Big Sea recently won a Sustainable Business Award for the following areas of sustainability: people, planet, and profits. The people part is what makes Big Sea special. Get to know the people of Big Sea who adopt sustainable habits at work and at home. Here are a few things we do to reduce our impact on the environment when we’re not at work.
Live with the land
“My family has always grown our own veggies and had giant compost bins,” says Kim Spencer. “After the harvest, the plant remains would go into the compost bin. I plan on starting my own garden now that I moved to a house!”
Spencer’s dad lives on a sizable plot of land, and he has cows that mow the field. He uses their manure for his compost bins and garden, and burns all the trash he can. “We recycle and repurpose as much as possible,” says Spencer. “We’ve even taught my niece and nephew to recycle and they’ll remind us when it’s recycle day or when the bin is full.”
She also uses reusable containers, cups, etc. instead of buying water bottles, paper plates, and plastic utensils. Spencer unplugs everything but the fridge when she leaves the house. “Even appliances that are turned off still use power,” she says. “When I’m out of town, breakers are off, water is off, everything is off.”
Embrace the Three R’s
“We definitely recycle everything that is possible to recycle,” says Chasity Scoggins. She only puts out her garbage can for pick up every two weeks. For Scoggins, following the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle guidelines means truly starting with reducing.
“I try not to generate the items in the first place,” she says. “Make lists, and check the fridge, pantry, and linen closet before shopping to make sure not to buy something I already have, etc.” She’s especially mindful of containers and how they can be reused.
“I keep my top-use spices and herbs in glass jars that used to house olives and capers and other products,” says Scoggins. “I buy in bulk when it is an item we will definitely use up and won’t go to waste. One of the biggest sustainability issues out there that I’m most passionate about is food waste and finding ways to reduce it! My goal is to only buy what we are going to eat. And then eat it all, including leftovers (or only cook enough to eat a single meal with no leftovers — this takes practice!). I try to use the food waste pyramid as a guide.”
Eat vegetarian and think small
“I had been on-and-off vegetarian for about a year and my girlfriend and I decided to go 100% without question about nine or so months ago,” says Daryn St. Pierre. “Now we’re on the verge of vegan and have been collecting recipes for a while.”
St. Pierre strives to reduce what he uses at home. “I am of the belief that life is about experiences and not the amount of things you accrue,” he says. While recently moving, he cut down considerably on belongings.
“We both have dreams of living in a place like Asheville, NC in a home that is completely self-sustaining,” says St. Pierre. “The ‘tiny house movement’ and things like recycled shipping containers for homes are fascinating to me.” He and his girlfriend recycle regularly and donate clothes whenever they can.
Make old toys new again
“Our kids love getting toys at garage sales, rather than the store. They totally get that their $10 goes way further, and then are happy to pass on the toys when they are done,” says Catherine Cheshire.
Not only does it mean that they are able to reduce the amount of new items they consume, but it’s actually way more fun. “We notice that they are more likely to find weird and wonderful not-toy toys. Just this weekend, we picked up a massive box of buttons. To them, it was pure treasure.”
Cheshire thinks big when it comes to tiny living. “I dream of a tiny house community with central garden and salt water pool. All with beautiful design, of course. Every time I drive by the mobile home parks, I think of how cool they could be with some thought,” she shares.
Think twice before buying something new
“I am on a purging tour of my house and my ultimate goal is to be able to list all of the things I own, and if I want to buy something I will only do so if I can get rid of something else,” shares Adriana Generallo. “I’m definitely a reduce, reuse and recycle advocate,”
Generallo carries her philosophy to the plate, and tells us, “I also recently decided to take the vegetarian plunge after long having thought about it.”
One day, Generallo hopes to find herself living small. “I often daydream about living in a portable tiny house in the next phase of our lives, but the jury is still out on whether Jess is truly down or she’s just entertaining me.”
(Try) to grow your own food
Andi Graham built a sustainable business, and she brings the same practices home. “We do all the usual things. Recycling, composting, etc.”
“We tried the garden thing and turns out you have to take care of that shit, which we failed at. Got two midget carrots, 3 measly peppers, and enough tomatoes to not ever want to eat tomatoes again,” says Graham.
Although a garden wasn’t a solution for her family, they grow their own in other ways. “We grow fruit — or, let fruit grow — in our huge yard. We’ve got about 15 pineapple plants (and usually harvest 3-4 fruit/year) and a big lemon/lime tree (not sure what they’re called – they’re a mix between the two) that makes great limeonade.”
For Graham, the tiny house movement that’s so popular with others is a no-go. “I’d kill my family. I enjoy entertaining and my own space far too much.”
Be minimal, eat sustainably
“I try to be minimal. Keep only what I need, donate anything that is donate-able, and I try to dispose of the rest in a way that doesn’t kill the environment (silly landfills),” says Chris Lagasse.
In the future, Lagasse hopes to make his eating habits more environmentally friendly. “I would like to eat sustainably. Only get meats from local farms, vegetables from local gardens, etc. It’s a little unfeasible, but doing what you can does go a long way.”
Try cloth diapering
Maria Mora saved 2 kids worth of diapers from ending up in the landfill. “I cloth diapered both my kids. Cloth diapering wasn’t as hard as people think, and I love talking to new moms about giving it a try.” It’s not only environmentally friendly, “Kids look so cute with fluffy cloth diaper butts!”
Mora says she also pays attention to sustainability at home, “I am mostly paper-free when it comes to cleaning. I also use natural cleaning products and we recycle. I love St. Pete’s curbside pickup.”
Bring your own bag
“I’m vegetarian, I didn’t start because of the sustainable impact, but that’s definitely a plus and motivator to keep going,” says Joline Buscemi.
Buscemi takes strides to reduce and reuse during her trips to the grocery store beyond paying attention to the food she purchases. “I always bring a reusable cloth bag when I go to the grocery store. And whenever I do get plastic bags, I reuse them however I can, like as tiny trash bags or to use for packing.”
“I’m lucky enough to live where I don’t have to use my car every day,” Buscemi adds, “and I try to go without it when making errands I can walk to.”