Eco Friendly Bridal Party Favors

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Eco friendly bridal party gifts can be sophisticated! No joke. The formula is actually quite simple:

First and foremost, instead of stamping your name and wedding date on some dust collector, give your wedding party something they will actually use day in and day out. (Remember that commemorative crystal thingy-ma-bob you got from the last three weddings you attended. Do you really think your friends and family will want another one?)

Next, buy vintage when ever possible. There is a fine line between vintage and secondhand. A vintage faux pearl necklace is beautifully knotted, with smooth lustrous beads. Second hand faux pearls are flaky plastic beads that look like they could come unstrung at any minute.

Vintage gifts are stylish and sophisticated.

Secondhand presents are just plain tacky.

Lastly, if a vintage version of an item is not appropriate, look for recycled and/or sustainably created option.

Just Remember it this way: Reduce the amount of waste giving your wedding party swag they’ll actually want. Reuse vintage items when you can. Recycle post consumer waste buying eco friendly versions of new items. In that order.

Here are a few examples to get your creative juices flowing!

Jewelry is the traditional option for bridesmaids gifts. You can green it up by picking timeless items tailored to each individual bridesmaid. Not only does this prevent wasting resources on the transport of these pieces to secondhand stores or landfills, it’ll better communicate your appreciation and love each of your friends.

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You might be a diamonds in platinum kind of person, but sometimes the classiest gift you can give are Batman studs or a Yankees keychain.

try to resist the urge to put you and your fiance’s names and wedding date on the gift bags. Giving them in a “Thank you from Bride(or Groom)zilla” embroidered reusable satin or velvet bag, in your color scheme, is a fun, regiftable way to help both you and your guests keep the festivities in prospective. A simple “Thank you so much!” pouch is even more likely to get regifted.

As tempting as robes with “Bridesmaid” and “Maid of Honor” embroidered on the back may be, unlabeled robes that coordinate with your bridesmaids’ dresses are a better choice. They will get worn again, and they’ll stand out more against all the noise on instagram.

Parents will appreciate cute reusable snack bags with fresh seasonal fruit, for the kids in the wedding party, much more than candies. Kids will appreciate kid powered toys like frisbees, jenga sets, crafts or science kits.

Vintage hankies for parents and grandparents of the happy couple are both cheeky and practical. Bonus points if you buy them locally.

If you’re looking for one-big-one-size-fits-all gift to replace all other bridal party gifts, try a small tablet. An Android operating system will be the most cost effective.

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Choose one that has both Nook and Kindle apps available. Ebooks and digital magazines don’t require nearly as many resources to produce, ship and store as traditional publishing.

Load some free literary classics to each tablet so that your friends and family don’t feel like they are obligated to buy something to enjoy their gift.

Again, try to tailor the books to the tastes of the person you’re giving it to. Give parents of young children a combination of grownup novels and children’s books.

A collection of highly rated free cookbooks will be appreciated by foodies and friends with special diets. Just be sure to add titles on other topics as well.

What do you think? Do you have any ideas for cool eco friendly wedding party swag? Comment below or tag me on twitter @ShiftsThinking.

As always have fun, and remember, it’s not a matter of perfection it’s simply a matter of doing something today to get a little Closer To Green.

How To Save Grey Water In The Kitchen

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Saving “Grey Water” in the kitchen is an easy way to help maintain a garden during drought conditions or just save money on your water and sewer bills. Simply put grey water is dirty water that is still clean enough to be used for yet another task. Basically it is in the “grey” area between completely clean and completely dirty.

Completely dirty water is called “Black Water” and is the stuff you flush down the toilet, have used to dilute toxic chemicals, etc. Black water cannot be used again without being industrially sanitized.

As you can imagine most of the water that goes down the your kitchen sink can be reused.

There are a number of ways to use grey water but for the purpose of this article we are going to focus on using it to water house plants, gardens and small lawns.

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The water you use to wash produce is a perfect example of grey water. To utilize it fill a small bowl with fruits or vegetables and barely cover them with water. Use only this water to wash them.

The idea is not only to save the water for your gardening or house plants, but also to use as little water as possible in the first place. This can be very helpful if you live in an apartment and only have a few plants to water or if you have to use bottled water because your local water source isn’t safe for consumption.

Another alternative is to catch the rinse water in a bowl. You’ll end up using more fresh water this way but if you have a large garden or small lawn that might not matter as much.

Hot water isn’t necessary to clean produce. To save energy use cold tap water whenever possible. Dawn style dish soap is safe for both you and your garden if you feel you need more than just water to wash your veggies.

It’s important to note that any residual pesticides and synthetic fertilizers on vegetables and fruits you rinse will end up in the soil you use the water on.

On the bright side it will be much less concentrated than with regular produce. Commercial farms use these chemicals in such a high concentration that hazmat suits are often required for the workers applying them.

If the idea of adding any amount of synthetic pesticides to your garden bothers you, only use this type of grey water water on non edible potted plants.

Tubers (potatoes, yams, etc) have their own special chemical issues, namely sprout inhibitors. These types of agricultural products only affect tubers, so simply use their washing water to water your lawn, houseplants, other types vegetables, etc.

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The first step to save water while washing your hands or washing dishes in the sink is turning off the water while lathering and turning it back on only when you’re ready to rinse.

To step up the water savings place a bowl or tub underneath to catch the rinse water. Boom, you’ve got grey water for your lawn or garden. (Don’t worry, hand soaps are also safe for plants.)

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Raw meat residue and grease can cause rotting in plants and can encourage the growth of pathogens on herbs and produce so be selective when saving the water.

As long as it doesn’t have any fatty or meaty chunks, toxic substances, or a high concentrations of salt, water used to wash dishes that held cooked meat are fine for most watering needs.

Save water for your veggie garden from washing your hands after gardening or washing the cutting board after chopping onions. Save water from washing skillets and plates to use on your lawn.

Let the washing water from fiddling with engines or cutting up raw chicken go down the drain to be processed by the sewage plant. It’s not ideal, but few things are.

Unsalted cooking water like the kind used for steaming vegetables, dumplings, etc. is grey water as well. Just salt the veggies after they’ve been cooked.

Dump old pet water into your lawn water bowl when you freshen up Fido’s or Snowball’s water dish. Just be sure to fish out any floaters first.

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And don’t forget the unfinished human beverages. As long as they are calorie free, that is free of all macro nutrients not counting fiber, they are safe enough to water the garden without risk of causing rot. Juices and other sugary drinks can be used to water the grass. Just remember that broth is not a beverage.

Can you think of any other types of grey water hiding in your kitchen? Let me know in the comments section. As always have fun, and remember, it’s not a matter of perfection it’s simply a matter of doing something today to get a little Closer To Green.