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Saving the world, one consumer at a time.
#1

Saving the world, one consumer at a time.
I thought there might be interest in a thread where everyone can discuss their thoughts and ideas on being a critical, responsible consumer.

There are so many topics possible to insert in this heading. Buying local, eating seasonal, GMO, organic, fast fashion, fast furniture, recycling, waste reduction, energy reduction, renewable harvesting or farming, misleading advertising and labeling, the entire world of DIY, fair trade, and a host of others.

One topic, for instance, is the rise of the idea of Zero Waste. I personally dislike the movements focus on all or nothing, any waste being viewed as a failure. We need lots of people doing imperfect waste reduction, not a few people doing it perfectly.

Please feel free to share anything you currently do, are thinking about trying, have questions about, out just want to talk about in general in this heading.

To start off, I wanted to discuss a simple topic, the number of cities and states and countries that now require you to bring your own shopping bags. Does your community do this? Do you think it's helpful?

As a stay at home mom, I have the time to make my own bags.
A lot of people probably already have a good number of shopping bags. I actually prefer the box style "bags"  you can buy at most markets, but one thing I think many people don't have filled out yet is produce and bulk bags. Even with the rise of consciousness of offthe harm of single use plastics, I've noticed it isn't easy to find nice reusable produce bags.

For my tiny part in going greener, I'd like to offer some free drawstring produce bags to the first 3 people who post here, then pm me a shipping address. I'll pay shipping (us only please for this reason, sorry friends across the pond!).
A set includes one drawstring cotton lined mesh produce bag, one crochet stretch produce bag, one matching large cotton bulk bag (for things like sugar, flour, rice, beans), and one small muslin drawstring bag for smaller bulk items like dried fruits, candies, or herbs. All 100%cotton, machine washable. Takes me about 4 days to make one set.



Later tonight I'll post a pic with a selection of fabric, and some example photos too, and  you can chose your own!

If there's lots of interest, I'll be happy to do more than 3, but I don't want to get overwhelmed, so let's just start there.

So, what kinds of things do you do you be a good consumer? Or do you think it's just a waste off time?
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#2

Saving the world, one consumer at a time.
I consume almost all and any food in sight.
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#3

Saving the world, one consumer at a time.
Well, Jesus Christ on a bike, I use reusable bags all the time and I'd love some reusable bags, yay!

-Teresa
There is in the universe only one true divide, one real binary, life and death. Either you are living or you are not. Everything else is molten, malleable.

-Susan Faludi, In the Darkroom
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#4

Saving the world, one consumer at a time.
As far as the topic heading, I've made a concerted effort in the last year to buy more organic foods, especially foods that are on the Dirty Dozen produce list. I went to Italy last year with my kid and was angry for a few months after I returned because I learned that there essentially is no special "organic" food there. Many of the chemicals and pesticides that are allowed in US foods are banned in the European Union. And Americans get charged a king's ransom for organic food.

I think organic food is becoming trendy, which makes me a little suspicious. I saw "organic" Doritos in a store yesterday in a package with natural earth-tone colors, which to me is laughable.

-Teresa
There is in the universe only one true divide, one real binary, life and death. Either you are living or you are not. Everything else is molten, malleable.

-Susan Faludi, In the Darkroom
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#5

Saving the world, one consumer at a time.
We get large bags of dog food from Costco, and my brother knows someone who makes reusable shopping bags out of them.
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#6

Saving the world, one consumer at a time.
My community doesn't require reusable bags. I use 'em anyway. Where possible I buy locally-grown produce, to minimize both cost and emissions arising from transport. I keep my AC at 74 in the summer and the heating at 66 in the winter. I bundle trips into town so I'm not going back and forth and forth and back.

I'm probably still part of the problem.
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#7

Saving the world, one consumer at a time.
(02-13-2020, 01:58 AM)Aroura Wrote: I thought there might be interest in a thread where everyone can discuss their thoughts and ideas on being a critical, responsible consumer.

There are so many topics possible to insert in this heading. Buying local, eating seasonal, GMO, organic, fast fashion, fast furniture, recycling, waste reduction, energy reduction, renewable harvesting or farming, misleading advertising and labeling, the entire world of DIY, fair trade, and a host of others.

One topic, for instance, is the rise of the idea of Zero Waste. I personally dislike the movements focus on all or nothing, any waste being viewed as a failure. We need lots of people doing imperfect waste reduction, not a few people doing it perfectly.

Please feel free to share anything you currently do, are thinking about trying, have questions about, out just want to talk about in general in this heading.

To start off, I wanted to discuss a simple topic, the number of cities and states and countries that now require you to bring your own shopping bags. Does your community do this? Do you think it's helpful?

As a stay at home mom, I have the time to make my own bags.
A lot of people probably already have a good number of shopping bags. I actually prefer the box style "bags"  you can buy at most markets, but one thing I think many people don't have filled out yet is produce and bulk bags. Even with the rise of consciousness of offthe harm of single use plastics, I've noticed it isn't easy to find nice reusable produce bags.

For my tiny part in going greener, I'd like to offer some free drawstring produce bags to the first 3 people who post here, then pm me a shipping address. I'll pay shipping (us only please for this reason, sorry friends across the pond!).
A set includes one drawstring cotton lined mesh produce bag, one crochet stretch produce bag, one matching large cotton bulk bag (for things like sugar, flour, rice, beans), and one small muslin drawstring bag for smaller bulk items like dried fruits, candies, or herbs. All 100%cotton, machine washable. Takes me about 4 days to make one set.



Later tonight I'll post a pic with a selection of fabric, and some example photos too, and  you can chose your own!

If there's lots of interest, I'll be happy to do more than 3, but I don't want to get overwhelmed, so let's just start there.

So, what kinds of things do you do you be a good consumer? Or do you think it's just a waste off time?

Being a costume designer and a seamstress I've made several 100% cotton bags.  The ones you buy at the store are just this side of plastic. They're all polyester so when you eventually throw them away  (and you will) they won't decompose.  I found a simple youtube tutorial that is easy sewing.  If you have access to a sewing machine they're pretty easy to make.  I've made 8 of them.  



If you want to get even pickier about it then use linen fabric which is envrionmentally cleaner to grow than cotton.  Lots of bugs eat cotton so it's heavily sprayed with pesticides.    Linen comes from the flax plant.  Very few bugs eat flax.
                                                         T4618
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#8

Saving the world, one consumer at a time.
(02-13-2020, 02:49 AM)Dancefortwo Wrote: If you want to get even pickier about it then use linen fabric which is envrionmentally cleaner to grow than cotton.  Lots of bugs eat cotton so it's heavily sprayed with pesticides.    Linen comes from the flax plant.  Very few bugs eat flax.

I was gifted the boxy one I use, but that's an interesting point I hadn't thought of! 
Most of my bags are cotton farmers market bags, no plastic at all.  However, when it comes time to replace any of these I will go more environmentally friendly.  No point in throwing out one that's still perfectly good, though.  Girl_yes2

I do make my own bags, now.  And speaking of, here's what a set looks like (This is my personal set, I have 2 of each though):
[Image: bdxsKdl76neIEf9peWOycLPOYsPvEJv0f1qFrRQH...84-h888-no]

And for anyone who's interested in a set, I've got one claimed!  Two still open.  Here are the fabrics you can chose from:
[Image: Xknd8szHOpxQoHxZdJwZlBDDRXcvm91eMo_sTQXU...84-h888-no]
These are mostly quilting cottons, so 100% cotton, but not organic.  I tend to buy remnants for this sort of thing.  But the green one on the bottom left is actually a sateen shirting cotton, and purple one on the bottom right is a lightweight cotton denim, so a bit heavier duty than the quilting cotton, which might be good for heavier items, but weighs a little more at the cash register.

As for the crocheted bag, I buy this recycled cotton yarn from Lion Brand whenever I see it on sale, so I'll do my best to match with a similar color of whatever I have on hand.
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#9

Saving the world, one consumer at a time.
(02-13-2020, 02:39 AM)skyking Wrote: We get large bags of dog food from Costco, and my brother knows someone who makes reusable shopping bags out of them.

That's a really interesting material to work with, very cool and impressive!
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#10

Saving the world, one consumer at a time.
(02-13-2020, 02:39 AM)Thumpalumpacus Wrote: My community doesn't require reusable bags. I use 'em anyway. Where possible I buy locally-grown produce, to minimize both cost and emissions arising from transport. I keep my AC at 74 in the summer and the heating at 66 in the winter. I bundle trips into town so I'm not going back and forth and forth and back.

I'm probably still part of the problem.

That's still all great!
It all counts Smile

I heard this one lady say, "You can't do all the good the world needs, but the world needs all the good that you can do."  
That's becoming my motto.  We can't take it all on our shoulders!
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#11

Saving the world, one consumer at a time.
I have a pretty good stock of reusable grocery bags and keep them in the trunk of the car, hauling out a few whenever we do a grocery run. Some of them are a bit tattered, but one of the stores will replace their own worn-out ones for free.

Reusable produce bags are starting to show up in the stores here in Winnipeg, but most of them look really flimsy and not worth the money. I may just make my own.
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#12

Saving the world, one consumer at a time.
I keep several cloth or plastic reusable bags in the car for shopping, so I always have them.  I'm just not very good at remembering to take them into the store with me.  Facepalm

When that happens, I ask them to not bag my groceries, I'll wheel them out in the cart.

I've read studies that show no consistent difference in nutritional  value for organic food, so I don't bother with it.  I simply try to use as little prepared food as possible, although I'm addicted to Cheetos®.   Weeping  I buy local fruits and veggies in season, and just suffer with malnutrition and scurvy the rest of the year use mostly frozen veggies and local apples the rest of the year.

I do try to get all my errands done in one trip, it saves time as well as resources.
Philosophy is about asking questions.
Science is about answering questions.
Theology is about avoiding questions.
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#13

Saving the world, one consumer at a time.
We use these bags...

[Image: 07150adf5f7a22eb0ac1449060df6697]

What pisses me off though is that we don't manufacture any of these bags here in Australia.
They're sourced from China, Vietnam, and Germany.  And the 99¢ "bag for good" is not
biodegradable as it's made from polypropylene thread, and they're too often ending up in landfill.
I'm a creationist;   I believe that man created God.
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#14

Saving the world, one consumer at a time.
(02-13-2020, 01:58 AM)Aroura Wrote: So, what kinds of things do you do you be a good consumer? 

I swore off flying as well as long trips in the car some years ago now, and have turned down requests for me to make seven long trips since I retired.  This has likely made me less popular with my family and friends who live at a distance, but at least I didn't tell them my wife won't be inviting them to my funeral someday.

We already switched from plastic to reuseable grocery bags, but were recycling the plastic before then anyway.

Right now, I'm weening myself off plastic straws and plastic bottles.  I make my own iced tea on most days now, instead of buying it at the 7-Eleven.

My wife switched us to a natural gas supplier which captures fugitive emissions to sell to our utility.  That's a good half-way measure until we switch from fossil fuels altogether someday.  We already had an alternative electricity supplier.
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#15

Saving the world, one consumer at a time.
So it sounds like most people are doing really well with stocking up on reusable shopping bags, that's great!

@Alan V  brings up a great point, trying to wean off of other types of single use plastics.  It's not easy, when there are some products that can be almost impossible to find without plastic packaging.  Very frustrating!  I think going 100% plastic free in todays society is almost impossible, but there is a lot we can do to reduce our use.

I just learned that only 9% of plastic is recycled.  The majority of stuff we put in the recycling bin is sitting in a landfill, or floating in some natural body of water somewhere.  That's really depressing.  Sad Recycling is still important, so I'm not advocating anyone stop, but that we first focus on the Reduce and Reusue portion of the 3 r's.

Glass, paper products and metals are still highly recyclable, so anytime you have the option between a product sold in a plastic container, or one sold in a glass, cardboard, or metal one, chose one of those latter options if you can!  Plastic isn't just filling up our landfills and killing wildlife, it is getting into our bodies and doing a lot of harm. 

I promised my husband I wouldn't keep using things if they weren't working well for us, but I've been experimenting with a lot of different ways to reduce plastic.  These include:

Buying bulk.  This isn't actually too hard, if you have any bulk stores near you.  Often even big chain stores have bulk sections.  Why buy your oatmeal with any packaging at all, when you can buy it bulk and not have to pay for the packaging either?  It's cheaper, and there's less waste.  Some items I find are great to buy in bulk include different rice varieties, different bean and pea varieties, many kinds of nuts, dried fruit, oats and other grains, and raw sugar.  (Again, if anyone is interested in cotton drawstring bags for bulk buying, and you aren't a crafter yourself, I'd be happy to make you a couple and mail them for free!)  

There's a shop about 30 minutes away for me that also sells bulk soaps, including shampoo (and a nice tea tree oil medicated shampoo if you need it for dandruff, works really well, both my husband and daughter love it).  Castille soap is a really good all purpose cleaner, although I have found it does not work well for dishes or laundry.  It's great for kitchen/bath/shower stuff, it even cleans mirrors and glass streak free.
Whole Foods also sells package free bar soap. 
The only soap I cannot seam to replace is regular dish soap.  Nothing else cuts grease the same way, I've found.

Buying local and seasonal.  A lot of produce comes wrapped in plastic nowadays.  But in many shops, you can find produce that's loose.

Soap nuts and washing soda for laundry.  I was super hesitant to try this one, there are mixed opinions.  Plus I read that westerners using soap nuts might be taking them away from indiginous populations that have used them for centuries.  Sometimes there is no winning.  
The people that had no luck with soap nuts often seem to just put them in the bag, and toss the bag in the laundry.  This doesn't allow the sopanin enough time and heat to release.  So I take about 10 nuts to 3 cups of water to a boil, then let them simmer with a lid on for 10 minutes, then mash them a bit with a fork, and let them sit in the hot water another 30 minutes to an hour.  Strain out the mashed shells, add 1/2 cup vinegar and a little essential oil if you don't like the vinegar smell, and this makes really good laundry soap!  No giant plastic bottle of Tide or whatever.  It does not get out stains, but it does get out regular dirt and all odors from my laundry, and I have a teenage girl who does not smell like sugar and spice sometimes, let me tell you.
Usually I add in about 1/4 cup if washing soda, which you can also buy in bulk or in a cardboard container in most major supermarkets.
This lasts for 2-3 weeks on a shelf, or 2 months in your fridge.  I bought one bag of soapnuts in November, and I think they will last me roughly until the end of March, so that's also a huge money saver!  In that amount of time, I probably would have gone through about 100 bucks worth of commercial detergent, the soap nuts cost $15, the washing powder another $10 for the two boxes I'll have used.  

Making my own dairy!
Ok, I don't milk the cow.  I do make oat milk and drink that though, because I'm mostly lactose intolerant, and oat milk is super easy and cheap to make.  
But I also discovered that making your own sour cream, cream cheese, and cottage cheese is super easy!  It only take a few minutes of work, and a few days of waiting.
My favorite is sour cream. 2 cups of heavy cream mixed with 2 tablespoons of cultured buttermilk (it must be cultured), stir together in a glass jar, and cover with something breathable.  Let sit on your counter for 24 hours.  After 24 hours, stir, put a proper lid on, and refrigerate for another 24 hours.  Now it's sour cream!  Didn't even take 2 actual minutes of work, and there's no plastic container, and no preservatives, and it'll stay good in your fridge for 2 weeks!  And it tastes amazing!

Also, just say no to plastic clam shells.  In bakeries, in produce.  Those things are not recyclable, and they take up huge amounts of room in landfills. 

So, What do you do to try and reduce other kinds of single use plastic containers?
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#16

Saving the world, one consumer at a time.
Since milk has a fairly high carbon footprint, I've switched from cereal with milk to oatmeal for most breakfasts. That gets rid of the plastic bag in the box altogether.
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#17

Saving the world, one consumer at a time.
Oatmeal is my favorite! I feel like I have to apologize every time I serve it to my husband, though, lol. He's not a huge fan, but he'll eat it.
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#18

Saving the world, one consumer at a time.
Oh, there's this great recipe for people who don't like the texture of oatmeal cereal. Well, first, steel cut oats are kinda chewy, with a totally different texture than rolled oats, but if you don't like that either.

Mash one banana
add a cup of rolled oats and mix.
Make little "cookie" balls and flatten a bit, then cook on a baking sheet at 375f for about 10 minutes.
This is the base, but you can add all sorts of things. I usually add 1/4 cup of sugar free peanut butter, a drizzle of honey, maybe a handful of chocolate chips or a bit cinnamon or vanilla. These make really great, healthy breakfast cookies, and you get to feel like you're eating cookies for breakfast!
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#19

Saving the world, one consumer at a time.
I trawled the net for a bit, and found a lot of examples of wasted packaging resources, particularly plastics...

[Image: 4B3541D100000578-5620217-image-m-40_1523871238280.jpg]

[Image: z9nl5knxqmq67sa4kh6p.jpg]

[Image: Plastic-wrapped-bananas-e1561738871623.j...200&h=1806]

[Image: 5ac33158a1f07_F5CFKc0r__605.jpg]

[Image: da0ed2252077b81f05439b298164d908.jpg]

[Image: beach-clean-up-food-packaging.jpg]

The Coke cans in a plastic tray covered with Saran wrap, and the
continental cucumbers each wrapped with Saran are the real killers here.

Angry
I'm a creationist;   I believe that man created God.
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#20

Saving the world, one consumer at a time.
Wow, that's some serious gross misuse of resources!!
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#21

Saving the world, one consumer at a time.
Does anyone enjoy Thrift shopping?

The Goodwill in my city is pretty awful. high prices, a big mess, smells bad. But there are a number of other really good, smaller thrift stores I've found. I have decided that I will buy everything I can used, or make it myself, unless we just can't find it. Almost all of my clothes now are thrift clothes, or gifts. When we moved back over here, we needed some furniture, and decided everything except beds could be purchased used. There's a specific furniture store in town that is all consignment, so nice used items, huge selection. Can avoid the IKEAzation of modern furniture.

I like to just wander around thrift stores, don't know why exactly.
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#22

Saving the world, one consumer at a time.
(02-14-2020, 05:04 PM)Aroura Wrote: Does anyone enjoy Thrift shopping?

I don't know if "enjoy" is the right word, but I do it regularly when I'm looking for jeans.  I have weird leg measurements and it makes more sense to try on ten different brands in one store rather than slog through ten different stores.

Most of my shirts are also from the thrift store, but those are a lot easier to fit so it takes less time to find a good one.


But mostly I go to thrift stores to drop something off, such as books that I've finished reading.
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#23

Saving the world, one consumer at a time.
I go to thrift shops because I love bargains, not because I'm ecologically conscientious. The best thrift shop is a long bus ride from here, so I only go if I need something specific or plan to be in the area. I get 40% off on Tuesdays for a senior discount, which is nice, but it also limits how frequently I go.
[Image: giant%20meteor%202020.jpg]
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