I know what you're thinking, "For real? Plastic in tea bags?" The short answer to that is, yes.
It's highly likely that the tea bags you use on a regular basis are releasing microplastics into that beautiful cup of tea that's bringing a smile to your face and caffeine to your bloodstream. Often we don't realize this because our tea bags seem to be made of paper, stored in individual paper bags, and come in cardboard boxes. However, many of those "paper" tea bags are sealed with plastic to keep them from opening. After adding the boiling water, this released microplastics, unable to be seen by the naked eye, to our cup of tea. Those cute little pyramid, silky tea bags? Typically made from nylon. More money, more plastic, more health concerns.
The easiest way to ensure that the tea you're drinking is free of plastic is to opt for loose leaf. While it may be less convenient for on the go use, it actually ends up taking less time than you'd expect to brew a cup of loose leaf tea at home. Once you get down to your regular routine, knowing how much tea to use for one cup, having all the necessary parts clean and ready to go, it's much easier than I used to think.
If you're in need of an actual tea bag, do a little deeper research before re-purchasing your go to brand. I was DEVASTATED when I found out that my beloved Barry's tea hasn't yet transitioned to fully plastic-free bags. This week, I found a replacement (though I'm hopeful that Barry's will step it up in the near future!), Clippers. If you're a strong tea drinker, this is a great option for you! The bags are plastic-free, unbleached, and the flavor is similar to that of a Barry's Irish tea.
Check out this article on Because Health for some more information about plastics in tea. They list some plastic-free brands and common brands that unfortunately, are not as great as we may have thought they were.
Have you found plastic-free teas that you love? Let me know in the comment over on our Facebook page!
*Some information from this article was taken from becausehealth.org and usatoday.com.
The first time I walked into a food store to attempt bulk shopping/BYO containers, it didn't go over too well. I got a few eye rolls at Whole Foods after bringing my already filled containers to check out. The location I was at didn't allow BYO containers because of some past claim that Whole Foods got someone sick. Lesson. Learned.
Soon after that is when I found MOMs. I hadn't seen MOMs anywhere before, but ever since I discovered it, I hear about it more and more. I've since been able to purchase some items in Whole Foods that I can get plastic free such as Bread, produce, etc., but if I want to bring my own glass or steel containers, MOMs is the place to go.
Here's a list that I currently bring to the grocery store when I'm doing my regular food shopping. Each item here is an item that I can purchase by bringing my own containers.
TIP: Make sure you have the tare weight of your container BEFORE you fill it up. This is the best way to save you $. Plus, if you're bringing a container that isn't for sale at the store, there's no real way to estimate the weight of your container. Make sure you also pay close attention to the price/weight of the items you are getting to avoid a jaw drop at checkout.
What are your favorite bulk shopping stores? Any secret spots in Philadelphia or Jersey that I should know of?! I'd love to read your tips and tricks. Let me know over on our Facebook page!
At this point, you've probably heard a LOT about plastic pollution, plastic being detrimental to our environment, our health, etc. but you may not really know the history of plastics and why it's as problematic as it is. So let's take it waaaay back to the good old days and bring it up to speed!
A Brief History
In 1869, John Wesley Hyatt, invented the world's first synthetic polymer. The initial invention was inspired by creating a substitution for natural substances, like ivory, tortoiseshell, etc. which was a win for animals and in turn, a win for humans. Having a man-made product also made things more accessible to people of a lower social status, also giving more equality to people.
In 1907, Leo Baekeland, invented what would be the world's first FULLY synthetic plastic, having not a single material derived from nature involved.
World War II was the biggest push for continued use of plastics. Everything from nylon to plexiglass was used in the military. After the war ended, the plastic use continued giving people a convenient, sanitary, and relatively cheap material to make just about whatever was desired.
In the 1960s, the first observation of plastic debris in our ocean was observed. As people grew more concerned about caring for our environment, plastic was beginning to be looked at as cheap or fake.
After taking a beating in sales, the plastic industry decided to create a solution: recycling. Recycling became popular in the 1980s, though we know in today's world, most of our recycling isn't actually properly recycled or reused. This can clearly be seen when taking a look at our ocean. Maybe you've heard of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, but did you know there are FIVE great garbage patches around the world? Five! As if one wasn't bad enough...
As the world is becoming more and more aware of the need to stop single use plastics and to rely on more sustainable solutions, there are a few ways we can help to protect both our environment and our health.
While this post may be a short, condensed discussion about plastics, it's one that I find very important. What are your biggest concerns with plastic and plastic pollution? What are some ways your making changes to reduce your plastic use? Let me know in the comments here or over on our Facebook page!
Saying "I'm so busy, I didn't have any time" is an excuse I use on the reg. It's a terrible excuse. In fact, I find it hard to even call it an excuse, it's really just a choice. I understand that we all have to work. We have bills to pay, things we want to do that cost money, food to eat, etc. but I'm going to go out on a limb here and say no-one reading this blog post works 24 hours a day. This alone is proof that we. have. time. Saying we don't have time is saying that we don't care enough to find time.
So here's a little breakdown of small windows of time that we can choose to create to care for our environment:
Do any of you already implement some of these? What pockets of time do you find yourself more likely to commit to? Let me know in the comments below or over on our Facebook page!
It’s been a little bit since my last CL post and that’s solely because I have been BUSY. I’m currently working an additional seasonal job and fighting off a cold which has had me spending any free time mostly just sleeping, but! I haven’t stopped my Sunday cleanup commitment, even in the nasty rain this week. I debated pushing it off to Monday and writing about the rain and a nasty cold keeping me in, but littering doesn’t stop on rainy days and this commitment isn't going to stop either. The garbage doesn’t say “hey, no one wanted to go outside today, let’s just stay right in place until a sunny day brings some friends to clean us up”. In fact, it more so says “hey, rain...wind...cloudy skies, let’s go for a ride to the closest waterway or waterway entry (sewers, drains, river beds). Then, we can get swept up with the rest of the trash and go for a lazy river ride” (Can you imagine how exhausting it is to be in my brain?). Alas, I got out of my sister's cozy car while she went into the store to get soup and got myself into the parking lot.
The thing about doing cleanups is you don’t have to be on a great hike or kayaking down a river to do one. You can be WHEREVER you are at any time of day. I filled an entire GIANT Go Puff bag (which is a topic for another conversation) with trash in under 21 minutes walking up and down just half of a parking lot aisle at Walmart. Could you imagine the amount of trash that could be collected if there were five of us? Ten of us? Now imagine if all ten of us committed to cleaning up for a full hour. Woah. I can. I can imagine it because I know what groups of people can do. When individuals come together with like-minded goals, the unthinkable is possible and the unthinkable occurs.
Sunday, October 27th is the last Sunday of the month. That means, I’ll have been at my Sunday cleanups for 4 weeks. Want to join me for November? Get a head start by joining me this Sunday, wherever you choose to be, and use #consciouslivingcleanup to show me what you do. With the holiday season coming up, people's lives tend to get a bit busier and it seems harder to find little pockets of windows to do cleanups, but my next post is all about the small amounts of time you can find to make a difference. Stay tuned!
If any of you follow me on my personal social media pages, you may have seen that I started a new journey as a Wild Keeper with Keep Nature Wild. I’ve been doing cleanups for quite a while now, both with local communities and solo, and having the opportunity to be a Wild Keeper have given me the opportunity to create a bigger impact by sharing my cleanups with a large community of like minded people. It has also given me a place to record the impact that I’m making.
My plans for October have been to do a cleanup every Sunday, no matter where I am. This past Sunday, I went out in my local neighborhood and because I’ve always considered it to be “clean”, I was quite shocked to see just how quickly the trash bags began to fill. You'd be surprised how much garbage is located just in your "backyard".
Over the last two weeks, I’ve received unexpected messages from 3 people who were inspired to reach out after seeing my posts and it nearly brought me to tears. Seeing that my impact has reached even a single person inspires me to continue what I'm doing and more so, do it more frequently and more publicly.
If you have any interest in joining me for cleanups in Philadelphia, please let me know! I’d love to have you join me. So far this Sunday I've gained one new cleaner and I can't wait to see how it continues to grow. While my schedule is going to be changing quite a bit come November, I intend to continue my weekly cleanups far beyond October as they’ve already began to be therapeutic for me. I hope to get home to Jersey for a few cleanups on the beach during the holiday season. All my Jersey people, stay tuned! I'll see you in the sand. <3
Where have you been finding the most trash in your local community? I'd love to know. Head over to our Facebook page and leave me a comment. Perhaps we can plan a cleanup right there for the future!
Have you ever felt overwhelmed trying to stay up to date with all the plastic-free alternatives out there? This age of social media can often leave us feeling like we're less than if we don't have the next best thing, but usually that "next best thing" is gone just as quickly as it came. Here are a few ways to reduce your plastic use without spending any money:
What are some ways you save $ while going plastic free? I'd love to hear your tips and tricks!
I figured it was time to give you a little update on some products that I use everyday, every week, or at the very least, every month. I've made sure to include links to similar products or links to the exact product that I use.
What products do you use on a regular basis? What do you use them for? Are there any single use products that you're looking to replace? Leave me a comment and we can try to find a solution together!
Thank you all for submitting your Fall survey, it has helped tremendously! While I'm working on getting some eco-friendly supplies (from products, to shipping, to the ink used on them, and more!), I want to know a little more of what you like. I've been busy chatting with friends and family members as well as other local businesses for ideas, suggestions, etc.
Please select which design layout you would prefer to see on future CL branded reusable tote bags. The more votes, the more I can custom my products to suit your preferences, so please share with your friends, family, co-workers!
These mockup designs would be printed using water based ink on recycled or 100% organic material with a price range of $15-20 (specific details will be provided once available to you). I have many more ideas to come on future products, designs, and so much more. Thank you in advance for your input, it means the WORLD to me!
PHILLY SHOWED UP!
For those of you unaware of the current climate strike, here's the long story short. Greta Thunberg, a 16 year old Swedish activist started the Global Climate Strike in August 2018, skipping school on Fridays to demand action against climate change. One person with a big voice has created a worldwide movement forcing politicians and people of power to wake up and start making change.
I joined Philadelphia's protesters yesterday. Every age, every race, every religion, people of all different backgrounds showed up. While some Philadelphia school districts decided that any students that were not in school this Friday would be marked as an unexcused absence, other districts decided that with a guardians notice, skipping school on Friday would count as an educational trip. The fear of an unexcused absence didn't stop students, teachers, and school employees from showing up though and I don't see that changing.
When children spend their school days on the streets teaching adults about the impact that their actions have on the future, it becomes very clear that our system is broken. Yesterday's global climate strike gave me hope. For any single person who has felt "crazy" for caring, hopeless for caring, or emotionally drained for caring, let yesterday be a reminder that caring creates change.
Have you joined the Global Climate Strike? Let me know on our Facebook page! Share your photos, stories, videos, etc. I would LOVE to see all that you do!
For more information on this week long event, please head to Global Climate Strike.