- Plastics & Synthetic Rubber
- Paint, paint thinners, lacquers, solvents, floor cleaners,
- Petroleum (or paraffin) wax used in candy making, packaging, candles, crayons, matches, and polishes
- Petroleum jelly – used in medical products and toiletries (lip gloss)
- Polyester and other synthetic fibers.
- Fertilizers, pesticides
- Many more miscellaneous items such as hair spray, printing inks, asphalt
1. Plastics and Synthetic Rubber: Today, there are many alternatives to utilizing these items. Take plastic bags for example. Many grocery and even clothing stores now sell reusable bags made from Corn or Hemp. Some local grocers also give discounts to people who bring their own bags.
Even garbage bags have an eco friendly option. There are entire lines of disposable garbage bags that biodegrade. “EcoDegradable” bags now come in all sizes and strengths. (See here STOG2430W70)
Cutting down your use of plastic is even easier. Many manufacturers are using alternatives such as corn and vegetable plants in place of plastic! Take a look at these disposable knives, forks, and spoons, (ECOEPS001, ECOEPS002, ECOEPS003) all made from plant starch. We also found disposable plates made from sugarcane (ECOEPP016, ECOEPP013, ECOEPP005, ECOEPBL12).
PVC is one of the most widely used and potentially toxic forms of plastic. Many manufacturers now make PVC free products. For example, both Avery and Wilson Jones make an entire line of PVC free binders and office products (AVE79699).
2. Paint: According to the EPA, indoor air is 3 times more polluted than the air outdoors. Much of this comes from the materials we use to build our homes and the paints and finishes we put on the walls. Paints and finishes release low level toxic emissions into the air for years after application. Luckily for us, most manufacturers now make paints based from Natural products with less toxicity and even petroleum free alternatives.
Casein, a protein found in milk products is a fast-drying egg-based paint that has been in use for hundreds of years. Today, it is purchased in a dry and powdered form. The powder must be mixed with water and then used immediately (usually within hours to days) to prevent the paint from clumping. Milk, like clay, is intended as an interior paint and only comes in a matte finish.
Another Alternative is Lime Wash. Limestone, a calcium-based mineral, is combined with water to form a natural paint. It can be used indoors or outdoors and forms a unique, glowing finish that comes in a variety of colors. Although 100% natural, limestone is corrosive to both eyes and skin, so wear gloves and goggles during application. Ask your hardware store personnel for green friendly and petroleum free products the next time you shop for them.
This concludes Part 1 of this article. Join us for Part 2 (coming soon) of this article as we continue to explore ways to reduce our use of petroleum.