Category: Sustainability

How to Throw an Eco-Friendly Party

By dweb247 on January 26th 2020

There’s a little football game coming up (we’re not legally allowed to use the name, but it rhymes with “Duper Bowl”) and we’re gearing up for snack central. Since we’re on a mission to find a greener way to do just about everything (see BBQs, holidays, coffee, summer), here are our tips for throwing an eco-friendly tailgate party.

LESS “TAILGATES”

Carpool, public transit, bike or walk… the days of everyone driving their own trucks are over. We’re not here to kill the vibe, just make it a little more carbon neutral.

GROWLERS OVER CANS

Have everyone go to their local brewery of choice and fill up some reusable growlers. OR have everyone pitch in for a pony keg. Sure, beer cans and bottles are recyclable, but reusable containers are where you can make a huge impact.

GO MEATLESS

We get it – we love chicken wings too. But maybe, just this once you can try a buffalo cauliflower recipe or mushroom burgers. Who knows, you might actually like it better.

REAL UTENSILS

Hear us out: you can get a zillion utensils for next to nothing at thrift stores (because who needs mismatched forks? YOU DO). Yes, the compostable utensils are better than plastic ones, but they still end up in landfills and take many years to break down. That’s why we’ll always preach the benefits of reusable items. Get a mess of utensils and keep them as your “party set.” You’ll use them more than you think!

RECYCLED DECORATIONS

Real talk: Those 99¢ streamers we can get online have a lot of hidden costs to the environment (packaging, jet fuel, questionable manufacturing). Get creative and make streamers out of old ribbon or fabric you find at thrift stores, or make a big flower arrangement with the colors of your team. Encourage guests to wear team colors – it will feel festive in no time.

DONATE THE WINNINGS

There’s a $5 buy in and the winner gets to donate to the winning to the non-profit of their choice! Win, win. Gotta love football!

Holiday Recycling Tips & Ideas

By dweb247 on December 20th 2019

We know a thing or two about leftovers. From fabric scraps to dye water to using every part of a plant, we’re always looking for ways to capture our leftovers and reuse them (wine bottle bowling, anyone?). If you’re having an eco friendly holiday, keep it going and stretch those leftovers into 2020.

USED WRAPPING PAPER

Unless it’s plain ol’ brown paper, wrapping paper isn’t recyclable. Wrap fragile things like ornaments or glassware in used wrapping or tissue paper to keep it safe until next holiday.

CARDBOARD BOXES

Ah the ubiquitous cardboard box. Instead of clogging the recycling plant, stick in your yard + cover with mulch = no weeds in the spring.

POLY BAGS

Most things ship in plastic in order to protect them from any transit snafus. Get in the habit of reusing these plastic bags for doggy doodoo bags (a Toad office trick), or save and use as packing materials next time you ship a package to another time zone.

FOOD SCRAPS

Nearly all food scraps can be reused. Toss bones and veggie peels into a pot for broth or soup. Take literally anything, mix it with eggs, toss in a pie crust and you have a quiche (or do the same thing but with cheese and bread and voila, you have a grilled cheese). Stale bread becomes croutons, wilted greens become pesto, and less than perfect veggies love a quick pickle. Waste not, want not.

OPENED WINE

Opened wine will keep in the fridge for 2 months, so now’s the time to make all those fancy recipes that call for a cup of wine – piccata, coq au vin, braised short ribs, scallops… cooking with leftovers doesn’t sound half bad…

CHRISTMAS TREE

First, check to see if your local waste management recycles Christmas trees into wood chips (that’s a great option if you have it!). If not, get an axe and get to work – turn your tree into firewood and use the needles for much. Live near a lake or pond? Wash your tree with the hose (get any glitter, plastic, and hooks of of it) and toss the tree into the lake. The tree is a natural incubator for algae and great habitat for fish.

GIFTS

Got stuff you don’t need? Instead of throwing it all in a box and sending to the thrift store, think about who could use it and donate to specialized organizations that will get it to people in need. Transition houses, homeless shelters, animal shelters, disaster relief organizations, children’s programs, family assistance leagues… what you donate now will be used throughout the year.

Happy 2020 – let’s make it the most sustainable year yet!

Happy Environmentally Friendly Holidays!

By ryanscavo on November 22nd 2019

With the holiday season upon us, it’s time to break out the decorations, fill your favorite reusable mug with egg nog and spiked cider, and hang up the LED twinkle lights! That’s right, this year, consider taking an eco-friendly route to your holiday routine; make your gift-giving and personal wish lists, holiday decor and (new) traditions a little more environmentally friendly with these 5 tips.

1) Make it from scratch and keep it organic

Hosting a holiday party? Joining in on the office potluck? Prepping for the annual family holiday dinner? Consider going organic and making (most of) your dishes from scratch with those tasty organic ingredients.

I love food and I love to cook, but I didn’t always buy organic or make meals from the ground up. For years, as Thanksgiving and Christmas approached, I would make it a point to grab a few cans of that wiggly, cylinder-molded, gelatinous so-called cranberry sauce from the grocery store shelves because it was my family’s tradition; it’s what I knew to be “cranberry sauce”. It didn’t know what I was missing until riding the bus one day, a fellow commuter told me about her family’s “famous” cranberry sauce. Authenticity is hard to beat and a homemade dish is a testament to that fact. While that gelatinous sauce is tasty, a heaping spoonful of made-with-love, slightly-sweet-yet-deliciously-tart cranberry sauce hits the spot every time.

And while not all your ingredients and food choices need to be organic, transitioning to organically grown/raised foods is a sustainable, environmentally-friendly choice. Thanks to growing consumer interest, we have more organic options than ever before right at our fingertips. Vegetables, meats, wines, beers, breads…the list goes on. Organic foods are free of synthetic-based fertilizers/pesticides, so eating and drinking organic means fewer pollutants in your system and more nutrients remaining in the land/water, keeping you and the planet a little happier and healthier.

2) Skip the plastic; go natural with holiday decor

Plastics are a big part of our culture. We find them everywhere: plastic bottles, plastic utensils, plastic packaging, plastic this and plastic that. If you’ve already transitioned your everyday items (bottles, utensils, etc.) to reusable, why not do it with your holiday decor? No matter what holiday you and your friends and family celebrate, if you love to decorate, there are a plethora of natural options.

For those of you celebrating Hanukkah, consider natural, beeswax candles for the menorah. Often, they’re handmade and they always smell lovely. If Christmas is your holiday of choice, picking a real one is your best choice for an eco friendly Christmas tree. “Friendly fur” trees are softer to the touch while spruce tree needles are a little less forgiving. Of course, whatever species of tree you find, keep it watered and indulge in the natural piney fragrance!

You can also decorate your space with pine bows, grapevine wreaths, pine cones and dried flowers. If you go the dried flower or pine cone route, make them especially festive by spraying them silver and gold with a non-toxic paint.

3) Buy local, share sustainability-minded gifts and skip the wrapping paper

A lot of factors go into calculating our carbon, including where our food and goods come from. If you have the option, shop locally for gifts this year. Ride your bike, walk or take public transit to local stores – and don’t forget to bring your own bag!

If you can’t find what you want locally (and even if you do), choose to buy sustainably-made gifts. Meaning, look for natural materials and fibers (wood, wool) and ethically-sourced materials in the goodies you’re gifting.

And finally, if you’ve checked out the shipping practices at Toad&Co, you might be surprised to read that “roughly 165 billion packages are shipped in the U.S. each year, which equals more than 1 billion trees and 140 billion gallons of water used”. There’s no denying it, that’s a lot of resources being used. So whether you order online or purchase gifts at stores, choose companies that offer recycled, no-plastic packaging and skip the wrapping paper altogether. To wrap smaller items, consider using a bonus gift, like a scarf or organic cotton tea towel to keep the surprise alive (here’s a step by step tutorial for wrapping gifts in cloth). For bigger items, larger colorful towels, paper bags, and even foldable maps are great repurposed resources!

4) Gift experiences

If you want to take a different approach to gift-giving this year, consider gifting experiences, rather than stuff. How many pairs of socks does your partner really need? For the cocktail lover, gift a “mixologist 101” class. Wildlife enthusiast? Take them birding at the nearby refuge or city park! Lover of all things snow? Sounds like a backcountry hut trip would be a perfect option!

Experiences create memories and make great eco friendly gifts, especially for the people on your list that are difficult to shop for or seem to already have everything.

5) Celebrate outside

Just because it’s getting cooler outside, doesn’t mean you need to lock yourself up inside. ‘But how is getting outside eco-friendly’, you ask? Easy!

First, let’s start with saving energy. Throwing a layer on and getting out of the house or apartment means you don’t have to turn the heat (i.e., your thermostat) up in your home. By keeping your energy use down, you’re saving resources and money.

Second, staying connected to the outdoors by going for walks around town, longer hikes at parks and on trails or skiing (among other activities) reminds us how important outdoor spaces really are to ourselves and hopefully to others. If you care about a space, you tend to want to protect it! Making and maintaining a connection to the outdoors is a great way to live a more environmentally conscious life all year long.

It might be the end of the year, but the holidays are a great time to start new traditions to carry into the new year. These 5 eco friendly holiday tips are just the start – try them and then find your own ways to celebrate and live more sustainably!

A Pennsylvania native and Colorado transplant, Ryan is a proud mountain mama to two wild outdoors-loving kiddos and a couple of equally wild cattle dogs. She’s also a photographer, writer and outdoorswoman. When she and her husband aren’t wrangling the pack – and more often, when they are – you’ll find them fly fishing, skiing or biking somewhere around their home in southern Colorado.

Photography by Ryan Scavo and Sam Scavo.

The Story of a Renewed Shirt

By dweb247 on November 7th 2019

Dear Toad&Co,

I can’t thank you enough. When one of my seams ripped apart in a pogo-stick accident, I thought my days were numbered. I’d had a good life until then – I was born on an organic cotton farm, raised on rainwater and non-synthetic fertilizers, was spun and sewn in a responsible facility, got a fancy non-toxic certification from OEKO-TEX, met my best friend in a small outdoor shop, and spent many years exploring and traveling the world – but I was heart broken to think that I was doomed for the bottom of the landfill.

But you saved me.

Instead of being hauled off to the dump, I was sent to Oregon to make the acquaintances of the Renewal Workshop. WOW, what a place! Everywhere there were machines whizzing and buzzing and there were thousands of garments just like me – slightly damaged, excess and returned clothing that had no place in the landfills. Was this heaven?

My first day there I took a dip in their Tersus washing machine, a state-of-the-art machine that uses CO2 to get deep into the fibers of a garment; there’s no water wasted and all byproducts are captured and reused.

Next I was off to the seamstresses for new seams, reinforced buttons (just for good measure) and a fancy new label that says “Renewed Toad&Co.” Then I had my first photoshoot, became an internet sensation, and was shipped off to meet my NEW owner.

Today, I’m the same great flannel I’ve always been but with a renewed sense of purpose: to help change the apparel industry from a linear one to a circular one. I’ve never felt better!

In gratitude,

The Renewed Flannel Shirt

PS – Get your own Men’s Renewed Toad&Coand Women’s Renewed Toad&Co. Then give yourself a high five for leaving a lighter footprint on the planet!

Leftover Turkey Soup

By cwiesendanger on November 1st 2019

By: Lucinda, Sr. Product Development Manager and Queen of Waste-Free Living

Lucinda knows how to enjoy the finer things in life, so we trust her when it comes to all things food, drink, travel, and sustainability.

I must have been about four years old when I remember spending Thanksgiving with my grandparents, Nana and Dada. My Nana was an amazing cook and there were a ton of leftovers. We ate turkey sandwiches, turkey pot pie, and even turkey enchiladas. By Sunday evening, I was utterly tired of turkey.

When Nana served me a steaming bowl of soup, I surveyed it mutinously, with bits of what looked like turkey swirling around my spoon. “This had better not be turkey soup.”

“Oh no,” she replied. “It’s not turkey soup. It’s Kukuruku soup!”

Well, that was an entirely different matter altogether. We watched a TV show that featured astronauts time traveling back to the Stone Age, where the cavemen dined on some strange dinosaur soup called “Kukuruku.” I couldn’t believe that Nana had the recipe or the ingredients!

Since then, my family has always called the soup we make after Thanksgiving Kukuruku Soup. Because salvaging leftovers is one of my favorite ways to reduce waste in my everyday life, I’m passing along our Kukuruku tradition.

Kukuruku Soup Recipe

  1. 1. Roast the turkey carcass. I usually roast it at 375° for 45 minutes to 1 hour. But I recommend going off of how it looks—I take it out of the oven when it looks browned and you know, “roasty.”
  2. 2. Put the carcass into a stock pot and fill with water. Add salt, onion or garlic trimmings, dried herbs like oregano and thyme, and simmer for an hour.
  3. 3. Strain the solids from the stock pot and compost them. Let the stock cool and refrigerate overnight. The next day, skim off the fat that has congealed on the top.
  4. 4. Next, take the last little bits of turkey meat, and the carrots and celery left over from the crudité platter, and mix them with the stock you’ve made in a Dutch oven or stock pot over low medium heat.
  5. 5. I like to add a cup of barley and any leftover gravy to make it even heartier.
  6. 6. Cook for 30-40 minutes, adding in seasonings like dried oregano or chopped garlic (or whatever you’re feeling, really).
  7. 7. Freeze any leftovers and enjoy for a quick, but filling, meal during the busy holiday season.

The inventor of Kukuruku soup herself, Nana.