4Rs Tip for 3.11.2022 – 52 Years of Earth Day

Earth Day Needs To Be Every Day

Click here if you’re new to Jen’s blog and want to know what it’s all about.

For 52 years, we have designated one day in April to clean up the planet and teach people how to be better stewards of the earth. Now we need to do this 52 weeks out of the year since we live in a society where you have to go out of your way to reduce the impact of waste. 

  • It’s not easy to avoid packaging. 
  • Recycling is difficult when it’s hard to figure out what to do and how to do it.

The sad reality is we’ve reached the point where every one of us needs to be doing more, a whole lot more! We need to change the way we live. Not just one day out of the year, but every day.

Photo by Porapak Apichodilok on Pexels.com

We can’t give up our fight for the One Planet we have.

This Earth Day, I challenge you to look for ways to change how you regularly do stuff, not just one day out of the year. Take a few minutes to look through some of the sites below and find ways you can take action.
When you run across a tip and think, “I could do that,” write down how you plan to get it done. Be specific, like, add reusable shopping bags to my grocery list, as an action you can take to build your reusable bag habit. Make it a note you put on your frig, or wherever you’ll see it regularly. After you’ve developed one habit, start working on another.

Take it one step at a time. Change can be hard. Let’s start now and make the changes we know we can make.

  • EarthDay.org put together these tool kits to help us make changes and take actions that can make an ongoing difference. Visit the link to find tools for 
    • battling global waste, 
    • fighting plastics pollution, 
    • educational tools, 
    • how to avoid fast fashion,
    • and more.
  • Participate in Earth Hour on March 26th at 8:30 pm your local time. This annual event is targeted at slowing down our energy use. Beyond saving energy one day a year, they provide resources and tips for what you can do to build everyday habits that matter.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” — Margaret Mead (1901-1978), American cultural anthropologist

  • Become a voice for the planet. Start your own grassroots effort to tackle climate change. This article on How Plastics Broke Recycling and Why Grassroots Efforts Can Fit It has links at the end to 11 online resources for building a planet friendly community through grassroots efforts.
  • The Jump covers the six shifts individuals need to make in order to stop climate change. Based on scientific research into what has to change over the next decade, this site shares the six actions we can and must take if we are to have a chance.
  • The 31 Day Zero Waste Challenge from Going Zero Waste will send you daily tips of actions you can take to reduce your impact on the planet.
  • One Planet has an app where you can set goals for reducing your carbon emissions. Download the One Planet.life app and explore how to make carbon reduction happen in your life.

Let’s make every day Earth Day!

Why It’s Important

Earth Day Means So Much More Now That Our Planet Is In Crisis

On April 22, 1970 the first Earth Day was celebrated as people began to recognize the need to take better care of the planet. Though these efforts were always important, our disposable lifestyle continued to grow. 

We’ve now developed habits that require us to make planet-friendly changes to how we live daily. We have no other choice. The dangers have become a lot worse. I keep hearing the phrase Tipping Points for the climate and it’s scary to think of not being able to reverse some of the damage humans have done. Increased weather disasters and lack of resources are just the beginning signs of how forced changes are starting to happen.

  • Flooding and natural disasters will continue to rise, making less areas habitable and decreasing resources for food and water.
  • Communities need to build local resources as those around the globe begin to deplete.
  • As polar ice caps melt we lose the gulf stream. This will cause less rain in places like the amazons which will lead to more fires and flooding. 

There are so many reasons we need to make lifestyle changes. I’m not going to keep listing them. I hope you see the importance of checking out the resources above and thinking of ways you can contribute to helping the planet.

With Much Gratitude

That’s it for this week. I hope this helped. Please drop me a line anytime if you have questions or comments. I love hearing from you.

If you filled out my recycling survey and included a question, I will likely respond soon (if I haven’t already). There have been a lot of good questions and I want to give each my attention. I also may include them in future posts. I will also be sharing the survey results in the future, so stick with me to learn how the survey does. 

Note: Along with a number of very hard-working people, I’m waging an all-out war. A fight for our planet. Please join me and consider supporting my efforts. I do not get paid to write this blog, none of the products I recommend sponsor me, so any support you can send my way would help, even just a few bucks.

Thank you for reading these tips and subscribing. Pat yourself on the back for doing your part. Remember, every little bit helps. Don’t fuss if you aren’t always able to do this stuff, keep trying, and don’t give up. It usually takes about 21 days to build a habit. 

You got this!

All my best, 

Jen 

jen.thilman (at) gmail.com

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4R’s Weekly Tip for 3.4.2022

4R’s Tip – Pay Attention to Waste

Okay, I’ve ragged on plastics enough. I think you get the point… they’re a big problem. So let’s start looking at ways to manage how much plastic and waste we generate.

Click here if you’re new to Jen’s blog and want to know what it’s all about.

They say awareness is half the battle.
When it comes to waste, it’s more than half!

Photo by Emmet on Pexels.com

Keep Track of How Often You Take Out Trash and Recycling, Learn How To Reduce It

First, let’s recognize that our recycling is also waste. It may not go in your garbage can, but it is waste that we generate. And with recycling programs proving to be inefficient, we need to recognize that what we put in a recycling bin has a good chance of ending up in a landfill or ocean.

Honestly, it feels like all this excess packaging just crept up on us and now it’s everywhere! The best way I’ve found to help me reduce the waste I create is to keep track. This can be easier than you might think.

How Much Waste Do You Generate?

Keeping track of how often you take out trash and recycling can help you think twice about packaging and what you buy. Here are some ways to do that.

  • If you have a wall calendar, mark the days when you take out trash with an asterisk and recycling with a triangle. This is my method since I already use a wall calendar to track my writing word count each day.
    • I take out recycling every 3 – 4 weeks, trash usually less. Yes, I’m only one person so that makes a difference, but knowing how often I do this helps me think about what I buy and the packaging those purchases generate.
  • No wall calendar? Record it on your phone. Open whatever calendar app you use and add an “R” on the day you recycled, a “T” on the day you took out the trash.
  • Get a little white board or find someplace to write it down. Make two columns, one with an “R” at the top and one with a “T” then write the date when you perform the task.
    • This might be a good way to reuse printer paper that’s blank on one side. Keep it in your kitchen junk drawer (come on, admit it, we all have one) and record the date on it. This can be an easy way to count how many times you take out waste when you look back at the end of the month.

Taking it out doesn’t mean when you take it to the curb for pick-up, it means when you empty your kitchen trash or recycling bin. You may carry it to a community dumpster, or put it in your curbside tote/collection bin. The goal is to monitor how much waste you are generating in your home.

At the end of the month look back on how often you took out trash and recycling. If you’re doing this once a week, or more, you’ll start to notice how much you fill your bins and hopefully be encouraged to do it less.

  • Put a recurring event in your phone as a reminder to look at this tracking at the end of each month. Trust me, it feels good when you see it happening less.
  • This trick may not be for you (like I’ve said – pick what works in your life), but if you do this you will find you reduce the waste you generate by being aware of it.

Ways To Reduce Waste

So how do we cut down on the amount of waste we generate? Here are a few ideas that may help.

  • Cut back on eating out and Save Money. Take time to plan your meals each week. If you currently eat out more than twice a week, or buy lunch every day rather than carry it, you will see significant savings pretty quickly.
    • No one can change overnight, but if you set a goal to reduce how much you go to a drive-thru or pick up carry out meals you not only save money but you also help save the planet. Make it a goal to eat out once a week. It will start to feel special and not the norm – what a treat!
  • Shop at a zero waste store. They’re available online and in most areas. To find one near you check out the litterless zero waste grocery guide to search by state. They list resources for grocery, household, and health items. A good place to find bulk stores that let you BYO containers.
    • Loop Store has partnered with major grocery chains to offer zero waste options around the world, including Canada, France, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Check their site to find zero waste groceries in your area.
    • Zero Waste Store offers household and health products with plastic-free packaging, carbon neutral shipping, and they give to 1% for the planet.
    • Zero Grocery is a US delivery service available on the west coast. They deliver your groceries in reusable containers that they pick up next time you order.
    • Zero Waste Canada is a site where Canadians can search a shopping directory for available stores.
    • Green Matters put together a great resource to find zero waste stores, which includes used products and zero waste shopping in and around major US cities.
  • Avoid prepackaged products. This can be challenging, and I know I’ve mentioned it before, but we can’t let up on finding ways to avoid the packaging that comes with our food, or anything for that matter. Here’s something I didn’t know until recently:
    • The paperboard boxes frozen food comes in are coated with plastic to keep them from melting when they get wet. So these containers aren’t easy to recycle, even if your service takes them it’s not likely to happen because of the coating. Try to cut back on prepackaged frozen foods. Cook in big batches and freeze it yourself. You can repurpose food containers for this, like yogurt and cottage cheese containers – I do this when I make batches of soup or pasta sauce.

I threw some tips at you already on how to reduce buying plastics, like going to a meat market or shopping at a farmer’s market, but there are always more ways to do this. Get creative and think of some on your own. Write to me and share your ideas. Who knows I might use your tip!

Why It’s Important

According to the US EPA, in 2018 Americans generated 4.9 pounds of trash per person per day. The results of a study released in 2019 reported that 2.1 billion tonnes of municipal solid waste (MSW) are generated globally each year

Considering that only 9% of plastics have ever been recycled and a lot of our waste is plastics, most of it won’t get recycled. At least not with the systems we currently have in place. Yes, recycling infrastructure is getting better, but it won’t make a lot of difference if we keep generating insane amounts of waste.

Because we generate so much waste, a lot ends up in our oceans which are a major source of life for humans. There are now five giant garbage islands, and lots of little ones, growing in our seas. We need to focus on preventing these from growing.

  • When entertaining, make your event zero waste.
  • Tell friends to find good resources, like this blog, to learn how to make changes in their lives that will help our planet.
  • Volunteer to help with recycling education and events in your area. 
    • Those e-waste events most communities have are usually run by volunteers. 

With Much Gratitude

That’s it for this week. I hope this helped. Please drop me a line anytime if you have questions or comments. I love hearing from you.

If you filled out my recycling survey and included a question, I will likely respond soon (if I haven’t already). There have been a lot of good questions and I want to give each my attention. I also may include them in future posts. I will also be sharing the survey results in the future, so stick with me to learn how the survey does. 

Note: Along with a number of very hard-working people, I’m waging an all-out war. A fight for our planet. Please join me and consider supporting my efforts. I do not get paid to write this blog, none of the products I recommend sponsor me, so any support you can send my way would help, even just a few bucks.

Thank you for reading these tips and subscribing. Pat yourself on the back for doing your part. Remember, every little bit helps. Don’t fuss if you aren’t always able to do this stuff, keep trying, and don’t give up. It usually takes about 21 days to build a habit. 

You got this!

All my best, 

Jen 

jen.thilman (at) gmail.com

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4R’s Weekly Tip for 2.25.2022

4R’s Tip – Not All Plastics Will Recycle, What To Do About It

Not All Plastics Can Go In Your Recycling Bin…

And even if they do, they are not likely to get recycled. We need to recognize that the triangle doesn’t mean much. There’s a reason California is cracking down on the use of it.

There are seven numbers used in the chasing triangle they put on plastics. This is because there are so many types of plastics and they all have to be recycled differently if they get recycled at all.

Click here if you’re new to Jen’s blog and want to know what it’s all about.

Photo by Nataliya Vaitkevich on Pexels.com

Carryout Food Containers and Plastic Clamshells

A large amount of the difficult to recycle plastics come from drive-thru food or take-out containers. Here are some ways to avoid them.

When you hit a drive-thru for a quick meal none of the packagings your food comes in is recyclable.

  • Straws cannot go in recycle bins, they are too small for the sorting machines and too soft to recycle. I have reusable straws that are metal, collapse down so I can carry them anywhere, and are easy to wash. Before I got them I would wash the plastic straws and keep a collection at home. I love being able to say no to the straw on the rare occasion I hit a drive-thru now.
  • Plastic beverage cups are not easily recycled, even if they have a number on them. What a good reason to save some money and skip the combo meal. Since most people pick up food on their way home, why not keep large containers of chips or soda at home (or get a soda stream machine).

Eating out is fun but leftovers can create non-recyclable waste. Here are some of the troublemakers to avoid.

  • Plastic food containers, like clamshells, are not accepted by some recycling services. 
    • I have a few clamshell containers with the lid attached that I carry with me to bring my leftovers home. I wash them after use and toss them in my cupboard or car for next time I eat out.
    • Some clamshells are not very reusable. They’re flimsy and fall apart. Try finding reuses for them (tips on ways to reuse these coming in the future).
  • Some restaurants give you polystyrene (aka styrofoam) for leftovers. This is another form of plastic which is not recyclable, which is another good reason to carry your own container for leftovers. 
    • When I forget my own container, I have a few favorite restaurants that use paperboard containers. These are coated in a plastic film so they aren’t recyclable but they’re a lot less damaging to the planet.
  • Dark colored plastics aren’t detectable by recycling scanners, so even if they have a number on them your recycling service accepts they still won’t get recycled.

I know carrying your own container can be a hassle, but with limited ways to recycle carryout food containers, it’s one of the best solutions.

Plastic Produce Clamshells

These clear containers are made out of PET plastic (#1), but the density is not the same as plastic bottles, which is why some services don’t take them. If this is the case for you, there are places you can take them. Check the Earth911 database for a drop-off location.

Why It’s Important

Even if we put them in our bin most plastics won’t get recycled. The higher the number the less likely this happens, and the #7 literally means other plastics that don’t fit in the first six categories. The truth is the infrastructure is limited or non-existent for most types of plastics.

Most of the plastics recycling that happens is only of #1 and #2’s. The rest rarely get recycled into something else. This is why it’s important to find alternatives to using plastics. But with them all over the place this isn’t easy. If your curbside service doesn’t take them, search for a place at earth911.  If it’s a number other than a #1 or #2 work on ways to reduce buying them and reusing what you have. There are some great reuse ideas online and coming to you in one of my future blogs.

With Much Gratitude

That’s it for this week. I hope this helped. Thank you for reading these tips and subscribing. I would love to hear from you if you find anything challenging or helpful in these tips. Working together is how we’ll get this done. 

Along with a number of very hard-working people, I’m waging an all-out war. A fight for our planet. Please join me and consider supporting my efforts. I do not get paid to write this blog, so any support you can send my way would help, even a few bucks.

Pat yourself on the back for doing your part. Remember, every little bit helps. Don’t fuss if you aren’t always able to do this stuff, keep trying and don’t give up. It takes 21 days to build a habit. 

You got this!

All my best, 

Jen 

jen.thilman (at) gmail.com

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4R’s Weekly Tip for 2.18.2022

4R’s Tip – More Soft Plastics, Food Packaging and What To Do About It

If the recycling of plastics we’ve been doing for decades had worked, all the packaging we buy today would be made from recycled materials. It’s not.

Less than 9% has ever been recycled

Click here if you’re new to Jen’s blog and want to know what it’s all about.

Produce Bags and Food Packaging

There’s always more to talk about when it comes to soft plastics. In addition to the shopping bags and food storage I talked about last week, there is the plastic that comes as the packaging on most foods we buy and the produce bags we use.

These soft plastics cannot easily be recycled. Food packaging or produce bags are a different type of plastic that is flimsy and not dense enough to be recycled into more plastics. And if it was wrapped around meat or contaminated by the food it can’t be recycled.

Produce Bags

Thin plastic produce bags are weaker than shopping bags so they can’t be reused for long before they tear and can’t be recycled. They have to go in the trash. Here are some ways to avoid using them.

  • Reusable mesh produce bags are inexpensive and easy to stuff in your shopping bag, pocket, or purse. I found some online that I’ve used for years. I bought a ten-pack that came in a variety of sizes and can be tossed in the laundry when they get dirty, which happens when I shop at the farmers market.
    • You can even buy planet-friendly produce bags at Mesh Produce Bags.
    • Grocery chain Aldi started using biodegradable plastic produce bags and charging one cent for them in 2019. They also started offering a reusable alternative you can buy.
  • Toss your produce directly in one of your reusable shopping bags. You’re going to wash the produce anyway so no reason to put it in a disposable bag. Use cloth or mesh bags to store it in your frig. No one says you have to use a bag, so why not skip it completely. 
    • Put some items directly in your cart, like melons. 

Plastic Food Packaging

A lot of food in grocery stores is wrapped in plastic these days, I swear it sometimes feels invisible. The plastic wraps that come on food products all go in the trash. These are usually softer plastic than shopping bags and can’t go in collection bins as stores to be recycled. Here are some tricks to cutting back on these.

  • Buy food in bulk. Nuts, pretzels, crackers and sweets, as well as baking goods, can be found in bulk food aisles. 
    • Bring your own container whenever possible; you might want to ask at the store if this is okay. Some groceries like Sprouts, Whole Foods, Winco and Krogers have bulk and may let you bring your own container. However, some states in the US have FDA laws that prevent this. If a grocer has an issue with it try these tricks to reduce using plastic bags in the bulk aisle. 
      • Ask if they have paper bags available, if you don’t see any. 
      • If you have to use them, wash and reuse the plastic bags. Once they’re clean, toss them in your reusable shopping bag or stick them in your purse for next time. These bags are often a stronger plastic so you can get a number of reuses out of them. 
  • Buy from a grocery warehouse to reduce the amount of soft plastic that comes wrapped around your food and other goods.
  • Buy meat from a meat counter and make sure to tell them to wrap it in paper, not plastic. Paper may be coated in plastic to protect you and your food, but the amount used is a lot less compared to how much is used for prepackaged meats, and none of it can be recycled.
    • In my area I have a lot of grocery stores near me but have to drive across town to a Sprouts for a meat counter. I try to do one stop for all my meats when I’m on that side of town.
  • Avoid prepackaged produce. This is unnecessary plastic you can easily avoid. The best thing to do is shop at a farmer’s market or a grocery with a good produce section without a lot of packaging.

Why It’s Important

According to the EPA, there were 14.5 million tons of plastic containers and packaging produced in 2018. That’s just in the US. Reducing how much we use this packaging is pretty important. It’s one of those soft plastics that won’t easily recycle and do a lot of damage in our oceans and landfills.

The softer the plastic the less likely it can be recycled.

The less dense the molecular structure of a plastic material the easier it comes apart. These lightweight soft plastics, like produce and shopping bags, break down into microplastics a lot quicker than their harder counterparts. Microplastics are what scientists are finding in our food and water systems, and studies have shown the average person will ingest about 40 pounds of plastics in their lifetime. They are found in marine life and are contributing to the extinction of some species.

Remember

Curbside, residential, and even commercial recycling programs do not take plastic bags or soft plastics. Please take them to a store collection.

With Much Gratitude

That’s it for this week. I hope this helped. Please drop me a line anytime if you have questions or comments. I love hearing from you.

Along with a number of very hard-working people, I’m waging an all-out war. A fight for our planet. Please join me and consider supporting my efforts. I do not get paid to write this blog and none of the products I recommend sponsor me, so any support you can send my way would help, even just a few bucks.

Thank you for reading these tips and subscribing. I would like to hear from you if you find anything challenging or helpful in these tips. Working together is how we’ll get this done.

Pat yourself on the back for doing your part. Remember, every little bit helps. Don’t fuss if you aren’t always able to do this stuff, keep trying, and don’t give up. It takes about 21 days to build a habit.

All my best, 

Jen 

jen.thilman (at) gmail.com
or from the Contact page

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Welcome to My 4Rs Blog

The 4R’s Blog – Tips To Help Us Live Better On Our Planet

Why This Blog

The 4Rs tips will give actionable steps you can take to Reduce waste, Reuse materials, and Rethink how you RecycleClick here for the latest post.

Take a recycling survey to give feedback useful to my research and blog.

If the recycling of plastics we’ve been doing for decades had worked, all the packaging we buy today would be made from recycled materials. It’s not.

Less than 9% has ever been recycled.

Pointing fingers at businesses or individuals for why recycling hasn’t worked isn’t the solution. We need to work together to move forward. We need to minimize our waste and support better infrastructure so the waste we do generate doesn’t end up in landfills, oceans, or incinerators.

What You Will Learn and How It Works

Your time is precious, but so is our planet. Most tips will be simple changes you can make around things you already do and build better habits doing them.

If we all make little changes we can make a big difference for our planet.

Every other Friday I post new Tips on a specific subject related to sustainability. Not all tips will be easy to adapt. Don’t worry. We all have different lives. Keep reading posts and incorporate what is doable for you.

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With Much Gratitude

I hope you learn from these posts. Please drop me a line anytime if you have questions or comments. Your input is always appreciated. 

Take the Recycling Survey today. Your input helps Jen learn how much people know about recycling and build better tips.

Note: Along with a lot of hard-working people, I’m waging an all-out war. A fight for our planet. Please join me and consider supporting my efforts. I do not get paid to write this blog so any support you can send my way helps, even just a few bucks.

Thank you for reading!
All my best, 

Jen 
jen.thilman (at) gmail.com

4R’s Tip of the Week

Friday, Feb 11, 2022 – Plastic Bags and Other Soft Plastics, What To Do About Them

Click here if you’re new to Jen’s blog and want to know what it’s all about.

Plastic Shopping Bags

With nearly 2 Million plastic shopping bags used EVERY MINUTE it’s pretty important we find ways to reduce using them. Here’s a great way to do that.

  • Reusable shopping bags – I know, I know, it’s hard to remember to take them. Try this:
    • Put shopping bags on your grocery list to remind you. Most of us usually look at our list before heading to the store.
    • Keep them in your car. Make it a habit to put them back in your car once they’re emptied, and don’t be lazy and say screw it if you get in the store and find you left them behind. The planet needs you to go back to your car and get them.
    • Buy the compact kind. I carry Baggu Bags and Chico Bags in my purse. These durable shopping bags are easy to fold up and put in a pocket or purse and last a really long time. I’ve had mine for over ten years and use them for all my shopping needs, not just groceries. And they hold a lot of stuff.

How to Recycle Soft Plastics and Reduce Using Them

Soft plastics include shopping bags, trash bags, packaging, food baggies, and food wraps. None of these can go in your home recycling. But the shopping bags and some packaging can be recycled at stores.

  • Plastic shopping bags and some similar weight soft plastics like packaging can be dropped off at store collection bins. Stores like Target, Home Depot, and most major grocery chains have bins for these in their entryways. Take a plastic bag and start filling it with other bags and packaging wraps, then drop it off when it’s full. 
    • Legislation to stop the damage of plastic bags has created a demand for them to be recycled, so this is starting to become available. But in the end, they’ll all end up in our oceans and landfills so we have to reduce using them. They cannot be recycled into something else other than more plastic bags.
  • Sandwich baggies, zip close bags, and food wraps are convenient and used a lot in our lives. While it can be hard to eliminate the use of these (more tips on eliminating these in a future post). 
    • These all go in the trash, so wash and reuse them as much as possible. I buy a new box of food storage baggies about once a year because I reuse them over and over.
  • Buy in bulk whenever possible. This not only saves money but also reduces the amount of plastic packaging produced.
Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

Why It’s Important

Curbside, residential, and even commercial recycling programs do not take plastic bags or soft plastics. Here’s why.

  • Soft plastics are not a strong enough material to recycle into something else. Only harder single use plastics can be recycled and those are often downcycled – not made into the same thing or something that can be recycled again. 
    • Too often I see people putting recyclable items into plastic trash bags. If you put your recycling out in a plastic bag it will end up in a landfill.
  • Every type of plastic is different so each needs its own process in order to be recycled. It’s like the difference between aluminum and glass, they can’t be recycled together. This is why more than 90% of plastics have not been recycled. The fact is, the infrastructure has only been in place to recycle mostly #1 and #2 plastics. The rest have gone in the landfills and oceans.
  • Plastics do not disintegrate. Some can take hundreds of years to break down and when they do they become microplastics that end up in our water and food supply. 
  • Soft plastics, like shopping bags, are especially bad because they fly around and get in our waterways easier causing death to a lot of marine life. It is expected that plastics in the oceans will outweigh fish by 2050 at the rate they are growing.

Though we’ve been putting plastics in our recycling bins for more than a few decades, they mostly have not been recycled. The softer they are the harder it is for this to be accomplished. So it’s really important we are all working to reduce how much we use, for a lot more reasons than what I’ve listed above. 

With Much Gratitude

That’s it for this week. I hope this helped. Please drop me a line anytime if you have questions or comments. I love hearing from you.

Note: Along with a number of very hard-working people, I’m waging an all-out war. A fight for our planet. Please join me and consider supporting my efforts. I do not get paid to write this blog so any support you can send my way would help, even just a few bucks.

Thank you for reading these tips and subscribing. 

All my best, 

Jen 

jen.thilman (at) gmail.com
or from the Contact page

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4Rs Valentine’s Post

Welcome To 4R’s – Valentine’s Post

This Week’s Tip for February 4, 2022 – How to Buy Sustainable Chocolates for Your Sweetie

Photo by Polina Tankilevitch on Pexels.com

During the week leading up to Valentine’s Day Americans buy nearly 60 million pounds of chocolate. This is great for the chocolate companies, but not so great for humanity and the planet.

The majority of cocoa used to make chocolate comes from West Africa and Brazil. In West Africa alone, it is estimated that over 2 Million children work on cocoa farms. Cocoa farming practices are not known for being sustainable. Fortunately, there are companies working to change this and offer sweets that don’t come at such a high cost to humanity and the life of our planet.

Sustainable Chocolate Makers

Here are some fair trade and sustainable chocolate brands available online and in stores.

Alter Eco Foods – fair trade sourcing of cocoa from small farm co-ops 

Beyond Good – sources direct from organic cocoa farmers and focuses on preventing animal extinctions caused by poor cocoa farming practice through agroforestry. 

Dapaah – a family run business in Ghana sourcing directly from the organic cocoa trade

Divine Chocolate – directly partners with cocoa farmers. 

Endangered Species Chocolate – works on protecting biodiversity and endangered species their cocoa is fully traceable – they track the impact of their cocoa on humans and animals

Equal Exchange – organic and fair trade products available online at their store or Thrive Market, and at Target and Walmart

Loving Earth – this Australian chocolate maker sources organic and fair trade cocoa. Available online at their store or Woolworths, and Whole Foods

Phillip Ashley Chocolates – focuses on organically and seasonally grown sustainable cocoa

Theo Chocolate – organic and fair trade chocolates, also available at Whole Foods or Sprouts Market.

*Note: I do not get paid to promote any product sites. I only share what I have found to be good sustainable brands. If I do get sponsors, I’ll let you know 🙂

You may wonder how fair labor and fair trade relate to sustainability. There are a number of reasons for this that I will address in a future blog on fair trade and why it’s important.

With Much Gratitude

That’s it for this week. I hope this helped. Please drop me a line anytime if you have questions or comments. Your input is always appreciated. 

Thank you for reading these tips and subscribing. 

All my best, 

Jen 
jen.thilman (at) gmail.com

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