Our Plastic Life is Sad

Plastic bottles on the way to the Agean Sea
A river of plastic bottles on the way to the Aegean Sea

A recent study by the Ellen Mac Arthur Foundation has found that by 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish.  This is a terrible man-made crisis, and not enough is being done to stop the cascade of plastic.  Everyone of us needs to take personal responsibility to reduce our plastic consumption. The plastic industry is unchecked, and never should such a nuisance product been put into society without a plan to clean up or reuse.   We are stuck with plastic, but we can all reduce the amount of plastic we use today and every day from now on.  Especially think carefully before you purchase a plastic tubes that cannot be recycled. There is too much information in this post, but I hope you can find one thing below to help you to reduce your plastic consumption!

http://onegreenplanet.org/crushplastic

http://www.onegreenplanet.org/environment/stunning-infographic-shows-how-our-plastic-habit-impacts-the-ocean-and-marine-animals/

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14 Ways You Can #CrushPlastic in Your Daily Life

  1. Carry a spare canvas bag for groceries or small items you might purchase throughout your day.
  2. Bring a reusable water bottle instead of buying a plastic one.
  3. Take a mug with you to work or class and ditch the plastic cups.
  4. Say no to plastic straws and utensils when eating out and bring your own stainless steel reusable ones.
  5. Use mason jars when grocery shopping to store all your bulk food items.
  6. Use cloth or reusable bags instead of produce bags when food shopping.
  7. Replace your plastic food storage bags with stainless steel tins or mason jars.
  8. DIY your own cosmetics instead of buying ones in plastic tubes. http://www.onegreenplanet.org/lifestyle/ultimate-guide-to-diy-beauty/
  9. Reduce plastic packaging in your cleaning routine by making your own natural cleaners. http://www.onegreenplanet.org/lifestyle/ultimate-guide-to-diy-cleaning/
  10. Avoid microbeads in your exfoliating face or body wash.
  11. Try DIY-ing your shampoo and conditioner instead of buying plastic bottles.
  12. Switch to bar soap and shampoo to avoid plastic packaging.
  13. Skip the plastic tube toothpaste and make your own! http://www.onegreenplanet.org/lifestyle/ultimate-guide-to-diy-hygiene/
  14. Buy plastic-free beauty, hygiene, and cleaning products, like bamboo toothbrushes, plastic-free makeup brushes and natural material sponges.

https://health4earth.com/2015/05/05/surprising-things-about-plastic/

http://www.onegreenplanet.org/environment/people-who-prove-that-living-plastic-free-is-possible/

http://ecowatch.com/2016/01/20/more-plastic-than-fish-in-ocean/?utm_source=EcoWatch+List&utm_campaign=137ca14cc3-Top_News_1_24_2016&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_49c7d43dc9-137ca14cc3-85912169

Trash is a Terrible Thing To Waste

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The MPCA study says recycling pumps billions of dollars into the Minnesota economy. The 60,000 jobs and the new products created from recycling are worth billions to Minnesotans. Products created from recycled materials are the most exciting! When you purchase products from recycled materials, you are closing the recycling loop.

What happens when you close the recycling loop? The first arrow

recycle, manufacture, purchaserepresents the first step of recycling, Collection of materials for recycling. Arrow two represents the manufacture of new products from the recyclables.  Arrow three is the purchase of the products made from recycled items. This is “Closing the loop” or a circular economy.  A win- win!

Why do we recycle? It saves valuable resources, keeps material from the landfills, reduces polluted landfills and as this report (below) shows produces economic opportunity and jobs!

http://www.startribune.com/recycling-s-rise-creates-bigger-economic-effect-for-minnesota-state-pollution-agency-says/367302641/

The unfortunate thing is that so much still doesn’t get recycled.  So get serious and RECYCLE MORE!  Garbage is too valuable to waste!

https://health4earth.com/recycling-garbage-is-a-terrrible-thing-to-waste/

Purchasing recycled products saves raw materials and adds valuable jobs
Purchasing recycled products saves raw materials and creates valuable jobs

 

Participation Is Power

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This election is already too long, too silly, and too expensive, but please don’t sit it out! Choosing the next president of the United States is a long cumbersome process, and such a small number of people actually participate in this beginning process, but it is the most important!  Those that show up have the power!

How do we get more people to participate? You are important to this process, and everyone needs to feel that their vote and their opinion count, but you can’t do that if you don’t show up. If you don’t vote, you pass your power as a citizen to those that do participate. With all the money in politics, participation in the voting process is our one voice. This voice is needed to try to keep big money and corporations from making all the rules. Good elected leaders are important to health of our planet and the health of our people.  We need to elect serious leaders that are capable of getting the big picture and choose leaders that are not beholden to those that make big financial contributions.  A democracy is only as strong as those who work to make it strong by participating.
In Minnesota like Iowa we have caucuses. Caucuses take a high level of commitment.  Political parties organize and run the caucus meetings. Because the political parties run the caucus meetings, many think they aren’t welcome. Everyone is welcome, and your voice is not heard if you don’t attend. Even though I don’t like the process, I attend. I believe in the voice of all citizens. You need to attend because your voice as to who is elected is just as important as the party hacks and leaders.  In Minnesota you don’t need to be registered to participate according to what I read, and I have never seen anyone register. Caucuses in Minnesota are not set up to register people.  Find you caucus location through your state Secretary of State website.(This is Minnesota as an example)

If your state has a primary you are lucky, go and cast your vote on the correct date, at the correct polling location, but make sure you are registered.  Call or google your city hall or Secretary of State to find out how to register and where to vote. Every state has different rules for registering and voting. Don’t waste your one vote! See the link below for your state’s primary election or caucus date.

The job of all citizens is enormous, and your help is needed! Caucuses can be fun. Go and make a night of it. You will learn something, and you will meet new people! If your state has a primary election, get registered and vote. Our country will be stronger the more people who participate. Many around the world would love to have this opportunity!

See when your state presidential event takes place in the link below:

http://2016.primary-caucus.org/

Just do it, participate!

Please report back what you learn, and what surprises you.

Loving A Mild Winter, My Superior View

Ice on Lake Superior doesn't last long.
Ice on Lake Superior doesn’t last long.

“There is a privacy about winter that no other season gives you. Only in winter can you have longer, quiet stretches when you can savor belonging to yourself.”  Ruth Stout

January has been a month of peace, quiet and intense beauty on Lake Superior.  Snow frosted balsams radiate a charm that goes unnoticed during other seasons.

Then a few hours later open water on the big lake.
A few hours later, open water with a few ice clumps on the big lake.

The face of the lake can change hourly as the lake refreshes itself, and the wind shifts. The lake dramatically changes from ice-covered to a few floating chunks of ice, and then back to ice-covered. Sporting new looks adds to the mystique of this enormous fresh water lake.

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Calmer winds allow the balsams to stay snow covered. A few ice chunks on the lake.

Ready for City Composting?

Backyard Compost Collection
Backyard Compost Collection  This is now frozen and covered by snow.

http://www.startribune.com/four-things-to-know-before-you-get-your-new-minneapolis-organics-bin/366901451/

Food waste composes about 30% of our landfill waste. If left to rot in landfills it can create green house gases, and if it is burned, it pollutes the air. We can change food waste into a new healthy material for our gardens and plants. The end result of food waste is compost. No fertilizer or chemicals needed with compost!
I am thrilled my city, Minneapolis, is beginning to collect food waste for composting. You need to sign up for a cart by February 1, 2016.
Below is a great video about commercial composting:

What do you use to collect food waste?
What do you use to collect food waste?

If you have participated in commercial composting in your city, give us some tips to help us learn about it.

Just say, “No straw!”

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Just say “no” to straws

My series on #31daysoflesswaste continues: How can you use less plastic today, and everyday? Below is an exciting campaign to eliminate the use of straws. It gives you hope!

Keeping plastic out our oceans, lakes and rivers is essential. Below is a video of a “No Straw” campaign being done by high school students in California.  You will like it.

Read more: http://www.mnn.com/lifestyle/responsible-living/photos/16-simple-ways-to-reduce-plastic-waste/just-say-no-to-straws#ixzz3KqhfhwN1

 

 

Entertaining? Three Easy Ways to Cut Landfill Waste

Dr Seuss
Dr Seuss

My series, 31 days of less waste continues. Three easy ways to cut landfill waste this week:
** Always use real plates, cups, glasses and silverware.

If you lack enough real dishes

Use real dishes
Use real dishes

for your party or dinner, borrow from a friend or relative. The quality of your party improves 100% even if everything doesn’t match. It will still make your event special. Using paper/plastic plates and glasses creates lots of landfill waste.

 

** A very wasteful trend has developed. Often the only water served at parties is water in small plastic bottles. Serve municipal water in real glasses. A great way to cut waste and save money is to drink water from public water systems. Run tap water through a Brita or other water filter and you have water better than bottled water. Water filters can be recycled at Terracycle.com

No need for plastic bottles!
No need for plastic bottles!

** Get in the habit of using reusable table napkins. Make your own napkins from remnant pieces

Cloth napkins are the best!
Cloth napkins are the best!

or purchase napkins from reuse stores. Use your imagination, wash cloths or bandanas also make good napkins. They don’t need to match, I like a contrasting colors look.

 

From Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day, household waste increases by more than 25%. Added food waste, shopping bags, packaging, wrapping paper, bows and ribbons all adds up to an additional 1 million tons a week to our landfills. (EPA)