Saturday, September 12, 2009

Saving the World, One Sippy Cup at a Time

My sister called me the other morning with disturbing news: my nephew Homer had fallen out of his high chair.

Now, had this happened in my house, it would not have been news. I’m not exactly safety officer material. But Kate is! So I had to know how this atrocity could have occurred on her turf. It turns out, she was on the computer at the time. She had been so was so busy researching the BPA threat to Homer’s sippy cups, she forgot to strap him in.

I love a good irony.

Now Homer has what might be a minor concussion and a Klean Kanteen sippy cup which my mother worries he has trouble lifting. It’s like a bicep curl and a refreshing drink of milk all in one.

I’ve been upgrading to stainless steel, too, and reusing plastic baggies for the kids' lunches (I just can’t quite bring myself to use fabric), and ditching paper napkins. But you know what I’ve found? It’s takes a serious investment to be ‘green’. And I’m not talking about an investment of time or energy or dedication or anything like that. When I say investment, I mean investment, as in cold hard cash.

For instance, the other day I stood in one of the best isles of Costco (the one with the margarita blenders and Cuisinarts and sun tea pitchers that always look so shiny and inviting), ogling a set of all-glass food storage containers. I’ve been thinking for awhile now that I should buy a set like this to replace the humungous hodge-podge of Glad seal-and-saves or whatever I have in my cupboard. But I didn’t buy it, because a) it cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $40 for 5 pieces, and so I’d need about 5 sets to replace said hodge-podge, and b) if I did, I’d have to throw away all those plastic containers, and wouldn’t that just be a spectacular case of missing the point? And I know, I know, those plastic containers are leaking just as many chemicals into my food and into my blood stream and into my children’s food and bloodstreams as sippy cups, but what doesn’t kill you… Right?

Er, right. But to get back to the many merits of stainless steel: like Kate, I read all about plastic’s evil plan to take over the world (at least after 200 cycles in the dishwasher, or whatever it is), and vowed to remove plastic sports bottles and water bottles from my life. But there are so many choices…Sigg vs. Klean Kanteen vs. generic. And it turns out, Sigg has had some controversy all its own concerning whatever they’re lined with on the inside. And you guys: there are actual message board wars over this issue (which, incidentally, is reason #482 for why I love the internet).

In the end, I decided we really should replace all our plastic water bottles with Klean Kanteens. Because they’re not only environmentally friendly, but they come in cute colors (this was my driving motivation behind cloth diapering, too, now that I think about it). And how could I knowingly align myself with the Sigg message board people and their toxic lining? But holy hell! Klean Kanteens are $18.50 a pop! Do you know what 18.50 x 5 is? Yeah, I didn’t really either, until I had happily clicked ‘add to cart’ five times and the total confronted me in black and white. It’s really an obscene amount for a set of water bottles, especially when you add shipping.

Suddenly the 1.99 Gatorade bottles don’t seem quite so evil.

Because we all have a price, don’t we? So I’m now the proud owner of one Klean Kanteen and two free stainless steel bottles Charlie brought home from work and I immediately snagged. I have no idea what they’re lined with, and don’t plan to ask. They’re shiny and black and have corporate logos all over them. Works for us.

I’ve had to settle on environmental measures that are a bit easier on the budget (at least until this damn economy decides to right itself). After reading more green blogs, I've happily begun cleaning with only vinegar and water, because hey! Waaaaay cheaper than Ajax and Mr. Clean. Added bonus: it smells like Easter around here. And I’ll be running the dryer only half as much from now on, but that’s mostly because it’s about the break and I can’t afford a new one anyway.

I won't harp on the fact that my Visa bill motivates me more than my family's health and well being, shall I?
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