#InspiringZeroWaste || March Goal

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And just like that, we’re at the three month of this little zero waste challenge. How is it going for you all, friends? Now might be the point when you’re starting to feel your motivation waning — a year is a long time to commit to anything, especially something as big as waste reduction. I’d encourage you to use this month as a check-in. Ask yourself how achievable your monthly goals have been and, if necessary, readjust. Living a lower waste lifestyle doesn’t have to feel impossible, rigid, or boring. I hope breaking your biggest zero-waste goals into month-by-month chunks makes it feel as approachable and do-able as it actually is. If you’ve made it this far in the challenge OR you’re just joining in, comment below with how it’s going!

You can read each month’s goal and recap by going to the #InspiringZeroWaste tag on my blog, but as a quick reminder, here’s what I’ve tackled thus far in the challenge. For January, I zero-waste-ified my shower routine (I swapped my last shampoo bottle for a shampoo bar from Natural Vegan, bought a safety razor from Leaf, and have been switching out my conditioner and body wash to bars as they run out). In February, I researched textile recycling and wrote a giant post of resources for sending old clothing.

February Update:

Textile recycling seemed like a giant of a topic, and really, I only scratched the surface of the issues of clothing waste and the difficulties associated with recycling textiles in general.

What I Learned:

  • Primarily, I learned that textile recycling should be the norm. Although in an ideal world, all of our clothing would be organically grown and free from synthetic additions so that it would biodegrade naturally on its own, but of course, that’s not reality (yet, anyway). An easy solution is to send off your unwanted, well-worn clothes to textile recycling facilities or upcycle them at home.

  • More than anything, conscious consumption is key. When it comes to clothes, don’t buy more than you need, shop for ethically made pieces that are built to last, and recycle them when you no longer need them.

  • To read more of my findings, as well as a big list of places to send just about any type of clothing, click here.

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March Goal

My goals so far have all been practical and informative for my personal life and March’s goal is no different. For the next few months, my ZW goals will likely have to do with baby preparation. I’m due in two short months and am hoping to focus my (minimal) energy on making a plan to lessen waste during the postpartum months and beyond. I’ve had two kiddos of course, but low waste living wasn’t as high of a priority for me then as it is now, so I’m excited to dive in and change up my “baby phase norm” a bit.

For March, I’ll be focusing on finding (making/buying) zero waste baby essentials. This post won’t be as informative for my readers who aren’t in the baby-phase, but it’s something I need to dive into for myself and I hope my findings will be useful to some of you (both now and for future mamas!).

I’ve always said that you don’t need as much stuff to have a baby as everyone says and this time around I’m truly putting that to the test. Of course, we don’t have space for much excess, but after my two older girls turned 2 or 3, I sold or donated all of our baby stuff and am essentially starting from scratch this time around.

At the end of this month, I’ll share everything I plan to use to lessen waste once baby arrives, so stay tuned on my thoughts on cloth diapering, low waste pumping, and more. And, as always, leave me any tips or suggestions on the topic below!

Easy Spring Style with Thought Clothing

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You've heard, several times, about my love for Thought Clothing. 

The brand, tucked away in a stunning neighborhood in Inner London but boasting a growing world-wide customer base, is aptly named for their true Thoughtfulness in each and every aspect of their brand, from where they source their fabrics, to how they design their patterns, to the way they interact with influencers and customers. I've partnered with them several times over the past year and a half, and each time, I'm blown away by the consistent quality and beauty of their pieces. 

This collaboration, though, is extra special because, during my wonderful but brief stint in the U.K. I was able to stop by Thought's headquarters, meet some of their team, and tour their (insanely gorgeous) showroom. My brother Jess (more aptly known during this trip as my Instagram Brother) came along with me and snapped some beautiful photos of the showroom and Hannah and I - because, I already know he's going to ask where his photo credit is. ;)  

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Picture Instagram heaven - plants galore, gorgeous clothes organized by color and pattern displayed throughout the room, statement walls to add depth, a welcoming meeting table in the center, and lots and lots of sunlight. This is Thought's showroom - the space where they shoot many of their product photos, hold meetings, and yes, host overly excited bloggers for an afternoon. 

I got a sneak peek of the FW18 collection, full of jewel tones, warmth, and of course, original prints designed in-house. One of my favorite things about Thought is their incredible approach to pattern and prints - they draw from nature, poetry, art, and vintage design and create one of a kind prints in the very same building that their showroom is in. 

This post is technically in promotion of their current SS18 line, but trust me when I say that their Fall/Winter line is quite possibly my favorite yet. I have my list of pieces I'm planning to buy when it's released, don't worry. 

But, for now, there's no shortage of beauty in their current line, three pieces of which, I've had since February and have worn them all many, many times. Versatility (as always) and seasonlessness were two of my main goals when selecting the pieces to showcase in this post (and wear in my real life) and each piece went above and beyond in both categories. 

First up, the Blake Trousers

With a wide leg and a paper bag waist, these pants feature one of the most classic cuts of all time, flattering on all shapes and sizes. They're made of a modal/bamboo blend, making them wonderfully soft and breezy. I galavanted across the U.K. in them and, fittingly, wore them to the Thought showroom for our meeting. 

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Easy, comfortable, perfect for travel. 

Piece #2: The Helina Pompom Detail Vest

This tank, a hemp/organic cotton blend, is the perfect basic piece to wear all Spring and Summer. The pompom detail adds flair without going overboard and the shape is perfect for layering or tucking in. 

(Pro tip: I chose the tank in white, and in case this helps with decision making, I'm wearing a red bra underneath without a cami and it's not see through at all ;) 

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Versatile, durable, and ideal for layering. 

Piece #3: Landor Knit Cardigan 

A cotton/wool blend, this cardigan comes in several colors and is soft and stretchy - perfect to throw over a tee or a shirt dress. I chose "sunflower" for a fun pop of color in my mostly neutral wardrobe, and love wearing it over a white tee or my black Sotela jumpsuit. The cardigan has a single button at the top, for a unique option for added coverage. 

Time and time again, Thought lives up to their name, and after the opportunity to meet their founder, see behind their doors, and get a glimpse into the process behind their collections only makes me love them more. 

Their SS18 line is full of unique, sustainable, one of a kind pieces for both men and women - be sure to shop their new arrivals for any gaps you need to fill in your closet. And, if you're even in Islington, be sure to look up their showroom ;) 

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**This post is sponsored by Thought Clothing. All opinions and photographs are my own (and my Instagram Brother's) Thank you for supporting the brands that make this site possible.**

Simple Ways To Clean Up Your Coffee Routine

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If you've read my blog or followed along for any length of time, you know that SL&Co primarily focuses on ethics within the fashion industry - a topic with more than enough subjectivity and sobering statistics to keep me busy for a while. However, another realm that I'm equally invested in, with an equal amount of corruption, pollution, and confusion, is the coffee industry. 

Whether you work in coffee, are just beginning to dip your toes (or, mug?) into the world of specialty coffee, or you fall anywhere in between, most conscious consumers would agree that, like any other industry, there are ways to "do coffee" well, and there are ways to do it poorly. I'm not just talking about whether your coffee tastes like it should or whether you know how to brew it properly (both of which, I would argue, are important as well), but about all of the "unseen" aspects behind your morning pour over. 

It's estimated that more than 40 hands and over 2,000 hours go into make a single cup of coffee. From seed, to plant, to processing, to roasting, to brewing, coffee, like most things in life, isn't simple. And crafting excellent, ethical coffee is even more complicated. 

This post is by no means as in depth or exhaustive as it could be. Instead, it's meant to be a "gateway" to cleaning up your coffee routine, for the sake of craft coffee, the livelihood of the hands who produce it, and for the environment, with simple steps and basic statistics. I've implemented all of these "steps" into my daily coffee routine and I would love to hear how you make them work in your day to day life too!

1. Swap Your Beans for Direct Trade and Certified Organic Coffee

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This piece is first on my list because, like sourcing with textiles or food, the supply chain behind each bag of coffee is incredibly important. And, incredibly varied. It probably comes as no surprise to learn that slavery, forced labor, child labor, unsanitary working conditions, pesticide use, and scant wages are all fairly common among coffee farms all over the world. 

According to Coffeelands, extreme poverty (and lack of education and ability to gain better jobs), demand for coffee, and cheapening prices of coffee per pound all contribute to the slavery-like conditions that plague coffee workers around the world. 

However, there are ways to make sure your morning cup isn't contributing to slavery (a statement that sounds loaded and emotionally charged, but a quick look at the facts shows that it really isn't). 

With the growth of Fair Trade Certification, more standards are being put into place to ensure that the working and living conditions are safe, that the coffee is grown in pesticide-free land, and that it's a higher quality of coffee than non-certified coffees. In fact, the FTC reported that of the 400 million cups of coffee that Americans drink per day, if each person switched to just one fair trade cup per day, an additional $2 million would be re-invested into the farmers, helping them address the issues that cause the vicious cycle of poverty and forced labor. 

To take it a step further, opt for Direct Trade Coffee over Fair Trade. 

What's the difference? In a word, Direct Trade gives control to the roasters, allowing them to directly interact and support the farms that grow their coffee. It eliminates the third-party middle man, so to speak, and actually allows coffee farmers to make more money as a result. 

Click here for an excellent infographic on the difference between Fair Trade and Direct Trade, (of course, buying fair trade is far better than buying non-certified coffee, but if you can, find a roaster who works directly with the farmers via Direct Trade!) 

(See the bottom of this post for a round up of a few of my favorite roasters and coffee companies!) 

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2. Ditch Single Use Filters (or Opt for Compostable Ones)

When it comes to at-home coffee, chances are you're using a single-use system like a Nespresso or K Cup. If you're not using one of these, you're likely using a drip brewer. According to Statista, single use coffee makers generated retail sales of almost 4 BILLION dollars. However, Business Insider noted that the vast majority of these pods can't be recycled, meaning that the amount of discarded K-cup and Nespresso pods could easily circle the Earth more than ten times, if stacked side by side (source). 

Although, luckily, there are more eco-friendly options out there (like compostable and re-usable pods) I'm a fan of manual brewing methods combined with reusable filters to ensure the least amount of waste and the best tasting cup. (Coffee snob alert, I know, I know). 

I recently picked up a few organic cotton/hemp filters from Pinyon Products and have been loving them. They don't alter taste (my biggest concern), are as easy to use as paper filters, and last for years and years and years. Pinyon sells cloth filters for drip machines, Chemex and more. 

(Extra-Coffee-Snob note: using non-paper filters can yield a bit thicker cup- less clean than you might be used to, so to compensate, I suggested using a coarser grind if you're using a Hario V-60 like I am). 

If pour overs aren't your style, there are recyleable and compostable paper filters available too. 

3. Invest in a Reusable Mug

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Similarly, single use coffee cups are generally not recycleable due to a thin layer of polyurethane on the inside to insulate and waterproof the cups. (Ew, I know). However, this poses a huge problem, especially if you enjoy frequenting your local cafe. There are recycleable single-use cups on the market, which is great for the shops that actually use them. But unless you're going to call up each shop ahead of time to ask what kind of cups they use, bringing your own mug is a simple way to reduce waste. 

It's no secret that I love my KeepCup, but it doesn't really matter what brand or style of cup you use, as long as you remember to bring it ;) You could save an average of 158 disposable cups from landfill (source). 

 

 

4. Support Local Cafes That Value Farm-to-Cup Transparency

It's no fun to drink coffee in your kitchen all the time. I'm a bit of a coffee shop addict and love discovering new shops. But before I head to a new shop, I like to research a little bit beforehand about what roaster they use, and how transparent that roaster is about where and how their coffees are sourced. 

Small, local shops are usually the quickest way to find passionate shop owners passionate about transparency. 

5. Re-use Your Coffee Grounds

Although coffee is rather acidic, the used grounds are almost pH neutral and are perfect for composting, DIY fertilizer, and even using in body products. 

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Brands to Support: 

Roasters: 

In a very non-exhaustive list, here are a few all-time favorites. (Some fair trade, and some direct trade). Leave me a comment and I'll help you find great roasters in your area!

Equipment/Gear/At-Home Products: 

Products that I use at home or admire. 


*This post was sponsored by a few of my favorite coffee brands. Thank you to Ethical Bean Coffee, Pinyon Products, and NotNeutral for making the coffee industry a little bit better and more beautiful.*

No matter how you take it, your morning coffee comes with a dark side. From slavery to pollution, there is a dark side to the coffee industry that's hard to ignore. Luckily, cleaning up your coffee routine is possible and much less intimidating than you may think!