A Conscious Christmas – 7 Ways to be Eco-friendly this Christmas

Wow, it is this time of year already! I swear, the older you get the more time just flies by! However, I am not complaining because Christmas has come along again and it’s always a great time of the year to be with family, friends and just overall great company.

The more I have become aware of humanities impact on the earth, the more I question the things I buy before I purchase them. This is because I am astonished that everything that is made has had to come from SOMETHING natural, some natural resource or chemical process that has affected the environment in some way. Now, of course, this mindset can be a little exhausting if you get into too much depth with it, but it is an important thought to have if you want to start being more environmentally conscious.

Because Christmas is coming, this is the time for us to buy all sorts of things, and sometimes unnecessary things, which means more unnecessary waste and harm done to our earth. Unless we can be smarter Christmas shoppers this year!

I have a few tips I went by last Christmas and I felt like I was very happy with them as well as my family and friends. Here they are:

1. Buy Smart – Buying smart means to buy a gift that can be reused over and over again for many years to come! That way, there will be less waste and it will be a handy gift for life!

Suggestion! Eco-friendly Christmas Bundle! 

2. Experiences – Instead of buying a material gift, try using Groupon or Adrenalin, or a similar platform to find experiences to give to your loved ones.  Giving someone an experience can end up being the best gift of all because they create beautiful memories that last forever and they may be experiences that they would never have given themselves otherwise. 

3. Safe Presents – Buy your loved ones gifts that are natural and toxin-free. Not only will this protect them from nasty additives but it can be a way of educating them about how easy it is to shop for the things you love but protect yourself and the environment at the same time.

Suggestion! Toxin and cruelty-free makeup!

4. Donation – If you don’t especially desire anything this Christmas and think your friends and family would be buying you just any old thing, you can suggest for them to put your Christmas present money towards a charity of your choice! Christmas is a great time to give to those that may not be fortunate enough to get a Christmas gift or spend it with loved ones, so your gift will be even more special. 

Suggestion! My chosen charity last year was buying land from the Daintree Rainforest so it is forever protected against deforestation!

5. Christmas Wrapping – Use newspaper or a reusable gift bag to wrap your gifts! I have gift bags that I have received from my friends and family and kept them over the years for my own gifts to give. However, if they are to my family, I usually ask if I can take them back to reuse them again haha. Otherwise, there are companies out there that provide Christmas wrapping paper made from 100% recycled newspaper!

6. Clothing – Clothing is a very popular present to give, but is actually very environmentally costly. To be more eco-friendly you can give them clothing made from bamboo! It is ALOT more sustainable and environmentally friendly!

Boody Eco Wear

To understand more about why Bamboo clothing is more sustainable than cotton or polyester clothing, have a peep at the article below!

See More: Bamboo Clothing Brands – Are they really eco-friendly? 

7. Plastic-free Gifts – If you do want to give your family or friends something that won’t last forever but will be a great present anyhow, try and find a plastic-free alternative! Plastic is a big no, no for the environment however luckily in today’s society, there are so many companies out there creating plastic alternatives to so many products.

Suggestion! For example, if you want to buy them a shampoo set, buy them a Natural Shampoo bar!

 

Thank you!

Thank you for landing on this blog to better your knowledge on what you can do to help our planet! Now more then ever we need more environmentally conscious people like you, doing the little things that make a big difference. Thanks for being a part of the movement and I hope to hear from you in the comment section below! I would love to hear any other ideas you have for a more Conscious Christmas!

 

Yours Truly,

 

Danielle Packer

The Earth Co.

 

 

Why is BPA Bad for you? Or is it just a Crazy Conspiracy?

What is BPA?

BPA is an abbreviation for bisphenol A, a plastic monomer and plasticizer and is one of the most produced chemicals in the world.

BPA is used in the production of polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins used in many consumer goods. BPA is used so much because of its unique and beneficial characteristics, such as it is very clear, lightweight, heat-resistant and shatter resistant. These characteristics make it an optimal material for a large variety of products, such as food packaging (cans, bottles), food containers, beverage bottles, tableware, storage containers, eyewear, lenses, sports safety equipment, electronics, and medical equipment.

Due to its large usage globally, BPA has been studied extensively. While studying this product, numerous concerns have arisen about its safety to our health and thus its continued use is questionable. The media started and has continued to cover this issue since 2008, and has focused particular attention onto BPA’s contact with fetuses, infants and young children.

The most common way BPA gets into our system is through oral intake and skin contact sources which are likely from canned foods with lined epoxy resins, water in polycarbonate bottles or cosmetics where it is used as an antioxidant.

In developed nations, almost all individuals are exposed to BPA continuously through the products we use and the foods we eat. Welshons et al, after measuring BPA levels in human blood and urine is concerned about two things:

(1) that BPA intake may be higher then what has been suggested and,

(2) the concern about long-term, daily intake which can lead to bioaccumulation of BPA. This can potentially lead to a steady-state level which has not been represented by any of the current models for BPA metabolism on single, acute administration.

Does BPA affect our health?

Most of the hazards from BPA have been found from studies that deduced their results from testing on rats and mice which already tells us their results may not be 100% accurate about its effects on humans; however one of the potential health impacts that can occur is to do with BPA’s estrogenicity which was discovered in the 1930’s, but it was not until 1997 that the adverse effects of low dose exposure on laboratory animals were first reported. Below is a list of concerning effects BPA exposure had on the animals and these results are from several studies done between 1997 and 2009.

  • Permanent changes to genital tract
  • Changes in breast tissue that predispose cells to hormones and carcinogens
  • Long-term adverse reproductive and carcinogenic effects
  • Increased prostate weight 30%
  • Lower body weight, increase of anogenital distance in both genders, signs of early puberty and longer estrus
  • A decline in testicular testosterone
  • Breast cells predisposed to cancer
  • Prostate cells more sensitive to hormones and cancer
  • Decreased maternal behaviors
  • Reversed the normal sex differences in brain structure and behavior
  • Adverse neurological effects occur in non-human primates
  • Disrupts ovarian development

This range of detrimental health impacts provides a worthy amount of concern about our continued and varied use of BPA products.

Can BPA Really Affect Men’s Testosterone Levels?

 

BPA is an endocrine disruptor, which means it has the ability to mimic the bodies’ hormones and once it enters the body, it can cause problems with our cell functioning by acting as an estrogen and androgen agonist which can affect our health. This can be in the form of affecting a human’s development throughout the fetal period and may be carcinogenic, potentially leading to precursors of breast cancer (European Food Safety Authority, EFSA, 2006).

Additionally, due to BPA’s estrogenic behavior, it has been shown to reduce sperm count and their activity, be toxic to the liver and may be linked to obesity by affecting fat-cell activity (European Food Safety Authority, EFSA, 2006).

Supporting this theory, there are two studies that have shown that men have a larger BPA exposure than women, and this may have to do with BPA’s correlation with higher testosterone compared with normal women, indeed serum BPA concentrations were significantly higher in normal men and in women with polycystic ovary syndrome then ‘normal’ women.

See More: Things That Lower Testosterone – Plastic Product Alternatives

Food packaging with BPA going into our food/liquids

Food cans were shown in two studies to be a major contributor to our intake of BPA. The food cans that are lacquer-coated with a plastic lining are the ones to watch out for because the foods within these cans were shown to be contaminated by substantial amounts of BPA. In one study, they used plastic flasks which still contain BPA and are made by the same canning industry and found the liquid contents of the plastic flasks had BPA contents between 2-4 ug, whereas the original food cans had contents ranging between 4 and 23 ug. Almost all of the estrogenicity was due to BPA, based upon the results of the E-Screen.

 

What About Pregnant Women?

There have been several human studies that have found associations between maternal BPA exposure during gestation and endpoints in the offspring. In these studies, there was a clear representation between maternal exposure and stronger associations of adverse outcomes of the developing fetus.

It is dependent on the timing of the maternal exposure to BPA and thus results in stronger associations of adverse outcomes of the offspring. This indicates that there are sensitive times as to when BPA can have an impact on the developing fetus.  There were also several studies that found effects when following-up on postnatal BPA exposures and outcomes in young children, indicating that the critical windows of BPA exposure may persist postnatally into childhood.

Does BPA Affect the Environment?

 

The presence of BPA in the environment is due to man-made activities as it is not produced naturally. BPA traces are found in water bodies and the atmosphere from polycarbonate and epoxy resin manufacturing facilities. Fortunately, BPA is readily biodegradable and breaks down rapidly in the environment, in fact, approximately 92-98% is removed by microorganisms. The trace amounts left in water bodies can continue to biodegrade for about 1-4 days in receiving waters and downstream of treatments plants.

However,  there are other studies who state that BPA’s exposure in aquatic and terrestrial environments can be harmful to wildlife including annelids (both aquatic and terrestrial), mollusks, crustaceans, insects, fish, and amphibians, as well as on the embryonic development and the induction of genetic aberrations in crustaceans and amphibians.

Although there is a suspicion that the environmental exposure is not adequate to cause serious effects, except in unique situations where a large local contamination occurs, the potential hazards are too important, and more investigation is certainly recommended.

 

How do we Manage this Issue?

From reading all of the potential health implications BPA can have, you would assume its continued use would not be allowed. However, the adverse health effects still remain uncertain due to the tests being done on animals or the tests on humans were done with low dosages and do not know what the long-term with small doses of BPA can have over the course of someone’s life.

In 2010, an expert consultation was organized by WHO in 2010 and that expert recommended that public health officials should hold off on regulations limiting or banning the use of BPA. He states, ‘“initiation of public health measures would be premature”. On the other hand, in March 2010 the USEPA declared BPA as a chemical concern, though the USA Presidents Cancer Panel argued for a precautionary approach on BPA in April 2010. The European Union had prohibited the manufacture of BPA in infant baby bottles since 1 March 2011 and will ban their import and sale by 1 June 2011.

This information shows that though BPA has a large variety of potential health hazards, there is a lack of concrete evidence to make enough of an impact to stop the production and usage of BPA. BPA’s advantages in creating highly functional products outweigh the potential health hazards it may cause to humans in the long run.

What does a BPA website have to say?

The BPA website states that polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resins have been safely used in consumer products for over 40 years.

Additionally, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) stated that “a consumer would have to ingest more than 1,300 pounds of food and beverages in contact with polycarbonate plastic every day for an entire lifetime to exceed the safe level of BPA”.

What do we do?

==> BUY YOUR REUSABLE GROCERY BAG <==

What we can deduce from all this information is that you should not be too overwhelmed about using BPA products or buying canned foods, but if you can avoid the use of a BPA product, it is recommended that you use the alternative.

Additionally, plastic is not biodegradable and is overwhelming our oceans and wildlife.

By choosing plastic-free products, you are not only reducing your risk of potential health issues but you are also doing a world of good by helping the environment!

 

 

Yours Truly,

 

Danielle Packer

The Earth Co.

 

 

References

https://www-sciencedirect-com.ezproxy.uws.edu.au/science/article/pii/S0890623807002377

http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/press/news/161013

https://academic-oup-com.ezproxy.uws.edu.au/endo/article/138/5/1777/2987307

https://www-sciencedirect-com.ezproxy.uws.edu.au/science/article/pii/S0890623807002377#bib2

https://www-sciencedirect-com.ezproxy.uws.edu.au/science/article/pii/S0160412011001206

 

 

 

 

The Real Horror This Halloween – The Scary Truth About Plastic

Halloween is just around the corner, with its scary movies and trick or treat traditions. But given the current state of our planet, it’s clear the real horror story is happening here and now, on our own doorstep, right in front of our eyes.    One of the scariest truths of our generation is our 20th century-born love affair with plastic.

We’ve become so reliant on it that about 40% of all plastic produced is for packaging, used once, and then discarded. i

The convenience of plastic packaging has created habits that come with terrifying impacts. Every minute around the globe, we buy one million plastic bottles, one million disposable cups, and two million plastic bags.ii

The scary truth

As a synthetic material, plastic doesn’t biodegrade. As it gets battered and bruised in our environment, it becomes more and more brittle, breaking down into ‘microplastics’.

Microplastics are small pieces of plastic less than five millimeters long that are being consumed at all levels of the food chain.

Scientists have even found microplastics present in plankton!

Microplastics have found their way into our seafood, our water, our honey, our beer…

We don’t yet know the impact that it will have on human health, for this generation or those to come, but the evidence we have about how it affects marine life paints a disturbing picture for the future of the human race.

Read more: Tonnes of Plastic Missing from the Ocean – Where is it all going?

 

The transgenerational effect

Prior to the 1970s, polychlorinated biphenyls, better known as PCBs, were used in a range of products from electrical appliances to household paints.

In the 70s and 80s, scientists uncovered ‘extensive contamination’ to humans and the environment and PCBs were banned. Newer research has linked the chemicals to endocrine and immune system disruption, and reproductive failure in vertebrates.v

Now, more than thirty years later, the accumulation of these chemicals in the food chain could cause many of the world’s orca whale populations to collapse over the next century.

This case study provides some insight into the effects that our consumption of synthetic materials and chemicals can have on our environment and life on earth in years to come.

We can turn the tide!

It’s so easy to be terrified into inaction by the scary truths we see on the news every day. Trying to fix the big picture can feel impossible.

That’s why it’s so important to remember that every single tiny positive change each one of us makes to reduce our impact is a huge deal if we all do it together.

Here are 10 things you can do today to help reduce and change the future impacts of plastic:

  1. Arm yourself with a reusable water bottle and a reusable coffee cup.
  2. Remember reusable shopping bags when you’re out and about.
  3. Opt for food and skincare packaged in glass, aluminum, and cardboard.
  4. Switch to a bamboo or cornstarch toothbrush.
  5. Replace plastic scrubbing brushes with plant-fiber scrubbing brushes.
  6. Choose plant-fiber fabrics that won’t contribute to microplastic pollution when washed.
  7. Invest in beeswax wraps.
  8. Switch to reusable sanitary pads or period underwear.
  9. Try shampoo and soap bars.
  10. Spread the word about the solutions!

 

Remember, every natural and reusable solution you choose to use is a vote for a better future.

We can turn the tide, together.

 

Where does it go?

Our waste infrastructure is an overwhelmed and overflowing monster, and devastatingly every single minute we dump a lorry’s worth of rubbish into our ocean. iii

This level of synthetic, man-made pollution is unprecedented.

The world has never faced anything like it.

Currently, our plastic habits are killing 300,000 marine mammals and 400,000 seabirds every year. And if nothing changes, by 2050 there will be 500 times the amount of plastic in our ocean than there is now. In other words, there will be more plastic down there than fish.iv

 

Thank you!

Thanks for tuning in and I hope you learned a thing or two from this blog! Let me know your thoughts below in the comment section, I’d love to hear what you have to say or what practices you are taking to tackle this global issue.

 

Yours Truly,

 

Danielle Packer

The Earth Co.

*Republished from The Clean Collective*

References: 

i National Geographic
ii BBC, Drowning In Plastic
iii BBC, Drowning In Plastic
iv BBC, Drowning In Plastic
v National Centre For Biotechnology Information

 

Reusable Grocery Bag – The New Trends

Convenient And Trendy Reusable Grocery Bags!

A new movement of ‘No More Plastic Bags!‘ has begun in Australia with their biggest food retailers making the big change of getting rid of their plastic grocery bags. Woolworths was the first to make the removal of their plastic grocery bags and has replaced them with their own Reusable Bags. If you forget your bag, you have to buy another one, that’s’ their deal!

It can be however quite hard for people to remember their reusable bags especially seeing as they have become so reliant on single-use plastic bags as well as, sometimes consumers spontaneously go to the grocery store while they are out and of course they won;t want to go back and get their bag. So this is where the dilemma arises. No one wants 50 reusable bags stocking up in their home. 

I am a plastic-free freak and I refuse to have a plastic bag even if I don’t have my reusable bag on me, I just won’t go food shopping or I will hold on to my items which can be quite dangerous! Even though I knew I was being environmentally conscious, it was quite inconvenient.

 

The solution!?

 

But then I saw this super cute grocery bag at my local health food store and not only did I love the style but I knew it would fit into my handbag, which I literally take everywhere.

What I also released was that not only was it small, but it was able to stretch out to a significant size and hold a large number of things!

I was sold! It was so cheap too, only $6!

 

==> MY RATING: 9.5/10 <==

I found out later on, that it is made from oatmeal cotton string, how cool is that?

I have been using it for about a year now and do not rave about it enough, it also comes in three other colors: khaki green, navy and black.

Everything is perfect, not only is it so trendy, but it has been made very consumer convenient which we need in this day of age, am I right? 😉

The only downfall, which I have not yet experienced, is that it can’t hold SUPER heavy stuff, however, I have put quite a lot in there and it has not let me down yet!

 

==>Get Yours Here.<==

Plastic will become a thing of the past and this bag will help us get there! 

 

 

What are your thoughts on this plastic-free living?

 

Thank you,

 

Danielle Packer

The Earth Co.

Tonnes of Plastic Missing From the Ocean – Where is it all going?

The amount of plastic that has accumulated over the past 60 years has been extensive. It is used so often due to its durability and cheap manufacturing processes, allowing large businesses to use it extensively. However, plastics convenience comes at a cost to the environment. Our intense consumption and rapid and inappropriate disposal processes have meant that our environment has had to pay the price.

There are high concentrations of floating plastic debris in the Pacific Ocean and the North Atlantic but due to oceanic circulation sequences, we can assume that floating plastic can be found in all five subtropical gyres.

Surface water plastic is the most documented and researched issue today because it shows up on beaches and we see it regularly affecting the marine life in mammals, fish, and seabirds from ingestion or from choking.

Biome Eco Stores - Zero Waste, Toxin Free, Ethical Choices

What is Micro-Plastic?

What is less common however is the talk of microplastic, which also floats amongst the larger pieces of plastic. It dominates most of the surface water plastic pollution and it is smaller than 0.5mm in diameter.

Microplastic is resulted from breaking off from larger pieces of plastic over time. This is how plastic slowly degrades, by undergoing fragmentation, which is a consequence of mechanical breakdown from waves and photochemical processes initiated by UV-B light.

There have been studies showing how much microplastic is in the ocean and the extent of its occupancy but there is still so much we do not understand about the potential impacts it will have on our environment and marine life.

Microplastics are likely the most numerically abundant items of plastic debris in the ocean today, and their numbers will inevitably increase, in part due to large, single plastic items ultimately degrading into millions of microplastic pieces.

 

Missing Plastic?

A 2014 study published in the Journal of the Royal Society Open Science, suggested that surface water plastic accumulation was tens of thousands of tonnes less than expected, as well as, knowing that from historical time series of surface plastic concentration in fixed ocean regions, shows no increasing trends since the 1980’s, despite their increase in production and disposal.

The members of the study, therefore, acknowledged that more research into finding out where this missing plastic is going, an utmost important issue.

What studies are slowly discovering is that microplastics are ending up in the deep sea which is being described as acting as a ‘sink’ for microplastic.

In fact, it is not just a little bit of plastic ending up in the deep sea but studies have found 4 orders of magnitude of microplastic in these sinks than in surface waters.

You would think that because plastic is buoyant, it would not sink even if they are broken into many pieces. Typically, high-density plastics (e.g., polyvinyl chlorides, polyester) settle out of the water column, whereas low-density plastics (e.g., polyethylene, polystyrene) remain buoyant, although can be affected by freshwater inputs, storms, and biofilm formation which may result in vertical mixing.

Because of numerous studies on the whereabouts of microplastics, it has been realized that microplastics have invaded the marine environment to an extent that they are present throughout the all world’s oceans and now finding, including its depths.

And in these deep-sea depths, there are many diverse organisms in fragile habitats that have come into contact with human waste and have been found by a study, to ingest microplastics. 

This really is one of humanity’s biggest mistakes.

Arctic Sea Ice Dangers

In addition to the deep sea, the first study of its kind conducted in 2009 and published in the Journal of Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London: Biological Sciences, found plastic debris in the Arctic Sea Ice.

This was the first study of its kind in the Arctic and they were astonished at how much microplastic they found, ranging from 38 to 234 particles per cubic meter of ice.

This is several orders of magnitude greater than the microplastic found in the Atlantic waters north of Scotland or in waters of the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre.

 

What these scientists are worried about is the release of these microplastics to the marine environment. Global warming has substantially increased the Arctics ice melting which will facilitate their release. The scientists, among others in this field, all state that they are concerned about how little they know in regards to the potential impacts microplastics are going to have as they continue to be released into our oceans.

As a point of interest, Rayon was the most found plastic, this is a plastic fiber commonly used in clothing and is released into the ocean when we wash our clothes.


Read More Here: Bamboo Clothing Brands – Are They Really Eco-Friendly?

Zooplankton Ingestion of Plastic

A study conducted in 2015 and published in the Journal of Environmental Science and Technology was used to help the world understand the potential dangers our environment is undergoing by observing zooplankton ingest microplastic: Whether they do, how, and if it affects them.

Zooplankton is at the bottom of the food chain, so they play a large part in the potential dispersal and transportation of harmful chemicals in the ocean via the food chain, affecting their predators, their own health and, reproduction.

From their study, they were able to confirm the ingestion of microplastics is feasible with zooplankton. The plastic chemicals that are ingested might be considered endocrine-disruptors, carcinogenic or toxic, with symptoms occurring in their growth, sexual reproduction, morbidity, and mortality.

Potential impacts zooplankton consuming plastic include:

  • Reduced function and health of the individual,
  • Trophic-transfer of contaminants to predators (moving up the food chain), and
  • The egestion of fecal pellets containing microplastics.

 

 

Microplastics harm to marine life is likely going to increase due to plastics continually getting smaller and being able to be consumed by all marine life forms.

Unfortunately,  we still do not know the size distributions, generation and degradation rates or the resulting effects on marine life it will have.

Although quantities can be low, the widespread incidence in some natural populations, together with evidence of potentially harmful effects, is cause for concern.

Again, more research is needed in plastic contamination and the extent of its impact.

 

 

What Can We Do To Help?

The moral of the story is that it is imperative for more research to be done in this sector; to find out how microplastic gets into the deep sea or the Arctic, and, the potential impacts it will have on the environment, marine life and our health.

We can help by discontinuing our single-use culture.

We have grown up in a world where it is okay to use things once and immediately throw it away. Extensive resources, chemicals, land and, water were used to make these products, therefore everything has an ecological footprint.

It is amazing to see so many brands working to provide us with eco-alternatives to almost anything! Our job as a consumer is to support them and tell them what we want.

After all, consumers have the power to make a change, that’s why it is important to remember your purchases, choices or actions DO make a difference.

You are being a part of a positive movement!

Thank you for reading this blog and please feel free to comment below your thoughts on this issue and what you think are great ways we can help.

 

 

Yours Truly,

 

Danielle Packer

The Earth Co.

 

References:

Cole, M., Lindeque, P., Fileman, E., Halsband, C., Goodhead, R., Moger, J. and Galloway, T.S., 2013. Microplastic ingestion by zooplankton. Environmental science & technology, 47(12), pp.6646-6655.

Irigoien, X., Navarro, S. and Ruiz, A., 2017. Plastic debris in the open ocean. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Oceanservice.noaa.gov. (n.d.). NOAA Ocean Podcast: Ocean Garbage Patches. [online] Available at: https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/podcast/mar18/nop14-ocean-garbage-patches.html [Accessed 15 Aug. 2018].

Thompson, R.C., Moore, C.J., Vom Saal, F.S. and Swan, S.H., 2009. Plastics, the environment and human health: current consensus and future trends. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London B: Biological Sciences, 364(1526), pp.2153-2166.

The Indian Wire. (2018). Seafood companies discarding plastic and other fishing equipments in oceans, killing marine life – The Indian Wire. [online] Available at: https://www.theindianwire.com/science/seafood-companies-discarding-plastic-fishing-equipments-oceans-killing-marine-life-52176/ [Accessed 15 Aug. 2018].

Thompson, R.C., Olsen, Y., Mitchell, R.P., Davis, A., Rowland, S.J., John, A.W., McGonigle, D. and Russell, A.E., 2004. Lost at sea: where is all the plastic?. Science, 304(5672), pp.838-838.Shim,

W.J. & Thomposon, R.C. Arch Environ Contam Toxicol (2015) 69: 265. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00244-015-0216-x

Van Cauwenberghe, L., Vanreusel, A., Mees, J. and Janssen, C.R., 2013. Microplastic pollution in deep-sea sediments. Environmental Pollution, 182, pp.495-499.

Woodall, L.C., Sanchez-Vidal, A., Canals, M., Paterson, G.L., Coppock, R., Sleight, V., Calafat, A., Rogers, A.D., Narayanaswamy, B.E. and Thompson, R.C., 2014. The deep sea is a major sink for microplastic debris. Royal Society open science, 1(4), p.140317.

 

 

My Plastic Free Life – A New and Better Way to Live

The sky is the limit when it comes to your regular household products becoming available in a plastic-free version! And it is becoming popular as we realize the extent to which plastic is devastating our oceans and in turn, our own health.

It is time we give plastic the cut!

We have become so dependent on plastic in almost everything we do, so much that we produce nearly 300 million tons of plastic every year, half of which is for single use. That is a scary amount!

And then we dump more than 8 million tonnes of plastic into our oceans every year…

From all of this, the packaging is the largest use of plastic with it summing to 40% of plastic usage.

Why Should We Care About Protecting Our Oceans?

First off, every plastic material that was ever created, STILL LIVES HERE TODAY. What!

This is because plastic takes approximately 400 years to eventually, degrade in water.

  • Foam takes 50 years
  • Styrofoam takes 80 years, and
  • Aluminum takes a whopping 200 years!

Humans rely on our oceans for survival; it literally is needed for us to breathe air.

  • 70% of the oxygen we breathe is produced by marine plants
  • 97% of the Earths water supply is contained in the ocean
  • 30% of CO2 emissions produced by humans are absorbed by the oceans

Health Risks From Consuming Fish

It can also affect us when we consume fish; this is because the chemicals that run off into our oceans, such as pesticides, lead, and other heavy metals can contaminate water supplies and food chains through the marine life affected.

This can cause:

  • Hormonal Problems
  • Reproductive problems
  • Nervous System Damage
  • Kidney Damage

Additionally, bacteria turn metals like mercury into their most toxic form which is then absorbed by the plankton and then makes its way up the food chain until it is on your plate.

Mercury Exposure can cause:

  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Alzheimer’s
  • Heart disease

Ditch Plastic For Good!

Just with this information, you can see the devastating effects it has on the earth and our own health.

So it is time to work together and make every plastic ditch count!

We are lucky to have companies that are providing us with products that are plastic-free, some products you would never have guessed to be able to go plastic-free.

Bamboo Toothbrushes

 

Bamboo toothbrushes are made from 100% biodegradable and sustainably grown bamboo. The bristles are made from nylon-6 bristles from Dupont. The packaging is also made from recyclable material.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Natural Shampoo Bars

 

Plastic and 100% Palm oil free shampoo bar. Handmade from natural raw ingredients. Suitable for beards, hair and body washing!

For more information on Shampoo Bars, click here.

Reusable Bags

 

Organic cotton replacement to plastic bags! These chic, lightweight bags are perfect for daily essentials and groceries.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zero Waste Heroes!

Thank you for taking the time to have a look and educate yourself on what’s out there that can help you combat plastic. It really is amazing to see so many products that are plastic free. Enjoy your zero waste shopping and feel free to throw me a comment below about anything related! Keen to hear your opinions and queries!

 

Yours Truly,

 

Danielle Packer

Founder of The Earth Co.

 

References:

Plastic Oceans Foundation. (n.d.). InfoGraphic: How Ocean Pollution Affects Humans – Plastic Oceans Foundation. [online] Available at: https://plasticoceans.org/infographic-ocean-pollution-affects-humans/ [Accessed 19 Jul. 2018].

 

Is this the Best Shampoo? Shampoo Bars Are Curbing Plastic Waste

Plastic waste has become an epidemic in our oceans; killing marine life, contaminating the water and trashing our world’s beaches. It is time to make some changes!

And there is a change occurring, all around the world.

There are all sorts of ethical companies that are making the switch from plastic to biodegradable’s, reusable or recyclable material to their products.

Some products have even thought of ways to eliminate plastic packaging in another way. An example is the Shampoo Bar.

 

What is a Shampoo Bar?

A shampoo bar is simply shampoo without the bottle or the water, which usually makes up 97% of the regular shampoo bottles; and because there is no water there are no harsh chemicals and preservatives either!

Shampoo bars simply work by moving the bar all over your scalp and down your hair and then using your hands to work up a nice soapy lather! Then rinse with water and apply your conditioner if need be :).

It is that simple!

How to Choose One?

Natural Shampoo bars are the way to go because they are free from harsh chemicals like Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate. These are detergents which are used in all sorts of personal hygiene products; but should be avoided as there are unsubstantiated claims stating their relation to cancer, as well as, at the end of the day you can always trust natural ingredients over man-made chemicals. Can I hear an amen?!

Did you know that on average, women put over 200 chemicals on their skin daily and more than 60% of them are absorbed into the skin… no wonder people have so many health issues!

Where Can I Buy One?

The Best Natural Shampoo bar would be found in an ethical, environmentally friendly and health conscious company.

I would recommend buying your shampoo bar from Biome as they are all about spreading the word to shop sustainably, ethically, cruelty-free and provide all natural ingredients in their products.

A great example of a soap that has all natural ingredients, is palm oil free and vegan, is the Original Solid Shampoo from The Australian Natural Soap Company.


The ingredients are as follows:

Saponified coconut oil, saponified sweet almond oil, saponified grapeseed oil, saponified olive oil,  petitgrain oil, patchouli, & mandarin oil

[It is also handmade in Australia]

Cons

Sometimes people state that the first time they use a shampoo bar, they don’t like the feel of their hair after their first use but that is a given when you are not used to using natural products rather than chemical ones. This is because the natural oils in your hair are not being stripped away.

In this case, your hair may require a transition process before it is completely free from chemicals and other residues and starts feeling soft and smooth after using a natural shampoo bar.

Ultimately, it is all about trial and error really. All types of hair react differently to different types of shampoos. Some people state that their hair feels soft and smooth after using their first shampoo bar whereas others say their hair feels dry and they need to use conditioner to soften it.

Your Doing Something Amazing

So ultimately if you are looking for a great shampoo bar and want to have your hair rid of harsh chemicals, I would recommend getting a soap that has all natural ingredients and is sourced ethically.

Just be sure to give it a chance, as you have been likely using chemical shampoo your whole life, so it may take a few washes for your hair to rid itself of chemicals and be all soft and luscious as it is!

And just remember! You are doing an amazing thing for the environment, as well as helping out our marine life one shampoo bottle at a time! 

And it DOES make a difference; every bit counts.

Remember…be the change you want to see in the world

Thanks for reading everyone and I hope you are intrigued to try out a natural shampoo bar! Let me know your thoughts or experiences with them, I would love to hear from you.

 

Yours Truly,

 

Danielle Packer

THE FOUNDER OF THE EARTH CO.

How to be Environmentally Friendly – 15 Easy Tips

If there ever was a time to start thinking of ways to help our beloved earth it would be now. With an increasing population which will reach 9 billion people by 2050, our resources such as food, water, energy, and land are becoming harder to come by, especially with climate change impacting how we access these resources.

So it all can be pretty overwhelming sometimes and we think, man how do I help? You feel so small and insignificant that you won’t be able to make a difference.

But it will!

We need to start thinking differently if no one did, then no change in history would have occurred.

Be the change you want to see in the world 🙂

But I feel you are already someone who thinks like this, otherwise, you would not have searched for ways in which you could help. So great job!

Here, I list 15 simple but effective ways in which you can be more environmentally friendly:

1. Join the Keep Cup Movement!

This is such a simple yet really effective way in which you can reduce deforestation and landfill.

Firstly, did you know that if everyone bought their own Keep Cup for their coffee, we would save approximately 6.59 million trees!

Also! If you were to buy a Keep Cup, you would divert 3.5 billion disposable cups from landfill.

Keep Cups can be recycled and used for up to 3 years whereas disposable cups take 50 years to decompose.

Keep Cups are better than biodegradable cups because it promotes a throwaway culture of one-time use whereas Keep Cups promote a larger movement of reuse and sustainability.

2. Reusable Bottles are Awesome

This concept is very similar to the Keep Cup idea, as it deters you away from purchasing single-use plastic bottles and instead using your own bottle that can be reused over and over again.

Plastic bottles are a huge contribution to the plastic contamination that ends up in our oceans, so every plastic bottle you don’t use, is doing good!

3. Plastic Bags are Lame

This is also a similar idea to the Keep Cup and reusable bottle solution. Instead of using plastic bags every time you buy something, you simply keep a reusable bag in your handbag. Then you can whip it out every time a cashier says, ‘Do you need a bag?’ You can now say, ‘No thank you, I bought my own!’

Did you know 5 trillion plastic bags are used a year worldwide! That’s 160,000 a second!

4. Meat is for the Weak!

This is probably the hardest for most people as it requires a big life change. But it is the most effective in terms of the environmental benefits that come with it.

Did you know that to grow 1 kg of Steak requires 15,700 Litres of water!

Steak - Meat Free

It is also interesting to note, using a US diet as an example, that if you were on a Vegan diet for 1 year you would use 1/6 of an acre of land to grow food.

If you were on a Vegetarian diet consisting of eggs and dairy, you would use 3 times as much land…

If you ate a diet including all animal products (meat, dairy, and eggs), then that would equate to using 18 times as much land!

This is because 37, 000 pounds of vegetables can be grown on 1 ½ acres of land, but only 375 pounds of meat on the same plot of land.

Another alternative to going Vegan or Vegetarian is reducing your red meat intake as beef and other grass-fed animals have the highest resource usage (water, land, and energy).

If you want to know more about the environmental benefits a Vegan Diet can contribute, I recommend watching Cowspiracy for more amazing facts about the astounding resources used to produce animal products.

5. Be a Smart Shopper

There are many appliances that have ratings showing us how energy or water efficient they are.

They not only use less water and electricity but it will also save you money due to the low energy costs to run the appliance.

It is a Win, win!

6.  Dryers are Dangerous…

Dryers use a lot of energy, in fact, they use so much energy that even a newly advanced and energy efficient dryer can consume as much energy as an efficient washer, refrigerator and dishwasher combined!

So using your Dryer only when it is necessary is ideal 🙂

7. Clothes, Clothes, Clothes

Unfortunately, clothes are quite environmentally destructive in a few ways.

One of the ways is there use of toxic chemicals which they used to achieve colors and prints. Textile dying is one of the second largest polluters of clean water globally, after agriculture.

Another way clothing harms the environment is due to the popular polyester fabric. When we wash them in domestic washing machines, tiny microfibers are shed from the polyester and ends up in our already plastic contaminated ocean.Bamboo clothing

Additionally, increasing levels of textile waste are becoming higher than ever. This is because brands are making clothes cheaper and more convenient to buy new clothes by constantly inventing new styles to make your old clothes look outdated and make you feel the need to buy more.

We are also more time poor, so instead of trying to repair clothes, we find it more convenient to just buy more.

To tackle this issue, try to limit buying clothes you don’t need and if you are getting rid of your clothes, donate or recycle them.

You can also buy clothes that are made of bamboo, which is a more sustainable resource to grow rather than cotton. For more information on Bamboo clothing click here.

Boody Eco Wear

8. Say No, no to Palm Oil

Palm oil is an edible vegetable oil derived from the palm fruit grown on the African palm tree.

It is grown throughout Africa, Asia, North America and South America and is done so in an unsustainable way.

This process is a major contributor to intense deforestation. According to World Wildlife Fund, an area the equivalent size of 300 football fields of rainforest is cleared each hour to make way for palm oil production. This is contributing to many species becoming extinct especially our beloved orangutans.

DeforestationSo buying soaps, cleaning products, shampoos and other products that are palm oil free is significantly effective.

Best Shampoo Bar

9. Be a Paper Restrictor!

This is becoming easier as the years go on, as we head even deeper into a technological era where technology has been replacing our need for paper.

In saying this, Paper is still widely used and still has a significant impact on deforestation around the world.

Reducing paper is an easy and great way to help reduce this issue.

10. Shower Time!

Yes, I know you love your showers, but the length of time we spend in there is unnecessary and uses a lot of water!Shower

Water is a very precious resource and we need to cherish it.

In fact, showering is the third largest water use after toilets and washing machines. The average American uses approx. 17.2 gallons of water per shower and lasts 8 minutes at an average flow rate.

11. Recycle Like a Boss

Recycling as I am sure you are all aware is very important in reducing landfill, but it is always important to check your rubbish and see if there is a recycling sign on it. Sometimes the sign is small or faded into the plastic, so be sure to check otherwise you could be throwing away valuable recyclable material.

Recycle Sign

12. Be A Saint

I have made it a habit of mine to pick up rubbish whenRubbish I walk past it. I know we aren’t the ones that tossed it, but if no one picks it up then that rubbish will just end up in the ocean.

I also noticed that when people see you pick up rubbish, they say thank you even though it wasn’t theirs! It inspires people to do the same.

13. Composting!

Food waste is a real issue worldwide, for example, a typical household in the US throws out 474 pounds of food waste each year. Food scraps are the third largest segment of Compost Soilthe waste stream with nearly 26 million tonnes generated per year.

Composting your scraps is a great way to reduce landfill and also improve your garden! By having a little box or bin in your kitchen to put your scraps in is efficient and convenient and then once filled, transfer it to a compost bin outside along with topping it off with additional soil, tree clippings or mowed grass to help with the composting process.

It is really that simple and before long, you would have turned ordinary food scraps into great soil for gardening!

14. Swap Your Straws!

Straws are so common and the amount we use a day is just terrifying. In fact, in the US, 500 million straws are used each day, that is enough to wrap the circumference of the earth 2.5 times and that isn’t even on a global scale!

stainless steel strawsStainless Steel Straws are a reusable way to end this dilemma, they can be used over and over again and can be cleaned after use, it even comes with their own straw cleaner to clean the insides!

15. Be Brave

And last but definitely not least!

If you do have any environmental concerns that are occurring in your area, do not be afraid to contact your local PM. That is what they are there for, to listen and to take note in what you have to say, the more people talking about an issue, the more chance, a difference will be made.

P.S. You Are A Legend

HeroThank you for reading and wanting to bring about positive change to the world and I hope I gave you some ideas in how you can help bring about a more sustainable and cleaner world for us and generations to come!

Go get em’!

Yours Truly,

Danielle Packer

The Earth Co.