Have you ever walked in to pick up your dry cleaning and been slammed by noxious odors as soon as you cross the threshold? Did you know that the solvents used in conventional dry cleaning are especially harmful and toxic to humans and to the environment? It's also alarming to think that the cleaning process used that contains perchloroethylene (perc) not only leaches into the water system and land, but also is active in clothing that has been dry cleaned while you are wearing it, which can enter your skin, and effect your health.
Imagine wearing that nice sweater that just got cleaned with your newborn infant snuggled up close against your chest? If that's not enough to have you stop and consider the devastating truths behind dry cleaning here's more:
In researching alternatives I came across several- and it's becoming more and more likely that you can find an alternative "green dry cleaner" in your neck of the woods.
1) GREEN EARTH CLEANING
2) The EPA also has a PDF list of dry cleaners that use two alternative methods – wet cleaning and CO2 cleaning both of which are acceptable and preferable methods of cleaning your high maintenance garments.
During his lifetime and career, "Ding" Darling was most widely known for his editorial cartoons, which appeared in nearly 150 newspapers nationwide and earned him two Pulitzer Prizes. All of his cartoons were created and illustrated before the introduction of T.V. and many before even radio. In those days newspapers were the primary source of information and commentary, and were published frequently on the front page, having enormous impact on public opinion.
Ding's passion was teaching the wise use of the world's natural resources and advocating for environmental awareness. He was skilled in speaking, articulate in writing, and devoted his talents to the higher cause of conservation education and to developing programs and institutions which would benefit wildlife.
Ever wonder what you should do with the carnage of broken crayons that end up in every corner of the house? Here is a great idea that is practical, easy and fun for the kids.
1) Gather all your broken crayons and take the wrappers off
2) Cut them into small pieces.
3) Preheat the oven to 150 degrees.
4) Fill the muffin tin or a candy mold with an inch-thick layer of crayon pieces.
5) Bake 15-20 minutes, or until the wax is melted.
6) Allow the tin to cool; then pop out the crayons, and they're ready for use.
I'm standing proudly at the counter of our new high end consignment boutique Little Bits Recycled eagerly working my way through the items our customers have brought in to re-sell, and a impeccably dressed woman walks in to check out our offering. It's a moment later before she says "excuse me miss...why does this pair of Gucci shoes look scuffed on the bottom?... her voice trails at the end as she realizes she is holding something "DIRTY" that was once worn by another, and I can tell from her desperate look she wants to pull out her purse sized hand sanitizer immediately. I try to stifle a giggle. "So all your items are USED?" she states distastefully, of course it's not really a question but rather an accusation as she high tails it for the front door and as I stare at the space that was once her obviously superior being I and am reminded of a cartoon image of Broom Hilda where she exits so quickly that the sheer force of her departure leaves only her bobby pins on the floor.
We have been so very spoiled haven't we? For the past ten years and longer our generation has basked in the glory of entitlement and has never had to take "seconds," "hand-me-downs," or "used." Our media has marketed the new, the shiny, and the next generation release of every product on the market announcing the new, improved, and latest in technology, fashion, transportation, toys, appliances, and gadgets. We have flocked to buy the new - while our barely used items sit forgotten on our shelves in favor of an upgrade as our parents and grandparents looked on, more than a little shocked at our complete lack of frugality or compunction.
This is the age of sustainability, and if we are all to do our "little bit" - we need to all ask ourselves FINALLY, where can I trim the fat? What do I really need? How can I get additional use from this item?
Don't get me wrong- I like everyone else LOVE to shop and spend money, and I am as into fashion as any other red blooded American woman, but when the level of consciousness is reached where you understand the throw away nature of our culture and the level of contamination and pollutants that go into production and manufacturing you can no longer justify your lusts as freely...or can you? Shopping consignment is not only eco friendly but can be an incredibly satisfying experience.
Here are just some of the benefits of shopping resale:
One of the biggest selling points when we purchased our home over a year ago was the fact that it had multiple fireplaces. Our Victorian home is charming- with it's wood floors, beautiful moldings, and historic feel we lucked out and purchased it for the right price, and at the time it just seemed so practical...ehem.
Huge old windows and high ceilings = NON ENERGY EFFICIENT. The romance of the fireplaces died as quickly as the fires themselves, as we quickly learned that keeping it alive and hot enough to heat the room was it's own full time job. The cozy comfort I had envisioned when we bought it, turned into a traumatic episode of Little House on the Prairie as we huddled in front of the fire trying to warm our hands. UGH.
After choking on receiving the second oil bill of the season we decided to consider other options.
A good friend of mine had recommended a wood stove, and although I loved the idea, I was skeptical.
After doing some research we settled on a small insert made by Lennox, and invested in what would hopefully pay itself off in one season knowing what it "should" save us in oil bills.
One week later we are completely impressed with it's efficiency. We fill it with wood every 4 hours and although it's their smallest stove ( the one we could afford) it heats the entire downstairs of our home, and get's toasty warm. When I looked into the additional benefits of having one, this is what I found out:
In addition to wood burning stoves a range of wood filled boilers are also available that are incredibly efficient and can convert over 90% of the fuel into heat. Although it takes some effort to keep them fed wood chips, or corn or wood pellet stoves can also be automated to control settings and only need to be refilled every few days!
Love this website I came across called Volunteer Match. Makes doing a good deed a whole lot easier, and because my New Years resolution included volunteering in my community around environmental efforts I can easily browse the site based on my zip code and area of interest for opportunities to do so.
The site itself is robust, easy to use, and also has a plug in for Google Earth which allows me to see the exact location of the building or park where the event takes place. In their own words:
Over the past month or two, many of you have asked us what is going on with our South County Commons location, and we've done the best to answer you all to the best of our ability, but the truth is that we didn't really know ourselves. That is until now!
We are thrilled to announce LITTLE BITS RECYCLED at South County Commons. We have always dreamed of adding a sustainable angle to our already popular Brand and Retail Locations at littlebits.com What better way to do that than to invite our customers to re-sell their items in a high end women's and children's "gently worn" boutique? After all - we already know you have impeccable taste! I don't know about you, but in this economy I've been hearing the dreaded words BUDGET cross the lips of many of our customers and the villainous word HUSBAND not too far behind! It's time to get serious ladies, and re-claim our natural born right and responsibility to FUEL this slacking economy. How are we going to do it?
THE 3 R's
REDUCE, RECYCLE, REPLENISH !!!!
Think wardrobe "pieces" and bring in your:
1. Retired Handbags and Accoutrements aka: purses, bags, wallets, clutches, and any other fancy shmancy stuff you've got laying around just collecting dust waiting for the next gala event you may never attend.
2. Estate Jewels aka: basic extra's you don't wear or are tired of looking at inside your jewelry box!
3.Ball Gowns and Feather Boas aka: any clothing you want to try to re-cycle that might generate some extra spending money for your "needs"
4. Home Goods aka: Shabby Chic, Throw Pillows, Angela Adams, and any other cool stylish home wares.
5. Little Princes' and Princesses' Wardrobes aka: While you are going through your closets, you may as well go through theirs too- and we can recycle their gorgeous clothing too, and how about that nice wooden high chair you paid a fortune for? Bring that too!
Here's what we're looking to have you bring in:
Gently Worn Children's Clothing Sizes 0-8
Gently Worn Women's Accessories and Clothing Sizes 0-14
Gently Worn Maternity Clothing Sizes 0-14
Gently played with Wooden Toys & Books
Gently jostled Baby Gear such as Slings, Wooden High Chairs and Cribs (No plastic)
Unique Furniture Pieces in Good Condition (please send a picture before bringing anything in)
Call Noelle at 284-3933 and set up an appointment or if it works better for you Monica is now in the "house" from 10-3 Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday and you can "drop in."
We see this new venture as a way to help everyone in our community. Some of you will benefit by getting great new fashions at great prices and others of you will benefit by making a little extra money, and all of us, including the planet, will benefit by recycling our perfectly good products and reducing our carbon footprints.
We know some people are hesitant to buy or sell on consignment, but you'll be missing out on great deals. Right now we have items in stock by FENDI, DOONEY & BOURKE, CHRISTIAN DIOR, DOLCE & GABANA, SEVEN FOR ALL MANKIND, ANTIK DENIM, LACOSTE, COACH, and RALPH LAUREN just to name a few. Remember, gently worn items are not GROSS, they're GREEN! Plus you get the satisfaction of knowing you paid half as much as that other lady did on her Seven jeans.
We will also offer a small selection of eco gifts at Little Bits Recycled and you can continue to shop our Newport store for fantastic current season merchandise!
Once we get established with our new merchandise we hope to also be able to offer many programs that coincide with sustainable living. Please do not hesitate to let us know what you would be interested in seeing as part of these programs. We want to provide you with what you're looking for.
A wise woman once said "what separates us from the animals is our ability to accessorize."
Let's not let this nasty "little" economy thing become a threat to our sense of entitlement (wink, wink...)
We look forward to starting this new venture with you in the New Year!
Monica Rodgers (CEO: Chief Entitlement Officer)
PS: And please don't forget to check out our blog http://www.earthsavers.typepad.com subscribe to the blog to get email updates sent to you.
PSS: Feel free to comment as well - we want to hear your thoughts !!!!