Archive for June, 2011

June 28, 2011

Verdict on Neem Chew Stick Toothbrushes

After last month’s comprehensive review of eco-friendly toothbrushes, I tried another alternative: neem chew sticks from Neem Tree Farms. Chewing on various kinds of sticks for tooth cleaning has been a routine part of life in India, Africa, and the Middle East for centuries. So I ordered a bunch to try. The neem sticks from Neem Tree Farms are grown in North America and are shipped fresh from the farm the day they are harvested. Other than growing my own neem plant, this option seemed to be the lowest impact, plastic-free tooth brushing solution, assuming it worked for me.

I asked the company to send me my neem sticks without any plastic packaging. They arrived in a plain brown paper bag inside a cardboard mailer. So far so good.

Storage: The Neem Tree Farms web site instructs, “For best results, refrigerate or freeze until you’re ready to use them but keep them in paper not plastic.” I stored mine in a glass jar. WRONG THING … Read the rest

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June 21, 2011

Can thinksound PVC-free headphones save me from my cell phone?

If you use a cell phone, you should wear a headset, right? I got my first cell phone in 2000 and have known for years that it might be dangerous to hold the phone right up to my head. Nevertheless, year after year, I did exactly that and felt the heat cooking my brain. I think I was in denial. But a few weeks ago, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer classified radiofrequency electromagnetic fields as possibly carcinogenic to humans (PDF), based on an increased risk for glioma, a malignant type of brain cancer associated with wireless phone use. And while there is debate about results of studies conducted to date, this recent news was enough to wake me up.

I really don’t want brain cancer.

But I also didn’t want to have to go out and search for a plastic headset in plastic packaging. I was being stubborn. Fortunately, I discovered that thinksound, the company that makes the PVC-free headphones I … Read the rest

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June 10, 2011

Airtight Glass Food Storage Containers from Life Without Plastic

Life Without Plastic sent me a few of their new airtight glass containers with stainless lids to review a few months ago, and the containers have been sitting in the pile beside my desk along with other cool plastic-free products that companies have sent me to test. So today, I finally unpacked them from their plastic-free mailing box (Jay doesn’t use plastic packaging materials or plastic tape) and gave them a try. My verdict: they are very, very cool.

(Coincidentally, they are 10% off through the end of the month. I guess I have good timing.)

Now, before I get into my review, I have to say that you don’t have to buy new glass containers to store food without plastic. Repurposed jars from foods like spaghetti sauce or pickles or peanut butter work well. And you can sometimes find secondhand glass containers at thrift stores, yard sales, etc. We do all of that. Our refrigerator is glass jar heaven. But glass jars are not always the right size;… Read the rest

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June 3, 2011

Little Plastic Fruit Label Stickers: Another Source of Water Pollution

A year ago I explained everything you ever wanted to know about plastic produce stickers: what they are for, what you can do with them, and whether we should spend time worrying about them.  After all, they make up a minute fraction of the plastic that’s finding its way into the environment.

What I didn’t know then was that my local utility district, EBMUD, considered produce stickers enough of a problem that it published an article about them in its January/February 2009 issue of Pipeline (PDF), the newsletter that goes out to its customers.  In fact, waste water treatment facilities are not equipped to deal with these little pieces of plastic when flushed down the drain, and they clog filters or end up in the Bay or ocean.

Here is the text of the Pipeline article:

Bay Pollution Prevention Corner
An Itty Bitty Fruit Label Alert

A recent customer survey shows us that EBMUD customers are greatly concerned about the health of San Francisco… Read the rest

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