For the tenth year, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) has put together their Dirty Dozen™ and Clean 15™ lists to empower consumers so we have an idea of which fruits and vegetables contain the most pesticide residue. Pesticides are not only harmful to us, they are also harmful to the environment.
Of course, buying organic produce is an individual choice based on money, availablity, and beliefs. The lists are designed so you can have an idea of where to splurge and where you don't necessarily have to spend the extra money to buy organic—if eating organic is important to you.
* The lists below are based on US produce, so they may not 100% reflect what is happening here in Canada, but since a lot of our produce is imported from the US, it’s a good idea to use the list as a guideline when purchasing imported fruits and vegetables.
The EWG recommends when buying the following fruits and vegetables, that we buy organic if possible. The fruits and vegetables in the list below contained a number of different pesticide residues and showed high concentrations of pesticides relative to other produce items:
7. Sweet Bell Peppers
8. Imported Nectaries
10. Cherry Tomatoes
11. Imported Snap Peas
The two following crops did not meet traditional Dirty Dozen™ criteria but were commonly contaminated with pesticides exceptionally toxic to the nervous system:
Get more info here on why these two crops are of special concern.
Dirty Dozen™ notable findings:
EWG's Clean Fifteen™ for 2014 are the produce items least likely to hold pesticide residue. Relatively few pesticides were detected on these foods, and tests found low total concentrations of pesticides.
2. Sweet Corn
5. Frozen Sweet Peas
15. Sweet Potatoes
Clean Fifteen™ Notable findings:
The full list of all the tested produce can be found here. See where your family favourites rank. Also see this FAQ about the list on the EWG website.
Then, check out this video to learn why it's beneficial to reduce the amount of pesticides in your diet.
You buy new tires, you take care of them as well as you can, you switch them at the appropriate tire-changeover times, but like so many other things, they eventually wear out and it's time to get rid of them and buy new ones. But after you are done with your old tires, what do you do with them?
Throw them in a landfill? No.
Store them in your garage because you don't know what to do with them? No way.
Leave them on the side of the road? Please don't do that.
If you live in Ontario, you can drop off up to four old tires at a time (for free!) at one of the hundreds of the Ontario Tire Stewardship (OTS) registered collectors who will then ensure that your tires are sent off to be turned into something that can be used again. (If you are not in Ontario, see the list below for info on finding a collector program where you live)
Ontario Tire Stewardship (OTS) is an Industry Funding Organization (IFO) incorporated under Ontario's Waste Diversion Act, to implement and operate the Used Tires Program. The Used Tires Program is a provincial tire recycling program that diverts tires away from landfills, with help from Ontarians. Through this program, OTS fosters innovation, all the while, reducing environmental impact and creating green jobs in the province.
Take a look at this:
The OTS will take your tires and send them to recyclers who will use them to make many types of sustainable products. Here are a few examples:
Take a look at the video on this page to see the process old tires go through in order to be turned into something new.
Thanks to the OTS's hard work on getting tires out of scrap yards and upcycled into new consumer products, Ontario will soon be able to recycle 100% of its used tires. That is great news!
Not in Ontario to take advantage of the OTS's free services? Find a registered collector in your province or territory using the links below. Note that there is a small fee involved in some provinces to recycle your tires.
After you have decided to recycle your tires, there is still the business of purchasing new tires. Here are some suggestions:
Looking for new all-season tires?
Looking for new winter tires?
It's always a great idea to recognize Earth Day by doing special activities to celebrate it, but what about when Earth Day is over? What happens then?
There's no need to make it just a one-day affair, because there are so many things you can incorporate into daily life to make Earth Day every day—simple, inexpensive things like using reusable bags, making your vehicle eco-friendly, or even making a commitment to using products that are safer for the environment. Another change you can make is by going meatless just once a week.
Even though you may think eating a plant-based meal just once a week may not be a big deal, according to the United Nations and the Environmental Protection Agency:
Imagine what can be accomplished if we were to all take part in Meatless Monday each week—or commit to going further and doing it more than one day a week. Since the Meatless Monday initiative was introduced back in 2003, 34 countries are now actively involved in participating and spreading the message. It's a simple thing that can have a huge impact not only on the environment, but also on our health (check out these must-see food documentaries that may change the way you look at food).
Nowadays, with Pinterest, and thousands of excellent plant-based food blogs to sift through, finding delicious, meatless recipes your entire family will love is really right at your finger tips. Participating in Meatless Mondays will be a piece of (vegan) cake!
What's your favourite meatless meal recipe?
For tons of delicious, meatless meal and dessert ideas, check out YMC's Meatless Mummy Con Carne, and for a delicious, plant-based dessert that will shock everyone when you tell them the secret ingredient, you must try this Dark-Chocolate Avocado Pudding.