ol' four-eyes

Confession time: I have terrible vision. I have worn glasses since I was 10 and contacts since I was 20. And the idea of laser surgery terrifies the hell out of me, so with contacts I am stuck.

And of course, every year when I would get a new prescription, I would have to get a new pair of glasses, leaving me with a collection of old glasses.

What to do with them? Obviously, they're still functional!


a greener caffeine fix

Ch-ch-checkin' my new year's resolutions off, one by one! A new regular feature on Eco Cajun, I said?

Well, welcome to What's the Alternative to...?! Each week, I'll look at the more eco-friendly alternative to many common items a lot of us use.

I'll kick things off this week with one of everyone's favorite inventions.


super sustainable for the big game

Personally, I've been over this football season since regular season ended. My Saints were...something this year. Out of my misery, I haven't followed up with any playoff games yet. For what it's worth, I'm still bitter over the Seahawks pounding the Saints in playoffs three years ago, and Boston is one of my soul cities. And I've got a soft spot for Patriot Place and Gillette Stadium. Sooo....



Who are you cheering for? (Just please don't say Katy Perry.)


recycle in ALL the rooms!

So, if you recycle at home, you probably have a bin next to your main trashcan inside. And you probably remember to recycle your cans, water bottles and junk mail.

But what about other rooms? Especially the bathroom? Do you remember to recycle your shampoo bottles or shave gel cans? You may not want to walk your recyclables all the way to your main recycling bin, so why not put a small recycling bin in each room of your house?

You're much more likely to remember recyclable materials if you have a separate bin by the trashcan. Just remember to wash out shampoo bottles or other containers before recycling. Put in a bin in your children's bedrooms to teach them recycling habits. Use a bin in your home office for extra papers.

You might be surprised how much more you'll recycle once you make it easy in any room of your home instead of just one!

how do i recycle old tennis shoes?

Eco Cajun friend Skyra recently asked, "Any ideas on sustainable ways to reuse or recycle old shoes that are too worn for donation? The only company I know that does it is Nike, but are are there other ways to reuse old shoes?"

Great question, Skyra! I'm happy to do some research and find some options for you.

Depending on the brand, your favorite running shoes are mostly made up of natural and synthetic rubbers and synthetic foam, which is primarily composed of polyurethane and ethylene vinyl acetate. The upper portion is usually mesh or natural or synthetic leather. Both rubber and polyurethane can be reclaimed and reused, and manufacturing with reclaimed rubbers and foams is often more energy-efficient and much less expensive than using virgin material.


goodbye, sky blue

Just a brief post today to reinforce the importance of shopping local. In the past few weeks, Lafayette lost a great, eco-friendly business, Sky Blue. Featured in my Parc Lafayette Shopping Guide, Sky Blue sold lots of vintage and repurposed vintage clothing and jewelry. They also have cute, durable burlap reusable shopping bags.

It's sad to see local businesses close up shop, especially ones that promote sustainability. When you support local businesses, you know exactly who you're supporting, and you know your money is staying in your local economy. Many of these local business owners start because they are passionate about it.

Thank you, Sky Blue, for your years of great vintage style, and thank you for everything I've purchased. From handmade pouches to rings to jeans to tops to pants to boots and flats, I wear my Sky Blue purchases very often. I may not have ever tried mustard yellow jeans before, but they have been one of my favorite pairs of pants. I'll continue to use my Sky Blue bag as my de facto briefcase every day.


how do i recycle cooking oil?

Reader Joy asked, "Any suggestions for recalling cooking oil? I have been calling around Lafayette for the past year and no one can tell me how to dispose of it and I have like 3 gallons of it in my storage because I don’t know what to do with it."

First things first, why should you never pour grease and cooking oil down your sink drain? If you've seen grease and cooking oil a couple days later, you know that gross gel-ish solid form it turns into. You don't want that in your drains, and the sewer system doesn't need that.



stay eco, my friends

I write this blog, not for selfish intentions, but to share my knowledge, research and personal green journey in the hopes that it will inspire others to make changes in their own life. I started Eco Cajun as a very simple blog in March 2009, as a hobby that would help me escape the stress of my job. 

From my very first post, oh so long ago:
I made an active decision for 2008 to focus on being environmentally friendly. I'm very happy with the things I accomplished that year, even if just on a personal level, and I've continued that goal into 2009.

The environment is my passion. This space is all about my thoughts, my practices and things I learn in an effort to restore this planet to its natural beauty. 
At times over the years, even lately, I've debated whether I wanted to continue writing. Not because of a lack of passion, but sometimes from wondering if I was making a difference or even being read. I've doubted my own skills or interesting-ness on many occasions. I did stop writing for two years, but back in 2012 I felt drawn to returning to my little space and working at it even harder. So I started back, redesigned the entire page, bought a domain and threw myself anew into my side project. I pushed myself to continue even when my full-time job demanded most of my time, brain and energy; even when I doubted my blogging efforts.

And now I get it. I'm seeing the fruits of not giving up. One of my personal mottoes is "everything happens for a reason". Last October, my city's mayor honored me with a Project Front Yard award. I was selected to join the board of Keep Lafayette Beautiful. When I interviewed for my current job as a marketing writer, I talked about my blog as a personal writing project. So so many good things have happened in the past six months, and Eco Cajun has been a part of many of them. The hard work is paying off and pushing me to keep going. I've had tons of ideas pouring out of my head into my notebook.

A lot of my inspiration has been fueled by being featured as one of Acadiana LifeStyle's Most Interesting People in Acadiana in the January 2015 issue. WHAAAT!? Little old me!?

What I love about being included in Acadiana LifeStyle's list is being among the company of seven other extremely passionate people. Each of them are passionate in their area, whether it's music, volunteering, community activism, religion, art, education or community service. As one of the other recipients says, “We all have talents; you just have to want to do it.

And everyone has the common goal of making Acadiana a better place. If any of us can inspire others in the community to take action (however someone might choose to), then we've accomplished something. Acadiana is being recognized for tons of amazing things, from Lafayette being a top college town, to having the best free music festival, to having the best food (preach), and it's up to all of us to keep the community as good as it can be.

I cannot say thank you enough to all of you who read this or follow and interact with me on social media. I do it for y'all, honestly! I've made so many awesome friends through blogging. And I'm honored by everyone who contacts me with questions or their own personal stories.

One of my grade school friends and current neighbors called recently asking if she could put some of her recycling overflow in our bin. I'm like the savior to homeless recycling (especially when I bring home my department's bag of recycling, like I'm Santa Claus or something).

Another friend called to ask me about plastic bag bans in Louisiana, and how she could start the process to try to implement one. I've been asked about recycling at local apartment complexes, how to recycle cooking oil and where to bring composted material. I love this kind of feedback...and expect to see posts on all of these topics!

My ultimate goal is to inspire this kind of environmentalism and change in my community (and in YOUR community, wherever you are!) I want you to take away something from my posts that causes you to take an action, whether you conserve more energy, use less plastic, recycle more, start recycling, ride a bicycle...or whatever!

If I can stress it again, if you are doing something you are passionate about, but feeling discouraged, do not give up. Keep going! It can feel slow sometimes, but you will find your validation.

eco southern belle

"You know you have an effect on me when I have the 'eco-friendly' vs. 'southern proper' debate of sending you a thank-you card by mail."

Literally the only times I receive thank-you cards are following wedding or baby showers, when it's really expected of the guest of honor to send them. So receiving a gorgeously hand-written thank-you card from Michelle of Dixie Lust Blog this week following our New Year's Eve game night was a very pleasant surprise.

She closed it with the above PS that made me laugh, but it got me thinking. Much of what I write for Eco Cajun focuses on the small changes you make to go greener in your life. For example, if you love to send handwritten thank-you notes, you don't have to send an email just for the sake of being green. You can start smaller if you choose.


ringing in 2015 eco cajun style

Three years ago, my boyfriend and I celebrated our first New Year's Eve together in New York City, at a swanky bar on Madison Avenue. This year, our night wasn't quite as legen-wait for it-dary, but it makes me happy just as much. We stayed in at the house he bought last year and that we now live in together, and we had a few friends over for a backyard bonfire and three rousing hours of champagne-fueled Cards Against Humanity. It was the perfect way to ring in the new year.


And how did we do at throwing an eco-friendly New Year's Eve soiree?


eco cajun resolutions for 2015

I can just feel it. 2015 is going to be a big year. Between having big ideas for Eco Cajun and turning 30 in June, I want to make it a standout year. But no pressure on myself or anything!

I've already started my Countdown to 30 list, but why not add to the challenge with some eco new year resolutions?

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