It has been a huge week of reflection for me about how I can move through the world in a more mindful, sustainable way. My friends and I participated in Sustainability News & Entertainment's second annual Trash On Your Back 5 Day Challenge. This was an Earth Day initiative hosted by Diana Dehm. Last year they had 20 participants, this year there were over 400 from all over the world, and we hope next year there will be thousands.
Participants included the Seattle Mariners, Climate Interactive, US EPA, Green Schools National Network, University of New Hampshire, University of San Diego, City of Huntington Beach, Green Sports Alliance, California Center for Sustainability, Ideas for Us, Waste Management, EcoSafe Bags, and Aloha Grill.
People from these organizations literally carried their waste on their backs everywhere they went for five days (Monday through Friday) with the view to raising awareness about consumption, waste, and sustainability issues. I also did.
We all then shared our experiences in a series of conference calls. So much goes into our landfills and waterways unnecessarily. We can all make changes to reduce our waste. Check out the Trash On Your Back Facebook page for more information.
We can make a real difference by reducing our consumption of packaging in our food by purchasing produce from from local farmer's markets, carrying our own containers and bags to the store, and buying staples from the bulk section of the health food store. I didn't have that much trash. But, boy do you think twice about every little thing you consume (and how you can reduce it) when you have to carry it around with you!
I noticed that most of our trash was packaging from the leafy greens we purchase from the health food store when we haven't planned enough ahead to get our produce (package free) at the farmer's market on a Sunday. So, we will definitely be planning more in the future.
This exercise also made me think about how we can go beyond recycling and reduce our consumption of packaging, and when we do use packaging, figure out ways to upcycle. A cool product that helps us do this is Eco Jarz.
This company goes one step beyond purchasing reusable glass and stainless steel refillable drinking bottles, and instead, allows you to upcycle any standard wide mouth canning jar (apple sauce, jam, spaghetti sauce, mayonnaise, mason jar etc) and immediately convert it into an eco-friendly, sterile, customizable to-go drink container! There are hundreds of possibilities. You can use the same lid for a child’s drink cup, a travel mug that fits your cup holder, or an extra-large jar for daily hydration.
You just screw on the rink top lids (that are made with medical grade, high-quality stainless-steel and FDA approved non leach silicone that prevents spills and leaks) and you have a multi-purpose, healthy, green solution to plastic drink containers. Storing your juices, smoothies, water, and other beverages in glass is more sterile and better for your health. By using non-reactive materials such as glass, ceramic, stainless steel and silicone for food storage you are protecting yourself from harmful compounds and toxins such as Bisphenol A (BPA) and Phthalates. You can use these vessels again and again without transferring anything harmful into your food.
40 billion or more plastic water bottles that go into landfill each year, and in 2010, (according to the Glass Packaging Institute) only 18% of food and glass jars were recycled and glass made up nearly 5% of all municipal solid waste. Why discard glass when it can be used over and over again, and is easily sterilized in boiling water or in the dishwasher? EcoJarz transforms what could be a waste product into a new, highly effective product, and saves us all money, too.
These affordable lids, which costs less than most water bottles, are fabulous. I use them every day. Each lid also has a hole to put a reusable stainless steel straw through. I love the Eco Jarz straws. You can purchase some lids, reusable straws and straw cleaner, and glass mason jars for under $30. I use the steel straws all the time for my lemon water so that it doesn't strip the enamel off my teeth.
I also love the green sustainable business practices of this company. All of their packaging utilizes 100% recycled paper, and they ship out of an off-the-grid homestead facility in upstate New York which uses solar power and hot water. The backup generator runs on post-consumer waste cooking oil! This gives them enough green energy to focus on issues like using the absolute minimum amount of materials for processing and packaging while developing new innovative products.
So, onto today's juice. This carrot, beet, & greens liver cleansing juice is one of my go-to juices for detoxing. I do a liver flush once a year, and I drink this juice and others to give my system a reboot. Leafy greens, beets, carrots, lemon, cucumber, grapefruit, and ginger are all magic for cleansing the liver. This blend is also delicious. No swamp water here.