Plastic-free tips by Level- Beginner, advanced and all-out conservationist! Interview with Morgan Knowles
As we close out Plastic-free July, I wanted to do a little send off with some great tips to help remind us that we aren't finished yet. This is a journey we need to be on for awhile, and we need to bring as many friends with us as we can! Morgan Knowles has been working hard on creating her own zero-waste lifestyle for a lot longer than the last 2 months, and I thought she could share some great tips and reminders for whatever level you're at right now!
It is such a pleasure to introduce this beautiful soul, Morgan Knowles or @Mo_seas_. We met through some mutual friends and have been itching to collaborate ever since. I am so inspired by her passion and commitment to the ocean, and I know that you all will be too! This is my interview with her below, but you will find a link at the end to check out her GORGEOUS, BRAND-SPANKING-NEW website for your enjoyment, with in-depth tips on ways to go plastic-free, and a short interview she did with me!
So Morgan, tell us more about yourself...
Morgan: Originally, I fell in love with coral reef ecology in college studying my B.S. in marine sciences and continued to graduate school to follow my dreams of being a scientific mermaid. Unfortunately, after leaving hat pristine reef, I was disgusted by how polluted our reefs were becoming. It was like someone just dumped all their crap and fishing gear on the reef (I even found myself freeing a nurse shark from a hook embedded in its mouth with a 10ft wire leader. Don't EVER do that…I wasn’t being smart). It struck a hard nerve in me and I decided to dedicate the rest of my graduate research into investigating marine debris on the Florida reef tract and our local beaches.
Since then I have been BUSY! I volunteer my time working with local and state municipalities on single-use plastic and marine minded legislation. I am a part-time environmental educator with a local non-profit Youth Environmental Alliance educating the youth on all things environmental. I also get my marine education on with eco-tour snorkeling, SUPing and kayaking, and some other marine side jobs. Because my schedule is so open and i have room for more, ::she says sarcastically:: I try to squeeze in some music time, hanging with my puppy niece and exploring the great outdoors.
This post was inspired by my over-all goal of trying to live more waste-free, especially during Plastic-free June and July. Check out this list of all the areas I’m working on in a previous post, if you are interested, and join me on Plastic-free Thursdays in my Instagram stories.
Some people don’t consider clothing as part of being waste-free, or think that if they did try to limit their consumption in this area they would have to look lame, or wear the same thing everyday and deny fashion completely… However, my friends and family can attest to the fact that after making this one change in my life, I have never looked more stylish!
But Aren’t all Artists Naturally Stylish?
I can personally answer that as a No. I am a professional artist and up until a couple months ago, I did not consider myself stylish at all. I dabbled, but no one would really describe me as always looking put together or fashionable. I didn’t have a lot of passion for shopping, though, and if I did like something I had trouble finding multiple ways to wear it once I brought it home. I still somehow accumulated plety of clothes since I was 15, and just held on to whatever worked... forever. It was really time to purge some of my crazy art teacher, maternity, milk-stained, and no-effort outfits to decide how I wanted to represent myself as a professional artist and ocean-enthusiast. Just like with most things I do, I went a little extreme. Within 4 weeks, I had completely revamped my entire wardrobe. I donated, or cut up (for rags) 75% of my clothes, bought some new quality items, and ended up with 33 items of clothing accessories and jewelry! Best part was I could actually style my own outfit in minutes every morning. I did it through googling (as per usual), and with the help of my good friend, and fashion blogger, Blaire Rogers.
I’ll give you a little background on what brought me to this point, and then with Blaire’s help, I’ll explain the meaning and process of creating a capsule wardrobe.
I didn't know there was a plastic- free July when I decided to set out on a plastic-free June. I just knew that World Oceans Day and my birthday were in June and I wanted to make a bigger difference this year. I am going to participate in both, and needed some direction!
The more I researched, the more I realized that I didn't want to reinvent the wheel with this blog post. There are so many great ones out there, and I'd rather just make a jumping off point to those, and all the useful products that I've found. I am just trying to figure out how to go plastic-free for a month, or two, or more, to the best of my ability. I know it is going to look different for each person, but the categories will be pretty much the same. I decided it's easiest just to give you a set of links, so that when you're ready to find alternatives in one area, you have someplace to go for reference.
Remember that going plastic or waste free is about reducing, so don't think that you need to buy a bunch of stuff to do this. For example, I will not throw away my shampoo before it's all gone, even though it might not be gone this month. I will, however, choose something from my new list of resources when it has run out, to avoid plastic consumption for the next shampoo purchase.
I know it sounds hard, trust me, I didn't know how it would even be possible with a little boy who eats all day long and needs tons of snacks on hand, but I LOVE my reusable sandwich bags. They have made lunch and snack time so much fun, and they're really not hard to clean at all. You can machine wash them, or wash them inside out with hot water and soap while doing dishes, and then air dry.
The best part is, there are more and more styles and brands popping up everyday while the quality and convenience improves. My favorite brand so far is the The Art of Lunch, (pictured here holding yummy snacks for my two beautiful nieces). The owner of the brand, Troy Wiley, uses designs from artists all over the world so that your lunch tote and sandwich baggies are beautiful, while support working artists. To make this one step BETTER, and in honor of World Oceans Day this year, we have teamed up to create a limited edition line of lunch totes and matching sandwich baggies with one of my turtle paintings on it, and are donating the proceeds to The Loggerhead Marinelife Center of Juno Beach, FL. You can pre-order your limited edition tote and sandwich baggies here, and purchase knowing that you'll be helping an organization dedicated to the rehabilitation, research and education of sea turtles. They should be coming out in the next month or so, so keep your eyes open!
As most of you already know, I'm very motivated to give back to the creatures that inspire me most, and I'm so excited to be able to collaborate on a product that will actually make a noticeable difference on the environment as it eliminates tons of plastic. I believe it's something that people can easily use to change their routine and better the ocean, but it will also remind us daily of the fight against plastic and marine debris, as we try to come up with even more ways to help. Let's make conservation a trend together!
That's my "Wave for Change" for World Ocean's Day, Join me and/or tell me about yours!
Watch the video here.
(Brands pictured above from left to right: Art of Lunch, Logan and Lenora, Itzy Ritzy, Itzy Ritzy, and an inside out, air drying Itzy Ritzy bag on top).
Carly Mejeur is a floridian artist, inspired by her ocean hobbies and travels. This Blog is for news, events, and just for fun. Click here for the artist's Bio.