It's Earth Day - a day celebrating the environment and ways we can protect it! Some efforts are large scale but there are many things that we can do on a daily basis, in our own homes and communities! Here are 10 of our favorite ways to be kinder inhabitants of planet earth. ↓

​Use reusable shopping bags! Instead of relying on a store's disposable bags, bring your own reusable totes! I like to keep mine in the car so they are ready when I am ready to shop! Plus you can pack so much more groceries in them!  

Make a meal plan. Build your weekly menu based on food you already have in your pantry and refrigerator - not only the items that spoil quickly but also the canned and jarred items that tend to get overlooked. This reduces the amount of expired foods that are thrown away simply because they were forgotten about! Planning meals in this way can also help you save money! Why? You'll be buying only the ingredients necessary to supplement what you already have for a recipe rather than the more aimless grocery store journey that leaves our pantries and refrigerators cluttered with excess food! (Oh hey there random can of artichokes - creamy artichoke soup for dinner sounds amazing!)

Grow things you buy at the store in your garden. Common herbs (i.e. peppermint, oregano, cilantro, basil, etc.) easily grow in a planter in a kitchen window sill. Most of these herbs are sold in plastic packaging, which can be avoided when you grow the herbs yourself. Even in our dryer climate we've enjoyed spinach, carrots, broccoli, onion, arugula, and tomatoes from our garden! Harvesting from a home garden is so satisfying because we get to skip the trip to the grocery store and cut down on wasteful packaging - we also love to low key brag to our dinner guests about the homegrown cuisine! 

​Compost organic material. Banana peels, apple cores, wilted greens can all be composted instead of thrown away! This allows them to be repurposed in your garden after the nutrients have been broken down in a way that releases less methane gases into the atmosphere! It also nourishes your garden so you can grow more of your own food! Not sure where to start? Check out our composting blog!

Say no to single use, non-compostable plastics. The movement to ban plastic straws is spreading rapidly and reusable straw options are readily accessible.  Many restaurants and bars are now making the transition from plastic straws to stainless steel straws- and for the ones that haven't yet, its easy enough to request "no straw please" when placing your drink order. Don't stop there though: take your daily water in a reusable bottle, bring your own thermos to your favorite coffee (or tea) shop, and keep reusable flatware in your lunch box for work so, when you carry out, you can say "no thank you" to the disposable flatware/napkin pack. Check out our Handmade Tea Leaf Glass Straws!  

Picking up recyclable litter you see on the ground in your daily commute. This is such a simple thing to do (my 9 year old daughter does it without me asking)! When walking between the car and a storefront or walking through nature it's easy to pick up cans, cups, and plastics as you see them and add them to your recycling. You can even add a few boxes to the trunk of your vehicle to sort recyclables you find while out and deliver them to your nearest recycling facility when full.

Cancel unnecessary mail and go paperless when possible. What do you really do with those paper bills or bank statements? Almost all of those can be e-statements! When we do receive them we normally pay them online anyway, right?  

Turn off the lights and running water. When you leave a room, turn the light off! While brushing your teeth, turn the water off! Not only does it save those resources, but it saves you money on your monthly bill! Win-win! 

Plant a pollinator friendly garden. The populations of bee, butterfly and hummingbirds have decreased significantly due to habitat loss, food scarcity, pesticides, and diseases. We can help these species out by structuring our home gardens with plants that produce a lot of nectar. Some of our favorite flowers and herbs in our pollinator friendly gardens are: Lavender, Sage, Buttercups, Geraniums, and Sunflowers. 

Repurpose OBTC tea and spice tins and honey jars. Did you know that you can bring in your empty OBTC tea tins and jars and have them refilled with any tea for $1.00 off of your tin or jar? Come see us with your empties! 

Currently, we don't have the option to do this with our spice and honey jars, but many of our staff and guests love to repurpose them! I store my daughters hair accessories in honey jars! Spice tins are great at holding paperclips, thumbtacks, craft supplies, etc. Our Lemon Soft Scrub fits perfectly in the spice tin! 

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