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Buy to Last with BuyMeOnce

Buy to Last with BuyMeOnce

The holidays are a great time to reconsider what we buy.  A recent article in the New York Times about buying items to last resonates this time of year because Resourceful PDX is about thoughtful consumption. The article highlights one woman’s journey to find long-lasting items that are built to last. The story features Tara Button, the creator of BuyMeOnce. Their tagline reads: We find the longest lasting products on the planet. To save you stress, to save you money, to save the planet.

The gist is to move away from throwaway. Seeking items that can last a lifetime may seem old-fashioned, or from another era. However, disposable items or those that are made to break (also known as planned obsolescence) are a waste, in more ways than one.

Instead, BuyMeOnce suggests seeking items for yourself or for others that stand the test of time. From socks and sweaters to blenders and mixing bowls, you can search for what you need or want, and get ideas for the holidays too.

Categories online include:

·         Kitchenware

·         Living

·         Electricals (i.e. appliances and gadgets)

·         Leisure

·         Beauty

·         Kids, women’s and men’s items

If you must give a gift of something, consider an item that the receiver wants, needs and is built to last their lifetime.

Find out more about BuyMeOnce. And check out the Resourceful PDX blog for more local options to buy smart!

Think repair for the holidays with over 200 local shops

Think repair for the holidays with over 200 local shops

Did you know you can find repair shops all over the Portland region through an online database?

Portland Repair Finder is dedicated to helping more people fix more things. The organization makes tools, knowledge and resources easier to find, and helps tell the stories behind repair work. They believe that repairing things is good for the local economy, community and environment, and it is empowering and fun.

The creator of this online tool is Joel Newman. He started the website in 2017 to become a comprehensive access point for repair of all kinds around Portland. His background is in art and design - and bicycle repair.

Joel (right) fixing a bike at a Repair Cafe.

Joel (right) fixing a bike at a Repair Cafe.

He said over the next year they will be revising the search and filtering features, as well as growing the database of repair shops and resources. The ability to search the site by item as well as by mode of repair– whether that's a needed tool for a DIY fix, expert advice or professional repair– is key to showing people the range of options available, and getting more people involved.

One of the cool things about repair work is its ability to add life to a favorite item or keepsake. If you get a favorite pair of jeans or shoes mended or restore a piece of furniture or jewelry that has been in your family for generations, it’s much more unique and memorable than buying something new.

Give the gift of repair

With the holidays upon us, now’s a good time to find alternative gift ideas. Look at who you plan to buy for this year. Would they benefit from a gift certificate from a jeweler, cobbler or for a gadget? Could a family heirloom be repaired, old photos be restored or a favorite outfit brought back to life through alteration? There are 200 businesses included on the Repair Finder.

And don’t forget about free repair events in the region. Both Repair Cafés and Repair Fairs take place around the Portland region throughout the year. Think of these events as an ongoing way to get small repairs made to keep your possessions in circulation and in use. The Resourceful PDX event calendar lists all the repair events taking place, along with other community events.

 



Find (more) holiday inspiration and creative gift ideas

Find (more) holiday inspiration and creative gift ideas

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The holidays are upon us - and that means consideration of how we celebrate the people in our lives.

We can choose to do things differently. Here’s information on two sources that provide ideas outside the gift box.

More fun and less stuff

New Dream empowers individuals, communities, and organizations to transform the ways they consume to improve well-being for people and the planet. They’ve been offering alternatives about gifting for many years, including extensive information and resources about how to celebrate the holidays in ways that are lighter on the planet and your wallet.

The SoKind Registry is a registry and wishlist service that encourages the giving of homemade gifts, charitable donations, secondhand goods, experiences, time, day-of-event help, and more.

Check out the gift ideas section!


Create memories, not garbage

Metro Vancouver, our neighbors to the North have a holiday campaign called Create memories, not garbage.

There is a collection of creative gift ideas, tips for gift wrapping and ideas for celebrating the season – all with the intention to create memories and reduce waste this holiday season.

Get inspired with gift ideas by price range too with the Merry Memory Maker.

Note: The specific places are in and around Vancouver, BC. Check out the Resourceful PDX map for local organizations.

Find more ideas to create memories in your life in our resourceful #holiday series. 

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The Buyerarchy of Needs

The Buyerarchy of Needs

Are you already overwhelmed with stressful holiday errands and overspending? Worried about getting buried in all the packaging?

Consider a new low-waste way to approach the holidays this year that might save you some money and bring you a little more joy. The Buyerarchy of Needs is a visual guide to remind you of your other options besides buying something new.

As you look over your holiday lists, take a creative moment and ask yourself:

Is there something I already have I could use in a new way? Could I borrow or swap to get what I need? Maybe a thrift or resale shop has it? Can I make it?

Intrigued? Resourceful PDX is your local resource for tips and ideas to make simple changes in everyday choices. In fact, the Resourceful PDX map includes community-based organizations that help residents reuse, swap, repair and share such items as tools, building or art supplies, household goods or other materials rather than throwing away or buying new.

Resolve to be a thoughtful consumer in the new year to save money and resources. Explore the website for more ideas and tips in our resourceful #holiday series. 

Learn how The Buyerarchy of Needs came to be by designer and illustrator, Sarah Lazarovic.

10 things to do today to reduce your waste

10 things to do today to reduce your waste

Jenica Barrett from Zero Waste Wisdom shares her insights for creating less waste.

Jenica Barrett started a new, personal journey that began with a six-month challenge. That was three years ago and it is now part of her everyday life. The challenge she set out to complete was a waste audit - where you gather your trash to tally, weigh and itemize for a week or a month.

She was a college student back then and now as a graduate student, she leads workshops and presentations about her zero-waste lifestyle.

I see myself as someone fortunate enough to educate others on the environmental impacts of our actions collectively and to provide resources for them to adjust their lifestyles for the better. I do this by dedicating a vast amount of time to keeping my blog up-to-date and offering local workshops. I provide information that anyone can apply to their own life, or they can adapt my suggestions to meet their current needs. Face-to-face interaction is also highly impactful which is why I focus a lot of time promoting the idea of waste reduction and environmental stewardship in my local community.

Rethinking how to create less waste is the goal. This can be purchasing a durable coffee mug from a resale or thrift store to buying dried cranberries from the bulk section at your local grocery store.

Ask yourself questions before a purchase, such as:

  • Do I already have something that can do the job?
  • Can I buy this second hand?
  • Is there a more durable option?
  • Can I borrow it from someone?

We all have habits – some good, some not so good – that we choose to do. What we do with our waste – recycle, compost or landfill it - is part of our habits too.

The average person produces 2.89 pounds of garbage a day per year.  That’s 1,054 pounds a year. Jenica chronicles her continued journey by showing the waste she produces each year. In 2017, she created 1.67 pounds, and it fits in a jar!

Jenica gets many questions about her lifestyle from workshop participants and online. This gives her opportunities to offer tips to reduce, reuse – and refuse. She said some people get stuck on bringing things themselves (bags, mugs, cutlery). She offers another direction if this is an obstacle – like purchasing an item in a different package. This type of shift is what opens the door to reducing and creating less waste. Keep in mind - the best choice is to avoid any product that is designed to be disposed of after one use.

The biggest thing people can do to avoid contributing to the plastic program our oceans are facing is to stop using it. Plain and simple. This can take the form of buying things in bulk, bringing your own container, and giving feedback to companies who still use excessive packaging. It is important that we start demanding change by being conscious of where our dollars are spent and make sure we are putting our money towards products that are good for the environment. We can’t kick our plastic habit overnight and I still use plastic products now and then. But unless we dramatically cut back on our reliance on disposables, these items will keep ending up in the ocean. It doesn’t matter how well we sort our recycling or whether we develop incinerators for our trash. If we are using so many disposable products, litter and pollution will continue to occur.

Here is Jenica’s list of 10 things to do today to reduce your waste:

  1. Invest in a reusable water bottle
  2. Bring your own grocery bags
  3. Bring containers for leftovers at restaurants
  4. Buy in bulk
  5. Make your own cosmetics
  6. Compost your food scraps
  7. Refuse plastic straws
  8. Purchase second hand items
  9. Switch out paper towels for cotton towels
  10. Conduct a waste audit

Jenica offers tips, advice, recipes and more on her website and through social media. Learn more at Zero Waste Wisdom.

Reduce, reuse – and refuse

Reduce, reuse – and refuse

Does your garbage can fill up fast with bulky take-out containers? Rethink how to remove plastics and single-use items at home, work or play.

Americans use 500 million straws in the United States every day! Do your part to reduce single-use items by creating a to-go kit so you’ll have what you need when you need it.

Start a new habit

Change your mindset and start a new habit. Those everyday items you use at home can find another life outside the home – that goes for replacements for napkins, cutlery, coffee and smoothie cups, water bottles, grocery and produce bags - and straws.

Try one new option and begin to be consistent until the habit takes shape. This can take the form of buying in bulk, bringing your own container or giving feedback to companies that use excessive packaging.

Remember to reuse (and reduce disposables)

Make a reusables kit for your car, day bag or bike bag. Include reusable shopping bags, a coffee or travel mug, produce bags, cutlery or small containers for leftovers. After you use something from your kit, replace it when you get home so your kit is always with you and ready for anything.

Having an on-the-go kit is good if you eat out a lot, make frequent stops at the store, or tend to forget your reusables (we all do!).

Choose to refuse unwanted items

If you don’t need the straw, plastic cutlery, napkins or a bag, say so!

Find more ways to ditch plastics at Zero Waste Wisdom. And if you really want to reduce waste, join the Plastic Free July challenge.

Love your stuff

Love your stuff

This Valentine’s Day, fall in love with Portland local resources to find ways to be resourceful and get more out of your stuff.

Borrow your way to more love

Do you love cooking?

Portland has many options for you to borrow kitchen tools to try them without purchasing new items. Expand your kitchen knowledge or take a food workshop at a kitchen share. NorthNortheast and Southeast Portland residents can connect with each other and find a new gadget to love.

Already thinking about giving your garden or home some love?

For those with home, yard or garden projects, locate the tool lending library based on where you live. The Green Lents Community Tool Library in East PortlandNorthNortheast or Southeast all offer residents low-to-no-cost options. Find home improvement project ideas from previous blog posts.

Or are you ready for a little space?

Clear your closet with Swap Positive, your go-to for multiple swap events throughout the year, including those for families. Share clothes and accessories you don’t love so much anymore with folks who might enjoy something different.

Keep what you love

Ready to repurpose a favorite chair or locate a well-loved heirloom?

Explore Portland’s many second-hand stores to find new-to-you clothing, furniture, electronics, household or craft items, salvage building materials and more. 

Do you have favorite items you have loved so much they need a fix?

Repair PDX offers residents free fixes for bikes, small appliances, clothing and more. Monthly repair cafes bring volunteers who love to fix stuff together with those who have broken items that need fixing.  

Find more ideas to create more love and less waste at New Dream. #morelovelesswaste

Three tips to be a thoughtful consumer in the new year

Three tips to be a thoughtful consumer in the new year

There are many benefits to becoming a more thoughtful consumer: buying less, cutting clutter and reducing waste, to name a few. As we begin a new year, consider making a small change that can help you live more resourcefully. Make it easier to adopt the change by choosing one new habit per month, or make a change to an established habit. Who knows, maybe something small will turn into even bigger changes (and benefits!) for you.

Watch Alicia on KATU Afternoon Live, where she shares these tips with host Tra’Renee.

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1.       Borrow rather than buy to cut clutter

Take advantage of the resources that Portland offers! The online map connects residents to free or low-cost options for living more resourcefully.

The map categories are repair/resale/swap shops, donation centers and lending libraries.

Portland has:

·         4 tool libraries

·         3 kitchen shares

·         3 swap and play spaces

·         1 toy library

Borrow these types of items and more  

·         Home and yard tools, power tools, table saws

·         Juicers, mixers, bread makers, canning equipment

·         Toys, games, clothes, books

These community organizations also need support! You can become a member based on the area of the city where you live and volunteer your time or donate your unused items.

The Library of Things (which lends baking equipment, board games and even karaoke machines to members) is available in Hillsboro and is coming soon to Beaverton too, through the county library system.

2.       Remember to reuse (and reduce disposables)

Make a reusables kit for your car or day bag, bike bag or purse. Include reusable bags, a coffee or travel mug, produce bags, cutlery or small containers for quick stops or on-the-go items.

After you use something from your kit, replace it as soon as you get home so your kit is always with you, ready for anything. Having an on-the-go kit is especially good if you eat out a lot, make frequent stops at the store, or tend to forget your reusables (we all do!).

3.       Resolve to redeem in 2018

As of  January 1, 2018, many more kinds of containers now carry a 10-cent deposit. These include bottles and cans for tea, coffee, fruit juice, coconut water, hard cider and kombucha. Beer, soft drinks and water containers continue to require a deposit.

By recycling these containers at a bottle redemption center, the materials are separated and turned into a clean, reliable supply of high-grade recyclable material. The materials are all processed in in the U.S., and for plastic containers, 100 percent of them are recycled in Oregon.

Of course, you can still recycle at the curb – aluminum and plastic go in the recycling cart, and glass goes separately in your other bin. But by redeeming your own containers, you get more money back in your pocket.

Find a BottleDrop Oregon Redemption Center near you!

Reduce and reuse for the holidays

Reduce and reuse for the holidays

Master Recycler volunteer, Bonita Davis, shares tips to reduce and reuse during the holiday season.

The holiday season is a time when we do more of everything, including celebrating and shopping. It can also be a time when a lot of waste is created in the process, but that doesn’t have to happen. This season, we can have some fun focusing on reducing and reusing to save money and go easy on the environment.

Watch Bonita on KATU Afternoon Live, where she shares some of these tips with host Tra’Renee.

Reduce

Choose experiences rather than things because something out of the ordinary may be the perfect gift for someone on your list – and alternative gift ideas are often waste-free. Know what your family and friends like and want – and if someone has a gift registry for a special occasion, use it!

Resourceful PDX partner, Chinook Book, offers coupons through the print edition or mobile app from local businesses and provides gift ideas and savings at your fingertips.

In the long run, durable materials save us money and significantly reduce waste. Items such as plates, utensils, glasses and linens can be new, used, borrowed or rented. Holiday meals may include leftovers. Plan ahead to save containers, like yogurt tubs, or invite guests to bring their own containers to take home extra goodies.

And don’t forget to use your reusable bags and travel mugs when you are taking advantage of holiday festivities and shopping excursions.         

Reuse

Creative reuse is the name of the game during the holidays. Reusing items and buying used materials can be fun and easy on our pocket. Make SCRAP PDX your first stop for cards, tags, bows, ribbon, gift bags and more.

Collect old maps and the Sunday comics to use as gift wrap. Or use a bandanna or kitchen towel for a no-waste gift.

Return, re-gift, or donate items you know you will not use. It is better to keep them in use with a new owner, rather than cluttering up your space with something you’ll never use. Many people need items during this time of year, so consider donating them instead.    

Find more ideas to create memories in your life in our resourceful #holiday series. 

           

Maybe holiday goodness means something more

Maybe holiday goodness means something more

Everyone has at least one person on their list that’s nearly impossible to choose a gift for. Perhaps you have a teenager who wants everything, but likes nothing. Maybe a busy mom who is always trying to put a homemade meal on the table. Or an uncle who says he has everything he needs, but you want to give him something fun during the holidays.

Fortunately, you can find a special something for everyone on your list and — bonus! — skip the retail lines to save your sanity, too.

Do something together

Wrap up cookie ingredients and include a coupon for a cookie-making playdate at your place. Make it extra special for a friend by taking care of cleanup, too. For adventure seekers, take a trip downtown together and brave the Portland underground tunnels tour.

Make it!

Portland offers many ways to make it yourself. Try a woodworking class at the ReBuilding Center, or make something special at one of the many do-it-yourself workshops around Portland.

Feed their mind

Who doesn’t love to learn something new? Portland offers nearly endless options for classes, tours, lectures, and much more. Is your uncle a cheese lover? Save him a seat in OMSI's Design Lab where he can learn to make his own cheese. Help those busy parents in the kitchen by giving them a cooking class. And for that impossible-to-please teen? Gift a video production class at Portland Community College.

Find more ideas to create memories in your life in our resourceful #holiday series.