August 26, 2013

My Morning Zero Waste Green Smoothie


Zero Waste Week is coming up September 2 – 8, so this morning I thought I’d take pix of my daily green smoothie making process, sans packaging or plastic waste.

This is also a post about storing greens so they don’t go bad before you can eat them, thus avoiding food waste.  See, about a month or so ago, I realized I wasn’t getting enough fresh produce in my diet. I wanted to eat more kale and other fruits and vegetables.  And I figured blending a whole bunch of things together in a smoothie every morning would be fast, easy, and painless. But despite the Ecology Center’s instructions for storing produce without plastic , I couldn’t manage to keep kale from turn yellow before I could eat the entire bunch.

And then, one morning on the bus, it hit me: I wonder if you could freeze it raw.  I Googled “how to freeze raw kale” and bingo, there were instructions. I just had to figure out how to do it without Ziploc … Read the rest

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August 24, 2013

Brush With Bamboo is my new favorite toothbrush


After reading my blog, and especially the review of several different eco-friendly toothbrushes, Rohit Kumar and his friend Rohit Sahdev were inspired to create the perfect plastic-free toothbrush. While they haven’t yet found a way to create a brush that is completely plastic-free, they’re getting close. Their company is called Brush With Bamboo, and I’ve really been enjoying using the various toothbrush incarnations they’ve developed over the past year and observing the Rohits’ efforts to create a brush whose materials and packaging are more and more sustainable.  I gave Ro K. lots of feedback and suggestions, and he listened and took action.  THAT is the kind of person/company I want to support!

The Handle

I love the curved handle on the brush as well as the length. The one in the picture on the right is the earliest version. It’s more curved. But to achieve that effect, it had to be made out … Read the rest

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August 24, 2013

This Blog Is Going to Change. For the Better — I Hope.


Have you noticed I don’t blog much anymore?  I’m averaging about two posts a month, and I’ve been feeling like I’m letting my readers down.   (For those of you subscribed to the Show Your Plastic Challenge posts or Community Discussion Group, it may seem like you receive a lot from me, but those posts are written by other people — other awesome, involved, engaged people.  You guys rock!)

So I’ve been doing some thinking (which is not in itself news, by the way.)  I’ve been pondering why I am blogging so little lately.  It’s true that I am incredibly busy these days — with activist work, giving talks, maintaining my accounting job, having a life.  I have a list of about 50 blog posts that I would love to write, and no time to actually sit down and write them.  Because blog posts generally take me at least 90 minutes of uninterrupted time, if not more, to put together.  (Some posts… Read the rest

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August 19, 2013

It’s the Burning Man Plastic Footprint Project!


Last year was my first trip to Black Rock City and the annual Burning Man festival of art, fire, and radical creativity, as well as dust storms, cracked feet, and dry, bloody boogers.  I can’t wait to go back. This year, I’ll be part of the Earth Guardians’ Plastic Footprint project — combining art and education about plastic-free living.  Today, I’ll tell you about the art and associated workshops we have planned. Tomorrow, I’ll share all the new plastic-free solutions I’ve discovered for Burning Man this year. I’ve been researching my head off.  Really, my brain hurts right now.

Plastic Footprint Project — At Burning Man and Incline Village

SCROLL DOWN the page for the list of our Plastic-Free Workshops and events next week.  But first, the art…

Annie Clark, an artist and art teacher in Nevada’s Washoe County School District, contacted me this past spring … Read the rest

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July 16, 2013

Dear Lotus Foods, Why Package Healthy Stainless Steel in Toxic Styrofoam?


Dear Lotus Foods:

My husband and I used our old rice cooker a lot.  We used it so much, that we burned out the fuse and had to replace it.  I was pretty stoked about being able to fix our appliance and make it last longer instead of tossing it out.  So recently, when the connection between the machine and the power cord started to get loose (and we had to lay something heavy on the power cord to keep the machine from cutting off each time we used it), I told Michael that I was going to see if I could fix it again.  But Michael’s reply surprised me.  This time he said, “Why don’t we just recycle it and get a new stainless steel one?”

Repair vs. Recycle

See, there is a trade off sometimes.  It may be gentler on the planet to fix things and make them last as long as possible rather than replacing them when they break.  But if the old things are made of materials that might possibly be toxic to our health (plastic containers, for example,… Read the rest

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July 4, 2013

Happy Plastic-Free July!


Today is Independence Day in the United States.  In Australia and growing numbers of countries around the world, the entire month is Plastic-Free July, so let’s celebrate our independence from single-use disposable plastics!

What you can do

Register to participate on the Plastic-Free July Web Site (I know, it’s already July 4.  So what?  Better late than never.)
Try to eliminate disposable plastics during the entire month of July, and hold onto the things you couldn’t avoid in your “Dilemma Bag.”  You’ll be getting updates and tips during the month.
Follow Plastic-Free July on Facebook.
For more inspiration from other plastic-free activists, check out the On Air Google Hangout panel discussion, which we called The Plastic-Free July International Help Desk, including me, Rebecca Prince-Ruiz (Western Australia) of Western Earth Carers… Read the rest, Danielle Richardet (Wilmington, NC, USA) from

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June 29, 2013

So many cool, plastic-free innovations; so little time and blog space


I attended the Plastic Pollution Coalition’s Think Beyond Plastics Competition conference two weeks ago and have been trying to find the time to sit down and write about it ever since! There were so many cool plastic-free innovators and activists there, I barely know where to begin. If you will recall from my previous post, the competition sought to reward and support creative start-up entrepreneurs working to be part of the plastic pollution solution.  Such as…


Pulpworks was one of the grand prize winners. The company wants to replace the frustration of the plastic blister pack with a more eco-friendly option made entirely from recycled paper.  Instead of this…

wouldn’t it be nice if, in situations where packaging is necessary, that packaging was made from compostable, 100% post-consumer waste paper?


As you can see, there isn’t even any glue in this package.  Just paper pulp and … Read the rest

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June 10, 2013

Take Action — No More Plastic Micro-beads in Facial Scrubs!


Six years ago, I posted a rant about the fact that many commercial facial scrubs contain tiny plastic (polyethylene) beads meant to exfoliate the skin.  These beads are too small for water treatment plants to filter out, so they end up in our waterways and eventually the ocean.  In the ocean, tiny plastic pieces mix with the zooplankton to enter the food chain.  What’s more, plastic in the ocean acts as a sponge, absorbing and concentrating toxic chemicals.  It’s one thing when plastic ends up there inadvertently, but it’s inexcusable for companies to produce plastic products intentionally meant to be flushed down the drain.

Now, it turns out, plastic particles aren’t just in facial scrubs, and they aren’t only made of polyethylene.  According to a recent position paper (PDF) published this year by a coalition of ocean advocacy groups lead by 5Gyres:

Microplastic particles and microbeads can be … Read the rest

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May 27, 2013

From the Waste Up – A Movie About Learning to Live Plastic-Free


Among all the depressing environmental films out there, wouldn’t it be great if there were a funny, entertaining one about what it’s actually like to try and live without plastic?  Taina Uitto, who has blogged at Plastic Manners since 2010 about her own plastic-free experiment, has been filming her process since day one.  And last year, she invited 6 Vancouver families to join her.  Now, she is putting the footage together into a feature film called From the Waste Up: Life Without Plastic, which will follow the adventures of these families as they try to navigate modern life without plastic.  (There may be a few other people that you recognize in the film!)

But the filmmakers need your support to get it finished!

Check out the trailer:

Who Is Taina?

Taina is not just a blogger and activist.  She’s also a new mom.  And yesterday, she and I had a really fun Skype conversation to catch up on our lives since we saw each other… Read the rest

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May 19, 2013

The Beauty of Picking up Plastic


Dr. Marcus Eriksen of 5 Gyres, an organization dedicated to researching ocean plastic pollution, has said, “If you want to clean the gyre, clean your beach.” He meant it literally, since “if we stop adding more plastic to the ocean, in time the gyres will kick out the plastic pollution they currently hold.”  But I choose to think of the statement metaphorically.  Spending a morning cleaning plastic from a beach or river bank or roadway doesn’t just remove a fraction of plastic trash from the environment, it heightens our personal awareness of the problem and gets us in touch with the physical reality of plastic pollution — both beautiful and terrible.  We understand how vast the problem is compared to our tiny efforts at mitigation.  Sure, we might feel overwhelmed.  But hopefully, the exercise can our revitalize our commitment to reducing plastic at the source.

Yesterday Morning at Damon Slough… Read the rest

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