The mission of the Nature Center, in a nutshell, is to create #championofnature through living out our vision of promoting a sustainable future. As a staff, we want to share a few of the sustainable practices we do in our everyday lives.
Director of Education, Kelli Kennon-Lane:
- When you run out of a single-use disposable product, instead of re-purchasing that item, invest in a reusable alternative. For example, when you run out of paper napkins or paper towels, purchase a pack of cloth napkins in both the cocktail and dinner sizes. For those who are budget conscious or want to take it a step further, purchase high quality used cloth napkins second-hand. You can find nearly new cloth napkins at a fraction of the cost, and are giving a second life to the item.
- Keep a small bag or container in a convenient spot to collect flimsy plastics. We placed a paper bag on a hook just inside the door to our basement, which is off our kitchen. Anytime I have a flimsy plastic product, instead of throwing it away I toss it in the bag and recycle the items the next time I am at the grocery store.
- Invest in a compost keeper or a container with a lid, to keep under the sink or on the kitchen counter to collect food scraps. At the end of the day, empty the container in the Yardy, at-home compost bin or, like us, feed the scraps to the backyard chickens!
- Purchase a gallon container of Dr. Bronner’s unscented castile soap and use it for cleaning and personal care needs. We also purchased a pump for our container, allowing us to quickly fill hand soap bottles or mason jars (where I make homemade soft scrub and other cleaning products). My husband uses Dr. Bronner’s, scented with essential oils, for body wash.
- My mother-in-law made us several reusable baggies for things like nuts and pretzels. She made the liner out of the same fabric that people make cloth diapers with, making the reusable baggie nearly moisture resistant. If you must use plastic baggies, reuse those more than once by turning it inside out, giving it a rinse, and drying on a dish rack.
- Keep more than just cloth shopping bags in your car. In addition to cloth shopping bags, we keep several mason jars with lids, mesh produce bags, and muslin produce bags of various sizes. This allows us to buy our produce without the plastic bags and bulk dry goods, even things like peanut butter. The best selection of truly zero waste bulk food is available at New Pioneer Food Co-op. Many other stores have bulk items, but they’re simply repackaged in plastic, which isn’t zero waste at all.
Guest Services Associate, Kileen Granta:
We’ve just spent so much time indoors for the winter; put those television and game system controllers down and head outside! Save that electricity for the hot, hot days when you DO need the air conditioner. Otherwise, open your windows and let you and your house breathe this summer as much as you can. When it gets really hot, make your own yogurt or juice popsicles. Yum! Or cool yourself down with a hibiscus and rose petal sun tea over ice. The flowers are natural coolants.
Popsicle molds: https://www.google.com/search?q=popsicle+molds&oq=popsicle+molds&aqs=chrome..69i57j0l5.2539j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8
Cooling hibiscus tea: https://www.mountainroseherbs.com/products/hibiscus-high-tea/profile
Guest Services Associate, Fran Roushar:
Here is a simple homemade dishwasher soap pod recipe featuring Aura Cacia Main Squeeze Essential Oil Blend.
Total Time: 24 hours
Hands-on Time: 30 minutes
Makes: 48 pods
- ¾ to 1 teaspoons Aura Cacia Min Squeeze Essential Oil Blend 2 fl. Oz.
- 2 cups washing soda (sodium carbonate)
- 2 cups Borax
- ½ cup salt
- ½ cup white vinegar
- In a mixing bowl, thoroughly blend all ingredients until a thick paste forms.
- Place 1 to 2 teaspoon portions into a rigid mold or ice cube tray.
- Allow to dry for 24 to 48 hours.
- Pop pods out and store in an airtight container.
- To use, place one pod into the dishwasher and run.
Do you want to host your next event zero waste? Consider purchasing a party pack through our Creekside Shop. A party pack consists of compostable and reusable items. Call or visit the Nature Center for more information!
We would love for you to share your sustainable living practices with us!