Ditch your Paper Towels + Save Money

Think about how many paper towels you use? How many napkins? How many tissues? What about cotton rounds to clean your face? How many rolls of toilet paper? And now think about how often you have to replenish these items? While not a ton of plastic, usually each one come wrapped in plastic and I felt like I was going to buy one thing or another every other week so that adds up. And that soft plastic is not something you can recycle so it goes into the trash bin and then landfill to sit there forever!

What if you had an infinite supply of paper towels, napkins and tissues and you never had to go shopping for those items again. You would save time and you would save money! And it is so easy! I would say that my partner was skeptical but was willing to give it a try to support my plastic free mission. We transitioned to a variety of cloth towels. For wiping up messes, cleaning kitchen counters + appliances, we have a set of white cloth towels which are easily accessible. We also transitioned from paper towels to the unpaper towel which I bought through Marleys Monsters. Huge shout out to the Sustainability Concierge, Friday who introduced me to the fabulous brand when we had our “Go Green” session. I absolutely love these towels and they offer so many fun prints. We bought a set of unpaper towels and napkins.  At first we tried to roll the towels on a paper towel dispenser to try to mirror the paper towel experience. You can see our fun lemon printed Unpaper Towel on a standard paper towel holder in the background below.

bulk shopping veggies

For us they tended to unravel a bit so we converted to just placing them in a draw for easy access which has worked out perfectly.

unpaper towel draw space

This has been such an easy switch. And my partner has not been concerned about this switch in the slightest. We just toss them in the washing machine with our weekly loads and then we are all set with a clean set of towels + napkins for the next week.

In the bathroom, I used to use single use cotton rounds to clean my face morning and night. I have switched to reusable cotton rounds made from Organic Bamboo and wash those weekly. I just put them on my sink in the same holder I used for my single use cotton rounds.

cotton rounds

For tissues, I have transitioned to handkerchiefs vs. tissues. There was one exception to that rule. When I was sick and blowing my nose non-stop all day long, I bought a box of tissues as they were a touch softer than the handkerchief I was using. Progress not perfection, right?!

Lastly there is toilet paper and I am not going to say go to cloth or get a bidet toilet. Although I have read that as a recommendation by some, I just don’t think many will adopt that route. And my partner 100% would not support that option so I will use that as my excuse too ;-). He also has very high standards for his TP needs. So I ordered Who Gives a Crap which is an option to get plastic free toilet paper. I ordered the base option (recycled 3-ply toilet paper) and immediately my partner was not a fan. He did not feel it was soft enough. Well, we got through that initial supply and upgraded to the premium toilet paper made of 100% bamboo and I think we found a place where both my partner and I are happy. The cost will run you about $0.80- $1.10 per role depending on which item your select and if you want a subscription. Comparing that to Charmin Ultra which is what we used (1.00 a role), the price is very comparable and going with the subscription we save about $50 a year.

Obviously all of these changes saves time for not having to go shopping for these items. And these changes also saves money! Here’s some math.

Think about how many a paper towels a family of 4 uses over the course of a year. The average family uses two roles per week @ $14 for an 8-pack, that’s $182 a year! Or you can buy the unpaper towels from a place like Marleys Monsters. A 12 count will run you just $30, while a 24 ct will run you $54. And now you are set for life! Just wash, reuse and save $$$!

On average a family of 4 uses 9000 napkins a year! With the cost of $5 for 250 napkins, that’s another $180 a year in savings! Or you can use cloth napkins forever and save that money for a rainy day.

If you enjoyed my blog, please use the link to the right to follow me. You will get an email update each time I post anything new. It’s not that often so don’t worry about being inundated with emails. I  would also love to hear from you! How is your plastic free journey going? I hope to have inspired you!

*disclosure: Some links in this blog are affiliate links, meaning I make a little bit of money but at no additional cost to you. I will earn a commission if you click through the link and make a purchase. This will help me to continue to explore and offer up recommendations to reduce your plastic usage.


Recology Tour: Knowing what you can recycle + compost

I finally got to visit the San Francisco Recology Transfer station which services the entire city and county of San Francisco to help us achieve zero waste by sorting, recycling and composting all that they can. It is an impressive place to visit to see all they do to help to drive San Francisco to Zero Waste by 2020. We are very lucky in San Francisco to have a very high quality facility that produces high quality bales of paper and plastic. We also can recycle + compost more items than many other municipalities. Not all facilities are created equal so I highly recommend at a minimum visiting your local waste collection facilities website to understand what you can compost + recycle. Recology has found places to send certain items that other municipalities cannot recycle.

Before thinking about recycling, focus on the first 3 R’s:

  1. Refuse– Just say no thank you to give aways and freebies. Refuse to use items wrapped in plastic, especially single use. Opt for items in glass or tin. 
  2. Reduce– Reduce your overall consumption. Do I really need another pair of jeans? We have so much stuff! Reduce your overall plastic usage as well.
  3. Reuse (+repair)- Use reusable water bottles, coffee mugs, utensils, shopping bags, produce bags and even switch to cloth towels, napkins and handkerchiefs. Check out Marleys Monsters for some great usable cloth options for throughout your home.  
  4. Recycle- After you have refused, reduced and reused, recycle what you can
  5. Rot- Compost, Give it a try!

I think the biggest learning from my tour at Recology is they want you to remember “loose, clean + dry!”

Loose- The items you put into the recycling bin should not be placed in a plastic bag but rather you should empty that plastic bag into the recycling bin and throw the plastic bag into the trash bin or reuse it. The plastic bag and all “soft plastics” can end up jamming up the machines and ultimately cannot be recycled. There is one exception to this rule. If you have soft plastics including bubble wrap that have not been in contact with food, you can collect those in a larger plastic bag, tie that closed and place that in the recycling bin. I use a paper bag to take recycling down to the garage and then I empty that and reuse the same bag multiple times.

Clean– Ideally they want you to remember to rinse out your items before putting them in the bins. Residual sauces, yogurt, peanut butter can contaminate the supply, especially the paper products. I am trying to be diligent to rinse whenever possible. If you don’t have access to clean it out, then still place it in the bin.

Dry– Since you cleaned it, you want it to dry. I place the items that I washed in our recycling bag without their lid. There is usually a few days before we take it out so should dry naturally.

When asked what we are as residents of San Francisco doing wrong, they said we can:

  • Reduce our plastic usage overall
  • Avoid single use plastics
  • Stop “wish” or “hope” recycling. Putting everything in the recycling bin hoping it is recyclable is not the best option. This can lead to contaminating the supply so it is important to know what you can recycle and what you cannot recycle. When it doubt, look it up or put it in the landfill bin.

There are 5 key categories of what can be recycled:

  1. Clean Paper- cardboard, paper, magazines, envelopes
  2. Paper cups, milk and juice cartons, Tetra packs for almond milk and broths. Recology has found a company that can strip off the thin plastic layer so this is very specific to Recology and San Francisco. The tetra packs actually have 7 layers and Recology has also found a way to recycle those!
  3. Glass bottles + glass jars
  4. Soup cans, soda cans, balled up tinfoil
  5. Hard Rigid plastic that holds its shape. If you can drop it and it holds its shape then you can recycle it. This includes the trays for berries + coffee cup lids.


Things notes that should not be recycled and should go to landfill:

  • Soft plastics especially that have come into contact with food. So items like soft plastic bags for various snacks, candy wrappers, salad bags, deli meat and cheese bags should all go in the black bin and are landfill. If you have a hard plastic with a soft plastic cover, remove the soft plastic and place that in the trash
  • Mixed or composite bags like many of the amazon bags you may get
  • Pet Waste
  • Textiles + dryer lint
  • Disinfecting wipes (method and greenworks wipes are compostable!)
  • Broken plates and glasses. These have a different density and cannot be recycled and therefore should go in the black landfill bin
  • Hangers- These can jam up the machines. We return these to the dry cleaner. You should too! Also ask your dry cleaner to note on your file not to use the plastic bag to encase your clothes that they typically do
  • Zip lock bags- Switch to reusable Stasher bags or use alternatives like tins and glass containers to store and carry food. It will save you money in the long run
  • Plastic Straw- get reusable straws, paper straws or Hay Straws
  • Plastic 6-pack holders- Maybe buy the larger size in a cardboard box to avoid the 6 pack holders
  • Styrofoam- just avoid this material all together! It’s awful!


Composting! If you haven’t tried it, I highly recommend it. I was so worried about it smelling in our kitchen. We have a nice stainless steel bin with a charcoal filter and compostable bags. We take it out every 2 or 3 days and have never had any foul smell. Our Recology facility is top notch and once again we can compost things like avocado pits and bones which many other municipalities can’t.

So what can you compost?

  • Leftover food
  • Soiled paper products
  • Napkins
  • Egg cartons
  • Bones from animals or fish
  • Avocado pits
  • Coffee Grounds and coffee filters
  • Wine corks
  • post it notes
  • Shredded paper
  • Cue tips for ears made of cardboard and cotton
  • Flowers + any yard plants
  • Pizza Boxes! I didn’t know that an thought that was great to hear!


As Recology says “No one person can do everything. Everyone can do something!” Let’s all do a little more each day to be part of the solution and support Recology’s effort to be zero waste by 2020.

Recology – What goes where


If you enjoyed my blog, please use the link to the right to follow me. You will get an email update each time I post anything new. It’s not that often so don’t worry about being inundated with emails. I  would also love to hear from you! How is your plastic free journey going? I hope to have inspired you!


Overcoming Self Doubt 90 Days Out

I have had some serious doubts about my ambitious marathon swimming goals this summer. I decided to attempt two big swims to include the length of Tahoe (21 miles) and 6 weeks later, the Catalina Channel (also 21 miles). Even when making this decision, I was certain I was crazy but these are the things I like to do to myself. I am addicted to endurance sports and I just love the process of training and seeing what your body can do when you just ask. When you do these swims, they are typically solo but takes a village of support. It’s just you, your boat and your crew. You are only allowed a swimsuit, cap and goggles. Your crew supports you by feeding you on a set interval like you are a porpoise. You can’t touch the boat or anything so they throw your food, otherwise know as “feeds” to you which you should consumer in 30 seconds or less. I largely  stick to liquid feeds in a bike bottle. I find it hard to chew while treading water. I use Carbo Pro with Ucan Hydrate mixed in about 10oz of water and that is what I drink every 30 minutes. I also supplement with Gu with caffeine when needed.

Anyway, coming into April I felt like my training was way behind where it needed to be so was seriously starting to panic. I battled two big illnesses this winter including the dreaded Norovirus which I picked up in Mexico on a surf trip. I was thinking this surf trip was perfect and amazing cross training so did not worry in the slightest that I would miss 5 days of swim training in February. And that was very true! Then the dreaded Norovirus took me out for an extra week. I thought, that’s ok! It’s only February. I proceeded to ramp up, following my swim plan. Then I get it hit  late March with the flu and 102 degree fever which rolled into the most awful chest cold with an nasty cough which took me out for a good 10 days. I showed back up to join the Irish POD at the South End Rowing club hacking up a lung as I pushed myself to get back to swimming in San Francisco Bay. Every time we stopped to gather the group, there was me coughing and they all seemed quite concerned. They are the Best! So at this point it is April 5th, I don’t have my full strength back and I am feeling so behind. And then I have my typical work load which tends to ramp up this time of year.

This is year two of Marathon swimming for me and still a total newbie! Thankfully I track my swimming in Strava so I went back to compare year over year weekly volumes and I was pleasantly surprised to see I was averaging double what I averaged last year at this time. And since I am ramping up from 12 miles to 21 miles, I guess that is about right. SO YEAH! I was able to get my brain back in the game and relieve my self doubt. I am officially 90 days out from the first swim. How am I feeling? Well shockingly pretty great!

The past two weekends I think my swim training really officially started + helped to grow my confidence! Two weeks ago on Saturday, the South End Rowing Club hosted a challenging swim called the Kirby Cove Swim. Well, the wind gods wouldn’t have it and it changed to a Golden Gate Swim which was totally the right call. And this swim did not disappoint! We had some insane 20+ knot winds, super choppy conditions with some swells that I swear must have been 3 feet. I just thrive in this condition. I was literally body surfing the swells and had an absolute blast. I made it back to club in about 1 hr 15 minutes with my swim buddy Mark, got myself checked off so they know I didn’t drown and then headed out for 45 minutes of swimming in the Aquatic Park “Cove”. If you haven’t been for a swim here, you should! Those of us who have access to swimming in San Francisco Bay are truly lucky. Those of us who are members of South End Rowing Club are the luckiest of the lucky!

The next day I had planned a swim with Sylvia of Pacific Open Water Swim Co. It is usually a pilot’s surprise which means you are not exactly sure what you will swim. I just let her know that I was ready to get out in the bay and out of my normal routine swims for a fun 3 hour swim. Yup, that is my idea of fun. Like I said, I am crazy! On swims with Pacific Open Water Swim Co. I shed my watch as it is my downfall. I am best knowing nothing about how long I have been in the water and how much longer I have to go. Not to say I don’t ask and I don’t whine. I totally do that too. Our 3 hour swim was a swim around Angel Island which I swam last year a couple times. I love love love this swim.


I loved it so much that I did it again just this past weekend with a couple friends, Brad and Mark. What a treat to experience that swim with them. The conditions were definitely a touch more challenging this last weekend and as Sylvia says “just a wee bit of texture.” Still an absolute blast! I nailed by training plan last week and at this point, hope to do my best to nail all of the weeks leading up to the Lake Tahoe swim on July 26th. Part of my training plan includes a trip to Ireland late May for a swim training camp called Hit the Wall with Infinity Channel Swimming.  I am so excited to go to Ireland with an amazing group of ladies from South End Rowing Club. I guess right now I am training for training camp which totally cracks me up but it is the truly how I have been thinking about this month’s training. I get excited when the bay water temperature drops as it has such a wide variance this time of year. Ireland is going to be COLD and expect 55 degrees or less. And did I mention jelly fish. I am oddly excited to maybe experience my first jelly fish sting. Yup, crazy!

Lots more swimming to be done this year and I hope to report out my progress along the way. Ultimately, its all about the Catalina Chanel on September 15th!



Bulk Shopping 101

Did you know that on average a family brings home 1500 short-lived bags per year. You can help to reduce the number your household uses by bringing reusable bags for produce and for shopping. Better yet, find stores that offer bulk shopping for household staples.

I wish for a day where I can walk to my local grocery store to shop an expansive bulk shopping section. Recently I have noticed bulk shopping being added in various Safeway stores which is exciting to see. I live in San Francisco and sadly I typically need to drive 15-30 minutes to get the true bulk shopping experience. To me, that means the store has an expansive dry bulk section, liquid filling options for things like olive oils and vinegar as well as other items like Ghee and Coconut oil. In personal care, I love when there is an option to refill lotion or other personal care bottles. When I get to go to my favorite store, Rainbow Grocery ( in San Francisco, it is an excursion that I just get giddy about! I plan in advance and figure out how to make the most of my jaunt across the city as I only get their once or twice a month. How do I plan you ask?

  1. I look through my pantry and see what things can I buy in bulk
  2. I make a list and build on this list over days.
    1. My list this time around included: Whey Protein, Mixed Nuts, Popcorn Kernels, Sauerkraut, Kimchi, Balsamic vinegar, Rice, Avocados, lime and tomatoes
    2. My list also included a few items that are packaged goods including Yogurt, Dijon, and Vanilla Extract. When I shop for packaged items I look for the options in glass jars and ideally with a tin lid. Rainbow Grocery delivers!
  3. I collect various glass jars (some bought + some reused). I find jars easier for many items. My initial set of jars came from Goods Holding Co. and their Starter Kit which comes with 4 jars, a 100% organic carrying bag and a grease pencil for marking your containers. This is my go to carry all bag that I stuff full with bags and containers for my next shopping trip.
  4. I grab some mesh and cloth bags. My favorite cloth and mesh are by Earth Junky reusable produce bags.  For lettuce or loose greens, I find it best to use a fine mesh bag to prevent wilting. For that I use a Purifyou premium mesh produce bags.
  5. I grab my Chico Vita Reusable Bag to carry everything home. This bag holds up to 40 lbs and can be put in your washing machine. Did you know how much bacteria collects in those reused shopping bags over time? It’s pretty gross so having one you can wash is a game changer.

Bulk Shopping Essentials:

The very first time I hit the bulk shopping section, I was intimidated! I literally sat there and took inventory of what everyone was doing. It’s really not so hard so don’t be intimidated. Here is what you do:

  • First step is to weigh your container especially if it is not a mesh or cotton bag. You will want to write the Tare Weight which is the weight of an empty vehicle or container.  Bulk sections will have stickers or paper twist ties to write this on. I use a grease pencil to write on the lids. Mesh and cotton bags will be typically be “tared” at 0.05lb unless the bag includes a tag with the tar weight. Both Earth Junky and Purifyou have a tab with the tare weight but most checkers miss that.
  • Fill the jar or bag with your desired item.
  • Write down the PLU or the Product Look Up number on a sticker, lid or paper twist tie.
  • I have read, some people elect to write the tare weight + PLU on their cell phone and then provide that information at check out.

Some of my favorite containers for Bulk:

  • Goods Holding Co. offers jars that already have the Tare weight printed on the side. I still write the Tare weight on the top of the jar as it is easier for the checker to see at check out.
  • Reused jars that I bought such as my Yogurt jar or an old Balsamic Vinegar Bottle.
  • Cloth and Mesh bags by Earth Junky which already have the tare weight on them. If you have a mesh or cloth bag without the tare weight, the clerk will usually tare weight it at 0.05lbs which is generally close enough.
    • Fine mesh bags I use for things that tend to wilt such at lettuce. I have found that lettuce does not keep as well so I do rinse it when I get home and place it in a crisper (or salad spinner which works nicely) to keep it fresher longer
    • Cotton Mesh bags I use for larger fruits and vegetables or just grab them loose
    • Cotton Cloth bag I will use for things like nuts or rice

Below you can see a few image from recent shopping trips. The large Black container (old Vega jug) I filled with Whey protein for my shakes. From left to right, I have some mixed nuts, sauerkraut, Kimchi and Balsamic vinegar in glass jars. In a cloth bags, I have some long grain rice and almonds. Then I have various produce items and a few select items that are in glass jars.

Give bulk shopping a shot! Every time I come home knowing I avoided countless plastic bags and containers, I feel like it was a successful shopping trip!

Great local shops for bulk shopping:

Rainbow Market located in San Francisco is at the top of my list of a once a month stock up shopping excursion and I literally get giddy when I get to go to Rainbow! They have just about everything you could ask for including refilling of lotion bottles, shampoo! If you are local you, it’s a must visit!

Other Avenues Coop– If you live in San Francisco’s Sunset or Richmond districts this itty bitty store is stocked with tons of bulk options including dry and liquid items. Thanks to Monte for the introduction to this little gem of a store!

Your local Farmer’s Market– I like to hit the one at San Francisco’s Fort Mason on Sunday to stock up for the week.

Good Earth Mill Valley and Fairfax- Dry Bulk options as well as some liquid filling options

Berkeley Bowl- Dry Bulk options as well as some liquid filling options

Andronico’s– Dry Bulk options

Whole Foods – Dry bulk options + now apparently select Safeway stores with dry bulk!

My Plastic TRUTH:

Do I get frustrated when I go shopping? Is it overwhelming? Is there plastic in my refrigerator, kitchen, home? The answer is a resounding YES to all the above! I want to reinforce that it is important to always remember it is progress not perfection. And that everyone is at a different point on their plastic free journey. Be as much of the solution as you can and except that sometimes there are not alternatives that work for you in the moment.

What type of items do I end up buying in plastic?

  • My vitamins but have found several glass jar options which is the next on my list to tackle
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Deli meat and cheese- I try to get to the store to buy it fresh at the deli counter and have them wrap it in paper but sometimes my week is hectic and I don’t have time
  • Chicken, meat and the like since they are typically in a plastic tray and wrapped in plastic
  • Spring mix or arugula salad- Again I try to buy this loose at Rainbow or the Farmers Market but sometimes I don’t make it there and I’m not in the mood to eat romaine or red leaf lettuce.
  • Soft plastics for my sports bars + Gu although I am attempting to make my own bars and bites
  • My skin care regimen. I love my regimen and having tried some natural alternatives in glass containers. But those options just haven’t had the power punch on my wrinkles.


If you enjoyed my blog, please use the link to the right to follow me. You will get an email update each time I post anything new. It’s not that often so don’t worry about being inundated with emails. I  would also love to hear from you! How is your plastic free journey going? I hope to have inspired you!

*disclosure: Some links in this blog are affiliate links, meaning I make a little bit of money but at no additional cost to you. I will earn a commission if you click through the link and make a purchase. This will help me to continue to explore and offer up recommendations to reduce your plastic usage.

Plastic Free Dental Options

As I continue on my plastic free journey, I have been playing around with various options for my dental hygiene over the past 6 months. And I am pleased to announce that I am finally ready for my recommendations around toothpaste, dental floss/ picks and toothbrushes.

Here are my Toothpaste options:Toothpaste options

If you want an experience that is closest to your current toothpaste experience, I would highly recommend David’s Premium Natural Toothpaste which is made in the USA. The founder worked tirelessly for several years to identify the best natural ingredients that are effective and safely white teeth, fight plaque and freshen breath. The item comes in a recyclable metal tube which brings me back to years past. It comes with a little “key” to roll up the tube which I am not sure is entirely necessary. Up until being introduced to this option, I was using toothpaste  in glass jars. Thank you Sustainability Concierge, Friday Apaliski for this recommendation during our hour long “Going Green Session”. If you are local in the San Francisco Bay Area and struggling with how to live more sustainably, check her out! David’s is definitely my top recommendation for a more sustainable toothpaste option!

The very first brand I tried was Uncle Harry’s Fluoride Free Toothpaste (glass jar). Uncle Harry’s Toothpaste refreshes the mouth with a powerful mineral clay, sea salt and pure plant essences. And when they say powerful, they are not kidding! This definitely was a very different experience as you take your toothbrush and get a little of the paste on it directly from the jar, add water and brush normally. It was noted that the ingredients have high antibacterial properties so doing so was fine. The flavor is strong and definitely felt like it was doing its job and once I got used to it, I really liked it. However, since the formula is made with a brownish clay, the rinsing to the sink did leave it quite messy. I will probably continue to use this brand for travel as it packs easier without the need to check or buy travel size toothpaste. So I think this is a great option for those open to a new experience.

The other brand I tired was  Native Essence Botanicals Toothpaste. This is similar in nature to the Harry’s Toothpaste coming in a glass jar. There was a difference on how they recommend you use this product.  They recommend to scoop a pea size amount of toothpaste onto brush with a clean utensil such as a small spoon, add water and brush normally. I used wooden popsicle sticks. For this brand it is not recommended to put your toothbrush directly into the jar and you also need to avoid water contact with the formula inside the jar. The experience from a taste perspective was better than Harry’s and did not leave a mess in the sink. I found Harry’s easier to use since I could use the paste directly from the jar and honestly, Harry’s just felt like it was working harder for me.

Dental Floss options:

Well, when you happen upon the best on your first go around, there was no need to look further. The first dental floss I tried was Dental Lace- Silk Dental Floss which is a refillable dental floss (Dental Lace- Refill). It comes in a glass jar with a tin cap which cuts the floss. I have always been the worst at flossing. Maybe my subconscious was not OK with the plastic container? Oddly, I floss more often with my Dental Lace Silk Floss. I can also compost the floss so that is an added benefit. I have one in my bathroom and one in my travel bag. I do have very narrow gaps between my teeth so once in awhile the floss breaks but I will take that knowing that I have found a fantastic zero waste flossing option.

My partner prefers the floss picks so I found him Lucky Teeth Charcoal Floss Picks which will biodegrade in 6 months because they are made of cornstarch. These floss picks are more of a medium grade so not ideal for me who has tight teeth but a great option for others. The picks arrive in a plastic bag so I would love to see them transition to a cardboard box to be more sustainable.

Toothbrush options:

I have to admit that I do use an electric toothbrush at home. I have very soft teeth that are prone to cavities so I have stuck largely with my electric toothbrush. You always have to remember that it is progress not perfection but every plastic free habit you develop and share helps to build the momentum.

However, when I travel I do bring my bamboo toothbrush with me and want to be as sustainable as possible. I love my Isshah Biodegradable Bamboo Toothbrush which comes in a 4 pack. The box is made of craft paper and is recyclable. The bamboo is biodegradable. The nylon bristles unfortunately are not biodegradable as there is not a 100% biodegradable option yet to replace nylon. The bristles are on the softer side but it still feels like it works well.

If there is anything you want me to investigate or blog about regarding using less plastic, let me know! I definitely will dig into it and report back!

*disclosure: Some links in this blog are affiliate links, meaning I make a little bit of money but at no additional cost to you. I will earn a commission if you click through the link and make a purchase. This will help me to continue to explore and offer up recommendations to reduce your plastic usage.