Day 332 – Over the year, I have mentioned a couple companies that make compostable straws and recyclable plasticware (made from recycled plastic). Well, I wanted to add one more company to the list of sustainable options when it comes to straws and cutlery.
The SeaStraw Company offers straws and cutlery that are made from renewable forestry and backyard compostable, or contribute to a circular economy through reusability. They offer paper straws, steel straws, silicone straws and cutlery made from Birch wood. They provide these sustainable options for at home use or for businesses.
The materials used are:
SF Certified Paper & FSC Certified from renewable forestry
Vegan wax and ink
Certified gluten free
BPA free – silicone and stainless steel straws
The folks at SeaStraw started the company because they believe that small actions add up and inspire wide-spread impact. Just starting with a sustainable straw, or spoon, or fork, can lead to bigger and better decisions that will help the planet.
Tomorrow, a zero waste center every needs in their neighborhood.
Day 328 – Most of us don’t give any thought about how long it takes for common items to decompose. We tend to toss things into the trash and never think about where it goes from there. Many everyday items are here to stay for a very long time.
Here are 20 items and the length of time it takes for them to decompose.
Plastic bags – It can take up to 1,000 years to decompose.
Cigarette butts – 10 years
Plastic straws – 200 years
Wet wipes – 100 years
Plastic 6 pack holders – 450 years
Tin cans – 50 years
Tires – 2,000 years
Nylon fishing net – 40 years
Plastic bottles – 450 years
Synthetic fibers – 100+ years
Aluminum cans – 80-100 years
Hairspray bottles – 200-500 years
Shoes – 25-40 years
Disposable diapers – 500 years
Lumber – 10-15 years
Batteries – 100 years
Ink Cartridges – 450-1,000 years
Glass – over a million years
Aluminum Foil – never
Styrofoam – never
We all need to think twice before we throw things away. We need to ask ourselves a few questions.
Can this be recycled? Items in bold print can be recycled.
Can this be reused?
Can I avoid using this item in the future?
We are running out of places to put our trash. We need to make changes now.
Day 324 – With the cold weather upon us, it got me thinking about blankets. There is nothing better then a warm blanket to cozy up to during the winter months. I started looking for eco-friendly blankets. I found quite a few companies that offer organic cotton and even alpaca wool. When it comes to price these blankets were on the high end. As mentioned, I love a cozy blanket, but not for over $200.
As I continued looking, I came across Rumpl. Their mission is to introduce the world to better blankets. They also want to do that in a responsible and sustainable way.
“Looking to the future responsibly means thinking sustainably. This means that we prioritize scaling our business responsibly with the “long-haul” in mind, never too fast or recklessly. We seek ways to reduce our impact on the planet by incorporating recycled materials in our products and leveraging transportation options that reduce our carbon footprint. And finally, when possible, we leverage our voice and our influence as a platform for social good.” – Rumpl
Here’s how they’re doing it:
Whenever possible they use post-consumer recycled materials in their products. Through that effort they will have up-cycled millions of discarded plastic bottles since Fall 2019.
From bottle to blanket. They use discarded plastic bottles and recycle them into the synthetic insulation and polyester that make up their best-selling products.
Their synthetic insulation is made from recycled plastic bottles, and their natural down feathers are sourced humanely and ethically.
Day 323 – Happy World Toilet Day! I thought it was the perfect day to talk about keeping your toilet bowl clean in an environmentally friendly way. On Day 21, I wrote about Blueland and their line of cleaning products. The people friendly ingredients are packaged in compostable bags. When the tablets are added to water in reusable bottles, various cleaning products are produced.
I was very excited when I heard Blueland added toilet bowl tablets to their product line. One tablet and a toilet brush and you have yourself a clean bowl. The Toilet Cleaner Set comes with a tin and 14 tablets. Refill tablets come in a compostable bag, so absolutely no waste.
Another great way to celebrate World Toilet Day is to help build toilets in countries where they are not available. Who Gives a Crap donates 50% of their profits to ensure everyone has access to clean water and a toilet within our lifetime. They offer toilet paper made from 100% recycled paper or bamboo. It is packaged in brightly colored paper, so there is no plastic to discard. We have been using Who Gives a Crap since January and LOVE this company so much!
The next time you are in the bathroom think about the 3.6 billion people living without access to safely managed sanitation. Poor sanitation contaminates drinking-water sources, rivers, beaches and food crops, spreading deadly diseases among the wider population. It’s a convenience we usually take for granted.
Day 318 – When this blog was created at the beginning of the year, my family was making some changes. We started thinking differently about the waste we created and started making changes to reduce that waste. We started composting, we purchased different products and stopped purchasing others all together. One area that has been rather challenging to cut waste is with my daughter’s diabetic supplies. She was diagnosed when she was 8 years old. She is now 15 and has been through syringes, the pen (a needle device) and now she is on a pump and uses a monitoring system called Dexcom. There is no denying that these devices are keeping my daughter healthy and allowing her to live the most normal life that she can. However, it is sad that these companies have not come up with a plan to take back their plastic waste.
Every three days she has to change her site, in which the pump is attached to her body. Every 10 days she has to change the site where the sensor, that monitors her blood sugar, is attached to her body. Each time these changes occur another large piece of plastic needs to be discarded. Medtronic, the maker of the insulin pump, nor Dexcom have taken on any responsibility to take back the plastic they produce. I know they are in the business of saving lives, but what about saving the planet?
Here are a few facts about the number of Type 1 diabetics in the U.S.
Approximately 1.6 million Americans have Type 1 diabetes.
By 2050, 5 million people are expected to be diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.
An estimated 64,000 people are diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes each year.
Sadly, Type 1 diabetes is not going anywhere anytime soon. Companies making billions to supply the millions that need these life saving devices, need to start realizing they have an obligation to the rest of the world. They need to start taking responsibility for the waste produced by their products. They need to stop putting the responsibility on the patient. Don’t these individuals have enough to worry about? Adding to the plastic problem should not be one of them.
Day 314 – Choosing to recycle is a big step in helping the planet. However, it can get confusing. One question that many people have is, “How clean do I need to get my recyclables?” The folks at Earth911 put together a guide to help answer that question and they broke it down by type of material.
Jars, Bottle and Cans
These usually only need a quick rinsing.
If dealing with something like mayonnaise or peanut butter, try to get the majority out, but it does not need to be spotless.
For stickier stuff like honey or jelly, give it a good scrubbing with soap, so you can remove most if not all of the substance.
You do not need to remove labels from jars, bottles and cans.
Allow these containers to dry if you are placing them with mixed recyclables (like paper or cardboard).
Cardboard and Paper
When dealing with cardboard, like a pizza box, recycle what you can. Usually the lid is without grease or food, and can be put with your recyclables.
Don’t be ready to trash a box if you happened to spill a little food on it, while cooking. If it’s not a significant amount, still get that box to the recycle bin.
When it comes to paper, crumbled or wrinkled paper can go into a recycle bin. However, shredded paper can not.
Plastic Bags and Film
If a bag has food on it, make sure you clean it.
Make sure they are dry.
Some crumbs would not hinder the recycling process, but be sure to shake out bags before recycling.
Don’t put your plastic bags and film in your curbside recycling. Find a location (most grocery stores and Target) that will accept them.
By keeping contaminants out of your recycling bin the better chance your items will get recycled.
Day 310 – Recycling rates across the country are not great. Many cities, like Chicago, recycles less than 10% of what is collected. Recycling is not the sole solution, we are going to have to refuse, reduce and reuse. However, the idea of being able to recycle plastic, glass and metal at your home sounds very appealing.
Lasso, at home recycling machine, recycles the following:
PET and HDPE plastic
Clear, green and brown glass
Aluminum and steel
Here is how Lasso works:
Lasso accepts your used materials using internal sensors, cameras and AI machine learning.
If an item is not recyclable, Lasso simply returns it to you. No more recycling confusion.
Lasso tracks your items in real-time, and you can even check products for recyclability on the move before buying them, with our in-app bar code scanner.
100% of contaminants like food, grease, dirt and sticky packaging labels – all removed for you.
Lasso steam cleans every item, saving precious water versus manual washing.
Plastic, metals and glass are broken down separately, reducing to a fraction of their size and maintaining valuable purity throughout.
Once processed, Lasso channels your purified products into the storage container at the base of the appliance.
When storage is approaching capacity, Lasso automatically notifies you via the smartphone app – required just 3-8 times per year.
Lasso collects when it suits you – your app suggests on-demand collection slots to fit any schedule.
When collection is due, simply detach Lasso’s storage container and leave it at the curb. Our pickup drivers take care of the rest.
Lasso guarantees close-loop recycling, where every item is made new again, from a bottle to a bottle, a can to a can.
Receive cash returns within five years of ownership, subject to your consumption.
Lasso is not on the market yet, but you can reserve one today. It will cost around $3500 – $4000.
I sure hope the Lasso is a huge success and I hope the price comes down. I would love to have a Lasso in the kitchen recycling my plastic, glass and metal, while making me money and saving the planet!
Day 301 – So, when an aluminum can is recycled it can be turned into another aluminum can. The same can be said about a glass jar. However, when it comes to many other products, they are usually turned into something with less value and quality. For example plastic can be recycled into fleece or polyester.
We have all heard about plastic milk jugs being turned into park benches. As much as a park bench is a nice thing to have, we need to do better in creating a circular economy. We can’t continue making more park benches, because we can not curb our need for virgin plastics.
“Downcycling is mainly a problem due to misinterpretation of the public. Many people assume that plastic, like glass or paper, can be recycled over and over again forever without losing any quality. The truth is that plastic is continually downcycled until it is rendered completely useless for recycling. After that, in most cases, it winds up in a landfill, where it slowly breaks down into microplastics and emits methane.” – GreenMatters
It’s important that we realize that many items, especially those with plastic are not 100% recyclable. Far too often we interpret the term “recycle” as “completely recyclable”. However, that is not the case and we need to start rethinking the materials we purchase.
Now the opposite to downcycling is upcycling. This is the process of giving something more value and quality then it originally had. A great place to see examples of upcycled items is the Facebook group “Upcylceit” Here you will see amazing transformations of items that were on their way to the landfill. However, some have taken the time to make these items even better than before. Check it out and get inspired!