Tag Archives | disposable tableware

Greener Halloween Decor

Thinking of Halloween decorating makes you instantly think of plastic – I know that was the situation here until a few years ago we acquired an amazingly sustainable outdoor lawn decoration that is larger than any of the front yard blowup decorations I’ve seen. Decorating for a holiday and connecting to memories is a special thing. I first fell in love with our local pumpkin patch when my first child was born – just seeing the sea of pumpkins and adorable wooden characters that are sprinkled around the patch made me feel like magic lived there. We’ve been every year with all the kids and after a couple of years I finally asked the owner for the name of the carpenter that made the big wooden pumpkins, characters, etc. She gave me Randy’s phone number and the rest is history.

Created with a huge sheet of wood, with hinges so it folds to be put away, I love my huge pumpkin that was made for my front lawn. It’s like I got to take a piece of the pumpkin patch home with me and seeing the decoration every day just makes me happy. It’s also a much more sustainable decoration in my mind because at the end of it’s life I will chop it up and compost the wood. The pumpkin also served as a bean bag toss game at our annual Halloween parties but the fact it was made by a local artist is the best part for me. I’m sharing this because you can easily call your favorite farm or pumpkin patch this time of year and ask the same questions I did.

I saw another very earth friendly decorating option on Pinterest and if I had a truck to transport this bale of hay – this would be on my lawn too!  I think it’s hilarious and think of the fun your kids would have sticking the shoes into the hay bale. This is a great decoration for high impact outdoor decorating and can be composted or donated to a farm after Halloween is over. You can also setup a Halloween game with the bale of hay by hiding candy inside and have the kids dive in to look for it!  Bales of hay sitting in farmers fields make me incredibly happy too – this decoration will eventually find it’s way to my home. I love how easy it is to dispose of it after the holiday has ended!

Photo credit: Global News

If you are adding to your seasonal decorations this year, try to use parts of nature that will eventually leave the earth: leaves, pumpkins, hay, wood, pine cones, etc. I’ve got some incredible crafts lines up that are made using nature. It just feels better to use something like leaves or baby pine cones to craft with rather than glitter and plastic! Teach your children the legacy of selecting a product or decoration. We’ll have some indoor decor tips coming up next!

Related Articles:

Spooooky Disposable Tableware!

Halloween – How Will You Green?

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Car Seat Reycling and Depot Tour

I’ve been given wings to fly from UsedVancouver.com – a company that is allowing me to put my wishes for the environment into action. They are a classified site where people list or buy used items so talking about up-cycling and reusing is right up their alley. We just completed an awesome car seat recycling campaign and the reaction to this community project was fantastic. Car seats are probably the toughest item to dispose of with an earth friendly focus (read this article to understand why) so it felt great to assist with keeping 44 car seats out of the landfill! And yesterday I had the pleasure of delivering these car seats to Gibsons Recycling Depot because they deconstruct car seats and recycle the metal and plastic from the base and straps. UsedVancouver.com absorbed the cost of this initiative and needs to be recognized for their dedication to community projects.

I first learned about Gibsons Recycling Depot when writing my predictions for 2012 and thinking about ownership of waste. Talking to their staff and checking out their website really inspired more meaning to what being Eco-conscience with consumerism is all about. Thinking about the life cycle of a product before we buy it is so important to our health and the environment.  Now after physically visiting the depot, I had another light bulb moment about improving my consumer footprint and it’s a sign located as you drive into the depot with a simple, but important message “what do things really cost?” I took a picture and it’s included below:

 

You just need to tour your local recycling depot to understand the answer to that question. Your answer might be different than mine, but I interpret it to mean that the little things we as consumers purchase – things that we don’t need to survive (clothing, shelter, food, education) that we can afford in the moment because they seem affordable and give us temporary/instant gratification. These items have a higher cost than we think. An example is the plastic toy that costs $2 and seems like a really inexpensive purchase, but what happens when you try to get rid of that toy in 5 years? It can’t be recycled and will hang around in the dump and outlive your children..is the true cost of that toy still $2?  No it’s not. And when you visit a recycling depot like Gibsons, you see the true cost of ‘stuff’. They have a place to put almost everything and if it can’t be recycled – they try to sell it in a little make-shift store. I’ll never forgot the container (where items go that need to be taken to the landfill) with plastic toy trucks around the top. There are containers for most plastics, tin cans, glass, dirty wood, clean wood, etc. but these toys were made up of too many pieces of non-recyclable parts. It’s what I pointed out to my son that I brought with me for a ‘field trip’ because it resonated with me. The true cost of these items can no longer be measured in what the owner originally paid – the cost of having something last on earth forever has a high cost.

But, don’t think I came away disheartened – actually it was the opposite. When you see how efficient a recycling depot is, the knowledge the staff has, and know items are closing the loop on their life cycle – it’s inspiring. My favorite part of the depot was the glass recycling section. For people that think that glass is too heavy, too expensive, etc. as a food packing option – if the glass gets to a recycling depot…magical things happen. The glass is sorted into different colors (green, brown, clear) and then tumbled in a huge machine and broken down into cullet. There are so many uses for glass and because it can be recycled an infinite amount of times – it’s a great material. Some uses are ingredients in paint or building supplies, sand on beaches, ceramic tiles, fiberglass, etc. If you look at the top picture with the sign, the white material that looks like snow is actually glass that’s been recycled into beach sand. Here is the glass going up the conveyor to become cullet:

 

So this week I got to complete a project of collecting car seats and delivering them to a recycling depot that is clearly setting the bar high with their dedication to efficient disposal – it’s been amazing to be on these field assignments and I thank UsedVancouver.com for sponsoring. I share my experience and highly recommend parents taking their children to see the behind the scenes of a recycling depot before the holiday season approaches. A clear message from my tour is how wasteful the holidays can be with people just buying to ‘buy’. Giving stuff that doesn’t have purpose or meaning needs to be curbed and helping children to realize what is truly important with gift giving or celebrating can be redefined and still create memories and fun. We just need to be creative and think about where things go after we are finished using them!

Related Articles:

My Guest Post for The Soft Landing called ‘New Year’s Prediction – Ownership of Waste

Who Should Shop At Thrift Stores?

Spoooky Disposable Tableware

Baby and Children’s Car Seats – How To Dispose or Reuse?

A Greener Christmas Plan

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DIY Heart Valentines & Tableware

I love a good DIY and the key to successfully completing projects with children is to estimate enough time so the joy of crafting remains until the end. With 10 days to go until Valentines, these DIY projects are great for budgets and they’ve been tested and approved by kids!  I also think about teachers and making their life a little easier with holiday card exchanges and this Valentine heart DIY project keeps life easy for teachers because they are not personalized!  Instead they are hand sewn and a reusable decoration/card/keepsake that children will love to receive. Here is a picture of the finished project:

Reusable Valentine Instructions:

This is a great DIY if you have oodles of fabric scraps! I only needed to purchase embroidery thread and felt squares so the cost was minimal. Here is what you need: sharp needle with med sized eye hole, your choice of felt, scrap fabric, embroidery thread, lollipops.

First step is to cut out fabric and felt hearts. Remember how you cut out the perfect paper heart by folding it in half and cutting 1/2 the heart on the folded edge?  Use this same method for cutting fabric and felt so each side matches. Older children and adults can easily free hand heart cut-outs but to help younger kids, trace out the heart with pencil for them to follow. My example is this great combination of camouflage fabric and brown felt. It’s important to know your audience and picking different fabrics can really help with enticing the boy crowd into participating with this craft. We made combinations that both my sons and daughters gravitated to and the comment from my 8 year old son was “cool heart”!

Second step is to lineup the fabric heart on top of the felt heart and hand-stitch. This is a great tutorial for first time sewers. For younger kids, put them on your lap and help them stitch. You will be amazed how quickly they learn!  I purchased a few different colors of embroidery thread to give some pop to the fabric hearts: beige, red, purple, and pink.

Final step for kids is to insert a lollipop into a stitch that acts as a holder. The stitching at the back of the heart actually looks really awesome, but if you want to take this DIY one step further and finish off the back, cut out another felt heart, place against the back of the valentine and machine stitch around the outside. The machine sewing is a nice contrast against the inside stitching on the fabric heart and embroidery thread – and will hide the stitching and tie-offs.

I have to add my personal perspective on this craft. To complete our hearts we loaded up a basket with all the supplies and took them to our after school activities. Children from the hockey rink and soccer gym all came over and commented on which fabric was their favorite, wanting to help push the needle through the fabric, and commented “can you teach me to sew?” It was really lovely to see just how excited kids get with making things themselves and taking a Valentine DIY to the next level to incorporate basic sewing. I’m really excited to know how proud my kids will be to hand out these special Valentines to family and close friends.

Valentine Tableware DIY

If you are hosting a Valentine party or responsible for bringing disposable tableware to your child’s school for Valentine baking or treats, here is a great tableware DIY project! This aspect of Valentines party planning doesn’t have to be toxic for the environment with cheap plastic or styrofoam. Check out this fun, budget friendly, and earth friendly DIY project that looks unique and is fun for kids! If you are in charge of tableware, invest in cups, plates, and napkins that can be composted. Keep dyes and ink out of your compost by stamping these items with beet juice rather than using an ink pad.  Here’s how!

Take a plain plate made from compostable materials such as paper or bagasse (sugarcane) and a rubber stamp. Instead of reaching for the ink pad, purchase a beet and slice off a piece. Dab the stamp against the beet juice and use to stamp the tableware. The effect is subtle, fun, and kids understand the concept about only returning organic materials back into the earth. This DIY goes quick and the kids have lots of fun!  Keep slicing off fresh sections of the beet for more juice. ** Tip – this is also a great technique for naturally dying home made Valentines play dough **

For more tips for a Greener Valentines and unique ideas, check out the Mommy Footprint fan page or website. Have fun crafting!

 

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A Wonderful Story Behind Hip, Eco-Friendly Tableware

Green Planet Parties discovered an amazing new product in the exciting world of Eco-friendly tableware.   A new line of plates and bowls made from the abundant palm leaf tree is the latest trend and the story behind the ‘chain of custody’ from this product is also very special.  Take a peek at this picture and read on…

Let’s face it – no one loves the idea of buying, using and disposing of paper plates and plastic cutlery etc., but when it’s your turn to host the family BBQ or when you’ve volunteered to pick up supplies for an event at your school – it really becomes a necessity.  The good news is there’s a growing supply of more environmentally friendly choices for disposable tableware that are not made from virgin fibre paper, plastic or the hardest to decompose… Styrofoam! Some great new options out there include bagasse (sugarcane) and PLA (plant based) and reed pulp ~ all very good choices for those such occasions where disposable tableware is needed.

Something new that you might want to consider is “Earthens” tableware. This is the most obviously green and natural-looking tableware you’ve ever seen ~ they are a real conversation starter because they are so naturally beautiful looking. These plates and bowls have a wonderful ‘chain of custody’ story too – that is, from how they are grown, who manufactures them, who benefits from their sale and how then can be returned to the earth as soil. Continue Reading →

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