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Posted by on May 5, 2017 | 0 comments

Introducing the Reusable Takeout Container Initiative

Introducing the Reusable Takeout Container Initiative

There’s an exciting new eco-friendly project launching in Del Ray this month and it’s the idea of Del Ray residents and T.C. Williams sophomores Leila Rasmussen, Elspeth Collard, and Bridget Williams. As part of a STEM program project, the students devised a way to reduce the amount of waste created by takeout containers. The program, the Reusable Takeout Container Initiative (RTC), is similar to the concept of bringing your own shopping bags to grocery stores. Consumers purchase a sturdy, bpa-free, microwave- and dishwasher-safe 3-part container for $5 that they can use at participating restaurants. Every time you use your container for a takeout order or to bring leftovers home, you get 10% off your meal. Pork Barrel BBQ’s Bill Blackburn and Taqueria el Poblano’s Jeff Wallingford were the first to sign on. Los Tios is also participating. Wallingford says, “Bill and I discussed it and thought it was a great idea and that there would be certain economies of scale and a synergy that we could work on and hopefully...

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Posted by on Dec 7, 2016 | 0 comments

Going Solar in Alexandria

Going Solar in Alexandria

Steve and Michele have joined a growing list of families in Alexandria by adding solar panels to their home last summer. It didn’t cost a fortune, and they’ve already seen an extraordinary drop in their energy consumption. I met with Steve and Michele the other day to hear about their experience. They told me they spent about $13,500 to purchase and install the panels, which is the typical price for the average size of homes in this area. But, they say that they decided on installing panels mainly to avoid wasting energy and to be more resource conscious in general, to make as they say, “an investment in our lives.” The roof attachments have rails that the panels sit on, as well as waterproofing in the roof shingles. They showed me their Dominion bill for September to October, 2016, which was only $15.36. What’s most notable is that when it’s common around here to run the A/C the most often, during August, they only paid $25. Virginia provides for...

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Posted by on Aug 30, 2016 | 2 comments

Meet the Maker: Mellenie’s Soap Subscription

Meet the Maker: Mellenie’s Soap Subscription

We’ve been big fans of Mellenie Runion’s eco-friendly soap business, Truly-Life, ever since discovering it a few years ago. In fact, her garden was one of the stops on this summer’s Urban Farm Tour. We love sharing news of local makers and Mellenie’s homemade business keeps getting bigger and better, now with a subscription service. Mellenie grows and creates her skin care products right here in her Del Ray home. The lavender that makes her soap and bath fizz so soothing grows in her backyard. The loofah grow on vines supported by a homemade trellis. It’s then dried and sliced and delicately tied with a ribbon on her packages (that little pot contains a bonus: seeds to start your own loofah plants at home). Her mud masks are made from coffee beans sourced from local coffee roaster Swing’s and the box is lined with, of course, part of a burlap coffee bean bag. Mellenie is now offering a subscription service where you can order — for yourself or as...

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Posted by on Apr 26, 2016 | 0 comments

Quick and Easy Raised Garden Beds

Quick and Easy Raised Garden Beds

Since the soil in our yard is pretty much all clay, I decided raised beds would work better than planting directly in the ground. I’ve seen a lot of raised garden beds in the neighborhood — some DIY and some store-bought. I contemplated building garden beds like these, but lacking the time or the tools to do the work, I opted to buy them. My friend Catherine told me about these cedar raised garden bed kits from Vermont. They are pricier than frames you might find at other online garden supply stores, but they are well made and should last a good 10-15 years. Cheaper versions would have to be replaced every few years and probably end up costing more in the long run. So I bit the bullet and ordered 3 raised bed kids (two 3 x 8s and one 4 x 8). I ordered on Monday and by Saturday morning they arrived at my door. It took about 5 minutes to assemble the beds — no tools...

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Posted by on Dec 18, 2015 | 1 comment

Simple DIY Scented Candles

Simple DIY Scented Candles

I got together last week with a few friends for a festive and hands-on holiday activity – making candles.  This was a perfect group craft project for the holidays. We had a lot of fun learning the process together and enjoying an evening of casual crafting. Everyone brought various heat-resistant containers from home. I opted for old jelly jars and reused mason jars. Some people used handmade pottery. We had sent around a list of supplies that we could gather from our homes, and one of the participants, Shelu, purchased a 10 pound bag of soy wax online and cotton wicks in bulk. Materials list: Soy wax Wicks Glue gun with cartridges Tape Heavy pot Heavy duty glass container to create a double boiler effect Candy thermometer Essential oils like orange, pine, cedar, cinnamon, and lavender Wooden spoons Making the candles was both fun and easy. We consulted these instructions every step of the way, but it really was not that complicated. We started off by gluing the wicks to the bottom of each container...

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