On Avoiding Plastic Produce bags

Big Box stores and grocery chains liberally hand out polythene bags at the billing counter. Plastic bags have become so cheap to produce, that stores no longer consider them an overhead. The 80’s and 90’s shopper stopped taking totes to the store, and was asked to choose between paper or plastic. (Most of them seem to have gone for plastic. (not that paper would have made sense).

In the late 60’s and the early 70’s, invention of plastic was said to be a great boon for mankind. Extensive and short sighted choices made over the last few decades have ended up as a decent sized plastic patch floating around in the ocean(s). We hear a lot about the Great Garbage patches in the oceans. Pacific plastic patch is just one of them and has only grown over the last few year.

Shoppers never seem to stop and think if they really need to pack fruits and vegetables- first in a flimsy 9 micron bag at the produce section
and then bag it at the billing counter in another 9 or 20 micron bag.
Plastic Bags: Environmental Impact and Recycling Issues
Sheer waste of resource and such a heavy penalty on the environment. Avoiding those two bags may not seem to make a difference, but spreading the thought definitely helps – exponentially speaking.
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Giveacar ~ Green Charity

Daniel from UK based company called Giveacar, a not-for-profit organisation, sent in a post to be featured on Green Crusader. 



About the company:
Giveacar is into collection and recycling of unwanted cars, with the proceeds of each vehicle going to charity.
They have imported the idea of car donation from the US to the UK, and work with over 250 charities and have raised over £200,000 in the past year through car donation. The company works with scrapyards and salvage operators to ensure cars are sold for their maximum value – thus providing the maximum donation to charity.

Daniel says “Giveacar has had a really positive response, with the service providing a serious financial boost to charities in this current climate, and Reuters have made a news video on the positive effects of social enterprises such as Giveacar. (http://www.reuters.com/news/video/story?videoId=180720019). We are an environmentally friendly operation, recommended by Keep Britain Tidy and recently covered by the Ecologist:
http://www.theecologist.org/green_green_living/out_and_about/687787/recycle_your_car_dont_scrap_it.html


Watch this space for the Guest post. 🙂

Individually Packed Dry Fruit – Wasteful or otherwise?

For all those dry fruit connoisseurs who love prunes (dried plums), here is some food for thought!

nutsonline-com



Bowel movement and overall health are a great argument when it comes to buying prunes in plastic bags. 

or grabbing a bottle or two of prune juice….

 (sunsweet website)



Manufacturers are already adding to the plastic clutter and the ocean patch, and have every reason to rethink their packing methods. And as if existing problems weren’t enough, a genius marketing strategy session later, Sunsweet launched its individually wrapped prunes.


 Each prune individually wrapped in plastic…:-(

And then put them in another HDPE container..
Seriously!, did we need more plastic in the world? All in the name of a little of convenience!.. It is sadly amazing to see that consumers do not assess the impact of their choices on the planet? The nutritional information provided on their website, mentions eating “about 4 prunes” to equal one serving.
My question – why not package them in packs of four then? Back to the basic question – WHY the Wrapping in the first place. One logical explanation could be (probably) – that the company has to come up with new shenanigans to appeal to consumers and appear dynamic by showing that they are constantly reinventing themselves. Agreed. As much as that intention is appreciated, individual wrapping is a serious mistake and a definite waste of resources. On a lighter note! imagine having to eat more than one and all the packaging one has to peel..lol…hmm..seems like it is the company’s trick for portion control!!! 🙂

Given the fact that Sunsweet controls over 2/3rd of the prunes market in the US, higher sales figures for the single-wraps means an avoidable 3 sq inches of plastic wrap in the trash can (for every piece consumed). Isn’t it time we as consumers took action and made informed choices?.

Any argument for and against this idea are pleasantly welcome.


(Sunsweet is a US based food and beverage manufacturer specializing in packed dry fruit and juice). 

Guest Post – The Eco-Friendly Backyard: How to Save a Little ‘Green’

It is a pleasure when thinking individuals acknowledge my crusade and want to put in their two cents! I was contacted by Elizabeth Greene of – My Dog Age My Blog, for featuring a guest post, I agreed. Its a pleasure to introduce Joy Paley and her take on American Consumption patterns and her thoughts on Lawn maintenance in particular. I am sure you will love this post…:). Onto Joy


The post
There’s no place near the “normal” American home that doesn’t reek of conspicuous consumption, and the backyard is certainly no exception. As post-WWII suburbs sprawled across the nation, so did the idea that a happy home was one in which the front and back yards were covered in emerald green turf. Not only does keeping a carefully maintained lawn use up an incredible amount of water (and money!), it also keeps rainwater from making its way through the soil to groundwater and causes pesticides and fertilizers to flow into nearby streams and rivers. Here are a few tips to green up your backyard and save a little dough in the process.

1. Get Rid of the Lawn
What is the alternative to a cushiony green pillow extending from your doorstep to the curb? How about a garden of native shrubs, flowers, and trees? It’ll need to be watered and troubled over much less than a lawn, will allow water to percolate through the soil, and it will attract native wildlife.

2. Collect Rainwater
Having the sprinklers or the hose running all the time zaps money from your pocket and uses up precious resources. Consider putting barrels in your yard or under your gutters to catch rainwater to use on your plants, instead.

3. Mulch Those Plants
Even if you get rid of your water-sucking exotic plants and make the switch to native species, you can still preserve energy by mulching around what you do have. Mulching keeps the sun from sucking up water out of the soil.

4. Compost
Composting is a low-cost way to generate nutritious soil for your garden and cut down on the amount of household waste you send to a landfill. A tumbler or regular barrel is a great way to start. Check out this Cornell site for the basics.

5. Use Earth-Friendly Yard Products
Most people maintain their yards to actively enjoy them, by picnicking, letting their kids play outside, etc. But would you really want your kids playing on a lawn that had been cared for with toxic pesticides and fertilizers? Check out organic lawn care options that are safer and easier on mother nature.

6. Upgrade Your Mower
Some old gas lawnmowers emit an incredible amount of pollution. Switching to a push mower is best, as they use less energy than ride-alongs. If you can’t stand the idea of pushing a mower across your lawn, an electric ride-along is your next best bet.

source: Joy Paley
This eco-friendly “no mow” lawn made of native grasses and plants is more attractive than any suburban turf I’ve seen

About the author

Joy Paley is a science and technology writer based in Berkeley, California. Check out her musings as a guest blogger for My Dog Ate My Blog or as a writer for Online Schools.


Eco friendly Printer – Not really

A friend sent out a group mail with ten eco friendly/green living ideas. One of them was a printer which doesn’t need paper or ink. This is how it works-


source:eamusing.com
Company creates a desktop printer that doesn’t use ink nor paper

Who says printers only use paper to print documents? It’s time for you to meet the PrePeat Printer then. Different from conventional printers, PrePeat adopts a thermal head to print on specially-made plastic sheets. These plastic sheets are not merely water-proof, but could be easily erased, just feed the sheets through the printer again, and a different temperature will erase everything or just write over it. Also claimed by the manufacturer, such one sheet could be used up to 1,000 times so that you’ll reduce your expenses on paper for sure.”



My take!! – Why isnt this a green solution?…
A very important matter of concern – The plastic sheets used to print and erase content. Inventor(s) needs to work on that part of the invention…one major peeve being, the printer itself is made of plastic, whatever the lifespan of the appliance, it is going to end up as tiny immortal bits of plastic floating across some place in the world…hmm.. i am really hoping that i am not the only one who wants to think green or eco sense as a holistic approach

Cling foil (Plastic) and the Food network

As much as I love the Food network and a few of their regular series, I am not really into the way they use disposable wrapping and cling foil and make it look acceptable and convenient. A simple marinating does not require a ziploc or any other plastic bag. Glass, ceramic or steel containers with a lid would work equally well or prove to be only better. Not sure if I am the only one with this peeve.

Pic source: food network

I get worked up when the cooks/chefs roll out ream after ream of cling foil and wrap up containers or dough. My question – Wont a glass / steel/ ceramic bowl with a lock lid or a simple plate work? (not that the glass bowl with plastic lids make any sense either. :(.. What pains me more is that viewers are pushed into believing that they need such products items and may not be able to work with out them. This translates to excessive consumption of plastics and more non biodegradable pollutants for the planet to suffocate on. Number of products (specially kitchen appliances and products) sold on the home shopping network are a testimony to my point.

Excessive use of styrofoam, plastic and other non bio degradable products should not be made to look good on TV.( Every time I mention : Media’s responsibility, it sparks off an interesting debate.) Increased dependence on non renewable resources and non bio degradable elements is nothing but disaster for the planet and its life forms. Making mass production and obscene consumerism seem ok negates efforts put in by certain environmental interest groups

It is quite painful that my own kith and kin tend to ignore simple ways to avoid use of plastic in their lives. We may not be able to sacrifice everything, but a small beginning can make way to more sensible choices in future.