Friday, April 24, 2009

Addicted to Plastic

Have you heard of the movie Addicted to Plastic: The Rise and Demise of a Modern Miracle?

Check out this movie trailer:

It looks great! I'd love to see it. Fake Plastic Fish recently reviewed it as well. It is not available (yet) through Netflix (or my local movie rental shop) so for me seeing it means buying it...which involves buying/consuming PLASTIC! So, I guess I'll wait even though it looks great.

BUT for those of you with a TV and cable it will be playing on the Sundance Channel on April 28, 2009, at 10PM (according to the film's website) and at some upcoming film festivals. Check out the movie's website for more info:

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Earth Day!

Happy earth day fellow plastic reductionists. For some this is a day, for others it's a way of life. I think the earth is particularly thankful for the other way-of-lifers out there!

Monday, April 20, 2009

plastic gloves

I'm sure it's no surprise that I am not a fan of plastic gloves, which are the epitome of one time use plastic. They are not just used in medicine any more either…they are at the bakery, schools, etc. I was visiting a kindergarten classroom last week and watched as the teacher lined all the kids up to wash their hands for snack. Then the teacher washed her own hands and then she put on plastic gloves to reach into a plastic barrel of pretzels to hand kids their snack. The teacher had just washed her hands…isn't antibacterial soap in a plastic dispenser and city water good enough any more? Apparently not.

Well, it just so happens that I started reading the book Why Dirt is Good: 5 Ways to Make Germs Your Friends this weekend and I am more convinced than ever that plastic gloves are far from necessary and down right gratuitous! We need to be exposed to dirt, germs, and ick to keep out immune systems working (the immune system needs and wants exercise!). So, unless you are being exposed to unfamiliar bodily fluids stop using those plastic gloves and start letting your immune system have some fun for a change :) It will make you healthier in the end. My favorite quote from the book so far: "Let them eat dirt."

Sunday, April 12, 2009

making my own cleaning products

I recently bought the book Better Basics for the Home: Simple Solutions for Less Toxic Living by Annie Berthold, which comes highly recommended by many. I bought it so I could start making more of my own home cleaning supplies and stop buying commercial cleaning supplies packaged in plastic. The major impetus for the purchase is that I am running out of the Mrs. Meyer's all purpose cleaner, which I bought about six months ago for moping the floors and cleaning my car. The Better Basic's book is chalked full of great cleaning recipes(!), but I was a little saddened by this one:

Basic Floor Cleaner Formula
1/4 cup liquid soap or detergent
Up to 1/2 cup white distilled vinegar or lemon juice
2 gallons warm water

It calls for liquid soap...which I have only be able to buy in plastic. I wish I knew of a co-op where I could refill my preexisting containers with bulk liquid soap, but I have not found on. This is LA there must be a co-op that carries liquid soaps, shampoo/conditioner somewhere, but where? I'm thinking I could use power soap (i.e. laundry or dishwasher) instead of liquid soap, I guess it is worth a try. Any other thoughts/suggestions?

Saturday, April 11, 2009

buying milk

Are there any city dwellers out there who are able to purchase milk without also purchasing plastic?

My rural dwelling parents and older brother's family are able to get milk directly from farmers that they know in reusable Ball Jars (no plastic at all!), but I am not so lucky. I buy milk in glass bottles, but the bottles all come with plastic lids. I have a growing collection of plastic milk bottle lids and pull tabs. I'm just wondering if anyone (without a farmer-direct connection) has found a way around this....

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

BPA and plastic-some victories

Bisphenol A or BPA is a toxic chemical found in a lot of plastics. I have found it is most outrageous to people that this chemical is in a lot of childhood toys, teethers, and baby bottles. But I don't think the outrage should stop there. We should all be outraged about BPA in all plastics and the cumulative effect the chemical will have on our bodies over time.

On the eliminating-BPA-front, there has been some good news lately. This is a nice short article that talks about some of the legislative victories and proposals related to banning BPA.

This news makes me particularly happy...

"The true pièce de résistance is the federal legislation recently introduced into Congress, the Ban Poisonous Additives Act of 2009 which would end the use of the additive in all plastic packaging and other food containers, not just those used by children.

The Ban Poisonous Additives Act of 2009 requires that:

  • Reusable beverage containers (including baby bottles and thermoses) that contain BPA cannot be sold;
  • Other food and beverage containers (such as canned food or formula) containing BPA cannot be introduced into commerce.
  • If a manufacturer can show that there is no technology available to make a particular food or beverage without the use of BPA, the FDA can issue renewable one-year waivers to the ban for that particular food or beverage. However, the food or beverage container must be labeled indicating that BPA was used. The manufacturer also must submit a proposal for how it plans to comply with the ban in the future.

  • The FDA also must periodically review the list of substances that have been deemed safe for manufacturing food and beverage containers, to determine whether new scientific evidence exists that these substances may pose adverse health risks.

My thoughts on BPA in plastic can be summed up this way: First step, get chemicals out of plastic. Second step, get plastic out of plastic (or get plastic out of our lives). Actually, those steps could be reversed and I'd be just as happy :)

Saturday, April 4, 2009

you have got to be kidding me!

At work the other day I found the printer out of paper. No problem, even I can solve this printer paper dilemma without having a plastic emergency, right? Apparently not. Off I went to the work room and ta-da I found Recycled Husky Xerocopy Paper in abundance. This paper's positive environmental characteristics include: SFI Fiber Sourcing Certified, paper contains 30% recycled fiber, and it is manufactured under alkaline (acid-free) conditions. I was unwrapping the ream of paper on my way back to the printer and stopped dead in my tracks. The ream of 30% recycled paper looked to be wrapped in just another piece of recycled paper but NO. It was wrapped in a piece of paper coated with polyethylene! Plasticy smooth on one side and papery smooth on the other side. Yes, polyethylene is a kind of plastic. This is what Wikipedia has to say about polyethylene's negative environmental characteristics: "The wide use of polyethylene makes it an important environmental issue. Though it can be recycled, most of the commercial polyethylene ends up in landfills and in the oceans (notably the Great Pacific Garbage Patch). Polyethylene is not considered biodegradable, as it takes several centuries until it is efficiently degraded."

Why? Why I ask you is polyethylene needed to protect this ream of paper? A ream of paper that is touting environmental consciousness at that. The polyethylene coating on the copy paper wrapper is so unnecessary. So unnecessary and so wrong. Polyethylene coatings are on so many cups, milk cartons, ice cream containers, postcards...mostly everything that looks like paper that you put liquid in and doesn't leak. Enough already. We do not need to plasticify everything! Grrrr.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

more on electrolyzed water

Yes, I am still amazed by the miracles of electrolyzed water and how wonderfully non-toxic and plastic reductionist this 'miracle water' is.
Check out this great article on electrolyzed water by the Organic Consumers Association:
Are there any negatives to this? I don't see any! Let the revolution begin.