Recycled Polyester: Plastic 2.0

It’s no secret that single use plastics are becoming a big problem for Mother Earth. Plastic is a huge pain for two reasons. First, it takes a TON of energy and resources to make. It can be made from a variety of materials (natural gas, oil, coal, minerals, and plants), but turning it into a durable product requires excessive use of energy, heat, and chemicals. Plastic also takes hundreds of years to decompose naturally and its durability means that it ends up in places it shouldn’t be. There are 4 billion plastic microfibers per square km in the deep sea, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is twice the size of Texas, and it’s been estimated that by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean. Super scary, but also preventable if we take the right steps now. Knowledge is power, right?

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Here’s how you can make a difference starting right this minute. Take single use plastic out of your daily routine. Avoid plastic takeout containers, say no to straws, buy in bulk or at your local farmer’s markets, carry a reusable water bottle and a reusable grocery bag. These small changes can have a huge impact.

At Toad&Co, we’ve committed to reducing our use of single use plastic and finding ways to stem the flow of plastics into landfills. Our recycled polyester fibers are made from 100% post-consumer plastic bottles, and it takes about 9 bottles to make one T-shirt. Only 9% of the Earth’s plastic has been recycled, but we’re committed to boosting that percentage by using more recycled polyester across more styles each year.

We believe in upcycling and using the resources we’ve already created as a society. We share the planet with millions of living organisms who do their part to keep the environment clean, so it’s important we do our part too. It’s up to each of us to take responsibility for our use of single use plastics. Together, we can make a difference.

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When it comes to sustainable fibers, recycled fibers are the undisputed gold standard. Shop men’s recycled poly and women’s recycled poly styles.

 

 

Norah Eddy:  Our Sustainability Soul Sister

 

From the fish you eat to the clothes you wear, informed choices are the best choices.

Our friend, Norah Eddy, is a boisterous case in point. “Knowledge is change,” Norah says. “The more you know, the greater an impact you can make.” Wave whisperer and overall sustainability badass, Norah has made it her mission to change the way we eat and source from the Mighty Blue. Her solution? A smarter kind of seafood. In 2014 she co-founded Salty Girl Seafood, a line of sustainable seafood products that are 100% traceable, down to the name of the fisherman who caught your fish.

It all started with a solid understanding of the way humans rely on natural resources. Norah grew up in a small fishing town in Rhode Island, watching fishermen make a living from the sea. She spent her formative years cutting her chops in Alaska’s expansive fisheries and a few years later she went back to school to study marine resource management at University of California Santa Barbara (that’s how we got hooked up with Norah!).

In 2012 Norah came across a study that found a third of all seafood sold in the U.S. was mislabeled. Something was fishy. “Clear traceability is the key to truly sustainable practices,” Norah says. That’s why all the seafood Salty Girl sources goes through a rigorous 6-Point Sustainability Assessment. The result? 100% traceability. For every package of Salty Girl Seafood, you can find the location where your fish was caught, the gear used to catch it and a short bio on your fisherman.

Here’s Salty Girl’s 6-Point Sustainability Assessment:

  1. Management: How is the fishery managed and enforced?
  2. Certifications: What certifications has the fishery received?
  3. Habitat Impacts: What is the gear type and its effect on environment?
  4. Bycatch: What is the effect of gear on bycatch and how is it dealt with?
  5. Socioeconomic: Are there any human rights, social or political concerns in the region?
  6. Population and Monitoring: What kinds of population monitoring and data analysis are in place?

More than a seafood company, Salty Girl is a platform on which to educate consumers and change a flawed fishing system. “You may not think much of changing the way you order fish or shop for clothes, but many splashes create a big ripple effect,” Norah says from aboard a fishing boat in San Felipe, Baja. “When you support sustainable products, you’re casting a vote in support of sustainable practices.”

In the commercial fishing industry, sustainable practices can be a matter of life and death for some species. “Keeping a healthy resource healthy is the key to sustainability” Norah reminds us, “but that cannot come at the expense of another resource.” In the Gulf of California off the coast of San Felipe, the vaquita, a small porpoise, has become an unfortunate bycatch of local fisherman. It’s a problem that’s gone so unchecked that the vaquita is now the most endangered marine mammal in the world, with an estimated 30 vaquita left. “It comes down to knowing the difference between long-term benefits and short-term gains. When you know what’s at stake, the responsible choice becomes pretty clear.”

Whether it’s understanding healthy vaquita populations or the effects of carbon emissions on climate change, it’s our job as consumers and citizens of the planet to understand the impact of our choices before we make them.  For more on Norah’s work, check out her interview on the Wild Ideas Worth Living Podcast.

Easter Dinner Around The Campfire

 

Easter Sunday is upon us, and with spring in full swing there’s a chance that you may find yourself pitching tents and gathering wood rather than bellying up to a table full of in-laws. But that doesn’t mean you can’t eat like the best of ’em! Our Women’s designer, Guin, doubles as an expert camp cook and offered up a camp-friendly Easter dinner that will surely leave you just as satisfied as Grandma’s sweet rolls and ham. To make any camp-cooking experience seamless, Guin recommends slipping a roll of tin foil in your kitchen gear. It’s good for layering on the top of the fire ring so you don’t lose any goodies to the embers below. Bring some extra wet wipes  to clean off your hands because you really don’t want to smell fish while you are eating your Easter Reese’s S’mores!

Campfire Roasted Asparagus:

Ingredients:
1 bunch of asparagus, trim by snapping off the bottoms
2 cloves of garlic, minced
Toss in olive oil and salt & pepper
Finish with a squeeze of lemon

Instructions:
An Easter themed dinner should have asparagus roasted with garlic and lots of olive oil, salt & pepper.  Top with lemon and roast until golden brown. Mom will be happy to know you got some greens.

Campfire Cooked Fish:

Ingredients: 
1 large piece of frozen fish (skin on)
3 cloves of garlic, minced
3 tablespoons of whole grain mustard
3 tablespoons chopped dill
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
Ample olive oil
Parmesan packets
Salt & pepper

Instructions:
Pick a nice large piece of fish from the frozen section of the grocery store. Most times they are packaged and frozen on site, and depending on what part of the country you live in, the frozen stuff can taste fresher than something from the refrigerated section. Frozen fish is also great for keeping the cooler nice and cold AND will likely thaw to perfection in time for cooking! Guin’s camp kit always includes fresh cracked pepper because it makes all the difference in flavor. Coat flesh side evenly with whole grain mustard. Apply salt, pepper and minced garlic liberally. Press a handful of herbs fresh or dried on the mustard and garlic. Top with lemon slices.

Depending on how hot your fire is, it may take a while for these bad boys to cook. Flip halfway through cooking. Rule of thumb: It’s done when the fork slides through easily and begins to flake the grain of fish. If you’re one of those people who keeps parm packets from pizza delivery, dump that sucker all over everything.

Campfire Grilled Bread:

Ingredients:
1 loaf of bread of your choice, sliced
Olive oil
Salt

Instructions: 
Coat both sides of the bread with with olive oil and salt. Place directly on grate. Toast both sides. Keep an eye out so these don’t burn. A little char is good, but not too much.

Deviled Eggs:

Ingredients: 
12 eggs
Chopped herbs
2 mustard packets
1 packet hot sauce
Salt & pepper

Instructions: 
Coming from the Midwest, deviled eggs are a holiday favorite and Guin is an expert. This would be a great thing to prep at camp breakfast after you make coffee.  Place a pot of cold water on your camp stove. Drop enough eggs in for the group and bring to boil. Turn off and cover for about 17 min. Once finished, pop these in the ice chest for later. At dinner, peel and halve. Empty cooked yokes into a bowl. With a fork, mash the yokes and add a hefty portion of salt and pepper and a handful of chopped herbs you have with you. Add a squirt of mustard and combine. Spoon mixture into the halved eggs. Sprinkle a little cayenne pepper on top if you have it or add a dash of hot sauce. BOOM deviled eggs.

Reese’s S’mores:

Ingredients:
Graham cracker
Reese’s Egg
Marshmallow

Instructions: 
Nothing says Easter more than a Reese’s Egg. Why not combine this with the S’mores camp classic? Toast your marshmallow over the fire until it has a crispy brown layer all over it (or just light it on fire, however you roll it’s cool with us). Trap the marshmallow between two graham crackers and carefully add in the Reese’s Egg. Smash it down and enjoy!