March has finally arrived (ushering in that season in which riders in the northern hemisphere leave the barn wearing more hair than their horses)! So with the beginning of daylight savings time in the rearview, the official start of spring just around the corner, and Saint Patrick’s Day looming, we’ve got green on our minds, but we’re not the only ones.
Last week, Trader Joe’s announced that it will eliminate over one million pounds of plastic packaging from its stores this year (slow clap). The retail giant is one of the first large grocers to attempt to reduce the number of single-use plastics on its shelves. Since only 9% of all plastics end up being recycled, reducing packaging at the source is a great way to get in front of the planet’s pollution problem. Additionally, waste-free boutique grocers are popping up in locations like Brooklyn and Denver, with reusable containers (mostly mason jars) and bulk bins efficiently replacing plastic containers in their entirety.
As nature lovers with a passion for sustainability, we love the green ones (retailers, that is)! We’re completely on board with this movement, but we realize that not everyone has the ability to haul empty glass jars to Brooklyn to fill them with oat flour and lentils every Saturday (“not everyone” most definitely includes us). Still, we’ve discovered a few inexpensive and undaunting ways in which we can do our part to be less trashy around the house, so this week we share them with the hope that maybe you’ll be inspired to do the same.
P.S. They also make great gifts for your eco-friendliest friends.
Over the past couple of years, there’s been a lot of buzz about Bee’s Wrap, a chemical free, sustainable, and compostable alternative to plastic baggies commonly used for food storage. Handmade by women in Vermont, these wraps consist solely of beeswax and organic cotton.
We commend Trader Joe’s for its use of compostable produce bags (FYI, Whole Foods is not on the bandwagon). However, we believe reusable produce bags made from organic cotton are an even better idea.
Few people realize that most wrapping and tissue papers are not recyclable due to plastic components or ultra-short fibers. This multipurpose “wrapping paper” by Lush is made of organic cotton or recycled plastic bottles, and is an attractive and versatile substitute to aid in green gifting. Scarves and bandanas also work (here’s a little tutorial).
If you’re looking to do even more, purchase a bracelet from 4Ocean, an organization with a global initiative to eliminate plastic debris in the oceans as well as the rivers that feed into them. For every bracelet purchased, one pound of plastic is removed from the world’s waterways.
A Big Green Barn
What about the barn, you ask? Check out these tips from Horse & Rider. Spoiler alert: they include recycling, composting, pasture management, and natural pest control (who knew having a barn cat was so green?). We also suggest adding chickens to the menagerie (find the OR guide to being a chicken tender here), as they control insect populations and are thrilled to turn table scraps into eggs just like magic!
For even more great ideas on how to be a bit greener, check out these past posts that you may have missed: our still-relevant holiday gift guide (“Gifts That Give Back”); our favorite way to repurpose old tack (“When Sea and Stable Collide”); and a sustainable, cellophane-free way to show that your love is blossoming (“Thinking Inside the Box”).