Friday, April 29, 2016

Photo Friday | Southern Louisiana Charm

This week, I got to visit Crawfish Haven/Mrs. Rose's Bed and Breakfast just outside of Kaplan, Louisiana, as an event guest. What makes the century-old home unique is the crawfish pond behind it, and more in the near vicinity, allowing guests to go on crawfishing excursions. Talk about eating local food when you can eat crawfish caught just feet away!


The home includes a newly built enclosed patio made with materials from a detached garage that had been torn down. I love that they salvaged so many materials to make the patio, and my favorite accents were these crawfish trap lights.

Reusing materials to make something else that's functional? Those materials are crawfish traps? That, my friends, is pretty much the epitome of the "eco cajun" spirit!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

A New Recycling Contract and New Blue Bins

The times, they are a-changin', especially if you're a resident of the city of Lafayette or unincorporated parts of the parish (say THAT three times fast!)

Earlier this year, Lafayette's city council voted to approve a new recycling contract from the current trash provider, and the biggest change in service for residents is the discontinuation of glass recycling. However, while it may seem like a big change, it really wasn't, as the previous recycling provider was sending glass to the landfill anyway. A few weeks ago, I wrote about my concerns and frustrations, and shared some informative feedback from our city's environmental quality manager.

So now, it's go time, whether we are ready or not. The new contract takes effect this Sunday, May 1, and the first day of the new pickup is Monday, May 2. If you're part of the contract's coverage area, you've got a few changes to remember.

While some of these changes suck, and seem like backward progress, it's important to follow the rules so we can all have an efficient recycling system and we don't jeopardize the service we do have. In the meantime, we can look for other options and make our voices heard where it matters in order to push for forward progress.

A NEEEEEEEEEWWWWW BIN!

Okay, so it's not a new car on Price is Right. Womp womp. However, most city and unincorporated parish residents should have gotten their new bins by now. It's conveniently the same color as the regular trash can, with the exception of a baby blue lid. (Hey Republic, call me and I can consult on why you should make recycling bins a different color from the trash bins!)

It comes with a sticker on the lid that serves as another reminder of the following rules.


Do you notice the irony of how we used to have a dedicated glass recycling bin, and now we have a single-stream bin that doesn't accept glass? (Look at my basil growing!)

NO GLASS.

Sigh, grumble. Even if you don't agree, you still have to abide by dem rules. (At the end of my ranty blog post, I shared a few tips on how to reuse the glass containers you accrue. Just remember to reduce and reuse before you have to recycle.)

PLASTICS #1 AND #2 ONLY.

Before, all plastics except for styrofoam were accepted. Numbers 1 and 2 are the most commonly used plastics, at least. Hit up my blog post on the meaning behind the plastic numbering codes for a refresher course.

Ya think it's made of recycled plastic!? It should be, at least!

YOUR PICKUP DAY HAS PROBABLY CHANGED.

Before, most residents had two separate collection days, one for trash and one for recycling, because it was two different service providers. Under the new contract, all pickup is done by Republic Services. Whatever day your trash pickup currently is will be your new trash and recycling day.

IF YOU HAVE TO GO TO THE COLLECTION FACILITY

The recycling dump on IG Lane off of Cameron Street is no longer operational. Republic's recycling facility is located at 201 Mire Road in Scott, and is conveniently open Monday-Friday 8-5 and Saturday 8-10 for you to drop off your items. For city of Lafayette apartment dwellers or renters who may not have a recycling bin, this is your option.

The official LCG rules on the new recycling program for city of Lafayette and unincorporated parish residents.

This is not a change from our previous service, but a reminder that plastic bags do NOT go in the recycling bin. Reuse those plastic shopping bags, use cloth bags instead, or bring plastic bags to a store with a plastic bag collection bin instead.

And since you shouldn't throw bagged recyclables into your bin, and all materials will be loose, I've got my fingers crossed the workers don't totally litter the street on collection day, like what the recycling guys do now. What. a. mess.
Download, print or share a PDF flyer courtesy of Lafayette Consolidated Government.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Photo Friday | HAPPY EARTH DAY!

The rain has moved out of the Acadiana area, and it's both Festival weekend and Earth Day!

Although I'm not wearing anything the color green, I am representing different eco-friendly  alternatives by rocking a fair-trade cotton dress from Liz Alig, handmade necklace I purchased at Festival International last year, my great aunt's vintage pearl earrings, and a handmade in Haiti purse.

A reminder, if you are heading to Festival, check out my tips to reduce waste and be sustainable all weekend long. I'll be heading out there this weekend and following my own rules, of course! Gotta walk that walk.

At the beginning of April, I shared some tips on how you can celebrate Earth Month, like riding your bike, picking up litter, conserving water and choosing reusable containers. How have you done so far on greening your daily life?

Trash from the Vermilion River on display at the Bayou Vermilion District Earth Day festival.

Always nice when the recycling truck leaves behind a trail of litter. And then I pick it up after them.


Hug a tree today!

I hadn't colored in awhile, so I did this leaf design in honor of Earth Day, with all my shades of green (and green-blue).

Appreciate the little elements in nature.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Music for Earth Day

Tomorrow is Treehugger Christmas, also known as Earth Day. It's a great time to practice your reduce, reuse, recycle skills, and just a fun day to appreciate our planet and our natural resources.

And why not celebrate to music? I've put together another little Spotify mix featuring some of my favorite artists and some well-known environmentally friendly musicians. Check it out below or follow me on Spotify (ecocajun, of course!)


Last week, as I was celebrating the 19th anniversary of my favorite band's first single (ahem), I got to thinking about how music has changed since 1997 (and long before that too). I used to buy CD singles for my favorite bands, and now I listen to the same song in my car via Bluetooth, streaming from my phone.

From vinyl to 8-tracks to cassettes to CDs to digital formats, the footprint has gradually shrunken. I will always love physical copies of my favorite music, but digital music has taken over in terms of saving space in your home or your car, and has cut down on physical materials needed in production. The trade off is in the increase of power consumption, from keeping your devices charged to the servers that store files (and backups of backups).

Jack Johnson is one of the most well-known eco-friendly musicians, and the album below was recorded in his solar powered studio in Hawaii. He's also a member of 1% For the Planet, an organization dedicated to giving back to the environment through business sales.

The Meiko CD was "pre-loved", so I gave it a second life!
 


Want to learn more about which musicians are committed to protecting the environment and work to lessen their tour's carbon footprints?

 

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Continuing Earth Month Events

Even though Earth Day is April 22, the eco-friendly fun doesn't have to stop on Friday! There are two events planned for Lafayette on Saturday, April 23 that help you get involved in keeping Lafayette and your home clean.

Household Chemical Collection Day

https://www.facebook.com/events/1412174928800010/

Lafayette's biannual Household Chemical Collection Day is happening at Cajun Field this Saturday from 8-noon. If you're a resident of the City of Lafayette, you're eligible to bring paint, yard poisons, household cleaners, and this time, your electronic waste! Sponsored by CGI, they'll be collecting computers, printers, cell phones or other electronics.

All collected latex paint will be reblended and recycled. The paint will be packaged for sale at the Lafayette Habitat for Humanity ReStore (now on Johnston Street). All details are on LCG's website.


Festival International Project Front Yard Trash Mob

https://www.facebook.com/events/243510595996517/

For the second year, Project Front Yard is organizing a Festival International Trash Mob. Happening at 2:00 on Saturday and Sunday, volunteers register to participate, and then pick up trash for an hour and a half. It's a great way to free our Festival streets of litter that you KNOW is going to be everywhere (as much as I dream of a litter-free Festival).

Everyone who registers (click on the image to visit the Facebook event page with instructions) receives a Project Front Yard t-shirt. Volunteers meet at the tent behind
Scéne Chevron and receive their instructions. It's a mob that does good for the community!

Let's all continue our Earth Day and Earth Month spirit by participating in these community events, and if you're attending Festival, don't forget to geaux green!

Friday, April 15, 2016

Photo Friday | You Can't Make This Up

Last Saturday, I participated as a one-lady team in Project Front Yard's annual Trash Bash. While burning calories and working on my step goal, I soaked up some sunshine and filled a bag with all kinds of litter.

While there were many teams that participated in the Trash Bash and collected way more than I did, it was still a thought-provoking morning in terms of the impact you can make as an individual.

In only one hour on a few streets, I filled an entire kitchen-size trash bag with items like drink bottles, fast food containers, napkins (y'all, the napkins that morning!), straws, cigarette butts, a shattered dinner plate, one slipper, chip bags, paper and half of a pair of reading glasses. These are all items no longer littering our sidewalks and our community, no longer posing a threat to people walking or riding bikes, and that won't end up in the Vermilion River.

Just remember: Every single person makes a difference.


This might have been my favorite piece of litter collected, for the sheer irony. A cigarette pack that uses its entire back panel to talk about respect for the earth and recycling. Yes okay, and I found it on a sidewalk by a high school. Next to a cigarette butt. This would be an excellent example of greenwashing. There's not much respect for the earth AT ALL from cigarette companies. Or from many people who smoke. I am also curious how using organic ingredients makes these cigarettes any less toxic.

This weekend, as we gear up for local Earth Day celebrations and for Earth Day itself on April 22, remember to do what this hilariously ironic cigarette pack says: Respect the Earth.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Geaux Green at FIL

It's the most wonderful time of year to be a Cajun...Festival International is only one week away! For the diehards, it's five days of music, dancing, eating, drinking, shopping, and seeing everyone you've ever known, all contained in downtown Lafayette. For the casual Festival-goers, it might only be a couple days...but where's the fun in that? Get out and enjoy Festival International de Louisiane 2016!

Geaux Green for FIL 2016 | EcoCajun.com

For all you Festival fans, I've once again created my Eco Cajun Geaux Green at FIL guide. This year, Earth Day falls on Festival Friday, so there is no excuse to be wasteful and litter-prone! Follow the Green Guide and make a big impact on downtown cleanliness.

Zero-waste FIL anyone? (Well, I can always dream...and try to lead by example!)

So let's get to it...here's how you can Geaux Green!

Courtesy Festival International

BEFORE LEAVING HOME

If you plan to spend a good amount of time at Festival (as you should), the key is to pack your backpack with reusable and strategic items.
  • Reusable water bottle. Look, chances are, it's really going to hold margarita, but it's important to hydrate with water, so at least alternate, okay?
  • Weather gear. Sunscreen (unless you're a fan of funky sunburn patterns), a light sweater (right now it's forecasted in the low-to-mid 60s in the evenings), sunglasses (obvs), a portable fan (or repurpose your Festival map into one), and a rain jacket or poncho (leave those umbrellas at home.)
  • Cloth shopping bag. For all your unique vendor and merch scores! Spare the plastic...you know, zero waste and all that shizzzz. The best kinds of bags to bring are the foldable ones with a carabiner that you can clip to the outside of your pack.
  • Fork, spoon and cloth napkin. You'll be able to cut down on a lot of trash if you use your own fork, spoon and cloth napkin. Rinse the utensils after using them, and throw the napkin in the wash when you get home. A lot of food vendors will stick a utensil in the food before handing it to you (grrr), so if you can't avoid plastic, rinse and reuse it, or clean it before recycling instead of throwing it away.
  • Official Festival app downloaded on your phone. Geaux paperless! But the app is more than just a schedule and map - it's interactive! You can save your favorite bands and add their show time to your phone's calendar. You can also save your favorite food and merch vendors, so you don't forget to visit all of them before the weekend is over.
  • Small towel. Skip the napkins and paper towels, which cause a LOT of litter because they fly around as free as the...uh...flower crowns. You can also use it as a makeshift seat, instead of lugging around one of those camping chairs.
  • Ziploc bag or waterproof case for electronics in case of rain. We pray to the festival gods that rain will hold off until after the weekend is over. But...should it rain, be prepared and keep your phone or camera dry.
  • Portable backup cell phone charger. If you're out all day, and you're busy Instagramming or Snapchatting, your phone battery will probably die. Stock up with a portable backup battery before Festival and make sure it's fully charged when you leave the house. When you're getting close to 10% battery, the backup will give you just enough boost to make it until the last band stops!





HOW TO GET THERE

  • Ride. Yo. Bike! When you roll in on two wheels, you don't have to worry about parking or the shuttle. It's the best eco-friendly way to travel to and from downtown, and it'll help burn off calories from that crawfish and spinach boat. Bike racks are located throughout downtown. Be courteous and don't lock your bike in the middle of crowds or sidewalks.
  • Carpool with friends. The fewer cars on the road, the better traffic and fewer parking nightmares.
  • If you don't have a bike or live too far away, ride the Service Chevrolet Cadillac Shuttle from Cajun Field, which runs every 15 minutes. Shuttles drop off at Lee and Jefferson, and at Garfield and Buchanan. On Sunday, the shuttle will pick up at Blackham Coliseum instead of Cajun Field.
    • Thursday: 5:00–11:30pm
    • Friday: 4:00–11:30pm
    • Saturday: 10:30am–12:00am
    • Sunday: 10:30am–8:00pm
  • Take advantage of Uber and get dropped off near downtown.



ONCE YOU'RE AT FESTIVAL 

  • Reduce paper waste. Use the Festival app to refer to band schedules and stage information instead of grabbing a handful of paper guides that will either end up at the bottom of your backpack, spilled on or left-behind. Wet paper can't be recycled anyway. If you really prefer to have a paper guide, only take one and use it for the whole weekend, then recycle it when you're done. Unless it's wet
  • Reuse as much as you can. Not all vendors will take your own reusable bottle, but those souvenir Festival cups are totally reusable and totally recyclable! Ask the vendors to refill your existing cup, then bring them home to keep forever and ever, or drop them in a recycling bin when you're done for the day/weekend. Don't forget to use your cloth napkin and utensils. It won't be zero-waste when your food is inevitably served on a styrofoam plate, but it does at least lessen the overall impact.
  • Recycle! When it's time to chunk something, recycle it if possible. Not sure what's acceptable? Save da handy graphic below to your phone.
  • Leave the glass at home. It's super dangerous for all the sandal-clad feet! The vendors won't be serving anything in glass, and if you want to bring something from home, transfer it to a safer reusable container.
  • Also, please don't vomit in the recycling bins. (Seent it happen.)


SHOPPING

  • This year, Project Front Yard is partnering with CGI to provide a limited number of reusable shopping bags at La Boutique souvenir locations. Grab you a bag early and reuse it all weekend.
  • Many vendors sell green products, whether they use recycled or repurposed materials, to sourcing local materials, to making their goods by hand. Support these vendors and show them you support sustainability! There are some truly great recycled things to find, and they are beautifully unique. Get the vendor lineup here.
  • Many vendors take credit cards now, but bring cash for a quicker checkout process.

 

OTHER FESTIVAL POINTERS

  • Volunteer and help Festival run smoothly! You can even volunteer for recycling duty, which is as glamorous as it sounds. All kidding aside, volunteering makes you feel good good.
  • When you're sharing photos, don't forget to use the hashtags #HowIFestival and #GeauxGreen! 

So in short, pack what you'll need for the day to make you comfortable and sustainable, use alternative transportation, support all the local and sustainable vendors, and RECYCLE as much as you can!


Artwork by Eco Cajun friend and 2016 Official Festival International Artist, Denise Gallagher






Eco Cajun | The Earth Just Wants To Be Loved Ba-You! . All posts, content, graphics and photographs copyright 2009- Eco Cajun, unless otherwise credited. BLOG DESIGN BY Blogdessert .