Reuse on America Recycles Day

November 15, is America Recycles Day.  After so many years I am still surprised how hard it is to recycle in the United States. In my travels across America I can go weeks without seeing a recycle bin. In Europe often recycling is front and center, not perfect but it is seems a priority.

I have been surprised to learn this doesn’t always mean the product is recyclable????

Unfortunately it is still very hard to recycle plastic correctly in America. Paper/cardboard, glass and metal cans work well, but plastic, please read on.

Plastic recycling is very challenging. There is very little regulation of plastic in the United States. Plastic producers claim recycling is the answer to their products, but they don’t want any responsibility to pay for recycling or disposal of their products. They often they say their plastic is recyclable, when in fact it might be just one per cent recyclable or not at all.

Why is plastic recycling so hard? First there are those recycle 1-7 numbers. For something to be recycled it first needs to be collected, and then sorted into those  numbers. Next, it needs a market, or someone to buy it. All this makes plastic recycling expensive for communities (tax payers) and it is labor intensive.

 I am fortunate to live in a county (Hennepin) that makes this a priority, and I can’t express my gratitude to them enough!

Both Maine and Oregon have passed legislation to hold producers responsible for recycling and disposing of their products. This is a beginning and it is hopeful that more regulation of plastic could happen. As consumers we also have responsibility, when we purchase plastic we reinforce the idea that this is OK, and more of it is produced. The plastic chemical companies are gearing up to produce more plastic for the future, lets work to hold them accountable! Talk to your elected officials about how plastic producers should be held responsible for what happens to long lived plastics after disposal. Manufacturers also need more integrity in labeling what is in their plastic products.

On America Recycles Day recycle more of your paper/cardboard, glass and tin cans, and recycle plastic bottles and containers, but also begin to REDUCE your PLASTIC consumption.  Always bring your reusable cups/bottles, and bags for a start.

Big new goals on America Recycles Day https://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/581578-epa-issues-national-recyling-plan-with-goal-of-50-percent-recycling

Make it a plastic-free day!

buy in bulk

Buying in bulk and refilling your bottles is the next step in reducing plastic.

Reading and watching list:

Maine Will Make Companies Pay for Recycling. Here’s How It Works. – The New York Times (nytimes.com) 

John Oliver Takes on the Plastics Industry – EcoWatch

California Just Passed 5 Mega Laws to Fight the Plastic Crisis – EcoWatch 

Plastics recycling is 90 percent garbage, John Oliver says, but that’s not your fault and there is a fix (yahoo.com) 

Watch Story of the Bottle! – Greenpeace

Virginia Governor Takes Action on Single-Use Plastics – EcoWatchBreak Free From Plastic Pollution Act Receives National Support – Center for Biological Diversity

March Motivation

mindful march
Spread kindness and touch the earth

May March sunshine on your shoulders make you happy!

Happy March! Be kind to the Earth, be kind to yourself, and be kind to others! The Actions for Happiness calendar ( below) has many good suggestions to be more mindful and spread kindness.

March brings me joy. The longer days and the hope of spring are motivators to get outside and notice the changes, even if it is just melting snow. Everyday the outdoor world is waiting to be explored, your own neighborhood is perfect. Even 5 minutes of mindful observation will lighten your mood. Breathe, smell the earth, let the sun, rain and snow tickle your face, touch the wind, talk to the trees, hear the sunrise/night fall, smile and be kind.

This March pay attention to how you can reduce your carbon footprint: Can you reduce idling your car or drive less? Can you eat less meat and waste less food? How can you reduce the waste and plastic you generate? Can you buy less things and be a smarter consumer? Just doing a little bit can make a positive difference. Thank you and good luck!

Reading List:

Embrace Winter challenge: Go bird-watching or stargazing – StarTribune.com 

Making ourselves worthy of our vaccine – StarTribune.com 

UN Releases Scientific Blueprint to Address Climate Emergencies – EcoWatch

Sounds of Silence: The Extinction Crisis Is Taking Away the Earth’s Music – EcoWatch 

Enjoy many good suggestions below to have a Mindful March:

be mindful
Be mindful of your footprint on Earth

Resolve to be a Better Consumer

Consumption is a big challenge for us as humans–we need, we want lots of things…The vast majority of products end up in landfills, and over 60 % of fabric fibers are synthetics derived from fossils fuels so they don’t decay.” Designer  Christian Siriano

SO, How can we become better consumers?  We have incredible power with our consumer dollars.  How can we use that power wisely? Why would you reinforce corporate greed with your purchases? Everyone wants to save money, but you are not saving money when you purchase lots of cheap things that will end up in the land fill next year!  

Lots of environmental repair is needed, and I hope you will join me to help in 2021 and resolve to be a better consumer. Look at your habits and just make one change. See reading list below.

One of the most important forms of power we have is our ability to decide where and how we spend our money. When you pump LESS gas, and purchase less meat you’re saying something. When you contact businesses about their extreme plastic packaging, you’re doing something. When you shop local, support local farms and climate-smart brands, you’re making a difference by revealing a growing market for whom business as usual will not cut it. At our house we only make purchases at places that pay a minimum wage. If we can use our dollars to shop for quality, support local, green, and homegrown businesses. We can keep dollars in our own communities and make a statement. Buying less makes a statement too.

The thought of having plastic microfibers in the food I consume stirs me to reduce my plastic consumption and motivates me to become aware of my plastic and other unsustainable purchases.

glass
Reuse containers
Where can you start? First work to stop purchasing single-use plastic. Shop with your reusable bags, use a reusable water bottle, refuse straws/plastic utensils, and find an alternative to baggies. Maybe stop using sauce packets. Become aware of all the  packaging that can’t be recycled.

Start working on one thing and go from there. You will not be perfect, but you can make a difference! Maybe you can start with an alternative to dryer sheets and hand wipes. I just discovered somethings I purchased during the pandemic are in #7 plastic(not recyclable). I’m contacting these companies, and ending my #7 plastic purchases! Education and awareness make such a difference. I hope the reading list below will heighten your awareness also!

Reading list:

Say no to fast fashion and purchase items that will last a long time

Toxic chemicals in single-use plastics are harming human health | U.S. PIRG   

Do You Want to Buy Less Stuff? Three People Tell Us How – The New York Times (nytimes.com)

https://bigthink.com/personal-growth/buy-less-stuff

Beginner’s Guide to Minimalism – Going Zero Waste

Six Eco-Friendly Pledges for 2021​ – EcoWatch 

New Year’s Resolutions for the Planet – The New York Times (nytimes.com)

9 New Years’ Climate Resolutions To Keep For 2021, According To Experts (forbes.com)

In Focus: We know the real cost of fast fashion, so why do we buy it? | Metro News

Lake Michigan plastic pollution poses ecological and social threats (https_dailynorthwestern.com)  

Substitutes For Dryer Sheets | Cleancult

My ten tips for Health4earth holiday shopping: 

 

Purchase clothing made from natural fibers – synthetic fibers like polyester are made from plastic. Opt for alternatives to dryer sheets for your laundry.

December Good Will

kindness
Kindness creates a ripple, spread it now.

Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a Conspiracy of Love” Hamilton Mable

After nine months of a pandemic everyone needs extra attention! December is a month of Kindness and the Actions for Happiness have many good ideas below. It is a time to reach out and spread good will!

Spread good will and kindness to the Earth also! December is a time that we generate of lots of landfill waste. Too many Amazon and UPS trucks rumble on my street. Use some of your “at home time” to see how you can reuse what you have,  simplify your shopping, and generate less garbage by buying less.

December days to celebrate:

December 1, AIDs Awareness Day and National Giving Day

December 2, Pollution Control Day

December 7, Pearl Harbor Day

December 8, Bodhi Day

December 10, Hanukkah, and Human Rights Day

December 15, National Tea Day

December 21, Winter Solstice and the first day of winter

December 24. Christmas Eve

Christmas 25, Christmas

December 26, Kwanzaa

December 31, New Year’s Eve

kindness
Remember to be kind to the Earth!

 

Save 100%

Climate march in New York City
Fridays for our Future

How can we be sustainable consumers? We have another die warning from the UN on the climate crisis we are experiencing. Buying more stuff does not help the earth. If you need to purchase items,  do it in a more sustainable manner. See below.

We don’t need to purchase to be happy.  I went to see the new Fred Rogers movie. The messages are subtle, but say a lot. Rogers was a master at helping children to feel important. and to feel good about themselves. He thought television was an excellent educational tool, but had been ruined because it tried to turn children into consumers demanding things they didn’t need. As we enter the holiday season and a time of extreme consumerism read more about Fred and his philosophy here

Consumerism and saving money is on our minds. Unfortunately, we have become a throwaway society. Do you use an item for a short time then throw it away, and even worse we raise our children to get bored quickly from that item they just had to have. Again, we don’t need to purchase to be happy. This holiday, how can we be more sustainable and honor the season at the same time?

  •  Join or create your own Friday climate march #FridayforFuture
  •  Always shop with a reusable bag and avoid all plastic.
  •  Shop reuse stores. Some of my favorite clothes come from consignment stores.
  •  Give gifts of help, time and outside events.
  •  Shop retailers that pay living wages, and are local over big box stores.
  •  Buy nothing and save 100%. Reuse what you have!
  •  Purchase items that will last instead of cheap junk.
  •  Plan a day outside instead of shopping, REI.

Happy Holidays! Pause, Enjoy, Reuse

 

Does Black Friday promote “resource waste and overconsumption?”  Read at France.

 

Reduce the waste you generate!

recycle
Purchasing recycled products saves raw materials and adds valuable jobs

“I only feel angry when I see waste, when I see people throwing away things we could use.” Mother Teresa        Only 9% of recyclables are recycled in the United States compared with Germany and Norway that recycle in the 60% range. Plastic manufacturers continue to create more plastic and push recycling. Unfortunately,  recycling is not a sustainable option. I hope you will work hard to recycle your bottles, containers and paper waste because making things from recycled material is awesome and saves lots of energy and natural resources, but as consumers we need to also purchase items made from recycled materials.

A new paradigm is needed, we all need to reduce the waste and recycling we generate. Wasteful packaging needs to stop! Make it a priority in your life to reduce the waste you generate. Here are some simple ideas to get you started:

First, cook at home instead of take-out. Yes, it is some work, but organizing to have a few meals made ahead or in crock pots can reduce lots of waste and be fun at the same time.

Always carry your reusable water bottle and reusable bags.

Be a smart shopper, always think how you can purchase less waste, especially plastic waste. Don’t purchase plastic or Styrofoam trayed produce. Many stores have cloth bags you can purchase for produce.

reuse
Use cotton or paper bags

Shop in bulk and refill any bottles your grocery store makes possible. Food coops have lots of refill options.

Choose products out of recycled material if you can find them.

Never put plastic bags in your recycling cart, recycle them at your local stores.

Please recycle plastic bags at grocery stores!

 

November Gratitude

Minnehaha Creek
This stream runs directly into the Mississippi River. I am thankful my community works to keep the water clean in the creek near my home.

Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”  Marcel Proust

Each day as I walk or look out my window I am so thankful for our magnificent earth. I love the birds, plants, wildlife and landscapes. I love how the seasons change and the colors change. I love the sunshine, love people who smile, and love each new day. I am so lucky to live where there is clean drinking water and away from forest fires and rising water. Many disasters are facing our earth, and it’s easier to focus on what is awful rather than the simple things around us that are wonderful. For our own mental health, positive energy and gratitude can keep us healthy.
November is a month with less sunshine, colder temperatures and shorter days. In November we can’t wait for the sun to shine or warm temperatures, we need to be mindful of what else is good in our lives, and be thankful.

Fridays For Future
I am thankful for people who work to make the world better. Greta!

To live in Gratitude, be mindful of your surrounding, the food you eat, and the people in your life. Listen to people, smile, be thankful for what you have, and buy less stuff.”Gratitude turns what we have into enough!“Anonymous  Pause, smile, breathe and enjoy everyday with gratitude. “I don’t have to chase extraordinary moments to find happiness – it’s right in front of me if I’m paying attention and practicing gratitude“. Brene Brown

what a Wonderful World
Be thankful and enjoy!

Smiling and saying thank you creates ripples of thoughtfulness and kindness throughout the world, and that’s something to be thankful for!

What is the good in your life? What are you thankful for? Read ways to put more gratitude in your life here.  Enjoy

THANK YOU

 

Fridays For The Future

Climate march in New York City
Fridays for our Future

Can we meet the challenge? Our planet is burning up, and where I live we are experiencing continual record rain events. Our world lacks sensible elected leaders, therefore, we all must act. If everyone does a little it adds up to a lot!

First, get out and march. The Global Climate Strike is Friday, September 20, create your own event or find an event near you here.

Next, be mindful as to how you can buy less and waste less. Pay attention to your trash. What can you reuse, recycle, donate, or avoid completely? How can reuse your food scraps? All of our actions matter!

Because of the extreme weather 7 million people have been displaced. This is huge and wars are being fought over displaced people. Climate justice will be an enormous topic of the future.

Thankfully, the media is starting to pay attention to our building crisis. Time Magazine, Reveal and PBS have done some outstanding segments.

Fridays For Future
Greta Thunberg

Read more about Greta and watch the video below:

https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/climate-warrior

 

 

Our Actions Matter

What kind of world do we want to live in?

I think most of us would agree we don’t want polluted air and water, or a world without interesting animals, birds, and butterflies. Can we accept a world where people are staving to death? Do we want to live without diversity, in a mono-culture where we can’t accept anything different from how we live? Do we want a world where disrespect is accepted?

Too much food is waste!
How can you use those leftovers?

Several recent studies and events should wake us up and shake us to action. First a study from the United Nations that says we are going to have a food crisis if we don’t change our land use. We just aren’t going to have food for everyone if we continue on our path of land use and wasting food. The study encourages a reduction in our meat consumption. The raising of meat, especially beef and lamb takes an enormous amount of energy, land, and water resources. It also states we must stop wasting so much food. Read the study comprised by over a hundred scientists here.

Microplastic in Lake Superior
Lake Superior

Second, how about some plastic in your drink? Plastic is everywhere, and it might never break down. The amount of plastic microfibers in our water and air is troubling. Read about it at Plastic. Read about the plastic in the big lake at Lake Superior.

Bald Eagle
Smart environmental policy brought back the bald eagle

Finally, the  quality of life will decline if we don’t have song birds and crickets singing, if we don’t have eagles, hummingbirds or happy chickadees to entertain us.  We all want a world with penguins, giraffes and elephants. Our changing climate makes it necessary that we protect and support animals that will take longer to adjust to this change. Protecting some animals might be as simple as keeping oil and gas companies from drilling in certain areas. Read at Endangered Species Act . The Trump administration intends to end special protections of some of our most cherished animals.

Food waste picture
Wasting food wastes water, energy and labor!

What actions matter? These are the things my household tries to do everyday. If everyone does a little, it adds up to a lot!   1. Reduce food waste. This is the hardest, but the most important!  https://savethefood.com/  2. Eat less meat, https://damndelicious.net/2014/12/02/15-best-quick-easy-meatless-recipes/  3. Reduce our plastic foot-print and work for zero waste 4. Buy less stuff, and purchase items that will last, not junk! 5. Be kind. It would be a boring world if everyone had blue eyes, blond hair, tiny noses, and a perfect weight. Be respectful of our differences.

Everyone can help
Thanks for making a difference!

If everyone does a little, it adds up to a lot! Our warming planet is real, and we need to find ways use our land more efficiently, and to slow down our warming planet. What do you think? What kind of world do you want to live in?

 

What Does a Climatarian Look Like?

Our everyday activities make a big difference and small positive changes by everyone, can make a big difference to the health of our Earth. A Climatarian thinks about their impact on the Earth everyday, and they work to reduce their daily impact.

The news just keeps getting worse and worse for our warming planet as some places are overwhelmed by drought and fires, and others are inundated with storms and water. Warmer air holds more water and has caused ocean levels to rise causing hurricanes to become more destructive. Wildlife and humans are on the loosing end of this destruction. The lives lost, and the struggle to survive and rebuild are staggering. We are facing a climate breakdown! Read about the latest climate report by the world’s scientists here.

Instead of trashing our air and water we need new paradigms to live by to protect our home.  Our current United States government is determined to make this climate breakdown worse. Our warming planet is not going to heal itself. With a little personal responsibility to reduce our carbon footprint we can have cleaner air and water, and a much healthier planet. Let’s make it a team effort and make it a win-win for us all! As self-described Climatarian below are the things I work on everyday to reduce my footprint on Earth. To be successful start small, and when one thing becomes a habit try to add another.

Take personal responsibility to heal our Earth. My vision of a Climatarian is below. What is yours?

Bulk shopping reduces food and packaging waste. Refill your own containers

** Work for zero waste by reusing, refilling and refusing. This takes practice and commitment, but it is fun and easy once you get the idea of how, you can become an almost zero waster! Also, don’t waste food: Freeze and label your leftovers, and put them in wraps, stir fry or something you cook next. Be creative!  Managing food waste takes constant vigilance. I will help you get started with zero waste, ask me how to begin????

** Reduce your meat consumption. We haven’t eaten beef or pork for many years, and I actually forget about purchasing from our local chicken source. Meat takes lots of water and energy to raise, and it is a terrible pollutant to our air and water.

** Drive less: No one wants to reduce their driving, but carpooling, public transportation and walking can be fun. Try it!!

This symbol means a lot more than to recycle. A circular economy manufactures and purchases goods from recycled materials.

** Consume less! The more we consume the more the planet suffers and the more garbage we generate. Buy less stuff and purchase things that last, and that you will reuse over and over. Try to become part of the circular economy.

And from EcoWatch, things you can do to avoid climate catastrophe. From the Washington Post things you can do for our Earth.