The Green Light Blog
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.