By Eric Thomas
Photo/Special to The Source Newspaper
Colleen Flinn standing in front of a display of her wraps.
In today’s world, it seems that more and more, people are waking up and taking better care of those things with which we have been entrusted. For example, our environment. It’s been estimated that in a lifetime, Americans will personally throw away 600 times his or her body weight. In an average lifetime, that could mean 90,000 pounds of trash just for one person.
Many people are being educated these days about the importance of recycling, composting, and generally trying to leave this world in better condition than we found it. One person has found a calling in trying to help her own family and others do what they can to lessen their trash footprint.
Meet Colleen Flinn, a stay-at-home mom of three children: Cashin, age 5; Robyn, age 3; and Leo, age 1. With her husband Tim, they are raising their family between two family farms near Pleasant Plains. Farm life on a multi-generational farm has given them an appreciation for the past and a respect for the future.
Flinn was searching for what she could do from home while she was raising their children, so she reached out to a former professor of hers and he told her that her chosen profession of social work was more than home visits and casework. After some soul searching, she realized she needed to turn her concern for the environment into her mission.
“Making these changes is not an all or nothing endeavor,” commented Flinn. “Doing what we can where we are in life and baby steps is [the] key to success.” Getting their daughter out of disposable diapers sooner than planned; researching household alternatives; and refusing to buy new when they could reuse, repurpose, or simply do without was a start. In an effort to educate and help others make a difference, “My Trashy Chronicles” was born. This is a Facebook page she has dedicated to sharing how an ordinary family can make simple changes to reduce waste inside of the home.
In her researching, she discovered beeswax food wraps, a natural alternative to disposable plastic items such as plastic wrap and plastic baggies. After discovering a general recipe on how to make them through a zero-waste blog, she began experimenting. After exploring the versatility of these wraps, she knew she had a hit plastic wrap alternative on her hands. Nothing Fancy Sustainable Products was born, with the beeswax food wraps are currently their primary product.
These wraps seal with the warmth of a hand. They are great to cover bowls, wrap sandwiches or to create a “baggie” for snacks. After use, they are easily rinsed with cool to lukewarm water and hung to dry. If soap is needed to get them clean a mild dish soap is recommended. There are antibacterial properties in the ingredients that help the wraps stay clean. The wraps could last anywhere from 6-12 months, depending on the care.
Later this summer, Flinn will be launching a website for Nothing Fancy Sustainable Products where you will be able to purchase the beeswax wraps. Until then, the wraps may be purchased through her Facebook page: Nothing Fancy Sustainable Products. Currently, they carry small wraps for $4, medium wraps for $8, and large wraps for $10. Bundles of small, medium and large wraps are also available for $18. You might be able to catch her at the Springfield Farmers Market or you can find her wraps available at Home Girls and The Fresh Press in Jacksonville, Food Fantasies in Springfield, and Harvest Market in Champaign. Several new locations will be carrying them soon.
In closing, Flinn wanted you to know the ingredients used are all made in the USA. As they expand, they assure you that their products will continue to be 100 percent made and sourced in the United States. “By making small but consistent changes, we can collectively make a huge impact on the disposable plastic epidemic plaguing our time,” concluded Flinn.