By the Plastics Team of the Energy & Environment Action Group
Tired of throwing out empty coffee bags and plastic canisters? NH Coffee Roasting Company, Dover’s only coffee roaster, plans to produce their own reusable coffee canisters and have them available soon. In the meantime, bring your own reusable container (12oz, 2 lb. or 5 lb.), and they will fill it with coffee beans or coffee freshly ground to order. They also are researching compostable cups for single-serve coffee makers to help address a significant source of plastics pollution. NH Coffee Roasting Company is owned and operated by Dover natives, Nick and Chris Baretto, at 7 Sumner Dr. Buy greener, buy local!
Wool dryer balls are a non-toxic and energy efficient alternative to chemically-laden, plastic-based dryer sheets and fabric softeners. Dryer balls work by separating and moving the wet clothes around in the dryer and creating airflow, thus minimizing drying time, saving energy, and avoiding wrinkles in clothes. Dryer balls can be reused around 1000 times before replacing them. Find wool dryer balls in local stores and online. Better yet, buy them from local farms that sell wool or make your own from old sweaters and be even greener.
Washable Mesh Bags:Take reusable, washable mesh bags to the grocery store or farmers' market, rather than using the store's single-use plastic bags for fruits and vegetables. You can take a UPC label off one piece of produce and put it on the bag's label to make it convenient for the checkout clerk. Bags come in a variety of sizes and materials. Choose natural fabrics whenever possible. Bags are easily available in local grocery stores, health food stores, and online, or make your own from what you have around your home. Another easy way to reduce plastic pollution.
Say good-by to plastic toothpaste tubes and brushes that contribute to the plastic crisis. Choose a bamboo toothbrush and make your own toothpaste or try toothpaste bits or tablets.
Make your own toothpaste recipe: one tablespoon of baking soda, one tablespoon of coconut oil, a few drops of essential oil like peppermint or another one of your liking, and a few drops of hydrogen peroxide for whitening. (Try to buy your coconut oil in glass jars and baking soda in recyclable containers.) Mix all together after softening the coconut oil. Spoon into a small glass container that has easy access for your toothbrush to scoop out the paste. In the summer, it becomes more liquidy, and you can just swirl it and use it as a wet paste or keep in a cool dark place.
Tooth Tabs: for the less adventurous, one can purchase tooth tabs or bits such as Unpaste or Bites, available at many local natural food or zero waste stores.
Dog Waste Green Tip: “The Scoop on Poop”
Use biodegradable poop bags that will fully break down into compost such as BioBag Pet Waste Bags, The Original Poop Bags, Earth Rated Poop Bags, Doodie Flush Poop Bags or BeyondGreen Bags.
Pet waste compost is great fertilizer. It is not a fertilizer for vegetables or fruits as pet waste may contain E. Coli and other pathogens, and needs its own compost bin.
It’s easy to do: choose a site with good drainage. Use a lidded garbage can and cut the bottom out and poke some holes in the sides. Dig a hole to fit it. Layer the bottom of the hole with small rocks or gravel. Cover the poop bag with leaves or dirt if you like, and sprinkle a little water and a septic starter, usually carried by hardware stores, to break it down faster and control odors. Keep it moist and let the compost decompose for 18 months.
Some Eco Friendly Pet Sites:
Getting to the Bottom of Things
What a Waste! Every year we toss 7.6 billion pounds of dirty diapers each of which take 500 years to degrade. Methane and other toxic gasses escape into water and air. Diaper pathogens pollute drinking water. Manufacturers use volatile chemicals that harm the environment. We lose over 200,000 trees each year making disposable diapers in the U.S. alone
Reusables to the Rescue
Save Money: Using cloth diapers can save a family up to $900 per year compared to disposables. That includes purchase, detergent use, and energy to clean reusable diapers. Reusable cloth diapers stop an estimated half-ton of disposable diapers per child per year from going into U.S. landfills and reduce pathogens.
Bamboo: Sustainable bamboo forests grown for fabric production require no pesticides or antifungal agents. Bamboo fabric kills 99.8 percent of the germs that cause Staph infection. Bamboo rocks!
Hemp: Hemp needs no pesticides or fungicides, little fertilizer and water and actually improves the soil where it grows. Hemp cloth absorbs more than cotton by weight. Hemp heals!
Going out to Eat?
Bring your own “Doggie Bag!”
Use a store paper bag saved from a shopping trip, your reusable grocery bag, or make a pretty cloth one. Then tuck in a few reusable containers.The hardest part of this is remembering to bring the bag, so …
Keep these in the bag!
Pack it and leave it in your car!
Buy Your Eggs In Recyclable Cardboard Containers
Say “no” to styrofoam or other plastic egg cartons and choose more environmentally friendly cardboard containers. Styrofoam takes up 30 percent of the space in some landfills and its lifespan is estimated to be 500 years or more. Use this easy Green Tip to reduce “forever plastics” in our environment.
Say “Yes” to cardboard containers and give them a second life by dropping them off for reuse at a farmers' market or a local farm that sells eggs. Or use them yourself to store small items for your workroom, like nails and screws or beads and findings. Got Art Projects? Egg cartons are great for art projects and art supplies. Gardening anyone? You can use them to start spring seedlings. Once they germinate, break up the container and plant everything in the ground with the cardboard. So, if you must keep all your eggs in one basket, at least make it a cardboard one!
Traveling Place Setting
(permanent personal plate, cup, flatware)
Wherever you go, it comes with you to eat in personal style and ecological awareness. Bring your utensils, napkin, cup, plate, and wrap it all up in a nifty fun package.
The utensils wrap up neatly into a handy package that can go into any small bag or into your backpack or car glove compartment.
It packs very small and can go anywhere you go. Save time, save energy, reduce plastic waste from single use utensils or cups. And do it all in style.
What’s not to love?
Replace Plastic Bottles
Find an alternative to single-use plastic water bottles and help save our planet, one bottle at a time. Trade single-use plastic bottles for a BPA-free, reusable bottle.
Humans buy about ONE MILLION plastic bottles PER MINUTE and only about 20% are recycled. Most end up in our oceans, break down into microplastics that are consumed by fish, and enter our food chain.
Most bottled water is just tap water! According tofoodandwaterwatch.org, “Bottled water generally is no cleaner, or safer, or healthier than tap water. In fact, the federal government requires far more rigorous and frequent safety testing and monitoring of municipal drinking water.” Plus, bottled water removes resources from one community to ship water elsewhere, and is about 3,000% more expensive than tap water!
Microbeads in Your Cosmetics or Lotions?
Download the Beat the Microbead App to Find Out
Determine whether cosmetics & personal care items contain plastics before you buy them by scanning the ingredients list with your camera. Using this app allows you to reject products that contain microplastics.
Microplastic particles are intentionally added to cosmetics and personal care products as emulsifying, scrubbing, or exfoliating agents--or just as cheap fillers. These tiny plastic particles pollute our water bodies and are ingested by humans and other animals putting us all at risk for serious health problems.
Break Free From Products That Contain Microplastics!
Shop at Farmers’ Markets
Where can you get fresh food at reasonable prices grown locally by your neighbors? At your local friendly Farmers’ Market. Bring your trusty cloth bag, and others may follow your example!
Local food has a smaller energy footprint than most store goods. It hasn’t spent days on a truck and in refrigeration. It’s fresh, delicious, and vitamin-packed.
The Market’s atmosphere invites conversation. You’ll meet the growers and build community. Your purchases help local farmers and your money stays local instead of going to a distant company. Remember to bring your cloth bags to remind everyone that we can run a post-plastic life!
Search “Farmers’ Market near me” on the computer to learn times and locations. See you at the Farmers’ Market!
Get Creative & Green Your Halloween!
Make your own decorations: Make cardboard box tombstones, pipe cleaner spiders, bed sheet ghosts, and more! Check out craft stores, your library, and online for eco-crafty ideas.
Make your own costumes: Create your own cardboard mask. Use repurposed thrift shop items as costume elements. Avoid costumes and masks made of PVC or vinyl.
Hand out treats that need no plastic packaging: Offer crayons, colored pencils, fun pencils, fun erasers, chalk, little coloring books (or print your own!) Let your treaters choose the one they want!