#8 – say no to the sticky tape

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During my (continuing) journey to reducing plastics and waste, I find that I am ever-increasingly overwhelmed with the variety of alternate products.  It is truly wonderful.  For example; the pictured soap is not bad.  It washes the clothes reasonably well, although I haven’t tried heavily soiled items.  But moreso, the soap is a surprisingly fabulous organic shampoo.

As I am learning and my behaviour changes, I am naturally tending to question more when looking to purchase any product, like; its packaging, and if the item is really needed, and, at what quantity.

Take the the soaps’ packaging for instance; it is waxy, and I do not know if the waxy paper is made from soybean wax or paraffin; and, is the paraffin derived from vegetable oil or petroleum?  Either way, I am not sure the worms will care for it, and not that I am any expect on worm gastronomy, except to categorically state that they [worms] are not very favourable to onions!

Then, there is the dilemma of staples and the sticky tape that was used to seal the soap and to adhere the label respectively.  The staple – being the natural enemy to the photocopier – recently became mine on the recycle front.  How many staples to you need to make staple recycling viable.

Because such a dilemma required my immediate attention I found the stapleless stapler and the very clever fold the paper without a stapler method.

Happy shopping and please feel free to leave a comment on any ideas / products you have used / found / endorse.

 

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#Planet safe #plastic …. REALLY?

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Planet safe plastic…..really?

As an experiment have had this in my compost for 2 years, as you can see it’s still intact even though it was pretty warm in there.  Suspicious that 100% degradable just means it will break down into smaller and smaller pieces of plastic. Yet another reason to stick to reusable and not be taken in by green washing. @PlasticFreeJuly

Source:  https://www.facebook.com/PlasticFreeJuly/ 

Australian environmental groups push for bag bans

 

Federal environment minister Greg Hunt and his eight state and territory counterparts meet in Melbourne on Dec. 15 to discuss a range of environmental….

Angel said: “Plastic pollution is a major threat to wildlife. Globally it is estimated 1 million sea birds and [more than] 100,000 mammals die every year [from] plastic ingestion or entanglement. Of great concern are secondary microplastics derived from broken up bags and bottles.”

Source: http://www.plasticsnews.com/article/20151130/NEWS/151139986/australian-environmental-groups-push-for-bag-bans

An alliance of 48 environmental groups has written to all environment ministers around Australia asking them to ban plastic bags when they meet next month.

Federal environment minister Greg Hunt and his eight state and territory counterparts meet in Melbourne on Dec. 15 to discuss a range of environmental issues, including research work conducted by the office of Mark Speakman, environment minister for the state of New South Wales (NSW), into initiatives to reduce the amount of plastic waste, including potential bans on plastic shopping bags.

Hunt’s spokesman said the environment ministers, at their last meeting in February, agreed to NSW investigating “practical solutions for the phase-down of lightweight plastic bags.”

The Boomerang Alliance, led by Jeff Angel, director of the Sydney-based Total Environment Centre, has asked the ministers to ban all bags up to 70 microns and introduce policies aimed at maximum adoption of reusable bags for shopping.

Angel estimates Australian plastic bag use will exceed 9 billion this year, including more than 4 billion single-use supermarket carry bags.

Boomerang Alliance has asked the ministers to implement a range of actions, including banning single-use high density polyethylene carry bags and not automatically excluding low density PE carry bags from any ban.

Angel said LDPE bags should be included in bans but case-by-case exemptions allowed if retailers can demonstrate effective management and/or minimal risk of the bags reaching the marine environment.

The alliance is skeptical about oxo-biodegradable and bioplastic bags. The letter to ministers said: “While they offer some limited environmental resource benefit, using an oxo-degradable bag is as bad as a traditional HDPE bag in terms of litter and marine impacts. Until these options can provide proven benefit, they should be treated like any other plastic.”

The alliance acknowledged banning single-use “non-carry” bags, for example, ice bags and sandwich, storage and freezer bags, is “more complex than eliminating plastic carry bags”, but its letter asks for “appropriate regulatory action.”

The alliance also wants bags to be clear or dark colored only and unbranded. “Coloring plastic film integrates more toxic additives and makes the bags more likely to be ingested,” its letter said.

It cited a 2014 study by the University of Tasmania of necropsies of 171 shearwater sea birds that found of 1,032 pieces of plastic in their gullets, just 0.87 percent was clear plastic, compared to 62 percent light-colored plastic, 22 percent medium colors and 14 percent dark colors.

Angel said: “Plastic pollution is a major threat to wildlife. Globally it is estimated 1 million sea birds and [more than] 100,000 mammals die every year [from] plastic ingestion or entanglement. Of great concern are secondary microplastics derived from broken up bags and bottles.”

Hunt’s spokesman would not elaborate on the agenda for the ministers’ meeting, but said: “Minister Hunt is supportive of the work being led by NSW and encourages businesses and members of the community to engage in any of the processes being run by NSW to ensure a suitable solution can be found for all parties. The states and territories have shown a willingness to work together to have approaches in place that are complementary.”

Boomerang Alliance acknowledged that two states, South Australia and Tasmania, and two territories, the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory, have taken some ban actions against plastic bags, but said voluntary programs are “incapable of resolving the issue and a levy is too complex and administratively inefficient.”

Biodegradable plastics – not so great for our ocean, says UN

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#reduce #reuse #recycle #rethink using #plastic

Source: http://www.treehugger.com/ocean-conservation/biodegradable-plastics-not-so-great-oceans-says-un.html

… biodegradable plastics rarely actually degrade because they require long-term exposure to high-temperatures (around 122F, or 50C), like those found in large municipal composters, to actually break-down. Those conditions are not found very often in nature, and especially not in the oceans.

Biodegradable plastic sounds like a wonderful idea when you first hear about it. Most plastics are notorious for how long they stick around and how hard it is to break them down naturally, so to think that all those bits of plastics that end up scattered to the four winds could just melt away harmlessly sounds almost too good to be true. And well, once you read the fine print, it kind of is…

A new report by the United Nations looks at these so-called biodegradable plastics and their impact on oceans, and compared to the theory, reality is a lot less rosy. The biodegradable plastics rarely actually degrade because they require long-term exposure to high-temperatures (around 122F, or 50C), like those found in large municipal composters, to actually break-down. Those conditions are not found very often in nature, and especially not in the oceans.

To add insult to injury, once those biodegradable plastics are in the oceans, the water reduces UV and oxygen exposure, so they degrade even slower than they would otherwise… Basically, biodegradable label or not, those plastics will be there for a very long time. And even when they do break down, after years, the small pieces still pose a threat and just add to the existing microplastics problem that we’ve written about in the past.

Plastic in oceanLindsay Robinson/University of Georgia/Promo image

On top of all this, biodegradable plastics are less recyclable than regular plastics, and they can contaminate the feed of recycling plants:

“If you’re recycling plastic you don’t want to have anything to do with biodegradable plastics,” says Peter Kershaw, one of the authors of the UNEP study. “Because if you mix biodegradable with standard plastics you can compromise the properties of the original plastic.”

So unless we can somehow make biodegradable plastics that actually degrade under regular conditions fairly rapidly without causing problems, and that can also be easily recycled, or at least kept out of recycling plants, maybe these aren’t the best idea. It might make people feel good when they see the label, but if they don’t work as intended, then it’s just greenwashing.

Source: http://www.treehugger.com/ocean-conservation/biodegradable-plastics-not-so-great-oceans-says-un.html

#6 – plastic paradise. the great pacific garbage patch

This post isn’t directly about personal change, but to share a remarkable video that came to my attention today that fortifies my decision for change and to reduce plastics from daily life.

http://www.sbs.com.au/ondemand/video/450695235564/plastic-paradise

Synopsis: Thousands of miles away from civilization, Midway Atoll is in one of the most remote places on earth. And yet it’s become ground zero for The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, syphoning plastics from three distant continents. In this independent documentary film, journalist/filmmaker Angela Sun travels on a personal journey of discovery to uncover this mysterious phenomenon. Along the way she meets scientists, researchers, influencers, and volunteers who shed light on the effects of our rabid plastic consumption and learns the problem is more insidious than we could have ever imagined

The film runs for just under one hour and is available for purchase, digital download and for education at http://plasticparadisemovie.com