Archive for March, 2011

March 30, 2011

Bag It: Must See Movie Comes to Your Town

Many of you have probably already heard about the film Bag It: Is Your Life Too Plastic? that came out last year. But if you think it’s only about plastic bags, think again. There’s a reason the filmmakers ended up on my doorstep in 2009 to learn about how to live without plastic.

Bag It is the story of an ordinary guy named Jeb Berrier who one day has an awakening sparked by a plastic bag.

Learning about the problems with plastic bags leads him on a journey to find out more about plastic pollution and the harm from disposable plastic.

He exposes the myths of recycling, telling the truth about why it’s not the answer to our plastic pollution problem.

He calls out the plastics industry and American Chemistry Council and explains the techniques they used dupe the public. And he even experiments with his own body to see the impacts of chemicals from plastics like BPA.

Trying to figure out if it’s possible to live without disposable plastic,… Read the rest

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March 25, 2011

I’m An Environmentalist and I’m Not Having Kids

It would be easy for me to feel self-righteous about my decision not to breed. According to many thinkers, population is the number one factor driving such problems as global climate change, pollution, and hunger. And children born and raised in affluent nations have a significantly higher impact on the planet than those born to more modest means. As one of my blogger friends put it, population “relates to everything – including the amount of plastic crap circulating in the ocean.”

So it would have been mighty selfless of me to deny my maternal instinct for the sake of the planet, right? But honestly, my decision not to have children had nothing to do with environmental concerns. I looked at my life, my goals, my physical and emotional resources, and despite my love for cute little babies, I realized there were other things I wanted to do with my life and that bringing a child into the world was not for me.

Of course, we’re all looking… Read the rest

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March 23, 2011

Stahlbush’s New Biodegradable Frozen Fruits and Vegetables Bag is Plastic.

One thing I learned to my dismay back in 2007 when I decided to try and live without plastic is that without exception, all frozen foods come packaged in some kind of plastic. Even cardboard containers like ice cream cartons are lined with plastic. That information sucked for me, the convenience food junkie.

I did however, have a moment of hope when I discovered Stahlbush Island Farms’s frozen fruits and veggies packaged in what looked like plain brown paper. But that hope was crushed when I opened the bag and saw that it too was lined inside with plastic.

Well, recently, several readers have excitedly informed me that Stahlbush’s packaging is now labeled as biodegradable.

So I went out and bought a bag of frozen spinach just so I could look inside. Here’s what I found:

Looks like plastic, right? The Stahlbush web site doesn’t give any details about the new bag except to say it’s biodegradable. So, not one to accept any… Read the rest

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March 21, 2011

What I Learned From The Rat In My Toilet

The text message I sent my sister Friday night was, “OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! There was a rat in our toilet bowl tonight!”

You know the urban legend about rats and snakes and other critters swimming up through the sewer pipes into your toilet? It’s not an urban legend. Not where rats are concerned, anyway.

This story gets pretty gross, so be warned.

We buy Swheatscoop cat litter. It comes in a paper bag, not plastic, and it’s made from wheat, so it’s compostable and flushable. Our cats love it. In fact, they love it a little too much.

Which is why ever since this incident in 2008, we’ve kept the bag out of reach of little critters.

Swheatscoop is certified flushable (as long as your cats don’t have toxoplasma gondii, the parasite that kills sea otters, which ours don’t) but even still, sometimes the clumps get a little hard, so the company recommends to let it sit in the toilet for … Read the rest

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March 15, 2011

How to Buy and Keep Cheese Fresh Without Plastic

Buying cheese without plastic has always been problematic because even if I take my own container to the cheese counter, the larger wheels or blocks from which the cheese is sliced generally come shrink-wrapped in plastic. So I’m always on the lookout for aged cheeses without plastic packaging, and last month I found a local Bay Area cheese without any wrapping or coating at all: Bellwether Farms Carmody.  It’s made from Jersey cow’s milk and vegetable rennet.  And it’s better than the 12 pound wheel of beeswax-coated hard cheese I splurged on in 2009 because it’s local, and full wheels are sold utterly naked.

This is what Bellwether Farms Carmody looks like sliced:

No wax coating and no plastic. (Note: the wax coating on most cheeses is paraffin, a petroleum product.)  What you see on the outside is the bare rind.  But of course, that’s only if you buy a whole wheel.  Cut portions of cheese come wrapped… Read the rest

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March 10, 2011

Does Jon Stewart Follow This Blog?

Over a year ago, we ranted here about the idiocy of plastic-wrapped bananas and then posted them to the Plastic Crap Wall of Shame. Now, it seems, Stewart’s got a Pantry of Shame, and guess what’s in there? Plastic-wrapped bananas, which, he says, “are for people who love bananas but hate their biodegradability.”

I love this man and am wondering if I was too quick to cancel my cable. Nah. I can watch The Daily Show online:

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart
Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c

Intro – Pantry of Shame

www.thedailyshow.com… Read the rest

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March 9, 2011

Speaking for the Voiceless

Three years ago, I saw a photo of a dead albatross chick filled with plastic pieces and knew I had to be the voice for those who couldn’t speak for themselves.

Sometimes I forget and think my purpose is plastic. But it’s not.

Yeah, I collect my plastic waste; blog about plastic-free alternatives; write to companies to get them to change their products and packaging; and give speeches and interviews on plastic, plastic, plastic.  I focus on plastic because so few other activists and organizations do. Because “green” companies still package their products in plastic, and organic foods come wrapped in the stuff.

But my purpose, the reason I speak out on plastic, is for my clients:

When I forget them, I get caught up in the madness of Google Rank, Search Engine Optimization, PR Pitches, Social Media, blog popularity, and the stress gets to me. I focus on checking off items on my “To-Do” list and lose sight of the meaning… Read the rest

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