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Celebrate Earth Day with These Eco-Friendly Life Hacks

It’s almost earth day and with all this time on my hands I’ve been trying to do one thing each day that is good for the environment.  Recently trash pick up around my neighborhood has dominated my one hour a day donation to Mother Nature and I can’t help but notice there are just a TON of water bottles, gatorade bottles, soft drink cans/ bottles & tops everywhere.

A few months back I was at a going away party for some friends when I got into a deep discussion about sustainability and recycling with a friend of mine.  I should note that I was fresh off a trip where recycling wasn’t a part of daily life which was pretty difficult for me.  The debate was that recycling is a waste of time and most of it doesn’t get recycled.  Look, I get it, I understand that the recycling process isn’t efficient as it is.  But I also believe it’s our leaders and elected officials job to change that.  I believe that if everyone did their part, citizens doing their part and leaders making the process efficient as an investment in our future we could have an effective recycling program… but that’s a song for another time.

Anyways, the my friend and I were discussing the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle motto and she introduced me to a different motto:  REFUSE, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.  That is to make better choices and refuse convenience over the environment.  I don’t know why that concept was so mind blowing to me because to be honest I was already kind of practicing it in my everyday life on a small scale so maybe it was the way she packaged it but it obviously hit a cord because I’m writing a blog post about it.


Do I really need that plastic bag for one item?  Even 5 items?  Can I grow my own herbs without buying the plastic packaged ones?  Can I purchase items that can be refilled or reused?  Can I purchase locally grown organic produce instead of plastic shrink wrapped broccoli?

So in the midst of The Toilet Paper Crisis 2020 I wanted to share a couple of eco-friendly habits I’ve adopted that were easy to incorporate into our lives.  Also, I’d recommend hitting up your local TJ Maxx or Homegoods for many of the items below, they have some great deals but until they are opened again I’m sure Amazon will have what you need to make the switch.

  • No Single Use Plastics
    • Unless I’m dying of thirst I will wait.  I also make it a point to always have a reusable water bottle in all my normal locations (car, kitchen, office, by the front door) in case I need some water.  The bonus is that I’ve recently had the opportunity to organize all our Yetis and Tervis tumblers for optimal use.
    • Reusable Bags.  I always bring them into the store with me (and then lysol the hell out of them when I get home). Even when I use Shipt for grocery delivery I request that they use paper bags so I can reuse and I also leave a note for no plastic between the cheese slices from the deli (Publix peeps- you get it).
    • Mason Jars To the Rescue.  I purchase the wide mouth version of all sizes.  They are great for meal prepping and also a cheap alternative to Tupperware and plastic bags.  They come in packs of 12, I get mine locally from Strunk Ace Hardware.  Plus, they look fancy when you share with friends and family <3
    • Reusable sandwich & storage bags.  Packing a lunch?  Left overs that need storage?  These are great to use and are see through so you don’t loose track of the contents.  My favorite brand is Stasher.
  • Cut Back on Paper Products
    • No Paper Towels, No Problem.  Invest in some good dish towels.  They are a staple in my house.  I have them for everyday use as well as special occasions and holidays.  I’d say on average we go through about 3/4 dish towels a day so it helps to have a hefty stock.
    • No Napkins, No Problem Either.  Purchase some cloth napkins.  I like white because they are bleachable.  You can typically find them pretty cheap in bulk.  Plus, it makes all meals feel a bit fancier with a cloth napkin.
  • Use Less Energy
    • Switch lightbulbs to LED bulbs.
    • Shut off appliances and computers when not in use.
    • Wash your clothes in cold water.
    • Carpool, ride share, bike or walk!
  • Be Open Minded About Food & Waste
    • Eat less meat and more plants. It takes far more land and water to support animal agriculture than fruits, vegetables and grains.
    • Try eliminating all processed meats from your family’s diet as a first step, shoot for Meatless Monday and branch out from there.
    • Composting.  We used to have a local service that offered composting pick up and delivery.  You pick your frequency of pick up and bi annually you get your share of compost.  There was a small charge for the pick up but in my opinion totally worth it.  Our waste decreased by more than 1/2 as a household.  Unfortunately that service is suspended right now due to size constraints (I’m reallllly hoping it comes back) but if you live outside of The Keys I’d highly recommend looking into a local composting company that may service your area.

Also, in case you needed some more good news and encouragement to do the right thing, for the first time in more than 30 years, the Ozone layer is healing so let’s keep this momentum going!

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1012 Varela Street, Key West FL

Welcome to 1012 Varela Street, a charming conch cottage in the heart of Old Town Key West.  Located on Varela Street, between United Street & Truman Avenue.  My colleague Gary Thomas describes the house as the Key West bargain you’ve been looking for and here’s why…

This home is made up of two cottages, originally deeded separately but have since been combined under one legal description.  The front cottage has an open living room with a vaulted ceiling that gives the living area a nice spacious feel.  Hardwood floors and Dade County Pine through out which is highly desirable here in the Keys.  This cottage features two bedrooms, a loft that opens onto a rooftop sitting area (current owners use this as their master bedroom) and a guest bedroom on the first floor across from the bathroom.  Currently this room has custom bunk beds however they can easily be removed should the new owner desire a different look or use.  The heart of the home, the kitchen, is large and open with french doors that lead to a fully fenced, private courtyard (the courtyard is large enough to accommodate a pool).

The second cottage, just across the courtyard, has a large bedroom and full bathroom.  Although this cottage does not have a kitchen it does have plenty of storage, small fridge, and a private deck in the rear of the cottage with a separate entrance.

This home is located within the Viva Varela which was originally established for the purpose of creating a common walkway to provide ingress and egress to the the rear cottages.  Included in the association fee is the common area maintenance and water however the owners of the units are responsible for maintaining their own insurance and and building exterior maintenance.  1012 Varela Street is comprised of 2 units, the HOA fee for this home is $257 per month which is a combined total for both units 1 & 2.

For additional photos and to see the complete MLS datasheet please CLICK HERE.  This home is listed by myself, Krystal Thomas and my colleague Allison Findlay of Preferred Properties Key West for $749,000.  Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, would like any additional information, or would like to schedule a private showing.