The Truth Behind Biodegradable Plastics

biodegradable cold cups
These cups were made with biodegradable plastic derived from corn.

Fast Facts about non-biodegradable plastic (I’ve been waiting for these)

  • non-biodegradable plastics contains toxic chemicals that endanger the earth, atmosphere and water
  • there are absolutely no safe methods to dispose of plastic waste
  • according to the Energy Information Administration, plastic consumes around 331 million barrels of oil a year – accounting for about 4.6 percent of the US petroleum consumption

Choose biodegradable plastic instead:

  • hemp – has been around since the Henry Ford era. According to Sustainable Life Media, European automotive companies have also began replacing fiberglass with biodegradable plastic/hemp composites. Great news for the automotive world.
  • corn – Great renewable product but it is only biodegradable at 140 degrees or more; therefore, will not likely decompose in your backyard compost. There are factories that are able to degrade this renewable plastic. However, it can be used both for lightweight and sturdy construction.
  • chicken feathers (a major contributor to agricultural waste in US) – a creative idea to reduce waste and chicken farmers have a new way to market their chickens.

Look for alternatives to non-biodegradable plastic when you go shopping; items made from corn or hemp are explicitly stated on the item. Let’s lessen our dependency on foreign and domestic oil production together.

Read the article in its entirety at Renewable Energy News.

The Dangers of Plastic Coffee Pots

Learn more about which products are BPA free and ones that could be potentially harmful to your health. If you must use plastic coffee makers or pots, ensure they are BPA free.

Is Your Coffee Pot BPA Free? What Toxins are You Drinking Everyday?

french press coffee maker
French Press available from Amazon.com is BPA free.

According to the Mother Nature Network, “the main problem with BPA is that it’s a synthetic female hormone. It often winds up bonding with some animals’ estrogen receptors, tricking them into producing estrogen-like reactions such as starting puberty in females or shrinking reproductive organs in males.” More research has found that humans have exhibited negative reactions from BPA in their bodies “such as increased aggression in young girls or sexual dysfunction in adult men. But one of BPA’s most troubling side effects is its tendency to cause earlier puberty and breast development in female mice: Both are precursors to breast cancer in humans, and both are also inexplicably happening to the U.S.”

At first, people didn’t think BPA would be a hazard to our health; however, “due to the relatively weak chemical connections, called ester bonds, that link it with its fellow monomers.” Thus these bonds can be broken with heat, an acid or a base such as warming the plastic container in a microwave or through plastic components in a coffee pot.

There are other options for brewing your morning fix, remember your parents’ and grandparents’ method of brewing a “hot cup of Joe”? My grandmother boiled water on the stove and then steeped her coal black coffee in a metal pot. Invest in an eco-friendly coffee pot or French Press for single servings.

Other types of coffee makers and filters that are reported to be BPA free include:

Hamilton Beach Brew Station – according to one source onLunch.com

Coffee Percolators

Chemex Coffee Makers (looks like a chemistry tool)

Cold Brew Coffee Maker

Most of the above coffee makers can be purchased on Amazon.com, if not at your local big box stores such as Bed, Bath, and Beyond, Costco and Best Buy. More valuable information about plastic coffee pots and other harmful plastics from BadPlastics.com

Original post by Freespiritwriter.com

Are Rubbermaid Products BPA Free?

Learn more about which products are BPA free and ones that could be potentially harmful to your health. If you must use Rubbermaid plastic products, ensure they are BPA free.

Rubbermaid Comes Clean by Disclosing
Which Storage Containers are BPA Free

Several plastic food containers from Rubbermaid are BPA free like this Flex Seal canister.

According to Rubbermaid’s website, they are many products that are BPA free including the Flex Seal and Servin’ Saver series are 2 of many food containers that are BPA free. Other products that are BPA free include:

  • Premier (only the ones produced as of March 2010 are BPA free) check the bottom of the container for the BPA free symbol
  • Produce Saver
  • Lock Its
  • Take-a-longs
  • LockIts Canisters
  • Collapsibles
  • Round & Square Jars
  • Durable butter and cake keeper
  • Servin’ Saver
  • EZ tops
  • Basic containers

Other BPA free products are listed on their website, if you are not sure whether or not those Rubbermaid containers are leaching harmful toxins in your food.

How to Live a Greener Life – One Day at a Time

You can turn over a new leaf and live a greener lifestyle with these 7 easy tips.

7 Ways to Live Greener

Recycling is just one way to green your lifestyle.

What’s stopping you from turning over a new (green) leaf? Do you think it takes too much time or your friends, room mates or family will thing you’re a tree hugger of sorts? Cast all those worries aside, it’s time to get educated and change your lifestyle not only for the Earth but also for your health!

You too can have a greener life – here are 7 ways to start:

1. RECYCLE – I know that since I started recycling several years ago (I never really stopped, just recycled different items), my trash has decreased by 50%. I only carry out 1 bag of trash every week. I only have a family of 2, so if your family is bigger, then maybe you might have a little more.

2. Start a COMPOST – Reduce your weekly trash by another 25% by contributing your fruit and vegetable bits as well as yard trimmings to a compost bin either inside or outside. Americans throw away about 96 billion pounds of food every year, according to SolidWasteDistrict.com. You can also save these bits in a small bin on your countertop and take it to a community garden or other local farm that utilizes composting. Check out the types of compost bins available at CompostBins.com or build a compost yourself.

3. Buy REUSABLE (NON PLASTIC) WATER BOTTLES – I asked for a stainless steel water bottle last year for Easter, then I bought 2 more for family members and have never regretted it. There are several types of reusable water bottles, but only a couple are really safe for you to reuse over and over. I believe stainless steel is the best kind, and if you find a double cylinder steel bottle it will keep your drinks colder longer. Although the same tips apply to reusable water bottles as disposable ones; don’t leave it in your car all day, do not freeze it and remember to wash it everyday. I use vinegar or baking soda and water to clean out my stainless steel water bottle.

4. Only use REUSABLE SHOPPING BAGS – I think almost every grocery store now offers a selection of reusable grocery bags whether they are made from recycled cotton, soda bottles or another recycled material. I now own over 7 reusable grocery bags that I purchased from Walmart, they are also completely washable, and can hold up to 4 plastic bags worth of groceries. I know there are a few stores who will even reimburse you a nickel for each reusable grocery bag you use. And many know that California has now enforced many retailers to stop supplying plastic grocery bags. I think this act needs to be the law for the rest of the 49 states. You can put more items in a reusable grocery bag than its plastic counterpart thus leaving with less bags. There is no need to double bag anything nor wrap meat in a separate bag. A good tip is to pack all your cold or frozen items together, and keep your boxed and fresh produce in separate bags.

5. Use CFL BULBS – I bought a 6 pack of Compact Flourescent Lightbulbs when I moved into my apartment 2 years ago and haven’t had to change 1 bulb yet (except for the one I accidentally broke). Every table lamp has an energy efficient CFL bulb that’s guaranteed to last 5 years (keep your receipt and the warranty in the same place). If you can’t afford to switch all your bulbs at once, then replace one or two at a time. There are CFL bulbs to replace traditional chandelier bulbs and indoor reflector bulbs. Home repair stores such as Lowe’s and Home Depot carry a variety of CFLs as well as almost any other retail store. I suggest buying a 4 or 6 pack, and if you have extras share them with a friend or neighbor.

6.  REUSABLE CLOTH NAPKINS – Reduce your contribution to the already millions of tons of paper waste in America. You can get an average of 3 -4 uses from a cotton napkin before you really need to wash it Better yet, scour the thrift stores; they are usually found with the rest of the kitchen and bath towels and tablecloths. Pick up material scraps and make your own, oftentimes you don’t even need a sewing machine. Start with a minimum of 2 sets (one for each family member who lives in your household) and build your way up from there. Once you start using them on a regular basis, you’ll wonder why you didn’t start using them sooner.

7. UNPLUG unnecessary APPLIANCES – Even though it’s not turned on your computer, cell phone charger, microwave, coffee pot, crock pot and bedroom TV are generating electricity at your cost. If you’re not using it, unplug it or use a multi-outlet that has a switch. Why let “phantom energy” rob you every month. It may seem worthless, but I’m sure at the end of the month you’ll find it really made cents!