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19
Nov
by Corina

Starbucks cup without a straw

Image Source: https://cdn-starbucks.netdna-ssl.com

Starbucks is well known around the world for their delightful drinks, and whatever they do, they are sure to capture public attention. Once again, the company shocked the world when they announced their plans to entirely get rid of plastic straws by the year 2020 to help limit their environmental impact. With this announcement and move to strawless lids, the coffee franchise has succeeded in bringing public attention back towards issues of environmentalism.

Following in their footsteps, many other industries and individuals are making their own “No More Staws” resolutions or take other actions (such as moving to eco-friendly packaging) to raise awareness about issues of environmentalism and limit their own impact. In fact, choosing to shop or receive services from these types eco-friendly organizations is another way you can go green! Here is why you too should take up the gauntlet and challenge yourself to get rid of plastic straws in your life.

What’s All the Fuss About?

Each year, the plastic industry continues to grow at an alarming rate, much faster than it is able to be recycled and broken down. According to a report published in Science Advances, around 80% of plastic waste ends up in landfills, 12% is burned, and only 9% is actually recycled. This means that there is a high percentage of waste that is continuously building up within our landfills. In addition, the chemicals that are added to plastics means these items cannot entirely be recycled.

The Gateway to Plastic Elimination

Eliminating plastic straws may seem futile in the face of all the tons of plastic accumulating each year, but many believe that because straws are something consumers experience daily around the globe, they can be used as a conversation starter about our current global plastic problem. Straws, like many other plastic products, are designed for one-time-use before being discarded. And it has become too easy to get into the habit of using these without thinking about their impact to our environment. So, for the sake of creating a healthier habit of eliminating waste, sometimes it is necessary to start small–maybe even with something as simple as a straw.

How to Start

Cocktails

Image Source: https://unsplash.com/photos/eXdKs9d37Sc

1) “No Straw Please”: Be sure to let your bartender or server know you don’t need a straw. Eliminating from the source- you- is the best place to start.
2) Consider alternatives: There are many different companies offering alternatives to straws that can help to eliminate the plastic waste. For example, using metal straws that can be reused, or adorable paper straws that are biodegradable in municipal or home compost.
3) Pasta to the rescue: A new company that’s become part of the solution, has created pasta straws to replace plastic. Genius! Additionally, linguine pasta is a great replacement for plastic coffee stirs. Two more reason to love Pasta!

We love this new #plasticsucks movement, because it’s bringing to life that giving back to OUR environment doesn’t have to be limited to sorting your garbage at home. If you are thinking about the ways that you can alter your own daily habits at Starbucks, your local bar, or away on vacation, to become more environmentally conscious then you are on your way to making lasting change. Just don’t forget to tell your friends to join you in this movement. We will have a greater impact #together!

* * * * * * * *

Author Bio: Katie McDaniel is a writer and editor with a passion for conservation and environmentalism. She covers everything from the latest developments in HR to business communication, and enjoys writing about traveling and events.

8
Apr
by Corina

habitat_heart_pic

As couples marry later in life, they just don’t need all that extra “stuff” traditionally found on wedding registries. So what do you register for? Your Honeymoon of course!

Honeymoon funding has become a movement among couples who prefer the thrill of adventure over the accumulation of more stuff, or who might be having a hard time filling a registry with anything they care much about.

Honeyfund is one resource we recommend to clients.

But some couples really take the crowdsourcing opportunity of their wedding and run with it. In 2014 Mallory Foster and Zach Wendel, raised $28,000 in donations through their wedding to help build a school in Africa. They did travel to the Malawi village to help build as part of their Honeymoon, but used the money to fund an existing NGO to build the school, fill it with teachers, and support the community long-term with education.

You can see the couple’s BuildOn fundraising page here.

“When you take a big trip with someone you love, it makes it all that much more memorable,” Foster said. “Our view for our wedding and our life is that life is a big adventure for us, and it’s been fun with each other.”

Relationship experts say that experiences like this bring couples closer together. Volunteer Honeymoon’s (aka “Honeyteer”) offer a way to give back to our precious world and to each other. This kind of heart centered reciprocity will certainly nurture your marital bond, and give you tons of good Karma as you start your life as spouses for life. We salute you!

You’d be surprised how many countries a given cause can exist. Try these great resources to get you on your way: CharityGuide.org; i-to-i.com; American Hiking Society; WWOOF.

23
Apr
by Corina

I often visit plant stores and shops for event design inspiration. I find them especially helpful when planning a living arrangement centerpiece for an eclectic wedding design. One of my favorite online stores is Terrain (which is an extension of Anthropology and Urban Outfitters). Their line of gardening and outdoor living products are perfect for bringing the outside in.

I love this line of plant trays designed to catch water runoff from larger planters, but they themselves can be packed with moss, succulents, and air plants to create a long, beautiful, fresh arrangement in the center of your tables. It’s an easy project, and it’s eclectic approach makes it fairly easy for any DIY Bride and her family to create.

16
Apr
by Corina

Alameda Antiques and Collectables Faire is the first Sunday of each month in Alameda Ca.

If you are in the market for decorations, unique dinnerware, or stylish lounge furniture for your upcoming wedding, Flea Markets & Swap Meets are the ticket. While Craigslist is a great resource for used wedding items as well, you can often find the unusual and unique if you venture out into some of these events.

Here are some ideas for your shopping list: mason jars, chalkboards, photo booth props, vases (try ceramic as well for an earthy look), candles, cake stands, vintage pie tins, lanterns, vintage table linens, rugs for the aisle or lounge.

For a list of Flea Markets in the SF Bay Area (where I live and work), SF Gate provides a great one here. My favorite from this list is the Alameda Point Antiques and Collectable Faire held on the first Sunday each month. There are so many gorgeous handmade crafts and beautiful antique items for sale.

If you are lucky to live in Chicago, plan on attending The Great Wedding Recyclery to recycle your wedding. It’s an awesome event where former brides sell their gently used wedding items to brides and grooms and get to share with you how the item was used and experienced at the wedding.

9
Apr
by Corina

mason jar wedding

As weather is heating up, I’m reminded of one of my favorite guest pampering tips, the “Refresher Station”. Upon arrival, guests love to be made comfortable, and I think it’s always a great idea to offer fruit-infused ice water and maybe a house-made lemonade before the ceremony. Because many guests have traveled a distance to get to the event, and this easy DIY water station will help to cool them off before they are seated.

If you don’t have the budget to have it maned by a bartender, place mason jars out with hanging tags so guests can write their names and hold onto their water glass for the night. Don’t forget to get a wooden crate, or wine box to lift the water jugs off the table in a stylish way. It’s important to raise the spouts up far enough off the table to make it easy for the glasses to fit underneath. Handmade chalkboard signs are a great way to finish off the look.

6
Apr
by Corina

Every city loves community spirit, and San Antonio is no stranger to street celebrations with the spring and summer Fiesta’s that bring thousands of participants. But along with the people, comes trash…roughly 80 to 100 tons of trash collected from it’s two biggest parades alone. This is why the city adopted a new “Don’t Trash Fiesta” recycling initiative!

Like any good green-minded organization, the City Council put on it’s green cap and passed a new law requiring city events attended by more than 1,000 people, must get Green Event Certification. In past years, about 7 tons of recyclables have been collected at “green” Fiesta’s.

As part of the green event initiative, event volunteers will enroll the support of parade-goers to help collect recyclables. Officials are urging Fiesta participants to designate one person in their group as the designated recycler (kinda like the designated driver). The city will help collection by providing yellow mesh bags to the “green guru” in the group.

Once the event is over, the bags full of recylables, can be handed to an event volunteer.

What a great idea, and a great way to enroll the audience to support green event initiatives!

4
Apr
by Corina

dissolvable wedding dress

British students at Shefield Hallam University in England wanted to challenge the notion that a wedding dress should only be used once, so they designed six sustainable wedding gowns which are made to breakdown in water after the wedding. The dress fabric is weaved with polyvinyl alcohol, a non-toxic adhesive which dissolves in water. Once dissolved away, the gown fabric is left, and can be sewn into five new reusable garments.

Fashion lecturer Jane Blohm said it a press release “In order to reduce fashion’s impact on the environment, the fashion industry must begin to challenge conventional attitudes and practices…The project is a union between art and technology which explores the possibilities of using alternative materials for our clothing.”

While this student project may yet still be years away from being a consumer reality, there are plenty of ways the eco-bride and groom can reduce the impact their wedding fashion choices will have. Consider buying reused, vintage, or having an old family dress or suit re-purposed.

So for now, here are some great green wedding fashion resources…

Reconstructing Clothes for Dummies
is like the beginning of a whole new way to look at your unwanted clothes

You can find your dream wedding gown and save some cash by buying pre-owned wedding dresses

Gently used wedding gowns in good condition and like new veils, and other recycled bridal dresses and accessories

You can always find the best recycled, re-purposed, offbeat items for your eclectic wedding taste on Etsy Wedding

15
Apr
by Corina

This was asked by a reporter recently, and I thought I’d publish my full remarks…

We live in a time where people have a growing concern for our environment– loss of biodiversity, pollution, social injustices, and fossil fuel dependency. This concern has driven millions of people to choose a more balanced and healthy lifestyle. These consumers are known at the LOHAS (Lifestyle of the Healthy and Sustainable) market, and are about 50 million people in the US today. This market represents individuals who are willing to pay more to have an organic, healthy lifestyle that supports sustainable systems.

Vibrant Events was started because I feel that the wedding industry has missed the opportunity to support the sustainable economy. It sells over-consumption and unsustainable products, trying to get brides and grooms to buy more, more, more. Until [2007], it was extraordinarily difficult for couples to fully integrate their sustainable lifestyles into their wedding. It took 1) a lot of research and work to find the right products and services, and 2) it was hard to find sources that lived up to a certain refined style aesthetic people wanted for their wedding. But now with the onset of companies like Organic Bouquet, Brilliant Earth, and the HauteGreen movement happening in NYC, there are plenty of high quality, and high style sustainable alternatives to meet every couples needs.

Within the green wedding market there has been a wonderful trend in wedding gowns. The fashion industry has been slow to green itself, for a number of reasons, so I can’t be more happy to see today the amazing trend among gown designers to think eco-friendly. I’m certain this will continue and grow as more designers think outside of the box, and create stylish and sustainable alternatives for the green-minded bride!

But of course, my favorite trend within green weddings, is the ability for couples to offset the carbon emissions from the event through several organizations like CarbonFund.org. Though still controversial, I’m a big believer in using innovative solutions to combat the challenges we face environmentally and socially, and to me, carbon offsetting is a solution we can engage in now. I like that kind of immediate gratification, and I think most brides and grooms do too!

19
Mar
by Corina

Not just a trend anymore, the recent Forbes.com article on green weddings proves eco-nuptuals are here to stay. And, it’s not just couples that are making the shift to green weddings, the article points to a change in the midset of caterers as well as the onset of the ever popular eco-bridal registry.

“[Another trend is]… caterers’ use of local produce and a decrease in portion sizes–both in response to seeing so much food waste.”

Congratulations to green wedding planner Sarah Shewey ,of Pink Cloud Evens in LA, for a great interview. Green weddings are not just about the wedding, and Shewey knows how great it feels when lifestyles are changed as well.

“There’s an education process that affects the bride’s lifestyle after the wedding, which we get really excited about,” she says. “The wedding is a small reflection and projection of what our lifestyle is going to be, so being able to incorporate things like fashion and makeup and hair, something all of us girls do every day, is cool.”

It’s amazing to think that green weddings can have, and do have, a lasting effect on couples. One couple interviewed said “Before this, we didn’t do anything…it didn’t even cross our mind.” Now they are more concious and aware of their daily impacts. What a great feeling!!

“Yay” for fabulous green wedding planners, couples, and all the eco-vendors that help make this life ritual/passage possible AND responsible! Thanks to all!!

27
Jun
by Corina

from Briliant Earth

Recently, Ian Smillie, one of the leading conflict diamond experts and key architect of the Kimberley Process diamond verification system, declared his resignation to the Kimberley Process members. Smillie declared the system ineffective, and stated in an eloquently written letter: “when regulators fail to regulate, the systems they were designed to protect collapse.”

Despite having all the tools in place, the certification scheme continues to fail to address issues of noncompliance, smuggling, money laundering and human rights abuses” in controversial diamond fields. In the recent weeks following Smillie’s resignation, multiple other groups have publicly announced their lack of faith in the schemes ability to adequately police the diamond trade.

Despite the problems with the Kimberley Process, there are ethical diamond options for conscious consumers. Consumers should look for conflict-free and ethical origin diamonds that are independently tracked from the country and individual mine of origin to ensure high standards of social and environmental responsibility. Canadian diamonds remain a clear choice as are emerging programs for responsibly mined, cut, and polished stones from Namibia. These diamonds have been carefully traced to ensure environmentally responsible and fair labor practices throughout their chain of custody.

Brilliant Earth will continue to carry only ethically sourced diamonds that are mined under strict social and environmental standards.

Read more at Brilliant Earth.

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