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Reuse and Repair: Worn Wear College Tour

worn wear college tour

Reuse and Repair on the Road

As a mission-driven company our decisions are guided by our desire to offer products that will help change our throw-away culture. We get our inspiration from companies we admire, including the outdoor retailer Patagonia. This month, they are teaming up with our partner, PLAN (Post-Landfill Action Network), to lead an impressive Worn Wear college tour to mend clothing for free and teach people how to reuse and repair, with the goal of promoting a world with less waste. And they’ll be using U Konserve along the way to help reduce their food-packing trash!

The team leaves February 16th on the 21-campus tour in their cute rolling Worn Wear repair truck, Delia. Visit one of the colleges on the tour to get your clothes (any brand is ok) repaired by the team, and participate in zero-waste activities, attend workshops, film screenings, and speaker presentations focused on reuse and repair. You can also have your Patagonia clothing repaired by one of their 45 full-time repair technicians in their garment repair facility, the largest of its kind in North America.

PLAN

We’re very excited to be partnering with PLAN this year. Reducing waste directly through innovative student-led activities on college campuses, the folks at PLAN are serious about protecting our planet. They cultivate, educate, and inspire the zero waste movement through tours, workshops, conferences, art, manuals and infographics (like this one we worked on together). They inform students and then equip them with the necessary skills and resources to implement solutions to eliminate waste on their campuses and in their communities.

U Konserve Helping Out

In the spirit of reuse and repair, while on the road, members of the Worn Wear college tour team will be avoiding packaged foods and packing waste-free meals. They’re all set with stainless steel containers, reusable sandwich wraps and stainless steel straws. We’re looking forward to seeing our trusted products put to good use!

“As individual consumers, the single best thing we can do for the planet is to keep our stuff in use longer. This simple act of extending the life of our garments through proper care and repair reduces the need to buy more over time—thereby avoiding the CO2 emissions, waste output and water usage required to build it.”  – Rose Marcario, Patagonia CEO

Reaffirm your Commitment to Protect the Planet

protect the planet

It is at the core of our mission to give back to organizations that are aligned with our vision to protect the planet and foster healthy communities. Our planet needs us now more than ever. Will you make a pledge with us for the environment? Volunteer, donate, advocate, vote and support products that inherently help our fragile planet. If you’re looking for organizations to support, here are a few of our favorites.

1% for the Planet

1% for the Planet is a global network of businesses that donates one percent of annual sales to environmental organizations. Started by Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia, 1% for the Planet has given over $100 million to restore and protect the environment. The network is made up of 1,200 environmentally conscious companies and brands representing industries that share the same common belief: environmental protection and good corporate citizenship are core business principles, and our joint responsibility. In 2015 we became a member of 1% for the Planet.

5 Gyres

5 Gyres is working tirelessly to eliminate plastic pollution through science and education. Every single piece of plastic that has been produced is still on the planet in some shape or form. With 300 million tons produced every year, the plastic pollution crisis is one of he most important issues we face. What can you do to help protect the planet? Refuse styrofoam, microbeads, plastic bags, plastic straws, takeout containers and plastic bottles. Pledge to eliminate single-use plastic and donate to their organization to fund research and educational programs.

Environmental Working Group

The Environmental Working Group is a non-profit with a mission to empower people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment. Through breakthrough research and education, they drive consumer choice and civic action. By releasing consumer guides on key issues like pesticides in produce and healthy home cleaning, EWG is an invaluable resource for people trying to live a healthy lifestyle and protect the planet. Get involved by supporting their work. You can do this by donating online, signing up to receive their newsletter, using their Skin Deep product database and shopping through their affiliate link.

Turning Green

By equipping students with knowledge, resources and tools, Turning Green works to transition students’ mindsets, habits and practices from conventional to conscious. Turning Green knows that when empowered, students create a ripple effect that impacts change on campuses and communities globally. They’ve reached students at over 2,000 campuses in 50 states and 48 countries through on-campus programs and campus leadership opportunities. If you know you’d like to get involved but are unsure of where to start you can contact them to determine the program that fits you best.

How will you protect the planet in 2017? We’d love to know how you’re giving back this year to important environmental issues. Leave a comment on our facebook page or send us a tweet to let us know!

Waste-Free Resolutions for the New Year!

resolutions

As a company who’s goal it is to offer reusable solutions to change behavior and help the planet, refusing single-use is one of the most important actions we can take. As we reflect on the past year and look ahead to the new year, we are renewing our commitment to change single-use habits.

With this in mind, we asked our team at U Konserve: What are your waste-free resolutions for 2017? Read on to see what our team had to say.

What are your waste-free resolutions for 2017?

Chance Claxton, Co-Founder
So much to choose from, but one resolution will be to encourage my family to recycle correctly. Even though recycling is not the answer to our waste crisis, reinforcing behavior at home to reduce waste carries over to other actions. In addition, I will always remember my coffee mug to get coffee, and my U Konserve reusable snack bag for my scone.

Lynn Julian, Co-Founder
Living waste-free is always on our minds. In 2017, I will be more mindful of remembering to bring my reusable tea cup back to work after bringing it home to wash.

Courtney Timblin, Operations Manager
I want to take reusable containers with me for leftovers when I go out to eat. 50% of plastic used in the U.S. is used just once then thrown away and I don’t want to be a part of that statistic!

Wendy Murphy, Marketing Director
My resolution is to become more involved in community causes and grassroots organizations that are committed to reducing waste and supporting strong environmental policy. I also plan never use even one plastic straw or plastic cup in 2017. My family is on board too!

Liz Haney, Customer Service Relations
After learning Americans use 500 million plastic straws every day,  I will try to not use even one plastic straw in 2017. I plan to inspire others to do the same!

Debra Paul, Salesperson
Since about 25 billion single-use coffee cups end up in landfills every year, I will do my best to remember my reusable coffee mug and bring it everywhere.

Change a habit and commit to a journey toward zero waste in 2017.  We’d love to hear your waste-free resolutions for 2017. Leave a comment on our Facebook page or Tweet us!

Waste-Free Christmas with U Konserve

waste-free christmas

There’s still time to give healthy and waste-free Christmas gifts for everyone on your list. Give the gift of homemade granola, cookies, hot cocoa or other wholesome goodies in our reusable containers, all while giving the gift of reducing waste.

According to the EPA, the volume of household waste in the United States generally increases 25 percent between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day—about 1 million extra tons. Take part in decreasing that number by giving one of our favorite holiday recipe ideas!

Waste-Free Gift Ideas

  • Homemade Granola in a Round Container

Homemade granola is a simple gift packed full of flavors. The Very Best Granola recipe from Cookie + Kate combines whole grains, unrefined oil and no refined sugar. Once finished, pack in a Large Round Container and tie with a recycled bow or reusable string. This recipe makes 6 cups, enough to fill 3 large round containers.

  • Hot Cocoa in an Insulated Food Jar

Surprise friends, teachers, and neighbors with this simple, gluten-free and vegan Mason Jar Peppermint Hot Cocoa Mix for the holidays. Combine sugar, cocoa powder, and crushed candy canes in a 12 oz or 16 oz insulated food jar, and the double-walled jar is part of the gift!

Ingredients

  • 5 tablespoons Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 5 tablespoons candy cane pieces
Make the Hot Cocoa Mix
  1. Measure the cocoa powder, sugar and candy cane pieces in an 8 oz glass measuring cup.
  2. Shake the jar until the ingredients are combined.
  3. Store in a cool, dark place until all the cocoa mix has been used.

Simply tie the cocoa’s instructions to the food jar with reused ribbon or twine, and this homemade gift is good to go!

  1. Heat 6 oz regular (or non-dairy) milk until warm.
  2. Measure 2 teaspoons of mix.
  3. Stir until the mix dissolves into the milk.
  4. Top with marshmallows, garnish with a candy cane and enjoy immediately.
  • Marzipan Energy Bites in a Square Container

Sweet treats packed in our Large To-Go Containers are ideal for hostess gifts, holiday potlucks or last minute gift ideas. Try nutritionist Lauren O’Connor’s delicious recipe for Marzipan energy bites. They require about 30 minutes total to make and pack up!

And remember, available in any denomination, Gift Certificates are the ultimate green gift.

If you’re short on time before the holidays hit, don’t stress. Instead, consider one of these time-saving ideas. Find our products at these locations or shop online and choose expedited shipping options to get your gifts on time.

The Truth About Recycling

recycling

Refusing single-use plastics is one of the most important actions we can take for the health of our planet.  According to Plastic Pollution Coalition, there is proof that recycling and other waste-management processes will not address the plastic problem.

Thanks to our partner 5 Gyres, we’re reminded not to rely on recycling to get us out of the waste mess. Here are a few top facts that uncover the truth about recycling:

  • Plastic products get downcycled every time they are “recycled” (unlike metal or glass) making them less valuable. Eventually these products go to a landfill.
  • Since 1964, plastic production has increased by more than 2,000% and our recycling facilities can’t keep up. As a result, some of the plastic waste that we’ve tossed in the recycling bin gets exported. In 2011, China imported nearly half of America’s plastic waste.
  • Virgin plastic is sometimes less expensive to use than its recycled counterparts. In these cases, manufacturers choose non-recycled materials to save money.
  • In countries like India, much of our exported trash becomes landfilled or gets incinerated. This creates devastating water and air pollution, and serious health problems.
  • Compostables are not the answer.

What’s the Solution?

The only solution is to use less single-use plastic. Reduce disposable plastics and refuse the top five sources of plastic waste: plastic bags, water bottles, to-go containers, to-go cups, and straws. Many reusable solutions are available to kick the single-use habit. Take the 5 Gyres Pledge today and go #plasticfree.

New to U Konserve?  Here’s what customers are saying about their U Konserve products:

“We use the lunch bags and steel containers, cloth napkins and steel straws daily. I remember eating apple slices from a glass jar that my grandmother placed my snacks in as a child. She understood plastics affect our food. Thank you for sharing your vigilance and vision in sustainable, safe food containers!”

For other waste-free solutions check out our Pinterest page full of our favorite ideas!

8 Tips to Enjoy the Holiday Season

holiday

As the holiday season moves into full swing, remember it is easy to overextend yourself. The fun, the family, the celebrations, and the dash to finish things up before the end of the year is exciting. But more often than not, all that energy and excitement can leave you feeling overworked, overwhelmed and overindulged.

What if, instead of getting sucked into the never-ending holiday hype, you approached the season as an opportunity to slow down and reflect on the accomplishments of the past year?

Here are 8 tips to help you experience more peace and enjoyment this holiday season.

1. Move your body

When your schedule starts to get busy and you run out of time, exercise is often the first item to get dropped from the to-do list. Rearrange your busy schedule and get creative with your limited time. Take walks during your lunch break or plan your holiday gathering with friends at a yoga studio instead of a restaurant.

2. Hydrate

Holiday dinners and parties often tempt us with unhealthy foods and drinks. Try to seek out healthy alternatives and be conscious of how you’re feeling. And don’t forget to bring your own reusable water bottle in case you attend a holiday event with single-use plastic cups.

3. Shop Mindfully and Slowly

Slow down and buck the trend of frenzied and mindless holiday shopping. Avoid the temptation of falling into the marketing trap of the holiday season. Resist buying something just because it’s on sale. Think carefully about your purchases, choose more meaningful gifts, and choose products that lessen your overall impact on the environment. Get more ideas here.

4. Take Breaks

Schedule time every week during the holidays just for you. Use this time to do what brings you joy and remember you are a human being not a human doing.

5. Travel Off-Peak

If your schedule allows, travel during off-peak days and hours. This way you’ll avoid the stress of the holiday travel crowds.

6. Don’t Overschedule Your Time

It is ok to say no to holiday parties and get-togethers. If you’ve been invited to multiple events on the same day, say yes to the one you will most enjoy. This way you are more present for the event and people you are with.

7. Get Enough Sleep

Get enough sleep to be the healthiest, happiest and most engaging version of you. Don’t forget that the recommended seven hours of sleep still apply during the holidays.

8. Be Grateful

If you’re reading this post, there’s a likelihood that you have more people, experiences and things in your life to be grateful for than you can possibly count. So start counting, pause, reflect and give thanks for all of the great blessings in your life.

Black Friday Purchases that Change Habits

black friday

This is a tough one…we want to get our products in the hands of as many people as possible to help eliminate single-use waste, but we also want to balance that with a message of slowing down the mindless shopping frenzy that starts on Black Friday and continues through the holiday season.

Chances are, if you’re reading this, you care deeply about the environment and make thoughtful decisions every day that align with these values…so keep it up. While planning and completing your holiday shopping this year, continue to be mindful of the following:

Resist buying something just because it’s on sale

Black Friday is the biggest day of the year for discount shopping. Shoppers expect great deals at deep discounts. But we often neglect to think about the true cost of our purchases, especially when they are irresistibly cheap. The average American generates 82 pounds of textile waste every year which usually ends up in landfills.

Choose more meaningful gifts

Some of the best gifts come with the most thought behind them. Experiences, hand drawn pictures, and thoughtful handwritten cards have been some of our favorite gifts over the years. Remember the theme of the season is to spend quality time with loved ones, so slow down and give them the gift of your presence. Give to non-profits in the name of your friend or family member. Make thoughtful homemade gifts that have a much lower impact on the planet. Sew, bake, get creative. See our ideas here.

Honor the cause

Choose products that lessen your overall impact on the environment. Shop from Certified B Corporations that work hard to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency. And of course give the gift of reuse! Make cookies, breads, candied nuts, loose teas, herbs, olives or other holiday treats and package them in reusable containers.

To purchase with a purpose this holiday weekend, enjoy 20% off all U Konserve products, including sale items, with coupon: PURPOSE20. Starts Friday, 11/25.  Ends Monday, 11/28. Online only.

Waste-Free Thanksgiving Tips for the Holiday Season

waste-free thanksgiving

The holiday season is beginning! Thanksgiving is right around the corner and this year we want to make sure you enjoy a waste-free Thanksgiving while treading lightly on the environment.

The USDA estimates that on average, American consumers waste about one-fifth of the food that is available to them. By following the few steps we’ve listed below, you can easily enjoy a waste-free Thanksgiving.

Plan Ahead

Planning is key to hosting a successful waste-free Thanksgiving dinner. Don’t let the holiday overwhelm, instead plan ahead by making sure you:

  1. If you’re having a large gathering try to get a firm headcount of who will be attending so you can better prepare while shopping and cooking.
  2. Get organized by going through your cabinets for any ingredients, especially canned foods, that can be donated to your nearest food pantry.
  3. Make sure you have a list of food your guests are bringing so there are no duplicate dishes, and consider options for guests with food sensitivities.

Use Scraps

When cooking many different dishes there are bound to be food scraps that go to waste. Make a difference this year! There are ways to use (almost) your entire turkey and set aside a compost pile for your vegetable and other compost-friendly scraps.

BYO Reusable Container

As you are inviting guests, remind them to bring their own leftover containers with them. This cuts down on leftovers going to waste and single-use plastic container waste. Enjoy 20% off glass and stainless steel nesting trios, the perfect BYO reusable containers for the holidays!

Host a Leftover Party

If you have leftovers you don’t want to eat but don’t want to waste, we have a solution. Make a day out of it and host a leftover party. Turn leftovers into pizza, soups or a potluck of leftovers from other Thanksgiving dinners.

For more waste-free Thanksgiving ideas, including DIY decorations, head over to our Pinterest Board.

5 Reasons We Love the Tiny House Movement

tiny house

Tiny Houses have taken over home TV shows, the internet, and many home and garden magazines. But what exactly is the tiny house movement? Simply put, it is a social movement where people are choosing to downsize the space they live in. The typical American home is about 2,600 square feet, whereas the typical small or tiny is between 100 and 400 square feet.

You may be shaking your head asking why would people want to downsize to such small quarters. So we’ve compiled a list of 5 reasons we love the tiny house movement.

Smaller Environmental Impact

Due to the size of micro homes, they can generally be completely powered by solar panels at a fraction of the cost of a traditional home. Through the proper application of green technology, it would be possible to live net-zero and completely off the grid in a tiny home. This infographic does a great job highlighting all the ways tiny houses reduce energy costs and allow your house to be self-sufficient.

Less Expensive

Tiny houses cost less in general. Since the houses are smaller, so are the mortgages and utility bills that go along with it. Young adults buying their first property are better able to afford these houses as well as people looking to downsize and save. 68% of tiny house people have no mortgage compared to 29.3% of all U.S. homeowners!

More Time & Freedom

Simply put, when you have a smaller living space there is less to clean and less time put into maintenance. This leaves more time for activities you enjoy and more time with friends and family.

Less Clutter and Less Waste

Living in a smaller space leaves less storage room in general. With the success of books like The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, people have been decluttering items that don’t bring them joy. A tiny house means keeping what you really use and getting rid of excess “stuff” that doesn’t serve a purpose. Less space also forces us to purchase with intention and seek out durable, long-lasting items that take the place of other wasteful alternatives.

More Connection and Communication

Smaller living spaces mean fewer places to go when a disagreement arises.  Kerri Fivecoat-Campbell of Living Large in Our Little House puts it best when she says, “Not having room to spread out anymore took some getting used to, but now I wouldn’t want it any other way. I don’t want to go back to us living in separate rooms, and not really communicating or spending time together.”

So how do you know if tiny is for you? Rent or stay overnight in a tiny house or stay at a tiny hotel like this one and see how you like it! Also check out our Pinterest board full of our favorite tiny houses and inspiration for going smaller.

The Benefits of a Plastic-Free Kitchen

plastic-free

From storing last night’s leftovers to shopping at the grocery store, plastic is everywhere, especially in your kitchen. It is important to understand that some plastics contain a hazardous mix of chemicals, such as:

  • Phthalates, which affect the reproductive system
  • BPA (bisphenol-A), which disrupts the endocrine system by mimicking the female hormone estrogen

As you may be aware, these chemicals can leach into whatever food or beverage you put in them, in amounts that vary depending on your use. For instance, if you microwave plastic containers or bottles, or put hot liquids or foods into them, BPA leaches into your food or drink 55 times faster than when used cold. There is also evidence that chemicals leach from plastic faster when the container is:

  • Old or scratched
  • Frequently put in a dishwasher
  • Washed with harsh detergents

Knowing those facts, you’re probably wondering what steps you can take to transition out of using plastic in your kitchen. Here are a few tips:

Skip Plastic Wrap and Baggies

Plastic wrap and baggies are usually a go-to when saving leftovers. But plastic wrap can leech into your food, and every year 100 billion plastic bags are thrown away in America. Make a transition to reusable food wraps made of beeswax or LDPE #4, a low-density, recyclable plastic. Our food kozies and snack bags are a perfect option, or you can try to DIY with this step-by-step guide.

Save Leftovers in Glass or Stainless Steel

At first, it may seem hard not to use plastic for food storage, but switching to glass or stainless steel is a much healthier option for you and your family. Some helpful tips include:

  • Save glass jars and searching second-hand stores for glass containers in good condition.
  • Purchase stainless steel reusable food containers for takeout and leftovers.
  • Buy glass containers to cook, bake and for storing leftovers.

Skip Plastic When Food Shopping

From produce bags to check out, plastic is everywhere when grocery shopping. Do your best to skip the plastic by purchasing food in bulk in reusable bags, skipping fruits and veggies wrapped in plastic, and bringing reusable jars and containers for other loose items.

Cutting the plastic out of your kitchen may seem overwhelming, but by following these 3 small steps you’ll be able to easily transition to a plastic-free kitchen!

Looking for more ideas on how to live plastic free? Check out our infographics: Top 10 Tips for a Healthy Kitchen and Safer Kitchen Guide, created in partnership with EWG’s Healthy Child Healthy World.