Plastify

 

Riding the waves and spouting full force, a pod of slender black and white orca whales are in pursuit of the season’s salmon.

Plastify-Anne-Marie-Van-Dijk

These were my days spent as a whale researcher in Puget Sound back in 2002. Our research topic: killer whale behavior.

During my first months as a researcher I soon came to realize that the animal I had come to adore, a totemic species in the Pacific Northwest, was deeply threatened by a silent, stealthier killer. A killer that disintegrates and seeps under your skin, accumulates on micro levels and is just simply impossible to get rid of: PLASTIC.

To us Westerners living in a consumerist society plastic has become a commodity, a necessity, a way of living, perhaps saving lives in the form of plastic syringes but also bringing luxury in the form of stylized computers. For marine animals and the ocean, however, plastic has turned into a nightmare. Turtles ingest plastic bags mistaking them for jellyfish, dolphins get entangled in fishing nets and birds swallow pellets formed by plastic debris floating in the ocean.

It's a big world out there

One may ask where all this plastic goes. Surely my plastic bottle must be recycled and transformed into a new one. If not, the world is big enough to handle a few extra billion tons of plastic waste each year.

This could not be further from the truth. Tragically, in the U.S., only 20% of plastic bottles that are thrown away get recycled. The other 80% gets dumped into landfills or reaches the ocean. Most of our waste today is made up of plastic. Plastic, which is made from petroleum, takes centuries to degrade. In fact, “every bit of plastic that has ever been created still exists, except for a small amount that has been incinerated, is releasing toxic chemicals”.

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The Pacific Ocean is now famous for its infamous “Pacific Garbage Patch”, a swirling vortex of plastic debris and trash twice the size of Texas – the biggest landfill in the world.

The Atlantic Ocean is forming a patch of its own, as is the Indian Ocean. What is even more alarming is that plastic disintegrates, breaking down into smaller particles (polymers) yet never fully biodegrading, the process by which material decays and is absorbed back into the environment. What this means, literally, is that our oceans are turning into plastic.

It's a small World after all

What will happen to the whale called Killer? Orca whales are now regarded as some of the most toxic animals on Earth due to the rapid accumulation of harmful chemicals into their bodies. The pods in the Pacific Northwest have been put on the endangered species list, but to what avail?

In November 2009, Lonneke Engel, Eyal Amir and myself held a party–Pura Vida– in honor of the oceans and how to lessen our impact on our planet by promoting the use of sustainable, eco-friendly, reusable bottles. Although the subject of plastic, its toxic by-products and how this affects our planet is an extremely complex one to which there are no easy solutions, every action counts and every step is a step in the right direction.

At Organice Your Life we believe change starts at the individual level. It is with this in mind that OYL hopes to inspire you and provide you with the tips and knowledge on how to live a sounder and eco-friendlier life, a life that is better for body and planet.

We hope you enjoy this issue and as Margaret Mead once said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."

Kick The Plastic Habit - What can You do!

Refuse & Reduce

  • Use an eco-friendly, BPA free, reusable bottle. This is better for your health and friendlier for the environment.
  • Ditch the plastic bag: carry an eco-friendly canvas tote with you at all times.
    Select fresh, local fruits and vegetables as opposed to pre-packed.
  • Prepare your lunch at home with fresh ingredients (not packaged in plastic) and carry it with you in a glass container.
  • Stop using plastic cutlery. Use real silverware whenever you can. Keep a few real knives and forks at the office or, when ordering-in, specifically ask not to include paper napkins and plastic silverware.

Re-use & Recycle

  • By shopping at eco-friendly stores you support the reuse of plastic and the recycling of waste materials.
 Examples of such stores: Sustainable NYC (www.sustainablenyc.com) and Freitag online (www.freitag.ch)
  • If you have leftover plastic bags bring them to a grocery store that recycles them, such as Whole Foods.

Be Inspired

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Above all, encourage your friends and colleagues to do the same!

By Anne-Marie van Dijk, Model & founder of CLEANSE, One Body One Planet. First published on OYL in 2011.

plastic vs. glass straw

glass strawI went to one of my favorite raw restaurants to grab some lunch, and I noticed that they are selling Glass Straws. And I thought 'WOW! A glass straw is an amazing solution for our plastic waste problem!' it is very small but still a big help!

Think about how much garbage already exists on our planet and plus every time you purchase your smoothie or juice, you use one of those plastic straws. 5 minutes later - its all in the trash. And like this everyday!

Well, now you can buy only one glass straw and carry it around with you. It's made of high quality glass and will last forever.

  • a glass straw doesn't leak toxins into your food as you drink
  • each time you use your glass straw equals one less plastic straw ending up in your landfill
  • one glass straw replaces thousands of plastic straw

There is a great one by  Glass Dharma for sale on Amazon.

Love, Valentina

 


The water BOBBLE!

I haven't been as excited about something I bought in a long time!

Here it is, its called the Bobble. A portable bottle, with a filter in it! Do you ever stop to think how many plastic bottles of water you buy when on the go?

I made the step to use Brita filters at home about two years ago but still hadn't found the solution to the few too many plastic bottles I bought when thirsty running around the city doing my daily things . With my new bobble all I need is tap water to fill my bottle with, when you take a sip what comes out is crisp, filtered wonderful water.

You aren't only helping the environment by using a bobble you are also saving a lot of money. A bobble costs 10 dollars and a new filter costs 7 dollars. You can use one filter for about 300 refills or about 2 months.

Recently I took a road trip from Texas to Los Angeles, I took my new bought Bobble with me, a perfect time to try it out! I was so happy to see how many plastic bottles I didn't buy to rehydrate myself. At any gas station or restaurant I would just go to the bathroom and refill my bobble with tap water.

They come in several different colors, there are 13 ounce bottles, 18.5 ounce bottles and 34 ounce bottles.

Go out and buy your own, You are going to love it!!


Bisphenol A: Shopping a Health Hazard?

Bisphenol A Structure

Shopping a health hazard??

It's hard to believe that something as seemingly harmless as handling cash register receipts can have health ramifications. But that's the case when 2,2-Bis(4-hydroxyphenyl)propane is involved. Better known by its common name bisphenol A (BPA), the compound is used as an ink adherent in some thermal receipts. This is a disconcerting fact considering trace amounts of BPA can penetrate the skin and enter the bloodstream by mere touch.

How does this affect us?

The danger lies in BPA's ability to mimic the chemical behavior of estrogen.  Particularly, Bisphenol A targets the endocrine system which plays an integral role in regulating your body's cell-to-cell communication.  Endocrine glands secrete chemical signals directly into extracellular fluid which successively enter the blood.  So if you introduce a foreign substance like BPA into your bloodstream, even in low-dose form, it can interfere with your body's ability to carry out its normal cellular functions.

Products that can contain Bisphenol A:

- Dental materials such as composites or sealants

- Polycarbonate plastics

- Thermal cash register receipts

- Epoxy resin linings of metal food canned containers

- Drinking water

 

What is being done to limit exposure?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have issued BPA action plans and are encouraging safer alternatives to thermal paper and other products that contain bisphenol A. But even in light of educational efforts and BPA bans particular to twelve different states, the chemical is still ubiquitous. For instance, even with current legislation prohibiting major retailers from using thermal receipts, these receipts are still being used to make recycled paper products such as tissue and toilet paper which re-introduces the problem.

Some of the Possible Health Effects:

Reproduction Disease

Exposure can adversely affect reproduction. For men, it has the potential to damage the blood-testis barrier. This barrier is formed by tight junctions between Sertoli cells and serves to nurture developing sperm cells. Disturbing these cell junctions can decrease fertility by interrupting the normal biosynthetic pathway. Research conducted by the Department of Reproductive Endocrinology at the University of Nice also links fetal and perinatal exposure to adult reproductive diseases.

Cancer 

Mammary tissue can be harmed. Low dose perinatal BPA exposure can increase chances to develop breast cancer later in life by stimulating breast cancer tissue growth.  Pregnant woman, the developing fetus and children are particularly susceptible to risk.

Obesity

Bisphenol A is an obesogen which is a foreign substance that promotes obesity. Particularly, BPA  interferes with hormones that influence adipose (fat) tissues and appetite control.

Cardiovascular Disease

A recently published UK EPIC-Norfolk cohort study links higher urinary concentrations of BPA metabolites with an increased risk of developing heart disease. Furthermore, a Harvard study found that experiment participants who ate 12 oz of canned soup daily increased the amount of BPA in urine by 1000%.

Tips on how to minimize BPA exposure:

-Filter drinking water

-Store drinks-on-the-go in stainless steel bottles

- Use BPA-free plastic products

- Avoid heating food or beverages in plastic containers. Opt for glass or ceramic.

- Avoid eating canned food products particularly canned soup which retains the highest concentration of BPA from leaching of the lining. Instead purchase products in glass containers or tetra packs.

- Don't buy plastic bottles with the "PC" label #7 because there is a higher chance that these contain BPA

-  Opt for powdered formula or glass/BPA-free bottles for feeding infants