Sunday, June 27, 2010

Green Witch Rule

Eventually, I shall number these and collect them all in one place. For now, enjoy them as they trickle out of my brain.

Green Witch Rule: If it pops out pre-moistened from a plastic container, you can do without it.

I hear you. I do. I appreciate that you feel like germs are everywhere, waiting to kill you and your family. But guess what? It's not that bad. I live a peaceful existence without super-warfare on germs, bugs and bacteria. I do not get sick all the time. No more than you, really. I KNOW they're convenient, I know you like the smell, I know you fear e.coli will come up and attack you in your sleep. I know your kids get dirty when you all are out, and you like to rub them down with these chemical-filled sheets of landfill-fodder. I know you can't be bothered to grab a real cloth when you are crazy-busy and hectic, and the single-use pop-up sheets are just so darned easy to use... I know, I know. Shhh. Simmer down, it's OK.

But you know what? You have fallen prey to advertisers and companies that WANT you to live in fear, because if you live in fear, they can continue being rich. They are happy to offer you the ease of disposability. More than happy.

Next time you find yourself reaching for ANY of these products, can you please stop for a few seconds and ask yourself if you really need them? Isn't there a way you can cut back on them? You can wean yourself off, you don't have to go cold-turkey. Really. I won't judge.

Yeah, OK, maybe a little. But not out loud.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Well, maybe we won't have fish anymore anyway.

Maybe I should stay off Google Search. THIS is truly evil and horrifying. My co-worker purchased some sushi from a grocery store, and in the plastic container with the sushi was a little packet of ginger. No, not a mound of ginger, but a tiny little packet of ginger, sealed in a little plastic pouch. Amusingly, the ginger in the packet wasn't even very good-tasting. I found this bit of plastic completely unnecessary, so I searched for it to share here. What I found was much much worse!

"Using our latest concept individually wrapped sushi is beautiful and distinguishable. Our new system features patented sealing for easy opening and prevention of fish discolouration, A first in the sushi world!" Yes, this is the sales pitch for a sushi-wrapping system. Let's look at it, shall we?

EACH PIECE is so fresh!

You don't have to TOUCH the sushi!!!  I mean, after all, that would be just GROSS!

Look! Miles and miles of plastic---er, I mean sushi! And what doesn't sell is SO easy to throw away!

Where to begin. Look, if you can't TOUCH your sushi, you really have no business eating it. Period. I'm kind of blown away by the thought of the unsold sushi. Is someone unwrapping it by hand so it can be disposed of "properly"? I hardly think so. Nope, now they get to go back to the ocean from whence they came, floating forever in little packs. Well, at least until they get eaten by a fish who dies from the plastic. And I'm stuck in center-align and can't get out, so I'll wrap this up quickly. Heh heh, get it? Wrap up?

Yeah, I know. It's not that funny to me either.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Be a Good Green Friend

The Good Green Witch gets DOWN sometimes.

When I go for awhile without blogging, you can bet I'm trying to figure out my place in this world. Is it too late? Have we gone too far? What difference am I making?

Then someone slaps me and I'm OK again. :)

I got to thinking about how it goes when we look around at our friends and acquaintances. Sure, we get driven crazy by their not-so-green ways. But how to effect a change without ending up with no friends? I'll throw some tips out there, and feel free to comment with how YOU cope!

- Your friend constantly has a single-use bottle. Easy solution: instead of lecturing them for the millionth time, buy them a great re-use bottle that is perfectly suited to their personality and they'll just love! If that doesn't do it, get them a filter for their home faucet. They're very easy to put on. You can make it a fun birthday gift if you really try. Hahahahha.

- Your friend is a smoker. Yes, you can tell them until you are blue in the face how bad it is. They aren't going to stop. What can you do? Give them the gift of a Zippo-type lighter or some other refillable kind. Then they aren't throwing away (and constantly losing!) cheap plastic lighters. Besides, giving them this gift will mean a lot more to them than nagging about quitting. They MIGHT just be more willing to listen to you next time...

-Your friend uses plastic bags. This is an easy one. Of course, if you give them some reusable bags, they'll just forget them in the car or leave them at home, right? Well, get your purse-carrying-type friend the cool little ones that fold up inside themselves and travel nicely in any purse.

A gift is a great way to get people on your side; you don't even have to say anything. Make your actions speak for you!

Sometimes I Cheat...

...but not really!

Today, instead of my usual no-shampoo baking soda method, followed by my lovely apple cider vinegar, I used shampoo. Yes, I confess. Of course, in my defense, it was shampoo I already had. Sometimes the greenest product is the one you have.

I have a bunch of little bottles from hotels and such. Now, should I just throw them all out? Absolutely not! What would that accomplish? If we already have it, we may as well use it. Sometimes, you can give it away so someone else can make use of it. But, it's here, it should be used. And using it keeps a new product from needing to be produced. We hope.

So anyway, I used some wonderful Cedar Wood and Spanish Borage Oil shampoo that is no longer made, which is why I have valued every little bottle I still had from before. My hair feels great and the rich lather was a unique treat... but wow. I have short hair, as you know, so it's not in my face, but after using no-smell stuff for so long, ALL I can SMELL is my HAIR!!!! Luckily, it's a very yummy smell.

The lesson here? Well, 1) use what you have. Emptying bottles down the drain to use something greener, isn't always green. Use it or give it away. 2) Be warned: when you get used to less smells, those ones you never noticed before are going to get you in a big way!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

New Rules

Actually, that one's been taken. Bill Mahar's peeps might not like it if I use that phrase. And I like Bill Mahar, sooo.... hmm.... Earth Rules? Green Rules? Witch's Creed?

ANYWAY... here's the first one....
Witch's Creed (let's try that one!): If it is made of plastic, we cannot call it a "glass"!

IKEA calls this "Midsommer" Glass.

They are made from plastic.

Um, no.

Glasses are made from glass. It's right in the name. It IS the name.

I like IKEA, but last time I was in there, I was kind of horrified by all the plastic they sold in there.

What "rules" can you suggest?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Pizza Goes the Wrong Direction

What's "Unbelievable" about this new product by Red Baron isn't the taste, as they claim, it's the waste.

Frozen pizza isn't THE most environmentally-friendly food out there, what with all the wrapping and preservatives, etc... making you own even with store-bought dough or crust is much better... but I get the appeal. I'm not knocking the entire industry. But Red Baron has unveiled "Pizza by the SLICE" microwave pizza. The picture I saw in the ad made me suspicious of how much unnecessary packaging was going into this thing. Sure enough, each slice is encased in plastic wrap and comes in its own super-special crisping 3-sided tray. Now, I don't claim to be a genius or anything, but that seems like a whole lotta waste for the small payoff of ONE single piece of pizza. 

I guess we can be thankful that this product would not be embraced by large families... this should be more of a snack for single people or office workers. But, no. There nothing about this product that makes me want to feel thankful. This is a definite "REJECT!" product. Do not buy this for an easy snack for the kids, do not buy this for your lunch at your desk, do not buy this to have at home for those quick munchies. Send a message to the frozen pizza peeps, and send a message to Red Baron that this is not the direction in which to be going. This is exactly opposite of the directing in which we should be going.

Just sayin'. Please eat something else. Slap an English muffin or bagel in the toaster oven with some sauce and some cheese on it. Anything but this astronomical gastronomical fail.  

Monday, June 7, 2010

Pandering to Germaphobes

Lysol. It's synonymous with disinfecting. When we think Lysol, we think germs-be-dead. This has its place. Like... hospitals, doctors' offices, labs... places like that. But that wasn't good enough. We had to get all super-anal in our homes, too. Fear your toilet bowl. It's germy. Watch out for your kitchen. You could DIE from the germs in there. Your garbage pail could be out to kill you, too. Lysol Lysol everywhere. Sprays, cleaners... for our protection. Because Life is dangerously germy.

So, my Mom points out the latest gem from our friends at Lysol. Because, of course, they ARE our friends. They care about our health and well-being. It has nothing to do with profit. Silly. Snort. This new offering is a touch-free soap dispenser for your home. Their text:

Hands may come into contact with millions of germs every day. Hand washing is one of the most important steps to help stay healthy. But have you ever thought about those germs ending up on your soap pump?

Fact: Your soap pump can harbor a lot of bacteria.

Introducing the LYSOL® No-Touch Hand Soap System, it automatically senses your hands and dispenses just the right amount of soap that kills 99.9% of bacteria.

For use in the kitchen or bathroom, the antibacterial hand soap is enriched with moisturizing ingredients and comes in three great scents!

Never touch a germy soap pump again.

I declare, there are SO many things to say about this that I scarcely know where to begin! The FIRST thought that slams into my head is, ummm... aren't you touching the pump BEFORE you actually WASH your hands... and wouldn't those scary germs on the pump get washed off with the rest? (Is it me??) Next, and I've said this all over the place, we do NOT need anti-bacterial soap in our homes. All that does is get our into the environment, needlessly, to help create super-bacteria and super-bugs. Seriously. Look it up, I am telling the truth on that. And THAT'S what should be making us scared. C) That thing dispenses a butt-load of soap. I would think, way more than necessary. 4) There's yet another plastic refill bottle where it isn't needed. 5) Batteries. Even if you are using rechargeable batteries, do we really need some form of power to wash our hands? 4, FOUR, AA batteries. F) How durable is this thing? Are they going to have to be replaced too often, creating more waste for the landfills?

Soap. Bar soap. Wrapped in simple paper or not wrapped at all. That's it. It worked for decades before now, and I'm pretty sure people survived their bathrooms. But really, I cannot get off that first point I made up there. Are we such simpletons as to fall for this? Unfortunately, I think the answer is yes, because we have so many germaphobes in this world. Which, again, I find ironic, because their mistaken beliefs are creating more problems than we can imagine. Plus, I truly worry about what messages they are sending to the kids, and what dangerous lessons they are teaching them.

Soap. Plain soap and water. And a towel. Look into soapmaking, too... it's fun and makes nice gifts. So there. All good.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

The CDC and FTC for Kimberly Clark Complaints

Some people wanted to be active in trying to bring down Kleenex Single-Use Hand Towels, and I promised I would provide some links and resources.This is what my new good friend John Steves sent out, and we encourage everyone reading to do the same, and pass it around! Please contact the CDC with concerns, because if we flood them enough, maybe they will take action more quickly. Let's do this! Pass it around, post it on Facebook, put it on your blogs... let's get this product outta here!! Please share your responses as well. I sent 2 messages to Kimberly Clark and did not get a response from the second one, and John has not heard back from the FTC. John gives us permission to use this text below as a basis for contacting the FTC, and if enough of us do it, maybe we'll get that response. There is no direct e-mail for doing this, but please follow this link for their on-line form: 

The "legalese" in the last paragraph is right from the FTC's definition of deceptive practice!
I hope we get the folks at KC drying their tears (or wiping their pants ) with cotton hankies! Here 'tis:

Kimberly Clark - "Kleenex" infers by name in it's advertising and web pages ( that the CDC recommends use of single use towels for home hand drying. I questioned this and looked for those CDC recommendations - I could not find any for home hand washing. I contacted the CDC and they sent me this reply:
Mr. Steves
We are aware of the claims from Kleenex. We cannot support these claims. We will be contacting the company regarding their marketing.

Thank you for bringing this to our attention.


Abbigail Tumpey, MPH CHES
Associate Director for Communications Science
Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
1600 Clifton Rd NE
Atlanta, GA
Phone: 404-639-1125
Cell: 404-259-7064

This false CDC recommendation is clearly representation, omission or scare tactic practice that is directed and likely to mislead the consumer. It is a Marketing and point-of-sales practice that is likely to mislead consumers. It's likely to affect the consumer's conduct or decision with regard to this product.The consumer's interpretation or reaction is reasonable to believe that the CDC is stating that normal home washed hand towels are likely to spread disease and against CDC recommendations for the home. The practice is material, and consumer injury is likely, because consumers are likely to have chosen differently but for the deception and fear by stating the CDC recommends this type product.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Why Don't We?

In thinking about the things we use that are disposable, and the things we use that have perfectly good non-throw-away alternatives, I am forced to ask, "Why don't we use those alternatives?"

Are we just used to the disposable lifestyle? If that's the case, can't we re-accustom ourselves to the alternative? Being the Good Green Witch, I am naturally exposed to many other people who embrace a green, sustainable lifestyle. Are they "better" people? Are they more crafty, more organized, have more time than anyone else? No, I don't think so. Do they care or think a little more? Maybe... but I like to think more people care than do not.

I don't have the answers. I'm just feeling my own way around out here. If I had all the answers, I'm sure I would disappear from the face of the Earth. So when I ask, "Why don't we?", I got nuthin'. I know, I know for sure in my heart I just know that we CAN. But we don't. We need to.

We CAN stop using plastic utensils. That's easy. Even if one finds one cannot avoid them altogether, cutting back is REALLY easy. One just has to put one's mind to it. (Aye, there's the rub?) And paper napkins. Surely, this one is just a matter of convenience. Cloth napkins are so much better. I can't even stand the bleach-chemical smell of some paper napkins anymore. Cloth napkins don't have to be fancy and don't have to be for special use and are very easy to have around. Same thing with hankies. We adjusted VERY quickly to hankies in our home. Now we don't even dream of using a Kleenex. I carry a hankie in my purse, which will nicely double as a napkin if I am caught in a napkin-pinch situation. (Use your imagination on that one if you wish. I'll wait.)

I truly believe that is is just a simple matter of setting our minds to it and doing it. We're a smart group. We can do this. We can form new habits and end bad ones. I know we can.

We have to.