Vintage Green Review and Green Living
Hello and welcome to VGR!
Did you know that only about 30% of what we put in our recycling bins in the U.S. is actually recycled? Some estimates even place that number as low as 8%.
Due to changes in plastic exports to China, and growing contamination in recycling bins, recycling is not as effective as we want to believe.
We feel good filling up the recycling bin instead of the trash can, but the dirty truth is that the majority of our recyclables are still ending up in the landfill anyway.
VGR was created in response to the growing plastic crisis–to combat this problem through changing our daily habits.
As the founder of VGR, I’m a writer, green living enthusiast, and vegan pastry lover seeking creative ways to first reduce and reuse, THEN recycle things in my home. Especially plastic.
I research ways to make smarter decisions about what I buy and minimize my impact on the environment. My goal is to inspire you to do the same, with fun eco-friendly, green-living suggestions for everyone.
I don’t want to just create a blog that lists “better” stuff to buy. I want to create a community that is fun, kind, hopeful, and above all, effective.
VGR is my attempt at starting (or continuing) a dialogue that reflects on what it means to be a modern human in relation to this earth, and how we can support one another in healing it.
This means looking around at the resources we have available today as well as how humans addressed these issues in the past:
VGR will discuss how we survived and thrived in our ‘pre-Plasticene’ era (before humans came to rely on so much plastic) and what tips we can take from history, as well as the best new options science has to offer for green living today.
I created this website because I ask myself one question every day: If people KNOW better, why don’t we consistently DO better when it comes to the environment?
We all have ideas about what’s good for the planet and what’s not.
Yet people often act in ways that are out of alignment with what we know is healthy, safe, and good– to varying degrees.
Plastic bottles still make their way to lakes and rivers even though we know there is a plastic mass the size of Texas floating in the Pacific Ocean.
People still eat meat when we know that most animals are treated in horrible ways through factory farming practices that massively contribute to global warming.
If people KNOW better, why don’t we consistently DO better?
The answer to this question is obviously subjective, but in talking to lots of people over the years I’ve concluded there are Three Core Issues:
Issue 1: We assume most people know more about current environmental issues than they actually do. Ourselves included.
What I know about environmentally friendly habits comes from taking environmental studies classes in college. Or reading articles on my own.
I researched and wrote about these topics when I was a journalist because I’ve always had a passion for saving animals. Through that job I got to interview a ton of experts in a wide variety of fields.
Now that I’ve been living those habits for 10+ years, it’s easy to forget most people don’t have access to the same information.
Or that the info I learned five years ago may quickly be outdated.
As a result, my goal is to research new and FUN suggestions for more eco-friendly alternatives to the everyday products (usually plastic) we’ve come to rely on.
Issue 2: People have Eco-Fatigue. On the whole, we’ve gotten pretty depressed and discouraged.
Most people probably WANT to help but might have barrier fears that lead them to believe green choices aren’t easy, fast, or affordable … or at the end of the day they’re just plain tired.
They want to ignore it all, assume what they do doesn’t matter, and hope the problem goes away. Or, like me, they’re overwhelmed and paralyzed by too much information.
This worry and despair is called Eco-Fatigue.
It refers to a growing sense of doom about the planet that actually creates more feelings of hopelessness.
It’s counterproductive to encouraging people to take action in positive ways.
As a result, more scientists are embracing the idea that “if we tell stories about positive outcomes and share details of how they are achieved, the likelihood that they will be replicated will increase.“(Check out this 2012 article from NewScientist).
So, being positive produces more positive results.
And while we all know that staying positive hasn’t been easy in the last few years, ahem, suffice to say… everyone can start somewhere.
Anyone can try to be positive and dispel myths like ‘green products are too expensive’ or ‘being green is too hard with kids.’
Let’s engage our curiosities, SPARK JOY, and feel fulfilled by new, intentional daily habits. Because:
- We DO have a choice in the matter.
- And what we do and how we spend our money does matter.
Which brings me to my last point…
Issue 3: Maybe some people are only motivated by money and don’t care about the environment after all.
Well, in that case, this website is not for them.
Nevertheless, I want to believe that deep down most people have a green conscience.
With the right tools everyone can find ways to do better. Together, we can create a message of fun, hope, and success in reducing our impact on the planet.
This may be a daunting call to action in the face of the American capitalist machine, with all its corporations trying to persuade people that buying MORE is BETTER.
But I believe that as an individual, one of the most important votes you have is your dollar.
Think about it.
What is Coca-Cola without people buying their soda? Where we spend our money as consumers can have a dramatic impact.
If you worry about plastic in the ocean, don’t give these companies your money to make plastic that ends up in the ocean.
- Inspire others to do the same by showing that you live a happy, fulfilled life without all the excess stuff.
- Make smarter decisions about what you buy and how you reduce, reuse, and recycle in your own home.
We can’t dismantle the consumerism glut overnight.
But we can direct our votes and our consumer voice to make change from the inside.
Channel that almighty American dollar toward companies that provide environmentally responsible alternatives.
To that end, when I suggest products, ideas, or habits here, I will only suggest those things that I use, or would use, and believe have a more eco-friendly impact than common practices.
My goal is to reduce our impact on the planet with suggestions aligned to that mission. Whenever possible I search for products with minimal or recyclable/ compostable packaging.
I hope you enjoy reading what I discover, and I look forward to building this community together!
**Disclosure: I do earn a commission on sales from links to products from Etsy, Amazon, or other merchants. I’ll only suggest products I use, or would use, and believe have a more eco-friendly impact than common practices.
Sales support my ability to do this work in encouraging readers to reduce, reuse, and become part of the zero-waste movement.