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Winter Fashion Trends: Best Bags to Wear this Season

When it comes to 2018 winter fashion trends in purses, handbags, and other accessories, unforgettable colors, innovative shapes, and utilitarianism, seem to be among the main pillars you can use to build a trendy and memorable look this season. From famous brands to timeless, affordable products, we have put together a selection of the best bags to wear this season to ride the winter fashion trends and enhance your style!

1. Orange Bags, Purses, and Totes for a Bright Summery Winter

Orange is the color of autumn if you consider the surrealist natural paintings this season offers us everywhere you look, or the color of winter if oranges make your favorite fruit and scent during the holidays.

For this winter fashion trends, orange (bright or burnt) plays an essential role – it breathes life into the dull days of winter, illuminating any outfit you might wear, and bringing in a fresh summery spark in the season. From Chloe to Moschino, orange bags are all the rage this season. If you are following the trend (or setting it yourself), take a look at our bright orange and pink canvas tote bag with magnet snaps closure.

Do you want to know more about pink bags? Don’t go anywhere!

2. Fifty Shades (or more) of Pink and Macarons

Just like orange, pink (in all its shades from the brightest neon to the sweetest shabby chic) twists winter on its head, giving us something to hope for and enjoy during the grey, short, cold days. Moschino showed its neon pink furry and boxy handbag on the runway, while Chanel kept things on a quieter note, with a two-toned fondant pink purse. Our suggestion for this season is a light-pink fashion oversized jute tote bag in a stylish contemporary design, as it blends in two trends in one: pink shades and massive sizes.

If you get your hands on a two-toned pink tote bag or clutch, it is all for the best – the bigger the purse and the pinker the combination, the trendier you are.

3. Supersized Me Office and Street Bags with a Hobo Flair

Oversized office and street bags will never go out of fashion. In truth, few things compare with the classic IT black huge purse women use to carry… everything. Since we are talking about this winter fashion trends and the newest runway creations, we have to mention Isabel Marant’s enormous two-toned clutch, Victoria Beckham’s gigantic violet felt tote bag, and Marni’s oversized leather brown clutch, among others.

Outrageously nonchalant and feminine, especially when you pair them with minimalist outfits (mini coats, skirts, and boots), these bags are the newest craze in the fashion world. If you want to wear something along the lines of Victoria’s hobo look or Marant’s “shopping bag with style” this year, we recommend you the oversized burlap travel tote bag. You can carry your office and your house inside – and given the earthly natural color of jute, you will ride this year’s “return to nature” trends effortlessly.

4. New Deep Greens Make the Best Classic Models

Just like the classic office handbags, the messenger bags are still high in fashion, with no chances of ever going out of it. However, the novelty in this winter fashion trends are the deep shades of green (with hints of pearl peacock, aquamarine, dark teal and turquoise, and more). In other words, we have the best of both worlds for you today: the tan, hypnotic green expandable briefcase – a bag so slick and trendy, you will wear it on all professional and personal occasions.

You can get this bag for yourself, or you can buy it for someone close to you – it also makes one of the best unisex college messenger bags for students this year!

5. Grown-up Backpacks for Girls with a ‘tude

Were fashion experts speaking of looking nonchalantly different and slightly crazy, while sporting charisma, playfulness, and slickness at the same time?  Yes, they were! Many said this year was the comeback of the backpack. Forget about it being a young person’s accessory. Grown-up backpacks make all women pull off a distinct, mind-blowing look with the help of yuppies’ backpacks and stylish outfits with an attitude.

Perhaps this is the reason why runways witnessed brands like Loewe, Marni or Jeremy Scott featuring oversized adult backpacks in a multitude of fabrics and colors. Our guilty pleasure remains, however, the contemporary digital camo backpack you can wear with anything from long dresses to cropped jeans and designer cardigans.

Are you a girl with a ‘tude? Get your backpack on!

6. Fanny Packs in all the Sky Colors

Yes, the fanny pack is back! Was it ever gone? If we glance at these winter fashion trends, it seems that the fanny pack is a good friend of classy designer outfits. Moreover, fanny packs this year come in all possible colors – with an emphasis on blues.

Just like orange, deep green, all pinks, and mustards, purses in all shades of blue are top contenders for the best bags of this cold season. Valentino and Roksanda promoted light nuances of blue, while Marc Jacobs, Sportmax, and Tod’s brought the sporty fanny pack back into the limelight.

We recommend you choose either a dark blue three-pocketed fanny pack to work wonders with your jeans and caramel cardigan, or a vibrant blue one to set the trend in your group of fashionistas. You will not go wrong with either of them!

7. Minute Purses – More like Gift Bags

The fashion of minuscule purses comes this year from designers such as Altuzzara or Jacquemus. Petite bags of wonder stay proud next to their oversized peers in this year’s fashion shows, and the effect is spectacular. Did you ever want to wear that gorgeous tiny boxy burlap gift bag you love so much? Now it is your time to take the miniature bag out for a posh event, as the smaller, the better. Moreover, you are double in luck if your heart went to a square or cube-shaped bag – box purses are all the rage right now!

Final Thoughts

These winter fashion trends are spectacular regarding novel ideas and the reinvention of classics! You may want to get a circular purse, a tiny necklace purse (to wear at your neck), a mustard bucket handbag, or a tartan purse. The world is your oyster! If you love both fashion and the environment, our collection of ethical fabrics tote bags, backpacks, and other fashionable accessories are here for you to try! What is your favorite? What would you wear this season?

 

Written by Priscilla Greene — October 24, 2018

6 Stylish Unisex Bags for College

College students these days have exciting fashion choices while displaying a handful of personal styles and tastes. Fashion trends and even preferences change, but one thing that remains constant and timeless during college years is the almighty college bag. Boys and girls alike carry all sorts of backpacks, messenger bags, laptop bags, etc. However, some stylish ladies prefer the oversized IT tote bags, whereas others appreciate more the practicality of a pack compared to its fashion statement power. Upon popular request, today we will present you with X stylish unisex bags for college.

1. All-in-One Urban Backpack with Laptop Sleeve

If you are the no-nonsense type of college student with plenty to study and with a job and personal life to handle, then you know you have to rely on practicality, efficiency, and durability. You may need an urban bag to carry your laptop and books, papers and personal effects, some job-related items, or the stuff you need for your projects.

In this case, the All-in-One Urban Backpack is your best choice. Besides the laptop sleeve, it also features plenty of compartments and pockets. More than that, however, it comes with padded straps and waist, chest and side compression straps as well – you never know when you have to go hiking or traveling with your friends, do you? Also, you can pick your favorite from a wide variety of colors.

Since it features polyester, the backpack makes a reliable companion and a heavy-duty carrier that protects your belongings from capricious weather, wear, and tear.

2. Colorful Computer Daypack Laptop Backpack

It is a superstar in the realm of college backpacks, being a favorite back-to-school gift for the young urban girl or boy with a sense of fashion and a soft spot for practicality.

These backpacks look professional, but they do not take the fun out of going to college or following an internship. The padded laptop/tablet sleeve and the multiple zippered pockets with easy access for keys, phone, and other gadgets are just two of the best features of such backpacks.

You can also factor in the stylish shape, the large main compartment, the vibrant colors of these urban unisex daypacks, the comfortable ergonomic padded straps and the padded handle, and the sturdy polyester that resists weather, wear, tear, and travel like no other.

3. Ergonomic Computer Backpack (17” Laptop)

When things get serious – you carry college books and materials, a full-size laptop, even gadgets, paperwork, personal items, and even a change of clothes – you need a backpack to carry you from class to internship (or workplace) with flying colors.

The Ergonomic Computer Backpack offers plenty of space for essentials, laptop/tablet, gadgets and more. One of its best features – making it a crowd favorite for college students and young urban professionals – is the convenient headphone exit port, allowing you to safely preserve and use your mp3 player to listen to music anywhere you want.

Other compelling features include the front zippered pocket with organizer panel, the padded, channeled back for ventilation, and the water bottle pocket. If style and efficiency are your values, you just found the best backpack to rule them all.

4. Stylish Digital Camo Backpack

Some may think that camo prints – clothes and accessories – are the boys’ department. But, as we proved not so long ago, ladies can rock camo prints like super runway models and effortlessly to top it all.

The Stylish Digital Camo Backpack works wonders with jeans and boots, for those long days of running in between classes, the faculty, the job, the dorm, and so on. On the other hand, you can pull off a killer look with the navy blue slim long dress, the camo backpack for contrast and some attitude, and a pair of comfortable shoes with a print matching both the dress and the camo bag – or with camo or desert boots.

If camo is your soft spot, try a unisex Digital Camo Drawstring Backpack as it perfectly blends with anything you choose to wear, boy or girl. Jeans, boots, maxi sweaters, stylish sunglasses, it matters not – a camo drawstring bag is still one of the best options for a college bag when you have more relaxed, lighter days.

Camo bags – drawstring bags, solid backpacks, and even briefcases – make the most stylish unisex bags for college, especially since camo is back in the fashion world with twists (the digital camo trends) and quite a bang.

5. The Professional Expandable Polyester Briefcase

You can consider this briefcase a stylish unisex messenger bag – but it is more than that. Enjoy and put to good use the zippered flap covering the main compartment; keep your items safe by using the two zippered side pockets, and carry everything you need for the day in one of the multiple various utility pockets.

This superb unisex bag comes with an adjustable shoulder strap for busy college days. Detach the belt and turn the bag into a veritable premium briefcase to look tip-top in any urban professional’s outfit. Resilient to wear and tear, this bag matches everything from your career preoccupations to your social status.

6. Cyber Messenger Bag with Laptop Sleeve

This cyber messenger bag is a perfect choice for all college students who are a step closer to getting a job or who are already working on an internship or a part-time. The bag is large and durable, able to carry your tablet/e-reader, documents, files, and gadgets in its large dedicated compartment.

You will also enjoy the separate side-entry padded compartment fitting a 15-inch laptop, books, a camera even and all sorts of assorted gadgets. The adjustable shoulder strap offers comfort and versatility, while its height and the zippered side pockets provide perfect storage for valuables and accessories.

The durability and versatility of this messenger bag are unmatchable considering its price. You do not have to worry about wear or tear either – the fabric is durable, and the color is a solid black to match all your tastes and style preferences. One of the best and most stylish unisex bags for college, this piece is a dream came true.

Final Thoughts

What are your favorite stylish unisex bags for college on this list? Which would you wear and why? Do you have other suggestions for all college students out there in search of a fashionable and reliable college bag?

 

 

 

Written by Priscilla Greene — October 23, 2018

7 Thanksgiving Hostess Gifts to Bring this Season

Thanksgiving is about being grateful for everything beautiful happening in your life. It includes, of course, the Thanksgiving feast hostess, who deserves a thoughtful appreciation gift – after all, turning that turkey into a culinary work of art is even harder than preparing Christmas dinner. Say a heartfelt thank you for the feast and lovely atmosphere by bringing something unique to the party and make the hostess feel cherished. Do you lack inspiration? No worries! We have 7 Thanksgiving hostess gifts to consider this season for exquisite surprises!

1. Thank You Wine Bag

They invented the expression “in vino veritas” probably for these types of occasions. Nothing says “thank you” better and more stylish than a carefully selected wine bottle. When you want to make a long-lasting impression, pick a classy cotton muslin wine bag and personalize it with a message.

Cotton is one of the most versatile fabrics out there, so you can print it with a cute “Thank you” in nice printing/embroidery letters and fonts to express your feelings and gratitude for the hosts.

We recommend you buy wholesale high-quality muslin wine bags now and keep them close for the entire holiday season, as you will have plenty of opportunities to make distinct gifts for your special people.

Keep one for yourself, though, as your favorite brand of wine deserves a high-end “coat.”

2. A Goodie Bag with All the Trimmings

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Thanksgiving goodie bags usually contain specialty gourmet treats. Think about a thoughtful selection of handmade chocolates, artisanal sweets or appetizer spreads, specialty coffee, cheeses, crackers, and cured meats. Also, you can consider sauces and high-end pantry provisions, bio and eco foods, cookies, and oils.

Such treats make the best Thanksgiving hostess gifts ever. You can buy an already-made gift basket, but there is no personal touch to it. Instead, spoil your host and become the guest who adds value and refinement to the Thanksgiving dinner. Hand pick a stylish large and heavy canvas tote bag and fill it with all the delights you know will please the hostess and the guests (if she decides to share the goodies with you all).

3. A Spa Bag for the Ultimate Spoil

 

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Do you know what a hostess wants after preparing the Thanksgiving dinner and tending to all her guests’ needs throughout the party? To rest, relax, and enjoy some well-deserved “her” time.

You can meet and exceed her wishes and expectations by preparing a spa goodies bag instead of a foodie-type one. The difference between a store-bought spa set and a hand-picked one is that the latter shows you care and you know her well enough to select items that you are confident she will love and use.

A red cotton tote bag is the perfect idea to reflect the holiday cheer. Fill it up with self-pampering treats from beautiful nail polish to bath salts and from natural handmade soaps to refined skin care products. Be smart about it and get your hands on a set of such tote bags – they replace plastic and wrappings and make long-lasting and reusable items.

4. A Set of Special Cheese Knives

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When you pair specialty cheese knives featuring a feathery motif with a marble cheese board, you can be sure you just entered the Thanksgiving hostess gifts championship.

Add a nice selection of gourmet cheeses and win the Olympics. We love these knives because they add just the necessary touch of shine and sparkle to any Thanksgiving dinner. Moreover, nothing says Turkey Day better than the feather-inspired handles.

A marble cheese board and an assortment of tasty cheeses complete the gift and add luxury to the Thanksgiving party table.

5. A Set of Story-Telling Scented Candles

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No holiday dinner is complete without some candles to brighten up the atmosphere and make it cozy, intimate, and warm. If your hostess loves scented candles, you can pick some coming with a story or beautiful mood-lifting message.

Scented candles will also help your hostess unwind after all her hard work, while the message/story will fill her heart with joy every time she lays eyes on the candles. Such Thanksgiving hostess gifts work best when you offer them to family members and close friends – you can pick up not only their favorite scent but also the warmest candle note that will directly speak to their hearts.

6. Engraved Wood Coasters

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A set of personalized coasters does not break your bank but makes one of the most elegantly simple, and refined Thanksgiving hostess gifts. You can pick wood coasters and ask an engraving service to “carve” them with messages, a thank you note, maybe some compliments, and more.

Wood coasters last for years and become a constant reminder of your thoughtfulness. If you want to go the full ten yards, place the coasters inside a cute mini rustic favor burlap bag with a clear window. The clear window may display a Thank You card or the gift itself for a memorable impression.

Such present works well with all types of Thanksgiving hostesses – for close family and friends you can personalize the coasters with funny inside jokes or messages, while you can always pick a more formal approach in the engraving for hostesses you know less.

7. Adopt an Olive Tree Certificate and Gift Box

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It is a somewhat new idea that blends a person’s love for nature and high-end olive oil. Adopt an Olive Tree is more of a movement and a statement, started by a family of olive tree growers in Calabria, Italy.

The adoption certificate states that the receiver becomes the proud parent of an olive tree in the region. Together with the document, the new parent also receives an elegant gift box containing selected olive oil from the same grove.

The Olive Tree Adoption initiative has as primary goal the preservation of quality and artistry in the production of Extra Virgin Olive Oil in the Calabria region of southern Italy. Worried about some unethical practices of big companies – the dilution of high-end olive oil with lesser-quality oils from uncontrolled areas, this Italian family wants to keep their trees and oils above quality standards and far from all sorts of corporate shenanigans.

If your Thanksgiving hostess appreciates artisanal gourmet foods and inclines towards eco-farming and eating, such an olive tree adoption certificate together with the selection of gift oils can brighten her holidays for the ages.

Final Thoughts

Tell us in the comments section below if you enjoyed our selection of Thanksgiving hostess gifts ideas! If you have your suggestions, please feel free to share them with us! We are always happy to learn more ways of making people happy! We wish you a fabulous holiday and lots of fun with your family and friends!

Written by Priscilla Greene — October 18, 2018

6 Baby Shower Thank You Ideas and Gift Bags

assortment of colorful gift tote bags

So, your baby’s shower is just around the corner, but, as it happens, you’re probably fresh out of ideas of how to say ‘Thank You’ to all your wonderful friends who attended the festivities. And because we know how hard it can be, as usual, we’ve prepared a small list of gift bags you can offer after or during the party. Now, grab a pen and paper and start taking notes. Who knows? Maybe you will even get inspired for your baby’s next party. So, without further ado, here’s our rundown of funky and amusing baby shower Thank You gifts.

1.    Assorted Belgian Chocolate inside an Easy-To-Decorate Felt Tote Bag

Belgian chocolate

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Nothing can spell “Thank you for being there ” then a box filled with yummy Belgian chocolate. Now, if you want to make this gift even more special, you could try finding the appropriate wrapper. If your friends are into tote bags and chocolate, you should definitely mix them together. The most accessible option is to purchase felt tote bags – they look nice and, what’s even cooler is the fact that you can decorate them as you see fit.

You don’t need anything too fancy – grab a glue gun and put on some paper-mâché hearts, cats, puppies or anything that pops to mind. As of the chocolaty goodness part, don’t rely on supermarkets. Find yourself a nice confectionary and buy some high-quality stuff. After all, your purpose is to say a big ‘Thank You’ from the heart, not from your wallet.

2.    Luxury Bath Products

bath bombs

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If you’re looking for something on the eco-friendlier side in your search for the perfect gift basket, start with a jute bag. Made from 100% natural fibers, this bag is not only chic but can also come in very handy if you’re fresh out of ideas of accessories.

Now, you can’t just hand your guests the bag with a big ‘Thank You’ smile painted on your face. You still need to fill it with some goodies. Our advice – think about relaxation, being Zen or, perhaps finding your happy place. For instance, you can fill the bag with things like scented candles, high-quality body scrubs, and, why not, a good bottle of wine. There’s no need to wrap everything up. That would be a waste of paper.

3.    Lunch Bag Cooler, Snacks, and Beer

lunch cooler

Whoever said that the recipe for the perfect Thank You baby shower gift calls has to be conservative? If your friends are just as funny as you are, you should try putting together an amusing gift basket. Remember your last get-together, long before the baby came? Well, beer and snacks are the perfect combos, regardless of the occasion.

So, here’s you’ll need to do to put together this amazing ‘Thank You’ baby shower gift. Buy yourself some lunch bag coolers to make everything look homey and chummy. Now, depending on your friends’ tastes in junk food, you can fill the bag with stuff like chips, beef jerky or basically anything that pops to mind. To top it all off, buy a bottle or two of craft beer. Put everything in the gift bag and don’t forget to slip in a witty Thank You card.

4.    Rustic Favor Burlap Bag

rustic burlap bag

Talking about going old school, since the Harvester Moon is close, you might think about adding a touch of rustic to your baby shower. And what rustic shower favor’s complete without something substantial to fill the bag? Use your imagination to construct this awesome gift – you can put in potpourris, lavender bath salts, wildflower scented candles, treat bags with your favorite candy. Of course, if you intend to go old-school on this one, don’t forget about hand-made Thank You cards. As always, our advice to you is to go crazy and see what happens after.

5.    High-Quality Canvas Tote Bags and Drinks

on the go cocktails

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Now, if you prefer elegance over strange or old-school, you should consider putting together a gift bag that mirrors your unique personality. For this kind of baby shower of Thank You going-away gift, you will need several top-notch tote bags, preferably in black. And now, for the proverbial cherry on top –  mini-champagne or other fine alcoholic beverages bottles that can be sneaked into any purse, gym bag or backpack.

Don’t forget about decorating each bottle for that dash of elegance (ribbons are your best friends). Put all these stuff in the tote bag. Congratulations! You now have a unique way of expressing gratitude for attending your baby’s shower.

6.    Mini Gifts with Mini Cotton Bag

mini tote bag with Batman picture

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And for the last item on our list, we thought about downscaling things a bit. Since the party’s all about the little one, why not go with something mini? For instance, you could try buying cotton tote mini-bags and filling them with mini-goodies and, of course, micro gifts. Don’t worry too much about paying extra just because the bag’s mini – they’re actually affordable and will definitely add a dash of personality to your project.

As far as the content’s concerned, pay your visit to your local supermarket and look for small stuff that can fit inside the back. Mini-candies are the most obvious choice, but you can also go along with mini whiskey bottles or other stuff. Don’t forget to wrap everything up nice and tidy and, of course, put on your party face.

Conclusion

As you can see,  there are a lot of choices when it comes to putting together the perfect baby shower ‘Thank You’ give the bag. Now, there’s still one question that has been left unanswered – why tote bags instead of regular gift packaging? Well, because they’re nice, useful, and unusual. Why wrap everything up in paper which will probably end up in the trash can, when you can include an item that will come in handy during the upcoming shopping session? As for what should be added or subtracted from the whole ensemble, we leave that entirely up to you.

Written by Priscilla Greene — September 30, 2018

Sustainability Tips - What Does Going Green Mean for the Whole Family?

A 2015 report from the University of California-Santa Barbara tells us that each year, about 8 million tons of plastic end up in the world’s oceans. Moreover, it seems that it takes over 500 years for plastic to be broken down in junkyards. These are frightening statistics but are sadly real and by the looks of it, they’re only getting worse. Unless people convince themselves and their families to adopt a sustainable lifestyle, there might not be a way out of this problem. Going green is the best solution through which people can minimize the impact they have on the environment, but what does this actually mean? This is a question that’s on everybody’s lips and which we are going to answer in this article.

What Does Going Green Actually Mean?

Taking that big first step towards a greener lifestyle can be scary and overwhelming. However, according to research, sustainable cities in the United States are a lot happier than all the others. These are cities that use natural light in the most efficient way possible, recycle, and reuse. This results in a more positive attitude of the people living there, more productivity at work, and an overall happier life. And while everybody’s mental health is impossible to measure, it’s not a secret that families living in greener houses are very happy and pleased with the fact that their home has a lot less impact on the environment than others.

This is, in fact, what going green is all about. It means reducing the impact that you have on the environment as much as possible without decreasing the quality of your life. You have to decrease your environmental footprint by making small but important changes. The first rule is simple: use as little stuff as possible! This means that you don’t have to take 15-minute-long showers, for example.

Also, avoid using your car as much as possible and go for a bike instead! Go for reusable and recyclable products every time you go shopping! Each year, American people throw away about 250 million tons of trash. Now imagine where this planet would have been if all this waste was instead recycled, composted or reused.

Industrial farming is another thing that damages our environment greatly, and which not many people think about. So, when you’re going grocery shopping for your family, try to buy from locals. You will not only help the planet but also help your own community grow and expand.

Finally, going green means taking better care of your body by having a balanced diet, avoiding fast food, and even going for eco-friendly products. You can also make even more drastic changes for your family, like move out of a big city and into a village. This depends on every family’s perspective, but starting with small changes can do a lot for the world we live in. Remember that teaching your kids sustainability at home can be crucial in their understanding of the issue. So, if you are now convinced that a sustainable lifestyle is indeed right for your family, here are some important tips that will certainly help you in your journey to becoming better and help the environment.

green eco house

Make Your House Greener!

  • Do you want to save money while helping the environment? A programmable thermostat is exactly what you need! The idea behind these eco-friendly systems is that they are smart enough to figure out when you are not using them and therefore maintain a balanced temperature for when you return home. Eco-friendly power strips do the same thing, as they cut off power when you are out. You may not know this but even after you’ve stopped charging your devices, the charger will keep on drawing energy from outlets if left in there. Want even more good news? These smart systems are not even that expensive to beging with, so you should definitely be on the lookout for them if you want a greener house!
  • Go for ceiling fans instead of air conditioning in your home! They only use 10% of the energy that ACs do and, believe it or not, they can still maintain a cool temperature in a room, despite what many people think. Moreover, you can also use them in the winter by reversing the direction and allowing them to bring warm air down into the room. This is one of the very first things that you should change about your home and it will save you energy and money, while also helping the planet.
  • Shut down your computer when you’re done using it! This is very important because such devices still use energy even if they’re in sleep mode. So, if you don’t absolutely need to use your laptop or home computer at night, turn them off completely, monitor included too. It’s a great and simple way to save some energy and money.
  • Rechargeable batteries are the way to go! It may be difficult at first but, in time, you should definitely invest in sets of rechargeable batteries for all your devices. Look for the best deals and when they’re on sale, buy many at once. This solution will not only save you a lot of money in the long run, but it’s also good for the environment because you will no longer keep those dead batteries lying around the house.
  • LED lights instead of light bulbs! Energy-efficient lighting is something that we should all be considering, especially nowadays. So, the best way to implement this change in your own house and for your own family is to replace your old light bulbs with LED lights. They may be a bit costly, but in the end, considering the lifespan of these lights, it will all be worth it. Such lights can last up to ten years, so think about the money you save and let’s not talk about energy! Look for LED lights on sale and make this investment! You will not regret it!

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Make Your Kitchen Greener!

  • Use dishwashers instead of the sink! They not only use 50% of the energy of the sinks, but they also use one-sixth of the water and even a lot less soap. You will be making a lot of savings this way, even if you may have to invest in a dishwasher if you don’t have one.
  • As for clothes, wait for a longer time to do the laundry and wash more clothes at once! You will save both water and energy by doing this. Moreover, another good idea would be to wash them using cold water. It’s a myth that only hot water can dissolve the dirt in clothes. By using cold water, you save a ton of energy and you will still end up with perfectly-clean clothes!
  • Avoid using dryers! In fact, they consume so much energy that they don’t even come with an Energy Star rating! Line dry your clothes instead and you will save a lot of energy that would otherwise be wasted. Moreover, by doing this, you can avoid water and air pollution that comes from power plants. A win-win situation!
  • No more paper towels! Go for washable rags instead for your daily chores and you will save a lot of trees. Apart from this, you will save money too and keep paper away from the landfill.

Make Your Bathroom Greener!

  • Throw away your vinyl shower curtain and invest in one made from PVC-free plastic, bamboo or eco-friendly plastic. Apart from the unpleasant smell it has, that vinyl also emits dangerous chemicals that you and your family inhale each time you go into the bathroom. Avoid that by buying an eco-friendly shower curtain.
  • Take shorter showers and avoid baths! You don’t have to spend one hour in the shower or in a bathtub full of water that will go to waste to feel clean. An even better idea would be to install a water flow restrictor on the shower head that will prevent you from using too much water. The same thing goes for your toilet leak. Fix that problem and avoid wasting so much water on nothing. You also save a lot of money this way and help the planet.

groceries tote bag near fridge

Go Green When Shopping!

  • Restrict your spending for a month! This is a great way to find out what you absolutely need to survive and what things are extra and not really necessary. Things like rent, utilities, food, water, medicines etc. are certainly indispensable. However, you probably can survive for a month without movie tickets, new clothes, new devices, haircuts or Starbucks drinks. After this month, you will realize just how important essential things are and how much money you can actually save.
  • Stop buying bottled water! Most of the times, the quality of bottled water is the same as your tap water. However, it contains a lot more toxins from the plastic bottle it comes in, leaves a lot of waste behind, and costs a lot more. If you are uncertain about the quality of your tap water, invest in a good water filter and get a reusable water bottle, too. This can save you a lot of money in the long run as well as help the environment.
  • Cook at home as much as possible! The idea here is to learn how to cook tasty and healthy food using only minimally-packaged things like eggs, vegetables, meats, grains, and By doing this, you will ensure a healthy lifestyle for your entire family, save on groceries, and decrease the impact that you have on the environment. Try to buy what you need from local farmers and discourage industrial farming which is very harmful, as we previously mentioned.
  • Choose reusable bags! These eco-friendly reusable shopping bags are not difficult to find nowadays, and most stores sell them. They are incredibly useful and the best alternative when it comes to protecting the environment. These bags or purses can be recycled very easily, are very pretty, easy to acquire and carry around, and most importantly, are a very easy step to take towards a sustainable-based lifestyle. Most are made from organic cotton, recycled PET, natural jute, hemp or even recycled banners or billboards. You can even use them as a fashion statement that is getting more and more trendy, or as bags to carry your laptop or notebooks around. Versatile, pretty, and sustainable!
  • Shop at second-hand stores! Yet another great way to reduce your environmental footprint is to buy things from second-hand stores as frequently as you can. Nowadays, these stores don’t only sell clothes (which you can, by the way, recycle too), but you can find toys, shoes, accessories, and even good furniture at low prices. This is truly a money-saving, eco-friendly method to adopt as soon as possible.

girl wearing white reusable tote bag

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  • Use Bee’s Wrap instead of plastic wrap for food storage! This is an excellent sustainable and natural alternative to all that plastic that you use to wrap various things in, especially food. It is washable, reusable, and made from all-natural ingredients like beeswax, organic cotton, jojoba oil, and tree resin. It also looks very nice and will maintain the properties of your ingredients intact and won’t contaminate them with plastic toxins anymore.

Go for Green Cleaning Too!

  • Make your own eco-friendly home cleaning products! It’s actually quite simple to do this and you will definitely end up saving lots of money. With just a few simple ingredients like water, vinegar, soap, baking soda or even borax, you can create very efficient and green cleaning products that your neighbors might want to try too.

Make Your Diet Greener and Healthier!

  • Give up on frozen and packaged food! Instead, try to cook your own fresh meals and avoid using the microwave as much as possible. Also, these processed foods are not healthy, make you gain weight, and their packages end up being wasteful. Buy vegetables, fruit, meat, cheese or anything else that you like from your local farmers. They are certainly fresh, you know where they came from, and taste infinitely better.
  • Buy eco-friendly coffee! Shade-grown coffee is the best if you want to go the eco-friendly and sustainable route because these beans don’t require rainforests to be cut down or any dangerous pesticides or chemicals to be used. Nowadays, most respectable coffee shops will have at least one type of shade-grown coffee for you to enjoy. This type of coffee, apart from being eco-friendly, is also good for you and for the planet. Win-win again, right?

Conclusion

All in all, it seems that a sustainable way of life is not that difficult to achieve, especially if you involve your entire family in this process. Going green should be a common effort to save what’s left of this planet and it should not represent the struggle of a few people who want to make a difference. From transforming your kitchen, bathroom, and entire house into a greener one you can seriously decrease your environmental footprint. Finally, being smart about what you buy, the clothes that you wear and even the bags you use for your groceries can act as a huge example for all the others. Remember that this is the only planet that we have (for now) and we should do everything that’s in our power to keep it healthy. Difficult, but not impossible.

Written by Priscilla Greene — September 29, 2018

How to Wear Camo Prints in 2018 Like a Star

text on camo bag

Camo prints might never go out of style. Therefore, camouflage clothes never get old; they become classics. The shades of green are so delightfully matched in camo prints that they can turn a casual look around and make it spectacular. Whenever you feel confused about your look, turn to the wardrobe and pick up a camouflage item. In this article, we will show you how to wear camo prints in 2018 and look like a movie star.

1.    Walk the Streets in Stylish Steps

outfit with white pants, red top, and camo tote bag

Going to a garden party, lunch out with friends or a casual Friday at the office? This look makes a summer day seem bright but stylish. The outfit has a slight party vibe given by the shoes which are completed by the large causal pants. You will need:

  • A basic cherry tank top that completes the pallet of colors created by the camo print.
  • White long and large pants with a touch of glam given by a textile ribbon.
  • Polyester camo tote bag with a zipper that makes sure every piece of its contents stays in place and does not fall. The size of the tote bag gracefully covers the ribbon on one side, adding a smart touch to the look.
  • Stiletto shoes to keep your look going and give you enough confidence to manage that demanding meeting or rock the party.

2.    Bring Back College Days during Cold Days

outfit with black dress and camo tote bag

If your style is versatile enough to allow you to play with ideas and memories, then we recommend an edgier outfit that will emphasize your personality. This look puts together the playfulness of college days with your casual need to feel stylish. The outfit is suitable for daily meetings and lunches, a trip to the gym or a party evening with friends. Moreover, the wool items bring back sunshine to a rainy day while keeping you warm.

  • Long short black wool dress to feel comfortable during chilly evenings, and autumn days. The simple design of the dress makes it the perfect partner for a colorful camo print.
  • Lightweight white moccasins that help you stay active and manage a working day’s tasks. Such shoes allow your foot pores to breathe and maintain balance.
  • Camouflage patterned tote bag is the item that completes the school-casual look by being both practical and attention-grabbing. The backpack can be worn even if you travel by car or public transport, as you almost do not feel it.

3.    Feel the Retro Glam in a Skirt

outfit with shirt, pencil skirt, and camo tote bag

If you work in a company that requires a smart-casual look, then you have come to the right place. However, you might get bored sometimes of the same old clothes you have already worn. To prevent that, you can add a retro sparkle to your everyday outfits by choosing the right items and accessories.

  • Brown top suit for an autumn or winter office day. The uniform-styled top looks coherent next to the camo print bag.
  • A vintage long-sleeved woman shirt looks spectacular with a top suit, as it sets up the look for the shades of green.
  • Cotton pencil skirts make your body look elegant and feminine. The business-style knee length skirt should fit both autumn and winter.
  • The military-style tote bag helps you complete the tones of your look and shine whenever you enter the office.
  • Fabric ankle boots with metallic high heels details are comfortable to wear even if your job requires much standing up. The fabric stretches on the leg to create a natural effect.

4.    Cross the Line with Matching Accessories

outfit with boyfriend jeans, orange sweater and camo drawstring backpack

Have you noticed how glamorous Kim Kardashian or Rihanna look whenever they outline a casual-sport look? You can get the same effect whenever you make an impressive mix of items that either match or complete each other. Wear the outfit while traveling, during family weekends and when heading to the gym.

  • An orange simple sports blouse is the attention-grabbing item that makes people look at you, and then at the clothes, you wear. Meanwhile, you stay active and comfortable.
  • Boyfriend jeans sparkle next to the basic blouse as they come with subtle changes of color and texture.
  • Sunglasses are the accessories you need to protect your eyes from sun exposure and match your camo print bag.
  • The camo drawstring backpack is practical whenever you need to get ready for work. Additional tip: if you only feel like grabbing an apple, feel free to keep your cosmetic products there for proper storage.
  • A pair of woman ankle boots matches the sports look you are achieving. They are suitable for chilly days and evenings.

5.    Say Yes to the Dress and the Camo

outfit with sport dress and camo backpack

Looking for a glam look when you need to attend an informal event, go to date or even work? The dress makes a feminine look, while the camo turns the style into an urban one. The matching details upgrade your look to a stylish level.

  • The long dark blue dress is simple, but charming thanks to its shape and slender waistline. The skirt is made on a pencil line to provide you with an overall slim look.
  • A pair of fantasy-styled shoes with a print that matches both the dress and the camo bag. Alternatively, you can wear them with jeans.
  • The camo large backpack comes with an adjustable strap that allows you to set up the necessary space. You can store your laptop for work or just go for a book shopping session while feeling fabulous.
  • This Camouflage necklace is the accessory you need to keep it simple for the dress. However, you can also wear the necklace whenever wearing the camo bag, to make you look smart and stylish.

Final Thoughts

These ideas should teach you how to wear camo prints in 2018 like a star and forget about the army-look stereotype. Why opt for a white T-shirt and camo pants to match the bag, when you have so many options to choose from? Get creative and challenge your wardrobe by wearing these fantastic camo prints and clothes!

Written by Priscilla Greene — September 28, 2018

5 Backpack Storage Ideas when You Live in a Small Apartment

backpack storage ideas

Back to school season has officially begun for children and youngsters of all ages in many parts of the world. Educational opportunities aside, this can create a lot of unexpected clutter in the house that needs to be managed, and stray school bags are definitely the number one culprits. In this article, we will discuss a few backpack storage ideas to help you keep things neat and tidy.

1.    Stackable File Boxes

clear stackable box 

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Building your very own storage unit out of stackable file boxes is the easiest way to make use of the little space in your apartment while creating the ideal setting for backpacks. One such container goes for around 15 dollars a pop, but you won’t need to add much else to it. Simply purchase as many as you need, then stow away.

Nevertheless, if you live with friends, family, or a significant other, it’s always handy to label every person’s items accordingly. A hassle-free and cute way to do this is by hitting the local school supplies shop and buying a few packs of notebook nametags. For the thrifty version, you can also print your own on sticky paper with the help of fun online templates.

This DIY storage unit effortlessly fits in any corner of the house. What is more, it is also ideal for back to school season, as stackable file boxes, as their name implies, are mainly used for depositing paperwork. In this way, both adults and children will be able to keep assignments organized and in check at all times. Don’t be afraid to shoot for straight A’s with this nifty project.

2.    Reclaimed Wood Hanger

wooden hanger 

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Next on our list of crafty backpack storage ideas, we have the reclaimed wood hanger. It is a great way to teach sustainability at home, as it ingeniously employs scrap materials to create a beautiful and convenient end product. If executed correctly, it will not only save you some room in the apartment but also decorate the hallways in a rather unique manner.

All you need for this DIY project is an adequately sized piece of reclaimed wood left behind from past renovations and a few plastic, metal, or ceramic knobs. To keep in tune with the eco-friendly theme, we recommend the latter. Using a drill, make holes for the knobs, then screw the wooden board into the wall. Insert the knobs, and you’re done.

For an extra oomph, whip out the paints and decorate the panel. You can do this in any way you like. Use stencils to draw on flowers, butterflies, stars, or any other pattern that appeals to you. If you feel confident in your talent, do it freehand. Or, you can write out a motivational slogan that will energize you for a new day at school or work. It’s all up to you.

3.    Backpack Nook

backpack nook

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Is the hallway of your apartment more like a little nook where no furniture wants to fit? The backpack nook is the ideal solution to this. All you need are a few hooks that you can stick in the wall, and your entire family will now have an accessible place to deposit their bags for the day. You get bonus points for marking each person’s hook with their initial.

This fun and simple project can also be pursued if you live alone. Put in one hook for each type of bag you like to accessorize with. In this way, you will organize your backpacks, tote bags, bum bags, and more formal bags in a clean and resourceful way. Thus, when you’re in a hurry to get out the door, you will know exactly what to pick out.

4.    The Landing Zone

shelves

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If you’re familiar with military terms, then you already know what is traditionally understood through the term ‘landing zone’. The phrase refers to the area where aircrafts land, but in this case, we are alluding to something entirely different. Our project refers to a DIY storage unit where everyone’s bags and backpacks can settle at the end of a busy day.

When you live in a small apartment with your family or roommates, the hallways get plenty of traffic. Why not create a landing zone for backpacks in that crucial point of the house? You will need to purchase cubby shelves and wood crates for this. Depending on how many drawers you want to create, amounts may vary.

Paint and decorate the components however you see fit, then place the crates inside of the cubbies. In this way, you will have your own ornate boxes for backpack storage, as well as a handy surface on top where you can place books, folders, and other personal belongings.

5.    Family Command Center

corner designed for backpack storage

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The family command center is hands down the most complex project on our list of backpack storage ideas, as it handles more than just school bags. Still, as these tend to cause quite the clutter, it’s important to organize them first and foremost. The easiest way to achieve this is by mounting a cubby shelf at counter height and attaching hooks on the bottom.

Backpacks hang from them without difficulties, while the baskets inside the cubby unit are the perfect storage space for smaller handbags, totes, and reusable grocery bags. The counter is ideal for personal belongings, and you will have a lot of space leftover on the walls to screw in a few boards. In this way, you will also keep track of mail, bills, and other daily duties.

The Bottom Line

Being clever about backpack storage is a great way to create some additional room in any small apartment, especially now that school has officially begun. Any of the five ideas mentioned above can come in handy for both children and adults, so why not give them a try today? Your home will appear much neater as a result, and you won’t have to worry about tidying it up as much.

Written by Priscilla Greene — September 28, 2018

How to Reuse Gift Bags - 10 Ideas and Tips

assortment of gift bags

It’s no secret that everyone loves receiving gifts from their loved ones. This simple gesture is fulfilling on both a material and a spiritual level, but what can we make out of all the bags that get left behind? In this article, we will discuss ten crafty ideas on how to reuse gift bags that are creative, entertaining, and beneficial for the environment at the same time. 

1.    Wrapping Paper

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What better way to reuse old gift bags than by having them come full circle and becoming wrapping paper? To do this, simply remove the handles and go to town. This works best with a gift bag made from thin paper. If you find that the material is too plain for your liking, try gluing tiny decorations onto it, such as the pompoms pictured above.

2.    Shopping Bags

Another top choice on our list on how to reuse gift bags has to do with repurposing them for shopping and groceries. The next time you hit stores, bring your own bag instead of asking the cashier for one, which is incredibly wasteful. Why hoard tens of plastic bags in your home when you can easily avoid that and help the planet in the process as well.

Gift bags have the incredible advantage of being a lot sturdier than your traditional plastic alternative as well, which is a huge bonus. Many of them are made from materials that stand the test of time, such as canvas or jute. If you have a day of heavy spending planned ahead, it is advisable to bring a tote that is resistant and won’t break in the middle of your errand run.

3.    Book Covers

Making DIY book covers from gift bags is another clever way to teach your family a lesson in sustainability. It reduces both paper and plastic waste, as you are repurposing another item while avoiding the purchase of plastic-made goods as well. Choose gift bags with fun prints made from denser materials to achieve the best possible results 

 

4.    Greeting Cards

Any remarkable birthday gift needs the right greeting card to accompany it. Instead of spending hours in the shop trying to decide on one, why not make your own? Gift bags are the ideal resource for this DIY project, as they come in a wide variety of celebratory colors and patterns. Plus, you will get to write a heartfelt message inside, which is bound to make an impression.

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5.    Wall Décor

Gift bags of all shapes, sizes, and colors provide innovative replacements for wall décor. Cut out your very own exuberant and exclusive designs from them and stick them on or use the bags to produce one of a kind picture frames. With a little bit of imagination and a lot of patience, you will manage to add a distinct touch to your home. 

6.    Origami

Speaking of origami, why not turn old paper totes into fun decorations for your home? Start with beginner-friendly designs, such as the tulip, the boat, the fan, or the ever so popular crane, then move your way up towards more intricate ornaments. Use vivid colors and unique prints to bring some brightness into your home.

7.    Coasters

Coasters are another example of how to reuse gift bags in order to create something new. However, you should refrain from using paper or cardboard ones, as they are incredibly susceptible to water damage. Jute totes are a great alternative in this situation, as the bushy and fibrous wooden material is durable and sturdy.

Polypropylene is another common material for such bags that is water-resistant, which makes it a wonderful resource for your DIY coaster project. If you find that the resulting items are too thin for your liking, glue multiple pieces of the bag together until the desired girth is reached.

8.    Envelopes

hand made envelopes

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Next in the discussion on how to reuse gift bags, paper ones to be more exact, as envelopes. There are three main types you can create, namely pouch envelopes, taped envelopes, or origami envelopes. Depending on the result you want to accomplish, techniques will vary. Of course, pouches are the easiest to make at home.

All you need to do is a square or rectangular piece of the gift bag, along with some glue. Glue two of the open ends together, leaving the one on the top exposed. Create a flap, stick the letter or card in, then secure accordingly. Taped envelopes require a lot of folding, as do origami ones, but if you’re in the market for an intricate DIY project, they are worth looking into.

9.    Magazine Holders

Do you have a lot of loose magazines and newspapers lying around the house? If the answer is yes, then you might be in dire need of a method to organize them all and keep the living area neat and tidy. Old gift bags are perfect for this. Simply take out their handles and organize the publications by year, genre, or whatever else tickles your fancy.

10. Scrapbooking

hand made scrapbook

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Scrapbooking is an irreplaceable way to preserve important memories and capture but a morsel of the incredible feelings and emotions behind any special event. By putting together photographs, drawings, clippings, journal entries, and other meaningful paraphernalia, your album can become a world in its own.

To decorate this homage to your personal history in a modern and inventive way, use pieces of paper and fabric repurposed from old gift bags. They will look pretty and mark a notable moment exquisitely without creating any paper or plastic waste. Furthermore, this practice is beneficial to you and the environment simultaneously too.

The Bottom Line

Who says that old gift bags have to go to waste? With the help of the ten ideas presented above, you will make the most out of any tote you receive, regardless of the material it is made of. Paper and cardboard are the most resourceful, but you can always make do with canvas, jute, and polypropylene as well.

Written by Priscilla Greene — September 27, 2018

Greenest States in America 2018

Each state in the United States has its own unique claim to fame: a prominent national park, a dominant industry or some other interesting feature. Sometimes what makes a state stand out isn’t anything to brag about — unemployment, debt, poor healthcare — but other times it can be glowingly noteworthy. For example, how about saving the planet?

In April 2018, personal finance website WalletHub took an in-depth look at which states are leading the pack for being environmentally friendly. All 50 states were rated on three areas: Environmental Quality, Eco-Friendly Behaviors and Climate-Change Contributions. The rating system involved a sophisticated equation that involved averaging out 23 metrics graded on a 100-point scale.

Top 10 Most Environmentally Friendly States

According to research, these are the Top 10 greenest states of 2018:

  1. Vermont
  2. Oregon
  3. Massachusetts
  4. New York
  5. South Dakota
  6. Minnesota
  7. Connecticut
  8. New Hampshire
  9. California
  10. Rhode Island

Not all of the results for the most environmentally friendly states are surprising, such as Oregon coming in at No. 2 overall. Most of the states that rank highly in one area rank highly in others. But then there’s New Mexico, which ranks No. 6 for Eco-Friendly Behaviors but came in at No. 30 overall, a full 12 places behind the next state to have a single-digit ranking in one area. What happened there?

It turns out, New Mexico has quite a low ranking for Environmental Quality (39) and for Climate-Change Contributions (36). Instead of being a let-down, however, New Mexico’s disparity in scores can be taken as a good thing, because New Mexico is making an effort to up its game and compensate for where it’s lacking in other areas. States such as Louisiana, which ranked at No. 49 in all categories, should take note: Every effort to help out the environment counts.

How You Can Make Your State More Eco-Friendly

Some of the factors impacting total scores for greenest states seem to go over the average person’s area of influence, including Soil Quality, Water Quality, % of Renewable Energy Consumption (such as solar), Most LEED-Certified Buildings per Capita. A lot of these rely more on environmentally friendly companies to make a big impact. At the same time, things like Air Quality and Water Quality do depend at least a little on each citizen: we can take public transit instead of drive to work, or we can make sure we’re properly disposing of hazardous chemicals so they don’t end up in our waste treatment plants and water supply.

Other categories that tie more directly into our everyday lives: Energy Consumption per Capita, Gasoline Consumption per Capita, % of Recycled Municipal Solid Waste, and Total Municipal Solid Waste. Changing our behaviors to be more environmentally friendly is something every person can do, and it does make a difference.

As technology advances, more ways to be environmentally friendly present themselves. Solar panels are going up on roofs, power-generating windmills are dotting the landscape, and fuel-efficient or wholly electric cars are making their way onto roads. All of these things can contribute to helping the environment, but it’s the little things, added up across the millions of people living in the United States, that often make the biggest difference.

Everyone is familiar with the three R’s — Recycle, Reduce, Reuse — but how do they translate into everyday life? The Environmental Protection Agency offers several ideas for green living, some of which can be found here along with other things to try.

Recycle

The WalletHub rankings say the rate of recycling for its top-ranking state in that category (Maine)  is 48 times higher than that of the lowest ranking state (Louisiana). As recycling programs continue to gain traction throughout the United States, recycling becomes a much more friendly alternative for disposing of paper, plastic, and other approved materials. If your community offers curbside collection, collect recyclable materials and put them out in your designated recycling bin on pick-up day. If a program like that doesn’t exist in your area, you can still collect materials to be recycled and take them to a drop-off center.

Apart from recycling things like cans, bottles and paper, consider taking compostable materials such as yard debris to a compost center — or even making your own compost.

Reduce

What’s the best way to cut down on the amount of waste in the United States? Don’t generate it in the first place. Lessening the amount of material being sent to landfills, recycling centers or incinerators means making wise decisions about what to buy and using things to their fullest extent. Look for products that have minimal or biodegradable packaging, or buy items in bulk when possible. Save items from going to the landfill by buying things used. Refrain from using paper plates or plastic cutlery when a reusable option is feasible. Buy rechargeable electronics instead of using up packs of batteries. Conserve and take care of the things you own so they can last as long as possible.

Reuse

The goal here is again to limit the amount of waste generated. Find ways to repurpose what you already own, and donate your old items to an organization where they can find new life. Purchased repurposed products, including things made from post-consumer recycled material. Take reusable shopping bags with you to the store so plastic grocery bags, one of the banes of the recycling world, are less likely to get stuck in your neighbor’s tree or cause difficulty in your local recycling center. On that note, if you do have plastic bags to recycle, make sure you take them to a designated drop-off spot near you. A helpful locator by the American Chemistry Council can point you in the right direction.

Written by Tote Bag Factory — September 26, 2018

Businesses are Using Biodegradable, Compostable, and Even Edible Packaging Materials Instead of Plastics

More and more businesses and companies in the food sector are nowadays frivolously searching for eco-friendly alternatives when it comes to plastic packaging. The idea here is to harshly decrease their CO2 footprint while coming up with various solutions which are mostly made from renewable materials. Statistics tell us that each year, about 8m tons of plastic end up in the world’s oceans. Moreover, experts predict that by 2050 there might be more plastic than fish in the sea. This is the reason why so many businesses have turned to biodegradable, compostable, or even edible packaging materials as opposed to plastic which is convenient for packing food, but very dangerous for the environment in the long run. Here is a detailed look at what these companies are planning to do and at the situation today.

All about these eco-friendly packaging materials

The interesting fact is that a lot of these more sustainable packaging options that certain companies have put forward have not been without controversy. For example, United Nations’ s chief scientist, Jacqueline McGlade, said about biodegradable plastics that they are a wrong option, although well-intentioned. It seems that the reason for this is their inability to break down once in the world’s oceans. As for other such plastics, like those part of the oxo-degradable category which can break down into microplastics, it is said that they can become very dangerous once they reach the water. So, the next step now is to come up with a new alternative to plastic packaging and many companies have made this their personal mission.

When we talk about environment-friendly packaging we should also take into consideration the bags that we are using to carry our food in. The fabric that these bags are made of also matters in the context of these common efforts that more and more people make to save the planet.

Currently, there are companies that make zip-up bags and packaging for everything from vegetables to clothes, that only take three months to break down. However, there is one big problem with compostable packaging: it’s expensive. At least, it’s more expensive than plastic which is the reason why companies tend to use it for deluxe, organic or green products.

Still, this is not the sole problem when it comes to compostable packaging. There is also the issue of consumer understanding and how can companies make it absolutely clear that a certain bag is indeed compostable. Some are able to do that, some are still not. And also, not all customers care about the environmental qualities of a certain packaging material and they don’t do anything differently.

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Through the eyes of the consumer

What consumers think is extremely important in the context of this change that could greatly help our environment. This is why some studies have been conducted, like the one from Wageningen University & Research in the Netherlands, which focused on how consumers perceive this bio-based packaging. The goal was to offer businesses some ideas regarding what consumers prefer and therefore help them make the right choices.

According to researchers, it seems that most manufacturers prefer the so-called drop-in bio-based packaging. This is interesting because its chemical composition is identical to that of classic packaging. However, it doesn’t contain petroleum but renewable raw materials. As for consumers, official numbers are indicating towards a greater preference for renewable packaging than for the traditional one.

Still, the problem remains. Since these characteristics are not easily distinguishable especially by the untrained eye, manufacturers need to make efforts to clearly specify which packaging is bio-based and what are its benefits for the environment. Some of the info should include details about its bio-based content, about the renewable feedstock and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

Moreover, according to one of the experts involved in the study, it seems that, contrary to what companies might think, people do notice the differences between a regular packaging material and a biodegradable one. Bio-based plastic used for packaging has a totally different feel, look, and sound. Consumers are well aware of this and, in fact, see it as a positive thing. This is another encouragement for businesses that this kind of packaging should be adopted worldwide.

Apart from this, businesses are resorting to what’s called sustainable marketing and promoting various eco-friendly products as prizes or promotional products for consumers. This is a clever way to make this phenomenon known to the mass public and encourage people to go green.

Finally, there is the problem of what to do with the package after using it. This study reached the conclusion that people want clear after-use instructions that will guide them through the correct process. Yes, these packaging materials might be biodegradable, but if consumers have no idea what to do with them, it’s all in vain. Clear claims regarding its recyclability as well as recommendations for a correct disposal should absolutely appear on the package.

For example, these bio-based drop-in plastics can be recycled together with conventional plastics. Also, compostable packaging is meant to be treated in special industrial composting plants. So, people should know all about these differences.

 biodegradable packaging

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Alternatives to conventional plastics

Apart from bio-based plastics, manufacturers are also exploring a plethora of different environment-friendly packaging options. One of the most interesting alternatives is the edible plastic film that you can wrap things in and which is made from milk protein casein. It seems that it’s capable of keeping oxygen away from foods, making this an excellent alternative to conventional plastics.

Source: American Chemical Society

According to experts, it seems that the patent for this edible packaging option is still pending and, in the future, it might even contain micronutrients or even flavors. Right now, lots of companies are willing to adopt this type of packaging, but it might take a lot longer than they expect because such a big change is not easy to adopt.

However, people should always keep in mind that, even if these materials are biodegradable, their misplacement or littering is still not acceptable or encouraged. All of these packaging materials need to be kept in a continuously-moving system that allows their valuable resources to be taken advantage of in full.

edible packaging ad

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Edible food packaging products

When you think about it, the concept of edible packaging might seem a little weird. Some people might find it bizarre to actually ingest something that should have the sole purpose of keeping a barrier between the food and the packaging. However, just think about ice-cream cones or the skin of fruit and vegetables. We have been eating those for a very long time, right? Nobody forces you to actually eat this packaging, but its environmental-friendly characteristic remains: it will still be compostable, biodegradable, and even dissolvable. Here are a few interesting edible food packaging products that you may or may have not heard about before.

1.     Seaweed wrapping

seaweed packaging

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More and more manufacturers are nowadays creating edible and sustainable food packaging which is made from seaweed. In fact, this type of packaging is not only suitable for food, but it can also work well for cosmetic products, such as soap, or for coffee. The idea around this type of environmental-friendly package is that the seaweed from which it’s made of will eventually dissolve in warm water making it completely biodegradable. Moreover, it secures heat, it is printable and can be a very good plant fertilizer after use.

2.     Edible cutlery

edible cutlery

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In case you didn’t already know (and you probably didn’t), edible cutlery is now a thing and a very beneficial one for the environment, in fact. A delicious and brilliant alternative to plastic, this cutlery is made from a mix of rice, wheat, and sorghum. They come in either sweet, savory or plain flavor, are vegan and vegetarian-friendly and an incredibly good option when you truly want to do something for the planet.

3.     Edible cups

edible cups

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Biodegradable and edible cups should be a must at any party from now on, especially if you want to protect the environment and encourage other people to do it too. They are, in fact, made from seaweed, natural colors that come from fruits and vegetables, and organic sweeteners. Apart from this, these cups are also gelatin- and gluten-free, and they come in a wide range of flavors, for every taste. A future project also talks about edible straws to accompany them for a fully eco-friendly night . So, bottoms up!

sustainable food packaging

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Green packaging becomes mainstream

People have long considered plastic packaging the standard one. However, as the situation of our planet and concerns over the environment have increased over the past years, more and more people have become aware of the fact that plastic might not be such a good idea. This is also why governments have begun putting bans on the usage of plastic bags, and retailers are now trying to go green more than ever before.

A recently-conducted survey says that more than half of American consumers would choose these environment-friendly products over the traditional ones. So, the desire is there and there’s absolutely no reason for manufacturers to wait for change. This is the reason why many businesses today are flirting with this idea of green packaging and they’re being successful at it. Eco-friendly package, according to the current standards, should always:

  • Have recycled materials in its composition;
  • Be as small as possible in order to reduce the footprint;
  • Be recyclable and easily disposable in a sustainable manner.

For most companies, paper in the form of folding cartons is the best solution for packages. It is easy to maneuver, lightweight, sturdy, customizable, efficient, and sustainable. It also doesn’t cost a lot and can be made out of recycled materials.

The problem with compostable packaging

Compostable products, as beneficial for the environment as they are, have one big problem. They require an industrial facility which uses heat for them to be properly break down. Normally, this process takes about 180 days, but it doesn’t usually happen as the items don’t usually end up in the recycle bin. The bigger problem is that these compost facilities are usually found in big cities and not everyone has access to them. This seriously limits the effectiveness and sustainability level of compostable packaging and when they end up in the trash, their characteristics become useless.

biodegradable products

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Characteristics of biodegradable packaging

On the other hand, when it comes to biodegradable packaging, things are a lot easier. Microorganisms like bacteria and fungi broke down these materials, and they do it quite easily too. Also, the biggest difference between biodegradable products and other sustainable ones is that they don’t require any specific industry regulations or standards. In fact, everything is biodegradable, even if it takes a few months or a few centuries. This is the reason why so many manufacturers are misleading consumers and overexaggerating these products’ characteristics under what’s known as “greenwashing”. So, in order to avoid this, the Federal Trade Commission has established the Green Guidelines that offer more details on what should be called biodegradable and what not.

The idea behind recyclable packaging

Recyclable packaging is also dubbed the eco-friendliest option out of them all because basically, you can reuse the material for the same purpose. You can also remanufacture it into something completely new. Still, there are some things that one should know about recycling. First, you need to be willing to recycle that material and take it to a recycling center. Then, that specific center must be able to actually recycle the respective material. Lastly, a product cannot be recycled if it contains food contamination. Recycled material is nowadays used more and more by a lot of companies because it’s efficient, looks nice, and it’s an overall better option for the planet. 

Conclusion

All in all, it seems that people are starting to notice the dangerous effects that traditional plastic packaging has on the environment and are trying to do something to stop this. Manufacturers are coming up with ingenious ideas like biodegradable, recyclable, compostable, and even edible packaging while businesses are doing everything they can to implement them on the mass market. Now it’s the best time to choose alternative packaging materials instead of plastics because they can help us save the planet. It may already be too late, but these common efforts are certainly not in vain and will certainly buy the humanity some time to sort things out.

Written by Priscilla Greene — September 26, 2018

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