Heart of IMB: Every City Needs A Second Helpings

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As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.” –  Audrey Hepburn

Written by Lindsey Fella Berry, Helping Ninjas, CEO on April 14, 2019 in Heart of IMB

An experience that our family has truly come to love, cherish and look forward to is volunteering. Already witnessing growth in each of our children, cultivating an innate desire to help and recognizing that they are making a difference. First-hand discovering the all encompassment of joy that one receives when giving back.

April is National Volunteer Month, a celebration of gratitude and reflection towards selfless acts and honoring those offering service to our communities. A time to widen our perspectives and take into consideration getting involved and helping others.

#WhatRUdoing4EarthDay?

 Earth Day is celebrated on April 22, 2019!

Helping Ninjas™ are preparing for the big day!

 #whatRUdoing4EarthDay is an Earth Day Initiative in hopes to inspire others to join us and the billions of people around the globe who will celebrate Earth! Help Earth by doing an act of kindness towards our planet!

What are you doing for Earth Day? Share your ideas with us!

Join us on our journey to be highly-skilled at heaping our planet, ourselves and each other!

Example Post: Get outside#GoOutdoors #whatRUdoing4EarthDay @helpingninjas

We can’t think of a better day than Earth day to celebrate our home? Join the movement, be a helping ninja, learn to be highly skilled at helping the world!

Here are some ideas and examples of how to join our Earth Day initiative!

Example Post: Planting seeds for our family garden together! #whatRUdoing4EarthDay #plantseeds @helpingninjas


Example Post: Take a picture of something beautiful in nature! #natureisart #whatRUdoing4Earthday @helpingninjas

Example Post: Create Earth Art #EarthArt #whatRUdoing4EarthDay @helpingninjas


Example Post: Switch to all eco-friendly cleaning supplies! #Eco #GoGreen #EarthArt #whatRUdoing4EarthDay @helpingninjas

Example Post: Sharing harvested seeds with community! #seedswap #helpingninjas #whatRUdoing4EarthDay

What are you doing for Earth Day? 

What will you do to help the Earth and our environment? Learn, Help and Share your ideas with us! LearnHelpShare®Share ideas of how you are helping Earth, or your plans on Earth Day 2019, or share last year’s efforts! Others can learn, help and share! 

Post Earth Day 2019 ideas to be featured! Post ideas on social media and tag:

#WhatRUdoing4EarthDay

Send us ideas of how you are helping Earth, our share your plans on Earth Day! Send ideas to info@helpingninjas.com to be featured on our blog!

Earth Day 2019 Helping Ninjas in Carmel, IN Leo Berry, Helping Ninjas founder and creator – and his family, and fellow ninja classmates, will be installing Carmel Clay School district first-ever Farm-To-Table school cafe organic garden. The cafe garden, also a first in Hamilton County, Leo and the CCS elementary school hope to serve as inspiration for other schools in the area.

Learn more about our Farm To Table project with Carmel Clay Schools Cafe and Garden Director

What are you doing for Earth Day?

Join us, accept the Helping Ninjas Mission: Earth Day 2019 Challenge. Help us create awareness! Help our planet by doing something good for the Earth! Post your picture #WhatRUdoing4EarthDay and tag @helpingninjas 

Here’s how to join the fun!

#gardening #whatRUdoing4EarthDay @helpingninjas



Helping Ninja Earth Day Challenge: 

Post your picture on social media or submit to us at info@helpingninjas.com.

Selected submissions will be posted on our website to share!  

Like picking up trash, planting a tree, or flowers! Or even making a poster showing ways or telling about things you can do to help our planet Earth!

Helping Ninja Emojis! 

Draw your version of a Helping Ninja emoji and send to us! info@helpingninjas.com

All art is encouraged! To submit artwork related to nature and/or ways to help the Earth. Such as a flower, someone picking up trash, ocean pollution, coral reef, etc…send to info@helpingninjas.com

We are currently looking for Earth Day Blog Submissions. Children, helping ninja moms and dads and teacher – all community members! Anyone can be a helping ninja! Send entires to info@helpingninjas.com.

Earth Day Blog Posts Ideas:

  • What does Earth Day mean to you?
  • Submit one idea that someone could do at home for Earth Day. Typed, Hand Written, original artwork or pictures excepted
  • Write one interesting fact (or more) related to helping our environment! Topics such as plastic pollution, solutions to sustainable environment, endangered species, replenishing soil, importance of plants, reducing waste, pollution or conservation- all ideas are welcomed!
  • What is Compost?
    What is vermicomposting? Typed, Hand Written, original artwork or pictures excepted
  • Make a list of items from your home that are compostable – perishable and non-perishable items.

Need Earth Day ideas? Check out what Helping Ninjas did on Earth Day 2018

Celebrating Earth Day At School Click here to read ideas on how to celebrate Earth Day at your school 

See More Rock For A Cause, Earth Day 2018, Food Rescue and Reduce Waste

Excuse Me, Is That A Plastic Straw

In the United States, 500 million plastic straws are used daily – equivalent to wrapping the entire circumference of the earth  2.5 times. Some of us use them regularly without thought. The practice is not uncommon. Large restaurant chains across the globe discard 20,000 or more plastic straws a day. What is not commonly known is that plastic straws cannot be recycled at curbside and municipal recycling centers and each year 2000 tons of plastic straw wasteenters our ocean.

And – it’s not just straws.  

Plastic straws only account for approximately 4% of the plastic waste entering oceans. Somewhere between 5 to 14 million tons of plastic is dumped into our oceans annually. Nearly 300 million tons of plastic is produced every year, 50% of which is for single-use.

There is plastic in our packaging for online or store-bought items, often plastic wrapped and packed around more plastic, plastic packaging for food items. Plastic around popsicles, candy, cereal, nuts, veggies and fruits– and plastic to take them home in bulk. Plastic toothpaste bottles, plastic band-aids, plastic lunch, chips and snack bags, plastic lids, plastic caps, plastic cutlery, plastic coffee cups, plastic drinking cups, plastic disposable plates, and plastic grocery bags.

Plastic playground turf, plastic toys, plastic blended fabric materials, plastic cosmetic cases, plastic smartphone cases, plastic soles, plastic home décor, plastic kitchen utensils, plastic liners, plastic storage bins, plastic food containers, plastic bags available in sizes large, medium and small –we are consumed by plastic. It’s everywhere. It’s in vehicles, homes, restaurants, place of business, schools, medical centers, sports venues, landfills and is found in our parks, fields, meadows, hillside, mountainsides, beaches, and oceans.

In the last 65 years, 8.3 billion tons of plastic has been created; equivalent to the weight of one million elephants. 

Scientists say that every piece of plastic that has ever been made still exists today.

Plastic never fully ever decomposes or bio-degrades, instead it breaks down into smaller and smaller tiny microscopic plastic pieces called microplastics. A single plastic bottle can fragment to pollute our oceans with thousands of pieces of microplastics, and one million plastic bottles are sold every minute. 

Scientists say that all 8.3 million tons of plastic waste have made its way to our oceans. The number of microplastics accounted in the ocean is unknown.  

Scientists have found microplastics in 114 aquatic species, the list of freshwater and marine organisms that are harmed by plastics stretches to hundreds of species. Studies reveal that microplastics are being ingested by marine life and entering our food supply; microplastics were found in 90% of table salt, in 75% of all fish, in 93% of big named brand plastic bottled waters.

Recent research suggests that microplastics is in our bodies. 

Scientists do not know the harm of humans ingesting microplastics and say that it is too early to know the damage if any; one can speculate, but the notion is hard to ignore – ingesting of microplastics cannot be helping the human body.

We do know, however, the adverse effects that microplastics are having on aquatic life once it is ingested. Studies reveal that plastic is causing hormone imbalance, liver damage, inflammation, neuro-system, and nervous system damage and starvation.

And we also know that most all disposable plastic straws contain bisphenol A (BPA), as do a vast majority of the single-use plastics available to consumers, including disposable plastic water bottles, often containing both BPA and Phthalates. Phthalates (substances added to plastics to increase flexibility, transparency, durability, and longevity) and BPA (a chemical used to harden plastics during manufacturing) when heated, release chemicals into our food that could potentially harm us.

In 2010 the U.S. Department of Health publicly expressed some concerns about BPA and announced dangers of bisphenol could potentially cause to our bodies affecting hormone levels, brain and behavior problems, cancer, heart problems, obesity, diabetes, ADHD and an increased risk to children. BPA and phthalates studieshave been linked to heart disease, obesity, and Type 2 diabetes, and phthalates to impaired neurological development in children. The American Academy of Pediatrics released a statement in 2018 that families should avoid plastic food containers entirely.

Today, scientists say more than 90% of the world’s population has BPA in our bodies right now. Reports uncover that a high percentage comes from foods and liquids that have been purchased or stored in containers made with BPA and that it is possible to pick up BPA through air, dust, and water

The cognizant information that both plastic chemical compounds and physical microscopic pieces may pose a threat to our health is not always common and might be worth considering. 

Plastic Waste on Beach in India      

Given the fact that plastic will continue to break down into billions and billions of hazardous or toxic pieces, attention must also be brought to plastic recycling myths; not all plastic is recyclable. Different cities, states, and recycling centers are equipped to recycle certain types of plastic and other plastics they cannot. Most all single-use items, plastic straws, plastic bottle caps, plastic lined coffee cups, plastic bags, plastic liners, or anything you can poke a hole through, cannot be recycled at most municipal recycling centers.  If one puts these items in a curbside recycle bin, the destination is the landfill.

Which plastics to use or not use, which plastics may directly, indirectly, or not cause harm; taking efforts to reduce carbon imprint, use less, recycle more, recycle everything – the logistics, it is not yet convenient to avoid plastic or to recycle. Education will take effort; deciphering which plastics can be recycled and where, and the means of transit. Emphasis must be placed on contamination, and the disruption in the recycling process of one wrong item, or an item that is not clean or dry, can contaminate thousands of plastic items, preventing recycling altogether. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee.  

There is not a guarantee that harmful effects from drinking out of a plastic straw made with BPA or storing food in plastics made with it, or phthalates, will not harm us. Or to the extent of what plastics have BPA and phthalates is disclosed freely. We purchase food at the grocery store sealed in plastic, right? Bread. Bagels. Cookies. Cheese. Crackers. Coffee. Carrots. Apples. Strawberries. Is the food that is sealed air-tight in a plastic bag or in the container, or hot food brought home from a restaurant in plastic – do those containers and bags state if it contains phthalates or BPA? 

One might also consider an examination of the facts, that plastic waste is destroying our marine ecosystems

Our oceans make up 97% of all water on our planet and are responsible for each breath we take, accounting for 70% of our oxygen. This primary oxygen source is possible by the process of photosynthesis by tiny organisms called phytoplankton, and, scientists have discovered that plankton are ingesting microplastics too. All creatures in the ocean depend on the supply of plankton. Plankton are at the bottom of the food chain; simply put, we all need plankton to live. 

Plastic is also harming plants in the oceans, coral reefs, algae, and seagrass. Marine plants such as these take in carbon dioxide from the air and give off oxygen, just like land plants do. Coral provides the algae with a protected environment and compounds needed for photosynthesis. In return, the algae produce oxygen and help the coral to remove wastes. Seagrasses are known as the “lungs of the sea” and play a significant role in our ecosystem, they, too, clean the surrounding water and help to take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, producing O2 at a rate five times faster than tropical rain forests.

A publication on January 10, 2019, The Journal of Science said oceans absorb 93% of the heat trapped by the greenhouse gases. It is proven that marine plants cannot carry out photosynthesis in water that is too warm, and that, the higher amounts of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, in turn, raises global temperatures.

According to the same report, oceans are heating up 40% faster on average and concluded that ocean temperatures have broken records for several straight years and announced 2018 was the warmest temperature for oceans on record and gave similar projections for 2019 ocean temperatures.

A recent article published in the New York Times: “If the ocean wasn’t absorbing as much heat, the surface of the land would heat up much faster than it is right now,” said Malin L. Pinsky, an Associate Professor in the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Natural Resources at Rutgers University.  The report also disclosed that scientists are reporting if the oceans continue to heat up, the effects on our climate may become even more catastrophic.

Destin, Florida My Daughter Layla

Speculation is given, and arguments differ, but one fact is in not disputed: We need oceans to live. 

A 2019 scientific study on February 11th demonstrated that ‘microplastics are a rich habitat’ that is home to many types of bacteria, including toxic ones. Toxic bacteria in warming waters, not a good equation; bacteria thrive in warmer waters and is spread much easier. The research identified the bacteria known as Photobacterium rosenbergiioften associated with coral bleaching and disease, and also uncovered a species of marine Vibrioa major cause of wound infections in humans, and species of Arcobacter, known to cause gastroenteritis in humans. The report concluded that these toxic bacteria if ingested by marine animals, has the potential to be transferred up the food chain.

History shows that our experiences and convenience of using plastic is causing havoc and posing a serious threat to our environment, and to us. Some scientists say there is no way to remove the microplastics, and that they will continue to flood our oceans. 

One sip from a single plastic straw, passing through a trash bin to a landfill, to a river and then to the ocean– our lifeline

Is it necessary for society to become aware and use less, and attempt to break the addiction? How many of us out there are even aware of this discussion and what it means? I wasn’t, but am now.

Compelled to share what was learned from my ignorance, if it does not appear to be a medical necessity as one nonchalantly sucks on a straw – I will be inclined to ask, “Excuse me, is that a plastic straw?”

Originally Posted at Indianapolis Moms Blog, Written by Lindsey Fella Bery, Helping Ninjas, CEO on March 31, 2019 in Motherhood @IndyMomsBlog

What Are You Doing For Earth Day?

On April 22nd more than 1 billion people will participate in Earth Day, the largest civic observance in the world. All over the globe people are encouraged to honor our planet, coming together and helping to restore, conserve and protect nature, creating a greener home.

In 1970, Earth Day was first celebrated by twenty million Americans, citizens in cities across the United States urged for environment protection, and their voices were heard. As a result, the United States Congress authorized permission to create a new federal agency responsible for environmental issues: the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

Earth Day continues to inspire people to make a change to better our planet, to spark a passion for nature protection and bring attention to the need to strive to create a positive impact every day. The need to understand the impact of our changing climate and the importance of raising awareness.

Consider joining the movement and take action for Earth. 

Read full article on the blog!

Written by Lindsey Fella Bery on April 21, 2019 in Motherhood


Fox59 morning show will be celebrating Earth Day and is featuring a story of our families not-for-profit: Helping Ninjas.

Tune in to check it out and find out how you can join our initiative and get involved – and help Earth!  

Join the Earth Day Movement Online!

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Great Indy Clean-Up

“We believe everyone should have the opportunity to get out and enjoy nature daily – even a quick bit in between errands” – Candi King

If you park in elevated parking pad on 86th st, between the Monon trail and Aldi, you can find a small park called Nora Corners Pocket Park. It was cleared and approved by Aldi to become a small park.

We spoke with Candi King and were told that eventually the path would be widened so they aren’t allowed to put anything permanent up until the work is done but they have a park bench and planter boxes for right now. A relaxing little corner to take a break from a walk or maybe plan a few minute break at your next grocery stop.

We found the event through their Facebook page “Friends of Nora” where they said there are trash cleanups every other month. They invited us to the Great Indy Cleanup. You can read more about that here: Great Indy Clean UP or you can contact Gerardo Ruiz Tovar, Community Engagement & Volunteers Public Ally: Ruiz Tovar or call 317-264-7555 x130.

It was a nice and cold day and we saw a barefoot person, a kind dog, mud, lakes and some other people. We had rubber gloves and found lots and lots of garbage everywhere. We filled up about two bags with garbage.

A Helping Ninja Mom, Theresa, Indianapolis, IN

…to the world you are only one person, but to one person you may be the world.

IUPUI Sustainability

A note from Helping Ninja Mellissa:

There are tons of ways that students could spend their Spring break—but only one gives them the opportunity to create positive, sustainable change: Alternative Breaks. Alternative Breaks are service-learning trips that take students outside Indiana to work with community organizations. Each trip focuses on a different social issue, and partners with organizations that also work on those social issues. This year, I went to New Orleans and learned about food justice and food insecurity.

With other students, I worked in gardens in the Lower Ninth Ward, and City Park. After service, we reflect on day, and talk about root causes or solutions of food insecurity. Below is a photo of my group at Burnell’s Lower 9th Ward Market. We learned about how Burnell is helping his community by providing resources to an impoverished, food desert community. 

Melissa Kidulas, 22, , Indianapolis, IN, Helping Ninja

IUPUI ALTERNATIVE SPRING BREAK 2019

She is a leader at IUPUI and helps to promote a more sustainable environment. She is an Alternative Break Trip Leader, along with President of the Urban Beekeepers at IUPUI.

Melissa is a helping ninja!

**Helping Ninjas noted the single-use plastics and hope to help educate IUPUI students how to properly recycle the plastic bags shown above in the picture and also suggest reusable eco-friendly alternatives students may be interested in trying vs plastic. Learn more about our StandUpToPlastic Initiative

Market District

Written by Siddarth, Age 12, Helping Ninja, Carmel, IN

Why should others consider using reusable bags to grocery shop?

In 2016, the global population of more than 7 billion people produced over 320 million tons of plastic. This is expected to double by 2034. In order to reduce these numbers people need to reduce the amount of plastic waste. Approximately 500 billion single-use plastic bags are thrown away each year. This translates to about a million plastic bags thrown away every minute across the globe, causing billions of marine life to die each year. Using reusable bags can reduce these numbers and help create a healthy ecosystem. If people around the world switch from using plastic bags to reusable bags, we could save our ecosystem, reduce plastic waste, and save billions of marine animals. In conclusion, plastic pollution is destroying our ecosystem and we can protect our beautiful world, just by choosing a reusable bag over plastic.

As plastic pollution is tearing up our world, knowing that I helped prevent plastic bags enter the ocean, inspires me to continue to help the world and gives me a feeling of “Hope” that we can protect our beautiful world.

I’ve learned to make eco-friendly decisions, and to reduce plastic waste.

It is important to recycle because plastic pollution is tearing our world apart with more than 320 million tons of plastic entering our ocean in 2016, this is killing billions of marine life and is destroying our ecosystem. At this rate of plastic pollution, that statistic is expected to double by 2034. You see, recycling can reduce these numbers, protect the ecosystem, and save marine life around the world.

It is important to protect our planet because we can in which create healthy ecosystems, protect life, and to create a sustainable, healthy world for future generations.

As stated before, approximately 500 billion single-use plastic bags are thrown away each year. This translates to about a million plastic bags thrown away every minute across the globe, causing billions of marine life to die each year. Using reusable bags can reduce these numbers and help create a healthy ecosystem. Market District not only reduces waste by implementing the use of reusable bags, but they also recycle plastic bags(Which can’t be done by curbside recycling), take Eco-friendly actions, and Market District uses “Green” decisions in their daily operations so that they can reduce plastic waste and conserve energy. These decisions make Market District a role model. I truly believe that other business should take after Market District and try to be a “Green” business just like Market District.

Endangered Species

Helping Ninja, Nathan, Age 12

Endangered Species 
Disappearing before our eyes, many of the world’s most beautiful and beneficial animals are some of the world’s most endangered. Learn about some of these animals and how you can help save them.

Today I visited the Indianapolis Zoo for a Saturday Science Session (for 9-12 year olds) called Endangered Species.

Q: What did you do today?

A: I went to an animal conservation center and learned about animals.

I wanted to take notes so I asked my mom if I could bring a notebook.  She said yes and got one for me.

When I got to the class I sat down next to a girl who drew 2 hearts in my notebook. She said,  “a heart is the first shape I learned to draw; drawing hearts is a way to express your feelings”.

Q: Why did you want to go to this class?

A: To learn more about endangered species and how to help them. I really want to help save animals. I 

have some bracelets and necklaces that I am trying to get donations for. Then I will send in the money to places that help endangered animals.

Q: Did you learn about any specific types of animals?

A: I learned about the macaw, the red panda, African elephants and gorillas.

Q: Was the class about all animals or only endangered ones?

A: The class was not entirely about animals that are endangered species. One of the tour guides taught 

me and the others in the group about an ivory nut. It is a nut good for carving just like an elephant tusk. She gave out slices of the ivory nut at the end of the tour and she said that we could write on them. We could also choose between one with a hole or one without a hole that we could turn into a magnet.

Side note:The ivory-nut comes from the Phytelephas aequatorialis palm tree, Phytelephas means “elephant plant.” 

The seeds (tagua nuts) are used in place of ivory so that elephants, walruses and whales do not have to be put at risk.

Tagua nuts are hard and dense and can be carved and polished just like a tusk into detailed carvings, art pieces, billiard balls, buttons, dice and chess pieces.

Q: Did you go outside at all? 

A: Yes we went outside to visit a tiger exhibit and in the exhibit the tiger was playing with a pine tree.

There were gorillas but they weren’t very active.  Someone was poking the glass, but they should not have been doing that, because it annoys the gorillas.

I saw a yellow non-venomous snake along with several venomous ones.

I got to see a turtle that I got to touch. I used 2 fingers to touch the shell. It felt hard and smooth. The tour guide said “don’t touch the feet or the head”.

Q: What did the tour guide talk about?

A: She talked about the macaw.  It lives about 70 years.  They are endangered because people 

         keep them as pets because of their colorful feathers and they copy words that people say. 

There were about 10 macaws inside the building that were yellow, blue and green, but none of them were talking. They were pecking at pieces of newspaper and cardboard. The tour guide said, “Macaws like to rip and tear at anything they can.” 

Q: Did you look at anything in the classroom? 

A: We saw bones of animals that lived.  There was an eagle skull, elephant tusk, a ferret skull and 

         others.

Q: How many people were in the class?

A: There were eight people if you included the tour guide.

Q: Why do you think it is important to learn more about endangered animals?

A: Because then you know how they act so you know where to find them and how you can care for 

         them. Otherwise you have to guess how to care for them. 

Q: Do you think they need our care?

A: Yes, they do need our care, because they are endangered. 

She taught us to remember HIPPO

Habitat destruction, Invasive species, Pollution, Population (human) and Over consumption.

Q: What is an animal that you want to help the most?

A: The barn owl.

Q: Do you think the zoo helps endangered animals?

A: Yes but one problem zoo keepers come across, is animals in zoos behave differently than in the 

wild. For example, zoo keepers feed the animals, and the animals don’t know how to hunt so they can’t be released back into the wild.

Q: What would you like to be some day?

A: I think I would like to be a conservationist or a veterinarian.

At the end the tour guide said that I could keep the papers that she used in class for the slide show because she could see that I was very interested in endangered animals.

She also used information from one of the books written by herpetologist Russell A Mittermeier Ph. D.

Russell is a conservation hero, winner of the Indianapolis Prize from the Global Wildlife Conservation in 2018 and Finalist from the conservation international in 2012 and 2014,

In the paperwork it says that Indianapolis Zoological Society participates in the SSP’s (Species Survival Plan Program). Currently there are 320 SSP’s and the Indianapolis Zoo’s participation is 30 in the categories of endangered, threatened or recovery. 

Q: Do you feel that you accomplished the goal to learn how to help endangered animals?

A: I did learn some new things, but there is MUCH more to learn about endangered species and   animals.


Think Green

Indianapolis collects more than 24,000 tons of trash each month — but only 7 percent of it gets recycled. Indy — the nation’s 14th largest city — is the biggest municipality without a curbside recycling program serving every household.

Think Green written by Lindsey Fella Bery, CEO Helping Ninjas posted orignially on February 24, 2019 in Motherhood @IndinapolisMomsBlog

Did you know? Indianapolis is one of the most wasteful cities in America, with a recycling rate of 7% compared to the 35% United States city average.

Here are six easy steps that you can do to reduce your waste and carbon imprint at home –starting with reducing plastic consumption and pollution, and tips on how this works for my family! 

Step One: Open Your Eyes

Become aware. Plastic pollution is a significant threat to our environment. Educate yourself, and your family, on its negative effects on our ecosystems and society. This is the first step in reducing our carbon imprint.

Hopefully – the choices you make at the grocery store or the location you choose when you go out to eat will open your eyes to the impacts of global plastic pollution.

The startling facts of how our Earth is drowning in plastic will shock you. Google it. I commission you and your families to learn about plastic pollution, and then share this knowledge with others. Awareness is key and the first step to making a difference. 

Step Two: Skip The Straw 

Mitch (my husband) and Layla (our daughter).

Choosing to not use a plastic straw at a restaurant is an easy thing to do to help the planet. Just skip the straw. Let your server know that you will not be needing a straw. When we are at restaurants, we like to celebrate with an “eco cheers!”

My family has actually gone a step further and have been educating local restaurants about plastic pollution with our Stand Up To Straws initiative. We ask the restaurant managers to consider only offering plastic straws upon request, or to explore an alternative.

And, if you have to have a plastic straw (or a family member) or if the server brings one before you are able to request one – then just keep it! Take it home.

We collect plastic straws. 

Why? Straws are not recyclable. So, if put in a waste bin, they go straight to landfills, and eventually into our oceans.

If the plastic straw doesn’t get thrown in the trash, it can’t get into to the ocean – and it will not and cannot hurt a sea animal. 

We collect all of our unsolicited plastic straws.

We keep them in a mason jar and on display in our kitchen as a daily reminder that we are making a difference.

Step Three: Try Alternative Straws

Luckily there are a wide variety of environmentally friendly straws available to consumers. They come in all shapes and sizes, depending on what you are drinking – as small as a coffee stirrer or as large as one for a smoothie. There are reusable straws, such as bamboo straws, stainless steel straws, and glass straws. You can simply wash and reuse them! No waste involved – whatsoever! 

My son, Skyler, and our alternative straws!

There are also biodegradable straws such as paper straws. (Biodegradable means that they will decompose and break down over time.)  And, there are compostable straws: Hay straws, corn straws, and plant-based PLA straws. (Compostable means that it can be broken down into organic matter that can be used to create renewable energy: compost soil.) We have all of these straws in our kitchen. It’s fun for my children to have choices!

We always keep some of our eco straws  in the console of our vehicle and I carry them in my purse, always prepared and ready. You can order all of these alternative straws online and some can be found in some retail stores.

Step Four: Choose Eco-Friendly Products

My family’s eco-friendly kitchen items.

Thankfully companies are paying attention and are beginning to produce products that do not harm us, or our environment. To name a few alternative to plastic items that my family uses are bamboo toothbrushes, stainless steel and glass storage food containers, and 100% cotton lunch bags, clothing and bedding – and we use woven baskets instead of plastic to hold our laundry and other household items. 

We use glass mason jars to drink out of (less likely to crack under everyday use). When we entertain large parties, we use plant based biodegradable or compostable cups, plates and cutlery. We then compost them in our home compost bin. These can easily be found online, just search biodegradable dinnerware.

Step Five: Avoid Single Use Plastics

Single use plastics is a term used quite a bit. And it means just what it implies. A plastic that is only used once. Cannot be recycled. Used once but remains forever on our earth.

Plastic Bottles? No thank you, our family chooses to pass on the plastic water bottles and use stainless steel water bottles. We never leave home without them! 

Choose paper, or “Go Naked” in your cart! 

Instead of using plastic wrap, we use reusable and biodegradable plant-based wraps and beeswax food wrap – it works like a charm! You can wrap food itself or cover a bowl.

In place of plastic storage baggies, we use resealable paper bags and reusable cotton. These can be found in most picnic item aisles in retail store, and online.

We take large reusable bags to the supermarket to carry our groceries home and we use reusable cotton mesh bags for our produce. Choose paper bags if available or we just “go naked” in the cart – avoiding plastic bags completely when we grocery shop!

Step Six: Recycle  

Recycle your plastics!

Familiarize yourself with recycle symbols on any plastic item in your home – learn which plastic goes where. What does this mean? Some plastic is accepted in certain curbside recycling centers, and some unfortunately not. For instance, plastic wrap, bags, storage bags, and plastic trash bags cannot be recycled at most curbside recycling centers. But there are places you can take these items to get recycled. Contact your recycling company to find out what plastic they will take and what they will not. If you do not have curbside recycling, research a place near you that accepts recyclable items.

And remember all plastic has to be clean and dry, so be sure to rinse and dry completely before placing it your recycle bin. Otherwise it could contaminate other recyclable items and prevent them from getting recycled. 

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If you want to make a change then simply begin to look around. You will see there are many things you can do at home and in your daily lives to reduce your waste –you just have to start thinking green.   

Stand Up To Straws

Stand Up For Our Planet

Break Free From Plastic

📷 @nytimes Adam Amengual

Are We Addicted to Plastic? Share with what are YOU doing to help reduce plastic? We want to learn efforts how others have reduced plastic so we can share and inspire positve change! Let us know or send us tips and suggestions so we can share with others on our webpage: standuptoplastic.com at info@helpingninjas or tag us on FB, Instagram or Twitter! Read this New York Times article to learn how…

Photo credit above Adam Amengual New York Times

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