» Vegans Things I’ve Bought That I Love: Environmental Hippie Edition. Don’t Eat Off The Sidewalk!

Vegans Things I’ve Bought That I Love: Environmental Hippie Edition.

First off, i’d like to plug Josh Hooter’s Bike Ride For the Animals.  In case you hadn’t heard of it yet.  He’s going to ride 600 miles, on his bike, to raise money and awareness for Farm Sanctuary.  Even if you can only give ten dollars, do it.  No excuses.  I know the economy sucks, but pretty much everyone can spare ten dollars.  And then you’ll have better karma and i’ll like you better.

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This was fun to put together the first time, so I thought i’d do it again with a spin.

A lot of people think that caring about the environment means being a hippie, or a lot of work, or both.  You don’t have to buy a hybrid car and install solar panels on your house to make the world a slightly better place.  You don’t have to let your yellow mellow in the toilet to show you care.  There are a ton of small steps you could take that are easy, and I really do believe that doing a lot of little things is the road to you know, not totally killing our earth.  So let’s get started!

Reuseable bags. You would think this is a no brainer these days, because every grocery store (even Walmart!  Walmart, people!) now has their own brand of reuseable bags right next to the checkout lanes.  They’re usually right around a buck.  Yet I go to the commissary and I see people hauling out 50 plastic bags, and the chances that they’re going to go home and recycle them are slim.  Reuseable bags just aren’t better for the earth, but they’re easier to carry because their handles and bottoms don’t rip or fall out from heavy stuff.  And while they’re not totally indestructible, if one does rip it was only a dollar so it’s not a big loss.  I’ve only lost one bag in the past year or so that i’ve been using them.

And along the same thing, say no to bags for things you don’t need!  You don’t need a bag for one drink.  Or one dvd.  If you can carry it in your hands, you don’t need a bag to carry something from the register to your car to your house.  And while most of the grocery store bags have an insert at the bottom that makes them impossible to fold up and keep in your purse for bag emergencies, there are tons of compact bags that fold up and come with a little pouch to keep them in.  I use mine for spur-of-the-moment grocery trips and Target, it’s huge and will hold 25 pounds of stuff.

Also, a lot of people forget that plastic produce and bulk bags are a problem too.  Now truth be told, I forget mine most of the time so I just end up only bagging things that are wet.  You don’t need a bag for one pepper that you’re probably going to wash anyway.  And bananas?  Do you eat the damn peel?  I don’t think so.  But if your memory is better than mine, I get my produce and bulk bags from here.  And of course she would be out of the country for this entire month.

(P.S.  If you are going to keep being a dick and using plastic bags, at least recycle them.)

Menstrual products (males may want to skip this section because i’m going to talk about my vagina).  Every year.  12 billion pads.  7 billion tampons.  In our trash.  That is a lot of bloody trash!  One could argue that tampons are okay because they’re cotton and not plastic, but tampons are bad for your health too.  And your pocket book!  Tampons are worse than cigarettes as far as price gouging goes.  Because they know that the average american woman isn’t aware that she has more than two options as to what she puts up her duff.

The first is a reuseable cup.  I use a Diva Cup, but they’re not the only brand.  If your immediate reaction is ‘ew’ to the idea of emptying your blood into the toilet, I invite you to grow up.  Most bathrooms come equipped with a sink and you’ll be washing your hands in a minute anyway.  Also, I don’t normally get any more blood on me than I do when dealing with tampons.  What I do get are less cramps and that god awful dryness near the end.  The Diva Cup site says to replace it every year, but I can’t see why that’s necessary.  I boil it every now and then to clean it and that’s it.  So instead of spending $10-15 a month, I spent $30 on something that’s going to last me until one of the dogs uses it as a chew toy or I have a kid and have to get the bigger one.

The other option, for ladies who don’t like sticking things anywhere, are reuseable pads.  It’s pretty simple, you use them and then rinse them and toss them in your hamper until laundry day.  Once again, if you can’t handle your own body fluids you need to grow up.  I’m pretty sure everyone who reads this wipes their own poop on the daily.  Most people who make pads make them with fun fabrics, so they’re not a chore to buy.  My friend Erika made the ones on the left, as you can see she sells sets that have a liner with wings, and then two pads that slip into the back of the liner if you need them.  You can buy some from her here.

Also, cotton pads are obviously along the same line as cloth diapers, but since i’ve never spawned and don’t have any experience with them or where to buy them, i’ll leave that up to someone who has.

Bath products without bottles.  I’ve become something of a Lush junkie (that’s our stash to the right).  And since i’ve been noticing how much plastic we buy just because that’s what things come in, I decided to give their bar shampoos and conditioner a try.  I bought one of the shampoos for Brian while he was in Iraq, but he never got around to using it.  Now he’s in love with it.  And i’m in love with my shampoo and face soap, but not the conditioner.  I know it says best seller, but it’s probably because it’s the only solid conditioner they have.  It might be okay if you have short hair, but I have to microwave it just a little to soften it (not for more than ten seconds or it’ll melt), then smush the soft pieces in my hands and lather them with water like crazy.  It takes way too long, so I am going back to bottled conditioner when i’ve used that up.  But still, i’ve traded in three products with bars so i’ll still be doing a little bit better than I was before.

Litter.  No, not the thing where assholes throw their trash out the window (serious pet peeve).  The kind that your cats use.  Most people don’t think about litter as being something bad, but most commercial litter is made out of clay that doesn’t biodegrade.  I’ve tried litter made from recycled paper, but I wasn’t thrilled with it.  I settled on this wheat litter.  Not only can you pitch this stuff (I use those doggie poop bags made from corn) without worry, you can compost the leftovers after it’s been scooped, if it’s time to change it out for all fresh litter.  You can even flush the clumps and poop if you keep your box in the bathroom.  And it smells better.  I don’t mean after someone’s pooped, it still smells like poop obviously.  But it doesn’t have that gross, chemical smell to it.  So as long as the litter is clean, my house smells like house and not litter.

Downgrade your TP.  Yep, our desire to wipe our butts with cotton clouds is the downfall of the planet.  I found recycled toilet paper randomly, and while at first i was annoyed at how thin it was, I got over it pretty quick.  And my husband doesn’t complain so it really can’t matter that much.

Go digital with your music purchases. This one is pretty simple.  You spend less money, there’s less plastic in the world, and less junk in your house.  Also, in my case, it makes me feel less bad about my giant dvd collection.

Go veg*n.  Did you not think I was going to throw that in there somewhere?  Please.  And I don’t wanna hear about it being too hard or you love cheese too much.  Right now i’m surviving without meat, eggs, dairy, gluten, or refined sugars and holy shit, i’m not dead!

If you’re going to be a dick and say “Veg*nism isn’t something you bought!”  Well, I buy food and clothing all the time, and I buy vegan things, so in your FACE.

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I swear, when I started this list I had no idea that most of the things on it would revolve around things that come out of our bodies.

posted: 09 March 1
under: lists, products

  • Heather

    awesome post. i was reading a stupid women’s magazine yesterday (redbook) and they featured lunapads and i was all excited, but then the bottom said “…but we find this idea kind of yucky so we won’t be trying it” or whatever. so dumb.

  • erica

    I’m a Diva Cup fan!! I was a bit concerned at first, it looks pretty big when you first pull it out of the box, but it has, no joke… changed my life. Well, at least my life when I’m on my period. Love the blog, thanks for this post!!

  • The Diva cup and reusable pads are freaking awesome. I’ve used them both for years. Solid investment!

  • I love my Diva Cup – and I will echo the “it changed my life” sentiment. I recommend it to everyone. It took a couple cycles to get used to, but so worth it.

    Question about the wheat litter. I tried my cat on the Feline Pine, but it tracked everywhere and was all over her when she got out of the box (she’s a fatty with a saggy belly). How is the wheat stuff in terms of tracking everywhere?

  • amanda

    hey- how long does that shampoo bar last? I’m seriously considering trying some, but it’s kinda expensive (seeing as i spend $1 on my shampoo :))

  • love this post! great ideas!…i can’t use a diva cup but i have been looking into the reusable pads for a while now..

  • Great post! I need to get on the diva cup train. I never use produce bags except for really wet or really dirty things like spinach. i need to get some of those reusable produce bags. The next thing I want to get are some reusable sandwich bags for packing lunches.

  • I’ve become a lush addict, too. Thanks for the review of the conditioner. I’ve been eyeing it and wondered if I should give it a try. I guess I’ll also stick with the liquid stuff.

  • megan

    I think I told andria a long time ago that you should use a diva cup. Or maybe it was somebody else. I LOVED mine like crazy. After I had henry even the “after you have a baby” kind didn’t work right. major bummer. I gotta commend you on this list. I need to get some pads with cupcakes on them.

  • Mary, my litter box is in a closet in the back bedroom, the litter gets a little past the closet door but not far. I think having a litter box that has one of those built in paw…scrapers? I’m not sure what they’re called, but anything where they have to step on something that will wipe their paws first helps.

  • megan

    we use the corn litter and it doesn’t track as bad as the wheat but we just vacuum the laundry room every couple of days and it is fine.

  • Ronda

    I have to say I like the Keeper cup better than the Diva. It seems to become more a part of me and less noticeable.

  • I tried that wheat litter and I found that it didn’t absorb the cat urine smell very well. I moved onto Pine (not the pellets, but the fine stuff) and I think it works great. Sometimes I get the stuff made from kernels if the pine is out and that is a pretty good backup.

  • I’m a Lush fan too, their solid shampoo is so freaking good.
    Now I just have to remember to bring the dang reusable shopping bags.

  • Amy

    Great post! I have spawned and use cloth diapers. We love them, and have saved a ton of money (in addition to creating less waste).

    There are many types of cloth diapers out there, and they’ve come a long way from a piece of cloth with a diaper pin. The kind we use on our son work almost exactly like a regular diaper. They have elastic legs and snaps, so you put it on like a normal diaper, then put a waterproof cover over it. No folding or anything like that. Very easy. Some diapers, called all-in-ones, even combine the absorbent diaper and the waterproof cover.

    How you wash them depends on the specific kind you have, but most you can just throw in a diaper pail then wash every few days. We put ours in a dry pail, the wash them once on cold with a small amount of detergent, then do a hot cycle with borax (Or baking soda, or something similar), then another hot cycle with plain water.

    For an exclusively breastfed baby you don’t even need to dump the poop out first, it washes right out. For formula fed babies, or babies who have started solids, you do need to dump it out first, but generally there is no need to rise the diaper. (As a note, you’re also supposed to do this with disposable diapers, human waste is not supposed to go in landfills)

    Here are some informative articles on cloth diapers:
    http://www.mothering.com/articles/new_baby/diapers/joy-of-cloth-side2.html

    http://www.mothering.com/articles/new_baby/diapers/crazy-for-cloth.html

    http://www.mothering.com/articles/new_baby/diapers/cloth-resources.html

  • Thanks so much for the post. Great info and I learned something new 🙂

  • Great post! I’ve heard lots about the diva cup, but I’m still a little skeptical. Maybe I’ll give it a try…

    I just bought some reusable produce bags at whole foods for like $1. They’re awesome!

  • Awesome list! The Diva Cup is the best thing EVER. I seriously do not understand people’s repulsion over their own excrements! Like you said, grow up! Using the Diva Cup is so much easier than any tampon ever too, plus you don’t have to worry about leaks etc….but I won’t preach on lol. All your ideas/tasks are great and I feel good that I do each and every one! I love your Walmart comment…I mean seriously, if even freakin Walmart has reuseable bags something should click in people’s minds already!

  • Krista

    Love this. 🙂 Agree 100%.

    As a fellow Lush junkie (kind of out of control, really), can I share how I make the solid conditioner work? I cut off a little section of the bar, about 1/2 inch thick or so, and melt it in the bottom of a 1-cup mason jar. Then I top up the jar with warm or hot water, cover, shake to mix it up, and let it sit for several hours. This leaves me with a cup of thick, creamy liquid conditioner which lasts me for about 6 weeks. Using it this way, the bar of conditioner lasts for months and months and works out to be ridiculously cheap as well as environmentally friendly.

  • I’ve used the Diva Cup for about a year or so now and love it. I regret not switching to it years and years ago, I’ll never go back to tampons.

    I am still surprised when I see so many people at the grocery store having their items bagged in plastic bags. I sometimes stop in to the store without having planned to do so, thus not having bags with me, but I at least get paper. Then I can reuse the paper (I use it for wrapping paper or it’s great to give to the kids I watch so they can use it for crafts).

    There are so many small things that people can do but most of the time they are either unaware of it (because they’ve been living under a rock) or they are just lazy.

  • Sue H

    Regarding the cat litter, an economical alternative to the litter you use is chicken feed purchased from a feed store (ours calls it “lay crumble”). My friend who works in cat rescue swears it’s the same stuff as the wheat stuff you use, and a 50 lb. bag is about $16.

  • Thank you so much for this post. I’ve been debating about trying the Diva Cup. Thanks for your 100% authenticity. 🙂 My new favorite blog: Don’t Eat Off the Sidewalk.

    XOXO

  • Great ppost and I loveeeee Lussh products!

  • Haha! I like how you write… according to all the others, it looks like I’ll give the diva cup a try. The other two women I’m sitting with find it kinda repulsive, so I’ll be the guinea pig!

  • erin

    Great recommendation on the pads from your friend on etsy.com. I just bought a few and I’m loving them! Thanks!

  • Great post! Can’t wait to buy some kootsacs!

    I’m 100% with you on the Diva Cup (or Moon Cup!) and the Swheat Scoop. <3