Edited: Hey it's Delurking Day! Which doesn't mean that you have to comment, or that I feel hostile towards my lurkers. Quite the contrary: I love my lurkers with an endless curiosity. So if you're up for it, I'd love to hear from you. The very kind Morrigan did it... you can too. Even if you just want to tell me your favourite colour (mine is brown... could you tell?).
I meant to post about this AGES ago, but for one reason and another, I haven't. Last month, the BlogHers Act Canada Eco-Challenge urged us to reduce the packaging we use.
Because I only drink tea and it's near impossible to get a decent cup of take-out tea, disposable cups are not such an issue for me. I already had one of my generously proportioned mugs from home at work (because in my world, if you're going to go to the trouble of making a cup of tea you may as well make it a BIG one), since about June. I do drink from plastic water bottles, but I re-use them or often use cups from the cafeteria. The cafeteria also provides plates and metal utensils, further reducing disposable containers.
But I really suck with plastic bags. I've been collecting canvas bags slowly, and I've been pretty good at using them when I'm out picking up a few items with the stroller. But I really sucked at remembering to bring them with me for the big weekly grocery shop in the car. Last month, inspired by a few bloggers, I decided that any shopping trip I forgot the bags I would buy another canvas bag as a sort of penance, which would at least reduce my plastic bag consumption by two or three bags. The result? I only forgot the bags once, and since then I have had two full shopping trips where I didn't need any additional plastic bags. I have also been using a reusable lunch container, because I used to use plastic bags, which often got gross and I'd throw them out after a single use. So far so good, except that my new lunch bag is something I got from Pizza Pizza as a promotion not long ago, and it says, "Hot and Fresh!"
Also, this past week we rented one of those big bins to throw garbage in as we decluttered. I was really conscious of the fact that all that stuff goes straight to landfill, so I made sure to only put stuff in it that couldn't be recycled or donated. It required a few extra bags of recycling and a cartrip to the local good will store with a full trunk, but it was worth it. I also made sure not to put anything toxic in the bin, like old batteries or paint cans. I may not have it down as well as Mad, but I'm working on it.
For October, the challenge is looking to reduce the toxic chemicals in our food and retail products. I find this a little more daunting.
However, after clicking over to the Environemental Defence's Toxic Nation, I realize that I am already doing some things that could help. For example, I don't use any anti-bacterial products, for four reasons: 1) they don't actually work, unless you leave them on for like 30 minutes 2) the active ingredients are often quite damaging to the environment, forming dioxin or other nasty compounds in the presence of sunlight 3) they contribute to antibiotic resistance even more than overprescribed antibiotics and 4) it's not actually desirable to kill all the bacteria on your skin or anywhere else on your body -- they help keep you well and if they get depleted, they leave room for the really nasty microbial critters. I tried, to no avail, to get my workplace to stop using antibacterial soap in the bathrooms, a vestige of the SARS scare (which is VIRAL, people, NOT bacterial). To my knowledge, it's still there, and it still pisses me off.
I don't use many cleaners in my home. Well, ok, that's mostly because I'm a slob, but it's also partly because of all the nasty shit they put in those things and don't tell us about on the labels. Wherever practical, I use simple, old-school cleaners like vinegar or baking soda or plain old soap. And the cleaning service who comes in once every two weeks to scrape the scum out of our kitchen and bathroom only uses environmentally and people-friendly products. There have been studies that show that children from very clean homes have more allergies than children from slightly dirtier homes with pets and dust. So I comfort myself that I am reducing Swee'pea's allergies by being a slob.
We don't use non-stick pots or pans, unless we're visiting Grandma and Grandpa. I always thought it was just Sugar D's paranoia, but Toxic Nation says those surfaces actually are toxic.
There's a lot more I can do, to increase my awareness and lobby for change. I've signed Toxic Nation's petition to urge the Canadian government to ban Bisphenol A, a hormone disrupter found in baby bottles and other hard plastic containers and food cans. I've subscribed to Toxic Nation's e-updates.
Two things I'm going to try to do this month: find a plastic bottle to drink from that doesn't contain Bisphenol A and using more dried beans and legumes instead of canned.
What are you doing?
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