How To: Go on a Zero Waste Ski Trip

 

It’s that time of year again! Ski season has really kicked off!

I have been skiing since I was 3, it is one of my favorite activities to do.  I love that each day can be different – I can ski with different people, different places, I can ski for an hour or two, or a solid 8 hours. I can ski on the easy trails and have a relaxing day, or I can ski the hardest terrain I can find and really push myself.  It makes me happy, relaxed, challenged, and scared all at the same time, and as a bonus it’s a super good workout!

However, since I have spent a lot of time at ski resorts, I have noticed how much trash can be generated from a day on the trails (it’s a lot).

Unfortunately, some of it is unavoidable like the ski passes – a definitely unrecyclable sticker and metal piece that I’m sure ends up in the trash. I don’t have many of these because I usually get a season pass which is just one credit card piece of plastic a year, but I always keep them as mementos so I’ve never thought about their proper disposal. It would be awesome if resorts could figure out a more sustainable way! However, for day passes, I would say try to make things out of them like ornaments to remember your ski days that year, or put them in scrapbooks, or memory boxes. And if not, recycle the metal piece at least!

The rest though can be eliminated!

Lets start with the easiest…

FOOD:

I always bring my own lunch, which I will get to in a second, but if you’re staying at a resort and have no place to store food or no refrigerator and must buy food, then at least bring your own container! I like lightweight stainless steel containers.  Just ask them to put your food in the container, I’m sure they would be willing. At the very least, bring your own reusable water bottle and utensils/reusable napkin to avoid excess waste, and look for compostable materials and a compost trash can for the rest.

However, food available at ski resorts is always super expensive, so I bring my own!  I usually pack a sandwich in my life without plastic square tin:

 

some trail mix and dried mango that I buy in bulk in a reusable cotton bag, or a reusable plastic bag (i have these:  http://www.reuseit.com/reusable-snack-bags-and-reusable-sandwich-bags/planet-wise-planet-wise-reusable-sandwich-bag-with-zipper.htm)
 

Granola bars: the lifeblood of skiiers, can pack in your jacket for chair lift snacks. However, super wasteful! I make my own granola bars (very infrequently, since you get so many out of one batch!), keep them in a big tupperware, and then take them out one by one as I need them and wrap each in a small beeswax wrap. Just as small as a regular granola bar, and just as convenient! When I’m finished I just wrap up the little wrap and put it back in my pocket and wash it when I get home.  If unavoidable, at least choose granola bars whose wrappers can be sent to terracycle, like clif bars! The ski resorts near me have terracycle boxes in the lodges for wrappers like this.  

Water/drinks: I have a reusable water bottle I bring with me, and if I’m getting a midday beer, I am sure to ask for it in glass. Easy switches.

And now for the harder switches.

HAND/TOE WARMERS:

Disposable hand and toe warmers are, unfortunately, the greatest things ever. However, even though they are made with fairly environmental ingredients, it’s still better to opt for reusables. There are a couple options:

Rechargeable hand warmers. I wish I had personal reviews for these, but Colorado doesn’t really get cold enough for me to have needed any yet.  Here is the highest rated one, which I want to buy if I ever find I need these. They last for 5-6 hours, which is plenty long for a day of skiing

http://www.amazon.com/EnergyFlux-4400mAh-Rechargeable-Double-Sided-External/dp/B006Q5ACKG?psc=1&SubscriptionId=AKIAJM4NKIQGABP2PIRA&linkCode=xm2&camp=2025&creative=165953&creativeASIN=B006Q5ACKG&tag=thewire06-20&ascsubtag=WC14825

Then there are ones that you fill with lighter fluid (a zippo) that can last for over 19 hours, which are excellent for things like backpacking and backcountry skiing trips that are a lot longer.

http://www.amazon.com/Zippo-40306-Hand-Warmer/dp/B00ABA08F6?psc=1&SubscriptionId=AKIAJM4NKIQGABP2PIRA&linkCode=xm2&camp=2025&creative=165953&creativeASIN=B00ABA08F6&tag=thewire06-20&ascsubtag=WC14825

For toe warmers, there are these, I don’t know how well they work…

http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/store/product/cozy-feet-foot-warmers/1040004044?skuId=40004044&mcid=PS_googlepla_nonbrand_homedecor_&adpos=1o6&creative=43742653069&device=t&matchtype=&network=g

or if you have lots of money you can get these!:

http://heat.thermacell.com/heated-insoles/original-heated-insoles

I’ve seen some at ski shops that cost around 125 for rechargeable toe warmers. If you ski a ton each season and always use disposable toe warmers, this might be a good investment!

CLOTHING:

Lastly, I want to discuss clothing.  By now we all know that synthetic clothing is made of plastic fibers, and plastic fibers getting into our oceans and waterways from washing them is a huge issue.  I suggest sticking with natural fibers.  I cannot say I do this, but this is entirely because since I’ve been skiing for about 20 years I have a big stash of ski clothes from before I was aware of this issue and since I rarely wash them and only use them half the year, haven’t found a good enough reason to replace them.

HOWEVER, when I say natural fibers. I do NOT mean cotton. Cotton does not dry easily, and when you sweat from physical activity in the cold, your clothes will stay damp, and then when you cool back down, that wetness will suck all the heat from your body.  This is dangerous, never wear cotton into the woods.

By natural fibers, I mean wool and silk. I will write a whole blog post on natural fibers in outdoor clothing, but for now look for base layers made of silk or wool, and mid layers made of wool. You’ll be just as warm!

If, like me, you have a ton of old clothes that you are still getting a lot of use out of, then just try to wash them as little as possible. I don’t think I’ve ever, or ever will, wash my ski jacket (it’s just a shell). I wash my base layers minimally because I’m usually just cold when I ski so I don’t sweat and they don’t get very dirty, and my ski pants are black, so they’ll look clean forever!

But aren’t ski resorts bad for the environment?

Yep! and this is an issue. 

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2007/mar/07/conservation.travelnews

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/12/science/12slopes.html?_r=0

They are making strides, though!

http://www.summitdaily.com/exploresummit/9498773-113/climate-ski-resorts-area

http://www.nsaa.org/environment/climate-change/

My advice if you love to ski and care about the environment? Choose to only go to ski resorts that are actively trying to reduce their environmental impact. Vote with your dollar! And try as best you can to reduce YOUR overall impact. Eliminate your waste, carpool to the mountain, don’t take private jets to Aspen…

Keep enjoying the activities you love, and just try to find ways to make them a little less wasteful!

Happy Skiing!

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Homemade Burts Bees Style Lip Balm

 

I have done something awesome.

I ran out of my last tube of Burts bees and in consequence my lips died a sad slow death in super dry Colorado.

 So I made some of my own!
The ingredients I used are:

  
Beeswax: I found unpackaged small 1 oz blocks of beeswax at Natural Grocers in Denver. They run for $1.19 each, and idk how much it normally runs for but for me that’s a steal

 

Shea butter:  I get this in bulk at Zero Market in Denver. I’m pretty sure it’s the unrefined kind.

 Coconut oil:  I buy this in a glass jar, organic and unrefined, from Sprouts
Vitamin E oil:  I bought this from Whole foods, it’s in a little glass jar

Peppermint oil:  I bought this from Zero Market in bulk as well

Chapstick tubes: the yellow one was my last Burts bees tube, the blue one was a really old blistex tube I found in my hiking backpack (both of which I cleaned out with the little brush I have to clean my stainless steel straws!), the little tin was a lip balm I bought from Zero Market that didn’t work for me (so I emptied it and reused the container), and for the leftovers I used a small Mason jar.

RECIPE: I adjusted this from multiple recipes I found online

3 tbsp Shea butter 

3 tbsp beeswax

3 tbsp coconut oil

20 drops vitamin E oil

40ish drops peppermint essential oil (you can definitely use more if you want)

STEPS:

1.  I grated one of the little bars of beeswax, I needed about 5/6 of the bar

 

I compressed the beeswax in the spoon like you would with brown sugar, to make sure I had enough in there

2. Added the beeswax, Shea butter, coconut oil to a glass bowl

3. Placed glass bowl over a pot with hot water (I tried to keep the temp lower so I wouldn’t melt the Shea butter too quickly, I heard that’s bad?)

  
4. Stirred it with a wooden spoon until it melted, this took a couple minutes, especially to melt the beeswax

5.  Took the bowl off the pot, let it sit for a minute to slightly cool, then added the vitamin E and the peppermint essential oils and mixed it with the wooden spoon (wooden spoon is important here because I’ve heard metal doesn’t react well with essential oils)

6. Poured the mixture into a liquid measuring cup (made pouring a lot easier!)

7. Poured the mixture into the two tubes, the little tin, and a small mason jar (which is my extra to remelt and refill the tubes when they run out again), and microwaved the bowl and measuring cup to get the dried Chapstick off the sides and into the Mason jar.

8.  Put the 4 items in the fridge, I read somewhere that if you let Shea butter harden fast it doesn’t become grainy, and mine didn’t! I have no idea whether this was due to the fridge, but it also sped up the time it took to harden.

9. Take the old labels off the tubes to make them look nice

And it actually turned out amazing! The texture is great, it’s hard enough (this is a harder Chapstick I don’t like the soft ones and I assumed homemade lip balms with coconut oil would be soft- this one feels like a true Burts bees). It is pepperminty when you put it on, though not as pepperminty as the original, I think next time I’ll add more peppermint oil! My lips already feel so much better and I am so excited at how well it turned out. So far a lot of my zero waste recipes I’ve found have been disappointing (still working on the toothpaste…I struggle with weird tastes) but I am happy to report that this one worked out great and I am very pleased! And it was super easy. It took me probably 15 minutes to make and pour everything. However, cleanup sucked. Sorry to say it but that was the part that took the most time! Pro tip: Heat everything to super hot again to get the beeswax off. Once I did that it was easy to clean!

I hope you enjoy it! Please let me know your thoughts, especially if you try it!

  
P.s. Sorry my pictures are not very nice. iPhone in low light = sad
  

I’M BACK

I have not blogged in months and I am the worst!!!

I had a very busy summer working doing neat research on salt marshes, and I was trying to see my friends a lot and go on adventures, becauuuuuuse I just moved to Colorado!

I now live in Denver, which is what has been occupying me since mid-august. IT’S AMAZING HERE. I’m so happy I moved here it’s so incredible and beautiful.  The city is really awesome with a ton of sweet restaurants and bars and the mountains are so close! I’ve been here for a little over a month and I’ve already done more incredible hikes than I usually do all season.  I’m in love!  I do miss my friends, family and the ocean though. Also it’s sunny and beautiful here every single day and I love it. Also no humidity.

The best thing about Colorado is that this area (mostly Boulder but in Denver too) is super into being environmental.  Boulder has mandatory curbside composting, the city has a whole zero waste initiative which is super successful! It’s awesome to see places taking such initiative!  Denver is not to that level but it’s also a much larger city.  There is a composting pilot program but it is only in certain areas and only for single family homes, so it doesn’t apply to me :(.

However, strange fact.  I was told that there is a law in colorado that you are not allowed to bring your own containers to get food at the grocery store (and maybe also out at restaurants).  I can’t find anywhere online the actual written law which I would really like to read to figure out how I can get around it.  But apparently it was passed because a bunch of people got sick from using their own containers.  This is all what I’ve been told so I’m not sure about all the details but it sucks!!! (p.s. doesn’t apply to cloth bags at bulk stores yay).  I wanted to try it out and the grocery stores I’ve been to have no problem with me using them for honey or peanut butter but I havent tried getting meat or cheese in my own container yet.  This is a crappy law! I feel bad for the people who got sick but they probably should have washed their containers better! I shouldn’t be forced by law to pollute! Still on the search for the information about the law, will update you if I find it? Does anyone have any ideas where I can find such information??

This is the worlds most random post with a whole bunch of random information, I will be posting MUCH more in the next few weeks with real blog posts with real content. Just felt like I needed to bridge the gap!! Excited to get started again! I’ve made lots of sweet zero waste strides I’m excited to share!

I’m also thinking of starting an instagram for the blog. Yas?

  

Zero Waste Giveaway!!!

Truth time: getting started with a zero waste lifestyle isn’t a quick and easy switch. You need to swap a lot of the products you use (hopefully at the end of their life though) to ones that are durable and made of natural products so that they can be sustainably disposed of if you end up needing to replace them. Some of the things that are easily replaced are two things we have to give away to SEVEN lucky readers!!

What is there to win?

One of four BAMBOO TOOTHBRUSH 4-PACKs (Value $19.99 each, Product details)

StarterPack1

These get rave reviews from all the zero wasters I know. I’m still waiting for my last plastic toothbrush to die before I buy my own one of these! And when youre done all you have to do is pluck the bristles out and compost the handle! Or reuse it (preferable)

Or one of 3 Bee’s Sandwich Wraps (Value $10.00 each, Product details)

Sandwich1

These are amazing! Made of all natural products, easy to clean, and folds out as a placemat for your sandwich when youre eating! What more could you want?

 

How to enter?

  • Click the logo below
  • Tweet about the give away
  • Follow up to 5 Zero Waste Blogs

The more blogs you follow, the higher the chance to win.

zwb_giveaway

Take the time to read all these blogs! Some pretty awesome people listed here and some AMAZING info hidden in them! Follow them on twitter and instagram too! (links on their blogs)

Happy following! Good luck!

Terms & Conditions

Open to Residents of the US only. Prizes cannot be shipped to PO Boxes. Winner will be selected randomly and be notified by email. Winners have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is selected. Please note that the blog you won a prize from is not responsible for sponsors that do not fulfill their prizes.

Each sponsor is represented here with the expectation that they will fulfill their prize and in a timely manner. The sponsors, in most cases, are shipping their items to you directly.

We will make every effort to assist you obtaining your prize. If there is an issue with a sponsor, please notify the blog you won a prize from within 30 days for assistance, after that we may be unable to assist you. The product provided for the review was free of charge from the company. The product offered for the giveaway is free of charge, no purchase necessary.

My opinions are my own and were not influenced by any form of compensation. Facebook, Twitter and Google+ are in no way associated with this giveaway. By providing your information in this form, you are providing your information to the blog authors only. We do not share or sell information and will use any information only for the purpose of contacting the winner.

Getting Started

I am psyched to start going zero waste, it’s something I have been researching for about 5 months now, and over the last couple of weeks I’ve really started to transition over.  However, this is going to be a slow process because 1. I’m poor 2. I live with my parents so I don’t control what comes into the house and 3. I don’t want to do everything all at once because that is overwhelming and I don’t want to stress myself out (important).

I want to make a list of the things I want to do in the next 5 months before I move to Denver.  Once I move I will be going zero waste crazy but there’s only so much I can do now.  Especially since I will be moving with one car load of stuff so I don’t want to buy a million jars and such right now as I won’t be able to easily move those across the country.

– Make my boyfriend watch every plastic-centered documentary with me to get him on board with plastic hating (and do it in a way that doesn’t make him want to break up with me)

– Figure out a food shopping system that works for me

– Make/buy/acquire in some way various types of reusable bags

– Explore all zero waste options in the greater Boston area, see whats available, be equal parts encouraged and discouraged

– Make a list of all zero waste cleaning product recipes, personal care product recipes, etc

– Test/experiment with personal care/cleaning products (science!)

– Find alternatives to non food products always found in packaging (phone cases, calendars, light bulbs, markers etc)

– Acquire/make plans to get random other zero waste things (lunch boxes/sandwich bags, abeego wraps or other type of beeswax cloth, cookie tins, brushes, etc)

– Find other zero wasters!

– Convince friends I’m not crazy and to try to reduce their plastic intake too

I’ll probably update this list, but here we go!