Okabashi LOVE

If you haven’t discovered Okabashi shoes yet, you NEED to. Go HERE now. They are made in the USA, anti-microbial, recyclable, and crazy durable. They make lots of styles but we are particularly in love with the flip-flops. Best. EVER.

This last weekend we went in search for a replacement pair for Don because he LOST his extra pair. (*GASP* They were completely new too! We kept hoping they would turn up but no such luck. 😦 ) His first pair below was bought in June 2011. They are in relatively good shape still but he did manage to rip one, just a little bit.

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We can buy them online but sometimes we just want instant gratification. So, we headed out to scour the town. I found my first pair in the summer of 2010 at a CVS drugstore so we headed out, hopeful. Honestly, I was skeptical we would find anything because I looked a couple of weeks ago and didn’t see any. But the summer stock clearly has come in and the CVS and Walgreens stores do have them again! (Why they are at drug stores, I couldn’t tell you. LOL)

We scored a replacement pair for Don (Surf style) and he talked me into buying two new pair for me – a black in my usual style (Maui) and a black with pink straps in a new style (Ocean). Yay!

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Apparently it is past time to retire my original pink pair from 2010. 😉 In my defense, I thought they were only 3 years old, not 4 and I didn’t realize how faded and dirty they are until I held them next to a new pink pair in the store.

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This is how they looked at 1 year

Pink flops


(I still have an older white pair I won in a giveaway that I’m not ready to give up yet. LOL)

But I’m shipping off my old pink ones and Don’s black torn pair for Okabashi’s recycling program. It will be the first time we’ve done so. Their site says that they will email a discount for new shoes in exchange for the recycling return. Bonus. More shoes later. 🙂

There is no such thing as “away”. When we throw anything away, it must go somewhere. 
~ Annie Leonard

**Please note, I have not been compensated in any way for this post; I simply like to share my product experiences with others in the hopes of exposing people to new ideas and products.

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Reusable Air Filters – Save Money and Reduce Waste

I’ve got another eco-product recommendation for folks. Reusable air filters.

We found EcoFilter at Target one day by chance and we’ve never regretted it. In fact, every month when I take the filter out, vacuum the dust and hair from it, rinse it thoroughly in the sink, and hang it out to dry, I marvel at how wonderful it is to not throw the filter away and install a new one.

I’m sure there are plenty of competitor products available but since the EcoFilter is the only one I have experience with, I’m going to tell you what I know about it and suggest that you get your booty out there and replace your throw-away filters for ones that last.

We have the standard EcoFilter model, but there is another even longer life option called the EcoFilter Plus. The model we have is guaranteed for six years with proper monthly cleaning and has a MERV 7 rating (translation – pretty darn good for the average consumer home.) You can get detailed information on MERV ratings on this website. The EcoFilter Plus is guaranteed for TEN years and has a MERV 8 rating.

Let’s look at those numbers again. Six year life = 72 standard monthly replacements (or 24 if you pony up the money for better filters that last 90 days but you’re still replacing those 4 times a year.) Ten year life = 120 monthly replacements (40 quarterly replacements.) How much money does that cost to buy replacements that often? And that’s just for one filter. I don’t know about your house, but we have two filters in ours so double all those numbers if we were replacing them and throwing away the filters every time. Am I making my point? Check out how much waste can be reduced by one simple change. Sure, it takes me about 10 minutes to clean the filters every month. But really, 10 minutes of my time versus piles and piles of air filters in landfills. That’s a no-brainer for me.

Don and I both suffer from allergies to dust and cat dander (imagine that since we have 2) and these filters do an outstanding job of keeping our air clean – if cleaned monthly of course. We actually noticed an improvement over the throw away filters when we first installed the EcoFilters. I’m sure that was partly due to buying lower rated throw-aways but I think it shows that the EcoFilter is superior to traditional filter systems.

If you aren’t convinced that EcoFilter is right for you, I encourage you to shop around and find an eco solution that does work for you. This might be a way for you to incorporate a waste reducing solution to your home. Every little bit makes a difference. Remember, re-purpose old items, reuse what you can, and recycle as much as you can!

The case for recycling is strong. The bottom line is clear. Recycling requires a trivial amount of our time. Recycling saves money and reduces pollution. Recycling creates more jobs than land-filling or incineration. And a largely ignored but very important consideration, recycling reduces our need to dump our garbage in someone else’s backyard.
~ David Morris of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance