Plastic is not Recyclable

If plastic were a country, it would be the fifth largest emitter of greenhouse gases. Plastic is stuffed with harmful chemicals, and even though we are told it is recyclable this report shows how plastic recycling is NOT working!

Greenpeace report finds most plastic goes to landfills as production ramps up : NPR 

“More plastic is being produced, and an even smaller percentage of it is being recycled,” says Lisa Ramsden, senior plastic campaigner for Greenpeace USA. “The crisis just gets worse and worse, and without drastic change will continue to worsen as the industry plans to triple plastic production by 2050.”  

Coca Cola produces 3 million tons of plastic packaging a year – equivalent to 200,000 bottles a minute. That needs to change.

Surprising Microfibers in Fish and Food.

Jon Platek
by Jon Platek

Living in a cold winter climate, I love my fleece shirts, and have been struggling with this information for a few months trying to ignore the facts.
Studies have shown the Mississippi River is full of these microfibers. These are even smaller than microbeads.   Microbeads in soaps, make-up, and toothpaste created much worry and Congress has banned them. However, new studies are showing that microfibers are worse for us and wildlife than microbeads. Yikes, very confusing.  Read the entire article on the Mississippi River study

Information from NPR:

The innovation of synthetic fleece has allowed many outdoor enthusiasts to hike with warmth and comfort. But what many of these fleece-wearing nature lovers don’t know is that each wash of their jackets and pullovers releases thousands of microscopic plastic fibers, or microfibers, into the environment — from their favorite national park to agricultural lands to waters with fish that make it back onto our plates.
This has scientists wondering: Are we eating our sweaters’ synthetic microfibers?
Probably, says Chelsea Rochman, an ecologist and evolutionary biologist at the University of Toronto, St. George. “Microfibers seem to be one of the most common plastic debris items in animals and environmental samples,” Rochman says.
In fact, peer-reviewed studies have shown that these synthetic microfibers — a type of plastic smaller than a millimeter in length and made up of various synthetic polymers — have popped up in table salt in China, in arctic waters and in fish caught off the coast of California. These tiny fibers make up 85 percent of human debris on shorelines across the globe, according to a 2011 study. They’re basically inescapable. So it’s not unlikely they’re finding their way into the human diet, especially in seafood.” NPR

Fleece keeps us warm!
Fleece keeps us warm!

I hope that municipalities will come up with filters that will take these fibers out of our water during sewage treatment, or filters will become available to put on our washing machines, but until then we can wash our fleece less and try to consider some alternative natural clothing like wool and cotton.

  1. Wash fleece less often.
  2. Stay informed on microfibers
  3. Wear cotton and wool

Good-bye Triclosan, Almost!

Protect Lakes and Streams
Protect Lakes and Streams

Twenty-five years ago I thought antibacterial soap was a good thing.  We have learned it is harmful to people and water creatures. When we wash our hands these chemicals end up in our waterways. Researchers have found that use of triclosan could create a resistance to antibiotics creating superbugs. Also, triclosan could be harmful to fish and aquatic life causing an imbalance in their hormones. Like many chemicals we put in our waterways, triclosan is something we all should avoid. Luckily, Minnesota banned the use of triclosan in soaps several years ago, but I am still seeing it in hand wash when I travel around the country.  I was thrilled to hear the FDA had banned it from products because there is no evidence it is better than soap without antibiotics.  As with many things, the original information was wrong.  NPR had an informative story on superbugs, and the United Nation’s concern about them, read it here. And the Star Tribune has an informative post on triclosan.

What is triclosan and why should you care? It is an antibacterial used in hand wash, cleaning products, soaps, lotions and some other products.  For sometime it has been recommended not to purchase products using triclosan because it can lead to antibiotic resistance and hormone imbalance, and it is harmful to fish. Unfortunately, triclosan has been allowed to remain in Colgate Toothpaste. I recommend not using Colgate products. See the story below.

What if you have a product with triclosan? The Minnesota Pollution Control told me to throw it in the garbage. DO NOT PUT DOWN THE DRAIN or toilet.