The Unexpected side of Sub-par recycling

April 11, 2010

One of the few dissapointments I’ve had in Montana is the recycling available. I can recycle aluminum, plastic 1 & 2, newspaper and magazines, cardboard. Better than Carbondale 5 years ago, but the lack of glass and tin can recycling kind of drives me bonkers. I wanted to come to Montana because it’s “Colorado 10 years ago,” so not sure why I was expecting some state-of-the-art recycling systems.

But there is a flip side to this “issue.” I’ve been trying to become less dependant on packaged goods. And buying boxed wine is more Eco-friendly with its cardboard rather than glass, and not because I’m cheap….right? Our local grocery store has a fantastic bulk food selection. I’ve been getting dried beans to rehydrate, black pepper in ziplocs (refillable), and I’ve made a commitment to start chopping my own tomatos rather than the easy petite diced (although I don’t think I’ve ever diced anything “petite”). Ideally we’ll have our own house this summer to actually grow the tomatos! And I’ve learned how to make my own broth out of veggie scraps.

Today I baked my own bread with Wheat Montana flour, made granola, and we tried our hand at homemade mozerella (using milk from Victor, MT). So while it pains me to throw that can or glass beer bottle away (thank you New Belgium for making “Sunshine in a can,” now just need to find some up here), at least I can source many of my items locally. I can’t wait for the farmers market with the Flathead cherries, and getting some Farm-to-Market pork (next to my favorite local bike trails, Pig Farms), and growing our own peppers so I don’t have to have my mom keep sending up green chili from Colorado.

This is not to toot my own horn on sustainability, but I’m a bit excited with the challenge of massively reducing my waste. Now, to find that electric scooter to get me up the hill to work.

30 Days of Biking

April 5, 2010

Some dude named Ryan decided to do a Twitter challenge to ride your bike every day for 30 days, and then tweet about it with the hash tag of #30daysofbiking. I didn’t get wind of it until April 2nd, a day after the challenge started, and of course April 1 happened to be the only day I didn’t ride my bike after work due to a necessary trip to Costco (I am determined to do this on a bike at some point though…). But better late than never, right? So to help keep track of my 29 days (I’ll bike May 1st too to get to 30), I’m going to keep track of my days here as well as on Twitter. As well as what bike I rode to make sure all 5 get some sort of love…

April 1 – slacker
2nd: Recycling Center & Post office (Xtracycle)
3rd: Grocery Store for Easter Dinner prep (PowderGirl)
4th: Church for Easter (PowderGirl)
5th: 7-Mile Cross ride (Kona Jake)
6th: Yoga in the AM (PowderGirl); Cross Ride to Jake & Yvonne’s for bible study
7th: Met with mortgage lender (Xtra); Cruised downtown for shopping (PowderGirl) and friends house for a BBQ (Xtra)
8th: boo, no riding. at conference from 7am to 10pm
9th: Downtown on Powdergirl for errands
10th: Does going to Canada to ski count?
11th: PowderGirl to church; Xtra to store and gym (wow, this is kind of repetative….)
12th: Bowling! (Xtra)
13th: To Yoga in the AM (PowderGirl)
14th: Xtra to Super1, then to the gym (all these are under 1/2 mile, geez)
15th: Few miles on the Xtra today to the Chamber after hours event, and then downtown for Telluride MountainFilm! And the Xtra met some new friends.
16th: Xtra to yoga then an evening Fixie tour around Whitefish with margs, pizza, and impromptu hanging out
17th: Mountain bike ride finished with a cruiser ride to the brewery to fill up the growler
18th: exploring more mountain bike trails
19th: Cruiser ride for one
20th: 8 miles to work = 1:03. 8 miles home = 21 minutes.
21st: Took PowderGirl to meet a finacial planner to set up my 401k
22nd: 8 miles to work = 1:00:51! Home? Downpouring so caught a ride. But then Xtracycles to downtown for the World Indoor Golf Championships.
23rd: Got a haircut with PG
24th: Cleaned the ‘Fish with the Xtras in tow
25th: Xtras to brunch
26th: fixie to Dairy Queen for a butterscotch dipped cone
27th: Cold cross ride to work, and a wet ride home
28th: Xtra to the Northern for Jim’s going away party
29th: raining still – xtra to breakfast at Loulas
30th: and still raining. Biked to the gym to swim. Then to friends house for dinner on the Xtras
1st: rain rain go away – but did bike related things like trail work and bought fenders for my cross bike. I then I stuck a sewing needle through my finger so spent the rest of the evening on the couch… So we’re adding one more day:
2nd: cruiser ride to church and then an epic-style 30-mileish 3.5-hour mtn bike ride. Then cruiser bikes to dinner. Think I made up all those skipped days in 1!

My 5 Things on Blue Planet/Green Living

February 13, 2009

I made a new friend today with Julia at – otherwise known as Blue Planet Green Living. I made the connection over 1% for the Planet, and she ended up posting My Five Things that we can do to save the planet.
Check it out here:

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From Lean Grean Eating Machine

January 30, 2009

The biggest issue I have with eating organic is the lack of good and affordable organic foods. In the summer, our farmer’s markets are double the price that buying organic in the super market. Lou Bendrick of addresses a few ideas on how to make food a priority – including making lists cutting down on meat consumption (which I do anyway).

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Hot Hot Santa

December 12, 2008

Keep the North Pole cold for goodness sake!
1% for the Planet is a network of global business that have banded together to support environmental causes. Each member donates 1% of its sales to a chosen environmental-focused non-profit. A few of my favorites? New American Dream, Adventure Cycling Association and But those are just of a few of the thousands of non-profits that benefit from purchasing from 1% members. I feel good knowing my New Belgium beer habit is at least helping the environment a bit!

One Percent Video – are you supporting member companies?

June 18, 2008

By looking for the 1% for the Planet logo on things I already buy – beer, clothes, accessories, energy bars – I can do my small part. But I’m trying not to buy things anyway. At least this gives me a better feeling about pushing products when those products are doing something to give back.

"My Odd, Marvelous Compost Bin"

May 21, 2008

I need a compost bin:


The Compact

April 22, 2008

There is a movement called The Compact. From what I understand, it was started by a few friends in San Francisco to abstain from buying anything new for a year. From the blog (, here are the reasons:

  1. to go beyond recycling in trying to counteract the negative global environmental and socioeconomic impacts of U.S. consumer culture, to resist global corporatism, and to support local businesses, farms, etc;
  2. to reduce clutter and waste in our homes (as in trash Compact-er); 3) to simplify our lives (as in Calm-pact).

I was then inspired by a blog Joy shared with me:, a Christian gal who lives in a veggie powered RV and is a raw-foodie. I love food too much for that, but we’d love to veggie our land cruiser some day.

I know I struggle with materialism, so I’m going to attempt to be a ‘Compactor’ for the next few months – don’t know if i could go a year. And especially living in such a small community, its not like we have a thriving Craigslist or Freecycle network, so it will be hard to buy things used. At the same time, its not like we have any normal shopping options – but will have to remove my Steep&Cheap firefox plug-in.
So, the main areas I’m going to focus on are clothing, home goods and sporting equipment (Dave has already excluded the bike he is buying me – I’ve tried, but haven’t been able to find it used).

What I aim to accomplish:

  • Setting up a compost bin in the backyard
  • Making all gifts (so i can buy yarn… but try to borrow needles if i don’t have the size)
  • If i do need to buy something new (if i can’t find it used), it must be at least 40% off retail price.
  • Join the local food CO-OP to get organic and locally grown food.

The 5 Worst Excuses for Not Going Green

Happy Earth Day

Fox Business has a story about the five worst excuses for not going green.

Excuse No. 1: ‘It’s too expensive.’

That is my big excuse – it is expensive to buy organic and to install solar panels. But CFL lights don’t cost much more, and either do Method cleaning products if I buy them at Target – just got to make sure I’m not driving to Glenwood just to go to Target.

Excuse No. 2: ‘My individual effort won’t
make a difference.’

Neither does my vote, but i still do it anyway.

Excuse No. 3: ‘It doesn’t fit into my lifestyle.’

I just read that residents of NYC have the lowest carbon footprint. That due to more public transportation and the ability to buy local. Living in a more rural area, I rely on imported goods and have to use my car some. But I’m also able to ride my bike to work, and the new food Co-op has locally grown food.

Excuse No. 4: ‘Green products don’t work
as well.’

The only green product i found that doesn’t work as well are dishwasher cubes. So I buy powder instead.

Excuse No. 5: “I don’t know where
to start.”

Easy things to start? Change lightbulbs, grow a garden, set up a compost bin, ride you bike.

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