Thursday, April 10, 2008


In my quest (both personal and in business) to be more 'green', buy locally, eat organic, make non-toxic cleaners for my house, I came upon some interesting information. On a huge forum that I frequent, someone posted how awful her city is looking as the snow melts, and layer upon layer of trash is being exposed. As far as obvious littering, she said her biggest peeve is cigarette butts being tossed out like they don't 'qualify' as garbage. I encounter this every single day. While driving across town earlier this week, I wound up following five drivers who chucked their cigarettes out the window. (Knuckle-dragging mouthbreathers. I honk my horn at every one of them, and they look so surprised.) This was during a whopping 6 mile round trip. I know that each person I see doing this can't be so oblivious that they don't realize it's LITTERING. How many cigarette butts do you think the street sweepers pick up in a year? Wouldn't that be interesting (and nauseating) to find out?

Our state finally passed a smoking ban that will take effect this summer. Evidently, it will be against the law to smoke in any bar, restaurant, public place and place of work. Twelve years ago we were living in the Seattle area, and they had just passed smoking bans there. It took TWELVE years until that was done here. Interesting.

In the interest of the health of our surroundings as well as our own health, here are a few interesting stats on rates of decomposition, in years.
Paper -- 2.5 months
Orange Peel -- 6 months
Milk Carton -- 5 years
Cigarette Butt -- 10-12 years
Plastic bag -- 10-20 years
Disposable diaper -- 75 years
Tin can -- 100 years
Beer can -- 200-500 years
Styrofoam -- Never (immortal)

Last summer I switched to using post-consumer recycled bags and lavender recycled tissue at the shop. People actually asked for them, and I was waiting until the prices were similar to what I had been paying for polypropylene bags. The poly bags were recyclable, but paper is better to me. I had to purchase packing peanuts last fall, and found a great place in Golden Valley Minnesota, called Starch Tech. They make cornstarch peanuts! These things are wonderful, and they don't squash down like other starch packers I've tried. Went through four 20 cubic foot bags quickly, and have one left. The only bad thing is if you get one stuck to the bottom of your wet shoe- it becomes a sort of sticky starch lump, LOL! I'm still taking in peanuts that people drop off and use them for shipping- recycling by reusing. I just hope that they are, in turn, recycled again. I reuse most boxes that come in the door (and there are a lot).
Just trying to do my part.