Tips from the Green Girl Vol. 2
How to Be Environmentally Conscious in Your Everyday Life
Sarah Banzhof, 11-30-2018



Sarah Banzhof is a Cuyahoga Falls resident and the owner of The Natural Body, a Falls-based company that sells natural beauty product alternatives that are free of parabens, silicones, sulfates, and harsh chemicals. She also runs a Facebook group dedicated to “living life and learning from one another how to lessen our carbon footprint, be kinder to Mother Earth, and make small (or large) changes for the greater good of our inhabited planet.” She offers environmentally friendly tips in this regular column for our readers.

Hello from your city Green Girl! This edition of “Tips from the Green Girl” is about alternatives to single-use plastic bags, which are truly a nemesis of mine because they are so wasteful and rarely recycled.

Plastic bags are made from petroleum oil and take between 500-1,000 years to photo-degrade in a landfill. As of now, only 1% of plastic bags in the US are recycled. What’s more, plastic bag waste harms wildlife because they confuse it for food and eat it, after which nutrient absorption in their intestines is no longer possible—a million birds and thousands of sea turtles and other sea creatures are killed this way each year. Paper bags aren’t much better, as paper production emits 70% more air pollution than plastic, and although petroleum goes into making plastic bags, the energy consumed in paper bag production is almost four times as much!

The problem goes beyond grocery bags, including produce bags, retail shopping bags, zipper baggies, plastic wrap, etc. The problem with reusable grocery bags is remembering to bring them in the store, so I just leave them on the passenger seat of my car to remind me. I personally prefer canvas bags that can be laundered, as they will inevitably get soiled. I also keep a few bags in my car for non-food item purchases, and even a designated bag for raw meat. As far as produce bags, did you know they make special breathable fabric bags for fruits and veggies so you can avoid the roll altogether?

To replace resealable baggies, I have collected reusable, washable zipped cloth bags, a few that tie, and others that velcro shut. Bento box-type lunch pails can be used as kids’ lunch containers, and Bee's Wrap wax molding paper replaces plastic wrap—it uses the warmth of your hands to create a seal around a piece of food or over a bowl or casserole dish. Bee's Wrap can be used to wrap cheese, vegetables, bread, fruit, fresh herbs, and baked goods!

Of course, nobody’s perfect, and you may end up with a few plastic bags here and there, but if you do, simply save them to place in the plastic bag recycling bins found at most large grocery stores.

Thankfully, the solution to this problem can be cost-effective and easy—the hard part is acquiring reusables in the first place and being bold enough to refuse plastic bags when they are offered. This is just one more small difference that each of us can make that will exponentially impact our carbon footprint.

Join Sarah's Facebook group, Treehugging Green Girl, by requesting to join at https://www.facebook.com/groups/350574625360401/. You can also check out The Natural Body on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/TheNaturalBodyCompany/.


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