September 19, 2013

Plastic-Free on Kauai

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We’re having a great time on Kaua’i (mosquito bites notwithstanding), and despite the ubiquitous polystyrene foam foodware, we’re discovering some great plastic-free resources.  Upon arrival at our hotel, the concierge handed us a list of farmers markets on the island.

There’s at least one for every day of the week, which means we never have to worry about plastic produce packaging because we brought our own bags.… Read the rest

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September 16, 2013

What’s Your Advice for Plastic-free, Natural, Mosquito Bite Remedy?

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So, I kind of screwed up. I brought a tin of Chagrin Valley bug repellent with me to Hawaii, intending to use it and review it on this blog. (We don’t really have too many biting bugs in the Bay Area, so I hadn’t had a chance to try it.)

It seems great. Comes in a metal tin and contains only Organic Virgin Shea Butter; Organic Jojoba oil; Organic Unrefined Beeswax; Organic Neem oil; Organic Essential oils of Lemon Eucalyptus, Cedarwood, Citronella, Lavender, Rosemary, Lemongrass, Basil, Thyme.

Yesterday, Michael and I were only planning to hang out in town, so I didn’t bother applying the bug repellant, … Read the rest

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September 14, 2013

Celebrating the Sun

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Aloha. I’m writing this post high above the Pacific Ocean on my way to Hawaii. I’m thinking about how I’m increasing my carbon footprint this month with so much travelling. And I’m also thinking about the carbon footprint of Burning Man. This will be my final Burning Man post for the year, and hopefully it will be a good one. (I didn’t go to bed last night, so we’ll see what comes through my index finger as I Swype the screen on my Android phone.)

Burning Man is all about burning carbon.  During the week, people erect beautiful wooden sculptures that they’ve spent all year constructing…

only to burn them a few days later.  … Read the rest

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September 12, 2013

Upcoming Events in Hawaii, Nevada, Texas…

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I’ve got a plethora (I love that word) of events on my schedule through the middle of next month to tell you about and invite you to attend! Check the Google calendar on my sidebar for updates.  And even if you can’t make it to an event, if you’re located in one of these places and want to get together, be sure and let me know.… Read the rest

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September 7, 2013

When is Plastic NOT Moop?

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This will be my penultimate Burning Man post for the year. I think. (I have one more in mind, but who knows if I’ll get a burning desire to say even more after that? Or less?)

I have a discussion question for you, but first, a little background and lots of pictures. (I don’t think there is any nudity in these photos, but let me know if you see some and I’ll remove it. This blog is rated PG even if my life isn’t always.)

Reducing our plastic footprint was the theme of the Earth Guardians camp this year. Toward that end, we had Annie’s plastic footprint sculpture

I gave two talks on plastic-free living on and off the playa…

Karima from the Plastic Pollution Coalition was there, taking pictures and working on quantifying Burning Man’s plastic footprint.

So was my friend Tracey whom I camped with last year and who had worked very hard to deplastify her business.

Several people came up to me during the week who … Read the rest

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September 5, 2013

I wish I’d known about EcoJarz when I wrote my book

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Okay, speaking of brewing coffee in a mason jar, there are a couple of companies that want to make it easier for you to drink your coffee from a mason jar as well. Back in 2011 when I was writing my book Plastic-Free, I heard about a product called Cuppow that lets you add a reusable drink lid to a mason jar to reduce the need to buy a whole travel mug. I thought it was a cool idea to reduce consumption of brand new stuff, so I mentioned it in the book. But I wasn’t thrilled that it was made from plastic, which is probably why I never reviewed it on this blog… that and the fact that it was shipped to me in plastic bubble packaging.

Plus, I already have a travel mug with a plastic lid. I’m looking for something better.

So I was really happy a few months ago to stumble across a stainless steel alternative at Berkeley’s Ecology Center Store: EcoJarz lids.

EcoJarz come in two sizes to fit different sizes of canning jars. Neither will fit the ubiquitous… Read the rest

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September 3, 2013

Why I Love My Blender

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I’m back home from Burning Man and so glad to be able to have my morning green smoothie again. When I wrote that post, I promised a follow up about my blender. Well, here it is.

Back in 2011, I wrote about hanging out with my friend Mark and watching him make homemade ketchup. What I didn’t mention was how impressed I was with his blender.

It’s a Waring Pro MBB518 stainless steel blender. Mark said that even though it only has two speeds, it’s the sturdiest and best blender he’s ever had. But what caught my eye was that there is no plastic at all inside the glass pitcher to come into contact with the food.

See, my current blender, a Kenmore that I’d had for years and that also had a glass pitcher had plastic at the bottom that twisted on and off for cleaning.

I wasn’t crazy about that plastic inside the pitcher, but it wasn’t enough to make me chuck the machine for a new one. And then the bottom started to leak. And … Read the rest

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August 28, 2013

Plastic-Free Burning Man — The List, Part 2

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Yesterday I detailed the outside of my Burning Man setup. Today I’ll tell you about the inside.

Bed

I’m using the vintage wood, canvas, and steel camping cot I blogged about after my night at the aquarium last year..

I didn’t figure out a plastic-free sleeping bag, and the truth is, the purple polyester (or maybe it’s nylon… not sure at this point) bag I bought back in the early 90′s still works great. Why replace it?

Floor Covering

Since the bottom of my tent is vinyl (ick), I wanted to cover it with natural fiber rugs. Second-hand would have been best, but this was kind of last minute, and I needed enough to cover a10x10 space, so instead of rugs, I opted for a felted rug pad made from recycled carpets and other recycled fabrics. It’s very, very soft, but probably a mix of synthetic and natural fibers. It was very affordable too. Purchased from Dick’s Carpet in Berkeley. It’s really trippy looking… Read the rest

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August 27, 2013

Plastic-Free Burning Man — The List, Part 1

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I only had two hours sleep last night after driving 12 hours, but I want to post these pictures and give you the list of ways I’m de-plastifying my Burn this year.

I’m staying with the Earth Guardians… which is part of the Burning Man infrastructure tasked with making the event as green as possible.

If you’re on the playa, stop by and say hi, leave me a message in the little notebook attached to my tent, or come to one of my workshops, either Wednesday at 1 or Saturday at 2.

Here’s the outside view of my little home on the playa:

Tent

The tent is a Springbar Traveler 5, which is made of heavy duty cotton canvas. I put it up this morning with the help of an expert named Kearce. But it was me who pounded all 18 twelve-inch steel stakes into the hard playa.


Here are the pros and cons of a Springbar tent. Pros:

*Mostly heavy duty cotton instead of synthetic material.
*Super strong, stable, and durable. According to comments online from Burners,… Read the rest

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August 26, 2013

Coffee in a Mason Jar

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When you read this, I’ll be (hopefully) on the road to Burning Man.  Being without a cooking stove for a week will mean a change in my diet… but no change in the way I drink my coffee because I don’t heat it anymore anyway.

Making cold brewed coffee

I think I learned about cold brewed coffee from my friend Tracey TieF (with whom I went to Burning Man last year), and the idea intrigued me.  Checking on Google (because that’s my first impulse any time I learn about anything new these days), I learned that brewing coffee cold produces a full-flavored but mellower, less bitter cup.

Some people use a French press to make cold brewed coffee, and in fact Frieling makes one that is entirely plastic-free.
Impulsively, I almost bought one a couple of weeks ago, but I thought better of it in time to cancel the order.  Because despite some of the products I have endorsed, my plastic-free life is not about buying a bunch of new stuff when I don’t… Read the rest

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