Hi everyone. This is the official blog post for tonight’s #EcoWed Twitter party… all about ways to reduce plastic consumption and our exposure to toxic chemicals in plastics. Leave a comment here to enter to win a free hardback copy of my book Plastic-Free: How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and How You Can Too. (U.S. residents only, I’m afraid.) As we chat tonight, I’ll try to update this post with interesting points and links that may come up. Feel free to ask questions and share information here as well.… Read the rest
My poor backpack. I’ve been carrying it around for over ten years, and finally, one of the main zippers stopped zipping.
Or, I should say, one of the sliders stopped working. Fortunately, this backpack has two sliders, so I could still close the zipper using the other slider, but I always had to remember which side to zip from so I didn’t accidentally sling the backpack over my back, thinking the zipper was closed, and empty all the contents onto the sidewalk. No big deal, but I just prayed that the other slider would hold up and keep working. I had no idea what to do about it, and it seemed stupid to send a perfectly good backpack to the landfill just because of a little thing like a zipper. Remember… I can still use the plastic I already had before I started this project. I just can’t buy new plastic.
When I give talks, one question people frequently ask is whether it costs more money to go plastic-free. My answer: a few things cost more initially, but in general, I save money living this way. In fact, I was thinking about adding a whole section to my plastic-free presentation about ways to save money. But I haven’t done it because I got to thinking… is that actually a good strategy? Or could it backfire? I’ll explain what I mean later in this post. I’d love to get your feedback. But first, yes, there really are ways to save money. Here are just a few…
Plastic-Free Ways to Save Money
A really good quality water bottle made from stainless steel or glass might be a bit pricey, but I save money in the long run because bottled water actually costs more per gallon than gasoline! A 32-pack of Aquafina is $35 today on Amazon, which means I would make back the cost of a Klean Kanteen water bottle in about… Read the rest
If you haven’t yet signed and shared the Vitamix petition I created and blogged about last October because you don’t own one of these high speed blenders and don’t plan to buy one, here are a few reasons to sign and share it anyway.
I myself don’t own a Vita-Mix. As I gushed last September, I’m in love with my Waring Pro with its all glass and metal pitcher. My blender may not be as fast, but it gets the job done without adding toxic chemicals to my smoothies. So you would think I wouldn’t care about what material Vita-Mix’s pitcher is made from. But the fact is, we are all affected by plastics on this planet, whether directly or indirectly. This point was driven whom a few weeks ago during a week-long meditation retreat on the Hawaiian island of Molokai.
Plastic in Paradise
I love meeting people from around the world who are taking the plastic-free challenge in a very public way. The more people do this, the easier it will become for others to get started. I especially enjoy learning about how people around the world see the issue of plastic and what challenges they face. Here is a guest post from Tina Ngata, an indigenous Māori woman living in New Zealand who calls herself “The Non-Plastic Māori.” I hope you will be as inspired by her as I am.
Here, in Aotearoa (New Zealand), we enjoy a relatively high environmental profile, for a long time coined by the phrase 100% Pure. We are the land of pure, deep lakes fed by springs, of pristine environments and virgin forests.
A few months ago, I bought a pressure cooker. I didn’t think it was a big deal, and I hadn’t planned on blogging about it. I just thought that I would eat legumes more often if cooking them took minutes instead of hours. (I don’t eat canned beans because all food cans are lined with plastic, which can leach either BPA or some other mystery alternative that could be even worse. )
Anyway, I’ve been pressure cooking up a storm every weekend… making big pots of beans to eat during the week or to store in the freezer for later. And I’ve also used the pressure cooker for other things like potatoes and even kale.
I assumed I was the last one to the party… that everyone else in the world already knew that pressure cookers are magic. That was until I received an email from a reader named Deborah, who seemed to have read my mind!… Read the rest
Almost all chewing gum is made with plastic, plastic which hides in a secret ingredient called “gum base.” Even Glee Gum contains plastic mixed with its natural ingredients, and as of November 2014, so does Peppersmith. The few gums that don’t contain plastic as an ingredient come in plastic packaging. Finally, there’s a U.S. company — Simply Gum — offering a completely natural, GMO-free chewing gum made with organic ingredients and without any plastic gum base or plastic packaging.
Simply Gum is made from only 6 ingredients: organic raw cane sugar, all natural chicle (rubber from a tree), cinnamon, organic vegetable glycerin, organic sunflower lecithin, and organic rice flour.… Read the rest
So, I’ve talked and written a lot about how Americans seem to be addicted to the convenience that plastic packaging affords us. I know I sure was… eating frozen microwavable meals in plastic trays, energy bars in plastic wrappers, and water in plastic bottles. But I need to confess something. Just because I gave up plastic doesn’t mean I am not above a little convenience. It’s just that now, my idea of convenience looks like this:… Read the rest
Have you ever considered your checkbook cover? If you’re like me, you might be so accustomed to paying bills online that you don’t even remember where your checkbook is. But I’m thinking about mine today because of an article I just read in Environmental Health News. Apparently, Deluxe, the main provider of personal checks for most of America, has reached a settlement to remove a toxic phthalate called DEHP from its plastic checkbook covers by June 2015. According to the organization Healthcare Without Harm, DEHP “can damage the liver, kidneys, lungs and reproductive system — particularly the developing testes….” And the chemical is listed by the State of California as a carcinogen and male developmental toxicant.
Deluxe may be reformulating its covers, but who knows what chemical they will substitute for DEHP. And the covers are still non-biodegradable plastic. So I called … Read the rest
New Year’s Resolution #3: Run an official 5K race in under 30 minutes.
Sorry to have been out of touch for a month. I’ve had a lot going on. But I’m making progress on my 2014 goals. Down 18 pounds and running again. No, this picture isn’t me this year. It was taken back in 2006 during my marathon training year. But it’s a motivating image for me. This year, though, I hope to resume my running habit using a lot less plastic.
Getting Up to Speed
I’ve done this before — run 5K (3.1 miles) in under 30 minutes, that is. I know I can do it again. But it’s going to take a lot of work. As I wrote last month, I had been sitting on my butt for the past seven years. So, I have to break this resolution down into sub-goals.