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Tag: biodegradable

sustainable living kitchen

Sustainable Living Series: 10 Simple Tips to Creating an Eco Friendly Kitchen

Look around your kitchen. If you haven’t already noticed, there are probably a lot of non biodegradable and harmful products in your kitchen. From plastic cooking utensils to toxic cleaning chemicals, they are everywhere in our kitchen. If you haven’t taken stock yet, take inventory of what you have and pay special attention to where these products end up at their end of life. 

 

Are they recycled or do they sit in the landfill for years? Do they naturally decompose or does the breakdown process require energy or chemical treatment that could be harmful to the environment? This is an important consideration when choosing what you buy because our landfill is not shrinking but instead continues to grow. 

 

In 2018, Canada’s municipal solid waste (MSW) which includes food, plastics, glass, metals, paper, rubber and wood was 35.5 million tonnes while the United States generated 292 million tonnes of MSW. Of the total waste generated in the US alone, about 146 million tonnes (or about 50%) ended up in the landfills.

 

The largest component of the waste that ended up in landfills consisted of food at 24% with plastics accounting for just over 18%, paper and paperboard at 12%, rubber, textiles and leather at 11% and other materials at 10% each. 

 

Our kitchens generate the most waste combining food, plastic, paper and steel. Imagine if each household did their small part in being a little more conscious of how they choose products and dispose of their waste, we can all contribute to diverting and reducing landfill pollution.

 

Here are some simple tips you can adopt and practice as you begin your journey to a more sustainable lifestyle. 

 

Cleaning Products

1.  Sponges are one of the basic cleaning items that we use to hand wash dishes, pots and pans. Many may not be aware that every day sponges are derived from petroleum-based polyurethane or polyester which is a form of plastic. These sponges not only shed microplastics as you wash, but they are also non-biodegradable, non-recyclable and end up in landfills.

 

Tip: Replace man-made synthetic sponges with organic veggie based materials like loofahs or cotton cloths. You can also consider using brushes with wood handles and castor oil (veggie based) bristles that are fully biodegradable. This option is healthier for you and the environment

sustainable living kitchen

2. Cleaning Solutions is a major source of pollutants. They may be effective in getting your kitchen sparkling clean or unplugging your drain, but those toxic chemicals end up in our waterways with some remnants infiltrating into the food chain. These chemicals can also be harmful to our health causing eye, skin or respiratory irritation and long term exposure causing more serious health issues.

 

Tip: Consider cleaning solutions that are gentle on the environment and have ecolabels or are certified as a Safer Choice product in the EPA database.

 

3. Paper towels and paper waste, though biodegradable, still contribute to the growing landfill pollution. They made up 12% or 17 million tonnes of municipal solid waste in the US in 2018. Many have grown accustomed to single use paper towels and napkins to wipe down counters and surfaces because it is convenient and we know it is compostable. However, when combined with other non biodegradable waste, paper towels add just as much garbage to our landfills.

 

Tip: Instead of using paper towels, use dish clothes that can be washed and reused to wipe down surfaces. Use a tea cloth for wiping your hands or dishes dry. This encourages reuse and helps reduce waste materials.

 

4. Disposable Floor Wipes, like the swiffer, is a convenient, hassle-free way to clean your kitchen floor without the labor that’s involved in traditional floor mopping. It’s quick and easy but unfortunately, the cleaning chemicals in the pad are toxic and the swiffer pads themselves are made of polypropylene which is a form of non biodegradable plastic along with other materials.

 

Tip: Consider using a mop. It seems cumbersome to have to fill a pale with soap and water and push and squeeze a mop to clean a floor but the single-use disposable swiffer option contributes to our waste problem.

sustainable living kitchen

Wraps, Bags and Enclosures

5. Saran Wrap is a convenient way to store food especially when used as a seal to cover food in a dish or just generally to store food safely. It is a thin plastic film made of Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE). Plastic wrap is not safe to use in ovens and personally, I don’t trust that it is safe in a microwave either because untreated plastic wrap can release chemicals and melt when heated. Aside from the health risks it poses in high temperature, it is also non biodegradable when disposed in the garbage.

 

Tip: Instead of using plastic wrap, consider using glass containers with a cover or use a plate to cover the top of an open dish if you are storing food in the fridge. 

 

6. Ziploc bags are common items found in the kitchen that conveniently stores and packs sandwiches and other items. Plastic food bags, made of polyethylene, are widely used as packaging to store meat in a freezer because they are space savers and also used for packing lunches. Unfortunately, after we use them, we discard them and they end up in landfills.

 

Tip: Consider using glass containers when storing and packing food that will be consumed in the short term. Instead of buying in bulk, buy and consume just what you will eat to prevent the need to store food.

 

7. Plastic Food Containers are kitchen essentials and commonly used for storing larger amounts of food. Many refrigerate their left overs and then later warm them up in a microwave. These food containers are made of low-density polyethylene or polypropylene and have a high temperature tolerance before it reaches its melting point. Whether it is safe to microwave with food is debatable because researchers claim there are still gaps in their understanding of how plastics affect our health and development. Polypropylene is known to be non biodegradable and will reach our landfills at end of life.

 

TIP: Substitute plastic food containers with reusable glass containers for safe microwave use and ultimately generate less reliance and demand for plastic products in general.

sustainable living kitchen

8. Garbage Bags are made of polyethylene (petroleum-based resin) or in the case of Glad garbage bags, they are made of butene polymer with ethene (or polythene). While some say there are polythenes that are biodegradable over a very long period of time, others claim that polythenes are not biodegradable. Many of us buy whatever garbage bags are available on store shelves but, we may not be aware that our choices will leave a legacy in our landfills.

 

TIP: Instead of garbage bags, consider finding bioplastic bags or just using paper bags for your garbage and put them out in your trash can to be ready for pick up. 

 

9. Aluminum based products including tin cans, aluminum foils and packaging contribute about 8.8% of the total municipal solid waste in the US in 2018. This is approximately 26.3 million tonnes with 52% that is landfilled. Foils are convenient ways to store food in shelves and fridges. But, unfortunately, they are easily discarded and unless they are not soiled, they can’t be recycled. 

 

TIP: Using aluminum foil is convenient for lining pans when baking and storing leftover food however, to reduce aluminum waste, consider these three things: 1) using simply the non-stick pan without the foil lining 2) eliminating tin foil baking sheets from your kitchen supplies and 3) instead of accumulating leftovers, buy exactly what you will need and consume. 

sustainable living kitchen

Kitchen Cooking Tools

10. Plastic Utensils are what we commonly use for cooking. Plastic utensils are made of Acrylonitrile–butadiene–styrene resin (ABS) and acrylonitrile–styrene resin (AS) which contain volatile substances that are potentially carcinogenic and toxic. Both ABS and AS are not biodegradable. In fact, many may not know that these utensils are made from recycled computer parts (especially the black plastic utensils) and over time, they chip and fray with microplastics landing in your food. Because plastics can’t biodegrade, they end up in landfills.

TIP: Consider wooden bamboo utensils for health and safety reasons. Bamboo, in particular, are biodegradable so they are one of the safest cooking tools you can have in your kitchen. They are antibacterial, organic and don’t scratch the surface of your pots and pans. 

 

These are simple ways to start your journey to sustainable living. You may find many more opportunities to become more sustainable at home. Share your experience and tips with us here.

 

kitchen cooking utensils ecoluxe bamboo sustainable

5 Good Reasons to Replace Plastic Cooking Utensils

Most of us don’t think twice about the kitchen tools we use to cook our food. Because cooking utensils are so accessible and available in many stores, sometimes we choose based on affordability because there is very little that differentiates one set from another. They all typically have the same tools in the tool kit. 

For me, as long as I have a spatula for my eggs, a whisk for stirring pancakes, a ladle for my soup, spaghetti server to drain out my pasta and a spoon to stir solid food, then I often don’t care what the tools are made of – that is until I started seeing pieces of plastic in my food.

For most of us, we make buying choices based on affordability and safety with respect to how they are used with our pots and pans. Would they scratch the surface and damage the pan? Would the cooking utensils burn at high temperatures if left in the cooking pot? Is it hard to clean after use? Do they absorb bacteria? All very good things to consider when buying a set of cooking utensils. 

However, there is something even more important we need to consider when choosing cooking utensils – the raw material it is made of.  Remember, these are the tools that will touch your food which, in turn, you will ingest. So, we shouldn’t overlook the potential health risks posed by the cooking tools  we use.

 

The Dangers of Plastic Cooking Utensils

Plastic cooking utensils are the cheapest types in the market. We unknowingly purchase them because many of us are unaware of the dangers they pose to our health and our environment. Most of the plastic utensils we use are made with polystyrene and when heated, release toxic chemicals that produce all types of health issues and illnesses for humans. In addition, there are a host of other issues posed by plastic products that extend beyond our bodies and into our external environment that affect future generations. Here are the top five reasons why we should eliminate plastic use in our cooking.

 

Reason #1: Plastic Utensils Melt with Persistent Contact with Hot Pots or Pans

Despite the fact that plastic utensils made of polystyrene melts at a high temperature of 100 – 120 degrees celsius or 212 – 248 degrees fahrenheit, they do chip, crack and get brittle with frequent hot pan contact. So, even though you make your best effort not to leave your plastic utensil in constant contact with the hot pan, the frequent short touchpoints on the hot surface will still cause pieces to melt.

 

When they chip and fray, pieces of plastic will end up in your food and will, no doubt, end up in your stomach. Within months of buying a dollar store cooking plastic spatula, you will find that, after repeated use, the tips  begin to melt, fade and fray. Eventually, you will need to replace them.

 

Reason #2: Plastic Utensils have a Shorter Life Span of Usability

As a safety precaution, it’s better to dispose of an overused, chipped plastic cooking tool than to allow them to  contaminate your food  with toxic materials. When you first purchased your cheap plastic cooking set,  you may have saved money in the short term. But, in the long run, you will have to replace them more quickly because using them for an extended period of time will expose you to dangerous doses of plastic material. 

 

In comparison to other types of cooking tools, like stainless steel or bamboo, plastic utensils have a shorter life span. They may last as long as a year if not used frequently, but frequent usage will definitely shorten its lifespan.

kitchen cooking utensils ecoluxe bamboo sustainable

Reason #3: Eating Plastic causes Serious Illnesses

When heated, plastic releases harmful toxic byproducts called oligomers which are formed during plastic production. For years, scientists have warned about the dangers and risks of consistent exposure to plastic products in our kitchens.

 

When plastic pieces are ingested through the food we eat, high doses of these over time can cause serious illnesses including liver and  thyroid diseases, infertility and cancer. The German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), an independent group of advisors to the German government,  claims that  ingesting as little as 90 micrograms of plastic material from cooking utensils can pose serious health risks like those mentioned above.

 

Black plastic utensils are especially dangerous because not only are they made from computer and electronic parts or e waste that often contain flame retardants like bromine and other heavy metals like lead, cadmium and mercury that affect the nervous and immune system, kidneys, liver and lungs.

 

Reason #4: Plastics can’t be Recycled

Plastic utensils, especially the black ones, are not recyclable because of their color. During the recycling process, the infrared technology that is used to sort plastic can not detect the black color. So, many of the black plastic products are diverted to the landfills, incinerators or end up in our waterways. 

 

Reason #5: Made in China Plastic contain Carcinogens

Plastic additives are necessary in the production of plastic products because these chemicals help produce the right properties that make plastic flexible, durable, water repellent and heat resistant – almost ideal for their cooking purpose.

 

Plastic additives like phthalates are used to make the product more flexible but unfortunately, phthalates are endocrine disruptors that have been linked to causing asthma, developmental disabilities, obesity and breast cancer. To make plastic utensils heat resistant and more durable,  brominated flame retardants are used as additives.

 

Up to 4,000 various plastic additives, such as chlorine, PVC, chromium and antimony can be added during the manufacturing process. One of the main chemicals used in forming plastic is benzene, a known carcinogen. Long term exposure to high levels of benzene can cause leukemia and other cancers. With all these potential hazards is it really worth saving a few bucks to risk your health? 

kitchen cooking utensils ecoluxe bamboo sustainable

What are your options? 

With the high potential for health problems and environmental hazards, we need to replace our plastic man made products with better, more natural alternatives. Bamboo utensils are great alternatives to plastic. They are eco-friendly, organic and healthier for humans. Bamboo is a renewable resource, a carbon sink and 100% biodegradable. Because of its natural, durable and resilient properties, it requires no harmful chemical additives. It may not be the most flexible or versatile tool in the kitchen drawer, but it is still very practical and useful.

 

Unlike stainless steel, bamboo is gentle on the surface of your non-stick pans and will not scratch them. Bamboo is also a low conductor of heat which means you won’t burn your hand if you leave it in your pot while cooking.. Another advantage that bamboo has over stainless steel is its more affordable price.

 

Like stainless steel utensils though, bamboo is durable, hygienic and easy to clean. Bamboo utensils can last a very long time and when you are ready to dispose of them, they will naturally decompose in a matter of months. When choosing your next set of cooking tools, consider buying a bamboo set for your personal health and the environment.

Bamboo Plastic Utensil Disposable Cutlery EcoFriendly

Disposable Plastic Utensils Can’t be Recycled

It’s everywhere – plastic utensils! They are cheap to produce, convenient to use, and accessible everywhere. In restaurants, cafes, eateries and grocery stores, plastic disposable single-use cutlery are distributed to you with your take out food. We happily accept them because many of us have been misled to believe that disposable plastic utensils can be recycled. 

Every year, more than 100 million pieces of plastic utensils (spoons, forks, knives) are used and disposed of in landfills by Americans every day. These plastics take thousands of years to decompose and they are not recyclable. 

Why Plastic Cutlery Are Not Recyclable

One reason plastic utensils can’t be recycled is because they are too small and their shape is inconsistent making them difficult to be sorted by the recycling facilities. The second reason is that plastic utensils are made with different plastic types including plastic #1, #5, #6 or bioplastics which are not universally recyclable.

Plastic 5 is made of polypropylene (pp) – a tough, lightweight material with high heat resistance that is often used to make containers for yogurt, sour cream, straws and margarine. Plastic 5 is petroleum derived but it is considered by the EPA to be a safer plastic choice than many others in the market.

It’s glossy finish when used as plastic utensils make it grease resistant and easy to clean. Although some curbside local recycling facilities will accept plastic 5 containers, utensils are far too small to recycle so they are tossed into the garbage.

Plastic Utensil Disposable Cutlery

Plastic 6 is made of polystyrene (ps) – an inexpensive, lightweight and sturdy plastic with many purposes and uses. Aside from plastic cutlery, polystyrene is commonly used for take out containers, egg cartons, peanut foam chips for packing and disposable cups and plates. 

Because polystyrene is structurally weak and ultra-lightweight, it breaks up easily and disperses throughout the natural environment. Products made of polystyrene may leach styrene, a toxic human carcinogen, into food products when heated in a microwave and eventually ingested by humans.

Recycling is not widely available for polystyrene products. Because most curbside collection services will not accept polystyrene, this material accounts for about 35% of US landfill contributing to the growing waste pollution.

In addition to its impact on landfills, plastic manufacturing utilizes a large amount of power and petroleum which, through its extraction process, releases gases and chemical byproducts harmful to people and our environment.

 

So Why Do Businesses Still Distribute Plastic Utensil

With all the plastic waste that is polluting our environment and affecting our health, why do businesses still distribute plastic cutlery? 

Because of the attractive properties of plastic – durable, lightweight, easy to store, accessible and inexpensive, they are the preferred choice for many businesses in the hospitality sector. They are functional, practical and versatile. 

Plastic is easy to produce and widely available. By achieving economies of scale, the cost of plastic per unit is very affordable and allows businesses to keep their costs down. 

Many business owners continue to distribute plastic utensils because they have been misled to believe that they are recyclable. While some simply are not aware of the environmental impact they have on the planet. 

 

EcoFriendly Bamboo Cutlery as the Ideal Alternative

There are other options and materials available as an alternative to plastics. One of the best eco-friendly materials is bamboo. It is fast growing, durable with tensile strength, versatile and most of all biodegrades within months. 

Without all the toxicity that plastics emit, its organic, antibacterial nature makes it a safe hygienic alternative to plastics. Because of its natural fibres, utensils made of bamboo are typically not uniform in color and consistency. They are, however, durable, lightweight and recyclable – characteristics that are desirable for utensils.

Bamboo Plastic Utensil Disposable Cutlery EcoFriendly

Disposing of bamboo cutlery should not make one feel guilty. Bamboo is a natural fiber that you can compost. Later in the composting stage fungi break down the lignin that’s in bamboo into less complicated elements which can then be broken down by bacteria. From leaves to stem, 100% of the bamboo can all be composted within 2 months or up to 4 years depending on the soil conditions.

Unlike plastic, bamboo does not derive from petroleum and doesn’t require a large amount of power and nonrenewable resources for its production. Though it may dry out if put in extreme heat (like a microwave), it does not emit toxic carcinogens and is safer for your body. 

 

Make EcoFriendly Choices with Bamboo Disposable Cutlery

Bamboo Plastic Utensil Disposable Cutlery EcoFriendly

While governments begin to ban single use plastics all over the world, we can still do our part in helping with the transition to less plastic waste in the environment.

What We Can Do

  • We can decline to accept plastic utensils given to us by restaurants when we order take out
  • When buying utensils at the grocery store, we can choose biodegradable ones
  • We can also choose to use silverware at home 
  • We can buy reusable bamboo utensils that can be used for the next picnic, travel or outdoor adventure

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What Businesses Can Do

  • Consider alternatives to plastic cutlery by purchasing bamboo disposable cutlery
  • Do not freely distribute plastic utensils for your take out customers
  • Start to offer bamboo utensils instead of plastic ones at grocery stores

Start making the switch and replace your plastic utensils with more biodegradable bamboo cutlery for your next outing.

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bamboo, cotton swabs, q-tips, biodegradable, ecofriendly

Are Bamboo Cotton Swabs Any Better than Q-Tips?

Cotton Swabs, or as we know them, Q-tips (which is actually a brand), are commonly found in many bathrooms. They are used regularly as part of our personal hygiene routine. Many of us think that they are completely harmless for us and the environment. But, the truth is depending on what type you are using, they can actually be quite harmful to both humans and our planet. 

 

The Origin of the Q-Tips

Q-Tips were invented in 1923 by Leo Gerstenzang, a Polish American inventor after observing his wife use cotton on a toothpick to clean her ears. He manufactured these Q-tips® as part of his baby care accessory line and the product was originally called Q-tips® Baby Gays. In 1926, he dropped the word Baby Gays and just marketed this line as “Q-Tips”.

 

The “Q” stands for quality while the “tips” describes the cotton swabs at the end of each wooden stick. Originally, all Q-tips® were made of wood until around 1958 when the company acquired Paper Stick Ltd of England, a manufacturer of paper sticks for confectionery goods. The bonded paper and paperboard Q-tips® stem was then introduced as an alternative to the wooden sticks.

 

In 1998, Q-tips® antimicrobial cotton swabs were launched. The q-tips were dipped in boric acid in the factory during the manufacturing process so they can be promoted as “personal hygiene” products. Boric acid provided the antiviral and anti-fungal properties. 

bamboo, cotton swabs, q-tips, biodegradable, ecofriendlyDo Cotton Swabs do More Harm than Good?

As far as health is concerned, many people believe that cotton swabs actually do more harm than good. Some say that the cotton pushes the ear wax even further into your ear canal and can possibly damage sensitive tissues. If improperly used, the cotton swab can actually compress the wax even more and cause damage to the sensitive ear organs. If you are using cotton swabs or Q-tips® for other purposes, like cleaning tight crevices, they are extremely helpful and harmless. They are a simple invention with multiple practical uses. 

 

For the environment, cotton swabs made of paper or bamboo are generally safe and harmless when disposed of. Paper and bamboo are both 100% biodegradable and compostable. They typically decompose within months. 

 

Are Cotton Swabs Recyclable? 

Cotton swabs are not recyclable. They are too small and lightweight to be sorted through the normal recycling process and may end up causing more environmental harm because they will pollute the waterways.

 

Regardless of whether they are made of bamboo sticks or paperboard, unfortunately, they will all end up in the landfill. So the best option we have is to buy and reuse ones that are 100% biodegradable made of natural cotton and bamboo or paperboard sticks in order to minimize the environmental impact. If either the cotton tip is made of synthetic or the stick is made of plastic, then the whole piece is not considered eco-friendly and will take years to decompose.

bamboo, cotton swabs, q-tips, biodegradable, ecofriendly

Why Switch to Bamboo Cotton Swabs?

So many may be wondering what’s the benefit of buying bamboo stick cotton swabs instead of the paperbonded applicator. The key benefit is that when using bamboo, there is no chemical, like adhesive, used to bond and stiffen the paper into a stick. Therefore, composting the bamboo variation is easier and faster. 

 

Bamboo is far more renewable than wood. It regrows to maturity within 5 years whereas wood will take 50 years. Bamboo is the fastest growing plant and can be found throughout the world. With very little agricultural input requirements, like pesticides, to grow, they are hardy, low maintenance plants considered to be one of the most eco friendly resources.

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EcoLuxe Products, Sustainable, Sustainability, dental, bamboo toothbrush, Chanelle Dupre

How the Unassuming Toothbrush is Killing our Planet

Millions of people have plastic toothbrushes. We’ve been using them since we were kids. We were taught at home and in school that maintaining a healthy dental hygiene is important. It’s a daily routine that we do everyday. For some of us more than once a day! 

Good oral health is important in preventing serious diseases that could affect our cardiovascular or digestive system. In keeping up with our healthy dental practice though, we should be brushing at least two times per day. With higher frequency and usage of dental products, we tend to cycle through more – buying, using and disposing of our plastic toothbrush. 

Soon, we will create landfills of non-biodegradable toothbrushes that will take years, maybe even centuries, to decompose. We forget to consider the impact we have on the environment when we dispose of plastic dental products. 

The Origins of the Toothbrush

The concept of a toothbrush has been around since 3000 BC. In ancient times, they used chew sticks much like dogs do now to keep their teeth clean. But the first mass produced toothbrush invention in the world was in England in 1780 by William Addis. Then a century later, an American, named H.N. Wadsworth patented the toothbrush in 1857. 

In 1938, the toothbrush was mass produced and sold commercially in the US. It became an essential household product and daily ritual for many families in the industrialized nations. Its introduction into our daily lives was influenced by military personnel coming home from the war effort and trained to maintain good dental hygiene and oral health. 

Since then, dentistry became an important branch of medicine and the dental industry grew to generate billions of dollars in dental product sales.

Ecoluxe Dental2

EcoLuxe Dental 1

 

The Non-biodegradable Nature of the Toothbrush

While we mass produce the toothbrush, we mass dispose of them as well and for centuries, they have been sitting in landfills or other places on the planet to decompose. 

For the past few decades, toothbrushes have been commercially mass produced using plastic and synthetic materials. The handles are formed using molds with plastic poured into them. The most common plastics used are polypropylene (PP) and polyethylene. In some cities, Polypropylene, known as PP5, can be recycled. While in other cities, PP5 is not currently accepted for recycling. Its tough, lightweight and heat resistant properties make it ideal for use as a handle for toothbrushes. 

Polyethylene, on the other hand, has 3 different types of recycling classification – recycle number 1, 2 and 4.  Polyethylene number 1 or PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) and number 2 or HDPE (high density polyethylene) can be recycled and are widely accepted by recycling companies. However, polyethylene number 4 or LDPE (low density polyethylene) is not widely acceptable for recycling and is the most commonly used materials for the toothbrush handle.

Handle Design

The four broad classes of toothbrush handles are straight, contra-angle, non-slip grip and flexible. These designs offer diversity to meet the various preferences, shapes and sizes of both hands and mouth. 

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Are Bristles Biodegradable?

The bristle is also another part of the toothbrush that has evolved over the years and has been introduced in the marketplace with variations in material and design. Some prefer soft bristles for more sensitive gums, while others prefer harder bristles to get rid of plaque more easily. 

Bristle pattern can also play a part in providing more effective cleaning of your teeth. Common varieties include wavy, crisscross, tapered and circular. The head of the toothbrush where the bristles sit come in various shapes – round, square or even diamond to help provide better reach inside the mouth.

In the past, bristles were made of boar hair but because it has been known to retain bacteria, it is not commonly used for toothbrushes that are mass produced for public use. Instead, nylon, with its antibacterial properties, is the preferred material and considered the most effective in cleaning away plaque and build up.

Unfortunately, nylon bristles are not biodegradable. They are synthetic materials made of carbon-based chemicals like coal and petroleum. The creation of nylon itself is not a sustainable practice. It requires a lot of water and energy to cool the plastic fibers. The water absorbs pollutants from the fibers and then released into the environment again through whatever water supply is for dumping waste. 

During the manufacturing process, nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas is emitted into the atmosphere contributing to the carbon pollution that is linked to global warming and climate change.

 

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The Alternative

Plastics and synthetic nylon used to produce toothbrushes offer the durability, flexible design possibilities and antibacterial properties that are essential considerations for an effective dental product. But unfortunately, the materials are not only non eco-friendly but also the manufacturing process doesn’t apply sustainable practices.

So why do we use plastic based toothbrushes that contain non-biodegradable materials that can’t be broken down to other reusable materials? 

Well, manufacturers produce products that fulfill consumer needs and they design them in such a way as to fulfill the regulatory requirements to meet safety and health standards. 

If we were to make an impact on preserving our planet, we need to do it one toothbrush at a time and choose a more eco-friendly alternative made of bamboo and plant-based bristles. Although not yet widely sold in stores, you can find them online and buy them for yourself or as a gift.

If you’re a business and you want to consider distributing or selling bamboo toothbrush made of biodegradable material, fill out the form.

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EcoLuxe Products, Sustainable, Sustainability, Chanelle Dupre, Plastic waste, Eco-friendly, recycle, packaging, biodegradable

The Movement Towards Zero Plastic Waste

Plastics pose one of the greatest threats to our environment. The chemicals used to produce plastics and the chemicals released are both harmful and have long term effects on humans, the environment and wildlife. Thousands of sea animals, birds and other marine mammals are killed each year after ingesting or getting entangled in plastic waste that we dispose of.

According to Sea Circular, an organization that inspires market-based solutions to solve marine pollution, more than 700 species of marine animals were discovered with traces of plastics in their digestive tracts. 

How Plastics End Up in Our Bodies

It’s a fact that microplastics (1 – 5mm plastic diameter) and nanoplastics (200 nm in diameter) have been found in animals we eat. Microplastics enter an animal through its gills, nose or mouth and ultimately, they end up in our food and our bodies. 

An estimated 4 – 12 million tons of plastics are disposed of in our oceans annually and 94.4% of tap water samples taken in North America were found to contain plastic fibers – the highest in the world. It seems to correlate with our excessive consumerism and our use of plastics in our everyday life.

It is predicted that by 2050 there will be more plastics in the ocean than fish. With that dark outlook, it’s definitely time to recognize the issues and make the right choices.

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Canada’s Commitment to Zero Plastic Waste

Canada has moved towards a ban on single-use plastics particularly those that have alternative substitutes. The country has a commitment to have zero plastic waste by 2030. Every year, Canadians dispose of about 3 million tonnes of plastic waste and only 9% gets recycled.

It’s been reported that Canadians use 15 billion plastic bags annually and close to 57 million plastic straws daily with up to 1% of all plastic waste re-entering the environment. It may not sound like a lot, but if we consider the millions of tonnes of plastic waste and the fact that plastic takes hundreds of years to decompose, we should have heaps of concerns about the growth of our landfills. 

Plastic waste, Eco-friendly, recycle, packaging, biodegradable

The Alternative Choice to Save the Animals and the Planet

There are alternatives to the plastic version of our household products. Though some may not be perfect substitutes, they are acceptable. Remember, back in the olden days, people did not have the luxuries we have now and yet they managed to survive. Perhaps we need to dial back our greed for more consumption and start reusing, replacing or just go without.

Regulations and new policies will force us to change our habits whether we like it or not. Canada’s ban on single-use plastic has been introduced with a graduated approach. The ban identifies 6 product categories that meet the following criteria: 1) the product is not being effectively recycled and traces of the product have been found in the environment and 2) there are alternatives or substitutes available. 

These products are the first to be phased out. Many businesses and municipalities have followed suit. 

The Alternative Choice to Save the Animals and the Planet There are alternatives to the plastic version of our household products. Though some may not be perfect substitutes, they are acceptable. Remember, back in the olden days, people did not have the luxuries we have now and yet they managed to survive. Perhaps we need to dial back our greed for more consumption and start reusing, replacing or just go without. Regulations and new policies will force us to change our habits whether we like it or not. Canada’s ban on single-use plastic has been introduced with a graduated approach. The ban identifies 6 product categories that meet the following criteria: 1) the product is not being effectively recycled and traces of the product have been found in the environment and 2) there are alternatives or substitutes available. These products are the first to be phased out. Many businesses and municipalities have followed suit.

Bamboo as a Good Alternative for Packaging

As a biodegradable, eco-friendly alternative, bamboo is an ideal solution for many plastic products in the market. To make the biggest and most immediate positive impact on the environment, we prioritize the substitution of packaging materials for more eco-friendly ones.

Restaurants and the hospitality industry are huge contributors in disposing of non-biodegradable plastics. As food delivery services and online ordering become the new norm, the use of packaging has increased exponentially and our landfills are piling up.

Containers, boxes and take away materials do not need to be made of plastic or styrofoam. Other biodegradable, organic materials can be effective replacements of all forms, sizes and types of food packaging and can accommodate keeping food hot or cold for at least one hour. If your food is taking over an hour to deliver, you probably shouldn’t be ordering from that restaurant anyway so think about the choices you are making.

In the same way, disposable plastic stir sticks, straws and cutlery can be functionally replaced with bamboo products. Use bamboo stir sticks instead of plastic ones. Use paper or reusable stainless steel straws and choose biodegradable cutlery instead of plastic ones. 

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Your Actions Contribute to Keeping Climate Change at Bay

Aside from the impact plastics have had on animals and people, they also contribute significantly to climate change. Greenhouse gases are released at every stage of the plastic life cycle: starting from the extraction of fossil fuel and its transport to the facility for production, then onto the plastic manufacturing of it, then to managing plastic waste after its use, and finally, the end-of-life disposal of non recyclable microplastics back into the environment. 

Although we still have a long way to go to reach zero plastic waste, we can start now by consciously making the right choices to use eco-friendly products over plastic ones. 

Learn more about the types of products you can substitute in your home.

 

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