Things That Matter

21 Tips To Go Plastic Free This Month

Plastic is poison for our planet and there’s no better proof than the piles and piles of garbage polluting our oceans and landfills across the globe. While no one person can possibly save the planet from plastic in one day, we can all do our part to help protect the planet from the poisonous plastic that takes so long to degrade. Making the switch to biodegradable, using plastic-free products and reusing everything are small changes you can make to protect the planet from the damaging effects of plastic. Here are 21 ways to go plastic-free this month.

1. Use Canvas Bags Instead of Plastic Bags.

Instagram – Credit: @shop.canvasco

Use canvas totes instead of plastic bags. This Instagram user keeps a few tote bags in her car and uses them for nearly everything. They’re a great alternative to plastic bags and you can use them over and over again.

2. Get a Bamboo Toothbrush.

Instagram – Credit: @queen_bunny_kat

Instead of getting yet another plastic toothbrush, order yourself a bamboo toothbrush, which can help cut down on plastic use and waste.

3. Buy Milk in a Glass Bottle

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Twitter – Credit: @alexiskeech

Most milk comes in those one-gallon plastic containers and the waste from those containers is wreaking havoc on our planet, which is why making the switch to glass milk bottles is recommended. You can’t go wrong when you’re saving the Earth!

4. Swap Out Your Body Spray.

Twitter – Credit: @littleplasticf1

Tons of body spray cans are made with plastic on the tops. To go completely plastic-free, try switching your body spray to an eco-friendly brand you can be proud of.

5. Bamboo Your Cotton Swabs.

Instagram – Credit: @ecologic_living

Cotton swabs can take forever to degrade naturally, which is why it’s best to ditch the ones with plastic handles and hop on the bamboo bandwagon. Bamboo cotton swabs are much more biodegradable than plastic ones.

6. Shop at Plastic-Free Shops.

Twitter – Credit: @wastenotlife

A number of plastic-free stores and pop-up shops have begun appearing across the country. Do your part by shopping at stores committed to ending plastic consumption. Every dollar you spend is a vote for or against plastic.

7. Use Refillable Water Bottles and Filling Stations.

Instagram – Credit: @myflowater

Plastic water bottles are crippling the planet and this could be a potential solution to the problem. Bring your own water bottle and fill it up at a Flo Water filling station. This helps cut down on plastic tremendously. My Flo Water has taken great strides to help people eliminate plastic bottle waste.

8. Keep on Sippin’…Through the Same Straw.

Instagram – Credit: @sipsea

Plastic straws are one of the biggest offenders when it comes to plastic pollution. Consider reusable straws instead of plastic straws. Bring one with you whenever you go out to eat and inform the staff that you won’t be needing a plastic straw.

9. Replace the Blades on Your Razor.

Twitter – Credit: @gingerheadesign

Instead of using single-use, disposable razors, opt instead for a reusable razor that allows you to change the blades instead of throwing the whole thing away. Disposable razors are made of mostly plastic and they’re only hurting the environment.

10. Get Pretty Without Plastic.

Twitter – Credit: @FHCCosmetics

Cosmetics companies are notorious for using tons of plastic in their packaging. From the plastic tubes used for mascara to the plastic used to contain the concealer – and don’t forget the additional plastic used to prevent tampering. You’ve got a full-on plastic-palooza. Ditch those companies for one that cares about the environment.

11. Use a Bamboo Dish Brush.

Instagram – Credit: enricheducatebloom

Washing the dishes doesn’t have to involve grabbing a traditional dish wand (made mostly of plastic) or a sponge made with plastic materials. Get yourself a bamboo dish cleaning brush. Your planet will thank you.

12. Get a Bar of Shampoo.

Twitter – Credit: @TweetTheCoach

You read that right – a bar of shampoo. A bar (as opposed to a bottle) of shampoo helps cut down on plastic by avoiding it in the packaging. It may sound silly at first, but it’s actually a small step in helping to save the environment.

13. Get a Tin of Shaving Soap.

Instagram – Credit: thesoapartisan

Shaving cream containers often contain plastic lids that only contribute to the plastic pollution problem. The next time you find yourself shopping for shaving cream, consider switching to a plastic-free brand like the one mentioned here, which uses tins instead of aluminum cans and plastic lids.

14. Invest in a Reusable Coffee Cup.

Twitter – Credit: @Starbucks

Coffee lids are one of the top offenders when it comes to plastic pollution. If you’re a coffee connoisseur, grab yourself a reusable coffee cup and either make your coffee at home or bring your cup with you when you go out to get coffee. You’ll help eliminate unnecessary waste from all those pesky coffee lids. You can also choose a coffee place with biodegradable lids (if one exists in your area).

15. Get a Plastic Lunch Pail.

Instagram – Credit: bhawana.bags 

A tin lunch pail is not only reusable but when it comes time to throw it away, you’ll have peace of mind knowing it won’t be polluting the planet for hundreds of years before finally decomposing.

16. Don’t use plastic wrapped toilet paper.

Credit: Instagram @ rubyst

Who Gives A Crap is an awesome choice to switch that plastic-wrapped toilet paper to paper-wrapped rolls. Besides, 50% of their profit goes towards building toilets!

17. Get Your Gum Sans Plastic.

Instagram – Credit: almaeko_

That’s right. Most chewing gum on the market contains plastic. When you pick up your favorite brand of gum, you’re likely chewing on plastic, among other ingredients. Probably where the idea that gum takes seven years to digest comes from. Finding a plastic alternative like the one above can be accomplished with a quick Google or social media search.

18. Go to Plastic-Free Farmer’s Markets.

Instagram – Credit: @kelloggarden

Instead of a trip to the grocery store where plastic bags run rampant, head to your local farmer’s market instead. Farmer’s markets typically provide you with bags or containers to carry your purchases, but many are doing away with plastic containers altogether and going completely plastic free. Find one in your area and stock up on fresh fruits and veggies and put plastic in the past.

19. Use Compost Food Bags.

Twitter – Credit: @@MaisticBioGroup 

Maistic Bio Group sells compostable food bags and a full range of other products designed to help eliminate plastic waste. This includes kitchen cleaning tools like the bio scrubber and a hemp scrubber.

20. Sip Your Tea Plastic Free.

Instagram – Credit: @leafico 

Tea bags are traditionally made with food-grade plastic (which – alarmingly – not a lot of people know). So if you’re looking for an eco-friendly alternative, try tea bags made from bananas or other biodegradable materials. Because who really wants to dunk a plastic bag in their tea?

21. Grab a box of Plastic-Free Feminine Products.

Instagram – Credit: @plasticfreemillenial

Feminine hygiene products are made with plastic in the product as well as the packaging. Not only are traditional feminine products made with plastic, but they’re also loaded with chemicals that aren’t great for your body. Think about making the switch to an eco-friendly feminine product brand. NatraCare offers plastic-free liners as well as plastic-free packaging. Win-win.

You might have believed plastic is so ingrained in our lives that we can’t possibly continue modern life without it. But actually, plastic is a detriment to the survival of the planet. We all need to do our part to eliminate plastic waste and protect the environment. Hopefully, you’ve learned some things that can help you make the transition to living a plastic-free life. One step at a time is all it takes.

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‘Planeta G’ Is A YouTube Series Dedicated To Highlighting Latino Environmental Activists

Things That Matter

‘Planeta G’ Is A YouTube Series Dedicated To Highlighting Latino Environmental Activists

valentinastackl / Instagram

Greenpeace has been fighting to save the planet and the environment since 1971. The Canadian organization has been there to fight for the planet every step of the way and it has fostered new leaders. Planeta G is the latest project out of Greenpeace and it is highlighting Latinos who are in the fight to save the planet and reverse climate change.

Planeta G is here to make sure that Latino environmental activists get the recognition that they deserve.

The bi-weekly web series is centered around exploring the intersectionality between environmental activism and the Latino identity. According to a recent study by Yale, 70 percent of Latinos are concerned about the environment. Latinos are also among the communities more disproportionately impacted by climate change.

According to an interview with Grist, Valentina Stackl and Crystal Mojica started “Planeta G” in order to highlight more Latino voices. Communities of color face several instances of environmental injustice in their communities. This includes lack of access to affordable healthcare, education, and housing.

It is brought to you by two co-hosts: Crystal Mojica.

Mojica is a senior communications specialist for Greenpeace USA and, according to the website, has spent a lot of her career in the environmental space. Mojica, who was raised in Colombia as a child, has volunteered for the Peace Corps and worked to advance reproductive rights for all women.

And Valentina Stackl.

Stackl was born in Europe after her mother, a Jewish-Chilean journalist, fled the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile. After moving to the U.S. at 16, Stackl got involved in international environmental justice starting with working with farmworkers.

The co-hosts are also using their platform to remind people to vote and the importance of using their voice.

The next election is drawing near and there are so many reasons for Latinos to vote. They have to make their voices heard and there are several issues that deeply impact the community.

“Latinx people are especially becoming more empowered than ever before to speak out. But we’ve done it before,” Stackl told Grist. “Historically, we think back to Dolores Huerta and Cesar Chavez and the labor movement. Sometimes we forget that. We care. The experiences of the people that we’ve spoken to on the show reflect that.”

The co-hosts are delivering more than interviews to combat climate change.

It is known that the vegan diet is more sustainable and better for the environment. Being vegan means you are helping to cut down on greenhouse gases from farming. There is also the benefit of not contributing to deforestation for farmland due to the demand of meat in the world.

The vegan versions of Latino foods is still in line with the web series’ mission to challenge dispel myths about Latinos. Planeta G is showing how you can make some delicious versions of Latino food without using all of the animal products. They even promise to fool your mom.

READ: Environmental Advocates Are Offering Tips On How People In Mexico City Can Shop With The New Plastic Bag Ban

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Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro Blames Indigenous Tribes For Amazon Fires

Things That Matter

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro Blames Indigenous Tribes For Amazon Fires

jairmessiasbolsonaro / Instagram

President Jair Bolsonaro is blaming the indigenous community for the fires that raged in the Amazon. The fires set off international outrage as the rainforest faced unprecedented destruction by out of control fires. President Bolsonaro went against the rest of the international community during a speech to the U.N.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro wants the United Nations to know that indigenous people were responsible for the Amazon fires.

In a remote session opening the U.N. General Assembly, President Bolsonaro spoke at length about the indigenous communities starting the fires. He also used the speech to speak out against the criticism his administration is receiving over his environmental policies and his response to Covid. Brazil is currently the second most infected country in the world with the second highest death rate.

The Amazon has experienced increased fires since President Bolsonaro took office.

For the first seven months of 2020, 13,000 sq. km. (5,019 sq. miles) of the Brazilian rainforest have burned. This year saw the second-highest level of fires on a global scale with fires raging across the Amazon, Australia, and the West Coast of the U.S.

President Bolsonaro openly contradicted expert findings to fit his narrative.

President Bolsonaro claims that the humidity of the forest contains the fires. According to President Bolsonaro’s speech, fires in the Amazon only happen in certain areas because of how well the humidity can keep the fires in check.

“The fires practically occur in the same places, on the east side of the forest, where peasants and Indians burn their fields in already deforested areas,” Bolsonaro said.

President Bolsonaro’s speech touches on the environmental record his administration is known for.

The Bolsonaro administration has made dismantling environmental and indigenous rights since taking power. The administration has worked to limit the amount of land available to indigenous people and to open up Amazonian rainforest to miners, loggers, farmers, developers, and other uses that are damaging and contributing to the fires. Deforestation by these industries are largely to blame for the out-of-control wildfires that burned for a very long time in the Brazilian Amazon.

Activists are getting ready to fight for the indigenous community and the rainforest.

“We must denounce this political catastrophe that destroys the environment and our future,” Sonia Guajajara, head of Brazil’s main Indigenous umbrella organization, to NBC News.

READ: Under Bolsonaro, The Brazilian Amazon Has Reached Record-Breaking Levels Of Deforestation

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