I first learned about GreenCitizen several years ago when I was trying to figure out what to do with old CDs and DVDs. Since then, Michael and I have taken several dead gadgets to them: our old rice cooker, our old blender, and some obsolete computer equipment. So I was excited to take a tour of GreenCitizen’s hub in Burlingame this weekend and have a chat with founder and CEO James Kao.
Kao was born in Taiwan and graduated from UCLA in 1982 with a degree in math and computer science. He went on to get an MBA and work for companies like HP, IBM, and Oracle as a software engineer. As a guy with an engineering mindset, he’s all about solving problems. So, after seeing a short film called “Exporting Harm: The High Tech Trashing of Asia” about e-waste pollution overseas, he set out to create a solution.
GreenCitizen is more than a recycling center for e-waste. Kao wants to rethink the idea of waste in the first … Read the rest
If you’ve read my book or regularly follow this blog, you know I love me some Etsy. I love shopping for plastic-free products on Etsy, and I love that I can contact the sellers and ask them not to use any plastic shipping materials. So, in the tradition of last year, Team EcoEtsy is once again giving away seven different holiday gifts to seven different readers of My Plastic-Free Life. Please read the full post in order to enter the drawing.
Update: The contest is over and the winners have been chosen. Winners are identified at the bottom of each gift item description.
Team EcoEtsy is a global team of eco-minded Etsy sellers, whose mission is dedicated to protecting our planet by utilizing methods to reduce carbon footprints in managing their businesses in the most eco-friendly manner. Many members offer plastic-free items and ship their packages without plastic, either by default or upon request.
Seven EcoEtsy team members… Read the rest
Sign the petition to ask eBay to quit recommending plastic bubble wrap.
Cory Trusty of Aquarian Bath (a small business owner and sponsor of this blog who is committed to reducing her plastic footprint) got tired of all the plastic bubble wrap she receives when ordering supplies from eBay sellers. While she has found her own unique way to request and receive less plastic with her orders (explained below), she realized that getting sellers to reduce their plastic packaging across the board would require help from above, specifically from eBay itself. Why? Because through its recommendations and feedback process, eBay has fostered a “Bubble Wrap Culture.”
The eBay Bubble Wrap Problem
For 2012, eBay revenues were nearly 7.3 billion dollars, and eBay now has 128 million active users. Bubble wrap is the first packaging option that is recommended by eBay to every seller. Other alternative… Read the rest
It’s the final week of Plastic Free July, and BALM! Baby, a company that packages the majority of its personal care products without plastic, wants to reward everyone who participated by giving away crazy numbers of prizes. I’ll throw in a copy of my book, Plastic-Free, as well. Here’s all you have to do:
Challenge ends July 31, 2014. Form must be filled out & filled out HERE
Switch one thing either within your household or your place of business within the month of July that helps to reduce plastic use. Then post a picture to BALM! Baby’s FB page. (facebook.com/balmbaby
Make sure you ALSO enter the GIVEAWAY via Rafflecopter
Prizes include: $100 Gift Card to be used at their online shop (taylorspureandnatural.com
) * Glass Dharma $25 Gift Card * Pura $50 Gift Pack * SmartBottoms AIO Cloth Diaper (One Size ORGANIC) * Irresistibly Green $25 Gift Card * Life Without Plastic… Read the rest
If you’re in the San Francisco Bay Area, now’s your chance to join with other like-minded folks IN PERSON to support one another and learn about local resources to reduce plastic use. And if you’re not in the SF Bay Area, why not start your own local group (either online or in person) to celebrate Plastic-Free July?
While plastic reduction is important year-round, Plastic-Free July is a powerful time when people around the globe come together (in person or virtually) to make an extra effort to go plastic-free for a whole month and to spread the word that we can live without most disposable plastic. Last year, I interviewed the founder of Plastic-Free July, Rebecca Prince-Ruiz of Earth Carers in Western Australia and participated in an International Plastic-Free Help Desk to give support and advice to those wanting to take the challenge.
This year, I decided it would be great to do something at home… in person.… Read the rest
Tiffany Norton of Juniperseed Mercantile tried different kinds of packaging for her delicious lip balms until she found the right one. She sent me one to try in its brand new cardboard tube, and I love it.
Here’s what Tiffany has to say:
Now packaged without plastic and made without beeswax!! I am super excited to share my new paper tube lip balms! They are more than three times the size of a typical little plastic tube, so they will last you quite a long time. And since there is no plastic involved in the packaging (even the label is made of recycled paper), you can recycle or compost the tube after use, and feel good about reducing your plastic impact on the earth. This is absolutely, without a doubt, the greenest way to purchase lip balm. We will even ship your package without plastic tape!
I make and sell breakfast burritos sometimes at school. I just make them the way I like them. Turns out, everyone else likes them just like I do. I’m always… Read the rest
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.
Fortunately for me and my zipper, the Hercules Library chose my book Plastic-Free for their “Book to Action… Read the rest
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
The Hui Ho’olana is a retreat center located in the center of the center of the center: the very center of Molokai, which… Read the rest