Extra Plastic Bags?

This Coop next to a highly littered bus stop in our neighborhood let me attach my really cool Bag Bottle to their fence in hopes of creating waste awareness while people wait for the bus.

The Bag Bottle is made of plastic soda bottles and stuffed with plastic bags. Dog owners, litter haters, or people who may just need a plastic bag are welcome to give a tug!

I easily collect a bag full of plastic litter everyday on my way to work.  I will be bringing my own so there will be plenty to inspire others.  Our Waste Matters will be starting a block sponsorship for those of us who want to keep plastic out of our environment.

In NYC, we failed to pass Ban the Bag legislation because people with less means would be disproportionately affected.  If their neighbors provided extra bags for them to use at anytime, maybe we could be Bag Free?!

How is your state doing?   http://www.bagtheban.com/in-your-state

Until next time,

Garbage Girl


The Best Wash Without Waste

I have been using Soap Nuts for my laundry for almost a year now.  They come in a recyclable cardboard box and other than that they produce no waste.

Put five of them in an organza bag and throw them in the washing machine with your dirty clothes.

The challenge is to keep them out of the dryer when you transfer your clean clothes.  It won’t hurt them but it does make them last a little less long.

What are they? They are a deseeded, dried nut from a Soapnut Tree that contains a surfactant called saponin.

Surfactants reduce the surface tension of the water, essentially making it wetter and easier to penetrate into soiled fabrics. This combined with the agitation of your machine or handwashing removes the dirt or particles, then keeps them away from your clothing until rinsing occurs.

  • Sustainable: It’s a renewable resource, easily grown organically.
  • All Natural: No funky or harmful ingredients.
  • Eco-Friendly: Less processing, less energy and less packaging.
  • Affordable: They can replace multiple cleaners, and last longer.
  • Reusable: Each berry can be used up to 6 times before it’s spent.
  • Hypoallergenic: No skin or respiratory irritation and non-toxic.
  • Not Actually Nuts: They’re totally safe for those with nut allergies.
  • Simple: Throw them in your wash or make a simple liquid detergent.
  • Odorless: But you can always add your own essential oils.
  • Gentle: Their mild nature won’t damage delicate clothing or surfaces.
  • No Fabric Softener: They naturally soften your fabrics!
  • Save Water: They rinse easier so require less water.
  • Save Energy: You can use a shorter rinse cycle in your laundry, too.
  • Front-loading Friendly: No suds are perfect for HE machines.
  • Works in Any Temperature: Use them in cold, warm or hot water.
  • Non-polluting: 100% biodegradable and safe for graywater systems.
  • Compostable: Used shells can be thrown in your compost.
  • Self-sufficient: You can even grow a soap nut tree yourself!

To see if your soap nuts are still releasing saponin, get them wet and see if the suds are still present.  http://www.sustainablebabysteps.com/

If you prefer a liquid detergent, whip up a batch of homemade.

1/3 to 1/2 cup liquid lavender Castile soap
1/2  cup washing soda
1/2  cup borax

 Click product to  Amazon
Mix all ingredients in a 2-gallon bucket.  Add hot water to fill the bucket and stir well. This will be a thinner concoction than commercial laundry detergent.  Store your homemade detergent in a saved commercial bottle .  Shake before you use because it has a tendency to separate.  Use 1/4 cup for an average laundry load.

Until next time,

Garbage Girl

When You Have That Plastic Bottle

More fun to watch the cleverness of this post!!!

Single use plastic should be avoided at all times to send a clear signal to the producers of these horrible products that are harming every ecosystem in devastating ways.

The latest evidence of the harm these bottles are doing to our environment is the saddest ever!  North Face and many other environmentally friendly companies have been making polar fleece from recycled plastic bottles.  The unfortunate truth of this process is that we need to wash these garments.  All polyester and polyester polymer fabrics release micro fibers from our washing machine rinse cycles straight into our waterways.  Civic filter systems cannot remove these tiny fibers.  Once in our waterways, they are ingested by oysters, mussels, lobsters and other marine life that we eat.

Can it get much more sad?

Until next time,

Garbage Girl

Clear Recycling Bags for Free

Every week we put our recyclables out on the curb in clear plastic bags that we have to buy from Glad.  The City requires clear or blue for recycling paper, metal, plastic, glass and compost.   It can get expensive.  Since we need a certain size, there are times when they are not available.

BUT!  If you know someone who goes to the dry cleaner…you have clear bags for free!  Just tie the ends and recycle instead of throwing them away.

Until next time,

Garbage Girl

Ziplocks Go Zero Waste

One box of ziplocks will last you a lifetime, honestly!  They are made of plastic so they can be washed, dried and used again and again.  I even put them in the dishwasher.  Don’t be shy. Try!

The benefits of reusing baggies—savings on raw materials, emissions from shipping, and landfill space—make washing worthwhile, says Darby Hoover, a senior resource specialist at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “When plastic bags are reused, fewer plastic bags need to be produced.  The production of plastic bags uses energy, water, and in most cases a non-renewable resource (fossil fuel-derived); reusing bags, even when you use water to wash them out, saves resources overall.”

I am not an advocate for anything plastic around my food.  There are concerns about chemicals leaching into food from plastic.  This is most true during microwaving and you should never microwave or boil food in a ziplock plastic bag.

Washing ziplocks with cold water and soap will get rid of the majority of food contamination in the bag.  But, “if they change color or opacity, I’d say that to be on the safe side, you should discontinue using them,” warns Hoover.   You can also disinfect with vinegar.

The best part about drying your ziplocks is the truly beautiful decorative hooks you can find in flea markets and second hand stores.  Mine holds 5 bags.

Until next time,

Garbage Girl

Scraps: From Waste To Beauty

The Textile Museum, in Washington DC, is nestled amongst the buildings of George Washington University’s “city campus”.  It is currently showing an exhibit called Scraps: Fashion, Textiles and Reuse.   The exhibit features 3 very talented designers who use every scrap in their supply chain to create truly beautiful new fabrics.   The designers are:  Luisa Cevese of Riedizioni in Milan; Christina Kim of Dosa in Los Angeles; and Reiko Sudo of Nuno in Tokyo.  The exhibit was created by The Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum in NYC.   https://www.cooperhewitt.org/

“George Washington University’s Sustainability Collaborative is a collaboration between the many institutes and centers, the hundreds of faculty and students, and dozens of local and national community partners working to find innovative solutions to the pressing challenges of our times”.

“We strive to promote interdisciplinary research and teaching because we know that sustainability is not something that can be achieved from just one perspective. Partnerships between universities, businesses, non-profits, and governments are vital in supporting new technologies and policy solutions.

While viewing the exhibit, I started to imagine all of the ways I could make my favorite articles of clothing become a part of this exciting movement.  With only a handful of companies in the fashion and textile trades supporting environmental health, it is increasingly important for us to look at our clothing in a new and exciting DIY way.

One way is darning; a craft once taught to young women, all over the world, in order to extend the life of their families’ clothing.  With such cheap clothing available these days to replace anything that we are simply tired of, its not hard to think that darning is a craft of the past.  BUT!  Darning is an art.  It turns ordinary and worn out into extraordinary and unique!

Jeans are the easiest garments to personalize.  All it takes is a needle, some thread in your favorite colors and the desire to make your jeans truly yours.


Until next time,

Garbage Girl

I Don’t Need 3 Pairs Of Black Cowboy Boots


I wear cowboy boots from September to June.  I grew up in New Mexico, so cowboy boots are stylish and come in so many great combinations.  Mostly, though, I wear them because I have size 11 feet, so stylish shoes for women are few and far between.  I can select my favorite cowboy boots from shelves and shelves full of size 9 1/2 men’s size boots!

Cowboy boots are great because they can be resoled forever at a fraction of the cost of a new pair.  Since a black boot goes with everything I wear, I often have more than one pair in different skins, heights or stitching.  If a great new pair comes into my life, I paint the oldest pair a delicious new color!  No one else has these baby blues!

I use a fine natural bristle brush and latex paint.  I buy the paint in “trial sizes” at my local Ace Hardware store.  If the leather isn’t all ready roughed up, I lightly sand the surface with fine grit sand paper.  Carefully paint outside the lines of the stitching and witness your comfy old boots get a dramatic transformation into a new favorite that is uniquely yours.

Until next time,

Garbage Girl

Save Your Stretched Out Huaraches

Don’t throw away your comfy, broken-in shoes!  Give them a new life for much less money than a new pair will cost.  Plus!  You can avoid those painful blisters you get breaking in a new pair.

My Mexican huaraches are made of a wonderfully soft leather.  The problem is that the leather easily stretches and the shoes slip off of my feet after only a dozen wearings.

I give them a new personality by lacing ribbons through the back heel.  Now, I can tie a beautiful bow over my ankles to keep them securely on my feet for years to come.

Until next time,

Garbage Girl

Shoes That Last Forever, Guaranteed

Allen Edmonds sells beautifully made, high, quality men’s shoes.

They gained much of their following after providing shoes to the US Armed Forces during “World War II”.  Many of the recipients of those shoes became loyal to the brand for the rest of their lives.



Allen Edmonds is a moderately expensive brand of shoes that men typically wear for a very long time and repair rather than replace. The company offers recrafting services; rebuilding a pair of shoes, replacing soles and heels, creating a new cork base and strip, and reapplying the finish.

More than ninety-eight per cent of shoes sold in the U.S. are produced overseas.     Allen Edmonds is among a small minority of companies that produces shoes domestically.  Retired chairman and former owner, John Stollwerk, made the company’s commitment to keep their manufacturing in the U.S. in 2003.   The company replaced assembly lines in their factories with teams of craftsmen, each of  whom perform several tasks. Their system makes it easier to cover for absent employees.  It reduces overtime, time spent picking up and putting down shoes, and the number of spoiled shoes during assembly.

Choose companies who have always been committed to making sustainable, morally responsible products.  It feels really wonderful every time you look at your feet.  Don’t be surprised if you find yourself bragging about how great your shoe company is because you start to feel like it is your shoe company.

Until next time,

Garbage Girl

Coffee Grounds and Coconut Milk Face Scrub For Pennies


The sensual wake up call of your morning coffee can be extended to your shower by mixing the used grounds of your favorite brew into a healthy, inexpensive, face scrub.

This natural coconut milk/coffee scrub has high levels of Vitamin C to help maintain the elasticity and flexibility of your skin. It is rich in copper and antioxidants to prevent wrinkles, sagging skin and age spots.  And! It exfoliates and moisturizes.


4 tablespoons finely ground coffee that has been brewed

1 tablespoon coconut milk

In a glass container with a tight lid, stir the coffee grounds and the coconut milk together until it makes a smooth paste.

Canned coconut milk is pictured because we used the remainder to make rice for dinner.  For a purer scrub, you may choose to make your own coconut milk and eliminate the Bisphenol used in manufacturing canned products.

To make your own coconut milk:

Combine 4 tablespoons coconut flakes with 1/4 cup hot water in a blender on high speed.  Cover the lid with a towel to avoid burning yourself with the hot water when you turn the blender on. Place a cheese cloth or metal mesh over a bowl.  Pour the liquid and ground coconut pulp into the cloth or metal mesh.  Squeeze out the milk.  If you are using a metal mesh filter, press the milk through the mesh with the back of a spoon. This method can be repeated to get even more milk by adding another 1/8 cup hot water to the remaining coconut pulp. Squeeze.

Extend your commercial face cleanser, that needs to be used up, by adding coffee grounds.   Cetaphil is popular because it is fragrance free.  But, it contains no skin health ingredients, beyond water.  It is made by Galderma , the offspring of Nestlé and L’Oréal, who charge you a lot for water, a plastic container, and convincing your doctor to prescribe it to you.

Each morning scoop the mixture out of your container with your fingers and massage gently into your face.  Rinse, Smile, and Glow!

Until next time,

Garbage Girl