Back in September, I attended my monthly meeting with the Environmentally Conscious Organizers which is a special interest group with the National Association of Professional Organizers. Our guest speaker was Beth Terry, who is the author of “My Plastic Free Life.” In 2007, Beth began an experiment to see if she could live without plastic and began blogging her experience after seeing a picture of a sea bird carcass whose belly was full of plastic.
She explained how recycling is a business and if there is no market for certain plastics they add them to our landfills or ship them to China just as our e-waste gets shipped to Africa. The best thing we can do is put very little into our recycling buckets as well as our landfill cans.
Most of us at the meeting had heard about the large amount of plastic floating in our ocean. According to Greenpeace.org “The trash vortex is an area the size of Texas in the North Pacific in which an estimated six kilos of plastic for every kilo of natural plankton, along with other slow degrading garbage, swirls slowly around like a clock, choked with dead fish, marine mammals, and birds who get snared. Some plastics in the gyre will not break down in the lifetimes of the grandchildren of the people who threw them away.”
You may be asking, “What does this have to do with organizing?” Well, this knowledge allows us the chance to train our clients on the many ways we can live in an environmentally conscious home.
Here are some tips from Beth’s list of 99 ways to live a plastic free life from her plastic free living guide.
1. Carry reusable shopping bags
Say no to plastic produce bags. If you have a car, keep your grocery bags in it and remember to bring them into the store with you! And one more thing: reusable bags are not just for groceries! Carry them for all your purchases, from electronics to clothing.
2. Give up bottled
Not only does it come in a plastic bottle, but tremendous resources are used to extract, bottle, and ship it. And many brands of bottled water are simply filtered tap water. Instead, carry a stainless steel travel mug or water bottle at all times for coffee and other beverages while out and about.
3. Choose reusable glass or stainless steel containers for leftovers
We save nearly all glass jars and bottles for purchasing bulk foods and for storing leftovers in the refrigerator or even the freezer. When we run out of jars, we store leftovers in bowls with saucers on top instead of plastic wrap. Bowls with saucers are great for stacking as well.
Treat the earth well.
It was not given to you by your parents,
it was loaned to you by your children.
We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors,
we borrow it from our Children.
Ancient Native Proverb
ECO-Organizing is exactly the same as residential or corporate organizing. I work the same with every client I have. First I need to know what isn't working for you. In other words "What do you need help with?" If you say "my paperwork" for instance, we will start with your files. Perhaps we can make room by shredding some, recycling some & storing some papers in another area.
If you say "My kitchen is a mess!" We'll start there & I will donate unwanted items instead of putting them in the landfill, recycle what I can and make sure only kitchen accessories are in the kitchen.
I have been recycling since I was a little girl growing up in the 70's. So of course I will make sure that things do get recycled. If you want to go further I can teach you ways to cut down on paperwork & adopt habits to protect the planet, but only if you want to do this. Never do I insist that clients adopt habits they are neither interested in or could not implement into their lifestyle.
It's all up to you! I am a very good listener. How can I help you?
Did you know there was a group of organizers that meet monthly to educate themselves on green living so that they may help others?
ECO Organizers, Environmentally Conscious Organizers
“For organizers who offer services with a significant emphasis on lessening the client’s impact on the earth, and on demonstrating methods and systems that reduce, reuse, and recycle wherever possible. Additional services may include: donating client discards, recommending recycled and eco-friendly products, or encouraging “green” environments by means of eco-audits.”
Topics included: My Plastic Free Life, Living without GMO's, Sustainability in Your Spaces, Composting & Call Of Life:Facing the Mass Extinction.
This is one of the most heartbreaking images I have ever seen. Please don't let this happen. Personally I use paper bags. I figure they will dissolve in the water and in the forest. I use them over & over until they start to rip then I use them for my recycling. For easy access I place one under the sink until it is filled. I change it often so it doesn't smell.
Anyone can do this. No excuses!
Recently, my workshop for the Holistic Mom’s monthly meeting on “Paper Management for the Green Home” was rescheduled due to a foot of snow. Like many of us, you may be stuck inside during these cold winter days. So why not take advantage of being indoors and organize your home office? Here’s a plan to help you clear your desk while “going green” with less paper.
The first step is to go online and opt out of the unwanted mail coming into your home. Try DMAChoice.org for general junk mail, TrustedID.org for unwanted catalogs and Optoutprescreen.com for pre-approved credit card offers. Create a new email address for coupons and ask to have your monthly statements sent via email.
There are also some wonderful apps for your phone. Catalog Spree allows you to view a variety of different catalogs online. Retail Me Not offers coupons to local stores, and Snip Snap stores your coupons digitally after you take a photo of them on your phone.
Now that you’ve reduced the paper input, it’s time to tackle the existing paper piles.
Holistic living is a lifestyle which seeks balance knowing that all things are interconnected. What you bring into your home directly affects how you feel. How does your home make you feel? Is your home office stressing you out? Try to tackle your paperwork often, perhaps in short intervals, every other day. If you need help, get help! Remember, your home is your sanctuary.