Sustainability Spotlight: Lindsay Stutzman
About This Series
Sustainability Spotlight is a blog series sponsored by Impact Earth that allows readers to discover the best zero waste practices in Rochester. We totally support our nominees that are living their best #zerowaste lives and hope that you do too! If you would like to nominate yourself or another local for our Sustainability Spotlight series, just let us know!
Who is Lindsay?
My name is Lindsay Stutzman, and am a proud Rochester local. I am married to my favorite guy, Luke, for the past 11 years. We have 2 kids, Natalie (9) and Wesley (6). I worked hard to become a social studies teacher, but after the birth of our daughter, decided to take some time off to stay at home with her. Fast forward 10 years later, and I never returned to teaching. In the meantime, I had started selling knitting and crochet items. I absolutely love creating wonderful items, but quickly realized it wasn’t what I wanted to base me business on. I wanted to switch gears to items that my family use on a daily basis, that solve problems in our lives, and that I thought others would like as well. I quickly realized that the common thread with each product was that it helped eliminate single use plastics, and harsh chemicals, something that I had been working on in our own life. So here I am, Weslee Rose, making eco-friendly products for the community, and sweet knit projects for my little family!
What is your background with sustainable/zero waste living?
Just from being aware of what plastic is doing to the world, and the effects of climate change, I knew that I wanted to be more mindful of what products I use in our family. We used to use plastic baggies and cling wrap like it was going out of style. From kids’ crafts, snack, lego bits, food leftover, you name it, I had a plastic bag for it. So, I made a decision one day when we were out of baggies and cling wrap, and bought mason jars instead. I noticed that we were using a ton of foil, and my kids weren’t allowed glass jars at school, so I went back to the drawing board. From there, I started researching beeswax wraps and snack bags. I found a ton of DIY snack bag tutorials that included a craft store laminate, that was not food safe. I researched like crazy (another common thread, I research A LOT), and found a material that I liked. It was food grade, better for the environment, better for the workers who made it (since there were no toxic chemicals to breath in during the making of it), crazy durable, and easy to care for, so I tried it out. I loved it so much, I thought others might like it as well. I was simultaneously researching beeswax wraps, and found them to be quite expensive (and not always super cute) so I started experimenting with making my own. I loved them so much, I thought others might like them as well. Those 2 products became the basis for my eco-friendly business, which has grown from there. The more I research, the more I end up making!
What motivates you to live sustainably/zero waste?
There are a few main factors that have encouraged me to live a sustainable/zero waste life. The combination of becoming a mother and general awareness of climate change and the effects of plastic on our earth. I see how plastics are polluting the waters, how our use and toss lifestyle is gobbling up our resources, and how we are damaging the earth. I worry about what kind of planet we are leaving for future generations. I want to do my best as an individual to make changes. The other main motivation was the passing of my sister in 2012. She died suddenly, and it completely shocked me. It woke me up. It made me intensely aware how precious life is, how short life can be, and really made me evaluate who I am in this world. Her loss shifted my perspective of who I am in this world. It made me kinder. It made me more appreciative. It made me evaluate the footprint I wanted to leave. Her loss changed me to my core. She was loving, and thoughtful, and selfless, and one of my anchors. She is still my anchor, but in such a different way now. I strive to be someone she would be proud of, and to be the absolute best that I can be.
What are your favorite zero waste products for your business/lifestyle?
One of my most amazing, favoritest products ever is my reusable Dunkin Donuts travel mug. It is ridiculous. It keeps my coffee piping hot for a looooong time. I actually bought it for the chillier days at the Pittsford Market, and was shocked how long it kept my coffee steamy. We ditched the plastic water bottles, and try to take a reusable one with us always. My husband and daughter love the CamelBak water bottles and my son and I love the Contigo water bottles.
My other favs are from my own shop, and we use them like crazy. Produce and bulk bags for shopping at the grocery store (the medium one pictured holds 2 quarts of apples!), beeswax wraps for everything. Yesterday, I put leftover pizza in a casserole wrap. I had a snack of yummy crusty bread & brie, and put the leftover of in a wrap. Today, I packed my daughter’s snack in a reusable snack bag. We honestly use about 9 a day of the snack bags from my shop. The kids usually use 2 for lunch and 1 for snack, and my husband usually takes several with him for work. I especially love them because they can be cared for in the dishwasher, washing machine, and dryer. My kids love to take hot lunches with them, so I am always on the search for a thermos that will keep their food hot. We love this one, you can add hot water first to warm it up, and even has a steam release. Oh and cloth napkins, for school and home!
Of course, mason jars! My children are slime-a-holics and make slime like it’s their job (man I WISH they got paid for the amount of slime they make). They store their creations in pint sized mason jars. I use every size available for food & general storage ~ from chocolate chips, salad prep, leftover, to buttons and crafting. My other daily basis item are soap and shampoo bars. I originally started making them for my shop with the idea of ditching plastic bottles and ditching chemicals. However, I am now obsessed. I use the charcoal and tea tree oil soap to remove makeup, the European clay & avocado oil soap wash my skin. My favorite hand soap is the dandelion & honey ~ it suds up instantly, and is very gentle. We use the Rosemary & Mint as well as the Avocado & Lemongrass shampoo bars. When grocery shopping, I would grab 5 or 6 hand soaps for each sink in the house, not even thinking of all that plastic. I love that we are eliminating single use plastics slowly but surely in my house!
What do you like about living sustainably/zero waste?
I love that as a family, we are creating less waste either from using less or reusing. We see everything differently, and find a second, third, or fourth life for something. We wash and save all glass jars. We reuse egg cartons for crafting and paints, or to plant seedlings in the spring. I often save a bunch of odds and ends, and take it all out for the kids to craft. It’s amazing to see them use bits of this and that to create something wonderful, rather than buying them tons of little craft sets with step by step directions. Living sustainably has opened our eyes and helped us become overall more mindful.
What is your favorite green space in Rochester?
Honestly, my favorite green space is the Pittsford Farmer’s market. This past season was my first time joining as a vendor. Run by Impact Earth, the vibe there was incredible and refreshing. Impact Earth provided bins for recycling, compost, landfill, etc. so shoppers were mindful of their waste. Many shoppers brought their own reusable bags to put their items in, or were provided bio-degradable bags. The farmer’s there were bringing amazing produce and goods, that were fresh, chemical free, and good for us! Often after an event, especially an outdoor event, when all is said and done, there is often garbage and debris laying around on the ground. That was never the case at the Pittsford Market ~ our shoppers were always mindful and kept the space beautiful. The market is big enough to have an amazing variety, but small enough to be personal. I spoke with most of the shoppers, and we had great conversations about how to make steps towards a zero waste and sustainable lifestyle. Impact Earth was there with their amazing zero waste products, and composting services, so the idea of sustainability and zero waste was just always in the air. The Pittsford Market was an amazing space, full of outstanding farmers and vendors and awesome customers! I can’t wait for the 2019 season!
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