Sunday, November 30, 2008
Some plastic-free things to be thankful for:
Tap water: I love me some tap water.
Fresh fruits and vegetables
My reusable coffee mug
People who care and are willing to make small changes that make a big difference :)
Thursday, November 27, 2008
This is just a short list of the many thing I am thankful for as a plastic dieter. A year ago I did not know how thankful I should be for these thing, now I know, so THANK YOU!
- reusable, nonplastic, water bottles, i.e. Siggs
- canvas bags
- baking soda
- dairy products, i.e. milk and yogurt, that comes in glass containers
- natural fibers (organic cotton how I love you, let me count the ways)
- Ball jars/glass jars of all types
- the bulk section at Whole Foods
- other plastic dieters :)
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
In rural Ohio, researchers are testing a new bridge made of plastic. Plastic bridges offer low maintenance and long life, but there are questions about how long plastic can stand up to sunlight, changing temperatures and stress.
My notes on the story:
- These plastic bridges are supposed to last about 100 years (I mistyped years as tears just now-Freudian slip). Really is that "longer life" than other bridges? Don't most bridges last more than 100 years? I'm thinking Roman built stone bridges... Nonplastic bridges need maintenance obviously but they also biodegrade eventually.
- The man in the story who constructs/tests these bridges actually said, "Plastic bridge may even be greener than concrete." Ugh!
- There was no mention of using recycled plastic for these bridges. I would be less upset about this idea if I knew this was a way of breathing new life into used water bottles.
I am not thankful for plastic bridges! But I will share a short list of plastic-less things I am thankful for tomorrow in honor of the holiday. Stay tuned.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
The artilce: Timeline: BPA from Invention to Phase-Out (http://www.ewg.org/reports/bpatimeline)
I hope everyone is planning for a plastic-free/plastic-less Turkey Day!
Friday, November 21, 2008
I bought another candle.
A candle sans plastic, of course. Many candles have plastic around them sadly. Now my power outage equipment includes 1½ candles and the Sagrado Corazon de Maria. Score! Who needs a flashlight anyway?
It is 7:00 pm and I am on my way home. I have not used one-time use disposable plastic all day! That means I could make a quick stop and pick up a bag of those peanut butter M&M's that I am craving even though this means buying plastic. I think to myself 'this is okay because you haven't used your one piece of plastic for the day'.
I guess the reason this is unacceptable is because it is indulgent and in a way it is going out of my way to use my one piece of plastic for the day even though I don't need to use it. I have fought the urge and won more than I have lost on this, but sometimes we all need a little chocolate indulgence at the end of the day!
An acceptable exception is this…
Someone else buys and brings a food that comes in plastic, lets say pretzels, to a meeting, potluck, etc. Then at the end of the get together the person says ‘Does anyone want to take the rest of these pretzels home?’ And I (because I can't buy any crunchy carbs because they alllll come in plastic) step right up, palm open. I inherit the pretzels and the plastic bag they came in.
This is acceptable to me because the item involving plastic packaging has already been bought by someone else. The damage is done. I still won't buy such a thing so I am making a difference on my front. Accepting someone else’s food-plastic (or other plastic) doesn't do any more harm, the harm was already done when it was bought/manufactured. But this plastic is now mine and I do have to deal with taking care of it—booo—to the plastic heap with you!
P.S. I inherited ¼ of a bag of pretzel chip things last night-very exciting. The plastic diet really helps you redefine what is necessary and what is indulgence. Who knew pretzels were indulgence. Well, I know now.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Here are just a few, recent examples:
Product Packaging: We have dramatically reduced the use of pre pack polybags for product shipped from our suppliers to our stores. LOFT and Factory have already begun this practice, and Ann Taylor will start their efforts in 2009. So far, we have eliminated ten million polybags.
Marketing: Ann Taylor and LOFT began purchasing 10% recycled paper to print a majority of direct mail pieces. Below is the impact of this change after only a few months:
1557 trees saved
567,000 gallons of water saved
94,000 lbs of solid waste reduction
173,000 lbs of CO2 reduction
Energy Awareness: We are implementing an Energy Awareness Program in our stores, and we estimate we will achieve a 7% reduction in energy use within the next year. (See separate Energy Awareness Program posting on anntaylor.com for more details.)
Printing: We have reduced the printing of the Company’s annual report and proxy materials by 75%, through the effective use of online channels, and for those reports we did print, we used environmentally-friendly paper and printing processes.
Product Safety: We have developed a Restricted Substance Program, which bans or limits certain chemicals from our products and in the supply chain. The program will be implemented across all of our brands and channels for the Winter 2009 season.
Recycling: Associates in our Corporate offices have separate containers for recycling at their workstations. In addition, use of the confidential paper shredding and recycling bins that are on each of our floors in the New York and Connecticut offices have saved an equivalent of 475 trees to-date.
Furthermore, we have established a special Task Force to continually review current practices and potential new practices that will help our continued development in this area.
We are excited about the continued success of this Initiative and look forward to continued growth in this area.
Thank you for choosing Ann Taylor. We look forward to meeting all of your future wardrobing needs! If we can provide further assistance or if you have any additional questions, please contact us via email at email@example.com or call us at 1 800 DIAL ANN (1.800.342.5266). We are available Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm EST, Saturday and Sunday from 9:00 am to 5:30 pm EST.
Ann Taylor Client Services
Dear Ann T,
Happy National Recycling Day!
I'm writing because I bought a dress in a New York location for a wedding I have coming up in December.
When I went online to show my mom a link for the dress, I saw that it was being offered for $50 less online.
I called the store to see if they would be able to honor the online discount, and they said no.
I practice a plastic-free lifestyle, which I blog about at www.plasticisforever.blogspot.
I explained over the phone that I was concerned about the environmental impact of shipping an item that I already have in my possession-- wasted fuel, cardboard, plastic, etc. They assured me that if I called 1800 DIAL-ANN I could request to have my dress wrapped in tissue paper, with no plastic.
I just called and my request was declined.
I am so disappointed!
I'd love to share on my blog a more positive experience with Ann Taylor. Can you let me know what you are doing to reduce the environmental impact of shipping items?
In a nutshell, beginning in January, folks will be able to drop off filters at Whole Foods Markets or mail them in. Preserve, a U.S. company manufacturing household products from recycled plastic, will recycle 100% of the plastic casing. And the filter material will be regenerated or converted to energy.
Monday, November 17, 2008
...it broke! (there at the bottom and along the side)
Now what am I supposed to do with this?
I bought this...maybe 3 years ago...and intended to use
it as a water bottle, then I learned about Sigg and
Kleen Kanteen and this got relegated to the back of my
closet. It was great for freezing liquid stuff in once
in a while but now...
Now it is just a hunk of plastic that is completely useless.
I'll salvage the straw from the inside and the sip top. Who
knows maybe I'll find a use for them, but the rest is now
going into my plastic heap. I hate adding things to my
plastic heap. It feels like defeat. Ugh! Plastic you are
such a disappointment-a dangerous disappointment!
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Check out tips, take a recycling pledge, and get some good ol' recycling education at: http://www.nrc-recycle.org/americarecycles.aspx
I say we make the next 364 days National Plastic Reduction Days! Why should a good thing only be one day a year?
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
I also did a little internet research into other non-plastic sponge options and found these:
Twist Loofah Sponge-one side absorbent sponge material on side natural loofah scrubbing layer.
Caldera cellulose sponge and dishwashing brush from Smith & Hawken.
More Twist sponges these are also cellulose "from renewable tree farms".
I’m interested in trying out the cellulose sponges. They are biodegradable/compostable-double plus! Since I plan on having to do dishes for the rest of my life I think I’ll have plenty of time to try these different options out over time.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
POW! you can only imagine my excitement when i got an email from the brooklyn green team today announcing their new "bring your own mug" challenge. since i started the plastic diet in june, bringing my own mug is the single most EASY and AMAZING change i have made. no longer do i feel guilty about drinking coffee and then throwing out the cup! (no longer do i drink coffee [at least this week], but that's a different story.)
read on for details about the brooklyn green team's challenge.
oh and in case you think i'm lame for posting 2 re-posts in a row.. it's called "re-using" one of the super important but oft-overlooked of the three r's!
"Why did they even buy me? I sit here on a dark crowded shelf day after day. And then….for a moment, I think my life is going to change. They open the cabinet, our eyes meet. Their gentle hand grazes against my aluminum body. At last! Today is the day they are going to proudly walk me down the street as I carefully hold and keep warm a most precious commodity - the morning coffee. But no, they move right past me and reach for the cereal. Maybe tomorrow"
-Your Travel Mug, 2008
Does your travel mug feel this way? Neglected? Passed over for a wasteful, disposable, one time only headed for the landfill paper cup? Don't let this happen. Because the Brooklyn Green Team in partnership with GreenEdge Collaborative NYC has a new challenge for you and your mug!
THE BRING YOUR OWN MUG CHALLENGE!
Sign Up email firstname.lastname@example.org and write I Shower Fast! Include your first and last name and zip. Please pass on to friends and make the impact stronger.
Today, there is no way to compost or recycle the billions of disposable coffee cups used in the U.S. each year. That's because cups are lined with a petroleum-based plastic (polyethylene) to prevent leaking.
Most disposable coffee cups have a life of only 5 minutes before they are tossed in the trash. In a single week, the average coffee joint goes through 4,000 cups and plastic lids!
Every year, Americans drink more than 100 billion cups of coffee. Of those, 14.4 billion are served in disposable paper cups— enough to wrap the earth 55 times if placed end-to-end!
The Biodegradable Cup – a step in the right direction, but will you really compost it when done?
Environmental Defense Fund's Starbucks Paper Project
Disposable Cups vs. Reusable Mugs from Triplepundit.com
Cups and Other Coffee Packaging Hard on Environment, says study from Packaging Digest
Use a travel mug. Often made of stainless steel, these beauties will keep your coffee or tea hotter longer than a dispoable cup.
Suggest that stores offer a discount when you bring your own. Patronage stores that already offer this. If you buy coffee five days a week, and use your travel mug, you save 260 cups per year!
If you love the SIGG water bottle, which you can find at 3rLiving on 5th Ave in Park Slope or Go Green on Atlantic, you should try their NEW Thermal Bottle. It keeps your hot beverages hot longer than just about any bottle on the market.
If you like to make your own coffee at home check out this Travel Mug Coffee Press. It is 100% spill proof.
For you tea lovers try a mug w/built in strainer!
Did You Know? Starbucks conducted a waste audit in 2003 and found that 589,800 pounds of paper were saved from landfills thanks to 13.5 million people who brought their own mugs!
Can we Solve the Climate Crisis? YES WE CAN! One Sip at a Time!
Monday, November 10, 2008
It's that time of the year again: What would Martha Stewart do?
The BiteShe'd leave the tacky PVC holiday yard decorations at Kmart. Bring in the cheer with natural pieces (such as wreaths and snowmen) instead. How's that for a good thing?
- Saving for attorney back pay. Those plastic Santa scenes can cost upwards of $150, way more than a real snowman.
- Homemaking with less plastic. PVC used for outdoor decorations degrades after long sun exposure and seeps into groundwater.
- More space for back copies of Living. Pinecones and snow can go right back to where they came from: nature.
Personally SpeakingJen just dumps her decorations in her compost pile when she's done with them, saving the cornucopia for the chickens. Try that with a plastic reindeer.
- Make a scarecrow
- Set out cornstalks and pumpkins
- Set out gourds
- Make a cornucopia
Saturday, November 8, 2008
It was someone's last day, so we celebrated with coconut chai from Bonobos.
I love my work because we eat together which is pretty efficient in terms of waste.
But 30 plastic bottles of chai kind of kills me!
Oh and listen up, PlasticFreeLA!
Bloomberg is proposing to charge 6 cents for every plastic bag shoppers use at the cash register!
This is super exciting. 6 cents doesn't sound like a lot-- but remember what I said in my last post? 10 cents here, 10 cents there and before you know it-- we have a healthier planet. Well look at what the article says:
"Just a few weeks after Ireland adopted a similar, though much heftier tax in 2002 — charging shoppers 33 cents a bag — plastic bag use dropped 94 percent, and within a year, nearly everyone in that country had purchased reusable cloth bags."
It just goes to show everything looks different, even a 12 minute piece on 60 minutes, when you look at the world through the lens of the plastic diet. We need more people to put on these plastic diet glasses.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Sunday, November 2, 2008
First of all giving kids bucket loads of candy just isn't healthy for them. Giving them little boxes of raisins as treats on the other hand will get your house egged, so candy it is I guess.
Second, giving kids individually wrapped anything in plastic isn't good for the environment!
Third, most kids don't even say "trick-or-treat" any more. They just walk up and open their bag and look at you. Or their parents push them at you when any blind man can see the kid is scared, too young to get Halloween, and shouldn't be eating candy anyway.
Fourth, gools and goblins are a think of the past! I was disturbed by a lot of the "little girl" costumes I saw that we revealing and skimpy.
So, over all it was a bit disappointing. In the end I ate a few pieces of candy (I had forgotten that Charleston Chews even existed--yum) but tended toward the Dots in their little paper boxes. And I began planning my strategy for next year...I'm thinking Free Trade chocolate coins that come in those shiny gold metal wrappers....