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Tag: recycle

Have you made an Earth Day resolution?

Earth Day OK, maybe they’re not quite as famous as the resolutions made at New Year’s–it’s even possible they’re something I completely made up–but nonetheless, I think Earth Day resolutions are much more useful. Think of it as a Mother’s Day card for Mother Earth, who’s done so much for you. This year, my Earth Day resolution is to choose my next car for its eco-friendliness rather than its personality. My current car is a sub-compact, but I could still get double the mileage from a Toyota Prius. One of my prior Earth Day resolutions was to lower my highway cruise control speed. I’ve considered doing this again, but I’m a bit afraid of getting run over! Getting a significantly more efficient car will be much more effective. Perhaps you already have something you know you should do in the back of your mind, but here are 10 Earth Day resolution ideas to get you started …

  1. Resolve that each time you buy something, you’ll choose carefully (no “starter” items, temporary solutions, or stop-gap measures), maintain it, and use it till it wears out.
  2. Resolve to eliminate disposables from your life whenever possible. Use rags instead of paper towels. Instead of using Styrofoam, plastic, or paper at work, keep a mug, glass, plate, fork, and spoon (or whatever you need) at your desk. I keep a sponge and Mrs. Meyers dishwashing liquid in the kitchen at work.
  3. Resolve to limit your clothing purchases. (I guess this is a gender-related thing–I don’t know any men with overflowing closets.) I buy a maximum of 10 good quality items a year (not including scarves, loungewear, etc.). Shoes go to the cobbler and clothes to the tailor when they need repairs, and I get rid of things only when they can be worn no more. This, it turns out, is more than enough.
  4. Resolve to buy some items vintage or antique rather than new. This works for furniture, art, rugs, china, glassware, and much more. Options range from Thrift Town to Sotheby’s. Quality is likely to be better, and since the item has already lasted for some time, it’s likely to keep right on doing so.
  5. Resolve to support an organization that’s making a difference for the environment (such as the Natural Resources Defense Council) with a donation, or even regular support.
  6. Resolve to recycle everything that can be recycled–not just the items picked up from your curb, but the items you have to make an effort to recycle, like light bulbs and batteries. And not just when a recycling bin is convenient, but when you have to carry the item for awhile to get to one. Resolve that if you acquire or use something, you’ll dispose of it properly.
  7. Resolve to close the recycling loop by buying recycled paper, plastic, or glass products–or all three. I resisted giving up conventional paper products for awhile, but I finally realized that I am plenty pampered enough–I don’t need to blow my nose on the paper equivalent of silk.
  8. Resolve to switch to 100% wind electricity.
  9. Resolve that every new appliance purchase will be energy efficient. (In the US, just look for the Energy Star label.)
  10. Resolve to eliminate conventional cotton, perhaps the dirtiest crop on earth, whenever possible. Buy linen, bamboo, or organic cotton instead. Try bamboo towels, and you’ll never go back to plain cotton. Their silky texture and ability to stay fresh (due to bamboo’s natural anti-bacterial properties) are unmatched. Linen sheets and slipcovers are also lovely.

If you’re making an Earth Day resolution this year, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below! This post is illustrated with my SoulCollage® card We have the wisdom.

SoulCollage cards are for personal use, and are not for sale, barter, or trade.

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Out with the new, in with the old

Russel parsley stack

I enjoy using vintage dinnerware and cookware every day in the kitchen. Not only because it’s reuse–as in reduce, reuse, recycle–but because vintage things have soul, go so beautifully with my vintage house, and were build to last. They’ve already stood the test of time. We’re all survivors here in this little kitchen.

The challenge in this is that I like the things I use every day to be dishwasher safe, particularly the dinnerware. I don’t mind washing the dishes by hand on a special occasion, but I’m not up for that every day.

I’ve found plates and bowls in a great pattern made starting in the 50s (Metlox Jamestown Provincial) that are printed with “Dishwasher safe” on the back–and they are. I have it in all white. The rims look like they’re connected with little rivets.

One challenge with using vintage dinnerware is that you’re limited to the pieces that were made in the past. Usually this is more pieces than we use now, but pasta bowls, for example, weren’t part of vintage patterns. However, while browsing at an antique mall a couple years ago, I found a shallow 8″ vegetable serving bowl that’s absolutely perfect as a pasta bowl, and yesterday I bought two more.

The pattern is Russel Wright’s Iroquois Casual China (shown above, in the parsley green color I bought yesterday). This line is real vitreous china, made in a number of different solid color glazes. Russel and his wife Mary (whose influence can be clearly seen in Russel’s work) were the Martha Stewart of their era. When Iroquois Casual came out, they made an ad that showed them throwing an entire set onto a metal table, and damaging only one piece. I don’t have an entire set yet, but none of the pieces I have has ever chipped or cracked.

If only my new things were that sturdy. Mugs are another item that are better than ever today in terms of sizes, shapes, patterns, and ease of use. I have a small collection of Emma Bridgewater mugs, and today while I was unloading the dishwasher, I accidentally dropped one. It didn’t end well for the mug … it’s in multiple pieces in my recycling cart as I type (so happy my city accepts broken ceramics and glass). RIP Zinnias mug. I think it was a Christmas present just last year.

I’m sad to see it go, but I’m looking forward to using my new-old pasta bowls. I just learned while writing this post that the pattern was produced from 1947-1967, the year I was born, so these bowls are at least as old as I am, and quite probably older. I feel like I’ve completed some kind of circle by bringing them home and putting them into service once again.

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