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Ideas for Personal Greening

From the Temple Isaiah Green Team

1. Packaging: try to avoid anything encased/wrapped in plastic. Only 10% of plastic actually is recycled into another product.  The rest go into landfills and worse into the ocean and into the animals which call the ocean home.  Avoid those plastic “clamshells” containing berries etc.  Anything packed in plastic. If you search you can find what you want NOT in plastic.  Or just consider not buying the item at all.  At first it will be a challenge to forego things you’ve always bought but being good to Mother Earth is worth it.

By the way, it has been found that micro plastics are already in our bodies and those of our children….frightening.

2. Try to re-use the very lightweight plastic bags which are on the rolls in the supermarket.  After you bring home your items, wash the bag (if necessary) and dry it on something that “sticks out.”  Getting the inside to dry is an effort so try out all sorts of things: knife handles sticking out from a wood block, empty glassware, a French press coffee maker, etc. Just try to find something as these bags will dry and pretty quickly.  Then when you next go shopping tuck a few into your cloth grocery shopping bag and use them again for your fruits and vegetable purchases.

3. Re-use aluminum foil: wipe clean with a sponge or cloth and dry it and then flatten out, fold up and put in your drawer to haul out again. 

4. Try to purchase milk in glass bottles. Stop and Shop offers these. It’s more expensive than the plastic milk jugs  ($6.79 today) but you get $3.00 refund when you return the bottle to the Customer Service desk.

5. Try to buy paper products made of 100% “recycled paper.”  Earth First makes these products such as paper towels and toilet paper. You can find these at Market Basket, TJs, and more. This is why we recycle paper. If we don’t buy such products then the market for recycled paper will decrease. Trader Joe's now carries 100% from recycled napkins.

6. Buy dishwasher detergent in cardboard containers, not plastic jugs. Trader Joe's carries this now as does Whole Foods.  Avoid those very thick plastic jugs.  Of course one thing we can’t avoid is bleach in them.

7. A small store in Cambridge called Cleenland owned by Sarah Levy has all sorts of products such as shampoo soap bars, hair conditioners, dish and laundry liquid—the deal is that you can buy an empty container there (one time purchase) or bring your own. Then she will fill up your container(s) with things you use. I’ve used all sorts of containers in particular the empty large white vinegar plastic containers for the dish liquid and have Sarah transfer her products into my own containers. You can buy lotions, hair conditioners etc. Just terrific!!

But go on Sunday as parking is tough. Her website Cleenland will show all her products.

8. Here’s a new one - when you go to take out ice cream sundaes bring your own silverware (spoons). No need to use and then toss the store’s limp spoons in the “recycling” bin!

9. When you eat out and want to bring home leftovers, bring along your own containers and avoid the restaurants styrofoam or wax lined cardboard boxes.

10. Sometimes skip the clothes dryer. On warm days, hang your items on a drying rack.  We have a deck where we have a small folding drying rack. When the sunshine is pouring down, the clothes dry very quickly—no artificial energy used!  Consider an outside clothes line. And if you have space, put up some strong clotheslines in a basement. A recent article in the Boston Globe reported that if we forgo clothes dryers “the effect on energy consumption and carbon emissions would be marked.”

BONUS: Our MDC water has been judged the best in the United States along with that of New York City which has the Croton Reservoir. No need to buy bottled water….carry your own delicious MDC water and it’s one less plastic bottle thrown into the trash. Only 9-10% of plastic is actually recycled into something else.


Sat, March 2 2024 22 Adar I 5784