Magazines and magazines and magazines… oh my!

nwsstndRecently I approached a few local drugstores and asked them what they do with their outdated magazines. (I was hoping to set up a program where I could pick-up those magazines or have them delivered to the paper recycling dumpster behind my kids’ school so they could earn money from the recycling company.)  Unfortunately I was told that they remove the covers, return them to the publisher for credit and are told they MUST discard them in the trash dumpster….OUCH!  TRASH dumpster, not recycling dumpster.

Sadly, this is the fate of many magazines.  In fact, about 60% of magazines remain unsold and are destine for this same misfortune!

I’ve also recently taken inventory of how many magazines make their way into my own household and, let me tell you… it’s time to make a change! We not only receive magazine subscriptions, but also print publications for every local organization we’ve joined… from the Zoo, to the Natural History Museum, to the Science Center!iPd mag2

There are definitely better options.  More and more magazines are becoming available in e-formats, digitally delivered right to your computer, iPhone or iPad.  Check Zinio.com or emagazines.com to see if your “favorite reads” are available.  For all those other publications, a quick glance inside (typically around the publisher’s information) will often turn up an option to actually receive the publication digitally… all you need to do is digitally subscribe!  And if you don’t want it, UNsubscribe or opt out!

I assure you, once you take a look at all those un-read magazines piling up, you’ll realize you can make a change too!

Are you “going green” just to be a “show off”?

t-shrtOkay, first of all, this is not my implication but this comes from an article I just read from author Steve Martin (no, not THAT Steve Martin!)… but it’s very interesting in that it refers to research published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology as tested by Vladas Griskevicius from the University of Minnesota along with Joshua Taylor and Bram Van den Bergh from the University of New Mexico and the Rotterdam School of Management.

It seems their research suggests that  “making environmentally conscientious purchase decisions can be seen as altruistic and as a result publicly enhance people’s status”… hmmm?… kind of interesting…

It made me stand back for a second and evaluate myself. And this is what I discovered:

  • Recycling – everyone has a blue recycling can in my neighborhood.  Every “trash night” EVERYONE has the can at the curb.  No one knows if it’s full or contains just a dozen items… or one.
  • Water & energy – no one knows except me… although the Cleveland Division of Water seems to want to tell me I’m a “super consumer” and I have yet to be compared to the “Joneses”… but only I know I’m conservative.
  • Appliances – all of our appliances are energy and water efficient, but I have never introduced anyone to my appliances with a “look at these ‘green’ things!” announcement.
  • Car – admittedly, I drive an SUV.  No, it’s not the greenest thing on the planet, but it’s what others “see”. I do my maintenance to keep it as efficient as possible and “it is what it is”.  I’m not in a position or a mind set to replace it and it doesn’t have bumper stickers announcing my stance on anything.eco bg
  • Products – I buy lots of eco-friendly stuff, from body products to detergents, but they don’t really seem to attract any attention!
  • Food – again, no one knows except me, the clerk at the grocery store or the guy who fulfills our CSA order, but I know that I neither stand in line at the store, waving my purchase, yelling “this is organic!” nor do I mill around the CSA pick-up hoping someone will notice me.
  • Clothing – I try to buy organic cotton as much as I can, but I do admittedly have a number of tee’s that announce my “greenness” too… hmmm… show-offy?
  • Shopping in general – well, I never accept plastic bags and always (ALWAYS!) tote my own reusable bags (but not THIS one!), so I guess that’s a little indicator of my “greenness”.

Self-evaluation?  I think I’m doing okay – green for all the right reasons, I’d say.  Nothing “too flauty”, nothing “look-at-me”… okay, except the tees… and my bags… oops…. and this blog! 🙂

So… how about you?

An important letter about my organic lettuce…

lettuce gardenThis evening my daughter and I decided to make a quick trip to the garden we’re growing in a planting area we adopted in front of her elementary school.  We’re growing our own organic veggies and knew that some lettuce was perfect to harvest for the evening’s dinner.

Well, we arrived… and … (*wide-eyed pause*) … it was already harvested! Quite neatly I might add (so we knew that it wasn’t “harvested” by animals… besides, the netting overtop prevents it from BEING harvested by animals!) and the netting was neatly put back in place as well.  (Insert my look of *SHOCK* here!)

So, THAT’S how someone is going to be, huh?  Who do they think they’re stealing from?… the garden is in front of an elementary school for pete’s sake!!!

What do I have to say about that?  Well, THIS is what I have to say about that…

Dear Organic Lettuce Thief,

I love organic lettuce, don’t you?  Oh yes.  Apparently you do.  I also love organic gardening.  You should try it sometime.  I admire your strength and bravery for being able to steal from children.  I also hope you enjoyed your organic lettuce salad this evening, however, my family DID NOT!  Oh, and by the way…

fngr

xoxo, The Mom Goes Green Family

Strawberries & an (un)healthy dose of methyl iodide?

straw1This weekend my family and I happily retrieved some fantastic local produce from our CSA with Fresh Fork Market.  I’m telling you, I’m like a little kid picking-up a bag of sweets at the candy store.  It’s just so exciting to share in the local and organic harvest, fresh from the farm!

This week’s bounty included some fabulous strawberries. Our kids were thrilled because they are bona fide strawberry junkies (and yes, these photos are the “actual” strawberries… yummy, yes?)

Well, if your family has strawberry junkies too, or if you EVER buy strawberries for that matter, this next issue should interest you… (especially since strawberries are on the “dirty dozen” list and they retain a lot of pesticides!)

It seems the state of California, the nation’s largest agricultural producer, is close to approving a potent carcinogenic gas for use on strawberry fields and other food crops.  This chemical pesticide, methyl iodide, is a known neurotoxin that disrupts thyroid function, damages developing fetuses and has caused lung tumors in laboratory animals. Although California already classifies it as a human carcinogen, the EPA approved it for agricultural use in 2007 despite the objections of 50 prominent scientists.straw2

Really?  This just causes me to put my face in my hands and shake my head profusely.

I, for one, do NOT want this applied to anything meant for consumption, but I also shudder to think what this does to the air, water and PEOPLE that work these farms or live in close proximity.

If you agree, you can speak up and voice your disapproval.  CREDO is working hard to get the EPA to reverse this decision.  If you would like to sign the petition, simply go to this link so you can be counted.

In the meanwhile, we’ll be consuming these lovely, local, organic strawberries and hope that the EPA will rethink a decision as rotten as the tainted strawberries they are willing to feed us.

“Superbugs”, antibiotics and drugs… oh my!

sup bug virMy recent post about avoiding antibacterial products actually got me thinking more about the issues of antibiotics, medications and even “superbugs”, as well as the proper disposal of unused medications. While we certainly want to avoid the products containing Triclosan (that can accumulate in our bodies and decrease the effectiveness of antibiotics), there are other important points about using antibiotics and medications that I want to be sure to share, so here goes…

When antibiotics ARE needed, it is very important to complete the dosage prescribed by your physician because failing to do so can also help create “superbugs”.  New term to you?  Well, by stopping antibiotic use BEFORE you have completed the full course means that the “stronger” of the bacteria can remain present in your body and they have the potential to rapidly multiply and cause you the same symptoms again.  This “survival” means they are more likely to become resistant to the drug and these “superbugs” are created.  (Kinda gives you the chills, huh?… me too!)

Along with this discussion it seems logical for us to remember about the proper disposal of unused drugs and medications.  In a post quite some time ago I talked about all the dangers of the common “flush factor”… those of us who flush medications down the toilet.  Baaaad practice!  This means they end up in our water sources since most water treatment facilities don’t have the ability to remove them.

That original post offered suggestions including contacting your local pharmacy to see if they have a program to properly dispose of medications or checking Earth911 to locate a drop-off in your community.

But, if you MUST dispose of them yourself, consider the greener, safer way to do it… to keep drugs out of our water sources and prevent soil contamination from landfills too:druggz

  • Keep them in the original container so they can be identified if they are found (but remove your personal information and identification).
  • Add water to pills to start dissolving them.
  • Add coffee grounds, sand or kitty litter to liquids to help absorb them.
  • Put the original container in a secondary container and securely tape the lid closed.
  • Put them deep in your trash.

The absolute best option is to find a safe disposal option, and as much as I dislike the idea of adding this trash to a landfill, it is certainly the option safer than adding them to the drinking water of you, me and… our kids!