Green Guy Greg here. Earth Day is EVERY DAY. The following is an ever-evolving "green" guide... to how we can make simple, convenient changes in our every day lives to help shrink our carbon footprints (reduce carbon emissions and fossil fuel pollution), with a focus on reducing/eliminating our consumption of plastic.
Here's why I choose to focus especially on plastic: ( If you don't need the why and want to skip to the links list of plastic-free alternative products, scroll toward the bottom of this page ):
* Plastic is made from fossil fuels ( crude oil and more recently, natural gas/methane ), but is the most overlooked, under-addressed problem within the fossil fuel pollution conversation.
* Plastic can only be recycled a maximum of twice
* Less than 9% is ever recycled anyway
* None of it is biodegradable
Therefore, all plastic is pollution. All plastic ever produced still exists on Earth, won't go away for centuries, and we're only adding exponentially more every day. We all participate in perpetuating this problem, more or less, and have been for decades under the lie that plastic is "recycleable". Here's how we can change that from the consumer end:
~ If plastic shopping bags aren't yet banned in your area, always bring our own reusable bags to the store. Never accept a plastic one, even for produce, and don't buy pre-packaged produce. Store your produce/leftover food in reusable pyrex, glass, stainless steel or ridgid plastic aka "tupperware" containers at home instead of "disposable" plastic ziploc bags or cling-wrap.
~ Buy a water purifier and a stainless steel or glass water bottle- never buy plastic bottled water again.
~ Always refuse plastic straws for beverages (this gets ridiculed but it's no small effort). Also, always refuse utensils and other unnecessary single-use items when ordering takeout or delivery.
~ Buy rice, grains, beans and nuts in bulk, and bring your own bags for them as well.
Ask yourself these questions before any purchase you make:
* Is this product made of, packaged in or bottled in plastic? If so, do I need it at all?
* If yes, is there another product that serves the same purpose which is not made
of, packaged or bottled in plastic? ( Plastic includes synthetic polyester, nylon, vinyl & acrylic clothing/fabrics/carpet. 'Microfiber' fabric is plastic, as well as 'tri-blend'
fabric, which is usually least 33% plastic. These synthetic fabrics are not only the leading sources of billions of micro plastics in the ocean as a result of microfibers shedding from our laundry down the drain in the washer, but shed and spread everywhere on land from regular wear. Microplastics are now being discovered in our blood and our lungs )
* Then do the research- it's easy with the internet, but
the links list toward the bottom of this page provides many
plastic-free product alternatives to make that research even easier.
Otherwise, instead of Google I recommend Ecosia. It's a carbon-zero search engine/browser that plants trees around the world for aprox. every 45 searches you make, and donates sustainable projects to communities in need.
~ Seamlessly choose an ESCO ( Energy Service Company ) that supplies electricity sourced from 100% wind/solar to your home through your local utility company. Your utility co. will provide a list on their website or by mail upon request.
~ Pull out of big oil/gas/coal ( fossil fuel ) companies in your investment portfolio. Reinvest in renewable energy and other eco-friendly companies. Aspiration banking is one source to look into.
~ More to come! I'm looking forward to making this guide more comprehensive- possibly with help of the blog page- replete with more facts, stats, cited soures, and links to websites and articles that inform and motivate you. In the meantime regarding plastic, I encourage you to refer to the 22 shocking facts at ecowatch.com which expound on why I feel this is such an important and urgent matter for all.
The plastics/fossil fuel industry can be weakened by the power of the consumer!
When heeded, consider yourself Green-Guyed! @dont_plasticipate
TO ASSIST YOU IN THE ABOVE GREEN GUYDANCE, BELOW IS A LINKS LIST IN PROGRESS, OF PLASTIC/PETROLEUM-FREE ALTERNATIVES TO PRODUCTS WE REGULARLY USE:
* Eco Roots ( Wool Dryer Balls on same page- plastic free alternative to dryer sheets. Dryer sheets are plastic )
* Dropps ( The jury is still out on Polyvinyl Alcohol, aka PVA, which may not completely break down after
( The jury is still out on Polyvinyl Alcohol, aka PVA, which may not completely break down after dissolving )
comments on PVA. Many other plastic-free houshold products available, including Tangie Laundry Soap concentrate bar = 256 loads )
* Sheets ( Also plastic-free dryer sheets and other houshold cleaning products. See above comments on PVA )
* Etee Liquid Dish Soap ( sent in a beezwax tube, add to water in a glass pump bottle )
SHAMPOO & CONDITIONER:
* ME Mother Earth ( bars )
* J R Liggett's ( bars )
* EcoRoots ( bars )
* Plaine Products ( liquid in an aluminum bottle. Postage paid send-back box provided for empties )
* Hey Humans ( Jada Pinkett Smith's plastic-free line )
BANDAGE STRIPS ( alternative to plastic "BANDAID" ) :
* PATCH ( bamboo bandage strips in multiple colors- not plastic like BandAid and other name brands.
Find Strap Bamboo Body Tape there too. )
TOOTHBRUSHES ( manual and electric ):
* ME Mother Earth ( Manual bamboo toothbrushes as well as Bamboo replacement brush heads compatible w/ Sonicare electric toothbrush ). Use code GREGORYCOUTINHO for 10% off when you checkout after accessing their site through my link by above, next to the *GREGORYCOUTIN
* SURI electric toothbrush
TOOTHPASTE ( or you can DIY a recipe w baking soda, coconut oil & peppermint oil, etc ):
LIQUID HAND SOAP ( I recommend bar soap, but if you must ):
* Dropps ( pod dissolves in water as a foaming soap in a glass pump bottle )
* Blueland ( tablet dissolves in water as a foaming soap in a glass pump bottle )
HAIR STYLING POMADE/CREAM/GEL:
* Steelys Drinkware ( bulk order stainless steel drinkware )
* Ball Aluminum Cup ( infinitely recyclable alternative to single-use plastic SOLO cup, found in most stores where disposable cups are also found: Target . CVS . ACE . Stop & Shop . Walmart . Party City . Kroger . Safeway . Albertsons . ShopRite . Circle K . Sprouts . Publix )
MATTRESSES ( no polyester/plastic fabrics or petroleum-based foam cushioning ):
* Pela Case ( 100% compostable plant-based "plastic" phone cases for most sizes of iOS and Android. Smart watch bands also available, as well as other accessories. I receive 10% of every sale made through the Pela Case link above )
* Biom ( biodegradable wipes, refillable container )
MAILERS / PACKAGING, SHIPPING MATERIALS / PACKING TAPE:
LIGHTERS ( matches are always a good alternative, but if you must ):
* Etsy ( Rechargeable. Many varieties. Some will come in unneccesary plastic packaging but that's still better than disposing of countless plastic butane lighters )