Avoid using glitter

A couple of years ago, we hosted a murder mystery party at our home.  One of our friends’ character was pretty flambuoyant, so she showed up with plenty of glitter – and we’re still finding it years later, in furniture, clothing, cracks in the hardwood floor and just about everywhere else.  Which probably means it is in that person’s home too, plus their car, plus sprinkled along everywhere they walked.

It’s annoying, but that’s the least of it.  Most of today’s glitter is made of mylar, a type of plastic, and it’s cut into tiny pieces.  That means that, once dispersed, it’s really hard to clean up.  And, through wind and rain action, much of it eventually ends up in the ocean, where it persists in the environment for a really long time or gets eaten by fish and other marine life.

So what to do?

  1. Make a personal choice to just avoid glitter, because prevention is always easier than cure (as the glitter in our home proves)
  2. Invite organizations you’re associated with, in particular schools and daycares, to go glitter free, as this chain of UK preschools has done
  3. If you absolutely can’t live without the stuff, seek out non-plastic biodegradable glitter

It’s a simple way you can help reduce the impacts of plastics in our environment!

Two great reasons to not burn anything this spring

Spring, the season of rebirth, is finally here!  For many people, springtime yard cleanup involves the burning of grass, brush and other organic debris.  But here are two big reasons why that’s not a great idea:

  1. Burning any organic material generates carbon dioxide (CO2), the same greenhouse gas produced when oil, coal and natural gas are burned. CO2 is what’s causing global warming, so when we burn grass, brush or other debris, we’re just adding to the problem.  (For more, here’s a quick primer on the carbon cycle.)
  2. Burning produces soot (or black carbon), and scientists are discovering that soot from fires and smokestacks all over the world is travelling long distances and settling onto global ice sheets, making them darker so they absorb more sunlight rather than reflect it. That is making them melt, which is making sea levels rise.  (Here’s more on how that works.)

ice sheets

So what to do?

  • Best: Just choose not to burn grass (besides, thatch and stubble add nutrition back to your lawn as they rot)
  • Best: Instead of burning brush and branches, cut or break them up into smaller pieces and compost them with grass clippings in one neat heap; or, if you have a treed area, leave them to rot naturally on the ‘forest floor’ beneath the trees (same nutrient give-back as above)
  • Good: If you really need to get rid of organic yard waste, ensure it’s collected for composting, or give it to a neighbour who composts.

(And here’s a handy one-page myth buster about grass burning.)

Happy spring!