13-year-old Cambria Bartlett contacted me last year to do a phone interview about living plastic-free. She and a group of other homeschoolers, calling themselves Heirs to Our Oceans, were creating a video about caring for our oceans, and Cambria’s personal focus was on plastic.
Since then, I’ve met Cambria in person and learned what exceptional kids she and her friends are: committed, passionate, and dedicated to preserving the planet for future generations. I asked her to write a guest post to describe what they are doing and how you can help. Please read and enjoy!
Beth Terry is such an inspiration! In being aware of the changes she made to better our planet, I have come to care too and have made changes in my own behavior. Seeing Beth live her life with only one bag of plastic waste in a year made me realize that making change is possible. She is such a great role model! Beth’s blog and book have helped me so much in the last year.… Read the rest
My friends Jay and Chantal, owners of the online shop Life Without Plastic, are brand new book authors! Their book, Life Without Plastic, was just released today, and I’m very honored to have been asked to write the foreword. Here’s what I wrote:
Ten years ago, I read an article about ocean plastic pollution – a problem I’d never heard of — and saw the shocking image that changed my life. The photo revealed the decayed carcass of a baby albatross who’d starved with a belly full of plastic, plastic it had been fed by its mother who mistook lighters and toothbrushes and bottle caps floating in the ocean for food. My heart broke as I realized that my personal choices could be causing harm to creatures thousands of miles away, and that very day, I embarked on a mission to see if it would be possible to live without plastic. I created a blog to report on my progress eliminating everyday plastics: disposables like single-use bottles,… Read the rest
11/27/2017 UPDATE: Once again, it looks like the books are all sold out. But you never know. I could find some more as I’m packing to move. Check back later.
Purchase the original guide to Plastic-Free living for you or a friend between now and December 13 and choose your price. It’s a great holiday gift!
When I moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1989, I was 24-years old, striking out on my own for the first time, and struggling to figure out who I was and how to be a responsible adult. Now, after almost 30 years, it’s time to move back to the East Coast to take care of my Dad. I feel both sad to leave and also fortunate to be able to spend this time with him. And I’m curious to learn how to make the move in the most ecologically-sound way I can.
One way to lower the impact of moving is to reduce the amount of stuff I need to ship across the country. With that in mind, I am offering my remaining inventory of the original hardback version… Read the rest
The Problem: Finding 100% recycled or tree-free toilet paper that doesn’t come wrapped in plastic. Since 2007, my toilet paper of choice has been cardboard cases of Seventh Generation recycled rolls that come individually-wrapped in thin paper wrappers. I ordered it from Amazon and even had a subscription at one time. But over the years, I’ve received comments from readers that they would order a case and it would sometimes come with plastic inside. Or that the plastic-free cases were not always available on Amazon.
A New Solution: A few months ago, I started seeing Facebook posts about a new brand of toilet paper called Who Gives a Crap. Funny name. But it sounded interesting. The company donates 50% of its profits to provide toilets and sanitation in the developing world. The toilet paper comes in two versions, bamboo or recycled paper, and is shipped in a cardboard box. At the time, only the… Read the rest
Rebecca Newburn is a middle school science teacher in Marin County, California, who, with a group of elementary and middle school students, successfully lobbied the Larkspur-Corte Madera School District to adopt a resolution making October “Zero Waste Month.” And together with zero waste specialists Anastacia Nicole and Kathryn Kellogg of GoingZeroWaste, has created a program for cities and schools to participate in Zero Waste October.
Wait. Before you say, “But it’s too late to plan anything like that in my community. You’ve only given me 4 days!” listen up. Read through the challenge and choose a few things you might try out this year. Then, use it as a model to get your school or town active next year.
Rebecca explained to me that October is a great month for families in the Northern Hemisphere to take on the zero waste challenge because the kids are back in school and… Read the rest
It’s been a while. I spent all of August in Maryland with my family in the house where I grew up, celebrating birthdays, helping out my dad and brother, learning to love baseball (I even bought a Washington Nationals baseball cap), visiting with plastic-free friends, and driving for twelve hours each way to experience one stunning 2 and a half minute act of nature. If I were still a kid (and who says I’m not?), this would be my report to the class. And I would probably get marked down for procrastinating and turning it in late. What else is new?
Big Almost Plastic-Free Birthday Party
August is a month of birthdays for our family: My sister Ellen and her daughter Abby were both born on the same day of the month. My dad’s birthday is four days later. So my niece Lauren and I organized a big birthday bash for the gang.
But what do you serve to a houseful of people of all different ages (from tykes to Millenials to Octagenarians) and … Read the rest
In March, I wrote about microfiber laundry pollution from synthetic clothing and mentioned that soon there would be a special bag available called Guppy Friend to catch those microfibers before they are rinsed down the drain. Well, the bag is now available and the company sent me one to test out.
Guppy Friend is a product developed by the campaign STOP! MICRO WASTE, a German non-profit founded by a group of surfers and nature lovers to find solutions to the microfiber pollution problem. Guppy Friend is just one of their projects, as they recognize that it is only one small part of the solution to a huge problem that will require systemic change on a massive scale, not just a few people conscientiously washing their polyester fleece in a special bag. But for those of you conscientious folk out there who do wear synthetic clothing and want to prevent the fibers from escaping into our waterways, here is one small solution.
Guppy Friend is a synthetic… Read the rest
The last time I wrote about doing laundry without plastic was June 17, 2009. Obama was our new president, and Michael Jackson was still alive (he died a week later). It’s time for an update.
Plastic-Free Soap Nuts Laundry Soap
Back in the day, we used powdered Ecover laundry detergent, in part because it came in a recyclable cardboard box and was the only brand I’d ever found that came with a cardboard scoop instead of a plastic one. Those days are over. Ecover switched to a plastic scoop (why does anyone need a new scoop with every box anyway?), and I no longer recommend it.
There are lots of recipes online for making your own laundry detergent with combinations of various ingredients, but the one that I’ve found to be the simplest to make and work the best in cold water is a liquid soap that requires only 2 ingredients: soap nuts and water. You can also add essential oil(s), but that’s totally optional.
The brand… Read the rest
Local readers may be surprised when I confess that I’ve walked past Three Stone Hearth on University Ave in Berkeley a bunch of times over the years and never gone in. I didn’t go in because I didn’t know what it was.
If I had gone in, I would have discovered a nearly plastic-free, zero waste mecca full of gloriously delicious food and friendly people. Thank goodness the shop owners reached out to me this year to come and talk to their customers about my plastic-free journey. I wish I had known about Three Stone Hearth when I was writing my book because they would have definitely been included!
It’s All About Those Mason Jars
Three Stone Hearth is a Community Supported kitchen (like a CSA for prepared foods) serving up delicious, organic, nutrient-dense foods based on traditional diets. (Weekly offerings include choices for vegans, vegetarians, and meat-eaters.) Customers can come to the store to purchase foods… Read the rest
Are there phthalates in these cheese powders? There could be.
Since going plastic-free, I generally avoid processed, packaged foods. So I haven’t enjoyed the Day-Glo orange of Kraft Mac & Cheese in years. (Yeah, I used to live on that stuff in the 80’s and 90’s, with extra cheese added because, despite the advertising claims, it really isn’t the “cheesiest.”)
But the other day, Michael brought home a box of organic quinoa mac & cheese that someone had left on the curb as a freebie, and I thought maybe I’d go ahead and have it, its being free and all.
And then yesterday, I read that a new study commissioned by the Coalition for Safer Food Processing & Packaging has found phthalates — a type of hormone-disrupting chemical found in plastics — in 29 of 30 cheese products they tested. Cheese powders from boxed mac & cheese had four times higher levels of phthalates… Read the rest