Please pass on the plastic

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#4-Avoid Styrofoam at all cost December 24, 2007

Filed under: no more plastic — michelleodonoghue @ 4:15 am
Tags: ,

About 5 years ago our contractor complained about the coffee I had been bringing him each morning–he claimed it tasted like styrofoam. I felt he was lucky enough to be getting a cup of coffee and chose to ignore the complaint. Shortly after that conversation i attended a lecture given by a woman who runs an environmental education program. I learned some disturbing facts about styrofoam (polystyrene):

  • It breaks down when hot liquids come in contact with it
  • It has very dangerous chemicals in it
  • It never, ever decomposes
  • Very dangerous toxins released during manufacturing process
  • It takes up so much more space than paper in a landfill

Some Tips:

  • Choose real china or paper goods
  • Request that local take-out places use alternative choices (Dunkin donuts had a enough requests, at least their small coffees are in cardboard now)
  • Are you really going to eat those left-overs? Order a half-portion or share with a friend.
  • Attempt to recycle those packaging peanuts
  • Send a letter to a company that still ships peanuts (there are so many alternatives for them to use)

Check out the following site for some other great tips on living styrofoam-free.

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#3-Bag the (plastic)Bags December 16, 2007

Filed under: no more plastic — michelleodonoghue @ 4:08 pm

It is estimated that the United States consumes 100 billion plastic shopping bags annually requiring approximately 12 million barrels of oil. (Wall Street Journal)

In my last 3 trips to the store–paint store, Bed,Bath and Beyond, and Ann Taylor–i told the person ringing me up that i didn’t need a bag for my purchases… they weren’t even surprised. “That’s great, save the earth,” were the jist of the responses i received.  “People do that all the time,” was what the lady at the boutique in town told me. this makes my day. At Macy’s, the man ringing me up recently said, “In Australia, they charge you .25 cents a bag, you know? Isn’t that a great idea.?” the woman behind me agreed.

I love using canvas bags. They easily hang over my shoulder and fit a lot of groceries/stuff. A friend sent me some from a company called Skeeda and i love them. Whole foods and Stop and Shop sell canvas bags for a $1.00 a piece. Make sure to use the bag- there’s a theory that it takes a 11 uses of your canvas bag to make it be a worthwhile purchase for the earth. (Energy is used to manufacture and produce these bags.)

One other thought, if you do continue to use plastic bags, they can be used and re-used over and over again. Give it a try.One shopping bag at a time, we can make a difference.

 

#2- Eliminate plastic water bottles (you will never regret it) December 11, 2007

Filed under: no more plastic — michelleodonoghue @ 2:22 pm
Tags: , ,

Like most moms, my #1 concern is the health of my family. After many years of research and reading I do know that plastics have both a short and long term detrimental effect on our children. For example, plastics break down into the water we are drinking out of plastic water bottles, and a chemical called bisphenolA is released. This acts as an estrogen disruptor and a severe toxin on our bodies. It is so important to eliminate this chemical whenever possible. for detailed scientifc reading(yet very understandable) please read the green guide article.

idea #2 is: eliminate plastic water bottles from your daily existence and you will be a much healthier, greener person than you ever imagined you could be. You will never regret making this change.

SOME SUGGESTIONS (on how to make the switch)

1.) Reverse-osmosis is a very efficient filtration system that can be attached to sink faucet.
2.) Whole house Carbon filters do a great job removing pesticides, metals, contaminants. These filters tend to be more expensive and need to be installed professionally.
3.) Brita water filter.
Brita uses a carbon filter, water tastes better, and you save a lot of $$ b/c you are not buying bottled water.
3.) stainless steel water bottles
easy to refill and take with you everywhere. cost is about $20, will last indefinitely. You can buy them at:

Sigg
Klean Kanteen

These alternatives aren’t necessarily more convenient, but i can’t say enough about how much better i feel, and how much better my family feels, drinking filtered water out of a stainless steel container.

if the info above isn’t enough to convince you to find another way to get your 64oz of water a day, check out the 3 horrifying facts below.

1.) Even when bottled waters are covered by the FDA’s rules, they are subject to less rigorous testing and purity standards than those which apply to city tap water. For example, bottled water is required to be tested less frequently than city tap water for bacteria and chemical contaminants. In addition, bottled water rules allow for some contamination by E. coli or fecal coliform (which indicate possible contamination with fecal matter), contrary to tap water rules, which prohibit any confirmed contamination with these bacteria. Similarly, there are no requirements for bottled water to be disinfected or tested for parasites such as cryptosporidium or giardia, unlike the rules for big city tap water systems that use surface water sources.

2.) In order to create plastic water bottles, an intense, and very dangerous manfacturing process has to happen. The Green Guide says the following about this process, “Substantial threats to health arise during plastic manufacturing, both from ethylene monomers, the basic building block for plastic, and from the problem chemicals added to give plastic products their desirable performance properties.

The http://www.thegreenguide.com/reports/productprint.mhtml?id=44″>Green Guide says:

Dioxins, which are highly toxic even at low doses, are produced when plastics are manufactured and incinerated. While dioxin levels in the U.S. environment have been declining for the last 30 years, they break down so slowly that some of the dioxins from past releases will still be in the environment many years hence. In its 2000 final draft reassessment of the health effects of dioxins, the EPA concluded that dioxins have the potential to produce an array of adverse health effects in humans. The agency’s report estimated that the average American’s risk of contracting cancer from dioxin exposure may be as high as one in 1,000–1,000 times higher than the government’s current “acceptable” standard of one in a million. Dioxins are also endocrine disruptors, substances that can interfere with the body’s natural hormone signals. Dioxin exposure, moreover, can damage the immune system and may affect reproduction and childhood development. The most common health effect in people exposed to large amounts of dioxin is chloracne, a severe skin disease with acne-like lesions that occur mainly on the face and upper body. Other effects of exposure to large amounts of dioxin include skin rashes, skin discoloration, excessive body hair, and possibly mild liver damage.”

3.) IN CALIFORNIA ALONE, Accordng to the California Department of Conservation “More than 1 BILLION water bottles are winding up in the trash in California each year. That translates into nearly 3 million empty water bottles going to the trash EVERY day and an estimated $26 million in unclaimed California Refund Value (CRV) deposits annually. If recycled, the raw materials from those bottles could be used to make 74 million square feet of carpet, 74 million extra large T-shirts or 16 million sweaters, among other things. Instead, they are swallowing landfill space, increasing air pollution and destroying the ozone layer.”

 

#1–Plastic-Free around the tree December 3, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — michelleodonoghue @ 3:02 pm
Tags: , ,

For the last few years we’ve been attempting to buy non-plastic holiday gifts, for teachers, for families, for friends, for co-workers. there are some great resources and the shopping becomes fun–yet challenging– when trying to eliminate an entire category–plastic. here are some great catalogs and websites for getting started–the gifts are unique, beautiful,often sustainable, and truly come from the heart. please, please share any resources that you find along the way. below, i divided into the following categories: children, clothing, and home.

buying local is often the better choice b/c you avoid excess wrapping (lots of plastic) and shipping. the ideas below could be starting points for ideas and then you can take it from there. if you do decide to use any of the childrens’ catalogs, i’ve ordered from most of them and I am really happy with the results.

CHILDREN’s TOYS:

1. Rosie Hippos
Rosiehippo.com
(wooden toys, books, games and music)

2. Magic Cabin
magiccabin.com
“childhood’s purest treasures”
(all natural toys, blocks, dolls, games, puzzles, dress-up)

3.) Hearth Song
hearthsong.com
“toys you’ll feel good about giving”
creative games, wooden toys and puzzles, outdoor activites
this catalo is great but does have battery-operated, plastic toys that are tempting to buy, just worth make a thoughtful decision

CLOTHING:

1.) Hanna Anderssson
hannaAndersson.com
unique,comfy, organic choices for children, small selection for adults, shoes, outerwear

2.) Patagonia
patagonia.com
comfy outerwear, undergarments, jackets. lotsof recycled products, organic choices, pricey

3.) CONSIGNMENT STORES/THRIFT STORES
there are great, barely used items at these places, worth a try if you have one local

4.)Green People
world’s largest directory of eco-friendly and holistic health services
greenpeople.org

HOME:

1.)Real Goods
realgoodscatalog.com
inspirational itesm for the home that have to do with sustainability, organics, recycling, solar energy

2.) Gaiam
gaiam.com
known for its great selection of yoga products, clothing, jewelry, decorating items, organic
bedding

3.) Napa Style
“celebrate the flavor of life”
cooking items, decorating,furniture, beautiful stuff, pricey

4.) Isabella
“books and gifts for reawakening the spirit”
inspirational, meditative, music, jewelry, organic, village crafts, sustainable
isabellacatalog.com

5.) tenthousandvillages.com
“discover a world of difference”
beautiful gifts made by local artisans around the world, fair trade=fair way of life

6.) buyhandmade.org
art work, jewelry, clothing,

7.) Uncommon Goods

uncommongoods.com

lots of recylced decorative items, furniture, jewelry, gifts

8.) LAST BUT NOT LEAST: a huge selection of gifts made in the USA

(disclaimer, i have not gone through all of the sites to check the plastic content)

http://www.fatbraintoys.com/specials/made_in_america.cfm
http://www.step2.com/made-in-usa/toys/
http://www.fao.com –search by country of origin
http://www.rosiehippo.com/madeinUSA.asp
http://www.unclegoose.com
http://www.shopforamerica.com/
http://www.woodentrain.com/
http://shop.vermontteddybear.com/
http://www.poof-slinky.com
http://www.oldfashionedblocks.com/
http://www.buffalogames.com/
http://www.toysmadeinamerica.com/
http://www.madeinusa.org/nav.cgi?data/toys
http://www.usmadetoys.com/
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,292056,00.html
http://www.stillmadeinusa.com/toysngames.html
http://nicoandzoe.com/catalog/index.php?cPath=44
http://www.turnertoys.com/
http://www.zebulonusa.com/
http://www.greentoys.com/
http://www.sensoryedge.com/american-made-toys.html
http://www.maplelandmark.net

http://www.thedailygreen.com/environmental-news/blogs/american/5291
http://simplygreenliving.blogspot.com/2007/08/made-in-usa.html
–> both of these blogs have great list of companies made in usa

MAKE-UP/COSMETICS:
http://josiemarancosmetics.com/packaging.html
LOVE THIS SITE!

for TRAVELLERS:
http://www.idealbite.com/tiplibrary/archives/the_jetsetter_green_gifts_week
great blog for eco-friendly travel. it is so easy and so significant to off- set your travel and shopping by buying carbon off sets!