Let’s Rush to Win One Eco Battle | Commit To Zero Waste 2021

Washington (GGM) Analysis | December 6, 2020 by Noreen Wise

It’s exciting to think about all the ways we can rush forward on the climate front in 2021, with John Kerry as the US Climate Envoy, and our 46th President, Joe Biden promising to rejoin the Paris Agreement on the day he’s inaugurated, January 20, 2021.

Let’s nail the waste scene as soon as possible. It’s not complicated. It just takes focus.

I look forward to 2021 super jazzed to be living a circular economy life. I took the leap year ago, and was pumped to have it nearly perfected by December 2019, which is when I successfully managed a zero waste month. I felt like I’d won an olympic gold medal, not to mention the excitement of having extra money in my pocket the way Wall Street geniuses always do.

Waste is something we can all manage on our own without being forced by laws. We just wake up one morning (this morning hopefully) and say, “I’m in!” And voila, we’re three quarters of the way there.

A zero waste life is about setting up a defined circular economy zone in our households where we can easily breakdown everything we consume so that it can quickly be turned around for multiple uses. The goal is:

  • Refuse
  • Reduce
  • Reuse
  • Recycle & Upcycle

Refuse is a big deal. We have the power to motivate businesses to do the right thing very effectively by refusing to buy certain products that create waste. For example, back at the beginning of October 2019, I made the decision to never buy ketchup packaged in plastic again. This was very difficult, because Heinz has cornered the market and there were no glass alternatives. I called Heinz, but Heinz refuses to sell ketchup packaged in glass in the US the way they used to. So I made the bold decision to switch to BBQ sauce, 85 percent of which is packaged in glass.

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•A month later, Red Duck created a brand new product, ketchup in glass. It’s delicious, so much healthier. And it’s organic too. Thank you, Red Duck! A responsive American corporation meeting consumer demand.

•Additionally, I now use the recyclable paper towels made from bamboo that can be washed a hundred times. They dry on the counter so quickly. This has dramatically reduced our household waste.

•In 2020, wonderful new eco-products have been rolled out, shunning the standard plastic packaging and using paper instead: toothpaste tablets, laundry detergent sheets, shampoo and conditioner bars, and more.

•I recently purchased my first vegan leather tote bag, handmade from cork in Portugal. Vegan leather is a massive new industry. No more animal cruelty.

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We must all transition to these new basics. We hold all the power in this climate crisis. By wielding our money in the right direction, we can preserve our children’s future.

Composting kitchen scraps is a very big deal. Our oceans are stuffed with carbon and can’t handle one more ounce. We lost billions of trees in 2020 as a result of the infernos out West. We suddenly find ourselves at a staggering loss in the ability to sequester the carbon we emit in the US. Soil holds 70 percent of the carbon stored in forests. We must rush to plant tons of green —trees, shrubs, ground cover, flowers — as well as fill the soil with compost from home kitchen scraps in the hopes that we can move the needle at twice the speed we’d otherwise be able to do. This is life or death. It’s an imperative.

US household kitchens should have multiple bins just like in Canada and the EU:

  • Composting for food scraps, coffee grounds and tea bags
  • Paper recycling
  • Plastic recycling
  • Glass recycling or reuse for storage containers, drinking glasses, vases, etc
  • Aluminum recycling

Once this is all set up, you’ll soon find that you have no garbage. It’s startling. A year ago, on New Years Eve 2019, I lifted the lid and my garbage bin was completely empty.

We’ve got this. Let’s rush!~

© Copyright 2018 – 2020. ALL Rights Reserved.

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How to turn Plastic Free July into Plastic Free Forever!

Washington (GGM) Analysis | July 31, 2020 by Sarah J. Kings

We encounter so many choices throughout the day— cream or sugar, french fries or salad, paper or plastic.  No matter how small the decision may seem, each choice is an opportunity to vote.  Each and everything you do as a consumer is significant; it tells corporations and businesses what is important to you, what you are willing to compromise on, and what you are unwilling to be a part of.

If you participated in Plastic Free July this summer, your vote against plastic waste was cast 30 times in a row!  You, along with 250 million others, told the world that it’s time to ditch destructive single-use plastics.  According to the  2019 Annual Report produced by the Plastic Free Foundation, in July alone, this initiative was responsible for avoiding 825 million kg of plastic waste.  With the upward trend in membership and participation of this non-profit group, the 2020 report should show an even greater impact!

Twitter – @Greenpeace

Now that it’s August, let’s keep the momentum going. Last year, 16% of Plastic Free July participants were inspired to continue their efforts throughout the year. Keep making the decision to choose sustainable and reusable bags, cups, and straws, and that percentage is sure to rise.

Visit the Plastic Free Foundation’s What Can You Do page for more information on how to change up your routine for the better! Whether you switch up the type of laundry supplies you buy, or you simply buy a bamboo toothbrush, let people know! Tweet your successes with hashtags that promote sustainability and a plastic-free lifestyle. Doing so will motivate you to keep going, and it will inspire others to do the same.

Instagram – @zerowastedoc

Tl;dr

  •  Everything you do as a consumer is significant
  • In July 2019, the Plastic Free Foundation was responsible for avoiding 825 million kg of plastic waste
  • 250 million people participated in Plastic Free July in 2019
  • 16% of participants continued on with plastic-free lifestyle changes throughout the year

© Copyright 2018 – 2020. ALL Rights Reserved.

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Top 3 Vegan and Eco-friendly Solutions to the Planet’s Period Problem

Washington (GGM) Analysis | July 16, 2020 by Sarah J. Kings

For many of us who menstruate, a visit from Aunt Flo means a week’s worth of pads, tampons, and pantiliners paired with a tub of Ben & Jerry’s and a sprinkling of Midol.  Between cramps, bloating, headaches, and checking for leaks, we might be overlooking one major aspect of our periods.

Plastic.

Traditional period products are loaded with plastic.  Wrappers, applicators, leak guard liners, and even the products themselves have plastic interwoven in the fibers.  These tiny applicators may not seem like much, but they add up.  According to National Geographic, Americans purchase 5.8 billion tampons annually.  The global number is a staggering 17 billion 400 million!  Even worse, the plastic in period products cannot be recycled, as they are considered medical waste— this means that these products ultimately end up in landfills and oceans.

Instagram– @theoceanproject.sey

If you are looking for a vegan and planet-friendly way to reduce the negative impact of single-use plastics during your period, don’t stress. You have 3 easy sustainable options! You can try reusable pads, menstrual cups, or period panties. Throughout my last three cycles, I decided to give each a try. I purchased BugaluBaby Bamboo Cloth MenstrualPads, an OrganiCup, and a couple of pairs of Thinx underwear.

I found BugaluBaby on Etsy.  I’ve never been big into pads, but these pads come in a variety of fun prints, made with bamboo, and come with a handy “wet bag” for convenience.  They are also easy to wash and are very cost-effective, costing only $25 for a pack of 9. 

Thinx underwear boasts a similar idea, but it feels less like a pad.  In my experience, you can wear one pair throughout the day while still feeling clean and dry.  This option works and works well, but it is a little less cost-friendly, costing between $24-$39 per pair. 

Lastly, the OrganiCup is a soft, flexible, reliable option that comes in a variety of sizes.  For those of us who are comfortable with insertable sanitary items, this is a great option.  It is incredibly sustainable and cost-effective.  One OrganiCup lasts two years, and costs only $28!  All three products have their consumer perks, and most importantly, they are vegan and pack a punch in the fight against the climate crisis!

Twitter – @Thinx

Come back every Thursday to learn more about the role veganism plays in combating climate change!

Tl;dr

  • Over 17 Billion tampons flood landfills and oceans each year
  • The plastic in pads, tampons, and liners are a major contributor to the climate crisis
  • Sustainable vegan period options DO exist
  • If you’re looking for an eco-friendly change, try  BugaluBaby Bamboo Cloth MenstrualPads, an OrganiCup or Thinx underwear

© Copyright 2018 – 2020. ALL Rights Reserved.

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Raising Pro-Planet Pre-Teens

Washington (GGM) Analysis | July 14, 2020 by Sarah J. Kings

Whether you’ve been working on building a more sustainable lifestyle for a while or you are a total newbie, you don’t want to be the only one in your family running around your house turning off lights and pulling recyclables out of the kitchen trash. Everyone in the house needs to get involved. You may be thinking easier said than done, especially if your kids are a bit older.

But I have good news! If you are raising a tween or young teen, it’s not too late to become a Pro-Planet Parent! Start small by making a few changes that shed light on specific causes and encourage eco-friendly behavior. Buying your son or daughter a 100% recycled 4Ocean bracelet is a great first step! 4Oceans is a global initiative dedicated to cleaning up the world’s oceans and spreading awareness. For each bracelet purchased, they promise to pull a pound of plastic out of our waters. Since 2017, they have removed 9,381,011 lbs of garbage from the ocean and coastline.

4Ocean – Loggerhead Sea Turtle Beaded Bracelet

Are you looking to make even more impact? Get your tween to look at thredUP for their next clothing purchase. This online secondhand store is a sustainable choice for the whole family. According to thredUP, the average article of clothing is worn only seven times before it is thrown directly into the trash. They claim that if everyone switched to secondhand purchases, we could collectively save 6 BILLION lbs of CO2 emissions per year.

Twitter – @thredUP

Another way to reduce your teen’s landfill waste and contribution to lowering CO2 emissions is to swap their favorite print magazine with the E-Copy. Doing so will help your young one realize that sustainable earth-conscious choices do not necessarily mean compromise. It can actually put some money back in their pockets! An annual online subscription to the popular magazine, Girl’s Life, is available on Barnes & Noble Nook for under $20!

Come back every Tuesday for more Eco-Friendly Parenting tips!

Twitter – @Girl’s Life Magazine

tl;dr

  • Become a Pro-Parent Parent: Help your young teen make earth-conscious choices
  • 4Ocean promises to pull 1lb of plastic out of the ocean for every bracelet sold
  • Since 2017, 4Ocean has removed 9,381,011 lbs of garbage from the ocean and coastline
  • Switching to secondhand clothing purchases, like thredUP, could save 6 BILLION lbs of CO2 emissions per year
  • Switching from print magazines to E-Copies lowers landfill waste and produces less CO2

© Copyright 2018 – 2020. ALL Rights Reserved.

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Climate Change & Education | US Botanic Garden in DC

Washington (GGM) Analysis
NoreenProfilePicHillReport-75 by Noreen Wise

With Italy’s official announcement at the beginning of the new year, that all schools will now teach sustainability & climate change, many American educators are looking for ways to incorporate climate change lesson plans into their curriculum.

This is a big deal. Education will curb the fears that many young students harbor when they hear repeated warnings about the future. News flashes on phones about apocalyptic wildfires that killed a billion animals, and destroyed thousands of homes, is massively anxiety provoking. Lack of information fuels their concern, and action oriented facts curb it.

With this in mind, it was very exciting to see the impactful event at the US Botanic Garden on Capitol Hill Thursday evening January 30, 2020 for teachers in the Washington DC and outlying suburbs. Interactive tables, featuring climate change lesson plans, were spread throughout the breathtaking flora. Sustainability, the environment and nature were also included. Very inspiring. Nature itself is therapeutic. Studying nature along with climate action will improve the mental health of our youth as we rush to adapt to the crushing reality of the climate crisis.

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Modeling the importance of composting was powerful, especially on Capitol Hill where Mitch McConnell is blocking compositing in the dining halls in the Senate and House office buildings.

The following are several of the innovative lesson plans featured at the event:

  • Renewables and Nonrenewables, Oh My!
  • Waste Less, Recycle More
  • Greenhouse Manual by the US Botanic Garden: “exploring ways to incorporate a greenhouse as a hands-on learning environment for students of all ages.”
  • School Tree Planting Program
  • Native Knowledge, Teaching America’s Whole Story – created by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian
  • Living Earth Teach-In: Sustaining our Future through Indigenous Knowledge
  • Air Quality Action Guide
  • What You Should Know About Ground Level Ozone and Particle Pollution
  • An Educators Guide to the Meaningful Watershed Educational Experience (MWEE)
  • Oh, and creating seed pizzas that will make spring planting so much easier (this was amazing)

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© Copyright 2018 – 2020. ALL Rights Reserved.
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Let’s Commit to Zero Waste in 2020 | It’s Very Simple

Washington (GGM) Analysis
NoreenProfilePicHillReport-75 by Noreen Wise

Let’s nail the waste scene as soon as possible. It’s not complicated. It just takes focus.

I began 2020 super jazzed to be living a circular economy life. I jumped in running the last three months of 2019, and was pumped to have it nearly perfected by December, which is when I successfully managed a zero waste month. I felt like I’d won an olympic gold medal, not to mention the excitement of having extra money in my pocket the way Wall Street geniuses always do.

Waste is something we can all manage on our own without being forced by laws. We just wake up one morning (tomorrow morning hopefully) and say, “I’m in!” And voila, we’re three quarters of the way there.

A zero waste life is about setting up a defined circular economy zone in our households where we can easily breakdown everything we consume so that it can quickly be turned around for multiple uses. The goal is:

  • Refuse
  • Reduce
  • Reuse
  • Recycle & Upcycle

Refuse is a big deal. We have the power to motivate businesses to do the right thing very effectively by refusing to buy certain products that create waste. For example, back at the beginning of October 2019, I made the decision to never buy ketchup packaged in plastic again. This was very difficult, because Heinz has cornered the market and there were no glass alternatives. I called Heinz, but Heinz refuses to sell ketchup packaged in glass the way they used to. So I made the bold decision to switch to BBQ sauce which is 85% packaged in glass.

HillReport2-6-2020

A month later, Red Duck created a brand new product, ketchup in glass. It’s delicious, so much healthier. And it’s organic too. Thank you, Red Duck! A responsive American corporation meeting consumer demand.

Additionally, I now use the recyclable paper towels made from bamboo that can be washed a hundred times. They dry on the counter so quickly. This has dramatically reduced our household waste.

Household kitchens should have multiple bins:

  • Composting for food scraps, coffee grounds and tea bags
  • Paper recycling
  • Plastic recycling
  • Glass recycling or reuse for storage containers, drinking glasses, vases, etc
  • Aluminum recycling

Once this is all set up, you’ll soon find that you have no garbage. It’s startling. On New Years Eve 2019, I lifted the lid and my garbage bin was completely empty.~

© Copyright 2018 – 2020. ALL Rights Reserved.
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Climate Change’s Impact on America’s Favorite Pastime | Sports

Washington (GGM) Analysis
NoreenProfilePicHillReport-75 by Noreen Wise

America’s passion for professional sports, particularly baseball, is under severe threat from climate change. So with our favorite pastime now in peril, it becomes a powerful wake up call that should motivate us into quick action. The intense heat during summer months is impacting both the enjoyment and health of fans and players alike. More must be done ASAP.

  • High temperatures have resulted in several ST-Saga-CovFrnt-72dpi-300
    teams reinventing their stadiums. The Miami Marlins, Houston Astros as well as four others are now equipped with air-conditioned stadiums with retractable roofs to ensure the well being of all in attendance.
  • Other teams adapt by changing their playing schedule, going to bat at midnight. This might be enjoyable on a summer Saturday night, but would be a nightmare during the week.
  • Wrigley Field in Chicago was dangerously hot this past July, with the heat index temperature reaching 107 degrees. The stadium set up cooling stations and offered fans free ice backs. Coaches were on a mission to keep the players hydrated. This required a significant amount of work and was clearly a borderline health risk. Hopefully, the powers that be are taking notes and finding a better solution for the future. This wasn’t a one-off but is rather a dire climate emergency that will escalate.
  • In October 2018, not a single American sports stadium made the top 5 sustainable stadiums in the world ranking. (1) Amersterdam ArenA,  Netherlends (2) National Stadium, Taiwan (3) Mineral Stadium, Brazil (4) Fisht Stadium, Russia (5) Khalifa International Stadium, Qatar.
  • However, the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta has deemed itself the “‘most sustainable sports venue in the world.'”
    • 4,000 solar panel
    • 2 millions gallons of stormwater capture
    • Water conservation

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  • The first “Zero Waste Super Bowl” was held in 2019 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minnesota. The mission was to maximize recycling. The success rate reached 90%.
  • Recycling at America’s massive sports complexes must become a VERY big deal if we are to lower the carbon needle. It’s much more simple than most realize. There are now regional composting services that will assist with this. According to the Sloan Blog, Patrick Boyle, the Sloan Director of Corporate Sustainability, lowering waste at stadiums is a matter of limiting choices so that all refreshments are served using compostable plates and cups. This enables all waste to be thrown away in the same bin and picked up by one truck.

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Some sustainability focused stadiums are taking climate action one step further and getting players involved in educating fans on the importance of recycling and sustainability. The Sloan Blog notes that stars are assuring the public that “Ordinary people can make a difference.”

© Copyright 2018 – 2019. ALL Rights Reserved.
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