I first wrote about plastic in chewing gum in January of 2010. At that time, there really was no brand of gum available that didn’t either contain plastic in the packaging or in the gum itself. And as I wrote back then, even Glee Gum, one of the most natural brands in town, was combining plastic with the natural chicle in its gum base.
Company owner Deborah Schimberg told me that she really wanted to get the plastic out of the gum base, but that it was difficult to find a natural substitute. She hoped to find an alternative later that year. Well, it’s taken longer than she expected, but finally, in 2015, Glee was able to offer plastic-free chewing gum in its original sugar-sweetened flavors and more recently in its sugar-free flavors as well. The company sent me a few packs to try out, and while I’m not much of a gum chewer, Michael thinks it’s great!
Challenges of Developing a Plastic-Free Chewing Gum Base
I asked Deborah about… Read the rest
With all of the concern about Bisphenol-A (BPA), an estrogen-mimicking chemical used in some plastics, most metal food can linings, and most thermal paper receipts, manufacturers are looking for alternative materials to use so they can tout their products as BPA-free. But are the substitutes actually safer than BPA itself? The truth is, we don’t know. As I’ve written before, studies have been done suggesting that some BPA-free products produce the same or greater hormone-disrupting effects as BPA. There are two problems here: 1) The alternatives haven’t been sufficiently tested for safety before being swapped into products, and 2) Some manufacturers won’t even disclose what alternatives they are using.
Study Finds Increased Exposure to BPS as BPA is phased out
One chemical being used to replace BPA in thermal paper receipts is Bisphenol S (BPS). In May 2012, the journal Environmental Science and Technology… Read the rest
My email in-box is forever filling up with product pitches from various PR reps who want me to review their latest offerings on this blog. While I love reviewing things like plastic-free chewing gum, plastic-free lip balm, or compostable cleaning cloths, more often than not, the pitches I receive are either irrelevant to my topic–I’m not going to review an organic shampoo in a plastic bottle, even if the producer hand-picked the ingredients from her own backyard herb garden and reduced her carbon footprint by mixing them up using a pedal-powered generator–or don’t contain enough information to capture my interest. Several years ago, I wrote up a detailed Advertising/Review policy, but it doesn’t seem to help much. And in conversations (read: rants) among other green bloggers, I’ve discovered I’m not alone. So I decided to write a letter to “green” companies to let them… Read the rest
Which plastics are safe? I get that question all the time. The Internet is full of charts listing the numbers of the various types of plastic and explaining which ones are safe and which ones are not. Supposedly, #2 (high density polyethylene), #4 (low density polyethylene), and #5 (polypropylene) are safe, right? Does that mean the lid on my travel mug is safe? It’s #5 polypropylene.
So is the sport cap on Michael’s Klean Kanteen water bottle.
We’re supposed to avoid plastics #3 (PVC), #6 (polystyrene), and #7 (polycarbonate). Polycarbonate is the plastic that is made from the chemical Bisphenol-A (BPA). And BPA has a bad rap because it’s a hormone-disruptor. Walk down the aisles of any drug store these days, and you’ll find rows of plastic products labelled BPA-Free. BPA-Free water bottles…
In fact, entire shelves of baby products are labelled BPA-free. … Read the rest
Pepsi’s new soda bottle is different.
Last month, PepsiCo made a big announcement: it had developed the world’s first entirely plant-based PET beverage bottle. And although the new bottle is made from plants, it’s actually less like those corn-based compostable bottles you may have heard about and more like regular, ordinary PET (polyethylene terephthalate) plastic, the kind of plastic nearly all single-use beverage bottles are made from.
I’ll explain all about the new bottle, why it’s interesting, and what I see are its pros and cons. But first, I need to tell you about how I went a little nutty on Twitter the night after the story was published. See, normally I’d have taken the story in stride, looked into the bottle on my own time, and decided if it was worth writing about. But that night, I started seeing all these excited tweets about PepsiCo’s new “plastic-free” bottle.
Plastic-free?… Read the rest
One thing I learned to my dismay back in 2007 when I decided to try and live without plastic is that without exception, all frozen foods come packaged in some kind of plastic. Even cardboard containers like ice cream cartons are lined with plastic. That information sucked for me, the convenience food junkie.
I did however, have a moment of hope when I discovered Stahlbush Island Farms’s frozen fruits and veggies packaged in what looked like plain brown paper. But that hope was crushed when I opened the bag and saw that it too was lined inside with plastic.
Well, recently, several readers have excitedly informed me that Stahlbush’s packaging is now labeled as biodegradable.
So I went out and bought a bag of frozen spinach just so I could look inside. Here’s what I found:
Looks like plastic, right? The Stahlbush web site doesn’t give any details about the new bag except to say it’s biodegradable. So, not one to accept any… Read the rest
In the same week that Pepsico pulled its SunChips compostable PLA package off grocery store shelves, Stonyfield Farm announced its new PLA yogurt cups. And while I pretty much dissed the SunChips bag in my post last week, I am feeling a little warmer towards Stonyfield’s effort. Not hot. Not warm and fuzzy. But while I think there are better options, I have to concede that the new yogurt cup is a step in the right direction, and I’ll tell you why. (Of course I’ll tell you why. That’s the purpose of this blog.)
Prepare yourself for a long post. There’s a lot of information here, but I think it’s all important. So get yourself a snack and settle in.
PLA vs. Polystyrene
Stonyfield’s new yogurt cups replace the multipack cups that were previously made from polystyrene. That’s right. While their larger sized and single-serving containers are made from #5 polypropylene plastic and can be returned for… Read the rest