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Back You are here: Home Columns Weekly Columns Green Is Where The Heart Is Green is where the Heart Is for January 23, 2013

Green is where the Heart Is for January 23, 2013

Excessive plastics causing indolence in a society
addicted to one time use

Contributing Writer

Mr. McGuire: I want to say one word to you. Just one word.
Benjamin: Yes, sir.
Mr. McGuire: Are you listening?
Benjamin: Yes, I am.
Mr. McGuire: Plastics.
Benjamin: Just how do you mean that, sir?  -“The Graduate”
Who could forget the classic 1967 movie poster with Anne Bancroft’s partially nyloned leg in the foreground and the gaze of a confused young Dustin Hoffman?  “This is Benjamin.  He is a little worried about his future.”  Apparently he should have been.  
Over the past 40 years plastics, like Mrs. Robinson, have weaseled their way into our lives tempting us with convenience and low cost. 
I am not downplaying the miraculous ways plastics have increased the quality of our lives through healthcare etc. 
I am referring to excessive plastics causing indolence in a society addicted to one time use.  All plastics are not created equal.  Becoming aware of the different types is the first step to responsible usage.  Plastics are classified by their "resin identification code"—a number from #1 to #7 found within a recycling triangle located on the underside of the product. 
 #1 (PET or PETE) poly(ethylene terephthalate) are disposable soft drink, water bottles and other food storage containers. 
This plastic is porous and holds bacteria.  If you choose to reuse these bottles wash, rinse and dry thoroughly.  It is controversial whether extreme temperatures cause these bottles to leach chemicals into the contents.  Science has not proven this to be true.  I favor “better safe than sorry.”
The safer plastics are #2 (HDPE) high density polyethylene like milk jugs, liquid detergent bottles, shampoo bottles, #4 (LDPE) low density polyethylene such as cling wrap, sandwich bags, produce bags, baby bottle liners and #5 (PP) polypropylene which are cloudy plastic water bottles, yogurt cups/tubs.  Why are they safer?  They transmit no known chemicals into your food. 
#3 (V or PVC) polyvinyl chloride  used in plastic wrap, detergent and cooking oil bottles, plumbing pipes, flooring, laundry baskets and window blinds emits harmful VOC’s and may be especially damaging to children’s development and immune functions.  Responsible toy manufacturers are removing it from their lines.  The deadly chemical dioxin is released during the incineration of PVC which has contributed to death by smoke inhalation long before flames.   
Refusing to use  #6 (PS) polystyrene like disposable foam coffee cups and foam clam-shell take-out containers would make a huge difference for health and planet.  Substitute paper cups or better yet, carry your own reusable travel mug.
 Ask to replace take-out containers with foil lined with wax paper.  Never reheat food in the microwave in a Styrofoam container or plate as it may leach into the food. 
#7 (OTHER) are plastics invented after 1987 including (PC) polycarbonate and (PLA) polylactide and plastics made from renewable resources as well as newer plastics labeled "BPA-Free."  This category may contain both good and bad.  Always choose BPA-Free for reusable water bottles, baby bottles and stain-resistant food-storage containers. 
The Nalgene Company listened to its customers and now makes all reusable water bottles BPA-free.
 Plastics are a lot like Mrs. Robinson.  And like Benjamin I ask, “Mrs. Robinson, are you seducing me?” –xo mo
Living Green  means loving ourselves enough to become educated on products that affect our health and the health of our planet. 
Send us your living green question today. Your question may be selected to be answered in this column.  Also send in any suggestions you may have found to help others embrace Living Green.   Send them to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Kure Beach resident Mo Linquist, Red Ribbon Professional of IFSG and allied ASID is a recognized expert on Pyramid Feng Shui. She is the “ PersonPlace” design consultant specializing in soft goods such as fabrics, window treatments, reupholstery, blinds, shutters, feng shui and green healthy living products. 
Her design studio is located in the Artful Living Group building 112 Cape Fear Blvd, Carolina Beach, NC.   Linquist speaks nationally and holds regular workshops and accredited trainings on this ancient form of environmental psychology. Helping clients create home and office spaces designed specifically to support their individual goals and intentions, Linquist uses cutting-edge techniques integrating science, 20 years of interior design experience and Feng Shui to balance, harmonize and create new patterns for success.
To learn more about her work or for a consultation, contact her at www.personplace.com FaceBook at Mo Linquist Living Solutions or call 910-458-7822 office or 330-904-3636 cell.