Simple Living: Take Three

Google “living simply” and you’ll get millions of results  –  essays, blogs, books, websites, conferences. Clearly, living with a smaller environmental footprint –  more intention, less stuff – is an appealing idea that’s gaining popularity. Now more than ever, it’s critical for those of us with a choice to simplify our lives reduce our impact on our planet and its climate. This month, we will be publishing three profiles of people in our community who have chosen to simplify their lifestyles and enrich the quality of their lives. Shirley Perez West wrote these stories for the winter 2014 edition of the UsedNews, our free print and online quarterly newsletter.

A Simple Life Isn’t a Small Life

By Shirley Perez West

Erik and Fay Debuhr have been moving toward more intentional living for most of their adult lives, seeking lifestyles more in line with their values. They met, married, and had their son while living at Maitreya Ecovillage. Now they live in a seven-foot by twelve-foot Conestoga Hut and run Community Supported Shelters—living with less, so they can contribute more to the community.Debuhr family Continue reading “Simple Living: Take Three”

Living Simply: Take 2

Google “living simply” and you’ll get millions of results  –  essays, blogs, books, websites, conferences. Clearly, living with a smaller environmental footprint –  more intention, less stuff – is an appealing idea that’s gaining popularity. Now more than ever, it’s critical for those of us with a choice to simplify our lives reduce our impact on our planet and its climate. This month, we will be publishing three profiles of people in our community who have chosen to simplify their lifestyles and enrich the quality of their lives. Shirley Perez West wrote these stories for the winter 2014 edition of the UsedNews, our free print and online quarterly newsletter.

Putting a Good Life Together

By Shirley Perez West

Whitey Lueck stands in his thriving garden and looks quizzically at his visitor, as he if doesn’t quite “get” the question she’s just asked—How much work does it take to maintain such a beautiful, productive garden?

“First off,” says Whitey, “it’s not work.” Fair enough. If you spend time talking to him or reading his website, it becomes clear why his way of life is, essentially, a joy. “I realized somewhere along the way that there’s something to be said for treading lightly,” he says.Whitey in The Woods_CROP

Continue reading “Living Simply: Take 2”

Living Simply: Take 1

Google “living simply” and you’ll get millions of results  –  essays, blogs, books, websites, conferences. Clearly, living with a smaller environmental footprint –  more intention, less stuff – is an appealing idea that’s gaining popularity. Now more than ever, it’s critical for those of us with a choice to simplify our lives and reduce our impact on our planet and its climate. This month, we will be publishing three profiles of people in our community who have chosen to simplify their lifestyles and enrich the quality of their lives. Shirley Perez West wrote these stories for the winter 2014 edition of the UsedNews, our free print and online quarterly newsletter.

Rebooting to Focus on What’s Important

By Shirley Perez West

Sheryl Balthrop may be the last person you’d expect to seek out a simpler life. As a transactional and trial lawyer, partner in the firm Gaydos, Churnside and Balthrop, and president of the Eugene Chamber of Commerce (all work she loves), Sheryl surprised a lot of people when she and husband Dave decided to “reboot” their lives.Dave and Sheryl Balthrop_CROP

Continue reading “Living Simply: Take 1”

Creswell Students Join Design Challenge

Materials SelectionThis Wednesday, March 8,  thirteen students in Stan Mercer’s Makerspace class at Creswell Middle School visited the Planet Improvement Center to select materials for BRING’s inaugural Product Design Challenge. Separating into three design teams, the students sifted through tables and bins full of dusty ceiling fans, dull door knobs, old spark plugs, porcelain toilet covers, green plastic siding, broken doors, and more. Their mission: find materials that inspire them to make something new from old. Continue reading “Creswell Students Join Design Challenge”

Bioplastics: An Idea Not Even a Compost Heap Can Love

Throughout the winter and spring, BRING has been helping the Love Food Not Waste program roll out its residential composting pilot program. To help people understand what not to put in their compost bins, we are revisiting this story on bioplastics we published last year in the UsedNews, our quarterly print and online newsletter. 

rexius-compost-pile-1

By Shirley Perez West

As VP for Environmental Services at Rexius, part of Jack Hoeck’s job includes turning food waste into a contaminant-free, marketable soil product. For a city that throws away up to 30,000 tons of food each year, it’s also a valuable public service. And converting mountains of leftover table scraps into rich garden compost, it turns out, is no picnic. Continue reading “Bioplastics: An Idea Not Even a Compost Heap Can Love”

Introducing BRING’s Inaugural Product Design Challenge

Call for Entries

Blue Barrel Bench 2.JPGThis March and April, we challenge community members to create innovative and sustainable product designs made from materials available at BRING. The objective: transform salvaged materials into new and relevant products such as furniture, décor, accessories, tools, and more. All finished products will be judged and prizes will be awarded Saturday, April 22 at 6 p.m. during St. Vincent de Paul’s fourth annual Metamorphose fashion and art show! Continue reading “Introducing BRING’s Inaugural Product Design Challenge”

Extended Producer Responsibility

Shifting the Burden of Waste Reduction and Recycling Upstream

waste-reduction-cover-photo-v2By Shirley Perez West

The benefits of recycling are well known: divert useful materials from landfills and incinerators and we save raw resources, energy, and water; reduce toxins in the environment, create jobs, and save money. It’s good for the planet and good for us.

Dealing with a product at the end of its lifecycle isn’t enough, however, nor is counting on consumer behavior. What’s more, the burden of managing and paying for recycling programs falls on municipal governments. Continue reading “Extended Producer Responsibility”