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Low Waste Plant Parenthood with @farmernickynyc, 110

low waste plant parenthood



One of the major things that plants do is help connect us with nature. I think as plant parents, once we use plants to reconnect with ourselves and make our homes look beautiful, they also get us thinking more about nature and the earth and how important it’s preservation is. So today’s episode is exploring just that: plant parenthood and low waste living, and

what it means to make intentional decisions about preserving our planet while taking care of ourselves and our plants.


I think we are all anxiously looking at 2021 and getting excited about the changes that will come. This is the time to set new years resolutions and just think about how we want to show up in 2021 for ourselves and I think more importantly, there are global conversations happening about how we can show up for those around us and the environment. 

As I continue to fall deeper in love with plants, I’m finding that I’m falling deeper in love with nature itself and feeling a stronger sense of responsibility to take care of our planet.


I’m so excited to welcome Nick Cutsumpas of @farmernicknyc  to the podcast and share this conversation with you and to inform and encourage our community to think about how we can apply these concepts of low waste living to not only our lives, but to our hobby of plant care. Nicks been a plant friend of mine for a while and I’ve loved learning more about sustainability from him, and figured he is the perfect intersection of plant parent and environmental activist to have for this chat about how to lead more sustainable lives as humans and plant parents. 

In this episode we learn:

  • [00:02:26] Introducing Nick Cutsumpas and episode key ideas
  • [00:07:18] What Nick does, what started his plant journey (mothers DO know best!), and how plants served as his ‘saving grace’ when he moved into the city
  • [00:10:38] Check out Nick in Netflix’s new show The Big Flower Fight!
  • [00:11:14] What is regenerative environmental action? Nick explains sustainability vs regenerative
  • [00:13:22] Are houseplant people practicing regenerative methods with their plants? According to Nick, to see is to believe when it comes to taking care of our environment
  • [00:15:01] How Maria realized she could be doing more sustainable practices
  • [00:15:22] Maria’s current idea obsession: plant blindness Nature Not Furniture!
  • [00:16:32] What Maria thinks of ‘zero waste’ and her reservations with the movement
  • [00:17:17] Nick shares why he thinks plant blindness is similar to waste blindness
  • [00:17:37] Why Nick strives for low waste consumption vs zero waste, how we as consumers can apply low waste consumption to the products we buy
  • [00:19:45] Why the time to be more conscious is NOW more than ever and how taking care of plants reminds us that we can take action
  • [00:20:47] Why Bloom and Grow Radio is doing an episode on low waste
  • [00:21:45] Low Waste Beginner Tip #1: Reuse everything
  • [00:22:46] Do you have tons of bubble wrap from your online orders? Save them for your next plant cutting gift!
  • [00:23:50] What is ‘waste’? For Nick, it’s everything that ends up in a landfill
  • [00:24:38] Maria’s lightbulb moment on her waste consumption: New York’s composting system
  • [00:25:11] The negative effects of plastics in our environment and how we can be smart and responsible with our plastic consumption
  • [00:26:54] Why we should be cautious about greenwashing, waste segregation, and biodegradable vs compostable materials
  • [00:28:24] Nick’s sustainability influences
  • [00:29:13] Low Waste Tip #2: Buy quality over quantity (Yes, you save more money this way!)
  • [00:30:12] Nick’s sustainability progress: he hasn’t bought anything new in more than a year! The secret? Thrifting!
  • [00:31:52] The eco-friendly furniture and mattress stores that Nick recommends
  • [00:33:56] How the pandemic enabled more waste production
  • [00:34:48] Why the most impact can be achieved through collective action; ‘10% is better’
  • [00:35:14] The BEST recycled and sustainable wall planters and the BEST plant kits to give this Holiday season!
  • [00:38:56] Nick reveals the most common mistakes we all do when it comes to composting
  • [00:39:54] How to REALLY begin your low waste journey
  • [00:40:39] Why you need to wash your recyclables
  • [00:41:22] Low Waste Tip #3: Find bulk stores and bring your own jars
  • [00:41:50] How Nick manages to do zero-waste grocery shopping
  • [00:42:25] What is ‘produce paralysis’? What is Nick’s proposed solution to packaging waste?
  • [00:44:04] Low Waste Tip #4: Avoid single-use plastic in the produce section
  • [00:45:24] Nick’s low waste hack: Put the jar in warm water for 10 minutes to remove the adhesive label, and reuse the jar for drinking or plant propagation!
  • [00:46:47] Low Waste Tip #5: Don’t be shy to ask if you can use your own containers for your consumables!
  • [00:47:39] Maria weighs in on the different straws from her own experiences (make sure you clean them!)
  • [00:49:28] What do we do with our plastic nursery pots? a. bring them to a nursery, b. cache, c. make a tent for your drainage hole
  • [00:53:38] Low Waste Tip #6: Grow something new in your used nursery pots
  • [00:54:06] The company that Nick trusts to recycle his plastics
  • [00:55:31] Propagating your plants can also help your recycle and upcycle
  • [00:56:30] Low Waste Tip #7: Choose sustainable soil options
  • [00:57:44] Low Waste Tip #8: Know your plant number! (we’re serious!)
  • [00:59:00] Your plant consumption should be healthy AND environmentally-responsible
  • [01:00:28] Low Waste Tip #9: Buy your plants from your local businesses
  • [01:01:46] Plant shops that Nick and Maria recommend
  • [01:04:05] Listener Question #1: Can you compost perlite?
  • [01:04:49] Listener Question #2: Are there alternatives to plastic nursery pots and stickers?
  • [01:06:28] Why you should support CSA
  • [01:07:47] Why low waste and sustainable living is important to Nick
  • [01:09:09] Our responsibility to our environment as plant parents!
  • [01:10:24] Maria’s realizations and future commitment to the low waste living movement

Mentioned in our conversation:

Thank you to our episode sponsors:

Soltech Solutions

Soltech Solutions Luxury Grow Lights: Whether its simply getting through the lower light winter- or if you’re like me and you’ve just got too many plants  and too few windows and need to bring more light indoors so your collection can keep growing- Soltech Solutions has the luxury lighting option for you! Soltech is offering BAGR listeners 20% off with code “20BLOOM” at once again thats and code 20BLOOM at checkout for 20%off.


Wallygro just launched it's “greenwall in a box” WALLY KITS that are everything you need to plant up their Eco or Loop planters: the plants, the potting mix, the fertilizer, and of course… the pots! It's the perfect gift for the holidays that you can order on your couch!! Check out the Wallygro Kits and pick the best one for you! Wallygro is offering BAG listeners 15% off for a limited time only so redeem this code if you are interested ASAP! BLOOM15 for the Wally Plant Kits active for Dec.15 to Dec. 29.

Check out the this Video clip of Nick and Maria's Conversation


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Instagram: @farmernickynyc

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