By MJ Deschamps
With fast fashion and quick turnover key commercial ingredients of today’s garment and apparel industry, excess textile production is prompting the sector to gravitate towards more recycling and re-use of materials, to conserve energy, increase sustainability and lower raw material costs. (more…)
Here at MantraMeds, our scrubs are made from recycled plastic but we like to emphasize that making our planet a more sustainable place means practicing all 3 R’s: Reducing, Reusing & Recycling. Here is a great article from HuffPost Green on reducing use of plastic on all your fresh summer produce!
I started shopping at my farmers market this summer. I’ve noticed people putting fruits and vegetables directly in their totes, without taking the plastic bags some vendors offer. But how do you keep produce fresh in the fridge without the plastic?
Not long ago, I asked myself that same question. I had recently invested in a large set of organic cotton reusable produce bags, and while I was feeling mighty proud of myself each time I ventured out to the market (look how eco-friendly I am! Who needs those wasteful plastic produce bags?), the scene in my fridge a few days later was less than pretty.
Stored in plastic, fruits and vegetables would have normally stayed fresh for at least a week. But left in my new reusable bags, all my beautiful produce fast turned into a wilted, spoiled mess. (Even the “crisper” bin seemed to do just the opposite, no matter what the setting.)
I’ve written before about the enormous environmental implications of wasted food; needless to say, my cloth produce bags were not coming close to offsetting the yearly 34 million tons of food waste to which I was now contributing.
But obviously, there were reasons to avoid the plastic bags, too (wildlife-destroying pollution, needless oil consumption, endocrine-disrupting chemicals). They also didn’t seem necessary: After all, plastic produce bags only came into being in the 1960s; plastic grocery bags, a decade later. There had to be a way to keep my fruits and veggies fresh without them.
Enter Beth Terry. As author of the blog My Plastic-free Life and the recently released book Plastic-Free: How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and How You Can Too, Terry knows how to keep everything from persimmons to parsnips fresh with nary a plastic bag in sight: She’s lived plastic free (and not just in the produce department) since 2007.
Terry’s storage methods come largely from Ecology Center Farmers’ Markets in Berkeley, CA, which createdthis guide on how to store more than 60 kinds of fruits and vegetables. But being the plastic-free pro that she is, Terry of course had some suggestions to add. With her help, I’ve created a condensed version for you that includes her input, below.
*Note: While the Ecology Center guide occasionally calls for paper products, Terry tries to limit these; she opts for cloth bags or plastic-free reusable containers instead. (“While plastic is truly problematic, all single-use disposable bags and wrappers have an environmental footprint,” she says.) She suggests a variety of different bags and containers on her site.
As you may know, MantraMeds scrubs are cut from a blend of Texas Organic Cotton & Repreve Recycled Polyester, which comes from recycled post-consumer plastics! Found a great website that can serve as an awesome resource for information and trends in recycling plastics. Check it out!
Many community recycling programs are accepting more and more plastics*—and you may be surprised to learn how many types of plastic packaging can be recycled into new, useful products!
- Beverage bottles made with polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic are collected in most curbside programs. This plastic is often melted, stretched into a fine thread, and then woven into soft, durable fabrics used to make things such as clothing, upholstery, and carpeting. (Tip: it’s okay to leave the caps on the bottles; they’ll be removed and processed separately at the recycling facility.)
- Detergent and cleaning product bottles are usually made with high-density polyethylene (HDPE), a strong, corrosion-resistant plastic. It is often recycled into outdoor furniture and other durable products such as plastic lumber, park benches, roadside curbs, truck cargo liners, trash receptacles—and new bottles. (Tip: rinse your bottles with water before tossing them in the recycling bin to remove remnants of the detergent or cleaning product.)
- Plastic bags are often made with HDPE or low-density polyethylene (LDPE) plastic. These bags are collected at many chain grocery stores and large retailers, including Target, Walmart and Lowe’s. Plastic bags generally are recycled into plastic lumber for decks, fences and furniture – and into new plastic bags. (Tip: before recycling bags, be sure they are free of food remnants, and remove any zipper closures. Plastic wraps from drycleaners, newspapers, and many consumer products can be collected with plastic bags.)
- Plastic containers for products such as yogurt, cottage cheese, and margarine are now collected in many curbside programs. They are often made with polypropylene (PP) plastic that is recycled into things such as battery cables, landscape borders, cafeteria trays, and furniture. (Tip: some grocery store chains [e.g., Whole Foods] also collect these containers).
- Plastic foam used to make packaging often is made with polystyrene (PS) plastic that has been expanded with air. Innovative recycling programs can turn foam packaging into insulation, picture frames, building products—and new packaging. (Tip: some shipping companies, such as UPS, accept polystyrene foam packing peanuts for re-use.)
When you consider all the different types of new products that can be made with post-consumer plastics, it’s easy to see why they are such valuable materials. Getting the whole family involved in collecting plastics around the house is a great way to make sure this resource doesn’t go to waste. So recycle these and other everyday products—every day.
* Recycling programs differ greatly; check to see what can be recycled in your community.
Check out these other great articles by Plastics Make it Possible:
Need an unusual and green holiday gift idea? Consider giving organic or natural fiber sheets and blankets.
Introduce your family and friends to a healthier, cozier night’s sleep with natural fiber sheets and blankets. While you are at it, get some for yourself – you won’t believe the difference!
Read full article here: http://wellesley.patch.com/articles/green-tips-green-bedding-for-an-unusual-holiday-gift
Click here for more information about “Greening your Bedroom”.
Information compiled from firstname.lastname@example.org, treehugger.com and Green Living by the editors of The Environmental Magazine.
For more green tips, visit greenwithbetsy.com
Victoria’s Secret responds to the Bloomberg allegation released earlier this week about this high-end undergarment line using organic fair-trade cotton in their garments that come from a farm in Burkina Faso
Their response was published by USA Today. Read full article at: http://content.usatoday.com/communities/ondeadline/post/2011/12/child-labor-allegedly-used-in-some-victorias-secret-cotton/1
“If this allegation is true, it describes behavior that is contrary to our company’s values and the code of labor and sourcing standards that we require all of our suppliers to meet. These standards expressly prohibit child labor,” Limited Brands said in a statement. “… Depending on the findings, we are prepared to take swift action to prevent the illegal use of child labor in the fields where we source Fairtrade-certified organic cotton in Burkina Faso.”
Clarisse Kambire’s labor “exposes flaws in the system for certifying fair-trade commodities and finished goods in a global market that grew 27% in just one year to more than $5.8 billion in 2010. That market is built on the notion that purchases by companies and consumers aren’t supposed to make them accomplices to exploitation, especially of children,” the Bloomberg report says.
As Victoria’s Secret’s partner, Guebre’s organization, the National Federation of Burkina Cotton Producers, is responsible for running all aspects of the organic and fair-trade program across Burkina Faso. Known by its French initials, the UNPCB in 2008 co-sponsored a study suggesting hundreds, if not thousands, of children like Clarisse could be vulnerable to exploitation on organic and fair-trade farms. The study was commissioned by the growers and Helvetas. Victoria’s Secret says it never saw the report.
Clarisse’s labor exposes flaws in the system for certifying fair-trade commodities and finished goods in a global market that grew 27 percent in just one year to more than $5.8 billion in 2010. That market is built on the notion that purchases by companies and consumers aren’t supposed to make them accomplices to exploitation, especially of children.
Clarisse Kambire, 13, a child laborer, begins her daily task of picking the crop from her farmer’s field of fair trade organic cotton near Benvar, Burkina Faso, on Nov. 10, 2011.
Looking for last-minute holiday gifts? Don’t stuff your loved ones’ stockings with junk! At MantraMeds, we encourage you to gift eco-consciously during this season of giving.
Just discovered Sprout!
Sprout makes wrist watches out of materials like corn resin (99% biodegradable in a compost environment), organic cotton (pesticide free), Tyvek® (a high-density fiber which is strong, water and tear resistant and is recyclable), bamboo (which doesn’t require pesticides or fertilizers to grow) and fish skin (an eco-friendly alternative to animal leather). These watches come in several styles for men and women – bright colors, funky designs, and fully functioning for the bargain price of $30! Check out this eco-friendly brand and save yourself some green!
Check out their website at: http://www.sproutwatches.com/