The Green Light Blog

Silicone > Plastic April 18 2019

As the plastic revolution continues to evolve, make sure your shopping and cooking habits evolve too. Plastic baggies of all sorts sure do come in handy but as a consumer, make sure to know what kind of impact your purchases have. Be educated as to what uses your products have and invest in that which is versatile and reusable.

Take plastic straws for example. When using the “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” model, focus first on reducing what you consume. One way to minimize plastic straw use is to just stop using them. This is what brought about questions regarding useless plastics in the first place; why are we using so many straws when they are getting thrown out after one use? Be aware of what your are using and fight single use plastics with multiple use silicone or stainless steel products. We will talk about stainless steel products some other time but today, it's all about silicone.

Stasher bags are made out of food-safe silicone and can be used an infinite amount of times. These silicone bags are a durable and safe alternative to plastic. They are made from sand and carbon which avoids chemicals found in many plastics such as BPA, BPS, lead, latex and phthalates. Silicone is safe to use at high and low temperatures and will not degrade through multiple freezings or nukings in the microwave. Wash them by hand or put them in the dishwasher, top rack.

In addition to Stasher bags, we also carry an assortment of silicone utensils that will not heat up and burn your hand. Be a conscious consumer but also a conscious human. Show you care about your Mother and make sure to purchase items that will last you many years to come. Invest in quality products that last a lifetime (or more) and forgo short term solutions provided by plastics because while these items may be inexpensive on the front end, they can be detrimental to our earth’s well-being over the long run.


Local Wallets and Earrings by Up Line! March 22 2019

Missoula is a bike friendly community. Our pedal-powered commuters and mountain bike enthusiasts go through plenty of tubes from rolling the street to ripping the dirt. Up Line takes advantage of this plentiful resource by making eco-friendly products from recycled inner tubes!

Donovan Peterson, founder of Up Line, repurposes used bike inner tubes, creating wallets, earrings, bracelets and more. He began this company right here in Missoula ten years ago! He also has his own store on the Hip Strip called Upcycled, which also provides a location for other upcycle craftspeople to display their products or purchase these items guilt-free. At our location in downtown Missoula, we carry the wallets and earrings.

Up Line wallets bring the inner tube out of the tire and into your pocket with plenty of designs to outfit any style. The flexible bike tube allows for easy access to your cards and will stretch if you need to stuff a few more business cards into the fold. The rubber wallets are sticky enough to hold onto your cards but not so sticky that they resist extraction.

We also carry Up Line earrings which are delicately crafted into neat designs. The earrings are light and you will barely notice them dangling from your lobes. The black canvas is large enough to stand out and will compliment any outfit. Show love for your two-wheeled friends and conscious commuters by hanging a tasteful tube creation from your ears.

We love carrying local vendors from our beautiful but hold a special place in our store’s veins for those who ply their trade in Missoula. We get many shipments personally delivered and have direct contact with the owners and artisans who contribute these products to our store, community and visitors alike.

Punctured tubes tend to be tossed aside only to be replaced by another that will ultimately realize the same demise. It is amazing to think that something as seemingly useless as a punctured bicycle inner tube could be used for anything else. Donovan doesn’t only encourage green and environmental business practices but he also inspires us to live sustainably and look at trash differently. Support local business and support green business; do both by buying Up Line products!


Solutions for Plastic March 12 2018

Last week I learned how horrible plastic pollution is. I did a lot of research on the bad. It was depressing and at the end I felt kinda hopeless. 
This week I am going to focus on the good. We, at The Green Light, are an optimistic bunch. We like to see the good that happens in this world, despite, or even because of, the bad. There are so many people and companies that are working towards a solution. These companies are focused on solving the worlds problems one step at a time.

The companies I am focusing on today are sustainable, made in the USA, progressive, and constantly striving to make a positive change in this world. While doing research for this blog post I found my heart being warmed just by reading their “About” page information.



The first company I am going to focus on is Re-Play. This company has been around since 1987 (hey, me too!). They started “with a goal of producing high quality, durable, and sustainable consumer goods” (re-play.com). In 2011 they started making kid friendly dishware. All out of recycled milk jugs.
(Insert video from replays)

Okay, I am going to pause here and say how happy I am to know that recycled milk jug products are a thing. I drink a lot of milk. I recycle a large quantity milk jugs for just one person. As someone who is a self proclaimed environmentalist I often struggle with the fact that I consume diary. I am fully aware of the dairy/meat industries impact on the environment. I was diagnosed with Celiac disease in 2008, along with a soy allergy, and gastroparesis (a condition where essentially I have a partially paralyzed stomach. So I don’t digest food properly. Especially raw vegetables.) I had been a vegan before that, and had been sick and weak for approximately my entire 21 years on this Earth. I began eating meat and dairy out of necessity. And now, I love milk. I get most of my calories from milk or other dairy products (omg cheese. I love cheese), and I have an internal struggle about the whole thing. I purchase locally produced milk and other dairy products. I like to at least believe that the dairy I consume comes from well treated, happy cows. I wish they offered the milk I buy in glass jars, which would be more expensive, but at least it wouldn’t be a single use plastic. So, I am glad to hear milk jugs are one of the easiest plastics to recycle.


Let me interrupt this tangent with another one: “According to a report from the Environmental Protection Agency, only 28.9% of these plastic jugs end up in the recycling bin. The remaining 71.1% may spend 500 years or more decomposing in landfills. "(earth911.com). Wow folks. Why aren’t people recycling their milk jugs? If you live here in Missoula and you want to know more about recycling please go to: http://www.makeitmissoula.com/community/going-green-and-recyling/missoula-recycling-guide/ and find the best way to reduce your plastic pollution. 



Ok, back to Re-Play. They make colorful, durable, and dishwasher safe (top rack) dish-ware (do not microwave these, folks). It is marketed for kids with the bright colors, divided plates, and spill proof cups, but I think its more than acceptable for adults to use these too (hello, camping dishes! They are durable, light weight, and fun for all ages). The Green Light sells their flat plates, divides plates (for the humans who don’t want their food touching other food), snack stacks (stackable, closable, fun containers for all sorts of things), cups, spill proof sippy cups, bowls, and utensils.


Check out this informational video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7DzeAy7iCg



Do you know what isn’t a good way to approach this problem? Aluminum foil. 

“At least it's better than wrapping your food in plastic, right? Wrong. In fact, aluminum foil is even more wasteful than plastic wrap by nearly every metric, including fossil fuel consumption, aquatic toxicity, and greenhouse gas emissions. But using plastic wrap instead is hardly an ideal solution. For one thing, plastic wrap isn't reusable—at least aluminum foil is, to an extent. Plus, petroleum waste takes a few decades to degrade, and the plastic polluting our oceans has become a massive problem. That's not to mention the potential health effects certain chemicals in plastic, such as phthalates and BPA, can have.” (curiosity.com)



Cool, so what do we wrap our food in besides aluminum foil and plastic wrap? Bees Wrap! This stuff is the bees knees (pun intended).

“Bee’s Wrap was founded in 2012 by Vermonter Sarah Kaeck, a mother of three who has been, by turns, an avid gardener, milker of goats, keeper of chickens, and seamstress. Bee’s Wrap started with a question facing many families and home cooks: How could we eliminate plastics in our kitchen in favor of a healthier, more sustainable way to store our food?
What she discovered is a lost tradition made new again. By infusing organic cotton with beeswax, organic jojoba oil, and tree resin, she created a washable, reusable, and compostable alternative to plastic wrap” (beeswrap.com)

BeesWrap has become one of our best-selling items in the store. We sell out of these things constantly. Customers come looking for it.

Check out this cool informational video here: https://www.beeswrap.com/pages/q-a

The last company on today’s blog is Preserve. The Green Light sells their food storage containers, and some of their tableware. This company rocks, and they are serious problem solvers; “We believe in expecting more from the products that we use every day. We think about products from beginning to end, and beginning again. We believe that any new product should be more than merely functional—much more. It must perform well, but it should also be delightful to use. It should support a healthy lifestyle and reflect a minimal impact on the environment.” (preserveproducts.com)


Reducing single use plastics can be an intimidating task, especially when you don’t know where to start. I was raised on plastic. It was everywhere. All of my lunches for school were packed in plastics that I would throw away. Sometimes I get down on my self for all the plastic I have thrown into the trash during my time on Earth. I am still guilty of using plastic. I try to reduce it as much as possible. I purchased a bag drying rack so when I do use a plastic bag (usually to store something going into my freezer) I am able to wash it, dry it, and reuse it. I reuse plastic bags that come into my house as many times as possible. But it still bums me out. I bring my reusable cups everywhere (from Klean Kanteen!) for coffee, smoothies, milkshakes, or water. I have even stoped treating myself to a drink unless I have my reusable mug. The mentality of “well, I didn’t plan ahead and bring my mug, so the fact I don’t get to have a latte is on me”, helps me save money in the long run. I use all the products featured on this blog, and I try to give my friends and family these products as gifts in hopes to inspire them to give up single use plastic as much as possible.

Companies that want to help our planet exist, and people are more than willing to stop using products that harm the only Earth we have. We just have to make it accessible, affordable, and easy to use. We, at The Green Light are trying to do just that.



Sources:


Recycling- http://www.makeitmissoula.com/community/going-green-and-recyling/missoula-recycling-guide/

Preserve- https://www.preserveproducts.com/explore/approach

Curiosity- https://curiosity.com/topics/think-saving-your-food-in-aluminum-foil-helps-the-environment-think-again-curiosity/

Beeswrap- https://www.beeswrap.com/pages/about-us

Earth911-https://earth911.com/inspire/diy/creative-ways-reuse-milk-jugs/

 


Reducing Single Use Plastics March 05 2018

This post was supposed to be only about single use plastics and how we as humans need to start moving away from them and other petroleum based products. I am talking about straws, packaging for drinks and food, packaging in general, and Styrofoam, or polystyrene products. But then I went down a worm hole. I went to 5gyres.org and started learning how big of a problem plastic is.
These are the main ones:
1. Polystyrene: “better known as "Styrofoam"—are plastics made from styrene, a known animal carcinogen” (5Gyres).
2. Mirocbeads: Tiny pieces of plastic that come from face wash, hand soaps, and other skin care products used for exfoliation. They are too small to be filtered out and then end up in the water table.


3. Plastic Fashion: Acrylic, polyester, nylon, spandex, materials made from recycled plastic waste (PET- Polyethylene Terephthalate). Clothing made from “synthetic materials don’t biodegrade. In addition, many micofibers are treated with flame retardants like PCBs, which are endocrine disruptors”. (5Gyres).
4. Plastic Bottles: These are everywhere.


5. Plastic Straws: We use about 500 million a day. (5Gyres)
6. Plastic Bags: Let me just share this horrifying statement with you; “12 minutes. That’s the average amount of time a plastic bag is used. Yet plastic bags impact our environment—and our health—for decades. That’s because globally, one million single-use plastic bags are used every minute and only one percent of plastic bags are recycled each year. Yet the world’s manufacturers make as many as five trillion plastic bags annually. That means that each year, as many as 4 trillion, 950 billion plastic bags are trashed. Many end up in our ocean where they can harm animals and the ecosystem.” (5Gyres).
7. Balloons: This one makes me especially sad. I love balloons. But they are bad for our Earth. They are usually made from latex or mylar.

What a bummer. All of it. I look around our planet and see pollution everywhere. Its in our forests, on our roads, in our rivers and our oceans. Micro plastics are in our food chain in ways we are just starting to discover. There are giant floating plastic “islands” in the oceans. I can’t remember a road trip, hike, or fishing trip that didn’t involve picking up trash along the way.

Living in Montana can be frustrating when it comes to the topic of recycling. Most of my friends don’t recycle anything at all. It all goes in the trash or down the drain. There is no glass recycled that is offered. And the recycling centers are often used incorrectly and are kind of disorganized and dirty. I am privileged enough to live in a house that requires you to recycle as much as possible. I don’t have to pay for this service, it is included in my rent. I know I am lucky to be able to put my clean recyclables into a bin and have them disappear.

It is hard not to feel depressed after reading about all the plastic pollution that humans have created and then thrown away. There are small ways to help reduce plastic pollution. And there are companies all of the world working hard to combat this problem. There is an awesome organization; called the Rozalia Project-
http://rozaliaproject.org/ - these folks are committed to working on marine pollution from many different angles. There is a German company, Guppy Friend, who has made a washing bag designed to remove microfibers from the water system. You can purchase one through Patagonia - 
http://www.patagonia.com/product/guppyfriend-washing-bag/O2191.html

I also work for a company, The Green Light (hi, its me, the Manager, just promoting my store), which sells a multitude of products that help reduce plastic pollution.

These are some of the brands The Green Light carries that I am particularly proud of.
Klean Kanteen- stainless steel water bottles and staws. https://www.kleankanteen.com/
Bees Wrap- An alternative to plastic wrap and bags for food storage. https://www.beeswrap.com/
To Go Ware- Bamboo utensils and reusable food containers. https://to-goware.com/
RePlay- Kids dishes made out recycled milk cartons. https://re-play.com/
Chico Bag- reusable bags and produce bags. https://www.chicobag.com/
Envirosax- Reusable shopping and tote bags. http://envirosax.com/
Full Circle- Responsibly made house cleaning supplies. https://fullcirclehome.com/


Please check out the 5Gyres website and learn for yourself. They also have an awesome instragram account. And whether you shop with us, online, or at another store, please try and remember to purchase products that help reduce waste. Not create more. 


Klean Kanteen and a Cleaner World May 26 2016

Here, at The Green Light, we are committed to helping advocate for the environment and the preservation of the natural world. Many of the products we carry come from companies that have initiatives that go towards the restoration and preservation of the natural world around us.

Klean Kanteen is a company that has all the right stuff. From their #bringyourown campaign to help reduce the use and waste of plastic cups at events and festivals, to their pledge of at least 1% of all annual sales to non-profit organizations working to protect, preserve, and restore the natural environment. 

We've been carrying their insulated thermos canteens, water bottles, growlers, tumblers, and stainless steal pints for years and we are excited to continue our relationship with them as they remain committed to a sustainable life. 


Check out all the ways Klean Kanteen gives back to our world:

 http://www.kleankanteen.com/pages/giving-back 


Good Paper Greeting Cards August 15 2014

Good Paper cards have the perfect message for any occasion. Good Paper

cards are made from recycled material. In addition, manufacturing is Fair

Trade and all employees are paid a proper wage. Happy Birthday, and Merry

Christmas. Happy Thanksgiving, and holidays in between them.


Smart Glass Recycled Jewelry July 28 2014

Smart Glass Jewelry is made from all kinds of recycled glass. Some peices
you may recognize, like Coca-Cola, or other favorite brands, to others made
from blanks.