The birds (coworkers) here at Hummingbird are eco-conscious. We are always learning and looking for more ways to lessen our impact on the planet. At Hummingbird Wholesale, it is part of our mission, we say “sip the nectar from the earth without harming the flower,” and we mean it. We have compiled a good list of tips and tricks that we use. You’ve got to find what works for you. We want to share these and we want you to share yours in the comments below.
- Save those butter wrappers! Every time I use a butter stick, I keep the wrapper to use to grease pans for baking, rather than cooking spray or a fresh stick of butter. You will be pleasantly surprised by how much butter residue is still on that wrapper and how well it greases your pans.
- Cut the bottom off your toothpaste, lotion or other tubes to get that last bit. Rolling the tubes from the bottom is the most common way to do this, but cutting the bottom off allows you to get that last drop.
- Get outside everyday! Connecting with nature is a top priority in my self-care routine. I take a walk during lunch breaks at work, have walk-n-talk meetings with coworkers and try to get out for a short (or long!) walk every day after work, regardless of the weather. On my days off, I find local hiking or walking paths and use this time to catch up with friends, either in-person or on the phone. For me, getting outside, seeing the beauty in my neighborhood or the woods - the trees, the sky and clouds - inspires me to be a good steward of the planet.
- Design your own tools and fix the broken ones. I designed a scrubber that works better than the one we purchased—using parts of the tool that we already had and some green scrub pads! No more throwing away the wand and we reduced the waste!
- I switched the entire family over to bamboo toothbrushes with great success!
- I use bar soap for washing dishes: shout out to Silver Falls Sustainability Company and their subscription option!
- I buy my tea in bulk from Mountain Rose Herbs through our company’s wholesale program.
- I shop locally as much as possible.
Reverdy (just completed a Permaculture Design course at OSU) says:
- Know and connect with your surroundings!
- Identify what grows in your lawn. I have found the following edible/medicinal plants in my lawn and have incorporated them into my diet and household medicine cabinet: Dandelion Leaf/Root, Yellow Dock Root, Chickweed, Cleavers, St. John’s Wort, Lemon Balm, Plantain, Oregano and Oyster Mushrooms! (Make sure to be 100% certain of identification, of any contraindications and that area has not been polluted before consuming).
- Get to know and support your local regional farmers by shopping for produce at your local farmers market.
- Grow a garden!
- Close the loop.
- Start a worm compost bin!
- Save food scraps and paper packaging to feed your worms (1lb of worms will eat 1lb of food scraps a day)
- Feed your garden/yard with this rich compost!
- Place a bucket in your shower to collect grey water in the dry PNW summers to water your yard. (Make sure your soap/shampoo/conditioner is yard-friendly before doing this.)
- Obtain used bulk 55 gallon Vinegar & Oil barrels to disconnect your downspouts and convert into rain-water collection system. Hummingbird Wholesale has many to offer at great prices!
- Go for the gold and save your urine to dilute for fertilizer in your garden and yard (pee is free!).
- Say no to excess packaging!
- Reduce packaging use by bringing bags/containers to fill at your local health food store bulk section.
- Hummingbird Wholesale jars make for great bulk storage vessels at home!
- Make your own dairy-free milks at home with a nut milk bag.
- Reuse before recycle.
- Shop for used clothes and books instead of new first.
- Reuse mailers for re-mailing packages or as trash can liners.
- I don’t use plastic straws anymore, I now have metal ones to use.
- Gardening has a lot of single use plastic, so I try to wash out and reuse pots as much as possible.
- I decided to buy a fuel efficient car and love the choice I made.
- I don’t use paper towels in my house, I just use cloth napkins and wash rags.
- I recycle all the staples I remove from paperwork.
- I love picking up litter and trash everywhere all the time. I turn it into a little game - filling up my pockets, or finding a bag or cup and filling it up with other trash, and searching for the nearest trash can. I remember the owl from the commercials when I was a kid - Give a Hoot, don’t Pollute.
- I choose biking to work. I get a little more exercise by leaving the car at home - and spend less money.
- I don’t buy coffee or other drinks out if I can’t use my own water bottle. This saves money too.
- We recycle house water for plants. We have a green ceramic pitcher that we pour undrunk water (unadulterated) in and use to water house plants. It's only a drop, but these days every drop is precious.
- We compost all food scraps for garden compost (no citrus, meat, dairy, or avocados). Yes, this can attract rodents, but this is Eugene and we live by the river. We've reused chicken wire and two cats help (well at least one does his job).
- I keep all screws and nails that are not rusty and bent to be reused.
- Reusable containers: I keep a tote in my car of containers and jars of various sizes. This way, I always have containers ready when I need them - for shopping in bulk, or packaging my leftovers! I also keep a tote full of reusable bags & reusable produce bags.
- Reusable “paper” towels: I use Marley’s Monsters UNPAPER towels. They are perfect for cleaning up little messes and using as napkins. They come in all kinds of fun patterns.
- Meal planning: I make a meal plan every weekend, and it really helps me to not buy more food than I need, and also helps me to prioritize using up what I have. I always start by listing the perishables I have, marking items that need to get used right away, and start with meal ideas incorporating these.
- Vegetable broth from scraps: I like to save up scraps of vegetables in a container in my freezer, and when I’ve saved up enough, I make veggie broth! Here’s my guideline for what to save and proportions for making.
- Use refillable soaps and cleaning products. I use Blueland hand soaps at home. I have their reusable soap dispensers, and I buy refill tablets. You just fill the dispenser with warm water, drop in a little tablet, and you’re done! I just stocked up on about a year’s worth of soap, and the package was super compact - which really reduces the carbon footprint of shipping. It was packaged without plastic and the tablet wrappers are compostable.