Our Plastic Madness

Plastic from our waters
Plastic from our waters

watersshannon05 via Flickr)

My blog on microbeads receives many hits. https://health4earth.com/2014/07/16/what-products-contain-microbeads/  People are interested in this. David Suzuki  http://www.davidsuzuki.org/ had an excellent post on microbeads so I am reposting it here.  I hope this will heighten your awareness of plastic.

The best paragraph is at the end: As consumers, we can avoid products containing microbeads and put pressure on companies and governments to end their use (5 Gyres has an online petition). And, because more than a third of all plastic is disposable packaging, such as bags and bottles, we can and must limit our overall use, and reuse or recycle any that we do use.

I challenge you to try plastic free shopping.  It is possible… Please let us know what works for you!

From davidsuzuki.org

Microbeads are a sign of our plastic consumer madness


If you use personal-care products such as exfoliators, body scrubs and toothpastes containing microbeads, those are the costs you could be paying. The tiny bits of plastic — less than five millimetres in diameter, and usually from one-third to one millimetre — are 
used as scrubbing agents. Now they’re turning up everywhere, especially in oceans, lakes and along shorelines. They aren’t biodegradable.How much are whiter teeth and smoother skin worth to you? Are they worth the water and fish in the Great Lakes? The cormorants that nest along the shore? The coral reefs that provide refuge and habitat for so much ocean life? Are they worth the oceans that give us half the oxygen we breathe, or the myriad other creatures the seas support?

Research by the 5 Gyres Institute found an average of 43,000 beads per square kilometre in the Great Lakes, with concentrations averaging 466,000 near cities. Tests on fish from Lake Erie found an average of 20 pieces of plastic in medium-sized fish and eight in small fish. Cormorants, which eat fish, had an average of 44 pieces of plastic each. Microplastics have been found in the oceans and even under Arctic sea ice.Scientists at Australia’s James Cook University found corals starving after eating the tiny beads, their digestive systems blocked.

It’s not just the plastic that harms animals; the beads absorb toxic chemicals, making them poisonous to any creature that mistakes them for food or that eats another that has ingested the plastic — all the way up the food chain. Because humans eat fish and other animals, these toxins can end up in our bodies, where they can alter hormones and cause other health problems.

It’s a high price to pay for limited benefits from unnecessary personal care products. Exfoliators and scrubs can use any number of harmless natural ingredients, including baking soda, oatmeal, ground seeds, sea salt and even coffee grounds. Microbeads are not only pointless in toothpaste; they can be harmful. Dentists and hygienists are finding plastic particles embedded under people’s gum lines, which can cause inflammation and infection.

The folly of producing and marketing products without adequate regulatory oversight and consideration of long-term consequences makes you shake your head. As Great Lakes study researcher Sherri Mason told the Ottawa Citizen, producers haven’t given much thought to anything beyond the fact that the beads wouldn’t clog drains. “There wasn’t that forethought, which is often the trouble with man and the environment,” she said.

Microbeads illustrate the excesses of marketing and consumerism, but they’re only part of the problem. Most plastics eventually break down into microparticles, often ending up in oceans and other waters, where they’re eaten by organisms ranging from tiny plankton to large whales. Some plastic has even started to fuse with rocks, creating a substance new to our planet that scientists call “plastiglomerate”.

According to British Antarctic Survey scientist David Barnes, “One of the most ubiquitous and long-lasting recent changes to the surface of our planet is the accumulation and fragmentation of plastics.”

That’s astounding, considering mass production and widespread use of synthetic, mostly petroleum-based plastics only began in the 1940s. Barnes and other researchers who compiled research from around the world say more plastic was produced in the first decade of this century than in the entire previous hundred years.

Microbeads are among the newer developments in the brief history of our plastic lifestyle. The 5 Gyres Institute launched a campaign asking companies to remove them from products. So far, L’Oreal, The Body Shop, Colgate-Palmolive, Unilever, Johnson & Johnson and Procter & Gamble have agreed to do so. Several U.S. states and European countries are planning to ban the beads, and Environment Canada is studying the problem. The federal NDP has introduced a motion to ban them here.

As consumers, we can avoid products containing microbeads and put pressure on companies and governments to end their use (5 Gyres has an online petition). And, because more than a third of all plastic is disposable packaging, such as bags and bottles, we can and must limit our overall use, and reuse or recycle any that we do use.

Plastic has made life more convenient, but many of us remember a time when we got along fine without it.

Written with contributions from David Suzuki Foundation Senior Editor Ian Hanington.

http://www.davidsuzuki.org/what-you-can-do/

http://beatthemicrobead.org/images/pdf/RED%20UNITED%20STATES.pdf

http://ecowatch.com/2015/04/30/new-york-ban-microbeads/  Very good news!

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Take a Trip To The Everglades

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My first trip to the Everglades was in 2012. I was excited to see this marvelous and uniqueDSC00206 place.  President Obama was there for Earth Day to discuss the hazards the Everglades face with our fast changing climate. See video below:

https://www.facebook.com/billnye

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http://www.cnn.com/2015/04/22/politics/obama-everglades-florida-climate-change/index.html

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Minneapolis Ban on Styrofoam Food Containers Begins

Styrofoam I pulled from Lake Harriet in Minneapolis. It is breaking into small pieces and could last forever!
Styrofoam I pulled from Lake Harriet in Minneapolis. It is breaking into small pieces and could last forever!

I am happy, it is Earth Day, and I am very happy that the city of Minneapolis took a bold stand on Styrofoam containers. Congratulations to Minneapolis for banning Styrofoam “To Go” containers. The ban begins on Earth Day, April 22, 2015.003
Minneapolis is a city of many lakes, many creeks, and the Mississippi River. Materials like plastic and Styrofoam break into tiny pieces and could exist for hundreds of years in these water bodies.

“It’s estimated that 10 million Styrofoam containers are thrown away in Minnesota each year. Styrofoam is not impossible to recycle, but is difficult to clean and far costlier to recycle than other, more sustainable containers. Styrofoam also contains potentially cancer-causing chemicals that leach into food, especially when heated.” City Pages
http://blogs.citypages.com/food/2014/05/styrofoam_officially_banned_in_minneapolis.php

http://www.kare11.com/story/news/local/2014/05/23/minneapolis-approves-ban-on-styrofoam-cups-containers/9513939/

http://minnesota.cbslocal.com/2015/04/22/mpls-businesses-brace-for-styrofoam-container-ban/

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Happy Earth Day!

“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find resources of strength that will endure as long as life lasts”  Rachel Carson 

This land is your land, this land is my land: In honor of Earth Day this Wednesday, April wpid-wp-1423799335727.jpeg22, make a resolution to do one thing new for our earth. Pledge to use your reusable water bottle, use reusable shopping bags, turn off lights and electronics, plant native plants and milkweed, or walk more and drive less. It makes a big difference if everyone does just a small part!

http://parade.com/390692/walterscott/celebrity-earth-day-warriors/

http://upliftconnect.com/declaration-restore-mother-earth/

http://www.takepart.com/article/2015/04/16/climate-change-funny-or-die
http://upliftconnect.com/declaration-restore-mother-earth/
https://health4earth.com/easy-things-you-can-do-to-help-stop-climate-change/

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Is Air Pollution Bad for your Health?

970832_10153091136195497_1060532036_nToday I am commenting on two items that surprised me this week.

First, for a long time it has been said that bad air causes asthma and cancer. This week strokes have been added to this list! http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/03/24/air-pollution-raises-stroke-risk/?_r=0

Two things that are terrible for air pollution in urban settings are idling your engines and outdoor fires!

Second, Dana Milbank in the http://www.Washingtonpost.com says that climate deniers are denying that they denied that climate change is happening. See below:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/climate-change-deniers-are-in-retreat/2015/04/06/942eb980-dc9f-11e4-be40-566e2653afe5_story.html?postshare=8431428889546576

What surprised you this week?

 

Drought becomes Flooding #ThirstyThursday

Common_LoonUpdated on June 11,

Minnesota has moved from drought to flooding.  The drought was a problem, but now can we manage all this heavy rain?  We have been trained to get this water away from our houses and off our land, but does flushing all this water down the storm drain help our yards and gardens? Some of the rain is absorbed, but most of this rain rushes into our storm sewers washing winter salt, and chemicals from our houses and yards into our lakes and streams. What can we do to slow water down and keep more water working to water our gardens and yards?  How can we keep our lakes and rivers clean?

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You don’t want this water in your basement so it needs to be diverted 10 feet away from your foundation as you manage this water, and try to keep it from gushing down the street and alleys

A few things you can do to improve water quality:

1. Redirect downspouts onto your lawn.

2. Plant native grasses and deep rooted plants to absorb water

3. Use less winter salt and less lawn chemicals.

4. Learn about rain gardens and find out if one is possible in your yard.   http://bluethumb.org/raingardens/

5. Keep sidewalks, driveways and streets free of leaves and debris.

6. Let your turf-lawn grow longer (3 inches)

7. Install a rain barrel to capture rain, and use this for watering plants.

Precycle as You Shop #TalkingTrashTuesday

Bulk Items
Bulk Items

What is precycling?

Definition of precycle: To make purchasing decisions that will reduce the need to recycle or throw into the landfill trash. You precycle so there is less trash to throw away.

Today I was at my local coop refilling my containers, reusing my produce bags, and reusing egg cartons for bulk eggs. #BuyBulk

My 5 ideas for precycling are first, and then five from David Suzuki’s Queen of Green

First, always bring your reusable bags.

Shop with your reusab;e bags
Shop with your reusable bags

Second, choose products that use minimal packaging.

Third, carry your own reuseable water bottle, choose glass over plastic, and reuse glass containers and jars

Fourth, Bulk purchases allow you to purchase the amount you need. I fill my reusable containers with nuts, spices, oatmeal, tea, grains, beans, eggs, and soaps. Whole Foods and coops have recyclable/compostable brown paper bags for bulk items. Placing your bulk items in a “one use” plastic bag negates the environmental advantage of bulk purchases.

Fifth, use washable reusable cloth bags for produce purchases. Avoid products on Styrofoam trays wrapped in plastic film. If you purchase meat or fish, ask for a compostable wrapping.

Some co-ops have fabulous selections of soaps and lotions to refill your bottles
Some co-ops have fabulous selections of soaps and lotions to refill your bottles

Below are ideas from David Suzuki’s Queen of Green and what prompted me to do this post.  She has great ideas below to reduce our waste:

Five tips to recycle less http://www.davidsuzuki.org/blogs/queen-of-green/2015/03/five-ways-to-recycle-less/

Tip one: Shop smarter. Beware of excess packaging from all consumer goods — food, personal care products and electronics, even organic, local, non-toxic and GMO-free stuff.

Tip two: Never recycle another glass jar!

Tip three: Reduce is the first “R”.

It’s time for a plastic diet! Buy fewer prepared foods, buy in bulk and pack waste-free lunches.

Tip four: Make your own cleaners.

Tip five: Fix it.

http://www.trashisfortossers.com/   A young woman who has adapted a zero waste life.