Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earth Day 2009 Manifesto

Saul Gravy/Getty

Each year when Earth Day rolls around I try to celebrate it in a similar fashion to New Years by making a resolution or two- environmentally focused. I use these resolutions as a way to challenge myself and not just give up/change the easy stuff, but to pick something significant that will make a difference and in some cases may require a little sacrifice or at least a little more planning.

At the beginning of the year as one of my New Years resolutions, I decided to focus more on water conservation. You can read more about this in one of my previous posts. So far, I am doing pretty good with the new water world order, but I do occasionally forget to bring the pitcher upstairs to the bathroom before showers. I should probably spring for another pitcher, since it they are very inexpensive and having just one more would greatly increase my reuse of water that would otherwise be wasted.

So, my new pledge for Earth Day 2009 is to bite the bullet on styrofoam. I like to look at my resolutions in a “Just Say No” format, so this pledge will be my “Just Say No” to styrofoam containers. This may sound pretty easy, but the reality of this is no to go containers from restaurants, no drinks purchased in styrofoam cups (smoothies, etc) , being more aware of the packaging in the food products I buy and also making sure family events have alternatives to paper/styrofoam plates. But fear not; I have a plan.

Why say no to styrofoam? Here are just a few things to consider:

  • By 1986, styrene was found in 100 percent of all samples of human fat tissue taken as part of a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Human Tissue Survey. Researchers found that Styrofoam cups lose weight when in use, meaning that styrene is oozing into the foods and drinks we consume. It then ends up stored in our fatty tissue, where it can build up to levels that can cause fatigue, nervousness, difficulty sleeping, blood abnormalities, and even carcinogenic effects.
  • It’s hard to recycle.
  • Did I mention the health risks? Click the link above to read more scary information on the health topic.

Now that I have decided to give up the ‘foam, here’s my action plan:

  • Rubbermaid collapsible containers. I already use these, but will be investing in a new set of three that will be reserved for take out use. I am going to have to train myself to pop one of these into my bag along with a foldable bag to tote home leftovers. You can usually find reusable Target bags in all my bags/totes, but I may need to increase the stock just in case. I also use the Target bags as gift bags at Christmas.
  • Liquid containers. I am not giving up the occasional smoothie, but I will be bringing my own container from now on. I don’t drink coffee, stop gasping!, so no need for a travel mug for me, but we do have one for the boyfriend to use. If you thin water bottles/containers still look like what you would use in a gym, let me present for your consideration:


my workout bottle compared to my stylish new Sigg bottle. You can get some very cool designs from Sigg and other companies. I usually have my Sigg bottle in my bag, so I will just need to dump out my water when I have a smoothie craving.

  • Food products. I am going to have to check out the packaging on our meats to see if there’s any alternative, but this one may be a hard option to find an fix for quickly. I will keep you posted.
  • Paper/styrofoam plates: I already conquered this one last Thanksgiving with sugarcane plates. Yes, actual plates made out of corn that are biodegradable so they will not outlive us all in the landfills. We used the ones from Eco Products on Turkey Day and they held up amazingly well. You do have to order them online, unless you happen to have a store locally that carries eco-friendly products.

So, that’s the plan. I will let you know how it goes and if my planning pays off or if I still make it out of the house without the needed supplies (very likely) to carry off this “Just Say No” mission.

What’s your Earth Day resolution? Post it here and inspire us.


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