Day #328: Environmental Working Group

Do you know about the Environmental Working Group? For 20 years, I’ve been following the research they do and the alerts they share. From their website, “The Environmental Working Group’s mission is to empower people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment. With breakthrough research and education, we drive consumer choice and civic action. We are a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to protecting human health and the environment.” You may wish to follow them so you can be aware of what’s happening around us. I believe it’s vital.

Day #175: Toilet Paper

This may be my most mundane GJ post yet, but it’s an important one. For years I have been bothered by our use of tree-based toilet paper. Cutting down old-growth forests for this purpose is disturbing and non-sustainable. So we’ve tried to find the best substitute. At this point, we can recommend Silk ‘n’ Soft, which is 100% bamboo. It is $4 more expensive for the pack than tree-based TP, but the cost of deforestation is much higher. At this point, it is only available on Amazon (even their website steers you to Amazon) but we need to talk with our grocery stores to stock bamboo toilet paper Is it as soft and fluffy as tree-based, heavily-bleached toilet paper? No. But it’s not bad. Not bad at all.

Silk 'n' Soft bamboo toiilet paper

Day #152: Shower Curtain

I love taking showers. I do my best thinking there. But I always felt disgusted by a plastic shower curtain liner: the smell, the clinging, the inevitable mold, the frequent need to purchase another one. We’ve been using a cotton duck shower liner for more than 10 years. They used to be hard to find but not anymore. Purchase one that’s a hefty fabric (sometimes called industrial grade). Unbleached cotton is preferable. We wash it every couple of weeks. It’s a liner. It gets wet but it dries quickly and it keeps water from spraying beyond the fabric. There’s a decorative fabric shower curtain facing the bathroom. One more way to keep plastic out of our waste stream.

cotton duck shower curtain

Day #19: Straws

A practical tip for this day: straws. Another form of plastic that contributes 500 million straws into our landfills every single day in the US. We only use them when eating out and we often ask the wait staff to skip the straw … but sometimes that glass doesn’t look friendly. Consider taking along your own straw. These bamboo or stainless steel versions are affordable, tuck easily into a purse or backpack or portfolio. By request, I’ve included manufacturer names so you can order your own. I am grateful for the ingenuity that is finding practical ways to lessen our impact on our Earth. For more info, The Last Plastic Straw

bamboo straws and stainless steel straws

Day #11: Brushing My Teeth

With that title this can only be an everyday gratitude statement. When we made the decision to eliminate as much plastic as we could from our lives, it began to bug us that we were throwing toothbrushes into the landfill so frequently. Plastic handles and bristles—surely there had to be a better way? After some research, I discovered bamboo toothbrushes with nylon bristles, delivered in a paper box. I’ve ordered Weinisite toothbrushes from for a reasonable price. Now there are many more options available. Bamboo toothbrushes last for a long time with careful rinsing, they’re comfortable, and they get the job done. One billion toothbrushes go into American landfills each year. If we all switch to toothbrushes from a natural, renewable source, then we’ve removed one more non-degradable item from our waste stream.

Day #3: Beyond Paper Towels

Today, something more mundane. We have been working for 30 years to reduce our consumer impact on the planet. It was hard to give up paper towels. I am grateful for these huck cloths. Washable, lint-free, the right size, they can do everything a paper towel could do … and did I say they’re washable? We color code them: pink for the bathroom, green for the kitchen, yellow for the laundry room. It’s further progress toward our goal to lessen our household impact on landfills. I know my grandmother would approve.