Do One Green Thing

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Mindy Pennybacker talks about simple choices we each can make to be kinder to the planet. Her guide Do One Green Thing: Saving the Earth through Simple, Everyday Choices is an easily comprehensible source for green living—answering questions about whether its worth it to switch laundry detergents and how much your light bulbs matter. Mindy Pennybacker's website is

Event: Mindy Pennybacker will be speaking
Thursday, March 18, 6:00 – 8:00 pm
Green Depot
222 Bowery, between Rivington and Prince Streets


Mindy Pennybacker

Comments [44]

Nancy from New Jersey

I can't find on Penny's website where you can post a question. I keep getting redirected to Google or try the blog site. Don't really want to create a facebook account for one question. All I want to do is ask her a question about a topic she discussed today. Any suggestions?

Mar. 18 2010 04:13 PM
Angela Muriel from NYC (lower east side)

I think we should start a campaign to force manufacturers of plastics to produce reusable items. If we really want to make a dent in waste we need a new concept, although this is at odds with our conditioning to consume (to help the economy) but I don't think recycling is the answer because it still keeps the manufacturers off the hook.
Every time I walk into any supermarket all I can think is all these containers will ultimately end up in the trash, really.
It would be great if we purchased most products as bulk instead of premeasured packaged amounts for starters.

Mar. 18 2010 12:44 PM
Rob from East Village

Jeb, thanks for your perspective..though, from personal experience with strong neurological reactions to paint fumes & other cleaners, I would say that we could use a little more chemophobia in our culture.

Mar. 18 2010 12:42 PM
bill from manhattan

Mindy, the link on your home page to the list of BPA products does not work. Please fix the link or post where to find the list.

Mar. 18 2010 12:40 PM
Barb from Montclair

Great Earth Day project:
What you can/can't recycle is different in each community: get your kids together, find your "recycling guide" online for your city/town. Make a simple "recycle yes / recycle no" display on a big piece of cardboard and educate your community: go to your Earth Day fair and green market and other community events.

ps: most communities do not recycle aluminum foil: I've been told by Reynolds employees there's not enough aluminum in there of the recyclable type: use it less & throw it out.

Mar. 18 2010 12:37 PM
Amanda from Chelsea, NY

Which is a better choice- the organic produce in a plastic clamshell that is trucked from California or flown from Chile, or the local produce that may have pesticides in it?

Mar. 18 2010 12:36 PM
Jeb from Greenpoint

Mindy is extremely ill-informed on the subject of fragrances. Natural does not always = safe and synthetic does not = unsafe. It's disappointing that there are no experts on-air to counteract her misinformation. 'Phthalates,' for example, is a broad term that refers to a wide variety of compounds of differing chemical structure. Not all phthalates are the same; the chemical profiles differ significantly. This has been a profoundly irresponsible segment touting chemophobia.

Mar. 18 2010 12:33 PM

[[27] Jake M from Nassau County
March 18, 2010 - 12:29PM
(BTW, why does she giggle every time Leonard asks a question ? Is he making funny faces ?)]]

I dunno, but she's got a cute laugh (and a pretty face).

Mar. 18 2010 12:32 PM
Faye Lederman from Fort Lee, NJ

I'm 8 months pregnant and my husband and I have spent the past year trying to green our apartment -- switching out personal care products with parabens, changing up our cleaning products, etc. We're left with a box of products from under our sink including WD40, Drano, Armorall and regular glass cleaner. Where do we take these for responsible disposal?

Mar. 18 2010 12:32 PM
Rob from East Village

Is she aware of any methods to detox the body of these chemicals.

Mar. 18 2010 12:31 PM
WM from NYC

If you want safer cleaners for your child's classroom/school, visit the website for the non-profit Wellness in the Schools: for information on NYC's Clean, Green Program.

Mar. 18 2010 12:31 PM
Amy from Manhattan

To avoid plastic bottles, you can buy a beverage in a glass bottle & refill it w/(filtered) tap water (wide-mouthed ones are easier to fill)--& keep reusing it.

Mar. 18 2010 12:31 PM
Karen from South Harlem

Hear, hear, Meryl in re reducing the number of children we humans deploy on the planet. What a taboo subject.

I am not hearing about re-using enough.

A green version of this publication being discussed now would be a downloadable application for your phone.

The best thing for a sandwich is a REUSABLE CONTAINER that you shlep back home and wash.

Mar. 18 2010 12:31 PM
CES from Brooklyn

If you buy drain strainers you will never have a clogged drain again. A plumber gave us that advice.

Mar. 18 2010 12:31 PM

Is Dr. Bronner's safe for a lot of use every day?

Mar. 18 2010 12:30 PM

Your guest says that dishwashers are more efficient than hand washing in terms of water use, but I wonder if that takes into account the fact that so many people will rinse off all dishes before putting them in the dishwasher. I've seen people run water continuously from the tap while they fill the dishwasher.

Mar. 18 2010 12:30 PM
Phillip from Brooklyn

How about saving the thick white plastic Chinese takeout containers for repeated home use? They are really useful and long lasting, but are they safe?

Mar. 18 2010 12:29 PM
Jake M from Nassau County

I have heard many times that the rationale for CFLs even though they contain mercury is because they overall reduce mercury in the environment by cutting back on the amount of coal burned (coal being the largest source of environmental mercury)

(BTW, why does she giggle every time Leonard asks a question ? Is he making funny faces ?)

Mar. 18 2010 12:29 PM
Elaine from Baltimore

YIKES! I put bleach on my plastic cutting board when it gets stained from food. Am I poisoning myself or getting rid of the bacteria?

Mar. 18 2010 12:28 PM

freezing plastic bottles does not increase the leaching of chemicals from the plastic. Cold temperatures slow down chemical reactions.

Mar. 18 2010 12:26 PM
Elaine from Baltimore

Are the disposable plastic bags used for baby bottles? Are they safe for the child?

Mar. 18 2010 12:26 PM
bob from huntington

they do have very strict separation of recyclables in many communities in northern california--which also provide residents large trash cans specific to the recyclables.

collection trucks are designed to empty these large containers into corresponding sections of the trucks.

it's not the "one big pile" approach practiced in the east.

Mar. 18 2010 12:25 PM
Matthew from NYC

I know a deli in New Jersey where there are separate bins for trash and recycling in the store, but both get tossed into a single large dumpster behind the building. The owner tells me that it gets sorted later. Is he lying? Or does this actually happen?

Mar. 18 2010 12:24 PM
Estelle from Austin

Haven't researchers found traces of pharmaceuticals in tap water? Do Brita filters take this stuff out?

Mar. 18 2010 12:24 PM
Trent from Hell's Kitchen

Correction to previous post:

Electronics recycling is available at ALL Best Buy locations nationwide.

Mar. 18 2010 12:24 PM
Shannon from Westport, CT

Electronics can be recyecled with companies like Ecycling of New Haven that will bring a bin to your church/school/Town Hall for free and recycle them.

Mar. 18 2010 12:24 PM
CJ from Queens, NY

Why does the city recycle bottles and jars but not glassware? I don't understand the distinction.

Mar. 18 2010 12:24 PM
Katherine Jackson from NYC

How about canned fish? You recommend sardines, but it's hard to find fresh sardines, and canned ones have bisphenol problems, no?

Mar. 18 2010 12:23 PM
lane graves from westfield, nj

Hi Mindi! Leonard, Mindi was a colleague of mine years ago at Mothers and Others where she edited the Green Guide.

A small group of Moms from each of our 5 elementary schools in Westfield, NJ got together and began a Plastic Water bottle-free Initiative. We sold over 1000 12 oz stainless steel, lunch box size bottles to families. We got tremendous support and response and have saved people money and thousands of plastic water bottles from landfills.

Mar. 18 2010 12:23 PM
jen lynch from manhattan

Please speak about what to do with batteries. I live in NYC and my family goes through tons of batteries each year in toys and games. I can't find any place that will take them so they wind up in the trash.

Mar. 18 2010 12:22 PM
Tonianne from Brooklyn

I am documenting the process of people adopting more sustainable practices in an exhibit called Shifting Normal, currently at Pratt's Manhattan location

The information about sustainable practices is so fragmented (books, blogs etc). It still feels like a huge effort to adopt which is why more people don't do it. How do we make it simpler to get more people to change their habits?

Mar. 18 2010 12:22 PM
Trent from Hell's Kitchen

You can recycle your electronics at most Best Buy locations.

See website for details.|8069|best%20buy%20electronics%20recycling||S|b|4223615282&loc=KW-2430

Mar. 18 2010 12:21 PM
Rob from Highland Park, NJ

Can shredded paper be recycled with regular paper? And how about juice boxes?

Mar. 18 2010 12:20 PM
Oscar from brooklyn

I grow plant seedlings in pots made of old newspaper and used juice boxes. This seems safe to me. Are there any chemicals that could leech into my plants?

Mar. 18 2010 12:20 PM
Amy from Manhattan

The more important reason to buy organic milk (& eggs, & meat if you eat it) is that the animals aren't fed antibiotics. Receiving antibiotics (except to treat bacterial diseases) promotes the growth of antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria, which endangers both animals & people.

Mar. 18 2010 12:19 PM
Beth from Lower East Side

Mo: Here is a link to an upcoming electronics recycling event which will be held in Union Square:

Electronics recycling events are held throughout the city. You can find out more by getting in touch with the Lower East Side Ecology Center. They have a mailing list which will send details to your inbox:

They work with a very responsible recycler which observes high standards of environmental responsibility as well as data security.

Mar. 18 2010 12:18 PM
Mike from Manhattan

Mo Mejia,

You can Google "electronic recycling nyc" you will find many resources.

Mar. 18 2010 12:18 PM
hjs from 11211

is the plastic in my brita water filter OK?

Mar. 18 2010 12:18 PM
Richard E from long island/nyc

Milk cartons are great for starting plants for your garden

Mar. 18 2010 12:17 PM
David Rockwell from Dixon, MT

What about freezer paper that have plastic on the inside and paper on the outside? We use this to wrap meat for the freezer.

Mar. 18 2010 12:17 PM
Richard E from long island/nyc

how green? I buy vintage used bicycles on ebay locally, (take subway to pick it up- reduce fossile shipping), pedal to work, and recycle almost all my furniture. NYC has the best garbage in the world - especially moving times!! A creative type can build and outfit an entire house from NYC street shopping.

Mar. 18 2010 12:16 PM
laurent from brooklyn

I think therefore I am... green

Mar. 18 2010 12:14 PM
Mo Mejia from Bronx

Electronic recycling is a pain because I can’t find where I can take my old PC and printer for recycling.

Mar. 18 2010 12:11 PM
Meryl from Brooklyn NY

The single most important things that you can do for the environment is to limit the number of children that you have. I have not read her book but I hope that that decision is included.

also a small thing you can do it to bring your #5 plastics to Whole Foods who uses them in some of their brand packaging.

Mar. 18 2010 12:10 PM

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