Saturday, September 6, 2014

Olive You Too

So I get a lot of eco-articles and posts in my life, naturally. Most of them I know, others surprise me a little. Just when I think I've thought about it, something comes up that makes me say, "Damn!" This was one of them.

Do you use olive oil? I use olive oil. It's my go-to for cooking. Except when the spice in question - like turmeric - calls for sauteing in a higher fat which means butter yum yum - it's always olive oil I reach for, grab, buy, have on hand. Imagine my surprise to learn that the manufacture of olive oil is not the most Earth-friendly thing out there.

From Currently, there are two processes that are used for the extraction of olive oil, the three-phase and the two-phase. Both systems generate large amounts of byproducts.  The two byproducts  produced by the three-phase system are a solid residue known as olive press cake (OPC) and large amounts of aqueous liquid known as olive-mill wastewater (OMW).  The three-phase process usually yields 20% olive oil, 30% OPC waste, and 50% OMW.  This equates to 80% more waste being produced than actual product.  

Who'd have thought? I didn't. By-product and waste from a natural product should be natural, right? Nope.

Regardless of system used, the effluents produced from olive oil production exhibit highly phytotoxic and antimicrobial properties, mainly due to phenols.  Phenols are a poisonous caustic crystalline compound.  These effluents unless disposed of properly can result in serious environmental damage.  Troublingly, there is no general policy for disposal of this waste in the olive oil producing nations around the world.  This results in inconsistent monitoring and non-uniform application of guidelines across these regions. 

I'm stymied.

I like olive oil because it's good ad yummy and generally found in glass bottles, not plastic. What's a witch to do? Stop using it? We can't stop using everything.

This is where I bring up a point that is so completely unpopular in pretty much all circles, even the environmental groups: population. There are just too many of us using too much stuff. I'm very eco-aware, yet things like this come up. Another one: Greek yogurt - yum - horrible for the environment. That I can avoid. I did anyway because of the stupid plastic cups it comes in. But olive oil? I don't use a lot. I won't stop. Sometimes, it's really just not me. It's all of us. The answer to problems like this isn't that we need to be better - which we do, we really really do - but that we need to STOP. We're cruising quickly and way too easily to 8 billion, and we just cannot handle that. We can't. Because of things like this. Because we use and use and we have nowhere to put the other stuff. This article talks about finding ways to deal with this waste-product. We keep looking for Band-aids and cures for the symptoms but we never address the disease.

Us. We are the disease. Let's address that.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

I can see the point, but....

... mini margaritas do NOT need to be in plastic bottles.

On top of it all, these are ridiculously tiny. So you drink a lot of them in your quest to get shitfaced.

And so of course it's safer to have plastic instead of glass because by the time you have had 15 of these, they start falling to the ground. If they were glass, they would break. So naturally you need plastic.

These are one of those things that if I ever see anyone drinking them, it will be hard for me to resist slapping the damn thing out of their hand.

Every other fun froofy beverage has the self-respect to come in a glass bottle. Why oh why the plastic here? Because they are better for tailgating? There is NO REASON for this.

People who bring these to your home, picnic, or event need to be sent away immediately. People who buy these for their home enjoyment need to be stopped from adding to the gene pool. Immediately.

Tell me that after a 4-pack of theses, that the said consumer is interested in making sure the bottles are going into the recycling.

"But what am I supposed to drink at places where I can't bring glass bottles?"

You. You who just said that. Out of the gene pool. We don't need you. And take your red Solo cup with you. I can just see that, too - this little bottle suddenly isn't cold enough, so they pour it FROM this plastic into one of those horrors. At that point, I really do just give up.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

I'M BAAACK! Because plastic nonsense never left!

Well, I tried to go away. I really did.

You may have seen these in the grocery store. They hang in random areas for your impulse-buying pleasure.

Seems harmless enough. Ice cream is messy. And OOOO they are BPA-free! NOTHING TO SEE HERE, FOLKS! THERE IS NO BPA! IT'S ALL GOOD! 

Here's a description of a similar product, just so we're clear on the awesomeness of this product: 

Keeps kids' clothes clean by catching the sticky drips from ice cream cones or any frozen treat on a stick. Three products in one: One end holds frozen treats on a stick. Flip the Dripstik over and the other end holds ice cream cones in almost any size and variety. Also makes frozen Popsicle treats! Fill the reservoir with juice, insert the stick attachment, freeze then enjoy! Saves parents time from cleaning up colorful puddles from forgotten desserts. Makes an easy birthday party favor! Serve ice cream without stressing about guests making a mess, then simply send the Dripstik home with them. Perfect for road trips. Indulge your children with stops at ice cream shacks without worrying about the upholstery. Let them get the cone instead of a cup and spoon. Helps disabled or elderly persons, letting them enjoy ice cream with self-sufficiency. Durable, soft plastic is long-lasting and easy-care -- simply pop into the dishwasher! Available in assorted fun kid colors. Made in the USA by a mother of five!

Well there ya go. Totally brilliant, right??? 

Kids are messy. Period. We all know that. We were messy when we were kids. Everyone survived. We dealt with it. Look, I am not completely heartless - I have an aunt that had a stroke and has no use of her left arm, and when we take her for ice cream, it's messy. But you know what? We don't care. We laugh, she laughs, it cleans up. We don't need to introduce plastic crap into the environment just because ice cream is sticky. Because you know what? An ocean without plastic is necessary. We don't have that, but it's necessary. What's not necessary is this thing. This novelty item. This thing that might be used a dozen times, or once, or a hundred, but will ultimately just get thrown away. Into the world. Where it will live forever. And ever and ever. Just so some parent didn't have to worry about her upholstery or wash an extra shirt. Buy a bunch and send them home with all the other kids. So that they can get thrown away even faster. By even more people. And by the way, "Made in the USA by a mother of five" is not a selling point to me. I also don't believe it, it strikes me as misleading. 1) maybe if you didn't have FIVE kids you could handle a little mess here and there instead of polluting the world for the rest of us and 2) is she making these all by hand in the USA? Or does she live in the USA and she thought it up and now they are made in China? What's the deal, here? I need the truth. I can handle the truth. You know what isn't plastic? A fabric bib. A towel. A napkin, for cryin' out loud. Drape something over if you are so concerned about everything. 

Why you gotta pollute the world for the rest of us because you had kids knowing they were messy but then don't want to deal with the mess? Because now I have to deal with your mess. How is that right? Why must the rest of us pay for your convenience?

It's too bad we don't actually stop and think about that. Maybe we can start. Maybe before it's too late. Except that it probably already is. So you have non-sticky kids, but we're killing ourselves with plastic and chemicals and additives. 

But hey! Who cares? My car seats are ice-cream free and THAT is all that matters!