Confession: I really hate writing about politics. I’d much rather write fun posts about personal strategies to avoid plastic or profiles of companies offering plastic-free alternatives. But these are not normal times, and nothing less than the health of all living beings on planet Earth is at stake. So, just as I did before the most recent election, I’m once again getting out of my comfort zone to urge you to action.
(If you want to take action before reading this entire article, skip to here.)
Bill Introduced to Terminate the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
This is not a joke, and it’s not fake news. On Friday, Feb 5, Rep Matt Gaetz (Rep-FL) introduced a bill to Terminate the Environmental Protection Agency (H.R 861). Why? On his Facebook page, he posted his reason: “To better protect the environment we should abolish the EPA and downstream resources to states for … Read the rest
So, you’ve been reading about ways to reduce your plastic use, including bringing back empty bottles and containers of personal care and cleaning products to refill, and you think, “I’ve got to try that sometime.” (The BULK mobile site can help you find refill locations.) But that means planning ahead and remembering to bring your empty containers back to the store. Once you get in the habit of doing it, remembering is no big deal. But getting started can be difficult for folks just beginning the plastic-free, zero waste journey. If only there were a service that would pick up those empties and deliver freshly filled ones right to your door.
If you live in the Bay Area, Stéphanie Regni can help! Her company, Fillgood.co, delivers refilled glass containers of natural personal care and cleaning products to local customers. I paid a visit to Stéphanie at her… Read the rest
Hannah Testa, a 14-year-old student in the state of Georgia, has joined the ranks of other influential kids raising awareness of the plastic pollution problem. In fact, she’s managed to get the State of Georgia to declare February 15, 2017, Plastic Pollution Awareness Day. Here’s her story, in her own words.
People always ask me how I ended up getting February 15, 2017, declared as Plastic Pollution Awareness Day in the state of Georgia. After all, this is a major eco-event and I am just a 14-year-old teen. So here is my story.
When I was 4 I realized that the actions we take today can have an impact on our world. One day, after leaving a store, I said to my parents, “No one cares about our planet except for us”. I told my parents that no one brought their own reusable bags except for us. From a young age, I knew that protecting the Earth started with us. Around the age of 10, my… Read the rest
Last year, I was trying really hard to buy nothing new, and while I fell short several times (more on that in a future post), I did pretty well in the shoe department. Nearly all shoes have at least some plastic components. Buying them secondhand or repairing the shoes you already have are great ways to get “new shoes” without actually buying new shoes and new plastic.
Buy Secondhand Shoes
I’m not one of those people who won’t buy secondhand shoes. You can find some pretty great, almost new shoes at thrift stores for a fraction of the cost of new shoes. In June, my local Goodwill had a 50% off shoe sale, so I bought four pairs of practically new shoes for about $20. (They were actually in much better shape than in this photo that I took today after having worn them for several months.)
When buying secondhand shoes, make sure the soles are not scuffed (or only minimally scuffed) and insoles are… Read the rest
It’s super easy to make your own beef jerky. But before I get into how, let me explain why. Beef jerky (or any kind of jerky, for that matter) is not something I normally eat or even think about. But in 2015, while planning for the annual Burning Man festival in the Black Rock Desert, I wanted to find a good source of protein that would hold up in the weather without refrigeration or plastic packaging. And knowing that I would be camping with Zero Waste guru Bea Johnson (a very exciting story for another day), I wanted to do more than simply stock up on trail mix and dry soups from the bulk bins, which is what I’ve lived on in previous years.… Read the rest
Last November, I decided it was time to get rid of the small, ratty, and possibly toxic table-top ironing board we’d been using for years. And by we, I mean Michael. Still haunted by memories of ironing my dad’s shirts in the dank basement laundry room while the crickets chirped and imaginary mice scurried from corner to corner, I avoid ironing as much as possible. Michael, on the other hand, irons his work shirts every week, and I wanted him to have a nice, full-sized board with a non-toxic pad and cover, but I didn’t want to spend a ton of money.
Getting an Ironing Board for FREE
Knowing that I was going to be starting a year of buying nothing new, I decided to look for a secondhand ironing board. I posted an ad on Nextdoor, a social network for neighbors to stay in touch about what’s happening in the hood, asking if anyone had an ironing board they didn’t … Read the rest
Back in April I promised a post about making broth. Well, here it is. Actually, this is more like two posts in one. There’s broth that you make from scratch in order to get all the nutritious goodness out of the food scraps you have left, and then there’s broth (or stock) that you need in a hurry for a recipe when you don’t have time to make broth from scratch and you don’t have any on hand.
(The word broth is starting to sound really funny after saying it in my head a whole bunch of times in one paragraph. If I capitalize the first letter, it could be the name of a new Game of Thrones character.)
Better Than “Better Than Bouillon” Vegetable Broth Concentrate
Five years ago, I touted the goodness of Better Than Bouillon broth concentrate that comes in a glass jar and eliminates the need for broth in a BPA-lined can or plastic-lined box. Using a concentrate helps prevent waste… Read the rest
Thanksgiving came and went. We gathered with friends, gave thanks, ate food, and took lots of pictures. Well, I took lots of pictures to share with you. Because the only thing better than preparing and eating beautiful food is looking at pictures of it, right? I mean, just ask your Facebook friends.
Our Thanksgiving meal was not entirely plastic-free and zero waste, but it was as close as we could get and still have a turkey. And while Thanksgiving won’t be back for another year, Christmas, Hanukkah, and other winter festivals are right around the corner. What ideas will you implement to create a waste-free holiday meal?
We hosted a Thanksgiving potluck, which meant we didn’t have to make the entire meal ourselves. That said, we did prepare a hefty share of it:
Cheesy mashed potatoes
Green Bean Casserole
Fizzy water… Read the rest
This story starts with a car wreck. A few weeks ago–the week before the U.S. election, to be exact–I was in Maryland visiting my dad. Riding shotgun on the way home from my brother’s birthday dinner, I caught a glimpse of the sign for MOM’s Organic Market and shrieked, “HEY, THERE IT IS!” Unfortunately, my scream startled dad enough for him to swerve into a curb that had suddenly jutted out into the middle of the road. (Who put that there?) We ended up with a flat tire and had to wait in the MOM’s parking lot for my brother in law to come help us change the tire.
You’re probably wondering why I screamed when we passed MOM’s Organic Market. Well, growing up in Beltsville, MD in the 80’s, we shopped at conventional grocery stores like Giant and Safeway and A&P. We didn’t have markets like Whole… Read the rest
11/30/16 Update: Hurray! Despite the disappointing national election results, California has some things to cheer about. We passed Prop 67, the single use plastic bag ban! Thanks to everyone who voted!
A few weeks ago, I did something completely out of my comfort zone. I signed up and then showed up to phone bank with Clean Water Action in support of Prop 67, a statewide plastic bag ban on the upcoming November ballot, and against Prop 65, a competing measure that could completely undermine efforts to eliminate plastic bag pollution across the state. I also dragged my friends Nancy and Corbina along with me since, you know, misery loves company and all that.
What is Prop 67?
In 2014, the California legislature passed SB270 (Padilla), a law which would ban single-use plastic carry out bags and require merchants to charge customers a 10 cent fee to purchase disposable paper bags. Shoppers could avoid… Read the rest