Name: Sara Ost
Online Home: EcoSalon
My Green Resolution: Oh, my little abode, how perfectly green you are. Why, just look: 1) You are small. Tiny, in fact. A glorified studio in San Francisco by the bay, you have little more than a fireplace and the kitchen is practically a closet (which certainly keeps your owner from shopping too much)…
2) You are part of a historic building, retrofitted with modern, efficient wires and pipes, lights and fittings.That's right, you're vintage.
3) Save for the Dirt Devil and a few office supplies, you are furnished to the eco-hilt. Everything is eco this and eco that from various box chains' forays into sustainability, splurges from green retailers like VivaTerra, secondhand (translation: Craigslist), and vintage. From the bamboo rocking chair to the curvaceous French thrift store find, seating is both eclectic and environmentally sound. The bedding is organic, the draperies are flax and hemp, the rug is sisal. Even the dishes are recycled glass (what else?).
4) Peer inside the cupboards and it only gets greener: organic dairy products in the fridge, Method and Meyers cleaning products in the cabinet, vegan crackers in the pantry. New boyfriends view these things with a fascination normally reserved for archeologists and novelists.
5) Thanks to organic soy (of course) candles and herbal sprays, you even smell good.
Yes, my little landing pad is a shrine to all things stylish, green and thoughtful. Check, check, check.
Except. the. endless. garbage.
You, little home, may be saintly when it comes to sustainability, but your owner leaves much to be desired. And by owner, I mean me, and the copious amounts of trash I manage to bring in the door no matter how many canvas grocery bags I tote, no matter how many farmers' markets I frequent in the attempt to avoid packaged food, no matter how many times I say "Oh, I don't need that wrapped, thanks!"
Even an eco gal needs a new pair of scissors once in a while, and have you seen the seventeen layers of plastic and impermeable blister packaging things come in these days? What is wrong with us, and more importantly what is wrong with product manufacturers? Is cheese really so scary it needs to be triple-encased?
Packaging is my nemesis, and despite my best green intentions and reasonable success at maintaining a sustainable apartment, the trash just never ends. Even recycling and composting, I seem to go through way too many bags of garbage for one person in a tiny home. When I saw a tweet from a fellow greenie, @ecopolitologist, about going completely trash-free, I realized no amount of vegan green tea candle burning could make a dent until *I* stopped making a dent - in the bulging backyard trash can. I may not have unlimited resources and time, but there's a new rule for 2011 in my house: if you can throw it out, it should be in doubt. "Going green" is more about reducing than recycling (although that's a good start). That's why vintage buys, regardless of how sustainably they were once made, are even greener than new, eco-friendly products.
Here's to living smaller in a small place - and creating more room for big strides.
(Image: Sara Ost)
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Sara Ost is the founding editor-in-chief of EcoSalon, the leading conscious culture and fashion website. She currently lives in San Francisco where she checks into far too many farmers' markets on Foursquare.