Jessica Alba has started an online company for green childcare products. For $85- $100 you can have a month’s green diapers and wipes delivered to your door. Depending on where you live and what age your baby is, the average price of buying disposable diapers from the store for a month is about $80, cloth diapers washed by a service every month costs approximately $80, and cloth diapers washed at home for a month is around $20.
So Jessica’s company is economically comparable, the products are innovative and high-quality, and the philosophy logical. A free trial is offered to experience the products and service. The company is called www.honest.com and it also offers other convenient green baby products like baby shampoo, body balm, laundry detergent etc. A portion of proceeds from sales is donated to www.baby2baby.org which provides childcare basics to those in need in the LA area. Jessica’s product is in the higher price range, but wipes are included, the environmental and health impacts are positive, and the product is delivered directly to the customer’s door every month.
Parents now have an alternative to the toxic plastic bottles, which research has shown leaches the chemical bisphenol-A (BPA) into food and drink.
Jen Moore, founder of Pura Stainless, has developed an electro-polished stainless steel bottle thats BPA free, hygienic, lightweight and durable. Best of all, it wont leach chemicals into the drink inside.
Fun, easy, affordable ways to clean up & green up…
I dont know about anyone else, but I have had this invisible weight on my shoulders ever since I started learning in school about oil spills, global warming, ozone layers, and something called a carbon footprint. Silly myths, right? Well this nagging little green angel on my shoulder keeps tugging on my ear to stop ignoring the “what ifs” and just DO SOMETHING.
How effective have plastic bag bans and restrictions been on reducing plastic litter and other problems associated with their proliferation? And is it really better to use paper bags, which will just lead to more deforestation? – Peter Lindsey, New Canaan, CT
Plastic bags, first introduced in the 1950s as a convenient way to store food, have since developed into a global scourge, littering roadsides, clogging sewer drains and landfills and getting ingested by animals and marine life. And in recent years weve discovered how they are so prolific that they now comprise a significant portion of the plastic and other garbage that has collected in huge ocean gyres far from land.
A few countries around the world-Bangladesh, China, India, Australia, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Israel, South Africa, Taiwan and Mumbai, among others-have taken stands against plastic bags through taxing their usage or banning them outright. The environmental think tank, Worldwatch Institute, reports that Chinas decision to ban free plastic bags in 2008 has cut demand by some 40 billion bags, reduced plastic bag usage there by 66 percent, and saved some 1.6 million tons of petroleum.
In March 2007, San Francisco became the first (and is still the only) major U.S. city to implement an across-the-board ban on plastic bags. Large supermarkets and pharmacies there had to ditch plastic shopping bags by early 2008 in favor of paper bags or those made from all-natural biodegradable cornstarch-based plastic. Environmentalists are particularly fond of the latter option for those who dont bring their own grocery bags, as these cornstarch bags offer the biodegradability of paper without the deforestation as well as the convenience of plastic without the damage to ecosystems. San Francisco officials had originally tried to work with retailers on reducing plastic bag use voluntarily. But after a few years of little or no cooperation, they decided to just institute the ban on anything but biodegradable bags. The result has been a 50 percent drop in plastic bag litter on the streets since the ban took effect.
Los Angeles followed suit and its city council voted in 2008 to ban plastic bags beginning in July 2010-but the ban will only take effect if the state of California doesnt follow through on a statewide plan to impose a fee on shoppers who request plastic bags. City council members in L.A. hope the ban will spur consumers to carry their own reusable bags and thus reduce the amount of plastic washing into the city’s storm drains and into the Pacific Ocean. Several other U.S. cities, including New York, Philadelphia and Baltimore, have considered outright bans like San Franciscos, but each settled instead on plastic bag recycling programs in the face of pressure from the plastics industry and retail commercial interests.
While increased demand for paper bags in the wake of plastic bag bans could lead to more deforestation, most paper grocery bags in use today are made from recycled content, not virgin wood. Also, an added benefit of paper over petroleum-based plastic is its biodegradability.
Americans go through some 92 billion disposable plastic bags each year, and only five billion paper ones. If the nation banned plastic bags it is likely that paper varieties would only make up a small part of the difference, in light of the proliferation of reusable canvas shopping bags as well as the availability of biodegradable cornstarch plastic.
CONTACT: Worldwatch Institute, www.worldwatch.org.
SEND YOUR ENVIRONMENTAL QUESTIONS TO: EarthTalk, P.O. Box 5098, Westport, CT 06881; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Plastic water bottles = bad news. I am a total culprit here. I LOVE having water bottles nearby, and in large amounts. I was that lady at the grocery store buying 36 packs of water bottles every couple of weeks. I thought it was a great thing because I was drinking all that water instead of soda or juice. I am kind of a water snob, also.
More than 40 years after the well-known one-liner, “Just One Word: Plastics” from Mike Nichols classic movie The Graduate, the presence of plastics in society has evolved from a manufacturing wonder material to a hazardous consumer concern.
Has anyone ever studied the environmental impact of discarded cigarettes? Im constantly appalled at the number of drivers I see pitching their butts out their car windows. — Ned Jordan, via email
Its true that littered cigarette butts are a public nuisance, and not just for aesthetic reasons. The filters on cigarettes-four fifths of all cigarettes have them-are made of cellulose acetate, a form of plastic that is very slow to degrade in the environment. A typical cigarette butt can take anywhere from 18 months to 10 years to decompose, depending on environmental conditions.
By Adria Vasil
Maybe it’s the half-Greek in me, but there’s nothing that makes me giddier then the sight of a table full of food (well, other than actually eating the food). Trouble is most of what we stack onto our plates isn’t just weighing on our hips, hearts and cells, it’s also bloating the planet with packaging, pesticides and climate-changing gases. How can you get your fill without, er, tipping the ecological scales?