Sustainability Returns

Sustainability Returns

laundry hanging on a clothes line

Sustainability is the ‘in’ word today. But as we share our Sunday Snacks with Sam and Ellie, you’ll realize that sustainability has been with us for a very long time. From cleaning and flattening tin cans during WWII to grandma taking the vegetable peelings out and throwing them in the garden.

Sam shares how she learned to sew and now patches jeans and fixes buttons on their clothes. While Ellie shares stories from the ’70s when homesteading was a trend.

You can download the transcript with this link: Sustainability_Returns

Recyle – Reuse – Reduce

Although each generation likes to think what they’re doing is new, it quite often is not new! But our consumerism economy makes sustainability an ever more important concept today. What were common sense and practical decades ago is now a priority to save the planet. Even more importantly, many of these ways to recycle, reuse, and reduce are helping families and seniors to balance their budgets. Here’s a sample of how important small efforts can be.

Tin Cans Go to War

CLICK HERE for a great article from the Orlando Sentinel about salvaging tin cans to help win the war (WWII):

A 1945 magazine article said it all in two sentences: “Nothing is more American than the tin can; and Yankee ingenuity never stops. GIs use empty tin cans for literally everything….”

Ellie and Sam share some thoughts on their personal memories. Sam learned many tips from her grandmother that are very helpful and practical today. While Ellie shares favorites books from the 70s including the Whole Earth Catalog and Living the Good Life. The following quote from Wikipedia in reference to the Whole Earth Catalog gives us a taste of ’70s attitudes for many Americans. The resources in these old catalogs are still valuable although I imagine many of the resources are no longer available. But like perusing seed catalogs in the middle of a snowstorm gives one hope, browsing the pages of these catalogs can be just as hopeful to those interested in sustainability today.

The Whole Earth Catalog (WEC) was an American counterculture magazine and product catalog published by Stewart Brand several times a year between 1968 and 1972, and occasionally thereafter, until 1998. The magazine featured essays and articles, but was primarily focused on product reviews. The editorial focus was on self-sufficiency, ecology, alternative education, “do it yourself” (DIY), and holism, and featured the slogan “access to tools”. While WEC listed and reviewed a wide range of products (clothing, books, tools, machines, seeds, etc.), it did not sell any of the products directly. Instead, the vendor’s contact information was listed alongside the item and its review. This is why, while not a regularly published periodical, numerous editions and updates were required to keep price and availability information up to date.

Steve Jobs compared The Whole Earth Catalog to Internet search engine Google in his June 2005 Stanford University commencement speech.

When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation … It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along. It was idealistic and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.

Then at the very end of this commencement speech Jobs quotes explicitly the farewell message placed on the back cover of the last 1974 edition of the Catalog (#1180 October 1974 titled Whole Earth Epilog) and makes it his own final recommendation : “Stay hungry. Stay foolish.”

Sustainability today involves best uses for many products we use regularly and consideration of ‘just how many do I need.’ In the video, Ellie mentions a full-circle recycling company. Here’s the link:

From the website of ForDays:

So, what’s the problem?

Fashion is one of the most pollutive industries. We’re producing more clothing than ever before and wearing it much less. Over 85% of all textiles end up in landfills, including clothing from resale and donation centers. What they can’t sell gets trashed or burned, causing major social and environmental problems. Most of it can be kept out of landfills if we’re thoughtful and proactive.

Luckily, we have a solution…

For Days is the first circular fashion brand. We’ve spent the last 4+ years building a network of expert recycling partners to keep clothing out of landfills. We design products for circularity. Everything is organic, non-toxic, and can be recycled into new fabric.

We collect, sort, and recycle used garments, linens, and more, from any brand through our best-selling Take Back Bag.

Ellie will share her experience using this site in a future post.

In the meantime, we’d love to hear from you. What sustainable practice did you learn from another generation? Please share it with us!

If you enjoy our life hacks and simple common sense approaches to sustainability and everyday life, please spread the word. Visit and like our youtube channel and our Facebook page. And sign up for our newsletter  – the form’s on the HOME page. Share your thoughts with us on youtube or FB. Here’s to your peace of mind because you’re prepared!

Between us, we have over 100-years of experience, and Sam’s only 40! If you enjoy our life hacks and simple common sense approaches to sustainability and everyday life, please spread the word.

What Does Sustainability Mean To YOU!

What Does Sustainability Mean To YOU!

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been noticing that our food prices are starting to go ​up at the grocery store.

I am Sam ​Groff ​of Beyond TP and Milk. I’m ready to chat with you about some of the serious things about why Ellie and I created ​​Beyond TP and MIlk.​ ​So our original venture was the idea that during the pandemic, a lot of people were confused about what was going on and started buying up all the TP​ and milk and panicking.

There’s a lot of other ways to be prepared. And you know, one of mine is in my fluffy butts ​(chickens). ​They’re so much fun. Yes, they are cute and cuddly and fun and amazing. And some people would ​view them as pets.
I view them as a resource. They are a sustainable food source for myself and my family. Each chicken for multiple years will give me​ eggs​, and they’re amazing layers.​ ​I’ve got a bunch of different breeds that are here on our little property. And we have ones that are really, really good with our kids.
So they have a coop, which is the big green thing. And then they have a massive run. Now, again, chickens aren’t for everybody, not everybody has a whole lot of space, but for us, that was a sustainable easy way for us to be able to take care of things.
Now, am I the best chicken farmer? Probably not. There’s so much more​ ​I’m still learning. Like in the last year I pulled all of my old CDs that we weren’t using anymore and I put them out thinking that would be ​a fun playtoy ​for them.​ ​​We always hear that chickens need to be entertained​.
​B​ut ​an added bonus was by putting these up ​has actually help​ed us keep predators away​. The flash in the nighttime and during ​the day ​from the sun distracts the predators and keeps them away.
So that’s the beauty of the simplicity of sustainability and utilizing the resources that you have on hand and finding out how to make the best out of them.
So ​with Beyond TP and Milk, and with chickens, one of the simple tasks that we’ve done is try to make our yard sustainable for our chickens.​ ​Now, mind you, when we moved here, this backyard was entirely full of trees. ​That means our whole backyard is super​ lumpy. We’re missing chunks of ground because of roots riding out from the bottom and under the ground.​ ​But that means that our ground is super duper fertile. ​We have a lot of extra nutrients and things available to us in our soil, but it doesn’t look the prettiest for most people.
So that’s why we’ve mulched around the chicken coop and around the shed. But that mulch​,​ remember​,​ it was free.​ I told you about that.

​The second thing is ​it’s ​adding a layer of soil and nutrients as it decomposes into our backyard, into our landscape.​ ​Now, the neat part about what we did with this mulch is that it’s not just the mulch. ​We have straw in here.

​In the wintertime, what we do ​is around the base of our chicken coop, we have it open so that the girls can get in and out underneath there. ​They have extra living quarters where like, you know, their chickens. We want them to have as much freedom and free reign as possible. But with that ​it’s also ventilated all summer. So it helps keep the coop cooler. But in the winter ​when ​it gets cold​, we completely surround the base of our coop with straw bales.

Now that’s a two-fold exercise. What it does is it’s a windbreak, but in the springtime, what we use it for is to create a layer of ​soil for ourselves.​ ​So weput the straw underneath the wood chips and the girls then start mixing it all up because the​y’re chickens​.​ ​They ​love to scratch​.​​ That scratching, that mixing brings us a new layer of nutrients ​to the soil. It gives the chickens entertainment. It adds to the healthy ecosystem and sustainability of our yard. And it gives us an easy babysitter for the chickens when they’re out and about in the yard, because we do like to let them free reign when we’re out here working​.​
hand holding fresh eggs with chickens grazing in the yard in the background​S​o sustainability and worrying about the food chain is only going to get you so far until you actually start putting it in action.My husband and I started doing this and putting these things in action slowly, not everything’s going to happen overnight. That’s the biggest thing I can stress to you​.​ ​Try one small thing at a time​. ​We tried the straw bales underneath the chicken coop two years ago.​ ​It worked amazing.
We did it again this year​. ​The year that we did it the first time​,​ we put the straw directly into our garden beds and we made lasagna gardening. It was on your beds, whatever you want to call them. And that was effective. So now it’s every year, how do we sustain that sort of stuff to bring it about so that our land, our property is helping us continue to maintain our stuff. Well, everybody​,​ have a good one.
Again, th​is is Sam ​Groff ​signing off for ​Beyond TP and Milk. ​E​njoy one small step in sustainability because I’m telling you right now, we are on the verge of seeing things that we haven’t seen in a long time ​in this country with pricing. We gotta be starting to really come full circle and take care of it in our own homes. All right. 
Have a good one, everybody. Bye.
Between us, we have over 100-years of experience and Sam’s only 39! If you enjoy our life hacks and simple common sense approaches to sustainability and everyday life, please spread the word.
Simple Water Bottle Hack

Simple Water Bottle Hack

It’s been way too long since we’ve posted. But we’re back with lots to share. 

Make Drainage Far Easier in Pots

We all have plants that we’d like to put into containers. I always try to do a few tomato plants that way. To make life easier, instead of adding rocks and sand for draining, recycle a plastic water bottle or 2 or 3.
Now you may be wondering why I’d even have plastic bottles. Well, I like to keep bottled water for emergencies. A great example going on right now at my house is the water is turned off because they’re replacing a fire hydrant in our block.

Simple hack!

So I’ll take a deep pot and, after rinsing, cleaning, and putting the lid back on, I’ll place 3 or 4 in the bottom of the pot. VOILA! Instant drainage! Excellent reuse of plastic!
Another tip while we’re talking about potting plants. The old soil used for annuals can also be re-used the next year by adding fresh mushroom soil and a bit of worm castings.
Have fun with the plants you put into containers while you reuse and recycle – all to have a sustainable lifestyle!
Between us, we have over 100-years of experience and Sam’s only 39! If you enjoy our life hacks and simple common sense approaches to sustainability and everyday life, please spread the word.