Julie Darrell is a busy Mother of two living in Long Beach. She, like many of us, is very encouraged by the numerous steps our city has taken towards greener energy + more efficient water + waste systems. I find so much of what she has to share below to be simple + can be achieved by all Moms. She even shared some tips for new Moms that I'd love to get your feedback on. Read more here! -
Was there a single event that inspired you to create BYO Long Beach?
Like many people who are the least bit environmentally conscious, I had already mastered recycling and bringing my own shopping bags to the grocery store long ago. Beyond that I wasn't doing much to make improvements. I borrowed ‘Zero Waste Home’ by Bea Johnson from my library and was so inspired. Many of the things in the book were things I had tried at one point but got lazy about over the years between having kids and working. I was also inspired by the changes happening politically. I figured that if our government wasn’t going to take strong enough action to fight for the environment, individuals needed to step up big time. I started an Instagram (account) to help inspire people to challenge themselves beyond what had become routine. I wanted to focus locally on Long Beach because I think this city is awesome and I know there are a lot of people who care but may not have the tools, or feel overwhelmed on where to start.
As a busy mom, what are the top 3 reusable items do you think everyone should carry in their totes / cars?
The one thing we cannot ever leave the house without is a reusable water bottle for each person. We always bring them with us into restaurants to avoid those annoying plastic ‘kid cups’ that are everywhere. I also keep in my purse a stainless-steel straw, real fork, and real spoon for each kid. You’d be surprised how much they come in handy and they prevent so much single-use plastic waste.
In addition to rethinking the use of disposable diapers to be worn 24/7 by little ones, what other baby-related item do you think Moms should consider if they are concerned about their carbon footprint?
This kind of goes along with cloth diapering, but we still use them today. When my kids were in cloth diapers, I used reusable cloth wipes made from cut up old t-shirts. We washed them along with the diapers, and they are so handy. Even now that my kids are 4 and 7 years old we still use them – although the originals have been replaced as they eventually got worn out. I keep a stash in my car along with a small spray bottle filled with water for those inevitable spills, nose wipes and those moments when you go to drop them off at preschool and realize that you forgot to wipe the oatmeal off their face, ears and hair. Most commercial baby wipes have plastic fibers that are not biodegradable. They make their way to the ocean and wreak havoc on sea creatures. I understand that when you are new to the parenting game you’ve got to choose your battles. Above all else just try to do one new thing when you have room to add it to your life. Don’t get overwhelmed with doing everything at once.
It's great to have a resource like you in our community! Any upcoming events that we should know about?
I’m having a pop-up shop on October 6th at the Vegan Fest in Bixby Knolls and another one on October 27th at the Urban Hive Market at the Pike. I will have cloth produce bags, bulk liquid soaps (like Dr. Bronner's Castile), organic loose teas, natural cleaning supplies, reusable stainless-steel containers & straws, and more. Everything available package free. You are encouraged to bring your own container for refills.
Please be sure to check out Julie's Instagram page, @BringYourOwnLongBeach for weekly inspiration + photos like the ones below, taken by her! All of us can do better, especially in the kids' department (so much waste, ack!).