In our mixed-bag opening, Green Dude Eco Ed talked about an innovative student who has developed a way to clean up some of the plastic and other garbage floating around the oceans and is designed to work on that gigantic Pacific Garbage Patch (estimated to be larger than the state of Texas!). Of course, this was quite relevant as our feature guest was Beth Terry, author of Plastic-Free: How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and How You Can Too. More on Beth – keep reading . . .
or Listen to this week’s awesome podcast and hear our interview with Beth Terry!
We talked about some of the new fun products we are reviewing
Sustainable Earth by Staples – Paper made from sugar cane. So far, three thumbs up (one from each GD Meg, GD Mizar & GDude Ed)
Balance Bar Dark – THESE energy bars are gluten-free and 100% Rainforest Alliance Certified and yummy! three thumbs up, but GD Gina thought that they may not be truly GF — will have to look into that. We also got a couple of Rainforest Alliance tote bags and some cool little notebooks that had a hilarious sticker on them that says, “People Against Ugly Notebooks” by maydesigns.com.
Pure Sky Living Reusable Paper Towels - Brilliant idea! They were kind enough to send two starter sets for GD Mizar and I – GD Ed felt left out, but we gave him a balance bar . . . More on these after we get to use them a bit.
Elise called us to talk about a new campaign launched by Green is Universal‘s great app, One Small Act. If you haven’t downloaded it to your smart phone or computer yet — DO IT — it is easy, fun and surprisingly informative. Through One Small Act, Green is Universal is doing the We’re All in this Together campaign and giveaway, which aims to further help people get involved in the simplicity of doing small acts that make a big difference.
This is all leading up to the big Earth Day program, which Elise said she would come on the show to talk about in the next week or two. Stay tuned . . .
We had all seen an image earlier in the day of THOUSANDS of old cell phones with a caption about planned obsolescence, which got us thinking about eWaste. GDude Eco Ed talked about how wonderful all this technology can be, but we have to learn to be more responsible with it – and this means manufacturers too! We have to learn to buy quality and then recycle responsibly.
We produce 20 – 50 metric tons of e-waste every year ONLY ABOUT 15% OF IT GETS RECYCLED!
What does land in our landfills annually is about the equivalent of tossing 100,000 fully loaded 747s! Can you say YIKES!
So, What is eWaste?
Discarded . . .
- Cell phones
- TVs, DVRs, etc.
- Even refrigerators
One problem is that many electronics are frequently replaced:
- Cell phones every 22 months!
- Computers every 2 years
- Portable music players (ipods, etc.) every 2 – 3 years
- DVD player every 4 – 5 years
- TVs about every 10 years
2% of the average municipal waste stream is eWaste = enough to fill over 60 landfills!
- The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that only 15-20% of e-waste is recycled, the rest go directly into landfills and incinerators – not good.
- 70% of heavy metals in landfills in the US, comes from eWaste
Electronic toxins are a hazard to US and the environment!
Antimony, Arsenic, Barium, Beryllium, Cadmium, Chromium, Dioxins, Lead, Mercury, Nickel, PCBs, PVC – the LEAST of these are poisonous, most are carcinogenic and highly toxic to our vital organs.
Of course, the most affected by these toxins, are those that are deconstructing it – too many are men, women and children who work largely unprotected in countries like China, Ghana, India, Nigeria and Pakistan.
Ahhhhhhhh . . .
Responsible Disposal of eWaste!
- Donate used electronics to local charities (such as cell phones to battered women’s shelters). Check out Goodwill Industries which uses their recycling program as a job training program, so its a win, win, win. Cell phones are often recycled to battered women’s organizations. Check with your local phone store, if one doesn’t do it go to the next one, more do than don’t, but some don’t.
- Find an e-cycling program near you – PLEASE try to verify that they DO NOT send their eWaste overseas!
- Get Active – California had the right idea when they passed theElectronic Waste Recycling Act in 2003, which requires consumers to pay a fee for certain types of electronics, and that money is redistributed to recycling companies that are qualified to properly recyclethese products. If you aren’t in CA, what is YOUR state doing.
Listen to the 5-min Green Dude Segment on eWaste
Listen to our Green Divas Sleeping Naked is Green 5-min segment on eWaste - SNiG#10: Dispose of eWaste Responsibly
GD Mizar’s DIY: Upcycling Ideas for Easter
GD Mizar and GD Gina did a lot of work on this segment and had some really fun ideas, including Mizar’s adorable little bunny baskets made from old cat cans (the cans associated with the lids from last week’s DIY garden marker project).
Listen to the 5-min podcast of this fun segment about DIY Upcycling Ideas for Easter
Feature Interview: Beth Terry, author Plastic-Free: How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and How You Can Too
Beth is another one of my Green Sisters from the Green Sisterhood. Beth is my plastic-free hero. After trying the plastic-free February challenge a couple of years ago, I learned the hard way just how difficult it is to kick this plastic habit!
Beth’s book is wonderfully informative about why we need to become aware of how plastic impacts our environment and our health, and she offers some great ideas on how to get started. Like us Green Divas, she offers a low-stress, no-guilt approach, which makes it all that much easier to kick this tough cultural crutch. I highly recommend getting your hands on this book – Plastic-Free: How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and You Can Too.
Please listen to the interview (in the last 20 minutes of the podcast) for some great ideas on how to kick the plastic habit!
eWaste image from Shutterstock