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zero waste halloween

Zero Waste Halloween Ideas

It’s that time of year again! Temperatures are finally cooling down in Georgia, and I am just itching to hop in the kitchen and start baking all my favorite fall treats. While stopping by the grocery store to pick up some baking supplies, I was reminded how much waste and plastic is involved with the upcoming holiday season, including Halloween. When walking in the grocery store door, I was bombarded with bags of candy and cheaply made kids’ costumes. Let’s talk about some things we can do this Halloween to avoid the trash that is typically involved with the holiday season. Who says we can’t celebrate without all the plastic, am I right?!

Decorations

Zero waste Halloween decorations are the easiest place to start. Think pumpkins, hay bales, and pine cones. There are some really interesting and beautiful pumpkin options out there other than just the typical round jack-o-lantern style pumpkin. Just this week, I saw some gorgeous green, squat pumpkins and even some white ones. Using decorations found in nature (seriously get inspired in your backyard!) are great, because they are not only pretty but most of the time free. Head over to Pinterest for ideas on how to arrange/design your DIY halloween decor.

Trick or Treat

You don’t HAVE to give trick or treaters candy, I promise! First of all, they are probably receiving a whole lot of candy from other door steps so don’t feel strange giving out a non-candy treat. Secondly, I’m absolutely certain parents will be thankful you went the sugarless route! Also, there are a plenty of kids with food allergies, another reason to avoid the candy.

As far as treat ideas, my favorite thing to hand out to trick or treaters is Throw and Grow Wildflower Seed Balls! It’s by far the coolest treat you can hand out. They’re simply recycled paper + wildflower seeds shaped into a small ball that can be planted to grow flowers to help support the bee population. Not just a fun project for kids, but it also is kind to the planet!

zero waste halloween

You could also hand out pencils, secondhand used children’s books, mandarin oranges (with painted jack-o-lantern faces on them for extra fun), or (I know this sounds silly) but money… No really, why not have a bowl full of coins ready for the picking. There are plastic free trick or treat options, you just have to get a little creative!

Costumes

Costumes can be a little bit more tricky, but I would say the easiest way to go about it would be to make a stop at your local thrift store for inspiration. A few weeks before Halloween, I like to browse the thrift shop in my town for clothing items I could use to create a costume. Usually with the combination of things I have at home and new pieces from the thrift shop, I can create a quick Halloween costume ensemble. Some ideas include 80s aerobics instructor, 60s hippie/flower child, Rosie the riveter, lumberjack, cowboy, etc.

Ok, let’s here it. What are your best zero waste Halloween tips to share?? Any unique costume ideas you’ve come up with on the fly? What about treats for trick or treaters in your neighborhood??

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my zero waste on the go kit

My Zero Waste On the Go Kit

Yesterday, I showed you guys what I carry in my handbag on a daily basis, as a zero waste enthusiast, in my blog post: What’s in My Bag: Zero Waste Edition. However, I mentioned that I don’t like to carry around a large clunky bag full of zero waste supplies regularly. I prefer to keep the essentials close by in my small purse, and I carry my other zero waste necessities in my car in my zero waste on the go kit.

Here’s a quick look at what I keep in the backseat of my car for all those unplanned zero waste moments, listed from left to right:

zero waste on the go kit

Mason Jar: If you’ve been trying to go zero waste for even a short amount of time, I’m sure you know how useful a simple glass jar can be. A mason jar is the perfect size to stash lunch leftovers, or you can use it for drinks on the go. So versatile!

Travel Coffee Mug: I keep a reusable insulated travel coffee mug in my car for those spontaneous afternoon caffeine pick me ups. I could easily choose to stay and have my coffee “for here,” at a local coffee shop, but I also like to keep my mug in the car, just in case I’m in a rush and need my drink to go.

Reusable Produce Bags: I keep a reusable produce bag in my purse, but I also like to keep a few extras in the car as well. They’re just such a great size for carrying anything really, and I like how lightweight they are.

Stainless Steel Container: I know any old lunch container will do, but I really love stashing my leftovers in my stainless steel lunch box. I get a lot of compliments on this guy, which is a super bonus to me, because that means I can easily talk to admiring strangers about zero waste!

stainless steel lunch container

Water Bottle with Filter: Stay hydrated friends! I keep a glass water bottle in my car so I never feel the need to use a single use plastic water bottle. I have a plastic free active charcoal water filter in my bottle that helps keep the water clean and delicious tasting. This filter lasts for about four months then I can give it a second life by burying it in the garden to add carbon to the soil.

active charcoal water filter

Canvas Tote: I have a canvas tote filled with other canvas totes sitting in the backseat of my car for impromptu trips to the grocery store. This way I can forgo single use plastic bags!

What’s in your zero waste on the go kit?? What are your essentials??

 

 

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what’s in my bag? zero waste edition

What’s In My Zero Waste Bag?

A pretty common topic fluttering around the blogosphere these days is “What’s in My Handbag?” Bloggers usually give a run down of all of their essentials, beauty and otherwise, that they carry in their bag on a regular basis. I, for one, do not like lugging around a heavy bag full of clanking mason jars and to-go containers. I keep a tiny purse with me for essentials, and I carry other zero waste essentials in my car. Unfortunately, I don’t live in a city where public transportation is accessible so keeping zero waste essentials in my car is the way to go for me. Tomorrow, I’ll give you guys a look into my zero waste to-go bag that I keep in my car!

I literally dumped my purse onto the floor this morning and here’s a run down of what I’ve got in my zero waste bag from left to right:

zero waste bag

Small Reusable Bag: It’s always good to have a small bag handy just in case I do shopping in town and need a bag to carry my things out. I choose to use one of my reusable produce bags, because it’s so lightweight, and I like that it has a drawstring closure. I can bunch it up and stuff it in the bottom of my handbag. Also, I don’t have to worry about it taking up a lot of space.

Keys: Unfortunately, as I mentioned before, my current town isn’t public transportation friendly. Car keys are definitely a necessity in my bag. I love living at the farm, but I sure do miss living in Athens where it was easier to get around by bike or simply walking.

Eye Drops: Have yet to find a zero waste alternative to eye drops. I’m all ears if you have a solution!

Vegan Lip Balm in Biodegradable Packaging:  I can’t go anywhere without my lip balm… no really, I just love it and use it ALL day. I like that it comes in a compostable paper tube and isn’t full of harsh chemicals. You can find this vegan, organic lip balm in the Tiny Yellow Bungalow shop.

Vegan Organic Lip Balm in Biodegradable Tube

Handkerchief: I have allergies basically all year long so I’m happy to have this sweet little hankybook to carry around with me in my bag for my runny nose. When I first started learning about zero waste, I was a little grossed out by the idea of carrying a non-disposable tissue around… However, I have fallen in love with handkerchiefs, especially the hankybook. I like that you use a page of the handkerchief book then flip a page so you’re never having to reuse the same dirty part of the tissue. Plus, handkerchiefs are way softer than tissues!!

Wallet: I’ve had this wallet for a very long time, and I believe it originally belonged to my little sister. Secondhand goodies for the win, am I right?! I’d love to invest in a high quality vegan wallet at some point.

Phone: My iPhone 5 is still going strong at the moment. However, I know I will need a new phone in the next year or so. How do you guys dispose of E-waste? Any sustainable, eco-conscious options for purchasing cell phones??

Bamboo Utensils & Carrying Case: I keep my bamboo utensils close by. This way I can avoid using disposable plastic utensils that are sometimes the only option at some restaurants. I could stuff a stainless steel straw and set of chopsticks in here as well, but I really don’t find those absolutely necessary in my daily life. I use stainless steel straws for smoothies that I make at home but don’t really need them on the go.

Cloth Napkin: Who else is a fan of reusable cloth napkins!?! I found this cute cloth napkin at an estate sale last year. I have been carrying it in my bag regularly ever since. Not only do I use it in place of disposable paper napkins, but it’s also great to put put a snack in for on the go without the clunkiness of a mason jar.

What’s in your zero waste bag?? What are your essentials??

 

 

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8 five-minute decluttering tips to simplify your digital life

Decluttering Tips to Simplify your Digital Life

decluttering tips

I mentioned over on Instagram this week that I’ve been in a bit of a blogging rut. About a month ago now, I moved out to Monroe, Georgia, where my family has a little house and some land that’s been in the family for many years. This little house in the woods is the most peaceful, relaxing spot, and you’d think it would be the perfect place to work on exciting new blog posts for you guys! It wasn’t until a few days ago I realized that although I am surrounded by nature in the most beautiful place, when I sit down to get to work on my computer, I sit down to a cluttered uncomfortable mess.

I know you’re wondering, “What does this have to do with zero waste?” Although not directly related, in my opinion when striving to live zero waste that includes zero wasting of time. When your electronic life is simplified, you’re able to spend time focusing more on what’s important rather than wasting time sifting through emails, thousands of photos, and apps.

I recommend taking five minutes each day to work on some of these decluttering tips. Just as decluttering your entire house in a day is a massive obstacle so would be decluttering your digital life in a day. When I organize my house, I like to work in categories or by room. In the same way, you can use these categories to organize a little each day.

1. Inbox

Clean up your email inbox. Yes, go through those 200 unread emails, and delete the ones you know are not important and respond to those that are. Organizing your inbox into folders will also help simplify things and make it easier to respond more readily to important emails. Once you’ve decluttered your inbox, try to keep it that way!! Answer/delete emails daily so they don’t pile up and overwhelm you.

2. Old Documents

This one may not seem as important to you, but trust me, going through old documents not only speeds up your computer but also makes it a lot easier to find files that you do need when you’ve eliminated the unnecessary. Once you’ve streamlined your files, put them into to folders that you will be able to navigate more easily.

3. Photos

Going through old photos will take more than five minutes, but try taking just five minutes per day for a week to start to hack at this big project! I have not only thousands of photos on my phone but also plenty more on my computer. What I’ve learned is, I don’t really need 100 photos of that concert from 5 years ago or 50 sunset photos… Deleting duplicates and photos that didn’t turn out great will free up a lot of space on your device.

After going through and deleting the not so great photos, I like to organize my photos into folders as well. It’s a huge project I know, but definitely worth it. After you’ve decluttered old photos, PRINT some of the ones you love! Printing is my favorite part, because now you can actually enjoy the photos that you do have and love by seeing them regularly around your home.

4. Streamline Social Media

Streamlining social media was really important for my own digital decluttering project, because I find myself wasting a lot of time on social media, time which could be better spent doing something productive. Streamlining social media to me meant deleting platforms I don’t use regularly and leaving a whole lot of Facebook groups. I was in at least 60 different Facebook groups and decided to leave ones that I either wasn’t active in or found myself wasting time scrolling in.

5. Unfollow/Unfriend on Social Media

This decluttering tip goes along with the previous one about social media, mostly because it’s so easy to wind up wasting time on it regularly. Take a few minutes to go through your “friends” lists and unfriend people who let’s face it, aren’t really your friends. It is way too easy to find yourself scrolling through photos of your best friend’s cousin’s kid’s school play… Also, unfollow social media accounts that don’t provide value to you personally. Your interests change and that’s great. You don’t have to clog your news feed with accounts that interested you years ago. Move on!

6. Phone Apps

You’ve cleared a lot of space on your phone after deleting old pictures, but another great way to free up space on your phone is to delete unused/rarely used apps on your phone. Plus it’s so much easier to find what you’re looking for on your phone when you don’t have to hunt through unused apps.

7. Delete Bookmarks

I, for one, had hundreds of bookmarks on my laptop before starting my digital declutter. It was really helpful for me to go through these booksmarks and delete the ones that I didn’t find useful, print and/or archive articles that did interest me, and actually USE the information from these tabs.

8. Unsubscribe

This decluttering tip is something you’ll have to work on a little each day, but it has totally changed my inbox organization. Before, my inbox was about 60% advertisements and 40% important emails that needed responding to. Now, whenever an email pops in my inbox for something I’m no longer interested in, I go ahead an unsubscribe immediately. This will simplify your inbox enormously, but it’s definitely something you have to keep up with regularly. Making a habit of unsubscribing immediately when an unwanted email arrives will make it easier.

 

Having an organized and simplified digital life is a lot like a decluttered home. It makes it so much easier to be productive in your work space! Have you had a digital declutter recently?? What are your best tips for others just starting out?

 

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quick & easy pickled jalapenos recipe

pickled jalapenos

It’s summertime and my garden is in full swing! The pepper plants are growing like crazy. Although, I love adding jalapenos to just about every dish I make (the spicier the better!), I really needed a recipe to make use of a large number of jalapenos at one time. Last summer, fellow Instagrammers suggested making pickled jalapenos with my surplus peppers. After enjoying delicious pickled jalapenos all summer long last year, I was so excited for my abundance of jalapenos this year. Last summer, I used a simple recipe from Allrecipes which was a great foundation for my current pickled jalapeno recipe. I’ve made them a little differently ever time until I finally found the perfect variation of ingredients for optimal flavor. AND, a super plus, this recipe is very nearly waste free!

Finally, for more useful Tiny Yellow Bungalow recipes and DIY projects, head over here!

Quick & Easy Pickled Jalapenos

This recipe makes two 8oz mason jars full of pickled jalapenos.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup water
  • One cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons white sugar (If you prefer a milder and sweet pickle, add another 1 1/2 tablespoon of sugar)
  • One tablespoon salt
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 10 large jalapenos, sliced into rings
  • 2 8oz mason jars

Directions

Combine water, vinegar, sugar, salt, and minced garlic in a saucepan over high heat. Bring mixture to a boil.

Pack jalapeno pepper rings into mason jars and cover with hot vinegar mixture. Then, let mixture cool for 10 minutes.

Cover with mason jar lids and refrigerate until needed.

pickled jalapenos