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Dumpster Diving, The Easy Way

“People who pull things out of the trash are fanatics.”

Or at least that’s what he reluctantly told me just after I proudly told him that I found this bag in the trash bin.

I have been carrying this bag, (which may I remind you I didn’t spend even one dime on) daily now for the past 18 months. I love it. It’s stylish and everything I need fits inside of it.

This Nine West bag was thrown right into the trash by one of the neighbors in my building! It was in brand new condition, still with its nylon lining in place, buckles and the handles on. 

I picture my bag’s first owner. She took the money for which she works hard for every single day, bought a purse, (perhaps it was on sale) and then, she threw it out in the rubbish bin.

That, in my opinion, is the act of a fanatic.

But what makes me; a woman of a good socioeconomic status with a stable income, pick up items from the trash can? What would possess someone such as myself to do such a thing? 

When we think of waste, we usually think of leftovers that we didn’t eat, dirty diapers or plastic we don’t know where to recycle.

But it is quite common to see our neighbors leaving bags packed with items in good condition in a bag near the trash bins or benches in the street. You did it yourself a few times, didn’t you? You thought, “It’s in too good of condition to throw out. But, maybe someone will use it.”

“Dumpster diving”:

It’s a term developed in the US that describes people diving into dumpsters or scouring garbage bins in search of edible food thrown in there, household items, clothing and so forth.

Sounds to you like something only homeless people do, huh? It is commonly seen as an unhygienic act, or indicative of an individual’s poverty and deprivation. In fact, it was created from an ideology of anti-consumerism, resource reduction and environmental damage. Using what has already been created instead of creating something new.

What do you think would have happened to this bag if I or someone else hadn’t saved it? One way ticket straight to the landfill. Here is an item for which other women and men have worked hard for, just for it to become common trash. Here is an item for which we wasted fuel, water, released toxic chemicals into the air, all these things for what? For it to become waste, even without being properly utilized beforehand. Straight from the production line- straight to the bin.

Let me clarify, I don’t suggest you dive into dumpsters. I certainly don’t do it myself.

But the next time you see a bag by the bin, you might consider taking a peek.

Maybe there is something there that can serve your purposes and save you some money.

What’s the worst that could happen? Maybe one day you take something completely normal and good from the trash, and suddenly that makes you less respected in society’s eyes? 

I think that for people who are aware of sustainability, there’s a certain curiosity to look at what is in these tactfully placed bags. Yet, sadly a lot of these curious folks don’t do it, because it embarrasses them. What will your neighbors think of you if they pass by and see you rummaging through garbage bags or other people’s trash cans?

Join me and drop your concern about the neighbors’ opinion of you, its value is minor, if even existent. Being stuck in the obsessive thought cycle of what others think of you, that dear readers, is kind of like being stuck in a mental dumpster.


EDITOR’S NOTE: Lee Snir is one of the founding partners of Legendary Life and is the original author of these blog posts. Lee is an active environmental advocate and in-demand speaker, writer and influencer in her native Israel. These blog posts were originally published in her native Hebrew in her personal blog titled, “Elita Yeruka” (“Green Elite” in English.)

When we translated Lee’s blogs for Legendary Life our goal was to only edit for grammar and clarity but to retain “Lee’s voice”. Thus the editorial choices were to err on the side of not “Americanizing” the language and thus leaving the translated blog as close as possible to the original. Therefore, native English speakers may occasionally find the word choices and phrasing a little different than they are used to.

For those of you who are Hebrew speakers and wish to read the blogs in their original form and follow Lee’s Personal blog you can do so here:

https://www.facebook.com/elitayeruka/?modal=admin_todo_tour

DISCLAIMER: Any statements, opinions or conclusions contained herein are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the statements, opinions or conclusions of Legendary Life (a Legendary Products, LLC brand), its owners, employees, contractors, affiliates, partners or advertisers.

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Are Plastic Straws Really A Problem?

Don’t get me wrong. Plastic straws and the damage they do to sea turtles is problematic and real, but the momentum the issue caught online is a little out of proportion.

Any positive change that is made, even if it is the smallest one is valuable and I cherish those of you who have taken this difficult matter to heart. However, you should know that what you are hearing about straws is such a small percentage of the overall problem of plastic waste in our oceans. It is just the tiniest tip of the proverbial iceberg.

If the oceans and sea turtles are what worries you, let me blow your mind. Only 0.03% of the plastic waste comes from drinking straws, while 46% is coming from discarded or lost fishing nets (also called “ghost nets”).

Did you know that? If not, it’s my job to let you know, that’s why I’m here. The size of the media buzz around the “straw problem” surprised me. Pressure is being exerted on restaurant owners, bars, resorts and manufacturers to replace plastic straws with paper straws or no-straw lids in the thought (on the part of the customers = we) that taking this action will reduce marine waste.

While glad to see awareness and caring rising, I wondered why the facts about fishing nets comprising such a high percentage of the oceans’ plastic waste problem was not heard online. The reason is simple: quitting straws is easy. Instagram culture makes the job simple and fun. It suddenly becomes chic and trendy to post a picture with a reusable straw, right? 

People will cheer you if you upload such a picture. Talking about dietary change and suggesting that we reduce our seafood consumption is more difficult and less cute.

It makes people subject to criticism from others (high five to vegans who have to deal with this every day), it causes a person to have to adapt to a new menu, to give up foods he or she likes and change their lifestyle. It causes effort.

We are 7.7 billion people in the world, and in relation to avoiding plastic straws, I repeat what I said first – a positive change, even if it is small, is valuable to me. But know the facts, their percentage of the overall problem, and their real impact on the environment.

I don’t consume fish at all. It’s something I do for the environment. But if it’s too big for you, just think: What can I do? Maybe just reducing consumption is a viable option for you? Maybe eat fish only on weekends? Helping address the problem isn’t a zero sum game. It’s not “If I can’t do everything then I may as well bury my head in the sand and do nothing”. Every little bit helps. We need everyone to do their part, whatever they feel that part can be to affect a positive change.

In any case, if you want to be cool, by all means please do stop using single-use plastic straws. If you want your actions to have a real, big impact on the ocean and on those who live in it, reduce seafood consumption.

(Photos: Joan Chan + National Geographic)


EDITOR’S NOTE: Lee Snir is one of the founding partners of Legendary Life and is the original author of these blog posts. Lee is an active environmental advocate and in-demand speaker, writer and influencer in her native Israel. These blog posts were originally published in her native Hebrew in her personal blog titled, “Elita Yeruka” (“Green Elite” in English.)

When we translated Lee’s blogs for Legendary Life our goal was to only edit for grammar and clarity but to retain “Lee’s voice”. Thus the editorial choices were to err on the side of not “Americanizing” the language and thus leaving the translated blog as close as possible to the original. Therefore, native English speakers may occasionally find the word choices and phrasing a little different than they are used to.

For those of you who are Hebrew speakers and wish to read the blogs in their original form and follow Lee’s Personal blog you can do so here:

https://www.facebook.com/elitayeruka/?modal=admin_todo_tour

DISCLAIMER: Any statements, opinions or conclusions contained herein are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the statements, opinions or conclusions of Legendary Life (a Legendary Products, LLC brand), its owners, employees, contractors, affiliates, partners or advertisers.

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How To Be Eco-friendly On A Business Trip?

Setting:

Las Vegas, work conference, 3K people.

How many disposable cups are thrown in the trash in one conference like that? Can you guess?

I was recently at a 3-day conference joined with another 3,000 people living like me, in high gear. Each day we were in the conference rooms and ballrooms for nine hours.

During the brief breaks, there were groups of people lined up near the water fountains.

I looked around at the tables of the other people and my eyes were able to catch a reusable water bottle only twice. There were hardly any. Single-use plastic cups decorated each table.

If not cups of water, then coffee cups adorned the tables, alongside people standing around them. More often than not, coffee and water cups garnished each table. 

So, here we have a small theoretical math exercise:

Suppose that of the 3,000 participants in the conference, only 1,000 chose to drink water from the disposable glasses. The rest chose nothing to drink, suiting the dry desert atmosphere that we were in, and another 2% had a disposable bottle. 1,000 people using disposable plastic cups multiplied by 5 water breaks? 5,000. Take that number and multiple it for three days? We get a grand finale of 15,000 disposable plastic cups. At a minimum, as this is a conservative hypothetical math equation. 15,000 disposable cups (!) At one work conference event.  Only one, out of the tens of thousands of conferences that happen annually across the world. An alarming statistic, given the fact that it takes about 1,000 years for one plastic cup to decompose. This is frightening and unnerving to say the least. 

When I fly abroad, whether for work or fun, I come equipped with everything necessary to minimize environmental damage. It’s so easy to be eco-friendly, I repeat this so often, it is well beyond a slogan at this point. What does it cost me to bring a reusable bottle along with me? The specific one in the picture above has been with me for almost nine years. I even remember the day I bought it.

These personal examples we give have a lot of value.The little changes we implement have much significance and benefit too. Someone once told me that there was so much pollution and waste in the world that it didn’t matter what I did at home. That although all my efforts are nice, beautiful, even noble they are virtually unnecessary, ineffective, and essentially nil in the grand scheme of things.

As of 2019, there are 8 billion people in the world. We are so many people.

If each of us commits to making the changes he or she is capable of (and they are EASY to make) together, these acts would be extraordinary and make a positive impact! 

If those 1,000 people each came with a reusable bottle, we would have saved 15,000 plastic cups just at this one conference. If only one third of them would have come with a bottle, we would have saved 5,000 cups. These reusable cups become literal mountains of trash. So then, does it really have no effect? Clearly it does.

If I use a reusable bottle, and you use it and explain to others about its importance, the impact is significant, and the knowledge spreads and grows. In general, I do not understand the principle or thought of , “If everyone does bad then I might as well do bad also, my good deeds do not matter”.

Dear friends, please, DO GOOD! Start from your inner world, your daily activities. Easy. Simple. Doable. 

*Disclaimer*  If you wandered around and forgot your reusable bottle at home, then next time buy some water outside. Your well being is more important than anything else. 

Just try to remember, next time 🙂 


EDITOR’S NOTE: Lee Snir is one of the founding partners of Legendary Life and is the original author of these blog posts. Lee is an active environmental advocate and in-demand speaker, writer and influencer in her native Israel. These blog posts were originally published in her native Hebrew in her personal blog titled, “Elita Yeruka” (“Green Elite” in English.)

When we translated Lee’s blogs for Legendary Life our goal was to only edit for grammar and clarity but to retain “Lee’s voice”. Thus the editorial choices were to err on the side of not “Americanizing” the language and thus leaving the translated blog as close as possible to the original. Therefore, native English speakers may occasionally find the word choices and phrasing a little different than they are used to.

For those of you who are Hebrew speakers and wish to read the blogs in their original form and follow Lee’s Personal blog you can do so here:

https://www.facebook.com/elitayeruka/?modal=admin_todo_tour

DISCLAIMER: Any statements, opinions or conclusions contained herein are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the statements, opinions or conclusions of Legendary Life (a Legendary Products, LLC brand), its owners, employees, contractors, affiliates, partners or advertisers.

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Extreme Minimalism- Same Dress, 5 Months

Extreme Minimalism: Why do I wear the same dress every day, non-stop for 5 months?

In June of this year, I reached the end of my ability to endure. One morning I woke up to get ready for work, opened the closet and found nothing to wear (and my closet was completely full and packed with clothing).

Each morning I’d find myself standing in front of my closet staring at it for at least five minutes, stressed out, contemplating outfits with absolutely nothing seeming to vibe. I could not come up with an outfit that worked. Nothing was good enough!

I work in a super-intense managerial position that requires me to make dozens of decisions each day. Each of my decisions affect my employees, the nature of our projects, the financial system and the general spirit and attitude of the organization. The responsibilities of my job require me to be mentally sharp at all times.

Additionally, in my spare time, I engage in environmental activism (here I am 👋) and a variety of other activities that I need and love.

When I opened the closet that morning and got frustrated because of something like clothing, all I had in my mind was the thought “Sh*t, really? Do I have so little to do, that what I choose to spend energy on (my time and thoughts) are my clothes, my outfit for the day!?”

I don’t always know where moments of enlightenment come from.  But when they do come, I love giving them their space and proper due. So that morning I just picked a random dress and left the house promising myself that tomorrow morning would be nothing like the one I had just experienced.

That day, I dived into Google to find a solution to this unnecessary problem. I learned about “Decision Fatigue”, fatigue from multi-decision making. I learned about Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs and Barack Obama wearing the same shirt every day and holding multiple copies of it.

“Good artists copy, great artists steal”.  A quote Picasso, himself stole from Matty Eliot. If it works for these accomplished people, I thought, it would work for me too. I created a list of requirements for the core garments I would need to find and that would fit my needs.

* Disclaimer- I work on an educational eco-farm, which means we don’t have a dress code per se and I can choose what I want, as long as it is respectful. If your workplace requires a different one, make another list suitable for their dress code. 👩‍🏫👮‍♀️👩‍⚕️👩‍💼👩‍🔧

Still, I tried to look beyond work, what would serve my best interests wherever I went? Even off the clock.

The results:

  • Black: Practical, flattering, easy to wash, etc.
  • Dresses: Because they are most pleasing and flattering to me for my body and also for the fact that I don’t intend to buy two items per set for one outfit. 
  • V-neck collars: Not too cloistered and suffocating and not too open to exaggeration, which will be respectful for every occasion.
  • T-shirts: Because there is no way I will stand and iron.
  • Short sleeves and no tank tops.
  • Nothing too sexual or provocative, since I work with teenagers.
  • Well-fitting and favorable clothing for my body shape, a dress that I will feel good wearing, and that I will have confidence in.

With these bullets, I picked myself up and went to the mall (since there are no second-hand shops that carry the same dresses equally in multiple copies). I went through a store shopping until I found a dress that checked all my boxes. I tracked down the salesperson and asked her, “How many of these do you have in stock? I’ll take them all…”

I simply bought them all in the same size except one slightly bigger, for some days out of the month that my hormonal system thinks it’s funny to give me a pregnant look- thanks bloating!

That being said, this change has been one of the best decisions I have made for myself lately, specifically regarding my energy. 

It saves me:

  • Precious time in the morning.
  • Money (because you don’t have to change every time into a new garment nor do you have to match one item to compliment another)
  • Mental energy and the extra burden of a daily decision-making process.

I wear my dress for almost any occasion, even during business hours. I wear it on a date night, girls night out, Saturday activities and God forbid even to the cemetery for funerals.

It serves its purpose and fits everything. When I desire to explore and be playful, I upgrade its look with my jewelry, shoes and special makeup. I take it down a notch and switch to something else on weekends and holidays for the sake of symbolism and diversity.

Have I decided permanently to continue to do as I have and wear the same dress? I don’t know…Maybe, maybe not. In the meantime, it works for me.

If your morning has become a dizzying daily mess of clothing decisions, consider all of the good things my new system has brought to my life and consider whether positively simplifying your wardrobe the way I did is right for you.

  • Pro Tip: If you do choose to make this move, talk about it! Don’t be ashamed or hide what you are doing and why you’re doing it!

I changed overnight from a woman who wore a different dress and matched said dress to different shoes, earrings and makeup each day to a woman who wears the same dress every day. I didn’t initially talk about this move at work and didn’t explain it to anyone either. It took three weeks for one of the employees to come up to me blatantly embarrassed and ask, 

“Lee … it probably doesn’t matter and none of my business … but … do you wear the same dress…everyday …?!”


EDITOR’S NOTE: Lee Snir is one of the founding partners of Legendary Life and is the original author of these blog posts. Lee is an active environmental advocate and in-demand speaker, writer and influencer in her native Israel. These blog posts were originally published in her native Hebrew in her personal blog titled, “Elita Yeruka” (“Green Elite” in English.)

When we translated Lee’s blogs for Legendary Life our goal was to only edit for grammar and clarity but to retain “Lee’s voice”. Thus the editorial choices were to err on the side of not “Americanizing” the language and thus leaving the translated blog as close as possible to the original. Therefore, native English speakers may occasionally find the word choices and phrasing a little different than they are used to.

For those of you who are Hebrew speakers and wish to read the blogs in their original form and follow Lee’s Personal blog you can do so here:

https://www.facebook.com/elitayeruka/?modal=admin_todo_tour

DISCLAIMER: Any statements, opinions or conclusions contained herein are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the statements, opinions or conclusions of Legendary Life (a Legendary Products, LLC brand), its owners, employees, contractors, affiliates, partners or advertisers.

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Eco Friendly Women Don’t Wear Makeup

Women who declare themselves as “green”, must not wear makeup.

Do you think so too? It happened to me a year ago when I was working as the manager of an educational eco-farm. I came to a meeting in the sustainability department of one of the municipalities in the country to discuss a partnership around education for sustainability and compassion.

“Hello, I’m Lee, I have a meeting with Shara.”

“What?” The receptionist answered me with a surprised expression.  

“YOU *she scans me up and down* are from the ecological farm?! But you’re wearing makeup?!!”

“What does that mean?” I asked sincerely. “Because I’m an environmental activist, my wearing makeup is inappropriate?”

A year has passed. I’m in the same workplace, educating and promoting sustainability and still getting questions like, “Why did you come to work here…? It’s just… that you look like someone who would work in a big corporation.”

The frequent conversations with people about my makeup made me realize that there was a certain image or a certain idea many people have about a woman they see as eco-friendly, an environmentalist or “green”.

A green woman, according to this false ideology, looks like this: she does not dye her hair, does not wear makeup, does not apply deodorant, does not remove any excess body hair,  does not buy clothes, a militant vegan diet, smears only aloe vera on from head to toe and cleanses her hair solely with apple cider vinegar.

Often being eco-friendly, to other people, communicates “everything or nothing”. See, you can’t have both beauty and be truly conscientious, wear makeup and be sustainable. It has to be a zero-sum proposition. The falsehoods spread. In some circles you can’t even be both green AND be a mother or even want to be a mother.

This very absolutist approach does not allow people to be included or involved. Sadly, this false belief eliminates many women who could make positive strides in the movement! While my makeup or bleached hair is seemingly a shock to every loyal environmentalist, my look allows people that are not “green” to get closer to me and ask me questions. Hence, bridging a gap and establishing a conversation that needs to happen for this cause and that otherwise would not occur.

They see me as a living example of how personal steps can be made to live in a cleaner world, while simultaneously not having to live on a commune or in a convent, give up property, eat leaves / berries / twigs, and go through a completely sterile existence.

It is possible to change things gently, which is why this blog was created.

There is always a way to do things better for the environment.

So for all the women who like to put on makeup but want to do it greener, here are my tips:

  1. I only buy what I know I will use. I don’t need a yellow eyeshadow if I don’t ever wear it, right? So I won’t buy it.
  2. I use what I bought until it’s completely used up and only then indulge myself in a new product. If we store products they go bad and expire before we can use them. This is a waste of resources such as money, material, packaging, and so much more.
  3. 95% of the waste generated when we buy a makeup product occurs in the production itself – basically whatever happens until it comes home with us. The container where the product is filled into is only 5% of the waste. For the sake of reducing waste (especially the toxins emitted into the air during production) and also for my health, I make an effort to buy cleaner products and also products that are vegan and cruelty-free. You do not have to throw away something you already have, of course, but I encourage you to do it gradually as soon as a product is used up. 
  4. Second hand! There are dozens of second-hand makeup groups throughout Facebook, and apps online, most of the items have only been opened or tried a few times and offered for sale. The savings are economic and ecological, as with all second-hand goods. Too many women buy too much makeup, much more than they can use,ever. When buying second-hand makeup it is important to look at the date – when it was bought, how long it was open, whether the product is sterile, and still smells good.

So dear readers, are there any more green makeup tips? We would all love to hear them, so please if you have some eco-tricks in your makeup bag, write them in the comments and share with friends 🌏🤙


EDITOR’S NOTE: Lee Snir is one of the founding partners of Legendary Life and is the original author of these blog posts. Lee is an active environmental advocate and in-demand speaker, writer and influencer in her native Israel. These blog posts were originally published in her native Hebrew in her personal blog titled, “Elita Yeruka” (“Green Elite” in English.)

When we translated Lee’s blogs for Legendary Life our goal was to only edit for grammar and clarity but to retain “Lee’s voice”. Thus the editorial choices were to err on the side of not “Americanizing” the language and thus leaving the translated blog as close as possible to the original. Therefore, native English speakers may occasionally find the word choices and phrasing a little different than they are used to.

For those of you who are Hebrew speakers and wish to read the blogs in their original form and follow Lee’s Personal blog you can do so here:

https://www.facebook.com/elitayeruka/?modal=admin_todo_tour

DISCLAIMER: Any statements, opinions or conclusions contained herein are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the statements, opinions or conclusions of Legendary Life (a Legendary Products, LLC brand), its owners, employees, contractors, affiliates, partners or advertisers.

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