Trash bags that actually biodegrade?… it’s “Green Genius”!!!

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Since we’re ‘super recyclers’ around the Mom Goes Green home, we go through trash bags very slowly, but I’ve always been bothered by the idea of anything that does need to be tossed in the trash because sometimes I do feel forced into a plastic trash bag!… blech!

Lately I’ve used Hefty Renew bags (since, at least, they’re made of 65% recycled plastic) but there’s a new bag in town, baby!… thanks to Green Genius I discovered their fantastic BIODEGRADABLE trash bags in a local store and I’m hooked!

They’re made from less recycled plastic (40%), but did you happen to notice I said BIODEGRADABLE?!?  Their tricky little ingredient is called EcoPure (a blend of organic materials) that actually turns the bags into food for microbes in landfills… (loving it!) The EcoPure bonds with the plastic, literally making it consumable for the microbes that break it down into simpler organic matter (loving it more!).  The bag becomes entirely edible, only the simplest organic matter remains and the bag has been biodegraded (total love fest!!!).grn genius bx

Is it affordable, you ask?  Oh yes, my friends… about 20 cents per bag which is completely in line with all of the major brands of regular trash bags. Here is a list of stores, but I’m betting there are more, since my retailer (Discount Drug Mart, found all around Ohio) wasn’t even listed!

Keep your eyes peeled because I’m thinking, before long, this bag will be available everywhere!  And then think about it… hmmm?… a biodegrading bag or, oh… one that lasts an eternity in a landfill(?!)… I think you’ll want to be a “Green Genius” too!!!

Leafware Giveaway: Win tableware from Mother Nature!

(This post is now closed for entries.  See “Comments” for the winner.)

Usually the mere mention of “fallen leaves” makes me groan and roll my eyes, because it means I’ll have a rake in my hands for hours on end cleaning up my yard.  This time I was grinning from ear to ear, because the leaves arrived neatly packaged in a box… and there was absolutely no raking involved!

leafwareEnter: Leafware! The coolest use (ever!) for fallen leaves… think plates and bowls, all courtesy of Mother Nature.  They have created this fabulous line of tableware that is made entirely of naturally shed leaves.  They are collected, pressure-washed, scrubbed, sun dried, compressed and then sterilized to create this unique, eco-friendly and 100% biodegradable and compostable dinnerware.

Imagine being able to actually use disposable tableware without guilt!  Use them for hot or cold foods, in the microwave, the oven, the refrigerator, the freezer (or take them on a picnic!)… and when you’re finished, they degrade in 60 days in the composter.  The bigger bonus is that they are really beautiful so they can be used for any event, from casual to even your fancy-schmanciest occasion! They are that fantastic!

The fine folks at Leafware want to give a Mom Goes Green reader the chance to give them a try.  They are offering:leafwr squar

  • (12) 9″ Square Plates
  • (12) 8.6″ Round Plates
  • (12) 7″ Hexagon Snack Plates and
  • (12) 7″ Bowls

I know you want them(!) so leave a comment saying you’d like to win and tell me how you’d like to use them, or send a Twitter message that includes a reply to @momgoesgreen and a link to this blog. This giveaway has an approximate $50 value(!) and the winner will be selected one week from today’s post. (US entries only… sorry!)

Leafware is definitely doing something great here… now if I could just convince them to make a “pick-up” of all of my backyard leaves next Fall, I would be beaming! 🙂

Real vs. Fake: the BIG debate…

Hey, where’s your mind?  You know I’m talking about Christmas trees, right?  Of course you did!… sheesh.

But the debate over real Christmas trees vs. the artificial option has been raging for some time.  Both sides give a pretty good argument but for as long as I can remember, my mom and now my own family have gone the route of artificial trees.

Aside from the fact that you can now buy them with the lights already attached (for the “no-cursing-over-the-tangled-light-strings”-factor!) they are easy to assemble so you can get to the fun part of decorating!  And my eco-friendly favorite factor… they get used year, after year, after year…

My husband would probably tell you a different story and that is the fact that I have compassion for literally everything(!) and would never dream of killing a tree!  He has been known to yell “OUCH!” when I bite into a piece of broccoli (to which I scream back “STOP IT!”) because then I feel bad for the broccoli! (Now you think I’ve gone mad, don’t you!)  Don’t laugh.  A friend of mine won’t put anything in the dishwasher by itself because she thinks it will be lonely.  (See, we’re all nuts!)

But seriously, the environmental side of using live trees is the fact that they require herbicides and pesticides for about 8-12 years before they’re a “sellable” size.  Add to that the carbon footprint of getting them to a selling site, unless you live near a tree farm or cut your own.  At the end of the season, they end up in the trash, unless you seek out a source for recycling them for mulch or compost.

On the opposite side, artificial trees are often manufactured in China (with PVC and, some say, lead) and you have to consider the “cost” of getting them to your local retailer, but they do get used again and again.  And often, they get donated to another family or organization before they eventually meet a landfill once they are tattered, old and no longer loved. 🙁   Unfortunately, I haven’t heard of a biodegradable artificial tree just yet.

So what is the answer to the debate?  Simply… I don’t know for sure.

Actually, the most environmental choice would be to buy a live, uncut tree with the root ball still intact and then plant it right after the holidays.  One consideration though (especially in cold climates) is digging a hole in the frozen ground.  For this, I recommend digging the hole ASAP and then you can just plant it as soon as the holidays are over. ( I also recommend talking to a professional about how to move them outdoors and properly plant them, to increase the chance of survival.)

But whatever you choose for your family, do the responsible thing and see that your real tree gets composed or mulched or use your artificial tree for years and years to come.

Now, I have to get back to steaming some broccoli…awww.  Poor broccoli.

Take it home… leave the ‘foam!

Recently our family had lunch at a restaurant and at the end of the meal… lo and behold, leftovers!

There was no need to waste food and leave it behind, but the question loomed: “what am I going to have to carry this home in?”  When the server asked me if I wanted a to-go container, I decided to ask.

Me:  “Is the container Styrofoam?”
Server:  “Yes, it is.  But would you like me to use aluminum foil instead?”
Me:  “Why YES! (*big smile) I would!  I’m “very green” and I detest Styrofoam.”
Server:  “No problem, ma’am.”

No problem!  Imagine that.  We DO have a choice.  I know aluminum foil won’t do for some things, but I now realize there is a choice, and if asked, we’ll probably be given an alternative, greener option.  I was happy not to waste food, but I was just as happy not to accept Styrofoam that will live in a landfill for hundreds of years and release toxins into the ground.

I’ve even recently learned about new containers and tableware (thanks to reader, Beth!) that are made from corn, sugarcane and paper.  They’re biodegradable and compostable and include cups, plates, utensils and napkins… all kinds of good stuff appropriate for your next gathering, available in quantities for home use.  The holidays are around the corner, and who doesn’t love a great party, but add Mother Earth to the guest list by not serving her toxic trash.

So, after I ate the leftovers, the aluminum foil got a quick wash and went to the recycling can. But next time, I want it in the shape of a swan!