Archive | Recycling

A Wonderful Story Behind Hip, Eco-Friendly Tableware

Green Planet Parties discovered an amazing new product in the exciting world of Eco-friendly tableware.   A new line of plates and bowls made from the abundant palm leaf tree is the latest trend and the story behind the ‘chain of custody’ from this product is also very special.  Take a peek at this picture and read on…

Let’s face it – no one loves the idea of buying, using and disposing of paper plates and plastic cutlery etc., but when it’s your turn to host the family BBQ or when you’ve volunteered to pick up supplies for an event at your school – it really becomes a necessity.  The good news is there’s a growing supply of more environmentally friendly choices for disposable tableware that are not made from virgin fibre paper, plastic or the hardest to decompose… Styrofoam! Some great new options out there include bagasse (sugarcane) and PLA (plant based) and reed pulp ~ all very good choices for those such occasions where disposable tableware is needed.

Something new that you might want to consider is “Earthens” tableware. This is the most obviously green and natural-looking tableware you’ve ever seen ~ they are a real conversation starter because they are so naturally beautiful looking. These plates and bowls have a wonderful ‘chain of custody’ story too – that is, from how they are grown, who manufactures them, who benefits from their sale and how then can be returned to the earth as soil. Continue Reading →

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Recycling Plastic And Resin Codes

I’ll admit I’ve never looked at the codes on the bottom of my plastics until I started trying to rid my household of plastics containing BPA.  While this began so I could eliminate a health concern for my children, I’ve since learned what these codes mean in the world of recycling.  Hopefully after reading this, some confusion will be eliminated so that people can start recycling the right types of plastic and realize how harmful plastic is to our environment.  

Resin codes are found on most plastic with the ‘chasing arrows’ surrounding them in a triangle shape.  These codes were created to classify plastic products.  The arrows are misleading because they duplicate the symbol for recycling, however, it’s not true that plastics marked with any resin code can be recycled.  

Most cities have their own recycling programs and govern which plastic resin codes they’ll accept at curb-side.  My community accepts a high number of resin numbers (1,2,4,5,6) and have different and appropriate departments where each plastic is recycled appropriately.   If a code 3 or 7 gets mixed into what a resident leaves out, that too gets sorted and put in the garbage, as there isn’t a recycling program for these two numbers.  Find out which resin codes your city takes and what it does with plastic that doesn’t have a recycling program.  Because all plastics have different melting points, it’s important to keep the different types separate because if recycled together, you wind up with goo.  

Worldwide recycling rates for plastics with resin codes  3-7 is around 1 percent.   Yikes!   NONE of type 7 plastics can be recycled.  

Key points from this information?    Remember that the little triangle made of arrows doesn’t always indicate recyclability for all codes.   Also, with such low percentages of all plastics being recycled, we should try to limit what we purchase in the first place.  

Charts and graphs normally confuse me, but the American Plastics Council gives a nice breakdown of the codes, their description, and examples of products produced from them. Continue Reading →

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Disposal Of Household Hazardous Waste & Medicine

An article in my local news inspired this article, as I felt such a strong reaction to what I was reading.  Talk about feeling the consequences of your actions!  A person decided to dump litres of latex paint into their storm drain which flowed into a local creek which happens to be a high volume fish-bearing waterway.  What caused me to gasp is my 4 year old was releasing coho fry into this very creek only weeks ago on his first preschool field trip.  Because of this action, about 44,000 fry and eggs narrowly escaped death,  because the quick acting creek’s president shut off the creek intake and switched to the back-up well water.  They won’t know if the thousands of fish will be affected, but it makes you stop and scratch your head.  Even if the storm drain isn’t marked, come on!

So I did some digging on the disposal of hazardous household waste… paints, antifreeze, antibiotics, etc.  The culprit in the above crime (latex paint) is one of the easiest types to dispose of, along with water based paint, as it’s less harmful to simply ‘dry up’ this paint.  If you buy cat litter or sawdust, fill up a paper bag with it, and then pour the remaining paint into the bag.  Wait for the paint to be absorbed and dispose of the bag with your household trash.

You cannot do this for oil-based paints as they post potential environmental and public health risks.  You need to contact your local hazardous materials resource centre for information on proper disposal.  OR you can give away or donate leftover paint to a local theater group or non-profit organization.  Or even more fun, you can also locate a user for your paint through freecycle.org, an online swap shop.  I’ve never heard of this website before, but it’s a nonprofit movement of people who are giving away stuff.  It’s all about reuse and keeping good things out of landfills.  I logged onto this site and found local communities with groups setup, close enough by to drive to and this is a worldwide site!  Very cool find.

Something that is piling up in my cupboard after a bad flu and strep throat season is old antibiotics.  You know that last little bit of medicine that never gets used up?  I’ve been collecting my bottles of old antibiotics in a safe place and when it’s worth the trip for me, I can bring it to my local pharmacy.  My pharmacist told me to take a marker and black out my personal information on the label, then bring them in and they’ll look after proper disposal of what would be a harmful substance to the environment. Continue Reading →

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Reusable Canvas Totes – The New Prada?

I’ll admit I’ve never been an ‘accessories’ girl.   I own one watch (a Roots sports watch that has a night light so I can clock what ungodly hour my kids get me up), no jewelry, purses, umbrella, and really only 1 pair of shoes.  I wait until I’ve worn out my current pair of crocs or boots, then buy another pair to wear.   It’s not because I don’t want to look cute, I just know I’ll lose anything that isn’t nailed down to me.  I might be the last person on this planet that doesn’t own a cell phone.  It’s all I can do to keep track of my wallet and camera.  Oh yes, the 4 kids, their stuffed animals, snacks, change of clothes, diapers…. yikes!   No wonder I don’t have accessories.

However, lately I’ve been carrying a green reusable canvas tote for my wallet, kids’ snacks, diapers, etc. and I’m using it very proudly.   It might not be the most attractive bag ever, but if I loose it (give me a week and that thing is gone); I’m only out a few dollars.  I think I’m onto something…girls, can the canvas totes be our new Prada?   My sister was recently here with her latest Betsy Johnson purse and I was temped to  ask how much, where can I find one, etc., but I think I’m ok with my new discovery.    

Especially when using the canvas tote is in the top 10 ways to green your home.  Read the below from www.livescience.com:

“Eschew plastic bags by bringing your own reusable canvas totes the next time you’re at the supermarket or store. Because petroleum-based plastic isn’t biodegradable, it’s certain to outlive you-by about a millennium or so. Each year, thousands of marine animals, including the endangered leatherback turtle, choke to death on plastic trash they mistake for snackable morsels. Our unholy love for plastic disposables has also bred a swirling vortex of plastic trash the size of Texas in the North Pacific Ocean-not surprising when you consider that Americans run through about 100 billion plastic bags annually, using up an estimated 12 million barrels of oil.

You’ll easily forget about horrible plastic bags when you see the amazing totes found on Etsy.  I love this site devoted to selling handmade items.  Just to demonstrate that the reusable canvas tote doesn’t have to be ugly like my green selection…check out this one with owls!

Loose Caboose Designs is the adorable shop on Etsy that created this bag.

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Happy Earth Day! Ready to Talk Paper?

Happy Earth Day!  Find an Earth Day event in your community, have fun, and learn! 

My thanks to Suzanne C who wrote this article to assist the everyday consumer with purchasing paper goods that are the best environmental choice.  Not only is she an amazing mom of 2, but she works with her husband and his business, Wisent Environmental Inc. Based in Burnaby BC, Wisent Environmental works with businesses to deliver sustainable solutions for the way they purchase, manage, use and dispose of their supplies and materials.  Read on…

Increasingly, parents are looking for greener and more sustainable products and experiences when it comes to their children and families. People are making changes, and you see the evidence everywhere.  Folks are opting for thermoses for their daily coffee fix instead of throwing away paper or Styrofoam coffee cups, refilling water bottles instead of buying and disposing of them after each use, and bringing reusable bags for their trips to the grocery store. What about paper products?  It’s the simplest of items – things we buy for our households all the time.  Items like paper towels (if you’re not already using re-usable kitchen cloths such as microfiber instead) or bath tissue (there’s really no getting away from needing this) or even the seemingly endless supply of craft and drawing paper your children need for their daily drawing, colouring, cutting and pasting?

Here is a bit of a refresher on what exactly we should be looking for when we go to buy these paper products – made from our natural resource – trees.

“Recycled” Paper Products such as paper towels and bath tissue:

When purchasing paper products it is important to understand the “recycling logo” and its meaning. Paper that is designated as “recycled” can be a mixture of virgin wood fiber, pre-consumer waste and /or post-consumer waste.  It is important to consider that producing recycled paper produces 74% less air pollution, 35% less water pollution, and creates 5 times the number of jobs than producing paper from virgin paper sources – trees. It saves old-growth trees, forest ecosystems, native habitat and biodiversity – providing an all around much better choice for increasingly green conscious customers.

The difference between Pre-consumer and Post-consumer content in recycled paper:

Pre-consumer (sometimes referred to as Post-industrial) content is paper made out of  paper scraps and trimmings left over from the paper manufacturing process. These paper scraps and trimmings are easiest to recycle, as they do not have to be collected, separated, de-inked etc.  Post consumer waste (PCW) is paper that has been used by the end consumer and then is collected for recycling from various recycling programs.  This is the best paper to buy, as it uses and creates demand for paper that would normally end up in the landfill and no trees are cut down for making the paper.

When looking at the labeling on paper products we look for 2 numbers – the first expresses the percentage of total recycled content and the second number shows the post-consumer waste recycled content. For example, on a label that reads 50% recycled 20% PCW, this means of the 50% recycled content, 30% is pre-consumer recycled and 20% is post-consumer recycled, leaving 50% of the content coming from virgin fiber.  100% post-consumer waste (PCW) is of course the best environmental choice.

Another note – if something says its “recyclable” that only means it can be recycled and pretty much any paper product can be recycled so it’s really an empty statement.  Worse, it probably means the product had no better redeeming environmental qualities to state so it’s likely made from 100% virgin fibers…and that’s our trees. Continue Reading →

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