Monday, March 9, 2009

Buyer Beware!

In July, when I began this blog, I wrote a post on plastic bags (you can read that post HERE). Reusable bags are one of the mainstays of living a green life ... right along such basics as replacing light bulbs with energy efficient versions and lowering the thermostat by 5 degrees.

In the beginning, not many people carried reusable bags into the store ... but now it is very common to see people with their giant totes carrying groceries to their cars. It has become so common, in fact, that companies want in on the "green" action and reusable bags with a store's logo or an advertiser's slogan are popping up all over.

The same thing is happening with reusable water bottles. They have become trendy and the perfect medium for advertising.

Unfortunately, these products are being made out of fresh plastic ... not recycled soda bottles ... not sustainable materials ... not earth friendly. Manufacturers will boast that their product is made out of polypropylene and tell you that polypropylene is easy to recycle and totally earth friendly. But it is plastic ... a by-product of oil refining processes. Yes, it can be recycled but the recycling process degrades the plastic's properties and recycling is difficult and expensive. That means that much of it will end up in our landfills and oceans.

So today's tip is easy ... be sure to find out what those reusable totes and water bottles are made of. If it's fresh, virgin plastic ... just say no. Choose, instead, bags made out of recycled or sustainable materials and stainless steel water bottles.

I'd like to leave you with the following video. It is the reality of plastics in our world.

As always ... I would love to hear from you!


  1. What is really sad about this is that I do live near the beaches that he mentioned.
    Every year i do several beach clean up's and let me tell you it is so gross what I find!
    Not only do I find gross things, but I am laughed at and pointed at all the time.
    Why? because I want my children to swim in a clean ocean? Because I don't birds eating crap?
    I don't care what people think. I am going to continue with my cleaning up of our local beaches. Everyone else can kiss my a**

  2. Thanks for the info, I did not know that, about these bags and bottles.

  3. This video is staggering! I knew we were destroying our oceans at an alarming rate, but I had no idea how bad it really is.

    Thanks for the reality check. Now I had to really look at what we are really drinking out of and make appropriate changes.

  4. I really think more people need to be aware of this situation. My sister is the one who got me to purchase reusable recycled bags to go to the grocery store! To not buy water bottles but to purchase a aluminum reusable bottle! All these little things can be a great for the planet if MORE people knew about it! Great blog!

  5. OH! Thank you for all you do, SF -

    when i visited So Louisiana, there wasn't the push for re-usable shopping bags! And barely any to buy - not like in WNC - same here in Texas - so, I made sure to ask, where are the reusable bags? sometimes to blank stares *laugh*

  6. Gave up my water bottles a year ago and use a good refillable one. I still can't bring myself to tote a bag to the grocery store as I would need a few--but I reused my plastic as garbage bags. Does that count??

  7. Thanks for the info! I prefer cotton/canvas or other natural fiber bags, but I do have a couple made from recycled plastics. I gave up plastic bottles because of hte harm to the environment AND the harm to me and my family from the chemicals leeching out into my drinks. Keep up the good research.

  8. Hi Small...
    I started putting all my Aqua bottles,my condense milkcans, my cola cans,newspapers into a plastic bag. Just got back from Indonesia and realized that there are plenti people out here that knows nothing about environment. I used 1 ltr plastic bottle as my flower vases..there are endless things we can do, just inside our own home.
    Love your blog!

  9. Thanks again for all of the wonderful info and tips! As for water bottles, I just use the water from my refrigerator! As well as my own glasses. When traveling I just fill up my own thermoses and off we go. Plus it beats paying those ridiculous prices they want for bottled water!
    Still though THANKS for sharing the video!


  10. Any plastic in contact with food MUST use fresh plastic. This is because all plastics contain additives (stabilisers etc) that are stricly controlled. If recycle is used, you don't know what may be there.

    Also, use of light plastic packaging is far more beneficial to the environment than heavy glass in terms of transport cost.

  11. I was in Trader Joe's the other day telling the guy to stuff everything into my reusable bag (I'm not sure of the origins) because I am bag-conscientious. The cashier went on to tell me of a woman who has the paper bags TRIPLE bagged and every frozen item placed into its own personal plastic bag. As much as I try to do, people like this women really need to hear the message and see this picture.

  12. Let me suggest the humble cardboard "banker's box" for grocery shopping.

    It fits neatly into a shopping cart, handles bottles and delicate items very well, and is 100% recyclable. You never have to buy one since people frequently discard them.

  13. Hi rewinn,

    Umm ... what is a "banker's box"? I just know that I'm going to kick myself when I hear the answer! :)