7 Environmental Changes You Can Make

If you have already made the switch to The DivaCup, you may have made it for any variety of reasons. Maybe you were excited about the cost-savings or the 12 hours of leak-free protection, or maybe (like many of us) you found disposables bulky and uncomfortable and knew that there had to be a better way. Whatever your reasoning may have been, many of our Divas really start to notice the big environmental changes they are making by ditching the disposables. It is one small change, but it makes a HUGE difference. Here is a list of other changes you can make in your life that help reduce your environmental footprint. Though it may not feel realistic to tackle them all just yet, even doing one or two of them can make a positive change.

1) Buy Vintage and Donate!
When it’s time to pick out some clothes or a cute outfit for an event, why not make the stylish and eco-friendly choice of buying vintage. Buying vintage is definitely the most stylish form of recycling! When you purchase something vintage, you are saving money, reducing the eco-footprint, and resources used up in new clothes production, processing and shipping. You also have a much better chance of finding a one-of-a-kind outfit that can really showcase your personal style. When you are done with clothes, be sure to donate them (or trade or sell them)! Someone will love your old treasures just as much as you did!

2) Go Bagless
So replacing plastic bags has definitely become a thing in various parts of the world where it is encouraged to bring and use reusable bags for purchases (like groceries), but why not take it a step further? Even though many of us may use reusable bags for our groceries, we still often grab the thin plastic produce bags, or perhaps small bags for bulk items, but did you know there are reusable options for all of these? It’s true. There are reusable produce bags made from materials like canvas, muslin, or mesh and you can use reusable containers in lieu of snack bags! Many bulk stores will also allow you to bring your own containers instead of using bags.

3) Replace your commute with a greener option
There are many green options for getting to work or school. If you are a commuter, with a long daily drive to the office, why not try looking into carpooling, the train, or busing? Long drives can be painful, boring, and tiring as well as come at a horrendous cost environmentally and to your wallet with the ever-climbing prices for gas. For many of us buying an electric car, or a hybrid, isn’t realistic. Sharing the ride can be a lot more social and environmental as can forgoing the car completely for some form of public transport. If you live close to work/school, you might enjoy walking, biking or skateboarding to get you there and back.

4) Reduce Chemical Use
When cleaning the house, your clothes, or even yourself, there are many options available naturally or commercially that help reduce the use of harmful chemicals. This is both healthier for you as well as better for the environment. As the cleaners we use wash down the drain and are flushed down the toilets, they can enter our waterways which can affect the quality of drinking water as well as compromise aquatic ecosystems. Other cleansers can contaminate our air quality and contribute to greenhouse gases. For these reasons it is important to read the label and be cognizant of what you are using to clean yourself and your surroundings. There are also many natural options for cleaning, such as vinegar, lemon, baking soda etc. There are a ton of articles online that can give you some tips to get started! Remember, DivaWash is a great option as a body wash and face wash… and guess what? It is 100% plant based!

5) Buy local
Buying local fruits and veggies is a great option for so many reasons! Not only are you supporting local farms, and the local economy but this deliciously green alternative has some amazing environmental benefits. By buying local produce, you are also cutting down on the fuel used in transporting, processing, and packaging the produce. This added to the fact that local product can ripen naturally rather than on a truck, boat, or plane, means that your food will taste better as well.

6) Replace paper products
If you ever break it down and think about how much paper products you might use, it can honestly be a little be daunting, but there are a ton of greener options that can replace these. Paper towels may make life easier sometimes, but a reusable microfiber cloth can replace most of these instances (and they work better), writing notes and shopping lists on a piece of paper can similarly be replaced with keeping them on your phone, or tablet (if you have one), even napkins at the dinner table can be replaced with reusable cloths which will elevate your entertaining and feel much nicer as well. Try reducing your paper use and make sure to recycle or compost (in the case of paper towel and tissue use) what you do use.

7) Ditch the Disposables
Did you know that close to 20 billion sanitary napkins, tampons and applicators are dumped in North American landfills each and every year? If you are already one of our Divas then you know how good it feels to not have to worry about disposing (or purchasing!) pads and tampons by using The DivaCup. If you are still sitting on the fence about making the switch, then this may be the day to remember how much you will be reducing your eco-footprint and how much waste you will be diverting from landfills by switching to a reusable period care option!

Take a hike!

“Walking: the most ancient and still the best modern exercise.” – Carrie Latet

Hiking is an amazing past time that so few individuals embrace. It’s almost as if that love we had for traipsing around outside when we were kids is lost in our adult lives. That need to explore nature seems to change in to a need to work, study and just generally adult. Not as much fun, right? Well, as a college student who works, lives on her own and attends full-time courses, my life didn’t involve much nature. But, there was one thing it did involve a lot of: stress. Stress is the biggest struggle in my life, and I think it’s the same for many others. I had tried many ways to handle stress — from yoga and meditation to exercise and diet changes — but the problem was, I could never find the time to do everything in a week. I didn’t have time to take both a yoga and HIIT class and fit in a meditation session as well. I was trying all these different things, and they do work, but they were not becoming a consistent part of my life like I wanted. The solution came to me from my roommate, who is a personal trainer. She recommended that I try hiking! She explained to me that the outdoor exercise from hiking up and down hills is often a better exercise than gym cardio training. This got me doing a bit more research on the concept and I realized just how many benefits to hiking there are! I decided to give it a try and over the last month, I have made it my goal to go for a hike at lease once a week. Here is what I learned:

You will feel happier
Hiking is a great way to deal with stress and to forget about your worries as you focus on what’s around you and the end goal of completing the trail. I found that hiking once a week helped me with my stress and depression as it took me away from daily distractions and technology and allowed me to connect with myself and nature. It’s a combination of meditation and exercise that leaves me happy and at peace.

You will enjoy nature
Being in nature gives us the opportunity to explore, be adventurous and feel free. In our everyday lives, there is so much that is controlled and scheduled. I found that taking the time to appreciate nature and explore it can have amazing benefits on your outlook on life.

You will get exercise
Hiking is an excellent form of exercise as you tromp along the trails, up and down hills and over uneven ground. You burn a high number of calories and build muscle as you go along. After an hour hike I feel limber and refreshed. Another great benefit is the decrease of blood pressure and cholesterol.

You will boost your creativity
Hiking is a great way to boost your creativity. Often halfway through a work day I would get a French vanilla to try and keep myself alert and focused. Instead of doing that I tried going for a quick hike over my lunch hour. The affects were amazing, I could take a break, organize my thoughts, wake myself up and increase my attention span. When I got back from my hike, I found myself more focused and productive than I usually am in the afternoons.

You will find your sense of adventure
One benefit of hiking that I found rather unexpected was a new sense of adventure. I would set a start and end destination for my hike, but I often found myself going further or changing course because I wanted to check something out that looked interesting. Hiking is a great time to just take things as they come and not worry about following an exact plan. Now as I am saying this, I am not telling you to go off into a dense part of the wood or up a forgotten trail without any precautions. I go into a bit more detail below, but make sure you are well prepared and that you use common sense. Hiking, while very beneficial does come with its risks. I almost always go hiking with a buddy and I have my phone with me in case of emergencies.

You will foster relationships
Finally, another great benefit is that you get to meet new people who are out enjoying the same things you are. You already have one common interest, so it’s easy to strike up a conversation. You can meet some great people while hiking and if that’s one of your goals, I would recommend getting involved with a hiking group. I found some great ones online and they were very welcoming and helpful as I started my hiking journey.

It’s a combination of so many different benefits that make hiking so good for your body, mind and soul.

Are you interested in hiking?
Here are a few recommendations I have as a novice hiker:
Start small. Hiking can be intimidating, so start with a short trail in an area that you are familiar with.
Prepare for the worst. Depending on how long your hike is and where you are make sure you carry your phone, water, snacks, sunscreen and bug spray. Also, make sure, you are in a good pair of closed toe hiking shoes or boots.
Pack lightly. You don’t want a huge backpack weighing you down but make sure you have important things: like water, a compass, and anything you made need for your personal comfort or safety. Remote or longer hike will require a different kind of pack than short or close to home hikes.
Overestimate your trail time. I make sure I have my phone with me (although usually on airplane mode) so that I can keep track of the time.
Don’t ignore your own backyard. You can find some great trails in the middle of the city, or just on the outskirts. Try walking around your neighborhood, you might be surprised.
Use the buddy system. I would recommend hiking with a partner, it keeps you safe and is a fun time to socialize.

10 Jarring Ideas

Mason jars are the best and we crafters and passionate recyclers are always finding new uses for them. Here are a list of ideas:

  1. Mason Jars make trendy drinking glasses.
  2. They can be used as vases for fresh cut flowers.
  3. They can be used for taking snacks to work or school.
  4. Set the mood by decorating your mason jar and placing a tea light inside.
  5. Label and use to store your dried goods like: flour, sugar, oats, rice etc.
  6. Make your own old fashioned candy jars by filling with sweet treats and decorating appropriately.
  7. Make your own at home spa, by using mason jars to store makeup brushes, sponges, cotton swabs, and even bath products like body scrubs, creams, and Epson salts.
  8. Use for office or desk organization as they are perfect for storing pens, pencils, rulers, paper clips, etc.
  9. Entertaining? Mason jars are great for sending home party gifts! Just fill with cookies, treats, or even be a bit silly and make your own bubble blowing solution to send home with your party guests.
  10. Turn your used mason jars into homemade snow globes! Glue figurines to the inside of the metal cap. Fill the jar with water (don’t forget the sparkles!), seal tightly and soon you will have the kitty cat, puppy, superhero, farm animal, pop culture, or holiday (the options are limitless!) snow globes you’ve been waiting for!

For more creative ideas on what to do with your mason jars be sure to check crafting sites and social networks like Pinterest!

Play it Again

Recycling started to become a buzzword in the 1980s when curbside recycling really began to make headway in the US and Canada. We (hopefully) do it pretty automatically these days, but why stop at simply putting things in the recycling bin? Did you know that you can re-purpose many of your recyclables into art as well some great useful household items? There are a ton of awesome ideas online, but here is a project to get you started!

Mosaic memory box using old DVD’s 
Do you have any old CDs, DVDs, DVD-Rs or CD-Roms hiding in your closet? If so, we have a great craft for you! Since almost *everything* has gone digital, you can repurpose these old disks into something super cool – a mosaic memory box!
Here’s something that I made with old DVDs.

How to: Using scissors cut into the DVD (or any related disk). When you cut you will notice that a DVD is actually made of two layers. You can discard the clear plastic layer or save for another project, you will only be using the silver layer for this project (CDs only have one layer but won’t have the fun and vibrant purplish color you get with old DVDs). Cut the silver layer into a variety of shard shapes. You can use these to decorate whatever you are making the mosaic on (I used an old wooden box, but you can use any kind of surface really).

Carefully, apply a strong glue to the surface and start placing the pieces however you like cutting the pieces to fit the right shape (it’s kind of like doing a puzzle). I found that I really liked the look of leaving a thin line of space between shards. Also be careful, these shards can be very sharp and this can be a messy project.

After you are done, you will want to use a crystal clear gloss as a finish, otherwise all the beautiful shiny stuff will simply wipe away!