Suddenly every publication/website/product is all about being green. Case in point, the NY Times magazine today is a catalog of many things green, big and small. I feel like a polluting, wasteful, hog, and I only got through half of the magazine! Guilt has been compounded by unfortunately missing some greeny events this weeks, including St Louis Greendrinks' 3rd anniversary, and Earth Day celebrations in Forest Park today. And as for actual changes to not to be such a polluting, wasteful, hog...these are notably few/absent.
Still, hope springs eternal, and I'm setting an Earth Day resolution to be better for the earth. Here's the plan:
Getting rid of stuff, responsibly
--I joined the st louis freecycle list. Gigoit is great too. It's amazing to me what sorts of things people offer, and are snapped up! Suddenly the mountain of crapola in the basement is no longer a huge burden, but many opportunities to make someone's day. There was a time when if someone had asked, "do you want an RF modulator for free?" I'd have done cartwheels. Now I have 2 going unused, but surely someone wants one. And I'm going to give away all the cleaning products I'm afraid to use, toss, or pour out. I figure many people use them anyway (if you go to the regular grocery store, it's quite shocking, there are entire aisles filled with this stuff), so this is the least toxic way I can figure out to get rid of it.
--Earthshare is a useful way to figure out how to donate or recycle random things. I have a box full of batteries I've scavenged from the hospital, waiting for a better life. I'm going to try to lobby the hospital to recycle all their batteries. Just think, hundres of pagers, telemetry monitors, penlights, etc, that all get batteries replaced at least every couple weeks!
--For knitters who are reluctant to give away their stash, Destash is a website where you can offer your yarn (and needles, books, etc) for sale.
--RMS donates yarn to the local women's prison. I don't know whether the local charities (goodwill, etc) accept yarn, so if you know, please comment.
--Several charities take knitted items, such as chemo caps or blanket squares. See here for a listing. But if you haven't done it yet, and that yarn is still sitting in your stash, it's probably not gonna happen, so just give the yarn away!
Not getting more stuff / wasting less
--The house has been robbed twice, and what I learned is that more expensive stuff is just more stuff to worry about getting stolen/broken. And most of what one buys ends up going to waste. See one family's efforts to reduce their waste, living in St Louis suburbia!
--We all spend too much, and don't save enough. I for one, will start paying back some student loans. Thank you, taxpayers, for the low-rate loan that allowed me to get educated!
--It's getting easier to buy green, if you do need something. A good local resource for St Louisans is green rising. Eco friendly clothing (except for all the stuff you knit yourself with eco-friendly yarn, of course) is hard to find, so I'm glad Boutique Chartreuse is around. I love all the stuff I've bought there so far, not to mention how smug I feel wearing it. ;)
--And definitely no yarn until the stash is finished! Same goes for the sewing stash, art stash, bead stash, and so on.
Eating locally and in season.
--I'm eagerly awaiting for Fairshares, a local CSA in st louis, to start delivering. Too bad it didn't start in time for asparagus season! For inspiration, I've been stalking 24 Boxes, a blog about one amazing woman's cooking from her CSA goodies. It's one of the few non-vegetarian cooking blogs that I find apealling.
--For those who can't commit to a CSA, I hear the Soulard Farmer's market is bustling, now that the weather is better.
--At long last, we've earned a free half pound of coffee from the coffeeshop down the street, Northwest coffee. They roast their own coffee, and it smells amazing. If only they were open on Sundays, my knitting group could meet here...
--Maybe this will be the year that something lives in the patch of dirt behind my house! Silvana (Happy birthday!) introduced me to a great plant nursery, Bowood Farms, just a couple blocks away! The plants are amazing, and apparently they're just getting started for the season. I got a few flowers, but when I get things together I'll try growing some herbs and veggies. Anyone have good tips on urban gardening, especially container gardening?
--Ravelry's weekly newsletter this week is all about knitting green. There's a very helpful article about all the new eco-friendly yarns. For ex, I had no idea that soy yarn is basically rayon!
--I'm torn about bamboo yarn. The drape is so lovely, the colors are vibrant, and it's naturally antimicrobial. Bamboo itself is good for Earth, but the process of turning bamboo into soft yarn involves boiling in various nasty-sounding chemicals (a good review here). The same thing can be done mechanically, but it's much more labor intensive, and I have never seen this fiber ("bamboo linen") in a yarn store. In the end most bamboo yarn is also basically rayon. More recently, different companies are developing more eco-friendly ways to process bamboo, like Greenyarn which is putting bamboo nanoparticles into clothing. It's all kinda confusing, and for now, the best one can do is look for yarns with Oeko-Tex certification.
--Milk yarn is very intriguing. I've yet to see or feel (or smell or taste) any in person, as the local stores don't seem to have it. I haven't been able to find any online that is not made in China, and I'd like to know that the cows making the yarn were treated well. Are there any enterprising farmer-spinners out there?
--Again, more Ravelry. I'm in the greencraft and simple living groups, mainly for the inspiration and tips from other knitters, who are clearly much better at being green and simple.
--Jenna, one of the knitting group regulars, recycles sweaters for yarn. It's amazing what great yarn lives as fugly sweaters, and can be turned into something completely different and lovely! A good online tutorial is here. When I'm done with my stash, I'll definitely have to try it out! And also learn how to wash yarn.
--And finally...the greenest knitting is stash knitting! Go ahead, try it!