Want your story featured? If you are an artist, business owner, student, or an every day person making a difference – I want to hear from you!
I am working on featuring stories of people and organizations doing amazing work to help build a better future.
I founded Love Being Green with the goal of sharing good news about environmental sustainability efforts. Every day, people around the world are working hard to help the environment and solve today’s sustainability changes. Those positive stories are as important to hear as the sad stories, because they inspire the rest of us to take action.
Environmental Volunteers is a nonprofit in Palo Alto, California that inspires a love of science and nature in 10,000 youth each year. Elliott Wright, Executive Director and father of two, shared, “What I’ve realized is that all of the conservancy wins that we have today are nothing without tomorrow’s generation as advocates and supporters,” Wright said, “because if we don’t have the next generation with us, we’ll see a rollback on every single win we’ve had.”
To have your story featured here, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am a serious produce shopper, and a frequent visitor to my local farmers’ markets, the Milk Pail Market in Mountain View, and Sprouts Market. I used to bring home a serious number of plastic produce bags each week. I would always find ways to reuse them, but I realized I could do better.
I purchased these Earthwise Reusable Mesh Produce Bags, pictured below. They’re affordable, light weight, and the drawstring makes them easier to use than traditional produce bags.
The mesh is so lightweight, it’s completely see-through. Barcodes will scan right through the bags. Each bag weighs less than 1/3 of an ounce, so you won’t pay extra when checking out at the grocery store.
Tips for Reusable Produce Bags
- Reusable produce bags are a simple, easy alternative to single-use plastics. Keeping the produce bags with your reusable shopping bags will help you remember to bring them to the grocery store with you.
- After shopping, transfer leafy greens to tupperware or reusable ziplock bags to prevent wilting. I love these bags, but the downside is that leafy vegetables tend to wilt when stored inside mesh bags in the refrigerator for more than a day or two. That’s because the mesh let’s air circulate freely and allows the produce to dry out. I usually eat my produce pretty quickly, but during those busy weeks when I can’t gobble up my veggies fast enough, it’s best to store in an airtight container.
- Wash your bags regularly. Because produce can carry dirt and germs just like everything else at the grocery store, give the mesh bags a good soak in soapy water and hang them to dry.
- Talk about your bags with fellow shoppers. Let them know that one reusable mesh bag replaces 150 single-use plastic bags!
- Recycle. When these bags get too worn or tattered to use anymore, they are 100% recyclable.
I love boba, and luckily for me, I live in the Bay Area with plenty of Boba options. Going out for boba is a special afternoon treat on the weekends. But one thing that always bothered me about boba tea establishments is the lack of recycling and large amount of plastic waste. Think about it – plastic cups, films, and plastic straws enjoyed once and then thrown away. With the rise of plastic straw alternatives, I decided to do something about it.
There are many alternatives to single-use plastic straws, including stainless steel straws, paper straws, silicon straws, and bamboo straws. We decided to buy these bamboo straws and try our hand at making home-made boba (easy recipe below).
Boba Recipe (with a sustainable twist)
I purchased a Set of 10 Bamboo Straws by BeeGreeny. I wondered if the straws would be big enough for boba. Bamboo grows naturally, so each straw is slightly different in width. Luckily, 8 out of the 10 straws I purchased were big enough for boba.
If you enjoy cold boba, it’s important to make the tea at least 4 hours ahead to allow time for it to chill. This recipe serves 2 people.
- 1 cup tapioca pearls – we purchased these WuFuYuan pearls and they were perfect!
- 10 cups water
- 1/3 cup honey
- 8 cups tea, brewed ahead of time and chilled. I prefer oolong tea like this Golden Moon Organic Loose Leaf Oolong Tea.
- Milk or non-dairy creamer to taste. For a creamy taste, use whole milk or half-and-half
- 4 cups ice cubes
- In a large pot, bring water to a roiling boil.
- Add boba to boiling water and stir.
- Cook in a rolling boil for 2-3 minutes.
- Turn off heat and simmer for another 2-3 minutes.
- Scoop out the pearls and let them rest in cold water for 20 seconds.
- Scoop out the pearls into a dry bowl and mix in honey.
- Let rest in honey for 20 minutes or up to 3 hours, depending on how sweet you like your pearls.
- In a glass, add ice and prepared tea until the glass is 50% full. Then, add milk and your desired about of boba pearls. Mix in honey or sugar to taste.
- Use your favorite reusable straw. Enjoy!
A beautifully-wrapped gift is an act of love. Giving beautiful gifts can fill us with joy. However, most gift-givers wrap presents using wrapping paper, tape, tags, and bows. A simple and equally beautiful alternative exists: Furoshiki, the Japanese tradition of wrapping gifts in fabric.
According to research, Americans spend over $3 billion on gift wrap every year. Instead, invest in Furoshiki fabric and use it year after year.
How to Wrap Gifts in Furoshiki Cloth
- Purchase fabric. The Furoshiki fabric I use in this tutorial can be found here. It is 19″ by 19″ and is perfect for wrapping smaller gifts.
I also use silk scarves. This one I bought at a thrift store to wrap a gift. The gift is a Magical Fish Friend which can be found here.
Styles of Furoshiki:
Looking for a greener way to enjoy a traditional Christmas tree? Read these five ideas that are kinder on the environment without sacrificing memories and tradition. In fact, with these ideas, you might start a new tradition with your family.
1. Adopt a Neighborhood Tree
Create a neighborhood tradition to decorate a tree with your neighbors. Each family can bring an ornament to hang on the tree. Organize a fun neighborhood get-together with hot chocolate and music. Hang LED lights and ornaments, and feel good getting to know your neighbors.
Read this wonderful story of an almond tree in Modesto, California decorated every holiday by community members. Danielle’s Tree has become a beacon of community love and support.
2. Decorate a Holiday Ladder or Bookcase
Let’s face it: Christmas trees are part of family tradition. Decorating the tree brings loved ones together and creates a place to open presents. To keep this tradition alive in a more sustainable way, consider decorating a ladder or bookcase with lights and ornaments. Beautiful examples can be found on Pinterest.
3. Ceramic Tree
Growing up, my father received a ceramic Christmas tree as a gift. It was handmade by my grandmother’s neighbor. It became our yearly tradition to unveil the ceramic tree after Thanksgiving. That was over 20 years ago, and we still cherish our ceramic tree to this day. There are many options for ceramic trees, like this one or this one.
4. Miniature Living Tree
Purchase a small tree from your local garden store or even Trader Joe’s. Ideally, purchase a native tree that is grown locally. When you get it home, place it in a sheltered area outside (a porch will do just fine) to help it acclimate before moving it inside.
After the holidays are over, move your potted tree outside. Make it a family tradition to care for the tree year-round. It will be in beautiful shape for next year’s holiday. To keep it healthy and small for many years, learn the art of bonsai.
5. Adopt a Living Tree: Look for a local program to adopt a tree. In San Francisco, Friends of the Urban Forest will deliver 3′-6′ tall non-traditional holiday trees (primrose, cork oak, small-leaf tristania, and other trees) that are good for San Francisco’s climate. After the holidays, the trees are planted in the city. In San Jose, California, companies like Rent A Living Christmas Tree will care for your live tree year-round and deliver it to your home just in time for the holidays.
Artificial Trees vs. Live Trees: Which is Better?
Artificial Christmas trees are made of non-renewable PVC plastic. Lead and other hazardous chemicals are used to make the tree’s needles, which can be transferred to humans by touching the tree or vacuuming up the needles. Artificial trees can’t be recycled, which means they’re off to the landfill when they’ve reached the end of their lifespan.
You guessed it: artificial trees are worse for the environment than live trees. If your heart is set on having a live tree, here are a few eco-friendly tips: 1) buy an organic Christmas tree, 2) avoid spray-painted trees, 3) put your used tree in the green bin or take advantage of city curbside pick-up programs.
Did you try one of these Christmas Tree alternatives? Let us know in the comments section below.
The holidays are a special time to gather with friends and family. This holiday season, here are a few heart-felt ideas to shop and decorate in more sustainable ways while honoring traditions. After all, the holidays should be a time of peace, love, and joy.
In this 5-part series, enjoy these 5 ideas to green your holidays:
- Christmas Tree Alternatives
- Ditch the Paper: Use Beautiful Cloth to Wrap Gifts
- 100% Beeswax Candles
- Holiday Shopping Bags
- Awesome Gifts from Sustainable Companies
Share your story! We’d love to hear your ideas and see pictures from your eco-friendly holiday traditions.
I have one Good Luck Jade in my 720 square foot home. It began as one leaf from a jade plant my grandmother owned for decades. It grew into a beautiful bonsai.
My father loves plants. At an early age, he taught me the importance of caring for plants in the home, and the benefits to the soul.
My father grows giant Good Luck Jades, which offer good luck, prosperity, and friendship. His green thumb is hard to describe until you see his beautiful collection. His oldest Jades are 15 years old.
Can you see my father standing behind his tallest Jade?
Jades can be grown from clippings, and they are easy to propagate. Before you know it, you will have a Jade tree and can share a leaf with a friend. That’s why they are also called the Friendship Tree.
What’s your favorite house plant? Share in the comments below.
For our wedding, one of our friend’s wrapped our gift in cloth. It was a beautiful cloth, with gold and pink roses on a burnished champagne background. I loved unwrapping the folds of fabric to unveil her gift. We still have the fabric, and I use it over and over.
I fell in love with Bee’s Wrap for the same reason. It’s a sustainable, reusable food storage alternative to plastic wrap and aluminum foil.Buy Online
The Bee’s Wrap brand hails from The Green Mountain State, Vermont. It’s made of organic cotton muslin, beeswax, jojoba oil, and tree resin. When cared for properly, each wrap lasts a year, and can be composted when its product life is complete (or reused as giftwrap, perhaps).
Bee’s Wraps make wonderful gifts for food lovers and cooks alike. We send a powerful message by reusing material, and that’s why I love Bee’s Wrap.
Bee’s Wrap vs. Aluminum Foil
Now, I’ve learned that aluminum is 100% recyclable, so I wondered: is aluminum more eco-friendly than Bee’s Wrap?
I looked into it and I learned the sobering truth: much aluminum we put in the recycling bin can’t be recycled due to food contamination (think: pizza cheese). The means that unless we clean our used aluminum really really well, it can’t be recycled. Bummer!
But there are alternatives. Try the following:
- Reusable Bee’s Wrap, or
- Wax paper that can be composted, or
- 100% recycled aluminum foil and wash it thoroughly after use
Happy cooking and storing!
There are certain staples in every green household: containers for food, drink, and cleaning products. I went on the hunt for top-quality BPA-free spray bottles that I could use for years (hopefully decades!). Here’s what I found.
This pack of 4 spray bottles from DilaBee is great for DIY homemade cleaners. The complete set comes with four spray bottles, caps, labels, and a funnel.
How did I use my bottles?
- Water + unscented dish soap. Uses: spot cleaning surfaces throughout the home
- Water + Dr. Bronner’s Castille Soap. Uses: Literally everything.
- Pure Distilled Vinegar. Uses: heavy-duty cleaning and scouring. Breaks up soap scum.
- Natural Stain Lifter. Uses: to lift stains from clothing. Mix 2 cups water, 1 cup hydrogen peroxide, and 1 cup baking soda. After using, rinse or soak the spray nozzle to keep it from getting clogged. Use in place of Oxyclean, which has compounds that are toxic to aquatic life.
Mason Jars aren’t just for canning anymore. They are so versatile, we use them for storing food, making special drinks, mixing homemade cleaning supplies, holding flower arrangements, and more. They are just the right size to store rice, nuts, lentils, beans, spices, and dried fruit. They are freezer and dishwasher safe.
We bought this set of 12 wide-mouth quart jars by Ball We fill them with colorful food, spices, and treats. The nice thing about mason jars is they help us see how much we’ve eaten, which helps us with portion control!