Plastic bags + animals = heartbreak

Some of the first things everyone says to do in a “mission to go green” is to switch to CFLs, or eat organic, or switch all of your products to eco-friendly formulas, or buy a reusable water bottle. To these things I say: yes, yes, yes and yes.

But I STILL cannot get over how many of us haven’t switched to reusable bagsI… hate… plastic… bags. And when it’s obvious that you can buy a reusable bag just about anywhere (for 99 cents, I might add), I wonder why so many of us hesitate to use them.

I ran across some images that, although they show only a portion of the problem, to me this problem is heartbreaking.

Some you may have seen before, some may be new. But I think they speak for themselves…

plastic bag & sea turtle

plastic bag & bird

plastic & sea turtle

ottr w bag

(Sea otter mother & baby photo by photographer, Terry McCormac)

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(The archipelago of Fernando de Noronha, Brazil is considered a wildlife sanctuary but today, even in this isolated archipelago, dolphins are victims of the bad habits of consumption. Photo and caption by João Vianna)

If you don’t already use them (and after seeing these images), would you please consider buying (and using) some reusable bags instead?

Post #381… a 2010 Holiday Review!

christmas partyAnother Christmas come and gone in a whirlwind here at the Mom Goes Green household! I hope your holiday was wonderful and filled with every blessing imaginable!  (Now I’m getting back into the groove with post #381 and gearing up for the New Year!)

As always, we had amazing and magical fun!  Santa delivered exactly what was requested so the kids are thrilled (and nothing will be sitting, unwanted, under the tree!).

As every box and package was UNpacked, they were broken down and flattened and made their way into the recycling can… even the wrapping paper.  The recycling can is FULL… and the garbage can?… hardly a thing added!xmas wrp pile

Tissue and bows were set aside and have made their way into storage for reuse next year too!  All other family gifts were also given in bags recycled from last year so I didn’t need to purchase a single supply!  Some family members even gave back the gift bags with a smile and a “Here… for next year!”  Ahh, they know me well!xmas gft bg

I’m also happy to report that at every gathering, our families used the REAL silverware, plates, bowls, glasses, cups and serveware… not a disposable in sight! Bravo, family… and thank you!

We’ll soon be weeding out old (but usable) clothing, toys, books and other household items to donate to charities that serve the less fortunate.  I know we all tend to give before the holidays but xmas place setremember, the need exists 365 days a year so it’s never too late, or too soon!  Let the giving continue!

In the coming days I’ll give you more tips and tricks to wrap up the holidays and get you sent off into the New Year…

… But for now, I simply wish to say I hope your Christmas or holiday was as wonderful and magical as ours!

So… what happens to your “other” plastic bags?

If you’re like me, you never shop without first being armed with your own reusable bags I never take plastic bags… yes, I mean never… well, almost never!

There abrd bg plasticre times when we’re forced to take plastic bags… not the kind that hold our purchases, but the kind that hold the food and products we buy.  I’m talking about bread bags, the plastic wrappers on our toilet paper and paper towels, the bags holding packaged produce, and even the plastic bags around the newspaper on our doorstep (I wish our newspaper-guy would stop doing that on sunny days!).

So, what do YOU do with those bags? While most curbside recycling doesn’t take them (ours doesn’t either), they ARE recyclable… and you don’t need curbside recycling to make it happen.

Now here’s the answer… you may have found yourself ignoring the plastic bag collection containers in your local grocery store or major retailers.  You might also assume that they’re only for the bags that come from the store… well, surprise!  THAT is the answer!plst bg bin

You can actually collect all of these extra bags and wraps at home and deposit them in this receptacle.  Most are made of the same materials as the grocery or retail bags – either high-density polyethylene (HDPE) or low-density polyethylene (LDPE) – so they can easily be added to this batch of recycle-bound bags!

The next time you have one of these bags or wrappers destine for the trash can, turn it into your collection bag…  stuff all the others inside and take them on a little trip to one of these bag bins.  You’ll be amazed at how quickly they accumulate and you’ll feel much better when they DON’T go into the trash!

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!!!

The 411 on recycling bottle caps…

beach trshDid you know that bottle caps are the second most littered items behind cigarette butts?  Did you also know that bottle caps are one of the top ten most common items found littered on beaches? Sad, isn’t it?

Most people might not give much thought to these little caps but they are becoming a big problem.  Overall, ALL types of caps are creating a problem because most of us don’t know whether or not they are recyclable.  Even if you’re like me and don’t buy bottled water or beverages in plastic bottles we all have mountains of caps that pass though our hands every day… everything from shampoo bottles to food product lids to soap and detergent containers.

So what do you do? Well, there are a few choices, so give these some thought:

  • Recycle with Aveda – these salons and stores will accept a variety of caps for recycling, including #5 twist caps, flips caps, jar lids and detergent lids and turn them into new lids for their products.  Find a location near you!
  • Recycle with Preserve – they also accept any #5 plastics (including yogurt containers) via mail or at any Whole Foods location and turn them into new Preserve products like toothbrush and razor handles, tableware and kitchenware.PVC cap
  • Give your local recycling a try – it’s sometimes difficult to figure out if your curbside recycling can actually recycle these caps but, if nothing else, include them in your recycling.  They cannot be processed with a batch of #1 and #2 commonly recycled plastics because there is a 100 degree difference in their melting points.  But if they can’t recycle them, they will be removed and at least properly disposed of, which is certainly better than letting them become litter!  Just make sure you detached the lids and caps from the container so they can be easily sorted out at the recycling facility.

So, what can’t be accepted? Well, that would be medication bottle caps, metals lids, pumps and sprayers.  These are unfortunately destined for the garbage can so, whenever possible, make wise choices when you make purchases.  Remember that buying larger containers means fewer lids too!

That’s it… the real deal on caps and lids.  Let’s just do our part to make sure we help remove them from any “most littered lists!”