July 1 - July 31, 2019

Allie Hobgood

Polymeric Purge Party

"The mission of the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center is to inspire conservation of the marine environment through education, research, and sustainable practices."

Points Total

  • 0 Today
  • 0 This Week
  • 1,582 Total

Participant Impact

  • up to
    1
    community events
    hosted or attended
  • up to
    21
    plastic containers
    not sent to the landfill
  • up to
    49
    conversations
    with people
  • up to
    125
    public officials or leaders
    contacted
  • up to
    240
    pieces of litter
    picked up
  • up to
    2
    documentaries
    watched
  • up to
    46
    zero-waste meals
    consumed
  • up to
    1
    waste audits
    conducted
  • up to
    150
    minutes
    spent learning

Challenges

Community

Write Letters or Emails

I will write 5 letter(s) or email(s) per day to a public official or company to advocate for planet-friendly policies.

COMPLETED 25
DAILY CHALLENGES

Pets

Pet Waste

I will spend 60 minutes learning how to compost pet waste at home or research pet waste composting services available in my area.

Completed
One-Time Challenge

Food

Takeout Pro

I will use my own containers when ordering takeout.

COMPLETED 21
DAILY CHALLENGES

Lifestyle

Complete a Waste Audit

I will conduct a waste audit - including recyclables and compost - to understand how much waste I create and where I can reduce the most.

Completed
One-Time Challenge

Food

Lobby for Reusables

I will lobby my workplace to have reusable dishes and silverware in order to minimize disposables.

Completed
One-Time Challenge

Food

Advocate For More Food Packaging Options

I will advocate for alternatives to single use packaging at local grocery stores, markets, or work.

Completed
One-Time Challenge

Food

Cook a Zero-Plastic Waste Meal

I will prepare 2 meal(s) at home each day without using any items packaged in single-use plastic.

COMPLETED 23
DAILY CHALLENGES

Food

Visit the Butcher

I will purchase meats and cheeses from the deli counter or a butcher shop, and use my own containers to do so.

COMPLETED 18
DAILY CHALLENGES

Lifestyle

Watch a Documentary

I will watch a documentary film about waste with family and friends and talk about what we learned.

Completed
One-Time Challenge

Community

Volunteer in my Community

I will volunteer 5 hour(s) in my community.

Uncompleted
One-Time Challenge

Food

Plant a Garden

I will plant an herb or vegetable garden in my home, workplace, or community garden

Completed
One-Time Challenge

Community

Visit A Waste Management Facility

I will visit a local dump/transfer station, material recovery facility, and/or landfill to learn about the waste stream.

Uncompleted
One-Time Challenge

Community

Host a House Party

I will host a house party with friends and/or colleagues to watch a movie or present a guest speaker on plastics.

Completed
One-Time Challenge

Community

Share My Actions

I will make my environmental actions visible by posting to my social media networks.

Completed
One-Time Challenge

Community

Keep My Community Clean

I will pick up 10 piece(s) of litter each day.

COMPLETED 24
DAILY CHALLENGES

Feed


  • Allie Hobgood 7/31/2019 11:36 AM
    We made it y'all!! 

    I hope everyone learned a lot and had fun. Make sure you come to the staff meeting next week for prizes and updates on the impact we made!! 

    I also hope we all carry our new habits forward with us and come back ready to kick the Zoo's butt next year!

  • Allie Hobgood 7/29/2019 2:57 PM
    Only 3 more days of the Plastic Free July EcoChallenge! I hope that we all learned a lot and picked up some new habits. Today, I wanted to post about some great locations where you can purchase plastic free necessities that you typically can't purchase second hand. Need soap, food, cleaning supplies? Want to keep this plastic free thing going?! (Come onnnnn you know you wanna!) Then check some of these great places out!


    Plastic Free Shopping:

    Local to the Hampton Roads-ish area (if you aren't here, don't despair! Google plastic free or waste free stores in your area or check out Litterless!):
    - Body:
    -- Flutterby Soap Company at the Virginia Beach Farmer's Market
    -- The Aromatherapy Shoppe in Virginia Beach: offers lots of bar soaps, bath bombs, bubble bath, etc. and several of their options are plastic free. If you find yourself really attached to one of the plastic bottled options like lotion, balm, spray, and the like you can bring your bottle back in to be refilled with your product. They even offer you credit for the price of the bottle on your purchase as an incentive for refilling
    -- Lush: there are a couple of caveats here. First, the products aren't made locally but at least you are still supporting your local economy by shopping locally. Second, you do have to be careful because many of their products do come in plastic and they only take the black pots back directly for recycling and unfortunately, the pots are traditionally recycled (i.e. melted, pelletized, and sold) rather than the pots just being DIRECTLY REFILLED WHICH IS JUST SUCH AN EASY DUH NOT DOING IT LEAVES ME CONFUSED

    - Specialty Food Stuffs:
    -- Tea shops like Quintin's Tea Emporium (VA Beach) or Rostov's in Richmond that also sells coffee beans you can bring your own container for
    -- Savor the Olive (Norfolk and Virginia Beach): buy olive oil from them once and refill your clean container over and over again

    - Groceries:
    -- Heritage Natural Market (Virginia Beach)
    -- Earth Fare (Williamsburg)
    -- Whole Foods (Virginia Beach and Newport News)
    -- 7th Street Supply (Richmond): offers bulk dog and cat food!
    -- Ellwood Thompson's (Richmond)
    -- Good Foods Grocery
    -- Your local farmer's market is a good resource for summer shopping. Just be sure to bring lots of bags and containers with you!

    Online:
    - Wild Minimalist: package free, eco-friendly, plastic free products
    - Package Free Shop: sustainable, green, eco-friendly, plastic free products for a zero waste, minimalist, low impact lifestyle
    - Unwrapped Life: empowering you to live an earth friendly, low waste, and plastic free lifestyle with a curated selection of sustainable products for hair, body, and home
    - Life Without Plastic: quality, earth friendly, ethically sourced, non-toxic alternatives to plastic for everyday life
    - Blueland Cleaners: revolutionary paper packaged cleaning tablets for all surfaces, glass and mirror, and bathrooms. Can be used with shatterproof forever bottle or your own 20 oz spray bottle
    - Dropps: completely plastic free dishwasher pods and laundry pods for detergent, stain removal, and fabric conditioning 
    - Who Gives a Crap: 100% recycled or bamboo toilet paper wrapped in paper instead of plastic (why do companies do this?!)
    -Dyper: can't commit to reusable diapers? Check out these bamboo guys. The packaging and diapers are 100% compostable and can be composted in your home compost (if you feel up to it) or sent to a commercial compost facility. If you're interested, there is one in New Kent called N.O.P.E.


    What are your favorite places for plastic free essentials?!

    • Allie Hobgood 7/30/2019 5:17 AM
      Oh that's awesome Amanda! I'll have to check it out. 

    • Dustie Bourgeois 7/30/2019 4:26 AM
      Allie-  Thanks for posting.  it's great to see that we do have local markets for sustainable choices.

    • Amanda DeVleeschower 7/30/2019 4:22 AM
      For groceries, I also recommend Organic Food Depot. They sell nuts, legumes, etc. in bulk and give you a discount for every reusable bag you bring!

  • Allie Hobgood 7/25/2019 8:47 AM
    Anyone seen this?! Not sure how many markers education may go through, but might be worth sticking a box in a corner somewhere even to keep just a few markers out of the landfill! 

  • Allie Hobgood 7/25/2019 6:13 AM

    • Allie Hobgood 7/29/2019 2:57 PM
      Yep! Such a smart idea. 

    • Lore Rosenthal 7/29/2019 11:34 AM
      And buy used.   I have a used laptop, that I love.  Some people do not understand, cuz a new one wouldn't cost much more.

  • Allie Hobgood 7/24/2019 11:15 AM
    Are you a four-eyed geek? So are around 50% of the other adults living on this planet. And me too! It's the only way to be IMO. Ever wondered how to be more responsible when getting a new pair of specs? Or what to do with your old ones? Most glasses and lenses these days are made of plastic, after all.


    Here are some great tips for what to do with your old frames:


    1. First and foremost, you should always make efforts to reduce your waste. Are your old frames still in good shape? If they are, but your lenses have seen better days, or your prescription has changed, you can always get your optometrist to put new lenses in your frames for you. Most will even make repairs like tightening and straightening loose side arms

    2. Donate them to the Lions Club through their Lions Recycle for Sight program

    3. Donate to New Eyes for the Needy

    4. Take them to a local thrift store

    5. Have them converted into sunglasses for yourself or a family member with new lenses.

    A quick google search  will generally turn up tons of other local and nationwide donation and recycling programs


    Here are some great tips for more sustainable glasses choices in your future:


    1. Choose a high quality frame that is timeless, not trendy. That way you can wear them for years and years to come and only get new lenses

    2. Choose glasses made of natural materials that will biodegrade at the end of their usable life cycle instead of turning into microplastics. Look for bamboo frames, wooden frames, or high quality acetate frames. This company makes sunglasses out of other things too, including shells, pinecones, and walnuts! Pela, metioned in an earlier post, makes frames from acetate and flax shives. There are loads of other companies that use acetate and other biodegradable materials in their frames, including one called Pala, like that's not confusing. It is important to note (nothing is everrr simple and straightforward) that you probably want to be really careful when sourcing natural acetate glasses frames. This article does a very good job of explaining why that is if you're curious.

    3. Look for frames made from recycled materials. There are good options for recycled plastic frames, recycled bamboo and wood frames, recycled metal frames, frames using waste acetate that is crude oil free, and even frames made from old vinyls!

    4. Look for new old stock glasses. Allyn Scura has the COOLEST vintage glasses from the 1800s to the 1980s (see picture above for some really neat examples!) and almost all of the glasses on their website are vintage. Remember, you can have your prescription lenses cut to fit any frames you find you find that you love. Wooden, made in the 1800s, sunglasses, bamboo - no problem

  • Allie Hobgood 7/23/2019 9:24 AM
    So are you thinking you want to make better choices with your future clothes and stop buying plastic to wrap your body in?! Here are some tips:


    1. Invest in timeless, quality pieces that last. Like your friends, clothes should always be quality over quantity
    2. Buy used high quality items whenever you possibly can instead of buying new. Check out high end consignment shops, thrift stores, Clothes Mentor, Plato's Closet, online second hand markets such as Poshmark, eBay, thredUP, Etsy, etc. There are tons of options! (Did you know that in addition to the microfiber issue with clothes, textile dying is the second largest polluter of clean water worldwide, after agriculture. That is why it's so important to limit purchases to only absolute necessities, always shop secondhand, and source clothing from responsible companies if you must purchase new)
    3. Do your research before purchasing a newly manufactured item if you can't avoid it. There are good Certified B Corporations out there working to make an impactful difference and there are lots of other companies that haven't achieved that distinction but employ many sustainable, conscientious practices.


    Interested? Check out some of these cool blogs and companies that can help you get started on (or continue in) your sustainable clothing journey:

    1. The Chic Diary - offers tips and tricks, reviews, and lists of eco-friendly clothing alternatives

    2. All Birds Shoes - made from wool, eucalyptus, sugar cane, castor bean oil, etc. this company has really gone the extra mile to be as sustainable as they can be and they are constantly improving

    3. Vivo Barefoot - need an active-wear shoe that doesn't leave you feeling blue? Check these cool shoes out. They source responsibly and most of their shoes are made with recycled water bottles (remember not to wash them unless you get a GUPPYFRIEND or an after wash filter ;)). They also recently released their most environmentally sound shoe yet - the Primus Lite II BIO

    4. Amour Vert - committed to making sustainable, versatile, and thoughtfully designed clothing that is good for the planet. They use 6 different fabrics and blends to make all of their clothing. All of these fabrics and blends are natural/organic/responsibly made/recycled.

    5. Patagonia - this company encourages their customer's to only buy what they need. They also repair all normal wear and tear to their products at a fair price and accept items that are beyond repair for recycling.

    6. Good Krama - they use leftover Cambodian krama (material used to make scarves) for all of their clothes. They source deadstock fabrics and offcuts that would have otherwise ended up in a landfill to make slow fashion staples - buy once, wear forever (even from season to season). Check out their about us page, it has some great information about the negative impacts of the current fashion industry.

    7. RubyMoon - swim and active-wear made from ghost fishing equipment pulled from the ocean by NGO Healthy Seas. They also believe in a circular economy so they will take any stretchy active wear clothing that you would like to discard to make new products and give you a 5% discount for your efforts. While obviously not ideal since the material is plastic, as long as all swim and active wear is made from plastic fibers, you might as well choose a company who is doing their best to make the world a better place. And keep working that keyboard pushing for even better alternatives!

  • Allie Hobgood 7/22/2019 11:54 AM
    We hear a lot about our large plastic waste reaching waterways, and breaking down into microplastics, and how they're degrading water quality of natural waters around the globe. A few years ago, we heard a lot about plastic microbeads in soaps and other cosmetic products destroying water quality and they were banned from being put in any products in 2017 (thank goodness!). But did you know there is another huge microplastic problem for our beautiful planet that we don’t hear much about? Laundry. That’s right, laundry.

    Much of our clothing (and other textiles like sheets - ultra-soft-microfiber-hotel-quality sheets, anyone?) these days is made from plastic fibers such as polyester, nylon, and acrylic. In fact, over 60% of the clothing in the world is made from these materials now. Just like natural fibers such as cotton, linen, wool, and silk, plastic fabrics shed when washed and dried. These small plastic fibers cannot be removed during waste water treatment so they enter receiving bodies of water - just like microbeads and medications. The average family produces enough of these fibers during their regular, yearly laundry to produce 100 water bottles. If every household in Virginia Beach alone does an average amount of wash each year, this means that over 17 million water bottles could be made from the plastic fibers rushing down their collective drains.

    The problem with plastic is complicated. Think it’s a fantastic idea to make clothes out of recycled water bottles or bottles retrieved from our beautiful oceans? What about now that you know just a fraction of the information that is out there on plastic microfibers? So now what? What do you wear? What do you do with your socks, your favorite fleece blanket, that cute sun dress you bought last week? Should you just throw everything away and start over?!?!

    You definitely shouldn’t just trash all of your clothes that aren’t made out of natural fibers - clothes are incredibly energy intensive to produce.  But there are things you can do to help lessen the amount of plastic microfibers that are released from your clothing and to catch the ones that are released. To catch all those pesky fibers, you can try washing all of your plastic fiber clothes in a washing bag or adding a post-wash filter to your washing machine. The good news is, while they aren't a perfect solution, these simple devices have been shown to capture 99% of plastic fibers released during washing. If you're not sure about either of those options, you can also follow the tips below:

    1. Vote with your dollar! Only buy clothes made with natural fibers whenever possible.

    2. Avoid cheap, fast fashion

    3. Educate family and friends. And coworkers, strangers, the cashier at the grocery store, your kid's teacher…

    4. Speak up and tell designers you want clothes made from natural fibers. Tell your employer you want uniforms made of natural fibers if you wear a uniform.

    5. Wash your synthetic clothes less frequently for shorter wash cycles so the fibers sustain less damage

    6. Wash using the cold wash setting. This is also less damaging to your clothes and releases fewer fibers.

    7. Fill your washing machine to the max. Full loads result in less friction which means fewer fibers will be pulled from your clothes

    8. Use liquid detergent (Dropps are liquid and plastic free!). This also creates less friction to help release fewer fibers

    9. Dry your clothes on a delicate setting which will help reduce damage and help your clothes retain more of their fibers

    10. Watch this short video to learn more about this huge problem


  • Allie Hobgood 7/19/2019 6:30 AM
    Did you know Americans drink over 18 million gallons of milk each day? That is a LOT of plastic containers. And even if you purchase milk in cardboard cartons, there is still some plastic associated with your purchase (those cartons are lined with plastic and aluminum which can make recycling complicated). Milk is also incredibly resource intensive and a big part of that is the incredibly long distances your milk must travel to reach your grocery store (California and Wisconsin produce 1/3 of the milk consumed in this country).


    But milk is a staple of American life. Are there better solutions for getting our favorite beverage - well, 4th favorite after soda, bottled water (turrrrible!), and beer - ? Yes! Check out some of my favorite solutions!


    - Homestead Creamery - their products are made right here in Virginia! And their milk (which you can purchase at Kroger or even get delivered to your house using the Neighborhood Harvest) comes in glass bottles that you return for reuse over and over and over again!

    - Oberweis Dairy - their milk is produced by 11 small family farms in Wisconsin and shipped around the country. They deliver their milk straight to your door in glass bottles like the milk man of yesteryear. Simply put your bottles out when your next milk delivery is scheduled and they will pick them up to be cleaned and refilled. Easy peasy!

    - Nut milks - not a dairy milk fan? You can make your own nut milks using nuts from that ever handy bulk section of your grocery store! You can even make peanut milk to keep it nice and local!

    - Hemp milk - this is SUPER EASY. Blend 1/4 cup raw shelled hemp seeds, 4 cups of water, 1/4 tsp of sea salt, and 1 -2 tsp of agave nectar (optional) in a blender for 1 - 2 minutes. Keeps in the fridge for 4 - 5 days.

    -Oat milk - also super easy and superrrr creamy


    Maybe you could challenge yourself to try one of these options for the rest of Plastic Free July (and beyond!)?

  • Allie Hobgood 7/18/2019 2:13 PM
    Hum dum de dum, hum dum de dum
    I'm so rumbly in my tumbly
    Time to munch an early luncheon
    Time for something sweet


    Back on sweets today! Here are some of my favorite tips for plastic free sweet snacks:


    - Bakeries - check out your local bakeries (even the ones at some grocery store chains). Many of them will allow you to fill your own containers with their tasty baked goods or may have paper or cardboard packaging options. This is a much better alternative than your favorite plastic laden Oreos or Chips Ahoy!

    - Grocery bulk sections - I'm pretty sure by now anyone who has glanced at my posts can tell I'm obsessed with the bulk section. You can get dried fruit, prepared granola and trail mix, candied nuts, and chocolate chips at most of them. Yum!

    - Granola bars - speaking of that bulk section, why not grab some fruits, nuts, chips, and granola and make your own granola bars? Who needs granola bars wrapped in plastic?!

    - Cookies (etc :)) - still speaking of the bulk section; did you know you can get sugar and flour there too? Get yourself some local eggs in cardboard (or no package at all!), paper wrapped butter, and tasty mix-ins and you can have plastic free cookies, pancakes, cakes, muffins...the limit does not exist!

    - Yogurt - make your own with no special equipment needed! You will need to buy oneeee lasstttt throw away yogurt container to start your home made yogurt, but then you'll be set for life. Plop it a bowl and top it with tastyness. 


    Got any great ideas to share?

  • Allie Hobgood 7/17/2019 8:13 AM
    Candy is great and all, but I'm more of a savory snack person myself. Here are some of my favorites if you're looking to fill that void left by your favorite plastic bagged snack:


    - Popcorn: buy organic popcorn kernels in the bulk section of your favorite grocery store and pop in a pot on the stove or in the microwave at home. You can use brown paper bags to pop your microwave popcorn or try one of these fun poppers.

    - Parmesan crisps: Miss the crunch of chips? Buy a block of parmesan at a local cheese shop or grocery store with a fancy cheese counter and bring your own container from home to transport the cheese. When you're ready to snack: shred, sprinkle in circles onto a parchment lined baking sheet, and bake at 400 degrees for 6 to 8 minutes.

    - Nuts: grab your reusable bag and head to the bulk section of your store to stock up on almonds, peanuts, walnuts, pistachios, whatever your heart desires! Some stores even stock different trail mixes.

    - Homemade hummus: skip the tahini (or make your own if you can find sesame seeds in the bulk section), use BPA free canned beans (most organic canned options are in BPA free cans) or buy dry beans in the bulk section and cook them at home, fresh garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil. Pro tip: you can purchase olive oil at Savor the Olive (locations in Virginia Beach and Norfolk) and they will allow you to wash your bottle and bring it back to be refilled. You even get a discount!

    - Kale chips: can also be made with chard, collards, and probably any other sturdy green

    - Roasted chickpeas:
    I've found to get the crunch I'm craving I have to leave them in the oven wayyyy longer than most recipes I've found recommend. So don't give up if you've tried and they fell flat.

    -
    Potato chips: they are more work than the other options on this list but so worth it.


    What are some of your favorite plastic free salty snacks?