The Story Of Stuff

I came across an interesting video this past week upon recommendation by a professor of mine in a class I had recently. The title of the video is called “The Story of Stuff”. The Story of Stuff has some really interesting things to say about our consumer culture and the way in which our economy has structured itself around our incessant need to consume.

While I may not buy into all of the political jargon in the video, the video outlines some important and staggering truths about our culture and what it has become. It illuminates the linear structure by which our production and consumption is set up and the potential danger of that linear system within a finite planet.

Some of the staggering statistics illuminated in the video are:

Over 99% of the products that we buy are in the trash after six months of use

-Companies and industries often manufacture products to break easier and sooner, forcing us to buy more

-People are working more and more in our culture and have less leisure time, and the two things we most commonly spend our time doing in free time is watching TV and shopping

-The average American sees over 3,000 advertisements a day. We see more advertisements in one year than a person in the 1950s saw in their whole lifetime.

It is important to consider what we are buying and why we are buying it. Are we buying it because we think it will satisfy some sort of desire or happiness? What do we do with our products once we are done with them? Do we throw things away before we need to?

These are things that we here at GreenGlancy are trying to understand and to live out. Check out the video and let us know what you think in the comments section.

Cloth Diapers VS Disposable Diapers

There is an on-going debate whether cloth diapers are better for the environment than disposable diapers.

Over at The New Parents Guide they state: It is estimated that roughly 5 million tons of untreated waste and a total of 2 billion tons of urine, feces, plastic and paper are added to landfills annually. It takes around 80,000 pounds of plastic and over 200,000 trees a year to manufacture the disposable diapers for American babies alone. Although some disposables are said to be biodegradable; in order for these diapers to decompose, they must be exposed to air (oxygen) and sun. Since this is highly unlikely, it can take several hundred years for the decomposition of disposables to take place, with some of the plastic material never decomposing. But on the flip side: The pro-disposable diaper advocates say that the extra water used to wash cloth diapers is just as much of an abuse to the environment as the production and disposal of disposable diapers. But taking into consideration the previous estimates you will probably agree that disposable diapers are much more harmful to the environment than cloth diapers.

Here are some more facts from Real Diaper Association about disposable diapers:

  • Disposable diapers contain traces of Dioxin, an extremely toxic by-product of the paper-bleaching process.  It is a carcinogenic chemical, listed by the EPA as the most toxic of all cancer-linked chemicals.  It is banned in most countries, but not the U.S.
  • Disposable diapers contain Tributyl-tin (TBT) – a toxic pollutant known to cause hormonal problems in humans and animals.
  • Disposable diapers contain sodium polyacrylate, a type of super absorbent polymer (SAP), which becomes a gel-like substance when wet. A similar substance had been used in super-absorbency tampons until the early 1980s when it was revealed that the material increased the risk of toxic shock syndrome.

With all the information I have read on the two types of diapers, I would have to say that for the health and well being of your baby, cloth diapers is the best way to go. The reusable cloth diaper isn’t what it used to be. They now offer Pocket Diapers, All In Ones, Covers and Prefolds or Fitted Diapers. With Velcro tabs, snaps or you have the option to use the old fashioned safety pins.

And for convenience in washing your cloth diapers, pick up The Potty Pail Sprayer Hose, with an easy one wrench installation.

Green Money Saving Facts

Did You Know?

$210 – The amount of money saved in one year of energy bills by switching to a new refrigerator and clothes washer. Energy Star has some of the best energy saving products.

$82 – Money saved in one year by switching to eco-friendly cleaning products such as white vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice and olive oil. Check out Inhabitots for 5 Eco-friendly, kid-safe cleaning supplies you can make yourself.

$135 – The amount saved in one year by a family of four when they recycle one bottle or can per day. Every bottle and can you recycle eases the strain on our natural resources and reduces greenhouse gases in our skies. BottlesandCans.com

$100 – Money saved in one year by fixing leaky windows and doors.

$80 – The amount of money saved in one year if you change five of your most frequently used lightbulbs to Compact Flourescent light bulbs.

For many more Money Saving Facts and help with making your home more efficient, check out greenandsave.com. They can help with Remodeling parts of your home, to turn up the savings, and use cost-effective eco-friendly products, also with transforming your home into a High-Performance Residence:saving money, generating power, reducing utility dependence and using eco/healthy systems. They have a message board, ask the expert and community articles. A very helpful site for the home owner who wants to “Go Green” and save big.