GALERIE.LA curates sustainable "Fashion With Integrity"

June 18, 2020 by  
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Again and again the headlines emphasize the dirty world of fashion . Polluting waterways, consuming materials and creating trendy fast fashion pieces that lead to massive landfill waste are all part of the process. So one company in Los Angeles called GALERIE.LA decided to track down the most sustainable clothing and fashion accessories it could find, bringing them together in one place for in-person or online shopping convenience. GALERIE.LA promotes a simple concept — fashion can be sustainable. From lipstick to shoes, the storefront at 767 South Alameda St. #192 in Los Angeles curates ethical options from head to toe. In store and online, each product features extensive traceability, so the consumer can easily make purchases based on what they believe defines a sustainable purchase. Related: Olli Ella releases capsule wardrobe made with organic cotton Dechel Mckillian, a celebrity stylist passionate about sustainable, conscientious fashion, is the founder of GALERIE.LA. After more than 10 years in the fashion industry, Mckillian saw an opportunity to connect people to their clothing, showing how meaningful it can be to shop for items that match one’s values. The company answers many questions about fashion. Who made this? Is it supporting my community? Were any animals harmed? What’s the environmental impact? To make the inventory easy to navigate, each item is tagged, either physically or virtually, with a variety of labels aimed at providing answers to these questions. Using these labels, shoppers can sort items by whether they meet the vegan criteria or are made using recycled materials . Another label identifies whether the product was sourced and produced within the same region. Other labels show if a product meets ethical manufacturing practices, such as fair wages and safe working conditions for employees, or if an item is made by an artisan and represents culture and tradition. Products in the store and online include clothing, accessories, home goods , beauty and self care, each carefully selected with the same goal in mind. “To have a positive environmental and social impact that is not at the expense of style and design is key,” the company said. “Our team is committed to scouting the most intriguing designers who use sustainable production methods to reduce their environmental footprint while taking the ethical business practices necessary to benefit people and communities.” + GALERIE.LA Images via GALERIE.LA

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GALERIE.LA curates sustainable "Fashion With Integrity"

How to replace single-use and plastic items in the kitchen

May 15, 2020 by  
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Scientists are predicting that by the year 2050, the ocean may have  more plastic than fish . While countries around the world are beginning to take a stand against  single-use  items and plastics in grocery stores, restaurants and retail chains, there are still measures that consumers can take within their very own households.  The kitchen is one of the most notorious spots in the house for waste, whether it is food waste, excessive  plastic  usage or single-use materials. Swapping some of your everyday kitchen items with reusable or eco-friendly alternatives is a great way to get started on (or continue) your sustainable-living journey. Related: Cut plastic from your home and inspire your family to live plastic-free Ditch paper towels One of the easiest eco-friendly kitchen swaps comes in the form of the humble paper towel roll. Usually stored right next to the sink or the stove, grabbing a sheet or two is almost second nature to those who spend a lot of time in the kitchen. Invest in a stack of high-quality, reusable microfiber cloths for cleaning instead of reaching for a paper towel every time, and switch out paper napkins or paper towels with reusable cloth napkins. Simply toss them in the laundry basket and reuse. Swap out plastic wrap Plastic wrap has become essential in the kitchen for keeping food fresh and wrapping up leftovers (because no one wants to  waste food ). The handy alternative of reusable beeswax wrap is making huge waves in the sustainable-living community, and for good reason. You can wrap pretty much anything in beeswax wrap that you would normally use plastic wrap for, and the food will stay just as fresh. One of our favorite brands,  Bee’s Wrap , is made with organic cotton, beeswax, organic jojoba oil and tree resin. It is washable, reusable, compostable and comes in different sizes and specialty wraps for bread, sandwiches and more. Replace parchment paper and aluminum foil A reusable mat or roasting sheet is a great alternative to parchment paper or tin foil, especially for baking. Non-stick  silicone  mats can be reused thousands of times in lieu of oil, which is especially handy for those who are trying to stick to certain diets. Take proper care of it, and a good silicone mat can last for years! Nix plastic baggies Plastic sandwich baggies come in handy for packing lunch and smaller food leftovers. With a little extra effort, a couple of re-sealable silicone bags can be just as convenient and rewarding. It is also a nice way of introducing sustainable living to your children by teaching them to bring the reusable bags back home instead of tossing  disposable plastic  ones in the trash like most of their friends. Substitute plastic containers Swap out your cheap plastic Tupperware for tempered glass containers. Tempered glass containers keep food fresh and are  non-toxic , recyclable and food-safe (even in the freezer). Opt for a collection of compact, lightweight containers with easy-seal lids. Even better, since most types of tempered glass used for food storage containers have been treated to withstand heating, most are microwavable and dishwasher safe. Trade out plastic coffee pods When these little pods first came into the market, it seemed too good to be true for busy consumers eager to skip a step or two in their morning coffee routine. However, most plastic single-use coffee pods such as K-Cups and Nespresso Pods end up in landfills or oceans rather than being recycled. This plastic pollution is small enough to quickly break down into microplastics that have the potential to harm wildlife. In contrast, refillable coffee pods can be cleaned and reused daily. For those who compost, several companies are also beginning to make biodegradable and compostable pods available. Upgrade from plastic ice packs Swap out your plastic or disposable ice packs for stainless steel ones for use in lunch boxes or coolers. The stainless steel packs are filled with distilled water and freeze in just a few hours, so you can easily use them for your child’s lunches or keep one in the freezer for achy muscles. The material makes them  100% recyclable  at the end of the product’s lifespan.  Try out sustainable sponges Most kitchen sponges are made of polyester or nylon, giving them a considerable environmental footprint, especially if used daily. There are several alternatives to sponges out there for those who want to make the switch to a more  sustainable  dish-washing option. Try out cloth or reusable sponges and silicone scrubbers instead, or use a natural or plant-based compostable sponge. There are also machine washable cotton sponges on the market as well as copper scours that can be recycled. Forget the plastic grocery bags Plenty of Americans have already made the switch to reusable shopping or grocery bags (some states are even making them mandatory). Smaller plastic bags used for bulk items and produce are still popular, however. A couple of reusable and washable produce bags like  these  will greatly decrease your plastic use, especially if you eat a lot of fruits and veggies . Make sure you purchase bags with the tare weight on the tag so your grocer can easily find it for weighted items. Lose the plastic soap bottles Dishwashing soap blocks produce a lather that cuts grime and grease on dishes just as well as the liquid dish soap that comes in plastic containers. The popular  No Tox Life  vegan dish soap block is made of moisturizing coconut oil that won’t dry out your hands and also claims to take stains out of laundry and clean countertops. With alternatives like these, you can make a strong effort toward lowering your single-use plastic consumption. Images via Pexels, Pixabay, Randy Read , and Kevin Casper

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How to replace single-use and plastic items in the kitchen

8 attainable sustainability resolutions for 2020

January 1, 2020 by  
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Setting goals is a ubiquitous part of ushering in each new year. With a renewed vigor for healthy living, embrace the opportunity to incorporate more eco-friendly habits into your routine. This task can be achieved in a variety of ways, from changing your diet to reducing waste . Wherever you are on your sustainable living journey, we’ve got some ideas for how to lower your carbon footprint and enhance your sense of commitment to the planet. Commit to less driving Reducing miles equals reducing carbon emissions . To minimize personal auto usage, use public transportation for your daily commute. If subways and buses don’t take you where you need to go, set up a carpool to eliminate multiple cars going to the same location. Over the course of a year, replacing your 10-mile drive to work or school at least one day each week will greatly reduce emissions. If possible, skip the car altogether by walking or using a bike. Alternately, look into electric cars if you’re in the market for a new vehicle. Even if you must rely on your car daily, you can still reduce miles by combining errands when you head to town, organizing a carpool for kid drop-offs and pickups, sending the kids to school on the bus, eating your lunch in the office instead of driving to a restaurant and walking or biking to places in your neighborhood instead of jumping in the car. Related: People for Bikes is making cycling safer with Ride Spot Start a garden There’s nothing better than having fresh, organic vegetables at your disposal and no better way to achieve that goal than by starting a garden. If you have the space, plan for the seasons with cool weather leafy veggies and carrots in the spring, a salsa garden in the summer and squash in the fall. In a small space, prepare a container garden on your patio with cherry tomatoes, herbs and peas. If you don’t have space for your own garden, bring together like-minded people and start a community garden. As the saying goes, “Many hands make light work,” so having help with planting, maintaining and harvesting plants benefits everyone. If outdoor space isn’t an option, consider setting up a hydroponics system to grow indoors instead. Join an environmentally focused group Finding ways to help the environment can feel somewhat overwhelming, but when you join a group of like-minded people sharing in a common goal, you can achieve great things. Whether your passion is cleaning up the oceans or planting trees , find a local group that supports your cause. If there isn’t one in your area, set a goal to start one. Budget for the environment We are surrounded by prompts to constantly buy more stuff. Every billboard, bus and storefront is filled with enticing marketing meant to convince you that you need whatever they offer. But each product contributes to emissions from sourcing materials, manufacturing, transporting, maintaining warehouse and retail space and disposing of post-consumer waste. Of course, it’s important to make conscientious decisions about avoiding plastic and plastic foam, buying in bulk when possible and investing in durable products that will last many years rather than disposables, but avoiding the purchase in the first place is the best thing you can do for the planet. Boil purchases down to the essentials. Give experiences rather than physical gifts. Only buy in quantities you’re likely to use. Focus on multipurpose items that can suit alternate needs. Really evaluate whether you will use an item long-term. Set a goal to reduce unnecessary purchases, and do your budget a favor at the same time. Hint: Sharing or renting equipment, tools and supplies is another easy way to save money and reduce environmental impact. Take a class There are endless ways to lower your carbon footprint , so target a topic of interest and learn more about it. Some examples include beekeeping, preserving food, woodworking, sewing, gardening or learning how to build solar and wind technology. Become more self-sufficient by obtaining skills in homesteading, identifying edible plants or using plants in alternative ways. Reduce waste Becoming conscious of your waste is a huge step toward reducing it. Take a look at your typical waste. Do you fill a 64-gallon street container each week? If so, see if you can reduce that to a 32-gallon instead. If you don’t already, start recycling . Capabilities of local recycling centers vary widely across the nation, so educate yourself on the regional process. Most facilities accept glass, tin cans, large plastic containers and paper — at a minimum. Also, always return your bottles and aluminum cans for recycling or redemption. Related: Recycling Identifying Device takes the guesswork out of figuring out what is recyclable To repeat an earlier sentiment, the best way to reduce garbage is to keep it from entering the house in the first place. Look at the packaging when you make a purchase, and support companies that ship in recyclable or biodegradable containers. Set a tangible goal for yourself to reduce your waste production by half. Maybe next year, you can halve it again. Write a letter Believe it or not, companies want to know how you feel about their products. When you notice something you like, such as a commitment to carbon offsetting or sustainable material sourcing, let them know with your buying power and your word. Conversely, let businesses know when they miss the mark. Write a letter to the CEO or owner, and let them know you would be a loyal customer if they worked toward corporate responsibility. Near and far, make companies aware of changes they can make to be more sustainable. Offer suggestions to local restaurants to replace plastic straws or single-use plastic tablecloths. Ask if to-go containers are cardboard, and refuse them if an establishment only provides plastic foam. At a city, state or federal level, get your representative involved. Drop them a note each month of the year to let them know what is important to you. Educate them about issues they may not be aware of. Ask for representation around topics like reducing petroleum reliance, protecting nature and supporting organic farming. Make your voice heard by speaking out for what you believe. Clean your plate Feeding the planet’s population puts a burden on our limited resources, but there are many things you can do to lessen your individual impact. Start by buying as local as possible. Source food from the farmer’s market seasonally, and purchase directly from farms in your town. Buying organic produce supports farmers who make the extra effort to keep pesticides and other chemicals out of our waterways. You don’t want to eat chemical-laden food, anyway. Cut back on animal products, because animal farming is a major producer of methane. Skip meat a few days a week or altogether. Cut out dairy products where you can, too. Don’t buy more food than you need , and use up leftovers rather than throwing them out. Do most of your cooking at home. A commitment to home-cooked meals is better for your health, your budget and the planet. Setting resolutions for the new year is a healthy way to guide yourself toward your sustainability goals, which is a win for you and for Earth. Happy New Year! Images via Shutterstock

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8 attainable sustainability resolutions for 2020

14 apps to help you live a more eco-friendly sustainable lifestyle

July 11, 2019 by  
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So you’ve made the choice to start living more sustainably. That’s great! Figuring out how to start can be daunting, but luckily technology is here to help. These handy resources can fit in your pocket and serve as a reminder to continue your journey towards a more sustainable, greener life— whether you’re an experienced advocate for sustainability or just starting out. Related: The pros and cons of online versus in-store shopping Forest Forest lets you combine mindfulness, productivity and focus with real-life tree planting. By not checking your phone for a designated amount of time, the app lets you grow virtual trees , which can then be exchanged for actual trees planted throughout five African countries by Trees for the Future . Tap Plastic bottles are one of the greatest sources of plastic pollution in our oceans, and switching to a reusable water bottle is a simple way to reduce waste. Tap accesses your location and lets you find water refill stations nearby so you can fill up without creating any plastic garbage . HowGood HowGood has a database of 200,000 food product ratings to help users make more sustainable choices. With each product rated by growing guidelines, processing practices and company conduct, this app is a great tool for users who want to be more mindful about what they eat by choosing food that is ethically produced and environmentally friendly with minimal processing.  JouleBug JouleBug combines the best parts of sustainable living with social interaction and saving money on your utility bill. The app allows users to competitively track and score their sustainable habits and share them with friends. JouleBug also includes suggestions and tips for small changes that can help you live a more sustainable lifestyle .  ThredUp Making sure that less of your used clothes end up in a landfill by offering them up to other consumers first is a no-brainer. ThredUp is an online consignment store where you can take pictures of your clothes and sell them through the app. Related: Your guide to eco-friendly toothpastes OfferUp A simple way to buy and sell used items, OfferUp lets users find a new home for their unwanted items instead of the trash can. It only takes a few minutes to snap a photo of your item, post it on the app and connect with potential buyers. You can securely message through the app and check people’s profiles and transaction history as well.  PaperKarma Not only is junk mail super annoying, it’s wasteful and bad for the environment. With PaperKarma you can stop the actual physical junk mail that shows up in your mailbox and forces you to throw away good paper for no reason. Within the app, you simply snap a photo of your junk mail and received an unsubscribed notification about 24 hours later. Olio We throw away billions of pounds of food away every year in the United States— equal to 30-40 percent of our food supply. With Olio, users can connect with neighbors and local businesses to share food. Whether you’ve bought too much of something, prepared too much dinner or purged your fridge before vacation , making sure precious food doesn’t go to waste is easier than you think. DoneGood DoneGood helps you find ethical brands with ease through both an app on your phone and an extension for your internet browser. As you search and shop for products, DoneGood will create pop-up suggestions for alternatives offered by ethical stores. You can also align suggestions based on your personal passions. DoneGood selects their businesses based on things like eco-friendly , non-toxic, cruelty-free, organic, diversity and giving back.  No Waste Track and reduce your food waste with No Waste, an interactive organizational app that lets you make an inventory of the items in your fridge, freezer and pantry. You’ll be able to sort and search for food by category or expiration date to ensure that nothing goes to waste and share your lists with friends or family.  Oroeco Oroeco puts a carbon value on everything from what you buy to the food you eat and even to the appliances you use at home. The app has partnered with UC Berkeley’s CoolClimate research group to compare their users’ carbon values with their neighbors and friends, while providing them with personalized tips to help reduce their energy use and carbon footprints. The app also works with Impact Carbon , a non-profit that helps underdeveloped countries access energy-efficient appliances.  Sustainability Aware In order to ensure a brighter future for the earth, teaching our children about green living and sustainability will be paramount. That’s where Sustainability Aware comes it. A series of educational apps designed for children that teach about the environment and human impact, all in a fun, engaging way. Each app is made for a specific grade level and age group. iRecycle Proper recycling is a simple concept, but isn’t always simple to execute. The iRecycle app finds the closest opportunity to recycle based on your location. Whether you are looking for a recycling center near your home or find yourself walking down the street with an empty water bottle, iRecycle can help.  SDGs in Action Keep up to date on worldwide sustainable development news and learn about the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with this app. The SDGs are basically a world to-do list to address poverty, climate change and inequality by the year 2030. Users can personalize the app to receive notifications about specific goals and find nearby events to help show support. Screenshots via Inhabitat. Image via picjumbo.com

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14 apps to help you live a more eco-friendly sustainable lifestyle

How to celebrate World Environment Day

June 5, 2019 by  
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Today, June 5, is World Environment Day! There are many ways that you can celebrate today, and you can use the celebration as a start to building more healthy, environmentally friendly habits. Here are some suggestions for fun activities and behavior changes to consider today and every day. Group activities for World Environment Day Plan a clean-up Get together with friends and neighbors for a clean-up activity in your area, such as at a beach, park or river. Get outside Getting outside doesn’t necessarily help nature , but taking the time to enjoy it and remember why it is essential to protect in the first place is a great way to honor the environment. Find a local hiking group or coordinate a picnic in the park. If your friends aren’t as excited about outdoor activities as you are, search for outdoorsy MeetUp groups in your area and meet some new, like-minded friends. Write to your senators What environmental issues are important to you and your family? This year, the theme of World Environment Day is “Air Pollution.” Find out what your local government is doing to protect the air quality in your area and write to your senator or representatives about your concerns. Healthy personal habits you can start now Use less water Small changes in how you use water at home can add up to a significant difference and conserve a lot of water in the long run. Turn off your tap when you are brushing your teeth. Be mindful of how long your shower is. When washing dishes, fill up a pot or large mixing bowl with warm water and dish soap. Use that water to scrub all of your dishes at once, and then turn on the tap only to rinse. Do not keep the tap running the whole time to wash and rinse each dish individually. Walk more You’ve heard it a million times, but have you implemented more walking in your own life? Consider the places you go often, like work, and figure out if there are ways that you can walk — even if it is only once or twice a week. Walking is great for your health, cuts down on transportation-related carbon emissions and allows you to get to know your neighborhood in a completely different way. Carpool Take the time to discuss with friends, family and coworkers before an event or activity and find out how you can cut down on the number of cars. For places that you go frequently — like work — get to know who lives near you and decide if you can agree on a schedule to carpool. Switch your light bulbs Every time a light bulb burns out in your house, switch to a long-lasting LED bulb . These light bulbs reduce your energy consumption and last a very long time. Buy energy-efficient appliances When possible, choose ENERGY STAR-rated appliances. It is an extra cost upfront, but it will significantly reduce your energy bill long into the future. Related: 10 money-saving tips for a green home Keep fridge coils and AC vents clean If the coils on your refrigerator and the vents on your air conditioner are kept clean, they won’t need to use up additional energy just to cool to the regular temperature. Recycle e-waste When your cellphone or laptop breaks, bring it to an e-waste recycle facility rather than letting it sit around your house or tossing it into the trash. Shut off your devices When you are finished using it, turn off your computer and monitor. Avoid overcharging your cellphone or leaving it to charge overnight. Ideally, shut off your TV and other appliances through the main switch or outlet, not just the remote, so that you break the circuit and save energy . Switch to sustainable products Consider the products you use at home, like cleaning supplies and toothpaste . Switch to something more eco-friendly, ideally made from natural, biodegradable materials in plastic-free or fully recyclable packaging. Via News 18 Images via Riccardo Chiarini , Brian Yurasits and Arek Adeoye

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How to celebrate World Environment Day

LEED Platinum UCSB student housing harnesses Californias coastal climate

June 5, 2019 by  
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The University of California Santa Barbara boasts not only a beautiful campus near the ocean, but also recently completed student housing that’s been certified LEED Platinum . Designed by Los Angeles-based architectural firm Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects (LOHA), the UCSB San Joaquin Student Housing was created to take advantage of the region’s ideal coastal climate to reduce energy demands. In addition to the use of passive design principles, the project employs several other sustainable strategies such as bioswales, solar water heating, and increased insulation. The project is 20 percent over California’s Title 24 requirements. Spanning an area of 95,000 square feet, the UCSB San Joaquin Student Housing comprises seven structures that augment the existing housing volumes and student facilities located at the university’s 15-acre North Campus. LOHA designed the new housing clusters to align with the existing community’s scale and character while creating an environment that would encourage greater social activity. Related: These stunning student housing apartments are inspired by tiny homes “UCSB dormitories have typically pushed circulation to their exterior envelope, with an inert central courtyard accessible only from within the building,” explain the architects. “LOHA’s design inverts this circulation scheme, designing a reductive exterior edge with an open, lively interior courtyard containing all building circulation, encouraging movement throughout the complex. Social hubs (reading rooms, gathering spaces, dining) are dispersed and floated above others. This distribution of spaces creates varied student experiences to generate a healthy campus culture.” Durability was a major driving feature in the design as well. The San Joaquin Student Housing complex’s street-facing facade is clad in corrugated metal panels, while the interior-facing elevations are covered in painted plaster punctuated by aluminum fins that support the elevated walkways finished with industrial cable mesh. Aluminum sunshades provide protection from unwanted solar gain and passive fresh air intake units are installed at each unit’s entryway. The project also boasts a built environment that’s over 90 percent permeable, a boon for stormwater management and for preventing onsite heat island effects. + LOHA Photos by Bruce Damonte

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LEED Platinum UCSB student housing harnesses Californias coastal climate

Custom ordered tiny homes provide compact living options without sacrificing on comfort

November 7, 2017 by  
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Not everyone is capable of building their own tiny home, but for those who’d like to live sustainably and efficiently, Fauna Homes can make your tiny home dream come true. The home designs – which are based on the three pillars of minimalism, affordability and sustainability – come in a range of models, but all are strategically designed to provide compact living spaces that don’t sacrifice on comfort. The designs for Fauna Homes are based on providing sustainable options for those looking for an eco-friendly, but comfortable tiny home. The small stature of the structures require fewer building materials, transport, and produce less waste, making it a wise investment for a sustainable lifestyle, and the optimal dimensions provide ample living space. Related: MUJI to sell eagerly awaited $27k minimalist tiny homes this fall As far as sustainable features, the homes are designed to be mounted on a concrete slab in order to reduce its environmental impact. The building materials were chosen to create a strong thermal mass that reduces the need for energy use. The tiny homes can also be ordered with an optional heating floor system, further reducing energy use and costs. Solar rooftop panels and a household waste water recuperation system can also be implemented into the design. All of the Fauna Homes, which can be custom ordered to abide by any local building codes, offer the ultimate in space efficiency, personalized to each homeowner’s needs. Open floor plans and high ceilings with ample windows and glazed walls allow for a strong connection between the indoors and outdoors. Every layout has been optimized for maximum efficiency in terms of flexibility, meaning no space is left unused. Each model also contains a number of strategic storage options such as custom-crafted cabinets. + Fauna Homes  

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Custom ordered tiny homes provide compact living options without sacrificing on comfort

Does Being An Environmentalist Require A Certain Look?

September 21, 2016 by  
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I once wrote an article about sustainable living that generated a great deal of controversy. In addition to a rousing debate in the comments section, it also inspired a rather, erm, energetic rebuttal on another site. This post vehemently opposed…

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Does Being An Environmentalist Require A Certain Look?

The Ultimate Guide To Creating A Greener Kitchen

August 25, 2016 by  
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When setting out to create a greener kitchen and home it’s hard to know where to start. Information overload is definitely a problem. Five minutes on Google and suddenly I have 42 checklists, 700 “green” products to buy, and if I don’t make the…

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The Ultimate Guide To Creating A Greener Kitchen

Seeking Sustainable Living? 5 Inspiring Ideas

August 23, 2016 by  
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I think easily 80% of my home has been purchased secondhand, and then either upcycled, recycled, or the focus of a DIY project. It’s not just a matter of frugality (although being able to makeover a whole room for less than the cost of a…

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Seeking Sustainable Living? 5 Inspiring Ideas

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