The last cotton ball

Let’s not strike up a conversation about cotton unless we’re both ready to talk about forced labor in Uzbekistan. Or the drying up of the Aral Sea. Or death to cotton farmers by pesticide. Soft and luscious on the outside, cotton is produced in unsustainable and often cruel ways that have not propelled humanity far…

Toothpaste (that isn’t paste)

Designers take note! I’ve found a toothpaste that can actually look attractive while sitting on a bathroom shelf. It’s called Bite and I found it when researching alternatives to toothpaste sold in plastic tubes. I grew up using Colgate, so for me, nothing tastes cleaner than a mouthful of fluoride and I’ve been buying toothpaste…

Goodbye, bags. Thanks for the litter.

It’s a big deal: New York state has banned plastic bags. The ban will take effect next March. So, prepare to say goodbye to bags in the trees, bags in the gutter grates, bags in the park, bags on the beach, bags tangled around a pigeon’s leg. We’ve had a good run plastic bags (have…

More bread, less plastic

A while ago I blogged about a less-than-successful attempt at waste-free grocery shopping, and revealed that sometimes I buy gluten-free bread. I didn’t buy gluten-free sandwich bread after that, so guilty did I feel about the plastic bags. But I like bread. So I figured it was time to look into whether or not any…

Composting in Red Hook

If you know me, you know I don’t want to go to Brooklyn unless there’s any possible way I can get around it. But this sustainability thing is dragging me out there more often than expected. I guess I can’t be mad about it; Brooklyn has some great community gardens and learning sites, such as…

Recycling the weird stuff: Mascara wands

I’m struggling to cut down on some of the ordinary junk that I’ve been living with for decades. Makeup is one of those things. I don’t have cases upon cases of makeup but I do have a fair amount that I need to work through before I’ll need to go out and find lower-waste alternatives,…

The Williams Pipeline and the airing of grievances

This was my view of last night’s DEC hearing on the Williams Pipeline, held at the Bay Ridge Manor in Brooklyn. Residents from New Jersey, Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Rockaways, and beyond gathered to share their objections to the proposed pipeline that would carry fracked gas from Pennsylvania through New Jersey to the Rockaways via New…

How to reuse your recycling by making paper

I read Bea Johnson’s Zero Waste Home a few weeks ago, and that’s when I developed an undying urge to make paper. In the book, Bea Johnson tells the tale of how she decided to make less waste and move towards a trash-free existence. She eliminated most of the paper in her life but her…

Shopping Waste-Free in New York

The first step to creating less waste is to change the way you think. And to do that, you need to change the way you shop. And that usually means changing the way you eat, too. So many changes, I know. I say nothing revolutionary when I say that Americans eat a diet full of…

Growing Your Own Fruit Tree Without a Backyard

I would love to have a sunny yard lined with berry bushes and apple trees and dotted with raised beds full of spinach, kale, cucumbers, tomatoes, eggplants, corn, pumpkins, herbs, and strawberries. Such a life is not to be. I live in an apartment in a city, and the nearest community garden doesn’t get enough…