Friday, February 24, 2017

drinking straws

Straws are everywhere!  When you go out to eat, order a drink at a bar or coffee shop everyone has a straw in their drink. It's almost like second nature to stick one of those pesky things in your glass! 
In the USA, 500 MILLION straws are used each DAY. After their single use, they are discarded. Most end up in the landfill but unfortunately a large amount end up in our waterways due to litter.  Did you know straws are among the TOP 10 marine debris items? Straws, like plastic bags, endanger our wildlife too. They break down into smaller pieces which can be ingested by fish, birds and turtles. 

I stumbled upon these eye opening facts a year ago and immediately stopped using plastic straws. Now I carry reusable stainless steel straws when I'm on the go and use glass straws at home. When I dine out I request "No straw please" or dine at establishments who only serve straws upon request. I prefer straws upon request because I don't have to worry about receiving an unnecessary straw. 

Reusable straws are available online, at local markets and some cafes. 
I purchased my first glass straw at the Hyde Park Sunday Fresh Market from a vendor who sells Strawesome glass straws. Strawesome is a family owned company from Michigan. I've encountered great customer service with them and they offer a lifetime guarantee on their straws. These straws are also packaged without plastic even when shipped. 

I've purchased individual, unpackaged stainless steel straws with a cleaning brush at Squeeze Juice Works on S. Blvd in Tampa. They are conveniently located at the check out counter. 

If you aren't local, check out this Etsy shop : MasonJarLifestyle. This shop offers a wide variety of straws and will ship without plastic upon request. Also, great customer service.

Need something to hold your straw in to keep it clean while you are out and about? 
I use StrawSleeves (another Etsy shop). These handmade sleeves are made from reclaimed denim, cotton and hemp. Easy to clean and stylish!

Just say NO - to the straw!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

reusable shopping bags

Over 10 years ago I made my first Zero Waste swap without even realizing it. I started using reusable shopping bags at the store instead of the plastic or paper bags provided. Many stores sell their own reusable bag with their logo on it but you can also find some unique ones at thrift stores! Better yet, check around your house - you may already have a canvas bag or tote that you can repurpose into a shopping bag. Ask friends or family, they may have extras to share!

Did you know that by using one reusable bag a year, you can save over 300 bags from entering our environment? A lot of people have had discussions with me about plastic bags. Their argument is that the bags aren't bad because they can be recycled. To be honest, whenever I hear this, I cringe. Yes, you can take them to your local store and put them in a receptacle to be sent somewhere for recycling (really, downcycled) but it's completely unnecessary. Many times on the way to the facility the bags fly out of the truck and end up on the side of the road, in our waterways and stuck in trees. These bags slowly release toxins that seep into the soil. Animals mistake these bags for food and can die from choking on the plastic. 

Bring your own bag. It's one of the easiest ways to reduce waste and helps prevent plastic from polluting our beautiful Earth. 

what is zero waste?

Zero Waste is a goal for how you live your life each day. Reducing the trash you send to the landfill, choosing to spend your dollars on locally grown food and goods (when possible), creating a more sustainable household. Zero waste is about using items again, not using items once because of convenience (straws, plastic bags, to-go containers). Zero waste is about preventing waste - buying clothing and other items used instead of new, composting your food waste so it's not sent to the landfill. I know this all may sound overwhelming to you if you are just learning about Zero Waste. Start small and make simple swaps that are good for you and your lifestyle. Any change you make will help combat climate change and keep our Earth beautiful. 

Monday, February 13, 2017


Hi and welcome to the Zero Waste Tampa Bay page!
My name is Graciela and I am a Tampa native. Last May I had my big "aha" moment- I became Zero Waste and Vegan right after my 35th Birthday.  At times, it hasn't been easy but I would not change a thing.  

I founded Zero Waste Tampa Bay as a meet-up group, to connect with locals who want to start their journey or who are already on a zero waste path. My dream is to make it so much more. Everyday we make choices that help our environment, our community and each other.  I hope I can inspire you to make a change, even if it's just one small change in your life to help keep our Earth beautiful for each other, the animals, and our future.