer in a reusable bag (have you heard about stasher bags?) and use them for your next breakfast smoothie.

3. Choose sustainable foods

I have been delving more deeply into the future and the sustainability of food on our planet. Today, we have 7.5 billion people on this planet and 2 billion of them are hungry. By 2050 we’ll have to feed more than 9 billion people. We are discovering foods that require less water and farmland to produce, are grown efficiently, and are highly nutritious. A few examples include:

  • sunchokes [What are sunchokes, you ask? They are also known as Jerusalem Artichokes. They have so many nutrients, fiber, and even protein, and are so easy to grow….we need to start integrating them into our diets more! Check out this elegant salad or main dish that will wow your guests using these inexpensive, modest little gems.]
  • legumes (lentils, beans)
  • dark leafy greens (dandelion greens, kale, swiss chard, beet greens)
  • squashes (delicata, chayote, honeynut)

If you can build these three habits into your routine, you’ll make a big difference for this planet we live on. Have fun with the variety of veggies you get at the market or CSA (and check out our farmer’s market guide here) and enjoy the health benefits too!

Christy Halvorson Ross is the founder of Little Green, which creates sustainable and nutritious recipes, and offers healthy living and plant-based cleanse programs, including food delivery, right here in DC.

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Guest writer Rachel Mlinarchik is the voice behind My Fair Vanity, a blog dedicated to style that is kind to the earth and the people on it.

Even if it still feels like summer, I’m ready to get  excited for fall, so I’ve put together some of my favorite eco-friendly items for when cooler temperatures roll in. These selections will allow you to try out some of fall’s  hottest trends while still being kind to the earth and the people on it, and I’ll offer a few tips on finding sustainable options in your hometown or online.

Downtown Prepster

 

First up is a snazzy dress shirt from Zady. Proudly made in the New York garment district, the price might be high, but this shirt is made to last for years. The beautifully structured messenger bag is made exclusively for ASOS’ new “Green Room,” a fantastic effort on  the part of the company to be transparent about where and how some of  its products are made. This particular bag is leather, but it is also made in local factories in the U.K. It comes in every color of the rainbow and even though it wouldn’t be very eco-friendly, I want all of them.

The patent leather tortoise shell oxford shoe is made by Attilio Giusti Leombruni in a 3rd-generation-owned family factory in Italy. It’s perfect to wear  with chunky sweaters or slim-cut collared shirts in the fall and winter  to incorporate a little menswear into your style. Although I would  rather buy made in the USA, I believe that investing in  high-quality products made in countries with minimum wage and  fair labor laws is also solid, sustainable choice.

I’m very excited to share two pieces from one of my favorite jewelry lines: Alkemie. Both the elephant ring and the nautilus earrings are made in Los Angeles of 100% reclaimed metal with sterling silver posts.

Right along those lines is the chain link cuff bracelet by Mettle (available from Collective Habit). All of Mettle’s products are  hand-forged, fair trade accredited, and made from recycled bombshell  brass in Cambodia and Indonesia  within a small, not for profit, income generating and training project  owned by its members. Boom.

When I see this kind  of thought, care and kindness behind such beautiful clothing and  jewelry, it makes me want to march in to the offices of the larger  retailers (with far more capital and potential to change lives) and  say, calmly and clearly: You can do better. No. Seriously. You can.

Instead of finger-wagging, though, one thing we can all do is ask, ask, ask. Whenever you’re shopping online, if the products you’re browsing aren’t clearly labeled with information about  where or how they are made, send a quick email to customer service with your question. In a physical store, politely ask the sales associates to point you towards  goods that are made in the USA or made using fair labor practices. The  more you and I ask, the more managers and buyers will start to think about where and from whom they are making purchases.

But I digress.

Add A Little Edge

Let’s move on to the edgier, modern punk look. I’m loving these leather-waisted, pleated trousers by Milly, and loving even more that they are made in the USA.  Bonus: many of you will be pleased to learn that the silver oxfords by Jeffrey Campbell are part of a special vegan line he produces for Convert. Convert, for the record, is an apparel, shoe and accessories store dedicated to both style and sustainability.

The bangles are handmade from locally sourced woods and  metallic leathers by marginalized women in Northern India for Raven and Lilly. Proceeds from this particular collection fund literacy programs for women artisans and their children.

The crazy leggings by Conditions Apply for Shop Ethicare are so eco-friendly that they require a bulleted list to get all the goodness across:

  • Made at a company-owned factory in Gurgaon, India, allowing the  brand to control working conditions throughout its supply chain
  • Water at the manufacturing facility is collected and recycled
  • Fabric scraps are salvaged and used to make one-of-a-kind pieces
  • Employees have access to medical care and micro-loans
  • Production is based on orders, not forecasts, to reduce waste and avoid surpluses

And last but certainly not least, the exposed zipper black sheath dress is another item from the ASOS Green Room. This one is perfect to wear with a cardigan at work during the day, all the while knowing you are ready for date night once evening falls. Business in the front, party in the back!

Looking for another way to ramp up your wardrobe sustainably? Join DC EcoWomen for our clothing swap on September 29th! Just bring in your gently used clothes, accessories, or shoes, to “shop” for each other’s items. Go to the Event Page to sign up today!