reduce, reuse, recycle

You know that classic mantra, "reduce, reuse, recycle." It's catchy, and it explains all the ways you can avoid throwing something in the trash.

But, have you thought about why it's in the order it's in? While all three ways are better for the environment than trashing something, reducing or reusing should be your first priorities.

For example, you may justify using three plastic water bottles a day by saying you recycle your bottles - but it's better overall to reduce your waste by choosing a reusable water bottle that saves on disposable plastic.


soft clothes, minus the static and the chemicals

Dryer sheets make your clothes smell good and help reduce static electricity. But in order to function that way, they're loaded with chemicals, including toluene, styrene and phenol, which can cause acute respiratory tract inflammation and irritation, according to an Anderson Laboratories study. And that's in addition to aggravating some people's skin, especially if you're sensitive to synthetic dyes and perfumes. And it's not cool when your clean clothes cause you to break out or get a rash.

There are better and more natural ways to get soft, static-free clothes! 


and i'm like, forget trash can

When you spend a large chunk of your time at your office, it's important to remember to be green there as well as at home. And it's easy to make small changes to be greener during your 8-5. From printing less, printing double-sided and using a real coffee mug, you can cut down on a LOT of trash every week.

In my office, everyone has their own trash can. It always has a liner, so when the cleaning crew picks up our trash, they leave a fresh liner. Even if there's literally one tissue or yogurt lid. And most of the time, that's all I have.


where can i recycle mardi gras beads?

The last parade has rolled, the fair is packing up and Lent is here. Mardi Gras is over for another year, except for one nagging thing...

That damn pile of Mardi Gras beads somewhere in your house or car. What can you do with them without having to throw them away?


happy valentine's day!

Happy Valentine's Day to my favorite person, my best friend and my love. Thank you for putting up with my craziness! I hope we are each other's valentines for many years to come. We've got many more bike rides and adventures in our future!

Photo by Kora Bruce Creative.

Wrapping up the second PlanLafayette week

The second annual PlanLafayette week has come to a close. The week serves as a progress report for the Lafayette Comprehensive Plan, to show the public how particular projects follow the plan, and to give a preview of upcoming projects.

You can view PlanLafayette's progress report to see what was done in 2014 and what is currently underway.

And what about all those events?


take it to go

Doggy bags, to-go boxes, take-out, leftovers...whatever you call them, chances are, there's styrofoam involved.

And in case you need a reminder, while most styrofoam has a recycling number on it, many cities and recycling companies do not accept it (Lafayette included). Styrofoam does NOT biodegrade, meaning your to-go box will be sitting in that same landfill a hundred years from now. It's a major component of overall litter, and it can kill animals who may mistake it for food.

Is it worth it?

(Let me work it!)



don't trash mardi gras!

Laissez les éco temps rouler!

That's how it goes right? Let the eco times roll?

Mardi Gras is one of my favorite times to be in south Louisiana. Even with the barricades making traffic hell for a week and a half, the air is just livelier during that time. Everyone is a bit more excited, and you'll see purple, green and gold as far as the eye can see.

You can choose to enjoy the parades (from the traditional King's Parade to the dog parade to the children's parade to the plethora of small-town parades), the festival at Cajun Field with rides and bands, all the king cake your body can handle and all the beads you can physically catch and carry.

It's most certainly a time of exuberant excess.

And unfortunately, that excess also extends to trash and litter.

It's bad enough when the floats leave behind a Hansel and Gretel trail of plastic bags, busted cardboard loops, broken beads and stray bouncy balls, but when you add the thousands of parade goers who leave behind food wrappers, beer cans and random other questionable things, we end up with a huge mess on our hands.

Mardi Gras does NOT have to be so trashy! Read on to get the Eco Cajun Mardi Gras checklist and find out just how you can keep the green in purple, gold and green!


project front yard | krewe of rio parade cleanup 2.7.15

Also known as:
Back Dat Trash Up
Show Me Your Trash
All About That Trash

This year, Project Front Yard kicked off the first initiative to create a cleaner Mardi Gras in Lafayette. With the first big parade to roll down the streets, the Krewe of Carnivale en Rio, a group of about 25 volunteers tied up their sneakers and gathered behind the last float armed with trash bags and a trailer. The mission? Walk the route, pick up as much trash from the parade as possible, pick up parade-goers' trash that would otherwise have been litter, and inspire the community to leave less waste behind.

Yes, the street sweepers do clean up the parade route, but they do not get a lot of the trash on the sides of the street, nor do they recycle anything.

Our group was gathered at the start of the parade route for about an hour before the parade rolled, so we had some time to clean up the initial float trash - mostly boxes that held beads, plastic bags that held beads, beer cans, daiquiri cups and jello shot cups. Along the entire 3.9 mile route, I found that the worst litter was from the floats before they even started rolling. It was a sea of trash, and it felt like we barely even made a dent. The awkward part is cleaning up the trash while the riders are on the float getting ready to go. But I don't think half of them even noticed us. Case in point? I was minding my business picking up boxes and plastic bags when I felt beer land on my head. Not a can...just liquid beer. Another rider apologized for the person who spilled it, but it just served as an example of the carelessness that happens at Mardi Gras.

Once we got started, we turned our cleanup focus on the small plastic bags in the street that would probably fly away before the street sweepers got there, and on the Mardi Gras beads, broken or not. LARC, a local organization, accepts Mardi Gras beads and has their residents work on fixing the strands and then reselling them in future years. All the beads the Project Front Yard crew picked up will be donated to LARC instead of being thrown away.

And we picked up A LOT of beads. (Super factual statistic there.) At least a few hundred pounds' worth. Beads that never even made it to the parade-goers behind the barricades.

It was a long walk, and all our legs hurt like a motha' today, but we all had a really great time. Before the last float's generator died, we had music while we walked and cleaned up, which made us get real silly. Our Project Front Yard sandwich sign guy, Blake, did the Macarena in the style of the Katy Perry Left Shark. Who knew picking up trash (and not getting paid for it) could be so entertaining!? We filled up our Project Front Yard trailer before we even left, thanks to the float trash, so we emptied as much as we could at dumpsters before we really took off. And then we filled that trailer again.

In what I thought was a great commitment to Lafayette, Mayor Joey Durel showed up, donned a Project Front Yard t-shirt, and walked the entire route with us, picking up trash the whole way. Lots of parade-goers were amazed to see him out there working, and he also picked up and threw good beads to the crowds.

The most rewarding thing to me was hearing SO many people thank us for what we were doing, and cheering on Project Front Yard. The fact that people were appreciative and took notice of our efforts really gave the work a bigger impact. I only hope that it inspires people to try a little harder in their own lives, and support Project Front Yard as well. There was only one negative comment I heard along the route, and it didn't even faze me. That man can just keep on believing the street sweepers will handle everything.

One bonus is that, while the parade route is 3.9 miles long, I clocked my cleanup at 5.8 miles, thanks to all the walking back and forth along the way. 14,500+ steps in almost 3.5 hours. I earned my post-parade margarita and cheeseburger, alright.

Another bonus is that, in my boyfriend's and my first time at a bar in ages, someone played MMMBop twice on the jukebox. Call it delirium, blame it on the margarita, I don't even care, but I very happily sang along twice and fangirled all over the place. Perfect ending to a REALLY great day.

Thanks to the Katherine, Carlee and Kevin, Mayor Joey Durel, the Project Front Yard crew, the Right Angle staff, and all the volunteers who came out to give their time and energy. Y'all made it amazingly fun and worthwhile.

Tomorrow I will have a blog post on how you can go green at Mardi Gras - so you've got all week to set your eco-friendly gameplan before the onslaught of parades next weekend. 

If you go to a Mardi Gras parade, pick up your own trash. It's the least you can do. Be proud of your city. Care enough not to leave it on the street. SOMEONE still has to deal with it.

Visit Project Front Yard on Facebook to stay up to date on their efforts all year long.

sustainable is romantic

Am I the only one who feels like Valentine's Day is an afterthought to Mardi Gras this year? I'm way more excited for parades! But nevertheless, Valentine's Day is coming up quickly, and whether you've got a snuggle buddy or you're flying free, you can celebrate in eco-friendly style!


skip the q-tip

Cotton swabs. Little plastic sticks with cotton on the ends that come in packs of three billion.

Which means that you're throwing away three billion one-time use items that can't be recycled.

There's gotta be a better way!


plan lafayette week

Last year, Lafayette adopted its comprehensive plan, known as PlanLafayette. It sets the framework for development throughout the city over the next 20 years so we build the city we want, rather than do it haphazardly.

And last year, PlanLafayette designated a week in February to highlight items from the plan that are of interest to Lafayette residents. This year, they're bringin' it back!

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