We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again: clothes don’t belong in landfills. Wear it out, or pass it on. We’re big fans of using what you’ve got and mending your clothes when they’re a little worse for the wear.
A good rule of thumb is to buy durable, well crafted clothes that won’t fall apart after a few wears and washings. Next, follow the wash instructions – most things last longer when washed in cold water and air dried. When you come across something that needs mending or altering, roll up your sleeves and get to work. Here’s how to fix your clothes, so no excuses!
Polybags suck. Something we can all agree on, right?
We hate plastic as much as you do. But the prevalence of the notorious polybag is a reality we face in the clothing industry. That little bag your clothes showed up in is key to keeping them safe from damage during transit, warehousing, and shipping. Without them, much of the product would arrive damaged and then comes the big, bad L word (aka it ends up in a landfill).
We are always working to make the best decisions for the environment and for our customers, and – real talk – the polybag that each garment is wrapped in is currently our biggest challenge.
Here’s what we’re doing to address it.
•Since the beginning, we’ve made our polybags from recycled plastic.
•A few years ago, we audited our bags to reduce the amount of plastic used. We made the bags as thin as we possibly could and reduced the overall average size.
•We removed the individual polybags completely from all shipments of samples sent to HQ – and are working with other key partners to ship their products without polybags.
•We’re currently in the middle of another audit that will lead to less, and even smaller, polybags in future seasons.
•We’re constantly thinking creatively about how to get a second or third life from the bags. We moved the little ventilation holes up to the top of the bag so that it can be reused as a doggy pick-up bag or for your dirty clothes on a weekend getaway (keep reading for more on that).
But what about alternatives?
The short answer: The current alternative options just don’t match up to our sustainability requirements. And there isn’t enough research yet to prove that alternative options are actually better.
Here’s the long answer: Believe it or not, alternative materials (like compostable plastic) are often not as awesome as they sound. Most compostable plastics (this goes for cups and silverware too) can only be composted in industrial compost facilities, which are rare in the U.S. And even if they make it as far as an industrial composter, they take much longer to break down than the true organic waste. What does this mean?
•This can end up causing issues like slowing down the turnover of the facility by causing employees to pull out the compostable plastics to put them back in with the next load of organic waste. Sometimes this takes 5-6 cycles before the plastic is fully broken down!
•Often the compostable plastics are thrown into the recycle stream where they can ruin processing machines, so in most places the presence of compostable plastics often cause the whole batch of recycling to be sent to the landfill.
•Even when the compostable plastics do fully break down, their presence can degrade the rest of the compost in the batch because they break down into a sticky, resin-y mess. This creates poor compost that’s not rich or nutritious for plants (like compost from truly organic materials is).
We promise to keep an eye on alternatives and are constantly evaluating how they stack up to what we’re currently doing. And while we’re always working to REDUCE the amount of plastic, here are some ideas for how you can REUSE the bags in the meantime.
1) Dog poop bag. Done and done.
2) Store your phone, wallet, and keys when hiking in the rain. Keep bags on hand to cover your muddy shoes before you get back into your car.
3) A simple starter pot for plants: Fold down the bag until it’s as tall as you want the soil to be, poke a few holes in the bottom, fill with soil, and plant your seeds.
4) Scoop cat litter with leftover bags or use one to line the litter box.
5) Hang a cedar closet bag (fill a bag with cedar chips, tie it closed, then poke several small holes in the bottom with a safety pin) to repel moths. Or fill the bag with flower petals, crushed fragrant leaves, and a couple of drops of aromatic oil for an easy DIY sachet to freshen up musty drawers.
6) Fill a bag with distilled white vinegar (a couple of inches below the vent holes), then tie it around your showerhead to remove soap scum and mildew.
7) Cover fragile plants with plastic bags if you detect frost on the way. Same goes for outdoor padlocks in the winter to keep them from freezing.
8) Replace bubble wrap with plastic bags when mailing packages. You can use the same trick when packing away breakable holiday decorations.
9) Use the plastic to stuff winter boots or bags you don’t use in the summer to help them keep their shape.
10) Put plastic bags under furniture you’re painting. They also work great for protecting tables and counters when kiddos are doing craft projects.
It’s called “simple” for a reason. No matter how fancy they sound, they all boil down to water and sugar… boiled down. Kick up any drink with these 6 simple syrup recipes. Enjoy responsibly with friends.
Basic Simple Syrup
Need: 1 cup water, 1 cup granulated white sugar. Bring to a boil and simmer for 3 minutes until sugar dissolves. Cool immediately. Store in the fridge for a month or freeze forever. Use in any cocktail to sweeten things up!
Need: 3/4 cup water, 1/4 cup whole dried hibiscus flowers, 1/4 cup sugar, and peels from half a grapefruit. Bring to a boil and simmer for 3 minutes, then strain and chill. Great with mezcal or tequila.
Need: 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup sugar, a couple of cinnamon sticks. You know the drill – bring to a boil, then add cinnamon sticks. Simmer 2-3 mins, then remove and chill. Great in an old fashioned or bourbon.
Need: 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 or 2 rosemary sprigs. Bring all ingredients to a boil and simmer for 3 mins until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and cool for 30 mins. Strain (or just remove remove rosemary) and chill. Great in greyhounds or palomas (or any cocktail with grapefruit juice).
Habanero Simple Syrup
Need: 1 cup water, 1 cup sugar, 2 habanero peppers, quartered. Bring sugar and water to a boil until sugar is dissolved. Add peppers and reduce heat to low, simmer about 15 minutes (or longer if you like it spicy!). Remove from heat and let cool for 1 hour. Strain and chill. Pairs well with vodka or in a margarita.
Turmeric Simple Syrup
Need: 1 cup water, 3/4 cup sugar, a big thumb’s worth of fresh ginger root (peeled and sliced), 1 tsp turmeric powder. Bring water, sugar and ginger to a boil and simmer for 10 mins (if it’s not sweet enough, add a touch more sugar or a dollop of honey). Stir in turmeric until it’s dissolved. Strain through a coffee filter and chill. Tastes amazing in margaritas or screwdrivers.
Helping save the planet may sound like a superhero-sized task, but everyone can do their part to keep the Mothership clean. Our New Year’s resolutions reminded us to “reduce, reuse, recycle” with an extra emphasis on REDUCE and REUSE. Recycling is great but there are some untold complications (like high energy use and lack of recycling centers). The best solution is reducing what you use in the first place and reusing the things that you already have. Here are 20 reusable items – superhero powers not required.
2. Wine corks: Fill an old jar (reusable items x2!) with old wine corks and 90% rubbing alcohol; let the corks soak for a week. What you’ll get is flammable corks for an easy, non-toxic fire starter. (Just make sure to use all-natural corks; no one wants to breathe in synthetic fumes.)
3. Tea bags: There are an endless amount of opportunities for reusing tea bag herbs: in homemade soaps or air fresheners, to feed your garden, de-grease dirty dishes, shine glass, renew wood furniture, and to treat burns, rashes, and infections. You can use old tea bags to add flavor to food (like jasmine tea to rice or cinnamon tea to oatmeal), and spruce up a bourbon or vodka cocktail with a little herbal somethin-somethin.
4. An old toolbox: This is possibly our favorite camping hack. Fill an old tool box with spices, pantry staples, utensils, mini bottles of booze, whatever you want in your camp kitchen kit.
5. Used coffee filters: Just to be clear, you CAN reuse coffee filters for more than one brew if you dump the grinds out. You can also rub dark shoes with used filters to make them shine again. To dispose, compost or stick them in your garden, grounds and all.
6. Coffee cans: Embrace the Kondo Method and use old coffee cans to collect all that random junk that’s accumulating. Already de-cluttered? Make indoor or outdoor planters from old cans. Or, a rusty colander comes ready-made with holes and needs barely any work to become the perfect planter.
8. Old condiment bottles: Fill one old condiment bottle with pancake batter and one with eggs (un-shelled, obviously) for a quick camp breakfast. Best enjoyed outside with a side of bacon.
9. Egg cartons: It’s like they were designed specifically for growing seedlings. Plant a few seeds in each cup until they sprout into seedlings, then replant. (Bonus hack: let a few of your best plants go to seed and save the seeds for the following season.) If you don’t have a green thumb, reuse egg cartons as packing materials or donate them to local farmers.
10. Food scraps: There are zillions of ways to prevent food waste (we’re fans of Save The Food for endless ideas), but here are some Toad faves: season potato peelings and sauté for a crunchy and addictive snack; mix and match leftover veggies to make savory scones; and use strawberry tops for a refreshing Rosé Granita cocktail. Citrus peels infused with white vinegar make a nontoxic, smells-so-fresh, cleaning solution.
11. Jars: The poster child for reusable items. Reuse jars for leftovers, homemade sauces (see #10 for ideas), bulk dried goods, and pre-fab lunches. Pro tip: When freezing liquids, don’t seal the jar until contents are completely frozen or the jar will break.
12. Gallon jugs: Forget the bags of ice, fill an old gallon jug with water and freeze. That giant “ice pack” will keep your camp cooler just as cold. Bonus: You can use the water for drinking, cooking, or washing when it melts.
13. Prescription bottles: The perfect size for a mini first aid kit. Be a hero when you have band-aids, Neosporin, ibuprofen, and allergy meds on hand.
14. Empty laundry detergent dispenser: Fill with water, flip upside down, and you’ve got a camp hand and dish-washing station. Bungee your paper towel roll to the top for even more glamp-tastic efficiency.
16. Bathroom items: When looking for things that can be reused, your bathroom is a great place to start. Old toothbrushes make great scrubbers for grout and hard to reach places. Empty toothpaste tubes can be repurposed as frosting tubes (cut the end off and clean them well!). Fill empty deodorant bottles with your own DIY deodorant. And when you finish a bottle of product, opt for a place like The Refill Shoppe that will fill up old containers with new shampoo/conditioner/etc.
17. Cereal liner bags: Lots of ways to keep these pesky little bags out of the trash. Make a piping bag for frosting, use the bag to store leftovers, or use the bag to crush crackers, nuts, cereal and more without making a huge mess.
18. Vintage camera: Turn a camera into a cool lamp. You’ll need an old camera, a few small tools, and a couple of free hours.
19. Sunglasses cases: Not just for glasses. Storage for reusable utensils, makeup, and anything else that you don’t want getting lost in the fray.
20. Old skis: The great and powerful shotski. As far as we’re concerned, a group shot-taking tool is the only use. Instructions for building one here.
Do you have more tips for reusing and up-cycling? Let us know, we’re suckers for living sustainably.
With many embracing it, some downright denouncing it, and others indifferent, the only thing we know for sure is Valentine’s Day is approaching at a rapid pace. It happens every year. You look up from Christmas and New Years, ready to catch your breath and BAM! Valentine’s day hits you with a frantic mid-week dinner reservation and a hefty expedited flower delivery receipt. We say it’s time to reset the dial on all Valentine’s days expectations, and focus on what’s really important: spreading the love!
What says I love you more than a Valentine’s Day card made from re-purposed desk supplies? We searched high and low in our office for the most card worthy desk decorators, and spruced up some old resume paper to look like the real deal. And although these Valentines turned out pretty darn well if we do say so, we did our best to drive home our true take on the day: it’s a lot more about the love you are spreading than the cards you are giving.
So this Valentine’s day, take it upon yourself to spread the love. Whether it’s making a slightly blue coworker smile, or just letting that fellow motorist merge in front of you versus the old box out, embrace the spirit of Valentine’s Day by spreading love to everyone, regardless of relationship status. And don’t forget, true love can just as easily be relayed through sticky-note hearts and a half drank bottle of tequila.
Spreading the love comes in many shapes and sizes. Recently, our little community on the central coast of California was struck by not one, but two, natural disasters. Although the disasters are over and the news trucks are gone, there are many people who could still use your help. If you’d like to spread your love to the people of Montecito, please donate to this link to help out a community facing a long road to recovery.
There are few things we love more than a great weekend getaway to the mountains – outdoor adventures, cozy nights and long conversations with good company. And maybe a ShotSki here and there. Whether it’s the first run of the season or the last run of spring, we think a ShotSki is the perfect way to celebrate the good times. After all, friends don’t let friends (shot) ski alone. We’re digging back into the Toad archives to bring back a refresher on How To Build the Perfect ShotSkifromJeremy Benson at skinet.com:
1. Find the perfect ski
The first step (and arguably most important) in creating the perfect shotski is finding the right ski. If you don’t have old skis, ski shops will often have some pairs lying around (especially if it’s nearing the end of ski season). Remember, the longer the ski is, the more shots you can fit on it. Most standard skis will fit 4 shots, but go for the gold and see how many you can fit comfortably.
2. Glued vs. Nested
There are two basic types of shotskis: The layman’s sit on top, where you simply measure out where to put your shot glasses then glue (or tape!) them down. Then there’s the nested shotski where shot glasses rest inside the ski and can be removable to facilitate the cleaning process. We went for the nested version, because go big or go skiing later.
While perfection isn’t absolutely necessary with a shotski (you are, after all, drinking liquor from a ski), equal spacing will allow for easier maneuvering. First, pick the number of shots you’d like to have on your ski. Four is a nice round number and a good starting loin, but by all means try to get more on. Ideally, shots are approximately 18 – 20 inches apart, enough room for folks to face the shot ski head on. Make marks that are centered in the ski width-wise and get ready to drill.
For the nesting tactic, we used a hole saw to drill the holes (a large paddle drill bit may also work). Ideally all of your shot glasses will be the same size. Figure out what diameter your glasses are by measuring them and finding a comparable size hole saw or drill bit (we used a 1.5-inch diameter hole saw). Line it up with the marks you made earlier and drill, being careful not to drill all the way through the base. By stopping your holes just above the base you can remove the core samples, making perfect, countersunk holes for the glasses to sit in. A flathead screwdriver or a chisel work great for cleaning out the holes. It is important to note that many skis out there have fiberglass, wood, metal and plastic in them, so be careful not to breathe in any fumes and wear safety glasses or goggles to protect your eyes.
After the holes are drilled and cleaned out, smooth out any imperfections with sandpaper. If you want the glasses to be permanently attached, super glue them into place. For removable glasses, use Velcro to hold them in place when the shotski is in use. Having removable shot glasses makes cleaning way easier (and promotes future shotskis).
6. Deploy the Ski-shot
Call on some good company, pick your favorite brand of whiskey (add some maple syrup to each shot to do it the Canadian way) and take it for a run! Take shots to thank the snow gods for fresh powder or to urge them to make it snow. Mount it above the fireplace, keep it in the garage, sleep with it under your pillow, keep it in your car, give it to a college kid… Whatever you do with your shotski, hopefully it involves good times, deep snow and good friends. Bottoms up!
Try some of our other delicious drinking activities. We love a good game of Kings Cup, which only requires that you drink beer. If you are in the mood to mix it up, try making some of these cold weather specialties.
You say Jack-o-Lantern, we say Pumpkin Keg. With a love of beer and a handful of random kitchen supplies, we looked at a pumpkin and saw opportunity. Advancements were made, limits were pushed, and the results were beyond our wildest dreams: a more sustainable, more portable, more festive keg. Follow these steps to make your own Pumpkin Keg. Medium size pumpkin holds a six-pack.
Step 1: Cut out the stem of the pumpkin in a hexagonal shape, with a slight tilt to the knife (you don’t want the top to fall in). Cut an opening large enough to fit your hand.
Step 2: Remove all of the pumpkin innards. Be diligent! The more seeds and insides you take out, the less floaties you’ll have in your beer!
Step 3: Carve a hole for your spigot* on the lower half of the pumpkin. The hole should be slightly smaller than the spigot diameter. Shove the spigot in the hole with as little adjusting as possible. Should be nice and tight. (*We used a spigot from an old punch dispenser. Waste not, want not.)
Step 4: Pick your poison (or your favorite adult beverage) and fill up your pumpkin keg. “Tap” your keg and cheers to your ingenuity. Happy Halloween, kids!
Shop the Men’s and Women’s Indigo Styles and BYOP (Bring Your Own Pumpkin.)
Ahhh, the humble button. The unsung hero of the holidays, the keeper of peace and revealer of truths. You don’t realize how much you rely on your buttons until it’s too late. Luckily, we at Toad have popped a few buttons in our lifetime and know how it feels to be left high and dry, with ne’er a spare button in sight. That’s why we sewed some extra backup buttons into your Toad&Co garments. Grab a needle and thread and get to mending! You’ll score some sustainability points (Way to spare your busted shirt from the landfill!) and prove your domestic prowess. So when Thanksgiving accidents happen, or you snag your clothes while decorating the tree, or you rip off your shirt in a blaze of karaoke glory, just look to your extra buttons to keep the party going.
And if the issue is bigger than a button, we’ll always take back your Toad&Co clothes if you find a flaw in your garment. Or if you don’t get a compliment within three wearings. Seriously. We’ll take it back and make it right. We guarantee it.
We’ve all been there. It’s the night before Halloween and you have to throw something together so you aren’t “that guy.” Luckily, some of the greatest men in history were minimalists, just like yourself. So dig into your closet, pull out a few basics and top it off with a carefully placed prop or two and a few good catch phrases. Happy Halloween, buddy.
“Always do sober what you said you’d do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut.”
“It belongs in a MUSEUM!”
“We don’t make mistakes, just happy little accidents.”
The shot-ski is a great implement in the art of après ski bonding and a perfect example of how to upcycle. We like the way it requires all participants to keep the same pace – no sippers allowed. Recently we tried to make a shot-ski using a hot glue gun… it was surprisingly ineffective and we were forced to use tape instead. With thanks to the Jeremy Benson at skinet.com, behold six easy steps to shot-ski heaven.
1. Find the perfect ski
The first, and arguably most important, step in creating the perfect shot-ski is finding the right ski. If you don’t have old skis, ski shops will often have some pairs lying around. Thrift and second hand gear shops are also a great place to look. Whenever possible find a ski that has some kind of sentimental value to you, like those Volkl P9s you used to shred moguls on back in the day. Remember, the longer the ski is, the more shots you can fit on it. For example, my 202 Spalding Extreme Powders comfortably fit four shots (on a 225 DH ski you could probably fit five).
2. Kinds of shot-skis
In my experience, there are two basic types of shot-skis. There’s the lazyman’s sit on top, where you simply measure out where to put your shot glasses and then glue (or tape!) them to the topsheet. Then there’s the integrated shot-ski, (discussed) here. In this style the shot glasses rest inside the ski and can be removable to facilitate the cleaning process.
While perfection isn’t absolutely necessary with a shot-ski, it’s nice to come as close as you can to uniformity. First, pick the number of shots you’d like to have on your ski. Four is a nice round number and a good starting point. If you must have more than four shots on your ski, by all means go for it, but cramping the ski will probably only lead to awkward shot taking and more booze on people’s faces than in their mouths. A good rule of thumb for spacing is approximately 18 to 20 inches apart. Good spacing will allow for a more comfortable forward-facing approach to the ski, which is already a difficult thing to deal with. Make marks that are centered in the ski width-wise and get ready to drill.
To make holes in the ski, I used a hole saw – but a large paddle drill bit may also work. Ideally all of your shot glasses will be the same size. I’d recommend buying a set that you will use primarily for the shot-ski, then all of your holes can be uniform and the process will be much easier. Figure out what diameter your glasses are by measuring them and finding a comparable size hole saw or drill bit. In this case I used a 1.5-inch diameter hole saw. Line it up with the marks that you made during the measurement process and drill, being careful not to drill all the way through the base. By stopping your holes just above the base you can remove the core samples, making perfect, countersunk holes for the glasses to sit in. A flathead screwdriver or a chisel work great for cleaning out the holes. It is important to note that many skis out there have fiberglass, wood, metal and plastic in them, so be careful not to breathe in any fumes and wear safety glasses or goggles to protect your eyes.
After the holes are drilled and cleaned out, smooth out any imperfections with sandpaper or a grinding wheel. At this point those who want their glasses to be permanently attached can super glue or epoxy them into place. Those who want their glasses to be removable may want to consider using Velcro to hold them in place when the shot ski is in use. I bought some adhesive-backed Velcro at the local hardware store. The adhesive on the Velcro works pretty well, but gluing the Velcro into the holes and onto your shot glasses will ensure that it works for a long time. Having removable shot glasses makes cleaning your shot ski way easier (and promotes better hygiene). Plus, you’ll be less likely to make your (significant other) mad when your ski is in the sink.
6. Deploy the Ski-shot
Now that your shot-ski is in working order call up a bunch of your friends and celebrate something. Take shots from your shot-ski to thank the snow gods for a big dump or to urge them to make it snow. Mount it above your fireplace, keep it out in the garage, or bring it to parties. Whatever you do with your shot-ski hopefully it involves good times, deep snow, and most importantly, friends. Because taking four shots by yourself is awkward.