Just Sayin’…
August 5, 2012, 9:47 PM
Filed under: Composting, Food Storage, Greenwashing | Tags: ,

Because I can’t seem to find the time or energy these days to do the research and writing to put together a single feature blog post, maybe it’s time yet again for a little of this and that-things I wanted to write about, none of which would make a full post.

Remember This?

Click on that link up there to read about this product. After only 5 uses, it simply fell apart…

This is a perfect example of Greenwashing, and it makes me mad that companies  put such a spin on their products! Useful and valid products don’t need spin, they sell themselves. Just sayin’…

Compostable plates and cutlery are another example of Greenwashing. Even after soaking them in water for a couple of days, they never did break down in my compost pile, and I got tired of picking them out of my pile when I needed compost. Research showed me that even the USDA tests on these showed that they failed to break down within 6 months, even after shredding and using a mixing auger! Turns out they will biodegrade in a commercial composting facility, but the average home compost pile won’t work. They’re also made out of corn starch and polyethylene plastic and are pricey. My advice: Pick up an inexpensive set of plastic plates and silverware at a yard sale this summer.  Just sayin’…

Remember a few years ago when we all learned that our reusable water bottles were coated with a known carcinogen, called BPA? We were advised to cull them (including baby bottles, kids toys and pacifiers) and buy BPA FREE stuff. I just wanted you to know that most thermal receipts these days are coated with the endocrine disruptor, so I hope you’ll be sure to wash your hands well after handling them. Talk about greenwashing!   Oh, and when you do wash up, don’t use antibacterial soaps. Turns out, once again, that what we all thought was wonderful stuff in the beginning has turned around to bite us in the butt! Using these products is quickly making more and more germs so resistant to antibiotics that they no longer respond to them when needed. The science is in-let a few germs remain, they help build your natural resistance. Do not use alcohol-based hand cleaners after handling receipts. A recent study showed that these products can increase the skin’s BPA absorption. So what’s a body to do? Just use plain old soap and water.  Just sayin’…

OK, enough negativity! On the positive side, I’d like to tell you about my years-long experience with these green colored reusable produce bags. They really do keep fruits and veggies fresh longer, especially if you store each variety of food in a separate bag. I’ve kept just-harvested cabbages in the lower part of my refrigerator for up to 3 months in these bags! I rarely advocate buying more ‘stuff’ but I believe these green bags are worth the money and natural resources used to produce them. The ones that are made in the US are organic, environmentally friendly and if you’re careful they will last a long, long time (but tests done on 15 different produce bags made in China, Korea and Taiwan were not made with food grade film and contained various chemicals known to cause cancer). Just sayin’…

Cool Lifestyle for a Hot Planet

I listened to a podcast with Duane Elgin last month. For those of you (ALL of you?) not familiar with him, he is the author of my bible, “Voluntary Simplicity”, and has achieved a bit of cult status popularity because of  his writing and life’s work. I realize Tolstoy, Thoreau, and even St. Francis of Assisi all devoted a good portion of their own writings to the subject, long before his book came out, but Mr. Elgin is the one that changed my thinking.

I was lucky enough to attend a week long workshop that he facilitated back in 2004 at Dennsion University in Granville, Ohio. Little did I know  how that week would inspire and change me. The week was literally a think tank and our class of 22 explored the human family’s journey of awakening as it crossed the threshold into a global civilization as well as the positive and problematic aspects of the stage we were in 8 years ago. I believe it’s safe to say we’ve now crossed that threshold. As I listened to this recent interview, I tried hastily scribbling down notes and I’ve been thinking of what he had to say ever since. Below are my thoughts based on those notes:

The word sustainability means the capacity to endure over time. It’s a word that’s overused and misused these days, even greenwashed at times. But I do believe that I can work towards a personal level of sustainability by starting with myself, changing my awareness and how I think, then help others do the same. But how? Duane Elgin says big changes are necessary, but his message of living a life of material simplicity and  following my priorities remains the same as it did when I studied under him.

MY priorities include spending more time with friends and family, building community, participating in my hobbies of gardening, music and writing, connecting with nature, and focusing on my spiritual development. Mr. Elgin still maintains there are no recipes or cookbooks, but suggests balance in our lives is key to living a life that’s ‘inwardly rich and outwardly simple’.

Our inner life is important to balance: Spirituality, meditation, music, nature, yoga, service, and art are ways to achieve that inner balance. The work I do, the food I eat, the clothes I wear, and the car I drive (or not!) are all examples of choices I can make that will make a difference in living sustainably. In times of testing and challenge, many lives have or will become one of  INvoluntary simplicity; of poverty and little choice, of imbalance and little endurance over time.  If we choose to work now to live sustainably, when that time of testing and challenge comes, we ‘ll be resilient. And if that time never comes, what have we lost? Nothing. And what have we gained?

  • Expanded range of choices and possibilities in our life.
  • Strengthened family and community bonds and increased cultural richness. Greater social harmony and stronger communities.
  • Reduced financial stress, worry, and indebtedness. Increased financial security.
  • Increased sense of richness and health in daily living. Reduced stress and increased personal well-being.
  • Progress toward environmental sustainability-or, ‘a cool lifestyle for a hot planet’!

Keepin’ it Real…
April 11, 2012, 9:40 PM
Filed under: Frugality, Greenwashing, Reducing Waste | Tags: , ,

Greenwashing, as defined on Wikipedia, is a form of spin in which green PR or green marketing is deceptively used to promote the perception that an organization’s aims and policies are environmentally friendly. Whether it is to increase profits or gain political support, greenwashing may be used to manipulate popular opinion to support otherwise questionable aims.

I question the aim of this product.  The back of the box reads: “This innovative ergonomically shaped waste reducing soap has been designed to eliminate the unused center of traditional soap bars.” Waste Reducing? Really? Look how much of the center is missing-a LOT! I suspect when I use this bar, I’ll still be left with a sliver of soap. The only difference is that that sliver will be left from one side of this bar, rather than the middle. I’m going to start using it tomorrow and will keep you updated on it’s eventual demise.

What do YOU think? Is this greenwashing?  I’m all for reducing waste and living frugally. But I’m also about making conscious, mindful decisions about how I spend my money, how I live my values and how I can make even a small difference in the world, but sadly, this (almost) bar of soap just doesn’t ring true for me.

To eliminate soap waste, I save all those little slivers that have been cleverly eliminated from this bar, and store them in a ziplock bag. When I have enough to mess with, I melt the slivers down, and then pour the hot liquid into a repurposed food storage container. When it cools, it hardens into: TA DA! Soap! Here’s a picture of the melting slivers melting in a nonstick pot:

And here are the four finished bars. They smell heavenly, and are the EPITOME of ‘Green Washing’, wouldn’t you agree?

Just trying to keep it real…

(Have you seen any blatant examples of greenwashing in advertising? If so, send them in, I’ll post them here!)

%d bloggers like this: