zero waste

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In honor of Plastic Free July, I have joined the campaign to try and avoid all single-use, disposable plastics for this month and beyond. You can do it too! To join me visit http://www.plasticfreejuly.org/ and click on the “YES, I accept the challenge!” button.

plastic free july

Follow my progress (and send some encouragement) on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/mygreenside/.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: EACH TUESDAY MY GREEN SIDE BRINGS SIMPLE TIPS FOR GREEN LIVING TO THE CHRISTOPHER GABRIEL PROGRAMWE ALSO HIGHLIGHT A FAVORITE GREEN SITE EACH WEEK. YOU CAN STREAM THE SEGMENT AT APPROXIMATELY 1220PM (CENTRAL) EVERY TUESDAY AT WDAY.COM OR, IF YOU’RE IN NORTH DAKOTA OR WESTERN MINNESOTA, LISTEN ON YOUR RADIO AT AM970 WDAY.

GREEN TIP: Pack a zero waste lunch. You’ll save money and help the environment. The best way to Reusable Lunch Boxreduce garbage is not to create it in the first place.

We’ve talked before about using reusable products, Green Tip – Think Reusable NOT Disposable, let’s take it a step further and make our packed lunches both nutritious and environmentally friendly.

A zero waste lunch means that you have no packaging to throw away when you’re done – nothing other than apple cores, banana and orange peels, peach or cherry pits.The best way to reduce garbage is to not create it.

 

Tips for a zero waste lunch:

  • Use a reusable cloth bag or lunchbox. Avoid using disposable bags.
  • Use reusable containers (preferably ceramic or glass). Avoid using plastic wrap, foil or styrofoam.
  • Use a stainless steel bottle for drinks. Avoid using single-use cartons or cans. If sending a plastic bottle or can is unavoidable, make sure the container comes home to be put in the recycling bin.
  • Use cloth napkins to wash and re-use. Avoid using paper napkins but if you have to use paper napkins, look for napkins that use recycled content.
  • Use stainless-steel forks and spoons to wash and re-use. Avoid using plastic forks and spoons.
  • Only pack the amount of food you know will get eaten. Get to know what things are getting eaten at lunch time and what is being avoided. Ask your child to bring home lunch leftovers. Looking at leftover lunches is a great way to get information about your children’s lunch preferences. Find out why certain foods have come back uneaten. Did your child not like it? Was she not hungry enough to eat everything in the lunchbox? Was there a birthday celebration at school that day? Did she share someone else’s lunch instead? Maintain a dialogue without criticizing. Consider making a list of foods that your child likes to eat for lunch and update it regularly with input from your child. You may find that she prefers romaine lettuce to red leaf lettuce. By making this simple change, she might start eating salads more regularly. Providing a dip for carrot and celery sticks might make eating them more fun. Source: Waste-Free Lunches

Lunch Waste Facts

Eat a Rainbow

  • FOOD WASTE: A 2004 University of Arizona study reported that Americans throw away almost 50 percent of all the food we produce for domestic sale and consumption. In round numbers that’s $43 billion annually on wasted food.
  • FOOD WASTE: Researchers at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) concluded in a 2009 study that each year a quarter of U.S. water consumption and over 300 million barrels of oil (four percent of U.S. oil consumption) go into producing and distributing food that ultimately ends up in landfills.
  • ALUMINUM FOIL: More than 20 million Hershey’s kisses are wrapped with 133 square miles of foil every day.
  • ALUMINUM AND TIN CANS: Half of the 100 billion cans sold in the U.S. last year were landfilled or incinerated.
  • FOOD WASTE: Food debris in a landfill decomposes only 25% in the first 15 years. Compost that food waste instead of throwing it away.
  • JUICE BOXES: Most inorganic trash retains its weight, volume, and form for at least four decades.
  • PAPER BAGS AND NAPKINS: It is estimated that 17 trees are cut down for every ton of non-recycled paper.
  • PLASTIC BOTTLES, FORKS, WRAP: Every year, Americans throw away enough paper and plastic cups, forks, and spoons to circle the equator 300 times.
  • STYROFOAM: U.S. citizens throw away 25 billion styrofoam cups EVERY YEAR.

Source: Scientific America and Global Stewards

We must shift our way of thinking, from what is the most “convenient” way to do something to how can we do something more sustainably. If we don’t, we are leaving a mess for our children and their children to clean up. Let’s leave our world better than we found it.

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

Waste-Free Lunches at http://www.wastefreelunches.org/

Several years ago, a group of eco-conscious moms in California decided to start packing waste-free lunches for their children and themselves.

When teachers, parents, and friends became interested in the concept, they started collecting waste-free lunch information that they could share with one another and with others who were interested. It soon became clear that families in other parts of the country were interested in learning more, so they decided to start putting the information on a website at http://www.wastefreelunches.org/.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: EACH TUESDAY MY GREEN SIDE BRINGS SIMPLE TIPS FOR GREEN LIVING TO THE CHRISTOPHER GABRIEL PROGRAM. WE ALSO HIGHLIGHT A FAVORITE GREEN SITE EACH WEEK. YOU CAN STREAM THE SEGMENT AT APPROXIMATELY 1220PM (CENTRAL) EVERY TUESDAY AT WDAY.COM OR, IF YOU’RE IN NORTH DAKOTA OR WESTERN MINNESOTA, LISTEN ON YOUR RADIO AT AM970 WDAY.

GREEN TIP: Before you buy another plastic item, think about the long-term impacts. We consume billions of 5 Gyres Branded Klean Kanteenbags and bottle each year in the US alone and only 5% is being recovered for reuse. Look for alternatives to plastic like glass, metal and paper (from sustainable sources).

The short-term convenience of using and throwing away plastic products carries a very inconvenient long-term truth. These plastic water bottles, cups, utensils, electronics, toys, and gadgets we dispose of daily are rarely recycled in a closed loop. We currently recover only 5% of the plastics we produce. What happens to the rest of it? Roughly 50% is buried in landfills, some is remade into durable goods, and much of it remains “unaccounted for”, lost in the environment where it ultimately washes out to sea. Source: 5 Gyres

What can you do?

Baby steps: Collect your own plastic waste for one week, without judgment or guilt. At the end of the week, examine it as a scientist would. What does it say about your lifestyle? What kinds of things would be easiest to give up or replace? Plastic bags? Plastic bottles?

Learn a new mantra: Bring Your Own. Start with the easiest thing to remember. Is it a reusable water bottle? Reusable travel mug? Reusable grocery bags? Pick one thing that you will bring with you each time you go out and practice bringing it every time. Once that becomes a habit, add another reusable item.

Alternatives to plastic:CGProgram tote

  • Bring your own shopping bag to the grocery store, to the mall, to the thrift store – anywhere you would be getting a plastic bag to put your items in, bring your own instead.
  • Use your own stainless steel or glass bottle for your to go beverages.
  • Use paper, stainless steel or glass straws.
  • Bring your own produce bags to the grocery store or farmer’s market.
  • Choose milk in returnable glass bottles. Locally you can find milk and cream in returnable glass bottles at Sydney’s Health Market.

For more ideas and alternative to plastic, visit http://plasticfreeguide.com/.

Feeling inspired?

Zero Waste Week is coming up September 2nd to the 8th. Visit http://www.zerowasteweek.co.uk/ to find out moreZero Waste Week and pledge to reduce your landfill waste and save money at the same time!

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

5 Gyres

The 5 Gyres organization’s goal is to witness plastic pollution decline in the environment until it is no longer found in the world’s oceans. They work towards that goal by conducting research and communicating about the global impact of plastic pollution in the world’s oceans and employing strategies to eliminate the accumulation of plastic pollution in the 5 subtropical gyres.

To find out more about 5 Gyres and their goals, visit http://5gyres.org/who_we_are/mission/.

Gyre Facts from the Gyre Clean Up Project

  • A Gyre is a naturally occurring vortex of wind and currents that rotate in a clockwise direction in the northern hemisphere and counter-clockwise in the southern hemisphere. These create a whirlpool effect, whose vortex moves more slowly at the center and that is where marine plastic debris collects.
  • There are 5 major Gyres in the oceans worldwide, all of which are believed to contain plastic and persistent organic pollutants (POPs). These consist of carbon-containing chemical compounds that, to a varying degree, resist photochemical, biological and chemical degradation.
  • The North Pacific Gyre, also known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, is estimated to be twice the size of Texas and swirls in the Pacific Ocean roughly between the coast of California and Hawaii.
  • Currently, an estimated 11 million tons (and growing) of floating plastic covers an area of nearly 5 million square miles in the Pacific Ocean, 700 miles northeast of the Hawaiian Island chain and 1,000 miles from the coast of California.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: EACH TUESDAY MY GREEN SIDE BRINGS SIMPLE TIPS FOR GREEN LIVING TO THE CHRISTOPHER GABRIEL PROGRAMWE ALSO HIGHLIGHT A FAVORITE GREEN SITE EACH WEEK. YOU CAN STREAM THE SEGMENT AT APPROXIMATELY 1220PM (CENTRAL) EVERY TUESDAY AT WDAY.COM OR, IF YOU’RE IN NORTH DAKOTA OR WESTERN MINNESOTA, LISTEN ON YOUR RADIO AT AM970 WDAY.

GREEN TIP: Pack a zero waste lunch. You’ll save money and help the environment. The best way to reduce Little Greek Goddess Drinking Her "Coffee"garbage is not to create it in the first place.

We’ve talked before about using reusable products, Green Tip – Think Reusable NOT Disposable, let’s take it a step further and make our packed lunches both nutritious and environmentally friendly.

A zero waste lunch means that you have no packaging to throw away when you’re done – nothing other than apple cores, banana and orange peels, peach or cherry pits.The best way to reduce garbage is to not create it.

Source: Environmental Forum of Marin

Tips for a zero waste lunch:

  • Use a REUSABLE carrier (cloth bag, lunchbox). DON’T use  throw-away bags.
  • Use REUSABLE containers (preferably ceramic or glass). DON’T use plastic wrap, foil or styrofoam.
  • Use a stainless steel bottle for drinks. DON’T use single-use cartons or cans.
  • Use a CLOTH NAPKIN to wash and re-use. DON’T use paper napkins.
  • Use SILVERWARE to wash and re-use. DON’T use plastic forks and spoons.
  • Only pack the amount of food you’ll eat.

Source: Global Stewards

Lunch Waste Facts

  • FOOD WASTE: A 2004 University of Arizona study reported that Americans throw away almost 50 percent of all the food we produce for domestic sale and consumption. In round numbers that’s $43 billion annually on wasted food.
  • FOOD WASTE: Researchers at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) concluded in a 2009 study that each year a quarter of U.S. water consumption and over 300 million barrels of oil (four percent of U.S. oil consumption) go into producing and distributing food that ultimately ends up in landfills.
  • ALUMINUM FOIL: More than 20 million Hershey’s kisses are wrapped with 133 square miles of foil every day.
  • ALUMINUM AND TIN CANS: Half of the 100 billion cans sold in the U.S. last year were landfilled or incinerated.
  • FOOD WASTE: Food debris in a landfill decomposes only 25% in the first 15 years. Compost that food waste instead of throwing it away.
  • JUICE BOXES: Most inorganic trash retains its weight, volume, and form for at least four decades.
  • PAPER BAGS AND NAPKINS: It is estimated that 17 trees are cut down for every ton of non-recycled paper.
  • PLASTIC BOTTLES, FORKS, WRAP: Every year, Americans throw away enough paper and plastic cups, forks, and spoons to circle the equator 300 times.
  • STYROFOAM: U.S. citizens throw away 25 billion styrofoam cups EVERY YEAR.

Source: Scientific America and Global Stewards

We must shift our way of thinking, from what is the most “convenient” way to do something to how can we do something more sustainably. If we don’t, we are leaving a mess for our children and their children to clean up. Let’s leave our world better than we found it.

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

My Zero Waste
My Zero Waste is dedicated to making the world a cleaner place. The overall purpose of the site is to help households reduce the amount of rubbish sent to the landfill. We show on a daily basis HOW we are reducing our own landfill waste by highlighting the pitfalls and sharing their mistakes and successes.

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