Plastic Free July

Today kicks off the annual Plastic Free July movement, which aims for millions of people to be part of the solution to plastic pollution, enabling us to have cleaner streets and oceans and beautiful communities.

This year is the 10th year for the movement that has now inspired over 250 million participants in 177 countries, according to Plastic Free July's Facebook page.

It’s not about being perfect (there is no failing with Plastic Free July) but rather starting by looking at the plastics in your life (look inside your bin, fridge or pantry) and choosing to refuse one single-use plastic.

https://www.facebook.com/PlasticFreeJuly/photos/a.249328958515547/3241407319307681/?type=3&theater

I shared this in a blog post from 2018 about Plastic Free July:

Did you know that every piece of plastic that has ever been created still exists in some form on our Earth today? Despite recycling efforts, only 9% of that plastic ends up in new products.

Think about that, and think back on all of the single-use plastic you've used in the past. The toothbrushes you used as a child still exist, even if you threw them away 25 years ago. That Styrofoam takeout container from a restaurant 10 years ago is still around somewhere, whether it's in a landfill or somewhere out in nature. The thousands of straws you've used over the years are all still on this planet. Plastic doesn't biodegrade, it photodegrades, which means it breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces, either in a landfill or out in the world as litter and pollution.


Here are some ways to be plastic-free this month (and after that!):
  • Use reusable shopping bags
  • Use reusable produce bags
  • Shop at your local farmer's market if it's open, and skip the plastic bags (but don't forget your mask)
  • Use reusable straws, or skip the straw altogether
  • Make coffee at home
  • Use glass food storage containers instead of Ziploc bags and plastic wrap
  • Consider purchasing items in cardboard packaging rather than plastic packaging (like toothbrushes)
  • Buy canned drinks instead of bottled
  • Avoid products with plastic microbeads (like face washes)
  • Ask a restaurant not to include plastic utensils with your to-go order (although plastic and Styrofoam food containers are being used more widely as restaurants do more takeout orders, it is so important to support our businesses. Order your food, but skip the unnecessary extras.)

I'll be sharing more about my favorite ways to be plastic-free throughout the month, with a focus on ways that don't have to cost extra money.

I'd love to see some of the plastic-free swaps you make this month!


Guide to Shopping Sustainably in Acadiana

Over my years of blogging, one of the things I've enjoyed most is seeing more businesses come to Acadiana that focus on sustainability in some way. It's encouraging to see more demand for secondhand goods, locally made goods and waste-free shopping!

So today, I'm rounding up a guide to shopping sustainably in Acadiana! Whether you live here or plan to visit when it's more safe, this can help you find a place to start if eco-friendly shops are something you value. Many of these businesses I've written about before, so click on their name to read the post! Scroll to the end to find a custom Google map as well.

Note: This list doesn't include restaurants, as I'm working on putting together a separate guide that highlights local restaurants that use compostable takeout products and/or source local ingredients.

Guide to Shopping Sustainably in Acadiana


SugarWolf Outdoor Exchange

Sans Paquet

Hub City Cycles

I am combining these three shops because they share a space in Downtown Lafayette, making it a great one-stop eco-friendly shop. SugarWolf Outdoor Exchange is a new consignment store for outdoor gear and clothing, Sans Paquet is a package-free shop where you can find beauty goods and household items, all plastic-free. You are encouraged to bring your own containers. And Hub City Cycles, which recently moved from their previous location downtown, sells and repairs bicycles - an essential for eco-friendly transportation and exercise.



Deuxieme Vie Creative

This newer shop downtown is a great place for secondhand arts and crafts materials, and throughout the pandemic, they've been sharing Facebook Live craft hours. They also used to open on Saturday evenings during ArtWalk and will resume once ArtWalks are on the calendar again.


Clothing Loft

Clothing Loft is a locally owned consignment shop for women's and kid's clothing and shoes. I've written about them before because they're a great option for eco-friendly formal gowns, although many formal events are on hold right now.

Clothes Mentor

Once Upon a Child

Plato's Closet

While these three stores are national brands, they're locally owned franchises and great sources of clothing and accessories for babies, children, teenagers and adults.
 

Baby & Me Boutique

ARC of Acadiana

LARC Beads n More 

Habitat for Humanity ReStore

All of these local resale shops benefit nonprofit organizations, so you can give back while you shop!

Hub City Farmer's Market

Lafayette Farmers and Artisans Market

Earthshare Gardens

For instant shopping from local farmers and vendors, visit a local farmers market! I included the two in Lafayette here, but you can find a list for Louisiana here.

Earthshare Gardens is not a farmers market, but it is a community garden that you can become a part of each season and enjoy the fresh produce!

Vermilionville

St. Landry Parish Visitor Center

While these are not strictly shops, they are great attractions in the area that spotlight Acadian living and eco-friendly principles. Vermilionville is operated by Bayou Vermilion District, and they do have a gift shop where you can find unique Acadiana goods.


Tee Tiny House

When you're done with shopping, spend a night or two in a custom-built tiny house north of Lafayette!


Lafayette Public Library

Always an excellent resource for books, movies and magazines! Friends of the Library typically holds a used book sale each year, although they haven't said anything about the Fall sale yet.

Bonus: No Waste Lafayette

No Waste Lafayette is a local organization focused on zero-waste efforts. They have held many Fix It Cafes, which are such a great resource for the community. There are none currently on the schedule, but the group is still holding virtual monthly meetings. If you'd like to learn more or get involved, join in on a meeting!





If there's a shop that I've missed, let me know in the comments and I'll update the guide!

Our Night in a Tiny House

My husband and I have imagined for years what it might be like to live in a tiny house. We follow tiny home accounts on Instagram and have chats about what features we would want in our ideal tiny home. Mind you, most of this was before we had a baby.



Although I know that we won't be trading our home for a tiny home anytime soon (maybe once we're empty nesters and/or retired), we have still been curious about what it would be like to have one.

A couple years back, I introduced y'all to Tee Tiny Houses, an Acadiana-based tiny house builder, and gave y'all a tour of their first construction. Since then, they have turned the home into an AirBNB located in Sunset, Louisiana.

 

The owner, Cherie, and manager, Jamie, were so kind to let us spend a night at the home to check it out and see what it's like. We made our plans and took a one-night staycation not long before Coronavirus shut everything down and our governor implemented a stay-at-home order. Looking back, it really was nice to have a night out before many, many nights in.



Earth Day at Home

Happy Earth Day, everyone! This year marks the 50th anniversary of the movement, and the celebration is going digital. I'm celebrating at home and on social media, and it's been a welcome change of pace to see my news feeds filled with photos of nature and graphics that feature the environment.




Love the Boot Week

We have officially made it to Love the Boot Week! Spearheaded by Keep Louisiana Beautiful and kicking off today, the week is all about celebrating both the state of Louisiana and our environment.


A big part of Love the Boot Week involved cleanup and beautification events planned throughout the state. Following the state's stay-at-home orders and health guidelines, all physical events were canceled.

However, Keep Louisiana Beautiful is keeping the spirit of the week alive and has planned challenges and virtual activities to help everyone feel connected to one another and our communities.

There are many ways you can celebrate Love the Boot Week and Earth Day from the safety of your home and through social media - I share some of them in my column for the Times of Acadiana!

“Love the Boot Week is Louisiana’s unique way to engage all citizens to show love and respect for their home, city, parish and state,” said Casey Rudolph, development and communications manager for Keep Louisiana Beautiful.

The organization has shared their first challenge for the week on their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram: Share a photo of your favorite reusable drink bottle to spotlight the importance of reusable versus disposable bottles! Use the hashtag #LoveTheBoot to participate when you post.

There will be a new challenge each day, so follow Keep Louisiana Beautiful to find out what they are!

Since we've been home for the past month, using reusable bottles and cups has been extremely easy. We've been going for near-daily walks and bike rides, and I always make sure to bring a reusable bottle for both Ariana and me. We enjoy the sunshine and fresh air, and I've picked up litter a few times as I'd come across it.


Last week, we joined a neighbor friend for a social distancing wine and walk. We stick to opposite sides of the road, but get to chat and fit in 30 minutes of exercise with our children. It's all fun and games until your toddler insists on standing up in a moving wagon!


CHEERS to a positive Monday and a great Earth Day this week! I hope you all stay safe and keep your head up.
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