Lafayette's first Zero Waste Week!

Thanks to the dedicated people working with No Waste Lafayette, May 16 -22 has been declared as the first local Zero Waste Week. The week will feature opportunities to learn about local zero waste efforts through in-person and virtual activities.  

 

No Waste Lafayette President Catherine Comeaux says, “Zero waste refers to the conservation of all resources by means of responsible production, consumption, reuse and recovery of products, packaging and materials without burning and with no discharges to land, water or air that threaten the environment or human health. Zero Waste Week will explore how Lafayette is already embracing this philosophy and opportunities for us all to do more.”

Each day of Zero Waste Week will focus on specific themes, and No Waste Lafayette is calling on residents, nonprofits, schools and businesses to participate in each day’s theme. These events provide a great opportunity to participate and learn more on sustainable ways of living, and show you how easy it can be to adopt zero-waste principles.

 

  • Sunday (5/16): Reconnect. Reconnect with nature and look for upstream solutions. Join us for a self-guided group paddle on Bayou Vermilion, starting at the canoe/kayak launch near Vermilionville at 2 p.m. RSVP on Facebook!
  • Monday: Rethink. Rethink your consumption and disposal habits. Consider new ways to avoid creating waste.
  • Tuesday: Reuse and Refill. Visit local thrift stores and businesses who help us work towards zero waste.
  • Wednesday: Reduce. Reduce food waste through growing and composting. Join us for a 3:30 p.m. tour at Bayou Vermilion District’s La Cuisine de Maman to learn about their Rocket food waste composter. RSVP on Facebook!
  • Thursday: Research. Join us for a virtual Zero Waste Happy Hour, where we will dig deeper into what it means to work towards zero waste. RSVP on Facebook!
  • Friday: Reject. Reject single-use disposables, especially those that are harmful to the environment, like Styrofoam and plastics. Have a Foam-Free Friday lunch, post a pic, tag No Waste Lafayette on Facebook or Instagram, and enter to win a prize.
  • Saturday: Repair.  Join us at the main Lafayette Public Library downtown from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. for a Fix It Event. Bring in your broken items and volunteer fixers will be repairing items and teaching us about how to reduce our waste through repair. RSVP on Facebook!


No Waste Lafayette was founded in 2017 and strives to educate the community on various zero waste methods in order to help with the reduction of unnecessary waste. The group's members are awesome examples of living sustainably, and have helped reduce waste in Lafayette through numerous fix-it cafes and community cleanups. 

 


 

Next week is sure to be fun and educational. Join in and participate in Lafayette's first Zero Waste Week!

Fresh Compost with Worm Lady Recycles

One of the best things you can do in support of a sustainable lifestyle is compost your food waste. It keeps a lot of waste out of landfills, and it helps your garden and yard thrive by providing plants with great nutrients. There are three types of composting - aerobic (air is used to help break down material quickly), anaerobic (oxygen is kept out) and vermicomposting (where worms come to play).

However, composting may not be feasible for everyone, especially for those with no space for a compost bin or yard to use it in. And composting may also not be a project you choose to take on. I am honestly in that camp - I love the concept of composting, and we have landscaping and potted plants, but I haven't set up a composting system for our house. And I honestly don't know that I want to take that on.


Photo via Worm Lady Recycles

Now, there are options available if you want to help reduce your waste or reap the benefits of compost, without doing all the work yourself. In the Acadiana area, Worm Lady Recycles is a small operation run by Taylor Vaughan with help from her husband, Eric. She collects food waste from residents and utilizes a vermicomposting process. Once the compost is ready, it's sold as worm castings or tea. The products can be used as a fertilizer in gardens and landscaping, providing nutrients and goodness for your plants. 

 

Photo via Worm Lady Recycles


Worm Lady Recycles partners with other local businesses, residents and schools, and Taylor provides education for those interested in learning more about the process. Mark your calendars for her Worm Workshop on May 16!


Worm Lady Recycles also recycles produce from Acadiana-area grocery stores. 


Worm castings and tea can be purchased online for local pickup or delivery, or you can shop in person at the Fightingville Fresh Market in Lafayette. Currently, worm castings are sold at $8 per pound and tea starts at $5 a gallon. Check her website for current pricing!


Photo via Worm Lady Recycles


Benefits of using worm compost products

  • Worm Lady Recycles' product is made from 100% recycled material from the Acadiana area.
  • Increase plant growth and yield more fruit.
  • Help prevent against some plant diseases.
  • Reduce run off of harmful chemicals into our water systems.
  • Most powerful natural fertilizer on the market.
  • Improve and build your soil.


Photo via Worm Lady Recycles

 

Items that can be recycled for composting

  • Coffee grounds
  • Most fruit and veggies
  • Paper egg cartons
  • Paper towel and toilet paper tubes
  • Brown paper bags and paper cupholders (grocery store and fast food bags)
  • Thin brown cardboard
  • Packaging paper

 

Items NOT accepted for recycling

  • Citrus
  • Onions
  • Meat
  • Dairy
  • Potatoes
  • Cooked food

 


Worm Lady Recycles also accepts plastic containers and buckets to use for packaging products. You are able to contribute containers for reuse, whether hard plastic half gallon and whole gallon buckets or juice bottles with twist tops. They are also currently looking to partner with local restaurants who would like to recycle different sized buckets/containers.


Drop-off locations (Drop off as you please; contact-free!)

Always open:

  • 206 Vivian Drive Lafayette, La. 70508 (gray bin is located near electricity pole)
  • 115 South College Road Lafayette, La. 70503 (bin is located behind playground fence)

Open specific hours:

  • Fightingville Fresh Market, 315 W Simcoe, Lafayette, La.
    Open Tuesdays 3-5pm and Saturdays 12-3pm. (You can also shop some of the products here!)
  • ​United Way of Acadiana, 215 E. Pinhook Road Lafayette, La.
    Gates are OPEN ONLY M-F 8am-4pm. (White box located next to United Way building entrance.)


Promotion!

Taylor also shared with me that starting this week through May 22, you can enter to win a free class and starter worm bin. Simply recycle paper products at one of the drop-off locations, post a photo of your action on Facebook or Instagram and and tag Worm Lady Recycles to be entered!


Contact/Visit

Email | Phone: 337-412-2653

Facebook | Instagram | Website

Prepping for a Second Baby - the Perks of Saved Items, Hand-Me-Downs and Secondhand Gear

One of the biggest perks of preparing for a second baby, especially one who's the same gender as your oldest child, is being able to reuse the majority of things you already have.


As our daughter grew out of clothing, toys and gear, we put it all in storage, knowing that we would eventually try for another child. When we were expecting Ariana, we took in a lot of secondhand clothing and gear, and we saved much of it. The items we're getting ready to use again are past the secondhand stage and are probably third- and fourth-hand by now. I wrote this blog post back in 2018 about all the secondhand items we had for Ariana.



I think baby clothing, toys and gear is the best category that practices use-it-and-pass-it-down. Thrift shops, resale shops and nonprofits count on donations/sales to offer gently used goods. And the family/friend/social media community tremendously supports selling/trading/loaning goods. Baby and kid items certainly add up quickly when purchased brand new (even secondhand), and it only makes sense to reuse it multiple times when they only get used for a few months.


Over the past two and a half years, I managed to pare down some of the excess that we'd collected, and we've donated or sold a good amount of clothing and a few pieces of gear that just took up a lot of space. Luckily, we've been able to replace just about all the gear at no cost through friends passing things along or loaning things to us.

 

It's certainly a relief this time around to know that most of what we need for a baby, we already have. I was about 33 or 34 weeks when we picked up the bassinet from my friend, and it was a huge sigh of relief to get it set up in the corner of our bedroom. The two baskets are also hand-me-downs and will be used to hold diapers/wipes and onesies/gowns/sleep sacks. I found another basket in storage that I'll reuse as a hamper.

 



One funny note about how pregnancy brain has been catching up to me: Over the past few weeks I've been getting the immediate items ready for Baby's arrival. I washed everything in the NB/0-3 month container and put some away in the nursery and some in a basket in our room. I've also got 95% of my hospital bag packed. One evening I was recalling a specific newborn-size onesie that I loved, and realized it wasn't in the drawer or basket with clothing. I was starting to wonder if I'd accidentally donated or sold it, until it dawned on me around 11:00 one night to check my hospital bag...where it was safely packed! (Pregnancy: when you can't remember a number of important things, but you get hung up on the whereabouts of one tiny onesie.)

 

New-to-us items that we've purchased secondhand, received as a hand-me-down or been loaned for our new baby:

  • Double stroller
  • Infant bathtub
  • Bassinet for our room
  • Infant clothing/shoes/additional sleep sacks
  • Glass bottles
  • Storage bags for pumped milk
  • Mamaroo Rockaroo


When it comes to getting our home ready for our newest addition, I would have to say we are decidedly more laissez faire than we were when preparing for Ariana, haha. I insisted on having the nursery decorated and complete before she was born. Currently, we are planning to keep Ariana in the nursery while the baby will be sleeping in a bassinet in our room.


After a few months, we'll move Ariana into our bigger guest bedroom, aka her big girl room slash playroom, and the baby will move into the nursery. I'm not exactly in a rush to move Ariana into a real bed, but she tends to handle transitions better than I anticipate. 

 

We've been making steady progress to update the room before Ariana moves in, from having the room painted, to hanging curtains, to putting up art and getting a new rug. We plan to update the bed frame so it's lighter and more feminine. We've repurposed art and other pieces from around the house, although we've bought a few new things to make the space fresh.


The nursery will more or less remain the same, which is certainly a weight off our shoulders. I love the design of the nursery as much as I did when we were putting it together, and didn't want to see it change. This blog post from 2018 details a lot of our eco-friendly items in the nursery, all of which we still use!


And so now, we soak up our time as a family of three and await the arrival of Baby Sister. Now that it's February, the countdown is officially on!


Tiptoeing into 2021

Between Christmas and New Year's Day each year, I always feel the urge to start fresh and get a burst of inspiration to set out my goals and resolutions for the upcoming year.


This year? Not so much!

 


I'm certainly feeling the desire to organize and I do feel ready for something fresh, but I'm also going into this new year full of trepidation. I'm not feeling inspired to put together a grand list of goals, and I think there's a beauty in that approach as well. Rather than attempting to start big, I'm going for a smaller approach. No actual resolutions. Who knows what 2021 will throw at us?

 

 

And first of all, let's get real here. My true goal for 2021 is to figure out life as a mother of two and a family of four. We are eight weeks away at most from meeting our second daughter. I've dedicated January to working on my "new baby punch list" - from getting our newborn clothes out of storage and into the washing machine, to packing my hospital bag to preparing a few freezer meals.

 


I'm anticipating my second experience with a newborn and seeing how my toddler interacts with her baby sister. I wrote a blog post a few weeks back on the things I'm looking forward to doing differently this time around.

 

My focus is definitely on my family in this upcoming year, and part of that includes prioritizing my own self care and health so that I can really be present for this next chapter of our lives.


I would love to figure out how I can re-energize my blog and find a system that encourages me to write and post a bit more regularly. As my day-to-day life has changed over the past few years, it's certainly harder for me to get out and get involved in community events or activities, which has of course made it more difficult to find new things to write about. But there's certainly much that can be shared about eco-friendly lifestyle no matter what your stage in life is.

 

2020 certainly tested us all, and there's a lot that kept me from feeling like a decent version of myself for much of the year. But even with the setbacks,  unknowns and constantly changing plans, we've made it here, to the end of the year. I'm grateful for our health, this pregnancy and for the ability to accomplish some big projects at home.


I desperately hope that in 2021, we see a return to some semblance of normalcy. But I'm okay with tiptoeing into the new year with a plan of taking things day-by-day. We may not be setting any grand travel plans or hopes for epic family memories, but no matter what, memories will be made!

Tips for Holiday Shopping This Year

You can count me in the group of people who started decorating for and celebrating Christmas extra early this year. My desktop tree went up in my office the first week of November, and my husband and I started decking our halls that first weekend. We're excited to go pick out a Christmas tree this weekend and really have the house looking festive.

 


With the past few months feeling extra heavy, November has turned out to be a good month full of holiday cheer. I'm not ashamed in how much Christmas music I've listened to and how many Christmas movies we've watched so far. We've taken our Christmas card photos and they've already been printed and delivered (thank you, Paper Culture). Excited to mail them out next week!


Beyond the decorating, I've started my Christmas shopping earlier than usual this year, and it's been nice to feel a little ahead of the game! Although I've made a few online purchases so far, my goal for the majority of our gifts for family and friends is to shop small and local businesses.


The annual Small Business Saturday, happening this Saturday, November 28, is an extra important reminder to support your favorite locally owned small businesses and online small business vendors. Especially after all the challenges this year, so many entrepreneurs and business owners are struggling to remain open, and the Christmas shopping season may well be a deciding factor on some being able to stay open.


Take advantage of extra shopping options that many businesses are offering, like delivery or curbside pickup. This is one thing I actually wouldn't mind if businesses kept permanently! Before going to shop in person, check a business' website or Facebook page, or give them a call to see if their store hours are different than normal. And of course, when shopping in person, please wear your mask and respect social distance.

 

 

 

 

Ariana had a fun time checking out a few local business storefronts recently, even running toward the wine shop. Hint: This year is an excellent year to gift bottles of wine to family and friends! (And surprisingly, I do not have a countdown going yet to drinking my first glass of wine since June!)


If you choose to shop a small online business, check order deadlines to ensure delivery by Christmas, especially if you are looking at something personalized or customized. Shipping delays have been a little extra crazy lately, so definitely reach out to a shop's owner or customer service department if you have any questions.


One small business spotlight: For any moms of girls, Well Worn Bows is a great online shop to check out! The owner uses vintage, thrifted and reclaimed fabrics to make bows, headbands and scrunchies. It's fun to know that your bows had a previous life, and that your girl has a unique accessory to wear.


 

Although I typically prefer to give and receive tangible gifts rather than gift cards, they are a great way to support many local businesses and restaurants and allow your friends and family to do some of their own shopping or dining throughout the next few months. One of my favorite things to do is build a gift off of a gift card. For example, if you give someone a gift card to a local restaurant, include a bottle of wine from a local wine shop, a pretty pair of candles from a local gift shop, or even a couple sets of reusable utensils from an eco-friendly shop for an outdoor picnic. It could inspire your gift recipient to really create a date night at home.


 

It's hard to put together a truly comprehensive list of Lafayette-based businesses (because pregnancy brain is real and this year has knocked me sideways!) but you can peruse my recently updated guide to sustainable shopping in Acadiana as inspiration for your eco-friendly holiday shopping.


I hope everyone has a very safe, healthy and peaceful Thanksgiving this year!

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