You may know of the hazards of BPA coated receipts but I’m guessing most of you DON’T know that they cannot be recycled. That’s right. NO tossing them in your recycle bin. If that’s not motivation to nix receipts altogether I don’t know what is. Especially when you get those two foot long ones popular at pharmacies and big box stores. That thermal coating that harms your skin also means it has to go in the garbage. Talk about waste. What can we do? There are some calls to action. Green America has a petition going to get the CVC giant to expand its digital receipt options and start using plain paper for printed ones – more on that below. And this month, CA became the first state to propose a bill that requires all businesses to provide receipts electronically as the default starting in 2022. They got rid of plastic straws so I’m optimistic. On the home front: skip the slip whenever you are given the option. The IRS accepts digital receipts so don’t fear the audits. If a paper receipt is the only option, don’t stockpile them! That tends to be one of the biggest causes of paper clutter. ONLY keep receipts for big ticket items like furniture and appliances and keep those in a labeled manila envelope. If there is a user’s manual for your purchase, tape the receipt to the inside of the front cover. In addition, take a photo of the receipt and keep in a digital folder. This is especially a good idea for jewelry, laptops and artwork.
TAKE ACTION: Producing CVS’ notoriously long receipts takes over 35,000 trees and enough energy to power 84,800 refrigerators every year. The pharmacy’s receipt production emits 44 million pounds of CO2 and produces the same amount of solid waste generated by half a million people every day. The phenol coating makes them unfit for recycling, adding even more waste. CVS receipts have been tested and found to have BPS in their coating, which poses health risks for workers and customers. CLICK here to sign the petition to Skip The Slip.
Sounds like a joke set-up but it’s not. Last month, I witnessed a guy get into a dumpster and close the lid. He didn’t come out. After 30 minutes, I called the police thinking what if he was sick, wounded, dying? Two squad cars responded within 5 minutes and he turned out to be none of those. But he was clearly disheveled, disturbed and in trouble. This incident weighed on my heart. How does one get to such a low point in life as to seek refuge in a dumpster? More importantly, what could I or anyone do to help? The mental health system continues to be overwhelmed. Police are getting special training in counseling and intervention. Street drugs have become the norm. Homelessness has arrived at our doorstep. So again, what can be done to help? I called back the police to thank them for their quick response and to ask what they suggest if a citizen wants to help in prevention or solution? The answer? 211. Ever hear of it? Me neither. Apparently, a lot of folks don’t know about it including my neighbors, my dentist, his assistant and pretty much anyone I’ve talked with in the last few weeks. 211 is the 911 for resources. Everything from suicide to abuse to hunger to shelter to senior needs and paying bills. It’s a clearinghouse for 50k programs and over 3k agencies across the nation and Canada. Anyone can call the 211 hotline and talk to an operator who is trained to listen and provide appropriate connections. Part of the 211 manifesto reads: WE BELIEVE in the transformative power of collective action. So do I. Please share this number. Visit 211.org to learn more about services and volunteering opportunities in your local community. Shine the light!
One of the oldest known distilled oils, cedarwood has a surprising myriad of benefits to bring into your home. If you’ve stood in the presence of these magnificent trees, you already have a sense of how fresh and reviving it feels to breathe in that air. One of the sacred trees used in clearing ceremonies, cedar has antiseptic and antibacterial properties. Our brain loves it. It’s restorative and calming at the same time. Grounding and uplifting. It can relieve arthritic pain, clean your counters and renew the scalp. HOW TO USE: A little bit goes a long way. Whether you distill or add to shampoo or lotion, a drop or two will do it. Always use authentic essential oil from a trusted source. Tip: When diffusing, I like to blend Cedarwood with Bergamot and Lavender. Like a walk in the forest, it provides the perfect ambiance for putting up the Christmas tree and enjoying the holiday spirit year-round. See my Resources Page for essential oil and diffuser source suggestions.
Here’s my favorite drink for staying hydrated and pH balanced. Simple (just 3 ingredients) and satisfying, I drink this water year round but it’s especially refreshing during the summer heat. In a glass carafe or pitcher, add 1/2 sliced cucumber, juice of 1 lemon (or lime) and 1 bunch of mint leaves (about 15). Fill carafe with water. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours. Sip on the water throughout the day for a tasty, alkaline treat. Brew will last up to 2 days. Even cooler tip: Before making a new batch, use the cut up cucumber and mint in your favorite smoothie recipe.
Temps are climbing to 100 degrees today, pollution levels are high and our long hot summer continues to test people’s patience and wellness. Here’s one way to help keep both you and your space calm and cool. Use a blend of lavender, lemon and peppermint essential oils in your diffuser. This combination aids in purifying the air, lifting your spirits and balancing energies. You can add more or less of any one of the oils depending on your preference (easy on the lemon as it’s more astringent). For even better results, place the diffuser next to your fan for greater dispersement! No diffuser yet? Add the oils to sea salt and place a handful in the corner of your shower to dissolve while you shower. Or toss the salt blend in tepid water for a foot soak. TIP: Make your oils go further. Fill the empty bottle with spring water and replace the cap. Shake. There’s enough residual oil left so you can refill up to three times before recycling the bottle. See my resource section on Essential Oils for more tips.
The waste industry has made major strides in coming up with ways to recycle our refuse. Everything that is except those ginormous blocks of Styrofoam. You know the ones – hermetically sealing everything from flat screen TV’s to furniture and glassware. Even if you break them down into tiny pieces, the choice for disposal is still an ugly one: landfill. UPS takes peanuts but not blocks. The only recycling center in Portland that took Styrofoam stopped accepting it in March. Now what? Enter Agilyx – an energy alternative company located in Tigard, OR. Implementing new technology in renewable energy and chemical recycling with a focus on environmental impact; the company broke ground this year on a facility that will convert polystyrene foam (foam cups, packaging materials) into styrene monomer. Reducing to the monomer form allows for global reuse in tons of ways. Fuel, helmets, housing … sky’s the limit. Best part for Portlanders? Consumers can drop off their Styrofoam for free. YAY! I spoke with the folks at Agilyx to confirm the free part and they shared that there are bins available 24/7 at their facility. Make sure your foam has the “6” on it and that it is clean and dry. If you are a business or have more than a truck load, contact Agilyx at 503-217-3160 to schedule a drop off time. Click here for map and more info. Not in the PDX area? Visit Home for Foam to find recycling near you. Until manufacturers are mandated to use earth friendly packaging, let’s do our best to dispose of stuff mindfully. Here’s to creative solutions and making Earth a clearer home for everyone.
You’re looking at what I found behind the dryer in my new apartment. Yep. A collection from the former tenant of stuff that went astray. At least nothing had legs. (I’ve heard some pretty scary stories involving bones and antennas.) Keeping it clear around appliances is an often overlooked task. Do your space – and your energy bill – a favor. Put time on your calendar to check and clean these hidden areas at least twice a year. Use a vacuum nozzle or microfiber brush to remove dust and lint build-up behind and under your washer/dryer. And, of course, empty the lint tray after every use. Clean ducts annually. In the kitchen, pull that fridge out and vacuum the coils. Wash the floor and wall before sliding back in place. If you can’t move the stove, at least pull out the bottom storage drawer (if your model has one) and clean the newly exposed area that way. It’s a hassle well worth the effort. And who knows? You might unearth a long lost treasure. Ready to clean some more? Here are some easy tips on cleaning the inside of appliances (including the garbage disposal) worth a look: Washington Post. Okay – one last favorite item on laundry that’s good to know anytime of the year. Read my tip on this easy energy saver!