Celebrate a Plastic-Free Earth Day: Watch “Bag It” with Green America and Beth Terry


The Green America editors proclaimed our love for the documentary film Bag It in the recent “Take the Plastic Challenge” issue of the Green American magazine, and now, those of you who haven’t seen it yet can find out what all of our fuss was about. In fact, we’ll be watching it with you—along with other Green Americans from across the country! On Earth […]

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20 Plastic Things You Didn’t Know You Can Recycle

1) Bottle and jar caps: Weisenbach Recycled Products accepts clean plastic bottlecaps, plastic jar caps, flip-top caps from personal care products, and flexible snap-on lids (e.g. butter tub lids) to turn into funnels and other items. CapsCando.com. 2) Brita pitcher filters: Preserve’s Gimme 5 program accepts Brita-brand pitcher filters for recycling. See #11 below. 3) Compostable bioplastics: Find a municipal composter at FindaComposter.com. 4) Computers and other electronics: Find the most responsible recyclers near you at e-stewards.org/find-a-recycler. Your local Best Buy store will also accept many types of electronics, large and small—from televisions and gaming systems to fans and alarm clocks. Best Buy partners with responsible recyclers that do not ship items overseas, including Green Business Network™ member Electronic Recyclers International. You can bring three small items per day to Best Buy for free. The company charges a fee to recycle large electronics. BestBuy.com/recycling.

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Plastic Monday: The Final Post

Soap nuts!

November is over, which means Plastic Mondays have come to an end. That doesn’t mean that the Plastic Challenge is over. I plan to continue the good habits I’ve learned or reinforced during this challenge, and I’ll continue to work on getting more Stupid Plastic out of my life.  (We’ll continue to blog about plastics from time to time, too—just not […]

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Plastic Monday: Plastic-Free Toothpaste and Other Odds and Ends

I just have to say, I think my favorite part of this whole Take the Plastic Challenge has been interacting with all of you Green Americans in the comments section. Thanks for making my attempt at changing my plastic-centered habits a fun learning experience! Common wisdom (and apparently some scientific study floating around somewhere) says that it takes 21 days to change a habit. It’s been more than that since we started our challenge to get the Stupid Plastic out of our lives, and I’m happy to say I’m making progress. Here are some new tips and resources I’ve learned about since the “Take the Plastic Challenge” Green American started hitting mailboxes:

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Plastic Monday: Sarah and Tracy Talk Green Feminine Products

OK, ladies, let’s go there. (Gentlemen, I’d tell you to look away, but this is important information for the women you care about, too.) Over 12 billion single-use tampons make their way to landfills each year. One look at the feminine hygiene section of your local drugstore will tell you that most women’s tampon of choice in the US is individually packaged in plastic, with a plastic, single-use applicator. Plastic + single use + easy-to-find, non-plastic alternative = Stupid Plastic. Then there’s the fact that these items are also bleached with chlorine—the manufacture of which creates dioxin, a known carcinogen. WHY anyone would require a little piece of cotton and rayon that’s pretty much going to spend its entire lifespan “where the sun doesn’t shine” to be sparkly white instead of a natural-looking beige is beyond me, but just about every mainstream tampon company bleaches its products. And the same stupid plastic and bleaching concerns hold true for pads, as well. I used to feel rather pleased with myself because I went to the trouble of using unbleached, plastic-free, organic cotton tampons and pads from an eco-friendly company. (Natracare, in my case.) I was well aware of the reusable feminine care alternatives on the market, but I have to confess, trying those out wasn’t a green step I was ready to take. I’m a busy working mom who’s constantly on the go. In addition to my work at Green America, […]

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Plastic (free) Monday: Getting BPA Out Of My Kitchen

The Breast Cancer Fund found BPA in all six samples it tested.

Most of us are all too familiar with the dangers of bisphenol-A (BPA), which has been used commonly as an additive in plastic products. BPA, which is an endocrine disruptor linked to an assortment of frightening health effects, including heart disease, reproductive problems, and cancer, started making headlines a few years ago when study after study indicated that BPA can leach […]

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Plastic Monday: Bag the bags.

When I started researching plastic bag laws for the “Plastics Challenge” issue of our Green American, I thought I was already aware of how wasteful and polluting plastic bags really are.  After all, I’ve carried my reusable organic cotton shopping bags to the grocery store for as long as I’ve been old enough to do my own cooking.  Aesthetically and practically, I simply prefer a roomy tote bag with a comfy shoulder strap to a fist full of flimsy plastic handles any day, so it’s always been an easy green choice to make. But looking into the recycling statistics for plastic bags made me think even more about all the other plastic bags in my life – the plastic bags that I sometimes place into into those smugly green organic cotton totes (frozen veggies, or bulk grains, for example).   The plastics industry certainly thinks of them all the same, grouping them together in a category known as “postconsumer film,” which includes other waste like newspaper bags, food bags, pallet wrap, and plastic product wrappers. This collapsing of the category makes it tricky to suss out a statistic on how many plastic shopping bags get recycled in this country.  The EPA’s most recent figure for the bags – 1 percent being recycled – dates to 2005, with all subsequent statistics addressing recycling rates for the overall “film” category.   And in 2009 (the most recent year for which we have the stats), […]

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