Monday, July 30, 2012

Say It With Me, Again

Say it slowly, because we didn't get the memo last time.

A plastic bottle made with less plastic is still PLASTIC.

A friend of mine pointed out what Nestle has been up to with their new and improved Poland Spring Eco-Shaped bottles. I guess the bottle is super-crazy thin and the cap is tiny. I don't usually catch this stuff because bottled water is way off my radar. Maybe if I pretend it isn't as prevalent, it won't be? No? Darn.

The new bottles use less materials and therefore fewer resources, and they weight less so they are easier to ship, and less material goes into the waste stream. Good, right? Is it still plastic? Yes. Then, no, not good. I read that the company's machines produce 1200 bottles every... hour? NOPE. MINUTE. Can you conceive of that? Because I cannot wrap my brain around that.

Now, are the good people at Nestle doing this because they care SO much about the environment? Of course not. Less plastic and less materials and less shipping cost while charging the same amount or more for the same amount of product (which they pretty much pump free out of communities that would otherwise be USING that water for, you know, themselves) means a better bottom line for their CEO and shareholders. That CEO, Kim Jeffery, in case you wondered what his name is, would have you believe they are doing some great service by giving people something bottled to drink other than soda. He would have you believe they are superior because their bottles are more eco-friendly than the heavier soda/juice/sports drink counterparts. Look - the only reason they care about the environmental impact is because they can use it as a selling point. Bottom line again. (See how that works?)

Did I mention that they have to have a warning on the label about the caps being a choking hazard for babies and small children? Lovely. If your kid gets your hands on this cap and chokes on it, you have no one to blame but yourself. Seriously. I don't want to see one single lawsuit come up about that. I would actually have to side with the Corporation on that one. And that makes me despondent.

Here is the long and short of it... let us ask, "Is this still a plastic bottle?" Why yes it is.

That is all we need to know. Thank you. Move along, please. Nothing to see here.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

I Scream for Ice Cream...

I discovered the reason I stay off Pinterest. I'm sure there are a million wonderful things on there, but knowing me, they would be overshadowed by things that piss me off. Like this...

"what a great idea! such a time saver for birthday parties- scoop the ice cream into lined cupcake pans & put them in the freezer. then just pull them out when you cut the cake & serve!"

And someone's comment: "oh I LOVE this more expensive single servings needing to be bought!!"

Where to start. I almost do not know. I guess I'm wondering why it's OK to create more garbage for a little time saved. I'm wondering what lessons we teach children by these actions. I'm wondering why no one stops to think about the resources wasted by manufacturing these little paper liners in the first place, not to mention the resources to get them to stores, etc.

Most of all, I am wondering who the hell buys "expensive single servings" for a birthday party???

I consider this a Lazy Fail, and the wasteful use of resources for something that isn't really necessary. I know, I know, the hardship of actually scooping ice cream during a party is truly heartbreaking. But I think we can get over it.

You just KNOW these went straight onto paper plates, too. Better yet - Styrofoam. With Red Solo plastic cups and plastic forks. And spoons. And knives. You just know. You know you know. I know. I'm dead sure of it. Add the little plastic crap party favors Made in China and the scads of wrapping paper - OH! and probably bottled water, too, I am sure, because if you are too damn busy to SCOOP ice cream DURING the party, then you sure as hell are the kind of household that uses bottled water - add all that up and you have the PERFECT 21st Century Kids' Birthday Party.

You enjoy that. I'm sure they will when they are adults with their own kids, looking around at what we have left them. Enjoy.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Choosy Moms Choose... Convenience?


I have to laugh, because I know that there are people out there who KNOW my head flew off when that commercial came on. "The same great Jif taste in a convenient snack size that's perfect for dipping!" Oh look, there's my favorite word. So, let's check out this product: peanut butter that we KNOW is way too packed with sugar to be healthy, and even in the larger "home" container, it's in plastic... but now, it's in even smaller plastic. Because it needs to be convenient and you need to take it with you! I won't even mention the fact that there are 22 grams of fat in each tiny little pack.

(Oh, wait, I did. Oops.)

Now, a slightly more creative person, one who is - you know - choosy, might actually think that if you really need to take peanut butter out and about with you, that you can just take it out of the large jar already in you home and place it into smaller containers that can be, oh, I don't know, washed and re-used again another time? Well, THAT'S just silly, because, well, think about it... then you have to wash a knife or a spoon, you have to rely on that container finding its way back home, and THEN you have to wash that too! The horror! Who has time for THAT? By all means, let's pay more for the convenience of creating extra garbage. We don't have enough of that in the world. Who wants to take the extra time to plan a lunch, or a snack? The awesome people at the J. M. Smucker company have taken care of the pesky details for you, because of course they care SO much about YOUR time and YOUR well-being.

We're not moving forward with any of this. All I see are more conveniences popping up all around, because we sure as hell don't have time to do anything once we have brought the kids into the world. And we can't stop and do what really is the right thing. Just keep going. Keep shoving the kids into the SUV's and shoving the fat-packed fast and convenient crap into their mouths. Because that's how we support a successful, viable, sustainable future. Yep, we are definitely heading in the right direction here. Get the jelly packs in separate plastic containers and pack the bread in individual plastic Ziplock bags, because you wouldn't want anything to get soggy or anything to touch anything else until right before you eat half of it and throw the rest away...

Yeah. We're definitely progressing.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Econundrum #2: Plastic Stuff

It was actually the husband that got sick of them before I did.... all those plastic bowls and storage things in our kitchen. We had been acquiring metal bowls slowly but surely, and finally there was just no more room for both sets. I was managing, but the husband couldn't take it any longer. I came home to the plastic bowls all sitting out in another room. A small part of me resisted for just a moment, thinking, "Wait! I still use those!!!" (I'm dangerously close to being on of those people who has a hard time getting rid of stuff. I watch "Hoarders" just to keep myself in line.)

Someone else' cupboard. I feel their pain
But now the dilemma. Here they sit. I don't quite know what to do with them! They are still useful. They aren't broken or anything. They still function. But I really can't think of who would want them, and I am certainly not going to throw them away. Thrift store donation???? I guess. What else is there?

Ah, the mending of ways. Turning back is hard. It definitely reminds me that all we can do is go forward, try to not ADD to the problems out there. We can't take them back. These bowls exist in my home, and these problems exist in our world. Neither will just disappear.

So... days later... here sit the bowls. The husband asked what we were going to do with them. My answer was, "I have no idea." I guess the thrift store is going to be the answer. Maybe at least they'll get a little bit more use. Meanwhile, for my part, I simply won't buy any more. And when I am at that thrift store, I'm going to pick up some glass and Pyrex and Corningware!

Then, I'll have even more plastic to oust from my kitchen. Someday, it'll all be gone. Someday!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


Trying to be green has its own set of conundrums. For instance, you've purchased things in the past that you now realize are not very green. What to do?

One eco-nundrum I have is my past affinity for nail polish. It may seem like such a tiny thing... all those little bottles... but they really are considered hazardous waste. All those chemicals! But so pretty! So... OK... I don't buy more ever again, not even the so-called environmentally friendly kind, but what about all the bottles I already have? Nail polish is fun but far from a necessity. Yes it's pretty, and I always compliment cool nail-artwork when I see it on people. But all those chemicals! Do we encourage the cessation of use? It's not something that will ever go away; too many people like it too much.

How many have actually used an entire bottle of nail polish? I actually have come close before, but mostly I, like many others, have a million partially-used bottles. Knowing what I know about it, I sometimes feel like if I wear it anymore, I'll be judged as a Terrible Not-Green Liar Person. Which is kind of funny because that's not what comes to mid for me when I look at other people's nails. OK, well maybe the second thought. No. Kidding. Mostly.

I want to use my old nail polish. Isn't that the greenest thing to do? Use it? It's already here in my home... I can get it to hazardous waste, but wouldn't just using it up be OK too? What about the nail polish remover? I have that too, from days-less-green-gone-by. Use that too. After all, haz-waste has a lot to do already.

Such an econundrum for the Green Witch. Because, even right now, my pretty pretty dark green nail polish beckons to me....

Sunday, July 8, 2012

We Can't Make Our Own Damn Meatballs??

Here's the story from 7/8/12 on

Meatball company recalls 300,000 pounds of meat over listeria risk -By Lily Kuo

(Reuters) - A New Jersey meatball manufacturer is recalling more than 300,000 pounds (136,000 kg) of meat products due to possible listeria contamination, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service said on Saturday.

Bridgeton, New Jersey-based Buona Vita Inc was recalling about 324,770 pounds of frozen, ready-to-eat meat and poultry products produced in May, including meatballs, chicken and beef patties, and loafs of chicken and beef, the agency said in a written statement.

The FSIS described the health risk related to the recall as "high," according to the statement.

Representatives for Buona Vita, which says on its website that it produces 200,000 pounds (90,000 kg) of meatballs a day, could not immediately be reached for comment.

The possible contamination was discovered through testing by FSIS and the Ohio Department of Agriculture, the FSIS statement said. There have been no reports of illness related to the company's products, it added.

Listeria bacteria thrive in low temperatures. Outbreaks are usually associated with deli meats, unpasteurized cheeses and smoked refrigerated seafood products. Listeriosis has a long incubation period, with symptoms sometimes not showing up until two months after people consume tainted foods. Symptoms include fever and muscle aches, sometimes preceded by diarrhea and other gastric problems.

(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2012

Here's my first thought: quit buying pre-made meatballs. Mom used to make a whole big batch of meatballs at once from scratch, cooking them then freezing them, so they were ready to use any time. It didn't take long. It was surely more economical to buy bulk ground meat. It was very surely better because we knew every ingredient that went in there. How many preservatives and other crap are in these frozen foods, besides the Listeria of course?

200,000 pounds of meatballs a day??? How lazy are we? And STOP with the "I don't have time, frozen is more convenient" crap. I don't buy it. LOOK at what happens when we rely on our conveniences. We get Listeria outbreaks. Was it worth it? Was the 30 minutes every few weeks you saved worth it? NOPE.

These problems go away when we grow our own food, make our own food, buy locally, and cook once in a damn while. Make your own meatballs, people.