Photo Friday: Thinking Ahead for PARK(ing) Day

PARK(ing) Day is happening across the country and around the world on Friday, September 15, and Lafayette is getting in on the fun!

PARK(ing) day is an annual open-source global event where citizens, artists and activists collaborate to temporarily transform metered parking spaces into public “PARK(ing)” spaces. A handful of Downtown Lafayette metered parking spaces will be transformed into interesting, vibrant public spaces.

ReCover Acadiana is organizing the event in partnership with Lafayette Consolidated Government, the Downtown Development Authority, Downtown Lafayette Unlimited, and the Downtown Lafayette Restaurant and Bar Association.

Reducing Plastic on a Larger Scale

Last month, beloved local restaurant Tsunami Sushi announced on Facebook that they are adopting a no-straw policy in all three of their locations: Lafayette, Baton Rouge and New Orleans. The announcement garnered a lot of activity and a lot of excitement from zero-waste fans on social media.

They cited the amount of single-use straws that kill marine life as one of the factors in their decision...and it's a fitting factor considering the amount of seafood Tsunami serves every single day. The restaurant says they're more motivated by the long-term impact on the environment than any potential cost savings that come from reducing the number of straws they go through (a savings they mention is insignificant.)

You might be wondering why it matters for a restaurant in South Louisiana to worry about its waste while citing the amount of trash in the ocean. No, we're not geographically near the Atlantic or Pacific, but since everything is connected, straws that we throw out or that become litter can end up in the Atlantic.

If it's on the street in Lafayette, it can get swept into a storm drain during a summer thunderstorm. It then travels to the coulees, then Bayou Vermilion. From there, it can get emptied into the Gulf of Mexico, and eventually float out to the ocean. (Props here to Bayou Vermilion District for their daily river cleanups...I can't imagine how much litter would end up in the Gulf if it weren't for those guys!)

And it's understandable that you might want a straw for your drink - I have sensitive front teeth and can't handle iced drinks without a straw! If you do rely on having a straw, I recommend investing in a set of reusable straws that you can carry around with you. They are very inexpensive and easy to carry in your car or purse.

My husband and I visited one weekend recently for a lunch date and enjoyed our iced green teas without plastic straws. I had my reusable straw on hand, and my husband went completely straw-free.

The restaurant also says that most customers have applauded and embraced the switch. However, they will still provide plastic straws at the customer's request.

I know a few local restaurant owners, and I follow many locally owned restaurants on social media, so I'd like to challenge everyone - will you make the choice to give out straws only on demand in your restaurants? Can we help South Louisiana reduce its single-use straw trash?

As patrons, no matter where you go out to eat, order your drink specifically without a straw. My habit these days is to order "Water no straw, please." (It's not 100% successful in me not receiving a straw anyway, but I'm getting there!) The more often people request it, the more it may become habit for waitstaff to remember.

Photo Friday | Small Efforts

Last week, we went to an annual potluck gathering thrown by a group of our friends. It's an evening we always look forward to, because it always guarantees a lot of delicious food.

This time, I thought harder about being eco-friendly when it came to our supplies. Paper plates and plastic cups are always provided (I can't recall seeing any styrofoam plates or cups for the past few events), but I remembered that I had a few of plant-based plates in our cabinet, so I packed a few for Phillip and myself. These World Centric plates are made from wheat straw, a leftover agricultural fiber and an annually renewable resource.

I grabbed some of my stash of Susty Party compostable forks and knives, and brought two cloth napkins, so we wouldn't have to use paper ones.

The drinks we brought were in cans, so we brought them all home for recycling.

I brought my dish in one of the ceramic casserole dishes we received as a wedding gift, so it was nice to put it to good use!

The food was amazing, and we were stuffed as usual. I left feeling good that even though I used disposable items, I used ones that are more responsible and eco-friendly. It's a small effort, but it's a positive effort!

Celebrating National Farmers Market Week

Happy National Farmers Market Week, everyone! Celebrated annually during the second week of August, the week highlights the important role farmers markets play in the nation’s food system. This year marks the 18th year the Farmers Market Coalition and USDA put the spotlight on farmers markets and their impact to our communities.

Green Business Spotlight | Sapovela

One of my favorite things about social media is the ability to discover small and/or local eco-friendly and natural businesses. It's how I discovered Sapovela last year, and after following them for a bit, I picked up a bar of their Raspberry Mango scented soap at the farmer's market earlier a few months back.

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