Now that I am making a concerted effort to #BeeWasteFree, I’ve been using my reusable coffee mug every chance I get. This has been saving me money in two ways. First, I’m less likely to stop for coffee if I leave the house with my own perfectly tailored brew. But here’s what else I’ve noticed. Some, though sadly not all, coffee vendors give a discount if you bring your own cup. One of my favorite places, Best Buns in Shirlington, charges for a mere refill if you provide the cup. A refill as about half the cost of a regular cup of coffee!

Here’s to being green and saving green at the same time. $$$

Check out our #BeeWasteFree Challenge!

Don’t forget to give your trees a drink during the hot summer days. Best thing to do is use a soaker hose for a couple of hours or a half day—depending on how long it takes for the water to reach the root zone. If you’re using gator bags, remember to keep them filled so they can do their work. It makes me sad to see empty gator bags in the summer!

Trees work hard for us—improving quality of life by providing shade, shelter, beauty, and clean air. It’s up to us to protect and care for them.

I don’t want to be negative, but I know I can do better with my waste-free efforts. Starting in July with the celebratory picnic and BBQ activities, including a Bethesda crab feed, it’s been difficult to stay on the waste-free path. Everything seems to come wrapped in paper! (FYI – I brought my own fork and cloth napkin to the crab fest, but couldn’t call it a waste-free meal.)

So, now that the celebrations are over, including the most recent wedding shower, I will concentrate on our #beewastefree initiative. Just so you know I haven’t been a total slacker, I did make a recycled paper card and flower sculpture for the guest of honor. It took more time than I expected because I haven’t been that crafty for a while…

Recycled Paper Flower 2

Recycled paper tends to be crinkly which lends itself to organic shapes.

Recycled Paper Flower

Another view of the recycled paper rose.

Oh, and one last thing… The gift for the bride (and groom) is a live tree and some bulbs for their yard. ~Paula

Waste Free Parties

In my small town we have a cooking group, and we meet about once a month to have dinner in each others homes. Since we don’t have a restaurant in town, it’s nice to have a fabulous meal that you don’t have to prepare all by yourself. Our group is a potluck affair and we each bring our recipe instructions as well. We used to print the recipes out for everyone, but now we only print out one copy for the book, and we email the recipes around so that anyone can print them out if they want to (thereby saving trees and being quite green!).

Because I like to entertain large groups, I began collecting large amounts of things. I now have 18 wine glasses (glass), 12 margarita glasses (glass), about 50 dinner plates (china), 20 cloth napkins, 2 sets of silverware, and recently purchased 12 sturdy plastic glasses for outdoor entertaining. So I’m always looking out for the next thing to add to my pantry. In addition, we share all these pieces of equipment around the neighborhood as needed. So all this combines to create a more “green” party experience!

What are you waiting for? Get going! Start entertaining your friends in your own green way. Got an idea I can add to my bag of tricks? Let me know…I’d love to hear from you. — Lisa

Here at   we get a lot of people contacting us to promote their green products. We dutifully and eagerly check out the recommendations, hoping for the occasional gem. Well, I’m happy to introduce www.KidsKonserve.com. They have a total lunch kit solution that is waste-free and food-safe all the way. In 2010, the company was honored by the fashion design company, Eileen Fisher, with a Business Grant for Women Entrepreneurs!

And, yes, the company caters to children’s lunch kits, but these are good-looking enough for adults!

Butterfiles decorate reusable lunch kit.

DEAL: SAVE 15% through the end of July. Just remember to use this coupon code when you buy from www.kidskonserve.com. (Code = summer15)

Waste-free Conversations

When we started our #beewastefree challenge, we were intent upon reaching the big number ONE THOUSAND. And we will get there. In the meantime, some surprising and rewarding things are happening. People are talking to us about their green efforts.

One friend leads a very busy life and—probably more than most of us right now—has a lot on her shoulders. She told me she’d read the challenge and wanted to let me know she was shopping for a compost bucket for the kitchen. She has her eye on a nice stainless steel model in which she’ll gather vegetable and fruit trimmings until it’s time to walk out back and deposit them up the hill. I love this!

There’s more! She and her husband are growing herbs in the yard. They even used their chicken bone leftovers to make a fragrant pot of stock. Earlier this spring I’d had a wonderful dinner at their home and (sheepishly) asked if I could take the bones with me. I am a regular stock maker and if they didn’t want them, I sure could put the bones to use.

So, even though the conversation wasn’t around waste-free meals, it was exciting just the same. Before I leave for my meeting today, I’ll grab a fork wrapped in a cloth napkin and secured with a rubber band. It’s a great way to reduce my use of plastic utensils and paper napkins. And it’s FREE!

We bees take pride in our special pollinating abilities! Buzzzzzzzz….

U.S. Department of Agriculture has designated next week, June 21-28 as National Polllinator Week. The designation was approved unanimously by the Senate to bring attention to the importance of our pollinator populations. And it’s not just about bees. Birds, butterflies, bats, beetles and others share the credit. These animals are vital to the health of our ecosystems!

Find National Pollinator Week events in your area.

In DC, attend the Congressional Briefing for National Pollinator Week (Downloable Flier) on Thursday, June 24th at 3:00 PM at Longworth Office Building, Rm. 1302A, Washington, DC 20515. It’s open to the public, Members of Congress, Congressional Staff, Agency Personnel, and the press. This event is on Tuesday, June 1, 2010 – 1:00 – 5:00 p.m. and features pollinator treats- ice cream from Häagen-Dazs and lipbalm from Burt’s Bees!