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Plastic Bag Challenge >>

Posted Jul 23 2012 12:19pm
A few years ago I watched an amazing series from Vice magazine (<-- go watch it right now!) about " garbage island ,"  the huge floating mass of plastic floating in the Pacific Ocean. It was eye opening to say the least, and ever since then I have made a real effort to reduce my plastic usage. It's so easy to throw something away and forget about it since you'll never see it again. But every sandwich baggie, toothpaste cap, and Barbie that you ever threw away, still exists out there somewhere in some form. Some wastes we can't avoid as part of modern culture, but if we all reduce a little bit it can definitely make an impact.
source
If you checked out my guest post on Nicole's blog , then you might have seen the post below it from Trisha from veranellies . She wrote about plastics consumption, and a few easy ways that we can reduce our use. She started a 30 day plastic bag challenge, where we just say NO to plastic bags for 30 days. Brilliant! I would say that I'm already pretty good (usually) about toting my own bags, or else doing an awkward dance to try and carry all my stuff out of the grocery store. But if you still find yourself always forgetting your reusable bags at home or not even thinking about it until you feel the guilt pangs as the cashier puts one thing in a plastic bag, then start small and challenge yourself to say NO more plastic bags for a month!
source On her own blog, Trisha posted a list of other plastics alternatives to consider (originally from the Bag It movie website). Some of these I already do (saying no to plastic produce bags, buying from bulk bins), and some I would like to work on (making my own seltzer, making sure I choose phthalate free products). I'm going to use my 30 days to see what other plastic reducing I can do in my life. So, come on, join me! Whether it's remembering to grab that reusable bag, or filling up a reusable water bottle, let's do this thing! Oh, and grab a button from Trisha and help spread the word.
TEN ALTERNATIVES
Whether you're shopping for groceries, clothes or electronics, be sure to bring along the reusable bag(s) of your choice. Keep them in your car so you don't forget to use them. We recommend the Chico Bag —small enough to fit in your pocket or purse!
By drinking your water from a glass jar or a reusable bottle , you can help reduce the environmental costs associated with producing bottled water and save money while you're at it. Unlike bottle water, the quality of your tap water is regularly monitored by your city . Click here to learn more about your local tap water supply.
Bagging your produce is generally unnecessary. If you do want a separate bag for produce, cloth options are available. Some alternatives are EcoBags , Acme produce bags or making your own from old t-shirts.
You can find almost all dry foods, as well as some personal care products, from bulk bins. If you can't find bulk bins in your neighborhood, you can still buy non-perishable goods in large packages, which will decrease the amount of plastic used.
When it comes to carbonated drinks, you can avoid high intakes of high fructose corn syrup AND the need for purchasing disposable bottles by making your own seltzer . We recommend adding a splash of juice to your homemade soda to create a delicious bubbly drink. Kids love it!
Bring reusable containers to restaurants to take home your leftovers. Ask the butcher or deli server at your grocery store to package your food in your reusable container. Use them to pack your lunch, and don't forget to carry along reusable utensils . We love these containers from LunchBots and Life Without Plastic .
Many communities have local dairies that provide milk in returnable glass bottles rather than plastic or plastic-coated cardboard. All cardboard milk containers are coated inside and out with plastic, not wax. Check out local dairies in your area to see if this is offered, or ask them to start a co-op.
Make the change from liquid to bar! Try Lush shampoo bar , Chagrin Valley shampoo bars , Burt's Bees , or J.R. Liggett's Old Fashioned shampoo bar .
Organic Essence is packaging its body lotions in compostable cardboard jars and its lip balms in ingenious cardboard tubes that squeeze from the end. There are also lotion bars and lip balms and glosses that come in glass or metal containers. Or you can even make your own products.
Phthalates, which are plasticizers, have become standard as additives to scented products because they help fragrances last longer. But research has shown reasons to be concerned about the impact of phthalates on our health . Use this list to find phthalate-free products
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