In case you missed it, get tips on sustainable tailgating in this week's blog post!

Happy football season!


recycling touchdowns and sustainable tailgating

The University of Louisiana at Lafayette Office of Sustainability has been busy making an impact on campus. And combined with the recent upgrades to Cajun Field in time for the 2014 football season, recycling is now readily available for tailgaters and football fans! (And you can bet that I cheered when passing by Cajun Field this week and seeing the perimeter lined with tons of trash cans and recycling bins! FINALLY!)

Recycling and waste bins will be available at every (yes, EVERY) tailgating spot and in other high-traffic areas. Tailgating spots will have green recycling bins and blue trash bins. Inside the stadium, recycling materials go into red containers, while trash is collected in black bins.

UL Lafayette will determine the volume collected during home games this season to compete in the Game Day Challenge, a nationwide college recycling contest. So, the more you recycle, the better UL will do in the competition!

Now, on to tailgate time! I cannot WAIT to get out to Cajun Field before the game! Tailgating is one of my favorite parts of football. You always see tons of friends, there's so much good food (and everything smells so good!), everyone is wearing the same two colors, and the festive spirit in the air can't be beat. 

There are many ways can you be more sustainable on game day, no matter which school you're cheering for.

  • Skip driving your car. Parking is already a hassle, so carpool with others, ride your bike or arrange to get dropped off. My boyfriend and I love riding our bikes because it's easier and we can park closer to the stadium. 
  • Don't use styrofoam cups for your drinks! They are not recyclable and not biodegradable. Bring a plastic cup, or a stainless steel bottle (insulated keeps beer cold for a long time, just saying). Beer cans are recyclable and safer than bottles. 
  • Pack tailgating food in reusable containers instead of disposable.
  • Bring napkins and paper towels made with recycled materials
  • Choose disposable plates/silverware made with recycled materials. (Or go for compostable, plant-based party plates from Susty Party. I LOVE this red party pack for UL!)
  • Don't litter! Whether inside or outside the stadium, put trash where it belongs. And on the ground is NOT where it belongs.
Items that go in recycling: aluminum, paper (as long as it's not wet), plastic and cardboard. 

Items that don't go in recycling: food, styrofoam, plastic bags, wood, bottle caps, disposable plates/silverware.

Glass is sometimes accepted and sometimes not; it depends on who is providing recycling services. But for tailgating purposes, it's best not to have glass at all. If it breaks it can cause injuries or flat tires.

So, all you UL fans…don't forget to wear red on Friday for the Cajuns!

And for any college football fan, tailgate sustainably! FOOTBALL SEASON IS HERE!


motivation and recharging

Don't you hate when time seems to run away from you? The end of summer is already creeping up, and I sometimes wonder where it all went. Between a very hectic, scatterbrained summer at work, general feeling like poop sometimes, and getting a lot of things done that needed to be done, I feel a bit disconnected from my environmentalism goals and habits.

Granted, I still make sure to recycle everything I can, and I conserve energy like crazy. But I feel like there's more I should be doing, and I need to refocus to get myself back in the game. This summer has been spent de-hotmessing myself, and I'm starting to feel like I'm achieving that goal, so now it's time to move back to being greener. There are so many things still for me to do and write about, and I am going to get there!

I drink green tea every morning instead of coffee. I felt the beginnings of a scratchy throat this week, so I added some local honey to my tea, and included a drop of doTERRA lemon essential oil. It might be the best tea I've ever made, and now it's going to be my morning standard! I'm also excited to try essential oils as alternative therapy and plan to share my journey with y'all!

I've felt like my weekends have become full of staying home and doing housework. I do enjoy lounging around with my little family, especially after a long week, and I love the feeling of completing housework and having a clean house, dishes and clothes, but I feel a little old and boring when it's all I have to do. This morning I went out for coffee with a friend, and it felt like a good mental recharging. It helped to motivate me a bit more in doing new things for the blog. I might have to make Sunday morning coffee a more regular event. (I also can't wait for the weather to be more bearable around here so I can have Sunday morning coffee in the backyard!)

Speaking of recharging: floating in a pool for a couple hours with a beer on a hot afternoon. Thumbs up.

A friend recently moved into a new home and found a basket full of bath products that had been left behind. He offered them to me, so I rummaged through and salvaged the bottles (and a couple candles!) that were still good. Now we're well-stocked for when guests come, and I had a relaxing bath tonight!

Big things are happening soon, and I'm ready to strap in and go for the ride!

repair instead of replace!

The environmental motto Reduce, Reuse, Recycle really focuses on getting people to not be so wasteful. And when you put it into perspective, everyone's waste has to go SOMEWHERE. "Away" is not a magical black hole that sucks your trash into space. Out of sight for you, but not out of mind for others and the planet.

One way to reduce your trash is to repair things instead of replacing them. Of course, if something is broken beyond repair, then don't kill yourself trying to fix it. A vase that's shattered into 39294 pieces is really not going to be very functional glued together anyway. If there's only two or three broken pieces, then put it back together! (Oh gosh, and now Humpty Dumpty is stuck in my head!)

The biggest victims of being thrown out when broken are electronics. Now, the fact that electronics tend to be obsolete after a year is another rant and post in itself. But, whether it's new or old, a lot of broken electronics can be repaired. Sometimes you may need to replace a part, and sometimes you may have to call a professional, but it's better than throwing out and getting something new. (Read more on electronic waste!)  I've had success getting a cheap DVD player fixed, and it lasted another year after that!

And if you have a phone or Fitbit or tablet (or anything with a battery) that takes a swim, put it in rice immediately! It does help save your device from being ruined. (And I'm still mad that I lost my first Fitbit this way. Note to self: Keep more rice around!)

Got a shirt that still fits with a button that came off, or a hole somewhere? Grab a needle and some thread, or if you really can't sew, call someone who can! Repair your clothing before you toss it out and get new stuff. I am by no means a seamstress, but I am especially tired of skirts losing their hook-and-eye closures, or hems coming out of skirts or pants. Because I'd rather just fix it and be able to wear it again than be lazy and throw it in the donation pile, I'll pull out my needle and thread and do a (crappy) job repairing the issue.

Broken household items are also victims for being thrown out. When my boyfriend bought his house, I found a pile of trashed household items the previous owners had left out. I found a nice, unbroken soap dispenser that I rescued, washed in hot soapy water and let dry. We still have that soap dispenser around and I use it! Why throw it out!? I recently had a clog in another soap dispenser, but instead of getting rid of it, I just used a straightened paperclip to unclog it. Highly technical!

I get to practice repairing items a bit more often thanks to my rambunctious (a-hole) cat. I have a wooden necklace organizer that looks like a small coat rack, and one day he jumped onto the table and knocked it to the floor. One of the arms came off, and for awhile I just left it as is. But one day I got tired of having a jank necklace organizer, so I grabbed some superglue and fixed it back on. And if I remember correctly, that didn't hold long, so I had to use that nasty expanding Gorilla Glue. But now my organizer has all its arms and is holding my necklaces.

When it comes to blemishes on furniture, do a little research for how to best clean it. Wood glue can fix wobbly legs on tables and make them good as new. There are specialized wood scratch markers that can fill in tiny grooves. For couches and chairs, it depends on the material, but many fabrics can be spot cleaned. One step further, if it's really badly stained and won't come out, slip covers can work wonders, and can be machine washed. There are even ways to repair scratches on leather furniture!

If there's something you don't know how to repair, look it up online! YouTube has tons of how-to videos that can give you clear instructions with visuals.

phone apps to help you live greener

It's no secret - I love my phone. From keeping up with Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to actually making phone calls (!), I use it to stay in touch with family and friends. But I also use it to keep myself organized, or as I lovingly call it, de-hotmessing myself. These days, if I don't write something down, I won't remember it.

But I also want to stay as paperless as possible. And that's where my army of apps comes in. I use a few different apps to keep to-do lists, grocery lists, and work and personal commitments handy and in my face.

My favorite is Todoist. My company uses a web-based project management app, and I decided to look for a personal task management app to help me stay on top of Eco Cajun post content and scheduling. (Otherwise, y'all would seriously get posts once a month.) After doing some research, I chose Todoist and got cracking. I started off creating a project for Eco Cajun and adding tasks and due dates under it. And then I realized I needed to-do lists for all aspects of my life, and now Todoist functions as my personal organizer and mom telling me everything I need to do each day. (To be totally honest, I use it for household chores as well.) And it feeds my ego a bit, because when I've completed all of my tasks, it gives me reinforcement! The app syncs across the web, desktop apps and a mobile app/widget. Y'all. I love it. It saves so much paper and mess inside my purse trying to keep myself organized, plus I can't lose pieces of paper or forget them at home or work.

Google Keep is mainly my grocery/shopping list buddy, though it functions as more than just a list app. It's a very small tool built inside Google Drive, but it also syncs between the web and mobile versions. Best part? Checkboxes! I get the satisfaction of crossing items off my grocery list, without having to waste paper. I've used other grocery list apps, but didn't like them very much. And some apps aren't free! I am all about the free. (And PS, I totally use Pinterest to bookmark all my recipes, and then use the pins when it comes time to cook. It's way easier than printing tons of recipes out, and I don't spill food all over my phone, like I've done with paper recipes!)

Google Calendar also replaces needing to carry around a planner all the time and I use it for everything from work and civic commitments to important dates to remember to personal commitments to gym schedules. Phew! I'm tired just thinking about it.

Beyond organizational apps that sync across my phone and laptop and reduce the need for paper waste, there are apps dedicated to actually helping you be greener. I've found these through research, so I can't personally endorse how well they work! Check back in the future though. ;)

The EPA has a list of different types of green apps and includes platform and price information. They no longer update the list, but there's a pretty good database available.

GoodGuide helps you find safe, healthy, green, and ethical products while you're out shopping, allowing you to be an eco-conscious consumer. It's available for both iPhone and Android.

Locavore helps you find local, in-season food and guides you to nearby farmer's markets, allowing you to get fresh, local food without having to do a ton of research in advance. Farmstand is a similar app, but it's only for iPhone, while Locavore is for both platforms.

Oroeco is focused on helping you reduce your carbon footprintt. By entering your actions, the app can put a value on each to tell you how much it impacts the planet. From there, you can compare with others, or simply learn how to adjust your habits so you have a smaller impact on the environment (from using less paper towels to not burning off as much fuel.)

One Small Act is made by Practically Green and syncs between your desktop and phone. It turns environmentalism into a game and helps teach you how to live a greener lifestyle. You can also join projects and make pledges to change small habits.

GreenMeter helps to provide measurement and analyze building efficiency and energy consumption. It also tracks your progress toward meeting efficiency goals.

CommuteGreener is powered by Volvo and helps you find find alternative ways to commute to work. It seems to be limited to a few cities, but can be inspirational for people in any city to look for alternative options.

Rippl is a free app that sends weekly green living tips, helping you get into the habit of greener practices. Although I haven't used it, you could imagine it's like having a tiny me on your shoulder, tapping you each time I see where you could be doing something greener, from using cloth bags to not using paper towels. (Just what you dream of, I'm sure!)

And FYI, while there's no Eco Cajun app (YET! Uh ohhh...what did I just get myself into!?), this blog is mobile-friendly, so you can read me anywhere! And you can subscribe to receive blog posts via email, which I know you can receive on your phone! ;)

Do you use any green apps? Which ones are your favorite?


louisiana litter laws

If you're reading this blog today, I know you are not one of those Louisiana citizens who litters, right? RIGHT?

But, so you can help spread the message to the ones who do, let's recap Louisiana's litter laws!

Earlier this year, Governor Jindal signed a bill that includes cigarette butts in the official state litter roster. Why it wasn't included before is beyond me, since they are, by far, the worst litter offenders. But that's water under the bridge; at least it's included now!

So what does that mean for littering smokers? You can get fined for tossing butts out of your car, onto the sidewalk, or any public place that isn't a trashcan. Use a cigarette outpost or a trashcan.

What does that mean for the observant citizens who see someone littering butts (heh, butt littering)? You get to be the vigilantes to report the offense! Consider it your public service.

How do you report cigarette butt littering, or ANY public littering (fast food trash, cans, cups, paper, etc.) for that matter? Use the Louisiana State Litter Hotline: 1-888-LITRBUG // 1-888-548-7284, now run by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. I believe you then report when and where the offense occurred and a license plate number, if applicable.

Courtesy of, the fines for cigarette butt littering are:
  • First offense carries a $300 fine and eight hours of community service in a litter cleanup program. 
  • Second offense will cost $700 and require 16 hours of litter abatement/cleanup work.
  • Third offense violators could give up their driver’s licenses for a year, pay a $1,500 fine and have to perform 80 hours of litter abatement/cleanup. 
Some litter facts from LDWF:
  • Litter costs Louisiana taxpayers $40 million annually.
  • Litter takes time to biodegrade/break down. 
  • An orange peel takes six months, a plastic bag takes 10-20 years and paper 2-5 months. 
  • Cigarette butts are dangerous to wildlife and have been found in the stomachs of cats, dogs, birds and squirrels. 
  • The four most common litter items in Louisiana are cigarettes, fast-food packaging and candy/snack packaging and beverage containers.
  • Litter is a health risk to you and your pet as it attracts rodents, vermin and germs. 
  • Louisiana taxpayers pick up the bill to collect and dispose of litter, to enforce litter laws, to adjudicate litter violations, and to conduct anti-litter public information and education programs. 
  • Litter has indirect economic cost including real estate devaluation, loss of new industry and business, and loss of tourism and ecotourism, especially in the state that lays claim to being “Sportsman’s Paradise.”
And you can help clean up litter and use social media by Instagramming litter and captioning it with #littergram, courtesy of Keep Louisiana Beautiful.


natural remedies

When I'm not feeling well, I'll admit that I very much rely on medicine to help me get better. But in more mild instances, I'll choose a more natural method, which can help me get better and gives me peace of mind. Natural remedies don't rely on chemistry, but rather nature, to have positive effects on us and our bodies.

One of the most important natural remedies for general health is to drink enough water! It's a generally promoted rule to drink 64 ounces a day, but because everyone is different, so is everyone's required water intake. The more you drink, the better. But you can drink too much water. When you're out in the sun for a prolonged period of time, be sure to get electrolytes in your system along with enough water. Too much water and not enough electrolytes can have a negative effect on you. Ask my boyfriend, who can tell you about his saline IV drip after a music festival last summer.

And I've noticed that when I start to feel random ailments, drinking more water helps to get rid of headaches, sinus problems and general blah-ness.

Green tea is another great natural remedy. It has some caffeine, but not as much as coffee. Because I drink tea much more often than coffee, I can tell that green tea gives me a morning boost without the jitters that coffee gives me. And I get some of my daily water intake from my morning cups of green tea. Tea has many antioxidants and helps to reduce the risk of heart disease and may help reduce the risk of different types of cancer.

Vitamins are great, natural ways to get nutrients that your body needs, but that you may not get enough of through food. There is a huge variety of vitamins available that can help with just about anything you need. I regularly take a daily multivitamin, an iron supplement and hair/skin/nail vitamins with biotin. And let me tell you, hair/skin/nail vitamins work. When I switched to a vegetarian diet a few years ago, I noticed my nails were more brittle than ever before. After taking vitamins, I noticed how much stronger my nails were becoming. And my hair grows faster and is shinier. I recently began taking Ginkgo Biloba supplements in my process of de-hotmessing myself. (I didn't enjoy being more absent-minded and forgetful than I used to be!) So far it seems to be helping!

Next up: bruising. I tend to bruise very easily and regularly have mystery bruises. I'm sure it's due to diet and a lack of iron (a big reason I take iron pills and a daily multivitamin). A few years ago, I sustained a bruise I consider on the level of roller derby bruises, thanks to someone basically stepping on my leg. It took a solid month for traces of the bruise to go away. Fast forward to this summer in Hawaii, where I tripped and fell on a rocky hike and got another roller-derby-level bruise on my leg. (This follows the Caitlin Law of Luck…anything good is trumped by anything bad. In this case, amazing Hawaii tan trumped by giant mother of a bruise that can't be covered by shorts.)

I have been tired of the constant mystery bruises, I was not ready to give up my Hawaii tan to this thing, and previous natural remedy attempts have failed me. (Namely: Vinegar does not work. You'll just smell like salad dressing.) So, after this bruise, I looked up other natural bruise remedies. My search turned up bromelain and the arnica herb. Arnica comes in a cream or gel or tablet form.

I visited my local Vitamins Plus and asked which of the two was better at treating bruise discoloration. The guy said that arnica was much more popular and showed me the different forms it came in. I ended up getting a bottle of homeopathic Arnicare gel that also came with a tube of dissolvable oral tablets.

Now, think what you will about hippie-dippie homeopathic treatments, but I am 100% convinced the arnica gel sped up my bruise healing. Two weeks to the day after sustaining the bruise, I couldn't see any more traces of it on my leg. Cut the healing time in half!!

There's a whole world of natural and homeopathic remedies out there for whatever ails you. Instead of instantly reaching for the medicine cabinet, do a little research and find a natural alternative. You might be surprised how well something more natural works, and won't leave you with weird side effects!

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