Yikes! I see I haven't written anything for the blog in a while (I do a little better with Instagram), but I will try to make up for the silence with this post on Earth Day (which really is every day, but it's nice to have a day designated to appreciate our planet and think about how we can take good care of it). My mother was an early recycler (before there was municipal recycling – she and my dad collected everything in a corner of the garage and drove an hour to recycle it once a year!), but it wasn't until after college, when I read Cradle to Cradle by Michael Braungart and William McDonough, that I really started thinking about the ways things are made and the choices I make as a consumer.
It's really a very interesting book, but if you don't have time to read it, two major thoughts I took away from it are: 1.) It would be helpful if things were constructed in such a way that they could be disassembled into their discrete parts (for example, if all the different metals in a car could be separated easily, they could be reused instead of "downcycled" as less valuable scrap metal). Related to this, the ideal scenario is a closed loop in which the the materials used in the product can be reused again or biodegrade ("cradle to cradle" as opposed to "cradle to grave," which is the trajectory of most products). 2.) When designing things, instead of trying to make things "less bad" (for example, scrubbers on smokestacks), the goal should be to find a new way of designing something to create something good (which admittedly seems easier said than done).
More recently, I've been very inspired by Zero Waste Home, a blog by Bea Johnson, a French woman who now lives in Marin County with her kids and husband and produces remarkably little waste. And by remarkably little, I mean that their trash from 2016 fit into a Mason jar! Reading her old posts (she now seems pretty busy speaking and traveling and doesn't post very often anymore) really changed the way I thought. (She also wrote a book that I haven't read but that I imagine includes a lot of highlights from her blog.) Her main advice: "Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Rot (and only in that order)." ("Rot" refers to composting.)
So in terms of THIS NIGHT, I am always trying to consider the environment when I make decisions. One of the first ones was whether or not to use plastic hooks. I was concerned that retailers would insist on them, but happily, this has not been the case. (There seems to be a nice movement toward displaying socks in little cabinets and in baskets or flat on tables.) For mailing socks, I found Eco-Shippers at Ecology Packaging that are made of recycled fibers and are 100% recyclable. (And I've been assured by the folks there that the peel-off strip is also recyclable – often these are coated with silicone and are not.) I print out my mailing labels on gummed paper from Steadfast Paper (and have to wet each one with a sponge before attaching it to the Eco-Shippers – it's a little labor-intensive, but I haven't found a better alternative), and I use biodegradable cellophane packing tape from Eco Enclose when I have a very big order and need to ship it in a box.