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Most people live a "lifestyle of consumption, enabled by convenience", perhaps because "we don’t have to think about the costs, beyond what is printed on the package or on our receipts. We don’t have to think about the consequences." One of the biggest problems we face is plastic, which is turned into inexpensive products that are not designed to last and "are packaged so that they can wait indefinitely on store shelves for our sudden desires". While some call plastic addiction the “crisis of our civilization”, it's really just a reflection of the real issue - "the biggest challenge is paying attention".
These are quotes from Plastic-Free: How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and How You Can Too, a book by Beth Terry, who educated herself about environmental, health and political issues surrounding plastic and found ways to get it almost entirely out of her life. Her passion lead her to pen a now very successful blog called My Plastic-Free Life that inspired the book, both in which she shares her personal journey and offers accessible solutions without imposing guilt. But her driving forces goes beyond plastic - there's a bigger message within her words that encourages people to start thinking and living differently to achieve longer, happier lives.
The following video is a review of Plastic-Free: How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and How You Can Too. My feelings are best captured on camera than in writing, but I wanted to share some more details, facts, quotes and links to more information here because it's more easily accessible.
I'm always on the hunt for non-toxic, eco-friendly products that aren't packaged in plastic, so I was thrilled to discover Eco Nuts. These dried berries are a very natural (and fun) way to wash laundry. They are organic, fragrence-free, hypo allergenic, biodegradable and reusable (use them up to 10 times!), plus they come in entirely plastic-free packaging! I've used them several times in my apartment building's standard washing machine (they work in HE/front loading machines too) and the results continue to amaze me. "You'd be nuts to use any other soap!"
In this day and age, most things are digital. We email, we text, we video chat. Telecommuting has become a common way to do work, and it saves so many resources, especially since it keeps cars off the road. But there are a few office matters that are still dependent (physical). However, if you're creative and computer confident, there are some workarounds.
Yesterday I went to Whole Foods (Venice) fully prepared to do some eco-vegan shopping: I brought a reusable shopping bag, reusable produce bags, and a glass jar that once contained apple sauce. When I walked in the door my first stop was the customer service desk to inquire if they would allow me to put their freshly ground organic peanut butter in my glass jar (instead of their plastic containers). At first, the manager was a little hesitant because the jar weighed a lot (.60 lbs), but when I explained that I was trying to avoid plastic she helped me out. She weighed my jar then multiplied that by the cost of a pound of bulk organic peanut butter ($3.99), and then asked me to return to her when I filled it. At checkout, the cashier was a little unsure, but when she called over the manager the process was very smooth. I walked out of the store without buying anything prepackaged and I saved some money too (the peanut butter was only $2.50 - organic peanut butter can be up to $5)
Attention Mommies in Los Angeles: scoop up your babies, grab your stroller, and head to Sherman Oaks - there's a new sustainable store in town just for you! Whether you've just discovered that you're pregnant (congrats!) or you're raising a toddler, I highly recommend you check out GreenCradle.
Now that I'm cooking up a storm, I'm missing one very important item in my kitchen: a Vitamix. But unfortunately, it's way out of my budget. Then it occurred to me, I technically already have one.
When I was at a young age I discovered something very exciting in my kitchen cabinet - a blender with a spout! I instantly wanted to make something liquid-y so I could open up the tap and pour it out like I was running a my own restaurant; so I did. I was so proud of the smoothies and ice cream shakes that I made - dumping the ingredients into the stainless steel container, clipping on the plastic top, flipping the switch, hearing the engine rev, and watching bits of liquid jump out of the open top (who knows where the cap was). I would present my creations to my family and friends and watch them enjoy the treats - satisfaction! I never saw anyone else use this machine, so I felt it was mine. My dad used to get upset with me when I would leave it dirty in the sink for someone else to clean up. Memories...
I used to love The Simpsons, but these days it's the last thing I want to watch on my Hulu queue (I'm more of a Family Guy gal now). Since I finished watched all my favorite shows, I tuned in and was pleasantly surprised to find that the entire episode was about the environment! It started out about wind power and turned into a sweet story about whales. You can watch it below.
- A few months ago I found some beautiful paper by PapOrganics/Perennial Paper, but they don't have any information about how to buy it on their website.
- The Green Life now carries paper by Fish Lips, but it's not quite what I'm looking for
- Whole Foods in Venice carries pretty paper by Soolip but it's not holiday themed
- Bloomin' is cool because you can plant all their products when you're done with them (but they don't have a huge selection of wrapping paper).
- Natural Elements has really cool paper, and I've seen it at a few stores (though I don't see any for the holidays)
- Of The Earth has plant-able paper too, and some for the holidays!
- Peaceful Valley has a good selection, but not much for the holidays.
- Seltzer has really fun products, but not much for the holidays.
- Pre-used gift bags