Friday, July 1, 2011

Betty's Top 5 Beach-Inspired Tips for a Greener Summer

Summer time and I'm blogging to you from the beach today. Seeing people with mounds of plastic water bottles, smelling charcoal briquettes, and picking up litter from fireworks left on the beach inspired this blog topic which I shared with you on 106 the Corner this morning...

1- Can charcoal grilling be greener?? There actually are alternatives to the traditional charcoal grilling with less deforestation, fewer gas and soot emissions, and healthier food. Look for the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) label. They have stringent guidelines in six key areas which require, among other things, the use of sustainably harvested wood. At Lowe's and Whole Foods, you should be able to find a couple of brands - one being Cowboy lump charcoal. There is also "Green link" and even one made of coconut husks.

2- Sunscreen: go to the Sunscreen Database at the Environmental Working Group's website. They rate sunscreens on a scale of 1-10 according to hazardous ingredients. My column in next month's Abode magazine comes out this Tuesday about personal care products for more information. You may not realized that cosmetics in this country are not regulated. Unfortunately there are many unsafe chemicals in our shampoos, shaving creams, and sunscreeens. Lead (in lipstick), formaldehyde, benzoate,parabens,BHA, etc - harmful chemicals are rampant so check out their extensive website. And think about donating 5-10 dollars to keep the website funded.

3-Disposables: Plastic cups, foam and paper plates, paper napkins. You've heard the familiar family mantra: "We don't want to worry about dishes, let's just use paper plates." Wrong. Why not feel great about protecting Earth's resources and do some serious family bonding by asking everyone to BYOF - bring your own flatware - and rinse your dishes after the meal on-site. Invest in a couple of tubs - one for washing and one for rinsing or wash when you get home and your family is well on its way to a lower waste or zero waste event (if one of you composts).

4-Water bottles: We consume 160 million water bottles a day in America. The problem according to

•Picture a disposable water bottle ¼ full of petroleum. That is how much petroleum it takes to make and distribute a single plastic bottle of water.
•It takes THREE bottles of water to make and distribute ONE disposable plastic bottle of water.
•120 grams of greenhouse gases are generated by a single disposable plastic bottle of water.

Encourage family and friends to carry their own reusable water bottle containers and/or invest in a cooler for those big family summer barbeques.

5 - Seafood Choices: Help keep our oceans alive and well by being a smart consumer of fish. Buy sustainable fish. But how? I use the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch Card: to download your seafood wallet card.

•Blue Ocean Institute
•Environmental Defense Fund
•Marine Stewardship Council
Monterey Bay Aquarium
•KidSafe Seafood Program From SeaWeb

Summertime is free and easy and beautiful. Let's keep it that way by being conscious of our choices. Best, BWB