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.

A Zero Waste Drink Order

5 Steps to a Zero Waste Drink Order by Conscious by Chloé

After trying to reduce the amount of waste I produced at home (by shopping in bulk, refusing junk mail, etc.), I figured it was time to tackle the subject of the trash I create when I'm on the go.

And my first source of waste when outside of home was: drinks!

Whether it's a spicy chai, a green juice or a delicous bubble tea, the amount of plastic wasted in a matter of minutes on a daily basis is appalling.

Besides the fact that the idea of having a hot drink poured into a plastic lined paper cup makes me cringe (I always feel bad when I see a kid drinking their hot chocolate with a straw from a plastic-lid covered paper cup, but know better than to say anything), it's important to know that single-use plastic cups are usually not recyclable curbside and that paper cups are neither recyclable nor compostable because of their plastic lining (though you can recycle their cardboard sleeve).

As for "bioplastics", "biodegradable" or "compostable" plastics that certain (hopefully) well-meaning businesses have started using, they just cannot biodegrade or be composted in backyard compost piles or most municipal and commercial facilities. Only a handful have the technologies required to successfully compost resins intended for industrial facilities. So these materials simple end up contaminating compost bins (if wrongfully thrown in them) or in the trash (where they should be, for lack of adapted composting facilities).

So to me, the best solution for now is simply to have your drink served in a real cup and drink it in, or have it poured into your own container to take with you.

5 Steps to a Zero Waste Drink Order by Conscious by Chloé

So here is are my 5 Steps to a Zero Waste Drink Order.

1. Choose the right place

I like to know where I shop, whom I shop from, so I do some research and go the places that inspire me the most or that have been recommended to me (think local coffee shop rather than Starbucks).

If you're in Portland, check out my Zero Waste City Guide, Recycling Advocates' BYOC Coffee Shop Campaign supporters Map and the Surfrider Foundation's Ditch the Straw PDX Map

2. BYOC - Bring your own container (and straw!)

As you know, I have a pretty thorough collection of mason jars, my favorites being the wide-mouth ones. Plus side, their capacity is written on them, it makes ordering a 12oz latte so easy!

I recently purchased a stainless steel drink top and am very satisfied with it.

Of course, you can always bring your own insulated mug to keep your drink warm longer.

As for straws, simply refuse them or bring your own. I always have a set of two on hand: regular straws (straight or bent) and fat straws (for bubble tea).

If you want to go one step further towards the elimination of plastic straws, take the Last Plastic Straw Pledge. I'm also a fan of #StopSucking.

5 Steps to a Zero Waste Drink Order by Conscious by Chloé

3. Have courage

Bringing your own container the first time can be weird or scary. I once read that to obtain what you want, you should act and not ask (not applicable to all domains!), meaning, give your container to the barista as if you did this all the time. Don't ask permission, people will more easily say no.

You know the old line "Do as I say, not as I do". The truth is... I always ask for permission! And, for now, nobody ever said no. Should that happen, I'd have to stay calm and explain the reasons for my asking, but that's a whole other story. I'm French, so for me, everything has to be a fight or even a revolution!

4. Say thank you

Always. People need to know that you noticed their effort to accomodate your needs and that you don't take everything for granted.

5 Steps to a Zero Waste Drink Order by Conscious by Chloé

5. Go the extra mile

Bringing your own containers is great! But spreading awareness by suggesting changes is even better. Should you notice that something could be improved, don't hesitate to mention it. For example, I'm trying to convince all the bubble tea places in Portland to get reusable straws! If the protection of the environment is not a strong enough argument, use the money-saving one, it usually works.

Here in Portland, Recycling Advocates are doing a great job with their BYOC campaign. You can also support them through Amazon Smile (Amazon donates .5% of the price of your eligible purchases to RA whenever you shop at smile.amazon.com)

Surfrider Foundation also launched their Ditch the Straw campaign and have successfullly convinced several businesses to only put a straw on request and look for sustainable alternatives.

5 Steps to a Zero Waste Drink Order by Conscious by Chloé

Now go home, or go for a walk, or go meet your friends, and enjoy your drink! You deserve it!


Photographs by Octave Zangs for Conscious by Chloé, except for top and bottom one by Candace Molatore.

If you're a shop owner and you want your business to be more conscious, don't hesitate to contact me for consultancy.

Have a Blissful Weekend #22

Anne Parmeter Preparedness Chart for Conscious by Chloé

Every Friday, I feature an original chart by Anne Parmeter, an amazing artist & fellow Portlander whom I connected with on Instagram. Here’s today’s.

What are you up to this weekend?

I've finished my contract in Geneva and am headed to the mountains with my mom and dad. I'm beyond excited!

I hope you'll have a great one and in the meantime, here are a few links from around the web:


This post is not sponsored but when you shop via some of the links above I may make a small commission from a sale. Thanks for supporting the brands that support Conscious by Chloé!

Zero Waste City Guide - Geneva, Switzerland

The Zero Waste City Guide to Geneva, Switzerland - Guide Zéro Déchet de Genève by Conscious by Chloé
Image credit: Samuel Zeller

Although Switzerland is the fourth waste producer (the USA are 5th) in the developed world with 2.61kg per capita per day, it seems like many recycling and waste reduction solutions are widely available in the country.

I've lived in Geneva for more than 10 years before moving to the the States and now have the priviledge to spend a month there every year for work.

Its first bulk shop opened about a year after I launched my blog so I've been lucky enough to be able to follow the city's growing zero waste community with great interest and witness the apparition of more eco shops and green initiatives during each one of my visits.

I've seen the city change quite a bit in the past couple years, especially on the sustainability front. This year, I've been happy to notice that my 2 "usual" shops, the very popular "Coop" and "Migros" started expanding their own dried goods in bulk selection and to discover a whole new list of vegan-friendly restaurants.

In this Zero Waste Guide to Geneva, you'll find a variety of bulk stores, vegan restaurants, organic beauty salons, biodynamic wine bars, second-hand shops and so much more.

I hope you'll find it useful. Don't hesitate to send me your comments and questions or to share more suggestions in the comments.

Click on the top left icon on the map to show the various categories or open it in full screen.

General Information

Transportation

Geneva is a very walkable city, especially in the summer. But if you're not a fan of walking or lack the time to do so, you have 2 options:

  • Public transportation, aka TPG - If you fly to Geneva, you'll find a ticket machine by the luggage pick-up belts. It prints FREE 80 minute public transportation tickets. That's a great way to get to the city center by bus or by train for free! For the rest of your stay, you can either get your tickets through the TPG app, buy a prepaid card at the train station's TPG shop or just do it the old way and buy tickets at the bus stop machines. The TPG tickets allow you to travel by train (from the airport to the train station), by bus, by tramway and even by boat (the cute little yellow and red ones).

  • Bike - You can rent a bike at Genève roule, right behind the train station. I think they also give you a map to figure out the prettiest and safest routes.

Recycling, Composting

  • There are recycling bins all over town, at the airport, at the train station and many other hubs. If you're looking into recyling more specific items like glass, PET, batteries, textiles, paper, aluminium and tin, compost, look at this Ecopoints map.

Water Quality

Tap water is drinkable in Geneva, including the water from the water fountains (unless posted otherwise).
85% of people in the city drink tap water. It's up to 1000 times more eco-friendly to drink it, it's 100 to 500 times less expensive than bottled water (or actually free if you get it at public water fountains or you hotel), 90% of it comes from the lake and 10% comes from phreatic zones. So don't forget to bring your own bottle.

Sustainable Initiatives

Geneva has got a buoyant creative community which I've been lucky to be a part of for many happy years.

  • Boîte d'échange entre voisins - Neighbors put in their local « Neighbourhood Exchange Box » items they no longer need so someone who might need them can take them. I actually highly recommend you watch the TEDx conference by the brain behind this project, Dan Acher. It's so heartwarming!

  • Ge-Repare.ch - A directory of all the places where you can repair your stuff instead of having to just throw it away!

  • Element21 - Tips and projects to make the city more sustainable, from banning plastic bags to saving water at home.

  • Keep in use - A platform where you can publish an ad to give things you no longer have a need for.

  • Ecoccinelles - Family focused DIY to protect kids from harmful susbtances (in the air, in cosmetics, in food).

  • popnfix - It's the equivalent of Taskrabbit. You can hire a handyperson, sell, give or rent items you no longer need.

  • pumpipumpe - On this website, you can order stickers and stick them onto your mailbox in order to show your neighbours which things they can borrow from you (sewing machine, tools, cooking utensils, camping gear).

  • Green mop - This sustainability-focused platform publishes recipes, teaches classes, gives talks and even has an online shop.

  • DIY Geneva - DIY Geneva is a great online and in person resource for people who want to make their own cleaners, decorate their homes or repairing their own bike.

  • Esprit Nutri - Raw cooking, natural cleaning products & cosmetics and zero waste workshops.

  • Formule Nature - Make your own cosmetics.

  • Bees4you - Adopt a beehive.

Green Events

Zero Waste Community

More resources

Annik Wetter, MAMCO - The Zero Waste City Guide to Geneva, Switzerland - Guide Zéro Déchet de Genève by Conscious by Chloé by Chloé
Image credit: MAMCO

Activities

Know What's Up

Outside

Inside

Birdie Coffee Shop - The Zero Waste City Guide to Geneva, Switzerland - Guide Zéro Déchet de Genève by Conscious by Chloé by Conscious by Chloé
Image credit: Birdie

Useful expressions

No straw please
Pas de paille s'il vous plaît

Could you put it in my bag/cup?
Pourriez-vous le mettre dans mon sac/ma tasse?

I've brought my own bag.
J'ai mon propre sac.

No receipt please.
Pas de ticket s'il vous plaît.

The Zero Waste City Guide to Geneva, Switzerland - Guide Zéro Déchet de Genève by Conscious by Chloé
Image credit: Samuel Zeller


Do you live in Geneva? Are you planning a trip to Switzerland this year?

Bookmark this article, share it with a friend, pin it on your Pinterest Travel Inspirations board.

Feel free to send me your questions and comments, or to tell me about an awesome spot I've missed!

Get in touch here in the comments section, on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.

Also, who else gains 3 pounds whenever they travel to Europe (#chocolate #croissants #chocolatecroissants) ?

Have a Blissful Weekend #21

Anne Parmeter Plane Seats Chart for Conscious by Chloé

Every Friday, I feature an original chart by Anne Parmeter, an amazing artist & fellow Portlander whom I connected with on Instagram. Here’s today’s.

What are you up to this weekend?

I'm still in Geneva and literally have no plans for the weekend. It's so cold and windy I just want to stay in my cozy sublet and only go out for brunch or coffee. I might stay around here and work some more on my city guide (coming up on Tuesday) or might hop on a train and visit some friends, or an unknown city.

I hope you'll have a great one and in the meantime, here are a few links from around the web:

  • Some amazing stories told in words and images by my friend Alba.

  • I've finally watched the A Plastic Ocean documentary and highly recommend it.

  • I think I chose the right bank for my business.

  • I could use this oil on my face right now. I didn't bring a face oil or a cream on this trip and regret it sorely (the weather is extra cold and windy over here).

  • I was at my friend's house and started reading this book. I can't believe I've never ever read a piece of Sagan's important work.

  • When literature meets nature, The Relunctant Enthusiasts.

  • Self care is so important, I want to make again one of these ritual kits and give it to someone whom I know needs it.

  • Did you know I repost awesome local events and news on run the Zero Waste PDX FB page? Like the page and never miss an opportunity to learn a new skill and meet like-minded people!

  • This song on repeat.

  • The bag in this article is gonna be a DIY on the blog in the coming weeks. Yay!


This post is not sponsored but when you shop via some of the links above I may make a small commission from a sale. Thanks for supporting the brands that support Conscious by Chloé!

Darning Socks with The Far Woods

consciousbychloe-zero-waste-repair-sock-darning-the-far-woods-1

Last summer, a friend of mine mentioned a show she had attended the previous night and snippets of which I had seen on Insta Stories. I inquired about the artists, quickly started following them on social media and fell in love with their work and philosophy.

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Living on a small organic farm outside of Portland, sisters Nina and Sonya Montenegro aka The Far Woods are talented designers and slow-living advocates. Because of their beautiful prints and their couple-year-long clothes-shopping-ban, we were bound to meet sooner rather than later.

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Fast forward a couple months, and I finally got the chance to meet Nina, one half of the power-sister duo. Indeed, she had come to attend my first (and only to date) Zero Waste PDX event. And you will never guess what she showed me… One of the envelopes I had donated at Scrap, our local second hand art supply store, and which she had recently purchased (note to self: remove personal data from donated items).

We’ve kept in touch ever since, and I’ve been loving discovering how much we have in common through their daily posts on Instagram. I was already a fan of their art (I got Octave their Oregon Rivers poster and got myself their lunar calendar), but really fell for how they incorporate magic into daily tasks, and eventually got their Mender's Companion.

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Nina & Sonya took the mundane act of mending socks to a playful and artistic level. So one Saturday, after a disturbing week, I dug through Octave’s drawers and gathered all the socks that needed a little TLC.

To be totally honest, I had previously put them in a bag to donate them, then thought that I should not be the one to take care of this and put them back in their drawer. Until I finally decided that darning them would be a fun experiment and that acts of service might be Octave and my love language (I still have to read this book) since we do help each other out a lot in many aspects of our personal and professional lives.

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The experiment was as meditative as it was time-consuming. I literally spent a whole afternoon just darning socks.

I'm not really patient, but I'm also very stubborn. I knew that if I did not do this task until the last sock, I would never finish it. I also figured that I would only have to do this once since I'm planning on not waiting until 10 pairs of socks have holes in them to start taking action.

My first socks wasn't a work of art, but after a couple trials I really started having fun, especially since I had chosen some multicolor sashiko thread. I also did regret investing in a couple embroidery needles that saved me from poking my fingers with sharp regular ones.

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Do you darn your socks? Have you ever tried the sashiko embroidery technique?

TRY THIS AT HOME and let me know how it worked for you! Look for an old pair of socks and try to give them a new life by darning them.

Also, what’s your love language?

Pictures by Octave Zangs for Conscious by Chloé.