Ever wonder about the recyclability of envelopes with plastic windows in them? I know some people throw them in the trash because they think the plastic renders them useless for paper recycling. I don't do that, because my understanding is that the envelopes are still recyclable, but I have always wondered why.
In her blog Fake Plastic Fish, Beth Terry sheds some light on the subject: recyclers "accept the plastic windows because they are easily separated from the paper during the pulping process, and the plastic washes away." (Of course, then, as she notes, there is that niggling little question about where "away" is.)
Another thing I didn't know is that some of those plastic windows aren't actually plastic, but specially processed paper called glassine, and that some envelope makers nowadays offer windows made of corn-based PLA, which is compostable in certain (limited) facilities but still problematic.
Don’t you hate it when you buy one thing from a company, once, and are subsequently doomed to forever receive its catalog?
For Christmas one year, Mr. Wallet Mouth gave me a sweater from web retailer Athleta; now our mailbox gets a steady stream of women’s clothing catalogs—in his name.
I’ve been fed up with junk mail for a while, and my feeble attempts at opting out haven’t yielded great results (of course, it doesn’t help that I haven’t repeated those efforts since we moved a couple years ago). So I was happy to learn about this month’s Junk Your Junk Mail campaign from Carbon Conscious Consumer (or C3), a project of the Center for a New American Dream.
I used C3’s free web form to generate a bunch of opt-out letters and took the pledge saying I did. I encourage you to do the same. Also be sure to check out the link to petition lawmakers to create a national Do-Not-Junk registry, essentially a Do-Not-Call list for your mailbox.
If all those opt-out letters don’t do the trick, I might pony up the $41 to have 41pounds.org work its anti-junk-mail magic, which it says will get rid of 90 percent of unwanted mail for five years.
December 2010 I haven't actually bought anything from Po-Zu yet, but I appreciate their awareness of the fact that many vegan shoes are made of petroleum products and aren't necessarily better for the environment than leather footwear. Po-Zu seems to set a high bar for itself when it comes to ingredients and supply chains.
March 2010 After running out of dish soap, I started using our good old bars of Sappo Hill out of necessity. But you know what? Our dishes are just as clean, and when I pick up the soap at our grocery store, the only packaging on the bars is the price tag. And did I mention the soap is awesome? We love the oatmeal bar.
February 2010 TMI alert: If you're a squeamish guy, read no further. I'm done with tampons! Instead, I'm using the DivaCup.
January 2010 Mr. Wallet Mouth and I both love Pact. Its underwear is made of organic cotton, and the company donates 10% of its sales to worthy environmental causes. Not only that, but the company is serious about eco-friendly packaging. Each pair of undies comes not in a plastic bag but in a little cloth pouch made from fabric remnants. I'm also impressed with how responsive Pact is over email; when I asked a packaging question, I got a nice reply from the CEO.
December 2009 After reading about Skoy Cloths, the biodegradable paper-towel alternative, on Fake Plastic Fish, I bought a bunch for stocking stuffers and my own kitchen, and I'm now a fan. They're lasting a long time, despite repeated washings in the laundry, and they arrive with minimal packaging.
October 2009 I was already of fan of Straus yogurt (see June 2007), but now I love it even more. According to Michael Straus, a son of the company's founder, Straus yogurt "is made, cooled, and set in stainless-steel vats, unlike most yogurts, which are poured while still hot into plastic cups to cool and set." As someone who's concerned about plastics and chemical safety, I'm happy to hear that!
July 2009 I'm using a lot more baking soda now that I'm making more of an effort to clean the house in a nontoxic way. But from now on I'll be buying Bob's Red Mill, since Arm & Hammer engages in animal testing.
July 2008 Started feeling extra-good about buying one of my fave meat substitutes, Tofurky, after learning that its maker, Turtle Island Foods, is an independent, family-owned company (Unlike Boca Foods, which is a subsidiary of Kraft, and Morningstar, which is owned by Kellogg).
April 2008 I'm going to start buying my canned beans from Eden Foods, for two reasons: it uses custom-made cans that don't contain bisphenol A, and it's an independent, family-operated company.
February 2008 From now on, whenever I order takeout or ask for a doggy bag, I’ll make sure to avoid #6 polystyrene containers (and, of course, Styrofoam).