Interview with ezpz

Since its conception in 2014, the brand ezpz has grown immensely, with a range of innovative products that continue to stay true to the company’s early commitment to safety and ease for parents and kids alike. From using naturally non-toxic eco-materials like silicone, to their unique placemat design that doubles as both a plate and an educational tool to help children develop fine motor skills, ezpz is here to change the way we look at mealtime. Read on as we interview brand founder, Lindsey Laurain, and learn more about how they’re making mealtime ‘ezpz’!

What inspired you to start ezpz?

“We have three boys and our life can be pretty chaotic, especially at mealtime, and my husband and I were fed up with the messiness and cleanup time dedicated to each meal. One night (in the midst of his frustration) my husband said, ‘Someone needs to create something kids can’t toss or throw at meals!’ The next day I hopped online and, low and behold, nothing existed. I taped a bowl to a piece of paper and, from that day on, I was committed to creating products that made family mealtime ezpz!”

Ezpz EarthHero

What’s your favorite item in the ezpz collection?

The Happy Mat will always be very special to me, as it was our first (flagship) product. I created the Happy Mat specifically for our messy toddlers, and we still use those “first generation” mats to this day! With that said; I am obsessed with our new Tiny Collection (the Tiny Spoon, Tiny Cup and Tiny Bowl). Not only are the products adorable, they are designed by a Pediatric Feeding Specialist to help baby learn how to self-feed and drink from an open cup.”

What are some of the main goals of ezpz?

“Our original mission was pretty simple. We wanted to make mealtime with infants / toddlers less messy, less stressful and more fun. The ezpz mats immediately made a difference in our lives, but we had no idea the impact our products would have within the special needs community. Thanks to the suction feature of our mats, there are many kiddos and adults with disabilities that are eating independently for the first time! We now have a Speech Language Pathologist on our team and work with medical professionals throughout the world to make a difference.

As our brand and product line continues to evolve, so do our goals. Our revised mission is to be the one-stop-shop for all your feeding needs…from baby’s first foods to your child feeding independently.”

ezpz EarthHero

Why do you use silicone in ezpz products? What are some of your favorite things about silicone as an eco-material?

“I fell in love with silicone when my search for materials began! There are so many things to love about silicone, but my favorite features + benefits are that silicone:

  • Is built to last! It is bendable and flexible and doesn’t fade, corrode or deteriorate like other materials

  • Has a non-slip + grip sensory aspect

  • Is microwave, dishwasher and oven safe

  • Is free of all the bad stuff (BPA, BPS, PVC, lead, phthalates, etc.)”

If you could have everyone on the planet do one thing to positively impact our changing climate, what would it be?

“Be more mindful. Think about what you are buying, why it exists, who it is from and where it goes when you are done with it.”

Ezpz EarthHero

What do you do in your daily lives to live more sustainably?

“We do our best to teach our kids about sustainability, waste, recycling and littering. I will be the first to admit that we aren’t perfect, but we continually look for ways to be better. ezpz mats are a great example of one way to be more sustainable. Five years after our first batch of products were made, my boys are still using “first batch” mats! If we started with plastic or another less sustainable material we would have replaced their plates numerous times by now!”

How do ezpz products make being a parent just a lil’ easier?

“Ha! I am a mom of three boys (two of which are identical twins) so I am ALL ABOUT making the day-to-day easier! We’ve developed one of the leading developmentally-focused feeding lines on the market to do just that (make being a parent a little easier!). Below are a few of my favorite features:

  • All of the mat-based products feature a patented self-sealing design with an integrated mat that makes transporting, eating, cleaning and storing ezpz

  • You can stack and serve numerous kiddos at the same time

  • The outer mat catches most spillage which means less cleanup

  • Silicone is dishwasher, microwave and oven safe (score!)”

— Interview with Lindsey Laurain, Founder of ezpz

Want to make mealtime ezpz? Shop all of our ezpz products here!

Interview with Seek Dry Goods

Let’s face it: in an era of “fast fashion”, clothes made with purpose can be hard to come by. From materials like organic cotton and recycled polyester, to tons of products Made in the USA, Seek Dry Goods is here to make fast fashion a little slower–but just as fashionable. Founded by nature-lovers Amanda & Larry McMahon, join us as we learn about what inspired them to create Seek, how they choose their sustainable products, and what being a “Seeker” means to them!

What inspired you to start Seek Dry Goods?

“This is a fun story for us! Almost three years ago, we were on a 10-day, 100-mile trek through a corner of France, Italy and Switzerland. We got to experience gorgeous views of the Alps and feeling the satisfaction of completing the challenge of 7-20 miles and 4,000+ feet of elevation change each day. After completing the trip, all we wanted was a commemorative t-shirt, but came home empty handed.
Back at home, we realized a huge miss in the marketplace for high-quality yet affordable t-shirts. Beyond that, not enough outdoor brands or establishments were using responsibly sourced (organic/recycled) materials and business practices. Pulling together our 25+ years of marketing/retail experience and love for the outdoors, Seek Dry Goods was born!”

Seek Dry Goods | EarthHero

What’s your favorite item in the Seek collection?

“That’s a tough one! I obviously love all of our products, but if I had to narrow it down I would go with our 8oz Alpine Glow Travel Mug and Van Life T-Shirt. Our travel mug not only has a super unique graphic, but it’s the perfect size for when we’re on-the-go camping, hiking or backpacking. I love it for a quick bit of coffee in the morning and an adult beverage (or two) in the evening! The Van Life T-Shirt is just so much fun and it resonates a lot with me as we convert our own Ford Transit van into a camper.”

What are some of the unique eco-materials that go into your clothing + accessories? What inspired you to utilize these materials?

“All of our clothing and hats are made with organic cotton and/or recycled polyester (recycled water bottles). We chose this route after researching the benefits of organic and recycled over traditional/virgin materials. I have to share a couple of stats, only because they shocked us when we first learned them:

  • Organic cotton eliminates the use toxic chemicals found in the production of conventional cotton. These toxins make up nearly 16% of the world’s insecticides and 7% of pesticides.
  • Additionally, organic cotton uses 71% less water and 62% less energy than conventional cotton!
  • Similarly, recycled polyester uses 90% less water and 70% less energy to produce than virgin polyester.

Beyond our clothing, we chose products that are reusable and long lasting like travel mugs, wool throws, etc. We have a drink sleeve made with upcycled wetsuits. In the coming year, we plan to produce more products made with reclaimed materials too!”

Seek Dry Goods | EarthHero

If you could have everyone on the planet do one thing to positively impact our changing climate, what would it be?

“It seems unrealistic to think everyone could make immediate change in their daily lives. However, we believe that if everyone on the planet made one responsible choice each day (however big or small), we could make a huge impact. I’m talking about little things like bringing a travel mug when you’re on the road, skipping the straw at restaurants, volunteering time with a local outdoor organization. Eventually, these small choices become routine and we can start making a huge impact. With Seek Dry Goods, we are starting to talk more about different ways people can improve their sustainability, which we hope helps this effort.”

What do you do in your daily lives to live more sustainably?

“It would be a lie to say that we are living fully sustainably. However, we have made a lot of changes in our everyday lives over the last few years. We no longer use single-use items like paper/plastic plates, glasses, etc. Some of our everyday household items include glass straws, organic bamboo reusable coffee filters, natural deodorant, and having solar panels on our van. This spring we are starting a compost bin for our food scraps and we grow a large organic garden throughout the Spring-Fall seasons. There is certainly always more one can do, but we are making a conscious effort to improve our sustainability every day.”

What does being a “Seeker” mean to you?

“To us, being a Seeker is more than just being part of a brand. It is a mindset, a lifestyle. We define the term Seeker as someone who loves the outdoors, travel and adventure. It doesn’t mean you have to be a professional athlete or extreme sports enthusiast. Adventure is different for everyone and that’s okay! Seekers aren’t judged by how they adventure, rather, they’re celebrated for it. Personally, my husband and I enjoy lots of different outdoor activities. We hike, backpack, camp, ski and more. Last summer we started learning how to whitewater kayak. I love being near or on water, whether it be the ocean, a river or an alpine lake. We often plan our trips to include some sort of water. Speaking of trips, we LOVE to travel. Since starting Seek, we haven’t had as much time for extended vacations, but we still get a lot of weekends to explore the US. We hope to explore Montana later this year, a state we have heard is amazing, but haven’t visited yet.”

Seek Dry Goods | EarthHero

What are some ways that Seek, as a company, gives back to the planet?

“Giving back to the planet is something we feel very strongly about. As members of 1% for the Planet, we promise to give at last 1% of our annual sales to outdoor and environmental nonprofits. In 2018, we donated over $7,000 to organizations around the country. Our local Wisconsin partner is the Ice Age Trail Alliance, a nonprofit that protects, maintains and supports Wisconsin’s 1,000+ mile National Scenic Trail. Additionally, we focused the holidays on a “Season of Giving” campaign in which we featured 4-nonprofits over 4-weeks and donated 4x our standard give-back. Being one of the EarthHero brands is also important, as it helps highlight our mission with other like-minded brands.

We are very excited to see what more we can do in 2019!” – Amanda McMahon, Co-Founder of Seek Dry Goods

Checkout all our favorite Seek Dry Goods products here!

 

Which reusable straw is best for you?

Single-use plastic straws–they’re used for 30 minutes, but stick around for over half a century in our landfills and waterways. They can’t be recycled, they won’t biodegrade, and often end up polluting ocean habitats and damaging the environment! So why do millions of people each day choose to keep sucking on straws?

The truth is: straws can have some serious perks–from protecting your teeth from the sugars in drinks, to sippin’ drinks easily on the go, and they’re a great option for children or those with disabilities. But there is a better way than single-use! Reusable straws are an amazing way to reduce your impact on the millions of plastic straws that go into our landfills each week, while still enjoying all of the perks you love.

From long-lasting stainless steel to bendy silicone, read on to learn about our favorite reusable straws, and find out which one is best for your lifestyle!

Stainless Steel Straws

Over the last few months, fast-food restaurants and even entire cities have pledged to ban plastic straws, moving towards compostable alternatives or even modifying their products to not require straws (we see you Starbucks!) But, if you’re anything like us, ditching straws altogether just doesn’t work–especially when you’re on-the-go.

That’s why we love reusable stainless steel straws as one alternative, because they’re made from such a durable material that they can really go anywhere and everywhere with you without breaking–just toss it in your bag worry-free. Plus, stainless steel as a material is naturally non-toxic, rust-proof, and dishwasher safe, so cleaning and maintaining your straws is extremely easy.

Because stainless steel is, well, metal, we recommend that you only use this type of reusable straw on cold or room temperature drinks–not hot coffee or anything that could heat up the straw (ouch!) Another good thing to note about 100% stainless steel straws is that they’re not ideal for young children, or those with disabilities, as the mouthpiece is not as forgiving.

Pros: extremely durable, easy to clean, naturally rust-proof & non-toxic, lasts for years, comes in short and long lengths, recyclable, comes in bulk, looks great alongside classic silverware!

Cons: not suitable for hot drinks, or young children & those with disabilities!

Natural Bamboo Straws

There’s a lotta’ types of reusable straws.. but don’t get it bamboozled… bamboo straws are an amazing alternative as well! Usually known for being the fastest growing plant on the planet, bamboo is also naturally mold-resistant, anti-bacterial, and is as durable as steel. They will last for years with proper care, but when your bamboo straws do finally reach the end of their life, they can be commercially composted–so they don’t end up in the landfill.

In terms of usage, bamboo straws are easily cleaned with soapy water and a straw cleaning brush, and are naturally BPA-free, made without animal byproducts, and grown from bamboo that use pesticides or fertilizers. And although bamboo is a strong wood, it’s gentle and giving enough to be a great option for everyone–children, those with disabilities, you name it.

Pros: compostable & biodegradable after years of use, gentle enough for kids, good for hot and cold drinks, comes in short and long lengths, naturally mold-resistant & anti-bacterial, comes from renewable materials!

Cons: slightly ‘wooden’ mouthfeel, should not be left soaking in drinks for 12+ hours, most straw sets will have slightly different diameters because they come from whole stalks of bamboo, harder to clean!

Durable Glass Straws

Sip with class, thanks to glass! Reusable glass straws are one of the prettiest alternatives to single-use plastic straws, and there’s so many unique types! From short (8”) to long (10”), to smoothie width and regular width, bent and straight, and a variety of colors, there’s no shortage of ways to rock a glass straw.

Did you know that glass is 100% recyclable, and can be recycled endlessly without losing quality or purity? This makes it an extremely sustainable alternative to single-use straws–which can’t be recycled even once. Plus, glass won’t impart flavors based on what liquids it has come in contact with, so you can go from sipping a cup of iced coffee to a glass of wine without having to deep clean the straw.

Pros: easy to clean as the straw is see-through, dishwasher safe, lifetime guarantee, colorful, comes in smoothie width and classic width!

Cons: break or shatter slightly easier than other options!

Flexible Silicone Straws

While some of the other reusable straws might have bent tips, they don’t truly hit the mark for a flexible “bendy” straw that mimics the single-use plastic alternative. And for straw-chewers and little ones everywhere that was a huge issue.

That’s where silicone comes in–a plastic-free, non-toxic material that bends easily, but doesn’t break. Silicone has a high heat capacity, which means that it doesn’t change temperature easily, so it can go in your piping hot coffee, or in a cup of ice cold water. For the little ones in your life, the silicone straws can be easily cut down with a pair of scissors to create different lengths–but don’t worry, they won’t easily break or rip on their own!

Pros: flexible with a wide bent tip for easy sipping, doesn’t change temperature & can be used with hot and cold drinks, dishwasher safe, can be cut down to create “mini” straws, great for straw-chewers and won’t break!

Cons: harder to recycle at the end of life, and entire straw is flimsier than rigid stainless steel or glass.

Steel + Silicone Tip Straws

You deserve the best of both worlds: a bendy straw tip and a durable straw base. This straw does just that thanks to its flexible silicone tip attached to a high-quality steel base. When you want a pop of fun color, just keep the silicone mouthpiece on, or simply pop it off for a classic stainless steel look.

Pros: recyclable at the end of its life, nearly unbreakable, flexible bendy-straw tip, good for kids, straw-chewers, and those with disabilities, pairs with Klean Kanteen brand pints & tumblers, and made from non-toxic materials!

Cons: preferred hand-wash, and stainless steel cannot be used with hot drinks!

Compostable Straws

Alright, alright…. This technically isn’t a reusable straw, but it is another great alternative to single-use plastic straws. We totally understand that single-use straws are sometimes unavoidable, especially at large events like weddings, bars, festivals, you name it. By switching to single-use compostable paper over plastic, you can divert a huge amount of waste headed to the landfill, while still providing the single-use straws your event needed.

Most paper straws, like these, can compost in roughly 6 months to a year (compared to the 500 years plastic takes), and are made with chemical-free, food-grade inks, so they contain none of the yucky toxins that plastic straws do. Plus, they come in a variety of fun colors, making them the perfect partner for your sustainable party!

Pros: compostable & biodegradable, unique and memorable experience, fine for straw-chewers, kids, and those with disabilities!

Cons: not suitable for hot drinks, not reusable, each straw can only be used for a short period of time!

Now that you have the tools you need to decide what straw is right for you, it’s time for the most important part: using it! When you go to restaurants, coffee shops, or businesses, make sure you proudly say “No straw, please! I have my own!” When you bring your own straw, others will notice, and hopefully spur a change in their own life towards less single-use items. Don’t think you can switch to reusable? It’s easier than you think! All you need is your go-to straw, a carrying case, and of course a straw brush, and you’re ready to start changing the world.

Comment your favorite reusable straw below!

 

Zero Waste Laundry Hacks

Laundry: everyone does it… but not everyone does it right.

Yep–believe it or not, there is a wrong way to do laundry! While washing and drying your clothes makes your life cleaner, the impact of modern laundry methods is actually making the planet dirtier. By switching to more sustainable options, you can save yourself money, energy, time–and a whole lotta’ waste. Checkout our favorite zero waste laundry products below!

The Cora Ball

Coming in at the top of the zero waste laundry list is a revolutionary new tool that can actually reduce the amount of microplastics leaving your washer!

Hold up–what!?

Yep, you heard us. The truth is, each and every time you wash synthetic clothes, blankets, or sheets, you are unknowingly contributing to a serious pollution problem facing our planet right now: microfibers. These microfibers, made out of plastic and chemical-covered non-plastics, come off of our clothes in the washing machine, and then go out with the drain water. It’s estimated that one fleece jacket can shed up to 250,000 pieces per garment per wash–but you’d usually never see them! And even though the fibers are “micro”-sized, they’re making a massive impact.

zero-waste-laundry-cora-ball-microfiber-laundry-ball-1

Microfibers (and microplastics!) are so small that they are nearly invisible–which means that collecting and removing them from our waterways is pretty tough. They will never biodegrade, and usually bond with other chemical pollutants they bump into (think: pesticides and flame retardants). Once in the ocean, they’re easily ingested by plankton and other bottom feeders, which are then consumed by larger species, sending the toxins further up the food chain. And who is at the very end of the food chain? Us!

zero-waste-laundry-biomagnification-and-bioaccumulation
Bioaccumulation and biomagnification. (Image ©WWF)

This is where biomagnification comes in. To put it simply, biomagnification means that the higher up the food chain these microplastics travel, the higher the concentration of toxins in the bodies of larger animals… with those larger animals being humans in this case.

Take a seafood dinner for instance. At some point, that Pacific Cod that you’re enjoying consumed a shrimp, that consumed plankton, that consumed some of the invisible microplastics floating about. Thanks to biomagnification, you now have the highest concentration of those microfibers (and all of the toxins that they’ve absorbed) inside you compared to any other species in the food chain. Simply put, we’re eating our clothes–and so is the rest of the ocean.

We all contribute to this problem, and we are all impacted by this problem. So where do we go from here?

That’s where Cora Ball comes in.zero-waste-laundry-cora-ball-microfiber-laundry-ball-1

This little funky looking ball, made of 100% recycled plastic, catches these fibers while they’re still in your washing drum before they can do serious damage. To use it, all you have to do is toss it in with your clothes, and wait. It’s that easy. After a few washes, you’ll begin to see fibers collecting in the spindles. Periodically, you can just pull them from the ball and throw those fibers away, where they can be contained and be sent directly to a landfill, rather than into our oceans.

And it really works. Studies at the University of Toronto have shown that the Cora Ball can catch as much as 26% of fibers in your washing machine. While this may not seem like much, if 10% of households used a Cora Ball, it would keep the equivalent of 30 million plastic water bottles from washing into our waterways each year!


zero-waste-laundry-organic-liquid-laundry-detergentOrganic Liquid Laundry Detergent

How much laundry detergent do you use per wash? For some, the amount of detergent used is based off how “dirty” the items are, or by squinting at the detergent cap trying to figure out where the line is. Either way, when it comes to detergent, it’s far too easy to use too much–creating excessive suds that can actually redeposit dirt onto our clothing.

Yikes.

The real issue here is that most laundry detergents aren’t very powerful, and people instead rely on quantity instead of quality, which in turn leaves chemicals in their clothes. Instead of pouring chemicals into the wash, or tossing in plastic-wrapped “pods” that contribute to microplastic pollution, we suggest you simply go nuts. Go Eco Nuts, that is!

Eco Nuts uses the power of soap berries (Sapindus Sapindoideae) that grow naturally in Nepal to create their ultra-concentrated liquid laundry detergent. These berry shells contain a cleaning agent called saponin, that works by breaking the surface tension of water to penetrate the fibers of your clothes–lifting stains from the fabric, and leaving the dirt suspended in the water (instead of going back into your clothes!)

As if getting cleaner clothes wasn’t awesome enough, this liquid detergent comes in a recyclable aluminum bottle, and contains no dyes, animal byproducts, fragrances, fillers, dioxane, phosphate, or nut-allergens, and is certified cruelty-free, aaand certified USDA organic–which means your clothes stay clean, and the planet does too.

zero-waste-laundry-eco-nuts-soap-berriesSoap Nuts

Now that we’ve learned about the awesome powers of soap berries (also called soap nuts) when it comes to liquid detergents, lets see what they can do on their own! Another awesome zero waste way to do laundry is with just the berries themselves–they release the same saponin into the washer to penetrate through grit & grime, and can even be composted at the end of their life.

To use, all you have to do is put 4-5 soap berries into the provided cloth bag, and toss them in the washer. After up to 10 washes, just remove them from the bag, compost the used berries, and refill the bag with new Eco Nuts! Just like the liquid detergent, they contain none of the added chemicals as typical detergents that ruin your clothes, are nut-allergy safe, and leave clothes clean and soft. Plus, they are priced to cost from 8 to 10 cents a laundry load, which feels great on your wallet.

Trying to choose between Eco Nuts detergent and the berries? We recommend the detergent if you have hard water, an HE (frontloading) machine, or like to wash primarily on cold. Eco Nuts soap nuts will get the job done in these scenarios, but the liquid is specially formulated for HE machines!

 

 

zero-waste-laundry-eco-nuts-dryer-ballsReusable Dryer Balls

Now that we’ve tackling washing your clothes… it’s time to dry them. Seems simple, right? Just throw your clothes in, maybe a dryer sheet or 4, and press the start button?

Wrong.

Chemical-laden dryer sheets are not only wasteful, but they can actually ruin your clothes, and waste a lotta’ money. Dryer sheets often contain artificial fragrances and chemicals like benzyl acetate, ethanol, chloroform (uhh…), and many others. While these chemicals do a great job at coating fabric to make it feel silky soft, it’s not so kind to our bodies, causing irritation, respiratory issues, and headaches. Plus, they’re not contained to your dryer–these chemicals can release into the air of your home through your dryer vent!

Health effects aside, dryer sheets aren’t even the most effective way to dry your clothes! They are single-use, so they have to be purchased over and over. Plus, they aren’t as good at drying clothes as say… dryer balls, which means that you may have to run your machine for longer, and spend more money on energy bills.

This is because dryer balls work by lifting, fluffing, and separating laundry in the drum so that your clothes dry faster, more evenly, and with less energy–with some studies reporting 15-25% shorter dryer times. They collect lint like a pro, unlike flimsy dryer sheets, and can be infused with natural essential oils for a fresh laundry scent.


As if you needed one last reason to permanently make the switch to reusable dryer balls… they also fight fires. Not like, hunky firefighter with his Dalmatian pup style firefighter, but they truly can keep your home safer. Each year, about 14,630 home fires are caused by clothes dryers, ⅓ of which come from having too much lint in your dryer vent. And remember those nasty chemicals that come off of dryer sheets? They can create an unseen chemical buildup on your lint screen and dryer vent, which furthers the risk of fire.

Dryer balls combat both of these issues by keeping your lint screen chemical-free, but also reducing the amount of lint that gets there to begin with! To use, just toss your dryer balls in the drum, throw your clothes in, and wah-lah! Enjoy dry, fluffy clothes without burning down the house.

zero-waste-laundry-bestowed-essentials-natural-laundry-stain-stick-1Natural Stain Remover Stick

Now that you’ve done all this research to learn how to make your usual laundry routine a little more sustainable, we’ve got one last swap for you. Trade that plastic stain stick out for a natural alternative!

We’ve all been there… white shirt, red soup, total mess. No time to change or do laundry, but the stain must go away. Instead of reaching for your plastic Tide Pen, go for package free, natural alternative from Bestowed Essentials! Made from vegan ingredients free from bleach, sulfates, and other additives, this concentrated stain stick gets the job done without damaging or wearing through your clothes. Using only natural ingredients, the only thing it’ll leave behind is fresh clothes and a lightweight scent.

zero-waste-laundry-bestowed-essentials-natural-laundry-stain-stickTo use, flip the piece of clothing inside out to better tackle the stain. Wet the laundry stick, rub it into the stain, and rinse. For tough spots, grab an old bamboo toothbrush and gently scrub the formula into the stain. It cleans clothes with ease and, of course, comes in zero waste packaging.

 

From tackling microplastics in the washing machine, to saving money & reducing waste with reusable dryer balls, we’re changing the way you look at laundry one product at a time. What are your plastic-free go-tos?

Tidying Up Without Trashing the Planet

It’s time to start tidying up.

Here’s how to do it without trashing the planet.

If you’ve been totally obsessing over Marie Kondo and Tidying Up like we have, you’ve probably also been going through every drawer and cabinet looking for things that don’t “spark joy.” And while minimizing and tidying your space really can transform your life, it can also impact the planet if it’s not done mindfully. Tidying, in essence, has a lot of the same intentions & steps as living a low-waste lifestyle…so be sure to make tidying up less trashy with some of our favorite tips below!

Marie Kondo Zero Waste

Textiles

While you’re decluttering, you may find old towels, unused bedding and blankets, pillows, and other textiles. Instead of throwing them away, check with your local animal shelter first! They can use them as bedding and blankets for the pets. Cozy shelter animals? Now that really sparks joy.

If these textiles are in pretty bad condition and cannot be donated… it’s a little trickier. There currently isn’t one hub for textile recycling, but inspiring organizations are opening up to tackle this issue. In New York, GrowNYC accepts fabric scraps (36 square inches or larger), and works with other groups to have them turned into clothes again, made into rags, or even used for insulation! You can also check with local schools and art centers to see if they could use what you have for a project, or even cut them into cleaning towels depending on the fabric!<

Tidying Up Zero Waste

Clothes

Tidying up in the closet can be…difficult to say the least. But when you’re done–don’t just toss it! You can try to sell pieces in good condition at local consignment shops, or use platforms like Poshmark that allow you to connect with an online community to sell your clothes and accessories.

Or, you can donate! The American Red Cross uses donated clothes, accessories, linens, and small toys to benefit victims of natural disasters. The Salvation Army also accepts clothing for men, women, and children, with proceeds going towards their adult rehabilitation centers–and will pick up your stuff for free. Dress for Success has a number of drop off locations nationally, and works to provide unemployed, low-income women the professional clothing they need for job interviews. Career Gear, Planet Aid, Becca’s Closet–there are tons of options for sending your gently used clothes to a great place!

Clothing breaks down very slowly in landfills–and some studies estimate that there are nearly 13 million tons in our landfills already. So while you’re mastering your Kondo fold technique, hop online or go to a local clothing drive to make sure your clothes don’t end up as trash!

Marie Kondo Zero Waste Tidying Up

Technology

Electronics (think old DVD players, iPods, cords and cables) are almost always made with valuable resources–so if it’s time to tidy up your tech, be sure to donate or recycle them so that those resources can be conserved!

For Apple products, there’s now a recycling program where you can give them damaged cables & tech products for them to recycle into newer versions. While they won’t give you a replacement, it’s totally free to recycle any Apple product at their stores. And in a world where computers, on average, are used for less than 3 years, this can make a huge impact on our tech waste. Other companies like LG and Samsung offer mail-in recycling programs for their phones & TVs, while Best Buy accepts phones, TVs, PCs/laptops, and other electronics!

For other “E-Cycling”, check out databases like this one that list reuse, donation, and recycling programs across the US specifically for tech products. Or, you can simply consider selling it locally, or donating it to a school or library in your area.

Marie Kondo Tidying Up Zero Waste

Books

Need to declutter the book shelf? We get it. So head on down to the library! I know that sounds counterintuitive, but most have a Friends of the Library Society where they accept gently used books to stock the library, or sell them at fundraisers to support the library. Of course there are also local thrift stores like Goodwill and The Salvation Army, and even new “mini bookstores” called the Reading Tree that are popping up nationally!

If you don’t mind paying for the cost of shipping your books, there are tons of charities finding truly amazing ways to give new life to older books. Books for Soldiers allows you to create a care package of books & DVDs and send it to deployed soldiers overseas. Additionally, Books 2 Africa looks for educational textbooks and reference books to send to students in Africa. There’s also Books Through Bars, Book to Prisoners, Better World Books…Do a quick search online, and you’re sure to find the perfect place to send your books!

Marie Kondo Zero Waste Tidying Up

Toiletries

We all have them…that unmatched foundation you used once, or a body wash that’s almost empty but you can’t let go of. Thanks to the magic of tidying up, you can reclaim your space! Warning: this may leave you with a box of tubes and other toiletries that you don’t know what to do with.

For products that are primarily empty or have expired, be sure to empty them in the trash, then use a resource like TerraCycle to learn how you can recycle the product container, since most cosmetics and personal care products come in non-recyclable plastic! TerraCycle’s free take back programs let you recycle those tricky mascara wands and shampoo bottles so your bathroom space can be truly tidy.

For products that can still be used (gently used, mostly full), there’s a ton of awesome places that will accept donations for great causes. Women’s shelters use donated toiletries to empower the women in their shelters to start fresh, while groups like Amenity Aid accepts unused hotel size toiletries for use in housing programs, community centers, and other charitable programs. Depending on what you find in your bathroom, there is no shortage of ways to turn toiletries you don’t want into a meaningful experience for others.

Marie Kondo Zero Waste Tidying Up

Staying Tidy

Once you’ve completed the 5-step KonMari Method, and found joy in your home again, you’re definitely gonna want to keep it that way–even if your only motivation is to never have to tidy up again. Keeping your new space tidy happens in two major ways: not buying new junk to fill the empty space, and organizing the items that you decide to keep.

With all the new space you’ll create in your home tidying up, whether it be in your closet, garage, or kitchen, you may be tempted to re-fill that space with new items. The most important thing you can do with that new space is honor it–which means filling it only with things you need, that bring value to the space. For you, this could mean not supporting fast fashion, being a more conscious consumer, or shopping within certain sustainability values–like plastic-free!

If you’ve seen the show or read the book, you’ll notice one of Kondo’s power-moves is a box of boxes that she uses to transform drawers, cabinets… you name it. And while we absolutely love her idea of upcycling old shoe boxes and jewelry boxes into organization tools, there’s no shortage of other ways to maintain your tidy home–while also keeping it sustainable. For storage, we love Ziptuck bags and Stasher bags because they can be used in the kitchen, bathroom, and everything in between.

By turning to reusables, you can minimize the amount of “new” waste you have to tidy up. Single-use items like plastic-bottles, plastic bags, dryer sheets–these all can be replaced by reusable items (reusable bottles, bags, and even dryer balls!) that bring more joy and less waste. Tidying up is all about loving what you have, and making what you have last!

The KonMari method is simple: you, your things, and your space can all feel and look better–if you prioritize what brings you joy, and leave the junk behind. But, be sure to let your tidying up bring joy to others by donating, recycling, and repurposing where you can. And while we can’t help you figure out if that old lamp sparks joy, we can give you the resources you need to make tidying less trashy. Checkout a full list of resources below, and share some of your sustainable KonMari hacks in the comments!

“The question of what you want to own is actually the question of how you want to live your life.” – Marie Kondo

Recycling Centers

TerraCycle Free Recycling Programs
TerraCycle Zero Waste Recycling Boxes
Eco-Cycle’s Recycle, Compost, & Reuse Guide
GrowNYC
Apple Recycling Program
LG Recycling Program
Samsung Recycling Program
Best Buy Recycling Program
E-Cycling

Resources

KonMari
Friends of the Library
Women’s Shelters

Donation Centers

American Red Cross Donations – clothing, shoes, and accessories for men, women, and children across the USA
The Salvation Army Donation Pickup – clothing, shoes, and accessories for men, women, and children across the USA
Dress for Success – professional clothing, shoes, and accessories for low-income unemployed women
Career Gear – professional clothing, shoes, and accessories for low-income unemployed men
Planet Aid – clothing, shoes, and accessories for men, women, and children living in developing nations
Becca’s Closet – prom dresses and accessories for low-income students
Pick-Up Please – accepts clothing, shoes, accessories, jewelry, house and glassware, books, toys, bikes, stereos, radios, TVs, tools, and small electronics
Books for Soldiers – books for deployed soldiers overseas
Books 2 Africa – textbooks and educational materials for students in Africa
Books Through Bars – books for the incarcerated to help them learn & grow
Books to Prisoners – books for the incarcerated to help them learn & grow
Better World Books – affordable books and donation centers
Amenity Aid – takes unused hotel products to give to those in shelters or without access