Plastic cling wrap or aluminum foil?

wrapThis is an article from Slate.com by Nina Rastogi that I found to be enlightening on the dilemma of how to store leftovers.

What’s the most eco-friendly choice for storing leftovers: plastic cling wrap or aluminum foil?

Judging by conversations the Lantern has had with her colleagues, most people seem to believe intuitively that aluminum foil is better for the planet, maybe because plastics are made from fossil fuels and we’ve heard so much about how they’re polluting the oceans. Plus, foil can be rinsed and reused with relative ease, or sometimes even recycled at the curb, while plastic wrap is usually thrown away.

But as we discussed in our analysis of beer containers, aluminum has a heavy manufacturing footprint. It takes a whole lot of energy to mine bauxite ore from the earth and then process it: Producing 1 ton of aluminum ingots requires 170 million British thermal units of energy and spits out about 12 tons of carbon dioxide-equivalent. By comparison, producing 1 ton of low density polyethylene pellets requires just 17 percent as much energy and generates 12 percent as much greenhouse gas. (Consumer cling wrap used to be made out of polyvinyl chloride, a substance reviled by many environmentalists, but now it’s nearly all LDPE or its tougher cousin, linear LDPE.) Making matters worse, aluminum foil is a lot heavier than cling wrap: Foil typically clocks in at about 3.8 grams per square foot; cling wrap, just 1.7 grams.

What does that all add up to? To answer that, the Lantern turned to COMPASS, a nifty software tool from the Sustainable Packaging Coalition that allows you to compare the environmental impacts of different packaging materials, from manufacture to disposal. The Lantern decided to compare 1 square foot of aluminum foil and 1 square foot of LDPE cling wrap—about as much as you might use to cover a bowl of leftover pasta before sticking it in your fridge.

Aluminum foil was the loser in nearly all the metrics COMPASS assesses (PDF), including fossil fuel consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, human health impacts, aquatic toxicity, and potential for eutrophication (a kind of water pollution, caused by excessive nutrients, that can lead to fish-killing algal blooms).

However, there are ways that foil can narrow those gaps. Reuse is one straightforward option. According to COMPASS, if you use one piece of foil three times, it will contribute less aquatic toxicity than using three pieces of LDPE, and it just about matches the plastic on fossil-fuel usage and eutrophication. You’d have to use that foil six times, however, before the greenhouse gas emissions and human health impacts were comparable as well.

Foil made with recycled aluminum can reduce the impactsassociated with manufacturing. Aluminum—unlike plastic or paper—can be recycled forever. According to one industry estimate, household foil already includes between 25 percent to 40 percent pre-consumer recycled material—i.e., factory scraps and trimmings—with the rest coming from freshly mined, virgin metal. The Lantern knows of two companies, Reynolds and If You Care, that make foil with what’s billed as “100 percent recycled content.” In Reynolds’ case, that content is a fluctuating mix of pre-consumer and post-consumer material (i.e., metal that’s already had a life as a can or a pot). If You Care foil contains only pre-consumer material.

Figuring out how much energy and emissions you’d actually save with these products is hard, though, because the environmental credits for pre-consumer material can be tricky to calculate. The benefits of recycling depend on the idea that waste is being diverted away from landfills and then used in place of virgin material. But most factories don’t throw away their unwanted aluminum scraps: They sell them to other manufacturers or back to their suppliers. Since those scraps aren’t likely to get “lost” in the solid waste stream, should they really count as recovered material? Some analysts say yes, some say no. (Both Reynolds and If You Care report significant energy savings with their products, based on calculations that follow the first methodology—i.e., treating pre-consumer material the same as post-consumer material.)

So recycled foil is probably a better choice than traditional foil of the same weight—provided, of course, that it works as well (though it is likely to be more expensive). Because no matter what you use to cover your leftovers, the important thing is that the food stays fresh and tasty (PDF). After all, there’s no point in using disposable packaging of any kind if you’re just going to throw away the food that’s wrapped inside.

Nina Shen Rastogi is a writer and editor, and is also the vice president for content at Figment.

Sole Water–It’s Good for You

Asaltt the recommendation of my doctor, I have been drinking 2 cups of good quality salt water every morning and it has been wonderful! Check out this explanation from the Alternative Daily.

Have you ever heard of Sole water? If not, that’s okay. Lots of people probably have not, but it is now time you learned about this amazing, 100% natural drink.

Sole water (pronounced so-lay), is not a miracle cure or hip new fad, but rather a life-supporting mixture of mineral rich, unrefined salt and water that supports the body’s natural ability to regulate and heal itself. The term Sole comes from the Latin “sol”, which means sun.

For years we have been told that salt can be detrimental to our health and the idea of actually drinking salt water may sound more than a touch counter-intuitive; however, a concentrated salt solution made with 100% natural salt is healthy and good for your body.

Yes, It Is Good for You

The truth is that unrefined salt is actually good for you. It helps to balance your blood sugar, helps keep your bones strong, regulates your metabolism, boosts your immune system, and more.

Natural salt provides a number of nutrients and minerals, in a way that the body recognizes and knows how to use. Over 80 trace minerals found in the naturally filtered salt water used to create unrefined sea salt give it its vital grayish color, and its slight moistness keeps the salt and minerals in a form that the body can use.

What Happens When Natural Salt is Added to Filtered Water?

Positive ions in the salt surround the negative ions of the water molecules and vice versa. This creates a new structure that has an electrical charge that is easily absorbed by the body. Water is no longer water, and salt is no longer salt.

Once ingested, the electrical charge in the solution works with the body to send electrical signals between cells, and also assists kidneys in maintaining fluid balances within the body.

Drinking a mixture of natural salt and water is nothing new; it has been used as a remedy around the globe for centuries. Both anecdotal and scientific evidence support its use for the following:

Hydration. Yes, we are told to drink more water, and while most people do need to drink more water, it is possible to drink too much. According to Matt Stone, author of “Eat for Heat: A Metabolic Approach to Food and Drink,” consuming too much plain water can actually cause the body to become over-diluted.

When this happens it can put a tremendous strain on the body and slow metabolism. Cellular health is dependent on a particular concentration of minerals and electrolytes.

When we drink large amounts of plain water, extracellular fluid becomes diluted, which creates a stress response and the release of adrenaline. Stone says, “no other creature is so removed from its instinctual programming to the point of accidentally over drinking.” Consuming water with natural salt allows the body to absorb and use the water you are taking in.

Have you ever watered a plant when it is extremely dry? The water just runs out the bottom of the pot. Drinking water all the time is much the same – we just keep on peeing and drinking. A little natural salt and water slows this process down and allows all the goodness of the water to absorbed and used.

Digestion. Salt water begins to activate salivary glands in the mouth, releasing amylase. This initial step in the digestive process is highly important. In the stomach, natural salt stimulates hydrochloric acid and a protein-digesting enzyme, both of which help to break down food. It also stimulates secretions in the intestinal tract and liver that help with digestion. Regular consumption of Sole can help with regularity and increase nutrient absorption, as well.

Sleep. The trace minerals in unrefined salt calm the nervous system. Salt is known to reduce cortisol and adrenaline, two dangerous stress hormones. This can promote a better night’s sleep.

Detoxification. Because of the rich minerals in Sole, it helps the body in its natural detoxification process. Sole is also naturally antibacterial and can, therefore, help rid the body of dangerous bacteria

Bone Health. A popular theory regarding osteoporosis and other bone disorders is that the body uses calcium and other minerals from the bones in order to survive and neutralize acidity in the blood. Because Sole is full of naturally healthy minerals and has an alkalinizing effect, it is thought to help improve bone health.

Skin. Natural salt contains minerals that can help your skin look and feel its best. Chromium fights acne and reduces skin infections, sulfur keeps skin clean and smooth, and can help a dry scalp, eczema, and rashes that are often a result of a sulfur deficiency. Zinc promotes rapid healing of wounds, boosts the immune system, and regulates the activity of oil glands, and iodine helps increase oxygen consumption and the metabolic rate of the skin.

Minerals. According to Dr. Linus Pauling, two-time Nobel Prize winner, “you can trace every sickness, every disease, and every ailment to a mineral deficiency.” Minerals are the foundation to sound nutrition and health. Without them, no other system in the body works as it should.

Vitamins and other nutrients do not get broken down or absorbed when amino acids and enzymes don’t work because of a lack of vital minerals. Because of our depleted soil and highly-refined diet, mineral deficiencies are more common than ever. Sole, made with mineral-rich salt, is a rich source of vital minerals, such as barium, bismuth, chromium, magnesium, selenium, zinc, titanium, and B2 trace minerals.

Other Noted Benefits of Sole Water

Improved energy
Reduced blood sugar
Reduced muscle cramps
Reduced blood pressure
Healthy veins
Weight Loss

How to Make It & How to Take It

1. Fill a quart-size mason jar 1/3 full with unrefined, natural salt.
2. Fill the jar with filtered water, leaving 2 inches at the top.
3. Cover the solution with a plastic (not metal) storage cap.
4. Shake and let it sit for 24 hours.
5. Check in 24 hours to see if all salt crystals are dissolved, and add a little more salt.
6. When the salt no longer dissolves, the Sole is ready.
7. Store covered on counter or in cupboard. The antibacterial and antifungal properties of the Sole will help make it last indefinitely.

Add ½ teaspoon of Sole to an 8-oz. glass of filtered water (this can be warm water) each morning before breakfast. Taste the Sole; if tastes salty (like you would expect saltwater to taste), then it is the perfect amount for you.

If it tastes too salty, dilute with plain, filtered water until it tastes just right. If it does not taste salty enough, add some more Sole until the balance is right. You have to trust your senses on this one – your body knows best! The amount you need may vary each day.

The Best Natural Salt

You can find many kinds of unrefined salt right in the store, but check the label. It must say “unrefined” – some sea salts are still refined. We like to use Aztec Sea Salt, which is not sold in stores, to make Sole. We know for a fact that it is high-quality, unrefined, and loaded with the good minerals and nutrients you need. Learn more about Aztec Sea Salt here.

Note: Always consult a health practitioner before beginning any natural health routine.

Source: The Alternative Daily
Water & Salt – The Essence of Life – Dr. Barbara Hendel, M.D. & Peter Ferreira
Eat for Heat: A Metabolic Approach to Food and Drink – Matt Stone