#PlasticFreeJuly – Day 1

On this first day of Plastic Free July, I’m going to talk about the four biggest offenders in the land of disposable plastics that many people use on a daily basis. But before we dive in to all of that, let’s talk about why I’m going plastic free this month, and why you should too.

SOUP & SALAD

Most of the plastic that we use gets disposed of within minutes. Plastic bags, bottles, containers – they’re all made for the short term and yet they are made out of a material that lasts the long term, the way long term, as in forever. Plastic doesn’t break down, it just breaks up into smaller and smaller pieces becoming permanent pollution. So where does it go if it’s not breaking down? A lot of it ends up in waterways. Scientists predict that by 2050 there will be more tons of plastic than tons of fish in our waterways and oceans (plasticfreejuly.org). That’s a problem.

One of your big takeaways from this month should be that it’s not all about recycling anymore. Only 33% of recyclable materials actually get recycled (National Geographic), and when they do fossil fuels are used to pick them up and make it happen. The zero waste movement and initiatives like the Plastic Free July campaign are recognizing that when plastic is recycled – if it actually makes it to a recycling facility – it’s just turned into a low grade product (this is called downcycling). Recycling is a great alternative to the landfill – absolutely – but it’s not the answer to our waste problems.

Whew, I’m glad you’re still with me. All of that is kind of a downer. But don’t worry, we’re here to have fun. All of the plastic free alternatives are super cool, you’re going to love this!

Ok, remember how we were going to talk about the big four plastic things that we can give up this month, easy peasy? Right, these four things are: single use plastic shopping bags, plastic drinking straws, plastic disposable coffee cup lids, and single use plastic water bottles. If you can avoid these four things, you can make a huge difference in the amount of plastic waste that is created on a daily basis. Over the next few weeks I’ll be going into a lot of detail about some of these things, but for today – let’s just get the basics down.

IMG_4142Single use plastic shopping bags. If you’re not bringing your own bags to the grocery store, you’re behind the times! Even big ole Walmart sells and encourages the use of reusable shopping bags! I just got some smaller reusable bags that I love taking to the store. They don’t get as full and heavy as the set I was using. Whatever kind you’re into, go for it! I’ll admit, most of mine are made of some kind of plastic-y material, so they aren’t totally plastic free – but at least they are reusable! (I’m going to talk more about this on Wednesday – my grocery shopping day!)

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Plastic drinking straws. This is one that a lot of people are getting behind right now. It’s no longer totally weird to add “no straw please” to your drink order at a bar or restaurant. Many restaurants are even switching to a policy where customers may ask for a straw, but aren’t automatically provided one. If you aren’t sure if your drink is going to come with a straw, I recommend preemptively turning the straw down. There are lots of reusable straw options out there for those who just can’t live without one. I have stainless steel and glass, and love both! If you’re still not on board, just watch this.

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Plastic disposable coffee cups with lids. If you are someone who drinks to-go coffee, you probably do it once a day. Just think about how much plastic waste that is creating over the course of your coffee drinking life! I encourage you all to seek out a reusable coffee cup that you like enough to use daily. Some really excellent options are the cuppow mason jar lid and the yeti rambler (this is great if serious insulation is your thing). Most coffee shops will provide your coffee in your to go cup with a discount, and some forward thinking places don’t even offer single use cups any more. You guys, it’s the future bring your own cup!

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Single use plastic water bottles. Get yourself a cool reusable water bottle, there’s so many kinds and I already talked about the cuppow and yeti so I’m not going to bother linking anything here. I think that the disposable water bottle must appeal to folks who are anti-tap-water. I get it, the water in my city is pretty funky smelling when the lake turns and that’s super gross. Our fridge has a built in filter, so we use that to refill our reusable water bottles. Some other options are: brita filters (or something similar) or buying big containers of water for a water dispenser. Make your water bottle something that’s as glued to you as your cell phone and you’ll be a more hydrated zero waste water drinker who is never without a reusable cup.

Ok, so I feel like I need to address the fact that a lot of my alternative suggestions are still made out of plastic or have plastic components to them. I think that it’s great if you find and use plastic free alternatives to these big four. But, just making the changes listed here keeps a lot of plastic out of landfills (and recycling centers).

As the month goes on we’re going to get more in depth. I’ll dive into every plastic thing I use throughout July and you can learn right along with me. Stay tuned on instagram (@paigelorrabeth) and here on the blog. I can’t wait! Are you ready?

 

Quick Guide to Eating Gluten Free in Fayetteville

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A friend recently asked where she could take a gluten free friend out to eat and have more options than a salad. I realized that I have learned a lot through trial and error that I should probably share with the world! I stick to a pretty strict gluten free diet, but I do not have Celiac disease – so many of these restaurants may not be suitable for someone who needs gluten free foods cooked in a dedicated gluten free environment. You decide what works for you, and here’s a list to get you started!

  1. Deluxe Burger has gluten free buns for their burgers. They’ll charge you a bit more for the substitute, but it’s so worth it to be able to go out and eat a delicious burger with the bun (like a “normal” person). General gluten free burger eating tips: If you are elsewhere and want a burger, it’s usually pretty easy to order one without a bun. They’ll usually serve it on a piece of lettuce or two and you can munch away with fork and knife. The greasier/cheaper the place, the harder it is to extricate the burger from the bun – so beware.
  2. The Arsaga’s on Church & Center that serves toast has a house made gluten free bread that’s phenomenal and can be subbed in on any of their amazing toast options for just .50 more!
  3. Arsaga’s at the Depot has a gluten free crepe that you can sub in to wrap up any of their delicious options (even their sweet crepe offerings). It’s their buckwheat crepe, which despite it’s name is actually wheat and gluten free.
  4. Eureka Pizza actually makes my favorite gluten free pizza. Their crust has honey in it to act as a binder and it’s just perfect. Plus, it’s pretty cheap – as far as a gluten free pizza goes!
  5. Woodstone Craft Pizza has a gluten free crust as well, and is a good option if you’re looking for something a little more upscale and unique. The crust is usually both rubbery and burned at the same time – but the toppings are so good that it’s worth trying anyway.
  6. Apple Blossom Brewing Co. has two excellent naturally gluten free options: cheese fries (of a few varieties) and a polenta dish with roasted vegetables.
  7. Khana Indian Grill‘s basmati plates are naturally gluten free. I have tried each one and love them all. The dish is served with naan, so you might ask to leave that out – or give it to someone else at your table (I might have tasted it once and discovered that it’s really, really good).
  8. Hammontree’s sometimes has gluten free bread available to sub in on any of their sandwiches. It isn’t on the menu, just ask.

I want to know what you know about eating gluten free in Fayetteville. I’m not eating out this month, but I’ll take all of your suggestions and seek them out in September!

Zero Waste To Go Kit

I’ve been making baby steps toward a more “zero waste” lifestyle. I am not keeping my trash in a mason jar, and honestly don’t plan on it. But I did buy a smaller trash can and bigger recycling bins recently. All of that is pretty straight forward. I compost and recycle what I can, but what’s tricky is what happens outside of my home. I’ve been trying to shop more consciously, and choose items that come in bulk or in minimal packaging – and that takes planning and thought, but it’s also not the hardest part. What’s hardest is going about my day outside of my home – eating out, using public restrooms, and being in a world filled with disposables for the sake of convenience. And damn it those straws and paper towels are convenient! My answer? Carry my own everything. My purse houses the following zero wast essentials:

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  1. A water bottle. I carry one everywhere. In colder months when I might get coffee somewhere it’s usually something that can hold hot stuff like a mason jar with a cuppow or my new yeti rambler.
  2. Sporks! Yeah, multiple sporks! Mostly because often times I’m with my boyfriend and he’ll put one to use too. I started with the little bamboo one which is a great thing for someone starting out and unwilling to carry a bigger purse in the name of zero waste supplies.
  3. Stainless steel straw. This is one I haven’t been brave enough to use yet. I just put it in my purse like, today, because yesterday I ate out for lunch and used the plastic straw that came to the table and felt guilty.
  4. Handkerchief. When it’s cold out this is more important. As soon as I get off of my bicycle in cold weather I’m totally snot faced. But keeping a smaller one in my purse is good for any little sniffles I may have.
  5. Microfiber towel. This one’s been hard for me to put to use. I put it in my bag to dry my hands after I wash them, but by the time I get my hands washed it’s been deep in my bag and I go for the paper. Why oh why can’t every bathroom have that cool dyson hand dryer?
  6. Cloth napkin. I use this constantly. This is a must.
  7. Lunch bag. I often carry a meal with me, but I also carry much of these in this bag to keep my purse less cluttered.
  8. Not pictured – a shopping bag that folds into itself and is tiny and amazing. I am forever buying things and forgetting to bring a reusable bag. Another must.

Questions? Suggestions? Leave a comment!

Local Spotlight: Pedal Pops

Brooke and I tried our first pedal pops at the Fayetteville Farmer’s Market on Saturday. Brooke’s was a spicy-Thai-mocha and mine was pineapple-something. (Sorry, not a great memory here.) They are made from raw, natural ingredients so if you’re looking for sticky sweet they aren’t what you’ll like. But if you like unique flavors, the real taste of real fruit, and chilling out on a hot day then they are definitely for you. This northwest Arkansas Popsicle vendor is the epitome of the Fayetteville vibe. The business actually has a cargo bike with a Popsicle cooler on it and though it’s usually stationary at the farmer’s market and other similar events, it can and has gone out on the trails. Sadly, the owner is moving to China soon so the business is up for sale and so far there aren’t any takers. We’ll be sad to see this one go and recommend that you grab yourself some Popsicle before it’s too late! You can follow pedal pops on twitter, or like them on facebook to keep up with where they’ll be and when.

Pedal Pops on Urbanspoon

Hawaiian Brians: Resturaunt Review

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hawaiiThe “Hawaiian Shoyu Chicken” with Pineapple Coleslaw substituted for Macaroni Salad.
hawaiiThe “Kalua Pig”.

I rate this local joint as mediocre. The environment is a little lacking, but I don’t go to restaurants for the scenery! The food is so juicy and tender that it almost reminds me of Grandma’s house (except for that she can’t cook Hawaiian style food). The Kalua Pig dish featured some of the best roasted pork I have ever eaten! The pork was just melt in your mouth tender. The Shoyu Chicken dish is composed of boneless chicken thighs slow braised in the secret Shoyu sauce (which I’m pretty sure is a blend of soy sauce, pineapple juice, and something else I can’t put my finger on); this gave the chicken a tender flavorful finish. While the meats on each of these plates were extraordinarily good, the side dishes were bland. I would suggest doubling up on meat and steamed rice! Even though I didn’t care for the sides, I will definitely venture back to Hawaiian Brian’s soon!

P.S-They serve breakfast as well! If you’re into Spam and eggs, you’ll love it. If not, you should definitely give their lunch a try at least once!

Hawaiian Brian's on Urbanspoon