Hey, Green Junkie!
Have you ever thought about how much waste is produced by the longstanding tradition of giving gifts?
Buying gifts for others is one of the greatest ways we celebrate those that we love but unfortunately, this beautiful tradition can often come at a cost to the planet.
So today, I brought on Elizabeth Mueller, the owner and founder of Swathe Gifts to talk about the environmental impacts traditional wrapping paper has on the environment and how we can explore alternatives to keep our honored and much beloved traditions alive.
You won’t want to miss this episode where we discuss,
- How Swathe Gifts got started
- How to celebrate with less waste
- Alternatives to traditional gift wrapping
- The devastating effects of traditional wrapping paper on the environment
You’ll discover that and so much more in this episode.
If you love this podcast be sure to leave a review and share a screenshot of this episode to your IG stories. Tag @greenjunkiepodcast so I can shout you out and publicly say thanks.
Thanks for listening and being here.
Your green bestie,
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Produced by: Alecia Harris
Music By: Liz Fohle
TRANSCRIPT FOR EPISODE 42
Stephanie Moram 0:08
Hey Green Junkie. I'm your host Stephanie Moram and today I have the pleasure of speaking with Elizabeth Mueller about alternatives to conventional and single use gift wrapping called Swathe Gifts. Elizabeth is the owner of that company and is a small family owned and operated donor. Elizabeth has been making reusable fabric gift wrap for her immediate family for years, but with a growing family challenging her to find new ways to create less waste, and the need for a creative outlet during the pandemic, she was inspired to transform this work of love into something more, she set up shop in her bedroom with one sewing machine, countless fabric and a passion to create. She was so excited to share this alternative, sustainable way to wrap gifts with her family or community and now, even nationwide as she ships Swathe out all over the country. If you love learning new ways you can reduce your impact on the environment. Please subscribe the Green Junkie podcast on whatever platform you get your podcasts. That way you never miss another been living episode. Hi, Elizabeth, thank you so much for being here.
Elizabeth Mueller 1:24
Thank you so much for having me. I love your podcast. So it's truly such an honor to be on the other side of it. I listen every week.
Stephanie Moram 1:32
Thank you. That's so sweet. So let's just dive right in. I'd love for you to tell me a little bit about yourself and your family. And then I know I mentioned how Swathe got started, but you know, if you could maybe dive a little bit more into Swathe and how you how that really turned into what it is now.
Elizabeth Mueller 1:53
Sure, I'd love to. So about myself, I guess I've always just been someone who really hates to throw anything away. I'm an infinite box hoarder, which I figured you would appreciate. Because I know, as I drink out of my mason jar right now, that I think was a salsa jar, at some point, I just hate to throw anything away. I love a good wooden chair, anytime friends are moving in, they're like, Oh, I'm just gonna put this on the curb, like I'm that person that's going to stop and pick up that wooden chair and paint it and fix it and bring it back to life. I even have like one chair that I've had since I was in eighth grade. And I, you know, that's like 25 years ago. So I've painted it like seven different colors over the years. So I just, I always have really wanted to have that. And I think it was just instilled in for the generation seeing my mom be someone who saves something, you know, my grandmother was the same. My mom will tell stories about my grandmother asking the kids to take the wrapping paper off just so carefully with the tape. So she could use the paper again and again. So I think it just was instilled in me over the generations to want to figure out ways to reuse things. So, you know, Swathe really was born when my husband and I became parents. We are foster parents. So you know, our life changes really quickly. And I noticed, you know, having, you know different experiences with children coming to live with us, that just the messages that we show them with our actions just seep in little and little little by little even when you're not expecting it. So I swapped really started when it had been the holidays. And all of a sudden we had two children to spend the holidays with and I'm a bit over organized one of my best and worst qualities. So I had all the holiday presidents in the basement, just like into piles ready to wrap. And I went downstairs like okay, let me assess what I'm going to need from the store to wrap these gifts. And I went down there and I just was like, I've got to be able to figure out a better way to do this I had this just doesn't feel good to go out and buy a bunch of wrapping paper. So I ended up just like kind of pillaging through our linen closet and found some sheets that we never use anymore. And then cut those up. I didn't even know I had them – to be honest. The first the first generation swaths were not beautiful. And I just tied them up with ribbon and, you know, made this great holiday celebration. It was actually kind of fun, like the kids would open them up just like the paper you know, and they could just tear them open and would ball it up the fabric and throw it back to me and I'd fold it up and I just kind of saw them doing this and it didn't it didn't change anything about how special the celebration was. And at the end of the celebration we didn't have you know that big normal you know, you've got that big garbage bag full of paper or ribbons or whatever to throw away. I just had a folded pile of caught up sheets. And so then the other big change that happened is, you know, during COVID, we were home so much. And I think there's probably many people who can understand this part I, I just felt like I needed kind of an outlet. So I had started sewing them and making them more beautiful before the pandemic happened. But then being home, all of us all the time, I just really did feel like I needed an outlet for that creativity. So that's when I really started to get to work trying to create the product to be a super user friendly, more beautiful form fitting, something that would just be like fun and awesome for my family. But then as I started to share it with family and friends, I got so much feedback like Elizabeth, make this for people, other people would want this, you need to share this. So I kind of just got inspired to turn this passion into an actual company and share it with my community. And so I launched only about seven months ago. And it's been growing kind of more quickly than I have imagined. And I'm just really excited to be able to inspire people to think about how to celebrate, especially holidays, birthdays, anything where you know, we're celebrating and maybe getting distracted – not thinking about how much waste we're recreating. I encourage people to just kind of step back and think of alternative ways to have those celebrations be less waste and less wasteful.
Stephanie Moram 6:32
And so with Swathe, what do you create your products with? Like, would you use scraps? Do you buy fabrics? What is it that they're made of?
Elizabeth Mueller 6:43
That's actually a really interesting journey. And as I was listening to your podcast, as my business was growing, I was getting great hints and feedback from some of your previous podcasts. So thank you. But as I started Swathe, I started purchasing tensile which is a sustainably produced fabric. So it uses less water, it's, you know, a very eco friendly fabric, but it still is something that I was having produced for my products. And at first that felt like, Okay, this is a great solution, this eco friendly fabric. But as I as I kept moving and growing, and needing more fabric, I've really thought okay, well, how can I take this to even the next level of not creating something because how can I use things? You know, as I say, I'm like going and picking up chairs off the curb, you know, like, how can I do the same thing in my business where I'm not, you know, making more waste, where I'm more transferring things that already exist into a new way? What do we call that upcycling?
Stephanie Moram 7:52
Elizabeth Mueller 7:53
So I am now on a path where I am pretty exclusively sourcing upcycled fabric from a few different avenues from vintage stores, from retailers who you know, when bigger retailers run, you know, a shirt, they'll have, you know, some leftover a big ream of left leftover fabric, which to them isn't enough to keep creating that product. But for a smaller company like me is plenty of fabric. So I'm working with some retailers to source that fabric that's pretty much just sitting in a warehouse. You know, getting moldy, ended up in the landfill, and creating fabric gift wrap out of that. So I'm not making new fabric and creating the waste have to make that. And then I also have a great wholesaler who sells a ribbon because the swaths are made out of fabric and then ribbon. And the ribbon is made from reprieve fibers and reprieve is recycled plastic bottles. So what I love about my new line of production is that not only is the is Swathe, a sustainable product, but it's also reconverting garbage, water bottles and fabric that would have ended up in the landfill and turning it into something beautiful that can help families celebrate those big occasion celebrations holidays and use it again and again.
Stephanie Moram 9:28
No, and I think it's so smart that companies when they can reuse stuff that will end up in a landfill anyway so that is so smart. You know what I mean? Like you're creating a product to reduce waste, and that is wrapping paper waste, right? And it's reusable over and over again, which is great. But then one step further is you're going to companies that are creating clothing or whatever it is that they're creating, and they have all this scrap that's leftover. I could talk about the fashion industry like all day every day but a set is created with making a dress that someone's going to wear once in the fast fashion world, like it just drives me flipping bananas. So if a company can come and say, raise their hand and say, Hey, you're creating clothing, and I know you have waist, because I'm a sewer, and you take that, and now you create something else with it. It's just, it's so beautiful. Like, I love it so much. And I also love how you started Swathe like, you cut up your sheet. Because that many people that's what they do, like, if you want to go buy a Swathe go buy it, it's super user friendly, super easy to use, really pretty unique. But then some people are like, well, this pillowcase has a hole in it, I'm gonna just cut it up and wrap it and use that as a gift, you know, as gift wrapping.
Elizabeth Mueller 10:45
Exactly. You hit the nail on the head, because what I'm really hoping is to just inspire people to take a step back and think about their celebrations and gift giving, and how they can create less waste in that gift giving. I mean, to be honest, we don't always even only use Swathe exclusively at my house, this is a secret between me, you and all the green junkies. I have bags that I have used hundreds of times, I will use a gift bag until it is falling apart. And I fold up that tissue paper and use the if there's like a little piece of tape, I just cut that piece of tape off. And I use that tissue paper until it is like rather than terrible. And then even our family we love it again, because of the box hoarding. You know, the kids will decorate boxes, you know, color on them, make them so fun, like, especially like a grandma or grandpa loves to get a box that the kid decorated rather than wrapped in wrapping paper that made a lot of ways to be created and then is not recyclable. Have the kids or even you do it. I mean, like my mom, if I decorated a box, you know, my mom would love it. So I feel like even just looking around your house and thinking okay, well, you know, you know, of course, if you want to order Swathe I love that. But looking at even before you do that look around your house and say, oh, what could I use to make this gift really special, like you said, even if it's like a scarf you haven't used for so long. Now all of a sudden, that's part of the gift, you know, it's, it's so simple to just kind of use what you already have at your house. And then when you run out of all of that, you know, check out Swathe.
Stephanie Moram 12:28
Right. And it's really like, when it comes to sustainability, just general green living, it's to really use what you already have. And then when you no longer can use that, okay, I'm gonna go buy something new, and then looking at, hey, is there something out there that I can buy that would have less of an impact on the environment. So if you have some brown paper at home, use that to wrap your gifts, and then look around and go, Okay, well, I don't have anything else to use, I'm going to buy Swathe or I'm going to cut up an old t shirt. Or I'm going to I want to gift somebody a scarf. So I'm going to wrap the other piece of their gift in the scarf.
Elizabeth Mueller 13:03
Absolutely. A glass of wine wrapped in a scarf, come on, that's my Gift of Choice.
Stephanie Moram 13:10
Right. So it's like, I love that you created this product for those people that maybe want more convenience, right? Not everyone is going to save the brown paper or save their boxes and have their kids color it. They want convenience, they want something that they can do quickly, they're not going to go cut up, you know, they're sheets, which I totally understand. So you have created something that okay, you know, of course, you're creating a product, there's always going to be waste, like, let's be honest, right? Right. But you're creating something that is going to have much less of an impact on the environment, you're using scraps to create that product, and it can be reused over and over and over again.
Elizabeth Mueller 13:53
Yes, and it's fine. You know, part of the thing I am always explaining to people is, sometimes it's part of the gift, right, because sometimes you have those special gifts, that you really do want to have a beautiful presentation, you know, and so some Swathe is perfect for that. But then, you know, you're kind of accounting for this, the cost of the Swathe as part of the gift, you're not expecting to get it back, right. And then hopefully, that person will, you know, see the tag go to the how to see how quick and easy it is to use. And they'll use it again. And you know, it'll end up who knows all over the world, you know, but then within our family, I my sisters and I have given each other the same Swathe back and forth, back and forth. So many times, I honestly should start a tally of how many times we've just given the Swathe within our own family, and then you're actually saving money, right? Because, in fact, we were able to use it again and again, rather than go and spend. I mean, I'm always a little bit shocked about you know, how much we spend on wrapping paper and cards. My kids always make our own cards. You know, I feel like we go spend $7 on a birthday card, you know, but you know that you can't use that out again instead to find something, you know that you can spend that money but use it again. And again, it also is more cost friendly in the long run as as many sustainable swaps are right, it might be a little bit more upfront, but when you use those cloth dish towels again and again, you're not buying paper towels anymore. So take that out of the year weekly budget, you know,
Stephanie Moram 15:23
Yeah, there's always obviously an upfront cost when it comes to making those switches but it's one step at a time, right? So if you switched out your cup and your, you know, ziplock bags, and now you're really okay want to tackle gift wrapping, then it's make a little bit of investment in Swathe. And, or whatever you find something else. But yeah, is a great product. And so you know, it's investing in something, okay, I'm going to invest, you know, I'm gonna buy for them. And when I give gifts, now, I'm going to use this and then hopefully, you know, you you write a little note saying, hey, you know, next time you're gifting a gift, you know, think of using this as as your gift wrapping, you know what I mean? So I think it's just such a great idea. Because, you know, something else I want to talk to you about is like, just the impact of gift wrapping on the environment. It is so bad for the environment, like you mentioned, it's not recyclable, definitely do not put it in your compost my friends, unless it's like brown paper, gift wrapping cannot be recycled. It's shiny, chemical recycling. So I'd love for you to talk a little bit more about that, like the the impact that it's having on the environment.
Elizabeth Mueller 16:27
Yes, absolutely. You said it just right. Because, you know, I think it's one of those things that often ends up being wishcycled, because we all want it to be recyclable. So even, you know, as you're opening those gifts on the holidays, you're separating out the bows in the paper, and you're putting that paper in the recycling. And unfortunately, unless you're really buying specific paper that you know, can be recycled and is labeled that way, the ink and the plastic lining that they use in wrapping paper, makes most of it totally not recyclable, ending up in the landfill. And then, you know, being a really big nightmare for the recycling sorting centers, because they have to get that all out then. And so I actually was just doing some reading about how how difficult it is around the holidays for the recycling centers to deal with all of the wrapping paper that gets sent to them that isn't actually recyclable. So it creates a really big headache for them. But yeah, the gift wrapping paper industry just to kind of give you some numbers, the research shows that there's approximately 4.6 million pounds of wrapping paper produced just in the US each year, and that 2.3 , so half of that 2.3 million pounds ends up in the landfill. So there's just so much totally unnecessary garbage that's going into our landfill that we could just, again, all the ways that we talked about whether it's reusing that bag a million times, taking that brown paper, cutting up magazines using a scarf, investing in something reusable like swath, we could literally save 2.3 million pounds of waste in the landfill each year just in the US just in the United States worldwide. I haven't ever seen one where it says about the whole world. But you know, if we added it up country by country, it just would be so much unnecessary waste to that. I just I really hope like I said that our conversation swath all of all of what we're talking about now, it just helps people think like, okay, let's celebrate in a way that isn't actually hurting our Earth. Let's celebrate in a way that celebrating our celebrations and celebrating this beautiful planet that we have.
Stephanie Moram 18:48
Yeah, 100% agree. And it's just, you know, reusing what you have buying something that's more sustainable. And, you know, it's also if you have a gazillion gift bags, like I've collected over the years, know what, secondhand stores, take them if they're still in good condition, I have a small thrift store near my house, and all the money goes back into the community. And so I have a box of like gift bags, like I'm never going to use all these like, who are we kidding here? Like, I'm not using all these. There's not enough birthdays, or holidays for bags. So I was there one day and I saw in one section, they had all these gift bags had tons of tissue paper and I was like, Okay, I'm gonna go through my bags. I'm going to keep a handful of them and the rest I'm going to donate because there's somebody out there that wants to use a gift bag or wants tissue paper and they can't afford it.
Elizabeth Mueller 19:40
Yes, that's so beautiful. That's amazing to have that resource there. I didn't even think about that. I might have to look around in Milwaukee where I am.
Stephanie Moram 19:48
Yeah, because you like some of my personal thrift store. They have everything they like they take almost everything and they repackage stuff. You know if you were to donate pencils, and they would repackage them. So they're just not pencils everywhere, whatever it is. So they do a really good job at repackaging the products. And I look around just to see what I can donate and what they would actually use. But you're so right when it comes to gift wrapping, there's so much waste.
Elizabeth Mueller 20:17
Oh my gosh, wait, I have to say one more thing about gift wrap is that the when you buy gift wrapped with glitter, that glitter gets in our oceans and literally there is a glitch micro plastic from that glitter. And, you know, if you eat fish, like you are eating your own glitter, it's so just especially wrapping paper, I just like I honestly want it to be banned. Like you know, again, if you really want wrapping paper you can go out you probably have to spend a little bit more you can get the it's made of recycled there are some really great companies that are making it from recycled paper and it is recyclable. But if it has glitter on it, please just run.
Stephanie Moram 20:57
No and there's lots of microplastics in the ocean.
Elizabeth Mueller 21:02
Not just glitter, but wrapping paper, you know, we don't need glitter on our wrapping paper the gift is the important part. Right? Like of course we love you know, we want people to be able to put as much, much thought and beauty and love into the presentation. But you know, the gift is what really matters. So don't don't don't um, sprinkle it with glitter, okay.
Stephanie Moram 21:25
But there are definitely like you said, there are companies out there that make disposable gift wrapping paper out of paper that can be recycled, this doesn't have the shiny coating and the plastic and all that kind of stuff. So again, if if reusable is not your thing, no shame, it's finding what is going to have, you know, be convenient for you and will have less of an impact on the environment. Right, exactly. And so talking about all this green stuff and how you created swathes which is such a beautiful company at home before you really got into suas Did you as a family with your foster kids? Did you and your husband do you live more green? Like is it part of your everyday have to be more green at home outside of like gift wrapping?
Elizabeth Mueller 22:10
Yeah, absolutely. And I love I love your podcast because I love the message of it being a journey. Because I do think there's you know, there's many things that we were kind of early adopters on and then I still learn new things like all the time you know, we're we're late adopters on some things like I literally was had to do like a shame post on social media saying I literally just started using wool dryer balls you guys like I started a company about sustainable fabric giftwrap and I just started using wool dryer balls so like dryer balls you know so I just started that's one of my new might one of my new additions to living stainable is that. And then I have to confess I just started using shampoo bars you know I go to we are lucky enough to have a refill shop here called Glass pantry in Milwaukee if you're in the area you got to check it out. Or if you're in another area Google refill shops because you know that I love refill shops, they are my favorite. But even then I was you know refilling my shampoo bottle but then I just got recommended this bar shampoo and I don't think I will ever go back to even refilling I'll just use my bar shampoo. So there's some new things that we that I just find like that all the time. But I think some big staples that we were that were early adopters on is is like we do not use paper towels we don't buy them between we use the Marley's monsters cloth towels and then those like the Swedish dish towels I think we use papaya ones and then like you said I often like when I need to clean around the house I will cut up any old t shirt that has a hole in it you know I of course I'm trying never to throw anything away so like we invested in those two items. The Cloth Paper towels and the Swedish dish towel so those are you staples that we invested in but then I never buy paper towels because again I'm just looking around okay, what can I soak this up with? That doesn't mean put in the garbage so something like that. One other thing that we do at home that's a little bit newer is I just we love sparkling water and I was looking at this like why am I putting a can in the recycling every day when I could just get a sparkling water maker so for the holidays as a gift for my family I got a drink mate which is like a sparkling water maker you know made here in the US in Michigan I think and I love it now I just make sparkling water in my same cup every day and I can take it to go no problem and I never throw away another will not throw away I was put in the recycling but I'm never recycling another can just to save that. You know that energy of having to recycle that can I can just use my drink maker every day. So those are definitely some I think, kind of I think cuz easier switches because you they aren't they really they might seem hard at first. But as soon as I make the switch, I'm just like, oh my god, that was so easy. Why didn't I do that before? I think there are things that I think to bigger things that we do at our house that might be a little bit harder for some families. But just to put in your mind to think about is, you know, at our house, we do eat plant based. And I know that's not for everyone every day. But even if your family's just selecting one or two days of the week, where you're eating plant based, that saves so much energy in the world, to just make that commitment and just try it out, you know. And then transportation, we really bike walk, take the bus everywhere we can. We live in a really walkable and commutable neighborhood. So I know not everyone has that luxury of living in an area that's a non drive an area where you can get around easily without driving. But even if it's just little switches that you can make to you know, walk somewhere or bike somewhere or learn how to use public transportation. If you're in a city with public transportation, I just would encourage people to kind of think outside of their norms on those two aspects.
Stephanie Moram 26:11
Yeah, and I think, you know, like you said, the beginning, it's, there's some things that you didn't do before, and now you've integrated into your life, and I think it is a journey. 100% It's a journey. We all start somewhere, we all end up in this sustainability world somehow. Right?
Elizabeth Mueller 26:26
Stephanie Moram 26:27
And so for you, it was like, wrapping gifts. That's where I'm putting my focus on, it creates a lot of waste. And then you know, that also opens your eyes to Well, where else am I creating waste? That maybe I can lower it, right? Oh, exactly. Dryer sheets, not only not only our dryer sheets, disposable, but they are filled with so many toxins.
Elizabeth Mueller 26:47
I know I can't believe it. I'm serious again. But you know, I, I, I again, I love your message, because I could sit here and be like, gosh, Elizabeth, you're not living this sustainable life, you're the worst. Or I could just be like, Okay, well, I made this change. I'm going to share this idea with other people. I'm going to look around and see what else I can do differently. Because you know, we all are gonna realize the mistakes that we're making. And all we can do is make that change and then move forward with a new change. And I'm sure I mean, honestly, probably later today, I'll think of another way that I could change something up and do that or see it on Instagram and be like, Oh, wow, how come I didn't think about I don't know doing this, you know, toothpaste tabs instead of you know, your squeezy toothpaste thing, like, just little stuff like that, that you're like, it's so easy to find and be inspired by little swaps that you can make that you maybe never thought of, but you have all these people out here, you know, that you can look to including me looking to other people to say, okay, what can I do a little bit differently. And it's just little by little and not being hard on yourself for what you haven't done in the past. But just to celebrating what you are doing today and moving forward?
Stephanie Moram 27:59
Yeah, it's definitely the small steps, definitely. Because we become overwhelmed if we think we have to do all the things. So yeah, that's the message I try to get across with people is one day at a time, one small step at a time. I mean, my journey was I went all in pretty much right away. I don't recommend that for everybody. Very overwhelming. But some people that's their personality, right? They're like, all in or I'm just out. And that's me, I'm like, if I'm gonna do this, I'm diving in. With both my feet. I'm researching everything. And I'm gonna make these changes. I didn't make them all overnight. Don't get me wrong, but I was like, I fast tracked myself. Whereas other people are like, well, let's put on the brakes. I'm going to start with gift wrapping, I'm going to use some stuff I have at home, I might get some Swathe gifts, I'm gonna start using wool dryer balls. I realized I drink a lot of sparkling water, I'm gonna get a machine to make my sparkling water. Like, I don't drink a lot of sparkling water. So yes, your product is, you know, a great product, but I don't drink it. So I wouldn't buy it. You know, that wouldn't make sense for me. It would just create more waste but I just think it's so important that we don't we're not so hard on ourselves, you know and feel guilt because we're not living this sustainably perfect world and I think people get caught up in that. And so whatever it is that you're doing at home is amazing. You're using wool dryer balls and if you have essential oils, put some drops on it and make sure they know smell amazing.
Stephanie Moram 29:20
Cinnamon smells really good
Elizabeth Mueller 29:27
I'll have to try that during the holidays and in the summer.
Stephanie Moram 29:31
Right so I think all the changes we're making are amazing and you know I love when people come on as guests and they're like, I'm not perfect. I'm learning and I might have started this company but I still use toothpaste in the tube to have amazing by the way.
Elizabeth Mueller 29:49
I know I just started with the toothpaste tabs. I think I just got the hoppy ones they're so good and but again that was it. I feel like we are even myself I can be resistant to change because I was like Oh, toothpaste tabs, that's gonna be kind of weird. Honestly, I thought that and then I got someone I was like, this is not weird at all, why was I being so resistant to this change. But you know, like you said, it's, it's every little thing and with kids, it can be so hard one of my goals, and then you can hold me to this Stephanie as I, we eat so many granola bars, and I buy them. And I throw away that little wrapper every time and I literally just am like, Elizabeth, stop throwing away those papers. So this, this summer, we are going to start making our own granola bars, I am going to do it, I am not going to be resistant to this change. And I'll let you know when I when I have perfected the granola bar recipe because I just have got to stop buying granola bars and individual wrappers, but I do it.
Stephanie Moram 30:51
Well, that's where I'm not sustainable at all. For my kids at school. I mean, we use TerraCycle. So we do send all our wrappers to TerraCycle. But and if anyone is interested in TerraCycle, they have a lot of free programs. If you go into TerraCycle, there's a lot of companies that take back their products. So if there's like a granola bar company out there, in the States, there's a lot of free programs in Canada, there's there's way less. So a lot of stuff I do pay for but you just go on. And if there's a program where they take granola bar wrappers, I'm not saying don't make your own granola bars, I think that's a great idea.
Elizabeth Mueller 31:24
No, no, if you can save me from having to cook I will love that.
Stephanie Moram 31:28
And TerraCycle is great. So they do different programs, some, there's a huge that are free, but you have to send specific specific stuff. So it could be like a shampoo company might want their bottle, you know, is paying TerraCycle to collect their bottles, but you might only be able to send a certain brand, you know, kind of thing. And so they have free programs, and then they have programs or you can pay. So because Canada doesn't have as many free programs, I buy TerraCycle box, and I put any kind of waste that's created that I don't want to put into trash into that TerraCycle box and shipping is included. And then I send the box back, you'll see some at Staples. No, yeah, I'm glad to see staples in the States I'm trying to think of isn't staples in the CVS. They have, you know, you'll go to Staples. And you'll see they take back ink cartridges and stuff like that.
Elizabeth Mueller 32:37
Wow. So I can't wait to get out. I mean, I I'm so excited to be talking to you. But I literally as soon as we hang up, I am going to go search TerraCycle because maybe I don't need to make granola bars.
Stephanie Moram 32:49
They definitely have snack wraps on there. So for example, they have a box that's like for kitchen waste. So I bought a box. That's all kitchen waste. So anything waste that comes from my kitchen, like canned recycling, I fill up with I feel I put in that box. But like I said, the states has way more free programs. And all you have to do is take a box a used box you already have at home,
Elizabeth Mueller 33:12
I know um, you know I have plenty.
Stephanie Moram 33:15
Fill it up with whatever it is that you can collect for that specific programs. So there is definitely a program for snack wraps and what they accept, I'm not sure. And then it lists like we take out all of our wrappers we take, you know, maybe gummy bear wrappers, I don't know. And it'll list what they can take. And then you fill up a box and then you print out a label and you just go the post office and drop it off and then they'll dispose of it properly. They make stuff with it.
Elizabeth Mueller 33:39
I am so excited. I'm gonna add that to my list of my new I'm going to be a late adopter to TerraCycle
Stephanie Moram 33:46
Well, I think a lot of people don't know about TerraCycle Yeah, to be honest, I don't think a lot of people do.
Elizabeth Mueller 33:52
You and I are gonna shout it from the rooftops everyone will know.
Stephanie Moram 33:55
So yeah, and it's you know, a lot of companies now want to be more sustainable. So they'll create programs with TerraCycle specific for their products. That's beautiful. Oh, with Stasher, you know, Stasher is the company that creates silicone, like snack bags, okay. And they're called Stasher. And I was on their website, and it says, Oh, we recycle your, you know, ripped or old silicone bags when you cannot reuse them anymore. Here are suggestions on how to reuse them if they're starting to fall apart, or they've ripped so they list creative ideas. Like if you have a rip in it, what else you could use it for before you send it to TerraCycle it's only in the United States that they take them back but so if you have a stash or a silicone bag and they're ripping or something happens to them, you can send them back to TerraCycle.
Elizabeth Mueller 34:42
Wow, that's so awesome. I'm really excited to check this out. Again, it's just every day you can learn new things every day.
Stephanie Moram 34:51
Exactly. All the time.
Elizabeth Mueller 34:52
Yeah, honestly, it's so great.
Stephanie Moram 34:55
Well, I'm so happy that you were able to come on and chat with me today. I really do you appreciate it and I would love for you to share with everybody you know where they can find Swathe gifts and where they can find you on social media so they can follow along on your journey.
Elizabeth Mueller 35:09
Oh, thank you and I do share a lot about our sustainable swaps at home. So even if you are not in the market for gift wrap, check us out on social media, if you like sustainable swaps, or cute dogs, because I have plenty of cute dog pics on there, too. But I'm, I'm honored to be on your podcast. Thank you so much for having me. Everyone can check out Swathe gifts on our website, it's Roth with an E. So S W A T H E gifts.com. And I have 10% off discount code, just in case anyone is inspired to join our swag family. It's always on Earth Love. So E A R T H L O V E. And if you are inspired to purchase SWATHE please go ahead and join as a fellow green junkie, I would love for you to use that code share with friends and family. There's no time limit on it. So anytime you think about Swathe, just pop that code in there. And then on social media where the same our handle is at SWATHE gifts. And the last thing I'll say is, you know SWATHE means to wrap. So I feel so wrapped up with love by this conversation. And I'm super excited to have been able to speak to you and speak to my fellow green junkies because again, I love listening to your podcast every week. So it's a true honor to be on the other side, discussing what we're doing in our lives to be sustainable, and I can't wait to learn more sustainable slabs from you and the rest of our community.
Stephanie Moram 36:44
Well, thanks again. I really do appreciate it that you took the time to come on. I know you're super busy sewing. Oh, like sidenote Elizabeth is the only one that sells her products. So she needs to get other people to sew more.
Elizabeth Mueller 36:58
So I love to sew. But yes, I'm going to start building up a little team so that there isn't so much late night sewing.
Stephanie Moram 37:06
Right. So thanks again, I really do appreciate it. And if you're looking for more green living and sustainable living inspiration, I have a couple of other episodes you might want to check out Number 22 Eco Impact of Fast Fashion Number 18 The Importance of Connecting With The Earth with Chelsea Hammond, and Number 14 Creative and Sustainable Ways to Wrap Gifts. I did that one, I believe sometime over the holiday. So there are some fun ways to use stuff around the house. You can stay connected with me on Instagram @greenjunkiepodcast or @thisisstephaniemoram. And don't forget to subscribe to the green junkie podcast on the platform you're listening on. If you're curious about reducing your environmental impacts as an individual or as a business, I've got you covered. For direct access to me your sustainability consultant and green living expert. You can click the link in the show notes where you can ask me a question and get a customized plan on how you can live a more green lifestyle as an individual or how to implement sustainable strategies into your business for positive climate, pop on a one on one call with me or ask me your questions via email if Zoom is not your thing. Thank you for listening, and I'll see you next Tuesday Green Junkie.