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19
Nov
by Corina

Starbucks cup without a straw

Image Source: https://cdn-starbucks.netdna-ssl.com

Starbucks is well known around the world for their delightful drinks, and whatever they do, they are sure to capture public attention. Once again, the company shocked the world when they announced their plans to entirely get rid of plastic straws by the year 2020 to help limit their environmental impact. With this announcement and move to strawless lids, the coffee franchise has succeeded in bringing public attention back towards issues of environmentalism.

Following in their footsteps, many other industries and individuals are making their own “No More Staws” resolutions or take other actions (such as moving to eco-friendly packaging) to raise awareness about issues of environmentalism and limit their own impact. In fact, choosing to shop or receive services from these types eco-friendly organizations is another way you can go green! Here is why you too should take up the gauntlet and challenge yourself to get rid of plastic straws in your life.

What’s All the Fuss About?

Each year, the plastic industry continues to grow at an alarming rate, much faster than it is able to be recycled and broken down. According to a report published in Science Advances, around 80% of plastic waste ends up in landfills, 12% is burned, and only 9% is actually recycled. This means that there is a high percentage of waste that is continuously building up within our landfills. In addition, the chemicals that are added to plastics means these items cannot entirely be recycled.

The Gateway to Plastic Elimination

Eliminating plastic straws may seem futile in the face of all the tons of plastic accumulating each year, but many believe that because straws are something consumers experience daily around the globe, they can be used as a conversation starter about our current global plastic problem. Straws, like many other plastic products, are designed for one-time-use before being discarded. And it has become too easy to get into the habit of using these without thinking about their impact to our environment. So, for the sake of creating a healthier habit of eliminating waste, sometimes it is necessary to start small–maybe even with something as simple as a straw.

How to Start

Cocktails

Image Source: https://unsplash.com/photos/eXdKs9d37Sc

1) “No Straw Please”: Be sure to let your bartender or server know you don’t need a straw. Eliminating from the source- you- is the best place to start.
2) Consider alternatives: There are many different companies offering alternatives to straws that can help to eliminate the plastic waste. For example, using metal straws that can be reused, or adorable paper straws that are biodegradable in municipal or home compost.
3) Pasta to the rescue: A new company that’s become part of the solution, has created pasta straws to replace plastic. Genius! Additionally, linguine pasta is a great replacement for plastic coffee stirs. Two more reason to love Pasta!

We love this new #plasticsucks movement, because it’s bringing to life that giving back to OUR environment doesn’t have to be limited to sorting your garbage at home. If you are thinking about the ways that you can alter your own daily habits at Starbucks, your local bar, or away on vacation, to become more environmentally conscious then you are on your way to making lasting change. Just don’t forget to tell your friends to join you in this movement. We will have a greater impact #together!

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Author Bio: Katie McDaniel is a writer and editor with a passion for conservation and environmentalism. She covers everything from the latest developments in HR to business communication, and enjoys writing about traveling and events.

9
Apr
by Corina

mason jar wedding

As weather is heating up, I’m reminded of one of my favorite guest pampering tips, the “Refresher Station”. Upon arrival, guests love to be made comfortable, and I think it’s always a great idea to offer fruit-infused ice water and maybe a house-made lemonade before the ceremony. Because many guests have traveled a distance to get to the event, and this easy DIY water station will help to cool them off before they are seated.

If you don’t have the budget to have it maned by a bartender, place mason jars out with hanging tags so guests can write their names and hold onto their water glass for the night. Don’t forget to get a wooden crate, or wine box to lift the water jugs off the table in a stylish way. It’s important to raise the spouts up far enough off the table to make it easy for the glasses to fit underneath. Handmade chalkboard signs are a great way to finish off the look.

3
Jul
by Corina

With summer upon us, I’m planning on hosting a lot of BBQ picnics. What suggestions do you have to make it a family and earth-friendly day?

BBQ picnics are a great way to gather friends and family for a great time, but many people are unaware of the environmental tolls these events have on our planet. The thousands of paper plates, plastic forks and vinyl table cloths that get trashed each year is a huge waste of resources and takes it’s toll, unnecessarily, filling landfills. Here are some things to consider when planning your special event this summer:

  • One of the most important things you can do is stay away from charcoal lighter fluid. It is full of volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) that evaporate into the charcoal and help get it started. But then when you cook your food over it those toxins go into the food and then eventually into your body. This causes health problems, especially in children, but when the VOC’s escape into the atmosphere they become one of the primary contributors to the creation of ozone, trapping heat in our atmosphere, aiding in global warming. Instead consider a charcoal chimney, which uses newspaper to heat your coals instead of lighter fluid. And of course propane BBQ’s are a better way to go as well.

  • Eat organic, and when you can’t, buy local! This reduces the amount of pollution causing pesticides and promotes healthy soils and agricultural practices, and reduces pollution caused by shipping your food from locations far from your home.

  • Eliminate paper napkins, plastic garbage bags, cups and cutlery. Cloth tablecloths, silverware, and glasses always add a touch of class to your event, and can be taken home and washed – always the more environmentally responsible choice. But if you must go with disposable, why not consider purchase biodegradable bags, plates, cups and cutlery made from cornstarch and can be composted after your picnic. These new eco-innovations can be purchased online at GreenHome.com and the price is coming down all the time!

  • Keep the bugs away with non-toxic insect repellants this summer. Toxic repellants have endocrine disrupters and powerful chemicals which have long term effects in the human body. Choose new improved natural repellants that don’t make you sick, or harm your body like Orange Guard, or Battle.


Whether you BBQ just over a holiday weekend or at anytime of the year, these tips are universal. And if you feel you just can’t get to all of this, just bringing an environmental awareness to your event by not over purchasing and keeping waste of resources to a minimum will contribute a lot. Just don’t forget to enjoy your green event and your summer!

29
Mar
by Corina

I’ve noticed a new trend in organic wines, but I don’t know why they are better or where to get them. What do you suggest?

Most events aren’t complete without wine, and today organic wines are ripe for the picking and easy to find. With grapes at the top of the list of most chemically sprayed fruit (University of California reports over 2 million pounds of herbicides, pesticides, fungicides, and other chemicals used on Napa County grapes) it’s a good idea to treat you and your guests to something healthier.

So what exactly makes wine organic? Basically the farmers that grow organic grapes today practice old fashioned principals for organic production; using materials and practices that enhance the ecological balance of natural systems. Organic grapes are grown without artificial fertilizers or synthetic chemicals, encouraging the natural pest/predator balance, and according to the farmers, stimulates healthy plant growth and enhances the overall flavor and quality of the fruit.

Organic grape growing includes an approach developed in the 1920’s called biodynamic farming. This method encourages plant and animal diversity for the overall success of the product. Farms like Bonterra Vineyards in California take time to cultivate their animal diversity as much as the plants. They build birdhouses to attract diversity and to ward off harmful insects. They also leave native oak trees in place and plant cypress and helpful plants like lavender on the landscape. Organic farming embraces the natural checks and balances in nature that allows for full expression of the earth, giving rise to vines that truly thrive!

The success over the last six years of industry leaders like Bonterra has paved the way for a crop of new organic options for the modern wine consumer. Unfortunately a lot of these wineries aren’t promoting themselves as organic and biodynamic, mostly because of the hassle of becoming certified. Because the USDA does not allow the use of sulfides in a certified organic wine, some vintners are out of luck, but others like Coturri Winery who offer one of the purest organic wines on the market, don’t want the USDA stamp “because they simply want to be known as a traditional fine wine.(SF Gate, 2006)

So here is a short list to help you with your next party wine selection. For a more comprehensive list, go check out The Organic Wine List:

 

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