Zero Waste Workshop – Burlington, VT

Let’s take advantage of the nice weather and meet outside for a zero waste discussion and demonstration of how to make your own non-toxic, low waste and (the best pat) super effective all purpose cleaner. We will be meeting at 9:30 a.m. at Oakledge Park in Burlington, VT. Find me at a picnic table on the grassy area by the earth clock. Email me meredithtested@gmail.com … Continue reading Zero Waste Workshop – Burlington, VT

The busy person’s guide to going plastic free

I’m not a fan of the glorification of busy in modern times. While we have some hard and fast parameters and bookends to our time, there is a culture of shunning rest and slowing down that is a huge burden and causes unnecessary stress for many. I am working hard towards slowing down, shifting my priorities and being mindful of the choices I make that … Continue reading The busy person’s guide to going plastic free

The Zero Waste Grocery Store Challenge: Trader Joe’s

When you decide to reduce your waste in your home, office, school or wherever, you may notice as many of us do that a huge source of daily garbage is …food packaging. This summer I’m teaming up with a dream squad of bloggers to show you how we shop at conventional stores while still reducing waste. -East: I’m profiling Trader Joes’, Costco, Hannaford Supermarket, and Wal-Mart. … Continue reading The Zero Waste Grocery Store Challenge: Trader Joe’s

Minimalism and winter clothes PLUS How to clean up a “pilly” winter hat

As minimalists, we tend to wear our clothing hard. Even if we’re rotating between a few items, everything gets regular use. When you live in a place like Vermont, winter gear can be a big space-hog and a passionate point of discussion for many in my area looking to declutter and downsize. Bottom line: we tend to hold on to a LOT of winter items, … Continue reading Minimalism and winter clothes PLUS How to clean up a “pilly” winter hat

Maternity multi-season capsule wardrobe

Minimalism hasn’t always come naturally to us, and we still struggle with different zones of our home and life but once my husband and I started using capsule wardrobes, clothing hasn’t been an issue. In fact, it’s been a catalyst for so many other strong decisions made in other areas. Paring down our clothing and focusing on reuse and secondhand before purchasing new, and then being … Continue reading Maternity multi-season capsule wardrobe

Zero waste paleo gluten free granola recipe

Zero Waste Paleo “Granola” Recipe

It’s heeeere!

When I asked you on Instagram if this recipe needed to be revealed to the world, there was a resounding “yes!” response. Not one to disappoint you guys or save a good thing only for ourselves, here we’re sharing this easy recipe that’s on heavy rotation at our house.

I was really getting into eating granola after my second daughter was born. There’s just something about this simple, delicious and highly customizable treat after you’ve had a baby. I craved granola after my oldest was born, too.

My husband, however, isn’t a fan of traditional oat-based granola, so he developed this recipe based on several others he’s tried over the years, primarily one by the wonderful Paleo Cupboard. This grain-free granola is a great choice if you’re like him and don’t like “normal” granola, or if you are avoiding grains. This is esentially a trail mix gone to the next level with flavor and texture. We eat this granola treat as a snack by the handful – my toddler loves it, too – or on top of yogurt.  Or you could even sprinkle it as a boost on top of cereal and milk, which is how my parent’s always enjoyed granola when I was a kid.

How to make grain-free, zero waste granola

How do we make this paleo granola recipe “zero waste?”

We buy all of these ingredients in the bulk or loose bins at our local health food store. Yes, everything from maple syrup and shredded coconut to raisins and salt. We get coconut oil and vanilla extract in glass packaging. Make your own vanilla extract if you can, though! Easy and inexpensive.

If you don’t have access to bulk bins or the prices aren’t as good as what you can get in packaging (it happens! It’s silly/ridiculous, but true), try to get the largest container or bag your budget allows.  This might be especially true for nuts and seeds. Your packaging to product ratio will be lower (meaning, you’ll still be reducing your overall waste) when you get a larger size. Share with a friend if that’s better for your needs and budget.

We can get nuts and seeds for a good price at our local health food store and in the exact amounts we need, but if we couldn’t we’d try to find them first in plastic-free packaging and then we’d get in the largest quantity we could reasonably afford and store. You know I rave about getting spices in bulk for the cost savings alone so if that’s the only thing you track down in bulk for this recipe, I’ll be psyched!

Now onto the main event! Get the ingredient list and full instructions on how to make this tasty nutty granola.

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Get Real About “Reuse”

As a kid I learned about the “3 Rs” of Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. When I decided to attempt a zero waste home, I learned about Bea Johnson’s “5 Rs” of her zero waste home: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Rot. I also like Kathryn of Going Zero Waste’s modification to this rule.

Reusing an item is a great way to cut down on your household clutter, your waste/garbage and help the earth.

If you buy/make a high-quality item that is meant to be reused over and over again, that’s one thing. But here’s the question: is intentionally bringing something into your home with the wish or hope to reuse it “someday” that helpful to your life or the planet?

That greasy plastic takeout container? Don’t accept it in the first place if you can help it. Sure you might wash it and keep it for some imagined perfect use. You would use it giving leftovers to a friend! Bringing food to share at work! To corral small items in your office/playroom/garage? Pinterest ideas abound.

I used to get caught up in “it’s better than nothing!” And it is. Sort of. Maybe.

How often do you actually grab the things you’ve designated for “someday” reuse? How often do you take a look at your “reuse for later” piles and end up eventually – possibly after years of collecting – tossing them in the trash or recyling anyway? I am definitely guilty of this practice.

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Zero waste travel with a baby (or kids)

Zero waste + travel + kids … is it even possible? It might seem hard enough to travel alone and reduce waste along the way, but what about when you have kids in tow? Crazy. But if I can do it, you can do it. We are far from perfect but with some planning we were able to avoid a lot of garbage. And most importantly I … Continue reading Zero waste travel with a baby (or kids)

minimalist second baby registry shopping list

How to Build a Minimalist, Eco-Friendly Baby Registry

Being a minimalist, having a curated home, living simply or living slowly …or whatever you want to call it is totally possible once you bring a tiny human into your life. It’s also not impossible to find plastic-free, eco-friendly baby items. This post is for the real life modern family, not a fantasy list for Instagram-perfect parents. This is for the family aspiring to minimalism and … Continue reading How to Build a Minimalist, Eco-Friendly Baby Registry

Where to find plastic free, zero waste home essentials

It seems a little counter-intuitive, but for many people setting up a zero waste home requires buying or somehow acquiring a few new items. You might have been relying on plastic or disposable items and in order to reduce your trash, reusable alternatives need to be found. Everyone’s trash output is different. Look inside your trash bin and see what kinds of things you are throwing away and find reusable alternatives or ways to avoid those things.

For me, I first needed reusable cloth “un paper” towels and cloth napkins, glass food storage containers, reusable “going out” items like utensils and straws and cloth bags to use for produce and buying items from the bulk/loose bins. While I did have to buy some new things, these tools and products are “essentials” in my mind, and will be used for years.

Where to buy plastic free home goods

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