Images from the Who Gives a Crap Instagram account.
A client recently told me about Who Gives a Crap — a company that makes sustainable toilet paper and paper towels, delivered to your door, and does it (as you might suspect) with a large dose of humor. Like the company itself, its origin story is both purpose-driven and funny, involving a crowd-funding campaign and one of the founders on a toilet for 50 hours. You can read more here.
Who Gives a Crap was founded by three guys who wanted to help the 40% of the world's population that doesn’t have access to a toilet, and the many children who die from poor sanitation as a result. They donate an amazing 50% of their profits to making sure everyone has access to a clean toilet. What’s more, all of their paper products are made from either bamboo or 100% recycled paper, making them super-green!
I started ordering toilet paper from Who Gives a Crap a few months ago and now get paper towels, too. Did I mention that there’s no plastic at all in their packaging, and that each roll is wrapped in cute paper? Their Instagram is full of people finding clever ways to reuse the wrappers. In December, the rolls are wrapped in adorable wrapping paper — quite excited for that!
If you're ready to ditch traditional paper products (and their associated deforestation) and never have to lug TP back from the store again, give Who Gives a Crap a try and let me know how it goes!
Do you know my favorite go-to site for giving away items that can't go to my usual donation organizations? Nextdoor!
Nextdoor a free social network designed to connect neighbors. They have a "For Sale and Free" section that I love. Simply post the item you want to give away, snap a photo, do a write-up and select how widely you want your post to be seen. It's so easy with the app! Interested neighbors will message you arrange to pick it up. Alternately, can put it in a sheltered outdoor spot by your home so they can pick it up at their convenience.
Their website states:
"Building connections in the real world is a universal human need. That truth, and the reality that neighborhoods are one of the most important and useful communities in our lives, have been a guiding principle for Nextdoor since it was founded in 2011."
I love the feeling of posting something - whether it's a box of legos, a ton of paper plates, or a bunny cage - and having a delighted neighbor show up, clearly happy they scored the item for free!
Recycle Where? is a great tool for helping Bay Area residents determine how to donate, recycle, or responsibly dispose of unwanted items. Simply type the name of the item you are looking to donate into the search bar and up pops a list of organizations that can accept the item. Easy! The website is a collaboration between the city of San Francisco, Alameda County, Contra Costa County, and the city of Palo Alto.
Their website states:
"The goal of Recycle Where? is to reduce waste by providing accurate information about recycling, reuse, and proper disposal options for residents and businesses without regard to traditional municipal boundaries."
The next time you are stumped with a donation or disposal item, give Recycle Where? a try!
Donation Spotlight for November!
Goodwill sells goods to break the cycle of poverty for thousands of local people through free training and work placement programs. Goodwill has donation sites all over the bay area.
Their website states:
"Each year, nonprofit Goodwill of San Francisco, San Mateo, and Marin breaks the cycle of poverty for thousands of local people through our transformative free training and work placement programs. Goodwill serves anyone who comes through our doors with a willingness to work."
Things they accept are:
My current favorite Goodwill donation location:
1690 Folsom Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
Mon-Sat 9am-8pm • Sun 10am-7pm
Donate at one of their 25 dropoff locations.
If you love discovering strange places, let me introduce you to Building Resources.
Building Resources is San Francisco's only salvage yard and a great source for reusable building and landscaping materials. With rows of old doors, windows, furniture, tumbled glass and tile, you can find things both strange and wonderful! I recently picked up a stained glass window I couldn't live without. Building Resources is also a great place to donate old house parts or garden art, furniture that has seen better days or scrap metal and wood. Stop by and get inspired!
701 Amador Street, San Francisco, CA
Top left photo: Pearl the Falcon. Bottom left photo of Recycling Center: Photograph © Sven Eberlein.
Right photo: Erin in hard hat and vest on tour.
Every Wednesday night I haul three bins into the sidewalk. One Black, one blue and one green. Of course, I had a general understanding of where my trash went, but now my understanding goes great deal further.
Recently I toured Recology's San Francisco Transfer Station and Recycling Center. On the tour, we learned about San Francisco's goal of zero waste - the most ambitious in the country - and how we can help achieve that goal by properly recycling and composting. We toured the Environmental Education Center, the Artist in Residence studios, sculpture gardens, and the dump transfer station. We also met a falcon named Pearl who is used to deter (but not harm) the many seagulls that flock to the station. She was absolutely beautiful!!
We then drove to the Pier 96 Recycling Center. This center really blew my mind! It's like walking into an octopus of conveyer belts! It's a 200,000 square foot state-of-the-art recycling center. Things are moving all around you. People and machines are hard at work sorting our recycling, and it's LOUD! It's actually kind of hard to comprehend everything that is happening as you walk through the center. It's amazing, enlightening and sobering.
The sheer amount of stuff we throw away and recycle is staggering. Of course, recycling is better than landfill, but that plastic will still be around in thousands of years, even if it's recycled. This trip really made me want to double down on my efforts to use less plastic and create less waste in general. Here is a great post by Sven Eberlein about the new center. It really gives you an idea of the size and feel of this massive place!
If you live in San Francisco, I highly encourage you to take one of these tours! They are free, happen twice a month and anyone can attend! Found out more here.
In my last blog post I wrote about greening your home by reviewing your cleaning supplies and personal care products. Here are a few additional ways to green your home and life that you may not have considered.
Support Local Green Business
The San Francisco Green Business Program makes it easy to find local certified business that meet high environmental standards. The guide has everything from architects & caterers to dry cleaners & grocery stores. PICK IT UP has been a proud SF Green Business since 2015! California also has a statewide Green Business Program if you are not in the bay area.
We all love our devices! But with the latest device, comes the inevitable e-waste. Green Citizen, a local non-profit dedicated to reducing e-waste, states "Although electronic waste only accounts for 2% of America’s trash, it’s responsible for over 70% of the nation’s hazardous waste." Green Citizen helps by taking ALL e-waste (anything that plugs in) and either responsibly recycling it or reselling usable items. They offer hard drive destruction to secure your information and even partner with local SF public schools to bridge the digital divide!
Green Citizen 1831 Bayshore Highway, Suite 2, Burlingame, CA 94010 (650) 493-8700
Safe Medication Disposal
It is important to safely dispose of old or unused medications. Flushing is not recommended, as these medicines can contaminate our waterways. If you are located in San Francisco, all police stations have medication collection bins with no police report needed. There are also many additional drop-off sites around the city. Check out this list of participating pharmacies on the SF Environment website
Each new green habit you adopt helps make our world a little bit cleaner. Of course I am always here to help with your home-greening efforts!
We all want our homes to feel safe, happy and health, right? For me, that includes making my home as eco-friendly as possible. Most of us recycle and have switched our light bulbs, but read on for some additional ways to green your home!
EWG's Skin Deep Guide & Healthy Cleaning Guide
Many of us use cleaning products in our homes and beauty products on our bodies without really know whats in them. Wouldn't you like to make informed choices?
The Environmental Working Group's website arms consumers with all sorts of information for making healthy purchases for yourself and your family. Look up your personal care products in the Skin Deep guide to see what score they get. Use the Guide to Healthy Cleaning to find products that clean without harming your health. Remember that some of the best cleaners are vinegar, baking soda and hot water!
Dispose of Toxics Properly
Once you have made the decision to get rid of all the nasty chemicals in your home, you need to dispose of them safely. Items such as chemicals, electronics, batteries, fluorescent bulbs and pesticides should never go in your trash bins or down the drain. If you live in San Francisco, you can schedule a free home pickup from Recology by calling (415) 330-1405. You can also drop items off at at the Recology Transfer Station (the dump) Thursday – Saturday: 8:00AM – 4:00PM. You can find out more information here. If you are outside of SF, call your local waste management company for information about safe toxic disposal.
All of these small decisions add up to a safer home and cleaner environment for all of us. Of course I am always here to help with your home-greening needs! Stay tuned for additional ways to green your home.
Erin Becker is the owner of PICK IT UP, a
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