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

grn genius logo

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!!!

Simple reuse/recycle tip: You CAN give back what you get…

hangrzHow often are you given something you want to give back or never even asked for? (Well, I can think of about a dozen things when I think back to my wedding gifts.  Of course, my thoughts then were something like “my god, WHAT were they thinking!” 🙂 ) But now I’m thinking more about the things that come our way from purchases or services.

Think about wire hangers from the dry cleaner, packing peanuts from shipments we receive, plastic bags that always seem to slip by us when we aren’t paying attention and burned out CFLs.

Well, they don’t need to become needless trash. Consider this the next time one of these things slip your way:

  • Wire hangers – (hopefully you’re using an eco-friendly dry cleaner!… but) take them BACK to your dry cleaner the next time you make a drop-off.  Most will accept them and reuse them.
  • Packing peanuts – even if they didn’t come from a UPS shipment, they will accept them with a smile and reuse them too.  Check here to find a location.packn peanutz
  • Plastic bags – if I’m not vigilant and paying attention, a cashier always seems to manage to slip one in on me.  Save them at home and many stores have collection bins at their entrance if your curbside recycling does not accept them.
  • CFLs – so many people get hung up on the mercury content in CFLs, but keep in mind that most still contain only enough mercury to fit on the head of a pin and each new generation of CFLs has even less.  However, when they finally do burn out, remember to dispose of them properly at your local Home Depot through their CFL Recycling Program.  They’ll take them off your hands for proper disposal, free of charge.

Now, as for those hideous items I received for wedding gifts, well those were “given” too… in the way of donation. They do say “one (wo)man’s trash is another (wo)man’s treasure!”

There ARE alternatives to Ziplocs!

storge bowlsI do NOT buy Ziploc baggies… ever. Okay, one exception:  when I had to buy them to complete our daughter’s list of “required” school supplies.  I wanted to wear dark glasses and a hood because I felt like I was going to be detained and questioned by the “Green Police” at any moment for abandoning my pledge to headquarters!

But I am currently also annoyed by “The Biggest Loser” and the way they keep pimping Ziplocs.  I understand product placements and the sponsorship, but it’s as if you can’t have food without them!  The incessant use of Ziplocs is unnecessary.

There ARE alternatives to Ziplocs and the non-biodegradable trash they create:

  • Reusable containers are a green mom’s best friend.  Invest in some!
  • For those concerned about the plastic, glass bowls with lids or stainless steel containers do wonders.  They come in all shapes and sizes!
  • Aluminum foil is recyclable and is great for wrapping tons of food items.  Buy a roll!ziplc storage
  • Salvage some glass jars and turn them into storage.  Reuse those plastic containers from yogurt, cottage cheese, etc. and do the same.
  • If you must, must, must use baggies, consider the new Ziploc evolve products.  They are made from a new resin blend using 25% less plastic, manufactured using approximately 50% renewable wind energy and packaged in a 100% recycled paperboard carton, with a minimum of 35% post-consumer content.  A step in the right direction, but if you must use them, wash and REuse them!

(I personally think that the new Ziploc evolve baggies are just a way to suck “greenies” like us back to their storage bags but like I said… “if you MUST…”…)

Bottom line is: there are better ways!  Try it… and let’s “bag the baggie!”

Reusable produce bags… that don’t produce trash.

Every time I visit the grocery store or the local farmer’s market to pick-up some fabulously fresh organic produce, there are little environmentally un-friendly “by-products” that come home with my fruits and veggies… tapple-baghose flimsy plastic bags we’re often forced to use for our produce purchases.

I’ve tried to reuse them, but they’re cheap and end up tearing. I also hesitate because it’s too difficult to get them clean enough to feel safe to reuse them.  So, while I’m buying healthy foods for my family, I’m left with a handful of plastic bags that wind up in the trash.

Enter:  EarthSAKS!  I recently talked about their compact reusable bag that our daughter confiscated, but now I’ve discovered their produce bags too, and what a relief they are!  They’re made of sturdy, see-through, washable mesh with a simple drawstring closure at the top and they even store in an included canvas pouch for toting them back to the store, to use again and again.earth-produce

I’ve also picked up a few little mesh laundry bags (typically for your delicates… so why not some delicate produce, right?) when I’ve found them on sale, and if you’re feeling really crafty: a rectangle of mesh fabric, some stitches and string, and voila… reusable produce bag!

Whatever you choose, join me in making sure your produce makes its way to your home without bringing unwanted (plastic) guests!

Green your drive-thru and carry-out orders.

drive-signEven the greatest of moms have to occasionally rely on a drive-thru or carry-out to fill the dinner menu! While the nutritional content of the food already has us feeling guilty, a green mom often cringes at the waste and excess that accompanies the food.

Who hasn’t received an order that crushes all of our environmental rules?!

Here are a few simple ways to put at least some of the guilt at bay:

  • First, park the car! Truly… idling creates more emissions than actually driving your car! And contrary to belief, stopping and restarting your car does not burn more fuel.carry-bag
  • Skip the plastic utensils and napkins. If your order is going home with you, tell them you don’t need these items (that may only get thrown away).
  • Take only what you need/want. Avoid that 16-year old’s full grip on 12 packets of ketchup! Tell them exactly what and how many of the condiments you need instead of accepting those you don’t.
  • Say no to beverage holders. If you can manage it, use your car’s cup holders for beverages instead of taking a holder… but if you do take it, recycle it!
  • Use your own cup. If your order will include coffee, hand over your travel mug and ask them to use it.
  • Take your own bag in with you. Forgo that enormous, rustley, non-recyclable plastic bag that holds your carry-out order and tell them you’ll put your order in your own bag instead.

While these ideas might help satisfy your green side, I can’t guarantee that you won’t feel slow, sluggish or that overall sense of “ick” after your order gets consumed!