Recycling is important, but it just isn’t enough to solve our plastic problem. What is the solution? Last week I had this letter (below) published in the http://www.startribune.com/ in response to Target rolling out their new “green” products:
Earth-friendly line is insufficient; stop stocking single-use plastic
Plastic bottles, plastic bottles — Target must have missed the memo on how harmful single-use plastic is to our Earth (“Target rolls out earth-friendly household goods,” April 23). To be truly green, Target needs to offer consumers the ability to refill their own bottles with these new “green” products. Customers who care about all the plastic in our environment can now reuse and refill their bottles at Minnesota’s excellent food co-ops, or the new zero-waste Tare Market in Minneapolis where consumers can save money and help our environment at the same time. Many of these bulk products are even Minnesota-sourced. Let’s move to the paradigm of reusing instead of adding more single-use plastic to our landfills, and I’m encouraging Target to become the business leader in this reuse/refill movement. health4earth
On this Earth Week, can you find ways to reduce your plastic footprint? I am happy with my recent efforts to reduce plastic: Plastic wrapping on toilet paper is gone, milk for yogurt making comes from a reusable bottle, and I refill body lotion jars with scent-free lotion from my local food coop.
Plastic is very harmful to our Earth, but it is also harmful to our health. Read about the seven types of plastic and which ones are the most harmful to our human health here. Also, a new study claims we are even inhaling microplastics. We need to become aware of the harm plastic is doing, and I hope you will start the effort to boycott plastic today.
Ideas from my county to reduce plastic. “There are many ways to avoid single-use items. Want a quick list? Pack your lunch in reusable containers. Forgo the straw in your drink. Bring your own mug to the coffee shop. Bring reusable bags, produce bags and containers to the grocery store. Support businesses that serve food on reusable dishes.” Hennepin County
Read about the ten companies that are flooding our planet with throw away plastic. They need to take responsibility for the harm they are doing!
A new year brings new energy, new projects and hope into our lives. May we move on to a positive new beginning for us all. One thing that 2018 told us is that our Earth is struggling with harmful human activity. Our warming climate and our dependence on single-use plastic can have tragic implications as we move into the future. We can’t predict the future, but plastic waste and climate change are not going away.
If everyone does a small amount it can make a big difference! I have two things you can do to make a big difference on the Earth this new year. Even if you change one thing you do, and focus on that one thing in 2019 you will be making a difference!
When I started this blog years ago, I was trying to get people to recycle. While I hope you will still recycle what needs to be recycled, it has become harder and harder to recycle that pesky plastic. Glass, aluminum and paper have markets, but we just use so much single-use plastic and there aren’t enough markets for plastic. Plastic can’t be recycled over and over like glass and aluminum.
We need to reduce our plastic footprint. Start by changing one thing you purchase in plastic. At our house we refill bottles/containers with bulk at our local coop: soaps, lotions, teas, nuts, rice and almost every dry product we eat. We make our own yogurt, humus and cashew milk. Even as hard as we work on this we can’t avoid all packaging, it is too ubiquitous. As human beings we haven’t figured out our complicated relationship with plastic. The best thing is to avoid it.
Tackling food waste is another way we can all make a difference. If you purchase in bulk you can get just the amount you need. Forty percent of our food in the USA goes to waste, I mourn the valuable water and energy wasted on uneaten food! How have you done on your holiday leftovers? Freeze, cook, eat that food! Be vigilant. I make it into game with myself to be creative making new items from left-overs to keep from wasting food. Just think of the water and energy that we could save! Also, rotting food waste in landfills creates methane contributing to warming the planet.
Some other ideas to make a difference: Make changes in your kitchen and 10 green resolutions from Earth911. PBS offers three science based ideas here.
Some inspiration from Dan Rather: ” I stand at the precipice of 2019, alongside all of you, and breath deep a spirit of empathy and a determination to do our part to help make this world a better place.”
“Huge news out of the UK today that major supermarket chains and companies are committing to a five-year plan to eliminate plastic pollution, especially in packaging. The video in this article also contains some great tips for personally moving beyond plastics.” Earth911
The Minnesota Legislature is debating preemption laws to keep cities from banning plastic bags and Styrofoam containers. Other legislatures throughout the country are prohibiting cities from banning plastic. In the United States we can’t depend on lawmakers to do what is best for our earth, so we must responsibly choose to do the right thing ourselves. See poster below. I would add to this Bristle poster, Never purchase products in Styrofoam.
I’ve pledged to reduce single-use plastic in my life, Refuse plastic straws & cutlery, use refillable water bottles, coffee cups, & bring my own bag to the store. Together we can do this! Join me & take the challenge Mick Jagger
Why would you ever purchase bottled water? It contains plastic fibers. Read here
Two thirds of our earth is covered by ocean, and our oceans are paying a price for our behavior on land.
This afternoon I walked over the Minnehaha Creek, and saw plastic bags stuck in the ice. I live 1,500 miles from an ocean, but this creek, a few blocks from my house, drains into the Mississippi River which runs into the Gulf of Mexico over a thousand miles away. When the ice melts, this plastic will probably take a long journey down the Mississippi River and end up in our oceans.What we do to the land, we do to our water. Most ocean pollution starts out on land and is carried by wind and rain to the sea. Plastic from the land ends up in the ocean and plastic is so durable that the EPA reports “every bit of plastic ever made still exists.”Even the pristine Arctic Ocean is being inundated with plastic. Read at Arctic.
The second threat to oceans is our warming planet. Oceans in 2017 were warmer than they have ever been. Most of the heat from our warming planet is absorbed by the oceans. More than 90 percent of the Earth’s heat related to global warming is absorbed by the ocean. Read at ocean heat.
What are the consequences of warming oceans? Warmer oceans could bring storms, rain droughts and winds like we have never seen. The hurricanes in Houston and Puerto Rico are just examples of what could come. The warming ocean melts the glaciers faster causing sea rise. Cities and countries will be under water if this trend continues, and many people will become refugees having to move inland causing refugee crisis to get worse and worse. Unfortunately, this is only going to continue with extreme drought in some places and too much water in others!