Wednesday, February 17, 2010

an eco-conscious shopper...i think

I find it completely amusing that I am constantly searching out eco items for my new home by either driving around town to find them or ordering them online to be shipped across the country padded in lots of packaging. Hmmmm. Not sure how much sense that makes. I was quite surprised that is not very easy to find items made from non-leaching plastic or made from recycled products. I was planning on buying lining for my kitchen shelves and a protector covering for my kitchen sink and just assumed that there would be eco choices for these. Nope and nope. So, I have not bought any.

So what do I do? Walk to my local store and buy plastic items or order more conscious items from and other online retailers with free shipping but lots of cardboard and fuel to get them to me?

It makes me wonder how much effort goes into making goods out of recycled materials? Does it take a lot of time and machine work to manufacture these things? What is the deal? A couple of months ago I went to Verizon to get my phone looked at and the girl helping me told me that phone covers were on clearance if I wanted one. I did not have one on my phone and I do drop it a lot. So, I picked one out and slipped it on. Almost immediately I stopped using it though, because it felt so gross to me to touch. It is an awful plastic material, that felt gross to my touch. Why aren’t there phone covers made out of recycled goods? I am sure they are out there, but I want to see them in every phone and apple store.

Today I was searching for a duster (via bicycle) like an old school duster so that I can dust my table without removing all of my stones and random bits from it. I did not realize that what I was thinking of is made of ostrich feathers. Really? I don’t know if I can do that. I mean I do wear leather, I don’t smother myself in it, but I do own some and I do wear it. Ostrich feathers to clean my table though? I don’t know if that is necessary. And the handle was made from plastic. So I didn’t get it.

What is the deal with plastic anyway? Would it be better if I had a wood handle? But then aren’t we trying to save the trees? I need to educate myself.


  1. Plastic, Plastic... it's everywhere and it will always be here. :( The kicker about plastic is even if we recycle every bit of plastic... new plastic is always having to be made because plastic downcycles (you probably know this), it's made from a non-renewable resource AND plastics are really BIG problem in our environment (check out my friends blog: ... is it best to avoid plastic if you can... of course!! It just makes sense to seek out other options (including products made from recycled materials). ;) Personally, I would say yes to the wood handle over plastic... BUT... maybe look for one made from sustainable forestry practices?? And if you can't find one made sustainably then it's up to you to decide what is necessary and maybe "rethink" how you want to dust your home ;) Hmmm... I use a microfiber cloth... and I LOVE it. Also, you should check out

    WOW!!! A little long winded...Ok... I'm going to stop!! ... hope it helps a little... and best of luck in your search :) -- Danielle

  2. Oh... and a quick thought about ordering online and driving around town. I like to hink about it like this... if you're going to a store to buy something... how did it get there?? Chances are it was shipped on a big truck and more than likely packaged... you just don't get to see all that packaging at the store. So while you may be getting packaging... the whole being shipped cross country is kind of irrelevant ;) My thought... is try to order from one place... make a big order so that you don't have lots of little boxes and extra packing materials. (Also, you can take all the packing materials to a shipping store and they'll reuse it). And as far as driving around... if you know what you're looking for and where you're going to "try" to find it... you can call ahead and save yourself some time and gas ;) Ok... that's it... I promise :)

  3. I think the best idea is to buy second hand whenever possible. Find a thrift store you like and, for example, buying a used feather duster there wouldn't require or encourage the production of more feather dusters.. that one was sold in 2002, or whenever, and the impact has happened and is now becoming more efficient because you're giving it a second home! I think this is especially useful for electronics and other plastics because people now replace their technology for no reason, so often, and the slightly older version gets discarded.. you save time and reuse something important when you buy second hand. :]

  4. By time I meant money, oops. Though I guess one saves time, too, when they stop deliberating on which flat-screen-LCD TV to get and hop over to the Goodwill and grab the $30 TV that was made 5 years ago. :P

  5. I lined my kitchen shelvees with old funky wallpaper I found at the goodwill. I didn't wet it and apply it...just rolled it out and weighted it down in the living room over night then cut to size and placed on the shelf. Adds a little something extra to my cabinets and drawers! Old cotton fabric would work the same too!

  6. I love the suggestions! I'm completely with Evie and Hannah on reusing old items. I'm all for eco-friendly made products, but lets also think of the landfills and the useful items on the road there. This may not work for cell phone covers but if you're looking for wall art or need anything for the home, consider thrift stores and craigslist.

    for other odds and ends also think of --there are designers looking out for the environment AND you're supporting your neighbor.

    Thanks for sharing you're heart!

  7. I am re-doing my home and trying to be eco-friendly as well. All I want is a sectional for my tiny 600 square foot apartment. That's all I want. I found one, but it needs to be shipped - ugh! I wish Kansas City has more affordable options.

    I think the same thoughts though with every purchase. Sometimes it drives me nuts, it should not be this difficult. But it is.

    I love the second hand idea, that is actually my next search here in Kansas City. Although, for some reason the second hand idea creeps me out a little and I don't know why. I can't wash a couch like I would clothes I buy at a second hand store, or any of the other little trinkettes I have purchased in the past.

    I'm really weirded out about buying furniture second hand ever since I heard the story of my uncle who purchased a second hand mattress and got crabs. Gross!!

  8. Completely agree about buying used items! It is SO important... though I will say that I am particular about what I do buy used. Mattresses... would not be on my reuse list (unless I personally knew who it came from, of course). I buy a lot of used furniture... I think it has loads of character and tends to be more individual/unique :). So don't be weirded out about buying used furniture... a couch can always be reupholstered or professionally cleaned ;)

  9. I bought a used mattress in college and had no problems with it. Stories like the one up there ^^ are the exception, I think. Most people don't donate their mattresses if they have crabs. (I hope!) But that was as much relating to the fact that I couldn't afford a new bed as it was related to my desire to conserve. I eventually sold that bed and now it's out there, still... reuse! Yay!

  10. I wonder if anyone has ideas about items that cannot be bought second hand...
    For example, a new book I would like to support and own has just come out. Would it be more eco-conscious to order it online, buy it at a big corporate book store or ask a locally owned book store to stock it?