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Category Archives: bamboo
We all know we need to do our part to manage climate change?well, almost everyone knows this scientific fact. We know we need to drive less, recycle, stop using plastic, eat organically and opt for less packaging and reusable bags. And, if you?re like me, you?re trying to do all of these things. But, what if we ? as citizens, business owners, policy makers, or government leaders – knew the most important ways to manage climate change? Then, we could be sure we?re each doing as many of them as possible to make the greatest difference.
The group Project Drawdown ranked the most effective climate change solutions, dividing the many activities under categories such as the best ways to manage climate change based on food, movement of people and goods, homes and cities, land use, electricity use, waste management and empowering women.
Here are some of the top-ranked selections under each of the categories:
Under Project Drawdown?s food category, the organization ranked eating a plant-based diet, throwing away less food, composting waste and cooking over cleaner stoves among the top solutions. Check out my blog, ?New Study Found Plant-based Diet Reduces Heart Failure Risk by 41%? to not only help climate change but to help improve your health, too.
Project Drawdown also looked at the way we move people and goods around the planet and found that we could all help climate change by flying less and flying on more fuel efficient planes when we need to fly. It also recommended that we invest in high-speed trains, ship goods more efficiently and drive electric cars. It seems to me that there is an obvious trend toward decreasing our use (and waste) of fossil fuels and decreasing emissions of these greenhouse gases.
The homes we inhabit and the cities we live in also contribute to climate change and it astounds me that so many town, city, state and national governments continue to institute laws, regulations and policies that restrict people and communities that want to ?go green.? From outdated building codes to front yard vegetable gardens, government officials need to get informed before they get their heels in to support the status quo. Some of the top-ranked ways to fight climate change under the ?Our Homes and Cities? category include green roofs, smart thermostats and LED lighting, as well as designing (or redesigning) cities to be more walkable.
The United States has lost millions of acres of prime agricultural land to development in the last few decades. That doesn?t include wilderness lands that have been developed or opened up for development by governments that don?t understand climate change science. Project Drawdown ranks the protection, preservation and restoration of important ecosystems like coastal wetlands and tropical forests, as well as the return of lands to indigenous peoples as top ways we can combat climate change. The organization also ranked the planting of bamboo because of the plant’s rapid growth and capacity to absorb greenhouse gases at a much higher rate than most plant and tree species.
Our rapid pace of development also leads to challenges with materials and waste management. Top-ranked solutions in these areas include building with greener cement compounds. Cement is ubiquitous in our lives and most of us don?t give it a second thought. But the cement industry is the third largest emitter of carbon dioxide on the planet next to two countries (China and the U.S.), not two other industries. Cement making requires huge volumes of water (another climate change alarm bell) that could be used for drinking and growing crops, and it creates large amounts of dust that increase respiratory problems. Its negative impacts on the natural environment are innumerable. While we must address this massive threat, Project Drawdown also suggests we demand government and industry clean up chemicals in our air conditioning and refrigeration. On a more personal level, we can do a better job of recycling or repurposing more of our household goods and cutting back on rampant consumption.
It is almost impossible for most people today to imagine life without electricity even though its widespread use in society is less than a century old. Electricity generation and use is often sold as ?clean energy? but its impact on climate change is real. Among the top-ranked solutions regarding electricity use, Project Drawdown included wind, wave and solar power as better ways to generate electricity. As an added bonus, none of these energy generating options have been proven to cause cancer despite the ?windmill? claims of a high-ranking government official. Project Drawdown also included nuclear power in the rankings but the images from Chernobyl remain a horrific reminder of the dangers of this form of energy generation.
Last but not least, kudos to Project Drawdown for recognizing that empowering women will have a positive impact in our fight against climate change. Increased access to education, increased access to family planning and closing the gender gap in small-scale farming are some of the solutions the organization ranked high.
Check out all the rankings and let us know what things you are doing to combat climate change and help the planet.
Dr. Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM shares her food growing, cooking, and other food self-sufficiency adventures at FoodHouseProject.com. She is the publisher of the free e-newsletter World?s Healthiest News, founder of Scent-sational Wellness, and an international best-selling and 20-time published book author whose works include: Be Your Own Herbalist: Essential Herbs for Health, Beauty, & Cooking. Follow her work.
Let’s not beat around the organic bush. Living a zero-waste lifestyle takes effort. I mean, you’re basically thumbing your nose at convenience.
The thing is, convenience comes at a price, and it’s a lot more than the cost of your Starbucks grand? double-mocha with extra cream.?Convenience?means leaving a trail of single-use plastic in your wake.
None of us sets out to do harm. We’re just opting for easy in a world that’s too busy. Unfortunately, easy invariably comes with consequences. Imagine knowing your straw was responsible for?this:
Adopting a zero-waste lifestyle might take some effort, but it’s not hard. If everyone carried these five items with them, we’d stem the tide of trash that we’re washing into our rivers and?oceans.
1.?Collapsible Coffee Cup
Given the amount of coffee and tea we indulge in on a daily basis, keeping a cup in your bag is a no brainer. The problem is, most reusable cups are unwieldy, especially if you’re a grand? double-mocha kind of person (and who isn’t?).
The solution: Get a collapsible coffee mug. They’re leak-proof and much easier to stow than their bulky, full-sized cousins. How ingenious!
Biodegradable straws are de rigueur in a lot of hippie and health-conscious establishments, but most mainstream outlets are still all about the bottom line. That approach doesn’t allow for anything other single-use plastic straws.
The solution: Invest in some reusable straws. (One for you and the rest for your envious table mates.) You get all different types (stainless steel, silicon, glass, etc.), but I like bamboo, because it’s best for the environment.
3.?Filtered Water Bottle
More and more companies are turning plastic bottles into jackets, but that’s not a good enough reason to grab a bottle of Evian with your lunch. Plastic water bottle pollution is worse than you think, with only one in every six bottles being recycled (or downcycled, really). And that’s just the tip of a two million-ton iceberg.
The solution: A filtered water bottle is the perfect workaround. You get to be a better human and have filtered water on tap. There are plenty to choose from, so it’s up to your budget and personal taste.
4.?On-the-Go Cutlery Set
More and more restaurants and eateries are joining the sustainability movement. It’s gratifying to see them providing wooden utensils rather than the usual plastic cutlery we’re accustomed to. But, like with straws, the movement is still in its infancy.
The solution: Buy an on-the-go cutlery set. It’s worth spending the money on a quality kit, as a poorly made knife or fork that doesn’t do the job is enough to ruin a good lunch.
5.?Lunch Box/Food Container
Making your own food from scratch is better for your health, your budget and your zero-waste efforts. But let’s face it: not everyone has the time or the inclination to spend the weekend meal prepping.
Maybe going to your favorite deli for lunch is how you indulge in ‘me time.’ Perhaps enjoying a meal out with friends and family is your preferred way to socialize. I get it.
The solution: Get a lunch box/food container and ask the deli to serve your meal in there instead of their plastic takeout containers. And when you go out for dinner, guess where your leftovers go?
Using these five items will drastically reduce the amount of trash you create on a daily basis. If this is all you did, you’d make a significant difference to the environment. You could stop there and still feel really good about your zero-waste efforts.
The next thing you know you’ll have been living a zero-waste for a full year.
Photo Credit: Getty Images
Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.
The holidays are a wonderful time to celebrate friends and family and linger in feelings of joy and gratitude. It’s also a great time to get your consumer habits in check!
Have a zero waster in your life who is trying to cut down on excess? Here are a few thoughtful gift ideas that won’t make them squirm, but smile instead!
10 Thoughtful Gifts for
Your Favorite Zero Waster
Made from renewable, recyclable materials, these gorgeous steel and bamboo chopsticks are perfect for the foodie in your life! Plus, they come in a lovely little carry case, so they can be easily stashed in one’s purse.
Typical health and beauty products are designed for disposal and contribute to a significant portion of household waste. These beautifully crafted products may be used again and again, till the end of their life when they can be composted.
Coffee cup, to-go tin, cutlery…this kit has everything one might need to go out for lunch without creating an ounce of garbage. Bonus: these are perfect for picnics! You might just want to pick one up for yourself.
Perfect for that person in your life who loves luxury, this body oil smells sweet and nourishes the body with all sorts of delicious all-natural ingredients.
Help your recipient share their love for Mother Nature with the world! This bag will help them keep plastic bags out of landfills and make grocery shopping a whole lot more interesting.
This tiny but mighty pocket knife will be a no-brainer addition to your recipient’s “phone, wallet, keys” list. It has a million uses: cut off tags, open packages…you name it!
Now your loved one can talk, text and tweet the sustainable way! This case is durable, eye-catching and biodegradable. No guilt. Tons of style.
Zero waste makeup doesn’t have to be crunchy. It’s classy too! Pick up this delightful hazy mauve lip paint if you want something out there. It’s flattering on every skin tone.
Say goodbye to plastic water bottles! This lightweight bottle will serve every need on the go. Made from silicone, its spiral design allows it to collapse to half its size. Especially great in airports, coffee shops and on hikes!
Throwaway shampoo bottles are now a thing of the past! Plaine has done an incredible job designing a subscription service that delivers top-tier beauty products like shampoo and body lotion in refillable stainless steel containers. This is a serious zero waste win.
Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.
The modern American culture in no way encourages minimalism, patience and restraint. Rather, we’ve been conditioned to use wealth and access to get more, more, more, wherever it’s made and whatever the cost to the planet and our health.
This addiction to consumption has led us to a place in which we require garages, attics and storage units to keep our things, are practically drowning in plastics, and have very little understanding of how our shopping habits affect the rest of the globe.
People who’ve committed to going zero waste have to force themselves to break these patterns, practicing self control in an effort to reduce the hold that “stuff” has on our lives. For many of us, this involves shopping locally and in season to help limit excessive?consumption, and committing to only purchasing products that will not end up in the landfill at the end of their lives.
These two actions alone help a great deal. It’s pretty hard to shop online when you won’t let plastic bags into your house. And setting strict criteria for what you purchase and why (for example, a bamboo toothbrush over a plastic one) means you’re a lot less likely to grab up products willy nilly.
But what about shopping for fun? How do you confront that addiction to “stuff” that we talked about earlier? It’s not easy. But it’s worth it. Here are a few ways to soften the blow.
Take a real break from shopping
Set a clear intention to do no unnecessary shopping for an entire month. This means anything beyond necessities like groceries or a much-needed winter coat are off limits.
Whenever you get the urge to go shopping for the fun of it, take a breath and examine your intentions. Why do you want this right now? Is it because you like the “high” that comes with something new and shiny? Is it because you’re struggling with envy or comparison? Start here.
Purge the clutter around you
Once you have established a clear head around shopping and its role in our lives, you might want to take the time to declutter a bit. Random additions to your stash will look silly and stand out if your home is clean and clutter free.
Start with the places you haven’t touched in ages. I’m talking about the craft closet, that one corner in your garage, boxes under the bed. Think about what you see. Have you used this item in the past couple of months? The past year? If not, decide whether it’s a true keepsake or something you’re holding onto for convenience’s sake.
Identify something meaningful to shop for
Still feel like you need a refresh? There’s no harm in adding a new jacket or piece of art to your space, as long as it’s done intentionally and with care. Select something that you’ve wanted for a while, then commit to purchasing nothing until you find the exact perfect thing.
Maybe it’s a new armchair for the living room. Maybe it’s a dutch oven. Maybe it’s a gardening tool or a computer or a painting for your office. Whatever it is, make sure it’s something you’ll use or enjoy for a long time. Then, save up and make it happen.
Fill up with experiences, not things
I might sound like a broken record, but this is so true: memories are so much more precious than things. Rather than filling your heart and space with stuff, look for cool experiences that are worth your money instead.
Sign up for a rock climbing class, book space in a recording studio, take a friend to a concert, save up for that big vacation you’ve wanted to take for years. You’ll feel so much better after a long weekend in the mountains than you would after a spree at Target.
Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.
READ GREEN WITH E-BOOKS
Publish Date: October 3, 2006
Seller: Penguin Random House LLC
A blend of history, science, philosophy, and environmentalism, The Tree is an engaging and elegant look at the life of the tree and what modern research tells us about their future. There are redwoods in California that were ancient by the time Columbus first landed, and pines still alive that germinated around the time humans invented writing. There are Douglas firs as tall as skyscrapers, and a banyan tree in Calcutta as big as a football field. From the tallest to the smallest, trees inspire wonder in all of us, and in The Tree, Colin Tudge travels around the world—throughout the United States, the Costa Rican rain forest, Panama and Brazil, India, New Zealand, China, and most of Europe—bringing to life stories and facts about the trees around us: how they grow old, how they eat and reproduce, how they talk to one another (and they do), and why they came to exist in the first place. He considers the pitfalls of being tall; the things that trees produce, from nuts and rubber to wood; and even the complicated debt that we as humans owe them. Tudge takes us to the Amazon in flood, when the water is deep enough to submerge the forest entirely and fish feed on fruit while river dolphins race through the canopy. He explains the “memory” of a tree: how those that have been shaken by wind grow thicker and sturdier, while those attacked by pests grow smaller leaves the following year; and reveals how it is that the same trees found in the United States are also native to China (but not Europe). From tiny saplings to centuries-old redwoods and desert palms, from the backyards of the American heartland to the rain forests of the Amazon and the bamboo forests, Colin Tudge takes the reader on a journey through history and illuminates our ever-present but often ignored companions.
Whether you?re a full-time eco-warrior or just learning about sustainability, there are many modifications you can make to your lifestyle to support a healthy planet. Here are seven cheap and easy changes you can make starting today.
1. Drive greener
The average American driver spends roughly 17,600 minutes behind the wheel each year, according to AAA. And each minute, traditional vehicles release pollutants that can spell trouble both for your health and the environment. ?Pollutants released by vehicles greatly increase air pollution levels and have been linked to adverse health effects, including premature mortality, cardiac symptoms, exacerbation of asthma symptoms, and diminished lung function,? according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
So if you burn fuel every day, it?s time to re-evaluate your commute. Look for alternatives, such as walking, biking, carpooling and public transportation. Find out whether you can telecommute to work or shift your hours to avoid sitting in heavy traffic. And try to run errands when traffic is light. The gas money you?ll save is just an added bonus to breathing cleaner air.
2. Create a meal plan
Are you guilty of buying more food than you can finish before it goes bad? You?re definitely not alone. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, 22 percent of discarded solid municipal waste is food. That?s a serious waste problem, especially given the environmental impact of food production.
But with a bit of effort, you can dramatically cut your food waste. Simply plan your meals, write out a shopping list and stick to it. You don?t have to cut out impulse buys completely ? though you should avoid shopping on an empty stomach ? but if you do purchase something unexpected, be sure to adjust your meal plan so nothing spoils. And try to share or donate any excess food before it ends up in a landfill.
3. Learn what goes into your food
On the topic of food, you also should know what you?re buying. Food production often involves the use of chemical fertilizers, burning fossil fuels for transportation, inhumane treatment of animals, harm to wildlife and more. So as a consumer, it?s up to you to make responsible choices.
Buy local, organic and humanely raised food whenever possible. Look for ?fair trade? on the label for goods that promote better standards for the producers and the environment. And refuse to support restaurants and other establishments that don?t make these environmentally conscious choices.
4. Cut plastic waste
Plastic waste is a massive problem for our planet. It?s polluting oceans, killing wildlife and making us sick. Still, it?s unfortunately difficult to entirely avoid plastic in everyday life, but we can be more responsible about our use of it.
?You can start cutting down on your plastic waste in a few simple steps: use reusable bags when you shop, ditch single-use water bottles, bags, and straws and avoid products made from or packaged in plastic whenever possible,? the Center for Biological Diversity recommends. Consider buying items used instead of new to avoid plastic packaging. Shop local, and cut down on online purchases, which often come wrapped in plastic. And, of course, recycle everything you can. Saying no to that straw won?t clean an entire ocean, but it might save one sea animal?s life.
5. Switch to natural cleaners
Chemical cleaning products might make your home smell “meadow fresh” ? whatever that means ? but at a huge cost to actual meadows and your health. ?Store-bought cleaners typically contain dangerous chemicals, contribute to greenhouse gas emissions and are packaged in petroleum-based products,? according to Ohio University?s Office of Sustainability.
Luckily, you can find eco-friendly cleaning products at most retailers, and you can easily make your own. Most clean and disinfect just as well as the chemicals, and you don?t have to be afraid to breathe while you knock out your chore list.
6. Question your purchases
You might buy something based on impulse, hours of research and everything in between. Hopefully, you at least pause to think about the impact of your purchase. ?Every product we purchase has an environmental footprint, from the materials used to create it to the pollution emitted during manufacturing to the packaging that ends up in landfills,? the Center for Biological Diversity says.
So first ask yourself, ?Do I really need this?? If the answer is yes, as it often is, then look for items that have a smaller environmental impact. Upgrade to energy-efficient appliances or a fuel-efficient vehicle. Purchase furniture made from sustainable materials, such as bamboo ? or better yet, buy it secondhand. Basically, if you?re already putting in research before buying an item, don?t forget to consider the environment as a factor.
7. Time your showers
There?s plenty you can do to make your home more eco-friendly ? and much of it adds up to cost savings and better health for you, too. Upgrade your home?s insulation, and seal any air leaks to save on heating and cooling. Switch to energy-saving light bulbs and low-flow faucets. And grow low-maintenance, native plants in your garden.
If you?re a new eco-warrior, all those green options can be dizzying. So here?s a good place to start: Time your showers. To save water, you first have to realize how much you use. Try to beat your time each day by a minute, and ultimately you?ll learn only to use the water you need to get the job done. Then, let this victory in sustainability inspire you to branch out and live a more eco-friendly lifestyle.
Main image credit: Sasiistock/Thinkstock
For most of us, doing the dishes is pretty far down the list of tolerable chores. It’s such a slog ? and?something you need to keep up with every day, week by week, till the end of time. A good time? I think not.
Lucky for us, there are a lot of brands out there who are working hard creating clever products that make dish duty a lot more fun. Here are some of my favorites!
Not all dish soaps are created equal. Lots of them contain numerous chemicals, including foaming agents like sodium laureth sulfate, carcinogenic antibacterial agents and synthetic fragrances. Fortunately, there are a number of delicious, non-toxic variations out there: a favorite is this?safe and effective formula?by Eco-Me.
You may have seen these cute little?dishcloths?slowly popping up in boutiques and specialty kitchen stores in recent years. Made from earth-friendly cellulose, cotton fibers and water-based inks, these reusable sponge cloths last about a year and compost at the end of their life. Cool right!? To clean, simply toss in the washing machine or microwave when damp to kill bacteria.
These hand towels do what you wish every paper towel could. Made from 100% cotton, these lightweight,?absorbent towels are durable and efficient, plus they dry quickly so you won’t have to worry about mildew. Once you’re done with the task at hand, send them to the laundry. The earth will thank you!
Who knew a pot scrubber could be so elegant??These scrubbers are made from copper threads, so they’re tough enough to remove even the most stubborn food residue, but gentle enough to keep from scratching your beautiful cookware. And, bonus: they can be recycled at the end of their useful life.
Renewable hemp woven in a honeycomb pattern makes this beautiful dish towel both strong and beautiful.?Because hemp is especially durable, you can expect these eco-conscious towels to last for years to come.
B?rstenhaus Redecker has been handcrafting brushes in Germany for over 75 years, and their commitment to high quality craftsmanship certainly shows! Use this brush to clean everything from coffee mugs to pots and pans. The hard bristles will hold up to just about anything.
Vintage?knick knacks always come in handy. A quick Etsy search of vintage dish trays yields a vast selection of darling secondhand trays eager to prove their worth at your kitchen sink. This one is a?personal favorite (it will match your Swedish dishcloths)?? this one too!
Perfect for all those hand wash-only items or kitchens without the luxury of a dishwasher, this bamboo dish rack is an attractive addition to the countertop. This particular one is made from eco-friendly bamboo and has two individual racks for large plates and glassware. Plus, it folds up neatly for easy storage!
According to World Bank researchers, the world generates more than 3.5 million tones of solid waste each day, with the United States contributing a whopping 4.4 pounds of trash per person per day.?In response, many people are embracing a modern, trash-free lifestyle as part of the zero waste movement ? myself included.
The benefits are numerous. Taking trash out of your life entirely has a number of distinct health benefits, both immediate and long term. Zero wasters are also?generally in less contact with plastics, avoid processed foods?and quit using conventional cosmetics that would otherwise wreak havoc on?their bodies.
Instead, the “zero waster” takes reusable bags to the grocery store, stashes bulk goods in glass jars, replaces dangerous toiletry items like conventional deodorant with homemade versions?and uses a safety razor (if anything) instead of a disposable Gillette. Zero wasters also seek out natural, recyclable materials ? the standouts being stainless steel, glass, bamboo and organic cotton.
Sustainable products?like this, while commonplace just 100 years ago, have been majorly replaced by unrecycleable synthetics in most stores (walk down the household cleaning aisle in Walmart and you’ll be hard pressed to find a wooden pot scrubber like this one), which is why zero wasters who don’t have major-city advantages turn to online shops to find what they need.
What makes these shops zero waste?
Zero waste shops like Wild Minimalist and Tiny Yellow Bungalow offer eco goodies to worldwide customers while also maintaining as close to zero waste operations as possible. Package Free Shop in Brooklyn, for example, has a strict packaging policy and works one on one with brands to help them make sustainable changes within their companies, such as reducing plastic use or product packaging.
What products should I buy first?
A couple of tote bags
Reusable drawstring bags for produce and bulk goods
A set of storage jars for?your pantry
A reusable cutlery set or multipurpose utensil for while you’re out and about
A hankie or cloth napkin
A reusable glass or steel straw
Got your shopping list? Let’s take a peek at my favorite online zero waste shops: Package Free Shop, Wild Minimalist, Tiny Yellow Bungalow, Life Without Plastic, Mighty Nest and The Ultimate Green Store.
The Best Zero Waste Shops Online
Ever chic, Brooklyn-based Package Free Shop is a great place to start browsing for your collection of eco-friendly reusables. Everything you need you’ll find here, including safety razors, personal care items, toiletries, reusable containers and even joggers made from fabric remnants! Everything shipped will come to you without any plastics.
“Passionate about living a minimal, zero waste lifestyle and helping others do the same,” the founders of Wild Minimalist, Max and Lily, offer timeliness reusable alternatives to disposable products for both home life and travel. Can’t find what you need secondhand? Definitely look?here! There’s tons to choose from.
Georgia-based Tiny Yellow Bungalow is a one stop shop for people looking for sustainable products. The shop exclusively features items that the owner, Jessie at the blog Tiny Yellow Bungalow, has tried herself. I especially love their Mason jar pour-over drink kit and handmade items!
Life Without Plastic has been a go-to resource for zero wasters for years ? long before it was gaining popularity. All products are entirely plastic free, so no worries there, and have been well-vetted by their team of eco warriors. Chantal and Jay, the couple that runs the site, are also true activists, working hard to raise awareness about the detriments of plastic by providing solid science- and experience-based information. Love it!
Inspired by the birth of their first child, founders Kristen and Chris launched?MightyNest.com ? an online shop dedicated to helping parents find?safe, healthy products for their families. All products on MightyNest are natural, organic, non-toxic, sustainably-sourced and beautifully-designed. Perfect for young families!
The Ultimate Green Store is exactly what it sounds like: a one-stop green shopping destination. The Ultimate Green Store goes far beyond household items and to-go kits. They also sell USDA-certified organic cotton bedding, mattresses, baby clothes, and kids toys! This is certainly a shop to bookmark.
Have you tried going zero waste? Where do you do your shopping?
I try to be conscious about the products I buy. I look for items that are recycled and plastic-free. I recycle aggressively. I research the environmental impact of my favorite brands. But as I sat down on the porcelain throne the other day, I realized that I don’t hold my toilet paper to the same high standards.
I’ve never abandoned the septic-safe, economical, white Scott toilet paper I grew up using. What a waste! Think of all those virgin forests that had to be cut down just so I could have a clean bum.
So I delved into the eco-toilet paper market and was surprised to find that it actually isn’t much more expensive. I also realized?that there are a lot of reasons why we should all switch over to greener toilet papers?beyond the general ‘saving trees’ idea.
6 Questions to Ask When Shopping for Eco Toilet Paper
Here are six environmental issues to consider when it comes to buying toilet paper, plus a breakdown of five popular eco toilet paper brands.
1. How many trees were cut down?
To make that plush toilet paper we know and love, companies are clear-cutting forests, contributing to global deforestation. Is it worth chopping down all those trees just so we can clean our butts? Absolutely not.
Rather than buying virgin or partially recycled toilet paper products, look for those made with 100 percent recycled paper or, even better, bamboo fiber. Bamboo is a super sustainable, fast-growing plant that can keep up with our incessant butt-wiping.
2. If the paper is recycled, are BPAs present?
Yes, BPAs have found their way into recycled toilet papers.
During the paper recycling process, most plants use thermal paper which is the source of endocrine-disrupting BPA. As a result,?Research?has shown that the shocking majority (80 to 99 percent) of recycled toilet paper products contain very small amounts of BPA–even uber-clean companies like Seventh Generation, who, in their defense, are?working to make a change.
Do we want BPAs anywhere near our most sensitive areas? No way! But don?t hop back on the Charmin Soft-and-Strong train just yet. Bamboo-fiber plys?may be the more sustainable and health-conscious solution, as bamboo is not water intensive, is easily renewable, and is not tainted with BPAs during the manufacturing process.
3. Are the rolls wrapped in plastic?
Most toilet paper comes wrapped in a thin sheath of practically non-recyclable plastic that will sit in our landfills and oceans for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. Don’t let the recycling symbol fool you. This plastic must be recycled separately at special facilities.
It is an utter waste. If you are trying to reduce your plastic consumption–but aren?t into wiping your butt with cloth rags–look for companies who?wrap their rolls in paper (ideally recycled paper). It?s definitely a big step above plastic and can be easily recycled when you’re done.
4. Is there a cardboard core?
Most toilet papers have a cardboard core, even eco-friendly brands. Surprisingly,?Scott?s is one of the few brands I could find that sells a tube-free version of their popular, inexpensive toilet paper.
According to?Scott?s online calculator, I will toss (ahem, recycle) almost 6,000 cardboard tubes in my lifetime–definitely a waste. Yes, this Scott?s product is still not recycled, is bleached, and is dressed up in plastic, but it?s a start for more sustainable mainstream toilet paper.
Otherwise, if your t.p. comes with a cardboard core, make sure to toss it in your recycling bin or reuse those tubes.
5. Is the toilet paper bleached, dyed, or scented?
Most toilet paper is whitened so as to look more appealing to the consumer. To do this, companies use elemental chlorine. There is a worry that chlorine’s dangerous byproducts, like carcinogenic?dioxin, will steadily accumulate in our bodies over time as a result of long-term exposure to bleached items.
While this is more concerning for products like tampons, which?stay in contact with sensitive areas for hours on end, it is something to be aware of if you are deciding between bleached and unbleached toilet papers.
As for dyes and fragrances, it’s best to avoid these as they are usually mystery chemical cocktails. We?have no way of knowing what is inside since companies are not required to disclose fragrance?information to the consumer.
6. How much does it cost?
Believe it or not, not all eco toilet papers are expensive. They might?cost a few cents more per roll, but a few dimes?is worth it when it comes to treating the environment with respect. Plus,?if you buy your paper in bulk, costs go down considerably. Either way, eco toilet paper is absolutely worth the modest extra cost.
Eco Toilet Paper Review
Here are the most eco-friendly t.p.s for your buck, ranked.
$1.08 per roll, free shipping for 48 roll pack.
Soft and strong three-ply, made from sustainable bamboo, fun,?whimsical, and plastic-free, this brand is everything toilet paper should be.
You should know that the paper?is gently bleached to make it more appealing for those just entering the eco-realm. But you should also know that?they also donate 50 percent of their profits to help build toilets for those in need. They?ve donated around a million dollars to date and are saving trees and water in the process!
$0.92 per roll, but shipping costs (out to Massachusetts) bump that up to $1.30 per roll for a single 36 roll pack.
This is another fun brand with a great sense of toilet humor.?Their?two-ply bamboo rolls are unbleached, plastic-free, dye-free, and BPA-free.
They are a little bit less plush than the Who Gives a Crap premium line, so if you like a slightly less plush, unbleached bamboo toilet paper, this is a winner.
$1 per roll, free shipping for 48 roll pack.
While most recycled toilet papers contain BPAs, this one claims it doesn?t, although they can’t offer a 100 percent guarantee. It is also plastic-free, 100 percent recycled, and doing a world of good. Of course, it is carefully bleached, but it is also pretty affordable.
$0.83 per roll on Thrive Market, assuming free shipping.
Seventh Generation is a great company, but there are a lot of complaints about how rough this toilet paper is. If you like a rough paper and care about your t.p., this one is?unbleached, 100 percent recycled, and comes from a company with very good intentions.
$1.70 per DOUBLE roll, assuming free shipping.
Thrive Market has merged recycled paper with bamboo fiber to create a soft, strong, and eco-conscious?toilet product. They also claim their surprisingly white rolls to be completely chlorine-free. They are packaged in plastic film and seem a little costly, depending whether or not the rolls are true double rolls.
Honorable mention: Scott Tube Free
About $0.58 per roll.
It?s widely available and a step in the right direction. If you?ve been a lifelong Scott user, are on a super tight budget, or?aren?t a fan of change, this is an easy-to-find, super cheap, and slightly greener option. Small shifts do matter.
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