the TAO of CHANGE

a boots-on-the-ground view of the change that's a-foot

Posts Tagged ‘recycled’

Trees and our Butts

Wednesday, March 4th, 2009

by Tao Oliveto, Carrboro, NC

We Americans love our luxuries and pampering, especially when it comes to our sorry butts. We use – no,  demand  – fluffy soft toilet paper in every bathroom, and we do so more than any other country. Although the switch to recycled TP seems like one of the no-brainer steps to helping the environment, the demand for thick and soft has prevailed beyond reason, and again, Americans lead the way in this phenomenon. I just have to ask, What gives?

Manufacturing recycled, unbleached paper of all kinds saves trees, water,  and creates less waste. The “required” softness is not available in recycled form since it is the longer fibers from standing trees which create the fluffiness. Although up to 50 percent of the pulp used to make toilet paper for this country comes from tree farms, “the rest comes from old, second-growth forests, some from the last virgin North American forests, an irreplaceable variety of endangered species, environmentalists say.” (NYTimes.com). Losing these trees also means more losing in the fight for the environment, since they are important absorbers of CO2.

The recession may help change our attitudes (though it’s a sad marker for our willingness to do our part in environmental stewardship). Recycled TP costs less and companies themselves may finally begin to move from ‘softer is better’ to a more truthful environmental campaign message.

“Americans use an average of 23.6 rolls per capita a year.” (NYTimes.com). Maybe we’ll all finally get some perspective and stop making trees the butt of this joke.

Recycled, mold-proof shower curtains – NO PVC

Monday, June 23rd, 2008

by Tao Oliveto, Carrboro, NC

The curtain I wrote about last week, has arrived from Health Goods. I was first pleased that it was sent in minimal packaging, with NO promotional materials included. The good news just kept on coming when I read the cover sheet (which was printed on recycled paper with vegetable-based ink):

100% RECYCLED polyester fabric

Water-repellent and anti-microbial

Fabric and product made in USA

Requires no shower rod hooks – buttons made from sustainable  Tagua nuts

Each full size curtain saves 130,000 BTU’s of energy

It comes in 3 sizes, so I was able to get one for my stall shower without all the extra material. I’ve used it a few times now and it truly is water-repellent and has no smell whatsoever. I’ve been fighting mold on my hemp/cotton curtains for so long, that this is a thrill for me. This curtain will never need to be replaced – it’s heavyweight and obviously durable – what a happy thought!

To order or for more info., go here. Pass it on to your showering friends!

Thrift-Love, it’s not just about the clothes

Friday, April 4th, 2008

Reported on Ecorazzi.com, Actress, Thandie Newton, on clothes – “It is grotesque how out of control manufacturing has become, and the excess, the pollution that’s caused by it. Vintage (clothing) is not only glorious and stylish, it’s also the way forward in terms of recycling. Whenever I go into great vintage stores, I wonder why we ever buy new things.”

Some celebs walk the walk – red carpet and otherwise – and Thandie gets going green.

The Change founder, Jerry Stifelman, knows the consumer end of fashion, and he loves all aspects of thrifting, especially the new clothing and accessory swap site, Swango.com. At Swango, you can find quality and style for a few dollars and the price of shipping, and you don’t have to leave home. Here’s more from Jerry on the experience of thriting:

For the core thrift customer, it’s a conscious, highly valued choice. For them, the glossy sterility of The Gap or Banana Republic pales in comparison to the possibilities of used clothing. The foundation of the thrift experience is that it is AN EXPERIENCE.

These assets include:
– DESTINY. Everything at a retail store is calculated to appeal to people. There is no thrill in buying a pair of jeans that a marketing department has predicted that a half a million people including yourself will purchase. At a thrift store, if you see a sweater, or a hat that appeals to you — it’s the only one there. It has taken its own path across space and time to reach you. It’s meant to be. It’s special. It’s meaningful.

– STORY. A new t shirt comes to you from a factory where it was made alongside thousands of others. A thrift store shirt has an utterly unique story — you don’t necessarily know what the story is — but you know it’s there.

– COMMUNITY. Like anything that involves a choice that deviates from the mainstream, there is a sense of community associated with the thrift experience. You know that others feel similarly and it creates an instant connection. The exchanges between thrift store employees and customers are more intimate, relaxed and less businesslike than between typical retail employees and customers — in fact, they are more apt to be genuine conversations — not just polite exchanges.

Fashion doesn’t get any better than this.



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