Conscious by Chloé

Chloé Lepeltier - Conscious By Chloé

Bonjour & Welcome! Conscious by Chloé is a Sustainable Lifestyle Blog focusing on Zero Waste, Slow Living, and Ethical Fashion.

The 5Rs to a Zero Waste Lifestyle

French Market Bag by Conscious by Chloé

Over the past couple of years, I've had the opportunity to speak about my lifestyle, the reasons why I adopted it and the ways I implemented it in my daily life. Such opportunities arose again recently and forced me to take a step back and look at my life from an outsider's perspective.

As zero-wasters, we tend to talk a little too much about the nitty gritty amongst ourselves and sometimes forget that it is important to look at the bigger picture and remember why we made these choices in the first place.

So over the next couple weeks, I'd like to go back to basics. Who, why, how?

But first, I'd like to tell you about the 5 Rs of the Zero Waste Lifestyle, first coined by Zero Waste Home author Bea Johnson.

This mnemotechnic tool is a great way to make a decision when life throws a (zero waste) challenge your way.

Here are 5 major ways to prevent waste from entering and cluttering your life.

Mason Jar with Ecojarz Drink Top by Conscious by Chloé

1. REFUSE

Waste makes its way into our lives in various ways. Some are obvious, some not so much. Some are voluntary, others not really.

The first step to reduce your waste production is to REFUSE what you do not need.

What can/should be refused?

  • Single use and disposable (paper or plastic) items such as straws, cups, bags, napkins
  • Junk mail
  • Freebies such as pens, stickers, tote bags - We all love free stuff, but the time and physical and mental space they cost us might not
  • Unsustainable practices - Not only do I refuse to use disposable cups at coffee shops, but I've decided altogether to stop shopping and therefore supporting businesses whose values I do not share (think fast-food restaurants that use styrofoam containers and big coffee shops whose disposable cups end up on beaches and in the ocean)

How?

  • Refuse disposables - Order a drink with "no straw", order "for here" in reusable dishware instead of using single use plates and utensils.
  • Prevent junk mail - I wrote a whole article about it
  • Resist the temptation - A free tote bag sounds great right now, but once you get home and realize you already have 10, you might loose interest and resent yourself for that moment of weakness
  • Bring your business elsewhere - Support your small neighborhood coffee shop who resists the appeal of disposables

Tiffin by Conscious by Chloé

2. REDUCE

Society, people, the media want to convince us that we need the latest phone, gadget, dietary supplement.

If we simply avoided these sources of envy, our consumption would naturally decrease, but we can also take a proactive approach and question the reasons why we get influenced.

By taking a look at our purchasing patterns, we can identify areas where we can simply REDUCE our consumption.

What can/should be reduced?

  • Our current wasteful consumption
  • The activities that support or lead to over consumption

How?

  • Evaluate your past consumption, think about purchases you later regretted, take a look at what you own and consume, and ask yourself whether you need or enjoy it
  • Declutter - we spend a lot of time cleaning, washing, sorting, rearranging and taking care of the things we own. Owning less means less time wasted doing those activities. And then sell, donate, recycle, compost or send to the landfill what you no longer need.
  • Decrease your consumption and the activities that lead to consumption - Bike or walk instead of using your car, take shorter showers instead of baths, organize a clothing swap instead of a shopping trip.

Mason Jar with Ecojarz Drink Top by Conscious by Chloé

3. REUSE

What can/should be reduced?

  • Eliminate wasteful consumption (shop with reusables, swap disposables for reusables)
  • Alleviate resource depletion (share, buy used, buy smart)
  • Extend the useful life of necessities (repair, rethink, return)

How?

  • Bring your own reusables - Invest in a zero waste kit or shop your cupboards to make your own - A reusable mug, a stainless steel straw, a stainless steel box and a cloth napkin should cover your basics
  • Get your library card - look for the closest library, tool library, toy library, kitchen library and start participating in the sharing economy
  • Try reusing or repurposing something before throwing it away - Make veggie brith out of food scraps, a body scrub with ground coffee, fire starters with toilet paper tubes and dryer lint
  • Repair something - Bring a pair of shoes to the cobbler, attend a fix-it fair, learn how to darn socks
  • Buy something used instead of something new - Craigslist is a great place to start, or your local second-hand or vintage store.

French Market Bag by Conscious by Chloé

4. RECYCLE

Take a moment and inquire about what's recycled curbside in your area and where recycling depots are (+ their cost & opening hours).

If you live in Portland, you'll find everything you need on the City's website.

Mason Jar with Ecojarz Drink Top by Conscious by Chloé

5. ROT

aka Compost!

If you have the possibility to compost, give it a try! Whether you live in a house or an apartment, alone or with your family or roommates, there are many options out there that might fit yout situation: some cities offer curbside composting, others have a compost bin at the farmers market, you might to try backyard composting a try, or give vermicomposting a try.

Tiffin by Conscious by Chloé

Bea Johnson recommends that you apply the 5Rs only in that specific order. It's a tool that I come back to over and over when I feel the urge to purchase something. I try to think whether I can simply refuse it, if I can borrow it, find it second hand, in a non-plastic version, etc.

Zero waste is a journey, a lifestyle, not a goal. No one will be zero waste ever. But if you're in a position to make a change, I highly encourage it to.. just start, with one thing. Once you'll have your Zero Waste goggles on, things will get easier and remember that you have a whole community of Zero Wasters around you who can support you during this adventure.---

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Worn #8 / You Can't Go Wrong with Neutrals

Neutral Look by Conscious by Chloé
Photo credits: Octave Zangs

Last night was a good hair night, so I bribed Octave with the promise of dinner at our favorite taco joint in exchange for a quick photo session on the way there.

Neutral Look by Conscious by Chloé

I had thrown this outfit together before heading to an event at WM Goods.

Create + Connect is a monthly gathering where a small business owner shares her journey and opens the discussion on a subject of her choice. Last night's host was Stefani Padilla of La Tierra Sagrada (hence the good hair day, I had actually washed and blowdried it as I knew I would feel self conscious if I showed up with messy and dirty hair at an event hosted by a hair stylist).

We talked about self care, the full moon, and crazy people.

Neutral Look by Conscious by Chloé

I'm currently letting my bangs grow. Is this a good or a bad idea?

Neutral Look by Conscious by Chloé


Worn #8 / Trench: Only Child (made in Oakland, CA), Top: second hand, Jeans: old American Apparel (made in Los Angeles, CA), Shoes: Everlane (made in Val D’Arno, Italy).


Neutral Look by Conscious by Chloé

This trench was my paren'ts birthday gift to me. It took me hours to decide between the cotton canvas and the linen version and then to chose a color. Camel and rust were close contenders, but I ended up sticking with a neutral palette and ordered the oatmeal. You can't go wrong with neutrals, right?

The same had happened to me a couple weeks earlier with the shoes. I have not regretted that decision, but did feel a little stupid when Andrea - who's got them in cognac - mentioned that she would never buy light-colored suede shoes in rainy and muddy Portland.

I did inadvertenly pour a drink on these shoes the first night I wore them, so I suppose the universe just wanted me to realize quickly that they'll never stay perfect.

Neutral Look by Conscious by Chloé

This reminds me of something. When you were a younger, did kids at school also step on your brand new shoes to "baptize" them (aka make them dirty) or was this just a ridiculous custom/bullying tradition in my school?

Neutral Look by Conscious by Chloé

You've already seen this top here, those jeans here and this necklace here.

I still have some weight to lose to be back to where I was when I felt great in my skin, but I'm on the right path and already feel comfortable in those high-waisted mom jeans (even while seating! Woop woop!).

I usually wear this top under a jumpsuit since it's a crop top, but can now also pair it with high waisted pants.

I stopped wearing this necklace for a while as I had taken it and worn it almost daily during a month-long trip to Europe last year. Now that I've missed it I'm happy to wear it again.

Neutral Look by Conscious by Chloé


Do you also stop wearing items altogether only to be happy to find them again after a while and enjoy them again?

Day Hiking Essentials

Day Hiking Essentials by Conscious by Chloé

Over the past few weeks, I've had the chance to go on short hikes alone, or with friends. On a couple occasions, people have shared their surprise about the fact that I carry a backpack and a first-aid kit.

It's only natural to me, just like I wouldn't drive without my seatbelt on. But it's not always been the case. It's only after I attended a mountain safety workshop and had a couple misadventures myself that I really started writing my own backpacking checklist.

Now, whether it's only for a short walk in Portland's amazing Forest Park or for a steeper hike in the Columbia gorge, I always make sure I cover the following 10 essential aspects, for my safety, for my comfort and for the environment.

1. Navigation

I have to admit that I am totally guilty of only bringing my phone with me and a screen shot of my route. Don't be like me, and do the right thing! Get a map (and a protective case), a compass, and learn the basics of navigation.

Day Hiking Essentials by Conscious by Chloé

2. Protection

My skin hates the sun, so you'll never see me out without either long sleeves or a thick coat of sunscreen, and a hat on my head.
As for insulation, I usually wear a base layer, a hoodie, a pair of leggings, and a pair of hiking socks, and keep a waterproof jacket and a puffer jacket in my backpack.

4. Light & Sound

No matter how early I leave or how short my hike will be, there's always a headlamp in my bag. I once had to snowshoe in the dark, it won't happen to me ever again! A whistle is also a cheap and efficient way to let people know where you are should you get lost.

Day Hiking Essentials by Conscious by Chloé

5. First-aid supplies

I got my first-aid kit after a preparedness workshop. It proved to be pretty useful very quickly, even if it was just to help a friend who had a stomach ache during a short car ride.

I added an emergency blanket to my kit. They're very lightweight, cheap and efficient, so get a bunch of these and put them everywhere, in your backpack, in your car, in your home!

6. Fire

  • A lighter or matches in a waterproof container

I just learned how to start a fire. We never light fires during our camping trips because we feel it's safer to cook with a gas backpacking stove, but they can save your life in case of an emergency.

7. Tool Kit

I usually have a knife or shears for foraging, but a multi-tool could be pretty useful under unexpected circumstances.

Day Hiking Essentials by Conscious by Chloé
The reusable food wrap pictured above was gifted to me by LilyBee Wrap.

8. Nutrition

I like to pack my supplies in sealed pouches so that they do not spill or attract wildlife but I sometimes just put snacks in a cloth bag and wrap a sandwich in reusable food wrap.

Day Hiking Essentials by Conscious by Chloé

9. Hydration

I usually like bottles with a sport spout. But this one by Tillak (coming soon) is lightweight, insulated and easy to clean.

10. Plogging

  • Trash bag
  • Gloves

Have you ever heard of plogging? It's a Swedish trend which consists in picking up trash as you exercise outdoors.

I have increasingly gotten very mad as I kept seeing trash during my hikes, so I started packing a trash bag and a pair of gloves to pick up litter as I go. It will not save the world, but it will make me happier and make the trail nicer for the next hikers. Also, following the "broken windows theory", I want to imagine that a pristine trail will be less likely to be trashed that one that's already covered in litter.

Day Hiking Essentials by Conscious by Chloé

Most of these items never leave my backpack, which never leaves my car. That way I'm always ready to go on a short hike and I have an emergency kit with me at all times!

Women in the Outdoors

Now talking about women and the outdoors, I wanted to share a couple people and resources that have been inspiring me lately to get more outside:


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Car Camping Checklist by Conscious by Chloé

A Budget-Friendly Ikea Hack Straw Bag DIY

A Budget-Friendly Ikea Hack Straw Bag DIY by Conscious by Chloé

Straw and raffia bags and basket are all the rage this season. I had fantasized about making my own, but it seemed like too much of a learning curve for me. Until one day, inspiration stroke at pretty unexpected place: Ikea.

I cannot remember what I was there for. Probably to feed my #homejungle fever (I still cannot get over the luxuriant monstera I got there). As I walked down the stairs, my eyes were drawn to the place mat selection, and especially the ones made with natural fiber, such as palm leaf and water hyacinth.

I looked at them, selected a couple, and as I was piling them up, I realized I could use them to make something creative and surprising. Giddy with excitement, I got three different models.

To add to my luck, I also found natural ribbon to tie my place mats together. We might all have string and twine at home, but I figured I'd make this a complete Ikea hack!

A Budget-Friendly Ikea Hack Straw Bag DIY by Conscious by Chloé


Straw Bag DIY

Straw and raffia bags and basket are all the rage this season. While vintage ones are rare finds, new models can be pricey. So I came up with this $10 Ikea hack.

Active time: 20 min
Total time: 20 min

A Budget-Friendly Ikea Hack Straw Bag DIY by Conscious by Chloé

Supplies

Tools

  • A pair of scissors

Instructions

A Budget-Friendly Ikea Hack Straw Bag DIY by Conscious by Chloé

A Budget-Friendly Ikea Hack Straw Bag DIY by Conscious by Chloé

  • Cut 80 to 90 inches of ribbon.

A Budget-Friendly Ikea Hack Straw Bag DIY by Conscious by Chloé

  • Align your place mats.

A Budget-Friendly Ikea Hack Straw Bag DIY by Conscious by Chloé

  • Tie them together with a first knot.

Tie the knot at the top right or left corner of your bag. Don't tie it too high or the opening of your bag will be too small for you to be able to put larger items in your bag.

A Budget-Friendly Ikea Hack Straw Bag DIY by Conscious by Chloé

  • Secure the knot by wrapping ribbon a couple times around it and tying another knot.

A Budget-Friendly Ikea Hack Straw Bag DIY by Conscious by Chloé

A Budget-Friendly Ikea Hack Straw Bag DIY by Conscious by Chloé

  • Continue sewing your place mats together until you've reached the opposite corner of your bag.

A Budget-Friendly Ikea Hack Straw Bag DIY by Conscious by Chloé

  • Tighten your work.

You want to make sure that smaller items will not fall off your bag between the 2 place mats.

A Budget-Friendly Ikea Hack Straw Bag DIY by Conscious by Chloé

A Budget-Friendly Ikea Hack Straw Bag DIY by Conscious by Chloé

A Budget-Friendly Ikea Hack Straw Bag DIY by Conscious by Chloé

  • Tie a final knot at the opposite top corner and secure it.

A Budget-Friendly Ikea Hack Straw Bag DIY by Conscious by Chloé

  • Cut six 12 inches long pieces of ribbon.

You will use these to create your bag's handles.

A Budget-Friendly Ikea Hack Straw Bag DIY by Conscious by Chloé

  • Braid 2 handles with three strands each.

A Budget-Friendly Ikea Hack Straw Bag DIY by Conscious by Chloé

A Budget-Friendly Ikea Hack Straw Bag DIY by Conscious by Chloé

A Budget-Friendly Ikea Hack Straw Bag DIY by Conscious by Chloé

  • Tie each handle at the top of each placemat.

Tie one handle per mat. Make sure they align and are the same length.

A Budget-Friendly Ikea Hack Straw Bag DIY by Conscious by Chloé

A Budget-Friendly Ikea Hack Straw Bag DIY by Conscious by Chloé

A Budget-Friendly Ikea Hack Straw Bag DIY by Conscious by Chloé

  • (optional) Tighten the knots with an additional piece of ribbon and trim the ends.

A Budget-Friendly Ikea Hack Straw Bag DIY by Conscious by Chloé

Notes

I like to put little pouches in my bag, to make sure I do not loose little items.

A Budget-Friendly Ikea Hack Straw Bag DIY by Conscious by Chloé


Do you have Ikea hacks to recommend? I'm on a DIY high and would love to try them.


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Podcast - A Conversation with Meghann Percy of Kiss That World

The Kiss That World Podcast Episode with Conscious by Chloé

Being a member of the Ethical Writers & Creatives gang is amongst the best things that have happened to me during my blogging journey. Having a community of like-minded professionals, being able to share our experiences and struggles on an online platform and collaborating on projects is pretty much a dream come true.

I got to do three of these things with fellow member Meghann Percy. She got in touch with me close to a year ago as she was planning a trip to Portland with friends and we met at my neighborhood café on a warm summer morning.

She mentioned that she was about to launch her own podcast and would love to record an interview. We ended up chatting and totally forgetting about the tape that was rolling.

Then life happened, I traveled, she launched the Kiss That World podcast.

Fast forward to a couple weeks ago, and we were chatting again, this time through Skype, for a legit podcast recording session.

Amongst many other topics, we talked about:

  • my journey to zero waste
  • Portland's Master Recycler program
  • the concept of a circular economy
  • dealing with finances with your significant other.

Here is the conversation we recorded a couple weeks ago.

PS: Make sure to listen to it until the very end, I promise it's worth it, Meghann is just so hilarious (you'll understand what I mean).


Don't forget to subscribe to the podcast on Apple Podcasts & co, to leave a comment to support it and to give it 5 stars! Also, I'd love to know what your favorite eco-conscious podcast are? Give me your recommendations in the comments!