Another Year towards Zero Waste Living and What the Hail is Going On

Hello again folks, I hope we are all doing well.

Today I would like to share some thoughts on zero waste living strategies and products. This is part of an ongoing effort to reduce waste at the individual level. Last year I wrote about this topic here and have a few new items to highlight. Amidst the pandemic flu crisis, garbage is sill an issue, so lets switch our focus towards that for a moment, shall we?

Cue dream sequence music…

 

Over the course of 2019, I introduced the following products to my zero waste repertoire: #1 a fancy reusable razor with a lifetime guarantee, #2 wooden dish-brush w/replaceable bristles (Redecker brand), #3 “period panties” (leave it to me to bring up the “gross” topics), and #4 sunscreen in a tin.

Whenever possible and within reason, ie, never for items in the realms mentioned above because that would seriously queeb me out, I do first look to purchase items second-hand, usually resorting to Craigslist, having found this to be the easiest way to locate specific items, locally. I like doing this because it reduces packaging and production waste and is usually cheaper. For example, I purchased a blender ($20) and cast iron pan ($5) through Craigslist this year instead of purchasing these items new somewhere else. Saved me beaucoup bucks with the added benefit that there was no packaging or shipping involved. Wunderbar!

I have also continued to monitor my personal waste production, finding that To-go containers, bread bags, and other packaged food to remain my main source of trash.

Moving forward, I am planning to experiment with plastic-package free dish soaps and laundry detergents. So far, I see that my local package free shop, “creatively” titled “The Package Free Shop,” offers a solid dish soap, so I will probably try that one when the time comes to restock. As for laundry detergent, the same shop also offers a laundry detergent made from simple, natural ingredients that comes in a glass jar, so I am planning to try that recipe as well.

Now, to plug the new products I love:

Period Panties~

Period panties replace the need for disposable pads, which to me, is awesome. Thus far, I have tried Thinx brand, and am very satisfied with their product. This is their website, check it out.

And finally, a comprehensive review of all the zero-waste lifestyle products I have tried in the past few years that I would recommend:

  1. Reusable utensils (To Go Ware, lemme know if you want some, I bought a bunch whole-sale last year and would be happy to send your way, they make great gifts)
  2. Metal straws
  3. Reusable food wrap (Bees wrap)
  4. Deodorant in a tin (Meow Meow Tweet)/Deodorant bar from Lush that has no packaging (Aromaco)
  5. Home-made toothpaste or toothpaste in a jar (I tried Uncle Harry’s this year and will try Georganics Tooth Powder next)
  6. Dental floss in cardboard box (Dr. Mercola)
  7. Leaf Re-usable razor (with lifetime guarantee)
  8. Raw Elements Sunscreen in a tin (will try this next because the one in the tin was real thick)
  9. Menstrual cup (Diva)
  10. Period underwear (Thinx).
  11. Non-plastic dish scrubber (Redecker)

If there’s anything you’ve tried that you’d like to give me a heads up about, please do let me know!

Now, back to matters at hand: cue dream sequence outro…

I will leave you with a fun hand-washing link to make washing your hands a zillion times a day a bit more bearable: https://washyourlyrics.com/

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Peace~

Kelly

 

 

 

litter, art, litter art?

Writer’s Block and 2020

Wawaweewah hello!

It has been a while since there has been any new writing on here…life got a bit sticky and I lost the je ne sais quoi thats required for my writing process. Maybe for me, thats personal space? I think so. From living in a windowless room in a hipster storefront with 8 other quasi-functional human beings, to briefly finding respite in an essentially doorless closet-disguised-as-a room in a place called “Hell’s Kitchen,” I have finally settled into a space that is seeming to work, somewhere I can comfortably live and do creative work without having to cohabit-ate too closely with other people. Who knew “other people” would be such a problem for me. Actually, “other people” are often a problem for me. That’s something I shall explore more later, along with a concept that that the outside world reflects the inner world…that idea has me stumped lately. What is going on in this noggin?!

Happy 2020, folks; thank you for staying tuned in~

I wanted to start off by revisiting my intentions for this blog, which was started in July 2017.

This blog is a platform to share short stories of life’s experiences. I will also share creative projects and develop ideas to promote ape conservation through electronic waste recycling and tap dancing, somehow.

Almost 3 years later, the mission is the same.

This post will focus on Electronic Waste and Ape Conservation, while I intermittently loose focus and step away to tap dance.

This past year, I received a grant from the NYC Citizen’s Committee to promote electronic waste reduction, reuse, and repair. My proposed project, “The Electronic Waste Awareness Project” ultimately seeks to increase electronic waste recycling rates and landfill diversion.

The project is multifaceted and involves:

1. Hosting workshops to raise awareness of electronic waste issues (recycling, reuse, and repair)

2. Collecting E-waste litter and delivering it to recycling centers

3. Writing a report to explore the electronic waste stream

This is the summary of my project as outlined by the Citizen’s Committee, I’m including it here to use as a reference for myself to ensure the program is stuck to.

The Electronic Waste Awareness Project is teaching others how to recycle electronics and is making e-waste recycling easier. The group is collecting electronics from the curb and households, hosting a free e-waste drop off site, transporting electronics to recycling facilities, and conducting workshops to teach participants how to repair electronics.

When I applied for the grant, I had been living in that windowless hipster spot which included a community event space. Thats where I intended to establish a free e-waste drop-off spot. Since moving however, that part of the project is on hold until another drop-off/collection site can be established. The research aspect of the project will explore whether this is even necessary as I identify and evaluate current e-waste disposal options. Apparently there is a municipal service for e-waste collection in NYC and drop off events throughout the city, but I have yet to come across an easy way to dispose of e-waste and hope, through this project, to develop some solutions for myself and the general public.

Thus far, I am 2 months away from the mid-year report being due. I have poked around for places to host workshops and have two sessions planned for a group of youngsters in March. I am waiting for one elementary school to get back to me to schedule a few more workshops before the school year is up and have one printer, plus a bag of batteries, all found as litter on the street, stored under my sink, that need to be taken somewhere for recycling.

In short, I have a lot of work to do for this project. This post was my first effort in getting the ball rolling on the reporting side. So, there we have it, the ball is rolling.

To finish off, here’s a musical break for you. This song below was recorded 100 years ago, in the 1920s, by Bix Beiderbecke who used to live in Sunnyside, Queens, near where I am now living.

And here is a video from a tap class I went to the other day. It was taught by the reigning Queen of Tap dance, Miss Sarah Reich, who is based out of LA. I am not in this video because, honestly, I could not hang with the class, at all. It was enjoyable nonetheless.

Bye for now!

~Kelly

 

Plums, Emergency Vets, and Tap Dancing Today

Hello All~

Before too much time passes and in effort to curb writing procrastination, I wanted to write y’all again to say hello and give some updates.

First off, I have made my return to NYC after a month-long break in California, where I spent a lot of time eating delicious plums. MMm. The particular plum tree I was enjoying, I am told, is of the Santa Rosa variety with thin, freckled reddish skin and ruby/magenta flesh. Mm. I must admit I am a little obsessed and have been for the past few years. Here are some photos of the tree and fruit, followed by a slideshow of some quintessential Santa Cruz images in case anyone is interested in the natural beauty and quirk of the California Central Coast.

 

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Do you see anything strange about this photo?

Do you see what I see? Capitola, Ca

In other news, I had my first day of work at an Emergency Vet hospital in Midtown Manhattan today. I’m training to be a receptionist. Thankfully, I have come to my senses and am transitioning out of manual labor and schlepping yard-waste around NYC via subway (being an urban gardener), and am now trying out a full time job with benefits and all that jazz. We’ll see how it goes. I am hoping I like it since this was my childhood dream job. If this doesn’t stick…I don’t know what will.

In other other news, and the real reason I wanted to write today, is to talk about tap dancing. The one other article I have on this site about tap dancing is the single most visited page on my site, somehow bringing in at least one person from the web almost every day. With the sort of traffic I get on my site otherwise (very minimal), that is a lot. So, I’m curious–if I write more about tap dancing, will random people from the web find this article as well?  Or are they only curious about Tap Shoes vs. Clogging vs. Irish Step? Only time will tell. Experiment commenced.

Today, since it is getting late, I am going to start by sharing a video of today’s most prominent and successful touring tap dancer: Michelle Dorrance. She has a company of dancers who have been touring the world for the past few years, with this coming year slated to be the busiest yet. Without further ado, here is a video of Michelle Dorrance and her feet:

I gotta find me a good floor like that to practice on. To date, I have experimented with a few different types of practice floors. I started off with a very large slab of Masonite from Home Depot (~$50), but that wasn’t portable, so I bought myself a foldable board called Fasfoot (~$175), which I have worn to shreds through a process that fancy tap dancers call “shedding” but which really just means practicing.

Recently, I bought another floor from a couple of bluegrass musicians living out of a Sprinter Van. Their boards are called Leo Percussive Dance Boards and I ended up with the larger of the boards which cost $100. Honestly I can’t even find a link for those online but when I do, I’ll share it. So far I like this board because it is raised off the floor and thus gives my knees a little break and has a more resonant sound. Like the Fasfoot, it is portable and sounds best when played outside, but I’m finding at this stage in my tap game, that I want a larger space to practice on, one that enables me to move around more, and also one thats not so loud since I practice in a basement most of the time and the sound gets trapped down there in a way that I don’t like. I think next I will get another piece of masonite since at least that provided more space, is affordable, and sounds pretty ok (not sure about how it will fare in the basement, however). So, that is where I am at with tap dancing today. Stay tuned for more rambling as year 3 of my NYC tap dancing adventure continues.

Until next time and with love,

KB

Summer Updates: Chimpanzee Party and Tap Dancing in Red Hook

Hello Readers,

Its been a while, hopefully everyone is doing a-ok this summer. I just about melted in New York, so am now spending some time cooling off and rewiring in Santa Cruz where the beach plumbs abound. YUM. Anyone else out there in love with a summer fruit? Do tell…

Meanwhile, let me let you in on some summer updates:

This year marked the Second Annual World Chimpanzee Day Celebration on July 14th, which last year I managed to commemorate in writing here.

This year, the party grew, as I was fortunate enough to team up with two like minded, organized, and driven ladies: Tina DeSanto of the waste awareness non-profit, The World is Your Dumpster, and Maria Molino of the up n’ coming textile recycling company, Marimole.

Together, and funded through a grant from the Jane Goodall Institute (Bravo!!), we hosted a free community event at Big Irv’s Art Collective featuring art by yours truly and a talented visiting artist and sailor- Madalyn Freedman. The photo below depicts my collection of garbage art, Madalyn’s work can be found on her website, click here to check it out!

DSCN9992

The event drew a small crowd including some neighbors I’d seen a bajillion times before but never had the chance to speak with, a few innocent passersby that we rangled in with the promise of cold beverages and snacks, and another few people from the Brooklyn Fixit community. We were lucky enough to receieve a generous beer donation from a company called Toast that makes beer out of bread scraps from local bakeries and also provided an educational component: two speakers who enlightened us with information about fixing electronics and current Right to Repair Legislation.

The important takeaway information from the speakers was this: you can fix your own electronics! Yes, you! There is a great company called I-Fixit based out of California that has created step-by-step how-to manuals to guide you through fixing anything from a broken track-pad on your computer to a broken screen on your phone and much more in between. They sell all the equipment you will need to fix your own devices including toolkits and replacement parts. Check them out next time you’ve got a problem with your device, you might be able to fix your item on your own before scrapping it completely, and you’ll defienitely learn something in the process.

Here are a couple photos of our speakers in action at the event:

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Vincent Lai, Fixer Extraordinnaire, Brooklyn Fixer’s Collective

By the end of the day, we collected about two boxes of e-waste from the community which were later brought to the Gowanus E-waste Warehouse for recycling. Discussions were had about the impact of electronics on chimpanzee habitat, facilitated by artwork and fixing discussions, and the connection was made between our event and World Chimpanzee Day. All in all, the event was a great success!

Stay tuned for World Chimpanzee Day III, July 14th, 2020, when I hope introduce tap dancing into the mix for a true great ape extravaganza.

Speaking of tap dancing, I have a few updates to share on that front.

This summer also marked the 50th Anniversary of the Woodstock Festival. Struck by inspiration at the original site of the festival, fellow tap dancer transplant Liz Cousins created a show which premiered this summer at the American Tap Dance Foundation. I got to be in it, which was cool. To prepare for the show, the cast (pictured below) all got together one rainy weekend and visited Bethel, NY, the site of the 1969 festival, to learn about the festival and its historical context.

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As soon as I get footage from the show I will share it since it was groovy and different.

Lastly, here is a sound clip from a bluegrass jam I got to participate in a few weeks ago in a breezy spot in New York City called Red Hook. The jam took place in the back of a bar called Sunny’s Bar and was a lot of fun! Take a listen here, if you listen long enough you will here some strange thumping, which is me playing my shoes. If you want the quick and dirty, jump to minute 55. Enjoy!

All the best,

KB

MLCAA – 1st Reported Case

As some of you may recall, I introduced the Monkey Lung Cancer Awareness Association (MLCAA) early in this blog and have yet to provide any further updates, because, quite frankly, there were none!

Until now.

A stunning development in the MLCAA has been made, an actual case of monkey lung cancer has been reported. Riveting.

Potentially a tall-tale recounted by a mischevious co-worker, this is the story of Riad, a Chimpanzee in Saudi Arabia kept by a young man who we’ll call Mohammed, 21 years old, a friend of a friend that Jeremy, my co-worker, met in college in Kansas.

According to Jeremy, the Chimpanzee was purchased as a baby and was 1-2 years old by the time he developed his smoking addiction and lung affliction.

Apparently, Mohammed at first shared cigarettes with his Chimpanzee pal, but over time Riad learned where to find the materials to roll his own cigarettes, and even learned how to light them himself and ended up chain smoking all day. Eventually Riad had to be chained up to prevent him from stealing and to curb his habit. It is reported that he preferred spliffs.

Not much information was given on Riad’s ailment, but apparently his health soon began to suffer, perhaps losing weight and appetite. Signs point to lung cancer but I have no further information to back that up. His health condition could also be due to loneliness, not having other Chimpanzees around, or malnutrition, among other things. In general, Chimpanzees are NOT recommended as pets because they are wild animals and have complex emotional and physical needs that the regular human, ie Mohammed, are not trained to know about or address. Also, purchasing a Chimpanzee is illegal and supports the Illegal Pet Trade which is responsible for the mistreatment of many wild, endangered animals.

Let this story serve as a lesson that #1 Chimpanzees are not meant to be pets, and #2, feeding them cigarettes can make them sick.

This message has been brought to you by the MLCAA, Brooklyn-Santa Cruz Chapter.

More updates to come!

xo

KB

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Earth Day, 2019

Hello fam n’ friends,

Up late after a relatively short day of work and a trip up to Harlem (I swoon) for an Earth Day art show put on in a fancy apartment, showcasing the work of another garbage artists named Daniel Lanzilotta.

He makes work using all sorts of plastic bits he finds strewn about the streets of the world:

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This piece in particular includes Tropicana orange juice bottle caps (the orange disks) among other items he has collected around Brooklyn and melts down into funky shapes.

Lanzilotta uses art to speak about plastic pollution and how it is affecting our oceans. He mentioned lighters as being the number one harmful litter he finds due to the butane and other chemicals inside which leak out onto the street when they inevitably break, eventually making their way into our oceans after rains and such.

He is collecting 1,000 lighters for an upcoming piece which he described briefly and which I’ll keep an eye out for and report back about. Coincidentally, lighters have been on my radar lately, as I have been collecting lighters and Juul pods (e-cigarette butts) during my walks around Brooklyn and Manhattan. I recently assembled these colorful items a canvas (also found in the garbage). One man’s trash is another’s treasure, no? Take a look:

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Ok, enough about me. The takeaway point I got from Lanzilotta as he spoke about his work is #1 don’t use plastic. Is that possible? Hope so!

As a group, the gallery attendees were encouraged to discuss ideas of things we could DO to raise awareness in society about plastic waste. The main idea I heard was to try to have a plastic free day, and to invite others to do so as well. May be harder said than done, considering most of our clothes, our shoes, our brooms, our toothbrushes, etc etc have plastic in them. I even heard plastic is now being found in salt chrystals…so we are eating it. Oy vey.

Well, lets stay calm. Remember, it’s all about baby steps. Identifying the items in our lives that are made of plastic and slowly replacing them with non-plastic products is a good way to go. Doesn’t have to be an overnight transition! Baby steps…

So, to close for the night I wanted to wish everyone a Happy Earth Day.

This year marks the 49th celebration of Earth Day. To commemorate the day, Jane Gooddall released a video wishing everyone a happy day. In the video she thanks us for even thinking about Earth Day and encourages everyone to think about our “blue and green planet” everyday, to “make a commitment as individuals to do all we can to get together with other like-minded individuals so that we can ensure a healthier planet for future generations.” So, here’s to doing that for the rest of 2019 and beyond!

And now to really close it off, some tap videos!

Leo Sandoval, Artist in Residence at the American Tap Dance Foundation and member of Dorrance Dance at the Something’s Afoot New Choreography Showcase this past Saturday:

And me and my teacher Christina Carminucci at ATDF last week, working on a piece Christina is choreographing for this class for the adult showcase in June.  The song is called Stormy Weather by Oscar Peterson. Enjoy!

 

 

xoxo

KB

Oh, and I saw this the other day and liked it as a message to stand up, sit down, speak up for what we believe is right:

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Chimpanzee, a puppet show NYC Nick Lehane

March Updates – Puppetry, Flamenco Music, Tap Dance, and Flowers

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Fire Safety for DIY Spaces, Nina Simone’s B-day, and E-waste News

Hello All,

First off, I’ll start with the fun stuff!

This past Thursday was the late, great, crazy Queen of Soul Nina Simone’s birthday. I was lucky enough to catch this celebration on the radio, hearing many songs she recorded that I’d never heard before. So good!

I’m not sure when I first heard Ms. Simone’s work, but have grown to really love and enjoy her music over the past few years, since one of my favorite tap teachers (Derek Grant) used this song for an improv exercise in a class. This was the song:

Crazy piano!

Another favorite teacher, protégé of Mr. Grant, the young and always so lovely Chirstina Carminucci, used the following song in a class once, which was great for whatever across the floor excercise we were learning at the time that got me all turned around, as usual. This was that song: (ignore the smoking, its bad mmmmkay)

And another great example of Nina Simone in a live recorded performance:

So good! Ok ok, one more video which I love because it uses glitter! Plus it will give you a visual for Christina Carminucci (red pants), a dancer that I’ll likely be mentioning in the future because she performs a lot and is just great:

Alright, next topic:

Fire Safety for DIY Spaces

Tonight I went to a free talk hosted by an NYC artist and fire safety expert Tara McManus. I’m mentioning this because I learned some basic fire prevention tips that I’d like to share with you in case you don’t know, and especially if you’re like me and reside in communal spaces that may or may not follow official codes but want to be safe.

#1 Fire Extinguishers: know where your fire extinguishers are and check them frequently (maybe once/month) to make sure they have pressure. It is important to keep them in a place near an exit as opposed to in a dead-end space like a bedroom; you want to be able to spray the fire as you are making your exit, as opposed to getting stuck in a bedroom.

#2 Extension chords: if you’re plugging in equipment or appliances like heaters that take a lot of energy, plug them into wall outlets and disperse them, so they’re not all plugged into the same outlet. If you have to plug something like a heater into an extension chord, make sure you use a chord meant for higher powered appliances, as opposed to the dinky 2 pronged ones. Also, unravel the chords as opposed to keeping them in a coil (in a coil the chords will get hotter and are more likely to catch fire). And finally, if using multiple extension chords, do not mix 2 pronged chords with 3 pronged chords.

Those are the two main things I think are useful for anyone to know…here is a link to more information if you’re hungry for it: Fire Safety Resources.

Which leads me to my next point:

E-waste News

https://mymodernmet.com/zayd-menk-scale-model-computer-recycling/

**E-waste Art: Model of NYC by Zayd Menk

The Jane Gooddall Institute (JGI) has released a new campaign to encourage people across the globe to become more aware of the impacts of technology on wildlife. That’s what I’ve been talkin’ bout! This campaign is called “The Forest Calls” and I’ll include a snippet from their latest email update to clue you in:

The Forest is Calling

The forest is calling, can you hear it? It’s been a long time since you’ve listened – really listened – to its call. What is it saying? It’s a faint mummer, but if you try you can still hear it’s message: It’s saying that our endless consumption and reliance on new technology is silencing ecosystems, humans and wildlife. It’s saying that you are the only hope the forests have. The forest is calling, and the power is in your hands to answer the call.

The international technology industry is devastating human and wildlife communities, while destroying vital habitats, particularly in the Congo Basin in Africa. Right now, you can do something about it. JGI is launching ‘The Forest is Calling’, a campaign to inspire action around recycling, reduced consumption and extending the useful life of used electronics. The annual campaign will culminate with Mobile Recycling Day on February 26th, getting JGI’s friends and supporters around the world to help protect chimpanzees, people, other species and their habitats.

http://news.janegoodall.org/2019/02/11/the-forest-is-calling-answering-the-call-is-our-only-hope/

So, if you’ve got any old, broken, un-used phones tucked away somewhere, February 26th: Mobile Recycling Day is a decent choice of day to recycle them, or at least research how/where to do that and get the ball rolling. Also, its a good time to think about if you really need a new phone or if your current phone can still serve you. The Chimps will benefit from your conservation efforts as will the chimp part of you (ecopsychology concept to be expanded upon).

More info about The Forest is Calling can be found here.

That’s all, have fun out there, be safe, be creative, and locate your fire extinguishers!

xo

KB

**Find out more about the E-waste art pictured above: Teen Spends 3 Months Building Scale Model of Manhattan from Recycled Computer Parts

Toothpaste Recipe

In a small container, perhaps a glass jar or whatever you can find to re-purpose, combine:

2 tablespoons coconut oil

1 tablespoon baking soda

a few splashes of an essential oil like peppermint…or possibly no essential oils since they are potentially a health hazard when ingested. Beware~

Voilà, you got yourself a simple toothpaste that’ll last you a couple months. When its hot, it will get liquidy, but its fine, still usable…Enjoy!

Thchau ciao for now,

KB

Note: adapted from Package Free Shop Lauren Singer’s recipe

Another resource with recipes –

https://earth911.com/health/how-to-make-toothpaste/?utm_source=ActiveCampaign&utm_medium=email&utm_content=%F0%9F%8C%8E+Why+Shop+Direct+Trade%3F+%7C+Recycling+Mystery%3A+Propane+Tanks+%7C+DIY+Natural+Toothpaste+%7C+Podcast%3A+Water-Saving+Smart+Device&utm_campaign=Earth911%3A+July+6%2C+2021

Zero Waste Strategies, Tap Dance, and Street Performing

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