Author Archives: Beth Terry

April 8, 2014

100 Percent Pure(ish): Tina Ngata Is Going Plastic Free in Paradise

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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.

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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.

Here’s the thing… it’s sortakinda not true – at all.… Read the rest

March 21, 2014

Pressure Cooker Beans – Almost As Convenient as Canned but Without the BPA

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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

March 14, 2014

Truly Plastic-Free Chewing Gum in Plastic-Free Packaging!

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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

February 27, 2014

Is It Cheating to Stock up on Restaurant Burritos?

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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

February 21, 2014

Opting Out of Toxic Checkbook Covers

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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.

Opting Out

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

February 19, 2014

Running with Less Plastic, Part 1

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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.

1) Run 3.1 miles without walking… at whatever speed.  I’m almost there!  8 weeks ago, I started the Couch to 5K (aka C25K) training program, which starts… Read the rest

January 20, 2014

Eating Eggshells for Calcium?

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As I mentioned in my last post, I’m trying to reduce the number of supplements I take (and hence, supplement packaging) by getting my nutrients from whole foods instead of pills.  So a few weeks ago, I was wondering aloud (apparently, I’ve started talking to myself a lot lately) about how I could get more calcium, and Michael, whose mind goes all sorts of random places, said, “You eat an egg everyday.  Why not eat the shell, too?”  He wasn’t serious.  But I wondered if eating eggshells was a thing.  You know, a thing that people do.  So of course, I turned to that trove of wisdom called Google, and lo and behold, there were lots of posts about how to do just that.

Before I go further… once again… I am not a doctor.  I am not suggesting that you or anyone else should eat eggshells.  I’m simply reporting my own experience.

Okay, so first I found this discussion, which lists several different… Read the rest

January 16, 2014

Reducing Plastic by Staying Healthy

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New Year’s Resolution #2: Generate less plastic waste from medicine and supplement packaging.

Okay, before I continue, I have to give the usual caveat:  I am not a doctor and nothing I write in this post or anywhere on this blog should be construed as medical advice.  I’m writing about my experience only.  Your mileage may vary.

Now that that’s out of the way, check out my stash of health-related plastic waste from 2013:

 

Let’s examine it row by row.

Boosting My Immune System

Top 2 rows:  With the exception of the ibuprofen (which I used over several years), all are cold/flu related products.  Like I mentioned last week, I got sick a lot in 2013.  … Read the rest

January 11, 2014

Working Out Without Plastic, Part 1

YouAsAMachine

In October, when Kathryn Palumbo first contacted me on Twitter from @YouAsAMachine, I thought, “Who the heck is this woman with the ripped abs and the funny Twitter handle? And why would someone like this be tweeting me, a totally out of shape but committed plastic-free activist?” I’m not exactly sure why I thought it was strange except that I don’t know any fitness trainer type people, and I guess I had this pre-conceived idea that they all wore Spandex, lived on bottled water and energy bars, and spent so much time in the gym they didn’t have time to care about the environment.

So, I was blown away by Kathryn’s article, “You As An Environmentally Conscious Consumer.” Here are a few excerpts:… Read the rest

January 9, 2014

Lose Weight Through Plastic-Free Living?

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New Years Resolution #1:  Lose the 35 pounds I’ve gained since I went plastic-free in 2007.

Here’s me in January 2007, minutes after completing my first marathon and 6 months before I decided to go plastic-free.  Look at all that plastic crap, including (gasp!) bottled water.  Well, I’ve lost a heck of a lot of plastic weight since then!

But instead of keeping it off, I seem to have just transferred the weight to my hips, my butt, my tummy, etc.  Here’s me in March 2013 after living plastic-free for almost 6 years.  All natural, organic clothing.  Water in a stainless steel bottle.  Yet I am 35 pounds heavier.

This image is from a talk I gave with Danielle Richardet and Bonnie Monteleone at UNCW in Wilmington, North Carolina.  I was recovering from what would turn out to be only one of many colds I came down with last year.  And while I’m really proud of the talk, I was so embarrassed by my appearance … Read the rest