You know those little plastic microbeads (also called nurdles) that a lot of soaps have as exfoliators? Well, they’re a nigtmare on the environment. They pile up in oceans, and they resemble things that a lot of animals like to eat (like fish eggs), which means that we end up with a bunch of animals with a stomach full of plastic. The good news is that they’re going to be illegal. President Obama signed the “Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015″ at the end of December. The bad news is that companies can keep selling their mircobead soaps until 2017 (that’s when the Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015 law actually goes into effect). So in the meantime, make sure you’re not buying anything with plastic microbeads. If you want an exfoliating soap, look for one that uses a natural exfoliator like walnut shells. You can also use sugar or baking soda!
Plastic bags are bad news. Reusable bags are much better. But what happens when you have old plastic bags sitting around from before you switched to reusables? Or if a plastic bag blows onto your lawn? You might think you can just toss it in the recycling bin. But, surprisingly, you can’t. Or shouldn’t. When you do, the bags clog up the recycling machinery (that’s what you’re seeing in the picture). But that doesn’t mean that they’re garbage either. A lot of stores that still use plastic bags will take the plastic bags back for reuse. You can also toss them in with your reusable bags and reuse them yourself. They hold way less than most reusable bags, but they can come in handy for things that may make a mess. Like overripe berries. Or that head of lettuce that just got sprayed with the grocery store mini sprinklers and is now dripping wet. If you’re crafty, you can even crochet with those plastic bags! Cut the bags into strips, then crochet with the strips the same as if they were yarn! You can even crochet larger and heavier duty reusable bags out of those little old wimpy plastic bags. If you do a search for “plastic bag crochet,” you will find a ton of ideas and tutorials. There are also tutorials for how to make the plarn (plastic yarn). A lot of people have an intense multi-step process for it that involves folding, and measure, and cutting, and weaving, and tying to make the plarn. But I just grab a bag, start cutting a strip, and keep cutting around and around and around. Sort of like peeling an apple around and around and getting the peel to all come off in one continuous curly strip.
Doggy Bag Treats (made by Full Circle Feed) are possibly the greenest dog treats on the market. They’re made with human grade food that was prepared for the buffet but not eaten. That’s perfectly good food that would otherwise go to a landfill simply because no one put it on their plate before the buffet closed for the day. Full Circle Feed collects that food (minus anything from the dessert table, chocolate, coffee, grapes, raisins, onions, garlic, macadamia nuts, and avocados). Then they wash the food, ground it together, mix in a little flour, and bake it. The finished treats are then packed in recycled and recyclable paper and cardboard.
The buffet food comes from central New York, the treats are made in central New York, the treats are bagged in central New York, and the idea even started in central New York. Michael Amadori came up with the idea while he was at SUNY- College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, NY. SUNY was using leftover cafeteria food to make fish food. Michael brought home a piece of the fish food, his pug quickly ate it, and the idea was born. And after winning a “Zero-Waste Food Processing” student business competition, Full Circle Feed was born.
Full Circle Feed is also a certified member of the Green Business Network.
You can order the treats from their website. You can also see which stores carry the treats from their website. You can also find them at some events and farmer’s markets in central and western New York.
And yes, our dogs enjoyed the treats! Green thumbs up, Full Circle Feed.